Author: L.A. Casey
Neala Clarke is a woman of her word, when she gives you it, expect her to deliver. Neala gave her niece Charli her word that she would get her a doll for Christmas. Never mind that there is only one week until Christmas and everywhere that stocked toys is practically sold out. Neala gave her word that she would get that doll for Charli, so she will move mountains to make it happen.
Darcy Hart is a people pleaser, when he is asked last minute for a doll by his adorable six year old nephew Dustin, he of course, says yes. However, Darcy faces a dilemma, the particular doll he needs is sold out everywhere. Darcy makes one last attempt to get the doll at a local toy store, and finds out they have only one left in stock, but he also finds out he is not the only person interested in claiming the doll.
Neala and Darcy go way back, playing in each other’s play pens kind of way back. They are not friends, more like mortal enemies, and both of them wanting a single doll was the start of a series of events that no one could have predicted, not even Father Christmas himself.
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It all happened in slow motion.
Darcy was shouting at me from inside of the tunnel one minute, and the next his upper body disappeared as the roof of the snow tunnel collapsed in on top of him. It literally collapsed on top of him and now he wasn't moving.
For at least twenty seconds I did nothing but stare at him then my senses kicked into overdrive.
"Darcy!" I screamed, and threw my blanket off my body as I rushed over to him.
I licked my lips and stared down at his body with wide eyes, and shaking limbs. My heart was slamming into my chest, and each pulse got louder and louder. I could hear each beat my heart took and my ears rang with the noise.
"Darcy!" I shouted hoping he would make a noise from under the snow or at least move his legs.
Not a sound or kick from him.
I really started to worry then, the thought of him drowning crossed my mind. I mean, snow was made of water and he was buried under the snow, which meant he was technically under water right now.
I had to save him.
I dropped my candle to the ground and ignored it as the glass bowl that encased the candle smashed causing it to blow out.
It was darker now, but the rest of the candles along the hallway were still lit so I could see pretty well.
"Darcy, don't worry!" I shouted. "I'm gonna get you out of there!"
I dropped to my knees and began to scoop handfuls of snow off his body. I threw the snow onto the pile Darcy created while digging the tunnel off to my right, but I had to stop because my hands hurt with the cold. I instead moved to Darcy legs and gripped onto them and pulled. I pulled with all of my might and the idiot's body only slightly moved.
"Move!" I shouted and pulled at his legs again.
I held onto Darcy with every fibre of strength I had and pulled again, and by the grace of God, his body moved.
It actually moved.
I was strong!
"Yes!" I cheered.
I scrambled up to Darcy's back when his shoulders became visible. I placed my hands on both of them and pulled as hard as physically possible, the wet floor under Darcy made him slide which made things so much easier for me and my arms.
"You're out!" I cheered.
Darcy was gasping for air so I rolled him over so he could suck in as much air as he needed. His eyes were closed, but his body was shaking. I instinctively placed my hands on his arms, directly on his biceps.
His firm biceps.
I began to rub up and down very fast hoping to generate some heat for Darcy to ease his shivering. All the rubbing was pointless though, unless I got him up off the cold wet floor he would just get sick.
"Darcy, stand up," I said.
He didn't move, nor did he reply to me.
That worried me.
I looked to Darcy's face and found his eyes were still closed. I looked down to his chest and saw it was moving up and down which relaxed me immensely.
"Darcy!" I said loudly, shaking him.
"Darcy!" Einstein called from the kitchen.
I screeched, "Shut up, Einstein!"
Stupid bloody bird.
I looked back down to Darcy when I thought I heard him chuckle, but I was mistaken because he was motionless with his eyes still closed. This wouldn't do, I had to wake him up because we'd be stuck in this house if he didn't fix the tunnel and continue to dig so we could get out of here.
Was that selfish?
"Darcy!" I shouted and shook him, hard.
He groaned and it caused my pulse to spike.
"Neala?" he croaked.
He was alive!
"Yes, Darcy, it's Neala. I'm here. It's okay, I saved you."
I was so proud of myself for saving him, too.
"Neala," he gasped my name again, and this time it was followed by a cough.
I frowned down at him.
Why was he coughing?
"Are you okay?" I asked, genuinely concerned for his well being.
Darcy coughed again. "I don't think so... everything is fading."
Oh, my God.
As in fading to black?
"Don't you die and leave me here alone!" I snapped at him.
I may have still hated him close to ninety percent, but I didn't want him to die... I also didn't want to be left on my own with just Einstein for company.
"I'm... I'm dying... Neala."
"You can't be, you weren't under the snow for that long- Darcy!" I screeched and shook him when he started to go limp.
"Neala," he gasped. "Come closer."
I couldn't believe what was happening.
This was not how things were supposed to end, we were supposed to get out of here... together.
"I'm here, Darcy," I said and swallowed back a sob that wanted to escape.
Darcy's breathing slowed. "I can see the light," he whispered.
I blinked back tears. "Go to the light, Darcy."
Darcy gasped for breath, then all of sudden everything stopped.
"Darcy?" I whispered.
Oh, my God.
"Please don't be dead," I said then released the sob that was dying to be let out.
I stared down at Darcy's face, and I couldn't believe what just happened.
He died in my arms.
What was I going to do?
I never even told him I was sorry for giving him the runs, or for all the other times I was a bitch to him, and now I would never get the chance.
I felt like dirt.
I began to cry, but Darcy's body suddenly twitched then he inhaled sharply, and loudly.
I blinked then widened my eyes in shock.
"Darcy?" I whispered.
Darcy blinked opened his big brown eyes.
He was alive!
"Am I in Heaven?" he asked.
He thought he was dead!
Darcy blinked his eyes a couple of times then he flicked his eyes to mine and he stared at me for a long moment before he sighed.
"Nope, not Heaven. This must be Hell if you're here," he said, his face was as serious as if he just told me someone had a heart attack.
I stared down at him then narrowed my eyes.
"What?" I asked, completely confused.
Darcy looked at me then burst out laughing.
I gasped and dropped him to the floor.
He grunted in pain, but continued to laugh.
That... that fucking bastard!
He played me.
"You joked about dying?" I screeched.
Who does that?
Hilarious, Passionate, Cute, Sentimental and utterly fantastic are the words I think of when I finished this book. Lee you have blown me away with this book. I didn't think I would love it more than the Slater Brothers but I think I do. Darcy is just so adorable and mischievous, and Neala (oh how I love that name) is one sassy young lady.This book has a lovely feel good quality to it without being cheesy and over the top. It still has everything I love in Lee Casey's writing style but with an added twist of festive cheer. Please tell us you will bring us more from these families - Yes!!!!
We at For The Love Of Books thank you L.A Casey for allowing us to be part of your release day and we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and we are excited to share 2015 with the Slater Brothers!!
I award this book 5 stars ~ Rosie
L.A. Casey was born, raised and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland. She is a twenty two year old stay at home mother to an almost two year old German Shepherd named Storm and of course, her four and half year old (the half is apparently vital) beautiful little hellion/angel depending on the hour of the day.
Her first novel, Dominic, was released on March 17th, 2014, and on March 21st, 2014, it became an international Amazon bestseller.