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Authors: Marianne Evans

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Christmas at Tiffany's

BOOK: Christmas at Tiffany's
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Praise for Marianne Evans

Awards

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Thank you

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Christmas at Tiffany's

Marianne Evans

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Christmas at Tiffany's

COPYRIGHT 2015 by Marianne Evans

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

eBook editions are licensed for your personal enjoyment only. eBooks may not be re-sold, copied or given to other people. If you would like to share an eBook edition, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.

Contact Information: [email protected]

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(R),
NIV
(R),
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

Cover Art by
Nicola Martinez

White Rose Publishing, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC

www.pelicanbookgroup.com
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410

White Rose Publishing Circle and Rosebud logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC

Publishing History

First White Rose Edition, 2015

Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-551-7

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To a precious friend and deeply treasured sister in Christ - Hope Painter. Hope, you embody everything that is best about the streets of New York...its heart, its pulse, its faith and its drive. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with me. Love you, sweetness. This one's for YOU...right down to the cupcakes!

Praise for Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans is the queen of Christian romance. ~ Nancee Marchinowski, Book Reviewer and Blogger, Perspectives by Nancee

Journey from pain and despair to faith and hope, and finally to deep and fulfilling love. ~ NYT Bestselling Author Ruth Ryan Langan on Siobhan's Beat

Awards

Devotion - Booksellers Best Award Winner and ACRA Heart of Excellence Award winner

Hearts Communion - Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award Winner and ACRA Heart of Excellence Award Winner

Use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace. ~1 Peter 4:10

1

As far as Tiffany Zelling was concerned, today amounted to nothing more than a complete waste of perfume.

She squiggled backward in her office chair—just far enough to maneuver her feet out of high heels and jam them into a pair of walking shoes tucked beneath her desk. Seething, but hiding that fact behind a professional veneer, she got up and nabbed her coat and smart phone on the way out. Striding toward the reception area, and ready to breathe fire, she offered tight smiles to the colleagues she passed in the IT department of InfoTraxion, a multi-national tech firm housed on the thirty-eighth floor of a skyscraper at the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

Sure, it never helped to punch the elevator call button more than once, but she was in no mood for patience or sound reason. Stifling a growl, she stabbed the round button repeatedly, willing the metal doors to slide open and deposit her on the ground floor where she could embrace a brief episode of freedom. A fifteen minute break would make all the difference in her outlook—that along with a visit to her favorite haunt, Magnolia Bakery

Maybe she'd even linger a bit over the freshly unveiled Christmas displays adding light, color and festive life to the store windows along Fifth Avenue.

The arrival bell chimed and the tension creeping along Tiffany's shoulders immediately eased. She stepped inside the elevator, leaned against the rear wall and closed her eyes, soothing herself further with a bit of in-and-out deep breathing that helped restore her more typical sense of calm and quiet.

She tried hard to live up to the Christian ideal of love-thy-enemies, but her boss, Eric Parker, stretched that belief to maximum. He was insufferable. Striding through the marble lobby, dodging bodies with long-honed practice and skill, she moved through the badge-accessed entry point and pulled on a pair of gloves. Hunching her shoulders, she absorbed a blast of air that struck her body the instant she stepped outside.

But the wind came and went, sometimes gusty and strong, sometimes retreating against a stillness that carried with it a snow-globe style shower of flakes. Tiffany soaked in the atmosphere, watching the graceful fall of fat, air-crowding crystals of white.

The first stop she made was for the sweet treat she craved. Thankfully, the line at Magnolia moved fast, championed by a clerk who recognized Tiffany as a regular and didn't even need to ask for a preference.

Handing a white wax sack over the counter, delivering a wink and a smile, the clerk made change for a five and Tiffany was on her way with a handful of red velvet cupcake topped by swirls of white cream cheese. Perfection, she thought. See also: restorative bliss.

Anger decreased in direct correlation to her wander toward Fifth Avenue. It was only the first week of December, but shop-hungry tourists already crowded the streets, stopping in the form of a human blockade before store windows packed with eye-tempting clothes, purses, picture frames, cookery, crystal…

And jewelry.

Pausing beneath the Atlas clock stationed atop the front entrance of Tiffany and Company, Tiffany smiled and gave a thoroughly relaxed and delighted sigh, lifting her face to the sky. Snowflakes kissed her lashes, her cheeks and lips with an appealing chill.

Continuing to enjoy her cupcake, she paused before the iconic store's glass window and surrendered another quiet, pleasured sigh. Tucked upon a plush white bed of faux snow drifts were dozens of artistically stacked aqua blue boxes—some secured by red satin ribbon, some secured by white. The entire back wall of the display was crafted to resemble a miniature version of New York City at Christmastime, complete with gift-laden sleds, yellow cabs with massive back fins and lights clicked on within the depths of cheery-looking apartment building windows.

If only life were that simple—that perfect.

Tiffany tossed the thought aside as an Atlantic-born current swept by. She focused instead on designs created to dazzle the eye. Strategically draped diamond necklaces were snuggled next to chunky engagement rings and eternity bands. Bracelets of gold, sapphire, ruby and emerald formed a sparkling pattern at the front of the display.

