Tuesday, December 20, 2011
...a real nice gift from Santa...
Howliday greetings, shapeshifter lovers.
The Winter Solstice, that magical time of year when the light returns, is now upon us. The Christmas season, a miraculous time of the year, will highlight the miracles that are about to play out in 2012. This prediction is directly from Volcano, my cherub hero in When a Good Angel Falls.
I wish one and all the merriest holiday season.
...a real nice gift from Santa...
"Who gives an elf?" Srynna grumbled as she wriggled down the sooty narrow chimney. What a gig, leaving toys for good shapeshifter girls and boys -- actually gift certificates, good for any store in Talbot's Peak.
Yeah, holly jolly, this was Christmas eve hell. At around 110 pounds she could just see herself hoisting an enormous Santa Klaus bag while sneakily moving from house to house, unscented by keen-nosed predator types -- at least, the gift certificates were tucked close in a small waist pouch.
Sure she could morph to invisible for short periods of time, avoiding detection, but that didn't include a bulky bag. Frigging cold, on the verge of exhaustion, and with hunger sticking her belly to her backbone, Srynna wasn't in a merry, festive mood. It's not like most shifters expected Santa, and left out cookies and milk.
Thank the good Christmas fairy -- who she knew personally -- this was her last stop.
"Stuff the holly wreathe up your..." she muttered as she squirmed, and suppressed the urge to sneeze from the dust and soot.
How Dante had talked her into this... well, because as a half-human she'd needed the money, and the werewolf could be charm itself when he wanted. Plus, with the promise of a plum job at his newest club, the Midnight Stardust... Srynna just hadn't been able to refuse.
So, here she was nearly trapped, about to have a coughing fit, about to wake up a whole household full of --
Suddenly, Srynna plummeted downward. A scream exploded up her throat, but was somewhat muffled by the chimney. With a hard bruising thump, she landed square on her butt. An ember that hadn't completely died burned through her thin slippery breeches, and she shrieked in pain.
With survival in mind, Srynna slapped at her hind end until the smell of smoke lessened. She scrambled out of the fairly large hearth only to smack into something she couldn't see, something very furry. As it toppled, she tumbled over it, and realized it must be a giant stuffed toy.
Performing a flip to regain her feet and get the crap out of this den of possible horrors, as in her being featured for Christmas dinner, Srynna felt the needles of a real pine tree prick her face. Unable to stop her momentum, she crashed full-on into the huge, heavily decorated Christmas tree.
With a screech of pure panic, she wrestled the confining, needle-sharp boughs trying to make good her escape. The string of lights fought back, tangling around her like a ball of mating snakes. Simultaneously, the decorative bulbs pummeled her when they didn't break into painful shards.
Struggling harder to free herself, all Srynna got for her valiant effort was the mighty pine on top of her, the victor. Buried beneath the tree alive, and entombed by sizeable Christmas presents, she desperately tried to think of a way to escape this deck-the-halls hell.
Even if she could untangle herself, and crawl her way through the maze of heavy limbs, Srynna realized she couldn't vanish to save herself. Her energy was sapped.
Tears leaked from the corner of her eyes. She'd allowed herself to hope her future would be brighter once she arrived in Talbot's Peak. Her kind, an ancient elf and human lineage, had barely avoided being eradicated once the age of machines had begun, and the old ways of magick faded.
Now that magick returned as the dominant force, her kind was still not welcome in most elfin communities. She'd been welcomed by Dante and his crew, and had even begun to feel as though she fit in... now...
With a strangled sob, Srynna twisted trying to ease her way out of the imprisoning light strings. Feeling a draft of air, she stilled. The tree rose as if hauled upward by the hand of a compassionate angel.
But she knew better. Feral eyes, bright as the Christmas tree lights if they'd been turned on, cut through the room's inky darkness. Their amber-emerald beam landed directly on her.
"Now that's what I call a real nice gift from Santa," a lazy deep voice drawled.
Despite her fluttering heartbeat, and the icy fear racing through her, Srynna snapped, "I am not a gift."
