The Best Selling Toy of the Season

by Elaine Cantrell

Can a beautiful unwed mother from the wrong side of town find happiness with a rich lawyer?
Not if his family can help it.


Excerpt

Chapter One 

“Hello, Mayor Whitaker. What can I do for you?” Tommy Price cheerfully inquired as his best friend, Ben Whitaker, entered his office. “Have a seat, and I’ll pour us a cup of coffee.” He busied himself at the coffee maker and asked, “How are Jorie and the baby?”

“Wonderful.”

Ben’s huge, goofy smile amused Tommy. Ben was totally besotted with his wife and son. As he handed Ben his coffee a disconcerting idea presented itself. “I hope you and Jorie won’t start trying to find me a wife. Every married person I know eventually wants to match me up with somebody, and that smile you just gave reminded me of the time my secretary tried to fix me up with her cousin.”

“Well,” Ben replied with a weak grin, “as a matter of fact…”

Tommy groaned. “Not you too, Ben!”

Ben laughed. “Buck up. This girl’s pretty anyway. Jorie’s giving a party on the twenty-third, and…”

“I can’t do it. I’m already committed for the twenty third.”

Ben’s eyes narrowed. “Are you sure, counselor?”

“Of course I am. Here. Look at this.” He turned his appointment book around so that Ben could read it and turned to the twenty-third. “See? Right here.”

Tommy had a Palm Pilot to organize his schedule, but he liked seeing everything laid out before him on a neat page. His secretary had no patience with paper and pen. She liked computers and often took Tommy to task for his old-fashioned ways. She had even made him go to a workshop to learn how to use the Palm Pilot.

“Hmm. I guess you’re off the hook this time, but you do need to get married, Tommy. Having a family is the greatest thing in the world.”

“Yeah, well, if I ever find a woman I can love like you love Jorie I’ll consider it.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing. I can’t imagine what I’d do without Jorie and Sam.” He glanced at his watch and hurriedly rose from his chair. “I’d like to stay and talk, but I’ve got to get home. I haven’t seen Sam all day, and he might have done something that I missed.”

Tommy didn’t protest. He knew Ben was a family man. “Merry Christmas, Ben. Say hello to Jorie and Sam for me, and tell her I’m sorry about her party.”

“We’ll catch you next time. Merry Christmas, Tommy.”

Tommy stood by the window and watched as Ben got into his car and drove away. The sky had turned a dull, uniform gray, and a few fat snowflakes had begun to fall. It looks Christmassy, Tommy thought.

The twinkling lights that the city had strung around town several weeks ago popped on, turning the little town into a Christmas fairyland. Ben loved Christmas and had really outdone himself this year.

Tommy returned to his desk and began to clear it prior to leaving for the day. He too had always loved Christmas, but this year he didn’t have much Christmas spirit. He didn’t know why, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that his mother and father kept hinting that his girlfriend Cherie would make an excellent daughter-in-law.

Tommy liked Cherie, but he didn’t want to marry her. In fact, he’d give anything if he hadn’t promised to take her to her office party. It made him feel bad to give her hope for a future between them when there was none.

His secretary, Mattie Burke, breezed into his office and interrupted Tommy’s reverie. “Tommy, you told me to remind you that you have to buy a gag gift to take to the party tonight.”

Tommy sighed. “I don’t know what to get. What do you recommend?”

“Beats me. You know I don’t have a sense of humor.”

Tommy gave up. If Mattie didn’t want to help him, nothing would move her, and he knew he had made her angry when he refused to go out with her cousin, Tia. He wouldn’t say so to Mattie, but Tia was too stuck on herself for him to enjoy her company. “I’ll see you Monday, Mattie. Have a good weekend.”

“You too, Tommy. If you change your mind about my cousin, give me a call.”

Mattie went back to her desk, and Tommy donned his coat, and left for the day. It had started to snow harder now, and the weather report called for several inches accumulation. Maybe I could find a gag gift at Super Mart, he thought. On impulse he wheeled his car into the discount store’s parking lot.

It took a few minutes to find a place to park, for Christmas arrived in a few days, and the last minute shoppers had clearly panicked when they took note of the date. Tommy hurried into Super Mart and immediately spied Bill English giving out sale papers to the customers.

At one time he had hoped to be Bill’s son-in-law. He had fallen deeply in love with Bill’s daughter, Susan, but Susan hadn’t felt the same way about him. She had broken up with him and married another man shortly afterward.

Bill handed Tommy a sale paper. “Merry Christmas, Tommy.”

“Hi, Bill. Merry Christmas. How are Susan and Kurt?”

“Doing great. You need to think about getting married yourself, Tommy.”

Tommy decided to beat a hasty retreat. Why did everybody want him to get married?

Elaine Cantrell "The Best Selling Toy of the Season"

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Genres

Romance
Holiday - Christmas

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