Twelve Days

TwelveDays900

Excerpt:

       Judith Norton had been married to Forrest Norton for over fourteen years before he was tragically taken from her when a car struck him when their daughter, Ivy, was nine. She missed her husband dearly, though over the years the pain had all but faded away. It did her heart good to see Ivy finding her own happiness again with the two men who’d rescued her the year before at Christmas.

She watched her daughter standing, (well, fidgeting was more like it) beside the handsome Gareth. The two had dithered over tea for a good twenty minutes. She knew her Ivy as well as any mother knew her child, and it was obvious the two had something important to share.

Of all the secrets Ivy might impart to her, Judith hadn’t quite been prepared to see Gareth morph slowly into a beautiful wolf in front of her. She sipped her tea carefully while observing Ivy who continued to twist her napkin in her fingers. Her daughter handled most things brilliantly, but she’d never done well with family dramatics.

“They’re wolves, Mum.” Ivy gestured to the white wolf standing beside her after Judith failed to comment. He wagged his tail and she flicked his ear lightly. “Wolves.”

“Ivy, dear, I don’t need to know your men are animals in bed.” Judith decided to have a wee bit of fun with her daughter. “Does he chase his tail?”

“No, Mum…” Ivy pinched the bridge of her nose. “This is Gareth in his wolf form.”

“Is it like our Rosie?”

“No, Mum, bloody hell. Honestly, Rosie’s asexual, not a shifter. She doesn’t have sexual relations.” Ivy dropped her head into her hands, clearly completely exasperated. “Gareth, switch back, please?”

“How are you going to marry at church? Can they go into the building?” Judith sipped her tea absently. “Is there a special ceremony for them?”

“They’re not bloody vampires.” Ivy flicked Gareth on the ear when he snorted loudly.

“Do vampires exist then?”

Ivy glanced up at the ceiling and probably hoping for divine intervention or patience. “I have no bloody idea.”

“Ivy.” She reached out to lightly tug on Ivy’s sleeve.

She turned back toward her mum. “Yes?”

“When I was a young girl, my parents used to take your uncles and me on holiday in Cornwall—to the beaches in Newquay.” She paused to pour more tea for the three of them since Gareth had decided to change back finally. Her fingers trembled slightly around the handle of the teapot as she thought of the young man she’d met so many years ago. “I met a young lad there the first time when I was all of twelve. He was very dashing, a few years older than me.   He could do the most extraordinary things and often turned into the loveliest light grey wolf. I’d never seen anything like it. We saw each other every summer, but then when I was seventeen he wasn’t there anymore. I always wondered what happened to him.”

Gareth reached out to grab Ivy’s teacup before it fell out of her hand. “He was light grey?”

“Mmm,” she nodded. Judith brushed her fingers through her short, grey hair. She could still see the handsome boy who seemed to live constantly in her dreams, though they’d faded over time. “His name was Carl. I never did learn his family name.”

“It’s Elmer.” Gareth nudged Ivy with his elbow. “She’s talking about Carl Elmer.”

“The surgeon who works with the pack?” Ivy’s eyes widened in surprise. “Honestly? How bloody…you had a romance with a shifter and never mentioned it. How could you not tell me?”

“Have some tea, dear.” Judith started to reach for the teapot again. “It’ll help calm your nerves.”

Mum.” Ivy ignored the tea and focused on the important facts. “Why were you acting like a completely uninformed berk just now?”

“You know I love winding you up.” Judith’s blue eyes danced with amusement. Her daughter, like her father, was often easy to ruffle with teasing, though she handled more serious matters with a quiet strength. She glanced over at Gareth a moment later. “So you know Carl?”

“I do,” Gareth said easily. “Would you like to see him again?”

Her heart skipped a beat at the very idea. Judith set her cup carefully on the saucer and placed it gently on the tray in front of her. Thirty-seven long years had gone by since she’d last seen Carl—the beautiful lad with sweet, brown eyes. She remembered his carefree smile as he showed her the finer points of surfing. She never imagined after all this time she might see him again.

When Forrest died, Judith devoted all of her attention to raising a young daughter by herself; there hadn’t been time for finding romance again. The years had flown by before she even realized how age had caught up with her. She wasn’t sure she wanted to shatter Carl’s memories of her with the reality of her age.

