The premise for Snow Angel was quite simple. I envisioned two people walking along the street and wondered, “What if someone grabbed someone they thought they recognised, and what if then…” Ah, but rather then explain, it’s easier to show by presenting the prologue, which was the whole idea behind the novel. The prologue is also the excerpt that the publisher chose to promote, and I include it here for you to read below. Enjoy!
I never set out to write Snow Angel with a sequel in mind; however, I decided my characters had some story left to tell and unanswered questions that would fit a novella quite well, so that was where Angel Heart came into being. To answer those questions I needed a setting that would show Dean’s inner turmoil and what better place for that than a family get-together? *g* For once I didn’t exactly have the ‘idea’ behind the story. I simply set my characters up in their given situation and nudged them towards fulfilling the gaps left behind by the main novel.
Three years ago …
It was difficult to judge which emerged from Lenny’s pub first, though, all things considered, if he’d been stark naked, the chances were Dean’s erection would have led the way. His body followed naturally enough along with his groin, and so did his grin. Nine was early for him to leave the pub these days, but he had a date. Fresh out of college, Dean looked forward to a few weeks grace, time to kill before starting his job working in his father’s garage. Many thought he’d deliberately chosen a college just far enough away that he had to find a house to share, rather than stay at home. That hadn’t been the only contributing factor, but he was honest enough with himself to accept it had been nice to be a young man free from the nest. No doubt, they presumed it had just been an excuse to live with four other guys so he could get drunk and pick up girls on the weekend. While his decision to return home to work in his father’s business surprised just about everyone else, he had always known exactly where he was heading and felt content with it. He was only taking these six weeks because his father insisted.
“Have fun this summer,” his father had said. “One last summer all to yourself. You’ve enjoyed them every year of your life up until now. Stay a kid for just a few more weeks. Don’t worry,” his father added. “I’ll make sure you put in extra time to make up for it.”
That was no threat more like a warning and an explanation. Dean knew very well that he would have to work extra time until he found his feet and fully understood the running of the business. Choosing to tinker around with the cars as soon as his father pronounced him old enough, he had to confess he’d never taken much notice when it came to running the business side of things. Although his dad tried to get him to direct his energies somewhere else, both of them knew his father wasn’t that downhearted. Deep down, he wanted Dean to take over the business one day. He just didn’t want his son to do it if his heart wasn’t in it, but he needn’t have worried. The only thing Dean hated about the garage was the paperwork. He grinned ruefully. Surely, by the time his father reached retirement age, he would finally have the hang of it. Of course, his dad hoped to drop down to part time before then, maybe even take early retirement. Yet, every time he talked about taking Dean’s mother abroad for long stretches before they grew too old to enjoy it, Dean couldn’t help but see the considering look that came into his father’s eyes. He couldn’t blame him. They both knew he lacked incentive when it came to the office side of the company. Some people exclaimed how miraculous it was that he ever went to college, not realising how insulting that sounded. He’d taken the requisite mechanical qualifications, of course, but when he said he also studied creative writing their faces turned blank.
He hadn’t done so bad with his education as everyone presumed. He had taken both a course he needed, and an additional course he wanted, with his family’s full support. Aside from the cars, the only interest he held was writing. He had even sold a few short stories and things looked promising for his first novel, but the type of stories he wrote weren’t exactly mainstream and the chances were, it would always remain a sideline. Still, Dean refused to call it a hobby. If you wrote for yourself or friends, it was a hobby. If you wrote with the intention of seeking publication, then it was work. As for his choice of main career, the truth was, he grew up around cars and his father’s business was no ordinary garage. No. They were of the vintage variety.
