Today I welcome author Caraway Carter, who is my second guest this year to bring a holiday story. While last week’s offering focussed on Christmas, Caraway’s story is set around the Jewish Festival of Lights, Chanukah. Does this mean it’s without mystery? Far from it, as you’ll see when you listen to what Caraway Carter has to tell us ….
Chanukah, sometimes spelled Hanukkah, is a holiday of fun, light, food, and festivities. It also provides the background for my newest story, The Eighth Night.
Chanukah celebrates the miracle of the Maccabees, when almost all the holy oil in the Temple had been destroyed in a battle, but the one vial of oil that remained lasted for eight days – which is why it’s also called “the Festival of Lights.” Jews commemorate this miracle by lighting candles each night of Chanukah at sunset. The candles are placed in the menorah from right to left, and lit from right to left as well. Menorahs hold nine candles. The ninth one is called the Shamash, or “helper,” and it’s the one that lights all the others. Each night, an additional candle is lit.
After the candles have been lit, the festivities begin with food, songs, games, and gifts. The gifts are often silly or sentimental – socks, small toys, chocolate coins called gelt (which are used in the dreidel games later), and money are all common gifts. Some families give one gift each night of Hanukkah.
This is why my secret admirer romance fits perfectly with Chanukah and the gifts Davi leaves for Dr. Sol (Solomon) Gerber – one for each night. Davi hopes the gifts will change Dr. Gerber’s mind about dating his students. For the first few nights of Chanukah, he thinks that Dr. Gerber is getting the gifts he’s leaving in Gerber’s office. But then Davi spies a cute blond student, Jon, wearing a few of the gifts he’s left there, and becomes intrigued with finding out why. Is it a mistake? Is it a joke?
I hope you enjoy this story and that it brings light to your holiday season.
The Eighth Night
A Chanukah Secret Admirer Romance
Davi has eight nights to try and convince his former professor that he should break his rule: no students for lovers. Dr. Sol Gerber has another plan in mind. After the first night, Sol goes out of town and arranges for someone else to get the gifts. That someone else is his TA, Jon Ellis, a hot blond grad student in Literature.
Over eight nights, Davi delivers gifts ranging from socks to a hotel room key. In between chance meetings and the secret admirer gifts, the two men connect, finally meet. and sparks fly.
Excerpt from The Eighth Night by Caraway Carter
“Dr. Gerber, if you need anything, just buzz, okay?”
“Sure thing, Heather. Or should I say H.B.?” He chuckled down the hallway.
I shouted after him, “Damn that Jon Ellis. I thought he just used it with me.” All I could hear was laughter. Under my breath I counted, “One . . . Two . . . Thr—” The phone buzzed. I picked it up. “Mmhmm. Oh, that’s from Davi. Yes, I’m on my way.”
I quickly walked down the hallway to the office.
“When did he drop these off?”
I looked at my watch. “About twenty minutes ago.”
“Did you read the note?” He’d pulled the ribbon off and was opening the tin. “Oh, these are my favorite. Have you ever had a gusher?”
I chuckled nervously because I wasn’t sure exactly what he was talking about. “Uhm . . . No?”
He laughed, looked at the interior of the tin and the note, and sighed. He picked up a wax-paper-covered cookie-like thing and handed it to me. “You aren’t allergic to anything, are you?”
“This should be all right then; they’re dark chocolate, pomegranate, and salt. And they’re messy.”
“I picked up one and took a small bite. A seed flew out the side of my mouth, and I giggled. “What a sweet gift.”
“I think I’m going to need your help. Apparently Davi has plans on making me his number one.” He handed me the note card.
“Oh, I’m sorry. If I had known that’s what this was, I wouldn’t have let him drop it off.” I gave the note back. Oh man, I hoped he didn’t see the lie in my eyes.
“Well, he’s out of luck. I’m dating Dr. Kuska, and we’re attending a conference this week. I was just here to pick up some books and my project notes for my talk.” Dr. Gerber began moving about the room, gathering the things he needed.
“So, should I tell him to stop with the gifts? He said he’d be back tomorrow.”
He stopped and thought it over, and then he turned with a big grin on his face. “No, I’ve got another idea. If you’ll just continue leaving them on my desk.”
I tilted my head and raised both brows. “Okay?”
“Just keep me updated with what’s going on.” He sat down at his desk.
“Is that all the information you’re going to give me?” I half-heartedly laughed.
“Yes, for now. The less you know, the better. I know you’re good friends with Davi, and I’d hate for you to get blamed for what I’m going to do.”
“Dr. Gerber, please don’t get him in trouble.” Shit, had Davi taken his crush too far? Maybe I should’ve asked to read “the note” first before letting him into Dr. Gerber’s office?
“Oh, it’s nothing like that. I’m just making a suggestion or eight.” He grinned as he moved behind me. “Can I send a quick email?”
“Oh, sure.” I moved to the side. “Do I get to know who you’re emailing?
“Not yet.” He looked up at me and waited for me to turn around before he continued with the email. “Thank you for this, and I’ll talk to you during the week.”
“Can I do anything else?”
“No. Just when Davi drops off the gift, leave it on my desk and open my office the next day to see if the gift is still here or gone. And update me with an email on the progress. You don’t have to let me know what the gifts are. Just let me know if it was picked up.”
I smiled. “Okay, this sounds fun, I think, as a mystery. And please don’t call me H.B.”
“But you do look just like her.” He smiled.
“But, I’m not her. Just Heather is okay. I love being Heather.”
“I’m sure you do.”
About Caraway Carter
Caraway Carter has worn numerous hats. He’s been a furniture salesman, a dresser, a costumer, an actor/waiter, a rabble rouser, a poet and most recently a writer. He loves words and stringing them together, he loves sex and sexy men, and he writes relationship fiction that reminds you—it’s never too late for love. And he has lived his tagline! He married his husband on Halloween, at the age of forty-nine, and they are the loving parents of an adorable cat named Molly.
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