Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié’s Lucy Knutsen from Unleashed, the first novel in their Wolf Springs Chronicles.
Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.
Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Unleashed.
And Lucy Knutsen was like to beat the rude, snotty child on the other end of the dancing snowman—the last dancing snowman in the store—with the dancing snowman, because the brat had wrapped her grubby hands around its little round head and she was not letting go.
The snowman was the one thing Jesse Fenner wanted almost as much as a kitten. And there was no way Lucy’s future brother-in-law was getting a kitten—Uncle Lee agreed with Lucy’s thinking on that–and Lucy would rather rip this selfish girl’s head off and set it on fire than see Jesse disappointed on Christmas morning..
“I had it first,” the surly child informed Lucy. The girl was wearing a pink jacket with the hood up, the cord pulled so tightly that it was cutting into her face, making her look like some weird pasty-faced alien from the planet Very, Very Naughty.
Bentonville was the world headquarters of Walmart. How on earth could they not have enough dancing snowmen?
“I’m so sorry,” Lucy said sweetly, wearing the smile that turned Justin Fenner, who was Jesse’s brother and her intended, to butter, “but I do believe I was looking for the price tag on the bottom of this snowman when you yanked it out of my hands. Accidentally, I’m sure,” she added, with extra sugar.
“You’re a big fat liar,” the little girl said, glaring at Lucy. “You didn’t even see it until I picked it up.”
“Now, darlin’, let’s remember that it’s Christmas,” Lucy said. And I have been in this store for three hours looking for this thing. I have been hit with carts and bashed into and slammed aside and I am on my last nerve. The clerk told me there was one more somewhere and I couldn’t let Jesse down. He’s going to be let down enough as it is.
“It’s for a boy with special needs. An orphan,” Lucy added. Justin and Jesse had moved to Wolf Springs after their daddy died in a hunting accident.
At least, that’s what everyone told folks. And it was kind of true.
“I don’t care,” the little girl said. “It’s mine.”
“I’m sure that Baby Jesus and all the sweet little angel babies He plays with would just break down and cry if they could hear you,” Lucy said.
“I. Don’t. Care!”
The little girl yanked the snowman as hard as she could. And Lucy knew she had to let go. She was not about to play Solomon, ripping the snowman in half.
Defeated, she released the snowman with a sigh, and the little girl cradled it against her chest and stuck out her tongue. Lucy sincerely doubted that the brat knew she had popcorn stuck between her front teeth, and that it was very unattractive. Or maybe a trashy girl like her wouldn’t care.
Sometimes I just hate being Southern, Lucy thought. I hate being brought up well.
The little girl turned on her heel, waving the snowman over her head, and started yelling, “Mama! Ma-ma! I want this!”
Lucy decided to track, er, follow her, in case her mama said no. She scanned the shelves of disheveled merchandise and swerved around a clerk unwrapping a huge pallet of festively decorated paper towels. There were maybe three hundred packages of six for two dollars. Two dollars was a great price. Maybe she should get a cart.
The little girl caught up with a lady bundled up in a black ski jacket, pushing a shopping cart filled to the brim with presents and wrapping paper. The lady had dandruff, poor darlin’, and she seriously needed a new haircut. Lucy was a stylist.
Lucy sidled on up behind them and listened in as the little girl whined and the mama said it was too expensive and the girl pouted and the mama said it was a stupid snowman and the little girl started to cry and the mama put the snowman in the cart.
And then she said, “I’ll think about it,” which might lead to “No.” It was Christmas, after all, the season of miracles.
And speaking of miracles…keeping one eye on the cart, Lucy sidled over to the engagement rings. Justin kept saying it was different for them; everyone knew they were destined for each other and sure, they’d have a church wedding to satisfy the townsfolk, but did she need a piece of paper to know that she was the one?
Maybe she’d just buy him a plain gold band and tell him it went on or the deal was off. But even as she thought the thought, a cold chill worked its way through her. And since Walmart was seriously overheated due to the falling snow outside, she knew that chill was a chill of the heart.
Justin’s eye was wandering. He kept saying not, but she wasn’t blind. That girl, that one nobody planned on, was giving him all the right signs that he could come on in because the door sure wasn’t locked.
The rings glinted and gleamed, just like his big blue eyes whenever she came around. Grinning like an idiot.
But she was getting off track. She was worried about Jesse, and what was going to happen when he didn’t get a kitten or a dancing snowman. Maybe they should just give him the kitten. But sure as Christmas was coming, he’d kill the poor thing, and she couldn’t imagine consoling him over that.
Plus she was a member of the World Wildlife Federation. Charity begins at home.
