Winner from Stuff Your Stockings Christmas Blog Hop

Hello everyone!  This hop was so much fun and I am thrilled with the response I received from my short story “A Christmas Miracle for Jake.”  Readers will definitely see more of Daniel and Michael in the future.  After all they are watching over all of the couples in the Now and Forever series.  I wonder what kind of obstacles they will be up against trying to get these couples together?

Enough of that!  I put everyone’s names in a hat for each day your left comments.  The winner is….

Stacey Jo Siferd!

I will be sending Stacey an email shortly.  She won a copy of For the Love of Quinn in the ebook format of her choice!

Have a great day folks!


Last Day of the Stuff Your Stockings Christmas Blog Hop

Welcome back to Behind Closed Doors and the final day of the Christmas hop.  I hope you got lots of entries in the giveaways being offered by the other participating authors.  If this is the first day you are with us, boy you have a LOT of ground to cover!  For my contest all you have to do is leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of my novel For the Love of Quinn in the format of your choice.  This is the third day of the hop and a third chance you get to be entered in my contest.  If you missed the last two posts, you can go back and leave a comment for your entry.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the final chapter in my free short story A Christmas Miracle for Jake.  For those of you who have already read For the Love of Quinn, you will get a bit more background information about some of my favorite characters and a couple new ones 😉


***WARNING*** The following and final chapter of this short story is sexually explicit.  It is meant for readers 18 years old and older.  If you are not at least 18 years old, please do not read any further.


Chapter Five


“I was hoping you’d say that.”  Quinn took his hands in hers and pulled him toward the open door of her bungalow.  The music on the stereo changed once again and now Tim McGraw and Faith Hill sang their ballad I Need You.

Jacob pulled her arms up to wrap around his neck as they danced to the haunting tune.  The soulful longing and love both singers had for each other poured out with each verse and tugged at his heart.  He had never felt this way before, and yet it felt so right, meant to be.  His lips found hers once again, warm and welcoming.  Her tongue slipped and slid over his, drawing him in deeper and testing his control to the limit.  He wanted her with every fiber of his being, and yet he wanted to slow it down and enjoy every moment they had together.

He picked her up and carried her over to the California King in the center of the room. Laying her on the pillows at the top of the bed, he broke their kiss long enough to flip off his sandals and stretch out next to her.  Quinn wrapped her arms around him as his body covered hers.  Her fingers traced the muscles of his back as his lips trailed down her neck, nibbling, kissing, and tasting along the way.

Her breasts were straining against the bodice of her sundress. Jacob flicked his tongue into the deep cleft between him eliciting a moan from Quinn.  He held her gaze as he pushed the thin straps of the dress off of her shoulders.  He used his teeth to tug at the strings keeping her heaving tits in place.  She giggled as her dress slowly opened up to him.  The sound tickled his stomach and he wanted to hear her giggle, laugh and so much more.


* * * *

            Oh my God, this man is hot! Quinn’s body was on fire.  Just the scent of him made her body react immediately. Her thong had been soaked from the moment she heard his voice, and her senses were on overdrive trying to take in all of him at once.  When he touched her, it was as if she was zapped with electricity and her mind went to mush. All she kept thinking about was leading up to this moment here with him, in her bed.

His eyes found hers once again and she began to fall.  She didn’t care.  Thoughts of going back or staying here on the island disappeared. All she wanted to think about, feel, and taste was Jacob.  Quinn pulled his mouth back to hers, the sweet taste of the berries, mango and papaya dazzled her taste buds as their tongues teased and danced with each other, fighting for control one moment and surrendering the next.

Jacob finally freed her tits from the laces of her bodice.  Watching him tug at the strings with his teeth made her heart race and she giggled before she could stop.  He winked at her and kept up the slow pace.  “I stand by my first assessment.  You are a tease.”

“Baby doll, you haven’t seen anything yet.”  He pushed her dress down to her waist and simply stared.  “I’m not the only tease here.”

