A New Breed Of Cop Comes to Town

squirrel_on_motorcycle

Gill rushed to his office window. The loud roar increased as he pulled back the curtain. Outside the sun blazed down on the parking lot closest to his office. He looked left and right unable to ascertain where the noise came from. He turned ready to yell for Rachel when the loud squeal of sirens started.

 

He rushed back to the window. He looked down to the corner of the asphalt he could clearly see. He squinted as sun glare flashed off the chrome of not one, not two.  He blinked and counted again. Four motorcycles all bearing police decals and the city’s emblem. What the hell had happened while he and Chloe were on vacation? Had Vernon gone off the deep end during his time as deputy mayor?

 

A loud knock sounded.  Gill inhaled, exhaled, and started for the door. Another knock sounded. “Ok, I’m coming,” he called out.  Picking up his pace, he quickly crossed the room lest the knock start again. He reached for the door as another knock rattled the heavy oak door. Gods and Goddesses above! What was on the other side of the door?

 

He took a hold of the knob and turned it.  He uttered a quick prayer and flung the door open.

 

Rachel stood between two of the burliest biker dudes he’d encountered.  He looked at Rachel. She shrugged and stepped toward him. “Boss man, looks like we got a couple new citizens that want to speak with you.”

 

Rachel moved into the office and away from him and the bikers. She turned and pointed to the one wearing a red emblem on his helmet.  “Zeke from Red Bluff, Arizona.”

 

Zeke nodded and removed his helmet.  His army crew cut hinted at who might have sent him.

 

Rachel pointed to the other biker wearing a blue wave emblem on his helmet.  “Deke from Pacifica, Oregon.”

 

Deke removed his helmet, nodded and stepped up beside Zeke.

 

Gill kept glancing back and forth between the two trying to figure out who they reminded him of.  He jumped as Rachel touched his shoulder. He glared at her.  Rachel snickered.  “Boss man, hear them out. Tyburn said phoenix connections are important.”  With that, Rachel walked out of the office closing the door behind her.

 

Gill held out his hand, hoping Zeke or Deke took it. They understood shaking hands, didn’t they?  Who’d sent them?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy Weekend Gang!

 

Tyburn can be obnoxious and heavy handed.  Has he over done it with sending new troops in to guard the Peak?  His baby daughter is turning 16 within a few weeks.  Rachel doesn’t seem phased by it.  Or is she?  Has the angsty teen years hit the Peak? Gill and Chloe’s triplets along with Rachel and Tyburn’s twins.  Look out here comes trouble?

 

I think this serial is going to be fun writing as the birthdays approach.

 

Until Next Time,

Solara

 

 

 

Advertisements

Taking Time to Remember Our Fallen

Fireworks Show

Fireworks Show

Gill stepped up to the microphone, looked down at his speech, and swallowed.  Many of the Peak’s citizens turned out for the festivities in the park.  Grills with lit charcoal briquettes in them stood close to many of the picnic tables.  Portable ones sat next to the tables and chairs others brought with them.  Earlier games pitted adults against children and those in similar age brackets too.  A lot of fun and happiness filled the air.  Now silence and staring filled it instead.

“My fellow citizens,” he began. “Many gave their lives to keep us safe.  I’m not talking shape shifter or supernatural only.  Many humans fought on foreign shores to keep others safe too.  We continue to do so as a country.  Here at home, many take on the task of keeping us safe within our fine country.”

A few murmurs sounded.  Several heads nodded.  A youngster stood up with a miniature flag waving it back and forth.  A few others did the same.

“Some of our fellow Peakites gave their lives so we might enjoy the freedom and safety we have today. To honor them we started collecting funds to build a memorial.  Names are coming in.  Someone contacted the state about this.”

Heads began shaking.  Others yelled out. “No! Not the state here again!”

Gill tapped the microphone.  The crowd quieted.  “I hear what you’re saying.  Our representative, a former Peakite, contacted us too.  They’re forming a delegation to oversee the funds we’re getting from the state.  A few other supernatural towns and cities are getting money too. Disaster avoided!”

Smiles and nods appeared again.

“So in closing before others who served whether in the military or supporting areas speak, I want to say I’m a proud Peakite!  Can you say it with me?”

Gill stepped away from the microphone, raised his arm, and yelled. “I’m a proud Peakite!”

Many in the crowd stood, yelling and chanting with him.  Some smile and clapped.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May your Memorial Day be filled with love, fun, safety, and memories.  Take a moment to thank those that keep us safe and devote their lives to this!

