Title: FIXING CHRISTMAS – A Dickens Holiday Romance ( Dorrit’s Diner)
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Holiday RomCom, smalltown, later in life romance, adoption, coming home again.
Christmas has never filled writer Abra Charles with undiluted pleasure. If you’d been left on a doorstep on Christmas Eve morning, you might have a few issues with the holiday as well.
Abra’s avoided her hometown of Dickens for the past twenty Christmas seasons, but now she’s returned in an attempt to get her writing mojo back. Twice-divorced and with her third engagement ending in heartbreak, anger, and blackmail, Abra is now six months behind on submitting her current book. She hopes renting Copperfield House and immersing herself in solitude will cure her writer’s block and get her life back on track. The house she rents isn’t helping her achieve her goal, though, as one thing after another breaks, collapses, or floods.
Colton Bree, Dickens’ very own Mr. FixIt, can’t help but wonder if the new resident of Copperfield House is cursed. After being called to repair a broken window, he’s then needed to fix an exploding coffeepot, an overrunning toilet, and a washing machine that has a mind of its own. Bree doesn’t mind all the unexpected repair jobs, though, because the sexy renter is something to look at despite being a little neurotic and a whole lot of snarky.
Can Abra get her book done with all the distractions and craziness of her life, the biggest distraction being the flannelled hunk with the bedroom eyes and scowling yet oh-so-kissable mouth? Or will Dickens’ Mr FixIt have to step in and save the day and in so doing, fix Christmas for Abra forever?
Here she was, alone at God only knew what hour, out in the most secluded part of town. The notion she should have paid more attention to those self-defense classes she’d sat in on as research for her last book blew through her head.
Think, Abra, think.
A butcher block of knives rested on the kitchen counter.
Armed is always better than unarmed.
She pulled one out, held it against her thigh.
Opening the basement door as if she was trying to disarm a live bomb, she slid through it and took a step downward. When the stair didn’t give her away by groaning, she stepped down another, then another until she could crouch down a bit and see into the basement proper.
A man, large and tall—exceptionally so—swept glass from a windowpane with the head of a hammer. The window looked too small for him to have crawled through, so how had he gotten into the house?
Abra took another step down and, in the next second, lost her balance as her foot miscalculated the depth of the step. She flailed out but wasn’t quick enough to grab onto the handrail before she tumbled straight down to the concrete basement floor, her butt bumping on each riser until she landed, once again, flat on her ass at the bottom. Still sore from last night’s tumble on the ice, she couldn’t prevent the ear-piercing scream of pain she let out.
“What the hell?” The man turned, surprise covering his face. He moved toward her.
“Don’t come any closer,” Abra shouted. She shot her free hand up in a halt stance. “I’m armed.” She pointed the knife at him, which by some miracle hadn’t dropped from her hand when she’d fallen.
The man stopped in his tracks, glanced down at it, then fisted his hands on his hips, his brows tugging together across his forehead. “What are you gonna do? Butter me to death?”
Abra took a good look at the knife for the first time. It wasn’t the steel edged stiletto she thought she’d chosen, but had a flat, wide head, perfect for spreading jam and not skewering an intruder. She had to give him praise-points because most men in her experience didn’t know the differences among everyday cutlery. Ask them about a hunting or pocketknife, and you’d get a different response entirely.
The man shook his head. “Who are you?”
“Since this is my house shouldn’t I be asking you that? How did you get in here, because I know for a fact I locked the door last night.” A slight fib, but he didn’t need to know it.
She tried to pull herself to a standing position using only her free hand so she could keep the knife brandished in the other. It was awkward at best since she had no core strength to speak of.
Warm, strong arms slid around her waist and hauled her up as if she weighed no more than a passing thought.
He stared down at her, his head tilted to one side, his hands once again fisted on his hips as soon as she stood, surefooted.
“Since I know for a fact this isn’t your house,” he said, “you must be the renter Jimmy Marley mentioned. The one who’s supposed to arrive tomorrow.”
Despite the fact Abra loved a good sarcastic throwaway line, she didn’t appreciate being the subject of said mockery. While she swiped at the dust now covering her from chest to knees she said, “I had a change of plans and that still doesn’t explain who you are or why you’re in my house, breaking a window.”
“Window was already broken. Marley hired me to fix it, gave me a key to get in to do so.” His gaze dragged down her torso. “Before you arrived.”
Suddenly, Abra was hyper-aware of her bra-less state. Half naked and alone in a big, old, creepy house, with a guy who knew the difference between everyday cutlery, wasn’t the way she saw her morning starting. With her brain still on Vegas-time, her nerves frayed, and her body screaming for coffee, this was a worse case scenario if ever she saw one.
Tall, gray, and built-like-a-tank continued to stare at her as if she had two heads, possibly, three.
“You stay here,” she ordered, flourishing the butter knife at him again. “I’m going upstairs to make a call to confirm you are who you say you are.” She squinted up at him. “Who are you?”
He shook his head, and if she wasn’t mistaken, rolled his eyes. “Colton Bree.” He didn’t offer his hand.
She bobbed her head once. Not exactly a serial killer moniker, but Theodore Bundy was an innocuous sounding, milquetoast name, so you never knew.
“You stay here,” she said again, then, because it was never a good idea to turn your back on a potential murderer, she made her way up the stairs, backwards, the knife still wielded in front of her.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bxaJqk
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Holiday RomCom tend to be zany novels where the hero and heroine solve some holiday dilemma and realize they love each other while doing it. FIXING CHRISTMAS is NOT that book. Abra and Colton are 2 very independent people who aren’t looking for love at all. That they find it with one another, when they are such polar opposites is surprising to them both. The humour in the story comes from Abra’s clumsiness and snarky replies, both of which Colton finds endearing.
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Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances and rom coms about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
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Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0