A Christmas Caroline by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									A Christmas Caroline
Author: Kyle Smith

Caroline is a perfect size 0 with the best blond hair money can buy, a wit as sharp as her stilettos, and a
job at the center of the fashion universe: she's the accessories editor for a shopping magazine. Every day
Gucci and Hermès send her their latest items, free, begging her to try them. Which is why Christmas, to 
Caroline, is such a bore: not only does she keep getting accosted by creepy sidewalk Santas and
bombarded by kitschy holiday tunes, but it's the one day when everyone else gets presents. This
Christmas Eve, she's stuck in Manhattan, embarrassingly boyfriendless, while her fabulous designer
mother jets off to a mysterious place called Branson. But things are about to get even worse, thanks to a
hideous pair of furry boots, a conniving redheaded assistant named Ursula Heep, and a totally random
visit from the ghost of her ex-roommate, Carly. Carly's ghost warns that three more spirits are on the way.
If Caroline doesn't make things right with all the people she's sneered at on her way to the top, she could
wind up facing a fate worse than an outfit from the Salvation Army. The Devil Wears Prada meets Charles
Dickens in this holiday treat—a hilariously hip, delightfully irreverent take on a classic tale.

The thing that started it all was that furry boots were dead. I don't mean a little dead. One glance at the
woman's shaggy footwear, and it was like, "Where do I send the condolence card for your look?" Or,
"Your look is so quaint! I have such fond memories of when that was in." Or, authoritatively, "Somebody
get me some yellow tape—I'm declaring this a fashion crime scene." Or—sniffing the air dramatically and
addressing no one in particular—"Is it just me or does this elevator stink—of last season?"The other thing
was Carly. She was actually kind of dead, too. She had died this very day, Christmas Eve, one year ago
exactly, under circumstances that were still too painful to contemplate. So Caroline didn't contemplate
them. Contemplation? She wasn't a fan.Staring in fascinated horror at the furry boots in the last place
you'd expect to find them—the center of the heart of the sun of the fashion universe, the Belle Connerie
building—Caroline felt her heart leap and frolic with a jingly little touch of Christmas malice, deep under
her fox-trimmed Balenciaga military coat and her blush-colored Chloé tea dress. The BC headquarters 
was where, just yesterday, Caroline had swept into the building wearing her Mantalini sunglasses and
had, personally, gotten a silent nod of approval from the Editrix heading out the door. The Editrix, who
was noted not only for running the most exclusive fashion book in the galaxy but for hiding her own aging
eyes behind light-expunging discs the size of hubcaps, did not notice just anyone. With a nod from her
you could practically launch your own fall line. It was the nod of arrival.This, Caroline thought as she
stood smirking next to the lady with the unmentionable footgear, has been a very tough morning. But
things are looking up.That assessment turned out to be as horribly wrong as a floor-length denim skirt
with a big front pocket for holding your circle-a-word puzzle book. It was wrong as wearing a T-shirt with a
humorous saying on it. It was as wrong as the Jaclyn Smith collection from Kmart.The morning had been
completely mental. Caroline was in the habit of beginning each day with vigorous exercise: an argument
with her mother. La had knocked Caroline out of bed with the usual slightly-too-early phone call and the
two had, like a sadistic pair of long-distance workout partners, quickly fallen into the usual pattern of
stretching out their vocal cords followed by several reps of angry accusations and a session of emotional
kickboxing. Caroline had scored the final points of the fight, as she often did, by reaching down into the
past and pulling up the usual dead weight: the subject of Caroline's father. La never wanted to talk about
what had happened to him, and Caroline needed to get in the shower anyway. Conversation over.The
whole time she was on the phone Caroline's face felt as if it had been shrink-wrapped onto her skull by
heat lamps. A quick look at the placement of her bathroom creams and essential potions turned up
disturbing evidence. She remembered that when she'd finished with the small gray and black bottle of
Honeythunder moisturizer she had applied to her face right before going to bed, she had put it next to her
Buzzfuzz wax-and-razor relief oil. But next to the tube of Buzzfuzz that morning there was a gray and
black sample bottle of Verisopht shampoo. The stuff she had put on her face was not moisturizer. It was
shampoo. Result: raisin face.Her mother. What had gotten into the woman? This morning's fight had
really just been a horrible sequel, the Grease 2 of phone calls. The...
Author Bio
Kyle Smith
Kyle Smith is the author of Love Monkey, the hit novel that was adapted into a CBS television series
starring Tom Cavanagh and Jason Priestley. He is also a movie critic for the New York Post, which posts
his reviews online each week at nypost.com. He lives in New York City.Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for
exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins authors.

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