Alone in the aftermath of a deadly avalanche in the Italian Alps, a soldier must choose between a cold death or the assistance—and lust—of a spectral apparition. (F/M)
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“Michael… Michael sweetie…”
“What? Who said that?” It sounded like a woman’s voice. I stared into the murk, unable to see six inches in front of my nose.
“Michael, over here… lover.” The voice was warm and rich, sounding like a sultry, over-priced whore. It reminded me of an indulgence when we’d been in Rome and I felt pricks of guilt. But, Christ, it’d been nearly a year since I’d been home. And I was still a man… wasn’t I?
“Michael!” The voice was sharper now, more insistent. Maybe it wasn’t just my battered conscience working overtime.
“Where the hell are you?” I tried looking out into the maelstrom again, but got nowhere.
“Right next to you.”
Son of a bitch! There was someone just downhill from me. Or was there? I squinted, trying to get a better look. “Who are you? A-and, how’d you get there?” I sputtered. “It’s dangerous. If I fall, I’ll take you with me.”
“I’m here so you won’t fall, Michael. In fact, I’m here to make sure you get back home alive. Christa sent me.”
“What?” A sudden whoosh of wind overbalanced me. I struggled to remain upright. Out of nowhere, a curious warmth prodded me from below. Realizing I couldn’t split my attention, I focused on the track through the snow ahead. Had the apparition beneath me done something? Or had I imagined the blast of hot air?
“Yes,” the voice continued silkily. “It is better if you pay attention to your feet. Christa’s worried about you. She doesn’t want your son to grow up without knowing you. So, she sent me.” Whatever it was sounded ridiculously pleased with herself.