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Matchmaker: FREE Holiday Story Part 2

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates and to those who don’t Happy Holidays. As promised, here is the next instalment of Matchmaker, a fun little romantic romp of the feathery kind. It’s squeaky clean, which is not what you usually expect from me, but it is romantic to a fault, which you do expect from me.

If you missed the first episode of Matchmaker, just follow the link.

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all the best. Enjoy.

 

Matchmaker Part 2

“No, I’m sorry. Yes, the parrot has to be a female. No, a female love bird won’t do.” Mary hung up and crossed another name off her list just as the doorbell rang, and her friend Tessa let herself in.

“Any luck?” Tessa set take-away Chinese and a bottle of chardonnay on the table.

Mary shook her head and began helping her friend unpack dinner. “Six males. The only female I could come up with was some kind of rare mutation. If I want to purchase her as a companion for Ezekiel, I’ll have to marry a billionaire fast. They’re so expensive, and not only that, but what if I find a female, mortgage my life and bring her back here, only to find Ezekiel doesn’t like her? Then I’m stuck with two miserable birds.”

“What about the personal ads?” Tessa spoke around a mouthful of spring roll.

“Ezekiel’s a parrot, in case you’ve forgotten.” Mary passed a grape to the unhappy bird, who had just squawked in her ear. He tossed it up into the air, let it drop, then squawked again.

“Not likely to forget that, am I? But what if you put in an ad for yourself, you know, and include Ezekiel in it?”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Why not? It’s easier than marrying a billionaire.” Tessa grabbed a pen and pad from the counter. “I’ll help you. We can put it out in all the local papers. It won’t cost much and it’ll have a wide area of coverage. Then there’s online dating. We could try there, couldn’t we?” Mary could see where this was leading. Tessa was always trying to fix her up, but even she had to admit, the idea was hare-brained enough that it just might work.

After much haggling and several glasses of wine, they came up with the ad:

 

Seeking companion – M/F. Must have female African grey parrot.

 

Tessa sighed. “Well I’m a bloke fan all the way, but I have to admit by making the ad M/F you’ll get twice the possibilities for Ezekiel, and who knows,” her smile turned wicked, “you and Ezekiel may both find a girl friend.”

“This is not about me, Tess. I’d sleep with the devil himself just for a squawk-free night’s rest. And I want Ezekiel to be happy.”

Much to Mary’s surprise, the responses flooded in. Colin from Reading was anxious to meet her and bring along his Sadie. Since she didn’t want to run the risk of nutters coming to her door, she had arranged to meet Colin at Stoke Park for their first interview. After a short wait, a middle aged man in a rumpled suit approached with a large pet carrier and sat down next to her. “Are you Mary?”

“Are you Colin?”

“I am.”

She shook his hand cautiously, eyes darting to the pet carrier. “Please tell me you didn’t bring Sadie in that?”

“Of course. She loves her walkies, don’t you, sweetheart? Who’s a good girl? Who’s daddy’s good girl?” He opened the carrier and pulled out a scary-arsed snake. “I thought someone who’s kinky enough to have a parrot fetish might just like a little variety. My girl is a ball python. She’s not quite full grown yet, are you sweetie?”

Plenty big enough to give her the shivers, Mary thought as Sadie poked her head out of the cage, that seemed to be way too full of snaky coils for Mary’s liking. “Sadie’s very affectionate,” he said, trying to coax her out. But Sadie was having none of it.

“It’s the middle of December. Are you crazy? It can’t be comfortable for her to be out here.”

“Oh she has a nice warm water bottle. Don’t worry.”

Sadie, however, had no intention of being friends with Mary, and no matter how delightful the young python might be, she was no companion for Ezekiel. Mary wished Colin and Sadie a happy Christmas and headed back home.

