Jingle Bell Romance, Chapter One, Part One
Well, a day later than I had planned, but hey, at least I’m in keeping with the book itself!
It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Julia Stanton was expecting a busy day at Toyland.
See, right on schedule!
This year’s Wintermas romance will be Jingle Bell Romance by Mia Ross. Despite the cute and innocuous title, I have a sneaking suspicion we are in for a real treat with this one: our hero is a DICK.
…she was about to pull open the door of Holiday Harbor Sweets when a man’s black leather glove closed over top of her hand.
“Ladies first,” said a deep voice…
When he opened the door and motioned her ahead of him, she returned the smile. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, thanks. I mean, I WAS already first, but I love it when strangers grab me and act like they’re doing me a favor.”
Oh, and hey:
Set against the gently falling slow… [sic]
Heh, really, editors? On Page 1?
Anyway, this first meeting between hero Nick McHenry and heroine Lucy Stanton, is an immediate meet-cute. Julia notices Nick’s “unabashed male interest,” and they stand in line for coffee. Quick exposition reveals Julia as the recently-transplanted daughter of a U.S. Ambassador, and Nick as a former townie, gone for several years, and a magazine editor.
A random townie lady shows up, and she and Nick pick a fight with each other. Seems they grew up together here in little Small Town, Maine, and it also seems that Nick was rather an ass. The woman’s name is Lucy, but Nick calls her “Lucky.”
I know you and your idiot buddies all thought that was funny in high school,” she snarled, “but it wasn’t. It’s even less funny now.”
“Right. Sorry.” His brush-off tone made it clear he wasn’t sorry at all, and Julia couldn’t understand why he seemed to be going out of his way to make Lucy angry.
Yeah, me neither. So, we’re in the first few pages of a book, and already supposed to see our hero as a high school bully who’s still into being an asshole?
I mean, maybe? Then Nick makes very vague reference to Lucy putting a story about him in the local paper, and Lucy says he deserved it, and I’m just even more confused.
The upshot is that Lucy is so upset by this encounter that she leaves without ordering anything. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen?
(This is Book Two in a series. I think I might grab Book One to see who this Lucy is. I hate when I can’t just treat this as a stand-alone.)
Anyway, Julia calls Nick out for “needling her on purpose.”
There was that wicked grin again. “Yeah.”
Yeah, a bully. How charming.
Nick bizarrely says it was all because he “doesn’t have time to make nice“…because he’s got tons of emails to check.
Yeah, he’s staying with his sister and her family, and yes, they have WiFi, but Nick just “can’t concentrate with everyone yakking all the time.”
Boy, this guy just keeps getting better, eh? And what a professional, unable to CHECK EMAILS unless there is absolute silence.
Julia decides to offer Nick the use of the WiFi at her toy store, though she has the presence of mind to acknowledge that his “brooding vibe” might not be great for business.
So, that’s it for Part One. Next time, stay tuned as a character uses another character’s WiFi! Truly, the excitement never ends.