Christmas novels

1
Kringle Chapter 5 Part 4
2
Kringle Chapter 5 Part 3
3
Kringle Chapter 5 Part 2
4
Kringle Chapter 5 Part 1
5
Kringle Chapter 4 Part 4
6
Kringle Chapter 4 Part 3
7
Kringle Chapter 4 Part 2
8
Kringle Chapter 4 Part 1
9
Kringle Chapter 3 Part 4
10
Kringle Chapter 3 Part 3

Kringle Chapter 5 Part 4

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?” Read More

Kringle Chapter 5 Part 3

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.

~*~

Kris buried his face in his hands. “Time’s moving too fast.”

Holly patted his back. “There, there. Cooper still plays with his sock puppet, Mister Stinkytoes.”

“At least someone in this house refuses to grow up.” He hugged her. “I’m sorry. I made you my scapegoat for Candy’s enga-ga–” He swallowed hard. “Forgive me?”

“Absolutely. However your snarl about me not having supreme power over you will come up in future arguments if we don’t deal with it now. Where’d that come from?”

“Not sure. Surprised me, too. Maybe it stemmed from Erik making me feel in the way.”

“You know the first twenty-four hours are critical.”

“He called me an amateur detective.”

“He can’t afford to make mistakes. Has he found any leads?”

“No. Oh! J.J. Rime bought the Tattle, Polar Fitness and PolarPointe. And Jack Frost is back in town.”

Holly moaned. “And to think this morning all I had to be upset about was when Dad refused to eat oatmeal.”

He waited for her to mention his sugar-abuse. When she left it unspoken, he decided he didn’t want silence to underscore the memory. “You think Frost poisoned them?” Read More

Kringle Chapter 5 Part 2

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.

~*~

He watched her slide out of her jeans. “Rumor has it you now test puddings with your bottom instead of your taste buds.”

She grinned. “You know me. I’m all about The Job.” She finished his schnapps. “We need to talk. But first, let’s make love.”

He hadn’t expected this. For years they’d kept the honeymoon fires simmering, mainly because Holly could go toe-to-toe with him and he found that sexy. He also never knew what she was thinking, and that made her mysterious as well as gorgeous. Then, a couple months ago, instead of affection and snappy banter, they ended their days irritated and not speaking.

Holly used Nature magick to ignite the hearth. “If you want to, that is.”

The uncertainty in her voice buckled his knees. Whatever they had to talk about had to be serious for her to disarm him with sex. Since he couldn’t remember the last time they’d had sex, he decided to sacrifice himself as a pawn for her feminine subterfuge.

Clad in shimmery-pink lingerie, his wife, whom he thought had become exceptionally beautiful over the last twenty years, reached behind her back to unclasp her bra. Read More

Kringle Chapter 5 Part 1

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.

 

~*~

Wandering wind carry my spell

To the one who in my heart does dwell.

Herbs and scent in his mind shall see

Make his thoughts turn solely to me.

Kris pinched his nose and shut the window. The stuffy master bedroom stunk like designer knockoff cologne thanks to a sickly sweet breeze. He replenished his peppermint schnapps, then sprawled atop the Baroque four-poster bed. He hadn’t bothered to light the hearth. There was enough fire in his heart from thoughts of his poisoned reindeer and he didn’t trust himself with a match. He would get to the bottom of their poisoning, and when he did it would be good not to have witnesses.

He glanced at his list for Erik. Aside from Jack Frost and Krampus, a goat-horned anti-Santa who sought to replace peace and joy with fear and loathing, no one stood out with irrefutable capability. Disgusted, Kris tossed the list and reached for the Tattle. First Father Nature had lured Cooper to the Dark Side, now Candy had sacrificed herself on the pyre of fairy love. She was too young to get married. Too—he sorted and batched several adjectives to describe Candy in a single word, and finally settled on irrational, though he felt mean enough to consider stupid—too irrational to understand that by slamming the door on her education in favor of marital bliss, she forever condemned herself to a life of ‘what if’ and ‘what could have been.’ Read More

Kringle Chapter 4 Part 4

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.