“What are you talking about?”  Quinn slid her fingertips up and down his arms. His muscles twitched and pulsed at her touch.  She wanted those arms wrapped around her and to never let go.

“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met.  You don’t flaunt it, but every move you make turns me on.  I wanted to take this slow, but I can’t.”

“Stop thinking so much and kiss me.”  She pushed herself up to meet his mouth once again as they moved on the bed so she was now on top of him.  Jacob’s hands slid up her thighs, leaving hot trails with his fingertips.  Her body began to quake and her pussy clenched as a rush of fluid soaked her panties again.

Jacob hooked his thumbs in the band of her thong and snapped them off of her and onto the floor.  His hands slid up her body, pulling the dress up and over her head in a flash.  He sat up, holding her in his lap, nuzzling first one breast and then the other with his stubbly chin and cheeks.  The roughness of his skin against her rock hard nipples sent her rolling into another orgasm.  She clung to him as he suckled harder on her right nipple while kneading her left breast with his hands.  Quinn arched her back and bit her lip before crying out. “Jake, please don’t—”

He pulled back quickly, holding her face in his hands.  “Did I hurt you?”

Her eyes glistened with tears.  “No.  Please don’t stop.”


* * * *

The catch in her voice nearly broke his heart.  The raw passion was there. Her body given freely to him, and yet she was still making sure he wanted her.  He knew that pain all too well, but here with Quinn, it was all fading away.  She did that for him and he wanted to do the same for her.  He wiped away the tears that started to spill onto her flushed face.  He kissed her softly and held her close.  “I want you, now and for however long we can be together.  I need to be with you.  I won’t stop as long as you want the same.”

Quinn slid off his lap and knelt up on the bed, pulling him up with her.  She held his gaze as her fingers unfastened his shorts and then slid them down over his hips.  Jacob quickly took off his tank top before crushing Quinn’s chest against his.  She smiled and his heart began to pound.  “I need you too.  Make love with me, Jake.”

He slid out of his shorts as Quinn eased back onto the pillows.  Jacob took in her entire sun kissed body, naked before him.  God, she’s so beautiful.  Quinn welcomed him into her arms as he joined her on the pillows, his mouth finding her left nipple this time as his right hand trailed down her stomach.

She arched her back and moaned as soon as his fingers found her throbbing clit.  Another wave of fluid gushed out of her and over his fingers.  Jacob brought them up to his mouth to taste her.  “Mmmm…you taste fucking fantastic.  Your sister was right.  Wanna taste?”

Quinn giggled and licked his fingers clean.  That move sent his body over the edge.  His cock was bouncing with his need for her, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by his lover.  Quinn slid her hands down his abs to his pulsing member.  She wrapped her fingers around his shaft and squeezed a little, eliciting a gasp from him. “Oh, now who’s teasing?”

Jacob eased Quinn all the way back onto the pillows, and slid down her body toward his prize.  He wanted more than just a taste. He wanted to feast on her cunt until she literally begged for him to take her.  He positioned himself between her thighs and looked up to see her watching him, her chest rising and falling rapidly.  He winked at her before popping her clit into his mouth and sucking hard.  Quinn nearly bucked him off but he held her hips in place, enjoying her squirming and sighs.  It wasn’t long at all before he was rewarded once again with her sweet nectar.

He teased her a bit more with his tongue and then slipped one, two and then three fingers inside of her hot folds.  Her pussy clenched repeatedly over his fingers and her body convulsed over and over again.  Quinn’s entire body flushed from her tits to her toes, because of him, because of what he was doing to her.  He wanted more, so much more.  He couldn’t wait any longer.  He wanted to bury his cock inside her, go over the edge and never come back.


* * * *

            Jacob slid up Quinn’s body and pulled her legs up to wrap around his waist as he teased her clit with the head of his cock.  “Jake, Jake, now baby.  Take me now.”  He slid into her slowly, her body adjusting to his size quickly, contracting and pulling him in deeper until he completely impaled her. Quinn’s mind raced to catch up to her body.  No one had ever elicited this kind of response from her.  Every touch, every kiss left her body begging for more.

