Sugarplums and Scandal

( 36 )

Overview

SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL brings together the best of romance and mystery in one delightful collection of Christmas tales. In the expert hands of six of Avon's best storytellers, the holiday season takes on an air of love and scandalous surprises! Filled with Christmas miracles, romance, and suspense, this will make the perfect gift for both romance and mystery fans. Each author brings their own unique voice and characters to the collection, as ...

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Sugarplums and Scandal

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Overview

SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL brings together the best of romance and mystery in one delightful collection of Christmas tales. In the expert hands of six of Avon's best storytellers, the holiday season takes on an air of love and scandalous surprises! Filled with Christmas miracles, romance, and suspense, this will make the perfect gift for both romance and mystery fans. Each author brings their own unique voice and characters to the collection, as well as their fan followings.

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth – Lori Avocato

The Lords of Misrule – Dana Cameron

The Ghost of Christmas Passed – Mary Daheim

Partners in Crime – Cait London

Holly Go Lightly – Suzanne Macpherson

A Very Vampy Christmas – Kerrelyn Sparks

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061136955
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/31/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 450,265
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Dana Cameron is a professional archaeologist, with a Ph.D. and experience in Old and New World archaeology. She has worked extensively on the East Coast on sites dating from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. Ms. Cameron lives in Massachusetts. Ashes and Bones is her sixth novel featuring archaeologist Emma Fielding.

Mary Richardson Daheim is a Seattle native with a communications degree from the University of Washington. Realizing at an early age that getting published in books with real covers might elude her for years, she worked on daily newspapers and in public relations to help avoid her creditors. She lives in her hometown in a century-old house not unlike Hillside Manor, except for the body count. Daheim is also the author of the Alpine mystery series, the mother of three daughters, and the grandmother of two granddaughters, all of whom live within shrieking distance.

After serving in the Air Force as a registered nurse, Lori Avocato decided to give up nursing to write fiction. She lives in New England and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, PASIC, NINC, Romance Writers of America, the Author's Guild, and Sisters in Crime. She's raising two teenage sons (heaven help her!), and one darling dog, Spanky. Lori is the author of six novels featuring Pauline Sokol: A Dose of Murder; The Stiff and the Dead; One Dead Under the Cuckoo's Nest; Deep Sea Dead; Nip, Tuck, Dead; and Dead on Arrival.

A former tap dancer and high school French teacher, New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks has always searched for creative ways to express herself. A prolific reader since childhood, she discovered that writing her own stories provided the ideal way to combine her loves of comedy, language, and history. And what a relief that the voices in her head have led to a paycheck instead of a padded room! A native Texan, Kerrelyn lives with her husband in the Greater Houston area.

Dear Readers,

Sometimes when you write a special book, the characters move into your heart and take up residence. This was the case with the cast of Hysterical Blondeness. I enjoyed my time with each and every one of them and I hope you do, too.

Peace, Suzanne Macpherson

Cait London is a national award-winning, bestselling author who fully enjoys the perks of her career, like traveling and meeting readers.

Cait's contemporary, fast-moving style blends romance with suspense and humor, and brings characters to life by using their pasts and heritages. Her books are filled with elements of her own experiences as a scenic and wildlife artist, a photographer, a mountain hiker, a gardener, a seamstress, a professional woman, and a homemaker. She also enjoys computers and reading, aromatherapy and herbs.

Of German-Russian heritage, Cait grew up in rural Washington State. She is now a resident of Missouri and the mother of three daughters, all taller than she.

The best events in her life have always been in threes, her good luck number. Cait London says, "I enjoy creating romantic collisions between dangerous, brooding heroes and contemporary, strong, active women who know how to manage their lives. I believe that each of my books is a gift to a reader, a part of me on those pages, and I'm thrilled when readers say, "That was a good book.'"

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Read an Excerpt

Sugarplums and Scandal

Chapter One

According to the druids, mistletoe was traditionally considered to be the semen of the gods.

I looked at the Hope Valley Sentinel article and wondered if the editor of our local newspaper had gone nuts. "Semen of the gods"? They had the nerve to print such sexual innuendoes in this ethnic, moral, homespun, Wonder Bread suburban Connecticut town?

With my jaw down to my chest (a very common occurrence when I am stunned), I read on that the liquid of the berries looked and had the texture of semen. Geez. They actually printed that in a newspaper where folks like Mrs. Kaminski, the local gossip, Mr. Gansecki, the local over-eighty stud, and Miss Nawrocki, the local moral majority would read it? Yikes.

Slowly I looked up to see the ball of mistletoe hanging from my mother's foyer ceiling. Then I scrunched up the newspaper (only the semen/berry article) and stuck it into the pocket of my jeans.

Stella Sokol would rather die than hang those kinds of berries from her nineteen sixties ceiling.