~*~

I wasn’t hungry, and from the full crock clearly no one else had been either. There was a quarter pot of coffee left and boy was I tempted, but if I drank it, I knew today would turn into tomorrow without sleep to separate the days. I set the pebbles on the counter, then divided the chili into freezer bags.

I hadn’t seen Kris since the meeting called after Candy’s sculpture unveiling. Though test results were not expected until tomorrow, Scotchie had badgered the toxicologist, Howard Robinson, until he produced a conclusion in record time. The reindeer oats were positive for sugar, said to devastate a magickal creature’s nervous system. As Thorne had ordered Robinson to test for insect larva, I expected Scotchie to memo me tomorrow about Thorne’s incompetence. I received such memos three or four times a week, every week.

Robinson promised to work through the night to determine antidotes. He speculated they should return to full health once the toxins were purged. Thorne argued that he, being the one with the Doctorate in SuperNatural Beings, would have final say on the Famous Eight’s future health. A verbal meltdown ensued with much finger-pointing. I let them vent. Once they let off steam they could get to work. All male swagger and hypothesizing aside, there is no data on how long it would take for the reindeer to purge sugar. It could take days, weeks, months… Years.

Before we adjourned, there was one point we did agree on. Dancer had suffered a concussion. If the others could fly on Christmas Eve, a SIT reindeer would take her place. Though Kris said nothing, his expression revealed his anxiety. Tradition is the backbone of what makes Kris Kringle ‘Santa Claus.’ Read More

Kringle Chapter 4 Part 3

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.

~*~

Peppermint pulled my sleigh along the winding drive toward home, the Elfin Light Committee’s version of nightfall, a shadowy soot color, now several hours old. Decorated with classic white lights and tasteful woodland greens, the Kringle residence is twenty-thousand square feet with three stories and sixty rooms assembled from castles and baronial estates that had belonged to the Kringle’s Danish, Dutch and English ancestors. Kris’s multi-great grandfather christened it Frosne Tæer: Frozen Toes. His English wife believed him when he said it translated into Frosty Wonderland.

Positioned like a podgy queen on steroids, Frosne Tæer sits between Een and Zes branches and overlooks Sinterklaas Harbor with Gichigami Lighthouse three hundred yards to the left. Grand interior spaces, breezy open-air venues, cozy nooks, blah blah, blah. It’s impossible to heat and costs a fortune to maintain.

Despite our family business, Frosne Tæer is not festooned with year-round holiday décor. When I married Kris I made real good friends with my new mother-in-law by removing the over-the-top Christmas theme Ginnie Kringle thrived on, and returning the rooms to their original beauty. I’d intermingled modern with antique English, Dutch and Danish styles, and added hundreds of antique carpets to combat the stone cold floors—what were they thinking in this climate? Read More

Kringle Chapter 4 Part 2

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.

~*~

Scotchie slid into him. “Where’s your missus, Cap’n? I ken what made the reindeer all peelie-wallie, but that åsna torka threw me out o’ the Complex.”

Wilde bristled. “Don’t you call Doctor Thorne names, you old man.”

“Weal, if it’s no’ the son of the ass wipe.”

Cookie stepped between them. “You’re being rude, Scotchie.”

Kris added, “If you act like a pest, you’ll delay the cure.”

Scotchie wrapped his cane around his boss’s neck and pulled him down to his level. “I’m not being a pest, you sugar-brained divit. Thorne is daft. He’ll destroy the reindeer as sure as a lady lifts her petticoat ta piss.”

Cookie frowned. “Nice language.”

“Your war with Thorne has to stop,” Kris scolded. “You’re retiring. It’s time you think about life after Polartown.”

Scotchie shoved his boss back a step. “Where’s your maw?” he asked Cookie. When she pointed across the Square, he waved a rude finger at Wilde then hobbled toward Holly, his shrunken leg surprisingly agile.

Kris watched as Scotchie ranted with wild gestures to Holly. From her concerned expression one would think it was the first time she had heard his theory on why Thorne should be fired.

“I’m sorry,” Cookie told Wilde. “He’s jealous of your dad.”

“Scotchie needs to leave Doctor Thorne alone. It makes him mad. He smacks me around when he’s mad.”

