The lovely Aliyah Burke is here today sharing her experience of Christmas in July! Don’t forget to comment to be in with a chance to win the $50 All Romance Ebook Voucher. Also Visit Wendi Zwaduk who is our official Blissemas Elf and is sharing her favourite Christmas osngs with us. All comments on Wendi’s Blog will also get you entry into the Blissemas contest, so get commenting, folks!Check Blissemas.co.uk for all the details.
I was trying to figure out what to do for this post and decided I would talk about my experiences as part of Christmas in July with the USO. We work to give families of service members who have been deployed over the December Christmas holiday their own celebration.
There is something magical about seeing the looks on the faces of the children (and their parents) when they get to open their gifts and spend this time with their loved ones. I’ve spent most of my married years without my spouse on holidays as well, with him deployed to some corner of the world, so I can relate.
Yes, the day is long and hot but for me, all of the negatives are completely offset by the positives of being able to help bring that extra bit of joy into the lives of those who also serve (the families) and are all too often overlooked. It is a wonderful experience and one I hope to be able to contribute to in the future.
Now, for an excerpt I’ve chosen a snippet from my holiday story, Add A Little Mistletoe, which is published through Phaze and is available now. Then as a bonus (because after all it is for Blissemas, I’m adding a short bit from my upcoming holiday release via Total E-Bound set to release 24 Dec 2012, titled, Temporary Home. This book is the first in the Interludes series.
Enjoy and have a wonderful summer and terrific Blissemas.
Thirty-five year old Aspen Townsend was home for the holidays. She had a great job and wonderful friends. This holiday season, thanks to the disobedience of a four-year old, Aspen was also reunited with a tanned man who bore silver eyes from her past.
At thirty-eight and facing his first Christmas season out of the rodeo circuit in many years, Colt Larkin wasn’t exactly looking forward to spending the holidays in the sleep little town where he grew up. Until, he came face to face with the mocha beauty he had thought about since high school. Unfortunately, she seemed to harbor an intense dislike for him.
Can he convince her of the truth, or will the lie she has believed for the past twenty years keep them apart? It happened once before, so perhaps all they need to do, to find their holiday hearts together is… Add A Little Mistletoe…
The sound of his intoxicating voice flowed over her and with those two simple words, Aspen felt herself lusting again for something she couldn’t afford to want. Turning, she gave him a lopsided grin. “Morning, yourself. Did you sleep okay?”
Her gaze swept over his showered body. Hair was still a little damp and his face was freshly shaven. He had poured himself into another pair of blue jeans and wore a black shirt that stretched tight across his massive biceps.
Swallowing, she gestured at the coffee. “Help yourself.” Aspen couldn’t get her legs to move as he strode toward her, his loose-limbed gait making it appear as if he floated over the floor.
“Don’t mind if I do,” he responded as his lips descended upon hers. The kiss may have been brief, but it rocked them both to the core. “I slept fine, would’ve been perfect with one minor adjustment, but…I’m working on that.” Reaching around her, he took a mug from the cupboard and poured himself some coffee.
Praying for sanity, Aspen moved away from the devilish temptation that filled her senses with lustful thoughts. She sat at the table and tried not to watch him fix his drink the way he liked it.
“Looks like it’s still snowing,” he commented as he plunked himself down at the table as well.
“I think we got close to two feet last night.” Aspen glanced out the big kitchen windows, grateful for something other than a handsome man to focus on.
“It’s slow enough that the plows should be able to get all the roads clear by night.”
“I guess so,” Aspen sighed. She loved the pristine look of freshly-fallen snow. “I will make some breakfast in a moment.”
“I can do it,” Colt protested. “What do you want?”
You. “I’ll make it. You’re a guest.” Standing, she moved toward the fridge and opened it. “Are you really hungry?”
More than you could ever know. “Don’t make more on my account. Toast is fine for me.”
Aspen spun around, disbelief in her eyes. “I think you require a bit more than toast.” She looked back at the fridge and began to pull out veggies, cheese, and eggs. “How about an omelet?”
His eyes were glued to her ass as she was bent over. “Fine,” he croaked out. “An omelet would be just fine.” Closing the door, Aspen faced him once again. “Do you want meat in yours?”
Colt bit his lip from saying the first thing on his tongue. “However you have yours will be fine.” He stood and moved to her side.