“Mum?” Ivy reached out to squeeze her hand. “Do you want to see Carl again?”

Judith patted her daughter’s hand. “I’m afraid I’m not the same girl who skipped stones across the water with him.”

“Carl’s a private bloke. He never really talks about his life outside of being a surgeon.” Gareth spoke around a large bit of scone, causing Ivy to swat him on his arm. He smiled at her and Judith couldn’t help but laugh at the way her daughter melted at the boyish grin. “He’s never been married or dated anyone as far as I know. I can have him in London in a few hours.”

“It’s Christmas, Mum.” Ivy’s eyes were filled with love and concern. “Let’s see if a bit of magic isn’t in the air, shall we?”

Despite having numerous misgivings, Judith allowed her Ivy to talk her into heading to the Blackbird office. She sat in one of the spare offices with a warm mug of tea and nattered with her daughter about wedding plans and the upcoming Christmas party. It was a pleasant enough distraction though she still felt as if a herd of Corgis was running rampant in her tummy.

      Nerves like a silly schoolgirl.

The Corgis leapt into her throat when voices and footsteps seemed to pass by the door and linger. Ivy told her not to worry; it would all go bloody brilliantly. She got to her feet and darted out of the room, leaving Judith to her own racing thoughts.

What if he didn’t remember her?

What if he did remember her?

What could he possibly remember about a girl he’d known over thirty years ago?

Judith was struck with a sense of having let her daughter’s Christmas-inspired optimism carry both of them away. Despite the heavy blows life had dealt Ivy, she’d always managed to eventually find an unending amount of hope. It was inherited from her father, along with her dreadful tendency to curse at every little thing.

Bollocks,” Judith whispered when the door handle turned.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, pardon my intrus…” Carl trailed off the minute he glimpsed who was in the room. “Judy?”

 

Available At:

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Reviews for Twelve Days

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Four Stars: “There were lots of laughs in this book as well as some steamy parts. I will be keeping my eye out for these books.” ~ Steamy Book Mama

“If you like shifters as much as I do and you haven’t read these books, you will be salivating and adding all of the books to your wish list after reading this one.
After reading Twelve Days I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of them.” ~ Crazy Four Books

Five Stars: “The perfect festive teasers that will draw you into the world of the Blackbird Pack and all their friends and family too. Love them and highly recommend them to… well… just EVERYONE!” ~ Melissa, Archaeolibrarian

5 super shiny Christmas stars. With some tinsel. And baubles. And dont forget the twinkly lights 🙂” ~ Debbie

 

Reviews: Twelve Days

TwelveDays900

“It’s full of mischief, hot steamy scenes and some little peeks into new relationships forming.  It’s a wonderful little story and I look forward to reading more from this author.” ~ Catherine, Nerd Girl Reviews

“The stories are a perfect bridge between the novels. The added depth to the characters makes me love them even more than I did before. If you haven’t started this series yet, I must ask why. If you love romance, shifters, and a bit of spicy fun, this is a great series. Even though there are so many characters, the stories are so well written, you can follow along with ease. You will get sucked in and feel like you are a part of the Blackbird world, and you won’t want to come out.” ~ Nicole, Books & Pearls – 5 Star

“I have enjoyed getting to know these wonderful, hot and sex-crazed characters. Dahlia really knows how to hook and keep you interested in the ever, fast paced adventures they get into. This novella is just a small, festive taste of what’s to come in their continuing stories.” ~ Books and Beyond Fifty Shades

Twelve Days is live!

TwelveDays900

Synopsis:

There are only twelve days until the Christmas bash Ivy is throwing at Steve and Gareth’s penthouse. How much trouble can a small pack of shifters get into in less than a week? While working to plan the perfect party, she keeps her eye on all of the members of her new family. Each day, a different couple seems to be moving closer together, and she hasn’t even brought out the ruddy mistletoe yet.

At the heart of it all, though, this party started with a wish three years ago for only happy Christmas memories after the worst time of Ivy’s life.

Be warned, things get hot and spicy in this anthology.

Available At:

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Excerpt:

You are cordially invited to the annual Blackbird Security Firm Christmas Bash to be held at the penthouse, hosted by our mate, and yes, you all have to bloody attend.’

 Oh, bollocks.

