Monday, December 16, 2019

International #GIVEAWAY #HoHoHoHarlequinHolidayExtravaganza Carrie Nichols

Welcome to week three of the holiday bash there's still lots of cheer to be discovered so don't miss a post! Today Carrie Nichols is sharing with us a sweet, sweet Christmas short story she wrote plus she's offering a #giveaway. Details below!
Ho Ho Ho!


Carrie is offering
to US Entrants a choice of one each signed print or digital copy
of any of her backlist
Or International
one digital copy of any of any of her backlist
Please Use Rafflecopter form to enter
Ho Ho Ho!

Carrie's post:
Hi, I’m Carrie Nichols and I’m honored to be here! As I confessed in my Dear Reader letter for The Scrooge of Loon Lake, I could at times identify with my hero’s scroogeness. Holidays can be sad as we age and lose loved ones, but I write romance so even scrooges get happy endings.  

When Debbie invited me to participate in this year’s party I remembered a Christmas short story I’d written years ago. The challenge was to write a holiday-themed story without using the words Christmas or even holiday. My story is still dear to me so I pulled it out and worked on it for this blog.

I hope you enjoy my gift to you!

 
Wish Upon a Star
Lieutenant Rick Davenport pulled his unmarked sedan into a spot at the crowded strip mall and sighed as he cut the engine. He was supposed to be at Ethel’s Diner, flirting with that pretty waitress. Yeah, his divorce had left him a bit gun shy, but he’d finally worked up the nerve to ask her out. Except a promise was a promise and his partner’s wife had gone into labor early so here he was taking Dave’s place.
A caravan of school buses with Shop with a Cop banners on their side entered the parking lot.
“Bah humbug,” Rick muttered, hunching his shoulders in his leather jacket and trudged across the parking lot.
Eager kids piled out of the buses, greeted by academy cadets holding clipboards and pairing them with adults.
“Here you go, Lieutenant.” a cadet said and pointed to a scowling sandy-haired boy about eight. A blond pixie, no more than five-years-old, clutched the boy’s hand.
Great. They looked about as eager as he was. “Hi, I’m Lieutenant Davenport. Looks like I’m your escort for today’s shopping trip.”
The boy narrowed his eyes but straightened from his slouch. “I’m Jonah and this is my sister, Samantha.”
Samantha looked up at Rick with solemn blue eyes. “Jonah didn’t wanna come. He says this stuff is for babies.”
Figures he’d get that one kid who didn’t want to participate. You owe me, partner. Rick herded the pair inside. “Why does he think this is for babies?”
The little girl sighed. “Jonah says that about everything since Daddy got dead.”
Oh, this just kept getting better and better. “Sorry about your dad.”
Jonah shrugged and averted his gaze.
“Thank you,” Samantha replied, her tone prim. “Mommy told us to say that.”
Jonah yanked on his sister’s hand. “You’re such a baby. You’re not supposed to—oomff!”
Samantha jabbed an elbow into her brother’s ribs and stamped her foot. “Am not a baby! I go to pre-school and everything. Besides, Mommy said to behave today.”
“Means you, too,” Jonah muttered, glancing sideways at Rick.
Rick sighed. Oh yeah, out of his depth with these two. “Let’s go look at the toys, shall we? You’re also allowed to pick out clothing.”
“No thank you.”
“No thanks.”
They answered in perfect unison. Now what? Rick raised his eyebrows.
Jonah thrust out his chin and met Rick’s gaze head-on. “We decided we’re only buying for our mom. Otherwise she won’t have presents.”
“She says it’s okay, but it’s not.” Samantha shook her head.
Rick scratched his scalp. How the heck was he supposed to shop for a woman he didn’t know? He’d invariably bought the wrong stuff for Karen and he’d been married to her, for crying out loud. “Well…”
Samantha tugged on his jacket. “Mister Loo-TEN-ant? Jonah made a list. He’s only eight, but he’s got high Q’s and looked at stuff on the computer in the liberry then added up the money the lady said we could spend.”
Jonah’s ears turned red. Not wanting to embarrass the boy any further, Rick shrugged. “Lead the way.”
The blond sprite was right. They knew exactly what they wanted from clothes to kitchen supplies to body lotions.
Rick mentally tallied up the items. The kid’s math wasn’t bad, but there was a small chunk left. Before he could question Jonah, the boy sidled close and passed Rick a note.
What now? Unfolding the paper, Rick read the neat block lettering. Jonah had written he knew there was enough money left to buy a Disney Princess doll for Samantha. The kid had listed the price and underlined it’s a surprise. Rick nodded once, winked, and shoved the paper in his pocket.
With the help of a fellow officer, they bought Samantha’s toy without spoiling Jonah’s surprise.
On their way out, curiosity nagged Rick. “What are you interested in, Jonah?”
The boy shrugged and glanced away, but Samantha piped up, “He loves looking at the stars. Daddy gave him a telescope, but now Jonah says it’s a baby one.”
Samantha threw her arms around Rick before boarding the bus. “Thank you, Mister Loo-TEN-ant, this is gonna be the best—”
“C’mon, Sam, you’re holding everyone up.” Jonah urged her up the steps but turned back at the last second, thrust out his hand and mumbled “thanks” as they shook.
That evening, Rick parked in front of a modest duplex. He double-checked the address he’d scribbled earlier. Walking up the cracked sidewalk, he hummed a seasonal tune from the radio. He rang the bell, straightened the evergreen wreath on the door, and waited.
The door swung open and Samantha peeked out. “It’s Mister Loo-TEN-ant!”
“Mom said to wait for her before you answered the door,” Jonah scolded then narrowed his eyes at Rick. “Something wrong?”
“Nope. I’m here to invite you to the Wilder Observatory at Amherst College. Have you heard of it?”
The feigned boredom melted away making Jonah look like any excited young boy. “Do I ever! It’s got the largest refracting telescope in…like, uh, the world.”
“Well, my partner, Dave, knows the director. And—”
“What’s going on?”A woman appeared in the hallway behind the children.
Rick glanced up, his breath caught in his throat and he grinned.
It was the pretty waitress from the diner.



