It Was Just the Smallest Fib

What’s more romantic than the first date and kiss with the right guy?

This romance doesn’t go exactly as planned and Celine winds up telling a little tiny lie. She had no clue it would grow. But it grew, and life became very complicated for a young woman who thought she had found Prince Charming.

Here’s my excerpt from Christmas at Mariner’s Cove. You can find it in Baby It’s Cold Outside. It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

bico

Christmas at Mariner’s Cove

CeCe drained the last of the coffee in her cup and stood. “I’m glad you did. As far as I’m concerned, being invited to drink morning coffee on your yacht is the most fantastic invitation I’ve ever had.”

“Then let me spoil you by asking you to share a cup with me every morning.”

She raised her eyebrows and cocked her head. “I’m afraid that invitation could be taken more than one way.”

Frank laughed as he called over his shoulder, “That’s not what I was thinking when I said it, but if that’s what it takes, I would enjoy having you.”

“In your dreams!” Celine listened to him laugh as he vanished into the bowels of the yacht. Somehow she didn’t think that’s what he meant when he’d said it. He didn’t come off as a player. Something about him screamed decent guy. She fixed another cup of coffee and looked around the kitchen. So, this is how the rich and famous live.

A few minutes later, Franklin returned holding his phone to his ear. She listened to the one-sided conversation and could tell he was setting up an appointment to see the house. His blond hair was still slightly damp. He wore dark green khaki pants with a lighter green, long-sleeved, polo shirt that didn’t hide his broad shoulders and muscular chest. He looked downright sexy. When he said goodbye, she asked, “What’s up?”

“We’re to meet the agent at eleven thirty.”

“Sounds like fun.”

“It will be. Let’s go grab an early lunch.”

They walked along the cove to the old hotel. Since the lunch menu was not yet available, they settled for the breakfast. Celine looked over the various items and thought maybe she had died and gone to heaven. Never had she seen such an array of breakfast foods. From oysters Rockefeller to lobster Newburg, the menu contained so many gourmet items.

Franklin told her to get whatever she wanted.

She chose the lobstermen breakfast, which consisted of hard-boiled eggs mixed with lobster in a Newburg sauce, topped with bacon. It was actually more than she could comfortably eat, but it was so creamy and delicious, she forced herself to eat every bite, leaving only a small piece of toast behind. The entire time, they chatted and laughed. Never before had she felt so genuinely at ease with someone. She didn’t feel as though she was on a date, she felt as though she was with her best friend, and they had known each other for a million years.

When they were done, they walked back to the yacht. Franklin brought her a helmet. “Ready to take a ride?”

“I’ve never been on a motorcycle.”

“It’s about time.”

He talked to her about how to move with the cycle and assured her that he was a very capable driver and knew exactly what he was doing. Butterflies flitted through her stomach as she climbed on the bike and wrapped her arms around his waist. He drove through town and then onto the road that would take them to the house he was considering purchasing. It was fun and exciting, unlike anything she had ever experienced.

The house was exactly as he described, cedar shake weathered to a silver gray. The back porch slipped to a deck that seemed to go on forever, and then an expanse of grass that led to wooden stairs that put them on a wide beach. The tide was out, making the beach seem twice as large. It was a quiet spot, just them and the Atlantic Ocean. She stuck her hands in her back pockets and sniffed the air. Such incredible beauty, and it would be Franklin’s – his private little place in the middle of nowhere.

He came up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. She felt his hands, but was lost in her own delightful thoughts, until she felt his lips on the side of her neck. “I think you’re moving a little too quickly. I barely know you, and I’m not that kind of woman.”

“And just what kind of woman are you?”

“Let’s just say I’m not going to be swept off my feet by a guy with money.”

“Does that mean you’re looking for a poor one?”

She giggled. “No thanks. It’s all I can do to pay my own bills. I certainly don’t want to be supporting someone else.”

“Then let me state up front that I’m not poor. Nor am I looking for someone to support me. But I do get the feeling that there’s some sort of chemistry going on between us. Like a moth being drawn to the light, I’m feeling something… Something special between us as though I’ve known you forever. I’ve felt it since I first laid eyes on you. Except I can’t explain it.”

She turned and stared at him. “I’m feeling it, too. But I think we need to give ourselves time. I don’t want to jump into anything. Maybe I’m overly cautious?”

“I’m used to going after what I want, and I have a tendency to get exactly what I want.”

“Well, this time you’re going to have to go very slowly.”

He ran his index finger down her cheek, across her jaw, and under her chin.

She wanted to melt on the spot because his touch was doing delicious things to her. Instead, she sucked in a deep breath and watched his eyes. “I can see that you are going to have a very difficult time doing anything slowly.”

He tilted her chin upwards. His lips found hers. Her knees didn’t want to hold her as the heat from his kiss warmed her entire body. He backed away from his kiss and grinned. “Slow has never been part of my vocabulary. But since you know almost nothing about me, I’ll give you whatever time you need. I’ll also warn you, I’m playing for keeps. My days of looking for a good time are over. I put an end to them a long time ago. I want one woman and a lifetime commitment.”

