Excerpt for I’ll Be Home For Christmas

When Anders’ lips touched hers, Selena tilted her head. The last thing she saw before she closed her eyes was the star he had placed at the top of their tree, sparkling and shimmering, almost like a real star. That sparkle filled her mind as he kissed her, awakening her most cherished memory—and her deepest regret.

She remembered the time they had snuck out of the city in one of the Guard’s jeeps. They had left early in the day, intending to have a picnic and return long before night, but one thing had led to another and by the time night had fallen they were still lying on a blanket in a field of wild flowers with the murmur of a stream for all music. By then it had been too late to return to the city: the main doors closed at nightfall and they would have been in a lot more trouble for trying to enter the city after the curfew than they would be for borrowing a truck without permission. Drunk on a full day of sunlight and lovemaking, or maybe just intoxicated by each other’s presence, they had decided to spend the night there without fearing that demons might find them in such a vulnerable state. At first, after the sun had disappeared below the horizon, everything had seemed very dark, the sky empty and black above them. But as the night grew older, more and more stars had seemed to appear and in between exchanging caresses and making love they had invented constellations, naming the stars for each other like so many secrets neither of them would ever betray. It was then that Anders had asked her this question she could still hear so clearly in her mind, and every time she had looked at the stars since, a pang of regret had chimed through her.

Each of these stars they had made their own were now igniting in her mind, burning so brightly that she had to do…something. She had to let them out. Share them with Anders again.

As soon as the thought came to her, magic flowed through her body once more, leaving warmth and tingles everywhere her body touched Anders’. Her mouth was tight against his, the pressure of his lips and tongue just perfect. The fingers of his right hand were threaded through her hair, while his left rested at her waist. Her own hands clutched his shoulders, holding him so closely that she could feel the length of his body against hers, his strength, his desire.

She could sense when it happened, when her magic acted without her conscious will as it had before. When she opened her eyes, at first all she could see was Anders as he pulled away from her, his eyes very dark—as dark as their room, in fact.

Except… they weren’t in their room anymore. The four walls had disappeared, and so had everything else, except for their bed. It seemed to float in space, as did they, the darkness that surrounded them only magnifying the hundreds, the thousands of stars that glittered all around them; galaxies spread out in large clusters of gold or crimson like rivers in the sky. And right above them, shining brighter than everything else, its five branches glowing like the sun, was the Christmas star had found for their tree.

Anders raised his head, his mouth dropping open in a quick laugh. “What is this?” he asked, awe coloring each of his words.

She laughed with him again. “Your present? Do you like it?”

…continued in I’ll Be Home For Christmas