Holiday Elf Delsheree Gladden

Nothing will complicate the holidays faster than an unplanned pregnancy, the derelict father showing up uninvited with questionable motives, a budding relationship on the rocks, and a little girl largely forgotten by her parents but desperate for friend. 
 Welcome to Sabine Saint Laurent's life. 

The fourth installment of the Date Shark Series features Sabine, Guy's supermodel sister, as the newest addition to the date shark crew. Get a sneak peek at the upheaval Sabine is trying to navigate in "Shark In Troubled Waters." 

Christmas Eve - Sabine's Penthouse

Boisterous noise near the front door drew everyone’s attention, which had undoubtedly been André’s intention. Sabine felt tired as she looked at him. Michael, who had opened the door, seemed infinitely more displeased to see André. She did not think he could have looked more put out until three more people followed in after him. 

Excusing herself, Sabine hurried to the door. By the time she reached them André had just finished introducing Cliff and Margaret, forgetting about Lucy once again. She cringed when he made a point of mentioning these were the friends Sabine had recently met. André was never outwardly combative to Michael in public, but he knew competition when he saw it and hated to lose, even if the prize was nothing he wanted. 

Michael turned to Sabine as she approached, his jaw tight. “Sabine, your friends have arrived. I didn’t know you had invited them.” 

Oui, I did. I am sorry I forgot to mention it.” 

André brushed Michael off. “Why are you apologizing? It is your home after all, yes? You may invite whomever you want!” He turned to his friends and said, “Come, let us meet the others and try my lovely Sabine’s delicious cookies. She is quite the wonderful chef.” 

The three breezed past them and Michael’s gaze narrowed in on Sabine. “I thought you said it didn’t go well at their place, that you were upset about André’s motives or something. Why would you
invite them here? And why is he suddenly referring to you as his Sabine?” 

A small presence next to her stoked Sabine’s temper. “I thought you said you were done putting your nose where it does not belong.” 

Michael opened his mouth to say something that she knew would not be pleasant, but a look that promised fierce reprisal shut him up quite neatly. It took all her unraveling composure to gesture politely at Lucy. The girl had unsurprisingly been forgotten by her parents and was waiting patiently next to the only person she probably thought would even realize she was there. 

“Michael, this is Lucy. She is Cliff and Margaret’s daughter. It is also her birthday today. I invited her
because I promised her a gift. Her parents were invited out of necessity.” 

Sabine kept her expression fixed
on his as she reached out for Lucy’s hand. The girl took it promptly and
squeezed tightly as if she feared she might be lost or left behind. A momentary realization that it was probably a very real fear for her caused her anger at Michael to falter. She was not sure if Michael understood what was going on inside her head, but he saw her change in emotion and responded immediately. 

Kneeling down to her height, Michael smiled at the girl. “Your birthday, huh? On Christmas Eve?” He frowned, curling one lip in an overdramatic sneer. “That’s gotta suck, right?” 

Lucy giggled. “Most people don’t think that. They think you must get twice the presents.” Her smile faltered. “But you don’t.” 

“Well,” Michael said quite seriously, “you have my permission to have twice the normal amount of cookies. How’s that?” 

Grinning, Lucy nodded. 

“They’re right over there,” Michael said with a wink. He pointed toward the table filled to overflowing with desserts. 

Lucy looked up to Sabine for approval, and after gaining it, darted away happily. Michael stood from his crouch, but his focus was no longer on Lucy. “Sabine, I’m…” 

She turned and walked away without a single word to him. She knew he was following her, but she did not stop until she reached her study, and only then so she could open the door. It occurred to her that she could simply slam the door in his face, but she left it open and allowed him to follow her into the room. Her lips remained pressed tightly together as she removed the lids from three large Christmas boxes. 

At a loss, Michael stared at the contents helplessly. “I don’t understand,” he finally said.
“Of course you do not,” Sabine snapped. “You jumped onto your high horse, again, and judged the situation before you knew even a portion of the facts.” 

Michael picked up one of the books and held it up to Sabine in question. He seemed quite stumped as to why Sabine had a collection of third and fourth grade level textbooks in a Christmas box. “What is this all for?” His eyes darted down to her belly, but he seemed to toss the idea away quickly. It would made little sense to be collecting such books for her own child already. 

“They are for Lucy,” Sabine explained. 

“But why?” 