Spending an hour staring in horror at a party invitation wasn’t exactly a productive use of her time, but Elaine had been hiding in her office all day thanks to losing a bet to Darren the week before. They’d made a less-than-friendly bet about a game of Battlefield which she’d ended up losing. Bollocks. It meant instead of Darren finding a way to get everyone to leave her alone for the holidays, she was forced to wear hideous holiday jumpers until Boxing Day.

Hideous might’ve been a bit of an understatement. Twelve days of holiday jumper monstrosities, Elaine had no idea how she was going to make it through to Christmas. She might have to call in sick for a few days. The blaring colours were certainly making her feel nauseous today.

“Oi, Gibbsy.”

Elaine had been trying to sneak out of the offices and stopped to turn slowly toward Gareth who was leaning out of his office with a smirk on his face. “No.

“I haven’t asked anything.”

“You called me ‘Gibbsy’ which usually implies you think you are about to be charming when in reality, you’re a massive pain in the arse, you furry wanker.” She glared at him. “What do you want?”

“Our lovely mate wants to know if you’re bringing a date to the party.” Gareth’s grin widened to the point of making him look ridiculous. He grinned even wider when she commented on it. “No Mr. Narky Cougar in your life? Should we hire someone?”

“If there was, do you honestly believe I’d introduce him to a bunch of prats like you?” She flipped him off and continued down the hall toward the elevators. If she made it into one, she’d be safe from harassment of the male variety for the rest of the day. Her eyes narrowed on the wolf standing in the elevator when the doors opened, and she snapped at him before he could say anything. “I don’t want to hear about your day or my day or my sweater. Go away, the lot of you.”

Steven raised his hands in surrender while sidestepping out of the lift to avoid Elaine brushing against him as she refused to budge. “Who was it this time?”

“Does it matter? They are all blithering idiots.” Elaine dodged past him inside the lift and hurriedly smacked the button for the first floor. She leaned against the inside wall with a sigh of relief when the doors closed. “Arsey bastards.”

There were things within the realm of impossibility which Elaine Gibbs had long ago decided would never happen for her. She was a ‘mate’ in the ‘share a pint while playing video games’ kind of sense, not in a ‘naked in the shower’ or ‘under the covers’ sort of way. She wasn’t certain a man existed who could see past her often-prickly personality.

She didn’t think love would ever happen for her, though just sex might be nice for once. It was the downside of being the lone cougar shifter in all of Europe—and being beyond socially awkward. She wasn’t exactly opposed to seeing someone who wasn’t a cougar or a shifter.

And it was Christmas time.

Bah-bloody-humbug.

Elaine glared at the repulsively bright decorations in the hallway which had been brought in earlier. They twinkled, which seemed highly unnecessary in her opinion. She’d taken to wearing her sunglasses in the office to avoid having to squint all day. The blinking lights, merry music and blasted cinnamon candles were overwhelming her senses and giving her a ruddy migraine.

She loved her alphas’ brunette fiancée, but the woman was too damn cheerful. All Elaine wanted was to indulge in a good holiday sulk and maybe thrash Josh and Darren on the digital battlefield after work. She always felt so much better when she’d trounced the two mangy bastards. The men were like big brothers—annoying prats who never went away.

Every year the Blackbird pack had a small Christmas party which usually involved a lot of ale, mince pies and very little in the way of actual holiday paraphernalia, but Ivy had decided it should be a proper do this year. It meant Elaine had twelve days to find an iron-clad excuse to blow the whole thing off. She didn’t like her chances.

Fucking Christmas.

She could’ve made it easy on herself and admitted to having problems with any party including more than five or six people. It would unfortunately mean spilling her greatest secret of all. They might be her pack, but bugger it all if she was going to tell them.

Oi.” She cried out when she ploughed into the back of the tall bloke blocking the exit to the building. “Sorry.

“My apologies. Forgive me for so rudely obstructing your path.” The tall bloke gripped her arms to steady her on her feet. She felt a strange surge of energy flow through her at the deep, lyrical voice of the man in front of her. “Were you hurt?”

He looked to be about six inches or so taller than Elaine with broad shoulders and what she briefly felt was a muscular body underneath his impeccably tailored, light-grey suit. His frown deepened when she failed to respond to his second inquiry into whether or not she’d been hurt.

