Excerpt – The Christmas Con by Jill James

I’m working on a short story – 8,000 words – for an anthology with the Authors of Main Street. My story is The Christmas Con. A retelling of the Robin Hood myth with Robin Cappington and Ian Marr, two jewel thieves with a past history brought today to save the Christmas Rose necklace from a bad street gang. You will find Little John, Uncle Tucker Frye, and Willa Scarlett in this tale.

Excerpt – The Christmas Con – © Jill James


Chapter Two

Ian Marr squeezed his long fingers and cracked his knuckles. He closed his eyes and spun the dial on the safe. His breath came in and out in silent, slow inhalations. His mind shut down until the only thing he heard in the room was the tumblers of the safe, the clicks of the gears as loud as firecrackers in his head. Numbers flashed in neon in the dark behind his closed lids.

He gave the dial one big spin, and then turned it right, then left, then right again with his eyes closed, using only his fingers and his auditory skills to crack the lock. A final click sounded in the silent room. He pulled down the handle and the heavy steel door hissed open.

“One minute, thirty-two seconds,” Inspector Justin Lawe called out as he pushed the stop watch button. “That is how long a good safecracker needs to break in and get the goods.”

“Good safecracker?” Ian said, turning to the police inspector. “A great safecracker. A good one needs at least two—two and a half minutes.”

The inspector’s eyebrow quirked up. “Sorry. A great safecracker.” He turned back to the assembled officers. “Hopefully we will just get good ones.”


This story will be in a boxed set with the Authors of Main Street by the end of October. Once the set is out I’ll be publishing the short story on my own as well.

Jill James, writer of contemporary and paranormal romance