Thanks to You by Maggie Blackbird Genre: Contemporary Romance Short Story
She’s from the boundary waters of Northwestern Ontario, and he’s from a place his people call Waiekwakitchigami in northern Minnesota. Neither expects to meet, much less spend Thanksgiving together.
Desperate for a Minneapolis getaway to prove she can break out of her by-the-numbers and by-the-book, disciplined life, divorcée Paulina Natawance doesn’t expect to have her truck break down outside the casino in Cloquet where she’s had lunch. Nor does she expect to encounter a handsome man with long, flowing black hair, ebony eyes, and a smile that could melt the ice cream she’s holding.
While finishing up his shift at the Big Bear Casino, widower Tripp Beargrease isn’t looking forward to going home to celebrate Thanksgiving alone…again. But when he encounters a stunning Anishinaabe-kwe with legs to her neck, a tiny waist, and a pink, wet tongue licking an ice cream cone standing helpless at her dead vehicle, he’s more than willing to paddle his canoe to her rescue like a true warrior should.
With the garage closed for the holiday and the hotels booked because of Thanksgiving, Tripp generously offers his dinner table for Paulina to dine at, and his spare bedroom for her to sleep in. And maybe, just maybe this proper woman can repair his broken heart. But her truck is ready the next day, and Paulina has a big decision to make—return to the boring, predictable life she’s created for herself, or throw away her day planner and take a huge gamble on Tripp.
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Having finished her ice cream cone, Paulina sipped on a delicious cup of coffee. Not since she’d first met her ex-husband had she shifted and twitched so much. Maybe it was the slant to Tripp’s eyes, or the genuine kindness reflecting in his pupils. Or maybe it was the way his hand relaxed on the mug. Or it could have been the way he sat back in the chair. Or, heck, it was all of them, including his natural friendliness and concern.
“You said you’re a financial administrator for a native health care center?” He rubbed his index finger and thumb along his chin. “I should have guessed counting numbers was your job.”
“What makes you say that?” Paulina asked. Being in security for ten years must have given Tripp a lot of insight into people.
“Most woulda been pretty mad to have their truck conk out on a road trip to the city. I didn’t see you kicking a tire or swearing a blue streak.” Tripp’s lips tugged at the corners. “Trust me, I’ve seen my share.”
“And counting numbers doesn’t mean…” This was interesting.
“You deal with numbers. It means you’re focused. Analytical. Weigh the pros and the cons. It goes back to a few workshops I took. It’s part of my training. How to deal with people, because every day I deal with a lot of people.”
“I guess you do, if you work security. I’m sure you had your share of disputes to…mediate.” She couldn’t help the tiny giggle in her throat. When was the last time she had let out a good laugh?
“Sure have.” Tripp lifted his mug and sipped. His dark eyes kept sparkling. Even his lips remained spread into an inviting smile.
Paulina tightened her grip on the mug. Moistness invaded regions she didn’t want invaded—beneath her breasts, between her legs, and under her arms. She massaged the back of her neck.
From her peripheral vision, she caught a tow truck moving through the parking lot. “That’s…” She wet her lips. “I believe that’s for me. I’d better get outside.”
“Sure.” The sparkle in Tripp’s eyes faded. “I’ll…I’ll stick around.” He cleared his throat. “If you don’t mind.”
No, she didn’t mind at all. “Uh…sure. Thank you.”
Tied Up With a Bow by Maggie Blackbird Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance Short Story
He’s got the perfect Christmas present for the community’s chief—vengeance wrapped in a shiny box with a red bow on top.
Joseph Slade Indian isn’t angry. He’s pissed. Pissed that the man who threw over his love for glory and money is back, and now leads their Ojibway community as the new chief. Holding the pain deep in his chest, Slade knows how he’ll celebrate the most miserable day of the year—opening a gift of recompense after being dumped by the one man he dared to love.
