Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
This week I’m switching, just for this week, to my upcoming release, The Present, part of the Christmas on the Side series of Christmas novellas. It releases on Tuesday, November 23. It’s a bit different for me–as it’s a contemporary, sexy, Christmas story, but I had written a piece of Christmas flash fiction over 10 years ago, and I suddenly wanted to know what happened to those two characters. Next week I’ll return to The Widow Wore Plaid.
Tessa Avery’s Christmas has gone from bad to worse. Unemployed for six months and reduced to cleaning her heartless sister’s apartment to make ends meet, Tess is at her wits end how to get back on her feet. Then her sister comes up with an offer Tess can’t refuse: tell Janice’s boyfriend Hal she’s breaking it off with him—two days before Christmas—or Janice will withhold Tess’s payment.
Hal Chapman is livid that his supposed girlfriend tells him they’re through—not even in person, but by way of her sister—and is oh so ready to get even. He offers Tessa the present he’d gotten for Janice, a pair of diamond earrings worth enough to make Tessa’s financial problem a lot easier in exchange for a little revenge against his ex-girlfriend.
When their escapade is over, Hal asks Tessa out on a date. Tess is thrilled, but wary—is Hal really interested in her, or just interested in more revenge? As they come to know one another better, Tess begins to hope for a new beginning with Hal. But when a sudden crisis calls for Tess to make a hard choice, will her ultimate decision sink their budding relationship or turn their night together into the best Christmas present ever?
I’m beginning a little way into the novella. As the blurb states, Tess’s evil sister blackmails Tess into delivering the bad news to the sister’s boyfriend that she’s breaking up with him, just before Christmas. Here’s a snippet where Tess tells Hal her sister is dumping him. We are in Tess’s POV.
Swift and painless, like a surgeon. “She went without you, Hal. She said to tell you…” the words stuck in Tess’s throat, and she had to clear it before she could go on, “she said she didn’t think it would work out between you two.” God, she could still barely say the words. What must it be like to hear them? “That it was over.”
Hal stood in the middle of the room, staring at her in disbelief, then his brows came down in a thunderous frown as the lines of his handsome face hardened. His hand clenched on a small, brightly wrapped box Tess noticed only when the paper ripped under the strain.
Oh, shit, he did get her a ring! I’m going to kill the bitch myself.
And a little more for good measure…
He must have seen her eyes on the present because he gave a sharp laugh and thrust the box at her. “Here, Tess. You take it instead. Payment for services rendered as messenger.”
Shaking her head, she backed up a step. She wanted nothing more to do with this whole fiasco except to fix herself another drink then get the hell out of here and go home. “I can’t take that, Hal. You should return it.”
“Open it.” The command was harsh.
Hands trembling, she took the small box. “I’m really sorry she did this to you, Hal.” She looked at his face, but it had been wiped clean of emotion.
“Open it. Please?” The return to a softer voice gave his words a pleading tone, and Tess just couldn’t disappoint the man again tonight.
“Okay.” She finished tearing the red and white striped paper away, and exposed a small, burgundy velvet case. Heart in her throat, she raised the lid of the clamshell to reveal diamond earrings. A match for the swirled pendant on the necklace he’d given Janice. “Oh, Hal. They’re beautiful.”
The words staggered Tess, constricted the air in her lungs. Those earrings could be sold, maybe help her to live until she found a real job. She raised her face and swallowed. “I can’t take these, Hal.”
“Not even for services rendered?”
Her heart took off like a racecar. “Wh…what do you mean? For doing Janice’s dirty work?”
His dark eyes glittered wickedly. “For delivering her message, yes.” She sucked in air, able to breathe again. “And for performing another little service for me.” He tapped the box with his finger. “That would earn those for you—and then some.”
Her breath stopped as Tess stared at him. She’d thought Hal a nice guy, a good guy. Had she been wrong about that? Was he suggesting what she thought he was suggesting?
Pulse racing, her mouth turned dry as he shrugged out of his Armani jacket, pulled his silk dress shirt out of his pants and started to unbutton it. She glanced down at the diamonds in her hand.
If you’d like to read more, you can pre-order The Present on Amazon, or get it on release day, Tuesday. 🙂
All Wrapped Up is a collection of four pieces of flash fiction with Christmas themes. One of them, The Present, is the piece my new novella is taken from. It’s FREE on Amazon, if you’d like to take a look!
On November 17, the Nine Ladies Dancing: Christmas Miracles anthology of Christmas novellas released and is now available on Amazon. My Christmas novella, It Happened at Christmas, is part of that nine author anthology, so you should check it out! Here’s the link. It will also be available on Kindle Unlimited at no cost for members.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.
Other Christmas Stories from Jenna Jaxon