Waiting for Santa © Ki Brightly December 2022
Sighing, I stood at the back of the room that had been set up like Santa’s Workshop on the second floor of Black Out. This part of the club was reserved as a kink space, and a bunch of the Doms for a gaggle of littles had gotten together to surprise their partners. I had to admit the results were a-fucking-dorable. In the middle of a stage Santa Claus’s throne took up the prize spot right beside a Christmas tree that was at least twelve feet tall, and there was a full-size gingerbread house the littles had spent at least an hour playing in and around earlier. Holiday lights were everywhere in a Technicolor explosion. Twelve men and two women, all dressed in footie pajamas, sat mesmerized as a slim blond man in an elf costume—with his butt parked on a sparkly box that had been wrapped to look like a present—read to them about snowmen and all the jobs they had at night.
“Oh, I found the hidden picture!” one guy called out, and I dropped my head back against the wall as I watched him scramble up to point. I glanced down at the clothes I’d worn to work tonight—black jeans and a black shirt. I absolutely wasn’t jealous of the footie pajamas with candy canes and reindeer dancing all over them.
That would be stupid.
The Doms sat at a round table in comfortable black leather chairs, and they were why I was here. Normally I was a barback downstairs, but I’d volunteered for extra hours. One of the Doms lifted his beer bottle and seemed to realize it was empty. Before he could say a word, I bent down and pulled an ice-cold brewskie out of the cooler I’d brought up earlier and ran it over to him. He gave me a smile and tried to hand me a five-dollar bill as I exchanged the new beer for the empty.
“No, no. My manager said you’ve already paid more than enough for service and privacy.” I gave him a smile.
“You’re working a tipped job. Take it,” he said firmly, pushing the bill into my hand. All the men here tonight had been really, really nice. Like, beyond kind.
It was no wonder their partners were so happy. I bit the tip of my tongue to keep from asking rude, weird questions while I had the chance. What did they do for their littles? Were parties a regular thing?
Where could I sign up?
He nudged the money into my palm. Well, I wasn’t about to fight him if he was going to be so insistent. “Thank you, sir,” I said, backing away.
He winked, and my face flooded with heat. I groaned under my breath. Good going calling the Dom sir. I went back to stand near the drink cart and cooler, and one of the men at the table chuckled as he caught my eye. He was older with slate gray hair and his solid muscles filled out his sweater nicely. My gut twisted. Damn, he was good-looking.
If I was honest, the reason I’d volunteered tonight was because I’d been wildly curious to see what happened with Daddies and littles, but this was so very tame. I’d expected something stranger to be going on. The elf finished his story and raucous clapping erupted from the littles.
He hopped off the box and lifted the lid, then began handing out presents to cheers.
I was stunned at the hot streak of jealousy that burned through my gut. I bit my lip as I watched how excited everyone was to rip open the paper on the packages. The presents didn’t seem to be anything off-the-charts expensive. Crayons, coloring books, a remote-controlled toy car that was already put together. The man. . . little who opened the car package sent the toy speeding across the floor and it spun around in a circle. He whooped. I shoved my hands in my pockets as he sent the car speeding back to his side with the remote.
It was stupid, but I wished I could play with it. Shaking my head, I smiled and checked on the table. I was stunned to see the guy who’d laughed at me staring in my direction. He didn’t seem to need a drink because he had a full beer sitting in front of him that he hadn’t really touched. I went over anyway because he was still looking at me.
“Can I help you?” I asked, biting off the sir I normally tacked on to these kinds of interactions.
He leaned closer to me and brought the scent of a delicious piney cologne to dance around me. “I’m playing Santa Claus.” He smirked, and my body flushed from my belly up to my forehead because he had a really—really—nice smile. “But my costume is kind of a pain in the ass. I was wondering if you could check on me before I come in here to surprise everyone. They’ll be disappointed if they recognize me.”
“Oh, sure. I don’t see why not.”
He stood and patted my shoulder. I did not lean into the touch, though I wanted to. I followed him out of the main party area along a hallway into a small room that had a few lockers and reminded me of a gym. Without a word, he stopped at a bench where there was already a costume laid out next to a huge pink bag and began to strip. I nearly hurt myself turning my back to him, but then I got to look at my own red face in the mirror. My brown eyes were too wide and my brown hair was a little frizzy. I patted the wispy strands down while I stood there. I caught a glimpse of Santa and forced my attention away.
