Today we have Gracen Miller, author of Pandora’s Box and Madison’s Life Lessons, with us on the blog! She’s sharing an exclusive scene from Pandora’s Box that you can’t find anywhere else! She’s also doing a giveaway!
Happy Holidays, readers! What puts you in the mood for the Holidays? For me, it certainly is not the commercial rush of the season. That aggravates me! What does it for me is putting up the Christmas tree with my boys, or decorating the mantel. It’s the simple things that put me in the holiday spirit. What about you, what puts you in the holiday spirit?
For Madison and Phoenix, lead characters in my recently released book Pandora’s Box (book one in the Road to Hell Series), it’s something just as simple that puts them in the holiday spirit. Below is a taste into their world, an idyllic moment that is rare for their tumultuous lives. This snippet cannot be found anywhere and it’s not in my book, so enjoy, and let me know what you think and you will be entered to win!
Madison gazed out the dingy window of Pancake Decadence, a pit stop located on the edge of Highway 69 to nowhere. A trucker maneuvered his rig with ease into the dirt-packed wasteland of trash and winter brittle weeds to the side of the café. Deep ruts and tire tracks proclaimed the tract of land a long running make-do parking lot.
Sipping coffee so strong it settled like cement in her belly, she peered over the rim at her six-year-old son, Amos, slapping the buttons on the old-fashioned pinball machine. A chip red-flagged the rim of the coffee mug and a stained crack along the side indicated the mug was long past its expiration date. Madison didn’t care about either, so long as it served up coffee. At this point in her journey, she’d take a dirty I.V. of the brew straight into her veins if possible.
Gouged out spots blighted the dirty linoleum floor. Like acne pock-marking a face with such severity it promised to scar the flesh forever. The aged flooring needed replacing. The dated table wobbled on the uneven floor and the vinyl booth held a ragged tear in the center of the seat. Comfort hadn’t been high on her priority list in a long while, so she wiggled a butt-cheek into the tear for a unique level of seating.
Christmas morning at four a.m. and she and Amos were stuck in a dive dining on an early morning fare of pancakes. Lonely and scared, she would call it a low point in her life if she hadn’t already lost her husband and her otherwise normal life.
Strands of Christmas lights bunched along the top of the windows resembled curtain swags. They twinkled on some random cycle, none of them in sync.Merry Christmas was spray painted with a can of snow on the window to her right, along with a painted ensemble of red and green use-your-imagination-ornaments. Or at least she thought they were supposed to be ornaments.
A spindly tree sat in the corner of the café near the entrance to the bathrooms. Madison felt pity for the thing. Leaning to one side, with several branches hanging low from the weight of the ornaments, it was definitely on its last leg. A light breeze would set it on its side.
Good thing, you’re not by the door, little guy, Madison contemplated with a skeptical eye.
Tacky decorations, but they lent the place a redneck kind of charm. She was southern, so she knew rednecks intimately.
Madison lifted her fork, cut out another bite of pancakes and swirled it in syrup. Closing her eyes on a moan, she savored the sweet taste and the fluffy texture hitting her tongue. Only orgasms compared to this self-indulgence!
Ha! Self-indulgence was her picking up the cell and calling Phoenix. After almost a year on the road, she’d give anything to see him. A friendly face. Someone that understood what she was going through. Not that Phoenix owed her anything, but she’d hoped he would answer her desperate call and agree to meet them for the holidays. Ridiculous really since she was a hard and fast devout atheist—or had been. Kind of hard to remain dedicated to that doctrine knowing what she now knew.
Foolish of her to expect more from Phoenix, but others in her life had already proven how naïve she was. Phoenix had a family to spend Christmas with and she and Amos weren’t part of that family. He’d helped her all he could with her supernatural pests and she had left him on her front lawn, declaring she and Amos must take this journey on their own. Loneliness was a hard companion and she was long overdue for some adult conversation.
The bell above the door dingled, announcing a new customer and Madison glanced up, expecting to see the trucker.
“Nix!” she exclaimed on a shocked breath.
Phoenix Birmingham in the flesh! Wearing ratty low-slung jeans, a wrinkled black t-shirt that stretched like a second skin across his chest and his uncle’s hand-me-down leather bomber. To Madison he was the most exciting creation since the invention of the internet. And her heart agreed, racing faster than the tattoo of a jackhammer as he smiled at her, a slow, wicked grin that revealed his sexy dimples. Dimples she was sure had charmed the pants off a number of women.
A bevy of strong pleasure kicked her in the belly, snatched her breath away and yanked her along a joyride of emotions. None of which she wanted to dissect too closely.
He rounded the backside of the booth and instead of sitting opposite her he tugged her out of the seat and enveloped her in a fierce hug. Being in the man’s arms was better than an orgasm.
“I’m your gift from Amos,” he said low against her ear.
Dear God, what a loaded statement!
Bizarre how the simple things in life—like having Nix with her on Christmas morning—meant so much more to her than a designer label, a nice house or a fancy car. Oh, how drastically her life had changed and how meaningless it had once been.
Nix kissed her forehead and Madison knew this Christmas would officially go down as her best one ever!
Want to read more of Madison and Phoenix’s exploits? Well, you can in my novel, Pandora’s Box, Book One in The Road to Hell Series, out now from Decadent Publishing.
Wait! Don’t run off yet! Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to WIN an e-copy of Pandora’s Box! As an added bonus, every person that leaves a comment will receive an e-copy of Madison’s Life Lessons (prequel to Pandora’s Box) by leaving me their email address with the format they prefer the book in (Kindle, Nook or pdf). The first three chapters of both books can be read on my blog listed below.
Where you can stalk me—not really!—but I would love to meet and interact with you:
Road to Hell series FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Road-to-Hell-series/112564408814796?ref=ts
Thanks so much for having me with you, Brea!