The Santa Dash: Part Four by Victoria Cornwall

Round Robin vc

There’s been so much mystery and intrigue in this Round Robin that we honestly have had no clue where it’s going to go next! But no the Santas are on the run and it’s time for Victoria Cornwall to take up the reins for the penultimate part of our story…

Remember to read right until the end if you want to take part in today’s competition. In order to enjoy the story, make sure you read Part One by Kathryn Freeman HERE, Part Two by Clare Chase HERE and Part Three by Jane Lovering HERE before you start on Victoria’s extract.

The Santa Dash: Part Four

Sally, who had somehow hitched a lift with two burly rugby players, enthusiastically waved at Ellie as she passed her. Ellie smiled and waved back, but, in reality, she was struggling. Her trousers billowed like two elongated balloons whenever the sea wind caught her and if she was not careful she was at risk of being blown off course. It was time to sort them out or she would never finish the race.

Ellie attempted to hitch them up as she jogged, but her suit had other ideas and fought back. Thanks to one dragging trouser hem, a mistimed step and being temporarily blinded by her hat, Ellie finally tripped up and went sprawling to the floor. Self preservation made her keep her head down, as a few trailing Santas jumped over her prone body. Finally, when all the grunting and puffing around her went quiet, she dared to look up. A Santa, with a large stomach that swayed to its own rhythm, was running towards her. Relief flooded through her when she saw it was Jamie.

He squatted beside her. ‘Are you hurt or are you just taking a rest?’ Despite the quip he looked genuinely concerned.

Ellie sat up and removed her beard. Well, a girl could only take so much.

‘I think I’ve twisted my ankle a bit,’ she said, testing the movement inside her boot. Her boot was so big it didn’t even move. Ellie winced and pulled off her hat too. ‘I’m not going to finish now. My ankle is not too bad, but I can’t run on it.’ Ellie felt as miserable as she sounded. She had hoped to raise money for her ward and now she would have to face everyone and confess she hadn’t finished.

‘Are you sponsored too?’ asked Jamie. Ellie looked up at him and was surprised to discover that he was gazing at her lips.

‘Yes,’ she whispered. He really did have the bluest eyes. They were the sort of eyes that entered your soul and touched something deep inside you.

Jamie swallowed and looked up to meet her own lingering gaze. He suddenly smiled. It was enough to break the spell that held her.

‘No problem,’ he said cheerfully under his beard, ‘I have an idea.’ Ellie noticed the glint in his eyes had returned and grew wary. ‘Don’t look so worried,’ he reassured her. ‘I’ll carry you.’

Ellie found herself looking at the world upside down, ‘You are a fireman, aren’t you?’ she asked, speaking to the profile of a well shaped bottom in scarlet trousers. He also had good taste in cologne, as he smelt far better than any Santa she had ever met before … or any other man, come to that.

‘How did you guess?’

‘Just had an inkling.’ She tried to crane her neck to look at him. He looked so serious and determined. He was a man on a mission to finish the race … or he was finding her too heavy. She hoped it wasn’t the latter. ‘Is that why you’re so well known?’ she asked.

‘I think it has more to do with F.A.C.E.’

‘Face?’

‘Firemen Against Christmas Exclusion.’ Jamie repositioned her slightly which made her grunt in a very unladylike way. She hoped he hadn’t noticed. ‘We raise money to ensure families who have lost their homes to fire have Christmas presents for their children.’

Ellie smiled. ‘That explains a lot.’ She wanted to ask more questions, but Jamie was beginning to puff. Talking, while running and carrying a woman, was perhaps too much to ask for, which was a pity as she would love to know what music he liked. Did he have a pet? A girlfriend? A wife? Oh please, not a wife! Despite their physical closeness of having his arm threaded through her thighs and one of her legs hitched over his shoulder, she felt she might be taking advantage of the situation if she asked too many questions right now. She returned her gaze to his bottom and fought the urge to play it like a bongo drum. This race was turning out rather fun after all.

Jamie came to a stop and eased Ellie off his shoulder. They had passed the finish line and she hadn’t even noticed or cared. Perhaps he would finally take off his beard and she would see the face of the man who had carried her. They stood for a moment, looking at each other with renewed interest. His hands still held hers to keep her steady, although they both knew she could stand without him.

‘Jamie!’ shrieked a woman’s voice. They turned to see Melissa hurrying up to them, her auburn locks flowing gracefully in the wind. Jamie let go Ellie’s hands and braced himself while Ellie absently ran her hand through her own hair. Her fingers snagged on a knot and she hastily gave up.

‘Melissa,’ Jamie breathed as his face drained of all colour.

‘You know her?’ asked Ellie, needlessly.

‘Yes,’ he replied, his voice as brittle as ice. ‘She was my fiancé, until that smarmy git came along.’

‘Which smarmy git?’ asked Ellie as she noticed Julian heading their way.

Jamie followed her gaze, ‘That smarmy git,’ he replied, his jaw tightening.

Ellie’s heart sank. Julian wasn’t as perfect as he claimed to be and Jamie still had feelings for his ex. It was going to be a Santa bloodbath when they met. Evie looked up to the sky for divine intervention. She wished she was anywhere but here, preferably on some exotic beach with a Pina Colada in her hand. Instead she saw David, the ward porter, dressed in a Santa suit and gesticulating wildly as he floated down towards her.  He was doing his first sponsored parachute jump, and more worryingly still, he was heading straight for her.

Now that’s a cliffhanger and a half! Will Ellie choose Jamie or Julian, or are both men off-limits? And, more importantly, will she be knocked out by a falling Santa? Have to admit we might have decided on our favourite between Jamie and Julian now ;)

Come back tomorrow for the final part of the story by Laura E. James!

