As I mentioned last week, the FREE READ - The Watcher's Guild: Sweet Nephilim will be on hiatus for a few months while we move to London, then to Costa Rica, then back to London, on to Switzerland and then finally down to South America again. There is no way I can do all that, keep up an online presence and not go crazy.
But since I didn't want to leave you completely abandoned, I thought I'd share a fun Christmas story I wrote a few years ago. In this story you'll meet some of my characters as they all get together for a Christmas party of their own!!!!
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.
*A quick note from CJ England*
When I started this project, I only intended to write a quickie. A short five to ten page story to wish everyone a Happy Christmas. But, as so often happens, once my characters got a hold of it, all bets were off. They decided we were going to have a Christmas party. We had to get music, food and find a place to hold it. And not only that, everyone…even secondary characters were invited.
And of course, once everyone had RSVP’d in the affirmative, that meant they all wanted to be a part of the story. So, after a few arguments, some stomping of the feet and holding of breath—and that was just what I did—we came up with a story that touched on all the characters, gave readers something fun to enjoy and maybe even wetted the appetite of those who hadn’t had a chance to read a specific story.
I had a blast writing this fun tale. It was like dropping in on friends, ones you haven’t seen in a while, yet you are so comfortable with, you can sit down and jump right back into conversation as if you’d never left. I hated to end the story, and that’s why when Givré gave me the French version of Bambi eyes and asked that I would write another one some day, I couldn’t say no.
So, I will. I’ll invite my characters somewhere special and see how they react. Next time it could be on Mount Olympus or at the bottom of the deep blue sea. But you’ll find out. Because just like this time, you’re invited, too!
Thanks for reading!
To each of my Characters, whom I love with everything in me.
Thank you for teaching me how to listen to you. Thanks for being stubborn and forcing me to let you be the guide in how each story should go. And thank you, thank you, thank you for never letting me settle for anything but the very best.
This one is for you. Merry Christmas.
CJ’s Christmas Party
“Givré! Stop it. People will see.” Amy Cassidy pushed her lover away and smoothed down her sapphire-blue silk dress. She gazed at his elegant tuxedo-clad figure with some asperity. Several couples looked their way and smiled, obviously amused at her escort’s enthusiasm. “This is a party and we are supposed to be getting to know these people.”
“My Ami,” Givré Beauchamp lifted her hand and pressed it to his lips. “How can I not be tempted by your kiss? I wish to taste you again and again. It is a miracle to be with you and not back among the stars. One I do not take for granted.”
She softened and went back into his arms. “I know. I thank God every day you came to life in my snowman. And that you wanted to stay with me. I’m the happiest woman on the earth right now. And I love Christmas even more because of it.”
Givré groaned and kissed her deeply. “Ami. What you do to me. I am told they have staterooms here. We can go into one of them, and I can make love to you as I wish. I promise you will enjoy it.”
Laughing, she snuggled closer. “I always enjoy making love with you. You’ve proven quite often how wonderful you French are when it comes to that specific art. But, we have to be sociable. Just for a little while.”
“Quel est ce non-sens?” growled her lover. “What nonsense is this? I have no need of anyone but you.”
Amy shook her head. “CJ went to a lot of trouble to put this party together. The least we can do is mingle.”
“I do not understand this mingle. Unless—” he waggled his dark eyebrows at her, “—I am mingling me with you.”
She huffed out a laugh. “You have a one track mind, my love. Any minute now you’ll be wanting waffles again.”
Givré’s dark eyes gleamed with passion. “Oui. Did I make mention of the staterooms? They are very near the kitchen.”
“Hush,” she whispered. “Here come our hosts, Justin Savage and his lady, Lara. Be good.”
“But, mon ange, you already say I am very good, no?”
She barely had time to punch him before they were joined by the owners of the casino boat where author CJ England’s very first Character Christmas party was being held.
“I know we introduced ourselves earlier,” Lara Kincade-Savage said as she handed them both a flute of champagne, “but we haven’t had much time to talk.”
