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A Winter's Wish

Lisa Kessler

Darren Slater is down on his luck, way down, but not out, not yet. Unwilling to give up on his songwriting dream, he makes a desperate holiday wish that his music might make a difference. But magic doesn’t happen overnight, and he still has to eat, so he accepts a part time gig as a mall Santa in Los Angeles.

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She frowned. “You had a king…of rock and roll, right?”

“Elvis.” He grinned, finding his equilibrium again. “I did promise to introduce you to the King.”

He took the phone out of his pocket and opened his music app. He scrolled through the Elvis songs and finally settled on a classic. He sent it to his Bluetooth speakers and got up to offer her his hand.

She stared at it. “What are you doing?”

“I’m asking you to dance with me.”

She arched a brow, drawing a smile from him. He’d never met anyone like her before. Well, that was an understatement, but even among human women, he’d never dated a warrior before, she wore that sword on her hip, but she had an emotional armor around her too. Maybe he was a sucker for wanting to see who she kept locked away under those shields. He’d seen her briefly tonight, and if he was lucky, maybe she’d…

She stood and removed her belt, laying the sword across his couch. Seeing her set it aside meant something. She trusted him.

Or she didn’t need that sword to kill him if she needed to.

He walked her into the center of the room and pressed play. She looked up at him with wonder in her gorgeous blue eyes. Now that they were so close, he could see the flecks of darker indigo in her eyes and the way her skin shone in the dim light. He held her hand and lifted it, then brought her closer as he slid his other hand around her, resting it at the small of her back. Her breasts brushed his chest, making him hyperaware of how perfectly she fit in his arms. Magic.

Elvis crooned about how fools rush in, and he realized he was a fool for ever bringing her here. It wasn’t like she lived in another area code. This woman was from another world. A rare tentative smile curved her lips, melting his heart.

This wasn’t Brie the warrior, this was Abrietta the woman behind the armor.

And he wanted more. He brought her closer, breathing in the scent of her hair, like fresh fallen snow. She rested her head on his chest, and he prayed the song would never end, that this moment could last forever.

As the music faded, he loosened his hold on her, bringing his hand to caress her cheek. Her skin was soft and cool. Her lips parted as she met his eyes.

He whispered so softly, he wasn’t sure if he said the words out loud, “Is there some fae rule about killing any human man who kisses you?”

“No.” Her lips curved at the corners as she searched his eyes. “But if you don’t kiss me soon, it could kill me.”

“Then I better kiss you.” He shook his head as he bent even closer. “For the good of the winter realm.”