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.
She crossed her arms. “I saw Dr. Havelock this afternoon.”
She knows. Confess now.
“He thinks I’m in menopause, but he won’t know until the tests come back.”
She looked as if she expected him to comment, so he said, “Hm.” His mind raced. What’s man-o-paws? Clearly she assumed he’d know.
“With respect to the reindeer poisoning… Kris, I’ve banned sugar.” She gave him time to gasp and sputter. “All manners have been destroyed. Erik has penalty instructions for anyone in possession of White Death: Public disgrace. Six months in jail. No plea bargains. That includes your peppermints, unless they’re sugar free.”
Kris clutched his beloved peppermints. “White Death. Havelock’s got your ear.”
“Someone put sugar in the oats. Scotchie said—”
“Scotchie?” Kris jumped out of bed, shamelessly naked. “How is he an authority on my reindeer? He’s our Production Manager. He oversees dolls that pee and balls that bounce. How did he know to check for sugar? I saw him at Candy’s to-do. Why didn’t he tell me? I should be the first to know. I’m friggin’ Santa Claus.”
Holly visibly struggled to hold her temper. “Be that as it may, we have problems with employee sugar addiction. After Noak’s performance this morning, don’t you agree?”
“You mean after my performance, don’t ya?” There. He’d kicked the elephant in the room right in its big ol’ keester. Holly jerked, as though struck. She appeared to brace for something big. Something bad. “What’s wrong? It is one of the kids?” He wheezed. “Did Dancer d-die?”
“No! No.” She handed him his robe, gestured for him to sit. “I’ve made a decision as Kringle president and frankly, I’m terrified of your reaction.”
“What?” He snorted. “Ya firing me?”
He shot to his feet. “What?”
“I’ve asked your cousin in France to replace you this Christmas as Père Noël.”
The earth shook. He staggered a little.
“I asked Uncle Jer to portray Poland’s Swiety Mikolaj. Your Russian cousin will be Sinter Klaus. Torvald agreed to be Scandinavia’s Julenisse if he can leave Yuley behind. He’s allergic to mohair. Clotilda agreed to be Germany’s Belsnickel.”
“Clotilda! You got a girl to be Belsnickel? Couldn’t that lazy Otto do it? Too busy teaching tourists to sing ‘Trink, Trink, Bruderlein Trink’ in a Munich biergarten?”
“Too busy donating bone marrow to a sick friend.”
“You’re doing this because I let Sandee return. How many times must I tell you, it’s not a crime to be nuts.”
“Well, it should be.”
“Don’t be petty. She’s alone. A sphincter.”
“Spin…well, maybe you’re right. Consider this year a preview of what’s to come, Kringle. You should train Cooper, or whoever you choose for your heir. Your dad retired at fifty-seven. You’re fifty-five.”
Kris glowered. “You’ve changed. You used to be fun. That’s why Dad hired you. What happened? You’re not fun anymore.”
He bit his tongue. Too late! His snipe had launched a nuclear attack, and Kris knew his very own Cold War was about to begin.
“How. Dare. You.” Hoarfrost coated her velvety voice. “When do I have time for fun? My son’s life is in peril because he’s hangs out with his egomaniacal grandfather who treats lava like Silly Putty. My daughter wants to chuck a promising future to marry too young. I head a company that coordinates a world holiday and haven’t had a decent vacation in five years. I’m also Mrs. Claus. My body undergoes a yearly transformation that would make any normal woman plunge a knife into her heart. Plus, I’m fifty and menopausal. And now, during Final Week Rush, our reindeer are poisoned. Not to mention that my husband didn’t tell me he blacked out in the doctor’s office. A week ago.”
Kris sat. It was gonna get ugly.
“Dr. Havelock said the results from your cholesterol, lipoproteins and triglyceride test results are at odds with your symptoms from the other night, but assured me slurred speech, dizziness and rapid heartbeat are signs of a pending stroke or heart attack. What upsets me most is, he thought I knew.”
Kris stared into the fire rather than his wife’s blazing eyes.
“With stress piled high on my plate, I’m not able to dine on your Sandee decision right now. But tell me, please. Just when am I’m supposed to squeeze in fun?”
Shame slithered through him. He braced as Holly approached him, expecting her to clobber him. Lord knew he deserved it.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” She knelt at his feet.
“I knew you’d go ballistic. We’ve been fighting so much.”
She clutched his legs. “I’m scared to lose you. If you don’t change…” Her voice broke.
When silence became intolerable, he said, “I’ve spent my life living up to the legend my dad, grandfather and great-grandfathers set in stone. Being Santa Claus is all I know. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, besides you and my kids. I can’t take a break and divvy up my responsibilities to relatives because my lipoproteins don’t please my wife.”
“I did it because I love you. Because Cookie and Cooper and, God knows Candy all need you. Not only your children, but the world’s children. Cooper isn’t trained to step into your shoes.” Kris grunted. She stood. “Nor do you have an alternate should he follow Dad into Nature. I’ve reduced your route this Christmas to give you time to address your health issues. If you don’t make changes, Dr. Havelock assured I will be a widow in a very short time. Is it any wonder I’m not much fun these days?” She wiped her tears. “Mom says she loves Dad too much to watch him kill himself through his deliberate rejection of doctor’s orders. She’s leaving him.”
Kris laughed without humor. “LaRoux’s unable to brush her teeth without asking Kingston which brand of toothpaste to use. She’ll never cope without him.”
“That’s mean. You never liked her.”
“Your mother’s fine. It’s your father I can’t stand.”
“I understand what Mom feels. I feel he same. I don’t want to watch you kill yourself with sugar. So, unless you make changes… Kris. I won’t see our marriage to the end.”
~ * ~
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