Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY
12/7/2018 1:00:00 AM by: Linda Wood Rondeau

 

 

PLEASE WELCOME MARY VEE

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

 

EXCERPT from CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY

 

Chapter One

 

Rocky Mountains

Monday Morning

 

The front door to the Windermere family lodge banged open with a burst of icy wind snapping at Sam’s face. Files stacked on the coffee table ripped open. Papers took flight then scattered across the floor. She cowered back toward the sofa, staring at a six-foot intruder covered with snow.

Winter goggles covered his eyes, chips of ice stuck to his beard, and a gun was slung over his shoulder. He shoved the door closed as if he owned the place. Big Foot was armed and ready to take what he wanted.

Sam edged out of the leather sofa and backward into the open kitchen. Skillets hung from wall pegs above her head. She randomly grabbed one, her fingertips trembled against the cast iron metal handle. “Who are you?”

He removed the goggles and blinked. Dark brown eyes squinted her way. Above them, ice-crusted brows furrowed. “Who am I?”

She drew in a slow, deep breath. Be calm and he won’t hurt you. “You heard me. Why are you here?” Her voice resonated low and firm as it did with angry clients. This wasn’t Chicago, and this was not her office. Ed, her boss and boyfriend, wouldn’t know to set his work aside and hop on the next flight to see what was wrong. No one would hear a voice crying for help from a remote mountain lodge in Montana. There would be no rescue from this intruder. Not in time, anyway. Sweat beaded on her forehead despite the freezing air he’d let in. It trickled down the side of her eyes.

He turned away from her and set the goggles on a shelf, fully ignoring the question. Her parents’ flight wouldn’t arrive for several hours, and with the storm, they may not land in Montana until tomorrow. He clasped his gun in both hands and set it firmly on the rack. Snow bounced free from his jacket with the swipe of his glove.

This mountain man had no right making himself at home, especially a man that could bench press four hundred easily.

For years she stayed away from this place. It wasn’t safe. Her high-rise apartment, complete with fake fireplace and located in downtown Chicago lacked the quiet, but she could at least scream and be heard. Sam hardly knew what to do. She cowered back until bumping into the counter. This man could be a lunatic. Or someone strung out on drugs, unsure whose cabin he walked in to. “Are you lost?” Her voice quivered. Hardly the commanding spirit required of an employer.

White clumps rolled off his jeans. He untied his boots and set them on the mat after righting hers. The coat buttons fought him to release their hold. Cakes of ice tumbled to the floor as he shook the coat and hung it neatly on the hook. She bit her lower lip wishing this obsessive routine could stop long enough for him to answer her. What was his problem?

Bigfoot folded his arms and maintained a bow-legged, seasoned cowboy stance. His weather-tanned face morphed from stoic to annoyed. “All right, miss. What are you doing in my cabin? Seems to me you’re the lost one.”

“Me?” She couldn’t tell if he was messing with her mind or if he was a squatter who broke in after the last family member came for vacation. Mom had gotten after her for not attending the family Christmas celebration at the cabin the last, whoa, had it been twenty years, already?

On the off chance she’d made a mistake with the address, she reviewed the driving instructions. Maybe she turned too early, too late, went the wrong way at a fork. GPS coverage was iffy and had cut out a few times showing nothing on the grid. Anyone could make a mistake in the vast nothingness especially with several feet of snow covering the landmarks from her six-year-old party. But. According to the last blip on the screen, this was the right place. “Your cabin? This is my family’s lodge.”

He pulled a brown ski cap from his head freeing thick strands and hooked it on the peg nearest the door. The black bangs plastered to his forehead loosened with a flick of his hand. He shoved a few more hairs and flecks of snow away from his face. “I see you’ve managed to help yourself to my stew and sofa, Goldilocks.” His voice rumbled cowboy low and oddly gentle.

“Hold on there, mister. My family owns this cabin. A maid service was hired to prepare a hot meal and set up a fire in the fireplace. You need to put that coat back on and leave before I call the police.” She wasn’t really sure her parents had hired the service, but the explanation worked for her. She stooped to rescue the confidential files carpeting the floor and shoved them into a stack on the coffee table before he could read them.

“You will, huh.” He walked straight to the stove and stirred the stew. “This is not your family’s place. I understand. It’s cold outside. Go ahead and warm yourself by the fire, but then you need to leave.” He grabbed a cleaning cloth and walked toward her.

“What are you doing?” He ignored her question, again, and rubbed a soiled spot on the sofa. Ah hah. Proof he was a custodian, why else would he do that? “Did my parents hire you to maintain the grounds?”

“No.” He lifted each cushion and ran his hand into the corners like he searched for loose change to steal.

This was too much. She chided herself for not thinking of the cell phone sooner. She dialed 911 and pushed send. When the call didn’t go through, she checked the bars. No service. Great. Just great. Mountain man needed to leave before Mom and Dad arrived. As the first family member to arrive at the lodge, she had a duty to ensure the cabin was ready for the others. “Then what are you doing?”

“Cleaning the mess you made on my sofa.”

“It’s not your sofa.”

“Look, Goldilocks. I don’t know what you’re doing here, but I’d appreciate it if you’d leave. Now. If your car can’t handle the blizzard, you can wait until the storm clears. That’s the best I am willing to give.”


Mary Vee's 
Never Give Up Stories


 

 

ABOUT MARY VEE

 

Mary Vee - Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She has lived in Montana and near Chicago, perfect settings for a Christmas story. Mary married an Air Force man. She has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.

Mary’s newsletter takes readers on virtual trips and tells her recent works. Sail on a pirate ship, zip-line through redwoods. Join the fun. Sign up at her website listed below or email her.

Email:         maryveewriter@gmail.com

Website:       http://maryveewriter.com

Facebook:   @MaryVeeNeverGiveUpStories

Twitter:       @MaryVeeWritr

Purchase Link for Christmas with the Enemy

ABOUT CHRISTMAS WIT THE ENEMY

Mountain folk have long repeated the legend of a great and powerful blizzard that can curtain the Rockies with no notice, trapping unsuspecting guests, ruining plans, and putting lives at risk.

Christmas With The Enemy takes a sprinkle of Romeo & Juliet, adds a chilly wind of City Slicker then tops with a glacier helping of Scrooge in this Montana meets Chicago Christmas Blizzard Tale in desperate need of Peace on Earth. A reviewer says: "A Hallmark Contender."

 

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Comments

Mary Vee From At 12/7/2018 12:39:00 PM

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Linda. And Merry Christmas to All!

Reply by: Linda Wood Rondeau

And to you.

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