“Oh, Wilde.” Cookie touched his sleeve. “Dad. Talk to Dr. Thorne.”

Wilde’s face contorted. “No! Don’t. If Doctor Thorne knew I talked about our private life, he’d destroy my drums—then me.” He watched Candy posing for photographers. “She still likes pink roses, eh?”

Cookie scowled. “She’s engaged, you know.” As Wilde returned to work, she said to her father, “He needs to get over her. He needs someone who appreciates him. I had no idea he has such a horrid relationship with his father.”

Neither did Kris, but he wasn’t surprised. Thorne’s status as physician to the Famous Eight underscored his mordant insensitivity. He humiliated others to showcase his own greatness, and lacked tolerance for those he considered beneath him. Would his home life be any different? Read More

Kringle Chapter 4 Part 1

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.

~*~

Toasty in a red down parka, Flurry Michaels said to WGRM’s camera audience, “Towering an unprecedented twenty feet tall, Candy Kringle looms statuesque over St. Nicholas Square, her perfect features frozen with acceptance of the admiring crowd. Though citizens have turned out to see this season’s Miss Joyous Noël ice sculpture, understandably they would have preferred to tuck themselves into somber contemplation over what might happen if the Famous Eight die. Still, this is Candy’s special moment. Polartown will not let her down.”

Flurry smoothed back her hood. “A labor-intensive process, Polartown is lucky to have an ice artist who excels in the 3D variety. You may recall Lars Utgaard is the genius behind Soren Solheim’s ten foot phallic lawn ornament gift to Ludvik Ibsen for coming out of the closet.” She unzipped her parka. “Cripes, it’s warm tonight.”

Chain-chewing peppermints, Kris wandered the crowd fringe to take advantage of their attention focused on Candy. As terrible news spread, Townies sought him to hypothesize on what the toxin might be. Some spouted home remedies while others, primed for the worst, made suggestions for a memorial service. He scanned the faces of people he had known all his life. Did one of them have a terrible secret? Read More

Kringle Chapter 3 Part 4

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.

~*~

“Sorry to bother you,” said Erik Rayner, “but I need your oh-kay to bring in a toxicologist.”

“You don’t need my permission.”

“Actually, I need you to run interference. Thorne doesn’t want anyone touching his reindeer. He threatened to ban me from the Complex.”

Heat underscored my already-in-progress hot flash. “I’ll deal with him.”

I stripped off my cardigan. Why are hot flashes called flashes, as in flicker? Mine had strong perseverance. I phoned Thorne, going to voice mail twice. He knew I was calling. Scotchie is right. Royal Thorne is an åsna torka. Actually, calling him an ass wipe is being kind.

I phoned Bemidji who revealed Thorne was on another coffee break. I punched up the Complex kitchen webcam on my computer and saw him: feet up, coffee in hand, Tattle open in his lap. As he deliberated over a pastry box, my hot flash erupted with a volcanic explosion.

I activated the kitchen intercom. “This is your boss, the stupid cow. Answer your phone, Dr. Thorne. You don’t want me to come down there.”

He spilled coffee into his lap. Watching his chair toppled backward was icing on my cupcake. I disconnected when he claimed I’d misunderstood his words, and that his head cold prevented him from hearing out of his phone ear. I scowled at the flower arrangement on my desk. Their cheeriness ticked me off. I saw Candy’s face among the carnations.

“College interferes with my responsibilities. I’m dropping out.”

I saw Kris’s face in the chrysanthemums.

“You knew.

My hormonal passion surfing a tidal wave of fury, I shattered the flowers with frost. Their destruction intensified rather than relieved my anger. Applause jerked my attention to Mom, standing at the door swathed in la Parisienne couture.

“Your father will be proud you’ve acquired his flair for destruction. Your Nanny, however, would have been horrified.” My resolve to stay strong crumbled. Mom gathered me close. She smelled of Shalimar and solace. “Are you certain it is the oats?”

“No. Erik’s bringing in a toxicologist.”

“Is it just the Famous Eight, or are the Six-In-Training sick too?”

“SIT’s, too. Complex restrictions should have been enough protection. Not that I ever imagined they could be in danger.”

“The truth will come out. You’re doing your best.”

