Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY
Friday, November 20, 2020 by MARY VEE

photo by Mary Vee

AN EXCERPT FROM CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY

(Note: This book is on sale @.99 for the Christmas Season

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The front door to the Windermere family lodge banged open with a burst of icy wind snapping at Sam’s face. Files neatly stacked on the coffee table ripped open. Papers took flight then scattered across the floor. She cowered back into 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.

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 into the room. Above them, ice-crusted brows furrowed. “Who am I?”

“You heard me. Why are you here?” This wasn’t Chicago, and this was not her office. Ed, her boss and boyfriend, wouldn’t know to hop on the next flight to rescue her. No one would hear a voice crying for help from a remote mountain lodge in Montana.

He turned away 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 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.

For years she stayed away from this place. 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 there. “Are you lost?”

White clumps rolled off his jeans. He untied his boots and set them on the mat after righting hers. Bigfoot folded his arms. 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?” On the off chance she’d made a mistake with the address, she reviewed the driving instructions. GPS coverage had cut out a few times, showing nothing on the grid. Anyone could make a mistake in the vast nothingness, especially when several feet of snow covered the landmarks. 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. “I see you’ve managed to help yourself to my stew and sofa, Goldilocks.”

“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.

“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 then lifted each cushion and ran his hand into the corners as if searching for loose change to steal. This was too much. She dialed 911. When the call didn’t go through, she checked the bars. No service. Great

“I’m cleaning the mess you made on my sofa.”

“It’s not your sofa.”

“Look, Goldilocks. If your car can’t handle the blizzard, you can wait until the storm clears. That’s the best I am willing to give.” He stuffed his thumbs in his jeans and cowboy sauntered down the hall near the front door.

Wrong move, mountain man. She picked up the receiver of the old rotary phone and dialed nine as he swaggered back into the room holding a photograph. “See these two guys?” He tapped the picture.

“Yeah,” she said, laying the phone back in the cradle. “The one on the left is my great-grandpa, Jack.”

“You are a Windermere?” He rolled his eyes. “Well, if that just doesn’t wreck a day. No one told me there was a girl your age in their clan.” He tapped the other man in the photo. “This one on the right is my great-granddad, Fred.”

“A Tucker?”

“Got that right.”

She took the picture from him and looked at the men. “Daddy never told me there was a Tucker your age. You’re one of them who stole our antique train.”

“The Lionel?”

“I’ve read the story in grandpa’s journal.”

“And you believed it?”

“More than I’d believe the word of a Tucker.”

Now that she knew he hadn’t broken into the place, throwing him out into the blizzard, even if he appeared more than capable of handling the rough outdoors, didn’t seem right. It wasn’t his fault he was a Tucker. “Warm yourself then leave.”

“Lady, I’ve come to this cabin the second week in December for the last four years. Lodge rules allow me to stay as long as I maintain the cabin.”

It was the 1800’s, way before the train incident, when their families first built this beautiful mountain dwelling together. Long before the feud that severed their families’ friendship. He was right. Had she visited even once, she wouldn’t have lost her assigned time. She sighed. Technically, he had the right to stay. Dad would be so disappointed.

The wind whistled against the glass. Tucker slid the living room curtain aside. “Great. There’s no way to leave. A snow drift blocked the road.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary's list of ways to enjoy a day. She has lived on an island, near the Rocky Mountains, in the city, and in the ?deep country where stars shine like diamonds. 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 about her recent stories. Sail on a pirate ship, zip-line through redwoods. Join the fun! Sign up at her website: http://www.maryveewriter.com

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ABOUT CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY

 

High in the Rocky Mountains, the front door to the Windermere lodge banged open with a burst of icy wind snapping at Sam’s face. She cowered back toward the sofa, staring at a six-foot intruder covered with snow. Get ready for a blizzard mountain Romeo and Juliet tale, add a spice of City Slicker with McCoy and Hatfield for a heart-warming, Christmas story worth sitting next to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  This is a Christmas with the Enemy.

 

 

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Comments

Mary Vee From House in the Woods At 11/20/2020 5:13:35 PM

Thank you for inviting me to your fabulous blog. If any of the readers would like to learn more about this story, feel free to contact me: maryveewriter@gmail.com

Reply by: Linda Wood Rondeau

My pleasure

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