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Shared by the Lumberjacks
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Two rugged lumberjacks.
We needed to make some Christmas cash. There was an extra cabin on our property, so why not rent it out? Right?
Yeah, great idea. Until Miss Priss comes stomping through the snow to complain. Apparently our little rustic getaway isn’t up to her standards. It isn’t as nice as the imaginary cabins in the woods she writes about in her wholesome romances. I mean, is this lady serious?
Normally I’d tell her that if she didn’t like it, she could hit the road. But, one glance at her and I want to smother her ruby lips in kisses while I wrap my hands in her fiery hair. And I can see from the glint in my business partner’s eye that I’m not alone. I think the two of us can come up with some ideas about how to make her feel more… welcome.
She might write sweet romances but there’s nothing sweet and wholesome about what we’re gonna do with her. Two men sharing her, giving her every secret desire, worshipping every inch of her breakneck curves.
The question is: will she give into her deepest fantasy? Will she stay… with both of us?
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I sing loudly and off-key at the mixed Christmas playlist. It has all the classics I’ve loved for years. Right now, “Home for the Holidays” is being sung in a velvety baritone that I imagine my book heroes having.
The road winds up around the edge of the mountain, twisting along the steep edge like a tendril of smoke wisping into the winter sky. I wish I could stop and take pictures of this view, but with the steep embankment and no shoulder to move the car over to, it’s just too dangerous. Still, even from behind the windshield it’s breathtaking. The way the fresh-fallen snow kisses the rolling hills. The way it clings to each tree branch of the evergreens like a newborn animal clings to its mother’s coat. The way the sunlight sparkles off the serene landscape.
It’s absolutely perfect.
This is exactly what I needed. I feel like I’m driving into one of my sweet, heartwarming Christmas romance books. I’ve written twenty-two enchanting winter love stories. In every single one, the postcard-perfect escape is just as much a character in the books as the smart, sassy city woman and the hunky hero with the heart of gold.
For twenty-two books, each couple has met on mountain retreats, by glimmering lakesides and, in one book, even at an old ski resort. My persistent but loving men have charmed my misguided women in beautiful alpine lodges and in sprawling cottages that most people’s houses could fit inside. In those perfectly peaceful settings romance blossomed, capturing the hearts of readers around the globe.
“Take the next right at Cochrane Lane. Destination is in one mile, on the left side,” my GPS chirps at me.
I push my robin egg blue, thick-rimmed glasses up my nose and sit up taller, excitement bubbles up inside me. I’m almost there! This was such a great idea. I can almost feel the writer’s block I’ve been suffering chipping away. The creativity that has been dammed up inside me for months now is finally beginning to trickle through the holes.
Driving carefully up the snow-packed road, I follow my GPS instructions to the mountainside retreat. Squinting through the thick woods, I wait to spot the Christmas-red door from the online picture. The one that will invite me inside a more modest cabin than the ones I usually write about in my books. Still, it looked perfect for a romance writer who can’t unlock the words that once flowed from her fingertips effortlessly.
I’ve been writing for years now, and every time I sat down at my computer, it was like a spirit possessed me. Like it invaded my body and used my fingers to weave stories about colorful, loveable characters who all learned the true meaning of love, life, and Christmas by the time I typed the words, The End, onto the screen.
You can’t always count on a lot in life. Men will leave. Agents will come and go. People will flake out on you. There was only one thing I could count on: when I parked my butt in my comfy, white leatherback chair, in my expensive city condo, the words would effortlessly fill the pages of yet another Times bestseller.
But then they dried up. The words turned to dust and, poof, disappeared into the wind.
I’ve never experienced anything like it. At first, I figured I was just burned out. Who wouldn’t be after the production I’ve had? Most authors don’t write more than a couple books a year. I’ve been writing five, consistently, for over four years. Every single one of them has taken time and research and dedication, however, they’ve never felt like work. Not until now.
Something inside me changed. I just couldn’t get the words to shake free from inside me anymore. That magical writing spirit I relied on, the one that possessed me and gave me endless words, it left. And the worst part is, it didn’t even say goodbye.
“Destination is in two-hundred yards on the left,” the GPS reminds me.
Bing Crosby serenades me with a crooning “White Christmas” and I just can’t help the smile that’s spreading over my face. My agent was right. This is the inspiration I needed. When I finally admitted to her that not only was I going to need an extension on my deadline but that I hadn’t actually even started writing yet, well, she flipped her lid. After some hyperventilating and deep breathing exercises, she came up with this solution.
“The problem is, you’re not living what you write!” She sprang back to life as the idea struck her. Nancy popped out of her chair and started pacing the floor of her high-rise office.
“Well, I mean, have you tried being single in this city?” I shot back, crossing my arms over my chest. “This is the era of Tinder hookups and dick pics.” I pouted. “A good man is hard to find in that cesspool.”