Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks to everyone again for the reviews on "Temptation" and to those who put the story or me on alert or on their favorites lists - any form of feedback is always welcome :-) And as promised, it really encouraged me to keep writing and I decided to make this story that I've been writing on for ... well, it was supposed to be last year's Christmas story - this might give you a hint ;-) ... anyway, I decided to turn this into a sort of New Year's story now.

Features the song "When You Say Nothing At All" by Ronan Keating.

Disclaimer: All the original characters belong to their owners - except for Mac. Mac belongs to Stella.

Please read and review :-)


Chapter 1

Mac came out of his office and looked around, searching for no one in particular. A glance at Stella's office told him she wasn't back yet. He knew that Danny and Hawkes would still be in the field since he had sent them out only an hour ago. Walking through the corridors, he spotted Lindsay in Trace and turned to talk to her.

"Lindsay, are you free? I would need you to go with me," he asked.

"Sorry, Mac. I'm waiting for test results in the Perruggi case and—" the reply got interrupted by a beep. "—and here they are! The DA is waiting on the final report, wants to have it by 1 p.m. at the latest and it's already 11:30, so…"

She gave him a questioning look. He was the boss and if he said to drop it and go with him, she would do it. Then she looked past him along the corridor.

"Hey, why don't you ask Stella to go with you?"

"Stella's at court talking with the ADA to prepare for a testimony she's going to give next week today. I have no idea how long that might take and when she will be back, at least I don't think she would make it in time to—"

"—to what?" he got interrupted by a cheerful voice from behind his back.

"Stella!" he smiled as he turned around.

"That would be me. What did I win?" she smiled back.

"A trip to the mountains," Mac replied slowly.

"Yay. Uh... Mac? Have you looked up from your desk recently? You know that it is snowing like hell outside and they predicted a blizzard for the late afternoon? And besides, it's New Year's Eve today. You really think going to the mountains would be such a smart idea right now?"

Abating enthusiasm was apparent from the sound of her voice.

"Yeah, I know. But hikers found a body somewhere in the Adirondacks Resort and we have to go to check out the scene as soon as possible. Otherwise it might take days or weeks before we find the body, let alone start to investigate anything," Mac explained why they would have to go despite the weather conditions.

"Brilliant. I'll go get my arctic survival kit. Meet you at the car in five minutes," Stella announced and headed over to her office.

Lindsay shrugged at Mac with a smile.

"I love the mountains, especially when it's snowing. It's beautiful," she said.

"Maybe in Montana, when you are riding a horse," he returned the smile before he turned to leave.


"We didn't get lost!" Mac disagreed stubbornly after Stella had told him for the fifth time that they were going the wrong way.

"Yes we did," Stella calmly returned.

And they always say women have an orientation issue…

"Mac, we passed this sign almost half an hour ago – for the third time… Don't you think that might tell us, uh… something?" she carefully asked.

"Is it my fault that the GPS reception is broken and the navigator doesn't work?" Mac grumbled in return, unwilling to admit that she was at least partly right.

Sure he knew they weren't exactly on the right track at the moment. But lost? No way…

"Or that there are no mountain guides stationed around here whom you can ask for directions? Maybe we should try to call someone to tell us how we get to the place where they found the body," he added.

Stella rolled her eyes. Men were complicated. And completely illogical at times.

"This is not Chicago, Mac! We don't have Mounties in New York City and you never get a cell signal up here, especially not in such a storm," she griped.

"Anyway, we are NOT lost," Mac insisted again. "All we need to do is follow this way a little longer, then we should have to make a turn to the right and—"

Wrrrmmmppp!

The car stopped abruptly with a scratching sound, causing both Stella and Mac to be forced forward into the tightened seat-belts. After they had recovered from the brief shock, Stella looked over to Mac in surprise.

"What was that?"

"I have no idea, I think… the car just got stuck in a snowdrift," he slowly replied.

"Great." Stella's mood was gradually going underground. "Now we are not only lost, we are also stuck up here with no idea where we are. And no way to contact anyone or to get out on our own. Really great. Oh well, when spring comes and the snow has melted, someone will find our bodies. Eventually."

"We should try to find a place where we can stay until the snow stops," Mac suggested carefully, knowing that there would be several mountain huts around where they could stay and where it would be safer and warmer than in the car.

"You want me to get out of the car," Stella started asking in a low voice, her eyes narrowed, "in THIS kind of weather?"

Mac shrugged helplessly.

"Got a better idea?"

Stella snorted briefly, then she opened the door and jumped out into the storm.

"What? You are coming now, or what?!?"