COMPETITION TIME

If you enjoyed Victoria’s writing, why not try and win a digital copy of her upcoming novel, The Thief’s Daughter … we’ll even throw in some Christmas chocolate too!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply read Victoria’s extract and answer this question …

What is the name of the organisation Jamie is a part of, and what do they do?

If you know the answer, email it to info@choc-lit.co.uk. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced at the end of the week. Good luck!

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Read the final part of the story by Laura E. James HERE.

The Santa Dash: Part Three by Jane Lovering

Round Robin

Clare Chase left us at the starting line of the Santa Dash yesterday – now it’s time to take a run with Jane Lovering for today’s Christmas Round Robin instalment! Who is the mystery woman, and why is Julian acting so shifty? 

Remember to read right until the end if you want to take part in today’s competition. In order to enjoy the story, make sure you read Part One by Kathryn Freeman HERE and Part Two by Clare Chase HERE before you start on Jane’s extract. 

The Santa Dash – Part Three

Suddenly Ellie found herself in a confused melee of red suits and white nylon hair as the more sporty of the dashing Santas took off along the prom. For a moment she lost sight of everyone she knew, found herself spun around by the press of bodies around her, disorientated and even ran a few steps in the wrong direction to the amusement of the watching crowd. Her hat had slipped down over her eyes again and her beard was riding up to meet it, so she could only see the world through a reddish hairy filter and wondered, idly, as she managed to get herself facing the right way, if this was what Hell would look like from inside.  Probably less hirsute, she thought, getting her legs under control and managing a credible jog considering the vast amount of stuffing she’d shoved under her jacket for verisimilitude. Sally had tried to tell her that the Santa Dash wasn’t aiming for absolute Santa-ness, it was the Dash that was important, but Ellie suspected that was just so that Sally could get away with something more figure-hugging, since Julian was going to be there.

Where was Julian?  Ellie peered around the crowd of bobbing hats and beards. Surely he’d be somewhere out in front, after all he regularly played in the hospital rugby team and, judging by his muscles, must also work out.  She puffed a little bit, her padding was working its way around to the back as she ran and the beard was itchy, plus the little black boots that came with the outfit didn’t have very much grip.

‘Good sea air!’

The voice came from next to her and Ellie saw Jamie, recognisable from the way his eyes were gleaming atop the beard.

‘Sorry?’ She was a bit ashamed to find herself puffing more.

‘Nothing like a run in the sea air to clear the tubes.’  He didn’t seem to be even mildly out of breath, jogging along beside her as though this was a gentle stroll.

They ran along together for a moment, buffeted by the faster Santas who, scenting the finish line further along the esplanade, had picked up speed.

‘So,’ Ellie felt duty bound to make conversation, although she had to admit, this was perhaps the most bizarre place she’d ever found herself doing ‘polite chat’, ‘how do you come to know Julian?’

Jamie did a peculiar double-step, at first Ellie thought he’d stumbled, but he turned out to be avoiding a woman pushing a buggy with two small children in.  To Ellie’s surprise, the woman saw Jamie and gave him a big, beaming smile.

‘Oh, it’s you!’ she said, and Jamie slowed down. ‘Sorry! Didn’t mean to be in the way, but Liam was just so excited to see the Santas running …’

Jamie gave her a grin in return. ‘No worries, Gemma,’ he said, and Ellie was only mildly annoyed to notice that he wasn’t even breathing hard. ‘Nice to see you. But I’d better …’ he gestured to the mass of gently heaving red nylon that was surging ahead. ‘Sponsored, you see.’

‘Do you know everyone?’ Ellie panted, hoping her face wasn’t quite as red as her suit yet, but figuring that most of it was concealed by her beard anyway.

‘Not quite. Only the less – how shall I put it – less financially fortunate,’ Jamie turned to her and his eyes were positively gleaming. ‘After all, I don’t know you yet, do I? Coffee, after the run?’

And, without waiting for an answer, he put his head down and began running, overtaking the back markers of the pack and weaving his way through. Ellie watched the white bobble on his hat making its way through the runners.

When she turned her head to try to catch her breath, she saw that Melissa, the gorgeous red-head who’d been talking to Julian, was standing alongside the taped off track. And her eyes were also following Jamie’s running figure, with an expression somewhere between hero-worship and despair.

Ooh, the plot thickens! Join us tomorrow for another instalment from one of our debut authors, Victoria Cornwall!

COMPETITION TIME

If you enjoyed Jane’s writing, why not try and win a copy of her novel, I Don’t Want To Talk About It … we’ll even throw in some Christmas chocolate too!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply read Jane’s extract and answer this question …

Who does Jamie have to sidestep to avoid running into during the Santa Dash? 

If you know the answer, email it to info@choc-lit.co.uk. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced at the end of the week. Good luck!

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Read Part Four by Victoria Cornwall HERE

The Santa Dash: Part One by Kathryn Freeman

Round Robin

Ho ho ho! Not long until the big day and we’ll be with you right up until the 23rd with our fab Christmas Round Robin story – it’s super fun and Christmassy and we know you’re just going to love it! What’s more we’ll be running a Christmas competition every day this week too. Read to the end of the story to find out how to enter!

Kathryn Freeman starts us off and sets the scene. It’s time for a Santa Dash …

The Santa Dash: Part One

Ellie scanned the sea of red and white bodies crowding on to the sea front and started to giggle. There couldn’t be many sights more bizarre than the town’s annual Santa Dash. In ten minutes time there would be over a hundred Santa’s of all shapes and sizes, running – sometimes waddling – along the prom, all in the aid of local charities.

