Christine Feehan’s classic romance brings the winter chill inside with her tale of a witch who accidentally releases a dark power into the world. When Kate Drake buys a historic mill in her small California town with the intention of turning it into a bookstore, a knocked-down wall reveals an ancient burial crypt and releases unspeakable evil. Although Kate’s handsome contractor vows to protect her, Kate knows that she must use all of her powers to stop the darkness within… before it’s too late.
Grab a mug of hot cocoa, curl up in front of the fireplace, and get ready for a winter’s tale that will knock your socks off! Keep on reading for an excerpt from THE TWILIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, available wherever books are sold.
Matt stood beside the enormous Douglas fir tree decorated with hundreds of ornaments and colorful lights. The tall tree grew in the yard up near the cliffs in front of the house. It was one of the most beautiful sights he’d ever seen, but it paled in comparison to Kate. She stood on her porch, a snowglobe in her hands, smiling at him. Her eyes were as green as the sea, and her long, thick hair was twisted into some kind of intricate knot that made him want to pull out every pin so he could watch it tumble free. He walked up the porch steps and held out his hand. “Where in the world did you get that snowglobe? The scene inside looks exactly like your house and this Christmas tree.”
She put the globe in his hands. Two of her sisters were standing on the porch with her, watching him with serious expressions on their faces. He had been so busy staring at Kate he hadn’t even noticed them. His hands closed over the heavy globe, his fingers brushing Kate’s. A tingle of electricity sparked its way up his arm. Almost at once the snowglobe grew warm in his hands. “Afternoon, ladies.”
“Hi, Matt,” Hannah greeted. Abbey nodded to him. Although he’d made every effort to clean up after work, scrubbing his hands for a good half hour to get the dirt out from under his fingernails, he noticed with dismay that he hadn’t been successful. His nails seemed to be spotlighted from the strange glow com- ing from inside the glass of the globe. The lights of the tree blazed unexpectedly inside the glass, while an eerie white fog began to swirl. Fascinated, he held the globe at every angle, trying to see how he had turned it on, but he couldn’t find a battery or a switch any- where. Peering closer he noticed a strange dark shadow taking shape at the base of the tree and creep- ing up the path toward the steps of the house. His body reacted, going on alert as he watched the shadow move stealthily.
“This thing is spooky.” He handed the snowglobe to Hannah and took Kate’s elbow in a deliberate, pro- prietary action. Staking his claim. Declaring his intentions. His fingers settled around her slender arm, and his heart actually jumped in his chest. She was wearing some lacy white shirt that clung to the shape of her rounded breasts and left her lower arms bare. The pad of his thumb slid over her petal-soft skin just to feel the texture. She shivered, and he moved his body closer to block the breeze coming in off the ocean. They said good-bye to her sisters and headed for his car.
Kate cleared her throat. “I appreciate your coming to pick me up, Matthew. I could have met you there.” “That’s silly, Kate, since we’re both going to the same place, and you’re on my way. I thought we might discuss the plans for the renovation over din- ner when we’re finished inspecting the mill.” He pulled open the door to his Mustang convertible. The top was securely up. “What were you doing with the globe?”
She smiled up at him and just that easily took his breath away. “We’re still putting out our decorations. Hannah just brought the globe down from the attic and was cleaning the glass. It’s a Christmas tradition in our family to wish on it.”
“What was that strange dark shadow moving in the globe?”
Kate abruptly turned back toward the house. Matt was standing close to her, holding the door open to the Mustang, and she bumped his chest with her nose. For a second she stood there with her eyes closed, then she inhaled deeply. He felt that breath right through his skin, all the way down to his bones. The tips of her breasts brushed his rib cage sending fire racing through his bloodstream and pooling into a thick heat low in his belly. She smelled of cinnamon and spice. He wanted to pull her into his arms and kiss her right there. Right in front of her sisters.
“Matthew.” For the first time that he could remember, Kate sounded breathless. “What are you doing?”
He realized his arms were around her. He was holding her captive against him, and his body was growing hard and making urgent demands. He cursed silently and let her go, turning away from her. “I thought you were getting into the car.” His voice was rough, even to his own ears. He had never wanted a woman the way he wanted Kate. He didn’t feel gentle when he wanted to be gentle. He didn’t feel nice and charming when it was usually so easy for him to be charming. He felt edgy and restless and achy as hell. He had a mad desire to scoop her up and lock her in his vehicle, a primitive, out-of-character urge when she looked on the verge of flight.
“You really saw a shadow in the globe?” she asked. “What was it doing?”
It was the last thing he expected her to say, and it sent a chill skittering down his spine. “I couldn’t tell what it was. The dark shadow went from the base of the tree up the path toward the porch of the house. It is your house in the globe, isn’t it? There’s fog or mist instead of snowflakes swirling around. It gives the globe a very eerie effect.”
Kate glanced back at her sisters. Hannah set the snowglobe very carefully on the wide banister and stepped away from it. Inside the glass, heavy fog swirled. The lights from the tiny Christmas tree glowed a strange orange and red through the mist, almost as if one fire. Matt watched Kate’s sister closely. He had lived in Sea Haven all of his life. He had heard strange things about the Drake sisters. Up close them, he felt power and energy crackling in the air, and it emanated from them. The power filled the space around them until he breathed it. Hannah lifted her arms, and the wind swept in from the sea.With it came soft voices, whose words were impossible to distinguish, but the chant was melodious and in harmony with the things of the earth. The strange light in the snowglobe faded and diminished until it was a soft, faint glow. The voices on the wind continued until the lights behind the glass flickered and vanished, leaving the globe a perfectly ordinary Christmas ornament.