Celine swallowed. Had he just said everything that she ever wanted to hear from a man?

You Said What???

You Said What???

Yes, she lied! It shouldn’t have mattered. They were both far from home. What difference would it make?

It was a just a little thing, and it really should not have been a problem… What if you had fallen madly in love and didn’t want to be separated from that person? Would you lie so that you could stay together? Leave your answer for a chance to win an ebook copy of Baby It’s Cold Outside.

 E. Ayers

Romance from New Zealand

square-aspect-largeHello – I’m Kris Pearson, a New Zealander who writes mostly quite sexy novels. However, when I was invited to join the Authors of Main Street in February, I thought that an excerpt from my new Christmas novella would be a good choice because it’s perfectly sweet and clean – even though my two lead characters are forced to share a mattress on the floor!

This comes about because Jeff’s wife moves all his money to a secret bank account when she suspects him of infidelity, and then she manages to get him arrested for the night and banned from their home until things get sorted. What’s a man to do under those circumstances? (I confess I stole this set-up from a couple of silly family members. It’s totally fiction after that though, and becomes almost an extra epilogue for my novel THE WRONG SISTER.)

The amazing eagle from Weta Workshop who greets passengers at Wellington Airport

The amazing eagle from Weta Workshop who greets passengers at Wellington’s airport

SANTA CLAWS is set in Wellington, New Zealand and our ‘Main Street’ is called Lambton Quay. From that you might expect ships, but it’s a long time since any ships tied up here. Because my city is backed with steep hills there’s been a lot of land reclaimed from our harbor. Lambton Quay is now two or three city blocks inland. You can see photos on my website – http://www.krispearson.com

SANTA CLAWS – a Christmas novella

ASIN: B01N6N1BSH

 

EXCERPT

 Two days ago

“One night in the guest room, bro – it’s all I can do,” Christian Hartley said the next day. “Fiona and I have the olds – plus Becky’s tribe – staying for Christmas, and every bed will be bursting.”

“Better than nothing,” Jeff said, thanking God for the small respite his wealthy brother had given him. The panic receded slightly, and he was about to conclude the call when Christian added, “How bad are things, really?”

“Totally down the drain. Mon’s stitched me up. Got a restraining order against me for a while and hidden all the money.”

“Jeez… Look, I know you’re too damn proud to accept charity, but say the word if you want a loan. In fact let me transfer some money now. What’s your account number?”

Jeff breathed out quietly. “Thanks, but no thanks. Not yet anyway. I’ll get by.”

There was a short silence. “You’ve got time off over Christmas?”

“Yeah – a fortnight.”

“Well, this is a crappy offer, but it’d be a roof over your head. Our rental in Kilbirnie got trashed. I ordered a dumpster for today, and was going to get cleaners onto it sometime in the New Year.”

“Happy to help.”

“You might not be when you see it, but if you don’t mind taking on the job, and doing a bit of repainting, I’ll swap your labour for a few weeks’ rent to preserve your pride. It’ll cost me plenty to get anyone else in, and leave me free to spend more time with Fiona and Nicky over the holiday. I was hoping for a few days out at the river.”

Jeff could have sworn his panicked heart-rate was slowing. “You’re a life-saver, Chris. Thanks.”

Christian made a noise that was half laugh, half sigh. “You might not think so once you’ve seen it. It stinks to high heaven, and there are mice and God knows what else.”

“If it’s somewhere to hole up for a while, it’ll do me fine.”

“It comes complete with a spade, a lot of Mr Muscle, air freshener, and a big pack of garbage bags I left in the kitchen. There’s a key under the brick beside the shed.”

Jeff heard a childish squeal in the background, and Chris muttered, “Okay Nic, coming now.” Then he added, “Knock yourself out, bro, and I’ll see you here for the Christmas barbecue.”

“A spade?” Jeff asked as the word finally registered in his over-stressed brain.

“You’ll need it, buddy. I’m not joking about it being bad.”

*

On the last day of the working year, Evie wore her blonde hair low to hide her face, and had a lot of peachy makeup smeared around one eye. Jeff couldn’t help but notice. They sometimes sat together in the staffroom, and today was one of those days.

“He’s hit you again?” he asked in a low voice.

She frowned and shook her head. Her hair fell even further forward and she fiddled with her ever-present silver charm bracelet. “Only a bit.”

“Why don’t you get out?” He slid his gaze sideways to her, trying not to draw any attention in their direction.

“Nowhere to go. No money to go with. I gave him my Christmas bonus to stop him bashing me more.”

Jeff closed his eyes and clenched his fists. How he’d enjoy giving the bastard some of his own medicine. “There’s another thirty minutes of lunch break,” he muttered. “If I took you home now, could you grab your clothes and bedding? Store everything in the car for the rest of the day. It’s a long story, but I’ve left Monica.”

He heard her indrawn breath. “I think I’ll go for a walk,” she said loudly to no-one in particular. Jeff drained the last of his coffee and followed her a minute later.

“Don’t get your hopes up,” he said as he drove. “The house is bad. It’s been trashed. I spent last evening throwing stuff in a dumpster, and then slept at my brother’s. There’s a long way to go yet.”

