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Jamie travels home a week before Christmas but he still hasn't told his family he broke things off with his girlfriend Emily, whom they adore. When Emily arrives in town unexpectedly for work, Jamie offers her a deal — he'll get the governor to deliver the Christmas Day address for her marketing campaign and in return, Emily will stay with his family for the week under the pretense she and Jamie are still together. What follows is a week of awkward fumbling and near misses as Jamie and Emily try desperately to keep their true relationship status a secret. Eventually, their ruse begins to unravel. Just when it seems like Christmas has been ruined, Jamie pulls out all the stops to make things right, resulting in a very unexpected Christmas.

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Every day, a group of commuters booze at the bar on a Thames ferry as they shuttle back and forth to their jobs in London. This self-indulgent and narcissistic group is connected by their “freedom to put (themselves) before everyone else.” Couples Jamie and Clare, and Kit and Melia appear to have it all; beneath the surface, though, things are murky. In a terrifically fiendish way, Candlish gives voice to Jamie, who narrates the story before and after the day Kit goes missing. After six days, “the stress has become corrosive” and Jamie is surrounded with suspicion. As everyone’s motives get murkier, the tide takes a shockingly believable turn (two or three, in fact). Candlish’s story is a stiletto take on desire and ambition and the power of possession.

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Jamie is a single mother of two boys, ages 10 and 18. Her 10-year-old was born with the ability to use 50% of his brain. He recently had his b…

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