I havent had any exposure with Sands as an author, so that might account for me having a hard time grasping her vampire lore and method of developing her story. In The Gift we meet Teddy who is a sixty four year old, soon to be retired chief of police that finds himself stranded with no provisions and electricity after a snow storm. He stumbles across Overall Rating Clarification: 3. He stumbles across Katricia, a twenty five year old vampire, who is in a similar situation, and so they pool their resources to get through the winter storm.

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He normally kicked off his blankets rather than burrowed, and he never woke up cold. The heat must have gone off in the night, he realized. Tossing the blankets aside, he sat up and peered around the room. Stark sunlight was pouring through the window. It made it easy to see the cloud of mist that formed in front of his mouth with each exhalation.

Oh yeah, the heat was definitely off, he thought with a grimace and quickly slid out of bed. The carpet was cold underfoot as Teddy hurried up the hall. The left side was the carpeted living room area with a sofa, two chairs, a fireplace, and entertainment unit. The right side was a tiled kitchen and dining space. His eyes then shot to the DVD player on the television, but it, too, was blank.

There was no juice at all. It was cold in the cottage and likely to get colder, at least until the problem with the power was fixed, which meant he was wasting precious body heat standing around barefoot in his flannels. He needed to dress quickly, pull on his outerwear, and head somewhere warm to call Marguerite and find out whom he should contact about the power. He started to turn away, intending to sit on the bed to don the socks, but paused as his gaze slid out the window.

His pickup was now a small snow hill beside the cottage. Dress warmly, find a shovel, dig his truck out of the driveway, and then head to town to find someplace warm with coffee and food, where he could call Marguerite in comfort. Or maybe he should try to call Marguerite first, Teddy thought as he finished with his socks and dragged on jeans and a sweater over his flannel pajamas. It was going to take a hell of a long time to dig his way out of the driveway. By that time, whoever was supposed to fix the power might be here if he called before starting.

Deciding that was the better plan, Teddy finished dressing and headed out into the kitchen to find his phone. The warning that the battery needed recharging was all he could get before it shut itself off. Muttering under his breath, Teddy shoved it in his pocket, dragged on his coat, scarf, and boots, then grabbed his gloves and opened the kitchen door.

If he thought the cottage was cold, the mudroom was positively frigid, and Teddy grimaced as he stepped into it.

The moment he stepped off the deck he was knee-deep in snow. He had some thought of starting the pickup, plugging his phone in the car charger, and turning on the heat and defrost so that the windows could thaw out while he shoveled the driveway. Not terribly bright of him to forget to bring it in last night, he acknowledged with a sigh. The driveway was narrow and wound through the trees, which was great for privacy, but it was also long, which was terribly inconvenient now.

It would take hours to shovel the way clear himself. Marguerite had said the county cleared the roads and there was a handyman who cleared the driveway and took care of other matters for the Willan sisters, who owned the cottage he was renting. Hopefully, by the time the road was clear and this handy feller could get in to clear the driveway, the door lock would be thawed enough that he could get the door open.

But some coffee would sure go nice with that fire, he thought and glanced toward the road again, wondering what the problem was with the power. Never one to sit around and wait on being rescued, Teddy started up the driveway.

It seemed to take forever to make his way to the road. By the time he reached the end of the drive, Teddy was sweaty and panting. The road twisted out of sight just ten feet from where he stood. Sighing, he considered what to do. His stomach was gnawing with hunger, his legs aching from trudging through the snow, his mouth was dry, and while he was hot and sweaty under his clothes, his face was beginning to burn with the cold.

Teddy readjusted his scarf to give his face more protection against the low temperatures and then forced himself to continue on. Another ten feet, he told himself. The sight of the white-coated road stretched out before him was a truly depressing thing.

Either there had been a fierce wind with the snow the night before, or the heavy snowfall had been too much for a couple of the older trees. Two had fallen that he could see: one just ten feet past the bend where he stood and another farther up the road. They would have to be shifted before the snow-removal vehicles could clear the road to his driveway. They were also the reason the power was out, Teddy noted as he saw the downed lines the first tree had taken out. Maybe once the trees were removed and the road was cleared, he should just turn around and start the six-hour trip back to Port Henry.

The thought was a depressing one. It was two days before Christmas, a time of year when Teddy tried to avoid Port Henry. It was why he was up here at the cottage in the first place. Back home, everyone knew he had no family to spend Christmas with and everyone invited him to theirs. Shaking his head, he turned to start back only to pause as he spotted a figure in the trees on the other side of the driveway to his own cottage.

The individual wore a bright red ski suit and stood as still as a stone, staring from the shadows of the trees. There was something about it that made the hair on the back of his neck prickle nervously, and then the person pushed back the hood to reveal a fresh-faced young blonde with a bright smile.

As he moved to meet her halfway in the deep snow, he nodded toward the driveway they stood in front of. Glancing back to her, he smiled wryly.

One took out the power line. I have loads of dry and canned goods, but someone was to deliver fruits and vegetables and stuff today. As well as gas for the generator. She nodded and then grimaced. I guess the generator must have kicked on when the power went off last night, but it died a few minutes ago. To watch for the delivery. Probably not long, he decided and was about to offer to share his fire when she turned back to him and smiled wryly.

Care to share? Any woman would be worried. He could be an axe murderer, for all she knew. Thank you. He was blushing like a schoolboy, he realized with disgust and hoped to hell she put down any redness in his face to the cold. In fact, claiming to be a cop would probably be the one thing most likely to lull a gal into feeling safe and give the creep an advantage.

There was just something about the girl. He watched her start away, envying the seeming ease with which she moved through the snow. Of course, she might not realize that yet. He was all bundled up against the cold, with little but his eyes and nose showing.

In fact, the poor girl would probably be embarrassed then, he thought with a wry chuckle. Katricia savored the thought. There was nothing in the world more important to an immortal than a life mate. It was what every one of them wanted and waited for, sometimes for centuries, sometimes even longer. Some never found one at all. Though she probably should have, she acknowledged. At least they were in the family. That woman had found life mates for a good number of her children and the others of their kind before her death more than two thousand years ago.

They said it had been like a sixth sense with her. Now Marguerite was doing the same.


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