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1-The MOON & Stars!

2-Winter Kill

3-Deadly Counter-Attack!

4-Angel Of Mercy

5-Love Blooms!

6-Intimate Revelations

7-Season's Greetings

8-Revenge Backfires!

9-A Double Proposal

10-Stacey's Awakening

11-Merry Christmas!

12-Hawaiian Escape

13-Wedding Arrangements

14-Blessings Of Pele - The Fire Goddess!

15-Stacey's Double Rescue

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Moon Madness - 7, Copyrightę 2001-2006 By
Larry K. Hockman, "All RIGHTS RESERVED"

Season's Greetings

The new day dawned crisp, cold and bright. Anna's initial thoughts drifted comfortably between the habitual urge for a hot cup of coffee tempered by the fresh winter air and her love for Vince with her newly found womanhood. Once again, she had finally become her long-forgotten self, the original Anna Marie Fontain. She felt happier than she had ever been, true to herself and wonderfully complete, the rightful heir to her own misplaced destiny.

Moon belly-crawled upward through the quilted valley between her and Vince to rest his head between her neck and collarbone. A contented purr started as he stretched and yawned, his front paw sliding up her cheek and parting the hair hanging loosely across her temples.

Combing Moon's long whiskers with her nails, Anna asked him, "You want to go find a good Christmas tree and get some air?" Moon meowed his enthusiastic reply and jumped lengthwise over the foot of the bed to land with a muffled thump on the hardwood floor. Anna chuckled and stated, "Looks like you're feeling your oats this morning. Come to think of it, so am I. I'll be right with you." She shivered involuntarily when she deftly slid from the warmth of the quilted covers on her way to the bathroom. She would let Vince sleep as long as he could.

Anna slipped on her robe and headed for the fireplace. Moon watched her poke in the gray ashes of last night's fire to uncover several barely glowing orange coals. Her daddy had taught her the art of building fires well during the harsh Maine winters of her childhood. She threw on some kindling and some medium-sized splits of hickory before arranging the last three logs from the wood-rack on the hearth atop the pile. She blew several long, slow breaths directly on the coals, and the dry kindling thankfully crackled into fiery life, climbing ever higher into the new supply of fuel.

Anna loaded fresh ground coffee into the pot and returned to the bedroom to get dressed. Moon followed her and promptly disappeared through his personal exit.

Anna dressed quickly and quietly. She wrote Vince a short note explaining her intentions and positioned it within his reach on the pillow next to him. Anna studied him fondly for a minute, her mind recounting every delicious detail of the night's experience and etching them permanently into her memory. Resisting a powerful urge to slide back into bed beside him, Anna blew him a kiss and softly said, "Thanks for loving me."

Anna poured herself a cup of black coffee and backed up to the country warmth of the friendly fire. Her thoughts focused on the harsh conditions outside. Although she had no intention of staying out for any substantial length of time, she decided to lash Vince's survival pack to the sled as a safety precaution. An afterthought of the wounded boar roaming blindly through the woods caused her to reach for Vince's Winchester as well. If the opportunity presented itself, she would attempt to put the animal out of its misery. She based her decision on compassion rather than her hunting instinct. Anna slung the rifle across her back and stepped out to face the icy winter wind.

Anna scanned the landscape for Moon, unconsciously snapping the collar fasteners of her ski suit around her slender neck to block the draft. She spotted him near the edge of the frozen woods west of the cabin where the right-of-way for the power lines cut a wide swath diagonally across the woods to intersect the main road a quarter of a mile away. Anna called to him, but he only looked up momentarily, evidently investigating something of interest to him. She started off in his direction, dragging the sled and pack over a thin crust on the snow which crunched beneath her feet with every step. Pausing at the bedroom window, she peeked through a slight gap in the curtains to see Vince still sleeping soundly.

Moon's tracks on his access ramp indicated that he slid down the last five feet of the incline on all four feet. The brisk wind had shifted during the night, blowing from the west, directly over Moon's chosen path through the snow. Anna quickened her pace when Moon disappeared behind a wind-blown snowdrift against a large pile of brush the county had cleared from around the base of the poles dotting the gap through the woods.

