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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

 

Liz Coldwell Talks Christmas in Paradise

Hi, KD, and thanks very much for hosting me. I’m thrilled to be able to talk about my story in the Cariad Christmas anthology, Love Under The
Mistletoe Christmas for One.

loveunderthemistletoeChristmas is traditionally a time to be with your loved ones. Even now, I still travel up to Yorkshire to visit my parents over the holiday, it being one of the few opportunities we get for the whole family to be together. I’ve only broken that practice once, the year I hit 30. Blame it on Home Alone 2 (yes, we’re talking quite a while ago here), but the legendary Darlo Ted and I decided we wanted to spend Christmas in New York. We had a fantastic time, doing all the touristy things like visiting the huge tree at the Rockefeller Centre, and even went up over the city in a helicopter on Christmas Day, but somehow it still felt strange not to be at home, tucking into my mother’s roast turkey and all the trimmings.

Dionne, the heroine of Christmas for One, also finds herself spending the day away from her family, but not quite in the circumstances she’d

planned. Her wedding is called off when she learns an unpleasant truth about her husband-to-be, Richard, and instead of a Christmas honeymoon in Aruba she flees instead to a beach resort in Honolulu, where paradise awaits.

Though I’ve never been to Hawaii, I had plenty of fun researching all the activities that would be available to Dionne, as well as the food that she’d eat at the big celebration luau where Santa hands out presents to all the guests.

She even takes an excursion up to the Lulumahu Falls on Christmas Day itself, because who wouldn’t want to visit a hidden waterfall and take a dip beneath the rushing waters? Even though it’s a bit of a trek up to this secluded spot, it’s one of the highlights of Dionne’s paradise vacation.
Of course, what makes her stay extra-special is the presence of one of the resort employees, Scott. He and Dionne quickly discover they have a chemistry that promises to make Christmas sizzle, and when Scott plays Santa, he’s able to give her a present she’ll never forget…

Here’s the moment where Dionne meets Scott for the first time:

She hands me a key card, and I wait for the bellboy to come over. He’s tall, with blond hair that threatens to fall over one eye, and when he smiles, a cute little dimple appears in his cheek. The nametag on his burgundy waistcoat reads “SCOTT”.

‘Scott, could you take Ms Suvari to Room 24?’ the desk clerk instructs him.

‘Of course. May I take your bag, Ms Suvari?’

‘Please, call me Dionne, and there’s really no need …’

The tan leather carry-on isn’t heavy, but he’s already scooping it up out of my hand. When his fingers brush against the back of my palm, my skin seems to tingle in response, and I wonder if he feels it too. But already he’s heading for the elevator.

We take the short ride to the second floor, and step out into a quiet corridor.

‘Here we are.’ Scott takes the key card from me and opens the door.

I’ve been expecting the type of room that’s usually reserved for single travellers; a tiny box, stuck in some out-of-the-way corner, or so close to the elevator that the hum of machinery seeps through the walls. Instead, I find myself looking at a light, airy bedroom with a big, brass-framed bed, a low, cream leather couch, and a coffee table. A small balcony lets out on to the most breathtaking ocean view. The sun is already beginning to set, staining the sky in shades of red and gold.

‘This is really lovely,’ I murmur, reaching into my purse to find a couple of dollars for Scott’s tip. ‘Thank you.’surfing santa

He gives me a little wink. ‘No problem, Ms – Dionne. And if there’s anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant …’

That sounds like a blatant invitation. Looking into those blue eyes, I recall the brief jolt of electricity that passed between us. But I’m clearly reading a little too much into his comment. ‘Oh, I bet you say that to all the girls,’ I quip.

‘Only the ones who look like they’ve been having a rough time.’

With that, Scott lets himself quietly out of the room. When I can at last tear my eyes away from the spectacular sunset, I pick up the folder on the coffee table. It contains all the information I could need about the resort, and lets me know that dinner is served in the restaurant until 9.30. Plenty of time for me to take a shower and change out of the crumpled clothes I’ve travelled in.

I hunt through my bag for a suitable outfit. Everything I’ve brought with me was intended for Richard’s eyes, from my floor-length black evening dress to my skimpy beachwear to underwear that’s all satin and lace. But there’s a short, floral sundress that I can accessorise with silver and jet jewellery and strappy heels; perfect for dining alone.

Once I’ve stowed everything else in the built-in closet, I take my wash bag through to the en-suite bathroom. It’s stocked with high-end toiletries, and a thick pile of fluffy white towels. Just the kind of luxury I need after everything that’s happened.

As I unzip the bag and reach for my toothbrush, my fingers close around a long, slim box. Intrigued, I fish it out, and don’t know whether to laugh or be shocked. It contains a small vibrator, in a fetching shade of pink, with a smooth shaft and tapered head. When I twist its base, it hums into life, so clearly whoever put it in here has thought of everything. There’s a sticky note attached to the packaging. Written in Jill’s big, looping handwriting are the words “To give your honeymoon a buzz!” She must have sneaked it into my bag while she was helping me put on my wedding dress this morning – and how long ago that seems now. Still, providing me with this toy supports her story that she didn’t have a clue about Richard cheating on me.

Part of me wonders where my rat of an ex-fiancé is right now. In the arms of Marcie Grace, most likely. Well, the two of them deserve each other. At least I found out the truth before it was too late; as humiliating as today has been, things would have been so much worse if I hadn’t learned about the affair until after I’d married him.

I turn the shower setting to “tropical”, letting the water beat down on me. The shower gel produces a creamy lather, rich with the scents of coconut and passion fruit, and it feels good to smooth it over my skin. When I close my eyes, a face swims into my mind. Scott, the cute bellboy with the sweet smile. I recall the last remark he made before he left the room, and wonder if my distress over Richard’s betrayal is really so evident.
It would be nice to havelulumahu falls someone around who could help soothe the hurt away. Someone who, if only for a little while, could help remind me there are still plenty of decent, honest men in this world.

Almost without being aware of what I’m doing, I begin to concentrate on soaping up my breasts, brushing my nipples with the pads of my thumbs. In my imagination, Scott stands behind me in the shower stall, his body tight up against mine, and he’s the one who’s caressing my tits. The picture I’m creating is so vivid I swear I can feel the heavy bulk of his cock, trapped between our two bodies. His mouth is pressed to my neck, and he trails soft kisses all the way to the hollow at the base of my throat.

Is it wrong to be weaving a fantasy about a guy I’ve only exchanged a handful of words with? I don’t know, and right now, frankly, I don’t care.

Blurb:

When Dionne runs out on her wedding ceremony, spending Christmas in Paradise, alone, seems like the perfect way to heal her heartbreak. But she hasn’t counted on meeting a very sexy Santa who will make this a sensual holiday to remember …

Buy links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Find Elizabeth Coldwell Here:

Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine. She was the launch editor of Erotic Stories magazine and one of the co-founders of the Guild of Erotic Authors. She has edited for Xcite Books, and written novels for Headline Liaison and the best-selling Xcite Romance imprint. In addition, her short stories have been published by, among others, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Totally Bound, Torquere and Circlet Press.
She lives in East London, and is a season ticket holder at Rotherham United and a keen baker. Her recipe for Yorkshire Parkin is available if you ask nicely…
She can be found online at The (Really) Naughty Corner.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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