“My best isn’t enough. People expect more from me, but I gotta tell ya, Mom. I don’t have much more in me.” I wiped my tears. “You heard about Kris’s reaction to Candy’s engagement?”

Mom produced the latest Tattle with headlines screaming, Kringle Marriage Threat: Holly Furious over Candy’s Engagement to Brannoc. There was also a supposed quote from me: “I wanted him for myself.”

A photo showed me pulling Kris off Brannoc. The photographer could have been any one of my employees. “Wonderful. Nattie’s got a spy on the inside.”

Candy frowned at her father. Kris glared at me. I looked at Brannoc with a syrupy expression that could be mistaken for besotted. My gaze drifted to a photo in the side column of my pal Val with her cheeks peeking from a too short skirt. I loved her dearly, but…geez, woman.

Mom said, “This fascination for Brannoc, I do not understand.”

“He sells copies.” I scanned my messages. “People are attracted to the fragrance of his fairy blood. He’s aromatically irresistible.”

“Does anyone believe those stories about him?”

“You mean other than Kris, who is pathetically gullible?”

Gullible enough to believe Sandee’s sob story and approve her return to Polartown.

“If the stories about him are untrue,” Mom said, “surely he realizes so are ones about Brannoc.”

“Are we talking about the same Kris?” My messages concerned the reindeer. I tossed them. We would all know their fate soon enough. “He’s ballistic. It didn’t help for Candy to announce she’s dropped out of college.”

Mom moved to the fireplace to warm. “Not everyone is collège matériel.” The frost in her tone warned me to tread carefully. In recent months I’d noticed regret for a life that could have been now peppered her thoughts in her mid-sixties.

“Yah, but we hope Candy will do more with her life, aside from being a beauty queen.”

“I was a beauty queen.” Frost thickened to ice. LaRoux Sommet had been Ever Autumn’s first Miss Autumn Blaze. Then Kingston Cooper road into town on his arrogant horse and made her a child bride. I debuted nine months later. Nothing prevented Mom from getting a degree at her age, but I’d given that speech countless times. To repeat it would be superfluous.

“Could I trouble you for water? I am parched.” She sat beside the hearth.

As I handed her a bottle of Snowflake I noticed dark circles under her eyes. “Are you not sleeping well?”

“Not really, but tomorrow I will feel better.” She filched a Pitter Pat from the candy dish. My undigested irritation at breakfast must have shown on my face. “I didn’t eat breakfast, Holly. I’m hungry.”

“Sorry, I skipped too, so I’ll join you.” As I bit into the confection, the raspberry buttercream exploded on my tongue. “Geezopete, this is good. If I weren’t so insane over Kris’s sugar-madness, I could understand why Kringle candies are impossible for him to resist.” I sipped my water. “What a day. Kris is powdered before breakfast. Noak, too. Candy wants to quit college. Get married! Our reindeer are—” I ate another chocolate, disrespecting it with two chews before swallowing. “Once Kris sees the Tattle, my upset over his sugar addiction will take a backseat to me stealing Brannoc from Candy. I hate being caught in the middle.”

“I’ve been in that position throughout my marriage.” Mom referred to the tension between Dad and me over his refusal to train me for Nature.

“Nanny said Nature was my birthright.”

“You were seventeen.”

“A mature seventeen.” I talked by age two, read the newspaper by four. At fifteen I entered college. Then Nanny Anian died, and Dad took possession of her ring, the Förvandling. “He said he would orchestrate Nature until I was ready. When I argued that I was ready, he told me scary stories of the perils he had faced when he’d assisted Nanny. He made himself sound like James Bond.”

Mom nodded. “And I supported him. He frightened me with images of you dying a horrible death. Unfortunately, he was almost right.”

I’d badgered Dad to let me help build a volcano and ended up in the hospital. “He said Nature talent skips a generation. I asked him, if that were true, then why did the talent go to him and not me? His answer? ‘Because I’m a man.’”

Mom shrugged. “His answer for everything.”

