Stuff Your Stockings Christmas Blog Hop…Day TWO

Hello and welcome back to Behind Closed Doors for Day Two of the Christmas Blog Hop.  I hope you had a chance to check out the other fabulous authors participating in the hop and entered to win in their contests.  At the end of my post you will have a chance to click on the hop button image to find another stop and contest.

For now, sit back. Relax and enjoy the second installment in my free short story A Christmas Miracle for Jake.

 

 

Chapter Three 

            The sun peeked through the filmy curtain covering the large glass doors on the ocean side of the bungalow. The salty ocean air tickled her nostrils and eased her awake.  Quinn smiled to herself as she remembered how she got there.  “Danny was right.  If I put my mind to it, I could dream walk.  I have no idea what island this is or where, but I love it!”

She moved over to her dressing table and slipped on a slinky sundress.  Whoa! “Where did this come from and how does it fit me?” She gazed at her svelte reflection and definitely loved what she saw.  If only she had this rocking bod back in the real world!

Quinn moved out onto her deck to find coffee brewing along with a plate of  fruit and a few pastries. She poured herself a large mug of the steaming joe, grabbed a cheese danish, and headed for the beach.  Walking barefoot in the sand as the water lapped against her calves always relaxed her mind.  That’s why she was there, to relax and forget about everything for a bit.

“Quinn, hold up!”

She froze in her tracks.  No. It can’t be.  Quinn slowly turned around keeping her eyes closed.  “Please don’t let this be a cruel joke.”

“It’s not.  Open your eyes, you goof.  I’m really here.”

“Danny!” She flew into his arms and held him tight as he spun her around.  “I don’t understand. How?”

“You should know better than to ask questions about that darlin’.  Nothing is impossible for the Big Man Upstairs you know.”

Quinn’s smile faded a little bit. “What happened?  Did I—“

“No!  You’re not dead.  You dream walked here just like we practiced.”  Her brother reached up and brushed some of her hair back behind her ear.  She missed that.  Her heart thudded. He always messed with her hair when he was trying to find a way to tell her something.  “There is something you have to do here.  My partner, Michael needs your help.  His son is here and well, we need you to convince him that life is worth living and to not stay here.”

“Why would I do that?  This place is great.  I just may stay here myself. Not like there’s anything back there for me.”

Daniel’s eyes flashed with anger and Quinn took a small step back.  “Don’t you dare say that shit.  You promised you would live for me, Quinn.  There are people you haven’t even met yet whose lives you will change forever.  Trust me.”

“I don’t know if I can believe that anymore.  When that drunk driver took you away from me, from our whole family, I stopped believing in miracles.”

He wrapped his arms around her tight.  “I’m here. Isn’t that miracle enough for you?  You brought yourself here and that’s a miracle too.”  He lifted her chin so she had to look into his eyes.  “You are going to be given a rare chance here on this island.  This will be the place where you meet your always and forever.  Here you will bind yourselves to each other, heart and soul and nothing and no one will keep you apart.”

Quinn smiled through her tears.  “Still the hopeless romantic?”

“Of course. I’ll let you in on another secret.  I’m an even bigger romantic now.”

“Okay, okay.  I guess I can meet this guy and see how it goes. What’s his name?”

“Jacob.  Jacob Michael Hartley.”

 

* * * *

 

 

Chapter Four

            “Hello?  Anyone home?”  Jacob walked up the steps and onto the top deck of the bungalow just down the beach from his.  An instrumental version of one of his favorite songs, the Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody, was playing inside. Whether or not this was the right place, they sure had great taste in music.

As he reached out to knock on the half opened glass door, she appeared.  “You must be Jacob.  My brother said to watch for you tonight.  I was hoping that your Dad would make an appearance too.  Danny’s told me a lot about him.”

He took her hand to shake it and immediately felt the jolt. Her eyes widened. Had she felt it too? “Call me Jake.  You must be Quinn.”  Jacob was once again rooted to the spot by mesmerizing eyes.  He concluded they had to be a family trait, but hers elicited a whole different reaction in him, deep down in his soul. Something else was drawing him to her, a feeling that he’s known her in another life, or two.

Quinn smiled and pulled him toward the table, still holding his hand.  “I hope you’re hungry. They’ve got the best fruit here so I made an assortment for a salad.  I waited to put the steaks on, though. Wouldn’t want to overcook those.”

