Published by: Paradise Books, LLC
Release Date: November 15, 2017
Contributors: Deborah Brown
Buy the Book: Amazon
My name is Madison Westin. Unless it’s Christmas, in which case my official title is “Holiday Cheermistress.” Nothing stops me from getting my ho-ho-ho on, not even my friends’ Grinch-worthy attitude toward sparkling tinsel, twinkling lights, and tinkling bells.
Hey, if Creole, Fab, and Didier wind up with coal in their stockings, it won’t be my fault.
When some bah-humbug bandit makes the rounds of Tarpon Cove, Fab and I are on the case. It’s the least we can do for our loyal friends. Seasonal crime-victim disorder seems to be on the rise.
Some guy in a Santa suit—well, the top half of one anyway—is robbing local banks. The cops are fingering the wrong guy. And you can bet your light-up Rudolph boxers that if we can’t track the real thief down, one of my merry band of miscreants could be spending the holidays behind bars.
“Jingle bells, jingle bells…” Santa encouraged the well-dressed older women lined up, ready to sit in his lap, to sing off-key at the top of their lungs. It was clear that it wasn’t shopping that brought the women to the only outdoor mall in Tarpon Cove, the lot of them decked out in huge smiles, blowing kisses. A couple of them I recognized as “friends” of Crum’s.
Santa waved his arms, encouraging their raucous behavior. At the end of the song, he clapped and bowed, which left the women giggling like schoolgirls.
The ill-fitting suit in the corner, who had mall management written all over him, stomped over, steam practically rising from his head.
Whatever tirade he was about to unleash came to an abrupt halt when the twenty-five-foot Christmas tree rocked side to side, toppling over and partially covering Santa’s gingerbread house, which the mall had built for the big man’s “family” and used for processing the pictures of the children who sat on Santa’s lap. Large ornaments crashed to the ground, sending shards of glass flying.
From where I was standing, I could see that Mrs. Claus had awoken from her drunken stupor and stumbled into the tree… and by whatever miracle escaped going down with it. She covered her dismay at the crunching under her feet with a giggle and lurched over to Santa’s throne, making herself comfortable and hiking up her skirt, mumbling, “Damn dress.”
A few of the women in line screamed, jumping back. Two of them attempted to squeeze under the velvet rope. To jump into Santa’s arms? That turned out to be a bad idea – one’s bouffant got stuck on the stand and brought the barricade tumbling down on their backs. They lay in a heap, arguing over whose fault it was that they were sprawled on the ground.
The handful of children in line started crying. Too much adult drama.
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