“I pestered him until he screamed, ‘My mother gave me the Förvandling. Not you. She didn’t think you were competent to be Mother Nature.’ God, it hurt to know Nanny thought I was incompetent.” When Mom didn’t respond, I said, “I still feel sick that she thought I couldn’t cut it. I asked Dad if I could read Nanny’s journals to understand where I’d failed, but he said she didn’t keep any. Thirty-two years later, Dad has a heart attack and says it’s time for me to train. What? Age is immaterial. Either I have it or I don’t. You know what he said?” I mimicked Dad’s arrogant timbre. ‘You’ll never be as great as I am, but you can be trained.’ He made it sound like he could train Dova’s monkey to do the job.”

“You are like me. You trust to a fault.” Mom stoked the fire. Since I was flashing again, I made a mental note to call Hearth-Master Inglenook to shut it down. “We want to believe people are honorable, but what you have to wonder is, what do they want you to do? Why do they want you to do it? And, what do they get if you do it?”

“This is Polartown, Mom. Good people live here.”

“So does Nattie Blather, Pecan Sandee, and whoever poisoned the reindeer.”

I slumped with defeat. “People want me to tell them the reindeer will be fine. I know I’m the go-to person, but I’m sick of people dumping their problems on me. I don’t dump on people. Do I dump on you?”

“Not anymore, though I miss being needed.”

A simple statement, yet I heard volumes of pain. “Mom. I need you. The kids need you. Dad needs you.”

“The King! He needs me as much as he needs confidence. He needs me to nag him to obey doctor’s orders so he can call me silly. He needs me to correct my opinion because it doesn’t match his. He needs me to impress when no one else is around to watch him show off. We need to talk. I’ve seen the expression you wear in my own mirror. I know what you’re going through. I went through it myself at fifty.”

“Menopause?”

“See Dr. Havelock for details. He’ll give you a list of symptoms that will curl your toes and at the same time make you glad you don’t have them all. He can also recommend a women’s therapy group so you won’t feel alone. They’ll give you permission to rant when you want to, cry when you need to, and consume all the chocolate you care to because chére, no matter how much you diet, everything you eat will still end up on your ass.”

I gasped. Mom laughed. “Let’s schedule a day at Winter Wonderland Spa. I recommend the Hot Flash Hottie package which includes an aromatherapy facial, a mani-and-pedi-combo, a sea mud bath, brow, lip and bikini waxing, and a superb lemongrass and ginger friction massage to remove body toxins. And, you may keep your spa robe.”

“I don’t need another robe, Mother. I need…” What did I need? A new life? A life where people didn’t line up to suck the spirit out of me? A life where my children’s behavior reflected I had done a good job raising them? A life where my husband appreciated me. Respected me. Behaved like a mature partner and not like my out-of-control first born.

“I have a full life,” I said. “Too full. I’m needed by too many who expect me to do too much. It didn’t used to be so overwhelming, but lately, issues I once shrugged off now get to me. And more often than not, Kris is at the heart of my irritation.”

Mom toyed with her candy wrapper. The soft crinkle reminded me of Kris unwrapping peppermint after peppermint while I melted down over his decision to let Sandee return.

“J.J. Rime saved Polartown,” he had explained to me. “Your investigation into their business dealings makes it seem like we aren’t grateful. Sandee appealed to them for a job. She’s completed her therapy. She’s been gone twenty years. We should support J.J. Rime.”

Sandee had been back two months. As she had not (yet) shown cause for continuance of my initial straining order, Kris suggested I rise above my previous grievances.

Huh? She tried to kill me. How do you rise above that?

Mom interpreted my dark mood. Or maybe she’d noticed the stranglehold I had on my water bottle. “You love him for the very reason he allowed Sandee to return. He believes people are good at heart. He believes she’s changed.”

“I don’t. Twenty years is a flake in a snowstorm. He betrayed me.”

“Oh, honey.”

“I don’t understand him anymore. His cavalier attitude about his health is the tip of the iceberg. He acts as though Father Time will let him return to his twenties where he binged without consequence. I don’t like being short with him. I love him. But lately, I don’t like him, ya know? I don’t like how he makes me feel.”

Mom grasped my hand. “He makes you feel, how?”

