Alex thought she was going to a job. Instead she ends up marrying the heir to the title of Santa Claus. The vows have been said and cannot be taken back, even if Alex isn't the ideal bride Kris was hoping for to re-energize the powers of the House of Kringle. But Alex is about to teach him that being a little naughty -- or a lot -- can go a long way.
Praise for Stripping Christmas
"There's great pleasure to be found in being naughty – and the power behind misbehaving can be even stronger than being nice."
- 5 Blue Ribbons from Chrissy, Romance Junkies
White Hot Christmas: Stripping Christmas
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Zenobia Renquist
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A red limo. Not just any red, Christmas red. Very appropriate for the season. The man standing beside the limo wore a green chauffeur's suit with an Elf hat and pointed ears to finish off the look. If he were three feet shorter, he would have been perfect for the motif.
He caught sight of her staring at him and bowed. "Miss Alexanna Laurel Ford?"
She nodded. "That's me."
"I am No'l, miss. I have come to retrieve you." He opened the door as he held out his hand to her.
Alex let him guide her forward into the limo. She'd never had anyone hand her into a car before. It was a novel experience. She pulled her long coat in after her and got comfortable.
No'l closed the door gently, went to the driver's seat and guided the limo onto the highway.
Alex asked, "How far are we going?"
"The North Pole, miss."
"Cute. Now where are we really going?"
No'l glanced over his shoulder at her quickly. "I... I'm not sure what you mean, miss. I have answered your question."
"Okay." She settled back, prepared to play along. She had her cell phone with built in GPS and personal locater if this job turned sour. Her little purse also had a mini baton and a very sharp metal nail file. She hoped she wouldn't need any of that but was happy she had them.
They only drove for twenty minutes before No'l stopped the limo in front of a grand hotel that could only be described as a winter palace. It had to be at least ten floors of white brick that glistened in the setting sunlight. Something else that was very appropriate for the season.
She didn't remember there being any hotels like this in her area, though. Before she could open the door to get a better look around, No'l opened it for her and offered his hand. She took it and stepped out into snow.
Snow crunched under her shoes. The walkway where she stood had been recently swept, but the lightly falling snow had started covering it again. Around her as far as she could see was a vast snowfield. She looked around for buildings of some kind and saw nothing.
A faint twinkling made her look up. She stared with wide eyes at the shimmering Aurora Borealis. "No way," she whispered.
No'l bowed to her and said, "Welcome to the North Pole, miss." He led her through the large double doors of the winter palace to a grand foyer where ten women dressed in green maid outfits waited. Like No'l, each of the women had pointed ears. Gesturing to the ladies, No'l said, "These ladies will be your maids. They will help you dress for the evening."
"Okay." Alex didn't know what they were putting her in that she had to have help getting it on, but she was willing to continue playing along.
Three hours later, Alex stood in front of a mirror, staring. She barely recognized herself. Her microbraids had been put into an up-do with a few braid strands pulled free to frame her face in spiral curls. A thin, silver circlet around her head held a dangling ruby that between her light brown eyes. Matching teardrop rubies graced her ears.
The kicker was the wedding dress. That was the only word to describe it. It had a halter-style top with a flowing skirt that brushed the floor. The dress was all white, like a wedding dress, except for the red trim lining the neckline of the halter and the red lace border trimming the hem of the skirt, which trailed two feet behind her.
She wore red slippers but couldn't see them in the mirror. What she could see almost brought tears to her eyes. She had never worn such a beautiful dress before. And she didn't normally like wearing white. It made her dark complexion look ashen. This dress, however, made her brown skin look like it was glowing.
One of the maids walked up behind Alex and held out a large, cascading bouquet of red and white poinsettias. "It's time, miss."
Alex followed the maid to the door where No'l waited for her. He offered her his arm and took her down in the elevator to the second floor. They exited to the melodic sound of a piano playing Carol of the Bells.
Everyone in the large room faced the elevator. Alex knew she had to look spooked, but she couldn't help it. This really looked and felt like a wedding. This was a bit much of a production for a night's entertainment. She'd heard of a few of the other girls having weird clients, but never someone doing a mock wedding.
No'l walked her down the aisle toward the man who awaited her at the altar. He stood there alone, though. There was no best man or priest. At least they wouldn't take this make believe wedding too far.
That helped Alex relax, and she smiled. It wasn't that hard to smile, considering every step took her closer to a very handsome man. He must be her patron. He stood tall and serious, waiting for her.
His platinum blonde hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail. Since he stood sideways with his face turned toward her, Alex could see the ponytail reached past his shoulders. Like the others, he had long, pointed ears. Unlike the others, his ears extended higher, almost to the top of his head. It was a very dramatic effect.
His toned body was dressed in a full-length red Mandarin collar tuxedo. The jacket of the tuxedo brushed the tops of his knees and was left open, revealing his white vest and shirt. Red slacks and shiny black shoes finished the look.
As she drew closer, Alex saw more details of her eccentric patron. His chin sported a thin platinum goatee that traced up the edges of his jawline, and his eyes were a stunning shade of true blue.
No'l stopped one step away from the man, who stood a full head taller than Alex. She smiled up at him. No'l took Alex's hand from his elbow and held it out to the man at the altar.
The man said as he took her hand, "I am Kristijonasario. I bid you welcome to my home, Alexanna."