Gavin Pemmican is full of regret. He knows he made a big mistake leaving Slade for a materialistic dream of power and prestige. No longer the poor bullied misfit but an educated lawyer, he’s ready to put his skills to the biggest case of his life by brazenly challenging Slade in the kangaroo court of sexual torture he’s daring to stick Gavin in—and win back the only man he’s ever loved.
The bathroom door opened. Gavin eased into the hallway. He clutched a white napkin. He stood sideways, his sports coat laid over the crook in his arm. His lean muscles filled out his navy-blue shirt. Yep, someone had been hitting the gym. Gavin had probably hired a personal trainer when he’d lived in Winnipeg. His pants, not too tight and not too loose, snuggled his legs that had once been skinny but now filled out the plush gray material.
Gavin swiveled on his black shoe, glancing over his shoulder. No, not a glance. His heavy-lidded eyes burned into Slade. Searing him until his mouth dried.
The napkin fell to the floor.
Reality slapped Slade’s face cold, and fire crackled in his veins. Who did this asshole think he was, blatantly tossing garbage around while he stood watching?
Gavin kept gazing at him while he shifted one leg over the other. The sound of his heels clicking against the floor echoed off the walls.
Slade gritted his teeth. Was Gavin daring him to get mad, going to throw around his newfound power if Slade told the high and mighty chief to bend the hell over and pick that damned napkin off the floor?
Gavin’s dark eyed gaze continued to cut into Slade, as if sharing a secret. There wasn’t a hint of smug satisfaction. Only a potent, seductive invitation.
A man had needs. Slade swallowed. And he wasn’t about to get laid on the rez, no matter if the population clocked in at eight hundred members.
With one final lingering peek, Gavin disappeared inside his office.
Slade’s breathing hitched. The lightness in his chest twisted until his lungs clenched. He ought to leave the napkin on the floor and find out what Gavin had to say about that. Slade set the mop handle aside. If he ignored the trash, the band manager would call him out.
He trounced to the washroom door and leaned down, swiping up the napkin, but the plush material melting into his palm didn’t resemble a napkin. Then what the…? He turned the garment over. His throat clamped shut. Underwear. He was holding Gavin’s underwear. And the hip-cut shorts weren’t the kind a guy bought at Bargain Bob’s for the cost-saving price of five for ten dollars. This wasn’t cotton or silk, either. Something else.
His spine twitched.
He craned his neck to the open door leading to Gavin’s office.
Slade squashed the light fabric in his hand. When he released his grip, the underwear expanded slightly.
The tips of his fingers burned as he pinched the shorts and spread out the briefs from corner to corner. His stomach constricted. A mere few seconds ago, Gavin had removed his pants to slip out of this baby. He’d exposed his cock. Exposed his balls. Exposed his ass.
Slade clenched his eyes shut. He loathed the vision, but it appeared anyway—fingers flirting with a button, the zrup of a zipper being lowered, stiff cock shoved against the flimsy material of the shorts, and long legs easing out of the gray pants.
Had the thought of stripping from his underwear excited Gavin? Had he left his excitement on his underwear?
Slade drew the shorts to his face, burying his nose in the rich material. As the heavy aroma concealed in a man’s pubes claimed his nostrils, his knees shook. Gavin’s scent. Thick with musk. Powerful with sweat.
Dressed For Success by Maggie Blackbird Genre: Contemporary Romance Short Story
Two wounded-in-love go-getters must decide if they’ll break their personal rule that cost them so much in the past by mixing business with pleasure.
Divorcée Bebe Boshey flees her Ojibway community for the city of Thunder Bay to begin anew, landing a great job that affords her an independent lifestyle she covets and a great condo. Best of all, her silver fox boss thinks the world of her. She can’t help her attraction to him, but office dating is a huge no-no.