“No we wouldn’t want to do that.”  God, he could look into her eyes for hours.  Those come fuck me eyes that you read about in Playboy.  Here he was looking right into two of them now and his mind was wandering to the what if zone. Get a grip, Hartley! She smiled once again and her entire face glowed.  Jacob’s heart skipped a couple of beats.  What the fuck’s happening to me?

“I’m sorry.  I can’t stop staring into your eyes.  I’ve never seen any so blue.”

It was Jacob’s turn to smile.  “I was going to say something about yours, blue green like the ocean.  I can’t say I haven’t seen those before.  Your brother—“

“Danny and I share the same color. Our sister is a little more on the blue side like our mother.  Do you have your father’s eyes?”

Jacob sat down with Quinn at the table and nodded.  “I’m surprised that you haven’t met him yet.  He isn’t usually the one to shy away from meeting a beautiful woman.”

She blushed deeply and rolled her eyes at him over her water glass.  “Danny said they needed help to convince you to go back.”

“Now why would I want to do that?  I got great food, great company, and all on a beautiful tropical island.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more.  Now that I’m finally here, I’m not so sure I want to go back either.”

 

* * * *

 

“Hmm.  Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to bring them together now, or tell them that they are destined to be together.”  Daniel’s eyes were wide and taking in the whole scene.  “Fate said this time together for them would seal their bond, but all I see is them falling for each other now and forgetting everyone else.”

Michael put his hand on Daniel’s shoulder.  “Be patient, my friend.  Lady Fate also said these two have loved each other through many lifetimes and have been torn apart repeatedly.  Now is their time.  We just have to keep watch…and give a nudge now and then.  You know that pesky free will gets in the way every time!” Both laughed loudly, but neither Jacob nor Quinn heard them…even if they wanted to.

 

* * * *

            “You’re right. The fruit here is wonderful, or maybe it’s the company that makes it taste that way?”  Jacob winked and Quinn’s face flushed scarlet.  “What did I say?”

“Oh, I was just thinking of something my sister told me about eating certain kinds of fruits.”  She bit her lower lip and stared at her plate a few seconds, avoiding his eyes, but she kept smiling.

Jacob felt his own smile grow.  He had an idea what she was referring to, but he wanted to hear her say it.  “How about I put the steaks on and you can tell me what your sister has to say about fruit, and what we can do with it?”  He got up and leaned over to brush stray hairs behind her ear with his fingertips.  “Your blush brings out the color in your eyes even more.”

“Oh, now stop it!  You’re just teasing me.”  She stood up to help with the steaks, but instead ended up standing just inches from him.  “Didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s not nice to tease a girl like that?”

Jacob reached up and touched her tanned cheek, finding it warm and still bit flushed.  “Was that what we’re doing here?  Teasing?  I prefer the term flirting, or even enticing.”  He brushed her lips softly with his own. “Or even…seducing…” He leaned in to deepen the kiss.  Quinn’s hands trailed up his arms, his neck and then entwined in his shoulder length brown hair.  He pulled her close, molding her body to his.  The feel of her in his arms was amazing, like she was meant to be there, like he was meant to hold her and kiss her this way.  He didn’t understand why he was there with her, but he knew he was supposed to be.

She broke the kiss and appeared just as surprised and at ease with him as he was with her.  “What about the steaks? They’re still in the refrigerator. We’ll need to take them out to get to room temperature for a few minutes before we put them on the grill.”

“They’ll keep.  I’ve got a pretty powerful craving for more of that fruit.”

* * * *

“Well, I think that’s our cue to disappear for a bit.”  Michael was smiling broadly at his young partner.  “You really don’t want to watch what’s going to happen next do you?”

Daniel rolled his eyes. “I think I can do without the mental picture of my sister and your son in bed together, thank you very much.  Besides, we need to check in on a few other people who will play a role in their lives.”

“I agree. It’s time we see how the boys are doing convincing Stephen Eischer to undergo one more round of chemotherapy.”

“He’s another stubborn mule.  Lady Fate said the Big Guy has plans for him and Quinn too.  It’s going to be one hell of a show watching this all play out.  I’m not so sure I am going to be able to stand back and not give a few extra nudges along the way.”

Michael smiled.  “Well, we won’t be alone in this you know.  Our families will be there to help them get through all of it, and I for one can’t wait to see the love sparks fly between all of the couples we’re watching over.  Some of the pairings have surprised me a bit. I have my favorites of course, but ultimately it’s their choice.”  Daniel tilted his head and rolled his eyes, making Michael chuckle once again. “Okay, okay.  I’ll help with the extra nudging!”

