Sexy Summer Solstice

Wel­come to the JustRomance.Me Blog Hop! It begins right HERE if you want to find the begin­ning.

It’s the Sum­mer Sol­stice! The longest day of the year, and a day filled with myths and leg­ends all around the globe. Here in Wyoming, there is a ranch called Crim­son Dawn. Folks gath­er to sit around a bon­fire and tell sto­ries before par­tic­i­pants make a wish as they toss a hand­ful of red dirt on the fire. In hon­or of the cel­e­bra­tion, I’ve writ­ten the begin­ning of my take on the event, and some oth­er blog­gers have picked up where I left off. Enjoy!

Jessie Bolton sat astride her mare, shak­ing her head at the diverse crowd step­ping off the KISS FM 93.7 tour bus. They had come from all over the coun­try, and Jessie imag­ined that not one of them had ever been to Wyoming, let alone the top of Casper Moun­tain. Crim­son Dawn Ranch had host­ed the annu­al Sumer Sol­stice gath­er­ing since the 1930s. Some say a woman’s ghost haunts the area, but Jessie didn’t believe it. She’d worked at Crim­son Dawn since she’d turned six­teen and had nev­er seen any­thing but pranks and hoax­es.

Jessie grinned, and nudged her horse into the clear­ing to greet the new­com­ers. Per­haps this year would be more enter­tain­ing than the oth­ers. These nine folks had gone to great lengths to win the trip to Crim­son Dawn to take part in the Sol­stice Cel­e­bra­tion. Sure­ly there was at least one trick­ster in town who would come up with a prank for these city slick­ers.

Howdy!” Jessie swung out of the sad­dle, hand­ed the mare off to one of Crimson’s cow­boys, then knocked the dust from her gloves. “Wel­come to Crim­son Dawn. I’m Jessie.”

The man in front of her looked down his long nose, but did reach for her out­stretched hand. “Dr. Mar­tin San­tori­ni.”

Ah yes. She remem­bered his infor­ma­tion. The “world famous” geol­o­gist that Jessie had nev­er heard of. She tried not to gig­gle at his pre­ten­tious atti­tude, or his han­dle­bar mus­tache. Who knew they still made wax for those? “Wel­come, Mr. San­tori­ni. I hope you enjoy your–”

That’s Doc­tor San­tori­ni.”

Some­one in the crowd snort­ed, but it didn’t seem to both­er the geol­o­gist. He wan­dered away and Jessie focused on the next in line.

Hi, I’m Car­la Hilde­brand. So excit­ed to be here! I kept expectin’ cow­boys and Indi­ans in stage­coach­es and stuff, ya know? I’ve nev­er even set foot out­side Geor­gia, so I’ll be takin’ lots of pic­tures.” To prove her point, Car­la snapped one of Jessie’s deer-in-the-head­lights look. “I’ll have to post these on my blog. Karl is just gonna shit. Karl’s the cook where I work. He thought I was pullin’ his leg about win­nin’ this trip. I nev­er win any­thing!” She squealed and snapped anoth­er pic­ture.

Jessie stepped aside to offer her hand to the next new­com­er. Oh yeah. This had to be Jer­ri Carl­sile, the strip­per from Atlantic City. Fake boobs, fake hair, fake tan…even a fake smile.

I’m Jer­ri. I don’t sup­pose you sell those boots in your gift shop, do you? They’d go great with one of my out­fits.”

Uh…no. I’m sor­ry. Maybe on your way back to the air­port the dri­ver can stop some­where–”

You’re too damn cute.” Jer­ri winked and snapped her gum before saun­ter­ing away.

Jessie focused on the tight-faced woman in flow­ing pais­ley silk. Her eyes were the light­est blue Jessie had ever seen. She found that she couldn’t look away from the direct stare.

Zoe Red­ner, dar­ling.”

Oh. The psy­chic. Jessie hoped her eye­brow didn’t quirk as it was known to.

I do hope you don’t spend your entire sum­mer up on this moun­tain. There is a lot of ener­gy in this area. Not all of it kind.” Zoe spread her hands out, palms down. If she was get­ting a read on the grav­el beneath their feet, Jessie hoped the psy­chic wasn’t afraid of rat­tlers.

I’ve heard sto­ries, but I’ve spent a lot of time at Crim­son Dawn. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I haven’t seen any­thing extra­or­di­nary myself.”

You need to close your eyes…and open your mind.”

With that, Zoe flared her nos­trils and walked away. Jessie couldn’t hide her bemused grin as she faced the next vis­i­tor. This had to be Phineas Wal­ton. The Com­put­er pro­gram­mer from Day­ton Ohio blinked rapid­ly, as if he was fil­ing images away in his bril­liant brain. Jessie had nev­er met a “geek” who looked this good. Before she could check him out too thor­ough­ly, he reached for her hand and pumped it vig­or­ous­ly “I’m Phineas. Very nice to meet you. Tell me you have Wifi.”

Jessie laughed. “Yes we do. After the cer­e­mo­ny I’ll get you all set up in your rooms for the night.”

Great!” He pulled out his smart­phone and tapped the screen.

Hel­lo. Lindee Pen­ton. I’m the astrologer for the New York Cen­tu­ry mag­a­zine.”

The man beside her cleared his throat.”And I’m Will Tread­worth. I have a real job.”

Lindee’s face flared with col­or. “I swear to God, Mr. Tread­worth. If you don’t shut your trap about my career, you can expect a scathing review of your lat­est arti­cle by my col­league.

Will shrugged. “Big deal. What’s your cir­cu­la­tion, fifty?”

Lindee’s lips turned white, but Jessie was glad to see that she spun away rather than con­tin­ue the argu­ment.

Mak­ing a men­tal note to change the Tread­worth and Pen­ton rooms from con­nect­ing to oppo­site ends of the floor, Jessie shook Corey Thurston’s hand. Strange how cops looked like cops even in street clothes. He did have a nice smile though, and the scar on his cheek only added to his attrac­tive­ness.

After scratch­ing behind Offi­cer Thurston’s Ger­man Shepard’s ears, Jessie turned toward the last man off the bus. He wore head to toe black. From his Stet­son to his boots, and even his long duster. She peered through the shad­ow of his hat and caught sight of a black goa­tee, and an equal­ly dark expres­sion.

John,” he growled. He didn’t offer his hand, and Jessie was a lit­tle relieved. John P. Smith was the only one of the KISS FM win­ners that hadn’t both­ered to fill out the per­son­al infor­ma­tion sec­tion on the pre-noti­fi­ca­tion pack­et.

Wel­come, John.” As intrigu­ing as the man was, she forced her­self to face the group. “Wel­come all of you! We’ve got some great sto­ry­tellers lined up for this afternoon’s sol­stice. We’re set up just around this bend. Tonight we’ve saved you the best van­tage point for the bon­fire. The sol­stice will arrive in less than an hour, so we’d bet­ter get set.”

As Jessie led the mot­ley crew down the path, the grav­el beneath her boots hummed.  She shook her head. She didn’t believe in witch­es, war­locks or fairies. It was just anoth­er day out of the year.

Right?

 

Thanks for stop­ping by today. At the end We’ll be chat­ting on Sat­ur­day evening (7pm EST)  at Gem’s Place. Hope to see you there!

11 thoughts on “Sexy Summer Solstice

  1. What a fun blog tour idea! And your excerpt was great–but real­ly makes me want to be in Wyoming (or Mon­tana) right now!

  2. This is the first year I’ve actu­al­ly paid atten­tion and remem­ber the sum­mer sol­stice. It was neat find­ing the dif­fer­ent ways peo­ple mark the date.

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