Thursday, December 04, 2008

Time for Bedding Down...

The gorgeous Bedding Down anthology is now here!

Bedding Down: A Collection of Winter Erotica is on shelves now. My novella "Six Weeks on Sunrise Mountain, Colorado" is included in the book.

Here's the cover blurb for my bit: A billionaire recluse and a beautiful paparazzo generate some serious heat in a snowbound cabin in the Colorado Rockies...

And here's the first page or so, just to tease...

The weathered old porch creaked as Fletcher rocked back and forth in the chair. The moon slowly came up over Sunrise Mountain, casting its silver light over the cedar and pine. Snow had started to fall hours ago, the kind of snow that turned to ice as soon as it touched anything on the ground. The trees were leaning with the pressure on their branches. The road was impassable already, and would remain that way for weeks.

Fletcher was completely unconcerned with time and content to be snowed in. He went on rocking and listened to the snow settling on the old tin roof above him. Every now and then he spotted an owl, rising on white wings, gliding soundlessly over the treetops. The moonlight turned the owl’s eyes into bright prisms of light for an instant before it disappeared into the leaves again.

The shape of a small animal at the end of his long gravel driveway caught his eye. Fletcher calmly reached for the shotgun propped up against the porch railing, running his hand over the smooth barrel, ready to use the weapon if necessary. Eventually the animal left the shadows and walked through a shaft of moonlight, showing Fletcher the distinctive markings on its face – a raccoon. The little fellow waddled its way up the rocky road that surrounded the cabin and occasionally stopped to sniff the air, barely bothering to glance at the now-familiar man up on the porch. Fletcher relaxed and let his hand fall from the barrel of the gun.

Up on Sunrise Mountain, all kinds of animals might come hunting to his doorstep, but it was very doubtful any of them would be human, and that suited Fletcher just fine. He had jumped into the rat race at a fresh-faced twenty-two, straight from college to a high-pressure job in Silicon Valley. By thirty-two, the dot com boom had slammed with the force of a nuclear bomb, and he was a millionaire many times over. By the time he was thirty-five, he was so burned out he didn’t give a damn if he had a dollar to his name, as long as he had some peace of mind. There was no one he trusted.

It hadn’t taken long for him to realize that the worst predators were of his own kind.

Fletcher looked back up at the moon. It danced into the snow clouds, turning the world darker. His ears made up for what his eyes could no longer see in the dim light. Leaves rustled with the breeze. Tiny animals scurried around the sides of the cabin, bolder now that they were under the cover of night. A mountain lion howled, and though the sound echoed with menace through the wide valley between the hills, Fletcher’s confident ear knew the big boy was miles away.

The raccoon was still making its way up the drive. Fletcher had taken a liking to his furry neighbor and kept back a bit of dinner now and again, then set it around the porch for the raccoon to find. Fletcher liked to watch the pretty creature in the moonlight. It was the only company he had up here in the middle of nowhere.

He watched as the raccoon stopped in mid-stride and looked toward the top of the ravine. Fletcher slowly stopped rocking and listened closely to the sounds he understood just as well as his own language – the slight tapping of one tree limb against another, the abrupt silence of a larger animal when it caught the scent of a human on the air, the unholy scream of a hawk as it dove for prey. The raccoon listened, too, its tiny head cocked to better hear the sounds on the air.

Fletcher heard it then, the sound that was so out of place – a scuffling, bumbling sound, unlike any of the sleek animals so accustomed to wandering through the woods at night.

He rose slowly to his feet, staring at the place from where he was certain the sound had come. The raccoon was down on all fours again, sniffing cautiously, still as a stone. The sound came again, but the coon wasn’t making a move to investigate, and Fletcher knew that wasn’t a good sign. That raccoon was a smart animal. He knew better than to attack anything bigger than he was.

Fletcher thumbed the safety on the rifle and lifted it to his shoulder.

If you want to read more, you know what to do. Enjoy!

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