Solara

 

MICK AND TRINA’S STORY Chapter One

endings,beginnings

Trina looked over the group of men standing close to her. Two male wolves, three coyotes, and one snow leopard made up the group. None of them particularly drew her attraction or thoughts. Yet, dancing with one or two of them might get conversation flowing. After all, chaperoning a high school dance didn’t require more than keeping the kids out of dark corners. Making small talk with the other parents present and enjoying the music. Miss Elly and Vernon were out on the dance floor cutting their path across the gym. More fifties music blared out of the speakers. Even Gill and Chloe tried their hand at some of the intricate dance steps the music teacher had shown everyone before the music started.

 

She wiped her hands down her heavily starched poodle skirt. Missy Elly’s kindness included loaning her clothes in theme with the music. Her teased and sprayed hair bounced each time she nodded her head in time with the music. A few feet away one of the teachers named Mick stood wearing a black leather biker’s jacket, tight ass-incasing jeans, and a dark red t-shirt with the outline of wolf on it. His slicked back hair refused to adhere to the gel. Two lone curls close to the top of his forehead gave him an air of mystique. An edge that caused her breath to catch and set off warmth the reached deep into her. Sex for the sake of physical release stymied her. Her chemistry required more. An attraction and mutual interest revved her hormones. If she wanted to get off—she snickered at her use of male thoughts and terms—her battery-operated boyfriend worked fine thank you. No need for making small talk and acting nice when all she wanted and needed was a hard fast orgasm. One that rocked her to sleep or into a blissed out state that lasted more than someone poking her saying ‘my turn now.’

 

Mick looked up from the table, counted the number of couples on the dance floor, and smiled. At least four of his students were out there trying the steps he showed them earlier. Many were standing in segregated groups of boys and girls. Their parents were doing much the same. When had kids lost the art of mingling and mixing with the opposite sex? This was Talbot’s Peak. Sex and what it entailed wasn’t shunned or stuffed in the closet. No, every kid new the basics by age eight. After all short gestations could manifest themselves quite easily. Ah, making sure his students understood the birds and bees aspect of life wasn’t his teaching area. Music and art took more than a few hour-long sessions per week to understand and enjoy. Good thing Gill and the town council got the need for after school activities like these.

He glanced over his shoulder back to where the redhead stood. Her petiteness intrigued him. She also ignited a protectiveness he was sure she didn’t require. After all, she was part wolf and coyote, two animals that could take care of themselves. Still making her acquaintance and enjoying a few dances didn’t entail getting involved. Friendship added to life. Why not add a new friend to his group? A female one too. Mick tossed his empty cup in the trash receptacle near him and turned. The next song was a slow hold your partner close one. Easy to dance too and long enough to learn a few things about each other. Yes, a good choice. He started toward Trina.

Mick walked across the floor, keeping Trina in his sight. She ducked her head, looking away. He’d watched her peruse all the males present. The teens that danced past her, she smiled at and shook her head no. The older ones made conversation and moved off to find their mates or spouses. The few women who stopped to talk, pointed to males at various points throughout the gymnasium. He reached Trina as the opening strains of the melody began.

“May I have this dance, please?” he asked, holding out his hand. He kept his gaze on her face. The costumes hid much of their physique. Not that it mattered. Many here used scent and their other senses along with their animal sixth sense to pick out their chase. There were no victims here. Matting happened when all parties agreed. Dancing didn’t resemble the sweaty pleasure enhance bed rumpling stints most of the youth here tried to do. No, dancing was for conversation, getting to know each other, and asking for another dance. Even time to nibble finger foods and sip the sickening sweet punch the cafeteria provided. He’d heard whispers Louie from Rattigan’s was due at midnight; something about road kill stew and other more delightful cuisine.

Mick smiled. Trina turned toward him. Her hands lay one on top of the other, resting on her fanny pouch. Most of the women carried purses or clutch bags. Not this one. Dare he ask what she carried in it? Too personal a question too soon? He wet his lips ready to change topics when Trina spoke.

“Thank you. I’d love to dance.” Trina stepped closer to him. “Been a while since I slow danced.”

Mick chuckled. “Easy to remember. Like riding a bike. Of course, unless you like to lead.”

“Oh, I’m not supposed to?” Trina grinned, raising her arms. “Maybe you better show me how this is done. You know I might need a bit of private tutorial here rather than out there.” She point to the open dance floor.

He glanced over his shoulder. “Okay, one tutorial coming up. Then we make our way across the gym and back. This is the slow long songs portion of the evening.”