Sally elbowed her. ‘Hey, what are you grinning at?’

Ellie turned to her friend, white Santa beard hanging precariously from her mouth, red hat nearly in her eyes. ‘Just thinking how ridiculous we all look.’ Unconsciously she glanced across to the one member of their incongruous Santa line-up who still managed to look good. ‘Well, nearly all of us.’

Sally followed the direction of her gaze and sighed. ‘I reckon Dr Faulkner could dress like a turkey and still look amazing.’

Julian Faulkner was the new consultant in charge of their A&E unit. Six foot one inches of dark, brooding gorgeousness. And did she mention single?

With her eyes trained on the suave consultant, who had rather cheated by not wearing a beard or hat, or indeed anything to disguise the athletic frame beneath his red Santa suit, Ellie didn’t notice the Santa who’d started his dash a little too early. And in the wrong direction.

With a shriek she ploughed into him, knocking him clean off his feet. He landed on the promenade with a mighty thump, the air rushing out of his lungs as he let out a strangled groan.

‘Oh my God, are you okay?’

Feeling terrible, Ellie crouched over him and started to check him for broken bones. ‘It’s okay. I’m a nurse.’

A pair of blue eyes blinked up at her. With his hat and white beard covering most of his face, the eyes were all she could see of him.

To her shock, they looked like they were laughing at her.

‘What?’ she demanded, miffed since she’d been so concerned about him.

‘Sorry.’ His voice was muffled by his beard. ‘Just wondering what we must look like to passers by. You know, Father Christmas lying prostate on the floor and Mother Christmas straddling him. Hope no kids are watching.’

Ellie looked down and gasped in horror. Oh boy, in her rush to check he was okay she’d practically crawled on top of him. Hastily she scrambled to her feet. ‘Well it looks like I don’t have to worry about you. You don’t sound in pain.’

‘I think I’ll live.’ Those eyes, a vivid blue against the stark white fluff of his hat and beard, smiled as he gingerly climbed to his feet. ‘It’s been a while since a gorgeous woman has swept me off my feet.’

Ellie felt another giggle coming on but it was squashed at the sound of a deep voice behind her. One she’d recognise anywhere.

‘Everything okay over here?’

Her brain froze, as it always seemed to do when Julian was around. Luckily Sally answered for them. ‘Ellie just knocked over Father Christmas.’

‘Ellie?’ Julian’s dark eyes swept over her, making her pulse race.

‘I’m good.’ Heavens, she sounded like a mouse. She cleared her throat. ‘Thank you. It’s Father Christmas I was worried about.’

The man in question was busy trying to realign his disheveled red suit. After tugging his padded belly back into position over his shiny black belt, he finally looked up. Blue eyes that had danced at her, looked stormy as he turned to Julian.

‘Well, well. If it isn’t Dr Faulkner.’ He let out a short laugh as he surveyed Julian’s outfit. ‘It’s not really a Santa Dash for you, is it mate? You’re more Man in a Red Suit.’

Julian gave the blue-eyed stranger a cool smile and ran his eyes deliberately up and down the other man’s crumpled red suit. ‘At least I have the dash part down. You never could manage that.’

Ellie heard blue eyes muttering under his breath. Words like stuck up and arrogant prick were clearly audible but Julian wasn’t looking at the man uttering them. The focus of his gaze was entirely on her. ‘Shall we go to the start line?’

Feeling ridiculously giddy, she nodded. ‘Umm, yes. Of course.’

With Sally nowhere to be seen, Ellie started to follow Julian but within seconds his tall figure was swallowed up by the Santa swarm. Only in this case it was a flirty group of female Santa’s she recognised from the hospital staff.

‘Can’t understand what they see in him.’

The man she’d just flattened wasn’t looking like happy Santa as he stared at Julian’s broad back.

‘Why do I get the feeling you two know each other?’

‘Because we do.’ For a split second anger flashed in his eyes but then it disappeared and he yanked down his beard, flashing her a broad grin. ‘But I’m far more interested in knowing you.’

Oooh, looks like Ellie might have two rival Santas to choose from! But which one will it be? Come back tomorrow when Clare Chase will be picking up where Kathryn left off. Can’t wait to find out more! 

COMPETITION TIME

If you enjoyed Kathryn’s writing, why not try and win a copy of her novel, Search for the Truth … we’ll even throw in some Christmas chocolate too!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply read Kathryn’s extract and answer this question …

Ellie runs into a Santa before starting the race. What colour are his eyes? 

If you know the answer, email it to info@choc-lit.co.uk. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced at the end of the week. Good luck!

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Read Part Two by Clare Chase HERE

Tennis at Christmas?

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Tennis and Christmas? Not a natural match, perhaps – but Kathryn Freeman makes it work in her new novel, A Second Christmas Wish! And she has written about how she did it … 

My first Christmas book, A Second Christmas Wish, was out at the beginning of November. I confess I haven’t been this excited about Christmas since Father Christmas came down the chimney and left presents on the end of my bed.

Those were the days. Days I dragged out of my memory when I began to plot out this story. Not to recreate them, but to remember some of the magic of Christmas that crowded shops, Christmas card writing and remembering to book my online grocery slot two months before I need it, has dimmed.

In fact before I began to write A Second Christmas Wish I made a list of all the things I liked most about Christmas; the nativity play, mince pies, snow balls, Christmas trees. Festive traditions a reader would easily associate with Christmas and which I gleefully weaved into the story. I also ended up including a few themes not traditionally associated with Christmas though. Like tennis.

