Welcome to another fantastic Coming Soon Sunday. The holidays are here! Time for fun, frolic, and tales of games at the North Pole.
Release Date: December 9, 2015
Dashing von Stride has one thing on his mind: winning the window display contest for the Miracle on Main Christmas Contest. His plans are set and ready—and then he walks into his toy store, Reindeer Games, to find a sleigh that shouldn’t be there. The mystery sleigh sparks a new plan, however, and now all Dash needs is the perfect Santa to model his display after.
This year, the pranks with his reindeer have gotten out of hand. Instead of preparing for the Big Day, Niklaus Kringle is hunting for his missing sleigh. Locating it should have been easy, but games easily won are seldom worth playing…
On nights like tonight when the snow whipped all around his truck, the drive was much longer. He didn’t mind; it gave him more time to think.
Elf. That was what Nik had said he was. In so many words. Did that mean Dash was an elf too? In a way, that rang true. It felt true. He wanted to ask—about his family name, about the magic, about why he wasn’t freaking out. Wanted to find Nik, to talk to him. Hell, he just plain wanted to see him again. Simply thinking about Nik sent Dash’s heart into honest to god pitter-patters. His lips lifted at corners with the mere thought of Nik.
He was about five miles from home and snow was still falling hard and steady. It had begun earlier that afternoon, getting denser as the day wore on. He wondered if the canyon roads would be passable much longer.
One moment Dash was squinting through the blustery winter-white night, smiling goofily, the next thing he knew, a mule deer—the biggest he’d ever seen—darted into the road. Dash swerved to avoid hitting it. The back wheels lost traction, even with the chains on his tires, and he fishtailed over the slick surface of the road. Dash’s breath caught in his chest and he eased his foot off the gas. The damage was already done though and all he could do was brace for impact as his truck skidded over the snowy-slick road and into the ditch, stopping with a muted thud and loud pop.
Dash’s chest rose and fell with quick and heavy breaths as his pulse whooshed in his ears. He opened his eyes. The engine still purred and warm air still blasted into the truck from the vents. Dash was fine—no injuries. That was good. He swallowed hard and took inventory of his surroundings.
He was about five miles from home and snow showed little sign of stopping. Through the passenger window, Dash could see the deer—waiting in the middle of the road. Except now that he could really see it, he could tell it wasn’t a deer at all. It was a caribou. Though not unheard of, Dash had seen very few in Wassail, and none so far this year. But… a caribou? On his road? In this weather?
A strange glow emanated from the animal that had Dash squeezing his eyes shut and shaking his head. For a second he thought he’d seen… a light. On the animal’s nose. No. In the animal’s nose. Like the light was the nose. When he opened his eyes, the caribou stood with its elongated head tilted to one side not unlike a playful canine, staring right at Dash, as if studying him. Dash shook himself. Maybe he had hit his head when he landed in the ditch and just didn’t realize it.
He looked away from the animal that threatened a mental breakdown. Worrying his overactive imagination wouldn’t get him home. Even in the ditch, the truck seemed to be tilted even more awkwardly—all the more reason Dash was certain the violent pop he’d heard had been a tire blowing. But even in this hellacious weather, he needed to get out of the truck to make sure.
Dash blew out his frustration. All he wanted was to get home, start a fire, and have his hot chocolate. Was that too much to ask? Obviously so. Snorting at himself because his inner bitch would get him nowhere, Dash turned the engine off then pushed open the door and hopped out of the truck.
When frigid air penetrated his sweater, Dash reached back inside the cab and grabbed his coat. He hated driving with the thick wool constricting his movement. Dash pulled the edges together and buttoned it. If it got too bad, he had a parka in the king cab.
Grumbling to himself, Dash stomped around the bed of the truck to the passenger side. He kept his movements slow and stayed as close to the vehicle as possible while keeping half his attention on the reason for his accident.
The animal, who had taken up residence in the middle of the road, watched Dash’s every step. It annoyed him more than it unnerved him.
When he reached the head of the vehicle, he groaned. He was right. The tire had burst on a rock. Shards of stone still clung to the thick rubber and tangled in the chain. Exhausted, depleted, and frustrated with the emotional rollercoaster of his day, Dash whirled around and pointed at the infernal beast that looked to be smirking at him. “This is your fault! If you were watching where you were going, I’d be home—safe and cozy and drinking my hot cocoa!” By now Dash was hollering into the quiet cold of the road to his house.
“But no!” He continued, his tenor ringing into the night. “You had to go all Evel Knievel—while my life was flashing before my eyes!”
“What did that poor animal do to you?”
In the silence of the falling snow, and not expecting anyone else around, the new voice boomed like the detonation of an explosive.
Surprised, Dash spun around but lost his footing. His boots flew out from under him as a flash of red and blue passed through his vision. Dash landed flat on his back with an “oof.” For a moment, he lay there with freezing snow seeping into his already bitter mood. Great. Could it get any worse?
When he blinked open his eyes with a groan, he realized it could.
Crouched beside him and staring down at Dash, with a mixture of amusement and aggravation in his eyes, was Nik.
About the Author:
Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and fur-babies who likes to keep her company while she writes. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.
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