Trina nodded her understanding and moved closer until he could easily see her in the darker portion where they stood. He took a hold of her wrist, instructing her as he did. “You hand goes on my shoulder. A light touch is fine.”

He reached for her other hand; Trina held it out to him. “This one goes with this one?” She touched his palm with two of her fingers. Heat burst off her deep into him and jaggedly made its way up his arm. Mick swallowed hard and nodded. Did she realize what affect she had on him?

Trina pressed her lips together. Letting out a startled gasp might send him moving away. Heat like this hadn’t happened since her late husband. The one man—human not shapeshifter—who understood her and ignited a sexual chemistry that kept its volcanic explosions going until illness claimed him. Too bad, he turned out sterile. A child or two by him to remind her of the passion and love they shared would’ve eased the pain and sorrow. She blinked pushing the five year old past memories back to where they belonged, deep in the memories of another time in her life. She’d come here to start over and it appeared she’d chosen a good place to do so.

Mick slid his hand along Trina’s waist. Her hand rested lightly on his shoulder. He moved closer to her until they were approximately three feet apart. She smiled, shaking her head.

“What’s funny?” Mick asked, looking down. He placed his foot between Trina’s. His size ten and half shoe stuck out between her smaller ones.

“Us. This reminds me of the dancing lessons I took in junior high school. Most of the guys could shake their bootie and move around the dance floor like their pants were on fire.” Trina glanced down.

Mick snorted. “Seems that started the phase of trying to teach us etiquette and some form of courting.”

Trina’s laughter warmed his cheek. He winked and moved tighter to her. “Now shall we practice those steps and moves our parents spent money on?”

Trina arched her neck, looking up into Mick’s eyes. They reminded her of the blue sky over the lake during summer. The time of year, she could laugh and run free all over the campgrounds her parents owned. Summer camp allowed her and her siblings time to let their animal counterpart out. No harried admonishments either about hiding or keeping her furry side under tight control.

She licked her lips and nodded. “Sure. I can waltz; do a mean two-step, the occasional foxtrot, and a slow sultry dance that permits conversation. You have a preference?”

“Slow dance and conversation. Sultry is a little much for the kids.” Nick winked, stepping back wards as the music began.

“Yes, we chaperones need to keep an eye on the youngsters.” She chuckled moving in sync with Mick as he guided her out across the dance floor toward the middle of the gym.

“Ten questions each? A little getting acquainted info?” Mick swirled her in a circle creating more space between them.

“Okay. You pulling away?” Trina looked down and back up meeting Mick’s gaze.

“No, just allowing some room so we can talk easier. “ Mick grinned. “First question. Favorite color.”

“Mauve. Same for you.”

“Turquoise. Reminds me of the ocean.” Nick nodded. Vernon and Miss Ellie danced by them.

“Nice song choice, Mick.” Vernon twirled Miss Ellie, pulled her back into his arms and titled her back over one arm. “Allows a little swing and sway.”

Before Mick could answer, Vernon and Miss Ellie danced away. Mick glanced back at her. He stopped and started swaying back and forth in place. “Vernon’s right.”

Trina burst out laughing. “What about the other songs?”

“Fifties music and a few early sixties tunes. The rest are ones the kids requested. I don’t know if there’s much to dance to in their choices.” Mick started moving them around the dance floor again. “Why mauve?”

“The color of my grandma’s kitchen. She loved to cook and bake. That was the one place all ten grandkids could gather and all have grandma at once.” Trina shook her head as Mick opened his mouth again. “You’ve asked two questions. My turn.”

Mick nodded. “Go ahead.”

“Where’d you grow up?” Trina closed some of the space between them as another song started.

“All over. My dad joined the military right out of high school. He wanted to see how the other half lived. Human half.” Mick paused near the bleachers as the music picked up beat. “Continue dancing?”

“Please. Makes our conversation less conspicuous.” Trina glanced over her shoulder. “Second question. Why turquoise?”

“San Diego, California. The one place we stayed more than two years. Mom decided that moving wasn’t a good idea with changing schools constantly.”

“A place you call home?” Trina started nodding her head in time to the music. “Almost a latin rhythm to it.”

“Yes. Maybe we can two-step our way across the gym. And that was your third question.” Mick picked up pace and changed steps to match the beat of the music.

“So answer it. Then your turn.”

“It’s a place where I found me. My parents bought a house and Mom put down roots. All five of us graduated from high school and college there.” Mick leaned closer to her. “My third question is why Talbot’s Peak?’”