“Too many people to deal with.” Her husband, Justin, looked sour. “I’m more used to scaring them away than inviting them in.”
“That’s right. I’d almost forgotten.” Amy nodded her head. “You haven’t been back…er…alive for very long, have you?”
“Only since Halloween,” Lara answered. She looked up at her husband, love shining in her eyes. “He’d been a shade for almost a century, getting his revenge on my ancestors for a terrible wrong. But if we hadn’t broken the curse—”
“Now, we agreed not to talk about that,” Justin reminded her. He dropped a kiss on her pouting mouth. “It happened in the past. I’m just glad you were the one who inherited my ship so the curse could be broken. Now we—” he gestured to his fellow ex-spirits, Lottie, Sir Malcom and Charlie who were all arguing over which slot machines to try next, “—have a brand new life to live, thanks to you.”
Givré looked intrigued. “Was there not one more of you? A singer?”
Justin nodded. “Yes. Diana. But she hated it here on the ship. She went out to explore the world.”
“We worry,” Lara added, “and we hope she’ll come back for a visit. Charlie misses her dreadfully.”
“You’ve put together a wonderful party.” Amy gazed around the ship in awe. “It’s hard to believe, but it reminds me a little of our home in Aspen, Colorado. Yet I know we’re sailing off the east coast of Florida.”
The Lucky Lady was decked out in all her Christmas finery, celebrating the beauty of the season. Decorated evergreens surrounded by wrapped presents graced the corners of the gaming salon. Wreaths dotted the walls and garland was strung over each slot machine and around the gaming tables. Cinnamon and spice scented the air as wassail simmered behind the bar and candles of nutmeg and cloves flickered on all the buffet tables.
Faerie lights, magicked up by several of the invited Faerie princes, twinkled overhead, giving the impression of a starry night sky. A live band, arranged by a group of Nashville musicians, played traditional Christmas music as well as some of the latest hits, non-stop throughout the evening.
And to add to the mystique of Christmas, Justin and Lara had arranged a special touch for all their guests. Outside the windows a gentle snow fell, courtesy of more magic, this time by a witch and a magician who’d come to the party.
“My Lara is one hell of a party planner,” Justin said proudly. “CJ got her in touch with some of the…well…more unusual contractors she knows, and everything just fell into place. My lady takes care of that side of the business. I deal with the gamblers.”
“Do you bet on the sports?” Givré asked interestedly. “You have the ESPN in the lounge? I have a gamble on the game tonight.”
“Givré,” Amy warned, “you promised no sports tonight.” She rolled her eyes and looked at Lara. “I swear, once I showed him how to use the TV remote, I created a monster.”
Pulling her against him, Givré gave her a firm squeeze. “I am a monster only for you, sweet Ami. But—” his black eyes gazed at her hopefully, “you know we did not have the ESPN when I was first alive in the eighteen hundreds. So would it be too much to ask if I only glance at the scores?” He shot a look at Justin. “It will not take long, no?”
“Nope.” Justin grinned. “And we can get away from this fucking crowd…I mean our guests.”
“Two of a kind, that’s what you are.” Lara sighed. “Fine. Go ahead. But don’t be long.”
“How can I resist that puppy dog look?” Amy shook her head. “A half hour. No more. And you owe me.”
Grabbing her hand, Givré lavishly kissed it. “Je t'aime. Je vous adore. Je vous remercie. I will be back on time. This I promise.”
She shooed him away. “Go on. Thirty minutes and then I’m coming to get you.”
Their eyes filled with laughter, Amy and Lara watched their men hurry away into the quieter, more intimate bar area. “I love that man, but he’s so unsociable he can be a pain in the butt,” Lara muttered.
Amy nodded. “I know what you mean. Givré’s the same way sometimes. But I sure wouldn’t kick him out of my bed for eating crackers!”
They heard a soft giggle, and another woman’s voice inquired, “Who’s eating crackers in bed?”
