When Jules Evergreen lands in trouble at the North Pole and gets shipped off to Snow Hope Island for ninety days, he never expects to take up the cause of the forgotten toys waiting for new homes. Falling for his new boss is not on the agenda either, but his heart has other ideas.
Felix Winterson has grown up on Snow Hope Island and now runs the place. He isn’t thrilled when party boy Jules arrives, and Felix tries hard to ignore the man’s charms. He has other problems, anyway. For years he’s tried to get Santa to look at the growing inventory of damaged toys in the warehouse, to no avail.
When Jules comes up with a plan to save the toys, the men find themselves working closely together. As Christmas Eve looms, there’s a lot at stake. Can they save Snow Hope, convince Santa to rescue
Length: 29,000 words approx.
Publisher: JMS Books
Jules popped a pepperoni pizza into the oven and settled into his recliner with the puppy in his arms, eager to watch the news and relax. He’d have to figure out what to do with her in the morning. He wasn’t even sure who to notify. The puppy snorted, and he petted her soft fur, feeling her sink against his chest. He grinned. It wasn’t a bad way to end the day. A warm puppy. Pizza. Maybe he’d call his buddy, Emmanuel, and check out how things were going at the North Pole.
Things were usually ramping up by then. The contracts with toy stores had to be completed soon in order to make sure the Big Guy had enough to deliver across the globe. The reindeer were in full workout mode, ready for the one night of the year they actually worked. Jules chuckled. Those guys had it easy. They were spoiled rotten all year, but he had to admit, they worked their asses off on Christmas Eve.
The elves would be reviewing letters to Santa, sorting through the “Naughty” and “Nice” lists. Another news flash: Santa rarely put anyone on the “Naughty” list. Not a child, anyway—he believed everyone deserved second chances. However, he’d been known to put a few teenagers on the list. One too many tacky Santa memes and it pissed off the Big Guy.
If only Santa would have applied that chance to Jules, he wouldn’t be stuck on the miserable island. He sighed and silently chastised himself. That wasn’t really fair to the Big Guy. Over the years, he’d given Jules more than enough chances to do the right thing, yet he always made the wrong choice. Ending up on Snow Hope was his own fault, and even though it was hard to swallow, Jules knew it.
The timer on the oven beeped. Starving, Jules hurried to take out the pizza, sleepy puppy still in hand. He’d worked through lunch, even when Eve had tried to get him to take a break, because he’d wanted to finish all the new shipments. Admittedly, he also wanted to show Felix he wasn’t a goof-off and could complete a task on time and do a good job. He was pretty sure Felix knew why Jules had been shuffled to the island and, for the first time, his reputation bothered him. He didn’t know why he cared what Felix thought, but for some reason, he did.
And that just pissed him off more.
He cut the pizza and piled a couple of slices onto a plate before resettling in the recliner. Eating dinner alone in front of the TV had become his new norm, and as much as he preferred his privacy, he felt a little lonely. The puppy had already drifted off to sleep on his chest and he smiled. For the first time since arriving on the island, Jules had a dinner companion.
What an absolutely cute story. I loved how Jules was pretty forward about what he wanted, meanwhile Felix knew what he wanted and was very shy about it. And with Jules finding his “niche”, and creating such a great option for everyone on the island. It was a very good premise.
Fun, cute, and oh so Christmas-y. Everything you want in a story like this.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
Dec 15 – OMG Reads, Dec 17 – Mikku-chan, The Blogger Girls, Padme’s Library, Dec 19 – Megan’s Media Melange, Two Chicks Obsessed, Dec 21 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews, Dec 24 – Valerie Ullmer, Bayou Book Junkie, Making It Happen, Drops Of Ink
Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.