She’d kept so much of her past hidden. The pain and hurt dulled after a while. Could she talk about leaving home and knowing she couldn’t go back? The unofficial ‘get out’ her father ordered when he found out she wasn’t his daughter stung for a long time. Many didn’t take her mixed heritage well. Would Mick?

Trina swallowed hard.  She inhaled, counted to three, and slowly exhaled.  Her palpitating heart slowed some.  No one asked her why about anything she’d done up to now.  Even Phil’s wife took what she said at face value and checked her references on prior nanny positions.  They offered a place to stay and a bond with a group that accepted her. Let her be her and embraced what she brought to the table, a person who gave from her heart and took what she needed, a roof over her head and acceptance.  Maybe that made more sense than trying to explain it all.  Acceptance meant comfort, approval, and belonging.  That topped her needs list.  A place where her mixed heritage didn’t end up another label to wear or a taunt that got repeated over and over.  She turned and faced Mick.  She wet her lips and spoke.  “Why Talbot’s Peak?”

Mick nodded.

“Because here everyone knows your name, doesn’t care where you’ve been or come from unless it pertains to your work, and they care about me as a living being. “  She paused, ready to say more.

“I understand,” Mick said, smiling at her.  “Finding a place where you fit in can make or break you.”

Trina shrugged trying to ignore the tears threatening to run down her cheeks.  A lot of the places she’d been to scoffed at her.  Treated her like a second-class thing.  She didn’t ask why she threatened people.  She packed up and moved on like her family had for many years until her parents bought the farm close to the Wyoming Montana border.  Find her place on her own counted. After all, she wasn’t a young inexperienced woman. She’d hit her thirtieth birthday last year.

Mick reached up, knuckled a tear off Trina’s cheek.  He could see trust wasn’t easy for her.  Gaining hers would take time and effort.  The soothsayer predicted his mate, his heart mate, would affect him like no other.  Holding Trina as they danced set off a warmth and a desire he hadn’t felt in a long time.  Maybe she was the one.   Was he ready to take another chance at love? He and his heart hadn’t fared well the last time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy Weekend Gang!

Sorry I missed a few weeks.  Edits and rewrites took more time than expected.  Weather bouncing all over hit the Spice Homestead and laid DP, me and Gal Pal low for a bit.  Mage and his family got a few sniffles too.  We’re back on our feet and ready to enjoy warmer weather.

First chapter of Trina and Mick’s story  is done.  Pris finally got them to agree tell us more of their love story.  I hope to bring you chapter two next week.  We’ll have to see what Mick and Trina reveal next.  No one ever said the path of love and joy was a smooth one.

Until next week, keep positive, a song in your heart, and joy pouring forth!

Smiles,

Solara

 

 

Together Again Edits are here!

Now the fine turning of editing begins, readers and fans!  I’m working on polishing Tim and Susan’s story with help from my editor.  The content round of edits are hard from the view of “What do you mean change my wonderful story?” They really make the story stronger, richer, and fuller.  So I’m diving in!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Smiles,

Solara

 

New Release Coming Soon

I’m pleased and proud to be working with Siren Publishing again.  TOGETHER AGAIN is the first book in the Pacific Cay Trilogy.  I signed the contract earlier this week.  I’m busy working on the cover questionnaire and writing blurbs.  Please see the information below for taste of Tim and Susan’s story.

Until Next Week,

Solara

TOGETHER AGAIN: (Erotic Contemporary Romance: Sirenbookstrand Publishing-Publication Date May 2016)

Giving first loves a second chance requires letting go of the past and embracing what today offers.

Tim Smith wants a second chance with his first love, Susan Nealson.   He’s recently figured out he’s been in love with Susan for some time. Convincing and showing Susan he’s worth a second chance isn’t going to be easy.   Given his on-again-off-again ex-boyfriend past with Susan, he isn’t sure how to act on his attraction.  When Susan agrees to be amutual friend’s maid of honor, Tim might have the incentive he’s looking for.

Susan isn’t anticipating being paired up with the dateless best man, Tim–her ex-boyfriend. She wouldn’t turn down a chance to revisit their past sexual heat.  Beyond that, she’s unsure taking a risk on Tim is in her best interest.   When their chemistry explodes more than sex, Susan’s feelings and heart ignite too.  Seeing past their bungled past and embracing their now is something, they have to do to claim their second chance at love and a future together.

