Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gingersnaps: Sophie's Present by Anne Kane

Gingersnaps: Sophie's Present
by Anne Kane

Cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-107-7
Genre(s): Paranormal, Daemonum, Hot Flashes
Theme(s): Christmas, Seasonal Themes
Series: Gingersnaps
Length: Hot Flash


As one of Santa’s elves, Dandy’s job is to make sure no one is forgotten at Christmas. So he made his list and checked it twice. He found Sophie at the top of his list of forgotten do-gooders, and when he checked her out he knew just what to do to make her Christmas the merriest ever.

When Santa made his rounds Christmas Eve, he dropped off a fantastic hunk at Sophie’s house, gift-wrapped for the occasion. Nickolie is a sex demon, and once she gets over the shock, Sophie has a wonderful time unwrapping her present and making sure it gets a good workout before it expires on Boxing Day.


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A loud noise dragged Sophie from her nap and she looked around with sleep-befuddled eyes. Mr. Whiskers sat on the top of the wicker hamper, ignoring her as he carefully groomed the fur on one sleek forepaw. She relaxed. The cat had probably knocked something off the counter. He wasn’t the most graceful animal. In fact, she’d never imagined a cat could be quite as clumsy as Mr. Whiskers.
She glanced over at the clock. Five past midnight. The bath water had cooled while she slept, and she shivered as she stood to reach for the fluffy towel hanging above the radiator. Wrapping herself in its welcoming warmth, she wandered into the bedroom and donned a pair of flannel pajamas. She rummaged quietly in the closet to locate Mr. Whiskers’ Christmas present. She knew it was silly, but every year she wrapped a present for her cat from Santa and put it under the tree. She tiptoed back to the front room to place the present under the tree. A gaily wrapped box already took up a good portion of the space under the little tree. Where had that come from? She picked it up to read the label.

Merry Christmas -- to Sophie from Santa. You’ve been a very nice girl this year.

There must be some mistake. She glanced around the room. She might be getting a little addled, living with only a cat for company, but she knew Santa didn’t really exist. Even if he did, she thought logically, he didn’t leave presents under her Christmas tree. A muffled sound drew her attention back to the present. She noticed tiny holes in the sides of the box. They looked like the air holes you’d punch out if you put a puppy in a box. Or a kitten. Intrigued, she put the box down on the table and glanced superstitiously at the clock. Ten past midnight. Good. Not that she believed in Santa, but you didn’t open his presents until Christmas Day. That was a rule, a very important one.

She glanced around one more time. Nope. No one at all in the room with her. She pulled the edge of the gold and silver ribbon, sliding it off the box. Carefully, just in case there really was a puppy in there, she lifted the flaps of the box and looked inside.

A dust bunny.

Big dark eyes stared up at her out of a mound of fluffy blue fur, looking for all the world like a psychedelic dust bunny. The creature made a tiny chirping noise and blinked.

Sophie reached in and pulled the little fluff ball out of the box, cuddling it against her chest. What is it? A small sheet of paper at the bottom of the box caught her attention and she pulled it out to read.

Congratulations on your new acquisition. His name is Nikolie. Please welcome him into your home and he will reward you with love beyond your wildest dreams.

She looked from the dust bunny to the note. Someone had a weird sense of humor. She placed the fuzzy blue creature back in the box, then added a plastic container of water in case it was thirsty.

She still wasn’t sure how the box had managed to get under her tree. Nervously, she made the rounds of her small home, checking each window and door to make sure the locks were secure. The only person with a house key was Mrs. Winters, the elderly lady who lived next door. She sometimes took deliveries for Sophie when she was out. Relief flooded her. Of course. The present had probably come when Sophie was at the homeless mission, and Mrs. Winters had thoughtfully put it under the tree.

Relieved at having solved the mystery, Sophie took one last peek at the little creature. Figuring out what to feed a little dust bunny would have to wait until morning. “Welcome to my home, Nikolie. We’ll get better acquainted in the morning, but right now, I’m going back to bed.” She closed the lid to keep Mr. Whiskers from snacking on her present and went back to her bedroom. Climbing into bed, she pulled the covers up snugly under her chin.

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