Today, we have Sarah Hadley Brook on a visit. She’s here to talk about her story, Operation Toy Rescue – the title makes me smile. So read on, and see what she has to say.
A big thank you to Ofelia Grand for hosting me today! I love writing about the holidays.
I admit it. I’m a cocoa-drinking, holiday-movie-watching, cookie-baking, Christmas-caroling, Rudolph-loving fanatic. As soon as Thanksgiving rolls around, the holiday cookie cutters are out and I’m scrolling through my recipes on Pinterest.
Tradition is comfort for me and each year I have a list of must-watch movies that put me in the holiday movie. I’m not ashamed to admit White Christmas plays on a continuous loop in December. Or that I search daily for A Very Brady Christmas all season long until I finally find it. (I know, I really should buy it, but I think half the fun is looking for it!)
Of course, the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is an absolute must. It may be a children’s show, but I adore the magic of the story. The Island of Misfit Toys was an inspiration for my book.
Operation Toy Rescue looks at the lives of elves at the North Pole—in a decidedly more adult perspective, of course. I wondered, what would happen to a playboy if Santa banished him from the North Pole?
Snow Hope Island certainly doesn’t have the same partying scenes the North Pole does, and Jules Evergreen thinks he’s going to die of boredom. When he meets his boring, by-the-book boss, Felix, he feels a jolt of attraction, but knows a hot fling is out of the question. No parties, no hot sex… what is he going to do to pass the time?
Maybe it’s the setting of the island, the kindness of his new coworkers, or getting to know Felix, but the true holiday spirit manages to find its way into Jules’ heart. For the first time in his life, something else becomes more important to him than his own desires. And Felix definitely takes notice. But is it enough to bring them together?
I had the best time writing this story and hope you enjoy it!
Jules popped a pepperoni pizza into the oven and settled into his recliner with the puppy in his arms, eager to watch the news and relax. He’d have to figure out what to do with her in the morning. He wasn’t even sure who to notify. The puppy snorted, and he petted her soft fur, feeling her sink against his chest. He grinned. It wasn’t a bad way to end the day. A warm puppy. Pizza. Maybe he’d call his buddy, Emmanuel, and check out how things were going at the North Pole.
Things were usually ramping up by then. The contracts with toy stores had to be completed soon in order to make sure the Big Guy had enough to deliver across the globe. The reindeer were in full workout mode, ready for the one night of the year they actually worked. Jules chuckled. Those guys had it easy. They were spoiled rotten all year, but he had to admit, they worked their asses off on Christmas Eve.
The elves would be reviewing letters to Santa, sorting through the “Naughty” and “Nice” lists. Another news flash: Santa rarely put anyone on the “Naughty” list. Not a child, anyway—he believed everyone deserved second chances. However, he’d been known to put a few teenagers on the list. One too many tacky Santa memes and it pissed off the Big Guy.
If only Santa would have applied that chance to Jules, he wouldn’t be stuck on the miserable island. He sighed and silently chastised himself. That wasn’t really fair to the Big Guy. Over the years, he’d given Jules more than enough chances to do the right thing, yet he always made the wrong choice. Ending up on Snow Hope was his own fault, and even though it was hard to swallow, Jules knew it.
The timer on the oven beeped. Starving, Jules hurried to take out the pizza, sleepy puppy still in hand. He’d worked through lunch, even when Eve had tried to get him to take a break, because he’d wanted to finish all the new shipments. Admittedly, he also wanted to show Felix he wasn’t a goof-off and could complete a task on time and do a good job. He was pretty sure Felix knew why Jules had been shuffled to the island and, for the first time, his reputation bothered him. He didn’t know why he cared what Felix thought, but for some reason, he did.
And that just pissed him off more.
He cut the pizza and piled a couple of slices onto a plate before resettling in the recliner. Eating dinner alone in front of the TV had become his new norm, and as much as he preferred his privacy, he felt a little lonely. The puppy had already drifted off to sleep on his chest and he smiled. For the first time since arriving on the island, Jules had a dinner companion.
Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.
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