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.
“Dad, pass the peanut butter.”
Kris snapped out of his reverie to pass the jar. Across the table Holly dug joylessly into her grapefruit. Beside her, LaRoux sprinkled a yellow packet into her bowl. She had spent the night in their guest room, and probably would move in. His patience would be tested with her underfoot, but with Kingston out of the house, he would keep all comments about his ditsy mother-in-law behind locked lips.
Meanwhile, Cooper slathered enough peanut butter on his toast to mortar a wall strong enough to restrain any tsunami Father Nature might concoct. Kris wanted to ask his son about his day with Grandpa and the volcanoes, but the breakfast table vibe seemed fragile. Better to save interrogation for later.
He noticed Cookie writing in her day-planner. Among his thoughts last night had been his insensitivity when she offered to be his Santa heir. He should have considered it, mulled it over. Thanked her. Instead, he’d stomped on her heart like a barbarian.
Miss Joyous Noël was conspicuously absent.
“What would you like for your birthday, chére?” LaRoux gazed at her daughter over her juice glass. “A woman turns fifty once.”
Kris scowled at his oatmeal. He didn’t like the Hawaiian theme for Holly’s party. She deserved more than Mai Tai’s and a roast pig she wouldn’t eat anyway.
“Honestly, Mom. I can’t think about celebrating.”
He noted the circles under his wife’s eyes. She hadn’t slept well either.
“What about jewelry?” LaRoux asked. “Silver or gold? Precious gems or fun faux?”
Kris knew without Kingston to make decisions LaRoux would spin with uncertainty until someone made them for her.
“I have enough jewelry,” Holly said. “I seldom wear the pieces Kris has given me.”
He frowned. “Why?” Maybe the answer to her divorce threat could be found in her rejection of his gifts. Perhaps their problems started long before his cholesterol turned traitor. Maybe trouble started the day he didn’t give her a regret-free wedding.
“My lifestyle is too causal at home for expensive jewelry. At work, I pitch in to bake or mend stockings. My wedding rings and earrings are enough.”
“Flowers?” LaRoux persisted. “I could ask your father to design a rose for you. Oh!” Clearly she’d just remembered she’d given Kingston the boot.
“No flowers, Mom. No jewelry, no perfume or bric-a-brac. I don’t want anything but your happiness. How’s that sound?”
“Like a buncha hooey.” His family looked at him. He clarified, “Fifty is a big birthday. It’s not like you’re turning forty-two and we’re having cake after dinner.”
Holly picked up her coffee. “So, because I’m turning fifty, I’m to expect big presents?”
“Right. As in jewelry, or a flower designed in your honor.” Honestly, he could be as clueless as LaRoux when it came to adult gifts. In the past he had depended on Tiffany’s or his kids for ideas. For his fiftieth, Holly had conspired with the WIDGET Woman to design a new sleigh painted his favorite shade of red, trimmed in gold filigree with a padded leather seat soft as a baby’s bottom. They had also included a GPS tracking system, and other gadgetry he couldn’t comprehend.
“So, rare flowers and jewelry are big presents,” Holly said. “Are clothes?”
“Clothes are good. Designer, of course.” Where was Candy when he needed her? She could rattle off names like Oscar De Laurentiis and Dian Fosse.
Holly stirred her coffee. “What about fur coats?”
Raised brows lowered into frowns. As sure as Santa was real, Holly Kringle opposed genuine fur. In fact, he was one hundred percent certain the baby bottom leather on his sleigh had been made by elfin magick. “You want a fur coat? Animal fur?”
She sipped her coffee. “I’m thinking of one in particular.”
He shoved aside his mush. “Well, let’s hear it. Fox? Mink? Raccoon?”
“You want a kitten fur coat?” Cookie gasped. Edda threw down her newspaper. Cooper lurched to his feet and hit the chandelier. LaRoux spit out her juice.
“No!” Holly laughed. “I don’t want a coat. I want a kitten.”
“A live kitten?” Cooper demanded.
“What for?” Kris threw his arms wide. “Why does it have to be alive? Why not a stuffed one? I’ll have Scotchie get right on it.”
“Because I want something warm and fuzzy.”
“A bottle of Stoli can give you warm fuzzies without bringing cat scat into our home.”
Holly rolled her eyes. “You sound like your mother.”
“Mom knows all about cats.”
“She never had one.”
“She had one pee on her roses and they died. She says cats are evil.”
Holly spilled her coffee. “Evil?”
He nodded. “Cats are smelly, destructive, demon-possessed fiends plotting to take over the world.”
Cookie choked with laughter, her eyes wide with disbelief.
Holly said, “Your mother distorted your view to stop you from having pets.”
“Not true. I had a dog. What was his name? Spiffy? Sparky? Snippy? Snarky?”
“You said I should ask for a big present. I want a kitten. Or a cat. It can be a rescue. In fact, it should be a rescue. I don’t care what color or sex it is.”
Kris rubbed the pain in his neck. “Gimme one reason why we should get a cat when we already have teenagers messing up the place.”
“Hey!” his teens shouted in unison.
Holly refilled her mother’s glass. “We never had pets because you claimed we didn’t have time to raise kids, run our business and clean up doggy doo. Now is a good time. I want a cat.”
“We still don’t need pets, Holly. We have elves…and fairies.”
“Daddy!” Kris spun to see Candy and Brannoc behind him. Their expressions assured him they had heard his insensitive jest. Then Candy fled, leaving Kris no choice but to follow to make amends without giving her permission to ruin her life. He knocked Brannoc aside as he passed.
“Excuse me, sir,” Brannoc murmured. Kris didn’t respond.
~ * ~
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