 

By the end of another sleepless week, Mary had learned more about the drawbacks of using personal ads to find partners for pets than she’d ever hoped to know, but she was still no closer to easing her feathered friend’s loneliness. Between her efforts to decorate her Christmas tree when she didn’t feel festive at all, she carried on a one-sided conversation with Ezekiel, offering peanuts in the shell, which he cracked open, but only let them drop uneaten to the floor. Then, with the same wood crushing beak, he affectionately preened the hair around her ear. What was she going to do? She’d been offered an iguana, a ball python, two boa constrictors, a budgie, a ferret and a cage full of zebra finches. The search through the normal channels had been no more successful.

It was clear Ezekiel was becoming more and more fond of her, and in time, she figured he’d get used to her and go on with his life. If she hadn’t gone to the pet psychologist that might have been enough, but the thought of Ezekiel never being able to speak in his own language and never being able to know the love of a good bird was fast becoming an obsession with her. She would find the parrot a companion if it was the last thing she did.

“Where’s Ellen?”

It was the first thing Ezekiel had said since he’d been with her.

Her throat tightened. “I’m sorry, Ellen’s gone, Sweetie.” She ran her index finger up the parrot’s breastbone, ruffling soft feathers. He arched his neck and gave her a gentle nip.

“I know what — let’s sit in the back garden, and I’ll read to you. It’s nice and warm and you’ll enjoy the sunshine. Later we’ll have a nice fruit salad and some nuts.”

Just as she opened the back door, the front door bell rang. It was Tessa.

“Just returning your Christmas DVDs.” Tessa glanced at her watch. “Love to hear more about Ezekiel’s personal life, but I’m having cocktails with some friends and then we’re off to Marcella’s Christmas party.” She nodded to Mary. “You should join us. Surely you could find someone to stay with Ezekiel for a few hours.”

“Have a good time,” was Mary’s only reply as she waved her friend off. She wasn’t about to leave the poor bird alone.

When she returned to the kitchen, Ezekiel was gone.

Matchmaker Part 3

 

Matchmaker: A FREE Holiday Story Part 1

I love to indulge in a little sappy silly, romantic fun this time of year, and that being the case starting today through Boxing Day, I will be sharing a little seasonal story with you called Matchmaker. While it’s squeaky clean as far as content goes, it’s fun and quirky and hopefully something you’ll all enjoy. I certainly enjoyed writing it. It’s main character happens to be a bird. Those of you who know my love for our feathered friends won’t be surprised at all. Happy Holidays, my Darlings! Enjoy the story!

 

Matchmaker Part 1

“What am I going to do?” Mary asked the vet. “Ezekiel’s inconsolable. He squawks all night, which means neither of us sleeps, and I have to work and leave him alone, and that only makes matters worse.”

The vet stroked his stethoscope, an act that seemed incongruent with the bright red Santa Clause cap sitting precariously on the top of his balding head. He looked the parrot up and down and, and then stated the obvious. “He’s mourning.”

“I know he’s mourning. What I don’t know is how to cheer him up.”

The vet shook his head. “Mourning has to run its course, with animals just like with humans.”

She rubbed gritty eyes. “What do I do in the meantime? How can I help him? Can you sedate him?”

“Wouldn’t advise it. I can recommend a pet psychologist, though.”

“Will it help?”

“Can’t hurt. Dr. Thompson is also a vet, so she won’t steer you wrong, none of this airy-fairy faffing about.”

 

It was full dark when Mary arrived in Woking. The fairy lights sparkled on the houses and in the shop windows, and the unseasonable warmth had not dampened the holiday spirit of the Christmas shoppers scurrying up and down High Street. Ezekiel was the last appointment of the day, and the waiting room was empty when Mary stepped inside with Ezekiel’s cage in tow. Christmas music that was a little less obnoxious and a little more subdued than what blared in the local shops played quietly over the sound system. Almost immediately, Mary and Ezekial were ushered in to Dr. Susan Thompson’s office.

“Oh, he is lovely,” the woman cooed in a nasal Welsh accent. “I’ve never treated an African grey before. I have counseled a couple of cockatoos, and a lovebird. What seems to be the problem?”

