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My upcoming release, I Need You for Christmas, is my first published story set in my own backyard of central Ontario. It was fun not having to change my writing to make sure my American characters stayed true to their character without my Canadian roots showing. Since I wanted to give readers a feel for this area, I let myself write the way I speak, and wrote about things I did, and things I saw every day. I tried not to put too many of the standard Canadian stereotypes in there, but some stereotypes are stereotypes because we really do or say them.
Even though I do use the word ‘eh’ at the end of a lot of my sentences, I didn’t have my characters using it at all. Okay, yes, Mounties are a Canadian stereotype, but I wanted a kick-ass police officer heroine, and I wanted her to have been separated from the heroine who lived in my neighborhood by having her serve 1600 miles north in Iqaluit (pronounced ee-ka-loo-eet or ih-ka-loo-it – I got the phonetic spelling from dictionary.com but I’ve heard it directly from people who live there), that meant she’d serve with the RCMP. Because, you know, they patrol the “Great White North.”
Ah, there’s another stereotype. I don’t think I ever referred to the Canadian arctic as the GWN. Although we often do refer to Canada in general using that term. Even those of us in the banana belt section of southern Ontario.
Yes, I slid in a reference to Tim Horton’s – an extremely popular coffee shop, even more popular than Starbucks up here. Though I refer to it as “Timmy’s” as we usually do.
I may have mentioned a character pulling on his toque – I had a heck of a surprise that no one south of the Canadian border used that term. It’s a knit cap – you know like Bob and Doug McKenzie wore? I discovered that when a critique partner from Texas was reading my original copy of Private Property where I had my heroine pulling on her toque. My CP left a note questioning why she’d pull on a French pastry. Apparently in Texas, toques are referred to as toboggans, which sent my family into gales of laughter. Because a toboggan to us is a sled – so the thought of pulling a sled on one’s head … yup, a hoot.
Another weird thing I’ve learned since writing about locations in the United States is we refer to our highways differently. They are highways, not freeways. And where people in the States say “Take I-95” where we’d say “Take the 401 Eastbound to the 35/115”. Every time I use a freeway number in one of my manuscripts, I have to make very sure I never add that ‘the’ in front of it. With I Need You for Christmas, I didn’t have to worry about that.
I had to debate how Meg would describe one of the characters when it came to his height and weight. Because although we use kilometers instead of miles, and litres instead of gallons, we still use inches and feet for height and pounds for weight. Same as we adopt whatever spelling rule we want depending on our mood when it comes to American vs UK spelling. We’re flexible that way. ;)
Since Ryan offers to give Meg a toonie tour and there’s a game at the Christmas party called the loonie toss. I guess I should mention our money. You see, we don’t have a dollar bill, or a two dollar bill anymore because 25 years ago our government decided that coins would last longer. The dollar bill was replaced with a large gold colored coin with a loon on one side—hence it’s now called the loonie. A few years later they replaced the two dollar bill with a two-metal coin that was very quickly dubbed the “toonie.” They’re very heavy if you have more than a couple in your pocket. Ask my American editor how they weigh down her purse when she visits Carina’s head office in Toronto. (I put them beside an American quarter and nickel for comparison purposes.)
Then there’s the pulled pork poutine Ryan and Meg share. That’s a very messy looking dish consisting of a bed of French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy, and in this case, topped with some pulled pork. It looks disgusting, it’s even pronounced pooh-teen here in Ontario, but it’s delicious. And as is everything food that I crave, it’s very fattening.
Oh and the Jayne hat one of the characters wears? Not Canadian, but I couldn’t help inserting a little salute to Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Because guess what? It’s a toque!
What stereotypes of Canadians do you have? Leave a comment here for a chance to win a digital copy of winner’s choice of one of my backlist. Or hop on over to Leah’s blog for a chance to enter a Kindle Touch.
I NEED YOU FOR CHRISTMAS BLURB
Ryan Porter is a sculptor, and beneath his callused hands, even the most rigid metals bend to his will. So, too, does his girlfriend Megan—a confident, strong woman who delights in submitting to Ryan’s dominance in the bedroom.
Megan is a Mountie, and she’s spent the past few years in the arctic following her career dreams. Family obligations kept Ryan at home, but their love survived the distance thanks to several hot visits. A Mountie always gets her man, and Megan is bound and determined to keep Ryan.
Now Megan’s with Ryan for the holidays…but how long will this visit last? She’s always been willing to do anything Ryan desires, but will he finally tell her that all he needs for Christmas is her?
