The Trouble with Holly by Kirsti Ahlers

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Blurb:

Holly McIntyre has just been invited to join a group of her friends who are traveling to France for a wine tasting trip that will end in Paris. Holly has dreamed of taking a trip to France since she was a little girl. Now the only thing standing between her and her dream trip is her checking account. Well, she’s not going to miss out on this chance, even if it means getting a demeaning job as an elf for Santa Clause at Harrington’s Department Store. Holly hates Christmas, finds it too commercial and just can never seem to get into the holiday spirit. Of course the Santa she’s being an elf for has way to much holiday happiness, so this is not going to be an easy task, but Paris is on the other side. Now if she could only ignore the red hot attraction burning between Santa and herself. Oh, Santa, baby!

Christopher Harrington loves the holidays and volunteers every year as Santa at his family’s department store. This year his elf is anything but a happy little soul. And yet, he is drawn to Holly and her sassy personality and realizes she poses as a holiday challenge. He’s going to get this prickly little Scrooge to come around and see there really is magic to the Christmas season and that not everyone is interested in things bought in a store. Holly might mean trouble but Christopher is not afraid of that. Trouble can be fun.

Extract:

Holly McIntyre blew out a breath as she frowned down at her checking account balance and worked hard to resist the urge to scream in utter frustration.

“Well, do you think you can swing it?” Dahlia asked as she continued to file her nails, smacking on her gum without a care in the world.

“I don’t think so.” Holly nibbled on the inside of her lower lip.

“You’ve got to come, Holly; we’re talking France!”

“Yeah, I know.” Holly wanted to spend Christmas in France, going on wine tasting trips and strolling the Champs-Élysées. She wanted to experience the city she’d been dreaming about since she was a little girl. And here was her chance to leave the cold and windy city of Chicago for Paris.

Dahlia set her emery board down and pinned Holly with a determined look. “You’re going to go; you deserve this trip, and I won’t take no for an answer.” She reached over for the legal pad that had Holly’s budget written on it and ran her perfectly manicured fingertip down the yellow lined paper. “Girl you’re so organized you give professional organizers like me a bad name.”

Holly laughed. It was true; although Dahlia owned her own organizing business and could organize a hoarder into a happy Zen place, she didn’t prescribe to the same thought process.

Dahlia pushed the legal pad back across the table. “Maybe you could pick up another job?”

“Yeah, because interior design jobs are just dropping out of the sky like snowflakes.” Holly was an interior designer but business had fallen off with the turn of the economy and people just weren’t redoing kitchens and other rooms. She had enough clients and projects to keep the wolf from the door as it were but not enough to buy a ticket to Paris.

“Get a second job!” Dahlia clapped her hands together in glee. “Find a part time job; the holidays are right around the corner,and you can find something that will pay well enough for a plane ticket and a week of hotels.”

“Gee, is that all?” Holly pushed her dark hair behind her right ear and continued to look at her pitiful budget. She really needed to save and put money aside, for when trip opportunities like this arose, she could go without any guilt.

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I do.” Holly stood and went into the kitchen and grabbed a glass before filling it with some water. “I need to find something that will allow me to work on the jobs I’ve got and still be able to fund a trip to Europe. I doubt seriously I’ll find that.”

Dahlia, one never to sit around and wait for things to happen, was already looking in the want ads. “Here you go! This will be perfect.”

That was just too easy, and Holly went over to the table and leaned over to look at what advertisement had her friend so excited.

“Oh no. Hell no.” Holly shook her head back and forth. “No way.” She backed away from the table and went back to the kitchen to put the glass in the sink.

“Come on, Holly. It will be fun. And you would only have to work a few hours a week.”

“Are you high? I’m not going to do that.” She pointed her finger at the offending paper. “I’d rather sling drinks at a bar, or ask if someone wants to supersize their fries with their order.”

Dahlia shivered. “Eww. Food service is not for you, my friend.”

“Well, that,” she pointed once again to the newspaper, “isn’t for me either.”

“What if I applied with you? Would you do it then? Just think you could go to Paris! The Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, the Louvre! And don’t get me started on the wine!”

Holly crossed her arms across her chest and sighed. She did want to go to Paris; she wanted to go badly. But the idea of dressing up as an elf for Harrington’s Department store’s Holiday Village made her want to break out in a rash. She loathed the holidays, found Christmas to be nothing but a “Hey, what are you gonna get me” grasping holiday.

The meaning and the magic was gone and had been since she was a little girl and learned Santa was really her Uncle Matthew. Still, there had been something about those country Christmas’s she missed. Perhaps it was the family or the innocence of the whole thing. Now, Christmas was all about money and what big electronic thing was going to be sitting under the tree. Her family was scattered; none of them in Illinois anymore and with lives of their own. In fact of all her brothers and sisters—there were six—she really only seemed to talk to them on Christmas Eve and on birthdays. It was sad really. This is why going to France with her girlfriends seemed like such a wonderful idea. She wouldn’t be sitting alone watching movies and eating ice cream by the ton.

“Okay, I’ll do it.” Holly uncrossed her arms and walked back to the kitchen table, dropping down into the chair. “I mean how bad could it be?”

Picture of Kristi Ahlers

About the Author:

Kristi Ahlers is a California girl! She grew up in Northern California in a small city called Yuba City. Since then she’s lived in Brussels, Belgium, and England along with a myriad of other locations. A former flight attendant, she was able to continue to feed her love of travel. This has greatly influenced her writing, allowing her to pen stories about places she’s managed to visit and things she’s experienced.

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• Find Kristi Online •

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Tirgearr

Back online!