From the tracks in the snow, Anna could see where someone had walked through the edge of the woods from the direction of the main road and stopped to rest possibly, hidden from the cabin by the brush. An empty soda can, a cigarette butt, and a neatly folded empty package littered the snow at her feet. She shook her head in disgust and muttered, "Litterbug" as she stuck the paper trash inside the can and slipped it under the flap of Vince's pack.

Anna followed Moon's tracks to one side of the stranger's back toward the road until she caught up with him. A small cedar tree had been cut during the stranger's return trip. Anna speculated that the person had been looking for a Christmas tree on the unfenced land when whoever had stumbled upon Vince's cabin and decided to turn back and take a tree along the way. She thought it was no big deal, but he or she didn't have to trash up the woods.

Moon was agitated as well. He snorted his disdain multiple times at the smell of the tracks and stood testing the wind for several minutes before he would leave the area. Anna could feel that he did not like whomever had made the tracks. Possibly, he counted the intrusion as a territorial dispute. She turned the sled into the woods to the north and quickly forgot the incident. Moon trotted past, stopping to wait for her every so often while he scanned the woods and tested the breeze instinctively to satisfy his insatiable feline curiosity.

The pair trudged through the snow several hundred yards before Anna found a shapely six-foot cedar which struck her fancy. She walked around it twice before turning to Moon to ask his opinion. "What do you think?" He sniffed the tree and looked up at her, not familiar with the Christmas custom. Anna laughed at the bewildered look on his face and said, "Well, I'm going to take that as a yes." She then remembered that she had failed to bring along anything to cut the tree. Anna dug in the pack and found Vince's hunting knife while Moon scrutinized the fresh tracks of a sow hog and seven piglets a short distance away.

Anna hacked at the trunk a full ten minutes before the tree finally fell. Triumphantly, she sat on the sled and lit a cigarette to smoke while she rested. For the duration of the smoke, she watched Moon stalk a nervous fox squirrel gnawing on a hickory nut he had found beneath the snow. Only five feet from his den tree, the little rodent avoided Moon's final charge easily, scurrying up the tree to a safe spot where he turned and barked a scolding challenge to the thwarted hunter.

Moon did not wait around to hear the end of it. Instead he trotted over to the sled and jumped up on Anna's lap. In an understanding tone, she comforted his bruised ego by saying, "Don't worry about that dumb old squirrel. He's just mad 'cause you scared the hell out of him! Let's get this tree back to the cabin."

In short order, Anna tied the tree to the sled and placed Moon atop the repositioned pack. He had hesitated to get off of her lap, so she knew his feet were getting cold. He made no effort to jump from the pack until they were almost to the back door of the cabin where Anna deposited the soda can in the trash barrel.

Vince was up and dressed when Anna and Moon crept through the door. They both backed up to the fireplace to savor its radiating warmth. Vince was smiling broadly as he carefully made his way down the hall on his crutches and over to the fire to kiss Anna and bid her and Moon a good morning. The embrace was warm and loving. Curious, Anna asked, "Why are you up so early? Moon and I tried to be quiet, so you could sleep." Before he could answer, She kissed him again and added in a provocative tone, "I have to admit, I was more than tempted to wake you myself. I don't think I can ever get too much of your loving expertise!"

Vince positively beamed. Laughing, he stated, "Sir Vince, at your service anytime, day or night, m'lady!", Anna smiled and winked, "I'm going to hold you to that promise."

Massaging Vince's neck muscles, Anna became serious again, "You still haven't told me why you're up so early. I had planned to slide back into bed with you!" Vince replied, "Don't tempt me, Babe. Unfortunately, for both of us, Liz called from Dr. Allman's office. He wants us all to come in for a quick check-up. He said to bring Moon as well. They need to X-Ray my leg and check Moon's stitches. I think Dr. Allman just wants to see if you are still as beautiful as he remembered!" Anna blushed and joked, "He's a little old for me, don't you think?" Vince grinned and said, "Maybe not from his point of view, but I seriously don't think his heart could stand the strain!" "Shame on you, Vince Casey!" She blurted in defense. They both burst out laughing.

To ease the throbbing in his thigh, Vince took one of the pain pills. Anna cooked them a quick breakfast, and they ate while she recounted her and Moon's Christmas tree hunt, Moon's attempt at catching the elusive squirrel, and the finding of the sow pig's tracks with the trailing litter.

