- N. N. Light
Seducing Santa by @Beth__Henderson is a Christmas and Holiday Festival pick #romcom #giveaway
Title: SEDUCING SANTA
Author: Beth Henderson
Genre: Romantic Comedy
For the Holiday season, St. Nick got a pink slip. Wally Pruitt was just too perfect in the role to suit the other Santas, so he was out the door. But with that door still open it left an opportunity that both Roxy Mercer and Nate Carrington were intent upon profiting by. Roxy wanted Santa in place in her Christmas-year-round shop, The North Pole Outlet. Nate wanted a familiar rosy cheeked and white bearded face on Carrington’s Christmas Catalog, and possibly a sales representative well worth his weight in sugar cookies the rest of the year. Which of course meant war was declared when it came to winning this Santa. As Nate and Roxy jockey for leverage over the other in the Hire a Santa sweepstakes, Wally’s wife believes the two holiday retailers are perfect for each other and that there is nothing like the holiday season when it comes to falling in love. And in this case, she just might be right.
All was not well on the sales floor.
At first glance it looked perfect, a winter wonderland. To top it all off, just past the stenciled frost on the showcase windows, Roxy could see that it had begun to snow, the flakes looking large, powdery and picturesque.
The single flaw was Nate Carrington standing in the midst of it all.
And he was more appealing than any of her gorgeous displays.
Considering that he was currently in direct competition with her, she hated to admit such a thought had even crossed her mind. But it had. It was also oh, so true.
He had abandoned the three-piece suit in favor of snug-fitting jeans, sturdy-soled hiking boots and a heavy cable-knit sweater of midnight blue. The sweater hugged his shoulders nearly as closely as the jeans did his hips and thighs. Susceptible women might feel the urge to throw themselves against his broad, hard, muscled length.
Until now, Roxy hadn’t realized she was that kind of woman.
And as if that wasn’t enough, she found she had an almost uncontrollable urge to bury her fingers in the thick waves of Nate’s longish, fair hair. The North Wind had already given in to temptation and run her fingers through his hair, tousling it. Roxy wished she could smooth it, then muss it herself, to see if the bright, glowing strands were as soft as angel’s hair.
Since Bridget was shadowing his every move, Roxy guessed that Nate was the “hunk” who’d been “browsing,” although browsing seemed an inaccurate word to describe the way he was studying the merchandise. Casing the joint – now that fit what he was doing far better.
Although she was still a distance away, when Nate turned slightly in his contemplation of her Victorian-theme tree, she saw he was making no secret of his identity. The Carrington Christmas Catalog logo was embroidered on his sweater just to the left of where his heart would be.
If he had one.
She was inclined to doubt the organ’s existence. Fiends didn’t have hearts, and Carrington was surely one of their ilk. How else could he have known to turn up within an hour of Wally and Goldy Pruitt’s arrival? Without a doubt, Nate had come solely to make sure they weren’t impressed with The North Pole Outlet. That had to be the only reason he was scowling at the fragile ornaments she had so lovingly chosen.
Nate was the only person ever to find fault with this tree. It was the most oohed-and-aahed-over display in the whole store, especially with the women shoppers who loved the ribbons, lace, pastel colors, and delicate, old-fashioned ornaments.
For the first time since opening her doors to the public, Roxy wished she had a big bruiser of an elf working for her. Some muscle-bound guy who could sweep the floor with Nate before giving him the old heave-ho. In lieu of such an employee, she drew herself up and stormed over to do the job herself.
Nate looked up at her approach, his glance scanning her from head to foot in the kind of masculine appraisal Roxy hated receiving. Rather than be ticked off at getting a quick once-over this time, she found herself wondering if she had passed inspection. His appearance had certainly been above par with hers.
Rather than flash the megawatt smile she half expected, Nate deepened his frown. He jerked his thumb toward the tree. “You got these thingamabobs from Paxton and Poindexter Imports, didn’t you?”
Roxy skidded to a halt. Hello. I’m fine. How are you today, Carrington? she said silently, then went on the defensive. “What if I did?” She wasn’t sure which supplier had shipped the feminine-looking pomanders.
“You take one apart to examine the workmanship?” Nate asked.
“They’re hand-painted china,” Roxy said. “Fine china.”
Nate snorted. “Not so fine as the ones we carry at the Triple C.”
