A Reckless Gift by Ayla Ruse

A Reckless Gift by Ayla Ruse

A Reckless Gift

Peppermint Twist (Multi-Author Series)
by Ayla Ruse

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 07203-02321

[ Urban Fantasy Romance ]

One thrives on command. The other, chaos. When the two come together, will they burn bright like the North Star, or will their spark burn out before Christmas morn?

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Chapter One

“Hi, Mr. