Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Dec 15 2015, 12:05 am in 12 days of Christmas, Close To The Mistletoe, Decorations, gladiators, Suz Ferrell
…two disgruntled gladiators.
Sven: Move it a little to the right. We want it centered on the doorway.
Demetrius, hammer and nail in hand: Why is it you’re making us hang these balls of greenery and white berries in all the doorways of the Lair?
Lucien, moving the extra large ball of greenery tied with a red bow at the top of the center of the main entrance into the Lair: Why are you complaining to the Viking? He makes us hang these every year. And it would help if you’d hammer in the nail before my arm falls off.
Demetrius: Hold it steady. I can’t help it if you have weak arms.
Lucien: Weak arms! I’ll show you weak arms when we meet in the training arena. You’ll be sitting on your…
Sven: Enough arguing, gentleman. There’s no time for chest beating today. That’s the perfect spot right there. Besides we’re not doing all the porticos, just the ones in the public areas. And we’re hanging extra mistletoe because of that book.
Paolo, holding the foot of one of the ladders the two Gladiators were perched upon. (The doors to the Lair are over seven feet tall. How else does one get a dragon in and out without breaking down the place?): Uhm, Sven, sir, which book? The Banditas are all writers and all have books filling up the bookshelves.
Sven, consulting his map of all the doorways in the main part of the Lair: Oh, you know that Christmas book. Next we’ll do the four doors to the bar. Come along.
The two gladiators, Paolo and Mario, one of the hockey hunks who’d been volunteered to help, carted the ladders and box of mistletoe balls through the Christmas decorated foyer down the steps to the door that led to the bar/swimming pool area. The room was a blur of activity as the Hockey Hunks and some cowboys decorated the tree, lighting the lights around the windows and helping set the tables with green and red plaid table cloths.
The gladiators climbed the ladder again with Paolo and Mario holding the bases, this time with Demetrius holding the footwide mistletoe ball and Lucien hammering away. As they moved to the doorway leading to the men’s locker room, Paolo couldn’t help pressing the issue.
Paolo: Sven, sir, not to be dense, but which Christmas book are we talking about, last count the Banditas have published almost a dozen different Christmas books. (He should know he dusted the library shelves weekly.)
Sven stopped, nearly causing a train wreck collision as everyone came to a hault behind him.
Sven: Bandita Suz’ newest one, CLOSE TO THE MISTLETOE. The one with the scene….
“Let’s get you out of here.” His voice sounded gruff in his own ears.
Grabbing her little leather jacket in one hand, and her elbow in the other, he guided them through the crowd to the exit. That’s where their progress stopped.
“What’s going on?” Holly pressed in close to ask over the noise.
“I don’t know,” he said, stretching his six-foot-two frame to see what was causing the bottleneck. It looked like an old-fashioned kissing booth, or a mass make-out session. Then he got a glimpse of what was hanging over the doorway. He bent to talk in Holly’s ear, trying to ignore the lemony scent of her dark hair. “You’re not going to believe this.”
“Someone’s hung a ball of mistletoe over the exit door.”
The line in front of them moved a little more.
“So, what? People are stopping to kiss before leaving?”
He looked over the crowd again. “Nope. Appears to be two guys stopping everyone.” Just as he said it, the pair stopped two girls, grabbing each in a good-natured kiss. The next pair was a couple who had a long kiss before heading out the door. “Actually, they’re kissing the single girls, but standing in front of the door making couples kiss before letting them out.”
“Is this some tradition here?” She’d drawn her brows up in question.
He laughed. “You’re asking me? I just moved to town, remember?”
“What are we going to do?” she asked as they moved another foot closer to the exit.
“I’ve got this.” He released her elbow and twined his hand in hers. “You just hold my coat together, okay?” While he might have enjoyed the glimpse of her ass and that wicked little thong, the idea of anyone seeing it didn’t set well with him, not at all.
She nodded, but he could feel how tight she gripped his hand. Another set of single ladies, then another couple, before they were at the front of the line.
“What’s going on?” he asked the big guys that looked like football linemen standing in front of the door, even though he’d already figured out their game.
“Just a little holiday cheer,” blue-plaid shirt said. “A little mistletoe excise tax.”
“Yep, kiss your girl, or let us do it to get out the door,” red-plaid shirt chimed in.
He looked down at Holly. “Guess we don’t have any choice.”
“Guess not,” she said with a little smile.
He laid her jacket over their joined hands, then brought his free one up to cup her soft face. He’d meant it to be a quick peck like some of the other couples before them, but the moment his lips met hers, heat seemed to course through him. Holly parted her lips and he slipped his tongue in to sample her. Sweet as a Christmas cookie, but a little spicy like mulled wine. He felt like a starving man who’d just got to sample the most delicate of deserts. All he wanted was more.
Sliding his hand back into her hair, he pulled her in tight. He slanted his mouth tighter over hers, the need for her growing hotter.
“That’s some kiss!” the pair in front of them shouted, breaking the sensual spell that seemed to enthrall them.
Nick pulled back, but almost groaned as Holly licked her lips before opening her eyes, her cheeks turning pink at all the ribbing from the crowd around them. Luckily, the plaid-shirt twins pushed open the doors. “You’re free to go!”
“Thanks!” he said with a wink and a smile, pulling Holly out into the cold, snowy, December night.
Sven: It’s got the Banditas planning to do the same to their guests, the male ones. Except they’re planning a twist to it. Kiss a Bandita before you ENTER or leave.
Paolo: Oh, that explains the crate of lip balm you ordered!
So, dear readers I have a question for you. If you had to kiss someone under the mistletoe, who would you like it to be?
I will gift an ebook copy of last year’s Christmas novella, CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS and one of these cute little Christmas ornaments to 2 lucky people who comment!
COCONUT JAM THUMBPRINTS
1 cup butter, softened 1 cup sugar
2eggs 1 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. salt
3 cups flour Flaked coconut
Egg white Blackberry or raspberry jam
- Cream butter and sugar together.
- Stir in eggs and coconut extract.
- Mix in flour, salt and baking powder.
- Roll into ¾ inch balls.
- Roll into slightly beaten egg white.
- Roll in coconut and place on baking sheet.
- Indent each ball with thumb and fill slightly with jam.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for 11-16 minutes or until coconut is slightly browned.