Pleasures of Christmas Past

LexiPost_PleasuresofChristmasPast_BandNoble_400x600'A Christmas Carol # 1 $2.99

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“I have to say that Lexi Post has done a wonderful job of writing a totally unique story that had me completely captivated from the beginning all the way to the last page.” Reviews by Crystal

“I loved her twist on A Christmas Carol! The story was unique, fun and sexy. The chemistry between the two spirit guides, Jessica and Duncan, was electric. I’m a sucker for a Scottish accent. I loved the complexity of the characters. I highly recommend asking Santa for Pleasures of Christmas Past.” Amazon Reviewer Missi Metz

Pleasures of Christmas Past was inspired by the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol

When present day American social worker, Jessica Thomas, is assigned her first case as a spirit guide, she’s excited to serve as the Spirit of Christmas Past for her client and prove she knows her profession well. Unfortunately, her mentor, the very hot, very single, and very Scottish Duncan Montgomerie has little faith in her ability and plans to catch her when she falls. As far as she’s concerned, he’s going to be waiting a very long time.

Bachelor, Duncan Montgomerie, hails from late 18th century Scotland where he enjoyed life to its fullest, something he continues in death. Having been dead a while, he is well equipped to handle the afterlife where time doesn’t exist and phasing is the norm. What has him stymied is his connection to the uptight Jessica and the strange feelings he’s experiencing being around her, even though she refuses to listen to his advice. Duncan needs to figure out what it all means and fast because the rules change after death and the path Jessica is headed down could cost her her soul.

 Excerpt from Pleasures of Christmas Past

Chapter One

Jessica Thomas floated near the ceiling of the small Christmas ornament shop, anxiously waiting to find out who would be her mentor on this, her first case as a Spirit Guide. She had no idea what it would entail, which irritated her a little. When she was alive, she’d been an excellent social worker because she read the case file before meeting the client. The Spirit Guide position was very difficult to obtain, but her past expertise had helped her land the job and she was anxious to prove she deserved it.

Having the file would certainly help that.

She scanned the shop, liking the feel of the place. It was cozy, with ornaments everywhere in every conceivable shape and size. With just three days until Christmas the store was full of people, all with lovely Scottish accents. She’d never been to Scotland while alive, though she’d planned a trip once, but had to cancel. She’d just been too busy to take a vacation for any length of time. Yes, it was one of her many regrets she had about her short life. At least she felt thirty-three years was short.

As far as time went, her mentor was late, or at least it seemed like it. There was no time in the afterlife, a fact that had thrown her completely off balance, but she was learning to cope…somewhat. Maybe her mentor was still in class answering questions. One of the many instructors from the intensive training she’d gone through would be her mentor on this first assignment. She really liked old Archibald. He was an American from the 1880s. Mrs. Ferrisletter, from 1662 London, was very sweet and would be a lovely mentor. Jessica crossed her fingers. As long as she didn’t get Dr. Marley, she’d be happy. That man could put a saint into a depression.

“Are you ready for your first case?” The lilt of a heavy Scottish accent behind her caused her to turn.

Duncan Montgomerie floated there, not close enough to touch, but near enough she caught the whiff of pine that was so much a part of him.

Oh no, not him. The man was the hottest instructor she’d had and even now she couldn’t remember a word he’d said. She’d been too busy having her libido stroked by his voice while her eyes feasted on his rugged looks and ripped body. He’d never told them what time period he was from, but his accent gave him away as Scottish and some of his vocabulary made her think it might be centuries back, even though he dressed in modern-day clothes.

Nervousness tamped down her excitement. There was no way she’d be able to concentrate on this assignment with him around. She was bound to screw something up.

“Jessica?” His blue eyes sparkled with an unearthly light as one brow rose. “Are you with me, lass?”

“Yes, of course.” She tried not to focus on his wavy brown hair that fell past his strong jawline or on his scruffy chin that led the eye to his quirking lips.

His arm stretched out past her as he pointed below them, revealing his forearm muscle flexing as he moved his finger. “That’s our case. Mrs. Cameron Douglas.”

Despite the butterflies tickling her stomach as Duncan’s breath passed by her left ear, Jessica snapped her focus to the people below. There were many women in the shop. Mrs. Douglas could be any of them. She leaned away and looked her mentor in the eyes. “What’s her first name?”

“Huh?”

Jessica pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose. “What’s Mrs. Douglas’ first name? To get a client to trust you, you must show an interest in them and knowing the person’s first name is the very tip of the iceberg.”

Duncan frowned. “I dinna teach you that.”

She took a deep breath. “No, you didn’t. It’s part of the experience I bring to the job. Do you know her first name?”

He shook his head, clearly perplexed by her request.

“How long have you been a Spirit Guide?” It was really none of her business, but she wanted to be sure her mentor was, in fact, more experienced than she was.

He shrugged broad shoulders, drawing her focus back to his build.

