In the eyes of many, my husband Jack and I have it easy for the holidays. First, we don’t have children or grandchildren. Second, due to weather and work schedules, and the fact that we are the outliers not living in the Midwest, we don’t travel to family for the holidays and because the distance is great, they don’t travel here either. Third, we’re very easy to please when it comes to eating, and with two of us, big, time-consuming meals are not on our agenda. We have had black bean soup for Thanksgiving, and pizza for Christmas, so tradition on the dinner table is not a big concern.
So, no muss or fuss, no massive events in the kitchen, no hurried rushes to stand in airport lines.
No family gatherings with laughter and hugs, no luscious smells coming from the oven, no getting up early to hurry to the tree to see if Santa came. No midnight Mass with its music and joyful feelings as the baby Jesus lies in the manger that has been empty at the front of the church for weeks. No well, specialness that comes with being with those you might see infrequently, no one to get excited with over that new pair of snow boots, no real reason to jump out of bed.
I’ve always been excited over Christmas, and for more than the gifts. It was the decorations, the carols, the sparkle. I mean, the season starts with Thanksgiving and a parade—or it used to, back in the day when stores didn’t put up Christmas decorations before Halloween—and ends with a holiday and a parade on New Year’s Day. A fitting, happy time before the dark days of winter enveloped us ‘til spring. Even when I was in college and went home, I asked my mom to put out something under the tree I could look at before she and my dad got up on Christmas morning. We got home from Mass by 1:30 and I was usually up by 6:00. I would wrap an afghan around my shoulders, turn on the tree lights, and bask in the beauty of it all.
When Jack and I were married, he groused every year when I would wake him at the butt-crack of dawn, whispering, “I hear sleigh bells!” “Go back to sleep, Dee! It’s the butt-crack of dawn!” Spoil sport.
Anyway, you see how I was and still am. Though now I have to admit, I’ve mellowed. It seems like too much to put up even a small tree. There’s no garland at our house, there will be no ham or turkey, no jumping out of bed to the sound of thrilled grandchildren rushing to see what Santa brought, no bundling up for Mass (I can’t stay awake for midnight Mass anymore!). But there will be happy phone calls to those far away, a pleasant meal of some sort, one or two heartfelt gifts (this year it’s a heartfelt bathroom renovation!), and a quiet day spent with the man I’ve loved for 53 years. Sure, there’s a bit of the ideal Christmas missing, but when it comes down to it, can Christmas be much better? The rest is all trappings. We all know that the true meaning of the day is love.
Wishing you a blessed and happy Christmas or Hanukkah!
One Woman Only
One Woman Only takes place in that time between Thanksgiving and New Year. It’s Book 2 in the Good Man series (Only a Good Man Will Do is Book 1). I hope you enjoy Jonah and Kelly’s story!
As one of a set of triplets, Jonah always feels the need to make his individuality known. So where his brother Daniel is serious and completely focused, Jonah shuns commitment. Where his genius brother Mark is hailed in the scientific world, Jonah hides beneath a car, tinkering. Thing is, being different isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It takes a woman—the right woman—to make him see that a “good man” can always be a better man.
Buy link: Kindle Unlimited, mybook.to/OneWomanOnly
He left the car under the cover in front of the door and strode into the lobby. A petite brunette stood at the registration desk. “May I help you?”
“Yes, I’d like a room.”
“Yes.” Jonah dug his wallet out of his back pocket and removed his VISA.
“One king or two queens?”
The girl typed furiously and then looked up. “We only have two queen rooms.”
“Then that will do.” He didn’t give a flying fuck how many beds were in the room as long as it had one as a minimum.
Jonah tapped his card on the counter and then walked to the door to look out at Kelly sitting in the car. He wasn’t dreaming. That really was Kelly Shepherd sitting in his car and they really were checking into the Family Inn.
“Just one person?”
Oh yeah. He hadn’t actually checked in yet. “Two.”
“Oh.” What the fuck? Did that sweet young thing just frown in judgement?