“You seemed pretty interested in the festivities,” the man said, and his voice was friendly and warm. My skin tingled and I rubbed the back of my neck.
“Yeah, it’s really nice. I mean, kind of strange, but good, too. Everyone seems excited to be here.”
“Why is it strange?” he asked, and I couldn’t tell if he was messing with me or serious.
I shrugged. “Well, you know. . . everyone is grown up but pretending to be kids.”
“What’s wrong with that?” His tone had some bite to it, and my stomach fell.
“Nothing.” My entire body felt too hot, from the tips of my ears all the way down to the soles of my feet. “I thought the toy car was pretty cool.”
“Oh, did you like that?” The warmth was back in his tone.
“Well, who wouldn’t?” I smiled at myself and felt weirdly teary eyed, so I did my best to discreetly sniff.
“What do you get these days? Socks?” he asked with a little laugh that was so happy, I could see why he’d been tapped to play good old St. Nick.
“Oh, I don’t talk to my family anymore, so I don’t really do anything for the holidays. This is as close as I’ll get to a traditional Christmas morning this year.” I snorted.
An awkward few seconds slid by. “That’s too bad.”
I shrugged. “It’s fine. We don’t agree on basically anything, so it’s better this way.”
“Okay, do I look all right?”
I turned around and had to close my mouth after a few seconds. The big bag must’ve been a body suit because he’d gained about seventy pounds all at his middle. The Santa Claus outfit was a deep red velvet with snow-white fur trim that looked like something from an old Christmas card. He held up the beard and gave me wide eyes. “Do you think you could give me a hand? Just make sure you can’t see the strings going around my ears?”
He slipped the beard on, and I grabbed his hat from where it had been sitting on a bench next to his neatly folded jeans and sweater, then handed it to him. Our fingers brushed as he took the hat, and there was something in his eyes that made me feel safe with him—and more than a little turned on.
“You look great. But where are your toys?” I glanced around and didn’t see anything else sitting near the bench.
He tilted his head. “What do you mean?”
I frowned at him. “Well, the elf handed out toys, so now you have to have better ones.”
He smirked. “Oh yeah? Are you sure?”
Nodding, I crossed my arms. “Yeah. If you don’t, the natural order of the universe will be ruined. The stars will go out of alignment. The earth will tremble. Littles will run screaming into the night.”
He threw back his head and laughed, and while it wasn’t a ho-ho-ho, it was definitely the type of thing that made me feel happy. He went around the corner into another part of the changing area and came back with a huge red bag that was clearly bulging with packages.
I felt stupid and my cheeks burned. “Oh, you do have toys.”
He winked at me. “Of course! Thanks for all your help. You’re sure no one can see my fake beard? I don’t want to traumatize anyone tonight.” He got closer to me and turned his head this way and that, and his cologne tangled in my nose. My heart squeezed.
“You look great. Everyone will love it. I have to go make sure no one needs more drinks,” I mumbled and took off at top speed, not sure why all at once I’d needed to get away. I went back out and replaced a few beers for the Doms, then went over to my serving station where I tried to disappear.
There was an uproar as Santa Claus walked in and everyone noticed, and then it was a free for all. One of the Doms had a camera and each of the littles got a turn on Santa’s lap. I had no idea what they whispered to him, but Santa laughed frequently and with just enough enthusiasm to qualify as merry. The elf helped him sort through the presents in the bag. I was guessing since the packages were bigger they were all intended for specific people.
Eventually everyone had their pictures and their presents. I almost swallowed my tongue when I noticed that while some of the toys were stuffies and roller skates, others were far more X-rated and for private use only. I tried not to stare at anything, like my manager had beat into my head before I’d started tonight.
The Doms had abandoned the table to go play with their partners, so I took a bottle of cleaning solution over and sprayed it down, then wiped it off just to give myself something to do. I cleaned the chairs. I dutifully ignored how happy everyone around the room was and mentally counted the extra cash that would wind up in my bank account next week.
It would be good to have more money, and I wouldn’t have to worry about the bills this month.
The presents had created a bag of paper trash that one of the Doms had already gathered from the floor, and I swiped the bag, then ran it outside to the dumpster. When I came back upstairs it was to find a man sitting at the table sobbing while his Dom patted his shoulder. Santa Claus came over to me, and a sinking feeling hit my gut.
“Did you take out a bag of garbage?”
