Santa's Helper

Merry Collins isn’t feeling very merry this Christmas season. Things are definitely not looking up as her car begins to need costly repairs, her money isn’t stretching to buy her young son even part of what he wants for Christmas and suddenly her well off ex-husband wants their son for the week before Christmas after ignoring him for most of the year. Merry works full time as a child care provider and two part time jobs, one serving drinks at a friend’s catering business and the other being an elf for Santa at the mall. Now, running late as usual, she notices a new man ringing the Red Kettle bell.

Jack Wittingham lost a bet with his employees and now he’s stuck ringing the Red Kettle bell every night for two weeks. He probably could pay someone to take his place but that wouldn’t be right, after all, he’s the one who agreed to the bet and now he’s got to pay up! Still, he should have worn better clothes to stand out in the cold. It’s not like he hasn’t worked outside before even though now he’s the boss. When the cute little red head cheerfully goes in the mall, Jack notices her but when she comes out with a hot cup of coffee later, she really gets his attention.

Merry takes Jack the coffee because it’s the right thing to do. She’s not interested in dating so when Jack asks her out, she turns him down. Jack’s not use to that and hopes to change Merry’s mind.

Can he get her to change her mind? What until she finds out that Jack’s company wants to buy the house she’s living in? Doesn’t she have enough worries?

This short (approximately 95 pages) Christmas story is more than heart warming, it actually addresses some of society’s problems.

Merry’s ex-husband is a professional and makes a good living. However, her child support does not reflect that due to a good old boy system. She could go back to court to try to get it changed but that costs money she doesn’t have. Her ex also requested visitation which she would have no control over once the court granted it. After all, how can she prove that he’s a bad father?

Another social issue is the development of low income areas. Jack’s company plans on buying several blocks of older homes to tear them down and build expensive new homes. While in this story, Jack is giving the homeowners fair market value, most of them will not be able to find similar accommodations for what they are currently paying. Jack learned that when he tried to find Merry a new apartment to rent.

But, enough on social issues, what about the important stuff like the romance.

Merry and Jack’s characters are fun. Merry is basically a cheerful person. Her jobs reflect her personality. She’s a loving mother and an understanding friend. Jack didn’t grow up with a silver spoon but made his way in the world. Now, that he’s made it, he expects certain things. He’s a look forward type of guy who likes to take charge.

The situations that Merry and Jack find themselves in come across very realistic. Their reactions are normal. In fact, they could be people you know that’s how true to life this story is.

This is a great pick-me-up story for not only the Christmas holidays but any time. Yes, it’s set during the Christmas season but the underlying story could be any time. It’s a sweet romance with touches of humor. There are hints of bad things yet it stays upbeat through everything.

I enjoyed this Christmas treat and recommend it to those who just need to relax and enjoy a good romance.

Book Blurb for Santa's Helper

Merry Collins is trying hard to live up to her name this holiday season. Between juggling three jobs, contending with a car on its last leg, and her ex-husband suddenly demanding visitation with their son, she's finding it tough to keep her impish smile in place as one of Santa's part-time elves.

After losing a bet, Jack Wittingham finds himself ringing the Red Kettle bell in front of the mall for two weeks. A successful self-made businessman, Jack's not long on Christmas spirit, but a bet's a bet and he'll ring for a good cause. So when an elf appears bearing a hot cup of coffee, he's intrigued, especially when she blushes.

Can Merry and Jack put their holiday troubles behind them to open the greatest Christmas gift of all--love?

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2012 4.00