Home > Spreading Christmas Joy (Alpha Men #3)

Spreading Christmas Joy (Alpha Men #3)
Author: Jordan Marie

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Joy

 

 

“Joy! Your delivery is here!” Tina calls from the front of the shop. I barely stop myself from clapping. I’ve been waiting for that delivery all day!

“Be right there!” I call, sending up a silent prayer of thanks for Amazon’s quick delivery service. I wipe my hands on my apron, looking at the wedding cake I just frosted. It’s clean white everywhere with a sprinkling of silver glitter dust to give the effect of new snowfall. Naomi is going to love her cake and I’m going to love the business her wedding brings me.

I run Comfort and Joy bakery. I’ve built it from scratch, so to speak, and slowly it’s taken off. This Christmas will mark my second year in business and I’ve loved every moment of it. There have been months I wasn’t sure I was going to make the rent, but somehow, through it all, I’ve survived. This wedding is my biggest account yet. Naomi is a local celebrity—she anchors the local news—and her cake will be seen in the local papers, on her news broadcast and by her over two hundred fifty guests. It might not sound like a lot, but in a town that only has one thousand residents, it means a lot.

I practically skip to the front of the bakery. Tina is cleaning off the small tables we have sitting in the front room. It’s almost closing time, and she likes to be able to leave as soon as the doors lock.

“Hey Joy,” Sam the delivery guy says, handing the package.

“Hey, Sam. Are you staying busy?”

“It’s that time of year,” he laughs. “Tina says you’ve been waiting for this little beauty,” he adds, waving the box he just carried in.

I grab it from him, smiling ear to ear. I try to tear it open and quickly realize I’m going to need something to cut this damn packing tape with.

“What do they use to make this tape stick so good?” I grumble, taking the box to the counter and grabbing a pair of shears to slice through the it.

“Have no idea, but you’re not the first to ask,” he laughs.

“I wish I knew. I’d use it to invent a new type of spanks to help shrink my ass.”

“Nothing wrong with your ass, Joy. From where I’m standing it’s damn fine.”

“Awe, Sam. You’re so good for my ego. If you were just—”

“A few years younger?” he jokes, interrupting me.

“I was going to say single,” I answer, shaking my head with a giggle. “How is Lani and the kids?”

“Beautiful and spoiled…. And the kids aren’t bad either,” he answers. “Oh, hell. Is that what I think it is?” Sam asks from behind me.

I turn around holding up the contents of the delivery like a trophy. It’s my Wayne Newton Christmas CD!

“I don’t know Sam. What do you think it is?” I ask

“A CD? Do people actually use those things anymore?”

“Joy probably even has 8-tracks,” Tina says sarcastically.

“Kiss my ass,” I tell her, sticking out my tongue. I can’t say too much because I actually do have an old one in my garage. It belonged to my dad. I even managed to keep an old CCR tape. “And besides,” I continue, “This is not just any CD! It’s the deluxe Wayne Newton’s Christmas CD!”

“Wayne… Newton?” Sam repeats, like he doesn’t believe me.

“Let her go, Sam. Just be thankful it’s not Don Ho,” Tina quips. I roll my eyes at her. I actually do have that one, but it’s not as festive. Something about Wayne singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” never fails to get me in the Christmas spirit. Not that, that is too hard to do. Folks around down have nicknamed me Christmas Joy for a reason.

“On that note I’m out of here. You two have a great holiday if I don’t see you again before then,” Sam says, turning to leave.

“Wait!” I call. “I have something for you!”

“Now, Joy. As much as I joke, I am a married man.”

“Very funny, Sam,” I reply, shaking my head as I grab the red container and bring it to him. It’s a large container covered in reindeer and the top says C&J Bakery.

“Is this cookies? Please tell me this is your Christmas cookies,” Sam begs, making me grin.

“Cookies and peanut butter fudge. The cookies for your girls and the fudge is for you and Lani.”

“You’re an angel!” Sam grins, hugging me. “Have a great Christmas, Joy.”

“You, too.” I watch him leave and then turn to look at Tina. “You think you can close? I want to run another container of cookies over to Mrs. Reynolds.”

“I saw two containers,” she replies.

“Yeah, I was going to take one to my new neighbor next door. He moved in three days ago and I still haven’t met him. I thought it was the least I could do. I want to try and welcome him into the neighborhood.”

“You haven’t met him? That’s a little strange.”

“Yeah. I hope he’s not an asshole. I’m already worried.”

“Why? Does he have noisy pets or something? Women coming and going all hours of the night? Give me the deets! You’ve been holding out on me.”

“No. I mean well, I don’t know. It’s just that it’s December now and Christmas is right around the corner…”

“Christmas?” Tina asks confused.

“Yeah and he’s not put out one single decoration. It’s downright depressing. When the Monroe family lived there they decked the place out. Actually my whole street decorates. This guy not decorating is making the house stick out like a sore thumb.”

“Wait. If you haven’t seen him, how do you know it’s a man?”

“Lisa at the realtor office told me. He’s supposed to be some kind of recluse. She said he was a writer, but she didn’t recognize his name, so he must not be that great.”

“Well, hey. Maybe he uses one of those pen names. You know?”

“Maybe,” I shrug.

“Let me know if he’s cute… Oh! And if he’s single!” she says excitedly.

“Whatever. I don’t really care what he is or isn’t. I’m mostly hoping that getting a delivery of Christmas cookies, will give him the urge—”

“To sample other things you might offer him?” Tina giggles, trying to move her eyebrows back and forth. Sadly, she doesn’t, so it mostly looks like she might need to go poop.

“To decorate his damn house! Or at least put up a tree! I just know he’s going to cost my street the Juniper Springs County trophy this year for best décor!”

“The horror!” Tina mocks.

“I hate you. Just for that you’re locking up completely on your own,” I grumble. I put on my coat and then grab the two containers off the counter.

Tina just doesn’t get it. Then again, most people don’t understand my love of Christmas—which is sad.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I giggle thinking of the old song and then I hum it as I make my way to the Senior Citizen’s building at the end of town. Time to spread some cheer. At least Ms. Reynolds will appreciate it.

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