A Werewolf Kind of Christmas by A.L. Kessler Genre: Christmas Paranormal Romance
Print Length: 56 pages
Publisher: Blood & Ink Press Publication Date: December 11, 2018
With war hanging in the balance, Erin has one chance to stop it: Find her fated mate with the alpha of the rival pack, Tristen Kerr. But when the mating mark doesn't appear Erin has to stall while trying not to fall for the alpha she can't have. Meanwhile, her father has his own plans to take over Tristen's pack. While romance blooms between the two they fight to keep the war away and hope for a Christmas miracle.
"So," Jared drawled out the word. "Do you get much snow in Ridge Pass?"
"Not like here." Erin laughed. "Most of the city would have been shut down by now. There's got to be like what? Three feet out there?"
"And there's a storm coming," Molly chimed in. "We'll likely be snowed in for Christmas. Running through the snow drifts will be fun. Not much hunting, but you know how it is."
There was no resisting the pull of the full moon. "Yeah. This will be my first time running without my pack."
"You'll have us." Jared gave her a gentle nudge. "And we'll make sure you don't get lost here."
Her father had gone on and on about how big the Monarch territory was. It was one of the prime reasons that he wanted the spot. She didn't doubt that she could get lost in these woods. "I appreciate that. It wouldn't do me any good to get lost and freeze to death."
She started to slice the carrots up, and as soon as she had a handful complete, Molly would come in and swoop them up, adding them to whatever she was cooking on the stove.
"Tonight, will be a great night to chill out by the fire." Molly stirred the pot. "Or maybe watch a movie."
"Why not a movie and a fire." Jared laughed. "You don't have to do just one. They're in the same room."
Molly snorted like the idea was absurd. "Because time in front of a fireplace is meant to be a social time. Not a stare at a screen time."
"Molly's a bit old-fashioned." Jared winked.
Erin laughed. "Old-fashioned isn't always bad, but she's right, fires are meant to bring people together."
"Oh look, someone who agrees with me." Molly turned around. "Fine, she and I will chat by the fire."
It beat having an awkward time with Tristan. "That sounds great."
Molly grabbed another handful of vegetables. "See, someone with some class. You guys just watch your war movies, and we'll enjoy ourselves."
"I don't think we'll be watching war movies if Scott got himself all worked up. Too close to the full." Jared sighed. "Poor pup."
Erin didn't say anything and focused on her task. She shouldn't be asking about the pack stuff, especially if she wasn't really part of it.
The kitchen fell silent as they worked until finally Molly let out a huge dramatic sigh. "Okay, so, you just need to like walk up and give Tristan a big ol' smooch."
Erin felt herself blush. "What on earth?"
"We all know why you're here. There's no point in beating around the bush," Jared said. "So go up, smooch him, and see what happens."
She looked down at what she was cutting up. "And what if no mark appears?"
"We all know exactly what happens. Tristan doesn't hide things from us."
That was good to know. "Then I guess I'll swallow my fear and just do it then."
"Now come on, you can't just touch his hand and not make a show of it." Jared twirled around. "You gotta give us something to cheer at if it happens."
"And if it doesn't? Are you all going to boo me out of the house and into the snow?"
"No." Molly took the rest of the vegetables. "We'll still cheer because you're flat out kissing the alpha."
"And you'll find that entertaining?" Erin snorted. "Do you guys get that bored up here?"
Molly messed with the stove for a moment before looking back. "Well, what do you guys do for entertainment?"
"There is no entertainment in my pack. Every time we get together, it's about hunting, running, war, or mating." She shook her head. "All my life I've studied war tactics and fighting. It's the best I could do as the alpha's daughter."
Jared shook his head. "How is a pack a family without entertainment and goofiness?"
"It's not." Erin went to the sink to wash off the cutting board and knife. This wasn't exactly what she wanted to discuss. "What do you do for Christmas here?"
"Well, this year it looks like we'll be snowed in. Normally we go into the city and have a big dinner with all the
pack members. Then we all split off to our own families." Jared joined her for washing the cutting board.
Molly sighed. "Those of us who have blood family. Those of us who don't stay here with the pack, so we don't spend the holidays alone."
The comment about pack being family meant more now. The holidays were never a big deal in her pack. Those who celebrated were left to their own, and those who didn't, or didn't have family, were also left to do what they wanted. She and her dad spent it in awkward silence because neither of them liked to be in the same room together.
Molly stirred the pot. "Thanks for the help guys. Go relax while this finishes up."
Jared nodded, but Erin stayed behind, watching the other woman. "Do you like it here?"
Molly looked over her shoulder. "Honey, if you've seen half the shit I have, then you'd understand that the Monarch Pack is paradise compared to many packs out there."
"It seems too good to be true." Erin sighed. "Every pack and every alpha I've seen has been nothing but stone cold, violent, tense. To see you guys laughing and see Tristan so calm with the wolf outside. That's nothing I'm used to."
Molly turned and leaned on the island so that she met Erin's gaze. "You see, that's where you're mistaken. Tristan can be cold and ruthless when he needs to be. He will do anything to protect this pack because it's his, and he has built it into exactly what he wanted and what we all needed. If it comes down to war, don't underestimate him."
Erin nodded. "The last thing I would do is underestimate him."
"Good, now go relax. Really, all that needs to happen is for the stew to boil for a bit."
Erin moved back toward to the living room but ran right smack into something in the doorway. She looked up and met Tristan's hazel gaze.
"Ah, excuse me, lass. I was just checking on dinner."
Erin went to step aside, but Molly started cackling. "Look up you two."
Both of their gazes went up to see the green leaves and red berries of mistletoe.
"Ah, lass, you know the rules." He gave her a devilish grin. "No more avoiding it now."
Her cheeks heated instantly. This wasn't how she imagined it happening.
A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance and steampunk author residing in Colorado Springs. Since she was a teenager she's loved weaving stories and spinning tales. When she's not at the beck-and-call of the Lord and Lady of the House, two black cats by the names of Jynx and Sophie, playing with her daughter, or killing creepers and mining all the things with her husband, she's either reading, participating in NaNoWriMo, or writing in her Blog Writing Rambles.