“Yes, why? I was trying to get an early jump on cleanup.” Panic began to sink its claws into me.
“There were apparently doll clothes still stuck in a package. Is there any way to get it back?”
I slapped a hand to my face. “I’m really sorry. I was just trying to be helpful.” His serious gaze was making me feel a little like crying, too.
“I know,” he said soothingly. “I’m not mad at you.”
My heart slowed a little.
“But can we get the bag back?”
I nodded. “It’s out in the dumpster and there wasn’t anything else in there. I’ll just get it, and we can look for the missing stuff.”
He patted my shoulder in a hearty way that had me grinning, and I rushed back downstairs, but when I lifted the lid on the dumpster I groaned. It was true that the bag was the only one in there, but that also meant it was way down in the very bottom and I couldn’t just snatch it out. Sighing, I stared at it.
If I went back upstairs and said I couldn’t get the bag, they would probably just tell the crying little that the doll clothes were gone, but then their night would be ruined. Groaning under my breath, I shoved the top of the dumpster back until the flap leaned against the brick wall, then hoisted myself over the edge.
“Ew. Ew. Ew,” I whispered to myself as I dropped down with a thud. I picked the bag up and tossed it out, then cursed when the flap fell. I tried to push the plastic top up, but it wouldn’t stay, and I had to hoist myself out again while the flap smacked at me. All I could think about was how gross it was.
My fingers got caught between the flap and the metal as I finally slid out and I hissed, pulling them free. Damn my need to stay busy. If I’d just been lazy this would’ve all been avoided. I picked up the bag and took it back upstairs to the second floor. Everyone clapped when I came in, which had my face warm again. Two of the Doms took the bag, and I sighed as they unceremoniously opened it, then dumped the contents on the floor so everyone could help look for the missing doll clothes.
It was kind of nice.
After the clothes were found, there were cheers, and the mess got abandoned. I sighed and grabbed a new trash bag from my serving cart to pick up the mess for the second time. The brightly colored paper irritated me as I stuffed it into the bag and all the merry making was beginning to get on my nerves. I decided not to risk doing any more cleanup until the party was over and retreated to the serving cart.
Santa’s bag was sitting on the floor nearby and there was still a package in it. I stared at the bag in between checking to see if anyone needed anything, and I got the itchy need to look inside, just to see what could possibly be left in there. Finally I decided maybe the bag had gotten lost in the hubbub, and I picked it up, taking it over to one of the Doms standing nearby in jeans and a T-shirt.
“Santa dropped this.”
“Oh, he went to change,” the guy said with a smile. “Could you take it back to him?”
I nodded and went into the hallway near the locker area, but curiosity got the best of me. I opened the bag, and it wasn’t very satisfying to peek because inside was just a box with blue shiny paper and red ribbon around it. That didn’t let me know what was inside the present. I took the box out and shook it, and while it was heavy, it didn’t make any noise. Frowning at it, I sighed. What was inside?
I peeled back a corner of the paper because now that I’d gone this far, I just needed to know what was inside, but there was only a white box underneath. I groaned. Well, the gift wasn’t mine, so I couldn’t really open it. Guiltily I stuffed the box back in the bag and left it right outside the door of the changing room.
When I got back to the main party area, everyone was gone, and Ashton, my manager, was circling the room unplugging lights. His white-blond hair reflected the festive glow until they winked out.
“I know it’s already later than I asked you to stay, but could you tear all this stuff down? We need to use this room tomorrow,” Ashton said with a smile. “I’ll pay you for the extra time.”
“Just break it down as much as you can. There are boxes for all this shit, but if it’s taken apart, then tomorrow they can just pack it all up and move it.” He shot me a pair of finger guns on his way out the door, and I didn’t blame him for rushing. It was a Tuesday night, but for some weird reason it was really busy downstairs in the bar and regular club area. I walked over to Santa’s throne and stepped up on the podium. It seemed a little sad without the lights, so I plugged them back in and plopped down.
The guy who’d played Santa was nice.
I kinda wished I’d gotten to sit on his lap. I closed my eyes and fought off a yawn, pressing the back of my hand to my mouth. I startled when something plopped into my lap and looked up to find a man grinning at me—it was sexy Santa.
“You might as well open it. You started.”
I was mortified as I looked down at the present I’d been so curious about. The paper that had been peeled back seemed to glare at me accusingly. I glanced up at Santa to see if I could get away with shaking my head and telling him I didn’t do it, but he was definitely giving me a busted type of look.