The little girl and her mama hung a right. Lucy followed after, heart sinking. They were heading for the check-out lines, which were enormous. Maybe she could create a diversion to distract them. Then she could grab the snowman and hightail it to the parking lot…
And Justin’s uncle would tan my hide for drawing attention to myself that way, she thought, frustrated and growing more so.
Then mother and daughter joined the checkout line. Lucy had nothing to buy so she circled around to the front of the store and hovered near the doors, where the warm air was blasting, defrosting shoppers as they came in, and giving them one last jolt of Walmart warm fuzzies as they pushed their carts out into the cold.
She heard the dingalinging of the Salvation Army solicitor outside, and caught a flash of red. The Salvation Army worker was dressed like Santa, in a red suit and hat, and a good-looking head of white hair and matching beard. He caught Lucy looking at him and tipped his head in greeting.
Lucy thought he looked a little bit familiar, which wouldn’t be surprising, since Wolf Springs was such a tiny town. She smiled tentatively at him and he smiled back, with such a look of recognition that she felt compelled to go outside and say hello. The mama and evil daughter from hell still had a dozen people ahead of them at least.
Digging in her purse, she found a couple of quarters and took them out to Santa.
“Hey, there, Lucy,” he said. “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas.”
“Same to you,” she replied sweetly, even though she couldn’t remember his name, and dropped the quarters in his bucket.
“That’s right neighborly of you,” he said.
Who the dickens was he? She couldn’t place him. But he looked so happy that she had given him the quarters that she impulsively put the dollar in as well.
“Here,” she said.
He beamed at her. “Well, now, for that much money, you need to tell me what you want for Christmas so I can reward you.”
A dancing snowman, she said, but she just smiled at him because she took what he was saying for flirting. No woman on earth flirted better than a Southern girl, but Justin was on her mind and she didn’t want to seem loose if this man knew she was all but engaged.
“I’m just so blessed, I can’t think of a thing,” she replied.
Except for that danged dancing snowman.
“Well, that’s refreshing,” he replied. “But I know there must be something.” He gave her a wink.
She just smiled. They stood there in companionable silence for a bit. As people came out of the store, some dropped change into Santa’s kettle, and he thanked each and every one of them with lovely Southern charm.
Then the little girl and her mama came out. The little girl was cradling the snowman. She saw Lucy and made an ugly face.
“Ha ha,” the brat said. “Look what I’ve got.”
Lucy clenched her teeth and tried to smile at the same time. Santa narrowed his eyes slightly, then studied the little girl.
“Is that what you wanted for Christmas?” he asked her.
“No.” The little girl sneered at Lucy. “It’s what she wanted. We got the last one.”
“Now, now, Mary Lynn, be nice,” said the girl’s—Mary Lynn’s—mama.
“Change for the needy?” Santa asked the lady.
She kept her purse firmly shut. “We give at our church,” she declared. But her cheeks went red. Lucy knew she was lying.
“That’s nice,” Santa said. “Giving is giving.”
“C’mon, Mary Lynn, let’s go,” said the mama, pushing the cart forward.
The little girl trailed after her. Santa and Lucy watched her make a show of sliding on the icy street, well within the pedestrian crossing markers.
“So you wanted that snowman,” Santa said.
“Last one,” she told him sadly. “Oh, well.”
He rang his bell.
The mama screamed.
The sound of a crash echoed through the night.
Santa smiled at Lucy.
“You might have to clean it up a little,” he said. “Merry Christmas, hon. Anything else on your list?”
Meet Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié!
Nancy Holder is an American writer and the author of several novels, including numerous tie-in books based on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s also written fiction related to several other science fiction and fantasy shows, including Angel and Smallville.
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen novels including the Wicked series and the new Crusade series co-authored with Nancy Holder. Much of Debbie’s writing has a dark edge to it, including her retold fairy tales, her latest being Violet Eyes, a retelling of The Princess and the Pea. In addition to her epic dark fantasy work Debbie also writes thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries and the upcoming Kiss trilogy. When Debbie isn’t busy writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks. They live in Florida with their cat, Shrödinger.
Want to purchase Nancy and Debbie’s novel?
- Wicked: Witch & Curse at Amazon or the Book Depository (omnibus)
- Wicked 2: Legacy & Spellbound at Amazon or the Book Depository (omnibus)
- Passing at Amazon (originally found in the Eternal Kiss anthology)
- Crusade at Amazon or the Book Depository
- Damned at Amazon or the Book Depository
Wolf Springs Chronicles
Thank you Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!
Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié is giving away a copy of Unleashed. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Have you had to fight over an item during your holiday shopping? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
All Black Friday contests will remain open until December 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other Black Friday contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the Black Friday giveaways
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.