Heating Up the Holidays Blog Tour

Heating Up the Holidays

Author Mary Ann Rivers is here with us today sharing an exclusive excerpt from her story Snowfall, from the Heating Up the Holidays anthology. Welcome back to The Book Vixen Mary Ann!


SNOWFALL EXCERPT – From Chapter Two – Falling

I draw a six-pointed snowflake in the fog of my breath on the bus window.

One snowflake at a time for the world you thought knew to transform.


At first, it’s snowing, and then, while you aren’t looking, snowfall.

The world you knew is still there, but it’s hidden.

Campus and home have been enough, for me, this winter. I wrote to C, last night, curled in the dark, his words glowing under the glass of my screen.

He wants to know why I’m not getting out more. Why I’m always available to chat in the evenings. He isn’t, always, and then he’ll tell me about a concert I had vaguely heard about, or some community locavore dinner, or a movie.

Sometimes, Bob or one of my other lab colleagues will invite me out at the end of the day. I got a lot of invitations, at first. Which, actually, I’m surprised how many I turned down. I like bars. I like people. I like outdoor concerts and cookouts and trying new restaurants. Mom and I had a membership to all the museums in Seattle, the zoo even, just so we could go whenever we felt like it and see one thing.

Sometimes you just want to look at lemurs. Or one Monet. Or sit in a listening booth at the Experience Music Project and try to figure out Bob Dylan. Which is impossible, by the way.

Everyone has told me that there is a good museum here. C went to the Rothko exhibit, the Andy Warhol one, too, with the giant, silver, balloon clouds.

The closest C and I ever got to meeting each other was when an Annie Leibovitz installation came to the gallery on campus, hundreds of her photographs and serials of her proofs, and for several breath-holding minutes, we talked in hypotheticals about that installation because, of course, meeting on campus was nothing.

Safe as houses.

It was photography, and we talked about his pictures all the time.

Then, the hypotheticals drifted away, scrolled up the screen, and disappeared.

He didn’t talk about the installation, later, after he had surely been to see it.

As if we had stood the other up and couldn’t speak of it, when really, I had not let him quite ask me so that I wouldn’t have to either reject him or accept.

He knows I am a new member of the Lakefield State research faculty, but that’s all. He hasn’t asked what I research and I haven’t told him. I know he works somewhere on campus, and that he likes his job, but he hasn’t told me what it is.

Or at least, I change the subject when I’m worried he’s getting close to saying something that will release him from my computer.

He wants to know why I’m not comfortable going out, and because I won’t tell him, he worries it’s because I’m shy or not adjusting well.

Because we don’t really talk about our day, not exactly.

More and more, he’s told me about these things that he’s done—the concerts and the new restaurants, and the events.

When he does, I try to get him to talk about his photographs.

Or I tell him the room is dark.

I don’t tell him exactly how dark it gets, nowadays, how that scares me. How I’ll look at the time on the laptop again and again, certain it must be later, and it’s still early and I’ll realize, looking at the living-room windows and the giant halo around them, the distorted ring my night blindness refracts a light source into, that there is still enough residual evening light that I should be able to see better.

I don’t tell him that I take one bus line, the one that I worry about missing, every morning, because it’s the line without any transfers and I’m not sure about transfers yet. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, terrified I’ve overslept and I’m going to miss that bus.

I don’t tell him that I get all of my groceries at the corner store three straight blocks from my house. Or that my whole life I was a vegetarian, but it’s too hard to find good options at the corner store so I’ve started eating meat again.

I don’t tell him that I talk to my mom every day on the phone and that sometimes, I make her talk to me after I’ve gotten in between the covers and that she talks me to sleep.

I don’t tell him that I miss museums, and concerts, and getting tipsy enough at bars that I’ll sneak a drag of a friend’s cigarette, or cool restaurants, or coming back from the bathroom during a movie date with an extra button undone so your date notices and tries something.

I couldn’t manage the aisles of a dark theater, now. The crush of bodies in a dimly lit bar. The strobe lights at a concert.

