When making wishes on the Hunter’s star...
It will take more than wishes to improve Sedgewick Icetrotter’s Solstice. After being sent to the infirmary, again, for dislocating his shoulder while stringing his bow, he figures he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell to impress the centaur he loves. Until Corporal Ronin Creekjumper brings in two injured centaurs suffering from unusual insect bites, and Sedgewick knows how to treat them.
Ronin can’t believe his good luck when Sedgewick saves his men. It also gives him a chance to do more than light candles for his injured friend. Ronin takes the chance and invites Sedgewick to spend the Solistice holiday together. Just the two of them.
And a pack of hungry dire wolves who’d like to put Sedgewick on the menu. Who says Solstice can’t be exciting?
A Centaur’s Solstice Wish
Copyright © 2015 Siobhan Muir
All Rights Reserved
"Hey, Sedgewick. How are you feeling tonight?"
Bethany stopped beside his window and gave him a warm smile.
"I'm feeling better tonight, Master Healer. Thank you."
"Oh, you can call me Bethany. It's Christmas Eve. No need to stand on ceremony tonight." She tilted her head with a small frown. "Are you having trouble sleeping? Is the pain bothering you?"
"No, Ma—Bethany." He grimaced at his slip. "I heard you singing."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it had been that loud. I just get into the spirit of the season and lose track of where I am." She shook her head. "I should remember to be quieter."
"No, no, it was beautiful. Peaceful and yet wistful. Are the songs from your home?"
"The Christmas tunes? Yes. Things we used to sing as kids. We'd go caroling from house to house when my mother—my dam was alive." The Master Healer smiled as she set a lit candle down on the windowsill. "It was damn cold, but the singing kept us warm and there was always hot cider or cocoa waiting for us when we got home."
"That sounds like a pleasant memory." He grimaced as his shoulder twinged. "Full of magic."
"It's a magical time of year."
Sedgewick snorted and shook his head. "Not magical, just harder. Colder. Darker."
"That's why we have candles and cheery fires, and after the solstice, the days get longer again." Bethany gave him an understanding smile. "But it can be a lonely time without loved ones." She sighed a little. "I miss my brother most of all."
Sedgewick heard the sorrow in her voice. "Has your brother returned to the Goddess?"
"What? Oh, no. At least, not that I've heard." She shook her head. "I just don't get to see him much, and now, not at all."
"Why is that, Bethany?"
"He's a soldier, a fairly elite one, and he's always off saving the world. It's impossible to know if he'll be home for Christmas, and most of the time he's deployed somewhere exotic." She snorted with amusement. "The lucky jerk usually gets to go somewhere warm in the southern hemisphere.” But her smile fell away. “Unfortunately, he doesn't get to have fun there. He's a sniper." She paused. "Do you know what a sniper is?"
Sedgewick frowned and shook his head. "I'm not familiar with the term."
Bethany bit her bottom lip in thought. "He's really sneaky and quiet, and usually takes the enemy out by long range...bow shots. He's too far away for them to see him."
"That doesn't seem like an honorable way to fight."
Bethany nodded. "No, but it's a good way to keep his team safe and to facilitate rescue operations. He's their backup." She smiled a little. "Still, I send prayers up each year to keep him safe. I'm his backup."
"It's good to have brothers-in-arms, or sisters as the case may be, who have your back." Sedgewick turned his gaze out to the snowy night. "I often wish to have such companions."
Bethany raised an eyebrow. "You don't have that now in your cohort?"
Sedgewick shook his head and glowered. "No. I'm a terrible soldier and the other men know it. This injury just confirms it. So I'll just have to go on wishing."
"Where I grew up there's this belief that at this time of year, magic really happens for those who don't have any." She waved the hand glowing with her healing magic. "I didn't always have this ability, so I don't count. But the saying goes if you make a Christmas wish, the magic of the season makes it come true."
Sedgewick snorted. "You think the Goddess Epona will grant my wishes just because it's snowing outside?"
Bethany gave him a secret smile and shrugged. "I don't know, Sedgewick, but the energy at this time of year is different, more magical and mysterious. I'm sure you can feel it when the land goes to bed under a blanket of snow. But I do know that miracles are known to happen around this time of year. Too many stories about it to ignore."
She winked as she patted his human shoulder and continued lighting fragrant candles around the room despite the lanterns. Sedgewick turned back to the window and considered what she'd said. The snow had slowed and the clouds cleared a piece of sky. The Hunter's Point, the brightest northern-most star, glowed from its little patch of clear sky like a beacon to all those below. He stared up at it, wondering if Bethany knew more than he about the magic of the world than him.
She certainly uses it more regularly.
He sighed and straightened his shoulders as he faced the window, mentally shaking his head at his whimsy, but still incapable of not trying.
Sweetest Epona, Goddess of all the Herds, please hear my prayer. Please let me find my heart's desire tonight. He paused, trying to visualize what that would be. He closed his eyes, imagining himself working on something with great skill and proficiency, enough to garner admiration for his abilities from the community. At the last second as his mind's eyes swung around the crowd, Ronin appeared beside him and wrapped a burly arm around Sedgewick's shoulders, squeezing in a proprietary manner. Oh, yes, please.
A Centaur’s Solstice Wish
Genre: Fantasy M/M Romance
Word Count: 13,264
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-acentaur039ssolsticewish-1732784-143.html
Siobhan Muir lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with her husband, two daughters, and a vegetarian cat she swears is a shape-shifter, though he's never shifted when she can see him. When not writing, she can be found looking down a microscope at fossil fox teeth, pursuing her other love, paleontology. An avid reader of science fiction/fantasy, her husband gave her a paranormal romance for Christmas one year, and she was hooked for good.
In previous lives, Siobhan has been an actor at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a field geologist in the Aleutian Islands, and restored inter-planetary imagery at the USGS. She’s hiked to the top of Mount St. Helens and to the bottom of Meteor Crater.
Siobhan writes kick-ass adventure with hot sex for men and women to enjoy. She believes in happily ever after, redemption, and communication, all of which you will find in her paranormal romance stories.
Siobhan’s latest release, A Centaur’s Solstice Wish, is the second story in her new Rifts series. She has published A Hell Hound’s Fire (a free read), The Beltane Witch, and Cloudburst Ice Magic in the Cloudburst Colorado series. Siobhan has also published Bronco’s Rough Ride and The Navy’s Ghost in the Bad Boys of Beta Squad series, Not a Dragon’s Standard Virgin and Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack through Siren Publishing, and Her Devoted Vampire through Evernight Publishing.