Excerpt from Winter's Fyre

"Can you give me a description again of the guy, in case I might see him around?" The man pulled a small spiral notebook out of his jacket pocket.

"Umm, young. In his late twenties or early thirties. Dark hair. Blue eyes. About your height."

"What was he wearing?"

"Uhh...nothing."

The deputyís eyes grew larger. "Pardon? Nothing?"

"Not a thing. He was bare as the day he was born," she told him.

"Can I ask what he was doing in your bedroom, uhh, naked?"

The vision of the stranger bringing himself to the point of ecstasy threw a hot rush of embarrassment into her face. "I-I-I guess he was getting ready for bed, and he happens to like sleeping in the buff. Hell, I donít know, Dennis. I saw a naked man and bolted." She gave a nervous giggle. "I didnít stop to ask him who he was or where he came from."

"Thatís all right. Look, Iíll put the word out and weíll be sure to keep our eyes open for this guy. Unless he kept a change of clothes nearby, he may be out there in the snow freezing his balls off. Either that, or heís sought shelter elsewhere because he sure isnít in this house anymore." The deputy gave her a friendly pat on the shoulder and looked her in the eye. "If this guy shows up again, donít hesitate to call us back. Got that?"

"Sure," Shelby answered as the deputy went over to where the receiver was still off the hook. He spoke a few words into the phone before hanging it up.

"Well, Iíll go file a report. Have a Merry Christmas, Shelby."

"Thanks, Dennis. You, too. Tell Vicky Ďhií for me."

"I will."

She watched him traipse through the snow and get back into his car. It wasnít until a blast of cold air came through the door that Shelby closed and locked it. Immediately her eyes slid back to the hallway. She needed to change into something warmer, plus get some socks over her frozen toes. But that meant going back into her bedroom where that guy hadó

óvanished.

Ohmygosh! He did!

Her legs were already taking her back to the bedroom before she was aware of her actions. Her daddy had always claimed that a good defense was a good offense. And, hell, she wasnít about to be frightened out of her home by some pervert!

The room was empty, as she half-expected it to be. Stopping beside the foot of her bed, Shelby glared at the walls around her. "Hey, you! You bastard. Show yourself, you prick! What in hell were you doing in my bedroom?" She waited, listening. Believing she was as prepared as she hoped.

Nothing.

"Guess youíre too chicken to face me again, huh? Now that Iíve seen your dinky dick and what you have to do to get any action!" she taunted, and paused again.

Still nothing.

"Okay, Shelby. You gave it the old college try. Maybe you just imagined the guy in here. Maybe thatís why he vanished when he tried to touch you." Talking aloud had always helped her get her thoughts in order. This time it was helping to chase away the last of the tremors.

Mentally squaring her shoulders, she turned to go into the bathroom when a figure loomed in the doorway. Still naked except for the fluffy blue towel draped around his middle and an angry glare on his face.

Shelby gave another little shriek, threw a hand over her mouth, and literally fell back onto the bed in shock.

"Iíll ignore that dinky dick remark if youíll tell me what the fuck youíre doing in my bedroom," the man demanded.

The comment rankled. Immediately Shelby retaliated before she had a chance to think. "Your bedroom? Since when?"

"Since I bought the place!" he raged.

He hadnít made another move toward her, but it irritated her to see him dripping water all over her hardwood floor. On top of that, his towel was slowly heading south. Shelby tried to ignore it. "What do you mean, you bought it?" She let out a nervous albeit angry giggle when he had to grab the towel to stop its descent. "This inn has been in my family for nearly thirty years, buster! And Iím not about to sell it!"

The man looked confused. Good for him. "Then explain to me how I was able to purchase it a month ago and move in. And why are youó" His words suddenly stopped, and that paleness creep back into his face. "Oh, shit."

"What?" She watched as he glanced around, then turned to look behind him. Since he didnít seem to mind the puddle of water gathering at his feet, Shelby was of half a mind to jerk that towel right off of him, and bend down between his legs and...mop it up.

Nice going, her little devil praised her with a shit-eating grin. Let him. Now that her initial fear was over, she was getting to appreciate the sight of those bumpy abs and wide pecs. Not to mention the bulge starting to show in the center of the towel. The blue towel.

Blue towel? Wait minute. She didnít have blue towels like that one. Not any solids ones, anyway.

She started to mention the fact when he stopped examining the room, and his eyes bored directly into hers. "What day is this?"

"Day? Christmas Eve. Why?"

"Whatís your name?" he almost growled, and the sound sent a little shiver through her as well as pricked her anger.

"My name is Shelby Fyre. This is the Fyreside Inn. And you, Mr. Jerk Off, are trespassing!"

She started to stomp out of the bedroom and head back to the telephone when the man made a move to stop her. She threw up her arms to ward him offó

óand he was gone. Again. Just like that.