Veronica: When we decided to have a Winter Magic Week here on the blog, I immediately thought of my friend Siobhan Muir and her Ice Demons, who first appeared in the short story “Christmas Ice Magic”, in the Happy Holidays from the Crescent Moon Lodge anthology, and then got their own book later in Cloudburst Ice Magic. (Love the cover fo Cloudburst, below the excerpt!). Siobhan was willing to be our guest today and share an excerpt!
The story for Christmas Ice Magic: For Lily Sinclair, Christmas means sorrow and loss since the death of her twin brother. The magic is gone and she only wants to see her brother one more time. As an Ice Demon Zachary Snow is used to rescuing people in winter, but he’d never rescued anyone like Lily. Now he must convince her the magic she wants is in life itself.
And the excerpt:
Conflicting emotions crashed through Lily. Fear, hope, fury, and yearning made a morass of her mind until she couldn’t find a coherent thought. How could he… How did he… What if he…
The handsome man with light brown hair and broad shoulders had repeated Linus’s words almost verbatim and tears started in her eyes. She didn’t have the strength to throw a pillow at him, but anger ruled her mind just long enough to remind her he’d thwarted her attempt to die peacefully.
How could he? I was so close!
“It’s none of your business.” She didn’t want to tell him she’d given up because the magic of her life had disappeared. She had nothing left and this was her last ditch effort to find peace.
“Yes, it is my business because I’m out here, braving the elements, to save your ass. On Christmas, no less.”
“I didn’t want to be saved.” Her voice came out in a snarl and she fisted the sleeping bag. “I wanted to be out there and see my brother. And you fucked it up.” The tears broke loose from her eyes and slid down her cheeks. “I was so close.”
“There was no one out there but me, princess. Trust me, you’re brother wasn’t there.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about. I saw him, I talked to him. He was there and everything was perfect!” Linus had talked to her and held her and told her… Get busy living, Lil. Go play in the snow. It’s Christmas.
It doesn’t matter, Linus. There’s no magic left.
Linus’s voice intruded for a moment. You have to hang in there long enough to discover it. Remember, you promised. I think I know someone who can help you keep it.
Lily focused on the pale blue walls around her and the handsome man sitting on the bed with her.
“Who are you?” She eyed him again as she tried to calm down. A neatly trimmed beard framed elegant lips and a strong jaw. Ice green eyes looked out over a straight sharp nose from under thick brows.
“My name is Zach Snow. I’m Search and Rescue for the Crescent Moon Lodge.” He held out a large hand with calluses on his palm. “Nice to meet you.”
Lily stared at his hand and for the first time in months some part of her desperately wanted to touch and connect. She dragged her arm out of the confining bag and grasped his palm, jerking as a spark leapt between them.
For a moment, the world swirled in brilliant iridescence, centered on the connection between their hands. His eyes widened as he turned white with crystalline hair and short claws resembling blunted talons on his fingers. Sweet pleasure swirled up her arm, warming her body, and Linus’s words flashed through her mind. There’s more magic in the world than you know. Lily gasped and the image dissipated until she stared into ice green eyes of a normal looking man in outdoor gear.
His exclamation stole the words from her throat and she gaped, her grip loose enough to fall out of his hand. Who was this guy? And why did he look like a piece of the mountain with green eyes?
Zach shook his head and grasped her shoulders as she swayed. “Are you all right? Lily? Shit.” He lowered her to the pillows and picked up the bowl of soup. “Here, eat some of this. You’re as white as a snowfield.”
He held the spoon up to her mouth and Lily shrank back as far as she could go. Why had he looked so strange? She shook her head.
“Come on, it will warm you from the inside and taste good. Just one sip.”
“What are you?”
Zach paused, lowering the spoon. “Search and Rescue for the Crescent Moon Lodge.”
“Bullshit.” She spat the word with as much disdain as she could dig up. “I saw you. You had crystal hair, and blue shadows on your cheeks, and white skin. I saw you.”
Wonder and curiosity warred with fear and uncertainty. He was white and blue and had crystals on his head, right? What kind of creature did that make him? Or did I drink too much before my hike? But she hadn’t drunk anything. She’d intended to freeze to death, but not get pickled doing it.
Zach tipped his head with a calculating look. “Tell you what. I’ll answer any of your questions of you eat all the soup.”
Lily blinked. “All my questions?”
“All I have to do is eat the soup?”
“To start, but at least all the soup in the pot.”
Lily glanced over his broad shoulder to the pan sitting on the stove. It didn’t look too large and she returned her gaze to his amazing eyes. “But you’ll answer all my questions?”
He nodded. “All your questions.”
“Hand me the bowl, please.”
The story for Cloudburst Ice Magic: Avalanches may bring down more than snow…
Working for the Search and Rescue team at the Cloudburst Resort in Colorado, Lily Sinclair figures she’ll do all the rescuing from now on. When hikers are caught in a spring blizzard, Lily and her partner head into the storm. Cut off from communication and facing deadly conditions, Lily fears she’ll never see her Ice Demon lover before death claims them.
Zach Snow encouraged Lily move to Cloudburst to grow and learn, but missed her every day of their months apart. His plans of moving to Colorado get pushed up when he receives her text explaining her situation, and saying goodbye. He must negotiate with the local Ice Demon clan to work in their territory to rescue Lily and the hikers before the Spring Fling blizzard kills them. But he’s running out of time.
Between the amorous hiker hitting on Zach, Lily’s self-doubts, and an avalanche bearing down on them, Zach and Lily must rediscover the love they first kindled in a Christmas ice cave, and create their own Cloudburst ice magic.