‘Tis the season to be merry… But not when you’re on the trail of a time insurgent, and facing a demon’s servant at every turn. For Nadine Venus, Christmas is a jinx. Two deaths in the family and an estrangement, all on the blessed occasion, she spends every Christmas alone since. A knock on her door reveals a mysterious stranger, a stranger who kisses sweet, knows her soul and offers his heart with no reservations. Not everything is as it seems, however, with more at stake than Nadine thinks…
A quick look out the spyglass showed a tall stranger, with shoulder-length hair that seemed unable to decide between being blond or brown. He hadn’t set off any of the level ten alarms surrounding her unit so, with a shrug, she opened the door.
She managed a glimpse of darkish eyes before she was hauled against the owner’s hard body. A second of lip contact, then, her instincts kicked in. She shoved, directing magic to her palms to lend her the strength needed to propel the solidly-built man away. He landed on his arse, looking surprised, as if he somehow expected a different response after mauling a stranger.
She watched comprehension dawn and he picked himself up from her front step, rueful now. “I knew it.” He eyed her still glowing hands warily. “Would you put that away if I apologized?”
Still suspicious, she kept her hands up. “Well? Where’s that apology?”
His shoulders shifted in some indeterminate gesture. “Four decades haven’t changed you much, Red.” He dimpled briefly, his eyes flicking to her hair with great affection, which made the simple adjective sound sweet. She told herself to resist the impulse to smooth her hair down.
“No, I don’t suppose it would have. You did tell me time passes differently for us.” He sketched a bow. “I’m sorry, Nadine.”
Her heart skipped a beat at hearing him speak her name. Used to the quirks of time-travel, after all her years with the Agency and now the Order, meeting a stranger who knew her did not surprise her. Meeting a stranger who knew her witch name disquieted her; it implied a degree of intimacy she had never granted anyone.
“May I come in?”