It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a Christmas fiend. This can partly be blamed on the fact that I was born on December 24th, and partly blamed on my love of sparkly things. I’m a bit of a magpie that way – oooh, shiny! As I’m typing up this blog post at my desk, I have tinsel draped around my computer monitor, a tree-topper star blu-tacked to the top of the monitor, a Santa doll thingy tacked to my desk (he’s a little creepy but he was my mum’s so he gets to stay), fake bells strung along the wall, a tiny Christmas tree on my bookshelf, and a Mr & Mrs Santa salt & pepper set (also my mum’s) next to it.
Being that I came up with the idea and organised this 12 Days of Down Under Christmas promotion, you’d think I’d have something really profound to write about in this blog. Or at least, some amazing recipe for the classic Down Under pavlova which is a staple part of Christmas lunches in both Australia and New Zealand. Hah! Those of you who know me, know I can’t cook my way out of a proverbial paper bag. The one thing I can do, however, is to decorate the heck out of a Christmas tree! While it may not be a real tree (and this year because we’re in the middle of house renovations we’ve put up a fake tree instead of the normal fresh pine), and it may not be showroom perfect (as Kip from Christmas With You would insist on), it’s still the centerpiece of the Alvarez Christmas traditions.
So instead of waxing lyrical about a Down Under Christmas, I thought I’d show you my 3 favourite tree ornaments.
The Elvis ornament – bought this year from our USA holiday. I can never resist picking up cute tree ornaments while on holiday! The reindeer ornament – I remember hanging this on Christmas trees as a little girl. Even though he’s a little bit tatty now, my sentimental side can’t bear to part with him.
The Santa ornament – made by my then pre-school daughter who is now 17. She’s still a rebel who colors outside of the lines and I couldn’t be more proud!
So, there you have it. My take on Christmas and why quite of my books have Christmassy themes. The first book I wrote that takes place over Christmas, but isn’t, per se, a Christmas romance, is Hide Your Heart. Set in the far north of New Zealand, Christmas there is traditionally HOT. Lots of sand, surf, and sunburn while you BBQ at the beach – or share a Hangi (traditional Maori earth oven way of cooking) with friends and family. You can read about Nate and Lauren’s semi-Christmas story for free at the below retailers, and I hope you enjoy the little excerpt of finding the perfect Christmas tree, also below.
Available FREE from:
Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon AU / Amazon DE / Amazon CA / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play / Smashwords
Also available as an audiobook from:
And that’s how, thirty minutes later, he found himself following Drew and Lauren up an overgrown bush path at the back of Todd’s property, lugging the chainsaw and trying desperately to keep his gaze away from the woman’s curvy, denim-clad ass.
Java padded at his side, chuffing out a deep bark as Nate stumbled over a snarled root.
“A warning to watch my step or to keep my eyes to myself?” he muttered.
The dog plopped down to scratch his ear, his black eyes never leaving Nate’s face.
“Yeah, thought so.”
The path opened up ahead into a field that had been cleared for Kathy’s fruit trees and a smattering of head-high pruned pines. Sweet, tangy, Christmas scent wafted over him. Drew darted between pine trees, running from one to another.
“This one, no—this one, this one!” Drew hopped from foot to foot. “C’mon guys, hurry up!”
It struck him then, as Lauren’s laughter spilled into the breeze, that a real family would do this kind of thing. Hike out to a field together a few days before Christmas, the dad carrying the chainsaw, the dog peeing on every other clump of grass, the kid vibrating with excitement, and the mum so damn sexy in her blue jeans and Jingle-Bell-Rocker tee shirt that the dad thought all his Christmas wishes had been granted already.
Except Nate wasn’t the dad in this cozy family outing; he was just some guy. The neighbor.
So get it together, man. Because that’s how he wanted it. That’s how it had to be.
Lauren pointed at the chainsaw and tipped her chin at the tree Drew finally selected. “Knock yourself out.”
Her brown hair blew across her face, and she brushed the strands aside with a grin. “I figure a baby pine shouldn’t tax you too much.”
Handling the chainsaw was harder than it looked when the woman’s shapely behind and endlessly long legs kept distracting him. But he sawed through the tree trunk without evisceration, so bonus points for him.
The pine conquered, Drew and Java raced back along the path.
“Front or back?” Lauren said as he slipped the chainsaw guard on.
Like he’d let her carry the heaviest part of the tree while he took the spindly top. “Back.”
She shrugged. “I can carry the chainsaw then.”
Snorting out a laugh, he picked up the chainsaw and wrapped the fingers of his other hand around the tree trunk.
“Do I look like a ninety-pound weakling?”
Nate glanced up, and her cheeks were stained pink, almost as if she’d been staring at his ass as he’d bent over. Well, hell. Maybe she had been.
“Suit yourself.” She stalked over to the other end of the pine and tugged it up, shooting him an arched look over her shoulder.
He grinned, and her flush deepened. Being at the back would certainly afford him an entertaining view.
“Lead the way.”
From Hide Your Heart – Copyright 2015 Tracey Alvarez
I’m giving away a 2018 New Zealand Firefighters Calendar to one lucky winner (open internationally) plus an e-copy of the Due South Boxed set which contains the first 5 Stewart Island books. Three more runners up will each win an e-copy of the Due South Boxed set.
To enter: Tell me in the comments what your favorite tree decoration is. 🙂
Then enter the rafflecopter below to go in the draw to win the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!
Don’t forget to visit all the participating authors!
Day 1 (December 1st) – Kris Pearson
Day 2 (December 2nd) – Joanne Dannon
Day 3 (December 3rd) – Cassandra O’Leary
Day 4 (December 4th) – Annie Seaton
Day 5 (December 5th) – Monique McDonell
Day 6 (December 6th) – Kate O’Keeffe
Day 7 (December 7th) – Cathryn Hein
Day 8 (December 8th) – Tracey Alvarez
Day 9 (December 9th) – Leeanna Morgan
Day 10 (December 10th) – Wendy Vella
Day 11 (December 11th) – Charmaine Ross
Day 12 (December 12th) – Aislinn Kearns