Vince turned to Moon and said, "Still trying for a squirrel, huh Moon? You are going to have to change your tactics and forget the wind direction. Just keep his closest tree between you and him. Since he lives in the trees, he is not worried about scent; only sight as his foremost defense. Try it that way next time, and he won't stand a chance." Moon listened intently, seemingly analyzing Vince's advice before continuing to eat.

Vince asked Anna if she had seen any evidence of the old blind boar. She told him she had not, but had taken the rifle just in case. He commended her judgement by saying, "Wise move. With the growing hog population in these woods, I don't want you out there without it, especially with that wounded boar still on the prowl."

Anna coyly replied, "My, my, Sir Vince, I wasn't aware you cared so much. I suppose chivalry, valor, and honor still exist after all in this troubled world of ours." She added with deadly seriousness, "We have to put that boar out of his misery. It is the humane thing to do." Vince answered, "I know, but I'm not sure the Winchester has enough punch to do it cleanly. It is a fine gun for deer and small hogs, but I wouldn't bet my life on it when it concerns a big boar. I'll make arrangements to buy another gun, something with more power and range as well."

Anna cleared the table in silence as Vince finished his coffee and left for the bedroom to change clothes after a quick shower.

Vince took advantage of her absence to call his bank to check the balance in his saving's account. He was a very practical man and had lived modestly despite his considerable salary from his government position at the park. Living alone and not dating or splurging on personal wants had allowed him to save most of his money. The bank confirmed his estimated savings figure of close to ninety thousand dollars, including the interest accrued over several years!

The outstanding figure did not include the five thousand Vince had in his personal checking account. He told the bank to make the necessary arrangements to allow him to pick up $8,000.00 cash in $100.00 bills. He explained to the female banker that he had a doctor bill of approximately $1,000.00, and the rest was for a small amount of Christmas shopping, mainly a full carat marquis-cut diamond engagement ring! Vince also informed her that his fiance would be waiting outside in the truck, so he wished the transaction to take as little time as possible to avoid arousing her suspicions. The lady at the bank commented that she must be a very lucky woman. She congratulated Vince and assured him the cash would be ready and waiting for his arrival. He thanked her and hung up just before Anna hollered from the den that she was almost ready to go.

Vince, Anna and Moon loaded up in the cab of his truck with Anna in the driver's seat. While the truck warmed up, Vince told Anna he needed to stop by the bank to pick up a little Christmas shopping money. They could stop by the department store for a short while since it was on the way to Dr. Allman's office. Anna said she needed to replace the sled she had bought for Danny's present anyway.

Vince made her promise that she would not follow him in the store since she was on his shopping list. He explained that he had made his selections from the store's catalog and he had called ahead to make sure they had his choices in stock. Anna complied and they agreed to meet back at the store entrance in a half hour.

The trip to town went smoothly in spite of the icy roads. Anna's upbringing in Maine had taught her the tricks of ice driving well. Vince was duly impressed with her skill.

Anna offered to help Vince into the bank, worried that he might slip on the crutches. He thanked her for the concern but said that he had to learn to cope sometime, and this was a good place to start. She stated, "Mr. Casey, I do believe you have a pleasantly independent stubborn streak!" He laughed and said, "I'm sure Moon would agree. Kinda reminds you of yourself, doesn't it? After all, it was you who said that all three of us were alike." Caught in her own trap, Anna replied, "Point well taken. I can't argue with that." Moon meowed in agreement, too.

Vince got his money, but the cashier explained that a bank security guard would have to escort him to his truck since the amount of cash exceeded $5,000.00. The bank manager had informed her of his plan to keep the cash a secret from his wife-to-be, but the bank policy could not be altered. In compliance, she had informed the guard to cover for him by saying that the bank could not afford a lawsuit if one of their valued customers had an unfortunate accident in the parking lot. The guards had drawn straws to see who would be the lucky escort to get a close look at the woman who rated such an expensive engagement ring. Anna's striking beauty did not disappoint the guard. She was the talk of the bank long after they had departed.