Divorcé Alden Campbell is tired of spending his nights alone. And he’s also quite uncomfortable about his feelings for his ace real estate agent, Bebe. Even though they are strictly professional in their daily dealings, the sizzling chemistry ready to boil over between them is enough to shake him with fear, because he’s been there and done that.
While they’re on a business trip together, a crafty playboy pushes Alden into making a big decision that might cost him dearly—pursue Bebe and break his rule of business-only, or let Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome work his charm on the one woman Alden wants to call his own.
When Alden’s gaze briefly settled on Bebe’s thighs, excitement invaded the daring lace pink panties she’d purchased at Chest of Drawers. Just as quickly, he zeroed in on the seat ahead of them.
Bebe squirmed, rubbing her legs together. He hadn’t gawked. He’d admired. The coating of moisture dried in her throat, and she scratched her neck.
“Everything okay?” Alden dipped his head slightly, icy blue eyes crinkling. The creases became more pronounced, lines that implored her to stroke each one. Touch them.
“Yes.” She glanced away. Heat was everywhere—beneath her breasts, set to ruin her matching bra, in the cleft of her ass, under her arms, and a dabble above her upper lip.
The pilot’s voice came over the intercom, informing them they were getting ready to taxi.
Bebe gripped the arm of her chair. She would’ve gripped the other one if Alden’s elbow wasn’t resting there.
“Do you need to hold on? I can move it.” And he did, without waiting for her answer. He folded his arms.
“Thanks.” The heat wouldn’t dissipate. Bebe sank her nails in the other armrest. She squeezed her eyes shut. Praying to Creator always helped.
The plane began moving. She peeled open one eye. Alden’s hand hovered over hers. His lips were pursed in contemplation, and concern flooded his squinted gaze.
She swallowed. Oh God, he was debating whether to reassure her. “Thank you,” she managed to eke out.
His jaw slackened, and his mouth fell open at most likely being caught. He cleared his throat. “I wasn’t...” He snatched his hand away and refolded his arms.
“No... it’s okay. Really,” she managed to say through the breaths of air rushing from her lungs, because the plane was tearing down the runway, ready to lift off. She kept squeezing the armrests.
Alden’s palm smothered hers. He gently massaged the back of her hand. Although Bebe’s chest remained contracted and her nerves were coiled tighter than springs pressed together fighting to erupt, having his warm skin on hers quelled the queasiness in her stomach. She curled her toes as the plane lifted into the air.
His smooth palm kept massaging the back of her hand, even brushing her fingers.
The plane evened out. Bebe didn’t experience the slammed back in my chair motion any longer.
“Thank you.” She opened her eyes to blue sky and Thunder Bay growing smaller and smaller.
“Anything to help.” He patted her hand and removed his palm. “If only we had taken The Carrier. At least it serves drinks.”
“True. And we have a few more ups and downs to go.”
“Yes, we do. Nipigon. Hornpayne. Manitouwadge.”
“I’ll survive.” She licked her lips.
“I’ll be right here to hold your hand each time we land and take off.” His voice was reassuring, hardly the formal speech he used at work.
She shuddered. Holding her hand again... It felt too good. Not in a sexual way, but in a protective way. He’d calmed her. Even now, she wasn’t peeking out the window, shivering at the thought of crashing.
After the Snow Melts by Maggie Blackbird Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance Short Story
He’s got to find a way to tell his best friend that he wants him—or lose him forever.
Rich, popular, and gorgeous Bryan Dechamps pines from afar for his best friend. He loathes the idea of helping Elliot score a date for the snow dance. With his time running out, Bryan must find a way to capture his buddy’s attention—and that means boldly leaving an anonymous card in his main man’s locker.
Grateful for Bryan’s friendship ever since he moved from his Ojibway community to Thunder Bay to attend high school, Elliot Wasacase can’t disclose his true feelings, or he’ll lose the one true friend he has. Upon discovering an unsigned card in his locker from an admiring dude, he’s terrified someone knows his secret but suspects the person might be Bryan.
