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A Holiday Folly [MultiFormat]
eBook by Joanna A. McKethan

eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: Used to a rich life style amongst the powerful, Sinclair has chosen the creative (and not-so-privileged) life of an artist and chosen a red-headed geologist as the love of her life. Invited to the 20,000 sq. foot family house in the heart of the Sandhills in North Carolina for Christmas, the lovebirds have no idea of the evil that awaits them and others in the upscale Ward family. Sinclair, the youngest daughter to four older brothers, finds she must navigate tricky personal waters when she returns. Her love, Allan, is more than she bargained for, and a commitment begins that she might not be ready for in this Gothic-tinged suspense.

eBook Publisher: Red Rose Publishing, Published: 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2012

"How many are coming?" Sinclair asked.

"Not sure of the final count, shall I say 50? Round about?"

"Oh, Lord. Well, if you are having that many, you wouldn't mind if I brought Allan, would you, Mom? I mean it would help me keep my sanity around Aunt Rene. Please?"

"All right, Sinclair, but he can keep a conversation a-float with anyone in the family, can he not?"

"I'll coach him, Mom."

"Yes, all right."

"Where will we stay?"

"You're not staying together."

"No, Mom. But will I be in our house or a guest house? And Allan?"

"He'll be in the Swan Song house. Remember, it has the swimming pool."

"Love you, Mumsey," Sinclair shamelessly cajoled. "I'm coming, but I will have to bring the art project I'm working on."

"You drive a hard bargain, Baby," she said. "Be careful."

* * * *

It was a warm day on the 22nd of December. Sinclair and Allan were driving up together from Auburn. They had their dinner clothes, riding habits, golfing uniforms, and what-have-you's all packed and ready for action.

"Claire," Allan said (he called her Claire because her first name reminded him too much of Sinclair Lewis, the writer, who was male), "I hope your family can put up with me."

"At least you've met Mom," Sinclair said. "She can be an ally."

"Yeah. She's all right."

"High praise."

Allan laughed.

They chatted almost the whole way to Harnett County, first about art, then about rock formations. Geology was Allan's area of expertise. Sinclair knew they were close when they started passing all the white rail fences, green grass, and horses that signified Pinecrest was a horse town. The pretty day disappeared quickly behind dark clouds and the wind whipped up just as they drove into Chester Lane. The 20,000 square-foot house loomed suddenly into view, silhouetted without light onto the vestiges of color in the sky.

"Let's get in, quick," Sinclair said.

Allan jumped out and pulled out their three suitcases. She grabbed her jacket and they raced up the slope to Sinclair's front door, dark brown and carved. A holly wreath hung there.

"Come on in, Sinclair and --?" her aforementioned Aunt stood at the door. She thought the only thing missing was the pitchfork.

"Allan, Aunt Rene, but please let us in before I give formal introductions." A burst of wind punctuated her complaint and blew her scarf right in her aunt's face. She might have laughed had she not seen a fleeting, but very nasty, look.

"Harry will take your coats...you were saying?" Auntie continued, an unaffected look having returned.

"Allan, this is my Aunt Rene who lives in Massachusetts. Aunt Rene, meet Allan Singleton, a friend of mine from Auburn." She was not about to tell her how serious she and Allan were, which was very, but she could tell Auntie was reading their files. You could tell by how she looked first at Sinclair, then Allan, up and down.

"Well come on in and sit down. Oh, wait, sign our guest book first. Harry will take your suitcases up, Sinclair. Show him which ones are which. I think your mother found a room on first floor for Allan. So we're all set. Come on in and tell us all about school."

Sinclair caught Allan's eyes as he finished signing his name and raised her eyebrows.

He looked away.

They walked into one of the largest of the great rooms and fell into chairs.

"I'm tired," Sinclair said.

'There are all sorts of things going on tomorrow early. Hope you're over it and ready to hop on a horse," Auntie said to Sinclair, while looking straight at Allan. We have a Senator and a lesser known celebrity among us. Your mother couldn't resist. We're doing something different every day, starting with Christmas Day, to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Do you know about the twelve days of Christmas, Allan?"

He just shook his head.

"Not surprised," Sinclair fielded for him. "'Course he does, Auntie. All the Singleton's are Anglicans.

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