Umm, so why on earth did I write about tennis in a Christmas book? The answer lies in my heroine, Melissa and her son, William. They are still recovering from her ill-fated marriage to a man who turned out to be a manipulative husband and cold father. It’s left them both wary of men and disillusioned with Christmas.

I needed them to meet a man who would help put some sparkle back into their Christmas. But how to meet him? William lacks confidence so I thought giving him some lessons in a sport would help improve this. Also because I’m a sucker for a sports star. Over the years I’ve had many sporting idols, like Jonny Wilkinson, Seve Ballesteros, Michael Owen. And don’t get me started on Jenson Button … he’s why I ended up writing a romance about a sexy racing driver.

Sorry, talk of Jenson has derailed me. Sexy men have a habit of doing that. I was deciding on a sport for my young hero, William. I considered football, but for a sensitive boy that didn’t seem quite right. I could have gone with a snowy theme and picked skiing but again, pushing a shy boy down a slope didn’t fit well with me, though of course I’m sure skiing coaches aren’t that mean.

The more I thought about it, the more tennis seemed a perfect fit. It isn’t a contact sport but you can learn in a group. Plus it’s a sport I know something about because I play it myself and my sons both had coaching from the age William is in the story. That’s the only reason they can beat me now of course …

So that’s how the hero of A Second Christmas Wish became ex-tennis professional Daniel McCormick. A man who’s recently opened a tennis academy, teaching youngsters the joy of the sport he loves but had to give up through injury. He’s over six feet of rippling athleticism. Imagine a combination of Pat Cash and Rafael Nadal. I know I did, when I was writing him. He certainly added a sparkle to my days but the question is, did he do the same for Melissa?

… And you can find out whether he did in A Second Christmas Wish which is now available to buy on all eBook platforms! 

Kindle UK  Kindle US  Kindle AUS  Kindle CA

For more information on Kathryn, follow her on Twitter @KathrynFreeman

Or visit her website: www.kathrynfreeman.co.uk

The Perfect Christmas Kiss

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Today sees the release of Alison May’s Christmas Kisses; a collection of gorgeous festive stories about three girls searching for ‘the perfect Christmas kiss’. But does that ‘perfect’ kiss even exist? Alison asks that exact question in today’s blog post … 

The idea of writing a post about ‘The Perfect Christmas Kiss’ seemed such a good idea as an abstract concept when I agreed to it a week before I had to actually sit down and write anything. It’s such a beautiful romantic idea – surely everyone has an idea of their perfect mistletoe-moment?

You might have a fantasy of meeting your flawless long-distance lover at the top of the Empire State Building as the bells chime to ring in Christmas Day. Or you might prefer a more traditional English Christmas scene – maybe with snow falling over a village green outside a beautiful old stone church, everyone wrapped up in hats and scarves and the love of your life with a sprig of mistletoe and a certain twinkle in his or her eye? Or perhaps you’re not a lover of Christmas and would prefer to be whisked away to a sunkissed beach to forget the festive season altogether and indulge in a little holiday romance whilst you’re there?

But here’s the problem – all of those ideas sound lovely in practice but they’re fantasy, aren’t they? And there’s nothing wrong with a bit of fantasy, but trying to translate fantasy into real-life is a surefire recipe for anti-climax and disappointment. That sunkissed beach sounds lovely, but actually having a frolic on it is just going to lead to sand in your pants and a sunburn in places that the sun really isn’t supposed to shine. The meeting at the top of the Empire State Building is such a romantic idea, but once you actually get there you’ll be sharing the viewing platform with every other lovelorn hopeful in New York city, and there’s nothing worse than having to form a queue every time a eligible-looking singleton appears on the off-chance that they might be the one for you. Even the snow-covered English village sounds frankly off-puttingly chilly, and realistically, you’re going to have a streaming nose and chattering teeth if you stay out trying to canoodle for too long.

So here’s my suggestion for the perfect Christmas Kiss – don’t plan it. Perfect moments are something that happens, not something that can be prepared. You know how nights out where you swear that you’re just going to have one drink and then end up crawling home at 3am are always more fun than big nights that take weeks to plan? Well I think perfect Christmas kisses might fall into the same category. Whatever you think perfection is going to look like, that’s almost certainly not how it would actually turn out. Perfection, where is exists at all, exists in the surprising and the unexpected, in the spontaneous and the organic, rather in those things that have been meticulously planned and preconceived. That’s something that each of the heroines in Christmas Kisses has to learn in their own different way. Perfect is never really what you think it’s going to be. Sometimes you have to open your mind and enjoy the moment that you’re in right now, whether it looks like you expected or not.

Christmas Kisses is now available to purchase in paperback from all good book stockists and retailers. Click HERE to order from Amazon. 

For more information on Alison, follow her on Twitter @MsAlisonMay.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from the Choc Lit Team and our Santa Clauses!

Merry Christmas from Team Choc Lit!

Merry Christmas everyone, Happy Holidays! Thank you for all your fabulous support in 2015. We look forward to sharing more exciting releases and fabulous Choc Lit books with you in the new year.
Love from the Choc Lit Team x
(Lyn, Lusana, Jane O, Liz, Jane E, Marie, Jessamy) 

And now a message from our Choc Lit Santas: :)

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juliet Santa photoJuliet Archer:  ”As Jane Austen said in Emma, published 200 years ago this month: ‘This is quite the season indeed for friendly meetings. At Christmas every body invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.’ I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, with lots of ‘friendly meetings’ and as little as possible of ‘the worst weather’.”

Santa - Rhoda BaxterPLEASE RELEASE ME_front150dpiRhoda Baxter: “Wish you all a fab holiday season with lots of chocolate, cake and nice warming books to read. See you next year.”