When Bryan’s car breaks down, stranding them on top of the mountain during a snowstorm, the two must either take a leap of faith or let fear and clashing beliefs cost them what they truly desire.
The food Bryan had packed away gurgled in his stomach. He grabbed the napkin and wiped his mouth. His salty tongue and dry throat begged for moisture. He lifted the cola from the cup holder, never leaving Elliot’s intense look.
Something crackled between them—a tinge of tension that had been building from the moment they’d met in gym class during the first semester, both assessing one another up and down, panting after a game of basketball while sweat had glistened on their skins. The same heat from that moment coated Bryan’s flesh.
It didn’t matter the temperature was quickly dropping. Nothing could dispel the warmth flowing through his blood. His beating heart seemed to sit in his throat. “Maybe you should ask.”
The fire in Elliot’s eyes flickered out. “Ask who?”
“Ask whoever you think sent the card.”
“Uh…” Elliot shifted and glanced away. He crumbled up his food containers and stuffed them inside the bag. “I can’t ask. I’d look like a total tool asking everyone at school if they sent me a card.”
“But you have an idea who sent it, don’t you?”
The familiar shade of pink claimed Elliot’s cheeks. “Um…no.” He threw open the door. “I need a dart.”
Bryan also got out since he couldn’t smoke in the car because Dad always did his sniff check. He headed to the wooden railing where Elliot had left his boot prints in the ankle-length snow. Even the spruce trees were weighed down with white.
The sky wasn’t visible because of the storm. The flakes were harsh smacks of ice on Bryan’s face. He reached inside his jacket for his own pack of cigarettes, keeping his head ducked and hood up to ward off the chill of the wind.
“Well?” he asked while sliding the cigarette between his lips. He kept his back to the fierce snowfall.
Elliot moved beside him, also turning his back on the storm. “Well what?”
“Who do you think sent you the cards? Dedicated the song to you?” Bryan was walking on a tightrope, but considering he’d never gotten a sucker punch to the face or heard Elliot sneer at the tokens of admiration, it was apparent he didn’t mind that a dude was digging on him.
“You keep bugging me about this. Never let up.” Elliot’s voice shook. “I…I…”
“I never heard you listen to a ballad before.” To quell his shaking insides, Bryan took a drag off the cigarette. The nicotine did its job and slowed the fierce rapids of angry white water his blood had become thundering through his veins.
“I…I…I think it’s you.” Elliot’s words came out slow and soft.
The blood slowed to a halt. Finally, what Bryan had begged for, wished for, prayed for, was in the open—and it was up to him to respond.
An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
I’m preparing this guest post during the middle of March 2020, and my blog tour doesn’t start until May, so a lot might have changed for me while you’re reading this. First, I finished the second book for my new LGBT young adult, contemporary romance trilogy. I’m hoping (fingers crossed) to release the trilogy this year through my publisher. Currently, I’m working on self-edits for book one that I want to send to my publisher around the beginning of May.
I also plan on publishing two short stories for this year. One for Christmas. This will be set during the 1930s and stars a widowed Indigenous heroine who takes over her husband’s trapline, and a single man who works for the HBC (Hudson Bay Company). The area where I live is rich in the fur trade history, and my grandpa fed his family through trapping, guiding, and hunting, so I thought it’d be neat to do a Christmas story based on this.
I’m debating whether to write another Christmas short story starring my two heroes from Blessed, book one in the Matawapit Family Series. I still have time to hem and haw over this because stories aren’t due to my publisher until the end of August.
Into next year, I plan on writing three novels addressing the “sixties scoop” and its impact it has on three Indigenous men and women. The first novel will take place during the late seventies and early eighties.
I haven’t even gotten a chance to think about my historical trilogy I want to write, the setting being the height of Canada’s fur trade. But this is something I really want to see come to fruition. So my fingers are, again, crossed.
There is also a supernatural romance I want to write, but that is well on the back burner for now.
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