A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 18: Driven to Distraction (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Cassie Decker

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

 

driven-to-distractionCowboys Wyatt and Brady are competing in a team roping event in Missoula, Montana’s annual Christmas Eve rodeo. Christmas is Wyatt’s favorite time of year and nothing is going to dampen his holiday spirit, not even his surly, no-nonsense roping partner. They’ve only been riding together for a week, but Wyatt has already secretly fallen head-over-boot-heels for Brady, though it’s painfully obvious Brady only has eyes for the rodeo’s grand prize purse.

When Brady is distracted during a crucial moment in the night’s first roping run and nearly disqualifies them, Wyatt is almost certain he is going to be another of Brady’s many rejected partners. Will Wyatt and Brady be able to sort out their differences and work together to win the grand prize? Maybe if Wyatt can show Brady that Christmas really is a time for miracles.

Drive to Distraction is more PWP than a holiday story.  There’s little depth to the storyline and less to the characterizations.  Both  seem more like an afterthought to the sex scenes which are plentiful but make little sense given their location (in the middle of a high stakes rodeo) or the reality of their situation with no thought to all the people that constantly are milling around a true rodeo or the homophobia that still is very much in existence on the scene.

Nothing in the story either makes me want to connect to the characters or their relationship.  One of the few stories I’ve read so far that I would give a pass to.

Cover by Paul Richmond.  Best thing about this.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 23 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635331806
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

An Alisa New Release Review: A Christmas for Oscar by ​Alex Whitehall

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

a-christmas-for-oscarOscar has never liked the holidays and all the surrounding rigmarole, but that doesn’t stop his best friend from dragging him along for her Black Friday shopping spree. The only perk of the day is that he meets Nathan while he’s there.

 

With sparkling blue eyes, curly blond hair, and a smile that won’t stop, Nathan is a Christmas elf in the flesh. He even spends his days in a workshop! But Nathan is more than his bright smile, and he may be just the right person for Oscar. Assuming, of course, Oscar doesn’t drive him and his holiday spirit away first.

 

This was a nice story.  Oscar is forced into Black Friday shopping, but  while at Another Store (isn’t that a great name) he meets Nathan it doesn’t seem quite so bad when he is looking into his bright eyes.  He goes back the next day just to try and see him again and they have an impromptu date to get to know each other a bit more.

 

I loved the interactions between Nathan and Oscar as they showed such openness to each other; however Oscar continually held something back until the end.  Oscar has been hurt so much by his childhood that he has a lot of trouble separating how his parents behaved with how others celebrate the holiday.  Nathan is the perfect counterpart to Oscar and even though Nathan grew up in the foster care system he didn’t have a bad childhood and has turned out wonderfully.

 

From the very beginning we can see how uncomfortable Oscar is with anything related to the holidays even if we don’t know the reason until the end of the story.  Seeing him realize how in order to have a lasting and honest relationship with Nathan he will have to do to some compromising and how he works thru it is wonderful.  Both characters were well put together and great for each other.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is beautiful and shows Oscar presenting his gift to Nathan.

 

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 46 pages

Published: December 19, 2016 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 9781945952326

Edition Language: English

Countdown to the Holidays and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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man-walking-down-christmas-lighted-street

Countdown to the Holidays

Tis the season for so many religious holidays.  December is the month that many celebrate the holidays, and not just Christmas.  Here’s a list of just some of the cultural and religious holidays celebrated during the month of December:

 As the countdown to the holidays continues, the race is on as the pace picks up.  Whether its to finish up all our chores at work or at home or both to get ready for the holidays, to get our shopping done, or the baking, the menus updated, or our traveling arrangements completed, all is in a whirr and a blur.  Even the weather is getting into the act.  The news is filled full of arctic forecasts, snow, ice and freezing  temperatures across the nation and countries elsewhere.

What are you rushing to get done?  Or are you already finished your list for the holidays?  Can you settle in with some books, ready to listen or read on your device or turn a page or two?   If so, check out all our new release day reviews and holiday reviews this week.  There are plenty of stories to add to your TBR pile or ones that maybe you just might want to gift to a friend with a gift card.    But before we get to our schedule this week, we have some announcements for you.

free-snowman-clipart-holiday-clip-art-of-a-festive-winter-snowman-decorated-with-colorful-christmas-tree-lights-on-white-by-djart-6340

~Announcements~

 

✒︎As some of you may have noticed or read our blog post, Eric Arvin passed away December 12 after a long illness and being left paralyzed after an operation for his brain tumors. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral and other expenses. If you can donate, please do.

eric-arvin

https://www.gofundme.com/um-a-mothers…

✒︎Winner of Heidi Cullinan’s Santa Baby ebook is Purple Reader.  They have been notified. Thank you to everyone who participated.