 

* * * *

Leave a comment today for another entry in my contest.  The lucky winner will get a copy of For the Love of Quinn in the format of their choice.  Stop in again tomorrow for the final chapter and HOT conclusion of A Christmas Miracle for Jake.

Make sure you stop by some of the other blogs and enter to win even more prizes!

Click on the image to find your next stop!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to this stop on the Stuff Your Stockings Christmas Blog Hop

Hello everyone!  This is one of 195 stops, yes  195 fabulous authors are part of this Christmas Hop.  At each stop you have a chance to win a prize.  All you have to do is leave a comment and you are entered in that contest.  Here at Behind Closed Doors, you have three chances to enter to win a copy of my novel For the Love of Quinn.  Each day of the event, I will post 1/3 of my free short story A Christmas Miracle for Jake.  If you stop in and leave a comment each day, you will get another entry.  I will pick a winner on Monday December 19th, just after midnight.  So sit back, enjoy the blogs and leave lots of comments!  Good luck!

A Christmas Miracle for Jake

By

Tammy Dennings Maggy

Chapter One

            Eric nearly ran down the hallway of the hospital Intensive Care Unit toward the room the nurses had directed him.  He stopped just outside the door to catch his breath and get rid of the fear that was threatening to take over.  From the moment the call came from his sister Maredyth, his nerves were raw and his mind would not stop thinking of the worst.  He had to get it together before he saw his mother and sister.  He had to be strong now.

He said a silent prayer as he entered the room. Please, let this be a huge mistake. Jake can’t be the one here.  It has to be someone else.  Eric’s stomach churned and he had to fight to keep what little food he had eaten on the plane from Las Vegas.  He had never seen his big brother look so small.  The tears stung his eyes and blurred his vision a bit, but by sheer will alone, Eric held them back.  It took a moment to comprehend the scene before him.

Jacob Hartley was wrapped head to toe in bandages, tubes and wires.  Machines surrounded the head of the hospital bed, whirling and beeping, keeping time with Jacob’s breathing and heartbeat.  His face was barely recognizable, literally black, blue and purple.  His eyes swollen shut.  Every now and then the respirator took over his breathing for him, just to give his body a little bit of rest.  Oh my God!  This can’t be happening.  Eric approached the bed as his sister reached out for him.  Her body trembled against his, her fear coming off her in waves.  He tried to be strong for them both, but he was quickly losing the battle.

Eric looked over at his mother, Katrina.  She smiled at him as she stood up from the chair that was placed near the bed.  She was small in stature, but she looked ten feet tall to Eric as she walked toward Jacob.  Katrina leaned over, kissed one part of his stubbly chin that was not bandaged, and spoke softly in his ear.  “I’m here, my son.  Momma’s here.  If you can’t come back to me, it’s okay.  Your Poppa’s there with you and he will show you the way.”

“Mom—Jake’s not going to die!”  Maredyth’s red rimmed eyes flashed with determination.  “It’s not his time to go yet.”

Eric knew he couldn’t hide his feelings from his sister, but he was struggling, really struggling to find even a spark of hope that their brother would ever pull out of this. “Mare—“

“No! We can’t lose him too.  Pop’s been gone a year now.  Are you telling me that God could be so cruel and decide to take Jake away almost to the very day we lost Pop?”

* * * *

            “I’m right here my little girl.  I won’t leave you.  We have to convince Jacob he has to fight his way back.”  Michael Hartley approached the bed and looked down at his son, his middle child.  “What were you thinking, Jakey?”

“He wasn’t.  That’s the problem.”

Michael looked up at the heavily tattooed and pierced young man leaning against the wall near the foot of the hospital bed.  “You remind me a lot of him you know, full of piss and vinegar!”  Michael chuckled softly to himself.  “Looks like we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us here, Danny.”

Daniel Quartermarsh moved to Jacob’s bedside.  He nodded slowly and looked up at his partner.  “Sarge, they wouldn’t have sent both of us otherwise.  I just checked in on Quinn.  She’s throwing herself into her work again, but she’s okay for now.  I only left this world a month ago, and she’s not allowed herself to grieve for me.”  He looked down at the very battered and broken man in the bed.  “Your Jake is our priority this visit. Once we get him to the island, I’ll make sure Quinn gets there too.

