Almost a New Year…


I think most of us are ready for the new year after the year we’ve had. We are here, anyway. 2020 was a difficult year, particularly for those who have been sick or had someone close to them sick from this wretched virus. Even for those who have stayed healthy, there have been challenges–kids learning from home, people working from home, businesses affected by shutdowns… It’s a long list, and I doubt anyone is unaffected in some way by the events of this year, coronavirus and beyond.

I decided a while ago to try to see the positive in it. I have gotten a lot more writing done in the second half of the year, now that the work from home system is pretty well settled, thanks in part to September’s accountability challenge, and then to the friends who also wanted to continue on after that ended. We won’t talk about what my original goals for the year looked like, because that sure didn’t happen once things were well and truly disrupted in March, but that’s okay. It’s given me more time to work out a reasonable timeline for the things I wanted to do and more time to make these stories better before I loose them on the world, and I’m happy about that.

I’ve still been working out my 2021 goals this week, and I think I’ve almost got them to a reasonable point. A little more tweaking today, I think, and then I will be set. I need to build in a little wiggle room, I think, because you never know what’s coming at you (a lesson reinforced in this past year, and not just for me, I think).

I have a little snippet of the third story in my shifter series for you this week. Getting this one ready for the world is on my writing goals for 2021, though (assuming things go as planned in the new year) it won’t be released until 2022.

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Vivi stifled her sigh of relief when she sank onto the stool beside Carol. After being on her feet all day, sitting down might not be a good idea–she didn’t want to get back up, and it had only been fifteen seconds since her butt hit the seat.

Carol slid a martini glass toward her. “Here you go. I don’t know how you do it.”

“Do what?” She picked up the glass and took a sip. “Mm.” Something with berries.

“Keep a smile on your face all day, between the kids, the parents, the donors. And in those shoes,” Carol teased. “I had flats on all day, and my feet are killing me. Yours must be aching.”

“They are. Which is why this one drink is it for me. Then I’m going home and put my feet up.” Vivi sighed and glanced around. The lounge and restaurant were filling fast, and the hum of conversation grew steadily. “Don’t you have a date tonight?”

Carol grinned. “He’ll be here soon.”

“Which is why we met here.” Vivi shook her head. “Of course.”

“I don’t know why you won’t let me fix you up–”

Before her friend could continue, Vivi held up her hand. “No. We’ve had this conversation. I’m good right now.”

Carol’s eyes narrowed a little. “You ruin all my fun.”

“I highly doubt that.”

Carol laughed.

Vivi relaxed a little. She’d managed to head off that conversation for a change. Good.

“Carol.”

She glanced up at the deep voice behind her, and her co-worker’s smile turned sultry.

“Dan.” She tipped her face up so he could brush a kiss on her cheek. “This is Vivi.”

He nodded, but his gaze went right back to Carol’s face.

“Vivi, do you want to join us?”

“No, thanks. You guys go ahead. Enjoy.” That meant she wouldn’t have any reason to feel guilty about not even finishing her drink before she headed home to put her feet up for the rest of the evening.

Someone brushed against her shoulder, and Vivi turned to see a man settling onto the stool beside her. “Sorry,” he said, glancing over, then away. Then his pale blue gaze swung back to her face, and she couldn’t look away.

Holy hotness!

Even though she couldn’t pull her gaze away from his sky-blue eyes, she still noticed his rumpled white-blond hair brushed back from his face, the sharp angles of his cheekbones, and the width of his shoulders beneath a red polo shirt.

Wowza.

Vivi swallowed and dragged her gaze away finally. It landed on her drink, and she picked it up, taking a sip to wet her dry lips.

A tiger.

She needed to get away before her hormones got any happier. She put the glass down on the bar and sat back in her seat.

“Don’t let me chase you away,” the blonde said, his voice a low rumble that made her stomach clench.

She glanced toward him, but didn’t meet his eyes. “You’re not. I’ve just had a long day, and it’s time to go.”

“Without any supper?” He turned on his stool a little to face her.

Oh Gods. Vivi couldn’t help the flush burning her cheeks. The red shirt stretched over a broad, muscled chest, and it took her a few seconds to force her gaze up to his.

At least his mouth wasn’t curved in a smirk. Though if he’d been smirking or appeared as if he knew exactly what was going on in her head, she’d have found it easier to get off of the stool. “I didn’t actually come in for supper, just a drink with a friend.” She inched to her right.

“Have dinner with me.”

She froze. “What makes you think I’d be a good dinner companion?” she asked after a second.

His mouth relaxed a little, as if he might be on the verge of a smile. “Just a hunch. I’m sure you’re a far better dinner companion than I am. Sorry I bothered you.” He picked up his glass and took a sip of the golden liquid in it.

Vivi studied his profile for a few moments. There was something familiar about it. And something very appealing about him, aside from the face. Especially that, aside from not pushing her to stay, there was something lonely about him. “You know, telling a woman what a terrible date you are isn’t really the right approach. Probably going to bring your success rate down a little.”

He finally smiled, a slow, wide grin that revealed dimples.

Gods, she was a sucker for dimples, dammit.

He met her gaze again and stuck out his right hand. “I’m Boris.”

“Vivi.” She tamped down the little voice in the back of her head shrieking this was a Bad Idea. When his warm fingers wrapped around her hand, she shivered.

“Vivi, would you have dinner with me? You can give me some pointers on how this should work.”

“What the hell.” She was certain she’d regret this later, but it had been a long time…

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Do you make resolutions for the new year, or set other goals for yourself? I’m not a resolution person, but I do like to have my writing goals ready and hanging beside my desk before the new year begins. I also need to break them down by month, and each month needs to have specifics as well (like how many words do I need to write each day to make the word count goal for the month, etc.) so I have my best chance at achieving them. Do you have a favorite planner to help you with your goals? Or do you use a spreadsheet or something else? I’m always looking for something else I can incorporate to improve on my own methods.

If you have reading on your goal list for the new year, or are trying to make your 2020 reading goal, Light the Way Home is available. It’s a quick, light read with a hot single dad, a woman who needs a temporary haven to work out her new life goals, and a lighthouse ghost. If you click on the title, it’ll take you to your bookseller of choice.

Let know how your goal-setting is going. And until next week, I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year!

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