Do you remember when you were a child and there were no words thrilling enough to describe Christmas?
According to my parents, as a child I was so thrilled to see Santa that I began counting how many I saw at Christmas time. I grinned for pictures while sitting on any number of Santas’ laps. A few months later we unexpectedly came across another Santa in the off-season and I exclaimed, “Now I’ve seen 23 Santas!” (or whatever the actual number was).
I have never outgrown this wonder of all things Christmas. I love the scent of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices used in making the annual assortment of Christmas cookies. I love Christmas carols and watching the stop-animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special. I love watching little kids in bathrobes pretending to be Mary and Joseph for the Nativity scene. I even love the inevitable swearing while untangling the Christmas lights that I am sure I put away neatly last year.
I also secretly love something else: Mrs. Claus. When it comes to Christmas and sitting on laps, I would choose her over Santa. I picture Santa as the big, busy guy running his business and muttering about productivity, while I picture Mrs. Claus as twinkly but stern in a loving, maternal way.
Let’s just say that my daydream of laps and Mrs. Claus doesn’t exactly involve sitting. J
In The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, my newest published book, I explore this fantasy from the dual-generational perspective of a mother and daughter. It is a cross between a family-centered traditional DD romance and a lighthearted “What if?” Many of us believe in Santa as children but learn he is not real as we grow up. What if it were the reverse? What if a college student learns to her shock that her parents have lied to her, Santa is real, and Mrs. Claus runs the show behind the scenes? What if naughty girls have a chance—over Mrs. Claus’ lap—to erase their coals-and-switches earnings for their Christmas stockings?
What I love about this story is that it allows me to speak to universal themes of family, coming of age, and the love/hate relationship between mothers and daughters. I love the tenderness of a husband still unable to keep his hands off his wife’s body after more than twenty years of marriage, still thinking she is perfect in every way. I love that their twenty-year-old daughter is grossed out at the idea of her parents doing, as she calls it, “jumping jacks” in the afternoon. The discovery of Santa and Mrs. Claus is a way to bring mother and daughter closer at an age when many daughters are unable to speak to or about their mothers without rolling their eyes. I think most of us can relate to being exasperated with our mother or daughter or both!
This Christmas, I hope you’ll pick up The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus and enjoy a nutmeg-flavored happily ever after.
Blurb for The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus
In some countries, turning 21 means gaining the right to vote and drink alcoholic beverages. For Claire Labraun, the Christmas after her 21st birthday would be beyond her wildest imagination.
Minelle and Matthew Labraun believed in a traditional marriage. Matthew was head of their household, and Minelle was his helpmeet. When it came to raising their headstrong 21-year-old daughter, however, they found themselves at a loss. Minelle had always taught Claire to do the right thing for right’s sake. Claire, however, had different ideas. She rebelled against their rules, flaunted authority, and connived to get things she wanted. She had never been spanked in her life; Matthew and Minelle kept that adult privilege strictly between themselves. But this year, a visit from Santa plus Claire’s newly adult status would change her idea of Christmas forever.
Excerpt from The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus
Minelle gave a nervous giggle. “Matthew,” she whispered as she ran a hand down his arm, “slow down. I don’t even know what we’re doing.”
Matthew gave a flick to his wrist that sent the soft, silky strands of the flogger playing across her breasts. “I am,” he said slowly, “performing my duties as a husband to my wife.” He unbuttoned her blouse further.
“No, no, what if the kids come in early? We can’t…”
Matthew finished unbuttoning her blouse and tossed it aside. He let the flogger dance across her newly bare flesh, smiling in open delight and desire as she began responding despite her protests to the contrary.
“I should work on my lesson plans for tomorrow, get dinner started…the chicken needs to thaw…”
“Do you honestly think,” Matthew growled, taking her into his arms, “I’m interested in dinner right now?”
Minelle gave a little shriek, blushed, and nuzzled her cheek against his rough denim shirt. “We’re sensible adults and parents,” she protested. “Too old for this foolishness. Now let me go and…”
Matthew reached for her pants and tugged at the elastic waist. “Careful what you say,” he warned. “Don’t forget I’m older than you are. Are you calling me old, little girl?”
Minelle blushed. She had been just seventeen when the twenty-four-year-old Matthew started courting her, and he was her first and only boyfriend. Sometimes she felt too young for him even now in the midst of comfortable middle age, but at other times she felt much older and wiser. On their first dates, though, when he taught her about kissing he had teased her by calling her his “little girl”. His friends called him a cradle-snatcher. Just barely twenty-two when they married and twenty-three and twenty-five when their children were born, she often felt she had grown up right alongside their babies. It was ridiculous after all these years for him to still call her “little girl,” but something inside of her tingled at the name.
“Yes,” she whispered, trying to ignore the funny flips in her stomach as he eased her pants and then her silly granny panties first down to her knees and then completely off. “You’re far too old for this nonsense and I should put my clothes back on and take that chicken out of the freezer…”
“Put a hand on your clothes and I’ll stop playing nice with the flogger.”
Matthew’s voice cut her short. Minelle gave another little giggle and glanced up entreatingly at her husband of just over twenty years. “Honey…”
Matthew set the flogger down and fingered the buckle on his belt. “Or there are other ways to make you listen…”
Minelle gave a delicious shiver. She didn’t have time for this, she told herself. Except her body wouldn’t listen. Matthew’s work-roughened hands turned her onto her stomach and explored every inch of her, a heavy callused palm landing on her bottom.
“Ouch!” she exclaimed.
Matthew bent over and held her hair away from her neck, kissing the little bone that jutted out at the top of her spine and then working his way down the length of her back. At each kiss she shivered half with delight and half with anticipation. “Now let’s talk about this silly diet of yours,” he began.
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