Holiday Date Night: Magical. Or Is It?
Hi, all. I’m Ava Miles, a contemporary romance writer with a unique obsession for Gone With The Wind—rather like my hero’s mother in my new Christmas story called THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, part of my Dare Valley series. I’d like to thank RomCon for giving me the opportunity to share the fun behind my newest release.
I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but I think it has more fun dating venues than any other time of year. There are things to do like going ice skating.
And that’s what my hero, professional poker player Rhett Butler Blaylock cooks up for the woman he’s in love with. They live in the small town of Dare Valley, Colorado, which has a picturesque ice skating rink in the middle of their Norman Rockwell-like town square.
Rhett’s never ice skated, but he’s won millions of dollars playing poker, so he thinks, how hard can it be?
Big Mistake. Take a look at this excerpt and see what I mean.
Rhett bought the tickets, and together, they put on their rental skates, sitting in the metal chairs that lined the outdoor rink. Couples skated by—and many times one partner was clearly better than the other, helping their loved one stay upright with each slip and trip.
Kids screamed at each other as they skated past, some looking like they’d been born with blades on their feet, others doing a hop-hop-hop, arms flailing before they took a dive and slid across the ice like they were trying to get to second base.
Christmas music boomed over the loud speakers arranged around the rink. Right now, Bing Crosby was crooning “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” His mama would have loved it.
Hands pulling at her laces, Abbie said, “I’m really relieved they spray the skates with Lysol. I mean, you don’t know what people’s feet are like.”
Her voice was so serious, he had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud. Only Abbie would think of something like that.
All laced up, he took her hand. “Okay, let’s go.”
The minute he hit the ice with her, his right foot slid out a few inches. Wisely, he released Abbie’s hand, his arms flailing out like those little kids they’d watched earlier.
And at his whopping height of six foot six, he probably looked like a giraffe about to make a crash landing on the ice.
“Best stay a few yards away until I get the hang of this,” he told her, watching as she tucked her hands behind her back, skated forward like a pro, and then did this ridiculously scary turn he knew would make him break a leg if he tried it.
“You’re a natural!” he beamed, and then his feet jimmied again on the ice, causing him to hop like an out-of-control rabbit.
The smile on her face was the kind that inspired poets. “I can’t beat you at poker, but I’ll best you at this. I took ice skating lessons when we lived in Wyoming. I love it.”
And when she threw her arms out and did another one of those twirly turns, his heart plopped at his feet. God, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and he’d seen a fair amount. He could never get enough of her black hair, green eyes, and porcelain skin…or that wickedly slim yet curvy body.
Then his ankle turned, and he had to fight to stay upright. Shit. Where were his leg muscles? Heck, he worked out, but two minutes on the ice had turned him into Plastic
Man. The dumb things a guy did for a girl.
“Go on and skate ahead. I know you want to,” he said, being realistic. This wasn’t going to be the romantic hand-holding date he’d hoped for.
Mostly because he sucked.
And looked like an idiot. This was not putting him in his best light at all.
She waved and skated off, her feet crisscrossing as she picked up speed on the ice. He tried to follow her, but when he swiveled his head to watch her, his feet did the whole slide-scamper, running-in-place thing again. He’d invented a new skating technique: jogging on the ice like a moron.
The people watching from the sidelines weren’t even trying to contain their laughter.
Terrific. Normally he didn’t mind attention—heck, he invited it—but tonight he’d wanted to lay a metaphorical Christmas cloak at Abbie’s feet like a prince.
Instead, he was trying not to crash onto the ice more than those punishing few times he’d fallen in the beginning. Each time he’d get back up, jaw locked, and think, watch out, kids, I don’t want to crush you as the adolescent skaters zipped past him, guffawing like baboons. When Rhett started complaining to himself about the kids’ antics, he realized he was sounding like an old man.
It was a low point, all right.
Abbie would circle him when she reached him, making him dizzy from something other than her perfume. Then she’d laugh and take off again, her blades calling out swish-swish as they made grooves in the ice.
“I like seeing you like this,” he said as she came to a stop in front of him for what seemed like the hundredth time, a mist of ice from her toe-picks cascading over his own
“I love being out here. The weather is perfect when you wear the right gear, and it’s so freeing.”
Yeah, she did look free—a word that could rarely be used to describe her.
For as long as he’d known her, she’d been chained to the past—a past she’d finally shared with him—and her responsibilities to Dustin, Mac, and the hotel chain.
How wonderful to see her this way. He would do anything he could to put this look on her face every day.
Ah, Rhett. Such a romantic. So, what’s your favorite holiday date night?