Naturally he would think so. “Your sales rep showed me the Carrington ones. I liked these better.”
Nate looked back at the rival supplier’s pomanders and shook his head.
“Unbelievable,” he murmured. “I’ll send you a case of ours free of charge. You can use them as giveaways if you want. A free whatchamacallit with every purchase over fifty dollars.”
If he sent them, Roxy decided, she would give the whatchamacallits away, only with a twenty-five-dollar purchase. Maybe a ten-dollar one.
Pleased with the idea, she relaxed her guard somewhat and gave him an amused smile. “What are you doing here, Nate? Other than maligning your competitor’s merchandise, that is.”
“Me?” He turned back to her, this time switching on the full power of his sexy grin.
She should have been prepared for it. She wasn’t.
“I’ve come to take you to lunch,” Nate said.
The smile faded from her lips. “No, really,” she said, fighting down the flicker of excitement that raced through her at his casual announcement. She couldn’t react to him on a purely man-woman level. To do so when they were rivals in a bidding war would be business suicide.
Nate’s lazy smile was as lethal as a loaded pistol. “Since when does a man have to have a hidden agenda if he wants to enjoy a beautiful woman’s company over a meal?”
Since forever. “Forgive me if I’m mistrustful of you,” Roxy said, her voice thick with sarcasm.
His grin didn’t dim. If anything, the sparks of mischief in his eyes heightened. He leaned closer, closing the distance between them. They were so close the carefully concocted scent of the shop faded away, replaced by the subtly faint, tangy scent of his aftershave.
“You think I’m here to talk you out of hiring Wally Pruitt, don’t you?” Nate said. “The thought never entered my mind.”
Yeah. Right. And the next issue of Carrington’s Christmas Catalog would feature one heck of a combo deal on the Brooklyn Bridge and oceanfront property in Arizona.
Share a holiday family tradition:
When I was a child, traditions changed as my three brothers and I got older. Santa used to arrive on Christmas Eve at first. We’d all pile in the car and go for a drive around to look at the lights on decorated houses and we kids would be half asleep when we got home. Daddy would go in the house “to turn on lights”, he’d say. But when we got inside, there were presents under the tree! When I was in the 4th grade, we’d moved to a different house, different neighborhood. I’d figured out that Mom and Dad were Santa two years earlier (pinned Mom in an interrogation with my suspicions ‘til she caved to 7-year-old me). At the new-to-us house, I asked if we could start having Christmas on Christmas morning. Mom said my little brothers would be expecting the presents on Christmas Eve. I said, “tell them we moved to a different part of Santa’s route” so that’s what we told them and they bought it. When we all knew there was no Santa, we’d head to the maternal grandparents Christmas Eve, attend Midnight Mass with them, go back to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a middle of the night breakfast and open presents from them and what my aunt in New York sent, then it would be home to open the gifts under the tree, a nap, and on to the fraternal grandparents or my local aunt’s house for dinner and more presents. By the time we were doing this, part of getting ready for Christmas was going to a local nursery that had single ornaments for purchase and we’d all get to pick out one to be both decoration and keepsake. My middle brother continued that tradition with his kids. As I had stepsons and there was no place where we lived to get just one ornament, I never got to pass that tradition along. All warm and cuddly memories now though.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?
SEDUCING SANTA is, in my opinion, one of the funniest stories I’ve told. There’s a mall Santa and his cookie baking Mrs., a dashing hero who tends to lose interest in women who look at him with dollar signs in their eyes since he started and runs a successful year-round-catalog of holiday decorations, and a feisty heroine who becomes his rival in luring the mall Santa to work in her Christmas-Year-Round shop. Stir in a matchmaking Mrs. “Claus”, a dominating “mature” secretary, and lots of attempts at one-upmanship. My late mother loved this story so much, she reread it every holiday season. Now, I’m the one who continues that tradition. Yeah, like I didn’t already do it anyway. Happy Holidays!
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Runs December 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on January 3, 2023.
Beth Henderson decided she wanted to be a published novelist when she was twelve, but it took another three decades before her first sale to a publisher was landed. It’s been over three further decades that she’s been spinning tales, doing so under a variety of names and in more than one genre or niche. Out of her 37 currently published stories, four books work Christmas into the mix. It’s her favorite season. Always has been and always will be.
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