The Christmas Dinner That Almost Wasn’t – A Guest Blog from PG Forte
It’s still two days before Christmas as I’m writing this and, at this point, I’m not altogether certain I’ll be cooking Christmas dinner this year. I woke up several days ago to find my heretofore perfectly reliable range had given up the ghost overnight. A burned out heating element was the best educated guess we could receive and the decision was made to get a new stove.
And a very merry Christmas to me! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so enamored of an appliance in my life. It’s pretty. It’s black and stainless steel so that it actually matches all the other appliances in the kitchen—matching is important. Best of all, it came with a free cast iron pizza tray. Those of you who know me or know my books, know I lovecast iron with kind of an unholy passion. So, to quote Penelope Ann Miller imitating Marlon Brando in The Freshman (yes, I’m dating myself. But if you’ve never seen this movie, do yourself a favor and rent it) “Now I’m happy.”
Or, at least, I was when it was delivered, late yesterday afternoon. My elation lasted for all of several minutes, until we realized that—apparently—the old stove in its death throes (which somehow went unnoticed, go figure) also took out the outlet…or shorted the system…or burned out the wiring…we don’t really know yet. Basically, it did something that meant the new range doesn’t work either and won’t until some point on Christmas Eve when, hopefully, the electrician can resolve our issues…after an estimated several hours during which time we won’t have any power at all.
Really? I love candlelight and chestnuts roasting on an open fire as much as the next person but…really?
Whatever. It’s a minor annoyance and I’m sure it will all work out fine. It’s hardly a disaster after all, just mildly disappointing to my kids who missed out on Thanksgiving this year and were looking forward to a home-cooked holiday meal. But they’re here, they’re safe, they’re healthy and even if we end up with no power through the holiday, it would not be the end of the world…oh, I forgot, that was last Friday, wasn’t it?
In this scene, it’s Christmas morning and my characters are just about to enjoy breakfast…
“Help yourself to coffee if you want,” Aldo told him as he returned to the table carrying the two mugs he’d refilled and some kind of egg dish he’d retrieved from the oven.
Caleb nodded. “Okay, thanks.” Was it just his imagination, or was the expression on Aldo’s face this morning extra frosty? He felt his hackles rise and willed them back down. He didn’t want to be mad this morning. He was getting tired of walking around angry all the time. Of course, he didn’t want to be attracted to the other man all the time either. He took a deep breath and tried for a smile. “What’s that you got there? It looks good.”
“It’s a frittata,” Aldo answered in clipped, disinterested tones.
“It’s not just a frittata,” Sally corrected. “It’s a delicious frittata. He makes it every year, just for Christmas—see all the red and green bits?”
Aldo sighed. “They’re called peppers, honey. Red and green bell peppers.”
Sally laughed. Caleb loved the teasing note in her voice as she said, “You’re so picky this morning. What does it matter anyway? You both knew what I meant.”
“Well, let’s see,” Aldo answered. “When you perform a surgery, do you refer to the specific body part you’re operating on at all? Or do you just point and say, ‘Let’s cut out that bit there’?”
Sally shook her head. “Caleb, honey, he’s picking on me. Tell the mean, old detective how professional I am.”
There it was again, that soft little note in her voice. He could get seriously addicted to that. “Always.” Caleb smiled and poured himself some coffee.
“She uses all the big words too. She’s probably just dumbing things down now so you can follow along.”
“Oh, I’m so sure.” Aldo rolled his eyes. “You can manage bigger words than ‘bit’? You have no idea how relieved I am.” Frowning at his plate, Aldo added, “And for the record, I make no claims for the quality of this dish. It’s highly unlikely it will be delicious this year. I’m guessing inedible will be closer to the mark, given how long I was forced to keep it in the warmer—through no fault of my own, I might add.”
Sally laughed again. “Look at you. You’re such a kitchen diva this morning! What’s up with that, anyway? You know how awesome you are. Who’re you trying to impress?”
From across the room, Caleb watched them enviously, marveling at how amazing they were together. Did they even realize it? And did either of them have any idea how much they were turning him on right now—with their smiles and their glances, their playful banter? Aldo by himself, when it was just the two of them, still had a tendency to piss Caleb off, but put him together with Sally? Totally different dynamic. Every eye roll, every smile had Caleb aching to be a part of it, to laugh and play together like that. To laugh and play together like that in bed, all three of them—oh yeah, that’s just what he needed.
Blurb: Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.
Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. He’s seeking the truth about himself and those missing memories.
Aldo’s an undercover cop who just might have the answers to Caleb’s questions. But if Caleb’s the man Aldo thinks he is, how can he let him get away a second time?
Then there’s Sally; she’s an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo’s late partner, Davis. Sally’s not dealing with widowhood very well. In fact, it’s getting harder, every day, just to find a reason to keep getting out of bed. If the truth about the men’s shared past comes to light, she could lose them both. Along with her last, best reason to go on living.
This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they’ve found once they’ve found it? Yeah, that’s gonna be the hard part.