Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gingersnaps: Cupid by Sierra Dafoe

Gingersnaps: Cupid
by Sierra Dafoe

cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-112-1
Genre(s): Paranormal, Hot Flashes
Theme(s): Shapeshifters, Christmas, Seasonal Themes
Series: Gingersnaps
Length: Hot Flash


Cold and heartless, thoughtless boy

Who’s never felt that which you destroy…

Cursed by a witch over a practical joke, Cupid is doomed to centuries of life as a reindeer, unable to be freed until he falls in love. But how likely is that to ever happen, when all anyone sees when they look at him is a reindeer?
For Mercy Devers, all anyone sees when they look at her is the scar marring half her face, left by the fire which claimed her parents' life. Ashamed of her disfigurement, she lives as a recluse, only creeping out at night to wander the town where she grew up.
Until one Christmas Eve when she spies an ice sculpture in the town square. An ice sculpture of a reindeer so beautiful it takes her breath away…


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The street was as silent as she’d hoped. Not even the markings of tires marred the smooth whiteness of the roadway, two inches deep in new-fallen snow. Somewhere in the distance she could hear the rumble and beep-beep-beep of the snowplow, but the sound was comfortably far off, increasing rather than shattering her sense of solitude.
Then she shivered, finally feeling the cold. But as she started back up Main Street, her gaze was drawn to the town square where line after line of tiny, twinkling lights had been strung between the snow-crusted oaks. White and gold and blue and green, they glimmered like fairy lamps, reflecting off the gleaming, otherworldly shapes set here and there beneath the trees.
Ice sculptures. Dimly, she remembered reading something about a contest in the local paper. Drawn almost against her will, she crossed the empty street, stepped off the sidewalk -- and gasped in wonder at the beauty before her.
Frozen mermaids frolicked on the fluted curves of a clam shell. Behind them, a castle reared spires as delicate as glass toward the sky. A whale, its back dusted with the still-falling snow, hung seemingly weightless as a bird on its slender pedestal, while ice swans floated on a surface like a pool of polished glass.
Her face glowing with unconscious delight, Mercy moved among them, transfixed by their unearthly beauty.
Then she froze, her mouth falling open in a small, soundless “Oh!” as she caught sight of the life-sized reindeer, standing apart from the others, tucked away into the shadows between two snow-covered firs.
He was perfect. Absolutely perfect. From the long, sturdy legs to the muscular flanks to the nostrils flaring as if on the verge of drawing breath, he was so beautiful, so real that the mere sight of him made her heart clench with wonder. And yet he looked so solitary standing there by himself, his head bowed, his graceful neck drooping, the translucent silver antlers seeming to weigh it down like grief.
He looked like the epitome of loneliness -- a loneliness the sculptor had somehow captured, as if encasing a living soul within the smooth, shining ice. And here he would stand, day after day, night after night, frozen forever in unbreakable solitude…
Her fingers, red with cold, slid along the glassy ice. She’d expected it to be smooth but, she realized, even the indentations of his fur had been chiseled with meticulous perfection. Somehow that unexpected roughness made everything worse -- it made him too real, too lifelike. A tear slid down her cheek and, unable to help herself, she leaned her head against the strong, downcast curve of his neck.
She could almost convince herself that the rough ice beneath her cheek really was fur, that the reindeer leaned into her slightly, his warm weight returning her embrace the only way he could, that the neck against which she leaned shifted, the massive head coming up to rest against her shoulder, one sorrowful brown eye gazing deep into her own…
Mercy stumbled backward, falling flat on her butt as the reindeer stepped forward, his antlers lifting toward the sky. Then, with a quiver like a dog shaking off water, the reindeer was gone. In his place was a man, so perfectly formed that the scream welling up in her throat tangled up on itself, coming out as no more than a gurgling gasp.
Jesus, he was beautiful! Naked, motionless, he stood in the snow as graceful as a statue. Powerful thighs rose to lean, smooth hips. Mercy stared, gaping, at the sight of his sex -- she’d never seen a naked man in the flesh before. Somehow she hadn’t expected it to be so… so… big. Wasn’t it only supposed to be that big when erect?

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