Photos from WRW 2nd Readers and Bloggers Luncheon 10/10/15

Top photo I’m sitting at 3rd table back.  We had quite a few people show up.  Was great seeing people who I met last year and enjoyed reading my books.  The next photo is of the baskets authors and blog groups donated to the raffle.  The Shapeshifter Sedcutions (My blog group) is behind the pink box one.  MK Meredith’s selfie caught me in the background talking with some of the early arriving readers.  Thank you MK Meredith  and WRW for posting these to Twitter.

MK Merdith shot at bloggers luncheon me in back ground

SO THE BIRTHING GAME BEGINS

delivery room game board

“So the game begins?” Tyburn asked as he joined Gill outside the waiting area close to the labor and delivery admissions area.

“Game?” Gill quipped, unsure how to answer since the stat ultrasound on Chloe revealed potential quints. Five mouths to feed and care for. The last time he changed diapers was when his nephew and niece, both with grandkids of their own now, were babies and toddlers. He was sure the process hadn’t changed much as he watched humans and shifters alike tend to their youngsters.

“Well, everyone I’ve talked to says it’s a waiting game. You wait for the baby to decide to put in their appearance.” Tyburn chuckled. “Truth is I’ve got no idea what is expected of me. Rachel and my other off spring flamed into existence during her rebirths.”

“I don’t think that is how this works. I’m probably no better informed than you.” Gill leaned back against the wall behind the bench he sat on. “You and I are on a journey.”

“One hell of a journey. I get to see life from the human side. You get to…” Tyburn paused. Looked around the waiting area, and leaned closer to Gill. “What is it you get to do?”

Gill rolled his eyes and snickered. “Watch Chloe wither in pain. Wonder how the frack this came to be.”

“Pain is funny?” Tyburn leaned forward, resting his forearms on his legs.

“No, never. It’s my dumb remark. I know the facts of life. How babies are made.” Gill licked his lips and continued. “My pain is figuring out how to raise em, feed em, clothe em, et al.”

“Oh, the get them grown and out of your house part.” Tyburn sighed. “There’s no manual for that.”

“Yes, I know. My brother kept asking my parents where they hid theirs.” Gill smiled as memories of watching his brother and parents discuss parenting came rushing back.

“There’s a manual for rearing Phoenix. It has two lines. First one is there are no rules. The second one is don’t believe the first one.” Tyburn laughed and looked up as a nurse approached where he and Gill sat.

“Mr. Tyburn, Miss Rachel requests, to quote her, your flaming ass present as there is more than one younging coming your way. Congrats sir! You’ve got twins!” The nurse handed Tyburn a stack of clothing. “Please change and meet me outside delivery room three in five minutes.”

Tyburn accepted the bundle and sprinted down the hall to the changing room. Gill sat up as the nurse turned back to him. He stood as she held out a similar bundle to him.

“Mr. Mayor, Chloe needs your assistance in birthing room four. Your triplets are eager to come out and met their daddy she says.” The nurse patted Gill’s shoulder as he shook his head. “One of them appears to be bigger than the others in weight and size. Sorry for the earlier scare, sir.”

Gill tucked the bundle of clothing under his arm as he started his sprint down the hall to the changing room. Earlier scare at possibly five babies? Three was better? Safer? Hell, he didn’t know nothing about birthing babies. He was going to find out though and very quickly from what the nurse said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For more on Talbot’s Peak, the citizens, and their adventures check out:

http://shapeshifterseductions.blogspot.com/

New Serial: Pumpkin Patch- Chapter One

 