Quinn’s thighs tightened around him as Jacob continued to stroke her pussy, slow and steady at first, gradually picking up his pace and taking Quinn through one orgasm after another.  Just as one zipped through her, another was hot on it’s heels.  She couldn’t think. She couldn’t speak. She could barely breathe, but still wanted and needed more of him.

He slid his hands up her arms, pinning them above her head.  Quinn braced her feet on the bed as Jacob continued to pound her now, her double D-cup breasts bouncing wildly with each thrust.  “Take me with you, baby,” Jacob’s whispered plea triggered one last eruption within her.  Jacob’s cock exploded within her as they came together one last time.  He collapsed on top of her, releasing his hold on her hands over her head.  Quinn wrapped her arms around his body as he rolled them over onto their sides.

Jacob rested his forehead against hers as their breathing slowed and became a bit more regular.  She brushed some of his hair back off of his forehead and rested her palm against his cheek.  “What the hell just happened?”  She searched his eyes for any answers and found the same confusion she was feeling, and something else.

“I don’t understand it any more than you do.  I’ve never believed that something like this could really happen, but God help me, I think I’ve fallen in love with you, Quinn.”

“Oh Jake, I love you too.  What are we going to do?”  Quinn was confused and more than a bit angry. How could Fate be so cruel as to give her this love when he was near death in the real world?  Was this supposed to happen this way, or were they just to keep each other company until they both were ready to go back?

“Well, if we can’t be together after we go back, then I’m not going.  It’s simple as that.  I finally found the one person that makes me feel—”

“Whole.”  Quinn placed her hand over Jacob’s heart.  “In your heart you finally feel whole, like you finally found a part of you that was missing.”

Jacob covered her hand with his. “Exactly.  So unless your brother and my Pop can convince me that we’ll find each other again if I go back, I choose to stay here with you.”


* * * *

            Daniel watched his sister run through the waves with Jacob.  He didn’t remember seeing her that happy in a hell of a long time.  She had been there with Jacob for what seemed like weeks to them, but was actually only a few hours in the real world.  Michael was anxious to convince his son to go back.  If he waited much longer, the choice would be made for him and he might not like the outcome.  “We need to tell them.  They won’t go back otherwise.”

“Danny, you know very well that we can’t promise them that they’ll end up together forever this lifetime.  Yes, it’s possible and highly likely, but they still have to go through some other trials left ahead of them.  Both will meet and fall for other people before they see each other again.  Even if we nudge and nudge, their free will is what will decide.  And you do realize we’ll have to block their memories of this place, at least for a while?”

“I don’t want her to go through any more pain, Sarge.  There’s a hell of a lot of that ahead of her. She still hasn’t worked through my death and soon our family will suffer another devastating blow.  I feel so helpless!”  Daniel flung a rock far out into the ocean.

Michael appeared deep in thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. “I got it.  We tell them just enough truth to get them to go back.  Then it’s up to them to choose their own paths.  They do meet and fall for each other again.  We just can’t see whether or not they will stay together. Too many variables yet to play out.”

“Does this stuff get any easier?”

“Yes and no.  I tell you what. Until they paired me up with you, I didn’t have a clue how to get through this stuff let alone watch over my own family.  You were right before.  They would not have put us in charge of all of these couples if they didn’t think we could do it.”

Both angels started down the beach toward their loved ones.  “Please tell me that Jake does go for those dueling dragons tattoo.  They would look fantastic covering his back.”

Michael laughed hard.  “Let’s just get them both back safely before we start covering them in ink, shall we?”


Find out what happens to Quinn, Jacob and their families in For the Love of Quinn (Now and Forever 1) available now through Siren Bookstrand, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and



Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed the short story.  You may just see more of our favorite guardian angels Danny and Michael in the future!  Please leave a comment here and definitely check out some of the other authors in the hop.  Happy Reading!

Click here to find your next stop

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


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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