Welcome Readers...into my Dreams and Imagination.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Long Time No Read...But I'm Back!!!

Hey all,

I know it's been a while, but I had some news I wanted to make sure you all received.

As some of you may know, MUSA Publishing closed their doors earlier this year leaving a good portion of my books homeless.  Since many of them had already been through several publishers, I decided to bite the bullet and go the self publishing route with those books I've had out before.  So all through Columbus, I struggled and learned and swore and edited.  I even dragged friends and family into the craziness as I got my first book ready for publishing.  Editing, rewrites, more editing and cover tweaking seemed to fill my days.

It's an interesting journey working with the same bookstores as a publisher I did as an author.  In some ways it made it easier and in others, more difficult.  But, as of yesterday afternoon, I succeeded in my goal.  My first release from my own publishing label, Restless Wind Publications, went live in the Amazon store. And it's ready and waiting for any of you who didn't buy this story the first time around.

Plus, since I did an extensive re-write, fleshing out the characters and adding to the story, you may even want to pick up another copy.  Since it is a re-release, I made it a bargain at $2.99.

Epub versions should be available soon. They are in queue right now.

Also, and this is VERY important.  For those of you who have read Second Chances: Waiting in the Wings, I need your help.

My book is lonely.  Since one of the things Amazon doesn't do is swap over reviews when a book changes publishers, poor Callie, Jordon and the rest of the characters are sitting on their brand new page all alone. Missing those wonderful readers who said such nice things about them and over the years became like family.  It's a sad, sad, thing.  :-(

So, can you help a book out???  And it's author?

If you enjoyed Second Chances: Waiting in the Wings, take a moment to write a review on it's Amazon Page.

It won't take long, and I'd really appreciate it. Reviews are helpful to those readers who haven't discovered my work, and the more they know about the stories, the better they can choose what they would enjoy.

And since I know you're doing me a solid, I'll do something for you in return. Once you've written your review and it's on Amazon, send me an email at womanofthewind1@yahoo.com.  Put Waiting in the Wings Amazon Review in the Subject line and put your name and snail mail address in the body of the email.

As a thank you for taking the time to help me out, I'll send you a special treat from here in Virginia Beach.  Can't beat that!!!

Again, you have my thanks for making the effort.  You guys are the greatest!!!

And check back at the end of summer when I continue with the FREE READ stories!!!!  Woohoo!!!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, December 28, 2014

CJ's Christmas Party - Part Seven

Hey all,

Here is the last installment of this very special story.  I hope you enjoy this peek into the lives of the people that live in my imagination!  And have a wonderful New Year!!!

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: Sharing of this story is suggested, encouraged and applauded, but the author’s name IS NOT to be removed from it for any reason whatsoever. Please do not offer it for sale; it is a free read story for CJ England’s fans and designed only for those who are 18 and OLDER.

All characters in this story have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