 

Zana Bell - Santa!

Fool's Gold

Zana Bell: Meri Kirihimete (Maori) everyone and many best wishes from New Zealand. May you all have a wonderful festive season. ”

 

AnnMarie Santa photo

AnneMarie Brear: “Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas, (a perfect time to read good books) and a safe and healthy 2016!”

 

 

Jan Santa photo

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Jan Brigden: “Wishing everyone a joyful, peaceful, healthy Christmas & New Year, with much festive good cheer, happy reading (and chocolate goodies aplenty!). Enjoy!”

 

Angela Britnell - Santa!

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Angela Britnell: “Wishing all of our Choc Lit readers a joyous Christmas and a wonderful New Year filled with good books!”

 

Sheryl Browne Santa!

 

9781781892350Sheryl Browne: Christmas time, mistletoe and wine … If you fancy a gorgeous hero to complete the scene, dip into scrummy Choc Lit book. Perfection. Have a lovely Christmas everyone!


You Think You Know MeClare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, full of warmth and good cheer, followed by a very happy 2016.”

 

An Irish Promise

Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaLiv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Isabella Connor (Liv & Val):  Nollaig shona dhaoibh. Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2016.”

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Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay: “I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Have a peaceful, relaxing holiday hopefully with lots of time for reading! Thank you all for your support this year and here’s to a fantastic year in 2016!  Christina xxx”

Some Veil Did Fall

Kirsty Ferry - Santa!

Kirsty Ferry: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy 2016. I hope you enjoy a festive season filled with cake, chocolate and a multitude of good books! Love from Kirsty xxx”

 

9781781892206Debbie Santa photoDebbie Flint: “Wishing you sleighbells and snowflakes, mince pies andmulled wine, silent nights and holly-days, myrrh and magic moments, tinselled tots and festive pets, plus perfect peace, Christmas cheer – and to all a good night!”

 

9781781892466 Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman: “Christmas – a time to relax, to indulge. Whether you’re turkey or goose, chocolate or champagne, Christmas films or a sack full of books, I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

 

Janet Gover - Santa!9781781892688Janet Gover: “May Christmas be a time of joy for you and yours – and I hope 2016 will be a wonderful year filled with love and laughter.”

 

 

The Highwayman's Daughter

Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland: “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2016 be filled with love, laughter and good books to read.”

 

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Linn B. Halton: Wishing everyone peace, love and happiness this Christmas time, and a wonderful start to 2016! Linn x

 

 

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Liz Harris - Santa!Liz Harris: ”Wishing you everything for 2015 that you wish for yourself.  May it be a year filled with health, happiness, chocolate and, of course, books!!”

 


The Wedding Cake TreeMelanie Hudson - Santa!Melanie Hudson: 
“Wishing you love, light and oodles of laughter this Christmas.”

 

 

9781781892701Laura E James - Santa!Laura E.James: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a 2016 that’s overflowing with good health and great books.”

 

 

Magic Sometimes Happens

Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James: “Merry Christmas, readers and writers, and may 2016 be a wonderful year for you all.”

 


Impossible ThingsKate Johnson Santa!Kate Johnson: “I’d like to wish everyone a very happy festive season and offer my best wishes for the new year.”

 


Dangerous DecisionsMargaret Kaine - Santa!Margaret Kaine: “I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas whether you are spending it with family or friends, or have chosen to be on your own surrounded by chocolates, wine and good books. May I wish you both good health and happiness throughout 2016.”

 

Jane Lovering - Santa!9781781892817Jane Lovering: “Wishing everyone a happy HobNob dunking, marshmallow toasting, Tony Robinson watching day! Although if you don’t like any of these things, I wish you a Happy Christmas anyway…all the more for me! JANE X”

 

9781781892176Sally santa photoSally Malcolm: “Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, and a New Yearfull of adventure!”

 

 

Alison May - Santa!9781781892947Alison May: “May your festive season be joyful and filled with books, chocolate and all good things. Happy Christmas one and all.”

 

 

Emma - There's No Turning BackLinda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore: “Happy Christmas to you all. I hope you will have a wonderful time, spending Christmas in whichever way you choose. I also hope there will  be a little window of time to curl up with a Choc Lit novel – or two – somewhere warm with a glass of something festive.”

Lynda Stacey Santa photoLynda Stacey: ”May your Christmas sparkle with happiness, surprises and above all else, good health. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2016  xx”

 

 

DANCE UNTIL DAWNBerni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens: “Wishing everyone a Perfectly Paranormal Christmas and a peaceful New Year! Happy reading! Love Berni xxx”

 

Follow a StarChristine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell: Nadolig Llawen! Merry Christmas one and all. Here’s wishing you everything you would wish for yourself.”

 

Romancing the SoulSarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter: “Merry Xmas and a fabulous 2016 to you all!”

 

 

Never Marry a Politician!Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Waights: “Wishing all Choc Lit readers a fabulous Christmas and as much romance and chocolate as you can handle in the year to come.”

 

Out of Sight Out of Mind

Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham: “Happy Christmas – Nadolig Llawen – and health, happiness and lots of good books for everyone in 2016.”

 

Nick santa photo

Nicky Wells:  ”Frohe Weihnachten und ein Gutes Neues! ~That’s “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” in my native German, and I’d like to wish you both of those with all myheart. May your Christmas sparkle and may your 2016 be filled with love, laughter and happiness. Xx”

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL! 

Merry Christmas from the Choc Lit Santa Clauses!

Merry Christmas from Team Choc Lit!

