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Ghostwriter of Christmas Past

Ghostwriter of Christmas Past

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Ghostwriter of Christmas Past

valutazioni:
3/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
82 pagine
1 ora
Pubblicato:
Dec 1, 2017
ISBN:
9781640803138
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.

Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.

It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

Pubblicato:
Dec 1, 2017
ISBN:
9781640803138
Formato:
Libro

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Ghostwriter of Christmas Past - TA Moore

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About the Author

By TA Moore

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Ghostwriter of Christmas Past

By TA Moore

Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.

Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.

It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

To the Five, always. To my Mum, who’s getting this for Christmas!

WHAT ABOUT you, Jason? Harriet swiveled on the barstool to face him and raised her perfectly groomed eyebrows curiously. What are you doing for Christmas?

Jason’s brain—which a client once called a perpetual motion machine for bullshit—stalled.

They were at their agent’s Christmas party. Harriet was wearing mistletoe in her cleavage, and the head of the agency was dressed up as Santa and encouraging pretty girls to sit on her knee. There was a tree in the corner of the bar with shot glass ornaments and drunken reindeer lights. It was hardly a weird question.

But this year his rote answer of hot driver/waiter/cute paralegal might not cut it.

Shit. He took a drink of whiskey.

Ah, Harriet said. She smirked around the lip of her glass, her bright-red lips glossy with smugness. You forgot about the kid, didn’t you?

His jaw tightened. He never forgot about Mallory. Boxes of her stuff filled his apartment. They were shoved in corners and packed into the back of closets. He’d cleared her out a dresser, and it turned out that wasn’t enough to fit a whole life in. His calendar was full of desperate, hopeful reminders to find a dentist and pick up the cereal she said she liked, as though he could fake it if his online calendar looked like it knew what he was doing.

He tried. That was the thing. Ever since the social worker knocked on his door with bad news and a sullen kid waiting in the car, he’d tried his best. It was just never good enough. He got her enrolled in school and then forgot to pick her up after she stayed late for music, forgot to get her a new soccer kit, and forgot shoving fifty bucks into the kid’s wallet as she headed out on a school trip wasn’t a substitute for a packed lunch.

And every time he did, there was someone there to sigh and shake their head and pick up the slack. They weren’t even surprised anymore. What else could you expect from Jason?

Now Harriet, who hadn’t bothered to arrange summer camp and instead paid her son’s sitter to take the kid camping for three weeks, got to roll her eyes at him as though he’d forgotten Christmas?

Well, fuck it.

Actually I’m planning to take her away for Christmas, he said.

Harriet arched a skeptical brow and snorted, Sure, into her liquor.

That committed him to the lie. Maybe he couldn’t pull off the parent crap in real life, but he was damned if he was going to be shit in his lies as well. She grew up in Florida. Now she lives in San Diego. Mallory thinks a white Christmas is going to Disney and riding the Matterhorn on Christmas Eve.

He sounded convincing enough for Harriet to put down her glass and give him a dubious look. "Have you ever seen a white Christmas?" she asked.

I grew up in Malachite, New York, he said. She looked blank, and he grinned bleakly. Exactly. It’s like Ithaca, if Ithaca were shit. I basically grew up in the fucking Laura Ingalls books, Harriet. We had sheep, sports, and snow. In fact, that was all we had. So yeah, I’ve seen a white Christmas.

Harriet looked pained as she tried to fit that piece of information into her image of Jason. He didn’t blame her. When he left Malachite behind, he did his best to leave behind the person who lived there—for a lot of reasons. These days when he wore jeans, they were designer. His hair was cut in a salon, not at the table in the kitchen. And he dated surfer boys instead of….

Yeah. He didn’t go there. Not even with half a bottle of whiskey warming his stomach.

So what? Harriet asked. She leaned her elbow on the bar and cupped her chin in her hand so she could frown at him. You’re going to take the kid back to your hometown for Christmas?

Fuck no. As far as he’d fleshed out his lie, he imagined a ski lodge or a luxury hotel, hot chocolate, and watching the snow through glass, maybe some sort of cute hat with ears for Mallory. Except….

He remembered Christmas in Malachite. The reindeer Mr. Jessop brought down and penned in town to convince the little kids they were going to audition to join Santa’s team. Mint-chocolate milkshakes in the local café and carts selling peppermint sticks and bags of hot chestnuts on the corner. Nothing you couldn’t find in your local Cracker Barrel, but all the better for the cold and the pennies and the cheap paper bag that burned your hand.

That was just the sort of Thomas Kinkade sentimental crap that might convince Mallory it was something he’d planned all along. It wasn’t going to be a good Christmas, not when being an orphan was still a raw hollow for Mallory, but he’d like

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