“But something you no longer must worry about, my beautiful Ami.”  Givré kissed her possessively.  “I will never leave you again.  This I promise you.”
“I love you so much, Givré.”
Je t'aime, aussi, mon ange,” Givré answered hoarsely.  “I will love you forever.”
“Get a room, you two,” teased Jordon just as Givré was about to kiss Amy again.  “I’m sure we can spare you for a while.”
“See.”  Givré gave Amy a wicked smile.  “Did I not tell you?  We can find one of those staterooms.”
“Hush, both of you.”  Amy’s face was as red as the bows on the wreaths.  “Or you’ll both get coal in your stockings.”
“So what about the big guy in the cowboy hat and the prissy looking blonde?” Dustin broke in, ignoring the banter.  “She looks familiar.  Who are they?”
Justin gave a snorting laugh.  “Don’t you recognize her?  That’s Melissa Barrows, star of that reality TV show, Your Life Is Mine.”
“Didn’t she do an episode where she was a call girl?”  Heather’s voice was hushed.
“High class escort,” Lara corrected.  “And she didn’t really…you know.”
“She’s got the best clothes,” Callie sighed.  “I’ll bet that purse is a Dorlando.”
“Ladies, please.”  Jordon shook his head.  “Back to the matter at hand.  Go on, Justin.  Who’s the guy and how did he meet a celebrity like Barrows.”
“His name is Garth McKay and he’s the owner of one of the best Angus Cattle Ranches in Cedar City, Utah.  But when his baby sister brought home a pregnant doe one day, he suddenly found himself running a goat farm as well.”
“I know where this is going.”  Callie waved her hand like she was answering a question in school.  “This is eight maids a milking, right?”
“Yup.”  Justin grinned.  “And Garth and Melissa met when the networks set it up so she would learn how to be a real milkmaid.”
“I bet that didn’t go over well.”  Amy looked over at the very elegant celebrity.  “I can’t see her doing any type of manual labor.”
“She couldn’t either,” agreed Justin, “and she let everyone know it, too.  And not very politely.  But Garth didn’t care about her image or her name.  He just wanted to teach her how to be a milkmaid so she’d get out of his hair.”
“It sounds like they hated each other,” Favor murmured.  “It’s a hard thing, that is.”
Palesa,” Keeton soothed as he tucked her in close to his heart.  “It’s not the same thing, love.”
“I think it was more mutual attraction they covered by sniping at each other.”  Justin inclined his head as the man in question tipped his cowboy hat in greeting.  “And once they realized it…well, let’s just say they went for a roll in the hay.”
Everyone laughed at his phrasing.
“So Melissa learned how to milk and they fell in love.” Lara looked up at her husband.  “And that completes CJ’s part of the anthology?”
Justin nodded.  “Yeah.  For now.  But she plans to do short stories for the other days of Christmas and then republish them in a complete Twelve Days of Christmas Anthology.  But that won’t be for a couple years.”
“Twelve stories?  All by CJ?” Heather said thoughtfully. “I’ll look forward to that re-release.”
“And that’s it.”  Justin looked around the room.  “That’s all her available books.  The people here tonight are characters from all the books she has published right now.”
Keeton looked around.  “But aren’t there more?  I mean, I thought there were other characters from books that have been published.  Where are they?”
“Yeah,” agreed Dustin.  “I remember an angel falling in love with a demon, an Olympian god trying to grant the wish of a blind author, and two couples from down in Key Largo dealing with diving and treasure.”
“And weren’t there a couple of other series as well?” Jordon put in.  “I know I heard of a couple of science fiction-fantasy books that were the first in a group of novels.  One was a trilogy set on another planet.  It’s about women being raised from birth to be tokens of peace and used as barter between races.  It’s a nod to the TV series, Star Trek because it features an Empathic Metamorph.”
“Another empath?”  Amy’s eyes widened.
Callie giggled.  “Well, since CJ has some empathic abilities, she likes writing about them.”
“And the other series,” Jordon went on, ignoring the byplay, “is set on an alternative earth where those with psychic powers are feared and sometimes destroyed.  But a family leads a rebellion against the shadowy agency trying to control them and finds love along the way.”
“I’m so glad I can read,” Favor sighed.  “They all sound so interesting.  But where are they now?”