Martha Kylies belted her Fair Isle print sweater tighter. The frost on the ground indicated last night’s temperature dipped lower than predicted.  The closer to her garden she got the whiter the patches of frost became. Even her breath clouded as she exhaled. The east side of her property would warm as sunrise bloomed. For now, the rose-colored clouds dotting the sky spoke of the return of warmth and a fall day rich in color.
Two steps from the calf high fence surrounding the rows of plants and herbs she carefully cultivated, Azul her Russian Blue feline greeted her. His plaintive mews told of his dislike spending the night outside. Martha squatted, reaching out with her hand, motioning Azul to her. She spoke as she began petting him. “If you’d come in when I called last night, you could have slept warm and snug curled up in the quilt.”
As she started to rise, she glanced toward the garden. Two eyes similar in color to Azul’s golden ones peered back at her from under the leaves of one of the pumpkin plants close to the fence. She slowly moved toward the plant, speaking softly as she did. “So this is why you wanted out last night. Found a girlfriend have you.”
Soft meows increased as Martha reached the where the eyes watched her. She dropped to her knees slowly pulling the leaves back. Four more sets of eyes greeted her as high-pitched mews began. Reaching out she, continued talking quietly. “Easy Momma, I’m here to help.” Keeping her hand where the Calico female could sniff, Martha counted four kittens about six to eight weeks old. Due the lack of efficient light, making out color and markings wasn’t easy. Azul and his female companion had a brood between them. Moving the kittens along with the female into the enclosed back porch wasn’t going to be easy. If the female was feral, her trust of humans might not exist. For now, getting the female used to her mattered. Trust certainly didn’t come easy for those whose past experiences left them burned by those who violated their trust. Martha understood that one first hand.
“You’re Callie. Does Kristoff know you’re out?” Martha spoke stroking the head of the kittens’ mother. A soft purr rumbled beneath Martha’s hand as she stroked down Callie’s side. Azul butted up against Martha’s leg purring loudly too. She reached down with her other hand stroking familiar soft fur. For a moment, peace mixed with tranquility in the early morning quiet. Martha sat back on her heels, enjoying the Azul’s familiar purrs and fur beneath her hand as she petted him. Equally relaxing, she continued stroking Callie’s side enjoying her purrs as well.
Back across the garden and the hundred yards separating Martha’s property from his, Kristoff Bolenger sat at his kitchen table. A half-drunk cup of coffee sat before him. Next to him laid an open Farmer’s Almanac. He rubbed his eyes, reached for his glasses, and yawned. Another late night out searching for his aunt’s cat found him spending the night on his couch again. Taking care of his elder aunt’s prize possession took more than he realized. Ever since the kittens arrived, Callie’s nighttime adventures increased. Nailing the dog door shut hadn’t worked. Skeeter cried and barked wanting out oftener since she couldn’t come and go as she liked. Poor gal liked her freedom. He didn’t blame his Australian shepherd one bit. Sitting on the porch with the chill in the air and the fire pit blazing, Skeeter by his side as the grill across the pit sizzled and cooked his meal, brought an air of peace to the end of the day.
With his reading glasses in place, Kristoff picked up the almanac going back to where he left off reading. Winter’s snow accumulation and predicted temperatures set his internal temperature rising. Even though he gave up farming a decade ago, planning how to keep his moderate gardening business a float during the coldest parts of year took precedence once the first frost appeared. Last night’s chill spoke of careful planning and action. Keeping his neighbors in deicer products and his own hothouse heated took funds that his accounting needed careful strategizing. Over spending could lead to deficits and cash crunches that necessitated using credit that could easily eat into spring and summer profits. Yes, planning careful or not took time and energy. Neither of which he had much of. Outside, two orders for farms on the outskirts of town filled his medium-sized panel truck. On his way back to town, two of farmer’s market tenants needed their produce and wares picked up for the market opening mid-morning in the parking lot he shared with the church next door to his business. No, not much time to sit and plan at leisurely pace. Glancing at his watch, Kristoff cussed. He had forty minutes to shower, shave, and gulp some breakfast.
He pulled off his glasses, tossed them on the table as he rose. He gulped the last of his cold coffee before placing his cup in the sink. Food somewhere registered in the back of his mind. Shaking his head, he opened his refrigerator. Nearly empty and bare shelves greeted him. Great, now he had another item on his growing to do list. Grocery shopping the one chore he despised next to cleaning. He kept his dust bunny population next to nil. Vacuuming once a month worked given the hardwood floors throughout most of the house. The bedroom area rugs peeked out from under the furniture covering them. The guest room served as his office and the small back bedroom held a sofa bed that got used when his cousin Rafe came into state needing a place to crash in-between his truck driving stints. His house told of his male preferences and he liked the way he lived just fine thank you. Next time Aunt Helen decided she wanted to lecture him on his cleaning he’d hand her the mop and broom asking for a demonstration after he lectured her on keeping Callie under control. Of course, Aunt Helen’s next visit was probably a few years off given her recent move to Australia.
Kristoff paused as he neared the staircase. What he saw through the dining room window caught his attention. Martha kneeled near the corner of her garden where the pumpkin plants they planted together earlier in the summer grew. She appeared to be intently focused on something. Her hands moved back and forth in separate rhythms. Was she praying over the plants as she often said she did when he tended his share of their joint garden? He squinted moving closer to the window as the first beams of sunlight illuminated the yard between their places. He swallowed hard as Martha turned her face toward the sun bathing her shoulders and neck. Kristoff began buttoning his shirt muttering as he did. Martha was crying. What or who had driven her from her sleep to seek solace outside in the chill of the early morning?