12 Days of Clink Street Christmas - a Festive #GuestPost by P.S. Bridge, author of Hit

It's time for another festive treat from the 12 Days of Clink Street! To celebrate Christmas, seventeen very different Clink Street authors will be delivering Christmas treats from a variety of genres that will cater to every wish list! Today I'm delighted to have a guest post from P.S. Bridge but first here's a description of his book, Hit:

A terrorist threat, a sinister organisation, and a threat to the security of the free world.
Renowned British lawyer and Sandhurst military academy dropout, Mark Lucas King is assigned the case of his career: to prosecute known terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi.
All King wants is justice and to do his job successfully. But his peaceful life is shattered when a team of merciless hitmen targets him and his family and the court case collapses. Framed for assault and suspected of his wife's murder, King must leave his legal career behind and go back to his old career as a British Army sniper in order to catch those responsible and hold them to account. Mark King's brand of justice doesn’t involve a court room.
Forced to battle against highly trained hitmen to clear his name, King discovers that a sinister organisation known as Invictus Advoca is operating behind the scenes. What is their connection to him and the Al-Azidid case?
As the hunt for those responsible takes him far across Europe, can Mark unravel the mysteries that shroud this secretive organisation and peel back the layers to discover why he and his family have found themselves the target of professional hitmen?
Time is not on Mark King's side as he races to prevent a global terror threat, discover who killed his wife, and find out who wants him dead, and why.

If you're tempted by this thrilling sounding novel, it can be purchased here. For now though, here's a rather poignant guest post about how Mark King spent his Christmases in the UK...


Living in New York, Mark King has had to get used to cold Christmases in comparison with those he used to spend in the UK. Like many, Mark had a traditional upbringing and the first job to be done near Christmas, would be the search for the perfect tree. 
A week before Christmas, Mark, Hope, and Benjamin would hire a vehicle and embark on the search for the perfect tree. Living in a large house, there is ample room for a large real tree. Once they had found this, and transported it back home, it would be a very big occasion, with everyone involved in putting up the Christmas decorations. Mark would be sipping brandy, and a huge collection of traditional Christmas music would be being played, including favourites like Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. 
Naturally, Mark would always don a rather ostentatious Christmas jumper, usually bought for him by his mother-in-law, Wendy, and spend the entire festive period being moaned at by the children because it’s embarrassing. 
In the King family, it is a family tradition that Christmas decorations only be put up to Christmas music, carols and a roaring log fire. The Christmas tree would be the central attraction, grand and tall, and adorned with a multitude of decorations ranging from fairy lights, baubles, and typical 1980’s style tinsel, usually in bold greens, golds, and reds, with blue and silver tinsel near the top. 
 Wendy would be busy planning how they would manage to fit all the family into the house, and as she is chief cook for the Christmas dinner, plans would be required to ensure everyone was fed the traditional enormous Christmas dinner. Occasionally, she would have a rest and help the children lay out the vast array of Christmas lights, tinsel, and other decorations. Hope and Benjamin would dig into the old decorations box and always get shouted at by Mark for pulling the lights out without being careful. 
At the top of the massive tree, would sit two paper and card angels Hope and Benjamin had made at school years before. Once the tree was almost complete, he would hoist the children, each in turn, onto his shoulders so they could place their angel at the top of the tree. After that, everyone would stand back while Mark revealed the small velvet Father Christmas on a stick which used to belong to his father, and place it somewhere in the centre. Then, together, they would place a star in memory of their mum Marie, next to it in homage to her and all those family members who would not be joining them this year. 
As the Christmas music continues, Mark would always skip ‘Have Yourselves A Merry Little Christmas’ as it reminded him too much of Marie, and other absent family members, and to safeguard his emotions during what he considers to be the happiest time of the year. 
In the days leading up to Christmas, Mark, and the children would host several family drinks evenings which would include select neighbours from the area, friends of the children from school, and anyone else close to the family. Mark is always very proud of these evenings, but always keeps a watchful eye, and a concealed side arm at all times, just to be safe. 
When it comes to Christmas Eve, Mark would make a traditional lunch of cold gammon sandwiches for the children, and he always keeps a bottle of Brandy for himself. Hope would have spent the day with Wendy making mince pies for Father Christmas, and Mark always keeps a bag of carrots for the reindeer. They attend a local church for midnight mass and carol singing, before returning home to put the children to bed. As was always tradition for him, he would allow the children to open a small present each on Christmas Eve, which usually ended up being Christmas Pyjamas which they would wear that evening. 
Once the children are in bed, Mark would spend the evening making the final preparations to the table, and take several of the internal doors off their hinges to make more room. 
Alone and quiet, under the light of candles and the dying embers of the log fire and after putting all the presents in large sacks and under the tree, Mark would sit in his favourite armchair with his Brandy, and watch the fire dancing among the logs. He always takes time Christmas Eve, to mark the absence of his late wife, and, when no one can see, he allows all his emotions to come out. Mark would break up parts of the carrots and sprinkle them all over the doorstep and the living room floor, and eat the mince pie. Quietly he would step outside with a large pole and his military boots, and proceed to draw sleigh marks in the snow, and make hoof prints with the heel of his boots, right under the children’s bedroom windows. Back in the living room, he would place his boot into the ashes of the fire to make an imprint, and on the hearth to give the impression Santa had trodden ash into the house while delivering presents. 
On Christmas Day, the children would bound excitedly into Mark’s room with shouts of “he’s been, he’s been” until Mark wearily and reluctantly gets out of bed. With one child on each hand, he tiptoes down the stairs to the living room where he would be greeted by a mass of presents, all beautifully wrapped and each with a label. Hope and Benjamin have their own brown present sacks, each with their name embroidered across the front. 
Within hours, and after the mass of torn wrapping paper and presents had been removed, family begin to arrive and share in the enormous Christmas dinner Mark & Wendy would jointly prepare, followed by games, music, & laughter. In the evening Mark would spend time calling others to wish them a merry Christmas. 

Many thanks to P.S. Bridge for writing this fantastic guest post, and to Rachel Gilbey for inviting me to take part in the 12 Days of Christmas. Don't forget to look out for the other 12 Days of Clink Street posts.

About the Author

Living in Hampshire, right on the edge of Southampton Water, P.S Bridge has spent over a decade working in the private financial and legal sector. Away from his professional life, he embraces his creative side and is often found writing stories whilst listening to music. An avid reader from a young age he counts author Scott Mariani as one of the many influences that finally encouraged him to put the finishing touches to the first in his Mark King thriller series.
Twitter: @PSBridgebooks
Website: psbridgebooks.com