 

✒︎We are looking for some new reviewers here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, specifically those interested in reviewing YA or NA stories, and those interested in reviewing lesbian fiction for us.  If you are interested or know of  someone who is, please ask them to contact us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.

writer-605764_640

✒︎You Can Still Vote and Win!

We also have our on-going vote for our wonderful favorite flash fiction.  A random reader who leaves a comment after voting will be chosen to receive a $10 gift card from Dreamspinner Press.  Here again are the stories and their links:

STRW Flash Fiction Stories and Authors

Master’s Work by Tod Heil  

What Is Left Out By R. R. Angell

Consequences by Andrea Speed

THE SMIRK’S UP By Jenny Tate

Christopher by Ross Common

Magpie King by Leslie Plank

What Weighs Us Down by K.S. Trenten

Sad and Silly Humans by K.S. Trenten

[The authors retain the copyrights to their stories.  Stories may not be reprinted or copied without the express permission of the authors.]

Now here’s our poll.

For all the wonderful stories (there’s one extra), visit our Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Flash Fiction 2016 Page.  For the readers who vote: We will gift a $10 DSP gift card to a reader (randomly chosen) who has voted. so readers please leave a comment once you have voted so we can pick someone as well as a email address.  Vote ends on the Winter Solstice, 12/21 at midnight. The author will get the $25 Amazon gift card.

You can only vote for one story, then press vote.

two holly berry branches

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

 holiday-house-swapthe-12-days-of-hipstera-christmas-for-oscardisarming-donner

☃Sunday, December 18:

  • Countdown to the Holidays and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz for A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall
  • An Alisa Review: A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 18: Title Surprise

☃Monday, December 19:

  • Blog Tour and Giveaway – Jingle Spell by Chris Ethan
  • Release Blitz & Giveaway Tour: Bond Of Truth – KC Wells
  • DSP GUEST POST Robert Winter
  • A Free Dreamer Review A Bond of Three & A Bond of Truth by KC Wells
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: The 12 Days of Hipster by Raine O’Tierney
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: Catch and Release by BA Tortuga
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review Day 19: Title Surprise

☃Tuesday, December 20:

  • Book Blitz for Interlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer
  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: No Small Parts by Ally Blue
  • George Seaton on Writing and Whispers of Old Winds
  • A VVivacious Review: Connections Matter by Nicole Dennis
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review Day 20: Title Surprise
  • An Alisa Review: Hangin’ with My Window Man by Carolina Valdez
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)

☃Wednesday, December 21:

  • Book Blitz for Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper
  • DSP GUEST POST J.R. Loveless
  • Release Review Tour – Snow In Montana – RJ Scott
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Disarming Donner by Charlie Cochet
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 21: Title Surprise
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:  Holiday House Swap by Sarah Madison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Love and Snowball Fights by J.R. Loveless

☃Thursday, December 22:

  • Release Blitz  – The Road To Frosty Hollow – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell
  • DSP GUEST POST Tray Ellis on the Love Wins Anthology
  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Jesse’s Christmas by RJ Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #4) by Anne Tenino and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review Day 22: Title Surprise
  • An Alisa Review: One Too Many by Bailey Bradford

☃Friday, December 23:

  • DSP GUEST POST Kris T. Bethke on “His Needs”
  • DSP GUEST POST Lou Sylvre
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Acting Up by John Inman
  • A Lila Review: Galaxy’s Heart by Shawn Lane
  • An Alisa Review: Unlikely Companions by Harold Mason
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 23: Title Surprise

☃Saturday, December 24:

  • Release Blitz – Jacob Cheyenne’s  Hanukkah Gifts
  • A MelanieM Review:Hanukka Gifts by Jacob Cheyenne
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review Day 24: Title Surprise

galaxys-heart-by-shawn-laneunlikely-companionsone-too-many-by-bailey-bradfordlove-and-snowball-fights

In Our Holiday Spotlight: A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Christmas for Oscar

Author: Alex Whitehall

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 19, 2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 20400

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, holiday

Add to Goodreads

AChristimasForOscar-f

Synopsis

Oscar has never liked the holidays and all the surrounding rigmarole, but that doesn’t stop his best friend from dragging him along for her Black Friday shopping spree. The only perk of the day is that he meets Nathan while he’s there.

