Author of erotic BDSM romance Tied to You & Thirty Days series available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook & Kobo. Chocolate & coffee devotee & reader-holic
The last few weeks have been a crazy whirl of everything that is Christmas... the shopping, getting the tree up (and then rearranging all the decorations once DD was in bed!), attending the little one's nativity at school and most importantly, writing about Christmas as I produced my first short story: Santa's Sexy Shorts: Tristan
But really I had been getting in the spirit of Christmas far earlier in the year when I wrote my latest novel, Tied to You. As I sat there contemplating a Christmas for Alex and Olivia, I couldn't help but slip in some of my favourite traditions as well. And I especially loved being able to add a few Aussie eccentricities from the time that I spent Down Under.
Christmas is, after all, the season for sharing... so read on for Olivia and Alex's Christmas Day...
Extract from Tied to You
I wake on Christmas Day, surprised to see snowflakes falling outside my window. I pull on my thick purple chenille robe and slippers and make my way quietly down to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. I think surprise is written all over my face when I walk in to find Alex flipping pancakes, with bacon sizzling in a pan on the side. “Morning. Happy Christmas,” I say softly.
“Merry Christmas, Liv,” Alex replies, a cheeky grin stretching across his face, reminding me so much of Aussie Alex. He pours me a cup from a pot of tea standing on the side and I take it gratefully, wandering through to the sunroom that extends into the garden to watch the snow. The house is bare of decorations—I hardly felt like it in the wake of my mother’s death–but with the snow falling, it does actually feel a little festive.
“Breakfast is ready,” Alex calls out, and I walk back through, taking a seat at the small kitchen table as Alex lays down a plate piled with pancakes and bacon, my absolute favourite breakfast. He hands me the maple syrup with a knowing smile and I pour it over my stack. Alex joins me and we tuck into our food. For the first time since we left Bali, I feel truly comfortable in his presence. I don’t know what exactly has changed since the night he climbed into my bed and held me as I cried, but Alex seems more relaxed and chilled.
When every last mouthful has been eaten, Alex declares that we need to Skype with his folks. I run upstairs to grab a shower and make myself presentable before making my way back to the living room with my small pile of presents for Alex. I have not actually spoken to Alex’s family since we got back to London, but we have exchanged emails, and Sheila sent me a beautiful card after my mother died. So I am looking forward to catching up and getting a glimpse of how the Davenports celebrate Christmas.
When I enter the living room, I see a decorated tree has magically appeared overnight, along with a large mound of presents. I add my own small pile to the stack and make my way over to Alex, who is busy setting up the laptop to link into the TV. Within moments, I am looking at Sheila and Bruce’s living room, which is carnage; paper is strewn all over the place, and kids are screaming and chasing each other. Sheila laughs, and as I take in the scene of family togetherness, I feel tears forming in my eyes. Everyone joins Sheila on the couch to wish us a merry Christmas, but it is not long before the kids get bored and wander off, so we chat for a few minutes before signing off ourselves.
“Presents!” Alex declares, diving for the tree.
“Hmm, I am guessing you like Christmas then?” I ask with a laugh.
“How can you not love Christmas?” Alex responds, causing me to chuckle. He hands me several boxes before grabbing a few that are obviously for him, the superhero wrapping paper a definite giveaway. “Mum sent these over for us,” he says when I raise my eyebrow questioningly.
I open my packages to find a beautiful silk scarf in a vibrant teal colour, a new purse and a gorgeous long cream cardigan that I admired on our shopping trip all that time ago. My eyes well up at Sheila’s thoughtfulness. Christmas, for the last five years, had been a solitary affair. I would visit my mother in the morning, taking her some gifts, but she never recognised me and I would always leave feeling depressed. The rest of the day would be spent eating pizza and watching crappy TV, avoiding all the sappy feel-good holiday films.
“You okay?” Alex says, bumping his shoulder with mine playfully.
“All good,” I sniff. “Your mum is amazing,” I say. “I can’t believe she sent me these. She is so thoughtful.” I look over at Alex’s pile and laugh when I see a jar of Vegemite, a packet of Tim Tams and a pair of boxers with the Australian flag on them.
“Yeah, thoughtful…”Alex sniggers.
Shyly, I hand Alex the small pile of gifts that I got him. “Sorry, it is not much…” I trail off. I really struggled on what to buy him, especially when Alex probably has the means to buy a third world country. Despite Alex giving me an allowance, which I haven’t actually touched, I made sure I used the money I made from my job with Charles to pay for these.
Alex rips open the paper and pulls out the soft grey cashmere scarf that I found when I was out and about the week before. I had noticed he didn’t seem to have one, so when I came across this one, the exact colour of his eyes, I thought it would suit him. His presents also include an e-reader with a couple of titles that I thought he would like already loaded and a selection of Aussie sweets that I managed to find in one of those random stores that seem to cater to every nationality who might be missing their favourite foods from home.
“I hope that you like them…?” I ask hesitantly.
Alex leans over and gives me a soft kiss on the cheek. “They are lovely. Thank you. You really didn’t need to.” I shrug in embarrassment but refrain from saying anything more. “Your turn,” he says, handing me a stack of boxes.
“What on earth, Alex?” I ask, and this time it is Alex shrugging his shoulders. I open my presents slowly, savouring my gifts. A few of the packages are filled with clothes and I am guessing Alex must have got some assistant, or his secretary, to help him out because he has my size spot on and everything coordinates. “Are you fed up with my fab style already?” I joke.
“Nope, just thought that most chicks are into clothes, and you haven’t really been buying anything…” he trails off, looking a little uneasy.
“Thanks, Alex. These are lovely.” The rest of the parcels contain perfume, chocolates, a couple of books and even a voucher for a spa day. The items are really personal yet Alex has got each one spot on, making me wonder if he has been going through my things. I dismiss the thought and lean across to give him a kiss, murmuring a soft ‘Thank you’.
The rest of the day is spent cooking Christmas lunch and then slipping into a food-induced coma in front of the TV as we watch films all afternoon. I must have dozed off at one point as I wake to find my head on a pillow in Alex’s lap, a blanket thrown across my body and his hand resting on my hip. I am so grateful for the return of this version of Alex that I lie there for a while, eyes closed despite being fully awake, savouring the moment.
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Amazon (UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NN50KZE