25 Days of Holiday Fun with M.S. Spencer

Artful Dodging_M.S.Spencer

Celebrate the holidays with author M.S. Spencer

If you could ask Santa for one thing, what would it be and why? A travel companion. Most of my friends and relatives are either still working or can’t afford to travel and I’m dying to take some trips but it isn’t any fun to go alone.

What is your favorite holiday candy? I’m not big on candy, but I do love a really good fruitcake. And I’m not just saying that to annoy.

It’s the season of Egg Nog. Do you prefer it with rum, without alcohol or can’t stand the stuff?

I love eggnog in small quantities, preferably cut with a lot of bourbon!

What is one of your holiday traditions to do each year? I make Swedish coffee bread every year—based on a recipe handed down from my husband’s grandmother, it is a lovely golden braid with lots of cardamom. Smells like Christmas! 

If you could kiss any character under the mistletoe, who would it be? Character of mine? Or someone else’s? Of mine—any of my heroes, naturally! Especially the ones who look like Jimmy Thomas.

Holiday cookies are my favorite to bake each year. Do you have a favorite holiday cookie that you enjoy each year? I love what they used to call Forgotten Cookies—meringue kisses, and my sister-in-law used to make the most fabulous pepparkakker—very thin spice cookies.

Artful Dodging_M.S.Spencer

Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders (an Old Town Romance)

Romantic suspense/Mystery

Secret Cravings Publishing

Available at Publisher / Amazon

Murders,  mischief and misfits,—needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can Tristram Brodie prove to her that love conquers all? 

Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar.  Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.

Tristram Brodie waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.

Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.

Excerpt: After Christmas Blues and a Make Up Kiss

The streets were empty as the late afternoon sun glinted feebly through the cold clouds. Milo drove down Prince Street and turned left on St. Asaph’s. Instead of going home, she took a right on Cameron and followed it to the Union Street garage. Parking the car, she walked north through Founder’s Park and along the river. A cheerless mist floated just above the ground. Logs and trash and dirty foam lined the shore. A couple of mallards poked around in the slop with dispirited zeal. She found a bench and dropped on it with a sigh. The tears welled up without warning. Ever since Michael’s death, she’d find herself suddenly crying without cause or purpose. This time, though, she wasn’t thinking about Michael at all. I miss him. I miss Tristram. The revelation stung. I don’t need this. And anyway, I can’t have him. He hadn’t called since the council meeting. And now she knew he’d gone back to Ursula. She’d blown it.

She wiped her eyes and nose and stood up. Take your presents and go home, Milo.

As she turned back to the path, a mellifluous baritone floated out of the mist. “Milo?”

Where the hell did my voice go? Okay, breathe. One, two, in, out. Now turn slowly. “Tristram?”

He stood on the path behind her, holding a heavy scarf around his throat with one hand and a miniature, wild-haired dog furiously barking at Milo with the other. He let the dog down and took a couple of steps toward her. The terrier stopped barking, cocked his head, and scrutinized the two humans with a keen air.

“Are you…I mean, do you…?”

Milo could only nod, hoping he would understand and do the proper thing. He did. He took her in his arms and kissed her gently. It was a good thing he held her so tightly, since she’d lost all feeling in her toes. When he let her go, she stumbled back to the bench. He sat beside her, an expectant smile on his lips. She searched for something to say that didn’t involve apologies.

“Is…is that your dog? I don’t remember you having a dog? Don’t you have a cat?”

Tristram leaned down and attached a leash to the little fellow. “I do. Atticus, the alley cat. You remembered.” He scratched the dog’s head. “This is Yum-yum. He belongs to Ursula.”

One. Two. Three. Four. “Oh?” He seemed oblivious. Men.

“I’m babysitting while Ursula’s off antique buying in Brazil. He’s really not a bad little guy.” He scratched the little Yorkie’s ear.

Milo stood up. “Well, I’d best be getting home.”

Tristram took her hand. “Why? Can’t we walk a little? Wait—you’re not thinking…No. Milo!” He kissed her nose and grinned. “You’re jealous!”

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