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.
Outside the Reindeer Complex Kris adjusted his knapsack and nodded to the police guarding against unauthorized personnel. They had not stopped Santa Claus and his monkey. Perhaps they should have. At Dancer’s suite a Do Not Disturb sign had been posted. She’d had a rough night. “It’s about to get rougher,” Joost predicted.
Kris stashed the knapsack in the pantry, then entered the kitchen where the tattersall windows showcased the Sulka Sika Mountains, and the pond with false rocks where he kept his candy-stash. “Any news?” he asked the technicians.
“Dr. Robinson is with Dr. Havelock. Thorne is out to lunch.”
Kris exchanged glances with Joost. “Grab lunch yourselves. I’ll be here awhile.” The techs looked uncertain, but Kris ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’d’ and the kids-at-heart left for lunch. He then returned for his knapsack, but found Yuley-the-goat chewing the straps. With him was Rudy, a white-winged Norwegian Landrace wearing a football helmet and shoulder pads.
“Coach,” the pig squealed. “Can I talk to you about Eve Delivery?”
“Not now, Rudy.” After prying Yuley from the bag, Kris hurried down the corridor with Joost clinging to his neck.
Rudy followed. “Doc Robinson said the reindeer are bad off.”
“They’ll heal in time.” Kris broke into a run. Yuley raced ahead.
“Suppose only two get better? There’s only so much time you can option before you’re sacked with a big loss. Game clock is running. Due to unsportsmanlike conduct, we’re in sudden death. Do we muff, Coach? Do we punt? Or do we take possession and free kick?”
A sugar headache compounded by football metaphors and goat stink made Kris want to scream.
Rudy’s eyes sparkled with the need to be found useful. “I can shift my teammates into formation, Coach. No one will cry foul. Not if we don’t fumble or throw blind into the end zone.”
Kris forced a smile. “Round up your team and practice. If it looks like the reindeer will be sidelined, we’ll be ready to throw a Hail Mary.”
Rudy’s wings vibrated. “Thanks, Coach. I won’t let you down.”
Watching Rudy run to gather his team, Kris prayed the reindeer would heal in time to spare the world the image of Santa and his eight massive swine. Then he remembered Krampus had the right idea. There would be no Christmas.
Santa had to die.
An unexpected burp reactivated the rancid penny-lemon taste in his mouth, causing the corridor to rotate like a Funhouse barrel. As the Complex rolled around him, Kris hugged the floor. Then hooves came into view. Kris looked up, expecting to see Krampus. Instead he saw Joost’s head on Yuley’s body. “Am I dying?” he asked them.
“Don’t think. Just do,” advised the monkey-goat.
The North Wing housed the Six-In-Training reindeers, caretaker apartments and Olympian-sized playground. Kris took the stairs to the Staging Room where Santa’s sleigh sat on a marble dais: Candy-apple red. Gold filigree trimming. GPS tracking system. Baby-bottom leather. He winced, recalling Holly’s off-key rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ when she presented it to him. “Oh, honey.” He was wrong. Maybe he’d had a stroke! Holly would never cheat. She loved him. He loved her.
Back in his monkey body, Joost mimicked Holly. “Be careful, Ken.”
Yuley impersonated Brannoc. “Too late, Barbie.”
“I’ll distract him with a cookie…”
“I’ll hitch Rudy to the sleigh…”
Betrayal, humiliation…mounting, seething fury ricocheted through Kris. He scattered dried-herbs and black/white hair over the seat, then hauled a black tomcat from the knapsack. He’d seen the monster mouser around town, but it had been difficult to catch. If he didn’t die from infection, how would he explain the horrific scratch on his arm to Holly? What was she thinking, wanting a cat?
While Joost drummed a sub-Saharan African beat, heavy on the polyrhythmns, Kris growled into the cat’s white-tipped ear, “Do what you do best,” and tossed him onto the leather bench. The cat crouched with intent to bolt, then caught a whiff and paused to sniff the catnip. Its tail twitched. Its ears flicked. Its eyes rolled back in its head. Then it flipped onto its back and gyrated in the herb, purring like an Italian sports car.
Kris grinned a Grinch-like grin. “No sleigh. No getaway.”
Yuley sniffed the herbs and sneezed. The cat lurched to run. Kris grabbed it and hip-checked the goat. As the walls revolved, the cat fought to be freed.
“Whatta ya waiting for?” Joost asked.
Kris gripped the cat. “She’ll divorce me if I don’t give up sugar.”
“You’re Santy Claus. You bleed sugar.”
“Yah. I bleed sugar.”
Joost tapped the cat’s head with his drumstick. “Do it.”
The cat twisted to look at Kris, his weird eyes pleading. Don’t do this.
“You said I should do this,” Kris told Joost.
“I did. Whatta ya waiting for?”
The cat struggled. Don’t do this, Kris.
Joost did an excited little monkey dance. “Do it. Do it now.”
Kris squeezed the cat’s paws, then plunged them into the seat and rubbed. Requiring no further instruction, the cat shredded the leather.
“Stop!” The scream came from out of nowhere. The cat hunkered down, ears back. Kris whirled, heart in throat, expecting to see Holly. Yuley stared at him, eyes wide.
“What are you thinking, Kris Kringle?” The voice sounded mechanical. The sleigh! He leaped aboard and the sleigh screamed, “Help! Help!” He punched control buttons. “Danger, Will Robinson. Danger. Danger.” Kris pounded, kicked, hammered and punched. “You’re in trouble. I’m gonna tell. I’m gonna tell.”
The part of Kris’s brain that made him Santa Claus curled into a protective knot. Possessed by fear, fury and foul figgy pudding, he stomped the dashboard, beyond caring that he destroyed something so pure and sacred to the Santa legend. He continued to destroy long after it stopped screaming. Finally, covered in bits of leather and candy-apple red, he lay staring at the E-Light streaming through the skylight in psychedelic colors.
“Try leaving me now, Mrs. Kringle.”
~ * ~
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