Mary heaved a sigh. “Two months ago my friend Ellen died.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.” Dr. Thompson nudged a box of tissues in Mary’s direction.

“Thank you. Ellen was a linguist who studied the rudiments of language in other species.”

The psychologist brightened. “Of course! I’ve heard about the research on African grey parrots. Even smarter than primates, I read.”

“Ellen worked with Ezekiel almost fifteen years. He has a huge vocabulary, and his comprehension is off the chart. Because parrots are long-lived, Ellen had made arrangements for him to live with me on the off chance that something should happen, if she should …” She swallowed around the growing tightness in her throat and took a deep breath. “Anyway, there was a car accident and …”

“Ezekiel came to live with you,” the doctor finished for her gently.

Mary nodded and blinked hard. “Since her death, Ezekiel refuses to talk. He just squawks. He won’t eat, and I’m afraid he’ll start pulling out his own feathers. Stressed birds sometimes do that. I can’t stand to see him suffer so. Ezekiel is, well, he’s special.”

“Ezekiel’s mourning the loss of his mate.”

“What?”

“You see,” Dr. Thompson scooted to the edge of her seat, “parrots are social animals. In their natural environment, you seldom see a lone parrot. When parrots are kept in captivity, they can only be taught to talk if they’re kept away from their own kind.”

“So when they have no one to speak to in their own language, they’re forced to learn ours?” The tightness in Mary’s throat returned with a vengeance.

“Ezekiel will probably bond with you in time. But you’re not a parrot, and even with his huge vocabulary, imagine what it would be like never to speak your own language again.”

This time no amount of blinking could hold back the tears, and Mary reached for the offered tissue box. She’d always been a soft touch, and Ezekiel’s sad story coupled with the recent loss of her friend was just too much. Dr. Thompson
offered quiet verbal support, and Mary was pretty sure that in most cases the pet psychologist found the animals less
neurotic than their humans. She blew her nose and forced a smile. “Well, I’ll just have to find him a mate then, won’t I?”

Easier said than done, Mary soon discovered.

Continue with Matchmaker part 2

 

Happy Solstice!

 

Last Friday I wrote a post about celebrating the darkness. I explained that the main reason I love the darkness is because it’s the absolute best showcase for the light. You can’t see light without darkness. Today we celebrate the return of the light. That’s it! The long darkness that has been urging us to wait for it … wait for it … wait for it, is now reached it’s fullness. Today at long last it gives way to the light!

 

There’s a reason why this time of year is universally celebrated – Saturnalia, Solstice, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza. Oh yes! Those of us who are religious can’t help but celebrate our beliefs fulfilled in the returning of the light. Those of us who celebrate the science of it can’t help but be in awe of axial tilt and the seasonal progressions of our planet that have gone on long before we humans walked the earth.

 

The Dark Show is winding down. The Light Show is about to begin, and we anticipate it with trees and tinsel and firelight and pressies and dancing and singing and celebrating with our friends. We’ve known that from the dawn of time. To me that’s what makes this season so special, so set apart from any other time of the year. It’s dark. It’s dark in the morning. It’s dark in the late afternoon. It feels like it’s been dark for-friggen-EVER! The days are short. And then it’s night and night and night …. Here in the UK, even when it’s day, it’s gloomy. But we know, we just KNOW like it’s some instinct inside us, that the light is coming back. My dear friends, it’s as dark as it’s gonna get. And now … And now … here comes the sun. And all those plans we made in the dark dreamtime, we now anticipate bringing to fruition in the light.

 

We may not see it yet. For a few weeks we may not even notice it, but the days are getting longer. Those long summer days are now officially on their way again. And we anticipate them even though we can’t yet see the difference, we feel that shift deep in our bones. We feel it without being to explain why we do. And golly boy howdy, do we celebrate!

 

As much as I love the darkness, I’m SO ready for the return of the light. I plan to celebrate heartily and I hope you do to.