Michael reached out and folded his arms around his wife.  Katrina looked as beautiful to him today as she did on the day they first met.  He wished he could really hold her now, that she could lean on him during this horrible time with their son. Katrina took a deep breath and smiled.  “He’s here with us, Maredyth.”

Daniel smiled.  “I bet the two of you visited each other’s dreams too.”

Michael kept his arms around his wife of over 40 years.  “Now and forever.”

* * * *

Chapter Two

            The waves crashed on the beach, bringing him out of his dream with a start.  Jacob bolted straight up out of bed in panic.  “Where the hell am I?”  He stared at his reflection in the mirrored walk-in closet. “Where the fuck are my clothes?”  He glanced around the bungalow, his eyes adjusting to the darkened room.  The curtains of the sliding glass doors were gently billowing into the room from the balmy sea breeze.  He found a pair of jean shorts on the chair near the door and slipped them on before heading outside to check out his surroundings.

Just outside his quarters, he found a large patio, barbecue pit and bubbling hot tub. “Sweet!”  By the looks of the vegetation, Jacob knew he was somewhere in the Pacific Islands, maybe even Hawaii or Tonga. Then again, maybe he was on someone’s private island.  It really didn’t matter.  He just wanted to find out what the hell was happening to him.

Two figures walking along the beach appeared in his sight. He waved to them as they started to move up the beach toward his bungalow.  The younger man looked about his brother Eric’s age, covered in tattoos, and something about his eyes made goose bumps pop out all over Jacob’s skin.  They were blue green like the ocean and Jacob couldn’t make himself stop staring at them until the other man spoke.  “Welcome to the island, Jakey.”

Jacob’s knees buckled and the younger guy reached out to steady him.  “Pop?  How…am I dead?”

Michael took Jacob’s free arm and helped Daniel escort him back to the patio to sit down.  “Not exactly.  This is what the Big Guy Upstairs calls Limbo.  We like to refer to it as the island.  Better sound don’t you think?”

Jacob’s head nearly exploded with the lightning flash of images zipping through his mind. The last he remembered was the highway wet with the Christmas rain and then the semi that was suddenly in his path.  He put his head in his hands and groaned. “I don’t want to remember anymore.”

“Here, let me help you.” Daniel placed one hand over Jacob’s eyes and the other cradled the back of his head.  A gentle warmth washed over them both and the pain quickly faded.

“How’d you do that?”

Daniel smiled.  “Trick of the trade, brotha.  Something we hope you won’t learn for many more years to come.”

Michael reached for Jacob’s hands.  You were brought here for a reason.  It’s not your time yet, but you have to want to go back and live, Jake.”

“What happens if I decide not to go back, Pop?”

His father’s face fell and tears rolled down his bearded chin.  “There’s nothing that’s written that says you have to go back.  It’s your choice, but know this. If you stay, you will miss your chance to be with your always and forever.  You will not get the joy of holding your first born for the very first time, and you will never know the love of a beautiful woman who needs you as much as you need her, heart and soul.”

Jacob shook his head sadly.  “That’s not gonna ever happen for me, Pop.  What you had with Ma was once in a lifetime.”

Daniel’s bawdy laugh caught Jacob off guard.  “Yep.  You were right, Sarge.  He’s stubborn as a mule.  Quinn will definitely give him a run for his money!”

Jacob was more than a little confused. “Who’s Quinn?”

“My sister. She’ll be here soon and you’ll see for yourself.”

“She’s in Limbo too?”

“Not exactly. She comes here to escape in her mind. She can decompress here and just let go.  Quinn’s going through hell now.  I died almost a month ago on Thanksgiving and she hasn’t really dealt with it.” Daniel’s eyes clouded over a little bit before he smiled again.  “Apparently the two of you have a destiny together, but it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to fight to get it or just give all of it up.”

Jacob groaned.  “So you two are what? Cupids for God?”

Daniel’s laugh boomed out over the patio again.  This time, Jacob couldn’t help but laugh with him because the sound was infectious.  “You could say that.  From what I know about my sister, you are exactly her type, and I approve of your ink, brotha!  But I do think you need a bit more.  How about a couple dueling dragons covering your back?”

“Hey now, Danny! Don’t go covering him up with tattoos before Quinn gets to meet him.  From what you told me, I think she’ll agree with the dragon choice.  That is once she conquers her fear of needles.”

* * * *

Stop in tomorrow for the next two chapters!

Until then, click on the image below to continue on with your 

Christmas hopping journey!

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