FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
Reading all the way!
Oh what fun it is to read
A Champagne Book today!
Tattle and Wrye sing away, and while belting out the last note, they launch into a Love of Literature leap.
"I hear a baby." Tattle declares, brushing away melting snow from her black velvet lapels.
"But of course," Wrye says, "We're in VERONICA H. HART'S humorous thriller THE PRINCE OF KEEGAN BAY, and the baby is the prince."
"In a retirement community?"
"And so the fun begins!"
Tattle leans over and coos at the baby as Grandma Jessica feeds the wee infant, voice inundated with oooh’s and awww’s. "So sweet and quiet."
"Adorable, I agree, but babies can cause more of a diaper-stench-spit-up-crazy-raucous than Santa without Rudolph on a foggy night. Just think of the possibilities when a group of seniors, headed by Doll Reynolds, attempt to protect the prince from the Kushawan Alliance of Royal Princes who want to see the child dead."
Tattle shivers. "How horrrrrible! Why?"
"Because they're creeps to the nth and don't wish to share their wealth with yet another prince."
Reading ahead Tattle squints through half glasses once worn by Mrs. Claus. "Ahhhhh, because of tradition they don't name the baby until they are six months old, and only then do they become an official part of the family with all the entitlements. If they kill," chokes a bit on the word, "the baby after that, they and their descendents will be cursed." Stuffing her hands into her fur muff, Tattle mutters nasty things about the Kushawan princes.
"So right, m'Santa-ish elf," Wrye agrees. "So, Doll rounds up the seniors to protect the baby while the infant's mother, Moira Robbins, risks everything by becoming a decoy."
"Comedy and thrills are afoot!" Tattle does a soft shoe tap for emphasis. "And if that is all not enough, Jessica must keep the baby hidden from Carol, the park's manager, or they'll all be out on their collective bottoms."
"Mayhem, indeed! A must read for sure!"
"But not now, we're off!"
"Watch out for the..." Tattle observes Wrye as he skids directly into a Scotch Pine tree blazing with Christmas lights. "Oh, I see you found it."
He dusts pine needles off his green and white fur trimmed jacket, twitches his nose as if magic is about to happen and declares, "It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, and here we are right in the middle of ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS by CINDY K. GREEN, a romantic contemporary Christmas story."
"Yes, yes, and there is Kathryn Graham, a writer at Redburn Weekly who has been assigned, along with the exuberant and jovial Nick Pringle, to work a story about the toy drive for the local orphanage.
"I remember now, Nick's enthusiasm for Christmas annoys Kathryn, ho ho ho ho, while Kathryn's hatred for the beloved holiday baffles Nick."
"I see connnflicccct," she says.
"And I see Nick beginning a campaign to win Kathryn over. Will he? Should he? Ho ho ho. I'm not talking just about her attitude toward the noel event. And in the Christmas alphabet there is no L."
Tattle considers, adding, "Nick has been falling in love with the woman since they first met. Is this naughty or nice? Nick decides to become Kathryn's Secret Santa, how sweet, having gifts delivered daily, and lo and behold, Kathryn's attitude begins to slowly change. Success?" She pauses and then, "Onnnly, she seems to be falling for the Secret Santa, Cyrano de Bergerac moment, and distancing herself from Nick, irony slaps, leaving Nick jealous of himself.... Connnfuuusing."
"Ut oh, said the gardener, trouble is a Hoe-Hoe-Hoe-ing about."
Tattles evades the pun. "Even a shared kiss between her and Nick, lovey dovey, doesn't seem to turn her away from the ever so perfect Secret Santa. Dang! I'm rootin' for Nick. Now, he believes he'll never be anything more than a friend, incoming and even at that, a distant friend. Tissue alert! Meanwhile, da da da daaaaa, Nina not Pina or Santa Maria Phillips seems ever so interested in Nick. Cat fight? And Nick considers that it might be time to accept reality. Heartbreak! Yet can he? Will Kathryn's heart ever open to Christmas? And will she find out the truth about her own feelings toward Nick too late?"