“They’re still around.”  Justin took a glass of champagne from a passing server.  “CJ is looking for the right publisher for their re-releases.  She’s really picky about who we belong to.”
“When CJ called to set this all up—” Lara stole Justin’s glass and took a sip of her husband’s champagne, “—she told me she’s got five other stories ready to be submitted.  Three are stand alones and two are the beginnings of new series.”
“Did she give you the hint?” questioned Givré.  “What are they about?”
Lara smiled.  “A little of everything.  The stand alones include a contemporary about a good girl who falls for a bad boy, a paranormal about a pair of vampires who find their soulmates in an extraordinary magical way and an incubus who finds the one woman who can see though his evil nature and find the good within.”
Amy shook her head.  “Wow.  CJ dreams such amazing dreams.  What about the two series?”
 “The first one features a kind of shapeshifter who can shift into any creature he chooses.  When the hero meets a woman who can talk to animals, a long awaited prophecy comes to fruition.”  Lara took another sip of Justin’s champagne, and exasperated, her husband waved down a waiter to get a second glass for himself. 
“And the second series is one of her hottest yet.  Literally.  It takes place on Mayall II, a planet with extremely high temperatures.  It’s about a beautiful judge who falls madly in love with a crime lord and when he’s falsely accused of a Jack the Ripper type murder, she has to keep their relationship secret while trying to clear his name.”
“Those both sound great,” Callie sighed.  “I can’t wait to read them.”
“CJ told me once she has so many ideas, she doesn’t know what to do with them,” Favor offered.  “She says her To Be Written file is so full she often wishes she could split herself in two so she could get them all done.”
“As it is, she thinks she’ll be writing until she’s old and gray,” Amy added.
“Hell,” Dustin snorted, “if I know CJ, she’d stop the preacher from delivering the eulogy at her funeral just so she could finish writing whatever scene she was on.”
They all laughed.  CJ was nothing if not tenacious.  Nothing left her computer without her final approval and while her editors might despair of her perfectionism, her fans appreciated it.
“Well, I hope she finds homes for everyone soon,” Keeton said.  “I’d like to meet a crime lord.  And I have to admit being curious about an incubus.”
Callie grinned.  “I’d like to meet that bad boy and find out just what makes him so bad.”
“Hey now,” Jordon protested, giving her a quick pinch.  “If you want a bad boy, I can oblige just fine.  You don’t need to go searching for one.”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll meet some of them.” Justin stopped the argument before it started.  “CJ told me she plans to have a Christmas party every year from now on, and all the new characters will be invited.”
“How cool!”  Amy clapped her hands together.  “Maybe we’ll have it in Aspen next year.”
“Or Nashville,” Heather said with a smile.  The Wildhorse Saloon does parties.”
“Knowing CJ,” Keeton muttered, “it could be in England, Singapore or all the way out in outer space.”
“It doesn’t matter where it is—” Favor elbowed her husband, “—this one has turned out to be so much fun. 
“This is true,” Givré admitted, giving Amy a squeeze.  “At first, I did not want to take the time away from my Ami and our story, but I have met many good people, and—” he grinned at Justin, “—made the sport with new friends.”
Dustin choked back a laugh as Justin looked pained.  Amy giggled.  “I think you meant you watched sports with new friends.”
Givré frowned.  “There is the différence?”
Rolling his eyes, Jordon tossed back the rest of his champagne.  “I think it’s time we all made a little sport.  It’s almost midnight.”  He handed Callie his empty glass and dropped a kiss on her smiling lips.  Jumping back up on the stage, he lifted his brow.  “You two with me?”
Quickly, Keeton and Dustin downed their own drinks and joined him.  Keeton took his place at the piano, while Dustin picked up his guitar.  Jordon did the same, but came forward to stand before the microphone. 
“Hey all,” he said as he gave a little strum of his guitar to get everyone’s attention.  “It’s almost midnight and I have a special toast for to give, so make sure you have a drink in your hands.”  Jordon reached down and grabbed a fresh glass of champagne.  Raising the glass he looked around the crowded salon of The Lucky Lady.