Deciding she’d spent enough time ogling the few dark hairs peeking out from underneath his unbuttoned collar, Elaine tilted her head to peer up into the handsome, refined face of Tarek Alim Kader. She couldn’t help but notice the silken texture of his jet-black hair which had just a few whispers of grey here and there. His dark eyes were filled with concern and a keen interest as he watched her every movement.

She’d never felt quite so strong an urge to touch a man’s skin. It was rich, deep amber—unblemished and smooth. She paled in comparison, quite literally. Her adopted mother always joked her complexion was paler than fresh snow.

And how the hell does any of this help me through the sheer awkwardness of having been blankly staring at him for several minutes?

Alim appeared to be completely unfazed by her silence. “Will you accept my apology?”

 

A Herd of Wild Corgis.

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In Twelve Days,  there are a number of new couples introduced into the Blackbird world. One of my favourites happens to be Carl Elmer, one of the pack doctors, and Judith Norton, Ivy’s mother.  They’re adorable together and have a history which surprised Ivy(and me while I was writing).  I thought I’d share the teensiest of sneak peeks.

The Excerpt:

     “Mum?” Ivy reached out to squeeze her hand. “Do you want to see Carl again?”

      Judith patted her daughter’s hand. “I’m afraid I’m not the same girl who skipped stones across the water with him.”

      “Carl’s a private bloke. He never really talks about his life outside of being a surgeon.” Gareth spoke around a large bit of scone, causing Ivy to swat him on his arm. He smiled at her and Judith couldn’t help but laugh at the way her daughter melted at the boyish grin. “He’s never been married or dated anyone as far as I know. I can have him in London in a few hours.”

      “It’s Christmas, Mum.” Ivy’s eyes were filled with love and concern. “Let’s see if a bit of magic isn’t in the air, shall we?”

      Despite having numerous misgivings, Judith allowed her Ivy to talk her into heading to the Blackbird office. She sat in one of the spare offices with a warm mug of tea and nattered with her daughter about wedding plans and the upcoming Christmas party. It was a pleasant enough distraction though she still felt as if a herd of Corgis was running rampant in her tummy.

      Nerves like a silly schoolgirl.

      The Corgis leapt into her throat when voices and footsteps seemed to pass by the door and linger. Ivy told her not to worry; it would all go bloody brilliantly. She got to her feet and darted out of the room, leaving Judith to her own racing thoughts.

      What if he didn’t remember her?

      What if he did remember her?

      What could he possibly remember about a girl he’d known over thirty years ago?

      Judith was struck with a sense of having let her daughter’s Christmas-inspired optimism carry both of them away. Despite the heavy blows life had dealt Ivy, she’d always managed to eventually find an unending amount of hope. It was inherited from her father, along with her dreadful tendency to curse at every little thing.

      “Bollocks,” Judith whispered when the door handle turned.

      “Oh, I’m so sorry, pardon my intrus…” Carl trailed off the minute he glimpsed who was in the room. “Judy?”

      It might’ve been years since Judith had seen him last, but underneath the now-greying hair and the smattering of wrinkles was the same sweet smile. The dashing lad she’d met on a beach in Newquay stood before her all grown-up, weathered by time. It was as if time had simultaneously stood still and leapt backward thirty-plus years all at once.

      “Judy?” He lifted his hand up to rub the back of his neck, a familiar gesture. “I don’t understand.”

      “I’m Ivy’s mother.” Judith managed to stammer out the words while staring rather stupidly at the leather bracelet around his wrist. “You still have it?”

      Carl glanced down at the braided bracelet with a sheepish smile. “It hasn’t been out of my sight since the day you gave it to me.”

      They spoke at the same time and stopped. He chuckled the familiar laugh, though it seemed deeper than the one she remembered. He moved across the room to sit on the couch beside her and the heat from his body seemed to leap across the gap between their legs. Judith grazed her finger across the faded and cracked leather on his arm.

      “There are an inordinately large number of women named Judith in London, did you know?” Carl covered her fingers with his hand. “I searched for you for years and never found you. Are you married?”

      “Widowed.” Judith twisted to the side so she was facing him. She refused to act like a shy girl in her teens. “And you, no bevy of lovely ladies?”

      “Just the one.” Carl’s fingers gripped hers when she attempted to pull her hand away. She relished the warmth and strength in his touch. “Just the one who danced along the sand on a moonlight night in Cornwall. You stole my heart Judy, and I’d like to know if I’m too late to steal yours.”