Oh my goodness. This past month has been hard. I know it’s a “First World Problem”, but living a month without any landline, limited internet access (what I could get on my crappy iPhone 5s) and freeview TV has been an absolute nightmare. Freeing, but a nightmare all the same.

Why a nightmare? I am enslaved by technology. My whole business is online. From my alter-ego “Miss Lottie” to my writing and blogging, everything is online. I had a new book come out on the 29th December, and I was completely unable to do anything when it came to promotions and marketing. (PLEASE, visit Evernight Publishing and check out my latest novella!) I have been unable to promote or market any of my other books, other than a few hit and miss Facebook posts. And uni work… Oh. My. God. Uni work. I do a course through the Open University and the majority of it is online, so writing up assignments without access to the forums and tutorial notes has been beyond difficult.

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The new book

But, I’m back online now, and desperate to catch up. If you include the fact that I had Christmas off, I have two months worth of crap to catch up on, including fan mail, general emails, marketing, promoting, sales, writing, assignments, editing, transcriptions, and so much more.

Thank you everyone for your patience while I endeavour to pull myself back into the 21st Century!

Christmas is coming, and so is a new book!

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A Different Kind of Therapy will be published by Evernight Publishing in 2017

We’re on the final week before Christmas, I have a uni assignment due before the 6th January, we have a big family birthday coming up, and on top of all that, my latest novel will be published in early 2017. The last few weeks of 2016 are going to be hectic to say the least.

But I’m slowly getting there. The turkey has been ordered. Present shopping is done, with one side of the family all wrapped and ready to be shipped up to Lincoln. Christmas cards have been written. Cake has been decorated. Uni work is half-done, only 1,200 words to go and a round of editing. A Different Kind of Therapy is on its second round of edits, and has a cover being designed. We are getting there.

Right now, 2017 promises to be an eventful and interesting year. We just need to get 2016 done and dusted.

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Signing off until 2015

I am admitting defeat.

There is one week to go until Christmas, and by now I have usually done all my baking, shopping, wrapping, and prepping. This year though, I am a total failure. It could be because I have a daytime job as well as my writing, or the fact that both my children have been / are poorly, or that I am currently studying for my BA Hons English Lit & Creative Writing, or maybe it’s because I’ve had three books published this year and have another coming out in early spring 2015. Whatever the reason, I am very behind. I haven’t even written out Christmas cards this year, and have now told people that since I’m late now, I will donate to the British Heart Foundation instead.

I’ve written my shopping list and wrapped one side of the family’s presents (only to discover that I’ve missed one person out completely, and while my son has stocking fillers and bits and pieces, I still haven’t got him his “BIG” present), but the baking and prepping is still waaaay late.

ONE batch, ONE batch of mince pies have been made and eaten. I’m normally on my third or fourth by now. And I’m surprised that my husband hasn’t divorced me since I haven’t made any cheesestraws or jam and lemon curd tarts! I even burned the lemon drizzle cake the other day because I was so distracted.

So with all this in mind, I am bidding you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I will see you in 2015, because I am exhausted and need to put my family first.

Mince Pies and Mulled Wine (18+ Only!)

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‘Tis the time to snuggle up on the sofa, in front of a roaring fire, with a good book, eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine. I can name several good books you could read over this jolly season, one of which you can read a snippet of below (18+ only!!). Now, while I make a mean mince pie, and love nothing more than mulled wine, unfortunately I don’t have an open fireplace. Or a closed one. I have radiators and drafty windows instead. Poor Santa has to send his elves over on Christmas Eve to pick up a “special key” so he can get in and leave the presents!

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My Cointreau Mince Pies

As I said, I make a mean mince pie, and I thought I’d share my secret with you today… The secret is… Cointreau. Rather than using a general shortcrust pastry recipe, I make a rich, sweet pastry with sugar and egg yolks as well as flour & butter. But while it’s all mixing together, I add a couple of shots of Cointreau into the dough, and grated orange peel. On top of that, I add some more Cointreau into the mincemeat, and once they’re cooked, sprinkle them with icing sugar. DELICIOUS.

One Night in Edinburghby Charlotte Howard - 200

Need a good book? Try One Night in Edinburgh…

Oh yes, that good book… Ready for an excerpt?

Excerpt (18+ ONLY!):

  Ethan watched as Chloe walked in front of him towards the black limo. Her ass was so round and firm, perfect in that pair of tight jeans. He wondered if she realised how tempting she looked. Probably not, he decided. She was a complete airhead, but there was something about her that had drawn him in. He’d always been a sucker for the damsel in distress type.
They got into the car and he sank back into the seat, taking out his phone. With a glance to the side, he could see his mysterious maiden staring out of the window.
He fired a quick text to his personal assistant.
Get me a room at the Radisson Blu, Edinburgh. Now.
“Is this your car then?” she asked.
He looked up to see large green eyes questioning his intentions.
“It’s a company car,” he explained. “I get to use it when I’m here.”
“So you do come to Edinburgh a lot then,” she said with a teasing smile.
“I guess you could say that.” He stretched his arms across the back of the seat and his legs out in front of him. It was good not to be cramped into such a small space like he had been on the plane. He made a mental note to insist on either a first class train carriage, or a private flight next time.
His guest didn’t seem as comfortable. She had scrunched herself next to the privacy window between them and the driver, but her posture did nothing to hide her figure. His cock twitched at the thought of running his fingers over her luscious curves. There was a desperate desire filling him that was so blinding he hadn’t realised he’d moved until he could feel the soft skin of her elbow against his fingertips.

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