“Tonight we are all here to enjoy this wonderful holiday season and in a way to celebrate our lives.  We exist because of the dreams and imagination of a wonderfully creative woman, CJ England.  As you all know, CJ writes in quite a few different genres.  We have contemporary stories—” he grinned and toasted himself and his fellow musicians, “—from Taipa, Macau to California to Nashville and all the way to New York City.”
Jordon met the eyes of Calion Sáralondë and nodded respectfully.  “We’ve got some great fantasy stories featuring visiting royalty from beyond the faerie myst and beyond the sun.  And fantasies closer to home about—” he raised his glass to Givré and then to Peter who still stood near the roulette table, “— some of our most beloved holiday characters.”
He turned and his gaze swept over the many paranormal characters, all who stood silently watching.  “We have shapeshifters, Ethereals, witches, vampires, faerie, angels and demons.  We even have the oldest being that has ever lived, one who was here when the world began.”  Jordon raised his glass to Milcham Phoenix, who smiled and lifted his own in return. 
“But no matter what CJ dreams, her characters can all be assured of one thing.”  He glanced down at his wife and smiled that seductive smoky smile she loved so much.  “We will fall in love and find the ones that complete us.  No matter what we have to do.  No matter where we are and what struggles we have, we know eventually we’ll have our Happily Ever After.  Because that’s what true romance is.  The meeting of two people destined to love each other forever.”
“Hear, hear,” Clint Braddock shouted.  “No matter how many dead rats they get tossed at them.”
Everyone laughed as Gabrielle rolled her eyes and punched her lover lightly in the arm.
“And,” Jordon went on with a chuckle, “I have to admit, CJ has given us another special gift.  One I know I didn’t expect.  Through this party and other appearances together, we characters are all becoming friends.  And—” he nodded at Justin and Lara, “—I just heard we’ll have a party every year at Christmas time just so we can get together and reminisce, as well as get to know those new characters we haven’t had a chance to meet yet.” 
A resounding cheer filled the room.  Even the Skyhawlks on the roof joined in with their loud rusty steam pipe screams.  Once everyone quieted down, Jordon spoke again.  “CJ often says the only books she keeps are ‘friend books’.  Ones she loves to read over and over again.  That means in her mind, those books—and of course, we’re included—are keepers, not just words on a page, but people she really cares about.  And after meeting all of you tonight, I can understand why she thinks that way.  I think we’re all something special, too.”   
As everyone chuckled again, Jordon raised his glass.  “So here’s to all of us.  To the paranormals whose love has to navigate supernatural mysteries.  To those fantasy heroes and heroines whose fantastical tales are hard to be imagined.  To the science fiction characters whose romances are among the stars and beyond.  And finally, to we contemporaries, who can take simple everyday life and make it extraordinary when we add love to the mix.”
“And to the Lady CJ!”  Prince Calion announced, his deep voice rolling over the listening crowd.  “After all, without her we would be nothing but dreams.”
“And to CJ.”  Jordon nodded in response.  “Someone none of us could do without.”
All glasses were raised high.  “To CJ,” the room chorused.
Behind Jordon, Dustin did a quick riff on his guitar.  Keeton followed up with a smooth fingering of the keys as he played the familiar melody of a song.  Jordon’s smoky voice sang out the beautiful holiday words that spoke of love and friendship not only in the past, but in the present.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Down below, Givré pulled Amy into his arms.  “You see, mon ange,” he whispered.  “It is as I have said.  In the past, the present and in the future, the love…it is what truly matters.”
“CJ knows exactly what she’s doing, doesn’t she?”  Amy snuggled closer into his strong arms.  “In a sense, she’s writing her very own love story every time she picks up a pen.  All she has to do is let her imagination flow.
Oui.”  Givré bent and kissed her gently.  “She is one who has discovered the truth.”
Amy cocked her head.  “And what truth is that?”
Givré smiled and his ebony eyes glowed with the magic of the Christmas season.  “She understands that to find love you have only to follow your dreams.”