With sparkling blue eyes, curly blond hair, and a smile that won’t stop, Nathan is a Christmas elf in the flesh. He even spends his days in a workshop! But Nathan is more than his bright smile, and he may be just the right person for Oscar. Assuming, of course, Oscar doesn’t drive him and his holiday spirit away first.

Excerpt

Alex Whitehall © 2016
All Rights Reserved

“Come on, Oscar, don’t be such a grouch.”

He glared at Marie. “That is so original.”

She shrugged, merry as ever.

He grumbled as they were forced to swerve around another mother with two shopping carts. “If you didn’t want me grumpy, then maybe you shouldn’t have dragged me out shopping on Black Friday.”

“You’re my best friend—”

“Which means you shouldn’t torture me like this.”

“Who else am I going to take?”

“Your mother?”

Eye roll.

“Your sister-in-law?”

Eye roll.

“Cindy?”

“I love the girl, but she doesn’t really know my family. And she can’t spot a sale to save her life.”

“I can’t spot sales!”

“But you know my family. Oh! I wanna hit this one.”

He sighed as he was dragged—yes, dragged—into Another Store. Under his breath, he muttered, “You could go alone.”

She continued on, oblivious. Or at least very good at faking it. He hoped this earned him some major points.

“What do you think of this?” She held up a cashmere-blend sweater in baby blue.

“For who?”

Her lips puckered in moue. “Me.”

“I thought we were shopping for your friends and family.” He mock glared. Well, mostly mock.

Marie flapped her hand at him. “Just tell me.”

He sighed and glanced over to the picked-through selection. “It’s gorgeous, but is it even in your size?”

She bounced—like she hadn’t even considered that, somehow—and twirled back to the rack, furiously searching through the remaining sweaters. She chirped and pulled out a much larger size in what Oscar could only call puce, folded it over her arm, and returned to the baby-blue ones. “I’ll have to ask if they have more in the bac— Oh my god, look at that sale!” She tossed the blue sweater to him. “Can you find a salesperson, and ask if they have a small? I need to be over there!”

And she was gone. Which left him with two options: say no and be a horrible friend, or say yes and tear through the crowds to find an overworked, overstressed salesperson. Joy.

With a sigh, he searched for someone in the store’s dress-coded uniform, and wasn’t sure if it was a blessing or a curse when he spotted the cute guy smiling winsomely, surrounded by a mob of people. The most attractive thing was that his mob was smaller than the mob surrounding all the other salespeople.

Gritting his teeth, he clenched the sweater and elbowed his way over through arguing women, grumbling men, and a few screaming children. And that was only across six feet.

When he finally arrived at his destination, he noticed his salesperson was six inches shorter than him, with curly blond hair, and wearing an elf hat. He had shimmering blue eyes and apple-round cheeks. He couldn’t possibly be real.

The bright-blue eyes flashed up to Oscar with a literal sparkle in his eye, although that had to be the overhead lights. “Hello! How can I help you?”

Despite his elfish appearance, the dude’s voice wasn’t high-pitched. In fact, to keep with the ridiculous metaphor developing in Oscar’s mind, it was more like caramel or hot chocolate. It was almost enough to make him forget where he was.

And then some jackass elbowed him in the back, hard, and he was shoved forward. He growled and pushed back, not taking his eyes off his little elf helper. “Hi. I was wondering if you have more sizes of this in the back? I need a small.” He held up the sweater in question.

The little elf’s lips puckered in thought. “I can check, sir, but I think what we have out is all we have. Wait right here.”

He was gone in a flash, and Oscar was left standing there, blinking at the space where the man had been.

“Ex-scuse me,” a woman lashed out. “Can we not stand in the middle of the aisle, puh-lease?”

