Christmas on Wherever Island by Amber Polo
The sun sank lower and slipped into the sea in a splash of white afterglow. Marti turned away from the water and walked as fast as she could in the soft sand toward lights and people.
Raucous dancing bodies surrounded the thatched beach bar strung with flashing red and green Christmas lights, garlands, and glitzy tinsel. Next to a red and black metal Guinness is Good for You sign, she thought she saw the same Santa. Now she wasn’t sure. Everywhere she turned she saw green-eyed, black Santa Clauses. This Santa swayed to the rhythm of the steel drums and sang about calypso jingle bells. Cliff pulled her through dancing bodies to the bar.
Santa smiled, stopped his song, and held out a square of dark cake.
Marti smelled molasses and ginger and rum...and something else. She wrinkled her nose.
“Ah, ma little lady in red, you come for your cake?”
She reached to take it, but with a shake of his head he pulled back his hand. “No, no. Make da wish first.”
She closed her eyes, and thought, Let me be happy.
“Ah, a good one. Miss.” Santa handed her the cake. “And here.” Into her other hand he placed a paper cup of dark red liquor. He winked. “Da wish will not come true without a bit of island nectar.”
She turned from his piercing green gaze and walked back toward the cottage.
Cliff found her looking out over the now-empty beach to the moonlit ocean.
She licked her fingers. “This is the best fruitcake ever.”
“Some call it wedding cake.”
“Oh. Well. It’s good. But I don’t know about the drink.” She sniffed. “Heavy on rum and licorice...and mango.”
“And magic. Santa Mon says your wish wouldn’t come true if you don’t drink.” He downed his in one swallow. “See. The red is from sorrel. From hibiscus. It’s safe.”
She sipped, then drank hers, licking the last sweet drop from the paper cup’s rim. She immediately stood to go in. Her head spun so dizzily she sat back down.
“Yes.” She closed her eyes. Two moons twirled. Her body swayed. “Too much sun,” she explained as her knees bent and she collapsed into Cliff’s arms.
About The Author:
Amber Polo has had a lifelong love affair with libraries and dogs. A fascination with lost ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new urban fantasy series filled with librarian dog-shifters.
“Released” Book One of The Shapeshifters' Library celebrates St. Nicholas Eve as a magic night for the dog-shifters. They celebrate in the old style with wassail, gingerkucken, and old fashioned traditions. Share their fun. Read The Shapeshifters’ Library Book One.
TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY:
Enter to win a copy of The Shapeshifters’ Library, a Starbarks Coffee Hound mug, plus some treats for your favorite dog.
Buy links for Released: Amazon
Book Trailer for Christmas On Wherever Island: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4enl721U0s
Wherever Island Christmas Fruitcake
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
Reserve 1 cup, re-sift the remainder with:
1 t cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg
¼ t. mace
½ t. salt
¾ t. baking soda
Use some of the mixture to coat:
1 cup raisons
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup citrus peel/citron
1 cup candied cherries
1 cup figs
1 cup nuts of your choice
1 10 oz can crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
Until thickened about 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Do not burn. Cool.
When cool stir in:
½ cup apricot jam or marmalade
1 cup rum or pineapple juice or combo
Cream ½ lb butter until soft
1 cup sugar
Beat in 6 eggs, one at a time.
Stir in dry ingredients slowly, alternating with pineapple mixture. Pour over flour coated fruits and nuts and mix well.
Preheat to 275 degrees. Fills 1 4x8 loaf pan and 1 9” tube pan. Grease cake pans (line with greased brown paper or foil if you do that). Fill pans 1” from top and bake until a skewer comes out clean - 3 ½ to 5 hours depending on size of pans. Cool on rack. If you make the cake ahead of time, go ahead and soak a cheesecloth in rum and wrap in foil, Freezing also helps blend the flavors. When ready to serve decorate with almond paste or icing.
Recipe can be doubled to fill 3 graduated wedding cake pans.
Serve with a dusting of magic!
Marti Bell is facing the prospect of a very unmerry Christmas. Reluctantly leaving her married lover, she travels toward ice, snow, and judgmental family until a magic Santa sends her to a surprise destination in the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Wherever Island would be paradise, except the only place to stay is the beachside cottage of gorgeous globetrotting photographer Cliff Holmes. Cliff wants to unwind and treat Marti to a little romantic Caribbean Christmas fun but she’s determined to stay in the warm ocean and out of hot water