The End


That's it, all!  I hope you enjoyed this very special story.  Every time I read it, I fall in love with my characters all over again.  I can't wait to get back into writing full time.  I really miss it!!!

Anyway, as much as I love doing this FREE READ blog, it will have to go on hiatus for awhile as I move around the continents over the next couple months.  Then I'll be back with the rest of my Nephilim story just for you.

Enjoy the new year and remember when you dream, dream big.  Because as all my characters know, if you follow your dreams, they can come true!

Until we meet again...

CJ England


Sunday, December 21, 2014

CJ's Christmas Party - Part Six

Hey all,

Here is the sixth installment of this very special story.  I hope you enjoy this peek into the lives of the people that live in my imagination!  And have a wonderful Christmas!!!!!

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: Sharing of this story is suggested, encouraged and applauded, but the author’s name IS NOT to be removed from it for any reason whatsoever. Please do not offer it for sale; it is a free read story for CJ England’s fans and designed only for those who are 18 and OLDER.

All characters in this story have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

Oui.”  Givré pointed to where two couples were sitting at a group of gaily lit tables.  Candlelight and tinsel made the area festive and bright.  “I saw it there.”
“You’re kidding, right?”  Lara glowered at Givré.  “We do not have rats on board The Lucky Lady.” 
“Do not worry,” Givré said encouragingly.  “This rat, it is very tame.  It even gives the kisses to the pretty redhead.”
“Givré—” Amy shook her head at him.  “What are you talking about?”
Suddenly, Callie laughed.  “Oh, my God.  He’s talking about Mandy Hinshaw.  She brought her pet ferret, Crikey.”
 “Did I not say so?”  Givré looked puzzled.  “She says she writes the sensual stories just like our CJ.”
“Isn’t she the one who met her lover by buying a hot tub?” Jordon asked.  “Man, when I heard that story I wanted to buy a Model Three Thousand myself.”  He sucked in his breath when Callie punched him in the stomach.  “Hey.  I would have shared it with you.”
“So the man with her is Sawyer Hedon?” Heather gazed over at the couple.  “He reminds me of that really hot actor on TV.  The one on the show where the plane goes down on the mysterious island.”  She sighed.  “He’s not dark, but he is tall and handsome.”  When Dustin gave a growl, she rolled her eyes.  “Okay.  Forget I said anything.  I like your looks much better.”
Keeton grinned.  “There are a few of us attractive blonds around.”
“Yeah,” Jordon agreed, still rubbing his belly.  “It’s not all dark meat out there.”
“But why did she bring a rat to the party?” Lara wailed.  “Rats and food do not go together well.”
“It’s not a rat,” Favor admonished.  “It is a ferret.  And Crikey helped bring the two of them together.”
“I do remember hearing about them,” Amy said slowly.  “They’re going to be in another holiday story.  For Valentines Day.   When Mandy gets dumped by her boyfriend, she makes herself feel better by buying a hot tub.  And when Sawyer comes to install it, they fall for each other.”
“But,” Callie picked up the story, “like a lot of men, Sawyer is afraid of commitment and even though he cares about Mandy, he tries to ignore what he feels.  So they have to work through his issues, a misunderstanding about money and a huge fight in the hot tub show room before they find each other again.”
“So somehow the ferret helped get them back on track?”  Lara stared at the tiny grey and black animal that was curled up on Mandy’s shoulder.  Crikey stuck his nose in his mistress’ ear, making Mandy giggle.  “I mean, I know there are some animal shapeshifters around here, so I should be okay with this, but geesh.”
“It doesn’t matter what kind of animal, real or supernatural,” Favor said quietly, “CJ loves them.  So of course they will be welcome.”
“All creatures great and small, you know,” Keeton chimed in.
“Great.”  Lara gave a little huff of annoyance.  “I just hope our cat Gypsy doesn’t mistake him for a rat, too.  Things could go really bad then.”
They all laughed.
“Who’s the other couple,” Dustin asked curiously.  “The guy makes me want to snap to attention and salute him.”
Lara giggled.  “You’re right on track.  That’s Ross Cannon.  He used to be in the military.  A captain in the United States Army Rangers if I remember right.  He told me he was so good at blowing things up in the army he figured he’d do it in civilian life.”