“I’m really sorry. I wasn’t trying to ruin or steal anything. I was just curious,” I grumbled and handed the package back. “There’s probably tape around here somewhere. I can fix it.”
He pushed the gift at me. “The person this was for didn’t make it, so you can have it.”
I drummed my fingers along the box and glanced at him out of the corner of my eye.
“Yes!” He nodded and crossed his arms. “I’m very, very sure.”
Excitement had my fingers and toes tingling as I worked open the corner of the present I’d already started. He watched me, so I didn’t do what the littles had done—I carefully ripped the end of the paper and tugged it off the box, aware of him staring.
“You’re really careful.” He took the paper from me.
My stomach jerked. “I didn’t want to make a mess,” I mumbled.
He shrugged. “It’s okay to make small ones.”
I lifted the lid off the box and tossed it, and he grinned. Inside was something black. I turned the box over onto my lap and gasped at what fell out. It was a leather jacket—a nice one. I lifted it up and stared. It had to be expensive.
“I wouldn’t have given it to you, but I’m sure it’s your size. Must be holiday magic.” He tugged the jacket out of my hands and held it up. It took me a second to realize he meant for me to stand and try the clothing on, and my face burned as I slid my arms into the sleeves. It fit like a leather wet dream.
“This looks nice on you,” he said with a smile.
“Uh, I’m pretty sure this is way too nice to give to a stranger.” I felt like I was on fire and getting ready to melt through the floor.
He smiled at me. “I agree with you. Why don’t we go to dinner tomorrow night and talk about how you looked like you wanted to cry when all the other littles were opening their presents?”
I froze and stared at him. “I was fine.”
“You were very brave. Would you have liked to sit with them?”
I scrubbed my hands over my face and laughed. “You’re serious?”
He shrugged. “Yeah.”
I shoved my hands into the pockets of my new jacket and buried my face against the leather collar. “I don’t know that I’m into anything kinky.”
He shrugged. “Only one way to find out. How about me? Do you like me?” His eyes twinkled with amusement as I stole a quick glance at him.
“Oh, I could be into a guy like you.” My heart fluttered as he leaned in closer and brushed a kiss to my cheek.
“Then it’s a date?”
“Yeah, it’s a date,” I murmured.
He tugged on my sleeve. “You wear this and I’ll pick you up.”
He held out his hand.
I stared. “What?”
He laughed and wriggled his fingers. “I need your phone.”
I unlocked the screen and opened a new contact, then watched carefully as he put his info in. When he handed the phone back, the only thing in the name spot was Santa Claus. I groaned.
“What’s your real name?”
“If you don’t stand me up, you’ll find out,” he said with a smirk, and I felt silly as I watched him leave.
I clutched my new leather jacket close as I stood in the frigid gust of wind outside of my apartment building downtown. I let out a sigh of relief as a red Focus stopped in front of me. Santa Claus hopped out, but I felt a little silly thinking of him that way now. He was in a suit, like maybe he was coming from work, and I nearly passed out because it made him look good. And competent. And I didn’t think I would mind peeling it off his body.
“What’s your name?” I asked as he opened the passenger side door and stared expectantly.
“Rory Westerville.” His mouth twisted in a charming grin that took my breath away. The small lines around his blue eyes were sexy.
“I’m Holden,” I said.
He offered his hand as I got closer, and we shook. His face was so serious that I had to laugh.
“In you go.” He pointed at the seat, and I did as he said. He gently closed my door, and I buckled my seat belt before he got in. He leaned around and touched my seat belt, almost as if he had to check to make sure it was buckled before we went anywhere, then pulled the Focus carefully out into traffic.
“Where are we going?” I asked. Nerves danced in my stomach.
“Well, I thought dinner, then walking around to look at holiday lights. Maybe my house for hot cocoa afterward?”
My stomach roiled because I was nowhere near ready to fuck him, even if he was hot, but that’s how dates went. I let out a long breath and smiled. “Maybe we could do the lights first? Since it’s dark already.”
I braced myself for him to be upset, but he only smiled. “Sure, why not? I was going to walk around one of the neighborhoods on the west side. It’s where I grew up and the neighbors always put up a ton of lights. Would you like to go there with me?”
My heart slowed down and I nodded, rubbing my hands on my jeans.