"Oh?" the obviously wolfen voice asked. She watched the tree settle against the fireplace mantle. Then those predator eyes slowly devoured her whole before she heard, "I beg to differ. You look like the perfect tasty gift to me," he paused and loosely folded his... were those brawny hunky arms? "Although, little elf, the trip down the chimney did take its toll on your pretty holiday wrapping."
"I told you I am not... never mind. If you would kindly get me out of these lights, I'll leave the gift certificate... and, and be on my way... on my merry way," she added, hoping 'in the spirit of the season' he would let her go.
"Dante didn't tell me he was sending such a fetching little elf. He only said not to mistake you for prey."
"How do you... I mean Dante told me he hadn't..." Srynna gulped hard. "This was supposed to be a secret Santa sort of thing."
"I work at the club. Overheard him recruiting you. But I missed the best part. Seeing you, little elf." He'd stressed 'seeing' in that turn-a-girl-on growly voice of his
"I'm not an el..." But why explain anything to the bare-chested, and from what else she could see in the darkness -- why explain anything to the eye-candy, overly handsome werewolf?
Yeah, so her ears were pointed. And, even if she was from an elfin lineage, being called an elf was worse than a curse word to her, given how often she and her kin had been ostracized. When all they'd wanted was a home, a place to be, and belong.
Suddenly bending toward her, he swept his gaze over her length. "Are you hurt?"
"Hurt," she burst out. "How could I be hurt? The chimney was too small, then widened and I fell 'hard' onto a live ember. Of course, I'm a dreadful mess. Hurt? After stumbling over that furry beast you call a toy, your Christmas tree tried to murder me..."
His mouth caught hers, his kiss so warm and enveloping, Srynna let herself kiss him back. Then, before she knew it, his lips deserted hers, and he was unwinding the light string, his touch tender and surprisingly efficient.
"Damn good thing, everyone else is at the grandparents. Your fall from grace, my cute Christmas elf, would have woken up the dead."
"Why? Are you zombie by night?" She'd fired wild with that silly zombie remark, but frazzled didn't even cover the state of her nerves.
"Sleep like a zombie sometimes." Gently, he unwound the last of light string from her ankle. "Don't think I'll be sleeping now." Clasping her waist with both hands, he swung her upward, and she dangled before him like a new toy. "You're bleeding," he stated the obvious.
Bristling, Srynna snarked, "That's what happens when you're the victim of a vicious Christmas tree attack."
As he continued to hold her before him with ease, inspecting her with his gaze, Srynna wondered just how strong the wolf beast was. She certainly felt like his prize doll.
"I'll take full responsibility for my rabid Christmas tree, little elf. Zhangar is my name, Srynna."
So Dante had told him her name. Just elf-ing great.
"Let's get you taken care of and cleaned up." His gaze met hers, flaring with what could only be described as ravenous, eat-her-up desire.
Oh, help me please... any good-hearted fairy.
"I don't want to be cleaned up. I want to leave. I'll just leave... leave the gift certificate and --"
"What kind of gentleman would I be? If I didn't take care of all your scrapes and bruises. Dante would have my furry hide," he added after a moment. Amusement definitely colored his tone. Not any fear of his alpha boss.
"I was feeling lonely," he continued, his voice gruffly sexy, "playing Santa and setting everything up. But I'm not complaining now because I want to unwrap my gift in private."
With that he spun her around, and lifted her higher. As she hung like his personal ornament, Srynna could palpably feel his gaze on her butt. And she knew he didn't only check her burned cheek.
"Thank you, Big Red Guy," he rasped.
The next thing she knew, he was pressing a soft kiss on the blistered area. Srynna stilled, stunned by the sudden turn of events. When he slowly, patiently licked her exposed flesh, she realized two things. He was healing her burn, and she'd never felt so wanton in her entire life.
With her breath coming out in needy bursts, Srynna grabbed hold of his hands with her much smaller ones. Her butt moved of its own volition closer to his mouth. "Oh, more," she panted out.
~ Have a Magickal and Shapeshifting Winter Solstice ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~