Publisher: Calliope Erotic Romance (Musa Publishing)
Length: Novella (34,000 words)
Setting: Edenton, North Carolina; the North Pole; the Elfin realm
Subgenre: Contemporary fantasy
Heat level: Very hot
Warnings: Descriptive sex (BDSM references) and bawdy language
All Gillian wanted was to pick up a third job so she could buy her preschool students Christmas gifts. She didn’t think she’d be the one getting picked up instead.
Her new boss, Nicholas Roth, is the big man in charge at Santa Incorporated—what Gillian thought was a seasonal staffing agency. But the sexy CEO has a holly jolly secret; he’s an equal opportunity employer and most of his staff are elves.
Santa has another secret. When he’s not delivering toys for his charity, he’s contending with political unease in the magic realm. To take his father’s throne as king of the elves, he has to get married…and only magic-proof Gillian will do. Gillian agrees thinking Nick will cut her loose after the busy Christmas rush, but he has other ideas.
Nick wants a permanent Mrs. Roth but Gillian doesn’t think she’s it.
He dropped the smirk and stood with a preternatural speed. I blinked, and the next thing I knew Nick was in front of me with his hands clamped around my arms. His expression was dark—more Krampus than Saint Nicholas. When he spoke again, his voice was completely without mirth. All joking aside, literally.
“Gillian, your mouth is going to get you in trouble.”
I squirmed beneath his strong grip, which only caused him to pull me in tighter. My heart pounded so hard that my pulse thrummed in my ears, blocking out all other sound. With a great deal of apprehension, I looked up into his face expecting to see anger, but instead read something else in the hard set of his jaw and the icy blue gaze: a kind of neediness that seemed untouchable. Or at least Nick thought it was.
I looked away. He may have had magical insight to my desires, but I felt invasive reading the emotions he thought he had so locked down off his face. They were private things I didn’t want to concern myself with.
When I looked up again his face was softer, giving less away. He really was handsome, especially when he wasn’t acting like he knew it. I cleared my throat and averted my gaze to his chest. “If you dislike my mouth so much, fire me.”
“You don’t want that.”
“It’s just a job, Nick.”
“You’re lying. You know and I know there’s something going on here.”
I finally shrugged off his arms and backed up a few paces…or I should say, Nick let me. Nick didn’t let anything happen he didn’t want. “I’m in a North Pole dormitory and being hit on by a six-foot elf.”
He scoffed, that smarmy demeanor of his having returned, and jammed his hands into the pockets of his slacks. “You think this is mere flirting?”
“Isn’t it?” I knew better. My body knew better. His did too, obviously, judging by how happy he was about having me pressed against him moments before.
“No. There’s a lot at play you don’t understand.”
“So explain it to me.”
Nick shook his head and turned his back to me as he walked out of the kitchen and toward the outer door. “Get some sleep. I’m sure the girls won’t bother you on the sofa. There should be some spare blankets around somewhere.”
“Goodnight, Gilly,” he said without meeting my gaze again. The moment he shut the door, the elves came out.