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.
Wandering wind carry my spell
To the one who in my heart does dwell.
Herbs and scent in his mind shall see
Make his thoughts turn solely to me.
Kris pinched his nose and shut the window. The stuffy master bedroom stunk like designer knockoff cologne thanks to a sickly sweet breeze. He replenished his peppermint schnapps, then sprawled atop the Baroque four-poster bed. He hadn’t bothered to light the hearth. There was enough fire in his heart from thoughts of his poisoned reindeer and he didn’t trust himself with a match. He would get to the bottom of their poisoning, and when he did it would be good not to have witnesses.
He glanced at his list for Erik. Aside from Jack Frost and Krampus, a goat-horned anti-Santa who sought to replace peace and joy with fear and loathing, no one stood out with irrefutable capability. Disgusted, Kris tossed the list and reached for the Tattle. First Father Nature had lured Cooper to the Dark Side, now Candy had sacrificed herself on the pyre of fairy love. She was too young to get married. Too—he sorted and batched several adjectives to describe Candy in a single word, and finally settled on irrational, though he felt mean enough to consider stupid—too irrational to understand that by slamming the door on her education in favor of marital bliss, she forever condemned herself to a life of ‘what if’ and ‘what could have been.’
No, he didn’t wear blinders. Candy wouldn’t cure cancer nor become Kringle president. Still, he hoped she would use her MJN title as a stepping stone. She dressed like a supermodel, and her flair for interior design was prominent at home, at Kringle Enterprises, and throughout the Reindeer Complex. Candy had used a Mae West theme for Vixen’s suite, and Prancer adored his Tahitian paradise-inspired suite with exotic parrots and hothouse Birds of Paradise. It cost a fortune to fly in tropical plants every week and Dunder, in the adjoining suite, threatened to sue over the raucous parrots, but if it kept the stick out of Prancer’s butt over Dasher’s position as sleigh lead, then Kris considered the cost worth it.
His thoughts slid to Holly. She knew Candy dated Brannoc behind his back. What other secrets infected their marriage? From the affectionate way she’d greeted Brannoc in the Square, the scandal flames would be fanned. ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,’ he’d told Cookie. He believed that to be true of most Tattle articles, except the ones that reported his affair with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. He’d not seen her since 1991 when, at age two, she’d surprised him while he filled stockings, and asked for a drink of water.
Holly entered and flipped on the sconces, startled to find him in the dark. Swallowing his schnapps, he slid to his feet. The Tattle fell to the floor. Their eyes met. Her expression skipped his heart. He braced for her confession.
“You don’t believe that crap, do ya?”
He kicked the rag aside. “What do you think?”
“I think believing anything written in the Tattle is as crazy as Dancer believing she can fly through the roof.” Holly removed her sweater to reveal a pink camisole. “Don’t make a big deal. I can’t take any more stress.” Pain etched her lovely face.
Kris tried to shake off the itchy friction that of late accompanied his feelings for his wife. Perhaps he’d overreacted. He’d been jacked on sugar. Maybe his baby girl chucking her education to marry a whoremonger wasn’t the end of the world. Kids destroyed their parents’ hopes and dreams every day.
Holly placed her jewelry in a glass dish on her dresser. “Did you burn candles? It smells like Madam Hoochie’s boudoir in here.” She moved to open a window.
“Don’t! The stench is in the wind.” His response came out rougher than intended, making him wonder why, after twenty years, he felt tetchy whenever Holly was near. It had occurred to him several times over the past weeks that he loved her more when she wasn’t around.
Holly plugged in a fan. Within seconds the perfume evaporated, along with short-tempers. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Candy’s engagement. I didn’t know until this morning at breakfast. I didn’t have time to tell you before the meeting.”
Kris pulled her close. “No. I’m sorry.” He buried his nose in her hair. She smelled of sunshine, fresh-cut grass, rich soil and clean air that comes after a storm. “I blamed you for me not knowing what’s going on with my kids.”
“They’re teenagers, honey. We’d need a detective to know everything. Did you just dump your drink down my back?”
He blotted the liquor with her cami. “I’ll have Erik spy on them.”
“Good idea. They’ll never spot your gi-normous cousin hiding in the bushes.”
As her eyes misted with emotion, she tilted her chin with silent invitation. Desire rippled through him. One hand at her nape, he deepened his kiss, desperate for that sensuous connection they’d enjoyed throughout their marriage. Steeped in tradition, ruled by nostalgia, he never ceased to be amazed that this beautiful woman agreed to spend her life by his side.
He recalled their first real kiss. Not the clumsy one at the zoo where he’d missed her mouth and knocked her sunglasses into the duck pond. Nor the one where she’d just sipped a mouthful of Dr. Pepper when he swooped in with unexpected passion. Unable to swallow, when the fizzy soda turned painful, she’d spit it all over his shirt.
No, their first real kiss had been spontaneous in the Staging Room moments before Eve lift-off in front of his parents. They had been dating a little over a month and, despite his startling transformation into a white-bearded fat man, she had kissed him with sincere affection. He knew then he would marry Holly Cooper, if she would have him. And she did, one year later, for better or for worst.
Unfortunately, the worst came before the better, but Holly didn’t know that.
~ * ~
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