“Well, then it will be meatless. I don’t eat a lot of meat.” Shoving a cutting board and knife at him, she ordered, “Cut those up for me. Diced, please.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He gave her a mock salute and washed them and began to cut them up.
Aspen rolled her eyes and focused on her part of the meal. Somehow during that time, her imagination snuck past her blockades and swung her into a fantasy land of wedded bliss between her and Colt. This was how they would spend every morning, making breakfast together.
“What are you thinking about?” his low voice broke into her dream. Blinking furiously and blushing, Aspen shook her head. “No…nothing.” Damn her imagination for taking over. “Now, now, Aspen. Do you really think you should be lying to me?” he teased.
“I’m not lying to you. I was just lost in my own thoughts, and they have nothing to do with you.” She sprayed the pan with a cooking spray and set it back on the burner.
“So did we get to make love this time or did our children interrupt us?”
Wide-eyed, Aspen looked back at the man who was popping diced bell peppers in his mouth. One eyebrow of his was raised as he waited for an answer. “What are you talking about?” she forced out.
An arrogant smile crossed his handsome face as he placed powerful forearms on the counter. “I’m talking about all those dreams you have of us making love. You know, like the ones you used to write about in your diary.” He paused before adding smugly, “Although, I’m sure you’re imagination is a bit more explicit nowadays. Not that it was bad back then.”
Pouring the egg mixture into the heated skillet, Aspen retorted, “Figures you’d be snooping around where you weren’t invited.”
“Hey,” he sounded offended. “I paid Ashton good money to get a look at that.”
Aspen groaned. “That was a long time ago. I don’t indulge in childish fantasies anymore.” Eyeing the eggs, she adjusted the heat to her satisfaction. “I’m not fifteen anymore.”
“Baby, I can tell you aren’t fifteen anymore. You are pure woman, all the way around.” His voice caressed her as if he was touching her. Aspen held out her hand and he wordlessly handed her the extras she was putting into the omelet. “See how well we work together? Just wait until this transfers to other pleasures.”
“Shut up, Colt,” Aspen muttered, even as her body betrayed her.
“Tell me you didn’t dream of me last night.”
Adding the cheese, Aspen did just that. “I didn’t dream about you. Now get some plates.”
Grabbing a handful of her ass, Colt squeezed it and said, “Liar.”
“I am not,” she protested.
Setting the table, Colt watched as she expertly flipped the omelet. “You know you dreamt about me. Tell me, was I as good as I know you will be?”
Just because, here’s the extra I promised above. Enjoy!!
Sometimes past demons need to be faced before one can embrace what the future offers, and who better to slay them than a Marine.
Gunnery Sergeant Sam Hoch travels to the Pac Norwest upon receiving word his mentor and the closest thing to a father he’s had has taken a turn for the worse and is in the hospital. Once there he meets a woman who is unlike any he’s met before. A former marine herself, she opens up her home to him so he can be near his family.
Roxi Mammon isn’t positive it was smart to allow Sam to stay with her, not with her immediate physical reaction to him. She’d heard tales of him from her best friend, his sister, and now having met the man she is even more impressed by who the Corps had turned him into. Silent strong type. Passion grows between them and soon she finds herself falling for the Recon Marine. And falling hard.
As things escalate between them Sam has to accept his past doesn’t control him if he plans on keeping Roxi in his future. Can he understand that this is the one woman who can give him something more? Will he silence the fear within him and tell Roxi she’s the one for him? Will he realise that he deserves more than just a temporary home?
Roxi couldn’t stop the flutters in her belly. What had started as an innocent kiss had quickly changed into something more. Much more. She licked her lips to retain as much of his taste as she could then turned to see the people who had interrupted what surely would have been a heated exchange with her being taken at a tree farm.
The parents gave them a nod and a brief hello before continuing on after their yelling child. Neither of them spoke but Sam did wrap an arm around her and draw her close to him.
“Let’s go,” he said urging her to continue in the same direction the family had gone.
They found a sign which said “Spruce” and he looked up the row then back at her. “Here?”