“I like your name, Rory,” I said, absently staring out the window as we passed the Christmas decorations splashed around downtown.
Rory chuckled. “Thank you.” He glanced at me, then back at the road.
It didn’t take long to reach the little neighborhood he’d talked about, and he parked his car in front of a two-story house with white siding and lights surrounding every window.
“My parents live here, but they’re out of town this week. No worries about surprise meetings or anything like that. I’m crazy but not that crazy.” He drummed his hands on the steering wheel. Was he nervous? What did a man like him have to worry about?
I snorted. “It’s okay. I’m fine meeting new people.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Like me?”
Smiling, I shrugged. “You were literally Santa Claus. If you’re not a good person, then who can I trust?”
He reached over and tweaked my nose, which had me sputtering. “I promise not to do anything to make you worry about trusting me.” The vibe got far too serious for a second.
“Okay.” I flashed him a smile.
Rory took some gloves out of the center console and put them on, then we got out of the car. I stuffed my hands in the pockets of my jacket. “So, who was this supposed to be for originally?” I asked as we wandered past a house with gingerbread men lights marching across the yard. “The leather jacket, I mean.”
Rory glanced at the sky and smiled. “I bought it for Martin. He stayed home sick last night.”
“Oh, is Martin your boyfriend?” I frowned at him.
Rory shook his head. “No. He has a Dom.”
I shivered. “You know, I’m not sure about all this stuff. The littles thing.”
He shrugged. “You don’t need to be.”
Nodding, I continued walking with him and we wandered all around the neighborhood, commenting when we saw something good or strange, like the nativity scene that had a live duck in the manger instead of a baby Jesus. I chuckled as we wandered on.
Rory’s hand swung at his side, and I took mine out of my pockets because I liked him well enough. If he went for it, I would let him hold my hand. Instead, he snagged my wrist and frowned at me.
“Where are your gloves?”
I shrugged. “Lost ’em last year. I don’t have any right now.”
He shook his head and removed his leather gloves, which matched my new jacket, and slipped them onto my hands.
“Thanks,” I said with a grin. “Is this something you like to do?”
He nodded. “Yep.”
“So, did you hear about Pablo Escobar’s hippopotamuses?”
He swung around to stare at me, then laughed. “No, but why don’t you tell me about them?”
Grinning, I launched into the story I’d read recently. By the time we’d looped around the neighborhood I was starving and more than ready to go get food when he suggested it.
“Where do you want to eat?” he asked, paying far too much attention to me.
“Wherever,” I said with a grin as my face burned.
“Want to grab food and eat at my house?”
“Uh, sure,” I said faintly.
Nerves struck. This part of the night was arriving sooner than I’d thought it would. We stopped at a shop and ordered subs that weighed as much as a brick, and then he drove us to a small glittering bungalow that was positively covered in Christmas lights. Each window and pillar had been outlined in dazzling strands. Icicles hung from the roof. Strange little elves that seemed like they were from a long time ago guarded the sidewalks, but they were more happy than creepy, so I didn’t mind them.
I grinned at him. “This is nice.”
“I hoped you would like it.”
As I followed him to the door, I touched my jacket. “Do you want to take this to the guy who was sick? I feel bad now.”
He turned toward me and shook his head. “No. He didn’t know anything about it, and if I’d dropped it off there would’ve been questions. His Daddy doesn’t want him to realize he missed a party because he was sick or he’ll feel even worse.”
“Oh.” I chewed on my bottom lip as I followed him into the house and removed my borrowed gloves, which I stuck in my pockets because I had no idea what else to do with them. “His Daddy?”
Rory grinned at me as he flipped on a light switch. The living room had a masculine feel, and it was taken up by a fireplace and brown leather couches and chairs. A TV hung on the wall in one corner and a big Christmas tree took up another. He put the subs on the coffee table and went around it to turn on the fireplace—it was gas and the blue flames danced. Next, he plugged in the Christmas tree. I smiled at the blinking lights.
“I’ll get us some drinks,” he said, and wandered toward what I assumed was the kitchen. My stomach clenched with nerves as I considered what he would want after we ate. Sex. It was a no-brainer. I felt so worked up about him touching me that I groaned. I would never be able to choke down my sandwich, which smelled amazing, if I didn’t get over this.
Maybe. . . the best thing to do would simply be to get it over with.
