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 I’ve added the Links to the end of this post.
Scotchie slid into him. “Where’s your missus, Cap’n? I ken what made the reindeer all peelie-wallie, but that åsna torka threw me out o’ the Complex.”
Wilde bristled. “Don’t you call Doctor Thorne names, you old man.”
“Weal, if it’s no’ the son of the ass wipe.”
Cookie stepped between them. “You’re being rude, Scotchie.”
Kris added, “If you act like a pest, you’ll delay the cure.”
Scotchie wrapped his cane around his boss’s neck and pulled him down to his level. “I’m not being a pest, you sugar-brained divit. Thorne is daft. He’ll destroy the reindeer as sure as a lady lifts her petticoat ta piss.”
Cookie frowned. “Nice language.”
“Your war with Thorne has to stop,” Kris scolded. “You’re retiring. It’s time you think about life after Polartown.”
Scotchie shoved his boss back a step. “Where’s your maw?” he asked Cookie. When she pointed across the Square, he waved a rude finger at Wilde then hobbled toward Holly, his shrunken leg surprisingly agile.
Kris watched as Scotchie ranted with wild gestures to Holly. From her concerned expression one would think it was the first time she had heard his theory on why Thorne should be fired.
“I’m sorry,” Cookie told Wilde. “He’s jealous of your dad.”
“Scotchie needs to leave Doctor Thorne alone. It makes him mad. He smacks me around when he’s mad.”
“Oh, Wilde.” Cookie touched his sleeve. “Dad. Talk to Dr. Thorne.”
Wilde’s face contorted. “No! Don’t. If Doctor Thorne knew I talked about our private life, he’d destroy my drums—then me.” He watched Candy posing for photographers. “She still likes pink roses, eh?”
Cookie scowled. “She’s engaged, you know.” As Wilde returned to work, she said to her father, “He needs to get over her. He needs someone who appreciates him. I had no idea he has such a horrid relationship with his father.”
Neither did Kris, but he wasn’t surprised. Thorne’s status as physician to the Famous Eight underscored his mordant insensitivity. He humiliated others to showcase his own greatness, and lacked tolerance for those he considered beneath him. Would his home life be any different?
“Did you reserve your club for Mom’s party?”
Kris shifted uneasily. He had doubts about the party theme. “Well.”
Her eyes shadowed. “We should cancel.”
“No, we’ll do it.” He scratched his beard. “What exactly did your mom say about regrets on her wedding day?”
Cookie hugged him. “She doesn’t regret marrying you. She just wished she’d had more time to plan. She didn’t like her dress. The one she got stuck with had a stain and wasn’t fitted properly. What was the rush, anyway?”
A twenty-year old nightmare seared his memory. “Chalk it up to impatient youth.”
“You were thirty-five. That’s old.”
As Cookie vanished into the crowd, Kris groped his pockets for Starlight peppermints. Instead he found a mocha Smooch. Like Pavlov’s dog, his mouth watered with anticipation.
“Whatcha got under your coat?”
Startled, Kris fumbled the chocolate. After Holly’s meltdown at breakfast, he couldn’t risk being caught with chocolate contraband.
“Who’re you wearing, Miss Joyous Noël?”
The question had been addressed to his daughter. Kris watched Candy drop her cloak to reveal a pink slip-dress. She turned to expose a cutout back. Polarparazzi jostled for a money shot.
“Candy looks mighty fine,” a deep voice teased. “Didn’t you torment the father of last year’s MJN. Not so funny when it’s your own, eh?”
Kris scowled at his cousin Erik, the cop. “There should be a law that requires the girls to keep their coats on.”
“You passed that buck to your missus when you gave her power over Polartown.”
“You here to razz me, or do you have a lead on who poisoned my reindeer?” Aware the crowd around them had fallen silent, Kris followed Erik’s head jerk to a less populated spot.
“I interviewed all personnel with Complex and granary access,” Erik said. “I processed the reindeer suites for atypical fingerprints and have posted guards, inside and out. My men are patrolling this crowd as we speak. If I hear anything, you’ll be the first to know. The toxicologist told Bemidji to collect trash, grain and manure to determine if the poison was fed in small doses, or introduced all at once.”
