Reviews for At the Closing of the Year
Scarecrow oz chapter 1 . 10/15/2013
Beautifully written
RhyannD chapter 1 . 10/5/2013
Oh, this is so lovely and fabulous... Ohhhh...
kehwie chapter 1 . 1/18/2013
Oh, what a lovely progression through the years. And yes, Penny was a lovely character.
MeriSalope chapter 1 . 1/6/2013
for those looking for the final chapter...

December 31, 1986

Dear Amanda,

Congratulations! In light of your happy news, perhaps you and Lee might consider spending your honeymoon in Zakir? If the palace doesn't suit (and I do understand if it doesn't, I can't say I'd want to spend my honeymoon with well-meaning friends either), Rheza is offering the villa he owns in Baja California. It's on the ocean and very romantic.

I am trying to understand why you would want to keep this secret. You only live once, Amanda. I hope you do change your mind on this as I would love to attend. Not to mention, that way you'll be able to meet my lovely Lili.

Love,
Penny

Amanda settled back against the couch, gazing into the flickering flames in the fireplace. Lee had wandered off to get something, cautioning her not to move. She smiled with contentment, remembering the chatty letter she'd just gotten from Zakir. It had been delivered to the Q via courier. Penny's letters often came in the embassy packets, which was a good thing. Particularly now, with the news Amanda had shared.

It had taken some talking on her part, but Lee had finally agreed to share their happy news with Penny and Rheza. It helped that Lee seemed to trust the prince implicitly, although he wouldn't tell her why. Another mystery for her to solve.

Fire crackled in the hearth. On the mantle, standing proud and true, was a delicate spun glass knight clad in armor and riding his faithful steed. His eyes had lit up when he'd unwrapped it just a week ago, before he turned to look at her quizzically. It seemed the boys weren't the only ones she'd be hiding presents from in the future. She had laughed at his dumbfounded expression; her snooping fiancé hadn't found the marshmallows yet either.

A soft kiss was pressed to her hair before he reached down to draw her up. The stereo started playing a song about silly love songs which had them both laughing. Clad in denim and comfortable cotton shirts, this closing of the year was far different from the one before. The goddess and the warrior had been retired to the closet, leaving Amanda and Lee to enjoy something they rarely had... privacy.

She came willingly into his arms, and he twirled her about expertly before pulling her possessively close. She laughed, chocolate eyes sparkling up to meet rich green ones, sharing the tender emotion between them. Her alto tones warm, she sang along with Linda McCartney while they danced. His low baritone rumbled in harmony.

Then, their eyes caught and the words faded away. The music continued without them paying attention. Time froze around the couple. Ever so slowly, Lee lowered his head and grazed his lips across her cheek, reciting the words he'd whispered into her chestnut curls exactly a year ago. “You are the sun, I am the moon; you are the words, I am the tune. Play me.”

Her fingers tightened in the thick pelt of his styled hair. Without a word, she guided him to face her. Covering his lips with hers, she tenderly silenced his confession and melted into his trembling arms. They clung together, reaffirming and renewing.

Tears glistened in his eyes when he finally pulled back. Again, the words weren't necessary. Without a sound, he asked if she was ready. A brilliant smile was more than answer enough. His grin echoed hers, and then her laughter shivered down his spine as he scooped her up before taking long strides towards a room he'd spent far too much time in alone with nothing but a delicate gilt mask for company.

He'd been hoping this would be the night they finally sealed the deal, but was willing to take her home if that's what she wanted. Cold showers had become a normal part of his routine since before he started seeing Leslie – which had been better than a year ago now. Actually, he'd been taking them even while he'd been dating the translator. Sex with her had been fun, even satisfying, but he'd still felt empty. It was the difference between eating a take-out and a home-cooked meal. Both tasted good, and beat a frozen dinner hands down, but only one was prepared with love.

He loved Amanda.

Vanilla candles flickered in the bedroom, setting a mood that whispered of erotic pleasures he longed to share with the woman cradled in his arms. What happened in here tonight would change his life forever. Nothing would ever be the same again.

He settled her on the bed, the crisp sheets rustling slightly under her weight. She moved to get up, but he rested his hand on her shoulder. As much as his hormones were almost feral in their demands for him to claim her... own her … possess her..., his heart urged slow and tender. Lee was holding on by a thread and needed a moment to gather his composure.