Shrugging, I kicked off my shoes, then my jeans. I took off the jacket to strip away my shirt, but then I felt weird just standing around in my underwear and socks, so I slipped the jacket back on. That wasn’t much better, but I figured it was too late to get dressed again because Rory had been gone a long time. Nervously, I went and sat on an ottoman near one of the armchairs. I ran my hand through my hair and shivered even though I was sitting near the fire.
Rory came back in the room and his eyes widened, and I panicked inside because I’d been so sure this was what he wanted from me, and he was giving me a look like I’d shocked him. He set two glasses of water down on the coffee table, and I shot to my feet when he got closer to me.
“Not that I don’t love the look—” He grinned. “—but why the change in wardrobe?” He swallowed hard and ran his gaze down my body.
“I figured we were going to get to this anyway, so why wait?”
He furrowed his brows, stepping closer. “You don’t sound excited about that.”
“Well, it’s going to happen.” I shrugged.
He stepped closer and cupped my cheeks. His palms were a little rough, but his grip was sweet and soft. “Is it?”
“Says who?” He studied my face, and I felt hot all over again, but not in a sexy way.
“That’s just how it goes.”
He ran his thumbs across my cheeks and leaned toward me. I closed my eyes. His warm lips landed on my forehead, then my temple. Surprised, I opened my eyes to stare at him.
“I’m a Daddy Dom, sweetheart. I don’t rush the boy I’m with into sex. Do I think you’re fuckable in this jacket and nothing else? Yes. Do I want you?”
I glanced down and his cock was definitely making a scene and pushing out the front of his suit pants. “Yes,” I murmured.
He grinned and planted a kiss on my cheek. “But do you know what I’m fine with?”
“What?” I asked, feeling totally lost.
“Waiting. Until you’re comfortable. Until you’re happy and in a good mood. Until we’ve had a few conversations about how you feel about my lifestyle. . . and whether or not you would like to be involved in it.” He ran his hands along my arms, and I finally unwound from the state of half panic I’d been in since he’d picked me up.
“You’re fine with me not blowing you or bending over?” It seemed weird.
“Yes,” he said with a smile. “What kind of guys have you been going out with?” His brow furrowed.
I shrugged. “I work in a bar. People who come up and talk to me are usually looking to get off right then. I don’t get many calls back.”
He snagged my hands and kissed my knuckles. “I promise I’ll always call back.”
I closed my eyes and flung my arms around him, giving him a hug. “Sorry I got naked while you were in the kitchen. I was just feeling weird and didn’t think I could eat.”
He laughed and snuggled me closer. “I think taking care of you will be fun. I’m interested in you.”
Grinning, I buried my face against his neck and allowed all the embarrassment that had been hovering on the edge of this conversation to wash over me. “You’re sure you don’t mind waiting?”
“Not at all,” he murmured in my ear, then slapped my ass. I gasped. “Now, get dressed. Because while I’m more than happy to wait for all the fun naked things, I’m starving.”
With a laugh, I nodded, and he held up a finger. I awkwardly shuffled my feet as he walked around and scooped my clothes off the floor. I shrugged out of the jacket, and he tugged my shirt over my head for me, which had my stomach warming. Then he helped me step into my pants and pulled them up my legs. He stared directly into my eyes as he buttoned and zipped the jeans. By the time he was done, I was feeling tingly all over in a good way, and his warm smile had me hoping for more.
“You know, I feel like I got the best present this year,” he said.
I stared at him, feeling confused, because there weren’t any packages under the Christmas tree and I hadn’t seen him with one last night.
“What did you get?”
He tapped the tip of my nose with his finger and kissed my cheek. “Time with you. Let’s eat.” He snagged my hand.
“You’re a Daddy Dom?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said with a grin, squeezing my fingers lightly with his.
“Do you know what I liked best last night?”
“What’s that?” he asked.
I was excited that he wouldn’t judge me. “The toy car. It looked like a good one.”
He laughed and some of the awkwardness that always dogged me on dates lifted from my shoulders. Maybe this relationship would only last as long as tonight, but I felt like I had somewhere to belong for a little while, and it was nicer than I’d realized it could be.
Check out these holiday stories by Ki Brightly:
Diamonds Under the Mistletoe: https://books2read.com/u/mK6QLB
Santa’s Bratty Elf: https://books2read.com/u/mY8LaV
With the Jarl’s Blessing—A Yuletide Tale: https://books2read.com/u/brXk5E