"Sure!" Mac hurried to follow her after he had grabbed for his kit and locked the car.

XXXXX

After they had been fighting their way through the snow for about twenty minutes, Stella sighed in relief. To their right, there was a little hut that seemed to be intact and unoccupied. She tapped Mac's shoulder and motioned in that direction.

He nodded, his head tugged between his shoulders to keep the snow from falling into his collar.

"Let's check if they left the key here somewhere," he said, feeling along the doorframe, then the window to the right. "Here we go!"

The force of the wind caused them to stumble inside, bringing with them several thousand snowflakes. Mac quickly closed the door after Stella had followed him into the hut, shutting the two of them away from the rest of the world.

There was no doubt that they would have to stay in here at least for the night, maybe longer, depending on how bad the storm would become. He took a long look around. It was a typical mountain hut... stone fireplace leading up to the roof, a suspended ceiling with wooden beams holding the sides of the house together. A nice and simple place for mountain hikers who needed a place to stay for a little break or for a night. To the right there was a little oven and a cupboard, in the far left corner to the room there was a small couch.

"All I want is a warm bed, a kind word and unlimited powers," Stella sighed, interrupting his thoughts.

"What?" Mac absentmindedly asked as he had just noticed something that caused him to groan....

ONE room – besides the small entry area behind the entrance door – and the only minimal comfort was the fireplace with big sheepskin on the floor in front of it...

Stella chuckled.

"Oh come on, Mac. It's not that bad..."

"Not that bad?!?" he repeated incredulously.

No. Not bad. Actually it's the epitome of a romantic scenario.

He groaned again.

XXXXX

After they had finished a little meal, a can of soup they had found in the cupboard above the little oven, Stella got up and walked over to the fireplace where they had ignited a nice, warming fire. She picked the woollen blankets they had found next to the couch and arranged them on the sheepskin. Then she started to take off her jacket, put it on a chair and got ready to continue underneath Mac's unbelieving look.

"What are you doing???" he gasped.

"I am going to sleep now and I don't intend to do that fully dressed. So would you mind turning around? That is ... unless you wanna see the rest of the show?" she teased him.

"It's still rather early, maybe we should … do something?" he tried to avoid the inevitable.

"Sure," Stella said earnestly. "How about some TV or video games? Or would you rather play cards or something else? Hey! We could play charade…"

She got up from the floor and stepped behind the couch where Mac was still sitting.

"I could give you a little massage," she suggested, causing him to almost jump up as if a spring from the couch had popped out and hit him.

"I don't know, I don't think, you don't have to…" he struggled.

"Okay... well will you massage me, then? I'm pretty tense from the cold..." she asked, rolling her shoulders while she rubbed her hands together.

He froze... he should have expected that.

"Stella, I don't know... I - I'm not that..."

She moved from behind the couch and sat down on the floor between his legs in front of him, leaving him no chance to get away.

"Please, Mac?" There were those amazing green eyes looking at him again... begging him to start touching her..., making it impossible to refuse.

Help! his mind yelped.

But there was no help in sight. She was close, much too close. More than he could take. And this look in her eyes... He swallowed.


It's amazing
How you can speak
Right to my heart
Without saying a word


You can light up the dark
Try as I may
I could never explain
What I hear when
You don't say a thing



"Alright... but I have to warn you, this will most likely make it rather worse than better..." he quipped, not really sure if he was just referring to the condition of her shoulders. "You should probably sit in front of the fire for a few minutes so your muscles get warmer, I've seen them doing that in professional massage studios, they always put you on some warm blankets or so to relax the muscles before working on them…"

Talking a lot on neutral territory might possibly help to… He gulped as he watched her take her blazer and shirt of, leaving her dressed in only a soft black bra at the top.

THIS was too much... He tried to focus on some useful words.

"What are you doing?!?"

"It's just the two of us, Mac. It's not a problem. And you can't massage through clothes, right?"

Just the two of us... Yeah. No problem? Not sure about that... he mused, a half-undressed Stella sitting in front of him.

What if she started to take off the bra as well???

Panic started rising inside his stomach.

"Mac?"

"Huh?!" He snapped out of his trance...

"Were you gonna start anytime soon? I think my back is pretty warm from the fire by now…"

He chuckled nervously...

"Sorry, I uh... yeah. Um, why don't you lie down on the blanket in front of the fire so I can… um, work on your back and you can relax?"

He knelt down beside her, slowly moved his shaking hands towards her bare shoulders.

TBC


Let me hear what you think, please? Thanks :-) Geez, I REALLY missed you guys so much... Can't wait to go on! xxxlittlesheepxxx