There is a Christmas section in my book that I LOVED writing from November-mid December of 2018. Since we now have snow on the ground in 2020 and Christmas music is playing 24/7, I thought I'd share a small part of this section from my book with you!
THERE ARE SPOILERS - CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! :)
Excerpt from Ch. 29 of the King's 100 by Karin Biggs
My head ached, but I pulled myself out of bed to meet Ari. I found him standing in front of a roaring fire, wearing a red and green flannel shirt and a red hat with a white ball on its tail. “Merry Christmas, Paris.” He handed me a gold and green paper box.
I opened it to see a small moose carved out of wood.
“Since we could never find the mystery moose on the lawn, I thought I’d make you one.”
I ran my thumb over the smooth antlers of the moose and inhaled the scent of the soft pine. “Ari, I love it. I’m so sorry, I didn’t get you anything.”
“That’s okay, Maestro gave me the best gift by not kicking you out.”
My cheeks flushed, but I didn’t jerk my head to hide them. Instead, I looked up into Ari’s eyes, wishing he could feel the gratitude pouring from my heart.
“And I have one more gift for you but you have to follow me.” Ari bent his arm like a proper court man and after tucking the moose safely inside my pajama pants pocket, I accepted his escort like a proper court lady. We left the Lounge and walked down the hallway toward the Stardust Ballroom.
Ari held his hands over my eyes before we stepped through the doorway. When he removed his hands, I opened my eyes to see the ballroom had been transformed into what I would call the very essence of Christmas—large garlands strung across the tall arched ceilings, ornamental evergreens lined the walls and the most striking sight was the lights—thousands of small lights gave the ballroom a soft glow in the absence of the powerful luminescence of the chandeliers. “It’s beautiful,” I managed to say in a whisper.
“The staff finished setting it up last night, and I wanted you to see it before it was full of people. Come on.” He held my hand and walked me through the ballroom until we were in the center of the dance floor where all the garlands met under a centerpiece of pearl berries and flat green leaves.
Mistletoe. The kissing plant.
My heart leapt into my throat. “This is all so amazing, but don’t you think we should leave? We’ll probably get in trouble again.”
“Nah, we’ve got to take advantage of this empty ballroom for just a minute longer.” Then he cleared his throat, straightened his back and bowed. “Hello miss, my name is Ari Novak.”
I curtsied, playing into our standard dance routine. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Novak. My name is Paris Marigold.”
“Miss Marigold, may I have this dance?” Ari held out his hand and after a beat, I accepted.
He led us in the Mondarian Waltz. “Pretend that instead of court members, we’re guests of the king. You’re wearing a multicolored ball gown and I’m wearing…a red and black flannel tuxedo.”
I wrinkled my nose.
“Awesome, right? We’re enjoying the king’s free food and drinking his wine but not too much wine, of course. I’d like to remember this dance.”
Our quick waltz eventually slowed to a gentle sway, bringing our bodies closer together. The warmth of his hand in mine, his scent lingering in front of me and the softness of his flannel shirt under my fingers sent me to a place between a dream and a deep sleep. I rested my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes as I wrapped both hands behind his neck. He mirrored his other hand on my waist so we held each other in a moving embrace.
I felt a thick rope tug a curtain open inside me, just enough to let flecks of gold light peek through the small space between the heavy fabric. The light was safe and warm, pulling me closer into Ari’s chest, his breathing matching mine. I didn’t want to be anywhere else or with anyone else—only in my friend’s arms, holding on to him like he was the most real, alive thing I had ever touched.
My friend with soft black hair and brown eyes the color of truffles and butterscotch. I felt the curtain pull back just an inch more and suddenly the word ‘friend’ didn’t feel right—that there might be another word I wanted more intensely. That there just might be…more.
More than friends.
My eyes flashed open, catching a glimpse of one of the chandeliers, dull and massive, hiding behind a thick strand of twinkling garland. The other chandeliers hid in other dark spots of the ceiling. My eyes jumped from one to the other as my mind jumped from thought to thought.
What if we weren’t just dancing? What if all the nice gestures Ari had been doing for me—the ice-skating rink, waiting for me at the clinic, the moose, the ballroom—hadn’t just been nice things he would do for any friend? What if…Ari had opened a curtain on his side of the stage as well?
“Mmhm.” He moved his mouth closer to my neck, the heat of his breath warming my body in unreachable places.
I fought the urge to turn my head and position my mouth next to his and focused on a grey chandelier. “Why do you go out of your way to do nice things for me?”
Ari pulled me in closer, his lips brushing my ear. “I think you know why,” he whispered.
I tilted my head back just enough to look into his eyes. Beneath the swirls of brown and gold, I saw someone who saw something more in me than just a court lady or princess, only, he didn’t really know me. He only knew Paris Marigold.
I felt jealous of the fake girl Layla created on an application—the girl who glittered with the flip of a switch, but in the dark, her truth was as tangible as cold crystal.
Ari’s fingers brushed a strand of hair behind my ear, the sensation of his touch sending a tingle across my skin. I focused on his soft lips but the maestro’s words drove a knife through my heart—I had Ari on the game board with me.
I was Piper Parish, Princess of Capalon.
And Ari would always be a Mondarian.
Paris Marigold was the girl who had convinced a drummer she was worth caring for, not Piper Parish. Every ounce of my body wanted to taste Ari’s lips, but as much as I hated the maestro, his words rang true in my ears. As soon as Ari found out who I was, he would lose Paris Marigold and I would lose Ari.
I licked my lips. “Ari, were you the one who gave me the note at the Harvest Ball?”
Ari’s eyes focused on mine as my fingers curled against the soft hairs on the back of his neck. I wanted him so badly to say ‘yes,’ that he had known my secret all along and he didn’t care I was Capalon.
If you want to know what happens next...