Today, Clare London is here to talk about Goldilocks and the Bear. I love that cover so much. Every time I see it show up in the social media feeds, I smile.
This may be the first year I can remember where I’m not fiercely excited for Christmas! I’m usually like a little kid, far more excited by the lights, the songs, the chocolates, and the smell of pine and mulled wine, than I actually am about the day itself. But, of course, 2020 has been a weird kind of year all round.
However, I still love Christmas romance stories! I wouldn’t miss publishing one of them, whatever else happens. And one of my favourites is GOLDILOCKS AND THE BEAR which I published a couple of years ago – but readers still seem to love. It’s a cheeky twist on the obvious fairytale, only with one large kindly man-bear, one weary, golden-haired café owner, and three trees of various sizes. I love a Christmas story with a mix of humour, romance, sexiness, and an eccentric cast of secondary performers!
In a more serious vein, I think I also love the Goldilocks message – which I take to mean that you may not find your perfect match at first try, or even second. But if you keep looking and keep trying, you may eventually find the one person who’s Just Right. Gil has been let down by his ex-boyfriend, he’s struggling to run his small business, and his expectation of Christmas is pretty low. Then Bruin pushes a huge Christmas tree through his shop doorway by mistake – and the Christmas magic of an unexpected encounter in this romantic season takes flight.
I hope GOLDILOCKS AND THE BEAR will be something you enjoy reading. And even if you don’t, let’s all raise a glass of something warming to toast the season, hope for better times ahead, and, like Gil and Bruin, practice the dogged determination that delivered them their romantic Happy Ever After!
One week, two men, three Christmas trees.
In the week before Christmas, Books ‘n’ Brews cafe owner Gil discovers his own version of a fairytale romance. His first meeting with handsome bear Bruin is over delivery of a Christmas tree that’s way too big. Their next flirtation is over a tree decoration that’s oh, so small. By the time Christmas Eve arrives, the pair of them are looking for something that’s… well… just right!
http://books2read.com/goldilocksbearcl and also in Kindle Unlimited.
We both turned to stare at the tree behind him. The lower half, including the thick trunk, had come easily over the doorstep, but at some stage the netting that kept it in place had torn, and the branches had sprung free. They stretched either side of the doorway, at their full extent, and inside the café. One side reached half way up the open door, now pressed flat against the wall, and the other side had upended two chairs at a front table. Behind them, still on the pavement outside, the branches from further up the tree had mushroomed out like the upper half of an egg timer—with the café doorway as the squeezed middle. It was a magnificent tree: its needles shone a bright, clean green. The trunk was sturdy, copper-toned wood. The whole thing reeked of health and beauty and Christmas spirit.
And it was crushed up in my café’s doorframe until I was afraid the old wood would split asunder. I may even have heard it creak in protest.
The man-bear shook his head and shoved the delivery note back into his pocket. “Looks like they directed me to the wrong shop.”
“Well, obviously, because I never ordered it—”
“In fact,” Molly broke in. “Gil hasn’t ordered a tree at all this year.”
“No tree at all?” The giant man looked momentarily disconcerted—or was that disapproving? “You don’t like Christmas?”
“I like it well enough,” I muttered. “But as you can see, there’s little enough space here.” I could only afford this small unit on the outskirts of a small Essex shopping mall. It was last Christmas’ gift to myself, the best I could do when Paulie, my partner—in business and romance—had scarpered with most of my savings to set up a bar in Ibiza. Without me, in either capacity. But life has to go on, right? I just downsized my dreams from our swish supper club venue to my small local café. After installing the counter and display cases, and covering two of the other walls with bookshelves for the romance novels I loved to read and share with customers, there wasn’t much room left for tables and chairs, let alone ambitious decorations.
Over the giant’s left shoulder, I could see old Mr. Brooke hopping from one foot to another as he peered into the shop past the branches. He was a creature of habit, and he always had his caramel latte at this time of the afternoon. If he could get into the café, that was. Behind me, a half-dozen members of the Women’s Institute Book Club stirred restlessly, and two pre-school boys had wriggled out of their mothers’ clutches and were gleefully stabbing a pile of paper napkins with a stray pine stalk.
“So. Anyway. You have to do something about this!” My voice seemed to be higher than usual.
He shrugged, his grin now rueful. “Not a lot I can do, at the moment. It’s well and truly stuck.” He tugged on the trunk as if to convince me further and, yes, I definitely heard the doorframe creak. “Should have realised the measurements didn’t add up. All I can do is apologise and arrange to have someone come and cut it out as soon as possible.” He rummaged in the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his phone. His fingers darted over the keys as fast as any teenager, sending a quick message. My gaze was still fixed on the backs of his hands—strong, with more than a smattering of dark hair over the lower digits—when I realised what he’d said.
“But it can’t stay there! My customers can’t get out—”
“I can open the back door,” Molly offered helpfully, or not, as the case may be.
“—and no one can get in, either. This is Christmas week, with all the passing trade from shoppers. I have a full schedule of seasonal events, and those new snowflake cupcakes on offer!”
The man’s pupils dilated. “There are cupcakes?”
For God’s sake. Again. Was no one taking this crisis seriously?
Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.
She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter-three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her on all her social media.