I don’t think of The Unmasking as a typical Christmas book, but since it has one of my favorite Christmas Eve scenes, I’m sharing from it today. The hero, Matt, is an anthropology professor specializing in Celtic studies.
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Set-Up: Nancy’s still not sure if Matt is just a casual fling, but she’s brought him to spend Christmas with her family at their Wisconsin north woods cabin. Their Christmas Eve tradition is sharing Christmas memories…
Matt became anxious when he realized there were only three others remaining who had not yet shared a story. Nancy’s family was a fun family to observe, but he didn’t fit in with them. What could he offer for a story? He knew they’d expect one.
When it was his turn, the words came of their own volition. “One of my best gifts was a book called The Flight of Dragons. I was eight years old. It was a rich and wonderful book and had lots of detail about exactly how dragons fly – using the same gases that they use to breathe from. It sure was high adventure for me – we hardly even went to movies, and we had no TV.”
“No TV!” Michael said, aghast.
…And a little more
Matt smiled at the boy and continued, “That book was probably the seed that began my quest for more knowledge of ancient cultures and myths.”
“Without that book, you wouldn’t be sitting here with us tonight.” Nancy’s voice was unusually quiet and he couldn’t read the soft expression on her face.
“I suppose you’re right. Every little step along the way shapes us in one way or another. But,” he turned to speak to the children, “I want you to know this was a fun book. I couldn’t stop reading, and I finished it by bedtime on Christmas night. Of course, I started rereading it the next morning.”
The children applauded and were joined by the adults. “I want to get that book, professor,” Michael said, coming to stand before Matt. “It sounds exciting. I especially like books about the Knights of the Round Table.”
“Me too,” Matt replied, absently brushing back a lock of hair from the boy’s forehead. “I expect in my library I have just about every book written on the subject that’s available to the public.”
“Really!” The boy’s eyes grew huge. “I’d sure like to see that library.”
Title: The Unmasking
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: B&B Publishing
Length: 87,000 words, 375 pages
Tropes: Lady cop, Undercover Detective, college campus, small town
Is anthropology professor Matt Bayfield the Blackthorn College rapist, or a potential ally? Aloof and unapproachable, Matt has academic ambitions. He can’t escape Blackthorn College soon enough, and he doesn’t want any entanglements to slow down his exit.
Nancy Appleby would like nothing more than to solve the string of campus rape cases before Thanksgiving so she can go home. The last thing she wants is a relationship to complicate her life—but she’ll settle for a fling, especially when the sex sizzles.
The stalker has his own carefully crafted timetable, with a special date just for Nancy. Can Matt and Nancy force him out of his hidey-hole before it’s too late?
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
5 Stars, Amazon reviewer Rochelle: “They got me! I didn’t figure it out!”
5 Stars, Amazon reviewer Wendy: “wonderfully told, suspenseful, erotic romance”