He heaved a sigh and stepped back—the six inches he could—to let the woman pass. She scrunched her nose at him and hurried on to the next big sale. Restraining another sigh, he wished he could close his eyes and sink into the floor, or vanish, or at least run the hell out of here. But no, he waited, like a good friend, for the salesperson to return. And it seemed to be taking forever, but he was sure that was his imagination—and frustration—playing tricks on him.

Glancing around, he checked on where Marie was, because today he wouldn’t put it past her to leave without him or the sweater, and found her almost swallowed up in the jewelry section. He nodded and looked back to where his elf had been, only to find his helper had reappeared, cheeks rosier, curls somehow unrulier, and elf hat slightly crooked.

“Good news! There was one small tucked behind another bunch.” He held up a slightly rumpled blue sweater. “Looks like it may have gotten missed when the stock was brought out. It doesn’t look damaged or anything, but feel free to inspect it and let me know…”

The guy trailed off, probably because Oscar was staring at his hat. It shouldn’t have been humanly possible for a disheveled hat to make him that much cuter. But it did. Oscar slung the sweater he was still holding over his shoulder, reached out, righted the salesperson’s hat, and then tucked a particularly rebellious curl under the rim. There. He smiled. Much better.

“Uh, sir?” the guy asked, not quite squeaking, but definitely breathily.

Oscar’s eyes shot down to meet those sparkling blues. “Oh! Sorry. It was… You must have knocked it when you were getting the sweater. So I… It was only right that I help. Thank you. For the sweater.”

Certainly not for the pounding of his heart. He held out his hand for the top.

The elf’s uncertain, wide eyes scrunched up with his grin. “Thank you for fixing it.”

He really had the bluest eyes. It seemed like they would have to be contacts, but Oscar didn’t think even a company could manufacture that pure a blue.

“Ex-scuse me!”

Oh hell, it was the woman from before. Oscar couldn’t move much and was about to tell the woman she could probably go around, but the little elf flashed a customer’s-always-right expression and glided over, clearing the aisle and putting not much between them but the sweater.

Oscar’s breath caught. The little elf beamed up at him.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today, sir?”

Oscar had some ideas. Some very dirty ideas, actually. But then the elf blinked, casting a glance at the chaos surrounding them, and Oscar remembered now wasn’t a good time to be hitting on a salesperson.

And that he was waist-deep in Black Friday. He groaned and slid his fingers around the small sweater, gently taking it.

“I think this will be all. Thank you very much,” he murmured—well, as much as he could murmur and still be heard in this mess.

The elf’s smile widened—if that was possible, and somehow it was—and his eyebrows lifted with the excitement strewn across his face. “Well, I hope you have a good day. And I really hope you come back again sometime.”

Then, just like that, Oscar’s helpful little elf was swallowed up by the crowd.

The cheerful good-bye was probably a standard store requirement, Oscar told himself as he turned to hunt down Marie. It almost certainly wasn’t to entice him to return just to see his elf again. The guy probably wasn’t interested.

Oscar sighed. Though his eyes had seemed to light up when they’d been pressed together. And he hadn’t minded Oscar taking certain privileges with his hat. And he had been so very helpful. Which, yeah, it was his job, but…

A tiny tot ran into his shin, the mother glared at him, probably for standing in space that her child wanted to occupy. When he looked around, he realized he’d lost where Marie was.

“Goddamn it!”

Several glares were shot his way. He didn’t care, though.

“Did you find someone?” popped Marie’s voice from behind him.

He spun around, clenching both sweaters to his chest. “Jesus!”

“You found one!”

“Yes, I found one,” he snapped, shoving the smaller size at her. When his hand was free, he began searching out the original location, but even with his height advantage, the store was a swirl of bodies and colors. He glared at Marie. “And you can put the other one back.”

She pouted. “But you’re supposed to be helping me—” She clicked her jaw shut at his glare. “I mean, you found one in my size, so thank you so much! Let’s go return this one to the rack.”

She led the deceptively easy way back to the sweaters and hung it up. “Okay, with that done, let’s get on with the day.”

He groaned, knowing that the best part of the day had already walked away.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious afternoons laughing with friends.

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerges from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, searching the Internet for more books to read, and tending after their aloe plant Cornwall. That’s a lie; the single plant has become an entire forest.