She nodded and followed him in. She took her time, appreciating her view. One which had nothing to do with the trees around them and everything to do with the man before her dressed in solid black. He wore his jeans so nice it truly wasn’t fair to others. He also had on this black mid-length leather jacket which—in her humble and horny opinion—went so well with the black jeans, gloves, and boots he wore. He also wore a black turtleneck. Can we say yum?
He swung back around and pinned her with those incredible blue eyes. “You coming?”
Just about. Crap, she’d been so close during the kiss. So near to splintering apart beneath his touch. “Right behind you.”
He waited for her and when she reached him, he captured her chin before he brushed their lips together and whispered, “We’ll have to pick that up later.”
His voice was like warm melted chocolate. Inviting her to jump in and commit all kinds of sin. Ignoring the part of her heart which said to keep him at a distance, she took his arm and rested against it before she walked again. They walked all through the tree farm, not talking but she didn’t mind. She thought over his question this morning, did it bother her that he didn’t talk so much with her? No. She loved this, just spending time with him, knowing he was there with her. What did bother her was the way he tried keeping his heart from her. She caught glimpses of it from time to time but for the most part, she couldn’t help but see the big wall he had erected around it. A wall she wanted to breech. She understood. He’d not had it easy, but surely it was time to give someone a shot at getting close. A deep breath. Not the time to worry about that, she told herself.
“Well?” he asked.
“Oh, um, well I’m fine with a pre-cut.” She grinned at him. “Would you believe I just wanted to walk around?” “I’d believe it.” A fast hard kiss. “Let’s get your tree then.”
They headed back the way they came, just not going up each row this time. Back at the main part they purchased some hot cocoa and drank it while taking a short break as their selected trees were placed in his truck. Again, this was done in silence but she still didn’t mind.
Her phone rang and she pulled it from her pocket. “What’s up, Ritchie?”
During her short call with her brother, she kept her eyes on Sam. He watched her right back. Not hiding it, just stared at her. His eyes full of emotion which made her belly tighten a bit.
“Everything okay?” he asked when she hung up.
“Yes. He just needed to know where some decorations were.”
Sam quirked his lips. “More like he wanted to make sure you weren’t off fucking.” “That too.” She grinned. “Joke’s on him. I can still hold a conversation when doing that, so he wouldn’t have stopped anything.” Sam’s eyes narrowed. “Really?”
Shit. More of the cussing, why can’t I stop doing that? “Well…yeah…I mean…you know…um…”
“Seems to me that if you’re able to carry on a conversation with someone else while a man is in between your thighs, he’s not doing it right. No ma’am, not at all.”
She felt a bit flushed. “Maybe I’m just good at multitasking.”
The predatory gleam in his eyes told her he wasn’t buying it. “Is this with every man you’ve been with?”
She didn’t even get upset he was asking about other men she’d been with. Roxi knew exactly what this referred to. Their time together.
“Huh? Oh, um, no?”
“Why are you asking me? I asked you.”
“If I say not with you, will that make you happy?”
“Only if it’s true.”
“No one called while we were together.” His eyes flashed dangerously and she knew she was flirting with trouble. And yet, she couldn’t help herself. “But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to talk on the phone.”
His jaw ticked. “Pretty sure.”
“Well yes. I mean, come on, Sam. This is like someone saying they can fuck me until all I can do is sleep. It’s an expression. Just like my comment was just a comment.”
Okay. Not the right thing to say.
“You know you should really stop while you can,” he warned.
She realised that, just couldn’t quite get her mouth to shut up. “Life is full of expressions like that. Doesn’t make the—”
That did it. Her mouth snapped shut. “Hmm?”
“I’m pretty laid back. But this…”
“Really? You seem a bit tense to me.” She squeaked when he shoved to his feet, his empty cup crushed in his hand. True, it was paper but still, it didn’t take much.
“I’m beginning to think you like trying to make me crazy.” He moved around the table to her side and used his arms to block her in. Nose to nose he waited, poised to strike. Like a panther.
“Not really. It’s nothing against you, Sam.”
His eyes narrowed. “So you’re telling me I’m one you could talk on the phone during. Okay, Roxi. I accept.” That sounded menacing. “Accept what?”
She shook her head. “I didn’t challenge.”
“Oh, I think you did. One, that you can actually hold a conversation while I’m fucking you and two, that I can’t fuck you into exhaustion.” That last word fell from his lips in a dark and decadent promise.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Blissemas!!