Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gingersnaps: Pole Serpent

Gingersnaps: Pole Serpent
by Reneé George

Cover art by Reneé George
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-126-8
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Hot Flashes
Theme(s): Christmas, Seasonal Themes, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, Gay and Lesbian
Series: Gingersnaps
Length: Hot Flash


Mire Darkly just wants to be left alone. Why else would an ice dragon isolate himself in a little town in Mexico during the hottest Christmas ever? Add in a mysterious local guy, a closing bar, and a game of pool -- Mire discovers it’s a combination guaranteed to double the heat.


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“This is totally whack,” Mire Darkly murmured as he wiped the sweat weeping over his brow.
It was Mire’s first night in town, and he was finding the climate, and the locals, less than hospitable or pleasant. Even with it being Christmas (a favorite of the humans), the heat made everyone miserable.
Carelessly, he threw on a pair of cotton shorts, a tank top, and his flip-flops and headed down the stone steps to the lobby bar. Earlier when he’d checked in, there had been a cool breeze from the window air conditioning unit, a saving grace if the bar was still open at two in the morning.
A young man, maybe late twenties, solid build, and thick dark hair, stood behind the bar cleaning a glass with a wet rag Mire suspected was less than fresh. The man unplugged a pitiful sprig strung with colored lights. A poor man’s Christmas tree.
“Cerrado,” the man said, rolling his R’s in a way that made Mire’s flesh dance.
“Uhm, do you speak English? Habla usted ingles?” Mire spoke a little Spanish, not much though, but enough to understand that the man had just told him the bar was “closed.” If he was going to convince him to stay open for a little while, it would help if they were speaking the same language.
The bartender rubbed another glass from the inside out, his intense stare betraying nothing more than boredom. “We’re closed,” he said in response.
“It’s really hot in my room. I was hoping to soak up some air so I could get some sleep.”
“Closed,” the man repeated.
Mire walked over to the pool table. The cool breeze of the air conditioner hit his back, delightfully chilling. His core temperature had to have hit a hundred and twenty degrees easily, and the small unit felt like an arctic blast. “La brisa esta rica,” he said, trying to charm the man with a phrase he knew.
“Look, mister. I don’t know how many ways you need to be told the bar is closed. Cerrado. Fermé. Chiuso. Geschlossen. Closed.”
Well, he was definitely putting a new spin on how Mire viewed the locals. The man had spoken Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English. A dichotomy. An educated guy in an impoverished village, working as a bartender. Getting cool was becoming secondary to his fascination with the local flavor.
“Shouldn’t you be at home with your wife and children? Christmas morning and all that ho-ho stuff.” Mire wasn’t above pursuing a married man, but it was good to know as much about your prey as possible.
“Closed,” the man repeated, giving nothing away.
Mire rolled a ball across the pool table. “I’m Mire Darkly. What’s your name?”
“Nadie.” He put a glass on the pyramid stack behind the bar. “I’m afraid I must ask you to return to your room, or go elsewhere.”
Nobody, huh? If the man wanted to be known as nobody, Mire would oblige. “Well, Nadie. This is a one-horse town, and I’m afraid this bar is the only watering hole.” Mire took off his tank top and rubbed his hand across his chest. “How about we play a game of eight-ball to decide if the place stays open for a while longer or not?”
Nadie put the wet towel over his shoulder. He came out from behind the bar, and Mire noticed his white T-shirt was stained with dust from the red clay that permeated the region. His faded jeans fit him snugly at the hips. His eyes narrowed as he drew closer to his unwelcome customer. “There is nothing in it for me. You win, you win. I win, you’ve succeeded in keeping the bar open for a while longer, you win.”
Up close, Nadie’s eyes were like the crystal clear cenote Mire had dipped in on his way to Itzen. They also had the same refreshing appeal. Mire blinked, then silently cursed at the change of expression on Nadie’s face. He must have blinked with his internal lids, something that would freak out even the heartiest of humans.
“What would you like as a prize?” he asked the bartender.

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