Hot for Winter: A Christmas Menage
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Who would have ever thought that cussing out Old Man Winter would change Gwen Butter’s life forever, but it did.
Suddenly, she had two hot men in love with her, one a god, the other the most powerful being in an alternate universe.
Jack Winter, was on the verge of losing his mind and his life, and only the meddling of his mother, the moon goddess, Selene, could set things right. She knew that the love of the right woman was what her son needed, but it wasn’t easy finding the right match for “Old Man “Winter.” Jack had no idea that finding his Kindred Spirit would give him a reason to celebrate the holiday season, and life, again.
Squall Talon, a controller, had become so powerful that the first families observed him from far. He would either be the next head of the ruling family or the instrument of destruction of everything they knew.
The passionate moans of a human woman, drew Talon’s attention. How many years had it been since anything mattered to him? Instantly, he knew this one female could save life as everyone knew it.
These two powerful men, each controlling her, but loving her more than life itself, would insure that Gwen never wanted for anything. Yet, could she really be the miracle Christmas was really about?
The Christmas story is well known throughout the world, but there is another legend told by another race of people. It is the legend of Christmas, and the sacrifice of one woman, who will not only save the Earth, but their world as well.
One Week before Christmas
Jack glanced up and frowned at his mother. “I’m fine. I don’t need to take any time off.”
He typed the latest snowfall amounts into the computer, trying to block out everything
“Have you seen what you’ve done to Montana? The humans can’t even move around. It’s
so nasty there they’ve declared a state of emergency. They are even thinking about canceling
Christmas! Not to mention that last week there was snow in Miami.”
His mother leaned over and tapped on his monitor.
“Your father has agreed to take over for the next two weeks.” She blocked the computer
screen with a hotel reservation printout, a plastic keycard in her other hand. “This is where you are registered and this is the key to your cabin. You are not to come back here or contact us for two weeks. This is for your own good.”
Moon Goddess Selene’s eyes glowed white. She’d brook no argument when she was in one of her moods.
“Now off you go.” She moved around his desk to kiss his check. “Make sure you don’t
mess this up, please. I want grandchildren.”
Blackness surrounded him, but not before the last sentence soaked into his foggy brain.
However, it was too late to question her; Jack was no longer home.
Gwen Butter stared out at the snow-covered road and sighed. She had two days to come up with three thousand dollars, or she would lose her Christmas store, Jingle Bells. With the worst winter storm in a decade in progress outside, she doubted anyone would venture out to shop anytime soon.
“I wish Old Man Winter would take a damn holiday. Nancy, you and Mark better head
home. We don’t need you two stuck here over night.” The bells Gwen wore in her ears jingled as she turned around to face her two employees. “I have a feeling this storm isn’t going to let up.”
Mark frowned and walked to the front door of the store.
“I supposed you’re going to keep the store open?” He shook his head. “Sis, you can’t keep
this up. Come home with us. We’ll loan you the money, and you can pay us back after
Christmas. There’s just no sense in you staying here by yourself.”
His wife, Nancy, hugged him, and then turned her smile on Gwen.
“He’s right, Gwen, you can’t expect miracles the first year. Plus, what is family for? How
many times have you helped us out while Mark was in school? Let us help you.”
Gwen glanced around the small shop. Every one of the items in the store was handmade by either herself or other artists. She loved to paint, and since there were no stores here in Arlee, Montana to support the local artists, she’d used the last of her inheritance and opened one herself. Christmas was her favorite holiday, and Arlee was well-known throughout the world for its small spruce Christmas trees. Many people traveled from all over just to purchase one.
“Go on. I’ll close up here, and then head upstairs after I check my paintings in the
basement.” Gwen turned and headed toward the back of the shop where she had set up her studio. Recently, she’d seen signs some creature had made his home there, as well.
She wanted to make sure whatever was living down there didn’t ruin any of her portraits. So far, as near as she could tell, the thing stayed in the storage room.
“Mark, lock the door when you two leave. I doubt we’ll get any customers, anyway.”
“You better watch it, sis. You never know; this animal might be waiting for a chance to eat
you. You’re tiny enough to make a midnight snack for a gerbil.” Mark teased.
Gwen smiled as she headed downstairs, but when she reached the bottom, she froze.
“Shit, shit, shit!” She fell on her ass and scraped her back on the stairs, then turned quickly and clambered up the way she’d come.
Her eyes stung, her back burned, and her stomach tumbled and tossed at the smell that
covered her. Thankfully, only her lower body had taken the hit.
Mark and Nancy had come to the top of the stairs, but as Gwen approached, they scrambled back. “Damn, Gwen, don’t go in the store; we’ll never get the smell out.”
“Don’t you think I know that? Call your friend, Sam, and get him over here now. I want that
thing gone…” She turned to look down the stairs and then plopped down on a nearby chair.
“My painting…” She covered her face with her hands and shook her head. “I won’t be able
to sell it.”
Tears filled her eyes.
“Sam is on the way. Why are you sitting there? You need to go home and clean up.” Mark
squeezed her shoulder. “The skunk will be gone tomorrow, and then we’ll fumigate the place or something.”
On shaky legs, Gwen stood and moved to the back of the store, where she grabbed her purse and coat. “I’ll come down tonight and open the windows for a couple hours. I’ll need to see if my painting is ruined.”
She opened the back door, and the cold wind blasted her, but she ducked her head and
continued to the stairs that led up to her small apartment. At least the wind blocked the smell, even if only for a minute. She tightened her grip on the rails as she moved up the icy stairs.
