Guest Promotion–Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For by Wendy Kendall

Irresistible December magic. Desiree and Leo tangle in mystery and romance. Desiree wanted to believe in magic again. An enthusiastic teacher, she’s created a fun game of secret Santa for her first grade class. A mysterious stocking with her name and a creepy message appears. This creepy secret Santa is stalking Desiree. Who is it? Could it be devastating news that it’s Leo, her new romantic love interest? What can be learned from the legend of the snow kiss cookies? Will this secret Santa be stopped before Desiree is harmed? Cookie recipe included.

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EXCERPT

On Sunday Dez luxuriated in reflections of the night before. She tenderly placed the heart wreath on her kitchen table as a centerpiece.

She texted Katherine. What a night. Do you believe in Christmas miracles and true love? I do now.

            When her cell beeped later, it was a response from Katherine and thankfully not the anonymous sender. Sounds like a good time. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

            Dez took Katherine literally and called her right away to fill her in.

On the drive to work Monday morning, Dez noticed all black sedans, wondering if one of those is the one that aimed to run them down last night. There had been no threatening texts since Friday. In fact, other than Katherine’s text, the only others had been the most romantic treasures from Leo. She’d relished and responded to those.

She drove into the parking lot and focused on her morning ahead. Her students would be excited before the break, plus the tantalizing secret Santa fun would need to be managed. She walked down the hallway conscious of the click of her pumps on the linoleum and the swish of her tan khaki pants Her colorful winter sweater offset the bland slacks.

Dez hoped to run into Leo first thing, to say good morning. It was just as well she hadn’t since she was late. She opened her class door and got right to work setting up for the day.

The shared classroom door with Madeline’s room stood ajar. On the wall, there was an extra stocking. It had glitter all over it, sparkling stars, and her name, Dez. She took it off the hook. There was something inside. John swung the adjoining door wide open and walked in carrying a box.

Madeline followed. “Oh wait, here’s one more.” She slipped a smaller box on top of what he was carrying. She looked at Desiree. “Good morning. John, let me know if I can help with anything else. Glad I was in early for you.”

said good morning to Dez. “I’m getting ready for the reading group lesson for Thursday.” He thanked Madeline and walked over to his desk.

Voices and laughter echoed as students came in from the hallway. Peter and Jack rushed up to Dez and said together, “Cool stocking.”

She put the stocking back on it hook. “Bood morning. Please put your secret Santa cards on your desk, and then take your seats.”

Madeline said, “An admirer? Is that really appropriate at school?” She walked through to her room, closing the door behind her.

Dez reminded herself to get with Principal Milner today about how she’d caught Madeline. She considered what Madeline had said. An admirer? Maybe the stocking was from Leo. How nice of him. How fun.

It was a very busy morning. Dez was happy that John’s mood had improved, and as her Teaching Assistant he was trying to engage with the kids. She’d still have to ask him about his actions after school in the parking lot Friday. She shuddered remembering that stare he’d given her.

With the class out to recess, Dez made a beeline for her secret Santa stocking. Her excitement matched her students’ as she took down her stocking and reached inside. Would she find a sweet gift from Leo? She pulled out the cardboard, and her heartbeat sped up. One look and her heartbeat pounded.       The card was a picture of Santa in his sleigh with reindeer. Her smile faded seeing a cut out photo of her face pasted on the drawn figure next to Santa. Where did that picture come from? The caption read: Secret Santa may sleigh you if you’re not a good girl

No signature. A secret and creepy Santa. Would Leo give her this? There was a bump in the toe of the stocking. She shook it upside down over the counter and a sprig of holly with berries fell out. From Saturday night’s heart wreath?

Dez looked around, including out the windows. Was anyone watching? The idea of someone putting up a stocking with her name was odd enough, but with this inside?…her phone vibrated… It was from that hideous anonymous sender.

Her hand shook as she clicked on it and read. How did you like your card?

Dez turned her cell phone off. Her hand shook as she secured it in her desk. John brought the students back from recess and she focused on her job. During lunch she attempted to meet with the principal about Madeline. No luck, he had a busy schedule today too.

Dez walked back to her room. Leo came to mind. It would be nice to bump into him now. How nice to see him sometime today, or at least hear from him. Or had she heard from him already? Was that stocking from him? The text?

From designer bags to body bags. Kat Out of the Bag – Katherine Watson purse designer/sleuth. Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash – cozy cold case. Finalist, 2022 Best Suspense, Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For. Cherry Shakes In The Park blends danger, divas, and frothy delights. Ribbons of love run through Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams. Wendy enjoys Pacific Northwest life, as blogger, podcaster, syndicated columnist.

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