I have to admit, with all the holiday celebrations going on, I forgot today is the first Thursday of the month, my day to post…So here I am, shooting from the hip…
Recently, I read that world wide the most common birthday is Oct. 5th. (Count back forty weeks, and yes, you have New Year’s.) Having said that, I think we know how people around the world celebrate the coming of a new year.
Centuries ago, people believed they could affect their luck for the next year by what they did, what they ate, or who they spent the first day of the year with, therefore, New Year’s Eve parties became popular and lasted late into the night. It was also thought the first visitor of the year could either signify good or bad luck for the entire year. If the first visitor of the year was a tall, dark-haired man, it would be a very lucky year. Hmmm….That could make a good beginning for a romance novel...
Halfway open, the door stalled as Lydia Sue Morton tightened her grip around the handle pressed against her palm. The stranger, with shoulders like mountain tops, frosted with a layer of shimmering snowflakes, had one hand braced on the door jam, the other resting on the six-shooter strapped to his hip. One front flap of his well-worn duster, tucked behind the pearl handle, highlighted the weapon.
Her mouth went dry. Grandma Wilson’s old mantel clock, eerie sounding even in the light of day, had chimed midnight sometime ago, and the bone-chilling temperature, not to mention the snowdrifts and howling wind blowing in the new year, weren’t fit for traveling across the barren plains of eastern Colorado. Wishing for the umpteenth time she didn’t live alone in the small shanty, a good three hours west of Towner, Lydia gulped, wet her dry lips, and swallowed again, before croaking, “Can I help you?”
Dark eyes, as cold as the wind whipping up her skirts, making her toes curl inside the thick, wool socks, glared at her. Then they rolled back, and all six and half feet of the man fell forward, knocking the door wide and her off her feet as he landed on the kitchen floor like a fallen oak. His hat, leaving a trail of snowflakes, tumbled across the planked wood.
With a final twirl, the hat hit her thigh. Heart in her throat, she thrust the hat aside, and using her heels and the palms of her hands, scrambled backwards, further away from the prone form. The heat of the wood stove, the same one she’d banked for the night hours ago, penetrated the thinness of the wrapper covering her shoulders. She stopped shy of bumping into the hot cast iron. Gaze locked on the man and holding her breath, she kicked her feet to untwist the hem of her long nightdress. Flipping onto her knees, she stared, searched his bulky mass for movement.
That’s when she noticed the long, jagged gash oozing blood into the thick, raven-black hair on the back of his head. Memories locked in the back of her mind, leaped forward, clambering, scrambling to be recalled. Her heart sank to the very pit of her stomach. An icy chill, having nothing to do with the weather, gripped her spine. “Oh, no, not again,” she groaned.
Ugh, that should teach me not to shoot from the hip! I already have too many stories vying for space in my head. LOL If anyone wants to continue we can create a round robin story, feel free to take over where I left off.
I hope you all have a very Happy New Year, and that 2009 brings you all the romance you dream of!
P.S. I just have to mention Shotgun Bride, The Quinter Brides Book One, has been on the Fictionwise Bestselling List for over two weeks! Yippee!