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Author(s): Sam Cheever

This Christmas, Deirdre’s own, personal elf has a delicious present waiting for her! 
Deirdre Phillips knows she's skirting trouble when she waits until late on Christmas Eve to finish up her gift shopping. But she has no idea how much trouble, until she walks out of the mall and finds herself embroiled in a timeless war between elves and dark fairies.
It seems that Christmas magic is more real than Deirdre ever suspected. And when she learns the battle somehow involves her, she quickly discovers the holiday season can be dangerous too. 
Fortunately for Deirdre, she has her very own Christmas elf to help her survive the night. And he’s got very definite ideas for how he wants to spend Christmas!


Deirdre shoved the mall door open and walked out into a bitterly cold night. An icy breeze pummeled her, flinging small, bright snowflakes into her face and down the neckline of her sweater. “Damn!” Deirdre sucked air, nearly dropping her bags. Momentarily disoriented in the thick fall of snow, she looked around for her car, finding it parked at the far edge of the nearly empty lot. It was already covered in a thick blanket of snow. “Double and triple damn.”

She tucked her head and moved forward as quickly as she could with twenty pounds of Christmas bags hanging off her arms. The air swirled around her and Deirdre shivered, feeling suddenly dizzy. She stopped, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, coughing as she sucked snow into her lungs.

Opening her eyes again, she started toward the spot where she’d left her car. She walked for a few minutes and then looked up, thinking she should have gotten to her car already. She blinked. There was no car. Squinting through the dense curtain of snow, Deirdre turned in a slow circle. Maybe she’d gotten disoriented somehow.

Nothing. She realized with a horrified gasp that she couldn’t even see the mall.

Air swirled around her again and a light flashed past. A muffled explosion sprayed snow and ice into the air a few feet to her left. Deirdre gave a little scream.

What the hell?

A spiral of snow swirled past and something grabbed her. She shrieked, dropping her bags, as she was pulled sideways and down.

A large hand covered her mouth. “Shh! I’ll protect you, princess. Just remain quiet and let me deal with them.”

She tried to look at the man behind the husky voice but when she turned her head she saw only the inside of her fur-lined hood. Deirdre tugged the hood away from her face just in time to see a firm, round buttock disappearing into the curtain of snow. More flashes sliced through the snow and the brief illumination showed Deirdre the large rock her invisible savior had shoved her behind.

A distant, muffled scream made Deirdre cringe. What would she do if her savior didn’t survive his rescue? And what the hell was she being rescued from anyway?

She listened carefully for another minute but heard nothing. Finally the now familiar sense of swirling air warned her that someone had joined her in her hiding spot. This time when she looked up it was into the jewel-green gaze of a man with shoulder length white hair and a sexy square jaw covered in stubble. “Who are you?”

He stood, bowing low before her. “Allain Darcassan Erendriel at your service, princess.”

She frowned. “How about if I just call you Al?”

His handsome face remained stoic. “You may call me Allain.”

“Okay, I think I can handle that.” She stood, looking up and up to his face. He appeared to be at least a foot taller than she was, which made him six foot six or taller. She offered him her hand. “I’m Deirdre.” Allain looked at her offered hand for a moment as if he wasn’t sure what to do with it and then took it, lifting it to his lips. “I’m honored, Princess Deirdre.”

She had a flashback of Emil kissing her hand the same way a few hours earlier. Deirdre frowned.

“Why do you keep calling me princess? I’m not a princess.”

“But you are.” He frowned. “Prophecy is never wrong.”

Again with the prophecy. Had the world turned inside out? “I don’t know anything about any prophecy but I need to get home. I’m supposed to go to my parents' in the morning to open presents and I still need to wrap all my stuff.”

Allain shook his head, tugging on her hand. “I do not know this kingdom of parents…but it is not safe for you to travel alone at this time. The dark fairies have taken the roads and are gathering in numbers at the bridge. You must come with me.”

“Dark fairies, what are you, some kind of racist homophobe?”

Allain ignored her, pulling her along as he took off through the dense curtain of snow. “You speak strangely, princess.”
“Says the guy who talks about dark fairies and prophecy.”

He cast her a brief look and seemed surprised to find her shivering. “Why do you clack your teeth together?”

“Seriously?” She frowned. “You’re not cold?”

He just shrugged. “I regulate my body temperature as needed. I recommend you do the same.”

She just glared at him. “Where exactly are you taking me?”

“All will be known shortly.”

“Yeah that clears things right up,” she murmured crankily. Deirdre gave up trying to get information from the strange but sexy man. She figured whatever was going on she’d get to the bottom of it once they got inside where it was hopefully warm. She could really use some hot chocolate, or something a lot stronger.

The snow started to thin as they climbed a steep hill and had all but stopped by the time they halted at the top and looked out over a wide valley that seemed like something out of a fairy tale. Only a few, wispy flakes dropped onto her face and hands as she stared at the enormous castle far below. The roofline of the huge structure was painted a soft pink by an oversized moon, hanging low in the star-filled sky.

The castle was nestled in the belly of the wide bowl of a valley filled with snow-covered trees. A large, sparkling lake held the ground between the ridge where they stood and the castle. A narrow, white bridge, which looked like it had been formed from delicate lace, hovered over the lake. A horse-drawn sleigh moved across the bridge, bells jangling as it skimmed easily over the snow. The windows of the castle sparked with golden light that danced on the snow beyond the glass like firelight.

“It’s beautiful,” Deirdre whispered, completely charmed.

Her friend with the impossibly long name nodded in agreement. “Yes.” Apparently humility wasn’t one of his predominant personality traits. “Come. King Klaus is expecting us.”

She laughed. When he turned to glare at her she realized he hadn’t been joking. “Really? Klaus? As in Santa Klaus? You mean the fat guy with the white beard and rosy cheeks?”

He started off down the incline toward the valley below. “He is not so fat. And your cheeks are rosy too, princess. It is the cold that does it.”

Deirdre frowned at his retreating back. Then she shrugged, figuring she’d see this Klaus character for herself shortly. At least her sexy rescuer hadn’t told her she was fat like Santa too. That would have been harder to swallow.

By the time they stepped into the sleigh tracks on the pretty bridge, Deirdre’s hands and feet felt like balls of ice hanging off her limbs. She fervently wished she still had her Christmas packages. She’d gotten a really cute hat, scarf, and gloves set for her sister that she would kill an elf for at that moment. Her feet were soaked and her fashionable but not snow-smart boots weren’t up to the challenge of trudging through heavy, wet snow for miles.

On top of everything else, her stomach was growling. She’d skipped lunch so she could finish her Christmas shopping. She placed her hand on her stomach, hoping her companion hadn’t heard the embarrassing gurgle.

“What is wrong, princess?”

She shook her head. “Nothing. I’m just hungry.”

Allain nodded, slipping his sword back into the scabbard. “You will be dining soon.  I believe the feast will be set when we arrive. King Klaus is a connoisseur of the gastronomic delights.”

She snorted at that and started walking again, following close on Allain’s sexy heels. “How else would you explain the barrel shaped stomach,” she murmured.

Allain started to turn around, presumably to address her snarky comment, when a large bell sounded in the distance, coming from the direction of the castle.

“Ah yes, the feast is on. Hurry, princess. Your repast awaits.”

Deirdre sighed. “It’s not my repast I’m worried about. It’s my refuture.”

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-0-9838239-3-3
Genre: Fantasy
Date Published: 11/12/2013
Publisher: Sam Cheever

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