Tinsel Time

Noel reached out a tentative hand and touched hers. The warmth of his skin against hers started a tingle from her fingertips all the way up her arm.

“You’re real,” he said.

“Of course, I’m real.”

“You were driving a sleigh.” Noel’s voice was still low, but he was looking at her with a less speculative look in his eyes.

“It’s just a little Christmas magic.” She shrugged and leaned back as the waitress placed a steaming mug of cider on the table.

“Do you need anything else?”

Noel shook his head, never taking his eyes from her. Tinsel felt a sudden rush of pleasure when she noted Noel’s attention was now focused on her cleavage and not the waitress’.

“So what are you?” Noel asked when the waitress had drifted off to take the order from another table.

What was she? What an odd question. Perhaps finding Noel had been a mistake. She could always go and buy another newspaper, find a different bodyguard. Time was ticking. Christmas Eve was only one day away. She didn’t have time to chase down more bodyguards. Besides, she didn’t need him to think; she just needed him to keep Santa safe. As a bodyguard, Noel fit the bill. He was tall, and his face was all right for the job, too. Rugged, with brown hair badly in need of a trim, just the right amount of stubble on his cleft chin, and the warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen. Noel sat up and shrugged out of his coat. She tried not to gasp as the muscles bunched on his arms—she could almost see them rippling through his flannel shirt. And she was positive she’d find a tight six-pack hidden under the soft fabric. Oh my. She got all hot in all the right places just thinking about taking his clothes off.

Reigning in her imagination, she decided she’d better get down to business. “My name is Tinsel.” She held her hand out for him to shake.

“Like the silver stuff you put on Christmas trees?”

“Yes. I was born on Christmas day.”

“Hey, me, too.” Noel suddenly smiled, and it lit up his whole face. His brown eyes sparkled, and two dimples flashed in his cheeks. Then his smile dimmed. “However, it’s been a rotten Christmas so far.” He waved his hand dismissively. “You probably don’t want to hear about that.”

“Sure I do,” Tinsel said.

“Well…you see…I’m a cop. I got injured on the job a couple of months back. The doctor won’t clear me until after the New Year, if then. To tell you the truth, I’m going a little stir crazy.”

“Oh, so you can’t work at all?” Her spirits flagged. She’d come all this way and was now going to have to start over.

“Well, I can’t work at the precinct. I’ve been filling up my time doing some bodyguard work here and there.”

“Oh, that’s why I—” Tinsel began.

Noel didn’t seem to hear her. “Heck, I’ve been in such demand even prank callers are asking for my services. Can you believe some woman called yesterday wanting to hire me as a bodyguard for Santa?” Noel laughed. “Heck, if it pays, I’d guard Little Miss Muffet.” He took a deep gulp of his beer.

Shit, shit, shit. Tinsel didn’t often curse, but now seemed as good a time as any. Prank call indeed. Now what was she going to do? While she was thinking, her gaze met Noel’s across the table, and time seemed to stand still.

Tinsel struggled to take a breath. Perhaps the hot cider had gone to her head. Whatever it was, she liked it. She felt warm all over, and her nipples tightened, seeming to strain against the rough fabric of her coveralls. Heat flooded between her thighs, and she took a sip of her cider, hoping Noel wouldn’t notice her loss of composure. Then she had an idea. If he wouldn’t protect Santa knowingly, perhaps she could trick him into believing he was protecting her instead? If she didn’t tell him until the last minute when it was too late for him to back out, he’d have to do the job anyway.

Who could he protect her from? She shuddered. There was one person she was afraid of.

The memories flooded back. Memories of her mother, naked and wanton, in a man’s arms under the Christmas tree. She had been so little but even now could still feel the cold floor under her feet. She’d heard a noise and slipped out of bed to see if Santa had come. To her shock, it wasn’t Santa in the living room by the fireplace. It was an unknown man and her mother. She had stood still in the dark, holding her breath. She was afraid to be seen. As she watched, the man’s bandaged hands roamed over her mother’s breasts. Tinsel started to turn away when he bent to suckle on her mother’s nipple. That small movement caught his attention, and his gaze met and held Tinsel’s. Instead of turning away, he shifted so she could see the hard planes of his naked body pressed against her mother’s soft form. Then the man went back to sucking noisily on her mother’s breast. Tinsel had been relieved when the fire in the fireplace flared up and sparks danced out. The lovers scrambled apart, and Tinsel stepped back into the darkness of her room while her mother led the man down the hallway to her mother’s bedroom. As he passed, the man had looked back at her and smiled. A predatory smile that terrified her.

There had been sounds—odd grunting and moaning sounds—coming from her mother’s room. She hadn’t panicked until she heard a stifled scream.

Santa had found her huddled under the Christmas tree shaking with fear. With soft whispers, he took her in his arms and whispered for her not to be afraid. He’d packed her up among the toys in the back of his sleigh, and they had flown off. She hadn’t even looked back.

End of Excerpt

I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Tidbit!

Ericka Scott

Check out my website for a free e-book download of Mail Order Mama, a historical short story set in 1883. While you are there, check out my contest page. There's still a few days left to enter to win a free e-book a month for a whole year!

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