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The Yule Miracle
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message 1: by Dawn (last edited Nov 22, 2015 09:30PM) (new) - added it

Dawn Prough (deprough) | 37 comments All Royce wants is to be left alone after being exiled from his family and community. He’s built a small house for himself in the wilderness of Alaska, where he doesn’t have to remember his past. He’s mostly succeeded, but the memory of his younger brother’s body haunts him. When he rescues a woman who needs to get to her dying brother for Christmas, those memories propel him to help her, even at the cost of his secrets.

Royce tells Nahla not to trust him but he’s saved her life once and is getting her to her brother’s hospital. She can’t help but be drawn to him, especially when she learns what he can shift into a bear. The more he tells her, the more she wants to know. But when she makes a fateful choice, the price for getting to her holiday miracle might be too high.

This is a 21,000 word novella. Due out 12/4, it's available for preorder now!


message 2: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn Prough (deprough) | 37 comments Excerpt
“What’s in Anchorage? Family?” Royce privately wondered if she’d understood that the airport had grounded her for a reason. The weather this week was bad.

“Yes.” Her hands fluttered around nervously and she smelled anxious. “I need to get there as soon as possible.”

Royce snorted, the exhalation strong enough to cause his head to bob. “That ain’t happening for a while,” he told her briskly. “Nowhere near Anchorage and storm’s a’comin’.”

“Wait, where are we?” Nahla asked, her large eyes going wide.

“This is the Katmai Preserve. You’re about three hundred miles south and west of Anchorage.” The woman deflated visibly at his words, closing her eyes and pressing her hand over them. Irritated that he had to deliver bad news, Royce rose to his feet and moved to his stove. She would probably need some tea or something hot to drink.

He heard her take one ragged breath and when he glanced back at her, he could almost see her pulling herself together. She sat up and moved to the edge of the bed, tugging the hide around her shoulders. When she looked up again, her eyes were full of determination. “I have to get to Anchorage. Please. Can I buy a snowmobile from you?”

“Don’t own one.” Royce had a bad feeling about where the conversation was going. He was going to look like the bad guy when in reality he’d love nothing more than to get her to Anchorage and out of his life. “Want tea? Or hot chocolate.”

“How do you get supplies?” She rose with nervous energy, looking at his home again. He watched her finally take in the rough surroundings. He’d laid down woven rugs and hides and had lined the stone walls with shelves and cabinets, but nothing could hide that he was living in a cave. She went to the intersection between wood and stone, looking lost and unsure. “Where’s… your bathroom?”

“Tub for bathing’s on the wall. If ya mean a toilet, that’s that door.” He watched her open the door to the tiny room and swallowed a laugh at the look on her face when she saw the toilet seat set in a wooden platform.

“Do you have an outhouse in your house?” she asked sharply.

“Course not.” Royce turned back to the stove, emptying water from a gallon jug into the pot and setting it on the top of the black pot-bellied stove. “Composting toilet.” He peeked at her to see her reaction: still aghast but not openly horrified.

“So… you’re really living rough.” She plucked her gloves off her hands with quick, uncertain movements. Once they were in her hand, she didn’t know what to do with them, folding and refolding them several times before stuffing them in her coat pocket. Nahla stared at the toilet for a long moment before she turned to face him. “Look. I need to get to Anchorage.”

He looked away from the beseeching need in her large eyes. “Not possible.” Royce knew that being curt wasn’t going to help but he wasn’t going to help her. When she pleaded like that, it made him feel like a shitty person for not helping. Also, he wasn’t keen on lying to her; he might be able to get her where she wanted to go but not without revealing his secret.

Nahla moved around the room until she stood next to him, moving into his line of sight. He had to look at her then, as she looked up at him with those soulful eyes. The hot air rising from the stove stirred her hair and she absently tucked it behind her ears. Licking her lips, she lifted her chin and softly said, “My brother is dying. My baby brother. He’s eighteen and dying of cancer and I really need to be there for what is going to be his last Christmas. For his last d-” She took a deep breath. “Last days of life.”

He flinched when she said ‘eighteen’ and he hoped she hadn’t seen it. Royce bowed his head and broke eye contact, wishing he was a heartless bastard. “I can’t get you there.”

Nahla shook her head in denial of his words, her hands delving into her coat pocket. She pulled out a small clutch purse and fished out a picture. Royce knew what he’d see before she held up the picture; he didn’t know exactly what the young man she showed him would look like before he saw it but he knew it’d be a picture of a smiling, bright-eyed kid. They had the same warm brown skin, round cheeks, and large eyes. She held up the picture relentlessly, driven to push him as hard as her familial love pushed her. “This is Zarif, before he got sick. He has everyone call him Zeke. He runs cross-country. He likes Mountain Dew and Red Bull mixed together. He likes One Direction but pretends he doesn’t. Please, Royce, please.”

She’d used his name, her need naked in her voice. He heaved a sigh and turned to face her. “I wanna help.” He pushed on even as her eyes filled with tears. “It’d take a miracle to get you to Anchorage with the storm goin’.”


message 3: by E. (new)

E. Milam (eharpermilam) | 11 comments This looks great, Dawn. Excited to read it.


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimgm) | 1032 comments Adding this to my holiday reading list! :D


message 5: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn Prough (deprough) | 37 comments Thanks, guys! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


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