I am delighted to spotlight one of the fantastic author’s from Soul Mate Publishing’s Christmas Anthology, All I Want For Christmas Is A Soul Mate. Here is an excerpt from J.R. Richardson’s Lost In Christmas.
“Lost in Christmas”
Crystal Springfield spends the holidays by herself, in the cabin her parents used to bring her to as a child. It gives her the quiet solitude she craves during her time off but when a tall dark and lost stranger gets trapped at the cabin with her by a snow storm, Crystal soon realizes just how alone she’s been all these years.
I make a mean version of taco salad, but just as I’m getting ready to sit down and devour the food, there’s a knock at my door. Berkley looks up at me expectantly while my brow dips a little.
I have to answer it, I realize, but before I do, I kneel down to get eye level with my best friend.
He tilts his head.
Berkley growls and it sounds ferocious enough, so I stand and grin. “I’ve taught you well, young padawan.”
I review some defensive techniques I learned once upon a time as he follows me to the door. When I open it, all is forgotten because the man standing in front of me doesn’t look like a threat at all.
He’s tall and looming, yes, but his face seems, nice. He’s soft around the eyes and perfect around the lips. As they move to say something I can’t hear him because I’m too busy noticing his broad shoulders. Not too broad, though, they’re just right. I won’t mention the scruffy five o’clock shadow forming along his jaw.
My mouth snaps shut and I blink.
“Can I use your phone?” he asks slowly as he kicks his shoes against the stoop. He begins to take a step forward, assuming I’ll just say yes. Berkley lets out his version of a warning bark and I put a hand to the man’s chest.
“I don’t have a phone.”
He laughs. “Everyone has a phone.”
I push a little harder. “Not this everyone.” I’m trying to stand my ground, but honestly, I’m faltering here.
“Do you have a cell phone?” he asks.
I narrow my eyes. “Yes, why?”
He pulls his out. “Because maybe your cell range is better than mine.”
I try to remain strong. “Cell phones don’t generally work this far up in the mountains.”
But he is a persistent man. “Think I could try anyway?”
I purse my lips.
He seems honest but I’ve seen this show before. Man plays desperate, woman falls for his boyish charm, never to be seen again.
I peek down at my dog, whose bark has always been a million times worse than his bite. The only thing this guy has to worry about is getting tackled and then subsequently licked to death all over his face. Or maybe his jawline.
He has a nice jawline.
I make a rash decision that he’s indeed not a threat and open the door for him, a questionable, “sure” squeaking out. The smallest of smiles plays at his lips when he realizes he’s won.
He stands at the doorway as I retrieve my phone and when I hand it to him, he tries over and over and over again to call out, to no avail.
“Told you,” I say when he hands it back. “Are you lost? I can—”
“No I’m not lost,” he says with a snide huff. “I just . . . need some directions.”
I recognize defensive mechanisms when I hear them. “So, lost,” I reiterate with an eyebrow quirk.
“No,” he insists. “The GPS on my phone is shit with the signal up here in no man’s land, and I can’t just drive around until it’s strong again. I’m late as it is.”
Where you can find Jo:
Thanks J.R. and happy reading everyone!