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I Need You For Christmas
Copyright © 2012 Leah Braemel
The scent of bacon and cinnamon and coffee penetrated Meg’s consciousness long before she convinced her eyelids to open. Accompanied by Ryan’s off-key warbling of “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, she stretched beneath the duvet and planned out her day. Which consisted of…what? Staying in bed all day was tempting, but that probably wasn’t an option, especially since she’d promised Amy she’d help her do her annual Christmas-cookie-making marathon.
Grumbling about having to get up, yet excited to be spending the day with Ryan, she tossed back the covers and padded to the washroom. Once she’d had a shower and dressed, she wandered out to the kitchen where Ryan was frying bacon wearing only a T-shirt and butt-hugging briefs. Standing in the doorway, she stayed quiet, appreciating the sight of his long legs with their muscular thighs and calves from miles of riding his bike over the hilly gravel roads in the area. Legs that had clenched around her the night before, the rough hair tickling her cheeks when she’d gone down on him. Then later, they’d brushed the insides of her thighs when he’d ridden her until they were both out of breath, sweaty and sore and thoroughly satisfied.
The music changed to “Silver Bells”, or as he sang it, Silver Balls. Guys. For such a talented artist, talk about tone deaf.
“Aren’t you worried about grease splatter?” She grabbed a mug and filled it with coffee.
Ever the wise man, he waited until she’d had her first full hit of caffeine before taking the cup and placing it on the counter. As she was about to protest, he wrapped his arms around her. With one hand firmly cupping her butt, he kissed her until they were both breathless.
“I wasn’t expecting you to wake up so early. You were sleeping like a log when I got up.” Ryan’s satisfied smile told her he knew full well he was the reason she’d slept soundly. “I was planning on bringing you breakfast in bed.” His hand squeezed her behind then released her. “But now you’re up, you sit your butt on the couch while I finish here.”
“You spoil me.” She picked up her coffee and headed to the couch, but not before stopping off to admire the seven-foot live pine taking over the corner. Nestled among the original blown glass ornaments and metal pieces Ryan created were a dozen or more embroidered pieces. They’d been his mother’s creations—he’d told her that until his father remarried and his new wife moved in, his mother’s needlework adorned just about every surface in the house.
She stroked the long needles; the scent of pine brought memories flooding back. “Do you remember our first Christmas tree?”
He chuckled. “Not the tree itself, but I remember trying to impress you by driving you out to Shewchuk’s tree farm and getting stuck in the ditch. Not my finest moment.”
“I was remembering what happened after we brought it home.” How they’d made love after they’d decorated it.
“I’ll never forget that part of the day, babe.” His voice was soft.
While she’d always loved the spirit of Christmas, she’d seldom found it at her family’s home. For some reason her parents fought more over the holidays, and the Christmas carols she’d play seldom drowned out the shouting matches. Though she hadn’t told him, she suspected Ryan had when he had invited her to his family’s place for Christmas their first year together and included her on the tradition of picking out the family’s tree.
If she hadn’t already been falling in love with him, he’d sealed the deal when he’d said he loved her that afternoon.
*HARLEQUIN COVER ART: Cover Art Copyright© 2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. © and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.
He lowered her head and kissed the soft skin beneath her ear. “I love you.”
I always have. I always will.
Her breath hitched when his hand dipped beneath the water and over her belly. Her legs fell open, pressing against his, as his fingers continued their journey over her mound and between her folds. He toyed with her clit, teasing it until her pulse sped up. When he speared her sheath with two fingers, her hips arched into his hand, causing water to slosh up dangerously close to the top.
“Oh God, yeah.” She writhed against him, rubbing her ass against his erect cock in an erotic torture.
On occasion he wished he was a photographer, that he could capture the dreamy expression on her face as she started to come, could forever immortalize the creamy hue of her breasts with their cinnamon nipples now taut and hard. Oh he could sculpt her expression and her face, but it would be hard marble, which couldn’t capture the warmth, or clay, which couldn’t match the softness. But no camera, drawing or sculpture could convey how her body clenched and rippled around his fingers in sync with the soft puffs of breath with each stroke. Nor could they capture the heady scent of her arousal, or the spicy taste of the cream coating his fingers.
Her moans vibrated through him, echoing off the marble walls, until his balls drew up close to his body. He’d had to satisfy himself with handjobs since he’d seen her last, and as much as he wanted to bury his cock deep in her body, this time was all about her needs, not his.
Don't forget tohop on over to Leah’s blog for a chance to enter a Kindle Touch!
Thanks for stopping by, Leah! What a great story for the holidays!
Until next time, take care!