#TeaserTuesday - What's Santa Got to Do With It? by Bix Barrow

Today's #TeaserTuesday has us in the holiday spirit as we take a first look at Bix Barrow's latest: What's Santa Got to Do With It? This book releases on Wednesday, November 22, 2023.

From the Blurb:

A late-awakened bi guy and his secret crush try to play Santa for some kids. But there’s a hitman blocking the chimney...

Have you ever been locked out of your apartment shirtless, holding a wet rabbit and getting served with legal papers right when your super-hot neighbor walks by?

Maybe it’s just me.

After Baz stops to help, I finally have a chance to show him there’s more to me than the loud parties and one-night stands he’s witnessed over the years. And I find out he’s more than just an aloof work-from-home accountant. Who would’ve guessed we both love superheroes and have big hangups about Christmas?

When Baz finds a bunch of letters to Santa in the recycle bin, helping those kids’ holiday wishes come true is the perfect way for us to spend time together.

But we didn’t expect to get yelled at by the kids’ neighbors. (Okay, maybe the binoculars were a bad idea.) And we didn’t expect my estranged brothers to show up and take over Baz’s apartment. (Okay, but as a side effect, he’s staying at my place...)

And we never expected to interrupt a hitman in the middle of a job.

What’s Santa Got to Do with It? is a semi-low-angst, humorous holiday romance featuring a bi-awakening, a chonky rabbit, learning work-life balance, forced proximity, avoiding THAT Christmas song, reconciling with (some) family, interfering friends, and a hitman with a heart of gold.

What’s Santa Got to Do with It? is part of the Bent Oak, Texas series but can be read as a standalone. Characters from previous books do make an appearance but knowing their backstories is not necessary to enjoy this book.


As soon as I stepped out onto the balcony, my socks soaked through instantly, and I grimaced.

A loud bang of thunder surrounded me, and I jumped, my heart pounding.

The shriek of a small child split the air even as the echo of the thunder rang in my ears. I whirled to my right, but I didn’t see anyone on Phillip’s balcony.

“Hello?” I called. Phillip’s apartment was the only one between me and the end of the building. And the scream had been too close to have come from above or below me. I walked cautiously over to the railing, my socks squelching in the frigid water. The rain was coming down harder now, and I shivered as it spattered on my face and arms.

There wasn’t a child on Phillip’s balcony. No one at all. I could see a small box on the concrete floor and some straw or hay scattered about. I leaned over the railing to get a better look, then I gasped.

A bright blue litterbox sat a foot or so from the railing. And nearby a bag of some sort of pet food had been ripped open and spilled out, but I was sure it was just wet mush at this point.
When had Phillip gotten a pet? We were allowed to have them in the building, but I’d never seen any evidence of Phillip owning one.

My memory flashed to Phillip leaving that morning with his big suitcase, and anger roiled through me. That fluffing jerkface had left his pet on the balcony? Even if he’d hired a pet sitter—and based on the evidence I doubted he had—leaving a pet outside in December was just cruel.

A gust of wind blew more rain into my face. I needed to get the animal, whatever it was, inside and fast.

“Hang on, little buddy, I’m going to get my phone and I’ll be right back.” I thought I heard a thud, but I wasn’t sure. I ran back inside and, ignoring the trail of footprints my wet socks were leaving on the carpet, I grabbed my phone, pulling up the contact info for the apartment office.

Voicemail. Noodle nuts, it was after hours. The outgoing message provided a phone number for emergencies, but how long would it take for someone to get here? I stuffed my phone in my pocket.

I’d have to rescue the animal myself.

“Okay, okay. I can do this.” I went back outside. My railing was separated from Phillip’s by a gap only about a foot wide.

But I was on the fourth floor.

I felt a little dizzy and deliberately didn’t look down. I backed up against the wall next to the door.

“Okay. If I had a rope, I could tie myself to something so I wouldn’t fall.”

I didn’t have a rope.

Thunder boomed again, and the animal shrieked.

“Farting Frost Giants!”

I just had to go for it. Not allowing myself any time to have second thoughts, I went over to the railing closest to Phillip’s balcony. I didn’t want to face the drop to the parking lot, so I put my right hand on my balcony’s railing fairly close to the wall. Then I leaned over and put my left hand in the same spot on Phillip’s railing.

“Spiderman, take the wheel!” I shouted.

Gripping the wet metal of the railings with all my might, I swung my left leg over both barriers with enough momentum to carry my hips onto Phillip’s balcony.

