Julie Particka was told to get serious about her future in Junior High. Several years after getting a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, she realized being serious was over-rated and went back to her first love–writing. Now rather than spending her days in the drudgery of the lab or teaching science to high school students, she disappears into worlds of her own creation where monsters sometimes roam, but true love still conquers all.
She can most often be located in the Detroit area with her favorite minions (the ones who know her as Mom) where she is currently hatching a plot for world domination. It involves cookies for everyone, so she’s pretty sure there’s no way it can fail…except the minions keep eating the cookies.
Find Julie at:
Once Upon a New Year’s Eve
A Gone Hollywood Short Story
Several years from now…
“Once upon a time…” Stasia started reading.
“No.” Lower lip in an exaggerated pout, the little girl in the bed crossed her arms over her chest. “I want a real story.”
“What kind of real story, Maya?” Stasia closed the book and laid it on the nightstand next to her.
“Someone said you and daddy had a fairytale romance.”
“We kind of did.”
“I want to hear that one then. The one about how you met.”
Stasia thought back, her cheeks heating as she thought of all the things she could never admit to her daughter. The things she’d find out on her own some day if she really wanted to dig into the past. There was no way she could explain any of that to a five year old though. “That’s a really long story and it’s already late. What if I just tell you the part where we got to happily ever after?”
Maya’s lips quirked to the side and she huffed out a sigh that would have done a teenager proud. “Fine.”
“Okay”—she could do this; she just needed to leave out the more…adult parts—“Once upon a time…”
“Babe, we’re going to be late. What’s taking you so..?” Evan’s voice tapered off when Stasia came down the stairs.
“You try figuring out how to measure up to the Hollywood elite.”
“Isn’t that my life? But you—you look amazing, there isn’t anyone who can compare to you.”
With the way he wrapped his arms around her, she knew she should believe it, but every time they went to anything related to his movie career, she still felt less. “And when we run into all your exes?”
Evan squeezed her tight and nuzzled her neck. “Then I’ll just have to make sure they know exactly how much happier I am with you.”
“It’s New Year’s Eve. I want to spend it with you.” Only with him. Parties were so…single life. Whenever they did stuff like this, it reminded her of their fake engagement and how they’d never made it back to that place where even a faux marriage was on the horizon.
She’d made sure he’d known to back off because she wasn’t ready for anything serious. That was months ago. Now she couldn’t figure out how to tell him things had changed. She wanted to be more than his girlfriend. She wanted to be his everything.
Evan spun her around. “Did you forget who I am? I’m the Time Phantom, babe. This night can be just us and then it can be the party. We can live this New Year’s Eve twice.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. Most of the time when it was just the two of them, he avoided bringing up his career. They were nothing more than a normal couple doing whatever it was they did. Then, whenever she was at a low point, he’d pull out the superhero card, and remind her that no matter what, he always fixed everything.
“Okay, hero. Let’s go.” A few minutes later, they were on the road. “I still don’t know why we had to leave so early. It’s not even nine o’clock yet. By the time midnight hits, I’m not going to be able to stand in these heels.”
“Because, we have a stop to make before the party, and there’s a chance it might take a while.”
She’d been so busy watching him; she hadn’t paid any attention to where they were until he stopped. She glanced at the giant letters peaking over the edge of the road. “Uh…I thought they closed this off on New Year’s for the fireworks.”
“Faith, babe. Have a little faith.”
“I have faith,” she said as he came around to her side of the car. “What I don’t have are running shoes.”
Evan laughed and led her to a man who let them through the fence. “I’ll be back at nine-thirty, Mr. Stone. You need to be gone by then.”
“Not a problem.” As soon as they were through the fence, Evan swept Stasia into his arms.
She giggled, burying her head in his neck. “Fifty degrees, we’re dressed in formalwear, and you decide now is the perfect time to bring me to the Hollywood sign?”
“Nope.” He stood her up right in front of the L. Beneath them, LA spread out like black velvet. All the lights, holiday and otherwise, glittered like multi-hued jewels. Evan glanced at his watch. “We have ten minutes until midnight.”
“You mean ten to nine?” She arched a brow at him.
“Not in Detroit, it isn’t.”
Stasia laughed and shook her head. “We get to celebrate twice. I forgot. You really do know how to work miracles, don’t you?”
“I’m kind of hoping to work one more tonight.” Evan sank to one knee and held her hands in his. “We’ve been in this position before, but this is the first time it’s really felt right to me. With all we’ve been through. The ups and downs and madness that led here, I don’t want to spend a single moment of another year, here or anywhere, before I ask you this.” He sucked in a breath and gave her the smile that melted her heart. “Stasia Grant, will you, finally agree to marry me?”
It was as if his superhero persona had shown up for real. Time seemed to stand still, the hills themselves holding their breath. This man. This crazy man who had agreed on a whim to pretend to be engaged then gotten her to fall in love with him for real—he wanted her to be his forever. And Stasia knew, without question, that he meant forever. There would be no divorce in a future with Evan. This romance, this man, was meant to last.
“No matter what I said before…I think I would have agreed any time you decided to ask. I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment you kicked the cameraman out of our interview that day. I’ve never stopped loving you. Yes, I will marry you.”
Just then, his phone buzzed and the chorus of Auld Lang Syne began playing as the clock struck midnight in Detroit. Evan jumped to his feet, wrapped his arms around her waist and swung her in a circle, stopping and pointing toward the reservoir. Four points of light flared into the sky, bursting one at a time into a shower of fireworks. Evan held her close. “One for every month I’ve been waiting for you to say yes for real.”
The heat of him and his words warmed her, blazing right to her core. “No more waiting. I’m yours. I feel like I’ve always been yours.”
Stasia stopped talking as need coiled in her belly at the mere memory.
“And then? Mommy, what happened then?”
Closing her eyes, Stasia remembered hanging her dress on a no access sign, not worrying for an instant about the chill in the air. She remembered Evan sliding into her like they’d been custom made to fit together perfectly. She remembered every second of that night, but what she said was, “Then we found our happily ever after. And before the year was out…we got to meet you.” She rubbed her nose against Maya’s, fulfilling their bedtime ritual of Eskimo kisses. “And now, it’s time for you to go to sleep. I need to go see if your daddy wants to remember that night too…”
A proposition leads to compromising positions...
Journalist Stasia Grant needs a hero. Specifically one who will help her humiliate her ex-husband after he publicly left her for another woman. In Vegas for the biggest interview of her career, Stasia is grappling with a broken heart, her cheating ex (and the other woman), and a serious need for revenge. Her salvation comes from the most unlikely place charming and sexy-as-all-get-out action star Evan Stone. A
fter spending his life playing a superhero, Evan has a plan for delicious satisfaction: a fake, week-long engagement. He'll not only show Stasia's ex what he's missing but gain some sympathetic publicity to turn around his image as a player. It's win-win for them both. But neither expected the sizzling chemistry that erupts whenever they're together. Stepping out for the paparazzi, Stasia and Evan are about to pull off the performance of a lifetime...but will they fall for their own con?
Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |
Check out what's up for grabs.
- 1 $5 Amazon Gift Card
- Please leave a comment or question for Julie.
- Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.
**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!
Special thanks to Julie Patricka for sponsoring this giveaway.a Rafflecopter giveaway