And to think I'd kissed Jagger, The Delicious, under it last Christmas Eve. He was my sometimes partner in solving crimes, my all-the-time fantasy man. Yum.

I gulped.

"Pauline? Pauline Sokol, what is taking so long?" my mother yelled from the kitchen.

Even as a nurse, a thirty-something, and as her only single adult child, I couldn't tell her the truth. "Just reading the paper, Mom."

"What is so darned, excuse my language, important that you can't come help your mother make pierogies?"

I blew out a breath. For one thing, I hate making the little pillows of Polish dough, and each year put in my vote to buy ready-made ones, much to Stella Sokol's horror. And each year I end up taking time off from work to stuff the suckers with cabbage, mashed potatoes or cottage cheese, a process which takes about twenty hours since my married siblings have toys to buy for their kids and don't have time to help.

I shook my head and told myself that I had no life.

Since I'd given up a thirteen-year nursing career to switch to medical insurance fraud investigating for Scarpello and Tonelli Insurance Company, things haven't been going too well for me.

"Pauline!" Mom's voice was so loud I could swear she was...I swung around..."Oh! Hey, Mom"...then I knocked the rest of the paper onto the floor.

She'd snatched the paper up as if I were some male teen who'd been reading Playboy (okay, nowadays all they had to do was boot up the Internet for peeping, but Stella wouldn't know that).

She looked down at the paper. "Toothless Holiday? Oh my."

I said a silent prayer to Saint Theresa for letting me have the foresight to pocket the berry article.

"Pauline? Are you reading about this poor man who doesn't have his front dentures yet?"

Lying never came easily to me. Catholic school induced conscience and being raised by her, I guess was the reason. I looked at my mother waving the paper at me. "Yep. Very sad, huh?" and wondered why the hell the guy didn't have his front teeth yet.

She snatched my father's reading glasses from the top of his head. Daddy had been napping within snatching range in his favorite La-Z-Boy recliner.

He never even stirred.

Guess that's what over forty-four years of being married did to a couple. Me, I wouldn't know.

The paper crinkled and crackled in her grip. She stuck on the glasses and read for a bit.

"Oh, my. How sad. How awful indeed. This poor man's dentist is holding his dentures hostage. Do something about this. Be a Good Samaritan for the holiday season. Or, you could, of course, go back to nursing. I'm sure they have those fill-in kinds of jobs at all the hospitals. Go back to Saint Gregory's where you used to make a decent living."

She never failed to remind me about the gigantic, nationwide nursing shortage. "Actually," she continued, "since you are not snooping around for the next week, go help this man so he can eat his Christmas dinner." With that she shoved the newspaper at my chest and gave me one of her "motherly" looks. "Seems right up your alley."

Now, none of us five kids could ever duck fast enough to avoid one of those looks. If "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen," then when "Stella Sokol tells her kids something, they better damn well do what she says."

I grabbed the paper, held it in one hand, and knew that my Christmas vacation plans of R&R, overdosing on chocolate, and maybe dating a few hot guys had come to a screeching halt.

Seemed, for me anyway, the "you know what" of the gods was going to stay in the little white mistletoe berries this year...yet again.

As I stared way too long at the now-fascinating mistletoe, the doorbell rang.

Mother yelled from the kitchen, "Come in, Mr. Jagger," My heart did a one eighty in my chest. She'd once again invited him over without my knowledge. And he'd never corrected her when she called him "mister" either.

And how the hell did she know his phone number?

The door opened, Jagger nodded at me, and then came forward.

Oh . . . my . . . god.

His kiss landed on my right cheek. Cheek? Cheeeeeeeek?

Semen schmemen.

My hands ached from stuffing a gazillion pierogies with Lord knows what. My mother would stick a bowl in front of me, and I'd spoon it into the dough robotically. I looked up to see Jagger sitting across from me as if nothing on his body pained him...even though he'd been the official dough roller. Mother'd had her wooden rolling pin since the dawn of light, so it didn't exactly roll like Teflon; but with the strength in those arms (I took a deep breath for a Jagger moment), rolling a gazillion pillows of dough didn't seem to bother him in the least.

