Bad Elf, No Candy Cane
Peppermint Twist (Multi-Author Series)
by Sean Michael
eBook ISBN: 07209-02323
[ Urban Fantasy Romance ]
Power is good at his job, but when he finds Syllabub in the sweltering heat of Ottawa in July, the last thing he wants to do is return to the North Pole.
Note: This title has no chapter breaks. Please enjoy the first scene.
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Power got off the plane at McDonald Cartier International, walking down the damn halls with the rest of the sheep, moving in the direction they were being herded. Once he was down the escalator, he found the exit and looked for the cabstand — every airport had one. Sure enough, there it was to the left, and he joined the line of people waiting.
He was not a happy Elf.
It was July, for fuck’s sake. Which meant it was damn hot in Ottawa. He should have been back home, sitting on his front porch with his heavy-duty sunglasses on, watching the sunlight dance over the snow. You could get away with a hoodie in the summer while the sun shone back home. Not here. Most of civilization was far enough south that they were legitimately hot during the summer, and Ottawa was proving to be no exception.
Power supposed it could have been worse — his target could have gone even farther south, like down into the States or even South America. Hell, if the target had been really serious, he would have headed for the Sahara.
Of course maybe then the Big Guy would have flown Power in the private jet instead of making him go commercial. Then again, maybe not. Claus was a total penny pincher and a slave driver to boot. Power couldn’t really blame the Elves who tried to slip their bonds of servitude, but that didn’t stop him from dragging them back to the toy factory when they tried to run. It wasn’t like there was an Elf Union to take complaints to, now, was there?
The line at the cabstand was moving quickly, and it didn’t take long before he was climbing into the back of a cab and telling the driver to take him downtown. In his experience, the middle of things was always the best place to start.
As soon as they were on their way, Power pulled out his tablet and called up his target’s file.
Christmas bless. No wonder he’d run, with a name like that.
Power looked through the rest of the file, trying to figure out where Syllabub would be. He always started downtown on these missions because what Elf left the North Pole toy factory and went to suburbia? None of them, in his experience.
It didn’t take very long to get to the downtown core, the driver stopping in front of the Parliament Buildings. Power handed over a couple twenties, grabbed a receipt and shouldered his backpack.
Stepping out of the way of foot traffic, he closed his eyes and opened his senses, looking for that glimmer that could only be one of his kind. Syllabub was a candy maker so he needed to find a bakery or a candy shop. No matter how much you tried, you were who you were. There was no denying it. Power was an enforcer. Syllabub was a candy maker. Ice and Lolly made dolls. It was a fact of life.
The scents of sugar and dough filtered their way into Power’s nose. There, to the left, across the canal. It was as good a place to start as any, and he headed off in that direction. A store would have air conditioning, right? Because he didn’t like this heat for a second. He wasn’t sure running away was worth this heat.
As he went he could feel a sparkle, a sizzle of magic. Oh ho, someone had found himself a home. Syllabub was putting down roots, and it was beginning to show. At least to Power it was — he knew regular folks would, at best, feel a little bit happy when they were hit by it, but no more than that.
Power continued toward the sweet confections he could smell, finding himself at an outdoor market. Oh, there. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. He’d be willing to bet a bottle of Claus’ best whiskey that that was where he’d find Syllabub.
In fact, there was a man standing in the window dipping apples who looked altogether too familiar — pointed chin, sparkling eyes and hair the color of snow. That wasn’t a man at all — it was an Elf, the very same Elf he’d been sent to retrieve.
Power had to shake his head. The Elf was not only easy to find, he was on fucking display in a huge window. Didn’t Syllabub think Claus would have sent someone after him?
He went on in, not bothering to hurry — there was nowhere for the Elf to go.
The store smelled amazing and the whole thing read as fun and joy and sweet. It was no surprise Syllabub had made his way here, even if it hadn’t been prudent.
He ignored the server behind the counter, moving to the area where the apple dipping was taking place. Standing there quietly, he admired Syllabub’s features as he waited for the errant Elf to notice him.
The pointed ears were hidden under Syllabub’s cap and those bright eyes were the color of emeralds. Such a pretty Elf, and Power suddenly wanted to linger. Claus wasn’t expecting him back so quickly, after all.
It occurred to him that he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Syllabub’s skin would taste sweet. And he suddenly, very badly, wanted to lick. Suck. Maybe beat the naughty Elf a little.
Groaning, Power shifted, trying to ignore the way his pants were getting tight around the groin. He wasn’t here for fun. Still, it wasn’t like they were in any great hurry to get back. The candy department didn’t get revved up until later in the year.
Syllabub finished dipping the last apple and grabbed the tray of finished product. “Gonna get these in the cooler, Marie.”
If he waited for the Elf to notice him, at this rate, it was going to take an hour, so he went ahead and made himself known. “You need to take a break, Bub.”
Syllabub didn’t miss a beat — not even the slightest flinch. Power was impressed.
“Maybe after.” Syllabub headed for the door in the back of the store.
“I’ll follow you,” Power called out. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Uh-huh.” Syllabub disappeared behind the swinging doors, and Power just knew he’d started running the second the doors had closed behind him.
Shaking his head, Power hopped the counter, ignoring Marie’s spluttering and attempts to stop him, and followed Syllabub through the door into the kitchen. The tray of apples was spinning on a table, the back door already closing. Oh ho. Syllabub was quick.
Power usually got annoyed when they ran, but he found he didn’t care this time. In fact the chase had a thrill to it. After all, he had that tight little arse to hunt.
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