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.
Now I understood. I was married to her brother’s drug dealer. We hugged with mutual apology. “I’m at my wit’s end, too.” I rubbed my throbbing temples. “Last night I cut Kris’s Eve route and called his relatives to help deliver toys. I made it clear, if he doesn’t change, I walk.”
“Divorce?” Val’s expression looked like she’d won the lottery.
My gaze dropped to a pink-foiled candy beside her foot. Mom had sat there yesterday. She’d dropped a Pitter Pat: a rich smooth chocolate with a blended raspberry and Belgium buttercream ganache. Oh. My. God.
“Why did you mention Cubes?” Val asked. After Petra gave her theory on how Cubes provoked the elves to attack, Val covered her face. “They were in pain. I wanted to help.”
It hit me. “Your snowflake cookies were…”
“Iced with Cubes. I didn’t know it would mess with them.”
“I think the Cubes had a psychoemotional effect on the elves,” Petra said, “which triggered a personality change. Like LSD. Hm. I wonder if they produce psychosis, and flashbacks?”
“Where did you get them?” I asked my best friend.
Val’s body language ensured she wouldn’t nark on her source. “Had them mumble mumble. May be old mumble.”
“Erik needs to know.” I reached for my elFone.
“I’ll call him,” she nearly shouted. “I’m catering the police department’s holiday pastry pageant.”
While she made notes on her elfPad, my attention veered to the contraband by her foot. Petra touched my arm. “Romance?” she mouthed. I shrugged. She selected another cookie. “How was your appointment with Dr. Havelock?”
The Pitter Pat whispered my name. I looked. It winked. I had no idea Pitter Pat’s could be so cruel. “He thinks I’m menopausal, and can expect a riot of physical Dementors unlike anything Harry Potter ever experienced.” I stood to stretch. I needed to destroy the candy before I ate it. “Small wonder middle-aged marriages end in divorce.” I bent low and rolled my shoulders as I moved. Maybe one chocolate would kill my headache and allow me to think. With my life in turmoil, I needed to think. Didn’t I? “I can’t stand being around myself.” I bent to snatch the candy. “Why should I expect Kris to hang in there?”
“Oh, honey.” Valda jumped up, kicking the Pitter Pat into view. “I’ll stick by you, even if I have to bitch slap the snarl from your face. That’s what friends are for.”
Petra lunged for the candy. I almost screamed, “It’s mine.”
“I should be going.” She tossed it into the fire. Watching the chocolate cocaine melt, I had an uncomfortable inkling of Kris’s sugar addiction.
Valda added the cookies. “Chug bicarbonate soda, Pet. They’re repeating on me.”
Petra smiled indulgently. “Once your cravings stop, you’ll realize you’ve made a fine substitute.”
“I hate substitutes.” Val hurled her cup into the fire.
It shattered the tether on my temper. “Stop behaving like a child. I didn’t ban sugar to make you miserable. Help me find who sugared the oats.”
“I know you thrive on excellence,” Petra said to Val. “And Holly, it isn’t your nature to bite and growl.”
“Me bite and growl?”
“Christmas. The economy. Now the reindeer. We’re all stressed. I know a women’s therapy group that could help us cope. Let me check when they meet.” Petra grinned. “Speaking of coping, your mom is my hero.”
“Why?” I didn’t really care. With my head seething, I wanted to lie down and die.
“Because she’s Livin’ la vida loca. It’s the red lipstick and fur coat. They bring out the sassy in LaRoux.”
“It’s the party,” Val countered. “She’s not taking Kingston’s crap anymore.”
My attention swiveled between them. “What party?”
“LaRoux’s divorce party.” Petra handed me a Vamp-red invitation with Mom’s photo on the cover. Clearly nude beneath her wolf coat, she wore a Vamp-red smile. The invitation read:
LaRoux Sommet (soon to be ex) Cooper
celebrates her divorce and is Livin’ La Vida Loca
PolarPointe ~ Tonight
My heart somersaulted. “Tonight? The Pointe books a year in advance.” Had she planned to leave Dad that long ago?
Petra said, “She got the room when Royal Thorne broke his engagement to Mary-Jane Giften.”
Mary-Jane had waited for Thorne longer than Camilla waited for Charles.
“When did this happen?”
“Three days ago. Their wedding was scheduled for tonight.”
“Was it because the reindeer are…sick?” I couldn’t say dying. Just thinking it made me want to throw up.
“Thorne broke it off before they took sick. Rumor is he cheated on MJ with a blonde.”
“What would you expect from a maggot-pie like Thorne?” Valda said a bit too loudly. “He gambled away his fortune and can’t afford her.” Her gaze hardened. “LaRoux had me bake her divorce cake. If it weren’t for your stupid Ban, it would have been spectacular.”
Petra grabbed her arm. “Okay, let’s go.”
“LaRoux’s gonna play a game at her party,” Val continued. “Pin the Blame on the Spouse.” She gestured to the invitation, laughing. “Open it.”
Inside was a photo of Dad French-kissing a French actress. Now I understood what shoved Mom toward divorce.
“You laugh at my mom’s pain? I’m surprised this isn’t a photo of you and my father. You strut like a cat in heat.”
“Look who’s talking. You’re all over Brannoc these days. Let Candy have him, honey. You’ve already got a man. Or, is Brannoc the real reason you want to divorce Kris?”
“Time to go.” Petra yanked Val toward the door.
I followed, for once unwilling to let it go. I was sick of giving in, sick of being the peacemaker. Unfortunately, as I ran into the hall I slammed into Brannoc. He reached to stop my momentum. My heel caught on the carpet and we both went down…right in front of Nattie Blather’s toady photographer.
~ * ~
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