“Aside from betrayed? Like I’m his parent and he’s my rebellious teen. I shouldn’t have to nag him to take care of himself. He should want to because he loves me. Loves our children. Loves the world’s children. He should want to do whatever it takes to be alive and well for us. Instead, his insane need for sugar has come between us.”

“Have you told him this?”

A third Pitter Pat found its way into my hands. “Yah, but it’s like he has sugar cubes stuck in his ears. I remember you and Dad had problems. He slept in the guest room. You visited Grandmère Sommet for a while.” I shoved the whole chocolate into my mouth and spoke while I chewed, as only a daughter can with her mom. “Did physical distance between you help?”

“Well.” She took a genteel sip of water. “I survived my problems with an affair.”

Shock caught the chocolate midway down my throat. I coughed and wheezed.

“Cyber-affair, you know?” I didn’t. She explained. “I met him in a chat room named Love on the Rocks. He called himself Silver Fox. I was Diable Rouge.” She fluffed her hair. “I never met Foxy, he lived in New Zealand, but he helped me through dark times. Not that I suggest you slink into a chat room with a sassy name.” She shrugged. “If I possessed half your confidence, I would have taken control of my life without seeking outside comfort.”

I saw pain behind her smile. Marriage to Kingston Cooper had to be difficult when he was also Father Nature. Dad turned one hundred and five his last birthday. Physically, he looked to be in his mid-sixties. The wearer of the Förvandling ages one year to every ten human years. Dad married Mom when she was sixteen. After fifty-one years of marriage, Mom looked older than Dad. I hugged her. She felt fragile.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, back in your Diable Rouge days.” I pulled back. “They’re over, right?”

“The past is dead. I now live in the present, which is why I am here. Are you free for lunch?”

“Not really. I’m behind in my work. Candy’s sculpture is unveiled at five. I want to call Dr. Havelock. I need relief from these hot flashes.” Mom wore a peculiar expression. “What?”

“I’ve made a decision and wanted to tell you before it became Tattle fodder. Not that I need your advice. I’ve made up my mind.”

“Does it have to do with your insomnia?” I asked.

“Perhaps. I’ve decided to divorce your father.”

Chapter 1-Part 1.  Chapter 1-Part 2.  Chapter 1-Part 3.  Chapter 1-Part 4

Chapter 2-Part 1.  Chapter 2-Part 2   Chapter 2-Part 3   Chapter 2-Part 4

Chapter 3-Part 1   Chapter 3-Part 2  Chapter 3-Part 3

~ * ~

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

Kringle Chapter 3 Part 3

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.

~*~

My amplified senses had me experience the reindeer’s emotional and physical distress. Comet imagined he had lost his bones. He worried he would lose his home. I gave in to a brief cry. Too brief. I had to be strong. Polartown would be watching Kris and me to gage their responses accordingly. In other words, we needed to keep a lid on it or risk mass hysteria. Unfortunately, we were already close to hysteria before the reindeer became sick.

Like the rest of the world, Polartown has suffered with economic peril. Kringle Enterprises requires capital, not magick, to make toys. If spending is down, we adjust our bottom line like any business. The Woodworks department became our first recession casualty. Together with village council members, Kris and I had brainstormed ways to boost our economy, but by May, seven businesses were for sale. Three more by July. Two more by September.

The Daily Hark Herald reduced to bi-weekly. Noche Buena Cantina closed for dinner. Beth’s Bed-Warming Service, SuperDave’s Fruitcake Factory and Myrtle’s Girdles all posted ‘Closed’ signs. Then, three months ago, an anonymous investor paid cash for ten of the twelve businesses. The writing must have been on the wall for fruitcake and girdles. The Hark Herald again published daily. Noche Buena reopened at night. And though I rejoiced for those able to revive or sell their businesses, I had issues with the investor’s anonymity.

The ‘Santa Clause’ is a cast-iron law which mandates Santa’s hometown be kept secret. Not just anyone can relocate here. Only those born in Grimm County can leave through the portals betwixt our world and the outside without applying for citizenship reinstatement. Noncitizens can enter, but first the S.C. Commission investigates them back to earliest childhood. The Naughty or Nice list and Letters to Santa are reviewed for applicant integrity.

