Erin’s Peachy-Keen Christmas by @nfraserauthor is a Christmas Holiday Festival pick #sweetromance
Title: Erin’s Peachy-Keen Christmas
Author: Nancy Fraser
Genre: Sweet Historical (1920’s) Romance
Prohibition Era, Chicago
Caught in a raid at an illegal speakeasy, good girl Erin O'Mara loses everything: her job, her home, and her reputation. Handsome and so out of her league attorney Alexander Harrison, her best friend's brother, rescues her not once, but twice. He bails her out of jail and offers her a job as nanny for his son.
Alex has no intention of falling in love after the death of his wife. But despite his better judgment, he can't help being drawn to Erin's innocence. This Christmas, letting go of the past and embracing the future may be the greatest present of all.
Will parked his car along the side of a dimly lit alleyway. Once they’d left the safety of the auto, he placed both girls’ arms in his and led them toward a solid metal door with a small peephole in the middle. Will rang the bell then tapped on the door twice.
The peephole slid open. “Password?” a gruff voice demanded.
“Pickles and cream,” Will answered back.
There was a slight hesitation and Erin prayed Will had the wrong password and they’d be denied admittance. Much to her disappointment, the door opened. Just past the solid barrier the entranceway was dimly lit and confining.
“Quick, get inside,” the man said.
Will pushed Abby and Erin through the door and followed quickly on their heels. Off in the distance, wild music mixed with shouts and high-pitched squeals of laughter.
Once they reached the main floor of the club, Erin was immediately drawn to the bright lights and thrumming music. Gold-plated trumpets, saxophones, and the occasional clarinet belted out the latest jazz tunes. While it wasn’t the Mozart she was used to, this new musical style was definitely pleasing to the ear.
Will led them in the direction of the long mahogany bar. Nodding to the bartender, he ordered, “Three of your best, with ice for the ladies.”
Not waiting for her drink, Abby tossed her beaded clutch at Erin and threaded through the tables on her way to the opposite side of the room.
Erin placed her hand on Will’s arm. “None for me, Will, I’m fine with a glass of soda.”
“Don’t be a flat tire, sweets. Nobody comes into a gin joint and drinks soda.”
She took the glass from Will’s grasp and held it tightly to her chest. The cool press of the ice-filled tumbler against the barely-there dress made goosebumps rise on the surface of her skin. Beneath the thin material of the skimpy outfit, the peaks of her breasts tightened into tiny buds. Self-consciously, she crossed her arms over her chest and stood rooted to the end of the long bar.
“I’m gonna grab Abby for a twirl. Mingle a little. I’ll get back to you in a speck.” Will set his glass on the edge of the bar and scooted off in the direction of the huge dance floor.
Never in her life had Erin felt more out of place.
She gathered up the three glasses from the edge of the bar and made her way to a small corner table. Content to watch the rather colorful display around her, she sank onto one of the folding chairs and scanned the crowd.
“Would you like to dance, pretty lady?”
A handsome, yet much older, man stood in front of her. “No thank you,” she said, offering him what she hoped was a smile. “I’m with friends.”
Rather than excuse himself, the man pulled out the chair opposite hers and plunked himself down. “Yes, I saw that. It seems your friends have left you hanging. I thought you might want to join them on the floor.”
She shook her head. “Again, no thank you. I’m fine just listening to the music.”
He shrugged but made no move to stand. “My name’s Harry. Harry Winslow. How about I buy you another drink?”
Erin lifted her half-filled, watered-down glass. “I’ve still got plenty, thanks anyway.”
She imagined he was about to make yet another unwanted suggestion when a neatly dressed waiter came toward their table. He bent close to the man and whispered in his ear. Whatever he’d said drew Winslow to his feet.
“Miss…uh… I’ve got to leave now. You’re welcome to come with me, if you’d like.”
How forward. Why in heaven’s name would she want to leave with a total stranger?
Harry Winslow bowed graciously and turned away, not waiting for her acceptance or refusal. A moment later, he disappeared behind a dark curtain. She barely had a moment to ponder the strange man’s behavior when Abby and Will appeared at her side.
Abby grabbed for her untouched glass of gin and gulped it down in one mouthful, wiping her lips on the back of her hand. “Really, Erin, you’ve got to get out on the dance floor. The music is divine. My toes are absolutely twitching with excitement.”
“Yeah, sweets,” Will echoed, swallowing back the last of his own drink. “It’s your turn at tiring me out.”
Erin had barely opened her mouth to tell her friends of her unusual encounter with Harry Winslow when a loud banging sound drew her attention toward the entranceway. A moment later, men in dark blue uniforms flooded the dance floor.
“This is a raid,” one man shouted, raising a menacing- looking nightstick high in the air. “Everyone on your feet, single file toward the exit. Anyone who resists will feel the weight of my billy-club upside their head.”
“Oh, rhatz,” Abby groused. “Not again.”
“Again?” Erin choked out. “You’ve been arrested before?”
“Yes, and it’s such a nuisance.”
Erin met her friends’ gazes, first Abby’s and then Will’s. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
The idea drew Abby’s grin. “Maybe you’ll upchuck in the paddy wagon. That’d serve ‘em right, arresting fine upstanding young citizens like us.”
Somehow Erin doubted tossing her cookies in the back of a police wagon would endear her to the arresting officers.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Amazon/Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FS8C57M
Share a holiday family tradition:
More about food. One of my grandchildren’s favorite treats for the holidays are my traditional shortbread squares. The easiest, yet richest, cookie recipe you’ll ever make.
1 cup butter, ½ cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, all creamed together. Add 2 cups all purpose flour (1/2 cup at a time) and mix thoroughly. Press dough into an 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes. Let cook on a rack and slice into 16 squares.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?
Erin’s Peachy-Keen Christmas is a comical look at the Roaring Twenties. Yet, once the holiday rolls around and attraction turns to love, things turn serious and lift everyone’s holiday spirt.
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Runs December 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on January 3, 2022.
NANCY FRASER is an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.
Nancy published her first book in 1996 and hasn’t stopped since. Her 100th book will be released on her birthday in April of 2022.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
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