As part of H&H's Hot for the Holidays program, we're thrilled to share a limited-time peek at 12 special holiday stories! All 12 e-novellas are on sale now (you may have seen us talk about this H&H-St. Martin's Press program before), but we're offering H&H members the exclusive chance to read the whole story for free—it's our gift to you. But here's the thing: Stories will be available for ONE DAY ONLY over the next two weeks, so grab a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate, and get reading before they disappear with a wink and a smile!
“DEATH, TAXES AND MISTLETOE MAYHEM” by DIANE KELLY:
’Tis the season for death, taxes, and maybe even love under the mistletoe…
Christmas is fast approaching when IRS Special Agent Tara is assigned a new case involving a jewelry wholesaler who’s repeatedly claimed large theft losses on her tax returns. Was Nadine Gramercy really robbed, or were the thefts a mere ruse to pocket tax-free profits? Tara believes Nadine belongs at the top of Santa’s “naughty” list. Her investigation takes her to Chisholm Trail mall, where she meets Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz and her fluffy K-9 partner, Brigit. Though Megan believes Tara is barking up the wrong tree, she agrees to provide backup if a bust goes down. Moreover, they decide to team up as matchmakers to find love for Chris Rasmussen, a pediatric nurse who moonlights at the mall playing Santa Claus. Chris has a warm heart and a body that’s hot enough to melt to the polar ice caps. This sexy-yet-sad shopping mall Santa was recently dumped by his fickle fiancée, leaving the not-so-old elf more jilted than jolly. Can Tara and Megan solve the crime…and lift Santa’s spirits in time for Christmas?
IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway
Early Monday morning my boss, Lu “the Lobo” Lobozinski, stepped into my office. A long sparkly silver garland encircled her neck like a festive holiday boa. With one hand she flicked a loose end of garland over her shoulder. With the other she tossed a file onto my already crowded desk. “Take a look into this case. The paperwork checked out, but the auditor has a hunch this taxpayer’s up to no good.”
It was a mere two weeks until Christmas, and here my boss was acting as if she were Ebenezer Scrooge and I was Bob Cratchit. With the holiday hustle and bustle in full swing and my shopping far from finished, the last thing I needed was another case to work on. But there was no use complaining. Lu’s expectations of her staff were as high as her eight-inch strawberry-blond beehive. Besides, she punished whiners with crappy cases. The last guy who’d complained got stuck investigating a company that disposed of medical waste. Ew. The mere thought of an amputated limb had my breakfast of Fruity Pebbles creeping back up my throat.
“I’ll get right on it,” I promised.
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