“Excuse me?”
Givré laughed at Dustin’s incredulous face.  “This Ross, he tells me he has his own company now.  He wishes to build things to give happiness to people.  So he designs the fireworks displays in a small town called Bass Lake in California.  They are what he blows up.”
“I guess we’ve run out of tall, dark and handsome,” Amy quipped, glancing up into Givré’s coal black eyes.  “Ross is another tall, blonde and handsome.”
“You gotta have some light threads in the tapestry to make the dark ones stand out all the better,” Dustin said with a grin.  “That’s all you pale guys are good for.  Making dudes like Givré and I look good.”
“This is so.”  Givré nodded seriously, but his face lit with laughter.
“Ha Ha.  Funny,” Jordon said sourly.  “So what’s this Ross’ story?”
“He moved to Bass Lake after he got out of the military,” Lara explained.  “When the town mayor asked him to design and run the Founder’s Day fireworks display, Ross agreed, thinking it would be a good way to give something back to his new home.  But then Stacy Jackson crashed into his life.”
Keeton glanced again at the tinseled table.  “That’s the blonde woman that looks like a college cheerleader?  She’s quite pretty, isn’t she?”
Lara smothered a giggle when Favor frowned at her husband.  “Ummm, yes, that’s Stacy.  But she wasn’t happy about the fireworks.  She had a horrible tragedy in her past that made her terrified of them and she vowed to stop Ross no matter what it took.”
“And did she?” Amy whispered.
“Nope.  Just the opposite.  Instead of fighting with Ross, she found herself falling in love with him.”  Lara sighed, remembering going through much the same thing with Justin.  “But even then, it was hard for Stacy to trust him.  It wasn’t until another tragedy almost happened that she understood for Ross it was all or nothing.  She couldn’t love him and not have faith in him.”
“Hmm…”  Dustin glanced down at Heather, whose cheeks had gone pink.  “I think I can understand that.”
“But they figured it out, right?” Favor asked.  “They both learned how to trust each other.”
Lara nodded.  “Yes.  It’s one of my favorite of CJ’s free reads.  Love conquers all among skyrockets and hot summer nights.”
“And this Stacy, she tells me Bass Lake is one of the places where our CJ grew up.”  Givré smiled broadly.  “So, it has the special meaning, no?”
“No, I mean yes.”  Lara glared up into Givré’s laughing eyes.  “You know what I mean.”
Heather giggled into her hand.  “I’m so glad I met you guys.  I wasn’t sure I was going to come, but now I’m glad I did.”
“You were coming even if I had to sling you over my shoulder to bring you here,” Dustin growled.
“From what I heard, mate,” Keeton said with a snicker.  “It wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Ummm, Lara, I hate to bring this up—” Callie was looking across the room to the door opening to the bow of the ship, “—but if you were so worried about rats, why aren’t you freaking out about that huge spider and that flea over there?”
They all turned around to see where Callie was looking.  “Oh.  My.  God.”  Lara rubbed her eyes and looked again.  “I’m not really seeing that, am I?”
“Who are they?” Favor whispered.  “Why all the critters?”
Across the room, gathered protectively around a beautiful young woman with rich auburn hair and eyes the color of a storm cloud, were a cluster of beings so amazing, so bizarre it made everyone stop and stare.
All the size of men, there was a hairy eight-eyed spider, a tall skinny hare, and a sleek black puma.  There was also a translucent flea, a red kangaroo, an elegant gazelle, a croaking frog, an energetic grasshopper, a brightly colored macaw and even a bottlenose dolphin balancing on his strong tail flukes.
And behind them, peering over the animals’ shoulders, were three more couples, all dressed in their holiday finery.
“I take it you didn’t know they were coming?” Jordon asked dryly.
Lara shook her head. “I have no idea who—”
“That’s because I just got the phone call myself.”
Whirling around, Lara saw Justin standing nearby.  Going to him, she grabbed his arm.  “Justin?  I don’t understand.  Who are those creatures?  And the others?”
He motioned with his chin at the people streaming into the room.  “CJ just called.  Seems this group was going out of print on December first, but the publisher asked to keep them active until after Christmas.  Since they are all Christmas stories, it just made sense to do that.”