The trip to the department store went equally as well. Vince chose the youngest girl in the jewelry department to purchase the wedding set from. He knew her commission from the $6,000.00 cash sale would more than make her Christmas a happy one. She thanked him several times and was almost in tears as she wrapped the engagement ring and matching wedding band in separate boxes with silver and gold paper garnished by dainty bows tied with metallic thread. She presented the boxes to Vince with shaking hands and said sincerely, "Merry Christmas, Mr. Casey, to you and your future wife. She must be a very special woman to have the love of a fine man like you." He replied proudly, "You don't know how right you are. She is unique in every way. She even saved my life once! Merry Christmas to you, too. Maybe one day you'll find that one special person as well. I sincerely hope you do."

Deep in thought, Vince turned and headed for the front of the store where a new ski suit he bought to replace the one Anna had ruined during his rescue had been wrapped for him at the front desk. Vince would put it under the tree for Christmas morning, but he had not decided what to get Moon. Anna and Moon were waiting just outside the doors where Moon, as usual, had drawn a crowd of laughing kids and curious onlookers.

A man with a camera snapped several pictures of Vince as he emerged through the doors and more as Anna explained that she had told the story of their ordeal to a reporter who had cornered her when she let Moon out of the truck. Vince turned to Moon and said, "Well, ole buddy. Looks like you're gonna make the papers again." The reporter corrected him with, "No, Mr. Casey, all three of you will make the papers and probably the national news! This is a big scoop. Could we have one more picture of you and Miss Fontain holding Moon?" Vince looked at Anna for her opinion. She shrugged and said, "What could it hurt? We're big news to them." He agreed and snapped his fingers while leaning on the crutches and braced against Anna for added support. The crowd gasped with amazement when Moon jumped into their arms immediately at the sound of the snap. The photographer took shots from all angles before Vince told them they must keep an important doctor appointment.

The trio arrived at Dr. Allman's office only a few minutes late. Vince apologized for the delay, explaining about the run-in with the reporters. "I'm afraid that's my fault" said the doctor. He added, "Young reporters periodically stop by to see if I've had any unusual cases. I mentioned you were hurt by a boar and more or less saved by Moon and Miss Fontain. I'm sorry if I've caused you any inconvenience. I have no idea how they managed to track you down at the department store." Vince simply said, "Don't worry about it Doc'. Moon thoroughly enjoys the publicity. I'm still not quite sure how Anna feels about it, though."

Liz was coming up the hallway behind Vince as he turned to Anna and asked, "What about it, Babe. Does it bother you?" Before she had a chance to answer, Liz interjected, "It certainly bothers me, it does. You referring to this pretty young lass as "Babe." Seems to me you've gotten awfully comfortable having 'er around to oggle, you have. 'Tisn't natural I tell you. I think that devilish feline has bewitched 'er, 'e has!"

Anna couldn't help giggling at the tongue-lashing Liz was so efficient at dishing out. Liz looked at Anna in total disbelief of her laughing and started again, "She has been bewitched, she has. 'Tisn't natural for 'er to be gigglin' like she is, I tell you. That bloody creature there starin' at me with evil in 'is eyes is responsible, 'e is."

Vince and Moon had both had enough of Liz's evaluation of them. Moon hid behind Anna since there was no other retreat from Liz. Vince politely asked Dr. Allman if he might be allowed to have a word in private with his esteemed nurse. He just smiled and said they were welcome to use his office.

Vince politely opened the door and motioned for Liz to enter. She did, but told him she was gonna keep a sharp eye on the likes 'im anyway. Vince winked at the doctor and told him they would only be a minute.

Vince shut the door and asked Liz if she remembered telling him at the cabin that if he ever needed advice, since he was a little "out of practice" with women, that she would be glad to help him. A little on the cautious side, she agreed that she remembered her offer. Vince then told her he was in need of her advice, but only if she could swear that their conversation would never leave the room. She assured him that she was an honorable woman and any secret was safe with her. Vince pulled the engagement ring box from his pocket and carefully unwrapped it while Liz watched with wondering eyes. Vince looked her in the eyes and said, "I need to know if this is sufficient to ask for Miss Fontain's hand in marriage!" Liz almost fainted when he opened the velvet box to reveal the shimmering brilliance of the exquisite diamond ring within.