Lara laughed as she turned to greet the newcomers. “No one. Unless we let them.” She glanced at Amy. “Have you met Dawn and Aithne?
“No. But I’ve seen you with your men.” Amy patted her heart. “Wow! They make them nice where you come from.”
Aithne laughed, and her green eyes glowed. “Since I am sister to one and mate to the other, I feel I can say thank you for both of them. But I must say, your snowman is very attractive, too.”
“I’d say he’s hot,” quipped Dawn, “but then he wouldn’t be frosty anymore.”
They all giggled. When they quieted, Amy glanced across the room at the group of men standing by the bar. “The dark one, with the grass-green eyes? He’s Aidan, right? And he’s a…”
“A vampire,” Dawn supplied. “A very sexy, loving vampire. We own the erotic toy store, Don’t Spank the Vamp. And Aidan loves to play with those very special toys.”
“You’re gonna make us blush.” Lara grinned. “But I read your story. Whew! You’re a lucky woman.”
“I think so.” Dawn looked smug. “Once I forgave Aidan for not telling me the truth about what he was. And for feeding off me without permission.”
“He didn’t tell you he was a vampire? And he…he fed off you? Wow!” Amy’s eyes widened. “One thing I can say about Givré. He told me right up front he was a Christmas Spirit.” She frowned. “’Course I thought he was crazy.”
Aithne sighed. “Men can be confusing. And stubborn. When Dawn left Aidan, he refused to feed from anyone else. He almost died.”
“But then I realized I loved him—” Dawn smiled in recollection, “—no matter what he was.”
“I know exactly what you mean.” Amy nodded. “I finally understood it didn’t matter whether Givré was a Christmas Spirit, a snowman or an escaped lunatic. I loved him and that was what was important.”
“It’s a key theme in any CJ England book,” Lara sighed. “Love conquering all.”
“It did in Aithne’s case,” Dawn said as she squeezed her sister-in-law’s arm. “The hunky blond standing next to Aidan belongs to her, and we all know what he is.”
“Milcham. The Phoenix.” Amy was properly awed. “I’ve heard legends, but…damn. None of them said how handsome he was.” She shook her head. “None of them said he was human either.”
Aithne smiled. “He is the Phoenix, and he is human. And he is very handsome. He came to this world to find his one twin-flame. His soulmate.”
Dawn smiled. “And he found you.”
“We literally fought the powers of hell,” Aithne said with a quick shudder. “When Jehovah sent Milcham out to find his mate, Satan did everything he could to prevent it. He threw temptation after temptation at him, but while Milcham may have stumbled a bit, but he never fell. Even when we found each other, the Evil One wouldn’t let us alone. He tried to kill me and prevent us from having an eternity together.”
“But love conquered all?” Amy asked softly.
“Oh, yes.” Aithne’s eyes glowed with an otherworldly light. “It was very much worth it in the end.”
“Who are the others with them?” Lara asked. “I didn’t meet them when they came in.”
Dawn frowned but then her face cleared. “Oh, those are some of their friends. The two on the right are Alexander and Jarrod. They work with Milcham at the carnival. I’m sure you’ll learn more about them in the future. My friends, Samantha and Peggy are there, too.”
“Are the men…?” Amy wasn’t sure how to ask.
“Supernatural?” Aithne nodded. “Yes. Jarrod is a werewolf.” She gazed over at the muscular blond man, and her lips turned down briefly. “There are other shapeshifters here tonight, but he doesn’t mix much with his own. He’s got…issues.”
“And Alexander?” Lara glanced curiously at the dark-haired man laughing at the bar. “He looks almost normal.”
Aithne gave a ladylike snort. “He’s definitely not normal. We aren’t sure what Alexander is. He could speak to spirits before, but he—” her eyes took on a sheen of tears, “—he almost died recently and when he came back, he was different.”
We'll find the answer to that question next Sunday. Until then, have a wonderful week!
Follow Your Dreams