Today, I welcome Elizabeth Coldwell who, along with Alice Raine, KD Grace and me, has a story out in a seasonal anthology packed with naughty but nice Christmas cheer. It’s great to have you here, Elizabeth.
Hi, Demelza, and thanks very much for hosting me. I’m very happy to be able to talk about my story in the Cariad Christmas anthology, Love Under The Mistletoe – Christmas for One.
I originally started writing Christmas for One in response to a submission call from another publisher but put it aside when it became obvious I wasn’t going to meet their deadline. So I was delighted when Cariad announced they were looking for Christmas-themed novellas as it gave me an opportunity to return to Dionne and Scott’s tale. And that’s a piece of advice I’d give to any aspiring writers – never abandon an unfinished story entirely. Even if circumstances mean you never complete it, or it becomes clear it’s not working out in its current form, you’ll have scenes and characters you can incorporate into other books.
In Christmas for One, Dionne finds herself spending the holiday season alone in Hawaii, having run out on her wedding rather than marry a man who she’s discovered is cheating on her. The experience has left her emotionally bruised and low on confidence but she’s determined she’s going to make the most of her time on this paradise island. Things take an immediate turn for the better when she meets Scott. He’s the cute hotel employee who is able to sprinkle a little seasonal magic into her life. But what will happen when the holiday ends?
The most important of Scott’s duties involves playing Santa at the beachfront luau thrown for all the guests on Christmas Day. It won’t be spoiling anything to say that he gives her a present she won’t forget in a hurry. If you’ve never thought of Father Christmas as sexy until now, I hope this will be the story that helps to change your mind. After all, if you’ve been good all year he’ll bring you a reward, and if you’ve been bad – well, that’s when the real fun begins!
So enjoy the festivities this year, wherever you spend them, and may Santa bring you everything (and everyone) you want…
She hands me a key card, and I wait for the bellboy to come over. He’s tall, with blond hair that threatens to fall over one eye, and when he smiles, a cute little dimple appears in his cheek. The nametag on his burgundy waistcoat reads “SCOTT”.
‘Scott, could you take Ms Suvari to Room 24?’ the desk clerk instructs him.
‘Of course. May I take your bag, Ms Suvari?’
‘Please, call me Dionne, and there’s really no need …’
The tan leather carry-on isn’t heavy, but he’s already scooping it up out of my hand. When his fingers brush against the back of my palm, my skin seems to tingle in response, and I wonder if he feels it too. But already he’s heading for the elevator.
We take the short ride to the second floor, and step out into a quiet corridor.
‘Here we are.’ Scott takes the key card from me and opens the door.
I’ve been expecting the type of room that’s usually reserved for single travellers; a tiny box, stuck in some out-of-the-way corner, or so close to the elevator that the hum of machinery seeps through the walls. Instead, I find myself looking at a light, airy bedroom with a big, brass-framed bed, a low, cream leather couch, and a coffee table. A small balcony lets out on to the most breathtaking ocean view. The sun is already beginning to set, staining the sky in shades of red and gold.
‘This is really lovely,’ I murmur, reaching into my purse to find a couple of dollars for Scott’s tip. ‘Thank you.’
He gives me a little wink. ‘No problem, Ms – Dionne. And if there’s anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant …’
That sounds like a blatant invitation. Looking into those blue eyes, I recall the brief jolt of electricity that passed between us. But I’m clearly reading a little too much into his comment. ‘Oh, I bet you say that to all the girls,’ I quip.
‘Only the ones who look like they’ve been having a rough time.’
With that, Scott lets himself quietly out of the room. When I can at last tear my eyes away from the spectacular sunset, I pick up the folder on the coffee table. It contains all the information I could need about the resort, and lets me know that dinner is served in the restaurant until 9.30. Plenty of time for me to take a shower and change out of the crumpled clothes I’ve travelled in.
I hunt through my bag for a suitable outfit. Everything I’ve brought with me was intended for Richard’s eyes, from my floor-length black evening dress to my skimpy beachwear to underwear that’s all satin and lace. But there’s a short, floral sundress that I can accessorise with silver and jet jewellery and strappy heels; perfect for dining alone.
Once I’ve stowed everything else in the built-in closet, I take my wash bag through to the en-suite bathroom. It’s stocked with high-end toiletries, and a thick pile of fluffy white towels. Just the kind of luxury I need after everything that’s happened.
As I unzip the bag and reach for my toothbrush, my fingers close around a long, slim box. Intrigued, I fish it out, and don’t know whether to laugh or be shocked. It contains a small vibrator, in a fetching shade of pink, with a smooth shaft and tapered head. When I twist its base, it hums into life, so clearly whoever put it in here has thought of everything. There’s a sticky note attached to the packaging. Written in Jill’s big, looping handwriting are the words “To give your honeymoon a buzz!” She must have sneaked it into my bag while she was helping me put on my wedding dress this morning – and how long ago that seems now. Still, providing me with this toy supports her story that she didn’t have a clue about Richard cheating on me.
Part of me wonders where my rat of an ex-fiancé is right now. In the arms of Marcie Grace, most likely. Well, the two of them deserve each other. At least I found out the truth before it was too late; as humiliating as today has been, things would have been so much worse if I hadn’t learned about the affair until after I’d married him.
I turn the shower setting to “tropical”, letting the water beat down on me. The shower gel produces a creamy lather, rich with the scents of coconut and passion fruit, and it feels good to smooth it over my skin. When I close my eyes, a face swims into my mind. Scott, the cute bellboy with the sweet smile. I recall the last remark he made before he left the room, and wonder if my distress over Richard’s betrayal is really so evident.
It would be nice to have someone around who could help soothe the hurt away. Someone who, if only for a little while, could help remind me there are still plenty of decent, honest men in this world.
Almost without being aware of what I’m doing, I begin to concentrate on soaping up my breasts, brushing my nipples with the pads of my thumbs. In my imagination, Scott stands behind me in the shower stall, his body tight up against mine, and he’s the one who’s caressing my tits. The picture I’m creating is so vivid I swear I can feel the heavy bulk of his cock, trapped between our two bodies. His mouth is pressed to my neck, and he trails soft kisses all the way to the hollow at the base of my throat.
Is it wrong to be weaving a fantasy about a guy I’ve only exchanged a handful of words with? I don’t know, and right now, frankly, I don’t care.
Blurb: When Dionne runs out on her wedding ceremony, spending Christmas in Paradise, alone, seems like the perfect way to heal her heartbreak. But she hasn’t counted on meeting a very sexy Santa who will make this a sensual holiday to remember …
Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine. She was the launch editor of Erotic Stories magazine and one of the co-founders of the Guild of Erotic Authors. She has edited for Xcite Books, and written novels for Headline Liaison and the best-selling Xcite Romance imprint. In addition, her short stories have been published by, among others, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Totally Bound, Torquere and Circlet Press.
She lives in East London, and is a season ticket holder at Rotherham United and a keen baker. Her recipe for Yorkshire Parkin is available if you ask nicely…
She can be found online at The (Really) Naughty Corner.