Kris clutched his heart. “If they’ve been poisoned over time, I’ve failed my reindeer. I’ve been so single-minded staying one step ahead of Holly’s sugar war, I’ve neglected my reindeer. What if they die?”
Erik patted his shoulder. “If it was deliberate, there’s nothing you could have done. Instead of blaming yourself, make me a list of suspects, including every kid who ever received a lump of coal in their stocking. I want names. I want places. I want your take on everyone with Complex access, down to the kid who serves Blixem his afternoon tea.”
“I’ll get it to you tonight.”
“Tomorrow’s good. Be thorough. I can’t waste time on the wrong people.” Erik’s heavy-lidded eyes filled with indecision.
“It can wait. You’ve had enough drama for one day.”
Kris’s gut twisted. “Spill it.”
“J.J. Rime has purchased the Tittle-Tattle, Polar Fitness Club, and PolarPointe.”
Shock ripped through Kris. “PolarPointe? When did that go up for sale?” The luxury resort was worth triple-digit millions.
“No telling.” Erik pulled his ear, a habit that signaled bad news.
“Jack Frost is back in town.”
“What?” Townies turned to see why Santa had screamed at the Chief Deputy.
“He’s natural-born.” Erik shrugged. “All I can do is warn him.”
“Warn him? For what? Not to bribe pathetic losers to take the blame for him?”
“Without concrete proof, I had nothing.”
“Funny how the guy sneaking into PolaRehab disguised as a custodian looked like Frost on the surveillance camera. Funny too how nine Level 5 patients were caught with snowman’s dandruff soon after.”
“A worker confessed he’d sold sugar to the patients.”
“That same worker paid off debts after doing time for the crime.”
Erik crossed his arms. “If someone wants to take the rap for Frost, my hands are tied.”
“Well, untie them and bring Frost in for questioning. He’s our man.”
“I’ll question him. Write me that list.”
With the MJN ceremony winding down, Kris headed for the Reindeer Complex, deliberately trudging through snowdrifts to chill his temper. The reindeer didn’t need to know Santa feared the worst.
Frost had return to Polartown. Kris stomped a slush-puddle with enough force to splash it up his leg. A reputed bookie/loan shark/dealer of whatever you needed, Frost’s slipperier-than-ice reputation kept him out of reach of Polartown’s finest. Erik’s hands were bound by the law, but the Santa job came with special dispensation, and Kris wasn’t above using it to nail the villain.
As the Complex’s conical towers and parapet gables came into view, Kris considered candidates for Erik’s list, speculating on life-long friends with the idea that they could kill.
~ * ~
Holly Kringle has a very full plate. She is Highest Mayor of Polartown and President of Kringle Enterprises–the company that puts the ‘Merry’ in Christmas and the ‘Happy’ in Holidays. She is also the mother of teenagers and wife to Kris Kringle–the World’s Biggest Kid. When the reindeer are poisoned three days before Eve Launch, Holly adds amateur detective to her resume. With just about everyone in Polartown under suspicion, she doesn’t have time to dwell on employee problems, personal family issues, her 50th birthday, or investigate her husband’s highly suspicious behavior. If Dancer dies, her soulmate Dasher won’t want to live without her. And like a pod of whales beaching on the shore, the remaining Famous Eight will surely follow.
10 KRINGLE chapters will post Monday through Thursday until November 16th. Naturally there is my hope that you will be caught up in the story to want to buy the book, either paperback or ebook, and to make it so much more enticing to you, I’ve dropped the prices. Plus every penny of profit will benefit cats from a local colony. All of my fur babies, except for Herman, came from that colony. While I cannot afford to adopt another cat — when I took in Candy, Elly and Chevy over the past 12 months with Els and Chev being FIV+, that brought the Wonderpurr Gang up to 13 — I would never turn away a hungry animal who wanders into my yard, especially in winter.
Hope that sounds enticing to you Christmas novel readers. And if it does, I have created three ways for you to purchase KRINGLE, if you so desire.
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.
Love to you all!
Kim, Herman, Dori
and the Wonderpurr Gang