I woke up thirteen hours after the ending of Blue Hawaii.
My neck was stiff, and my legs bent into odd angles. Sleeping in a sports car was most uncomfortable for a man of my height. The car was deadly quiet. No, I was lying. Some soft rock music was whispering out of the speakers. Hmm. Jared had sneaked his music into the stereo while I’d been sleeping. What a sneaky Pete.
“Afternoon,” he said as I yawned and tried to stretch. “We’re in Illinois now, in case you’re wondering.”
“Ah! Amazing! The land of Lincoln!” I wiggled upward, my knees and hips complaining, and tried to spy any monuments to the sixteenth president. All I could see was snow. “Look at the snow! Now it is feeling like Christmas season! Fa-la-la-la-la. I will drive now. We can stop for lunch. My stomach is trying to eat my head.”
That made Jared snigger. He was a hardy nut to crack. Not like Tennant. My best friend howled at most of my jokes, and many times at things that were serious said as well. Jared was more a silent type. Like Clint Eastwood only with no big gun to wave at bad guys while asking to make his day. Still, I liked Jared a great deal. He was a great coach, wonderful father, and loving husband to my bestie.
“Well, there’s a sign up ahead that boasts of roast beef sandwiches and beer. And karaoke nights,” he tossed out.
“I love sing-alongs! Yes, let us stop at the roast beet and karaoke pit.” Amazingly, the eatery was called Abe’s Beef Pit and all the servers wore top hats and fake beards. There was a tall wooden statue of Abe Lincoln in the corner of the smoky restaurant that I took selfies with then sent to Erik. He asked, for the fortieth time, why I was in some small town in Illinois with a dead president. Being clever as a minx I told him I was touring presidential beef pits with Jared. He looked as if he did not believe me but then I asked about his sore hole. That made his smooth cheeks turn red. Which I liked a lot. He was so sexy. I was sure I would get many kisses for his new car when he saw it. Maybe even some loving if his hole was not hurting too badly.
“How’s the family?” Jared asked when I returned to our table by a small stage with a microphone stand and a screen for the song lyrics. The tables were all full. Seemed Abe’s Beef Pit did a good lunch business.
“All is good. Erik’s hole is less bloody now,” I announced as I sat down. Three people nearby gasped. I heard them and turned to clarify as Ten said I should. “No, no, it is not his butt hole that is sore. It is a hole in his mouth where he had a tooth removed. I would never make my husband’s butt hole sore. I am a considerate lover and spouse.”
“Oh God,” I heard Jared moan. When I turned away from the nearby table, my wingman had his face buried in his hands.
“Still with burrito belches? Figure that is weirdo. Mama’s beet leaf tummy treat always works for me. Perhaps when we feast on roasted beef it will settle your gut.”
He mumbled something into his palms that I couldn’t understand.
We both ordered our lunches. I touched base with my sister Galina and the kids, telling them about wooden Abe and the beef pit. Then I set my phone to the side. Jared yawned a few times as he scrolled through social media. My sight moved from my wingman to the stage. I smiled as I rose. Jared glanced up from Facebook.
“I am entertaining lunch crowd,” I informed him then climbed to the stage. Tapping the mic I grinned out at the patrons who were staring at me in confusion. “Hello good people of Illinois! Land of Lincoln who is most famous for freeing slaves and living in log cabins. My name is Stanislav Lyamin. I am a new American citizen and wish to sing a song to you by a most amazing American entertainer. Elvis Aaron Presley.”
A few people clapped. Jared was staring at me slack-jawed. His excitement over more Elvis has left him speechless. Also, his brain was tired from driving. I gave the crowd a karate chop as the King would have then cued up a song. I was good with karaoke machines. We had one at home. The children and I used it often as did Mama. Erik had no singing voice which was sad but he was learning to live with it he said.
“I will sing ‘Ready Teddy’ for you as you enjoy your fried mozzarella sticks and drippy beef sandwiches.”
The upbeat song filled the beef pit. I slid my TBC sunglasses on and began belting out the lyrics while rotating my pelvis. When I finished the people all hooted and applauded. Some threw dollar bills at me. I did two more songs before our food arrived. Bowing as I left the stage I sat down, sweaty and gripping a handful of dollar bills. Jared smiled at me over our sandwiches and onion rings.
“You sure know your Elvis,” he said as he spooned some horseradish onto his beef.
“It is a gift,” I admitted. That made my wingman laugh out loud.
“That it is,” Jared replied.
I gave our server all of my song earnings as we left an hour later. Sliding behind the wheel, I looked at Jared letting his head fall to the rest.
“If you would like to listen to your soft 80’s music, that would be okay for me,” I offered.
“Nah, I’m good. Got any slow Elvis tunes in those playlists of yours?”
I bobbed my head and cued up playlist 84 – The Most Mellow King Songs. Jared was asleep before we were halfway through “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me”.
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A second chance at love is all Kyle wants for Christmas, but a dark menace from his past wants him dead, and love is second to staying alive.
Kyle Lourenco has carved out a comfortable life and career for himself in Boston. With the holidays quickly approaching, he’s heading home for the first time in several years. Home to his loving parents and the small Canadian town where he was raised. And home to Christian, his best friend and the first man to steal his heart.
Just as a winter storm begins to blow in, it forces Kyle off the road only miles from home and a dark and sinister force from his past creeps ever closer. His only hope is getting to Christian’s cabin before the evil that has haunted him for years finally catches up to him.
Best friends since they were three, Christian Gauthier grew up next door to Kyle, in a remote mountain town with one stoplight and a forty-mile round trip to the nearest school. When Kyle left town for a shot at a professional hockey career, he took Christian’s heart with him. Even though he knew Kyle was always destined for bigger things, it hadn’t stopped Christian from falling for him as soon as he knew what love was.
With Christmas coming soon and a major snowstorm heading their way, Christian shuts the doors to the family store and heads to his cabin, where he will be on standby as an official volunteer for Search and Rescue. He has never regretted staying in Eagle Ridge, but a near miss on a simple rescue leads him to reevaluate everything, and when Kyle ends up at his door, he knows that guarding his heart might not be the best solution after all.
Dates For Your Diaries:
December 3 – Snowed will be available on all platforms (Kobo, B&N, Apple, Google, Amazon, Smashwords)
December 6 – Snowed will be moving to Amazon Exclusive and Kindle UnlimitedMore info →