C, I can manage.

His words are lit and bright and framed into the square of the laptop screen.

C is hypotheticals and light. Pictures of the world I’ve been missing.

I can fix him on this little slide of a life I’ve made and figure him out, slowly, as the magnification increases, as I catalog the bits and pieces he shows me and think about them in different combinations, or simply label them—C doesn’t take pictures of people. C lives next to a couple who keeps goats right in the middle of the city.

C can make me come just by telling me he will stay online while I touch myself in the dark, by telling me that he’s touching himself thinking of me with my hand between my legs.

He’s right in front of me.

I can see him, as long as neither of us moves and keeps the focus where it is.

I think my best bet is to keep still and let the snow fall, let the days get long again, the light return its hours to me, a few more chances a day to figure out what it is I can comfortably keep in front of me and see.

For me, there isn’t some miracle cure, this is my life, or my disease will progress and my life will change focus again, and I’ll have another new life.

I need C to stay right where he is because for now, I don’t know enough to move from where I am.

My hypothesis is that the light will come back, both outside and inside me.

I’m afraid and angry, but the light is a theory I want to prove.

Until then, I just have to keep the experiment going with as many controls as possible.

One bus, back and forth.

One store.

One man, his words under glass.

About the Book

Heating Up the Holidays by Mary Ann Rivers, Lisa Renee Jones, Serena BellTitle: Heating Up the Holidays
Authors: Mary Ann Rivers, Lisa Renee Jones, Serena Bell
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Published: October 28, 2013 by Loveswept

As leftover turkey and stuffing give way to stockings and little black dresses, this tantalizingly sexy eBook bundle offers up holiday-themed novellas from a trio of beloved romance authors. Lisa Renee Jones gives a dedicated reporter and a powerful businessman a chance to count their Thanksgiving blessings in Play with Me; Mary Ann Rivers presents Snowfall, the story of a woman who confronts a life-changing event—hopefully with a special man by her side—just in time for Christmas; and in Serena Bell’s After Midnight, an explosive New Year’s kiss leaves two strangers wondering whether they’ll ever see each other again.

PLAY WITH ME by Lisa Renee Jones
Kali Miller has spent three years reporting fluff stories, waiting for the article that will launch her career to new heights. When she suddenly finds herself forced to take a job as an executive secretary at a Vegas casino, Kali meets the subject of what will surely be a shocking exposé: her boss, Damion Ward, the arrogant and undeniably sexy CEO. But after Damion invites her to help him plan a Thanksgiving charity event, Kali begins to see another side of the man. And when she surrenders to the exhilarating tension simmering between them, Kali hopes her story will have a happy ending.

SNOWFALL by Mary Ann Rivers
Jenny Wright can’t get enough of her erotic conversations with someone she knows only as “C.” Flirting online helps Jenny temporarily escape confronting the changes to her life as she slowly loses her vision. Jenny’s occupational therapist, Evan Carlisle-Ford, is helping her prepare for the challenges ahead, but the forthright, trustworthy man can no longer ignore his growing attraction to his fiercely intelligent client. Now Jenny must choose between the safe, anonymous “C”—or the flesh-and-blood Evan, whose heated kisses can melt snow faster than it can fall.

The clock is ticking down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, and all Nora Hart and Miles Shephard can think about is kissing each other—even though they met just minutes before. Then, as fast as Miles enters Nora’s life, he’s gone . . . and she never even gets the name of the man she thinks might just be “the one.” One year later, Nora and Miles are reunited. The chemistry between them is just as strong as they remember. But Miles broke her heart once before—and this time around, Nora’s not sure whether she can give love a second chance.

Add to Goodreads  |  Buy on Amazon

About the Author

Author Mary Ann RiversMary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.

Find the author online: website | goodreads | twitter | facebook


Note: This is a tour-wide giveaway sponsored by Random House. The Book Vixen is not responsible for notifying the winner(s) or the distribution of the prize(s). See Terms & Conditions on Rafflecopter form for more details. Good luck to all who enter!

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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