My author friend, Terry Spear, challenged me to write a short, very short story inspired by a holiday picture of my choosing for her blog . I’m also sharing the wee tale here. If you’ve read Just Wait For Me from my Highland Gardens series, you met a young lad named Tevin in the epilogue. He appears again in the upcoming novella, Just Within a Highland Mist, coming Winter 2017.
In A Red Mug and a Christmas Kiss, this very short holiday tale, Tevin is all grown up and working as a Santa’s helper for the holidays at Foxgloves, the garden center owned by his mother, Jillian, and her two partners…
A Red Mug and a Christmas Kiss
by Dawn Marie Hamilton
Melinda had always wanted to be a Santa’s helper. At twenty-five, it seemed like a silly childhood dream.
Snowflakes danced on the breeze, landing on her cheeks and the tip of her nose. She shivered and sipped from the red ceramic mug she’d just purchased at the garden center’s gift shop along with hot cider. The owners of Foxgloves were Scottish and all the greenery was decorated with tartan ribbon and bows.
Wandering past rows of Christmas trees, the sharp scent of fir, along with apple and cinnamon from the cider, reminded her of Christmases long past. She missed her family. Felt alone in this new mountain town.
In the center of the display garden, a Christmas village had been erected. Young men, dressed in kilts and tunics and wearing elf hats, used hand puppets to entertain children waiting their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and give the white-bearded man their Christmas wish lists.
Melinda couldn’t help but ogle the guys’ muscular legs exposed to the chilly air. She’d be covered in goose bumps if she—
“Lass, would you be so kind as to help me with a medieval skit?”
She lifted her gaze from a firm pair of masculine legs, up a tight body, to very kissable lips that broadened into a grin. Blue eyes glinted with humor. Heat burned her cheeks. And it wasn’t from the steam rising from the red mug.
“Aren’t you cold?” she blurted. “I mean, of course, I’d be happy to help.” Gosh. She sounded silly.
“My name is Tevin,” he said.
“Mine is Melinda.”
He handed her a puppet depicting a faerie princess and another a fair maiden and introduced her to the crowd as Santa’s Helper Melinda. She then joined him in an improvised skit where the faerie princess bestowed magic powers upon a warrior who slayed a dragon and won the hand of the fair maiden.
The children clapped.
“That was fun,” she said as they walked away from the Christmas village to a secluded picnic table.
“It was.” He pulled a flask out of his sporran. “I’m finished for the night. Would you care for some whisky?”
He poured a small measure of the amber liquid into the red mug and handed it over. She sipped the drink and smiled. How could she let him know of her interest in him without feeling a fool?
Tevin took the mug from her hand and drank from the spot her lips had touched. “I like the taste of your lips. May I?”
The intent glowing in his eyes near to burned her. Her stomach shimmied. Still, she nodded.
His arm encircled her waist; drew her close. The touch of his lips against hers was soft. Gentle. Stole her breath. Became demanding. She dropped the empty red mug into the snow and wrapped her arms around his neck, surrendering to the magic of his Christmas kiss.
With Halloween only eleven days away, I thought to share a bit of spidery fast fiction…
Sylvia’s Worst Nightmare
Shit. Late for work again.
The early morning California sun blinded. Sylvia slid into the cracked leather seat of her red MGB midget and her short black skirt rode up her thighs. Fumbling, she inserted the key into the ignition. “Please start.”
Click, click, click, click, click, vroom. “Yes!”
She pulled out of the driveway and headed for the city.
With one hand on the wheel, she scratched the raised bite mark near the vein on her wrist and shuddered. That too familiar prickly sensation of eight tiny phantom legs crawled over her skin. Revulsion chills crept down her spine. She despised spiders.
Breathe, Sylvia. Breathe. She inhaled air deep into her lungs.
Entering the freeway, she zipped across the lanes to the left and sped with the traffic. Holy shit! Her worst nightmare crawled across the dashboard. She grabbed a used tissue from the passenger seat garbage pile and squashed the damn creepy crawly.
Her thigh started to itch like crazy. She swallowed hard and glanced down. A black widow skittered across her leg, and she spun the wheel.
The crunch of metal was the final sound. She’d never be late for work again.