It’s Black Friday, which to me is the start of the holiday season. Our Elf on the Shelf, Chippy, is hiding somewhere in the house. We’ll decide which type of tree we want to set up this year, and decorate it with lots of decorations, many of which commemorate trips. My favorite decoration is probably this super delicate ornament of a swan boat from Boston (my hometown).
Of course one of the traditions of Christmas season for many is the return of the Hallmark Christmas movie. But there are none for queer women. And while I didn’t write the story of the big city lawyer who moves back home and falls for the small town vet…I did write the story of one of Santa’s reindeer and an elf falling in love while trying to solve the mystery of who’s ruining belief in Santa.
A bad Santa is turning believers faster than melting snow. Can the mystery be solved in time for Christmas?
I’ve dreamed of this day for years, and now it’s reality. I’ve been called up for the Big Show. Official Pole phone and email, Naughty-or-Nice login, and upgraded I.D. with my new job title—Comet. In three weeks, I’ll be part of the team flying Santa around the world.
In an instant my life goes from peaceful, if boring, to a blizzard of last-minute flight preparations, route planning, and anxiety-triggering stress.
The moment I meet my P.A., Jillian, her beautiful smile and sparkling blue eyes are an oasis of calm. But I’ve barely got enough time to wonder if her plump lips taste as sugarplum sweet as they look. Disturbing news has popped up on Santa’s radar.
Someone is turning Santa’s most fervent believers into non-believers overnight. If we can’t find and stop this hacker, there won’t be enough reindeer cutout cookies and hot chocolate in the world to restore balance to Santa’s Naughty-or-Nice list in time for Christmas Eve.
Note to reader: What sweet Christmas romance would be complete without reindeer, The Nutcracker, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and New York pizza?
Even though I knew it wasn’t a real date, I spent the full hour getting ready. I wanted time to try out different outfits. Because reindeers could morph, the apartments had very little in the way of “real” clothes beyond some extra outerwear in the front closet. I stood in front of the mirror I’d discovered on the inside door of the human bedroom closet and morphed through a number of outfits. Red sweater, black jeans? Bor-ring. Blue sweaterdress with silver tights and knee-high boots? Too cute for a mission, and I looked like I was trying too hard. Orange sweater and jeans? I looked like I worked for Halloween, not Christmas. Little black dress? Sexy, and something I’d wear on a real date, but it was a little too exposed for humans in December in New York, and it wasn’t a real date. The time passed so swiftly that I’d barely finished deciding on my outfit when I heard the knock at the stall door in the other room.
“Just a second!” I called. I frowned, changed my mind, and morphed my black pants back to jeans. Taking a deep, shaky breath, I went to meet Jillian.
“You look beautiful,” said Jillian.
My face burned with pleasure. “Thank you.” I’d chosen a white cable knit sweater and jeans with black boots. “So do you.”
Jillian looked edible. She was also wearing jeans, but they clung to her curves. The blue plaid flannel shirt matched the sapphire of her eyes. I noticed, for the first time, that her ears were pierced—little gold hoops hung from her lobes. Her blonde hair was in a loose braid down her back. I also noticed a little scar through her eyebrow, and I wondered how that had happened.
The subway was crowded when Jillian and I boarded. There were no seats, so we stood facing each other holding one of the central poles in the car. As the train headed downtown, it filled with more and more humans, pushing Jillian and I closer and closer.
“One more stop.” Jillian had leaned into me, so she could speak directly into my ear instead of shouting over the noise. Her breath was warm against my skin. I shivered, wishing I knew if she liked me, even a little. As the train screamed down the track, she gave me a smile. Then she leaned in again. “How do you like the subway?”
Another millimeter and my lips would graze the shell of her ear. “I like flying better.”
Her laughter crackled over my skin, making me want.
Our eyes met, and the screeching the train and the chatter of a dozen languages faded away. I felt my tongue wet my suddenly dry lips, and her eyes went molten. She was leaning in, my heart pounding so hard I was shocked it wasn’t audible above the cacophony. Then someone pushed past me, shoving me into Jillian’s arms. She caught me, our arms instinctively going around each other.
Plastered against Jillian, my heartbeat kicked up to a gallop. Our eyes met, and it was like we were enveloped in one of those snowstorms that make everything hushed and quiet. Her lashes were long, and dark with mascara. She had a light dusting of freckles across her cheeks. Her eyes were a deep blue, almost like a Caribbean Sea. When she licked her lips, my eyes were glued to the action.
I had an irrational thought—I was sure she’d kiss me. The desire was written clearly on her face for anyone to see. I was sure that my own desire was nakedly obvious on my own. She leaned in…
The subway shuddered to a stop. “42nd Street – Bryant Park,” crackled the distorted audio.
The moment was over, but I was (mostly) sure I hadn’t hallucinated it.
I’m a writer who doesn’t take myself too seriously–my characters range from parents trying to reconnect post-kids to shape shifting reindeer to photographers to a would-be pirate lass.
Pick up any of my deliciously naughty bedtime stories for a solid plot and steamy romance.