AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Emma Fitzgerald
A Beach Christmas
Annie stretched out in bed as she yawned for the umpteenth time. She and Cam had been back in Australia only a day and the jet lag was still cruelly messing with their body clocks. Each had been up and down at different stages during the night; not that Annie had minded. Cam had been more than willing to keep her mind and body occupied while she was wide awake. Just thinking about all the deliciously naughty things Cam had done to her was enough to ignite the embers inside her.
Annie looked over to the empty side of the bed and wondered where he had disappeared. It was more than likely he’d gone to check out the morning swell down on their private beach. Besides morning sex, nothing seemed to invigorate Cam more than catching a few good waves. If he started his day with either of those, Annie always knew it would be a great day.
Annie was excited to be having her first Christmas in Australia. They hadn’t told Cam’s family they would be back for Christmas Day, leading them to believe that they would be spending the holiday in Hawaii. Cam had just won another World Surfing title last week. His parents, sister Chelsea, brother Chris and nephew Bodhi had all journeyed to Hawaii to see if he would be successful in his title bid. In a close final, he was triumphant and the whole family, including his best mate Matt, celebrated together before their quick return trip home for Christmas.
The new World Champ and his beloved had planned on a few quiet nights by themselves in Hawaii, but it only took a day without the family around, for them to realise they wanted to spend the holiday season with them. They quickly packed and hopped the next plane back Down Under.
Before she sat up, their dog Bowie came bounding into the room excitedly and jumped up onto the bed and settled herself down.
“Good morning girl.” Annie gave her a rub around the ears before noticing something attached to her collar. “What do we have here?” she said as she sat up slowly, the white sheet sliding down to her lap. From Bowie’s collar, Annie grabbed a rolled up piece of paper which had a red satin ribbon tied around it. Annie slid it off and unrolled it quickly. It read,
A broad grin immediately spread across Annie’s face as she wondered what Cam was up to. Flicking back the sheet, she hurriedly got out of bed and made a dash to the bathroom to freshen up. Two barks from Bowie grabbed Annie’s attention, “It’s alright. I’m coming.” She giggled to the eager dog that seemed to know exactly what was going on.
Deciding not to dress and just go out in her red satin slip, Annie followed the dog toward the lounge room. What greeted her was a delightful sight she would never forget. In the centre of the room now stood a Christmas tree like no other she had ever seen before. Odd pieces of driftwood that Cam had been collecting for a while had been pieced together and knotted onto a tall central piece that stood up in a sand-filled wooden bucket. White shells adorned the branches of the driftwood tree while tiny white fairy lights twinkled between them. Clear glass vases of bottlebrush brought the sunny room to life with its vivid red flowers and greenery. A small pile of various sized gifts sat neatly beneath the driftwood tree. Annie was dumbstruck by the room’s transformation and couldn’t work out when Cam had organised it all.
“Merry Christmas Nashville.” A voice from behind Annie whispered in her ear as arms snaked around her waist.
“Merry Christmas to you too.”
Cam held her tight to his front and leaned his head over her shoulder. He kissed her sweetly on the cheek before making a trail of feathery light kisses toward her ear and down her neck, stopping when he reached the base as the giggles from Annie stirred him out of his trance. Her neck was so enticing to him that he could kiss and lick his way around it and still want more.
“I can’t believe you did this”
“It’s just…I mean, when did you get time? We’ve only been back a little over twenty-four hours.” Annie said to him.
“Hey,” Cam said as he spun Annie around in his arms, “You do know you’ve shacked up with a pretty amazing man who isn’t just a World Champion surfer or an amazing lover.”
The smile couldn’t be wiped from Annie’s face even if he had tried, “You’re incorrigible Mr Hart.”
“And you, my Nashville Angel, are beautiful and God damn sexy in this little red number.” Cam’s eyebrows waggled up and down suggestively a few times.
“Uh uh. No you don’t. I haven’t even showered yet and I still have morning breath.”
Cam couldn’t help but let out a loud laugh, “As if I’ve ever given a shit about your morning breath babe. Anyway, I’ve got a little something for you.” Cam gave Annie a longing kiss on her lips then let her go. He leaned over to grab a gift from the bottom of the tree, which gave Annie a very nice view of his arse. Clad in only his boardshorts, the material tightened as he bent down giving her not only a great view but also her heart palpitations.