“No.” There was that frown again. He glanced down at his clothing, looking a little wilted now after the wedding and imagined what it looked like, his checking in with someone, obviously coming from a party of some sort. But again, what the fuck? She worked in a no-tell motel. Lots of people probably checked in here in for a quickie.
That thought shocked him. Kelly Shepherd was no quickie. If anything, she was the love of his life, the one he’d never forgotten but never felt he deserved. The rich girl whose daddy owned more than half the town and rented most of the rest. And he was…
For the first time, he saw himself as Daniel had seen the three of them since childhood. Well-loved and well cared for bastards. Yeah, no kids had ever had better parents but that didn’t change his parentage. Who was he to hold Kelly Shepherd in his arms?
Just as he started to turn toward the door to leave, the desk clerk asked, “First floor or second?”
“Look, I don’t mean to be rude but just pick out a vacant room, tell me how much it is, run my credit card, and give me the key. My bride has been waiting in the car long enough.”
Her eyes widened. “Your…your bride? Why didn’t you say so?” Her fingers flew across the keyboard. She took his VISA and gave it back after a few seconds. “Park right out there in front of the light pole and you can come in through the front doors. Take the elevators to the third floor and go all the way to the end. That whole wing is empty so you and your wife can have some privacy.”
“Thank you, uh”—Jonah looked at her nametag—”Ms. Clark. I appreciate it.” Without waiting for more conversation, He dashed back to the car. Minutes later, holding Kelly’s hand tightly, he walked quickly back through the lobby.
“Congratu— Oh!” Little Miss Desk Clerk exclaimed. “You didn’t wear white.”
“What?” Kelly asked, slowing Jonah down with a tug on his hand.
“I said, you didn’t wear white. To the wedding.”
Shit. After almost talking himself out of taking Kelly up to the room, now interfering Ms. Clark was going to do the trick for him.
“No. That would have been inappropriate.”
Jonah saw Ms. Clark’s eyes widen again as he realized the spin her mind put on Kelly’s words. Then that damn frown returned. Jonah wrapped his arm around Kelly’s shoulders. “Come on, sweetheart. Our room is ready.”
“Okay,” Kelly said, gazing into his eyes with the love a real bride would have for her new husband. No, wait. That was a look of confusion. No matter. He pulled Kelly to the elevators and punched the button with his index finger. Once inside, he took her in his arms and kissed her with all the heat that had been building in him all night. To his relief, Kelly responded in kind, pushing her fingers through his hair and holding his head to hers.
When the elevator slowed and then stopped, they stepped into the hallway. Jonah checked the room number on the key card holder and turned them to the left. In her heels, Kelly had a hard time keeping up, so he swept her into his arms.
At their room, she took the key card from him and opened the door. Once inside, Jonah was certain his heart would burst from needing, from wanting, from years of unfulfilled dreams, all about to come true.
“What did that girl mean?”
“What girl?” Jonah took he shawl from her shoulders and folded it loosely on the dresser.
“The girl at the front desk. What did she mean about my not wearing white?”
“Oh, that.” He emptied his pockets onto the dresser, and deftly removed a condom from his wallet. “I told her we’d just been married.”
“What? Why would you do that?” Kelly moved away from his fingers that were trying to find how to unwrap her wraparound dress.
“Because she kept making judgmental noises and frowning. She made me feel guilty for bringing you here.”
“So, when she noted that I wasn’t wearing white she assumed that I wasn’t a virgin?”
“Probably.” Jonah took a step back and gazed at her. “Does that bother you? Because it damn sure bothers me that she dared make any assumptions about us.”
Kelly smiled. “You of all people know that I’m not a virgin.”
Jonah groaned. “Can we please not talk about that night again? And especially not now?”
Kelly smiled. “Sure, we can do that. And do I care what that little girl downstairs thinks? Not a whit. I just care what you think, Jonah. Here and now.” With a flick of her wrist, the tie came loose and the dress flowed to the floor. There, standing before him in all her glory wearing only a lacy bra and little satin short-short things, was the woman of his desires.
About the Author
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That’s how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors. Contact Dee at firstname.lastname@example.org.