Eve is about to enjoy some vigorous water sports when she gets the call. Someone needs her this Christmas Eve, and it’s up to her to work out who and where.
Raph is driving a taxi that isn’t his when he sees the brown-eyed beauty looking lost at the lights. He agrees to help her out, and she gives him the best Christmas present ever.
Eve Adeste stood poised on the lip of the pool. The grey stone faintly shone, and the inky water reflected a thousand stars.
As she rose to her toes, preparing to dive, a shadow detached itself from the rocks behind the falls and stepped through the sheeting water.
“Greet you, Hector,” Eve said, smiling as he came to stand beside her. She couldn’t see him clearly, but she knew he saw her.
“Greet you, girl.” Hector put his arms around her with the ease of long acquaintance.
Eve leaned against him. Hector had just come through the falls, but he was toasty warm. Eve had known the waterfolk all her life, but she’d never been able to work out whether they had warmer blood than other people, or whether it was an illusion.
“Play?” Hector offered.
“Mm, maybe,” she teased.
“Maybe?” He contrived to sound affronted.
Eve tilted her head back against his chest. He was very much taller than she was. “Maybe,” she repeated, and she laughed.
As if I didn’t come here to play!
Hector laughed too, bent and dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “Why else would a luscious elf girl like you be here at the falls if not to play with me?”
“Maybe I came to wish you a Merry Christmas.”
“Deep breath, lovely.”
Eve, forewarned, inflated her lungs. Hector slid one arm down and scooped her into his arms, then jumped into the pool.
Water fizzed around Eve’s ears, and she saw bubbles rising as if to meet the stars. He was taking her into the underwater caves. It was perfectly safe, although she wouldn’t have made the dive at night herself. Hector would lie down on a smooth stretch of stone, hold her close and make her body happy. He always did. So did some of the other water lads, but Hector was her favourite. He was just as virile as the others, but he had more conversation than most and was not in so much of a hurry.
Maybe it was his age. Eve didn’t know how many years he had, but his daughter Kin was grown, so he must be in his upper thirties if not older.
Hector dived under the rock wall and surfaced in the cave. It was dark, but he guided Eve to the ledge and lifted her to a comfortable perch. He surged up to sit beside her and clicked his fingers to bring up the glow-worm stars to light the chamber.
“Are you ready for me or shall we sit a while?”
“Ready when you are,” she responded. He was ready right now, of course. That was the way water lads were, always ready, always skilled, and always kind. Sometimes she wondered why none of the maids and misses, lassies and ladies they serviced ever fell in love with them. They were so much sweeter and so much less complicated than the other men she knew.
“What are you thinking about, girl?” Hector wanted to know.
“I was thinking how much I adore you and wondering why I don’t love you.”
He smiled with a flash of white teeth in his dark face. “You love me when I’m in you. You say so, often.”
“Yes, but that’s different. Do you love anyone, Hector? Love unconditionally, I mean?”
“I love Kin. She is the best thing I ever made.” His face grew tender.
“She’s your child, so of course you do. But anyone else? Kin’s mother?”
He shrugged. “Lilla and I play well together, and often. But you know me, lovely. I love whoever I’m with. That’s the water way and the best way. There is nothing better than to love.”
Eve gave up. The concept of being in love must be something he didn’t grasp. She knew two water maids who had lovied up away from the falls, but she couldn’t remember any lads who had done it. She twisted about and reached up to kiss Hector. He pulled her into his arms and rolled back and over so she was nestled on his warm chest and belly, with her legs hugging his. Her body purred with anticipation. Hector was so lovely and warm and strong and ready. He held her patiently while she adjusted herself.
At that point, as she was about to enjoy him to the fullest, a switch clicked in her mind. She stiffened, lifted her head and listened acutely.