Liz fanned her flushed face and gracefully admitted, "Please accept my apology for my previous outburst, Mr. Casey. I seem to 'ave misjudged yer intentions greatly, I did. 'At ring is fit for royalty. Do you think you could explain to yer nice kitty that I didn't really mean all of those bloody ramblin's I said about 'im?" Vince comforted her, "Liz, Moon looks a bit strange to everyone. I reckon he'll forgive you. He's one of a kind. Miss Fontain is, too. Now, if you have no further objection, I will address her as Babe, anytime my heart desires!" Liz whispered in his ear, "When you give 'er that chunk of diamond, I suspect the lass will let you call 'er anything you want, she will." Liz kissed him on the cheek and congratulated him. Vince told her she could tell anyone she wanted on Christmas day because he was proposing to Anna on Christmas Eve. Liz grinned slyly and said, "That pretty lass is gonna 'ave one 'elluva Christmas!" Vince tucked away the box, reminding Liz not to let on. She promised that he could count on her.

Vince and Liz emerged from the office in silence. Very professionally, Liz announced that the doctor was probably ready to X-Ray Vince's leg. She was right. He had performed the necessary exams on Anna and Moon in the waiting room while Vince had her occupied in the office. He pronounced them both to be in perfect health but cautioned Anna to stress to Vince the need to keep applying the antibiotic ointment to Moon's stitches until they totally dissolved and the scab fell off.

The bone in Vince's leg had set prfectly. Vince commended the doctor on his skill without the aid of his office equipment at the cabin. He reminded him that half of the credit must go to Liz, aside from Anna's help as well. Dr. Allman informed Vince that the bottom half of his cast could be removed to allow the use of his knee in a couple of weeks. He could then use a cane for support, and the increased movement would aid in strengthening his torn thigh muscles much more rapidly than immobilization would allow. Vince thanked him and offered to pay his expenses up to that point, but the doctor said that there would be no accurate way to figure a bill until he was released from his care.

On their way out, Dr. Allman told Anna to try to keep Vince off of the leg as much as possible. She just smiled and said she would figure some way to keep him in bed more than he was used to. Liz teasingly said, "Take good care of 'im, Babe! 'E just needs a bloody fine lass such as yerself to keep 'im and that precious kitty of 'is out of trouble." Anna looked puzzled momentarily but smiled and wished them a happy Christmas. Dr. Allman thanked them and said, "Wait just a moment. I almost forgot something for Dr. Fontain." He disappeared into his office, returning shortly with a large envelope addressed to her but sent in care of his office. She thanked him, and the trio left for home.

Anna queried Vince along the way concerning Liz's abrupt attitude change. He slyly revealed nothing, dropping the subject by grinning at her with the statement, "All will be revealed on Christmas Eve."

Anna's puzzled look changed to one of concern as the truck momentarily lost traction. As if to defend her driving skill, she politely informed Vince that the icy roadway was glazing over as the temperature dropped in the waning afternoon sunshine and decreasing traffic. He replied politely that the changing condition was normal in East Texas.

Vince eyed the official-looking envelope resting on the seat. His curiosity finally got the better of him, and he asked Anna if she had been expecting anything in the mail. She just grinned provocatively, fluttered her long lashes at him and stated in her best mimic of his voice, "All will be revealed on Christmas Eve!" At that moment, Vince realized that Anna could be quite adept at information withholding games as well. To show her that he had not been trying to pry, he simply said, "Touche'" with a slight accent.

Moon meowed loudly when Vince's mailbox came into view at the offshoot road to the cabin. Recognizing Moon's extraordinary powers of feline perception, Anna complimented, "Moon doesn't miss anything!" Vince quickly added, "It is rare that he does."

Anna unloaded the packages from the truck while Vince opened the storage room to look for his tree stand. She poured them both a drink and had started supper before he finally located it.

Anna managed to squeeze the cedar tree through the back door by herself. She proudly stood it upright in front of the bay window. Vince built a fire to knock off the chill while Anna set the table and finished up in the kitchen. They decided to have a private tree-decorating party after supper.

Anna suggested that she model her new nightgown for Vince while garnishing the tree, but he regretfully informed her that he would then be more interested in adding to the sparkle in her eye, and he would probably forget the tree altogether.

