my blog. Christine writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and, to
her great delight, she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both
coasts—and has even won a couple of them.
In 2012 one of her screenplays was featured as a staged reading in http://www.gsiff.com/content/staged-screenplay-reading-1),
and later that same year she signed her first publishing contract. When she is
not writing, she is teaching kindergarten, puttering around in her garden,
ballroom dancing with her husband, or doing research for her next project. Today I am pleased to feature Christine’s
holiday novellas with an excerpt from the first… a little icing on the cake as
it were, to keep with her sweet theme.
Bakery, three very different women bake up delectable treats and find romance
with some unexpected but equally delectable men—and just in time for the
Rafferty again, but when she spots the former bully of
her childhood years
through her bakery window, she thinks she may just have been given the best
Christmas gift ever: the opportunity to
finally give Ian the comeuppance he deserves.
thing, because before she can make good on her plans, Trish gets inadvertently
drawn into Ian’s life in an unexpected way that lets her see just how different
the man is from the boy he used to be.
In fact, much to her astonishment, she actually starts to like the guy.
it to him is going to be a little difficult now—which is bad news, because
Trish is starting to realize that all she really wants for Christmas this year…is
know about men and dating, which seems to be
why little old Mrs. Beasley
maneuvers her into taking unsuspecting and bookish accountant Benji Garner
under her wing. Her mission? Shape him up for the opposite sex, preferably
in time for New Year’s Eve.
but Nadia discovers that Benji’s got a charm all his own, and she finds herself
avoiding her usual social scene in favor of time spent with him—all in the name
of mentoring him, of course.
mentoring and more like something else—which could present a problem, because
just as Nadia begins to realize she didn’t know quite as much about men as she
thought, other women are starting to notice her unlikely protégé.
dodging the dull and downright tiresome dates the
older woman keeps trying to arrange for her.
So when she notices her beloved Gran preening in the presence of a
distinguished elderly gentleman who’s been visiting their apartment building,
Aimee is delighted at the prospect of turning the tables on her.
in time for Valentine’s Day hit a snag when Aimee realizes he’s the uncle of
their downstairs neighbor, a stodgy thirty-something history professor named
Doyle with whom she butts heads on a regular basis. She’ll need to find a way to make nice and
enlist his help, or her plan to see her long-widowed Gran happily matched again
will never work.
her cranky downstairs neighbor has a softer side she never suspected
not have gotten a fair shake…
was probably inviting the worst kind of karma to be contemplating murder during
the holiday season of all times, but that didn’t faze Trish Ackerly in the
slightest as she stared through her bakery’s storefront window in shock.
Ian Rafferty, bane of her junior high school existence. She’d know that
face anywhere, despite the changes in it. Sure, he was a couple of feet
taller now and certainly broader shouldered, but as he glanced away from the
winter scene she had painted on the window only yesterday and at a passing car
that whizzed by much too fast on the busy city street, the profile he
presented to her confirmed it. Yes, it was him. That same
nose, the odd little scar above his eye, the familiar way he quirked his lips…
Ian Rafferty. That miserable, mean-spirited little—
back to the window, and Trish gasped and dropped to the floor before he could
spot her staring at him.
doing?” came Nadia’s voice from behind the counter.
tall metal trash can and glanced up through her dark bangs at her startled
friend and business partner only to remember belatedly that they had company in
the shop, namely wizened little Mrs. Beasley, whose startled eyes blinked at
her from behind enormous tortoise-shell spectacles.
help for it now. “That guy,” Trish hissed, jerking one thumb in the direction
of the window. “I know him!”
Beasley peered intently through the glass. “Mmm,” said Nadia
appreciatively a moment later. “Lucky you, girlfriend.”
That guy made my life a living hell in junior high. He’s a jerk, he’s a
dear,” Mrs. Beasley interrupted her, with obvious interest in her voice.
Trish shuffled hastily behind the counter on her hands and knees and hunched
into as small and inconspicuous a ball as she could.
“Trish, are you out of your—“
just shush me—“
again, knowing full well that she’d pay for it later, and then she pulled her
head down into her shoulders as much as her anatomy would allow.
jangled cheerfully then, and a gust of cold air heralded Ian Rafferty’s
him brightly, surreptitiously giving Trish’s foot a little dig with one of her
own. “Welcome to Heavenly Bites. What can I get for you?”
great for starters,” came a voice that was deep but soft, and far less
reptilian than Trish expected. She cocked her head slightly to better
catch his words and heard the unmistakable sound of him blowing on his hands
and rubbing them together to warm them. “Cream, no sugar.”
voice continued, and Trish straightened ever so slightly at the mention of her
work. “It’s fantastic. Can I ask who painted it?”
returned, turning her attention to getting the coffee he requested. “My
business partner, Trish.”
where Trish sat scrunched up and did what Trish thought was a very poor job of
suppressing a smirk. “She’s, um, indisposed at the moment. Why do
windows that could use a little holiday cheer. Think she might be
interested in the job?”
brief sideways glance.
Leave me your number, and we’ll find out.” Nadia stepped out of reach
before Trish could smack her leg.
Here’s my card.”
it, Mr.—“ Nadia glanced at the card. “—Rafferty. Here’s your
coffee, and you, sir, have a very nice day.”
jingled again, and Trish cautiously poked her head up long enough to verify
that Ian was indeed gone. She then ignored the fascinated look Mrs.
Beasley was giving her and fixed an icy stare on Nadia. “I’m going to
kill you. How could you do that?”
braids over her shoulder. “Hmph. Shush me in my own shop…”
that guy! I don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
me,” her friend returned, shrugging unapologetically. “And easy on the
Beasley eagerly, one wrinkled hand fluttering over her heart. “No wedding
ring! No woman wants to marry the devil!” Trish sank back down onto
the floor and leaned back heavily against the shelves behind her.
devil,” Nadia corrected her, examining the business card he had handed to
her. “Now he’s ‘Ian Rafferty, Landscape Architect’. And he’s a
paying customer, Trish. Face it, you could use the money.”
so hard up that I’d go crawling to Ian Rafferty for a job.” Trish scowled
and folded her arms across her chest. “I have my dignity, you know.”
get up off the floor and tell me all about your dignity.”
Trish muttered, getting to her feet and snatching the card from Nadia’s
hand. Wadding it up, she tossed it in the direction of the trashcan and
stalked into the bakery’s kitchen.
books at: (What a great gift!)