“It wasn’t enough you brought on winter so fast that animals ran for cover, but now you
make it impossible for anyone to move around.” Gwen gritted her teeth as she reached for her door, knowing the knob would be icy cold. She took one step onto the icy landing, and her legs slid to the left, while her upper body stayed upright. Her grip on the doorknob kept her from falling down the flight of stairs, but the muscles and tendons in her wrist twisted and burned as she held on. Her butt hit the landing, and her breath whooshed out of her.
Sharp pain raced up her arm.
“Arg!” Tears slipped down her face.
Gwen lost it; everything came to a boiling point inside her, and her body started to shake as she broke down and sobbed. She was thirty three years old, alone, and had the worst luck possible.
The pounding of footsteps brought her head up, and she focused on the mammoth man who seemed to have appeared before her. His black, shoulder-length hair shone in the moonlight.
Gwen couldn’t tell if his eyes were blue or gray, but one thing was certain; he was stunning. A romance cover model for sure.
“Are you okay?” He squatted down. His nose twitched, but he didn’t say anything as he
nodded to her arm that she held. “Is it broken?”
His eyes were a smokey gray.
Her face blushed, and she shook her head. “I think I just twisted it.”
This man had the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. His black hair blew in his face, as a gust of wind sent a shiver down her spine.
“Here, let me help you up.”
He reached for her, but she scooted backward and shook her head. She might be attracted to the man, but she didn’t need anyone’s help. Plus, with her luck, he’d fall on the ice, too, and then he’d sue her.
“No, really, you don’t have to do that. I don’t want you to get any of this stink on you. I’ll
be okay. Plus, I don’t need you to fall, too.” She tried to stand, but her feet once more slipped, and she ended on her ass again. “I think I’ll just sit here for a little while. Maybe the ice will melt under me and I’ll be able to stand then.”
Gwen grumbled and patted the ice patch under her with her good hand.
* * * * *
Jack stared at the small, stinky beauty before him. He’d been on the sidewalk below, when
her cry of pain had drawn his attention, and he’d reacted without thinking. One minute he was downstairs, and the next, he’d found himself kneeling before her. Even her smell would not deter him. She was hurt and cold. Her deep red hair hung down to her shoulders, where it curled up around her oval face. When she glanced up at him, her luminous green eyes were puffy from crying, but nothing prepared him for the instant bond.
It was as if an electrical shot had gone right through him, and from what he could see, she had felt it too.
A single tear slid down her cheek, and he could have sworn his cold heart twisted into a
knot. She was his other half. “Thank you, Mother,” he whispered, and knew she had heard him when the moon peaked through the clouds above them.
The woman beside him was tired, and her spirit was broken, but he would lift her—in more
than one way. Her feeble excuses were not going to deter him.
In one swoop, he scooped her small body into his arms, ignoring her sputtering protests.
“Where?” he asked simply, and she nodded toward the door. Her body fit perfect in his
arms, and he couldn’t help but notice as her shirt gaped open, showing a peek at one of her creamy, white breasts.
Using his powers, he opened the door without touching it, and then he moved inside the
small dwelling. The apartment was tastefully done in Earth tones, but the painting above the sofa drew his attention right off the bat. He made his way to the picture, drawn to the colors and beauty of it.
“This is absolutely gorgeous. Who painted this?” He glanced down at the woman in his
Even though she held her arm in pain, she wore a small grin on her face and had a twinkle
in her eye.
“I did, last year. You really should put me down. I don’t even know your name.”
“Jack Winter, and you have amazing talent. Your painting is a duality, but the abstract is an
entirely aesthetic thing. It remains on one level yet has beautiful shapes and patterns.” He slowly lowered her feet to the ground and once more glanced down at her arm. “That isn’t your painting hand, is it?”
He reached for her hand, but she stepped back.
“Yes, but I’m sure it’s just a sprain. I want to thank you, Jack, for everything you have
done, but I really need to change out of these stinky clothes, and you should go and change, also.
That smell can make you sick if you inhale it too long…” Her cheeks turned a dull pink, as if she’d just realized what she had said.
“Relax, I know what you meant.” He smiled. “Tell you what, I’ll go back to my cabin and
change, but why don’t you meet me at the corner diner down the street. I’ll buy you supper, and you can tell me all about this piece of art.”
Jack nodded toward the painting.
Tonight, he would know all her secrets, fears, and desires. His Kindred Spirit would not
escape him. Cupid sure didn’t need to hit him with an arrow. Jack had been hard from the
moment he laid eyes on her. Her body—round, not skinny like so many human women—would attract any man. Jack frowned. “You are not involved with anyone, are you?”
She smiled and shook her head. In the light of her apartment, he could now see the blond
highlights in her red hair. Her large, round eyes reminded him of the elk up on his property in Scotland, they were so big.
“I guess I could meet you there.” She looked down at her arm. “My name is Gwen Butter. I
want to thank you for coming to my rescue. I’m sorry you had to witness such a sad sight.”
Her voice dropped to a whisper as she headed to the door and opened it. “I’ll need to put
some salt on the steps before tonight, or I’ll never be able to get back down or up them again.”
A guest of wind blew inside, and Gwen shivered.
“I sure wish this would let up a little. I think Old Man Winter has taken a vacation and left
some dope at the helm.” She grinned at him, and he cringed at the “old” part of her statement.
Tonight, the cold would be no problem. The ice king was suddenly very hot, and he was
determined to warm up his woman. Carefully, he took her now-swollen arm in his hands.
“Do you need a doctor? No artist as fine as you should have an injury to such precious limbs.”
He gently turned over her hand and kissed her palm.
Jack’s abilities weren’t as strong or refined as his mother and father’s, but he did have the power to mend her. His palms warmed her, and his kiss sent a pulse into her hand and up her arm, healing her.
“Never assume anything when it comes to Old Man Winter. I’ll see you soon. And don’t
worry about the stairs; they are cleared now.” He whispered into her ear as he leaned over her and kissed the side of her face.