Valentine’s Day means many different things to different people. When I think back to Valentine’s Days of the past, I remember things such as the huge heart decorations at Curves when I was in college…and braving the 6 feet of snow on the ground and the -50 degrees F wind chill to get there (I think the non-wind chill temp was -25). Those are not typos. Northern Vermont can get %*^#ing cold, especially at the high elevations where I went to school. My freshman year, the town water tower froze. Yes, the entire water tower. That’s cold. For me, Valentine’s Day is a fun little holiday—I love me some conversation hearts!—but it is synonymous with cold.
So happens, we’re having a mild winter this year. Extremely mild: It’s above freezing at least once a week! However, it’s a rare respite. The demon colony Sanctuary is located in the northeastern-most corner of Vermont, so the first thought that went through my mind as I sat down to write this post was: They must be freezing their tushes off up there. Hmm. What would they do to keep warm? ;-) So, without further ado… Wren and Ginger’s first Valentine’s Day!
“Don’t even think about moving. If you do, you lose a flight feather. Maybe two.” Curled in a ball under Wren’s wing, Ginger turned the page of her book and adjusted the tiny reading light attached to the back cover.
“It’s almost noon.” Apparently unconcerned with her threat, Wren stretched and got out of bed.
Cold air and sunlight replaced the warm retreat Ginger had made for herself under her mate’s wing. She cursed and pulled the sheet over her naked body. The nearby wood stove put off a decent amount of heat, but never chased the chill from a room large enough for archangels to stretch their wings.
He leaned over the bed and brushed her cheek with his fingertips. “We’re going outside.”
“No, we’re not.” She burrowed deeper under the sheet. Had Wren lost his mind? The persistent cold weather had kept him and his father—who both resented being confined indoors for any reason—on solid ground for over a week. The wind chill of flight made it much colder than the thermometer suggested, and even the archangels had limits. For her part, passing the winter sitting by the stove reading good books—or lounging in bed with her mate when he indulged her—sounded like an ideal plan.
“You grew up in Alaska, Gin.”
“Doesn’t mean I like the cold.”
“It’s sunny for the first time in weeks. Besides, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I have something in mind.”
She stared up at him. Valentine’s Day? She knew that, of course, but had wondered if he’d acknowledge it. She’d never had occasion to appreciate the holiday for anything other than fun trips with her father when she’d been younger. She’d never asked Wren what he thought of the human holiday.
“If you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, you’ll get back in bed and keep me warm. And not with your wings.”
“Hmm.” He trailed his fingers down her neck, making an exaggerated show of considering her suggestion.
She pushed the sheet off her body and extended her arms over her head in a languid stretch.
“You cheating, manipulating seductress.” He got into bed and pulled her into his arms. He squeezed until she squirmed for air. “Once we’re warm, we’re going outside.”
He cut off her protest with a kiss.
Ginger pulled her plush hat low over her ears and shrugged into her winter coat. She stared at the windows. The brilliant blue sky and the sunlight beckoned, but what on earth did Wren have in mind for such a cold day? They’d freeze if he took them flying, warm sun none withstanding. A walk around the colony on the shoveled paths would have appealed, but the multitude of evergreen trees blocked the sun for the most part. The demons liked their shade.
Wren, who’d gone downstairs a few minutes ago, returned with two white boxes with red ribbon under his arms. He grinned and brushed her arm with his wing. “Ready?”
“Depends. What are you up to?”
He handed her one of the boxes. “For you. Happy Valentine’s Day, Gin.”
“Hmm.” She kissed him and gave the heavy box a shake.
“Have you guessed yet?”
“Lifetime supply of chocolate?”
“I can’t imagine.”
“Have you looked outside?” His smile grew downright smug.
“Uh…” She turned and stepped closer to the windows. The sunlight reflected off the snow, so blinding she’d need sunglasses before they went out. She squinted, scanning the flight deck, the snow-covered lawn, the snow banks—
Beyond snow banks that had not been there yesterday, the frozen lake glinted in the light. Clear, smooth, ice. Yesterday and every day before that since December, snow as deep as her waist had been sitting on the frozen lake. She’d halfheartedly complained more than once, because ice skating was her favorite winter activity.
She tore the ribbon off the box and lifted the lid. A pair of white ice skates sat in red tissue paper inside. “You didn’t.” She lifted one of the skates and glanced back at the cleared lake. “How?”
“Most of the colony helped me shovel all night. We also spread water to make a smooth skating surface.”
She set the skates aside and wrapped her arms around Wren’s neck. “Thank you.”
“You mentioned it a few times. I thought this would beat chocolate and flowers. But, I got you those, too.”
“I bet I can get us going rather fast.” He flared out his wings.
She took his hand and pulled him toward the door. “Let’s go! Later, I’ll give you your Valentine’s Day gift. You won’t believe the dinner I have planned.”
He pulled her to a stop for a lingering, deep kiss, and then they headed out into the sunshine.
RETURN TO SANCTUARY - Book One by Sarah Gilman
Title: Out In Blue
Author: Sarah Gilman
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: August 2011
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-26-8
Mobi ISBN: Coming soon!
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-27-5
Amazon Kindle, Amazon Paperback
In a violent world where fallen archangels are hunted for their valuable plumage, Wren knows one thing for certain: the human woman who saved him from a poacher attack will die if she stays with him. The demon responsible for his parents’ gruesome deaths two decades ago pines for the chance to rip apart any woman who stands under Wren’s wing.
Wren doesn’t expect Ginger to stay by his side once she discovers his ability to drain life with a mere touch, yet she lingers. When an unusual talent of her own reveals the location of Wren’s father, Wren’s isolated world implodes. With the help of the demon protectors he’s sworn never to trust again, Wren risks everything to rescue his father, confront the demon who stalks his and Ginger’s every step, and claim his eternity with the most courageous woman he’s ever known.
About the Author
Sarah Gilman started her first novel in third grade. She never finished that story, but never gave up the dream. Her fascination with wings also began at that age, when images of the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis captured her imagination and never let go. Now a paranormal romance writer, she employs her love of writing to bring the allure of winged creatures to the pages of her novels. Sarah lives in Vermont with her supportive husband and two spoiled cats.
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