My husband is hard to shop for. To make it worse, his birthday falls right after Christmas, which means I have to come up with two presents at the same time. So I try to get my shopping done well before holidays so I don’t have to do the mad dash during the busiest time of year. But being proactive has bitten me in the butt on a few occasions.
One year, back when we were dating, I bought DH a gas barbecue grill in JULY and hid it for Christmas. It felt so good to get one major present checked off my list.
On Thanksgiving, we were having dinner with his parents. DH left the room and his mother whispered to me, “He’s going to be so surprised. We bought him a gas barbecue grill for Christmas!”
I was the one surprised, and not in a good way.
Another time, just after we were married, I bought him a limited edition print he’d been admiring and had it framed. I told the art gallery it was gift for my husband and NOT to call the house. I got home from work one day and found a message like this on the answering machine: “Hello, Cara? This the XYZ Art Gallery. The Elk Hunter print you bought for your husband for Christmas has been framed and is ready to pick up.”
Sheesh! Could they have been any more specific? Fortunately, I got to the message before he did. However, buying the print put me on the art gallery’s mailing list, and we started getting all sorts of brochures from them, so DH figured out what he getting!
So there’s something to be said for shopping at the last minute, or at least joining the Black Friday shoppingpalooza, so named because the day after Thanksgiving is when stores typically turn a profit for the year begin operating “in the black.”
To help you with your holiday shopping, I’m having a drawing for a $10 Amazon or BN gift certificate (the winner’s choice). All you have to do is post a comment AND leave your email address. What should you comment on? Anything! Share a shopping experience, tell me what you’re getting your significant other, or comment on my excerpt from A Scent of Longing, my 1Night Stand paranormal erotic romance released by Decadent Publishing.
Please visit other authors on the Black Friday Blog Hop. Click on the logo above or on the link at the bottom of this post.
A Scent of Longing blurb
Lily Dansen refuses to date vampires. The last time she trusted a one, he turned her. She reluctantly agrees to a date arranged by 1Night Stand, believing that a quick tryst is all that’s left for her. A half-vampire, half-human Luc Fortier can’t continue to satisfy the vampire fantasies of young ladies while his dreams go unfulfilled. He vows to bedazzle one last date before he calls it quits. Neither Luc nor Lily expect more than an evening of passion, but they haven’t counted on Madame Eve’s superior matchmaking skills.
A Scent of Longing
by Cara Bristol
“Someone named Madame Evangeline emailed me to confirm my appointment.” Lily Dansen nailed her best friend with an accusing stare. “What did you get me into?”
“Date, you mean.”
“Date. Have sex. Get wild and crazy. Anything!”
“No man will go out with me once he’s finds out what I am. What happens if I do to someone else what Phillip did to me? I couldn’t live with myself.” Bitterness etched Lily’s voice.
“You’re nothing like Phillip.” Her expression gentle, Roxie squeezed Lily’s hand. Her touch felt feverish, but Lily knew Roxie was fine; she was the afflicted one. “You have a long future, and you can’t spend it alone.”
Lily’s brunette curls bounced with the shake of her head. “I can’t date. I’m a vampire now.” The corners of her mouth drooped. “I’m also a terrible judge of character.”
“You’ve made some bad choices,” Roxie agreed.
“Married. Wanted for armed robbery. Vampire….” Lily ticked off the losers she’d had the misfortune of dating.
“That’s why Madame Evangeline’s 1Night Stand service—”
“—is a bad idea.”
“—is a good idea,” Roxie continued. “You can get your feet wet before you dive into the dating pool. An evening of hot sex with no strings attached will help you get your mojo back.”
Lily scrunched her nose up with distaste. “I don’t see how sleeping with a stranger will help me regain my confidence. And what if he has some horrible disease?”
Roxie chuckled. “A, that’s what condoms prevent. B, Madame Eve screens her candidates carefully. And, C, you’re a vampire now! You’re immune to everything, right?”
“That’s the only positive thing.” Lily hugged herself. The golden color she’d acquired basking on Santa Monica Beach had faded to pasty white, and she would never be able to tan again. If she so much as stepped into sunlight, she’d sizzle like a potato dropped into a deep fryer. And speaking of which, she couldn’t eat french fries anymore either. Or pizza. Or chocolate. But none of those things mattered.
Her throat constricted, and she swallowed. “I’ll never have children.” By turning her, Phillip, the rat vampire bastard, had stolen her chance of motherhood.
“I know, sweetie.” Roxie’s voice brimmed with sympathy. “And damn Phillip for that. But maybe, when you’re ready, you could adopt?”
“Who’d give a baby to a vampire?”
“How would they know?”
“There’d be home visits from a social worker or daytime meetings with an agency, which you know I can’t do!” She raised her hand to halt further painful discussion. “Please, can we talk about something else?”
“All right.” Roxie blinked and smothered a tiny yawn. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s not your fault.” She was out of sync with the world. The clock had struck midnight and her friend could hardly keep her eyes open, but Lily was wide awake. That pointed to another reason she couldn’t date—how could she explain her unavailability during the day?
“There’s no way Madame Evangeline could find a guy who would suit me.”
“She has a gift for connecting people. Besides, I know you. I filled out your online application with your likes, dislikes, and character traits.”
Annoyance warred with curiosity. Curiosity won. “What did you say about me?”
“I said you’re twenty-eight, brown-eyed, brunette, curvy, five-foot-five, a hundred and twenty pounds—”
“Actually, I’m a hundred and thirty,” Lily admitted.
“I figured you’d want me to shave off a little.”
Despite her misgivings, she laughed. “You do know me.” Her best friend since the second grade, Roxie was the only person with whom she had trusted her horrible secret—even her parents didn’t know. “What else did you say?” She fingered her good luck charm, an aquamarine pendant. She’d fallen in love with the stone, drawn by its ethereal, calming color.
“I mentioned you are a graphic artist who works from home, likes children and dogs, are a night person, and you need a man with an open mind.”
A frightening possibility crystallized. “Did you mention that vamps need not apply?”
“And have Madame Eve delete the application as a hoax? No. Besides, if you hooked up with another vampire, wouldn’t that be perfect?”
“Absolutely not.” Lily shuddered. “After what Phillip did, I could never trust another vamp.”
The odds of meeting a vampire through a dating service probably ranged between slim and none. Not that it mattered, because she wasn’t going. “I’ll email Madame Evangeline and tell her thanks, but no thanks.”
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