Pronouns: they/them

Website | Twitter |
Goodreads
| eMail | Tumblr

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In the Holiday Spotlight: A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall

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a-christmas-for-oscar

A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall
N
ineStar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Available for Purchase at

NineStar Press

NineStarLogoFinal

9fbbd-goodreads-button

 

 

 

 

Blurb

Oscar has never liked the holidays and all the surrounding rigmarole, but that doesn’t stop his best friend from dragging him along for her Black Friday shopping spree. The only perk of the day is that he meets Nathan while he’s there.

With sparkling blue eyes, curly blond hair, and a smile that won’t stop, Nathan is a Christmas elf in the flesh. He even spends his days in a workshop! But Nathan is more than his bright smile, and he may be just the right person for Oscar. Assuming, of course, Oscar doesn’t drive him and his holiday spirit away first.

Excerpt

Alex Whitehall © 2016
All Rights Reserved

“Come on, Oscar, don’t be such a grouch.”

He glared at Marie. “That is so original.”

She shrugged, merry as ever.

He grumbled as they were forced to swerve around another mother with two shopping carts. “If you didn’t want me grumpy, then maybe you shouldn’t have dragged me out shopping on Black Friday.”

“You’re my best friend—”

“Which means you shouldn’t torture me like this.”

“Who else am I going to take?”

“Your mother?”

Eye roll.

“Your sister-in-law?”

Eye roll.

“Cindy?”

“I love the girl, but she doesn’t really know my family. And she can’t spot a sale to save her life.”

“I can’t spot sales!”

“But you know my family. Oh! I wanna hit this one.”

He sighed as he was dragged—yes, dragged—into Another Store. Under his breath, he muttered, “You could go alone.”

She continued on, oblivious. Or at least very good at faking it. He hoped this earned him some major points.

“What do you think of this?” She held up a cashmere-blend sweater in baby blue.

“For who?”

Her lips puckered in moue. “Me.”

“I thought we were shopping for your friends and family.” He mock glared. Well, mostly mock.

Marie flapped her hand at him. “Just tell me.”

He sighed and glanced over to the picked-through selection. “It’s gorgeous, but is it even in your size?”

She bounced—like she hadn’t even considered that, somehow—and twirled back to the rack, furiously searching through the remaining sweaters. She chirped and pulled out a much larger size in what Oscar could only call puce, folded it over her arm, and returned to the baby-blue ones. “I’ll have to ask if they have more in the bac— Oh my god, look at that sale!” She tossed the blue sweater to him. “Can you find a salesperson, and ask if they have a small? I need to be over there!”

And she was gone. Which left him with two options: say no and be a horrible friend, or say yes and tear through the crowds to find an overworked, overstressed salesperson. Joy.

With a sigh, he searched for someone in the store’s dress-coded uniform, and wasn’t sure if it was a blessing or a curse when he spotted the cute guy smiling winsomely, surrounded by a mob of people. The most attractive thing was that his mob was smaller than the mob surrounding all the other salespeople.

Gritting his teeth, he clenched the sweater and elbowed his way over through arguing women, grumbling men, and a few screaming children. And that was only across six feet.

When he finally arrived at his destination, he noticed his salesperson was six inches shorter than him, with curly blond hair, and wearing an elf hat. He had shimmering blue eyes and apple-round cheeks. He couldn’t possibly be real.

The bright-blue eyes flashed up to Oscar with a literal sparkle in his eye, although that had to be the overhead lights. “Hello! How can I help you?”

Despite his elfish appearance, the dude’s voice wasn’t high-pitched. In fact, to keep with the ridiculous metaphor developing in Oscar’s mind, it was more like caramel or hot chocolate. It was almost enough to make him forget where he was.

And then some jackass elbowed him in the back, hard, and he was shoved forward. He growled and pushed back, not taking his eyes off his little elf helper. “Hi. I was wondering if you have more sizes of this in the back? I need a small.” He held up the sweater in question.

The little elf’s lips puckered in thought. “I can check, sir, but I think what we have out is all we have. Wait right here.”

He was gone in a flash, and Oscar was left standing there, blinking at the space where the man had been.

“Ex-scuse me,” a woman lashed out. “Can we not stand in the middle of the aisle, puh-lease?”

He heaved a sigh and stepped back—the six inches he could—to let the woman pass. She scrunched her nose at him and hurried on to the next big sale. Restraining another sigh, he wished he could close his eyes and sink into the floor, or vanish, or at least run the hell out of here. But no, he waited, like a good friend, for the salesperson to return. And it seemed to be taking forever, but he was sure that was his imagination—and frustration—playing tricks on him.