Investigation into the J.J. Rime Corporation revealed a tangled matrix of business dealings, but not one verifiable name. Our council argued we should be grateful for the revenue, and I was. However, I still wanted to pry open that gift horse’s mouth and inspect its tonsils.

From my terrace I saw Flurry Michaels, reporter for WGRM, bundled in dramatic red for the benefit of TV cameras. Unlike Nattie Blather’s deliberate emphasis on ugly and lurid for the Tittle-Tattle, Flurry emphasized hope, though I couldn’t imagine how she would spin it in light of the reindeer poisoning. My attention drifted to a figure crossing the Square. She wore an ornate hat with an old-fashioned veil. My issues with J.J. Rime had solidified when the Mad Hatter Millinery opened in early November with Sandee Hallvaard as proprietor.

Sandee Hallvaard.

Kris’s ex-girlfriend.

Mother Kringle’s first choice to marry her son.

I refer to her as ‘Pecan Sandee’ because she is certifiably nuts. Dr. Havelock labeled her Borderline Personality with a fixation on my husband, and a need to be in his life at any cost. I should have read the fine print on at any cost. Twenty years ago her obsession turned from trying to win Kris back, to trying to kill me. As we left on our honeymoon, Sandee had checked into Coldcare Hospital’s cuckoo’s nest. Upon her release, she was escorted from town.

Two months ago Sandee, a Noncitizen, applied to the S.C. Commission for reinstatement. She had never married, and had devoted her life to couture hats and handbags. With tears in her Betty Boop-a-Doop voice, she had apologized for forcing my snowmobile down the ravine the night before my wedding. Sincerity, in my opinion, never touched her eyes.

Overwhelmed by a sudden hot flash, I shoved my hands into the snow padding my balcony, and then pressed my palms to my neck. I stood for a time, staring at the pink tarp covering my daughter’s twenty-foot ice sculpture. Fear for the reindeer would dampen the ceremony, but Candy would understand. In the Square, a newsboy hawked the latest Tattle. I suspected Candy and Brannoc’s engagement vied with the reindeer’s poisoning for front page titillation. Awhile back Kris tagged Brannoc to replace Scotchie as Production Manager when he retired. Now Kris was out for blood, and woe to anyone who stood in his way. Including me.

“You knew.”

Yes. I knew, though scant before he did. Knowing things comes with my role as mother, employer, and Highest Mayor of Polartown. And, to further defend myself, I know things Kris doesn’t because he prefers to play and have fun, rather than deal with the dark side of life.

I knew Naipes in Cards had plagiarized Hallmark when he succumbed to a creative dry spell last month. I knew Fleur in Pomanders feared losing her job because she had no sense of smell. I knew Dunder had a crush on a Six-In-Training reindeer named Nutmeg who pined for Dasher, even though he will forever love Dancer. I also knew Cookie strived for educational excellence because she didn’t consider herself pretty. Some of my knowledge fell in with motherhood, while others came to me because they needed advice or someone to confide in. Me. Not Kris.

Every Santa in history has headed the Santa Claus Commission, and acted as Polartown’s Højeste Borgmester—Highest Mayor—to work with our village council comprised of our town mayor, business leaders, teachers and housewives. The Højeste Borgmester can make Law without sanction from the council, although I never had. ‘Supreme power,’ Kris had spat. Well, that was his fault. The ink not yet dry on our marriage certificate, he’d made me Highest Mayor, claiming the responsibility conflicted with his Santa persona. With Kris nurturing a happy-go-lucky image, who would tell him their problems and expect adult advice? No one! So how dare he snarl because Candy confided in her mom and not her dad? The unfairness of his anger was akin to me being resentful when children wrote letters to Santa Claus, not Mrs. Claus. It was the way things were.

“So grow up, Toy Boy.”

The phone rang. I prayed it was good news.

Chapter 1-Part 1.  Chapter 1-Part 2.  Chapter 1-Part 3.  Chapter 1-Part 4

Chapter 2-Part 1.  Chapter 2-Part 2   Chapter 2-Part 3   Chapter 2-Part 4

Chapter 3-Part 1   Chapter 3-Part 2

~ * ~

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

Copyright © 2011-2017. Wonderpurr Life Publishing.