Wishing all the readers, reviewers, Tasting panel members and bloggers who have supported us this year a very Merry Christmas! We look forward to sharing our 2015 releases with you all soon :) In the meantime, here are some festive messages from some of the Choc Lit Santa clauses alongside a reminder of some of those beautiful 2014 covers …

Doctor January by Rhoda BaxterSanta - Rhoda BaxterRhoda Baxter:
“Have a wonderful Christmas with lots of chocolate. May 2015 be full of laughter and more chocolate.”

 

Zana Bell - Santa!

Fool's Gold

Zana Bell:
“Sending a virtual splash of Kiwi sunshine and ice cream Christmas pudding to all our readers.”

 

S&S_thumbnail 150 x 240

Angela Britnell - Santa!Angela Britnell:
“Merry Christmas from Nashville! I hope everyone’s Christmas stockings are full of great Choc-Lit books and plenty of good chocolate.”

Sheryl Browne Santa!Sheryl Browne:
“Christmas, the perfect time to curl up with mulled wine and Choc Lit. Have a lovely Christmas everyone. I hope all your dreams and wishes come true.”


You Think You Know MeClare Chase - Santa!Clare Chase:
“Wishing you a warm, bright and merry Christmas, and a very happy new year.”

 

An Irish Promise

Liv Thomas - Isabella Connor - Santa!Valerie Olteanu  - Isabeall Connor - SantaIsabella Connor (Liv & Val): Nollaig shona dhaoibh. “Wishing all Choc Lit readers and their families, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy 2015.

 

Monsoon Mists

Christina Courtenay - Santa!Christina Courtenay:
God Jul – I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a fabulous New Year!  Hope you have lots of time over the holidays to relax and read!”


Some Veil Did FallKirsty Ferry - Santa!Kirsty Ferry:
“Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year. And eat lots of chocolate, obviously! Love from Kirsty xxx”

 

Do Opposites Attract by Kathryn Freeman Kathryn Freeman - Santa!Kathryn Freeman:
“I hope Father Christmas brings all our lovely readers a sack full of books – and a stocking full of chocolate. Happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2015.”

Flight to Coorah Creek

Janet Gover - Santa!Janet Gover: “I hope your Christmas is filled with the people you care most about. And that all the presents under your tree are book shaped (except for the ones that are the shape of chocolate or possibly Champagne.)”

The Highwayman's Daughter

Henriette Gyland - Santa!Henriette Gyland:
God Jul og Godt Nytår, which is the traditional Christmas greeting in Denmark where I come from!

 


Liz Harris - Santa!A Western HeartLiz Harris:
Wishing you everything for 2015 that you wish for yourself.  May it be a year filled with health, happiness, chocolate and, of course, books!!”


The Wedding Cake TreeMelanie Hudson - Santa!Melanie Hudson:

“Merry Christmas!”

 

 

Cross Stitch

Amanda James:Amanda James - Santa!
“Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year!  Here’s to a 2015 full of great stories.”

 

Follow Me Follow YouLaura E James - Santa!Laura E.James:
“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015, filled with love, laughter and literature.”

 

Magic Sometimes Happens

Margaret James - Santa!Margaret James:
“A very happy Christmas to everyone. May magic often happen and 2015 be good to you all in every way.”


Impossible ThingsKate Johnson Santa!Kate Johnson:
“The weather outside is frightful, but our books are so delightful! Here’s wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.”


Dangerous DecisionsMargaret Kaine - Santa!Margaret Kaine:
“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, with lots of books under the tree and even some time to read one! Enjoy!”

 

How I Wonder What You Are

Jane Lovering - Santa!Jane Lovering:
So many books, so little time! Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas.”

 

Cora's Christmas KissAlison May - Santa!Alison May:
“Happy Christmas. I hope your festive season is filled with love, chocolate, books and merriment.”

 

Emma - There's No Turning BackLinda Mitchelmore - Santa!Linda Mitchelmore:
“Wishing all my readers – past, present, and future – a wonderful Christmas. May there be love and warmth in your home, food on your table, a glass of something to lift the spirits, joy in your heart, and a quiet corner to sit and read a good novel.”

The Wedding Proposal

Sue Moorcroft - Santa!Sue Moorcroft:
“I hope that you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas … with time to read!”

 

DANCE UNTIL DAWNBerni Stevens - Santa!Berni Stevens:
“Wishing you all a magical Christmas and a wonderful 2015. Happy reading!”

 

Follow a StarChristine Stovell - Santa!Christine Stovell:
Nadolig Llawen!  Merry Christmas from west Wales!”

 

Romancing the SoulSarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Tranter:
“Have the most wonderful Xmas and may your 2015 be chock-a-full of happiness.”

 

Never Marry a Politician!Sarah Tranter - Santa!Sarah Waights: “2014 will always have happy memories as ‘the year I published my first novel’ thanks to the lovely Choc Lit readers’ panel who were kind enough to like it.  I hope that all you Choc Lit readers have had an equally brilliant year, that Santa brings you everything on your list and that you have a happy 2015 with LOTS of reading and LOTS of chocolate. X”

Out of Sight Out of Mind

Evonne Wareham - Santa!Evonne Wareham:
“I hope everyone manages to find some time over the holiday to curl up with a good book. Happy Christmas!”

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ONE AND ALL! 