 

Happy Solstice, my Lovelies, merry axial tilt, and joyful new beginnings. May your best schemes and plans from the dark days be brought to brilliant fruition.

 

 

A Free Snog in the Snow

 

 

 

It’s a double whammy today here on a Hopeless Romantic. It’s not only the last day of Blissemas and another chance to win the fab Blisemas grand prize with a Snog in the Snow, but this sizzling, snowy snog is from my MM paranormal, novella, Landscapes, which is free at the moment along with a lot of other fab MM reads for the Love Under the Mistletoe MM Christmas Frolic. Follow either of the above links for your copy.

 

Comment on any of the Snog in the Snow blog posts offered up today for another chance to win a fully-loaded Kindle Fire 7! 

Landscapes Blurb:

Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life?

Note: Landscapes has been previously released as part of the Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set.

 

Landscapes Snog in the Snow Excerpt — Heart’s Blood:

‘You could have told me.’ The sound of his voice clenched my heart. For a moment I was certain I was dreaming. Reese constantly tortured me from the dream world. But I was awake, wide awake, and as the breeze shifted I could smell his sweet blood. ‘You could have come to me in the beginning. I’m not that unapproachable.’

With difficulty I found my voice, as though it were something long lost from me. ‘Perhaps you were too approachable.’ I gathered my wits, what little were left to me, and turned to face him. His hair was a bit longer, blown by the wind, and the stubble of a long day caressed his cheeks, and God, he was as beautiful as I remembered. Then I smelled Talia on him, felt her magic tingling over his skin. ‘She shouldn’t have come to you. If you’re back here because you feel sorry for the poor vampire, then maybe I’ll rip your throat out and drain you and you can see where your sympathy gets you.’

He moved to stand next to me, knee-deep in the snow that buried the half-finished garden. ‘You won’t get any sympathy from me. You were a complete twat. You should be damn glad I’m not wearing garlic and sporting a stake. You didn’t ask for what happened to you, Alonso. I get that. And even if you did, we play with the hand we’re dealt. All of us.’

There was a hitch in his breath and I could almost taste the heat of his blood in the soft spot at his throat. In a wave of dizziness I stepped away. ‘Afraid I’m not very good at cards. What did you come for Reese?’

‘I came to say I’m sorry, to say that I forgive you and to ask your forgivness.’

I dropped onto the bench as though I were suddenly boneless. To my distress, he sat down next to me and pulled the wool scarf away from his exquisitely tender throat. His pulse was rapid with excitement. With fear. ‘You need to feed, Alonso, you look like hell.’ He pulled open the collar of his shirt. ‘Take from me.’

‘Christ, Reese,’ I shoved off the bench, back-pedaling until I nearly tripped over a pile of stones buried under the snow. ‘You can’t make that offer, not now.’

‘I … I don’t understand. You still want me. I saw that. Talia showed me, and God knows I want you.’

‘Of course I want you. Like I’ve never wanted anything in my life, but I’m not safe Reese. I haven’t fed in … too long. The very scent of you is driving me mad. If I take from you, I won’t be able to stop.’

‘I don’t believe that,’ he said. ‘I’m willing to risk it.’

‘Well I’m not. Your death may mean nothing to you, but it’s not a risk I’m willing to take, and believe me the risk is very real.’

I smelled the sharpening of fear, as he scrambled off the bench. The night was icy cold and heavy with the threat of snow. I could sense him shivering even through his coat. He squared his shoulders and spoke between chattering teeth. ‘What do you want me to do, Alonso. Tell me, and I’ll do it.’

I took a deep breath, struggling to clear my head. ‘Go to the house – to the kitchen. Cook is asleep but there’ll be food. Eat.’

‘I already ate, Talia insisted.’

‘Eat again,’ I commanded, turning to face him just to make sure he was really there and not something my desperate imagination had conjured. ‘Because when I return,’ I held his gaze ‘you’ll need all of your strength. We both will. Go! Now!’