The happy couple started the project with a holiday toast. They had several drinks apiece while looping shiny tinsel around the quaint tree and hanging brightly colored glass balls. Vince had put the lights on first but had not tested them. Throughout the duration of this holiday task, they laughed, giggled and cut up like a pair of teen-agers on their first date. Moon had quickly tired of the silliness and had gone outside to check the perimeter of his home territory and prowl for a scent of small game.

The fire had gracefully died to a subtle glow of orange embers by the time Vince and Anna had hooked up a power cord to the lights. Anna lit them a cigarette, poured a nightcap and told Vince she had to go to the little girls' room before they turned on the tree lights. She turned out the kitchen light and felt her way down the hall, giggling as she went. Vince got up and stared into the dying embers in the fireplace as he casually sipped the thick brandy and wondered what the tree would look like from the outside. He was not destined to know on this particular night.

Anna had slipped on a sheer, black lace, satin gown which left virtually nothing to the imagination, but wholly accentuated her sexuality. It was her favorite choice of sleepwear and always made her feel sexy even though she had never been with any man until the previous night. With the time-honored grace and the unparalleled stealth of a true feline, she had noiselessly crept up behind Vince at the hearth. Deftly snaking her arms around his waist and pressing her breasts into the hollows beneath his shoulder blades in one fluid motion, she touched his right ear lobe with the tip of her tongue and traced a burning, wet trail around the base of his neck to the other ear before hotly whispering, "You can turn me and the tree lights on with a single touch!"

Vince's pulse had escalated immediately, and he caught his breath sharply when he felt her nipples turn rigid only scant seconds after contacting his body. She allowed him to pivot within her grasp in order to face her. Cradling her head in his gently powerful hands, Vince kissed her passionately. Softly stroking her cheeks with his thumbs, he confided, "There's no way I can ever prove how much I love you, Anna." with a reflected orange sparkle in her loving eyes, she said, "Nor I for mine, Vince." He kissed her again before saying, "I think it's time we checked out our mutual handiwork."

Vince's hot hands left her face to lighty slide down the sides of her slender neck, rotating them with martial arts precision to let the backs of his fingers drag tantalizingly slow over the fullness of her breasts, stopping only for a second to knead the hard flesh at their peaks. An involuntary gasp escaped her lips, and once again, her supple body felt as if it were on fire.

Beaming with the glow of love, Vince flipped the switch to send a surge of power to the lights. He turned to see if the tree met Anna's approval and discovered the twinkling lights provided the perfect level of illumination to showcase Anna's voluptuous body under the subtle sheen of the black lace. Vince could not take his eyes off of her. He was totally captivated by her innocent beauty. Anna broke his trance by stating, "It is beautiful!" Vince stated with loyal sincerity, "That it is, but it will never outshine you!" Striking the seductive pose of a high fashion model, Anna smiled slyly with one raised eyebrow saying, "That, Sir Vince, remains to be seen!"

Vince watched intently as she pivoted toward the couch with a hand still on one curvaceous hip. Slightly on the naive side, he wondered momentarily as to exactly what she had meant by the statement. The scenario became instantly clear in the next seconds as Anna pitched several pillows from the sofa to the floor between the tree and the fireplace and grabbed the thick down comforter as well. She quickly spread out a pallet and arranged the pillows for maximum comfort before stretching out on her back with one knee kicked up to support the hand with which her slender finger was beckoning her lover to join her. Vince wasted no time in obliging her passion. They made love long into the night and finally drifted into a blissful sleep sprinkled with dreams of future ecstasies. Moon returned from his nightly foray to snuggle once again into the slight valley between them.


Author's Note: Feel free to copy/paste the text contained herein to build your personal copy of "MOON Madness". As this is COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL by ME, the ORIGINAL AUTHOR, please DO NOT copy for UNAUTHORIZED DISTRIBUTION in any form or fashion. "ALL RIGHTS RETAINED & RESERVED" by Larry K. Hockman! Please don't hesitate to E-Mail me for permission to use my works in the classroom, etc. ThanX for Visitin'! I hope you enjoyed the story and pass it on to your friends. LKH

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Copyrightę 2001-2006 By Larry K. Hockman, "All RIGHTS RESERVED"

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