Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.
Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. Aldo's an undercover cop who's searching for the man who got away. Then there's Sally, an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's just looking for a reason to keep on getting up every day.
This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part.
So far, this is my only true stand alone. I keep trying to fix that, but haven't yet found a way. It started as a dream--by which I mean I actually dreamed it up: storyline, characters, first few scenes, and the characters' moods and emotions. I'm still very proud of it. And I've been making spicy, black pepper gingerbread cookies ever since.
Anyway, this book is going to be FREE on Monday, as part of a huge "fill your e-reader" event. I'll post details in Monday's HERE BE NEWS.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas, and here's an excerpt. Enjoy!
Aldo was wrapping a thick strand of lighted garland along the railing of the deck when they rolled back into the yard later that day. He stopped what he was doing to stare in disbelief at the tree strapped to the truck’s roof. “You couldn’t say no to her, could you?” he asked, directing the question to Caleb as he climbed from the cab.
Caleb shrugged and shot a quick glance her way. “What can I say? The lady is very persuasive.”
“And you, my friend, are whipped,” Aldo replied. “I should’ve known you couldn’t handle her.”
“Hey!” Sally shot a mock glare at him. “That’s enough of that! Are you just going to stand up there and run your mouth, or are you gonna come help us?”
That brought a grin to Aldo’s face. “Ooh, tough words. What do you mean us anyway?” he asked teasingly even as he ambled down the stairs, just as ordered. “Don’t tell me you’re planning on lifting that thing down from there? Because that would be a first.”
“You’re a fine one to talk about being whipped.” Caleb gazed pointedly at Aldo. “Seems to me you got your ass down here pretty quick when she told you to.”
“Yeah, well, what you call persuasive, I call bossy. Plus I’m not stupid, you know. I’ve seen her handle a weapon.”
Sally rolled her eyes. “That’s it; I’m outta here. You boys don’t want my help? Well, then, fine. I need to save my hands for my work anyway. So I’ll just head on into the house and pour myself a drink, leave all the grunt work for you he-men to do.” She nodded toward the single string of lights Aldo had tacked up around the door. “Hey. That’s looking good, by the way.”
“Thanks.” He gave her a wry smile that made her wonder if they weren’t both thinking the same thing. It had been sweet of him to make the effort, but if Davis was here, he’d have laughed and called Aldo’s handiwork pathetic. Then he’d have spent the rest of the day wrapping the entire cabin in lights.
It took awhile, and the tree must have grown larger on the way here—that was really the only explanation Sally could come up with—because it barely fit through the door. The two men eventually succeeded in maneuvering the tree inside the house, amid much swearing, mostly by Aldo. It looked beautiful, though, when they finally got it set up in front of the big picture window that looked out over the lake. In the meantime Sally had discovered the cozy fire Aldo had lit in the big, stone fireplace and the pitcher of dirty martinis chilling in the fridge.
True to her word, she’d poured herself a drink, took a seat on the couch, and sat back to watch the show. Though she took great pleasure in teasing the men, egging them both on, and even setting them against each other at times, she was actually touched by all of Aldo’s little gestures. The martinis were part of a personal tradition that dated back to the first Christmas after the two of them had met, back when their friendship was new and untried.
Back then Sally had still been starry-eyed and hopeful. She’d still believed that Aldo’s feelings for her could magically transform into the kind of love she’d wanted from him, that their friendship could develop into something more, something deeper. That was before Davis and heartbreak and several rounds of despair had come between them and, somehow, forged their bonds even stronger.
She guessed it was lucky after all, the way things had worked out for them, because otherwise she would likely have lost both Davis and Aldo by now. And where would that have left her tonight?
After the lights were on the tree, Aldo insisted they stop and eat dinner before the actual decorating could commence. He’d made lasagna—Davis’s favorite—and kept the drinks flowing so that, by the time they’d returned to the living room, Sally was feeling buzzed and mellow and only the littlest bit melancholy.
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