He thought of the collection of cars currently sitting in the garage. His father liked the Aston Martin probably some penile link to James Bond. Dean liked the Jaguar. The XK150 currently in the workshop was a beautiful soft blue colour, just like his eyes, and the mere thought of it made him practically shiver with pleasure. He would give anything to own it, but, though it wasn’t too pricey, he had a mortgage and besides, the owner wouldn’t part with it. The joke was, even if he was prepared to fork out the money, he hardly ever got a chance to drive as he walked to work. Still, running his hands over that car could almost give him as hard an erection as the thought of Stephanie. It wasn’t serious between them, just good sex. He meant Stephanie, of course, not the car. He laughed softly, bearing in mind that if anyone heard him, they would have thought he was nuts or someone untrustworthy. As to his current fling, that was no one else’s business. Stephanie had started to get what his mother would call a little kinky. As far as Dean was concerned, there was nothing wrong with a little kink between friends. She was the perfectly good reason why he walked out of Lenny’s pub sporting a hard-on that already had a lady’s name attached to it.
Speaking of a lady, Dean frowned slightly, narrowing his gaze. It wasn’t fully dark, but the nights were drawing in and in the gloom ahead … Yes, he would recognise that hair anywhere.
Dean pursed his lips. If there was one thing he regretted about going away to college, it was that, due to lack of opportunity, nothing had ever happened between he and April Reid. Of course, in many ways, they’d both been too young then and it felt a little weird, seeing as they as good as grew up together. April and her family moved into the neighbourhood when she was just seven years old. Dean was four and so was April’s brother, Jay. By the time Dean was six and April was nine, he’d struggled with a well-developed crush. To this day, his mother would tease him as to how he would follow that Reid girl around like a puppy. He could only remember this vaguely, of course, not in the way his mother described it. What he could remember was that at the age of twelve April began to grow her hair and he fell in love with her all over again. The long, luscious, deep chestnut brown waves encompassed hints of auburn and even red mahogany in it. When he went off to college, it reached halfway down her back and she suffered increasingly spiteful glares from the other girls, as well as winks and some not very respectful suggestions and propositions from the boys. Even back then, Dean possessed a larger build than many of the boys. He never kidded himself that part of the reason April let him hang around was because when he told other boys to show her respect, they listened.
Well, they weren’t school kids any longer and he hadn’t seen her in a long time. She walked at a leisurely pace down the street, probably heading towards home, her hips as narrow in her jeans as they had always been. As he approached her back, he cast his gaze down and then up. Her hair wasn’t quite as long she’d cut it to lie in a soft drape around her shoulders but it retained the same weight, and although he couldn’t tell in the poor light, he experienced little doubt it would be the same rich colour. Growing up, he dreaded the day she might go grey or start to colour it just for fun. That colour simply didn’t exist in a bottle, yet hardly seemed to have a right to exist in nature. He’d never had a chance to run his hands through it, and the heat of desire, egged on by his natural mischievousness, slid into his belly. His grin widened as he realised he was about to give into the urge and, not only that, he was going to cop a feel and steal a kiss into the bargain.
He intended to give her a slight warning, though. He didn’t want to frighten her out of her wits, so he swallowed to clear his throat, and, as he came up to her left shoulder, he reached out with his right hand and glided his fingers into the hair at the back of her head. He brought her to a halt at the same time as he growled out, “Say hello to an old friend.”
Giving neither of them time to think, and her no time to react, he closed his eyes as he tilted back her head by entangling his fingers in all that glorious hair and pulling slightly. He heard a sharp intake of breath and then silenced it with his lips. He didn’t probe with his tongue he erred on the side of caution and decided not to be that intrusive but just took pleasure in the soft press of her lips and the satisfaction that her hair really was as wonderful to touch as he always imagined. He raised his left hand to cup her breast, not to grab ruthlessly, but just to press gently. His hand slid up a hard, flat surface under the t-shirt she wore. Blinking in surprise, Dean opened his eyes. A second later and he broke off the kiss, though his mouth lingered a precious breath away, and his hands froze on the body in his arms in shock.
The person in his arms swallowed and looked up into his eyes. “Hello Dean,” April’s brother, Jay, said.
© Sharon Maria Bidwell, all rights reserved.