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The Christmas Letter (MF)

Davidson Center, Colorado

Evernight Publishing

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 17,620
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Will a Christmas letter be enough to restore his faith in love?

Dante had been serving his country faithfully as one of the elite SEALs when he got word of his baby sister's death. To say he had been devastated would have been an understatement. He was taken out of commission, away from the only job he ever knew, to take care of the niece he only saw when he was on leave. He toyed with the idea of allowing them to put her with a foster family—for about two minutes.

Noelle Henry spat out form letters for children who wrote to Santa Claus each holiday season. When she read a letter written in crayon from a six-year-old named Molly Davidson she knew that she couldn’t simply send the child the standard letter, especially since she had known the child's late mother. Instead, Noelle wrote a personalized letter for the little girl, something that would likely get her fired. She never anticipated what would develop between her and Molly's new guardian, Dante Davidson.

Be Warned: bondage, spanking

Excerpt

Dante looked at Molly, and then the tree, and back at Molly. “Molls, are you sure that this is right? It’s supposed to lean like that?”

She giggled. God, he loved her giggles, it was so much better than her tears. He loved this girl so much and now that he had her in his life he would do anything for her. “Yes, Uncle D, it’s supposed to lean. It’s called a Charlie Brown tree. We should watch that movie. Mommy said that you and her loved that movie and watched it all the time, that’s why I wanted this tree.”

God damn, she broke his heart with that statement because it was the truth. He and Sammy would watch that when she was a little munchkin, about Molly’s age actually. Now he wished he spent more time with Samantha instead of being the typical royal asshole older brother that he was. “I would like that a lot, Molls,” he told her and reached out to tug at one of her little curls. She looked so much like Samantha it wasn’t even funny.

“I will go get it,” Molly said excitedly and jumped up, giving him another hug. She did that a great deal, hugging him. The child psychologist told him that a part of it was because of losing her parents that Molly felt the need to shower him with affection. She took off for the DVD collection and called over her shoulder, “Did you get the mail yet, Uncle D? Has Santa wrote me back yet?”

Dante still couldn’t get over her writing to Santa. She had done it pretty much the day after he had taken her home. This child was more of an adult than he was at times and it astounded him that she put up with his shit. He had to get his shit together, though, if for no other reason than for Molly. She deserved so much more than what he was fumbling around giving her right now. She deserved a life of ease, especially with the severe loss she suffered at the age she suffered it. He missed his old life. He missed the men he served with, but he wouldn’t trade one single second of time with his niece. The Chaplin had told him that they could arrange to have a foster care family take care of Molly until he wanted to leave the service on his own if he so chose. However, the second he saw her looking so distraught, looking so pained, he knew he couldn’t leave her, especially when she had wrapped her arms around him and held onto him as if he had anchored her very universe right then and there.

He knew then that he couldn’t walk away from her. Not then and not ever. She was his to keep, and he damn well was going to keep her. She was now his very life. He would do everything in order to make her life as easy as he possibly could. If that meant that he had to write her a letter from fucking Santa Claus, then so be it. He just wished he knew what that letter said. Fuck, he wished he had read that letter so that he knew what to say to her.

“The mail hasn’t run yet, Molls,” Dante finally said and mussed her hair with a laugh. “I promise you when it runs I will tell you, but for now silly giggling girl, get yourself back over here and help me finish with the Christmas decorations because we both know that I will get them wrong and then what will you do?”

“Okay, but you keep your supersonic hearing open and tell me when it runs because I just know I will get a letter back from Santa, I know I will,” Molly said as she began to arrange the ornaments that he had placed on the tree several different times before she was happy with it. “Now, lift me up so I can put the star on top and then we have our tree. Our tree, Uncle D. Our very first tree.” She got that little wobble again, the one that nearly killed him. The one that he knew far too well because it was one that gut-punched him every single time too. He felt it too. The one that said he wished that his sister and brother-in-law were still alive today.

Giving Molly a quick hug, Dante lifted her to put the small star that she claimed would be absolutely perfect for their tree onto the top of it. He had to give it to the child, she did have some kind of sense when it came to decorations. She definitely took after her mother on that one. The star fit their leaning tree perfectly, it actually seemed to add to the homeliness of the tree, weird as that was.

He finally heard the mail and with a laugh carried Molly to the door. “Grab your coat, munchkin.” He wasn’t about to take her outside without her being bundled up, and there was no way in hell he was going to take any sort of chance with her health. Once she was secure in her coat, they trotted out to the mailbox, and he reached in and grabbed the mail.

His eardrums were nearly blown out by the squeals that his niece gave when he saw the letter covered in glitter and lots of scrollwork on the outside. “It came!” She was bouncing on his shoulder very uncomfortably, but Dante held firm to Molly to ensure that she didn’t dislodge herself from his shoulders. He wasn’t about to lose her, not now.

“Well, good, we will get inside and read it,” he said with a laugh.

“No, no it’s for me.” Molly stingily held the envelope to her chest and shook her head. “No. I don’t want you to know what I said in the letter, and I need to know what Santa said to me alone. It’s private, Uncle Dante.”

Well, he wasn’t so certain he liked that, but whatever. It was likely a form letter anyway. He had seen them time and time again when his buddies’ kids got them. God knew they read them aloud to his friends enough that they all sounded exactly alike so he likely already knew just what it said so he wasn’t going to sweat it at all. “All right, kiddo, I will leave the letter a secret between you and Santa, but I hope you reminded him that he better wipe his feet before coming into the house and that he should make sure to knock first on my door, so I don’t shoot him.”

That had her giggling again. Damn he loved this kid. She was the best thing to come into his world in the shittiest time of his life. “You are silly, Uncle D,” she chastised him as they walked back inside.

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