We’re now at the end of our special Christmas Round Robin – we think the authors have outdone themselves, and hope that you feel the same! They are a talented lot 😉
Victoria Cornwall left the story on a cliffhanger yesterday, and we’re really excited to share the ending written by Laura E. James. Let’s find out how the Santa Dash finishes and whether our hero is Jamie or Julian …
Remember to read right until the end if you’d like to take part in the last competition of the season! Also make sure to read the other parts of the story before this extract so that it makes sense. You can find:
Part One by Kathryn Freeman HERE
Part Two by Clare Chase HERE
Part Three by Jane Lovering HERE
Part Four by Victoria Cornwall HERE
The Santa Dash: Final Part by Laura E. James
Ellie nudged Jamie’s elbow. ‘We need to move.’
‘No. It’s fine. It’s about time I had this out with the pair of them.’ Jamie adjusted his feet, taking a wider stance, and having struggled to fold his arms over his rotund Santa stomach, clasped his fingers together and hooked his thumbs over his belt.
‘Jamie!’ Ellie tugged at the firefighter’s white-cuffed sleeve in an attempt to pull him from danger, but trying to shift the six foot plus Santa only resulted in Ellie pulling a muscle. She rubbed her shoulder.
‘Seriously. It’s okay.’ Jamie’s gaze was fixed on the advancing doctor. ‘He’s no threat.’
He isn’t, thought Ellie, casting a panicked look to the skies – Dave was descending faster than a goose-fat greased Santa sliding down a chimney. ‘It’s admirable that you’re standing your ground, but …’
‘No.’ Jamie frowned. ‘It’s high time I told Dr Julian Faulkner what I think of him.’
‘And what’s that?’ Julian halted a foot away from Jamie. He poked at his padding. ‘At least I’m a man of substance. You’re just full of …’
‘Stop it!’ Melissa joined the accident-in-waiting. She dived between the two men and separated them by pressing a palm to each chest. Her right hand bounced off Jamie. ‘I’m sure we can clear this up in a mature and adult way.’
Ellie shook her head in despair. There was no time for mature and adult. In a matter of seconds there were going to be four Santas sprawled along the promenade. And there’d be witnesses. A crowd was gathering – three mums with buggies were pointing up at the sky, two giant elves were gawping at Melissa, and a youth who’d climbed a lamppost was beckoning to his mates to come and watch.
As a shadow loomed over the posturing Santas, and Dave’s yells of ‘Heads up!’ reached the ears of the concerned party, Jamie looked heavenward.
‘Holy sleigh bells!’ He grabbed Ellie round her waist. ‘Faulkner! Help Melissa.’
But the doctor used the auburn-haired woman as resistance and pushed himself away from her and into safety.
With the dark shadow growing larger, Jamie apologised to Ellie, lifting her out of the way of danger, and then rugby-tackled Melissa to the pavement, a millisecond before Dave’s emergency landing.
‘I’m good. I’m good.’ Dave waved from his prone position, his chute floating serenely onto the railings that divided the beach from the promenade.
‘Everyone else all right?’ Jamie got to his feet, helped Melissa up, and brushed himself down. ‘Ellie? You okay?’
Ellie stepped forward from the crowd – the crowd that was applauding Jamie’s daring do. ‘Not a scratch,’ she said, a surprise to her as much as anyone. She watched as Jamie spoke quietly to Melissa, wondering what they were discussing. He was probably telling Melissa how much he missed her. How much he wanted her back. How good it felt to have her in his arms once again, albeit in the name of health and safety.
Being in his arms had been pretty special, Ellie reflected, a sigh of missed opportunity escaping out to sea.
‘So much for Dr Julian saving lives.’
To Ellie’s surprise, Jamie was striding towards her.
‘He only cares about his own. Poor Melissa. She’s seen his true worth.’ Jamie held out an open palm in Ellie’s direction. ‘At least she’s come out unscathed from this near disaster.’ His fingers waggled. ‘Don’t leave me hanging Nurse Ellie. I’d like to get back to that something more interesting I mentioned earlier – getting to know you.’ His blue eyes glistened.
‘But … Melissa.’ Ellie scanned the area ahead for Jamie’s ex-fiancée, certain her auburn hair would stand out against the mass of red and white merrymakers, but nothing. Nada. No sight of her.
Jamie laughed. ‘She’s gone to give the doctor a piece of her mind. I have a feeling he’ll be single before the evening’s out.’
Ellie pursed her lips. ‘At work, he led us to believe he already was.’ Dr Faulkner had tricked her and Sally. They’d both fallen for his fake charms. She’d make sure she told Sally everything, although judging by the grin Sally had given when she’d passed by with the two burly rugby players, there was no risk of a broken heart. ‘How do you know Dr Faulkner?’ Ellie slipped her hand into Jamie’s. It was warm, strong and safe.
‘From the gym. He seemed like a decent bloke. Friendly. Competitive. He liked to compare treadmill stats. Always added an extra weight to the bench press. Thrashed me on the rowing machines.’ Jamie shrugged. ‘Anyway, one evening, after my session, Melissa popped down to the gym to take me straight out for a meal …’
‘And that’s where she and Julian met?’
Jamie nodded and Ellie’s hand was given a gentle squeeze.
‘Three weeks later, Melissa broke off the engagement.’
What a horrid experience that must have been for Jamie. Ellie issued a pat of reassurance to his arm. ‘I’m sorry.’
‘I’m not,’ said Jamie. ‘I mean, I was, but it’s Christmas and magical things happen.’
Indeed. Ellie reviewed the morning’s events. Out of the hundred or so Santas dashing along the prom, it was Jamie she’d crashed into and straddled; it was Jamie who’d pulled alongside her to exchange small talk and it was Jamie who’d rescued her from her stumble, lobbed her over his shoulder and carried her across the finish line.
And it was Jamie who’d saved her from Dave’s death-defying descent.
It was all magic as far as she was concerned. She tilted her head to study Jamie. He was magic.
‘Do you believe in Father Christmas?’ he said, his face edging closer to hers.
‘Oh yes,’ said Ellie, breathing in his cologne and closing her eyes at the touch of his lips. ‘And he’s very dashing.’
What a gorgeous ending! A perfect Christmas story from our Choc Lit authors 🙂 We hope you loved it as much as we did and it’s got you into the festive spirit. There’s not much left to say except to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for all of your support in 2016! But there is still time for one more …
If you enjoyed Laura’s writing, why not try and win a copy of her novel, What Doesn’t Kill You … we’ll even throw in some Christmas chocolate too!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply read Laura’s extract and answer this question …
Where did Julian and Jamie meet?
If you know the answer, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced at the end of today. Good luck!