Shifters for the Holiday by Sedona Venez

Someone wants me dead… This is not going to be a very Merry Christmas.

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“Here. Come sit down here, closer to the fire.” Axel tugged at the afghan, pulling it off my legs. I slipped off the couch onto the floor, resting my back against the couch, stretching my legs toward the fire. It might not have been warmer, but it was cozier. Tucker added another log to the fire and then sat back beside me. Axel came around the other side of the couch, dropping gracefully on my other side.

“I think I have something that’ll warm us up.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a bottle, holding it out to me. I took it and glanced at the label. Jesus, they brought f*cking Glenlivet—a single malt scotch—as travel whiskey.

“You know your whiskey,” I commented. “I’ll get some glasses.” I went to get up, but Tucker put a hand on my arm.

“I think we can do without glasses.” He took the bottle from me and opened it. “Ladies first.”

I took the bottle back, taking a long pull. The whiskey was cold, but it still bit my tongue. Going down, it felt like liquid fire, and a heartbeat later, it hit my stomach, causing a mini explosion of heat. I closed my eyes, leaning back against the couch. “Phew. That was good.”

“You looked like you needed that.” Tucker’s voice was close to my ear, and I opened my eyes, turning to look at him. He reached over and took the bottle, putting it to his lips, eyes never leaving mine as he took a swallow. He lowered the bottle, his face only inches from mine. Then he broke into a wry little grin. “I think I needed that, too.”

The warmth inside me spread outward, and it wasn’t all because of the alcohol. Tucker held my gaze as I reached out, taking back the bottle. Our fingers brushed, and a brief shiver of excitement ran through me.

“Thanks.” I lifted the bottle, a little sloppy, a drop or two spilling. I ran my tongue out, savoring the burn on my lips.

“My turn.” Fingers touched mine, and I turned to find Axel leaning in, reaching for the bottle. The tingle Tucker had started intensified. I held the bottle, not wanting to break contact. Axel eased the bottle out of my hand, slowly taking a long pull.

The fire crackled, throwing heat over my legs and into my face. The room was still a little chilly, with that odd combination of temperatures you got with a roaring fire as your only heat source. That and sitting between two healthy specimens of manhood. Between the fire, the whiskey, and Axel and Tucker, I was finally warm enough to shed my jacket. I sat forward, shrugging out of it. Tucker tugged it the rest of the way off, tossing it onto the couch.

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