Release date: November 24, 2014
Ah, the holidays. David Shay can’t get enough of the December festivities. He especially enjoys sharing his love of the season with the underprivileged children at his non-profit organization SafePlace for Children and Parents. Hannah Jenkins, on the other hand, turns into a jaded Scrooge every year on Black Friday. As manager of a large retail store, she’s seen first-hand how the rampant commercialism of the holiday can bring out the worst in people.
When David’s organization is the charity Hannah’s boss picks for their annual donation, it falls on her to organize a huge holiday party, whether she likes it or not.
Can a nice Jewish boy—with the help of some Christmas lights, a little girl, and a latke party—teach Hannah the true meaning of the season and guarantee them both a New Year’s Eve kiss to remember?
by Peggy Bird
Author Peggy Bird lives in the Pacific Northwest where she keeps out of trouble—and the rain—by writing sensual romances featuring hot heroes and smart women.
An excerpt from Lights, Latkes, and Love:
“I hate the public. Hate, hate, hate the public.” Hannah Jenkins spit out the words as she flopped into an overstuffed chair and waved away the glass of wine her housemate Sarah offered.
“Really? The entire public? Worldwide? Or just Portland, Oregon, and its environs?” Sarah accompanied her question with an exaggerated eye roll.
“Okay, maybe not all the public. Just the ones who’re a pain in the butt this time of year. Which, face it, is a large number.”
“Sure you won’t have a glass of wine? It might take the edge off your pissed-offness.”
“If I start drinking tonight, I might never stop until the damn Christmas season is over. Which is weeks away. By then, I’d do in my liver and my tombstone would read, ‘She was right: Christmas killed her.’”
Hannah was the manager of the flagship—and largest—store in a chain of women’s specialty shops. She’d worked her way up from part-time clerk to sales associate to buyer and now to store manager, all by the age of thirty-two, an impressive accomplishment. She loved working in the heart of the city. Loved her colleagues. Loved everything about working retail.
Except Christmas. She hated Christmas.
Sarah settled on the couch and took a sip of her wine. “Maybe if you vent, you’ll be in a better mood for the dinner I’ve spent the last hour preparing. So, tell me, what happened today?”
Hannah knew her housemate was asking only because she was a good friend. Sarah had heard this particular rant each year at this time ever since they’d moved in together.
“Not everyone was an asshat,” Hannah admitted, “but there were enough to prove that the idea that everyone has a generous holiday spirit is a huge lie.”
“Specifics, please,” Sarah said with an annoying grin. “You know me. I don’t like generalities.”
“Okay, there was this jerk who spent a boatload of money on a miniscule bit of lace the manufacturer calls a ‘nightgown.’ For his girlfriend, he said.”
“What’s so bad about that?”
Hannah snorted. “He also bought a pair of bunny slippers and a flannel nightgown for his wife and a second nightgown for his secretary—who, I’m sure, does more than print out his schedule for him.”
Hannah was almost happy to see her housemate’s disappointed slouch. “After him was the woman who thought she could bargain with me for the last bottle of ‘Tragic’ perfume in the entire city. Telling me that since it was the last one, we couldn’t advertise it, so I might as well let her take it off my hands. Like I’m gonna give her a break on the price of the hottest scent to come along since Chanel No. 5. She was so pissed off she filled out an official complaint form saying I wasn’t living up to the store’s customer-friendly reputation.” By now Hannah was sitting with her spine in military alignment, her chin jutting out and her hands in fists.
“But the topper was the woman who said her two teacup poodles were service dogs, so we couldn’t ask her to leave them outside. She asked one of my sales staff to hold them while she tried on a half-dozen dresses. Said she was looking for something special for her Christmas-card picture. When she finally decided on one she liked, she grabbed the stupid dogs back to see how they looked with what she’d chosen, and one of the little furballs peed all over the five-hundred-dollar dress, which the woman then refused to buy.”
“Don’t get angry at the dog. It’s not his … her … fault.”
“I’ll apologize to the dog if I ever see it again. But damn it—”
“I get it. Bad day at the office.” Sarah waved her hand at the bottle on the table. “A bit of the grape might make you feel better about it. Are you sure you won’t join me?”
“Maybe I will.” Hannah pulled herself out of the depths of the chair and poured a small glass of wine. “I swear, if this job wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, I’d quit. Or at least take a leave until January.”