Sugarplums and Scandal. Copyright © by Dana Cameron. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    ¿All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth¿ by Lori Avocato. Medical insurance fraud investigator Pauline Sokol is determined to get the dentures an elderly man paid for to his dentures for the holidays. She believes the dentist is practicing fraud but there is more to the story than meets the eye-------- ¿The Lords of Misrule¿ by Dana Cameron. Christmas Eve in London 1722 is chaotic to say the least. A missing gift, a murdered footman and an attack on a maid put the daughter of the house in the position of finding what links these events and to whom.---------- ¿The Ghost of Christmas Passed¿ by Mary Daheim .B&B owner Judith McMonigle Flynn is having her whole eccentric extended family over for Christmas dinner. Her only worry is that her mother insists she saw a ghost, her who disappeared decades ago. The truth is the best gift of all.----------- ¿Partners in Crime¿ by Cait London. Someone is breaking into Cecilia¿s home messing it up and preventing her car from working. She¿s afraid to go to the sheriff because she thinks he¿s behind these crimes but a stranger in town attaches himself to her as her protector even though he might be the one she needs protecting from.-------------------- ¿Holly Go Lightly¿ by Suzanne MacPherson. Holly is a ghost who won¿t pass on until she undoes a great wrong. Somehow she must find a want to get Nick to travel to the house of her best friend Carol where a great surprise is waiting for him.------------- ¿A Very Vampy Christmas¿ by Kerrelyn Sparks. Vampires have their own television network, Digital Vampire Network and one of the shows produced on it is As A Vampire Turns starring Maggie O Brien and Dan Orlando. When Maggie realizes her leading man is not a Don Juan but a man suffering from amnesia her heart opens up to him and she vows to find out whom he was before he turned.------------------ Avon authors from the mystery, romantic suspense, romance and paranormal genres give readers a special holiday treat with tasty tales that demonstrates each author¿s considerable talent.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Keeps You Wanting More

    These short stories keep you wanting to read more about these characters. Each and every author has a different "flavor" that makes the stories unique. Great read for the holiday season.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2006

    Seasonal reading.

    'All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth' is by Lori Avocato. When Pauline's mother reads that a dentist is holding Mr. Leonard Niski's dentures hostage, even though the man's insurance has already paid for them, she tells Pauline to 'Do something about this. Be a Good Samaritan for the holiday season.' Pauline must admit that is does sound like dental fraud. Since she and Jagger investigate insurance fraud for a living, perhaps they should look into it. =============== 'The Lords Of Misrule' is by Dana Cameron. Set in London, Christmas Eve of 1722. Miss Margaret Chase 'Mags' calmly accepts the fact that there are extra guests in the house tonight. Father had arrived home with two friends, rather than just one, and her brother, Tommy, came home from Oxford with a friend as well. However, Mags is not prepared when she learns that her mother's new jewelry has been stolen, before her mother even opens the jewelry case filled with stones. Nor is Mags prepared when the body of a footman is found. But with Margaret's keen observations, and a little bit of help, Christmas Day may still dawn with joy. =============== 'The Ghost Of Christmas Passed' is by Mary Daheim. Innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn may not have any guests during the holiday season, but the place is still full of family. Problem is that her mother, Gert, is not acting normal. Gert is about to tell Judith and Renie a bit about a certain family member that disgraced the family long ago. It seems as though the certain family member in question is making an appearance. Either that or someone else who looks mighty like him. ============== 'Partners In Crime' is by Cait London. Cecilia Lattimer is a professional organizer. Even though the small town of Dewdrop has been experiencing a rash of burglaries recently, someone seems to be going an extra mile on Cecilia. Everybody likes Cecilia personally, but hates how Cecilia is always trying to organize everything and everyone. Who could possibly be the one out to harm Cecilia? The police chief? Cecilia saw him with a mistress. Her ex-fiancé? Cecilia said no at the alter because she learned what a monster he really was. Her ex-husband? He left Cecilia for a younger woman, but still seems possessive of Cecilia. And just WHO is this stranger that rescued her from three men in an alley and then parked his camper in her driveway? Is he protecting her or stalking her? ============== 'Holly Go Lightly' is by Suzanne MacPherson. Nick Fredrick could not seem to get his late fiancée, Holly Townsend, out of his mind today. Perhaps because it is Christmas Eve. Even when Nick gets to his parents' house, signs of Holly still abound. It is soon obvious to all that Holly's spirit is trying to communicate some vital information and she has only one night get her joyous message through. ============ 'A Very Vampy Christmas' is by Kerrelyn Sparks. About five years ago some clever vampires figured out that a vampire's image could be recorded using digital technology. So now there is DVN (Digital Vampire Network), though few mortals know that real vampires are the stars. Maggie O'Brian has been a vampire since the year 1884. Now she plays the part of a mortal doctor in love with a vampire on the soap opera 'As a Vampire Turns'. She auditioned for the part in order to meet Don Orlando, who plays the handsome vampire in the show. Maggie may have the role the wanted, but Don is not the wonderful man she thought she would be. According to Corky, the ruthless media queen of the vampire world, Don changes women as often as his socks. When Don tells Maggie that he has had amnesia since he was turned into a vampire over four years ago in New Orleans, Maggie decides to see what she can learn. ============== **** A wonderful anthology with six tales set around the Christmas Season. I found something for everyone in this novel. No kidding. I read historical romance, mystery, suspense, ghostly spirits, and even vampires. Wonderfu

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    recommend

    good read

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