All I want for Christmas …

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A festive post with a difference written by our author, Sarah Waights. Have you ever wished that getting what you wanted most in life was as simple as writing to Father Christmas? Emma does … 

Dear Father Christmas,

You don’t mind if I call you ‘Father Christmas’ do you? Tell me if I’m wrong but I’m guessing you’re something of a traditionalist. That said, I appreciate ‘Santa’ has been creeping up the popularity ranks for a while now. It’s all ‘Santa baby’ and ‘I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus’… I appreciate singing ‘Father Christmas is coming to town’ doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. Maybe I’m just a late adopter, but I can’t go with ‘Santa’, I really can’t. For me ‘Santa’ sounds like an item of sanitary protection. It evokes pictures of lithe young women roller-skating in unfeasibly tiny shorts, diving into swimming pools displaying unlikely levels of abdominal muscle perfection, or flying kites on the tops of hills, all whilst laughing inanely with their girlfriends and exchanging flirty but empowered looks with handsome young men who are looking on admiringly. Why? Because this is apparently what advertising men think women get up to when they’ve got their period … God knows why. I definitely don’t. So, the point is, say the word ‘Santa’ and feminine hygiene is what pops into my mind – as it probably will into yours from now on too. Sorry about that.

Actually, whilst I’m apologising, let me just come straight out and acknowledge the elephant in the room; you will have noticed I’ve not written to you since I was seven. Twenty years, eh?  How time flies … I appreciate, belatedly, you might have assumed it was because you didn’t fully deliver on my expectations that time. Obviously the tiny tears doll which eats yellow gunk and then dirties its nappy when you squeeze it was bang on, and the extensive list of stocking fillers was broadly fulfilled – no complaints – but I do want to make it absolutely clear that there are no hard feelings about you not coming through with the real, live penguin. To be honest, my geographical knowledge as a seven year old was poor (it isn’t much better now) and I simply thought it would be a case of leaning out of your sleigh and grabbing one in passing. I certainly didn’t expect you to go all the way to the South Pole, which you obviously wouldn’t have had time to do. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t ask for a polar bear.

Talking of hindsight, I imagine we need to cover the issue of whether I’ve been naughty or nice. Are we talking just the last year or the whole couple of decades? I’ll assume the latter but, for brevity, we had better stick to edited highlights. So let’s see … I’ve always tried not to be knowingly cruel (but also see below), I’ve been polite and grateful to my mother, apart from the obligatory teenage years obviously, and broadly I think my friends would say I’m a reasonably nice person.

And now for the last year. Well – they say “you hurt the ones you love” don’t they? And I have. I know I have and I am so desperately sorry, (although I suppose it’s not you I should be apologising to). All I can say is I would do anything for things to be simple again, to wind back the clock and be asking for a doll or a new packet of felt tips because I left the lids off the old ones. But that isn’t how life works. So here goes: The reason I am writing to you now, is because I have to ask for just one, final thing, and after that I promise I will never ask ever again. You see, Father Christmas (or, what the hell, ‘Santa’ if you prefer), the only thing I want – not just for Christmas but for ever and ever is James. And if he were to come down my chimney and back into my life I promise I would love him and cherish him and never let him go until death us do part. He could even watch the football. Sometimes. Potentially in return for emptying the dishwasher occasionally. I’m not unreasonable …

Lots of love

Emma xxx

Never Marry a Politician 150 dpi

Find out more about Sarah’s debut novel, Never Marry a Politician:

@SarahWaights

www.sarahwaights.com

Never Marry a Politician is available on Kindle:

Kindle UK  Kindle US

 

Onesie for Christmas by Melanie Hudson

Kneeling on all fours, Janet rested the present from Pete against the tree, reversed under the branches while ChocLit-logoXmasdisentangling the lights from her hair, stood and rubbed her bruised knee caps.  After flopping onto the sofa, she tucked cold feet into the gap between the cushions, and slugged back the last of Santa’s sherry.  Staring blankly at the twinkling tree, she wondered how her life could have gone belly-up so quickly (she also wondered if it was the tears in her eyes that blurred the tree lights, or if she had accidentally bought the kind of lights that were impossible to focus on – they’d go back!).  Padding her left hand round the mahogany side table that was a wedding present in 1989, she found a mince pie (which was placed on the arm of the sofa for later) then found the phone.    

‘Hi, Jan.  What’s up?’

On hearing her sister’s voice, Janet released the sob of a grieving Mafia mother, and dabbed wet lashes with the sleeve of her Monsoon Christmas jumper.

‘Pete’s having an affair…ohhhhh, how could he?  And when we were just about to get a new kitchen!’

Sue – a sensible woman – could not have imagined a more unlikely candidate for a ‘bit of extra’ than Pete.

‘Never.  How do you know?’

‘I’ve just been under the tree, and he’s bought me a – I can hardly bring myself to say it – but he’s bought me a… onesie for Christmas, the swine!’

‘Hmm.  And a onesie is?

Janet blew her nose on a stray tissue her toe had touched down the crack of the sofa.

‘You must have seen them, Sue.  They’ve got them everywhere…Next…M&S…Primark.  A onesie is an all-in-one pyjama suit.’

‘So?’

So, buying me a onesie is his way of saying, ‘Wife of mine, I’m not intending to have hot sex with you ever again!’

Sue tried to find a balance between commiseration and common sense.

‘But accusing him of an affair based on pyjamas…isn’t that a bit of a leap, even for you?’

Janet rallied.  ‘For goodness sake, Sue. I told you last week, all the signs are there.  He’s been closing the screen of the laptop whenever I walk in the room, and the lock on his phone isn’t Pollock1982 anymore, I checked.’

‘Er…pollock?’

‘…his first fish.’

‘Oh.’

‘And then there’s his new clothes (since when has Pete been trendy?), and he’s even had his bloody back waxed, for crying out loud.  So anyway, I followed him…’

‘Oh, no!  How demeaning.  Where to?’

‘The travel agents.’

Sue gasped.  Even the voice of reason found this a step too far.  ‘The travel agents!!  You surely don’t mean the travel agents, where Hard-On Heidi works?’

