I am battling this cold with all my strength right now. I am glad that the Solstice is here to remind us that the end of cold season is in sight! We've almost made it! If you're sick too, I'd like to gift you a warm little read to curl up with while sipping your ginger tea and dabbing your nose with soft tissue. Home for the Holidays is FREE Dec 22-26. Here's a little excerpt, enjoy!
I stepped out of my car and slammed the door closed, leaning a hip against it as I dug a cigarette out of my coat pocket. I cupped my hand around my cigarette and lit it. I took a deep drag and rubbed my forehead as I stared at a slick black Aston Martin that was in front of my car, DBS emblazoned on its back end. I finished my cigarette and stared at the car for a couple minutes, before turning back into the wind. It belonged to my step-brother Ian. Ian liked his pretty, expensive things. He always had. Our parents had married when I was thirteen; Ian was away at boarding school for his senior year of High School. I met him that Christmas; we had two dinners at the table with our parents, and spent the rest of our time with friends before he left. He came home again for two weeks the summer vacation before he started college, but I was at camp, and then a horse ranch that I volunteered for. When he’d gone to college he hadn’t returned home for most of his school breaks, this was the first Christmas in two years that he’d come back for, and that had been the first since his first visit. Something told me that it wasn’t because he wanted to see his father and my mother, we hardly knew each other until by a strange and unexpected coincidence, and our business ventures landed us both in LA, and networking in similar circles.
I crushed my cigarette butt with the toe of my high heel into the snow beside my car, and rolled my eyes as I made my way up the walk to the front door; it was swung open before I had a chance to knock. My mother stood before me in a long champagne colored gown, her blonde hair slicked back into a tight bun at the nape of her neck.
“Oh, my Chastity, it’s been so long dear!” She burst out of the doorway and grasped me in her long arms extravagantly. I peered over her shoulder at the myriad of guests which were here for the annual holiday party. My mother’s affections were never sparse when people were around to take notice.
“Hello, mother.” I said as I stepped into the warm house, and removed my long black jacket.
I’d forgotten that the dress I was wearing didn’t cover as much as my mother would like, and my many tattoos on my back, arms and legs were showing. She chewed on her lip nervously as she hovered around me fluttering her hands, a nervous habit that got on my nerves for some reason. She took my coat and scarf and hung them on the coat rack.
“Wouldn’t you like to freshen up after your long trip dear?” She asked close to me, rubbing her hands up and down my arms.
“Yes mother, I am going to go up and change, it was a long drive and if I’d changed after my shoot I wouldn’t have made it here until eleven or maybe even midnight, the location was an hour and a half from my apartment. I just need to go and get my bags from my car.”
“Please allow me to bring it up to you.” His deep voice said behind me. I turned around and glared at Ian, who was looking down at me with a winning smile.
“Yes that’s a lovely idea!” My mother exclaimed, pressing a couple of her fingers into the base of my spine, leading me toward the stairs. “There are a lot of your beautiful debutant dresses in the closet sweet heart. There is a red one in there that you would look so precious in.”
“Thank you, I will find one mother.” I said flatly.
I smiled at a couple of my parents’ friends as I made my way up the large staircase, taking a martini from a waiter as I did so. My dark colors contrasted nicely with the stark white, champagne and cream colors that filled the house, I had to laugh inside at my mother, I was lucky she hadn’t passed out at the sight of my tattoos. I went into what was once my old bedroom, but had been turned into a guest room, done in chestnut browns and burgundy, it was at least tolerable. I began unbuttoning my dress, took the small gauges from my ears and replaced them with clear plugs and single pearl earrings through them; I let my hair cascade down my back. I opened up the closet which still held most of the dresses and outfits my mother insisted on me wearing. As I shoved past drab colors on cushiony hangers I heard a floor board creek somewhere behind me. I turned to find Ian in my doorway, a smirk on his face as he set down my black and red train case set. I glared at him intensely, holding my dress closed at my neck. He strode over to me, his thumb wiping at the corner of his mouth as the smirk still lingered and he peered at me sideways.
“What do you want?” I demanded from him, he was not one to offer to do things for others, I knew he had something on his mind.
“To say hi.” He said smoothly, his black hair was slicked back from his face; he wore a sharp Armani suit with a stark white dress shirt, opened at the collar giving a glimpse of a very well maintained physique.
“Oh? Is that all?”
He took another step toward me, and motioned to my unbuttoned front with his left hand, “This is nice… did you get this recently?” He asked.
“It’s borrowed, from a shoot I had this morning.” I spat at him, taking a sip from my martini.
“You look good surrounded by finery.” He said, taking my hair, and letting it fall over his fingers. I took a step back from him.
“There are many things in this world that I appreciate a great deal more than finery, Ian.” I said haughtily, snatching a deep emerald green satin dress that had a high neckline, three quarter length sleeves and a plunging back, my hair would cover my tattoos just fine. I went into the walk in closet and pulled it on, it didn’t quite fit, it was just a little big, but it still looked suitable for my mother.
“I’m sure. Who are you trying to convince Chase?” Ian called from my room.
“Don’t call me Chase. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I just find your particular habits to be reprehensible.” I told him as I came from the closet and leaned over the vanity table.
I gazed into the mirror as I touched up my makeup, and applied a bit of deep raspberry red to my lips for the evening, and removed my shadow, and replaced it with a sheer white. Ian came up behind me and placed his hand on my hip. I stood up straight, spun to face him, wide eyed with rage. He moved back slightly holding his hands up, I took three steps toward him as he backed away, and slapped him across the face with a great deal more force than I had intended. He ran his hand through his hair violently, and stared at me darkly; I shoved past him and made my way down the stairs, happy to escape the close proximity to him.
You can grab Home for the Holidays on Amazon. Free Dec. 22-26. Don't forget to grab Home for the Weekend to see how Chase's story continues, in full length novel form! Happy Holidays!