The Scrooge of Loon Lake
by Carrie Nichols
Miniseries: Small-Town Sweethearts (Book #4)

Synopsis
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

…with the grumpiest man in town!

The love of his life left him. The navy discharged him. So former lieutenant Des Gallagher sees no reason to celebrate Christmas—now or ever.

Yet when Natalie Pierce shows up on his doorstep, a bright light enters his gloomy existence. As Des shapes her—and her little son’s—world for the better, she wonders if a scrooge could turn into the perfect Santa…



About Carrie:
2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Winner and 2016 & 2015 Maggie Award winning author, Carrie Nichols, is a hardy New Englander transplanted to the Deep South, where she marvels how two inches of snow can bring a city like Atlanta to its knees. She loves to travel, is addicted to British crime dramas and knows a Seinfeld quote appropriate for every occasion.
She has one tolerant husband, two grown sons, and one spoiled cat. To her dismay, Carrie’s characters—much like her family—often ignore the wisdom and guidance she lovingly offers. She enjoys weaving heart, home and humor into her stories.
Carrie is a member of RWA, Georgia Romance Writers, and Chattanooga Area Romance Authors.
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33 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting these Debbie!!

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  2. A lovely story :D

    And yay for Scrooge for getting his groove back

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  3. Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing Debbie :)

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    Replies
    1. I've always been a sucker for these kinds of stories it's one of the reasons I love SE so much

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  5. I've learned about so many new books on your blog!

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  6. The Scrooge of Loon Lake sounds great. Yes Christmas can be a lonely time for many and I guess its something we need to be aware of and reach out.

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  7. What a great story, thanks for sharing it!

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  8. I really like the family scenes all of your covers depict.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!! I've been very blessed with my covers. They've captured my stories so well.

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  9. I love that you said even Scrooges get happily ever afters! The excerpt tugged my heartstrings! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the chance to win some goodies!

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  10. Sounds fantastic. Thanks for the chance.

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