I’ll be honest, Christmas is something I’m perfectly happy to have happen once a year. I love the Christmas season. I love decorating the house and playing the music. But when the New Year has come and gone, I’m ready to take everything down and get back to normal. So the Christmas in July thing has never really been a must-do for me.
But I have some friends who are gaga over Christmas. They’d leave their tree up year round if they could get away with it. They listen to Christmas music in their bluetooth earpiece at work. If they get to choose a movie to watch, it’s even odds that it’ll be something Christmasy.
I think my husband falls somewhere in-between those two extremes. He enjoys Christmas–and he usually lobbies to start decorating just a little bit earlier each year (I’m firm though, nothing goes up until after Thanksgiving. We can start the day after, that’s fine, but Thanksgiving has to have its day. This past year, we did actually dig things up in the afternoon of Thanksgiving. But that is absolutely the earliest I’m going to go.) And he’s the one dragging his feet when it’s time to pack everything away once more, usually angling for just one more day of lights and cheer.
What’s good, however, is that I recognize that not everyone is as cut and dry on the Christmas thing as me, and so I thought hey, why not, I have a Christmas novella, why not let the people get a deal if it’s what they want. And thus it came to pass (see, good Christmas language there), that I have set my novella, Operation Mistletoe, free for this week (ends July 22.)
Operation Mistletoe is the first in my Operation Romance series. I just released book three (Operation Fireworks) a couple of weeks ago, and book four, the last book, will be out mid-September as part of a box set. So if you’re in the mood for a Christmas book to break the July heat and get you in a cooler frame of mind, or if you’re on the part of the globe where it currently is snowy and cold and you’re looking for something that might make winter a little more fun if you’re used to summer Christmases, then I hope you’ll hop on over to Amazon and grab a copy.
What is Operation Mistletoe about? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Here’s the back cover:
Victoria Spencer hates Christmas.
For the last ten years, disaster has struck on Christmas Eve, leaving Tori dreading the holidays. When she’s assigned to cover the light displays for her newspaper, she’s determined to spend as little time on the article as possible. Especially once she realizes she’s to feature frat boy Gabe “The Babe” Robertson, her former college crush.
Gabe Robertson is a different man than he was in college. Every December, he transforms his acreage into a winter wonderland designed to celebrate the birth of Christ and share God’s love with the community. He also uses the lights to raise money for Operation Mistletoe, an organization that sends Christmas to troops stationed overseas.
Unable to set aside her prejudice, Tori looks for ulterior motives in Gabe’s actions and determines to dig deeper. Will her investigations destroy any chance of a Merry Christmas?
Caught your interest? How about a little excerpt, just for fun.
Tori let her gaze roam. Anything to avoid focusing on the fact that Gabe had only gotten better looking as he’d aged. He’d worked out in college like the rest of the frat boys. But now? He was chiseled. Not even the flannel shirt he wore unbuttoned over his thermal Henley could hide that. He wore his black hair close-cropped now, almost a military style. It suited him, just like the floppier, devil-may-care haircut of college had. Was it possible for him to look bad? She followed him through the casual-yet-elegant living room into the state-of-the-art kitchen. Did he cook? He must, or why would he have this kind of setup? The house was old enough that a kitchen like this had been put in recently. Maybe the previous owners? The party-boy she’d crushed on in college had never indicated any sort of prowess with pots and pans.
Gabe pulled a chair out from the octagonal pine table nestled in a bay window. “Cream and sugar?”
“Just black is fine.” She shrugged out of her coat, sat, and pulled a small voice recorder out of her purse. “You don’t mind if I record this? It makes doing the story easier.”
He shrugged, glancing over as he poured coffee from a French press. “Sure, that’s fine.”
Tori watched him, his casual, easy manner sending a familiar frisson through her. Did he recognize her? He didn’t give any indication that he did. They hadn’t been friends, though they’d shared a few general education classes and had pleasant conversations when he hadn’t been surrounded by his frat buddies. Not the time for those sorts of thoughts. She sipped the coffee he set in front of her and smiled. “That’s good.”
“You sound surprised.” He leaned back in his chair and lifted his own mug to his lips.
“I guess I am. The military isn’t known for their coffee. From the background info my editor gave me, you spend a lot of time overseas, working with the troops. I guess I assumed their brewing techniques would rub off.”
He chuckled. “I can probably scare up a dirty sock for you to dip in your cup if you need that experience to round out the interview.”
“No. No, that won’t be necessary.” He’d always had a clever tongue. Though it didn’t seem as sharp now. Was that a change in him or in her? “Why don’t we get started? Why a Christmas light show? Why not just make a donation from your company to Operation Mistletoe?”
Gabe blinked. “Wow. We do, actually, make a donation from the company. But Operation Mistletoe is a fantastic cause, and it’s not one most people know about. So this gives folks a way to participate while enjoying a family outing that they’d probably be taking anyway.”
“And how do you split the proceeds?”
“What do you mean?” Gabe frowned as he leaned forward, bracing his arms on the table.
Tori gestured broadly with one hand. “All those lights, employees, choirs? It has to cost something. Surely you don’t expect people to believe that you aren’t reimbursed for that? And why shouldn’t you be? So how much goes to cover expenses? Is it a percentage? A flat amount?”
“Not a cent.” Gabe pushed back from the table. “But since I can see you don’t believe me, we’re done here. Let me show you out. Don’t forget your coat.”
“There’s no reason to get huffy, Mr. Robertson. If you have nothing to hide, then simply answering the questions…”
The muscles in his jaw bunched, but his lips remained pressed firmly together. His chest rose as he took a deep breath, nostrils flaring as he exhaled. “Have a nice day, Ms. Spencer.”
Fine. She didn’t want to do this story anyway. Tori punched the stop button on her recorder, tucked it back in her purse as she stood, and grabbed her jacket from the back of the chair. “I still don’t…”
Gabe raised one hand and gave one sharp shake of his head. “This way.”
You can download your very own copy of Operation Mistletoe at Amazon (it’s only on Amazon, so if you have another e-reader, you’ll need to grab the Kindle app if you don’t already have it.)
I hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know your feelings on Christmas in July, when decorations and music should start during the actual Christmas season, and how long you leave up the lights when Christmas is over. I always find it fun to see what others like to do.