“Since we have no time in the afterlife, I cannot tell you how long I’ve done this, but I can assure you it is no’ my first case.” He pulled the neck of his t-shirt away from his skin, as if it were too tight.

As far as she was concerned, the entire shirt was too tight with the way it molded to his chest muscles, showing a significant valley down the middle. Hell, if he just wanted to take the whole thing off, she certainly wouldn’t complain.

“Holly.” Duncan grinned and her insides turned to melting ice cream.

So why did he point out holly? It was Christmas. There was holly everywhere… And mistletoe. Oh, maybe she could find some mistletoe and Mr. Distraction here could catch the hint and kiss her.

“Holly is her first name.” Duncan nodded to confirm his statement. “It’s also what that older woman down there just called her.”

Her? Oh right, the case. Jessica forced her gaze from Duncan and looked below. “Which one is she?”

“She’s the owner of the shop. The one with the shoulder-length brown hair and red Christmas hat on.”

Jessica forced herself to focus on the woman. Her straight hair was a very deep brown, like dark chocolate, and she had a round face with an adorable smile, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. There was a quiet sorrow about the friendly shop owner. She looked perhaps thirty years old, max. What could have caused such a poignant hurt in one so young? “She definitely has the Christmas spirit. Why does she need us?”

Duncan chuckled, a warm sound that sent pleasure from her heart to her fingertips and everywhere in between. “No’ every case is about some old Scrooge character. Each person we’re assigned needs something different, but it has to be very important for them. Cameron—he’ll be our supervisor on this assignment—received special permission for us to tackle this. You can equate him to Marley in your Scrooge story. There is always a Sprit Guide supervisor who preps the person receiving our help.”

“Cameron?” She couldn’t resist looking at him again and was surprised to see him frown, an unusual occurrence for him.

“Cameron Douglas is—excuse me—was her husband. There is a strict rule about handling personal cases, but I guess Cameron made a good argument with the boss.”

Even frowning, Duncan was gorgeous. His cheekbones were strong, but his nose did have a slight bump that kept him from being entirely perfect. Genetics? Or was that from an injury? She could see him modeling for a highland wool sweater catalog, looking scrumptious in a white turtleneck and tartan kilt. Oh. Just the idea of seeing this man in a kilt had her body flushing. What did they say about what a man wore under—

“Jessica? Are you listening?”

“What?” Oh no. She was afraid of this. “Sorry, my mind drifted. What were you saying?”

He studied her for a moment before explaining. “I said, we, or rather you officially, are one of three ghosts who will visit Mrs. Douglas. Our goal is to remind her of the happy times before she lost her husband. Cameron’s wife is no’ truly living, just going through the motions.”

Jessica’s heart melted for the woman. She’d had cases like this, but never tackled them with the ability she had now. The possibilities excited her, causing her adrenaline to kick in. “So we literally take her to wonderful moments in her past. This is going to be fun. I can already imagine her smiling and laughing.” She couldn’t help her own grin at the thought of bringing a client such joy.

Duncan raised his hand. “Hold on, it’s no’ that simple. Remember what I said in training?”

“Uh, you said a lot. What part?” Not that she remembered any of it.

“You cannot get too attached. You need to keep some distance. We only have one night to work our magic, so to speak.” He grinned.

“Do you really believe that?” How could he be a trainer of Spirit Guides if he thought they could do any good staying detached?

His grin faded. “I wouldn’t teach it if I dinna believe it. Trust me, lass, you cannot get too involved in someone else’s troubles. If you do, your soul will become entangled with your case.”

She stared, open-mouthed. Had she really missed how shallow he was in the training? Or maybe he was talking from experience. She studied him closer. Was there something substantial behind those good looks?

His grin returned. “But dinna worry. I’ll be there to help.” His comment was said with such arrogance that for the first time she found herself not liking him at all.

She wasn’t exactly a novice at this. It may be her first case as a Spirit Guide, but she did have years of experience as a social worker. Maybe she needed to focus on the client and not on Mr. Distraction. “Where’s the file?”

“Dinna worry about that. I can give you all the basics.” Again he smiled, but this time, she noticed it was the kind a person gives to a child when humoring them.

He had little faith she could accomplish this assignment. Well, he was in for a surprise. She had a mission of her own and that was to prove Duncan Montgomerie was no more than a redundancy on this mission. Pasting on a fake smile, she took charge of her case. “I appreciate that, but I’d like to read through the file anyway. Sometimes, as a woman, I can catch a clue or two when trying to better understand a female client.”

He shrugged once again and she forced herself to focus on his face.

“I left it on your desk. When you’re done looking for clues, let me know and we can get started.” He was clearly laughing at her.

She gritted her teeth. This wouldn’t work. She would have to request another mentor because it was obvious the two of them had radically different ideas about helping people. She forced her jaw to loosen. “Fine.” Without another word, she floated through the ceiling and back to her office to plan her attack and have a talk with her new supervisor.

Erotic romance inspired by the classics