 

Reese paced Alonso’s study while Talia sat on the Cordovan leather sofa pretending to read a novel. ‘It’s almost dawn,’ he said, for the third time in ten minutes. ‘Where the hell is he?’ The snow had set in soon after Alonso had left. How well a vampire could cope with a blizzard, Reece didn’t know.

‘It’s not like going down to the pub.’ Talia sat the book down and gazed up at the monitor above his desk, the one that showed what Alonso would see if there had been a window there. ‘He’s careful when he feeds, never leaving any trace. Besides, he knows the Lakes like the back of his hand. He won’t get caught out. High View is honeycombed with caves. There are also a few old slate quarries, as you know.’ She motioned him into the rough stone corridor and led him down to the Day Room. There, the only space that wasn’t filled with monitors and controls was a worktable to one side spread with a large, laminated map of the area. She ran her finger along a bright red line leading from the house out to the backside of the fell. ‘There.’ She circled a spot on the map with a grease marker. ‘Pull up camera eight.’

At first the display on the big monitor looked blank, then the night cameras kicked in and they could see the rocky walls in monotone shades of green and gray. Reese recognized the cave he’d discovered Alonso in with the walker. At first they could see nothing, but suddenly there was a flash of movement across the screen, and then it was gone.

‘There,’ they both said at the same time.

‘Is there any way of adjusting that camera?’ Reese asked.

‘Not from here, but that cave opens into a tunnel that leads to the wine cellar. It’s wired to send a signal if anyone but Alonso or a designated person is there.’

‘Show me where it’s at. It could be that he’s in there and he’s hurt. Look,’ he said when she raised a skeptical eyebrow, ‘I can’t lose him before I get the chance to properly make things right between us, so where’s the damned wine cellar?’

She gave him directions, then stayed near the monitors to watch. The fell tops were already tinged with gray from the coming sunrise, and Reese could barely keep back his rising panic.

He was down the steps and halfway across the cavernous wine cellar, when a door at the back burst open, and Alonso pushed his way in, dark hair glistening beneath the bare light bulb with a generous dusting of snow. For a moment neither man spoke, but only stood gazing at the other. And then Reese found his voice. ‘I was worried. The sun’s coming up.’

‘It was the sheep,’ Alonso said. ‘They slowed me down a bit.’

‘Sheep?’

He brushed snow from the shoulders of his black wool coat, then offered Reese an embarrassed grin. ‘If I’d gone straight for the shepherd without an appetizer, I’m afraid he wouldn’t be home shagging his wife senseless right now.’

‘You had … sheep … for an appetizer?’

‘Well their blood at least. It’s a poor substitute, but it was necessary this time.’ The shepherd had managed to get all but three into the barn against the weather, which was bad enough that he had to hole up there until it passed. Good thing for me.’ He’ll think the sheep were lost in the storm, and when the weather clears enough that I can arrange it, he’ll find a nice fat wad of £20 notes stuffed in the seat of his Land Rover.’

‘You’re OK, then?’ Reese stepped closer, relief flooding his senses and making him weak.

Alonso held his ground. ‘That depends on you.’

The next step forward was uncertain. The one after that wasn’t, as Reese moved into Alonso’s arms, feeling the chill of the wet snow, smelling the scent of Cumbrian winter and beneath that the spicy, earthy scent of the man. For a long time they stood in each other’s arms, until Reese began to shiver, and Alonso opened his coat and pulled him in to his body, warm from feeding.

‘You’re well fed then?

He lowered his mouth to Reese’s throat and kissed the shudder of his pulse. ‘I am. Now all I’m hungry for is you.’ The rocking of his hips alerted Reese to the erection nestled in his trousers. That and the careful rake of his canines against Reese’ throat made his own cock rise to attention.

