HIDING FROM CHRISTMAS
By Alice K. Arenz
No matter how hard she tries, Maddie Kelley can’t seem to fit in at Ornamental, a company founded by her great grandfather and his best friend. Now, after yet another screw-up, she’s been sent into the “enemy’s” camp—two hours away from home for the next two months.
A punishment or a blessing?
Her life is turned upside down when the mundane turns unexpected, and she finally discovers where her heart truly lies.
This is the fourth novel set in the fictional Missouri community of Tarryton. Come visit old friends and make some new ones!
Excerpt from Hiding From Christmas
“You can run, but you can’t hide!” My co-worker’s voice bellowed. “I know you’re back here, Maddie.”
Holly Denton lumbered past me, intent on searching the storage closet on the opposite side of the hallway. All the huffing and puffing should have made me feel guilty. I was, after all, the cause of the extra effort she expended.
I should feel guilty but didn’t. Did that make me a bad person? I hoped not.
Besides, I wasn’t hiding. Long before Holly became the official—in her mind—holiday queen of Ornamental, I’d created this secret little nook in the copy supply room. No one knew about it but me… and Daddy. He’d helped set up the false “wall,” brought in a comfy chair, a reading lamp, and an assortment of books. Of course, that had been a long time ago when I’d needed a place to hang out after school. He would never have guessed I’d still be using it fifteen years later when I was supposed to be working. If he was alive, he’d know right where to look.
But if he were, I’m certain I’d no longer need a secret hideaway.
The door to the storage room opened with a whoosh followed by the distinctive sound of the latch catching before it closed with a little bang. When Holly sighed, I pictured the straight line of bangs across her forehead ruffling. The action usually preceded a roll of her dark brown eyes and shake of her head. Her signature expressions when dealing with me. Why she didn’t give up and leave me alone…
Lindy. My sister had to be the driving force behind Holly’s persistence. Now it was my turn to sigh.
I loved this place—not just my special hideaway, but the company. I’d grown up in the offices and hallways of Ornamental, the business my great-grandfather and his best friend, James MacKenna, founded over eighty years ago. Since that time, there had always been a place for family within the company. It had been the families’ bond that made Ornamental a household name. Not like Hallmark, of course, but still well-known. From the humble beginnings of handmade Christmas ornaments, the business branched out into figurines, collectibles of all kinds, everyday knick-knacks—why, we even had a bridal division. If it’s decorative, we not only designed it but made the items right here in the USA!
The MacKennas had always been more on the creative side of things, while the Kelleys’ strengths lay in the business of day-to-day operations. My sister and brother, Jay, fit right in. Me, not so much.
A check of my watch, followed by the vibration of the phone in my pocket, gave me a fifteen minute warning before the meeting with my sister in her office. It was enough time to stop by my cubicle and pick up the folders Lindy would want—probably to pass the work along to someone more qualified to do it than me. Before leaving my sanctuary, I grabbed the Tupperware container of cookies, hoping they’d be the right “softening” agent to quell my sister’s wrath.
Not wrath. Lindy rarely got angry with me. Or, if she did, she managed to hold back so I didn’t actually see it. No, it was more disappointment. Overwhelming disappointment.
I managed to slip out unseen and only had to smile and nod to a few people between my desk and Lindy’s office. Her admin waved me inside without looking up from her monitor. That wasn’t a great sign.
Lindy had her back to the door when I entered. It was obvious she was on the phone and from the “um’s,” “uh huh’s,” along with an occasional “right” and “I see,” I was fairly certain she was speaking with our mom. I closed the door quietly, sending a prayer heavenward that the subject of discussion wasn’t my most recent screw-up.
I set the Tupperware on my sister’s desk at about the same time she whirled around to face me.
“Mom, Maddie’s here now. I’ll put you on speaker.” She pressed a button on her desk phone. “Can you hear me okay?”
“Thank you, Lindy.” Mom’s voice was clear and steady as always—not even the slightest hint of being upset or concerned. “Hello, dear. How are you this morning?”
“A little embarrassed about—”
“Let’s just put that behind us, shall we? We all know you’re doing your best, Maddie. We’ll find something more up your alley. Your own little niche. You’ll see.”
With that, there was no more “shop-talk,” as my mom always referred to it. The three of us talked a little about Thanksgiving, which was less than a month away, and how good it would be to have the whole family together for the long weekend. As Lindy and Mom chatted about the need to support my brother and his new wife as they embarked on hosting their first Kelley family holiday, I made myself comfortable. They’d be awhile.
Want to read more? You can find Hiding from Christmas in the boxed set
MURDER, MYSTERIES, & ROMANCE IN TARRYTOWN, MISSOURI
Hiding from Christmas is one of the four books in Murder, Mysteries, & Romance in Tarryton, Missouri. This four-book boxed set contains the full-length books that take place in the fictional Missouri town of Tarryton. The books include The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, The Case of the Mystified M.D. (both cozy mysteries from the Bouncing Grandma Mystery Series), The Wedding Barter (a romance with a twist), and Hiding From Christmas (a fun, light romance).
Or look for Hiding from Christmas as a single book at AMAZON
Either way you’ll get a fun read!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alice K. Arenz has been writing since she was a child. Her earliest publications were in the small, family-owned newspaper where her articles, essays, and poems were frequently included. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Arenz is a Carol Award winner and two-time finalist. She writes “clean” fiction as well as Christian fiction in a variety of genres and lengths.