My left foot landed in the sodden litter box, which immediately slid on the wet concrete. I was too far onto Phillip’s balcony to keep hold of my balcony’s railing anymore, and I screeched when my fingers lost their grip on it. The animal shrieked in solidarity. My flailing right hand managed to grab Phillip’s railing alongside my left, but my left foot, trapped in the litterbox, continued to slide. My right calf hadn’t cleared the handrail, and as my left foot slid away, my right heel caught on the edge.

“Fu—funhouse fishsticks!”

I’d never done the splits before.

The litterbox stopped sliding when my body could stretch no further, but I didn’t have any leverage to lift my foot out of it. My thighs shrieked almost as loudly as the animal had.
I could probably drag my left leg—along with the litter box—back toward me, but I still wasn’t sure how I’d lift my foot to get it on solid ground. And without being able to stand securely on my left foot, I wouldn’t be able to flip my right one off the handrail.

Plan B it was.

Gritting my teeth, I carefully let go of the railing with my left hand and put it on the concrete floor of the balcony, right in the middle of a slurry of freezing water, straw, and mush I really hoped was just pet food.

Leaning as much of my weight as I could on my hand, I used the leverage from my right ankle to drag my left leg back in. My thighs cried out in relief, but my ankle was not happy.
After making sure I wasn’t going to crush the box where the animal was hiding, I slowly bent my left elbow. I let my right hand release the railing and barely got it under my chin in time to keep myself from face-planting into the muck. I rolled my hips, pulling my right foot free, and my left knee hit the ground. The litterbox tipped over and of course the contents spilled across the lower half of my sweatpants.

I stayed on my hands and knees for a couple of minutes, catching my breath and giving thanks to the spirit of Tom Holland.

A rhythmic thumping came from the box. Rabbit, maybe? Poor little guy.

Okay. I reached for my inner Tony Stark and hauled myself to my feet. I was covered in whatever had been on the ground and in the litterbox. My socks and sweats were muddy and wet, and my shirt wasn’t much better. I patted my pocket to make sure my phone was still in there. If Phillip had locked his sliding glass door, I’d have to call the fire department to get me and the rabbit off this balcony.

Gingerly I reached out to push at the door. It slid open. Thank the mother of Captain Marvel. I reached inside and flipped on the balcony light.

Feeling a little superstitious, I left the sliding door wide open, even though the rain was getting inside. Sorry not sorry, Phillip.

I slogged over to the little cardboard box, which was getting soggier by the second. I leaned over and peered into the open side. Like me, the rabbit was streaked with mud, but under that it had a white face and body, with black ears and an adorable black splotch over its nose. It thumped its back leg against the bottom of the box.

“Hi, there, little guy. How about we get you inside, huh?”

I would’ve preferred to just lift the entire box, rabbit and all, but the cardboard was too wet. I’d have to pick up the rabbit. I’d never even been in the same room with a rabbit. Where was Felix when I needed him?

“We’re going to call your Uncle Felix as soon as we get you safe and dry,” I told the rabbit. “He’s the animal expert.”

I debated going inside and finding a towel, but thunder rolled in the distance. Right. Speed was more important. I jerked my muddy, half-damp, half-dry t-shirt over my head and knelt in the muck, my knees and thighs protesting loudly.

“Okay, little guy. Or girl. Or non-binary bunny. I’m gonna pick you up here.”

My hands covered by the t-shirt, I reached into the box. The rabbit backed into the corner but didn’t try to struggle or bite me when I grabbed it under its forelegs. It was heavier than I’d expected. I wrapped it in the t-shirt and pulled it out of the box.

I cradled the rabbit against my chest. Groaning, I clambered to my feet. “Okay, Rocket Rabbit. Here we go.” I sloshed through the mud to the door. Looking at Phillip’s light beige carpet, I shrugged. This was his fault.

I went inside and slid the door closed behind me. The rabbit trembled in my arms.

“It’s okay. We’ll get you warm and dry. Maybe a bath. Can rabbits have baths?” I could tell I had a long night of googling ahead of me.

I shuffled toward the kitchen, leaving a trail of muddy footprints. My thighs, along with the rest of my body, asked when we could have a warm bath of our own.

I turned on the overhead light in the breakfast area and glanced around Phillip’s apartment in case there were rabbit supplies visible, but I didn’t spot any. I’d have to come back and do a more thorough search after I got the rabbit and myself cleaned up.

“Worst case you can eat vegetables tonight and we’ll go to the pet store in the morning, huh?” The rabbit tucked its head into the folds of the t-shirt as I pulled Phillip’s front door open.

“I’ve got a nice big zucchini....”

I came face to face with Baz, who stood in the hallway, staring at me with his mouth hanging open. 


What's Santa Got To Do With It? releases on November 22, 2023 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.