“See something you like?” Cam teased Annie.
“Most definitely.” She replied smiling and biting the side of her lip.
Now standing in front of his Angel, he held out a small white box wrapped in a red ribbon. Cam placed it gently in her hands and supported her hands underneath with his.
“I saw this a long time ago and I immediately thought of you. I didn’t know if you thought it would be too corny so I hadn’t given it to you. But last night, as I was getting some of these things together, I realised, today was the perfect day. So go ahead. Open it.” Cam urged her as he took his hands away from hers and stepped back.
Annie flashed a loving smile at her man and then quickly pulled at the ribbon. Opening the lid of the box revealed a simple silver necklace with a flat silver pendant in the shape of a heart. Annie lifted the gift out of the box and looked closer at the pendant. Inscribed on it in linked script was one word.
“CAM.” Annie said as tears sprung to her eyes. Looking up at Cam, her heart happier than it had ever been, she smiled at him.
Cam took the necklace out of her hands and asked her to hold her hair out the way while he put it on her. He secured it at the back of her neck and Annie let her golden hair settle back over her shoulders.
“It’s so beautiful. Thank you sweetheart.” The couple embraced before Cam pulled back.
“I bought this for you when I realised my heart would belong to you forever. I hung on to it through all our ups and downs over the past year and now I want you to keep it next to your heart forever.”
The tears had now fallen freely down Annie’s cheeks but the smile was wider than ever. Words weren’t going to be enough for her to show how much this meant. Grabbing his face between her beautifully manicured hands, she captured his mouth with a searing urgency. Surprised at first, it didn’t take long for Cam’s tongue to be dancing with hers seductively. Feeling left out, Bowie jumping up at them causing the lovebirds to break apart and laugh at their child.
“You never cease to amaze me Mr Hart. I will treasure this for the rest of my life.”
Annie said with a smile. “I must truly be the luckiest woman on this planet to have such a thoughtful and romantic man like you.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Cam said jokingly, “But I still think I am the luckiest son of a bitch in the world.”
Cam grabbed Annie and lifted her up into his arms. Planting another kiss on her lips, he started walking toward the bedroom with her.
“What are you doing?” Annie exclaimed as she flung her arms around his neck, “Don’t we have things to do and places to be?”
“Absolutely. But first, my woman needs a little attention. Plus you said something about not having showered yet.” He grinned as he winked at her.
“Well since I don’t have your Christmas gift yet, I’m sure we can come to some arrangement.”
“Hell yes! Bring it on Nashville. Time to make this Christmas, a very merry one.”
Emma Fitzgerald is a lover of words.
The way they are weaved and worked to make people and places come alive and how they can draw the reader into worlds their imagination had never even dreamed of.
Emma has loved reading and writing since the day her life was first touched with the gift of a 100 year old copy of 'Emma' by Jane Austen. She soon discovered that the written word could transport her, not only across the world, but across time.
Emma loves a 'Happily Ever After' and has found her own HEA with her amazing husband. They and their three children live in Southern Australia.
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1. If money were no object, what would take out the number one spot on your Christmas list?
A signed hardcover set of the Harry Potter series, a first edition of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen or a signed hardcover book (or set!) by Roald Dahl.
2. What was the first book you read that made you think, “Wow this is what I want to do, I want to be an author”?
I don’t think there was a particular book. Mine was a person. My year 9 English teacher told me to never stop writing and always write for myself. He made me realise that I could but I guess Jane Austen made me realise that it was possible.
3. What does Christmas mean for you?
It’s a chance for my family to come together and spend quality time with each other. We slow down, we talk and we reconnect. We play board games, beach cricket and have as much fun and laughter together as we can. We show our kids what it means to give and share with people not as fortunate as us too.
4. What’s your guilty pleasure, the one thing you hate admitting out loud?
If I told you, I’d have to kill you! ;)
5. What’s next for you in terms of writing?
I will be releasing the second book in my Ocean Dreams series, Ocean Deep, hopefully in February.