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.
“You’ve ruined PolarCap. You’ve killed Linders’ business.”
“If Santa didn’t marry you, you’d be nobody. You’d be a worker bee like us.”
“Even the Tattle wouldn’t hire you, you daughter of a troll.”
I had never been struck in my life, not even a childhood spanking. Humiliation warred with outrage. Had Polartown gone mad?
“Kringle Enterprises is doomed because of you.”
“Polartown is doomed.”
“Christmas is doomed.”
As someone screamed, Brannoc roared, “Have you lost your minds?” He knocked the elves aside, picked me up, and carried me to his office where I saw Dova in tears. It had been she who screamed.
“Are you hurt?” She pulled my clothes together.
Steeling myself not to sob, I focused on my broken fingernails. “They ate sugar cubes dyed to look like candy.”
“I’m sorry, Holly.” Brannoc’s voice sounded rough with tears.
I fussed with my shoes. “My fault. My Sugar Ban…”
“No!” I looked up and my heart flipped. His beautiful eyes were scary with vengeance. “No one touches you. Not now. Not ever.” He left to call Erik, cursing in a long-dead language.
Dova’s expression matched my astonishment. “I’m good,” I reassured when she continued to fuss over me. I had to be fine. I was President of Kringle Enterprises. Mrs. Santa Claus. Polartown’s Højeste…whatever.
“I’ll walk you to your office.” Dova took my arm.
I made it four steps before the accumulation of marital discord, family disharmony and poisoned reindeer stole my dignity. I sobbed uncontrollably. “They hate me.”
She steered me into a ladies room where she handed me a wad of toilet paper. “They’re sugar idjets.”
My temperature surged, steaming the room like a sauna. I wrenched off my coat. “I should cancel the Ban. Everyone’s upset.”
“Tough!” Dova’s bark ricocheted off the tiled walls. “You didn’t do it to be mean. Stand strong.”
I went through six rolls of TP, fearing what Kris would do when he learned his elves had assaulted me. “I owe you,” I told Dova.
“You owe me nothing. However, when Malkorka quits, I’d love first crack at her job.”
“Absolutely.” I rubbed a peek hole in the steamed mirror to inspect my ruined face.
Dova borrowed me cosmetics. “Rumor has it you’re in menopause.”
God bless the Tattle. “I think my emotions trigger hot flashes.”
“Flurry Michaels says we’ve warmed to five degrees. With all the drama, maybe your hot flashes are melting Polartown.”
A chill skittered through me. When had my flashes begun? A few weeks ago? A month? Had Polartown started to melt back then?
As I walked to my office, Dad fell in beside me. “Your mother’s having an affair with Lars Utgaard. Should’ve known. She’s been stinking of Scandinavian ice. I figured she’d been hitting the vodka.”
“I always said you’d drive her to drink.” Couldn’t he see I was upset?
“There’s something wrong with her. Stop her.”
“No. Mom has a right to make decisions without you manipulating me to change her mind. I agree, though, there is something wrong with her, aside from being fed up with you. She doesn’t look well.”
His expression morphed bewildered, his lower lip protruding. “Didn’t notice.”
“Well, it’s difficult to miss unless you have your eyes focused so hard on yourself, you can’t see beyond your own nose.”
Dad gazed down his arrogant beak. “Baloney. B.A.L.O.N.E.Y.”
“Throughout your marriage you’ve fed her daily doses of self-doubt to bolster your own ego.” He puffed, prepared to bluster. I poked his chest. “Well, I remember who she is, even if you don’t. And since she’s wearing her wolf coat, I suspect the confidence you stole from her is being restored. So, look out Father Nature, ’cuz dark and stormy days are ahead for you.”
I turned to leave, only to whirl back. “And so help me, if you hurt Cooper while pretending to teach him Nature, I will hunt you down and live in your soul until you weep for mercy.”
He grabbed my chin. “Don’t be dramatic, little girl.”
I jerked back. “I remember your teaching style. You showed off while I ducked lightning bolts and suffered wind burn. I can’t wear a swimsuit because your showy, disproportionate lesson on lava flow destroyed my leg.”
He pushed me against the wall. “I told you your grandmother said you lacked talent, but you nagged me until you got hurt. What is it about you girls, wanting more than you’re capable of? Waste of money to put Candy through college. All she’s gonna do is make babies.”
A crowd had formed, among them Nattie Blather. I shoved Dad into a supply closet to continue our discussion. “You used Cooper’s hero worship to manipulate me. You asked him to be your heir without consulting me because you knew I’d object.” Flashing hot enough to bend steel, I knotted my hair and secured it with a pencil.
“You’re jealous.” Dad shook his Nature ring in my face. “You lacked talent.”
I smacked his hand aside. “We can debate your motives until Oprah marries Stedman and still get nowhere. We both know Cooper doesn’t have what it takes to command locusts in East Asia, release volcanoes on unsuspecting villages, or send a monsoon through the Rose Bowl Parade, which is the only kind of Nature you know.”
His brows touched his sparse hairline. “You dare to insinuate I have no artistic talent?”
The walls bubbled and ceiling tiles swelled like pregnant cows. “Your earth is an episodic nightmare covered in smog. Your clouds are infected with dirt. The colors Nanny Anian cloaked the earth with have soured under your command. The only thing that stops me from pulling the plug on your lessons is that it would devastate Cooper. He’s excited to be your heir, but he’s wise to you. He thinks if he hadn’t been present yesterday, you wouldn’t have nearly destroyed Oahu.” I hissed in Dad’s ear, “I don’t like my son blaming himself for your arrogance.”
I opened the door. Nattie and her photographer fell at my feet. As ceiling tiles fell on Dad, I stepped over Nattie, then crossed the hall into my office. There I found Valda and Petra huddled over a plate of cookies, their expressions guarded. “What now?”
~ * ~
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