“Christmas stories?” Givré asked, his brows drawn together.  “They too are for the holiday?”
“Yeah.  They’re in an anthology that came out a couple of years ago.  I guess each of them stands for one of the Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Amy did a quick count.  “Oh.  The odd looking animals.  There are ten of them.  So that means—”
“—the ten lords a leaping,” Heather finished.  “But very interesting lords to be sure.”
Justin nodded.  “The woman is Princess Kaylena.  Her father thought she was too picky about choosing a husband so on Christmas Eve he gave her a choice.  Pick from these ten lords or he would give her to someone he selected.”
Callie gasped in horror.  “She had to choose one of these creatures to wed?”
“It is not so bad.”  When Amy stiffened, Givré put his arm around her.  “There is magic here, my friends, covering the reality of what is true.  The princess, she will also find a real man, just as my Ami did.”
Amy relaxed against him.  “You’re sure?  You can see beneath the magic?”
Givré dropped a kiss on her forehead.  Oui, mon ange.  This I promise you.  When the night is over and Princess Kaylena makes her choice, what she finds will be most unexpected.”
“Wow!”  Dustin patted his heart.  “Look at that gal who just came in.  She looks just like Marylyn Monroe.  I wonder what day of Christmas she stands for.”
Heather rolled her eyes.  “Down boy.  If the man with her sees you drooling, you might not even see Christmas.”
Justin chuckled.  “That’s Lee Ann Grayson.  She works for Four Calling Birds Singing Telegrams and since she looks like the blond bombshell, guess what song she most often sings.”
Callie and Heather looked at each other and parroted, “Santa Baby.”
“Yup.”  Justin tucked Lara under his arm.  “That’s how Dorchester found her again.”
“Devon Dorchester?” Dustin’s eyes narrowed.  “Of Dorchester Industries?  The New York Dorchesters?”
Jordon’s eyebrow winged up into his messy hair.  “You know him?”
Narrowing his eyes, the dark guitarist shook his head gently at his friend.  “I…may have heard the name.”
“Wait.”  Ignoring the byplay, Keeton scratched his chin.  “Found her again? You lost me, bru.”
“Sorry.”  Justin gave an abashed grin.  “I guess Lee Ann and Devon knew each other in college, but something happened and they lost track of each other.  Then she shows up to deliver him a singing telegram and this time he wasn’t going to let her go.”
“Didn’t she want to be with him?” Favor asked, her amber eyes wide with curiosity.  “He is a very handsome man.”
“Tall and dark, too,” Lara muttered.
“Yes,” Justin answered as he gave his own wife a squeeze.  “But apparently they had one of those BIG misunderstandings and it took a long time for them to work through it.”
“But they did,” Heather said with a sigh.  “And on Christmas, too.  How romantic.”
Noël est l'un des temps les plus romantiques de l'année.”  When everyone looked blank, Givré laughed.  “Christmas.  It is one of the most romantic times of the year.”
“At least four stories worth,” Jordon agreed.  “So what about that studious looking guy with the glasses and the short cropped dark hair?  He looks like an accountant or something in that suit.”
“The gal he’s with sure don’t look like an accountant.”  Dustin let out a whistle.  “She’s got good time written all over her.” 
Turning, Dustin looked into Heather’s shocked eyes.  “Not that kind of good time, honey.  I just meant she looks like she enjoys having fun.  She’s not so buttoned up and starchy.”
“That’s exactly right.”  Justin snickered in agreement.  “The man is Blake Partridge.  He’s the owner of Partridge Pear Orchards and he has pretty much forgotten how to enjoy life since his grandfather died and left him to take care of his grandmother and her property.  He left college and the one woman he loved to go take care of business.”
“A Partridge in a pear tree,” muttered Keeton.  “Cute, CJ.  Real cute.”
“And the pretty blond woman with the eyes like molasses is the one he left behind?” Favor asked.
Justin sighed.  “Yeah.  Jodi Bradford.  She’s loved him for a long time, and never understood why he walked away from her.  But Blake’s grandmother is worried he’s turning into a Grinch, so she talked Jodi into coming to Medford Oregon.  She’s hoping Jodi can fan the flames and make Blake understand all work and no play can makes for a dull Christmas.”
“I hope so, too,” whispered Amy.  “Not having someone to love at Christmas…”  She shuddered.  “It’s horrible.”


See you next week!

CJ England