- N. N. Light
Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams by @KimberlyBaer14 is a Christmas Festival pick #giveaway
Title: Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams
Author: Kimberly Baer
Genre: Romantic Suspense
When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.
Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.
Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.
Snowdrop Dreams book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM9IljM448
The bathroom doorknob rattled. Annie scurried back and watched the boy emerge. She braced herself like a wrestler, ready to bound forward and grab him, but he didn’t try to run. Probably couldn’t, judging by the way his legs wobbled as he proceeded down the hall. He dropped into a chair at the kitchen table. Annie fetched him a glass of water.
“Feeling better?” she asked, offering a conciliatory smile. She pulled out a chair and sat at the table, taking care to avoid sudden movements. The boy eyed her warily. He seemed so feral she could almost believe he’d been raised by wolves. She tried not to recoil at the odor wafting from him. Not B.O., because he was too young. Just the funky smell of an unwashed youngster.
“Who are you, buddy? What’s your name?”
No answer. But oh, those eyes, brown like hers. Staring, staring…
“My name’s Annie. Annie Barkley. This here’s my cookie store.” Not sure why she was talking like an Old West sheriff. “Are you from around here? Who are your parents?”
He looked away. Reached for the water glass with a shaking hand and took a sip. Annie’s gaze drifted to his fingernails—long, ragged, and ringed with grime. She noted the wrinkles embedded in his long-sleeved black tee.
“Did you run away from home?”
“Talk to me. You can talk, can’t you?” Something told her he could. He just didn’t want to.
The neon light above the table suddenly reminded her of a police interrogation light. She hoped she wasn’t coming across that way.
“Is there somebody I should call to come get you? Your mom or dad, maybe?”
That got a reaction. He shook his head, wild-eyed like that raccoon again.
“Okay. That’s cool.” She watched the panic fade from his eyes. “Look, I happen to know this isn’t the first time you’ve been here. You’ve been coming in all week, stealing my cookies.”
Hesitation, then a nod. He hung his head as if to say sorry.
“I hope that’s not the only thing you’ve been eating. I mean, cookies—yikes. That’s not exactly a balanced diet.”
A deep sigh.
Dear God. No wonder the poor kid was throwing up.
“You’ve been sleeping here, too,” she guessed, remembering the pile of blankets on the attic floor, the one-way footprints on the snowy roof. He must have come in last night before the snow fell and didn’t leave until morning. “Can you tell me how old you are? I’m thinking eleven.”
The boy nodded.
At least he was getting more responsive. She decided to circle back to the important questions. “Can you tell me your name? That would make things easier. I told you mine.”
Nothing. No shake of the head, no nod. Just those blank, watchful eyes. At least he seemed engaged in the conversation, even if he wasn’t keeping up his end of it.
“Is it—” Her voice broke. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Is your name Jonah?”
She had to ask. No response, though his eyes were still locked on hers.
“I have to call you something. May I call you Jonah?”
The boy offered no opinion on that. He folded his arms on the table and laid his head on them as if suddenly too exhausted to sit upright.
She really should call the police or the child welfare authorities. Probably the police because the other city offices would be closed at this hour.
Maybe Sam would come, and—
No. This was not the time to be thinking about Sam.
Her gut told her not to call anyone, not tonight. She knew what this boy needed, now and in the next few hours, and she was in a position to provide it. Why upset him by bringing new people into the mix? She would figure something out in the morning.
“Here’s what we’re going to do, Jonah,” said Annie, and a tingle zipped down her spine at the sound of her own voice uttering that name. “We’re going to go to my house, and I’ll make you something to eat that isn’t cookies, and then you can go to bed. Won’t it be nice to sleep in an actual bed?”
Jonah raised his head to look at her. His mouth quivered in a way that wasn’t a smile but nonetheless conveyed relief. He hauled himself out of the chair and pointed upward. She got it—he needed to fetch something from the attic. She nodded her permission. He climbed the stairs and came back with a denim backpack slung over one shoulder.
Annie fished her keys out of her purse. “Let’s go home, Jonah.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams-kimberly-baer/1140571423?ean=2940160736143
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/snowdrop-dreams-cherry-thumbprint-screams/id1587077202
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kimberly_Baer_Snowdrop_Dreams_Cherry_Thumbprint_Sc?id=g1FPEAAAQBAJ
Share a holiday family tradition:
When my parents were alive, my extended family’s Christmas traditions included a Yankee Swap gift exchange. The three mischievous young men in our family always made things interesting by contributing risqué gag gifts—one year, an inflatable doll; another year, a leopard-print jock strap. But it was all in good fun, and my parents, who were very religious, were good sports about the whole thing.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?
This novella is part of The Wild Rose Press’s Christmas Cookies series. With elements of both romance and suspense along with a cookie-centric plot, it’s the perfect book to curl up with in front of a roaring fire to unwind after a day of Christmas shopping.
Enter to win a $75 Amazon (US or Canada) Gift Card.
You must have an active Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to be eligible. Open internationally.
Runs December 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on January 3, 2023.
Kimberly Baer wrote her first story at age six. It was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl's Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Sadly, she never managed to get that story published. Nowadays she writes in a variety of genres.
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