“I’d be an extra pair of hands.” She glanced across at him, jaw tight.

“There are no beds.”

“I’ve slept on the floor before.”

“Yeah, me too, but it was a long time ago, and it’s no fun.” Then he told her about Monica, and the money, and the mess that was now his life.

“So you’re not planning a family Christmas?” she asked with a lift of her eyebrows and a sudden flinch.

His heart lurched. “With my brother’s family, but not with her. That eye’s bad, isn’t it. Do you need a doctor?”

Evie shook her head. “It’s not cut.”

Jeff pressed his lips together. “How have you stood it so long? For the last year at least, from what I can see.”

“He wasn’t so bad to start with.” She hitched a shoulder up and avoided his gaze.

“I can give you one good thing to look forward to, anyway. The barbecue at my brother’s house on Christmas Day. It’ll give us a rest after all the cleaning up. And a decent feed.”

She pushed her hair back over her shoulders and looked at him doubtfully. “I’d be intruding.”

“No you won’t. There’ll be quite a crowd, and you’re very welcome. He’s younger than me. Dad married twice. I’m the older black sheep son.”

Evie snorted at that. “Like I’m the older black sheep daughter. The one who lived a gypsy life and never married or had kids.”

Jeff laughed without humour. He slowed, parking two houses down from where she lived – his usual practice on the times he’d dropped her home.

“I don’t know if this will work,” she said, peering ahead. “If anyone’s there I’ll just say I need my migraine pills and then I’ll get out in a hurry. If you see me put a bag outside the door, come and grab it, and I’ll go in again for more.”

One suitcase, one sports bag, and a big armload of bedding later, Evie squealed at him to hurry as a glowering, leather-clad man with a bull terrier on a leash ambled round the corner. The man froze for a moment as he assessed the situation, then broke into a sprint and sent them a far from friendly signal with his free hand as they roared away.

“He was out walking Devil,” she said, with a giggle that did Jeff’s spirits good. Then she floored him by adding, “We could see if the church shop has a bed?”

One bed, he noticed. For her, or for them both? He didn’t dare hope, although a prickle of anticipation threaded itself the length of his body. He shook his head, still wired from the speedy escape. Maybe the adrenaline rush was making him think crazy thoughts? “Even if they do, they won’t be able to deliver so close to Christmas.”

She sent him a small grin. “I know some of those ladies quite well.”

Kris Pearson's backyard

Kris Pearson’s backyard

Gramma’s Dandelion Wine

Grandma & Me at Two and a HalfIf you’re foolish enough to hang around with me for any length of time you won’t escape hearing about my grandmother. Her name was Alice Jane Rowland Boudiette and I spent most weekdays with her until she died when I was seven years and three days old.

She was a proper English lady though she’d be quick to tell you she came from good common stock rather than the highborn kind. She was proper all the same so I’m not sure how she’d feel about being represented by a recipe for spirits. But this is such a writers’ treasure kind of story I can’t resist. Please, forgive me, Gramma.

I found the recipe in a very old notebook written in a lovely but substantial hand. Substantial enough to be read many decades after it was written. The ink is faded of course. Real ink like the kind that used to come in bottles and inkwells. The pages are soft with age and worn off at the corners. I handle them carefully for fear they’ll disintegrate into powder.

The pasteboard covers are separating at the spine. The original brown was probably dark but is now a dusky shade. She wrote “Cook Book – Mrs. Boudiette – 467 Holley Street – Watertown NY” on the front cover. She refers to herself in what was once considered appropriately modest for a married woman. She doesn’t use her first name.

This inscription tells me something about the age of the notebook. Grandma lived on Holley Street long before she and my scary grandfather moved to the tall brown house on West Main where I spent the happiest hours of my 1940’s childhood with Gramma in her kitchen. But I always had to be gone before Grandpa got home which was fine with me.

I run my hand over the letters she wrote on the faded brown cover of her small notebook. The sensitive skin of my fingertips touches the place where her hand had been and of course I weep. She died going on seventy years ago but she is still deeply entrenched in me. Everything good that has happened in my life began somehow with Gramma.

Only two actual dates appear in the notebook. November 1, 1927 after her recipe for Apple Jam and March 9, 1931 above Tasty Salad. Other entries include How to Remove Ink from Clothes and Receipt for Tanning Hides. Bless you Gramma. You were the first and among the best blessings of my life. Here is Alice Jane Rowland Boudiette’s Dandelion Wine in her own words.

6 quarts fresh heads of dandelion blossoms in stone jar or granite. 1 gallon hot water poured on the blossoms. Put aside for 3 days and nights, then strain through a cloth. Now add 3 pounds sugar, juice of 2 lemons and 3 oranges. Add one-half yeast cake.

Pour mixture into a stone jar and let it stand 4 days and nights. Then strain again through a cloth. Bottle. Let stand in bottles with corks set in loose until it stops working. Otherwise it will blow off or break bottles. After it stops working cork tightly and store where cool.

Shared by Alice Jane’s granddaughter Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com. The picture is of me and Gramma in her garden when I was two and a half years old.