Smacks Wrye's hand as he attempts to read ahead. "Tsk...tsk...we'll read later, m'Saint Nick."
The duo land softly in the midst of NOELLA'S GIFT by DONICA COVEY and the mystical wonder of a romantic contemporary Christmas story. "It is so cozy here," announces Tattle as she takes in the homey warmth of Holly Harper's home. But where are Holly Harper's Christmas decorations?"
"Hates Christmas," informs Wrye, yet, ever the optimist, rummages about for Christmas candy. "However, once she finds a raggedly dressed Noella on her doorstep, a lost little six-year-old girl, her feelings slowly begin to change. Readers will be on a collision course for planet Warm Your Cockles."
"Oh, who is that yummy man?" Tattle does that hip waddle that suggests more naughty than nice.
"A police detective, Jaxon Cole. Look out, Tattle, mood grenade. He found out that Noella's parents had died, but neither he nor Holly seem to get anything more out of the child, only a growing sense of sadness. Yes, I'm crying, and yes, I am PC."
"Holly decides to keep the girl at least through the holidays, good for her, while they try to figure things out. In the meantime, a freak snowstorm traps the three of them in Holly's home. And that's when, ironically, the thawing begins. He he ho ho ha ha. The bitter detective and the woeful Holly see things through the child's eyes, yet as Jaxon grows close to Holly, she suddenly turns as frosty as the weather."
"Will this hot hunk and frigid female co-exist without getting wet? Will they ever find the Christmas spirit? Hope so. I like them! Will they ever know the love Noella seems so determined to spark within each of them for the other? YIT (Yenta in training). And will Noella ever receive the gift of her heart?" Tattle dabbles at her eyes. This is sooo...sooo...."
Wrye pats her shoulder. "There...there...hot chocolate time, I feel your angelica heart."
"Another leap, for certain," Tattle announces suddenly, "Since it is the season for giving we are jumping into two more Christmas stories, both shorts."
Tattle and Wrye land in KIMBER CHIN'S short contemporary romance, BUMPED. "Joy is in the air," Wrye says.
"And in the book!" Tattle rubs furred gloved hands together. "That is our heroine's name, Joy. This giving businesswoman tends to put others before herself and in this season of gifts, she is true to who she is."
Wrye nods, his Santa hat bobs. "She gives up her seat to a single mother who urgently needs to be home for Christmas."
"And in the spirit of the season, a Christmas miracle is hers...but..."
"But," finishes Wrye, "Will she be able to accept it?"
"Only Santa, his elves and those who'll read the story will know."
Sniffling from the cold, Tattle snuggles up to the book's pages. "Ooooh, we're in JANE TOOMBS' contemporary short Christmas romance, ONLY ONE OF ITS KINDS, how exciting!"
"And it seems you're not the only one who is excited. Annalee is downright wound up." Wrye helps himself to a mug of eggnog, plucked right out of the pages.
"I think the word is furious, and wouldn't you be? Her husband not only refuses to adopt a child, which is her heart's craving, but he's leaving the country to fly a friend to Central America over Christmas!"
"Scoundrel!" Wrye agrees but seems more interested in munching on Christmas cookies.
"Not really, Arno has a good heart, it just needs a bit of tenderizing. He believes bringing her back some unique gold jewelry will earn him forgiveness for messing up Christmas."
"But during this wonderful season, none can foresee the events that will result in an unexpected and a truly one of a kind gift." Wrye brushes crumbs off his green coat.
"What is it!"
"Read, m'red nose bud."
Under the office tree, the two merrily exchange their Christmas gifts of Champagne Books, of course.
In the new year, we look forward to leaping into HOT COMMODITY by LINDA KAGE and LIAR, LIAR by J. L. MCCALE.
Wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very special and joyful New Year.
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq.
and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi