Mistle Text: ‘Twas the Text Before Christmas …
Whitney Dineen & Melanie Summers
(An Accidentally in Love Story, #5)
Publication date: September 25th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Twas the text before Christmas…
Twenty-eight-year-old Holly Snow is the only mother her four-year-old niece remembers. Three years earlier, when her sister and brother-in-law were killed, Holly’s dream of becoming an international flight attendant was put on hold so she could be home for baby Faith. Holly is doing everything she can to keep the rent paid, including working as an online travel agent, filing medical claims, and cleaning apartments in her building. When her friend Maggie tells her that her boss needs someone to buy his Christmas gifts, she leaps at the opportunity.
Tall, dark and Scroogy, investment banker, Archibald Harrington is too busy to do his own Christmas shopping. When his assistant tells him she knows of a professional shopper, he happily checks another dreaded task off his holiday list. The last thing Archie is expecting is for his hired elf to text him insistently to find out more about the people on list. The last thing Holly expects is to develop feelings for grumpy man who’s stealing her Christmas spirit.
Will there be a Holiday miracle, or will Holly and Archie miss their chance at love? Find out in the fifth installment of the Accidentally in Love Series.
“My boss needs a personal shopper for Christmas, and I’ve already told him I know the very best one in Manhattan.” Toni gives me an open-mouthed smile, clearly expecting me to jump up and down.
“Your boss. As in Archibald Snooty Pants the Forty-Second?” I ask, pursing my lips.
She opens her mouth, but I cut her off with one finger in the air. “You complain about the man all the time.”
“It’s not like he’s a horrible person, he’s just a one trick pony—all work and no play. Plus, it’s not like you’ll have to work side-by-side with him or anything. You probably won’t even have to see him.”
“I’m not a personal shopper,” I tell her. “Unless his family and friends want ramen noodles or discount t-shirts from the guy who sells them out of his trunk in front of my apartment building, I would have no idea what to buy.”
“Yeah, well, Archie doesn’t know that.” She pumps her eyebrows up and down like a comedian.
“Toni, you told me the guy was a rich stuck-up preppy from the Hamptons. While I would love nothing more than to make some extra money, I don’t have the foggiest notion how to shop for rich people.”
“So watch some holiday episodes of Real Housewives and see what they buy each other. He’ll tell you how much to spend on each person. Come on, Holl, it’s not brain surgery. It’s shopping. You know how to shop. And you need the money.”
“What if he hates me?” I despise feeling so pathetic, but I’m totally out of my league here.
“Then he hates you. So what? Believe me when I tell you, Archibald Harrington only thinks about work. You can’t take anything he says personally.”
Dread slams into me like a wrecking ball. “How much do you think I can make?”
“Enough to pay for Christmas and at least the next three months of Faith’s preschool tuition. How can you pass that up?”
The answer is, I can’t. And if it means working for a cranky billionaire, then Toni is right. I’ll do whatever I have to do in order to take care of Faith. I just can’t guarantee I’ll like it.
“Fine,” I tell her. “How many gifts am I supposed to buy?”
“He’ll need all of his family gifts, which include his godfather’s family. He’s spending Christmas with them in Newport. He wants you to cover his business gifts, as well. The VIPs are starred, meaning those particular gifts need to be extra-amazing. I’ve also made you a list of everything that I want, so I don’t wind up with another Monte Blanc pen. I’ve already sold three of those suckers on eBay and I only get a fraction of what they’re worth.”
“I don’t even know what a Monte Blanc pen is.” My chest tightens like I’m not getting enough oxygen.
She hands me a piece of paper. “This is a list of websites to check out. You can order everything and have it delivered here.”
“Why can’t I just have everything sent to his office? What am I going to do with it?”
After taking a healthy swig of white zinfandel, Toni says, “You’re going to wrap everything up and make it look like Santa himself cracked the whip on the gift-wrapping elves. Once you have everything purchased and ready, I’ll send a car to pick the gifts up.”
“You’ll send a car, will you?” I tease.
“Yeah, well, I can do those fancy things in the name of my boss.”
“How am I going to pay for everything?” I ask. “I have about two hundred dollars of credit left on my card. I don’t think that’s going to cut it.”
Toni opens her purse and hands me a shiny black credit card. “There’s no limit, so if you don’t mind doing a little jail time, you could have a lot of fun.”
“No limit? I can’t imagine such a thing.” I fantasize about what damage I could do with plastic like this. Not only could I pay for Faith’s school for the rest of the year, but I could also get my mom into one of those nursing homes that has a hair salon and restaurant. I could upgrade to a two-bedroom apartment so Faith doesn’t have to sleep in the closet anymore, and I could even splurge and buy myself some real leather gloves.
“You’re imagining, aren’t you?” Toni jolts me out of my daydream.
“I most certainly am. The first thing I’d do is buy Faith whatever winter coat she wanted and then I’d take her out to a nice restaurant.”
Toni rolls her eyes. “If you’re going down for a crime, you’ve got to think bigger.”
I stare at the card for a second, then look back up at Toni. “How can you stand working for someone who has so much? Don’t you just want to steal cash out of his wallet once in a while?” I don’t really have the heart of a felon, I’m just tired of always being broke.
“The nice thing about Archie is that even though he has the personality of a killer shark, he’s generous. He has a Friday lunch catered for his staff every week, and he makes sure to float us enough extras that none of us are tempted to steal from him. He’s a good businessman.”
“Even though he’s a stuck-up preppy?” I ask for clarification.
I look at the list of stores she thinks I should shop at—Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, The House of Bijan … “What’s my budget?”
She hands me another piece of paper. The handwriting isn’t hers, so I’m guessing it’s Archie’s. “He wants me to spend four thousand dollars on his mother?!”
“Yup. He wants her to have two gifts. One of them needs to be the main. The other can be fancy ass chocolates or something.”
“Right, but probably not gas station chocolates.”
“Quit stressing, Holls, you’ve got this.”
I don’t know why, but for the life of me I can’t see this ending well…
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017
Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally – then she’ll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she’s not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something–more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.