Today sees the launch of the Pelican Book Group Christmas Extravaganza. And the release of my three offerings. As I promised here’s a look at each book, with a sneak preview and a cast pic for good measure.
OK, having just fought this page for half an hour, trying to get all the photos in the right places and the right order etc, it’s not working. So it’ll be one post for the next three days.
You’d better watch out. You’d better not cry. Santa Claus is going to die.
DCI Boaz Matthias isn’t a Christmas person. He never has been. Not since he discovered the truth when he was seven. Christmas is a lie and a con and nothing is ever going to change his mind. Being given a temporary six week assignment isn’t helping his mood either—as it means Christmas with the family. Only good thing is the accidental meeting of someone he thinks he could grow very fond of.
On the other hand, DC Isabel York on the other hand loves Christmas. So much so that she decorates her desk with lights, tinsel, and a novelty advent calendar. When her boss is called away, his replacement is the last person she’s expecting to see—her fledgling boyfriend.
In the middle of a nasty case, Isabel is nevertheless determined to show Boaz the real meaning of Christmas. Problem is work and pleasure just doesn’t mix—at least not according to him.
What was the matter with him? Had Isabel broken through his defences already? He’d known her less than a week, been speaking to her less than a day, and all he really knew about her was her name.
Once they were seated, steaming plates in front of them, she took a deep breath and bowed her head. Guessing she was saying grace, he reached over and took her hand. Warmth shot through him and it was all he could do not to gasp out loud. Somehow he managed to get his voice to work. “May I say grace for us?”
Her bright smile reached her eyes. “Of course.”
He prayed and then reluctantly released her hand. This so wasn’t him. He was normally in control, did everything methodically, carefully, and deliberately. Yet, his heart was pounding, his stomach spinning, and his emotions running away with themselves.
“Are you OK?”
Her voice brought him back down to Earth. “Yeah, I was just thinking.” He picked up his knife and fork.
Isabel tucked into her meal. “Tell me about your family. You said your brother and family are with your parents.”
“Older brother, Asher, and his wife, Sylvie. They have three children. Jacob and Clara are six, and Tim is five. I’m the youngest of three…” He paused. “My sister died when she was seventeen.”
“How old were you?”
“Seven. They don’t think I remember, but I do.” He swallowed hard, eyes burning. “I’m sorry. Getting all emotional over here.”
Her hand touched his, the same electrical charge as before racing through him.
“Don’t apologise for being human. Even Jesus wept when his friend died.” Her fingers moved slowly. “I’m an orphan. I grew up in a series of foster homes. My adopted gran was killed a few months ago. So this is my first Christmas alone for a long time. Well, I say alone. There’s Zander and Gramps—that’s Zander’s grandfather. We both call him Gramps as it’s easier.”
Boaz managed a smile. “Her name was Marlah. She went out to a party about two weeks before Christmas with her boyfriend. He was several years older than her. Dad didn’t approve, but hoped she’d come to her senses. They were both killed in a car crash. That same year I discovered Father Christmas didn’t actually exist. I found Dad sneaking around filling the stockings. Of course he insisted he was helping out, trying to take my mind off things…” He shrugged. “So there you have it. Christmas, at least the popular version, is a lie and a con.”
“But fun,” she said. “There are the parties and dinners, games evenings with friends, carol singing, skating in the park.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Skating in the park? You’ll be quoting chestnuts roasting on an open fire next.”
She stifled a giggle. “Well, actually, we have skating, chestnuts, and a fun fair. You should check it out before you go home. It opened last weekend.”
“Maybe we could check it out together.”
The rest of the evening passed in a blur of laughter and conversation. If he could capture a moment in a bottle it would be this. The way the lights on the wall behind her glowed and bounced off her hair, the lights to the side sparkled in her eyes. If he knew her a little better, if this wasn’t the first date he’d take a photo. Just to etch the memory further.
She laughed. “You can if you want.”
His cheeks scorched. “Did I say that out loud?”
She inclined her head. “You did. But that’s fine. By all means, take a photo. But I’d better be your lock screen.”