Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Christmas In Paradise (Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries Book 4) by Kathi Daley

Christmas In Paradise (Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries Book 4) by Kathi Daley
$2.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Christmas in Paradise is a magical time of year that Tj has always looked forward to with happy anticipation. This year her holiday spirit is marred by the impending arrival of two new men in her life. When one of the men ends up dead, Tj must juggle community plays, Christmas tree cutting, sleigh rides, and holiday shopping, with a complex murder investigation. As the facts start to unravel Tj realizes that she must risk it all to save someone she loves.


 “Look at all the lights,” Gracie screeched with delight as Tj drove her sisters to play practice. It looked as though the community volunteers must have been out in force over the weekend; every window on Main Street was framed with white lights and every lamppost sported a pine wreath tied up with a huge red ribbon. The fresh coat of snow that had fallen over the past few days gave the mountain hamlet the feel of an authentic Christmas village.
  “Can we go look at the windows?” Gracie asked as Tj began searching for a parking spot.
  “Maybe after Thanksgiving,” Tj said. “We have rehearsal tonight and tomorrow night and then a very busy couple of days making a huge feast for everyone we’ve invited for dinner on Thanksgiving.”
  “Kristi wants to come over early to watch the parade with us,” Ashley announced.
  “I’ll have to talk to Aunt Jenna about it, but I imagine she’ll come early as well since she’s making most of the food.”
  “How come Aunt Jenna is making the food if it’s at our house?” Gracie asked.
  “’Cause Tj can’t cook,” Ashley explained.
  “I can too cook,” Tj defended herself.
  “Really? You burned the toast we had for breakfast and the eggs were so runny that Grandpa had to make us pancakes.”
  “Eggs are tricky,” Tj commented.
  Ashley rolled her eyes in the condescending way only she could.
  “As long as we’re on the subject of Christmas, what are you both planning to ask Santa for?” Tj slowed as they drove by the park, which was decorated with lights in the evergreen trees, as well as others outlining the gazebo. Once they lit the hundred-foot town Christmas tree on Friday, it was going to be spectacular.
  “There is no—”
  “Ashley . . .” Tj warned.
  Ashley stopped speaking. Tj had told her numerous times not to ruin her sister’s fun by pointing out that the man in the jolly red suit was a mythological being and not a real, flesh-and-blood man.
  “No what?” Gracie asked.
  “No reason why we can’t ask for more than one gift.” Ashley cleverly used Tj’s diversion to her advantage. “I’ve been really good this year and I really want a cell phone and a new computer.”
  “We talked about the phone thing,” Tj reminded her. “Not until middle school.”
  “All my friends have phones,” Ashley said.
  “No,” Tj corrected, “they don’t.”
  “I want a doll,” Gracie joined in.
  “You got a doll last year,” Tj reminded her.
  “I’m thinking about expanding my family.”
  Tj smiled. “Expanding your family?”
  “That’s what Kari told me Jenna and Dennis want to do, but the stork is having problems. I told them that they should look on the Internet for a baby. My teacher says you can get anything on Amazon.”
  Tj tried not to laugh at Gracie’s serious tone of voice. She was really thinking through this expanding-her-family idea.
  “I don’t think you can get a baby on Amazon, but your teacher isn’t all that far off otherwise. What kind of a doll would you like to ask Santa for?”
  Gracie considered for a moment. “I’m not sure. Maybe one with curly brown hair like mine. The doll I got last year had long blond hair, and even though she’s pretty, she doesn’t look like she would be my baby. She looks like she would be Kari’s baby, or maybe Kristi’s, since Kristi and Kari both have long blond hair like Aunt Jenna.”
  “So about the computer . . .” Ashley brought the conversation back around to her true desire.
  “Computers are expensive,” Tj pointed out.
  “Which is why I’m asking Santa and not you.” Ashley grinned. “Santa makes things in his workshop, so he doesn’t have to worry about how much stuff costs.”
  “That’s true,” Gracie backed up her sister.
  Tj sighed. It wasn’t pretty when you were outsmarted by an eight-year-old.
  “I’m not sure Santa brings computers,” Tj tried.
  “Three kids in my class got computers from Santa last year,” Ashley insisted.
  Tj didn’t want to have this conversation in front of Gracie. Ashley could be sweet, but she could also be manipulative. If push came to shove, she might ruin Gracie’s belief in Santa if she thought it would help her get what she wanted. In many ways she was a lot like their mother. Tj just hoped she’d come into Ashley’s life early enough to turn things around.
  “Okay,” Tj gave in. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask Santa for a computer, but you should have a backup as well, in case Santa is out of computers by the time he gets to Paradise Lake.”
  “I won’t need a backup,” Ashley assured her. “Everyone knows Santa is branching off into electronics. I hear he has a whole crew of elves devoted to nothing but building and developing cool equipment. Not only does he bring things like cell phones and computers, but he brings iPods and televisions too. Next year I’m going to ask for a flat screen, but for now a computer is fine.  And I’ll need a graphics card and extra memory too,” Ashley added. “And a decent processor; not one of those ancient ones that takes forever to load. Oh, and a camera, so I can Skype. I’ll write it all down for you.”
  Tj cleared her throat.
  “For you to give to Santa,” Ashley added.
  “Do you think Santa has a doll with a red dress and brown eyes?” Gracie added.
  Lord, I hope so.

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