Janet let out a low guttural wail.  ‘Yeeessss.  And, oh God, Sue, they hugged and kissed on both cheeks…both!’

Sue tried reason again.  ‘That doesn’t necessarily mean…’  But Janet wasn’t listening.

‘It’s all my fault.  I should never have knitted that nativity scene in front of him.  Week after week he had to put up with the relentless click, click, click of the needles – I think the knitted baby Jesus was just a step too far.  Let’s face it, he sees me as…as…as an old woman now.’  Another wail.  ‘And the sex has all but gone.’

‘What?  No sex…ever?’

‘Well, we did try to do it the other day, when he came home in his Santa suit…’

‘Santa suit?  Seriously?’

Janet’s voice softened.  ‘We do this… thing, every year.’

Sue couldn’t help but ask, even though she knew it would be the sexual equivalent of looking at a car crash. ‘What thing?’

‘Every Christmas, Pete opens the front door and shouts up, ‘Ho! Ho! Ho! Does my little elf want to see what Santa’s got in his sack today’… and then I…’  Janet paused,  ‘…well, it doesn’t matter what I do, but this year, I was just about to tie him to the bed with his Santa braces, when he sat up and said, ‘hold on a minute love, I’ve just got to nip downstairs and record Deadliest Catch’.’

Sue swallowed a laugh. ‘Oh no, how humiliating.’

‘But it gets worse.  The daft arse still had his welly boots on and his Santa trousers round his ankles, so he hopped off like a randy bloody penguin, then tripped over his trousers and fell down the stairs.’

‘What did you do?’

‘Dabbed the blood with his beard, went to casualty to get his head stitched (we told that staff we were doing the grotto at the garden centre) and then stopped off at B&Q on the way back – the sale’s started and he wanted to get the grout for the bathroom.  And that was that, no sex.  It’s obvious, he’s leaving me…’

The front door banged.  Janet took another deep sniff and dabbed her eyes again.

‘He’s back.  I’m going to confront him.  Phone you later.’

 

Two hours later, Sue’s phone rang.

‘Hi, Jan.  Dare I ask what happened?’

‘Happened?  What do you mean?  Oh, the affair…I got it wrong.  Poor Pete.  When I said I wanted something sparkly and magical for Christmas, you’ll never guess what he did…’

Relieved (but not surprised) that her sister’s latest crisis had been averted, Sue started flicking through the TV channels to see if she could find a re-run of Cadfael.

‘No idea.’

‘Go on,’ Janet pressed, ‘I bet you can’t guess.’

Sue tried to hide her indifference.  ‘Er, a ring?  A necklace?’

‘No!  He’s only gone and booked us on a trip to Norway to see the northern lights!  The tickets were in the sleeve of the onesie.  Ok, he’s going to spend the day ice fishing, but still, how amazing is that?  I would have phoned you back earlier, but we’ve just had sex.’

Sue smiled.

‘And the onesie?  Have you told him to take it back?’

‘God, no.  I’m wearing it now – ever so toasty.  And Pete loves it, especially when I do this elf-type thing where I unzip…’

‘Happy Christmas, Janet.’

‘Oh, and to you, Sue.’

 

Merry Christmas!

Mel

xxx

 

 

 

 

Sarah’s Wednesday W – W is for Wild

It’s pretty wild in our house at the moment. Not unusual ― but with two boys who both still believe in Father Christmas, things are getting wilder by the millisecond. I know from years gone by, there’s no hope of effective taming until they’ve unleashed their full feral forces on parcels and wrapping on the big day itself.

The build-up starts early with my two. On the first day back to school after the summer holidays, I was informed that winter would soon be here. Followed by the question that has sounded each morning school-run since: ‘How many days until Christmas, mummy?’ It’s not therefore surprising, that by the time they reach December, they have driven themselves into a wild frenzy of excitement.

Everything is that much more extreme with my two in December. Domestication goes out the window. They seem to have lost any taming I may have managed. It is back to basics. They seem to be driven by their raw child. By base instinct. And the same goes for their maleness. My boys are boy-boys year round. Nothing I have attempted to do or instil has helped on that front. Probably quite the opposite. But when it comes to December, they reach whole new levels of innate boy-boyness. There are more and more pranks. More and more dares and daring activities. More and more … stupidity. And of course, more and more fights. And the ferocity of those fights reaches whole new levels.

Whilst my attempts at taming are generally unsuccessful, it doesn’t stop me trying. Although I can say with conviction, that to see a true wild boy-boy child ― shout up the chimney to tell Father Christmas that said wild boy-boy child should be added to the naughty list. The reaction that unleashed had me thinking of tranquillizer darts.

But do you know? I will treasure the wildness this year. This is most probably the last December I will experience in which both my boys believe in Father Christmas. The last year they will write their letters to him and then jump up and down in excitement as they watch mummy and daddy post them up the chimney to magically wing there way to the North Pole ― or heaven. According to my boys, Father Christmas divides his time between those two locations. The last year, that on Christmas morning, they will stare in awe at the snowy footprints Father Christmas has left upon the hearth. Next year, I will no doubt find myself answering my eldest’s questions and explaining all about the ledge inside the chimney that accommodates letters so well. And about the sprinkled icing sugar around a pair of daddy’s wellington boots.

When you look at it that way, there’s a lot to be said for wildness. In fact ― bring it on! Happy December everyone. May it be wild and magical!

I leave you with a picture of the man himself. Don’t you think Father Christmas is just everywhere this time of year?  And he does have a beard … and eyes. And I could say something about base instincts here and the ability to turn one wild. But won’t :)

It IS a Wednesday :)

It IS a Wednesday :)