Leaning against the table the boxes were sitting on, Sabine sighed. She was so tired of playing games and having arguments. “André invited me to meet Cliff and Margaret because they are apparently the only people he knows with a child. He thought he could use them as an example, but it only showed how little he knows about parenting that he would ever consider such people as someone I would choose to emulate.” 

Michael’s eyes widened. “Have they been mistreating her?” 

“No. Not physically. However, they drag her around the world, and because they believe they have taught her to be independent, they allow her to care for herself. She is supposedly homeschooled, but neither of them help her and her materials are inappropriate for her age and skills. They barely seem to remember she exists half the time. I spent most of the night helping Lucy with her schoolwork and reading to her after putting her in bed. She has no books outside her school books because her parents forget how much she likes to read.” Sabine shook her head as she was struck again how uncaring Cliff and Margaret were. Lucy could have been a housecat for all the attention and care they afforded her. 

“Sabine, I had no idea,” Michael said. 

“No, you did not,” she snapped, “yet you attacked me for it all the same.” He reached toward her, but she turned her head away and his hand fell. “I’m sorry.” 

“I cannot keep doing this,” Sabine said. Her voice bled exhaustion. 

“Doing what?” Michael asked uncertainly. There was fear in his voice and part of Sabine was glad to hear it. 

“I cannot deal with André, our families, being pregnant, or you attacking me every time I turn around.” 

“I’m not…I just…Sabine, I’m sorry. I really am.” 

She nodded. “I know you are, but this must stop.” She finally turned to look at him. “I know it is difficult for you to stand to the side while I figure things out with André. I understand why you walked away earlier when we were in the bedroom together. As much as I wanted you to stay, it was the right thing to do. It would be unfair to start a relationship when everything is in turmoil.” 

“Sabine, I…” 

She held up a hand to stop him. “You were right to tell me no. Telling me no draws a line, Michael. We are not together. We are friends, and I need you very much as my friend, but friends does not give you the right to tell me the right choice or become angry at me for my decisions.” 
Pained by her words, his head dropped. “I wish I hadn’t.” 

Unsure of what he meant, Sabine
risked asking, “Had not gotten angry?” 

“Told you no.” 

Sabine’s heart squeezed in anguish. She stood and forced herself not to react. Everything within her was begging to her to tell him she wished the same, but what she had told him was as true as her shameless desire to have him. Not trusting herself to speak right away, Sabine gestured at the boxes. “Would you please carry these for me? They are quite heavy.” 

It was as if she had torn something from him. Michael nodded slowly. “Of course.” 

When he turned away, Sabine blinked her eyes furiously to hold back the tears burning for release. She did not appreciate his anger or interference, but she hated making him feel this way. She did not look back at him as he secured the lids back on the boxes. The sound of two slipping back into place filled the silence. She waited for the third, but when it did not happen, she looked over her shoulder to see what Michael was doing and found him holding a copy of Peter Pan

He noticed her watching him and smiled. “Why am I not surprised to find this in here?” 

“She needs Neverland,” Sabine said quietly. 

Michael nodded and set the book back in the box. He replaced the lids and stacked all three boxes.
“Perhaps you should not carry them all at once,” she said. “There are quite a lot of books in them.”
Scoffing at her concern, Michael flexed one of his arms. “Are you seriously doubting me? Look at these guns. They moved half your furniture in here.” 

“With the help of five movers,” Sabine teased. 

Michael only shook his head at her and hefted all three boxes into his arms. His silliness made her smile, and her smile lightened his expression. “I really am sorry,” he said. 

“I know.” She smiled and gestured for him to take the lead. 

You can find the first 3 books in the Date Shark Series exclusively on Kindle where you can purchase or read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited, or buy in paperback from your favorite retailer. 

Date Shark #1:
Shark Out Of Water #2:
 The Only Shark In The Sea #3:

Shark In Troubled Waters #4: 
Releasing December 29th, 2015
Connect with DelSheree Gladden Online at:

Libraries and book stores were two of DelSheree’s favorite places as a child. Her love of books hasn’t diminished but her library has migrated to her Kindle app and about a billion boxes of books currently sitting in her basement waiting for some shelves to be built. Two of her most prized possessions are signed novels from Brandon Sanderson and Jim Butcher. 

Love of books is a family affair in her home. Her husband’s interests have lately turned from fiction to nonfiction, and both their children still love to be
read to every night even though they are now nine and twelve years old. Books open the world, open the mind, and let you experience a hundred lives and
stories. There will always be reading and writing in their home.



Apryl Baker

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