With Christmas fast approaching, I thought why not ease you all into the spirit of the holiday with ten chapters from my novel, KRINGLE. Yes! Ten free chapters for you to enjoy running Monday through Thursday until November 16th. Hope you enjoy!
To catch up on the story, here’s the Link to Chapter 1.
“Morning all.” He shook snow from his soaked parka onto my freshly mopped floor. “Beautiful day, Kingston. You outdid yourself.” He tossed his parka at the coat tree—missed—then kissed me with exaggerated passion, gave our children each a peck to their brows, and for a grand finale bent my mother backward over his arm for a theatrical smooch that left her giggling girlishly.
Let me clarify here, the image you have of Santa Claus describes Kris on Christmas Eve when he undergoes a magickal transformation. His hair whitens, his beard thickens and he gains a sixty pound belly. Pre-transformation he’s a Viking stereotype: Wheat-blond hair shot with gray, a close-cropped beard the shade of toasted coconut; brawny-built, weight appropriate for six-foot-three. At fifty-five, Kris still turns heads, mine included.
And then there are days like today when my head keeps turning as though I’m being exorcised.
Today he wore the forest green turtleneck I’d given him for his last birthday. The very sweater he’d left in the closet up until this morning because he said the neck choked his throat. His grin looked too bright, his eyes twinkled a bit too merry. He wore a sweater he did not like, but had been a gift from me. Oh yah. He’d stepped in a deep pile of monkey business—but what?
“Got an early start with a brisk run through town, followed by a snowball fight with the boys in Woodworks,” he chattered like a sugared-up six-year-old. “That Oskar has a great arm. Remind me to recruit him for softball this spring.”
Kris pilfered melon from Candy and toast from Cooper before he spied Dad squatting toad-like in the head-of-the-family chair. I braced for a Jerry Springer-style brawl. Instead Kris exclaimed, “Let’s all sing the Morning Song, shall we? Sunshine sparkling on the snow. Winter’s here, we all know. It’s morning time in the Kringle ho-ho-hooome.”
I pointed to the chair beside Cookie. “Sit. Eat. We meet with Ornamentation at nine.”
Kris gave a performance of thorough chewing. “Nothing like grapefruit in a warm mouth on a cold winter morning, especially if you have canker sores.”
Since he never eats grapefruit without a fight, I knew the answer to my monkey business question. “Let me smell your breath.” He gulped his juice, then stuck out his tongue. A power surge hit me. “You’ve been in Baked Goods, haven’t you?”
“B-baked Goods?” He grinned a grin that would fool only a fool. “No. I went tobogganing.”
“Running,” Cooper whispered.
“Yah, running. Briskly. Then I ran into Oddvar.”
“Oskar,” Cookie reminded.
“Oh yah. He’s a great skater.” Kris smiled his Santa smile, which gave his eyes that notorious twinkle Clement Clarke Moore wrote about in his poem, but I had children of my own and even they didn’t get away with manipulative charm.
“You tell more stories than Nicholas Sparks.” My Naturesenses inhaled the sweet stench he’d tried to mask with peppermints. My dream basket exploded with the intensity of the Hindenburg. “You’re powdered.”
He winced. “A little.”
I inhaled the details of his sugar bender. “Three chocolate tarts. An apple macaroon cake. Six cannolis covered with powdered sugar. Six?”
“They were good.”
“Of course they’re good. They’re Kringle-made. Yet, three nights ago you thought you were having a heart attack.” My children gasped. I groaned. I’d revealed what I had hoped to keep quiet until after the holidays. Then Dad tsked and it set me on fire.
“And you.” I whirled on him. “You had an actual heart attack five months ago, and yet you’re whining about sausage and sugar in your oatmeal—everything you can’t have.” My family bowed their heads. I glared at the guilty ones. “What will it take to convince you your health issues are serious? You both think you’re invincible. Immortal. And all the pleading, nagging, shouting I’ve done falls on deaf ears.”
I looked at my elegant table, set with care to celebrate my family spending precious time together, and realized it was not appreciated. They gathered because I told them to, not because they wanted to start the day as a family. Didn’t they understand time was slipping away? Despite his SuperNatural DNA, Dad’s undisciplined diet had given him heart disease. Mom looked ashen and old. The results from Kris’s physical could reveal serious problems. Candy contemplated marriage. I teetered on the precipice of fifty, not ready to be a widow.
“I nag because I love you, you idiots. If you die because you abuse your bodies, that’s your fault. But if I don’t object, I have to live with myself after you’re gone. Kris, the Ornamentation meeting starts at nine, with or without you.”
Fighting tears, I grabbed my coat and left for work. Kris didn’t get it. Time was running out, and all the Santa magick in the world couldn’t stop it.
- KINDLE eBooks – If you enjoy ebooks, KRINGLE is available on Kindle for $3.99 with a generous royalty profit of $2.73 for the kitties.
- Amazon.com – You can purchase the paperback for $7.95 where the royalty is .54 (grrr) and shipping is about $4.59.
- CREATESPACE – I’ve set up a Createspace store specifically for KRINGLE readers. There the book is priced at $7.95 with a royalty of $2.13 and standard shipping is about $3.59.
I hope you enjoy the ten free chapters. And if you do, please tell your friends. Better yet…buy a book, either as a gift for yourself, or for someone on your gift list who enjoys campy, funny, holiday mysteries.
Kim, Herman, Dori
and the Wonderpurr Gang