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M. L. "Matt" Buchman

Peter's Christmas (+audio)

Peter's Christmas (+audio)

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The US President’s first chance at love almost cost his life. Will the second?
“Kept me reading late into the night. It will please Nightstalker fans any day of the year.” – Fresh Fiction
President Peter Matthews, DC born and bred. Since the death of his wife two years before, he ranks as the most eligible bachelor on the planet. As well as the most cautious one.
The SE Asia Director for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Genviève Beauchamp, a French-Vietnamese beauty, possesses an equally dazzling intelligence—and is a wicked Scrabble player. These skills are only matched by her dedication to the preservation of historic sites.
Little do they know that both their hearts and their very lives will be at risk this Christmas season and it won’t be a game.
[Can be read stand-alone or in series. A complete happy-ever-after with no cliffhangers. Originally published in “The Night Stalkers White House” series in 2013. Re-edited 2022 but still the same great story.]
Buy now and celebrate the Christmas holidays.

Listen to an Excerpt

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It was December first and Kim-Ly Geneviève Beauchamp of Vietnam stood not twenty paces from the base of the American National Christmas Tree on Washington, DC’s Ellipse. The streetlights of the park captured a light fluttering of snow, enchanting for the news cameras, making the scene glitter like a fairyland. Her breath made small white clouds that softened the night even more.
She had come to the lighting of the tree every year that her UNESCO job placed her in DC or even New York at the right time of year. Something about this moment—the colors, the children filled with wonder, the spectacular music, the President’s message—had always filled her with a hope and a joy. It reminded her of so many good things in the world. She also attended the lighting of the New York tree at the Rockefeller Center whenever she could, though her tropical blood was never thick enough to convince her to join in ice skating with the holiday crowds who made it look so fun.
“Tu es un Christmas sap absolu, Genny,” her mother often accused her with a gentle smile; their family language a crazy mix of French heritage and Vietnamese homeland, overlaid with the ubiquitous English. And her mother was absolutely correct. She was.
But this year was different.
Genny wasn’t shoulder-to-shoulder with mothers and children and small business owners and twenty thousand others who had braved the cold and dark of a DC winter night. She wasn’t blocked from a clear view of the tree by the fifty reporters, their cameras, and their lights.
This year she stood close beside cabinet members, White House staffers, and soon, the United States President and his phalanx of Secret Service guards who would be arriving at the podium for the lighting of the tree.
“What am I doing here?”
“At the President’s personal invitation,” a Secret Service agent standing beside her whispered back in response.
“Oh sorry,” she turned to face the female agent who looked neat and dangerous in her suit and long overcoat, with the telltale coil of wire leading up to her ear mostly hidden by black hair and dark skin. “I was actually speaking to myself. I do that.”
“No worries, ma’am,” the agent didn’t look the least put out or the least worried that she might have offended. “Always takes a bit of getting used to, your first trip to the White House.”
Of course, the Secret Service would know that about her. She wondered what else the agent knew about her life now that Genny was the President’s personal guest to the tree lighting ceremony. Did the woman know that five months earlier Genny had hijacked a meeting at the UN to convince the President to pay more attention to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia? That had been one of her most audacious acts, irritating the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian UN ambassadors in the process. Or that she’d since dodged three invitations to the White House prior to this one?
The towering tree was still unlit. A US Marine Corps Band was playing Good King Wenceslas. And who would follow in this good President’s steps through the winter that seemed to chill the news headlines? She shook off the thought as being unworthy of a Christmas moment.
Most of the White House staffers were talking to each other as earnestly as if they were still inside their warm offices. Only a few of them broke the protocol of work to join in singing carols with the crowd. She tried to sing along as she normally would, knowing she had a passable, if French-accented soprano, but she couldn’t even seem to mouth the words in a throat gone painfully dry.
Some delay in the proceedings left her too much opportunity to wonder quite why she had avoided the invitations before, though two out of three times she’d been legitimately flying out of the country the next day.
So, why had she accepted this one?
Because she’d be in Washington anyway for the tree lighting, though the President had no way to know that. And she’d been surprised. The call hadn’t come from some staffer as before, it had come from President of the United States Peter Matthews himself.
She’d recognized his voice immediately despite only meeting him once. Though she’d certainly watched enough of his speeches since then, far more than could be justified by her passing interest in American politics.
He’d charmed her into coming, made her deny that she’d been avoiding him, even though she had. And she wasn’t sure why she’d been doing that either.

Publication Details

Initial Publication: September 17, 2013
Print Pages: 188
Audio length: 4:58
Narrator: Read by Author

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