Kneeling at the edge of the bed, trembling fingers tugged on shoelaces. First one, then the other. Her tennis shoes were pulled free, and fell unnoticed to the floor. Eyes intent on his actions, he slid his fingers up over the delicate arch of her foot, traced fine ankle bones, and finally discovered the soft satin of her calf. He stroked her skin for a moment before the rude distraction of the sock got in the way. With a smooth motion it was gone, leaving her foot bare. Her painted toenails weren't the only surprise he discovered. “Amanda King, you have a toe ring.”

A wide gold band circled a toe which was dipped in shimmering golden peach. He looked up the long length of her body to meet laughing eyes. “A toe ring?”

She merely smiled mysteriously and nodded before folding her hands behind her head. Seems his 'ordinary housewife' had a few more secrets for him to discover. Just the thought of the discovery process had him salivating. He grinned before pressing a soft kiss to the gold band, tickling the pad of her toe with the tip of his tongue. Sharp ears caught her strangled groan before she could suppress it.

Making quick work of the other sock, he stroked a light caress across the ball of her foot, causing her toes to curl. He did it again, which made her laugh in protest and attempt to pull away. He filed away this information before shifting his weight and stretching for the head of the bed. Her eyes were sparkling, just for him.

The elastic band holding her soft curls captive was his next goal, and it soon disappeared over his shoulder. Tugging her hands from behind her head, he feathered soft kisses across her knuckles before pulling her up to sit on the edge of the bed while he knelt before her. An elegant solitaire sparkled on her ring finger, placed there earlier almost as soon as they'd crossed his threshold. The simple gold band looked so right. His heart welled with emotions he could barely name. He swallowed once, then twice before trying to talk. “Are you sure?”

There was no hesitation in her eyes, no tension in her jaw. If that wasn't answer enough, her fingers busily unfastening the buttons on his shirt left no doubt in his mind. Before he could do much more than marvel at his good fortune of being the luckiest bastard in the world, her cool fingers were exploring his chest while pushing the apparently offensive cloth off his shoulders.

Simmering passions immediately erupted, threatening his famed iron control. He'd been in similar situations far more times than he cared to currently think about without coming close to losing his grip, less than a minute under her slender fingers and he was trembling worse than he had his first time. His heart pounded while his body throbbed for her... only her. His last coherent thought before her lips covered his, 'face it, you've never been in this situation!'

Abandoning his chest, both of her hands tangled in his short tawny hair to hold him in place for her ravenous assault. She nipped at his lips, demanding entrance, then swept him away in the inferno of her fire when her tongue brazenly tangled with his own.

A long time later, she rested her cheek on his chest and smiled. “I'm glad we both were able to achieve our resolutions last year.”

His voice was drowsy, “Both?”

“Although, it turns out mine was far more ambitious than yours. Who woulda thought you'd be so shy?”

“What are you talking about?” Curiosity sharpened his tone as he peered down into her mischievous eyes.

“Yep. You only wanted a kiss before the end of the year. It took me a while longer to make mine happen...”

“Why you little!” Outrage in his voice and challenge in his eyes, Lee Stetson tipped his wife-to-be on to her back and loomed above her. “I'll show you shy!”
resourceful chapter 1 . 1/3/2013
Perfection! What a wonderful way to ring in the New Year - an invitation to a Princess Penelope Khan party with the breathless encounter of our favorite dazzling couple. Your words paint pictures of pure bliss. Thank you for sharing your remarkable gift once again.
Guest chapter 1 . 12/26/2012
VERY GOOD!
lookoutwife chapter 1 . 12/23/2012
And. . . and. . . and. Where's the rest? :-) More please.
eternal vampire chapter 1 . 12/22/2012
Great story. I could picture all the action like it had been an episode on t.v. You write both of them so well. Merry Christmas and take care.
Laura chapter 1 . 12/22/2012
This is such a lovely story. Well done.
WasWoksa chapter 1 . 12/21/2012
Very sweet, and just a little bit steamy. Lovely story, soapie!
SpyGirl1969 chapter 1 . 12/21/2012
Very cute, enjoyed this immensely. I love Penny and wish she'd been in more episodes... you've captured her perfectly!
cyndergator chapter 1 . 12/21/2012
Terrific loved it :) Hope you write more for season 4 :) love your SMK stories
Marsha chapter 1 . 12/21/2012
Very good story thanks. Still a near miss, even after all theses years you still don't expect to see them missing but it is touching. Thanks again. Loved it
Ardeliah chapter 1 . 12/21/2012
I loved it!