‘Tis Christmas and everyone is stirring…
From the keeper of Santa’s naughty list, delightful little Elves eager to please, and the sensual love of a toy soldier—the holidays are filled with orgasmic cheer. Where wishes come true, Frosty is itching for a melt-down, fairies and angels are randy to grant your every wish, and ‘tis the season to be oh, so jolly-filled.
Unwrap your darkest desires…for this is Christmas, and it will never be the same.
Now available from Evernight Publishing.
Excerpt from A Christmas Curse by Ericka Scott
Nerves flapped against Amanda Spaulding’s spine like a floundering fish. Why was she so nervous? People did this didn’t they—knocked on the door of an apartment or house where they once lived? The resident would either let her look around or say no. No biggie either way.
Yet, it was.
She gazed at the gleaming apartment numbers. 666. You’d think with superstitions being what they were, the apartment management would have skipped this particular number. Raising her hand, she paused and then took a deep breath. No biggie.
The first knock went unanswered. It was awfully late on Christmas Eve, almost eleven o’clock, but it had taken her this long to work up the courage to come. She raised her hand again and hesitated. Perhaps the resident was asleep or out for the evening, although the sound of canned laughter wafted through the door. One more knock. If no one answered this last summons, she’d leave.
As her knuckles brushed the wood, the door opened. Whatever she’d been expecting, this man was not it. Tall, muscular, shirtless. Low slung sweats showed off his well-defined abs and an incredibly sexy, Apollo’s belt. His dark hair was slicked back, still damp from a shower and provided contrast to the brilliant blue of his eyes. He looked so good, and she was an emotional wreck inside and out. She tossed her hair out of her eyes, wondering if she’d even run a brush through it today.
Her courage failed her. She should just go, come back another day, except life didn’t guarantee the next minute let alone the next day, week, or year. If only the resident had been a kind old lady, she’d have known what to say.
“Can I help you?” He gave her an inquisitive look, one dark eyebrow raised high.
A hot flush crept up her neck. “You’re going to think this is weird.”
Surprised, she got a flash of a wicked sense of humor. “Well, maybe not. I used to live here—”
“What?” The man’s expression went from mildly amused to intense. “When?”
“Years ago.” Amanda wondered what she’d said to pique his interest, but nervousness over her own quest kept her from pursuing the thought. She gave a small laugh to cover her embarrassment. “When I was a little girl. Again, I know this sounds odd, but I was wondering if I could come in and look around. I’m Amanda Spaulding, by the way.”
“Hi, Amanda. I’m Frank Moran.” The door was already open wide, but her Adonis stepped aside with a flourish. “Mi casa es su casa.”
Almost literally, Amanda reflected. The apartment was owned by her father, although they hadn’t lived there since that fateful night.
An involuntary shiver shot through her as she walked through the door. The musky scent of body wash hung in the humid air, a direct contrast to the heavy balm from the funeral flowers her father used to bring home every evening. God, she didn’t miss that in the least.
The couch, the chair, even the old-fashioned television console were exactly as she remembered. On the edge of the fireplace mantle, one limp red felt stocking hung from a large nail. Amanda’s name, written in glitter and glue, still sparkled. The oil painting of a much younger Jeremy Spaulding, sole heir to the Spaulding & Sons Mortuary, hung on the wall. There were no sons in her generation, and Amanda often wondered if she’d change the name of the place when she inherited the business. Perhaps the lack of a male heir was responsible for her dad’s somber expression. Thinking back, she couldn’t remember a time when a true smile broke the mask he wore.
“Nothing’s changed.” She wasn’t being facetious. Nothing had changed. A large artificial Christmas tree hung with ornaments from her childhood, loomed in the corner. The Christmas angel sat askew on the top, looking serene despite the precarious perch. A flash of yellow on the floor next to the window caught her eye. Oh my God, even her fluffy teddy bear lay where she’d dropped it the night she’d…
“No changes allowed in the lease. Can I get you something to drink? Beer? Wine? Soda?”
While she wavered, unsure whether to take him up on the offer, he pressed her. “Don’t say no. I haven’t had much company in the past few months. I need to practice my hosting skills before I go back out into the real world.”
“A soda, then. Thanks.”
The snap and hiss could have been any of the hundreds of memories of her mother opening a can of beer for her father after work. A sense of sadness and loss enveloped her. She’d come here to find a sense of her mother, but was assaulted instead by an even stronger desire to reconnect with her own self.
She remembered what he’d mentioned about the lease. “What isn’t allowed?”
“Any changes to the apartment. I mean, I guess I can change things around, but everything has to be as it was when I moved in, or I forfeit the substantial security deposit.”
To live somewhere and not leave any impression of your presence seemed incomprehensible. “Why would you live here?”
Frank handed her a can of soda and took a slow sip of his beer before answering. She sensed he was stalling for some reason.
“Like everyone else who’s lived here in the past twenty years. A fresh start.” His mouth twisted in a painful smile. “My wife died a few months ago. I guess you could say this is just a layover until I head on to the rest of my life’s journey.”
She understood the need to get away from the familiar, to escape from painful memories. What she didn’t understand was why her old apartment was kept like a shrine caught in some bizarre time warp.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” The words came to her lips automatically.
Frank dipped his head in silent acceptance. Amanda was suddenly overcome by the need to convince him of her sincerity, to connect to him in some manner. “My mom just died a few weeks ago.”
“Is that what sent you on this quest?”
Was it? She supposed so.
Thankfully, Frank didn’t wait for her answer. “Well, look around all you want.” He motioned with his can and then plopped down on the stiff uncomfortable couch instead of the large black leather recliner that was once her father’s throne. Odd, although the majority of the furniture was well-worn, the chair appeared almost new.
Accepting Frank’s invitation, she headed into the depths of the apartment. The bedroom at the end called to her, but she would save that one until last. Thankfully, all the doors were open, allowing her to peer into her parent’s room without actually entering.
Pink chenille pillows tumbled across the old-fashioned white eyelet bedspread. A trio of prints, roses in full bloom, marched across the wall over the headboard. Smiles, laughter, tickle fights. Where had the mother who’d slept in that bed gone?
The next room had been the guest room, although when she was a child, no visitor had used the accommodations. Since she had no memories attached to the room with the large brass bed, she moved on.
Feet dragging, she paused and took a deep breath before crossing the threshold into her room. Twenty years seemed to evaporate in the blink of an eye. In the corner, she pictured her five-year-old self sitting in front of the doll house. A scattering of building blocks and stiletto-heeled doll shoes still lurked on the rug as if awaiting the return of their playmate.
The dresser where her dolls had once reigned now sported a trio of pictures in shiny gold frames. Frank, sporting a cap and graduation gown, flanked by an older man and woman, had his arm draped over the shoulders of a dark-eyed beauty. In another, he wore a tux while standing proudly beside the same lovely woman sheathed in a creamy white wedding gown. Beside them, she spied a photo of Frank, wearing a uniform and carrying a large red valise emblazoned with a white cross, perched on the running board of an ambulance.
Her tiny closet was crowded with uniforms, jeans and shirts, not the frilly pink dresses her mother had insisted she wear. Her pink bedspread, wadded into a ball and shoved into the corner, had been replaced by a thick red and black plaid comforter. Frank had been sleeping in her bed!
Have a great holiday season!