      “I’m old.”

      “Don’t be ridiculous.” Carl lifted her hand to graze his lips against her knuckles. “You’re still the most radiant woman I’ve ever laid eyes on.”

      “And you still have a wicked way with words.”

      “I’d give anything for another chance.” He watched her intently while his thumb caressed her hand. “Have dinner with me?”

      “Why?”

Find out whether she says yes in Twelve Days now available for pre-order from Amazon:

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Coming Soon – Twelve Days

TwelveDays900

Excerpt:

You are cordially invited to the annual Blackbird Security Firm Christmas Bash to be held at the penthouse, hosted by our mate, and yes, you all have to bloody attend.’

 Oh, bollocks.

Spending an hour staring in horror at a party invitation wasn’t exactly a productive use of her time, but Elaine had been hiding in her office all day thanks to losing a bet to Darren the week before. They’d made a less-than-friendly bet about a game of Battlefield which she’d ended up losing. Bollocks. It meant instead of Darren finding a way to get everyone to leave her alone for the holidays, she was forced to wear hideous holiday jumpers until Boxing Day.

Hideous might’ve been a bit of an understatement. Twelve days of holiday jumper monstrosities, Elaine had no idea how she was going to make it through to Christmas. She might have to call in sick for a few days. The blaring colours were certainly making her feel nauseous today.

“Oi, Gibbsy.”

Elaine had been trying to sneak out of the offices and stopped to turn slowly toward Gareth who was leaning out of his office with a smirk on his face. “No.

“I haven’t asked anything.”

“You called me ‘Gibbsy’ which usually implies you think you are about to be charming when in reality, you’re a massive pain in the arse, you furry wanker.” She glared at him. “What do you want?”

“Our lovely mate wants to know if you’re bringing a date to the party.” Gareth’s grin widened to the point of making him look ridiculous. He grinned even wider when she commented on it. “No Mr. Narky Cougar in your life? Should we hire someone?”

“If there was, do you honestly believe I’d introduce him to a bunch of prats like you?” She flipped him off and continued down the hall toward the elevators. If she made it into one, she’d be safe from harassment of the male variety for the rest of the day. Her eyes narrowed on the wolf standing in the elevator when the doors opened, and she snapped at him before he could say anything. “I don’t want to hear about your day or my day or my sweater. Go away, the lot of you.”

Steven raised his hands in surrender while sidestepping out of the lift to avoid Elaine brushing against him as she refused to budge. “Who was it this time?”

“Does it matter? They are all blithering idiots.” Elaine dodged past him inside the lift and hurriedly smacked the button for the first floor. She leaned against the inside wall with a sigh of relief when the doors closed. “Arsey bastards.”

There were things within the realm of impossibility which Elaine Gibbs had long ago decided would never happen for her. She was a ‘mate’ in the ‘share a pint while playing video games’ kind of sense, not in a ‘naked in the shower’ or ‘under the covers’ sort of way. She wasn’t certain a man existed who could see past her often-prickly personality.

She didn’t think love would ever happen for her, though just sex might be nice for once. It was the downside of being the lone cougar shifter in all of Europe—and being beyond socially awkward. She wasn’t exactly opposed to seeing someone who wasn’t a cougar or a shifter.

And it was Christmas time.

Bah-bloody-humbug.

Elaine glared at the repulsively bright decorations in the hallway which had been brought in earlier. They twinkled, which seemed highly unnecessary in her opinion. She’d taken to wearing her sunglasses in the office to avoid having to squint all day. The blinking lights, merry music and blasted cinnamon candles were overwhelming her senses and giving her a ruddy migraine.

She loved her alphas’ brunette fiancée, but the woman was too damn cheerful. All Elaine wanted was to indulge in a good holiday sulk and maybe thrash Josh and Darren on the digital battlefield after work. She always felt so much better when she’d trounced the two mangy bastards. The men were like big brothers—annoying prats who never went away.

Every year the Blackbird pack had a small Christmas party which usually involved a lot of ale, mince pies and very little in the way of actual holiday paraphernalia, but Ivy had decided it should be a proper do this year. It meant Elaine had twelve days to find an iron-clad excuse to blow the whole thing off. She didn’t like her chances.

Fucking Christmas.