Then there were the pearls.

Tiffany nibbled on her cupcake, swallowed and swooned, captivated by an enticing fantasy world. Yards of perfectly matched orbs—white and black—had been twined together and strewn against the snowy floor, giving a lustrous shimmer to the entire visual. Lost in the beauty of precious stones and radiant light, she polished off the last of her treat. After dabbing crumbs from her lips with a paper napkin, she moved closer still, resting her fingertips against the glass.

She needed to get back to work. Dedication to performance and a solid work ethic that had haunted her since birth were the blessing—and curse—that prompted her to move away from simulated perfection and return to the lion's den. Be that as it may, she was in no hurry. Fifteen-minute afternoon breaks were expected and encouraged, and she needed every last second of this one. Meandering toward the intersection that would lead back to InfoTraxion, Tiffany pulled her phone from her coat pocket and speed-dialed her sister, Melody.

“Hey, Tif!” Melody was the only person on earth allowed to refer to Tiffany as Tif.

“I hate my job.”

“Shocker. And, a cheery top of the afternoon to you as well. What happened this time, sweetie?”

“The jerk still has it in for me.”

A beat of silence passed. “That Parker guy? Eric, isn't it?

“That's the one.”

Another strategic pause. “You're eating a red velvet masterpiece, aren't you?”

“No comment.”

“And dreaming of a sparkly shopping spree?”

“Pleading the fifth…while standing on Fifth.”

Melody was her big sister. She understood the fact that late afternoon exits from the office, which included decadent cupcakes and window drooling—er, shopping—most likely spelled trouble on the job front.

“Come clean.”

“Let me put it this way. My self-control might be impressive when it comes to indulging my dreams of high-end jewelry, but not so much when it comes to Magnolia cupcakes and Eric Parker. The jerk. Besides, let's be fair. You can't really call it a sparkly shopping spree if you don't end up with a pretty blue bag that contains a pretty blue box all tied up with pretty silk ribbon. Added bonus, that bag would have my very own name lettered neatly across the front.”

“You nut. You've always loved the connection between your name and that absolute fantasy land of a jewelry store.”

Tiffany grinned, her mood on a gradual upswing. “Very true, but have no worries for my savings account. I was all look and no buy. I'm a twenty-five-year-old college student inching her way ever so slowly toward a Master's degree. Not a dime to spare, even for T-Co.”

“Sorry for that, but congratulations on an impressive exhibition of self-control.”

“Mel, the window displays this year are incredible. You really need to come to New York and see them in person, plus, the tree and the plaza at Rockefeller Center are all lit up and the ice rink is—”

“Hey, you don't need to sell me. Actually, I need to do some serious shopping in the next couple weeks. I'll train in from Greenwich and we can hang out. For now, though, tell me what happened.”

Melody had always been persistent—and protective. “Eric Parker is just…poking at me. Shoving and antagonizing for no good reason. He's after me, I swear. I rejected his dinner date last month. Ever since then he's been a complete terror on the job. Just before break, I had launched the website for Pets Finding Home. I did that because I was gathering information for a charitable contribution request that had been made by the head of our company.”

“The guy you once described as the business world's answer to CEO Charming, right?”

Tiffany's skin bloomed with a responsive flush, but since CEO Charming wasn't the finer point, she opted to ignore that statement and continue on the defensive. “Whatever. Anyway, I had the website up as Eric walked by, and he immediately jumped down my throat. Accused me of paying attention to personal matters rather than business objectives.”

“The Humane Society bumper sticker that's tacked to your wall along with the ‘Pets are Family Forever' plaque hanging right next to it provide some red-hot indicators about where your heart resides.”

“True enough, but this was business legit. When I'm at work, I focus on work, and that fact has never been questioned until now. After a tongue lashing, he railed on me to give up pet-sitting and use my time instead to finish the IT analysis he needs for Webber Strategic. He assigned me the project of completing a comprehensive analysis of data storage and inter-state connectivity for a bid he's presenting to the CFO tomorrow. Of course, he only handed me this
business objective
yesterday afternoon. I'm not some genie in a bottle, Mel, but as usual, I have to be the grown up professional, ignore his antics, and perform at the top of my game.”

“I know—and that's so not cool, sweetie.”

“Tell me about it. The thing is he's cagey. He exerts just enough pressure to be annoying but not enough to cross any carefully established HR lines.”

Therefore, Eric Parker could take a lengthy hike into the oncoming arctic blast for all she cared.

“How did it end?”

“Not well. The hot-head didn't even let me explain myself before he stormed off to CEO Charming's office, probably to lodge a complaint. I didn't hang around for the bomb blast. I decided to take a break so I could cool off. Literally. It's snowing pretty hard.”

“I heard some hefty accumulation is in the forecast for you guys.”

“Yeah, adding more fun to my day. I think the weathermen are right this time. Seems to be picking up steam as we speak.” Indeed the gentle hush of plump, fat flakes had increased substantially within the span of mere minutes. “I better get back. Thanks for letting me vent.”

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