Glancing around, he checked on where Marie was, because today he wouldn’t put it past her to leave without him or the sweater, and found her almost swallowed up in the jewelry section. He nodded and looked back to where his elf had been, only to find his helper had reappeared, cheeks rosier, curls somehow unrulier, and elf hat slightly crooked.

“Good news! There was one small tucked behind another bunch.” He held up a slightly rumpled blue sweater. “Looks like it may have gotten missed when the stock was brought out. It doesn’t look damaged or anything, but feel free to inspect it and let me know…”

The guy trailed off, probably because Oscar was staring at his hat. It shouldn’t have been humanly possible for a disheveled hat to make him that much cuter. But it did. Oscar slung the sweater he was still holding over his shoulder, reached out, righted the salesperson’s hat, and then tucked a particularly rebellious curl under the rim. There. He smiled. Much better.

“Uh, sir?” the guy asked, not quite squeaking, but definitely breathily.

Oscar’s eyes shot down to meet those sparkling blues. “Oh! Sorry. It was… You must have knocked it when you were getting the sweater. So I… It was only right that I help. Thank you. For the sweater.”

Certainly not for the pounding of his heart. He held out his hand for the top.

The elf’s uncertain, wide eyes scrunched up with his grin. “Thank you for fixing it.”

He really had the bluest eyes. It seemed like they would have to be contacts, but Oscar didn’t think even a company could manufacture that pure a blue.

“Ex-scuse me!”

Oh hell, it was the woman from before. Oscar couldn’t move much and was about to tell the woman she could probably go around, but the little elf flashed a customer’s-always-right expression and glided over, clearing the aisle and putting not much between them but the sweater.

Oscar’s breath caught. The little elf beamed up at him.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today, sir?”

Oscar had some ideas. Some very dirty ideas, actually. But then the elf blinked, casting a glance at the chaos surrounding them, and Oscar remembered now wasn’t a good time to be hitting on a salesperson.

And that he was waist-deep in Black Friday. He groaned and slid his fingers around the small sweater, gently taking it.

“I think this will be all. Thank you very much,” he murmured—well, as much as he could murmur and still be heard in this mess.

The elf’s smile widened—if that was possible, and somehow it was—and his eyebrows lifted with the excitement strewn across his face. “Well, I hope you have a good day. And I really hope you come back again sometime.”

Then, just like that, Oscar’s helpful little elf was swallowed up by the crowd.

The cheerful good-bye was probably a standard store requirement, Oscar told himself as he turned to hunt down Marie. It almost certainly wasn’t to entice him to return just to see his elf again. The guy probably wasn’t interested.

Oscar sighed. Though his eyes had seemed to light up when they’d been pressed together. And he hadn’t minded Oscar taking certain privileges with his hat. And he had been so very helpful. Which, yeah, it was his job, but…

A tiny tot ran into his shin, the mother glared at him, probably for standing in space that her child wanted to occupy. When he looked around, he realized he’d lost where Marie was.

“Goddamn it!”

Several glares were shot his way. He didn’t care, though.

“Did you find someone?” popped Marie’s voice from behind him.

He spun around, clenching both sweaters to his chest. “Jesus!”

“You found one!”

“Yes, I found one,” he snapped, shoving the smaller size at her. When his hand was free, he began searching out the original location, but even with his height advantage, the store was a swirl of bodies and colors. He glared at Marie. “And you can put the other one back.”

She pouted. “But you’re supposed to be helping me—” She clicked her jaw shut at his glare. “I mean, you found one in my size, so thank you so much! Let’s go return this one to the rack.”

She led the deceptively easy way back to the sweaters and hung it up. “Okay, with that done, let’s get on with the day.”

He groaned, knowing that the best part of the day had already walked away.

 

About the Author

If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious afternoons laughing with friends.

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerges from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, searching the Internet for more books to read, and tending after their aloe plant Cornwall. That’s a lie; the single plant has become an entire forest.

Contacts:

AlexDWhitehall@gmail.com

Website

Twitter

http://www.alexwhitehall.tumblr.com/

 

Giveaway

NineStar Press is offering a free ebook from their website to one lucky reader leaving an comment with their email address on the post.  Giveaway closes January 1st at midnight.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.