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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Feature and Giveaway: Mistletoe Kisses by Marnie Blue

For Officer Justin Weaver, Christmas is the most hideous time of the year. To improve his “holiday cheer,” he’s been put on Officer Kringle duty, collecting toys for the Ho-Ho-Patrol.

It’s a week in holiday hell.

Worse, it comes with an elf—his little sister’s gorgeous best friend—but Lilly Maddox isn’t so little anymore. And as an annoyingly festive reporter looking to make her mark, she’s there to document his every move.

Justin’s always had a thing for Lilly, but he refuses to go there with her. Ever. Not after watching what his mom went through as a cop’s wife. But now that they’re trapped in his squad car, avoiding her just got a lot more complicated…

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She was trying to kill him.

She had to be. No one could act like Lilly, and talk like Lilly, and be completely unaware of their actions.

Then again, he’d always called her Maddox the Menace for a reason. Now he just had a new one. She was gorgeous, and a menace to his self-control.

His heart thumped and his skin tingled. Either he was attracted to her or he was allergic to her. Maybe both—and both, equally bad. He couldn’t be attracted to Lilly; she was his sister’s best friend. It was all kinds of awkward wrapped up in a pretty package.

Still, she did a great job of playing oblivious as she asked Kevin, “So…you have to ride with him all the time? How do you stay so cheerful?”

“I know, right? Glad you’re giving me the week off.” He grinned.

Justin wondered if O’Rourke could see down her dress, too. Maybe he was gawking at that same peek of pink lace. “I’ll have to come up with a way to pay you back for the break,” Kevin said.

No way. Justin wanted to punch him. He could only imagine what O’Rourke would come up with. Instead, he moved his body to block the view down Lilly’s dress. “Don’t you have some candy canes to fling? Step away from the car before I run you over.” He rolled the window up in Kevin’s face. “Asswipe.” Then he nudged Lilly with his arm. “Buckle up.”

Lilly leaned back, took a deep breath, and exhaled. “Listen, I really need you to be a great Santa. Not just for the public relations aspect of the piece—though, yes, that’s important. We want you to be the face of the police department, the one people think of when they think officer or cop. But we want children and their parents to know that the police are our friends.”

Justin frowned. “Being Santa is the way to do that?”

“One of the ways, yes. But beyond that, my career hinges on getting it done right.”

“On this?” He pinched at the fabric of the Santa suit.

Lilly nodded so forcefully, the bells on her hat jingled. “There are two of us freelancers working this story. But only one of us is going to get the full-time job at the end. It’s like an audition—how well we interview, gather information, and shape a story. As if my portfolio doesn’t speak for itself. It’s important that we work together to make this the best holiday coverage ever.”

He stared at her. “You’re serious. A fluff piece like this?”

She shrugged with another jingle. “I know it sounds crazy, but there’s a spot open and they want to fill it by the start of the new year, and we’re both equally qualified, so we’ve both got equally viewer-friendly stories to cover. That’s how they choose between us. Who gets the better story and the better ratings.” Lilly sighed. “If you can’t do it for me, can you do it for…your mom? And your sister? If I get the job, I can live here again. I just want to settle down in a place that feels like home. I’m tired of traveling, you know? And…I miss family. Like your mom.”

Mom. She’d missed Lilly intensely. “All right. I’ll do it. For my mom.” Crap. Always the hero. He nodded, but held up his hand. “But don’t think I’m happy about it.”

Marnie hates having her picture taken; thus she looks like a deer in the headlights in most photos.

When she's not hiding from the camera, she's cooking keto meals for her law enforcement officer husband and three kids, or scaling the mountain of laundry her family continually creates.

Basically, she's a regular trapped-at-home mom, except she's got other people living in her head, demanding she let them out and tell their stories. This is where her enjoyment of the snarky, sarcastic '50's housewife memes began; she only wishes she could be so glamorous when acting as a slave to her home.

Marnie enjoys lonely walks on the RI beaches (when she can get to them--it's a Rhode Island thing), gardening (but not weeding) and coffee. Lots and lots (and lots!) of coffee.

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