Much later, Alonso lay with Reese pulled into a spoon position in his big four-poster bed, his hand absently cupping first Reese’s cock, then his sac until, in spite of the whirlwind of sex they’d already had, Reese rocked his hips slowly back and forth into his grip. ‘I know you have questions,’ Alonso said. He rose up on one elbow and kissed Reese’ ear. ‘Don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll try very hard to give you answers. But there may be times when I won’t be able to. There may be times when I’ll have to work on it. But know this,’ he said,’ moving his hand over Reese’s hips to cup his arse and stroke the cleft in between. ‘I won’t lie to you, even though there’ll be answers you won’t like, answers that may shock you.’

‘I was with the succubus, remember? You’ll find I’m not so easy to shock anymore.’ With a contortionist twist of his upper body, he curled his fingers in Alonso’s mussed hair and guided his mouth down to meet his, kissing him hard leaving them both breathless as he pulled away. ‘I know your heart, Alonso. That’s why I came back. That’s what will hold me here.’

 

 

My Blissemas Celebration of the Dark

 

 

The season of Blissemas starts on the Ist Dec and will finish on the 17th. Every day of Blissemas a different erotic author will post up gems of delight in the guise of festive stories, excerpts, recipes, hints and tips, etc.

 

Leave a Comment on a Blissemas Blog and you will go into the Grand Prize draw to win yourself a Kindle 7 packed full of Smut! Come back each day for more chances to win.

 

 

 

Happy Blissemas everyone! Blissemas is my favourite blogging season. It’s always a delight to celebrate and anticipate with all my blogging and writing friends. Special thanks once again to Victoria and Kev Blisse for all they do to make Blissemas happen.

 

I’m a big fan of the dark. I love it a lot! What writer doesn’t love a character with a little darkness and conflict? Is there any better way to show the light in a character than by seeing it through his darkness?

 

The darkness is the realm of dreams and sleep. Bears hibernate, people bundle up and hunker down. I don’t know about you, but I’d happily go to bed at seven pm when it’s dark by four. And snuggling down under a nice thick duvet is one of the best things about the long winter nights. In the dark we reflect on what’s past. In the dark, we sleep and dream, and prepare for the return of the light.

 

The main reason I love the darkness is because it’s an exquisite showcase for the light. You can’t see light without darkness. And what that dark reveals is sometimes stunning. Ask anyone who has ever looked at the stars on a moonless night. Ask anyone who has ooohed and awed over the sparkling lights on their Christmas tree. Ask anyone who has huddled around a campfire telling ghost stories. It takes the dark to show off the light.

 

 

We humans know that deep in our bones. We’ve known that from the dawn of time. To me that’s what makes this season so special, so set apart from any other time of the year. It’s dark. It’s dark in the morning. It’s dark in the late afternoon. It feels like it’s been dark for-friggen-EVER! The days are short. And then it’s night and night and night …. Here in the UK, even when it’s day, it’s gloomy. But we know, we just KNOW like it’s some instinct inside us, that the light is coming back. Honestly, I’ve never felt the kind of anticipation I do this time of year. When I was a child, I anxiously looked forward to Santa Clause coming, but I don’t need Santa now. I don’t need gifts. Something even more amazing than Santa Clause and pressies and tinsel and trees is about to happen. The darkness has reached the tipping point. It’s as dark as it’s gonna get. And then … And then … Get ready for it. It’s time for the darkness to give it over and show off the return of the light.

 

Oh it’s not much at first. It isn’t even really noticeable. The Solstice comes and goes quietly and then like a coy seductive strip tease, the light is revealed, slowly, tantalizingly, flirtatiously. While we may not see it at first, we feel it in our gut, we feel it with a restless excited certainty that’s always there even if we can’t quite say how we know. And then, as the darkness gives up its best kept secret, that it’s the revealer of light, we look to new beginnings, new growth, new revelations that the light always brings. And we can’t help it really. We can’t help feeling like everything has been transformed and made new – axial tilt and chronobiololgy make room for a little raucous celebration and a whole lot of hope for what the light may bring.

 

Here’s to the light, my dear friends, and the velvety darkness that reveals it. Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the other fabulous Blissemas blog posts and comment for a chance to win the Kindle 7.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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