Pinecone has lost its Christmas spirit! Santa Claus tasks Paisley, a spirit Elf, with finding a true believer, the one resident of the town capable of inspiring everyone to delight in the spirit of Christmas. Hmm. Tricky? Not... really.
One touch of Christmas magic later and local storekeeper Joy Blake's on a quest to revive Pinecone's Christmas Festival, bringing back the beloved community event of her childhood. Her obstacle is Ash Montgomery, the handsome town mayor who's focused on the fiscal, not the festive.
Convincing the sexy Ash to bring Christmas back to Pinecone is a challenge Joy can't resist, any more than she can stop testing the gorgeous mayor's resolve to never date residents. She's determined to get what she wants. What he wants is her. Christmas in Pinecone is heating up.
Publisher's Note: Christmas Joy was available previously for a short time at another house that has since gone dark.
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
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Copyright ©2017 B.J. McCall
The Spirit of Christmas Elves gathered around Santa, waiting for their assignments. Responsible for spreading and renewing the spirit of Christmas throughout the world, the Elves took their jobs seriously.
Santa passed out the red and green envelopes, giving the last envelope to Paisley. "This is a special assignment. The whole town has lost its Christmas spirit."
Paisley accepted the envelope and the assignment, her brow furrowed. How would she go about renewing the spirit of an entire town?
Santa smiled, seeing her confusion. "All you need is one soul to truly believe. One believer can change everything."
Her wings fluttered. "Thank you, Santa. I'll do my very best." She flew back to her quarters and opened the red envelope. Written in Santa's handwriting was one word. Pinecone.
Paisley unrolled Santa's world map. She located Pinecone and saw barely a flicker. The town had truly lost its sparkle. Paisley pondered her enormous task then remembered Santa's words. All she needed was one true believer. She had to find the one resident of Pinecone thinking about Christmas in the heat of summer.
With the help of Christmas magic, Paisley flew high above Pinecone, searching for one soul who loved Christmas enough to miss it in August.
* * *
Joy Blake grabbed her water bottle and headed out for her morning run, taking a circuitous route through town. Pinecone had changed since she was a child, visiting her grandparents during Christmas holidays and summers. Once a thriving town, the buildings were shabbier now and the downtown park sprouted more weeds than grass.
Her grandfather's passing had brought her back, making her return to Pinecone bittersweet. She loved the town and the two-story building on Main Street she'd inherited, but every knickknack and piece of furniture in the upstairs apartment evoked wonderful memories and heartache. Determined to be as good a shopkeeper as her grandfather, she hoped to have Joyful Gifts open by September.
She'd missed the summer sales season, but she'd be ready for the fall and winter holidays. Joy had big plans for December. She left town and headed up the winding road. Legs pumping, Joy tackled the challenging hill.
Childhood memories of the Christmas festival filled her thoughts as she ran. The stores proudly decorated and the streets and trees shining with lights strung through them. The taste of hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies sold on the street corners by vendors in Elf costumes. The excitement of standing in line to talk to Santa and the anticipation of opening the small wrapped present she'd received. Oh, the parade of lights down Main Street! Pinecone had made Christmas magical.
Now the shopkeepers barely decorated and the only lights burning on December nights were streetlamps. The festival was nothing more than a wonderful memory. Joy stopped at the top of the hill and looked down upon the town with a heavy heart. Pinecone had indeed lost its Christmas spirit.
She took a drink of water and prepared to run back to town.
What the hell? A bright light flashed in the sky then shot down, coming straight at her. Gasping, Joy dodged the incoming light and as she did so, her foot went out from under her. She went down, landing hard on her butt and striking her elbow on the asphalt. Overhead, the light burst, showering her in a million tiny sparkles.
Joy threw up an arm to protect her eyes just as tires screeched and an SUV stopped within a few feet of her. Great. Just great. Fireworks in the hottest month of the year and now some idiot in a four-wheel drive tries to run me over.
* * *
Ash Montgomery killed his engine and jumped out of the vehicle. "Are you all right?"
She blinked and looked around. "Did you see it?"
He hunkered down beside her. He didn't see any cuts or abrasions. "See what?"
Brown eyes wide, she stared at the sky. "The fireworks."
The woman appeared more startled than hurt. Attractive, despite the lack of makeup, her face was delicate, her lips full and her long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. She wore a purple sports bra and stretchy black shorts that clung to her curves.
"I didn't see fireworks," Ash said. "I saw you take a tumble."
"I saw a flash of white light. Then the light shot out of the sky and burst over my head. Sparkles everywhere. You didn't see it?"
"Sorry." He offered his hand. "Let me help you up."
The woman lifted her gaze and searched the sky. "I saw a flash in the sky."
Beads of perspiration dotted her forehead and her cheeks flushed dusky-pink. Had she struck her head when she'd fallen? Was that why she thought she saw lights?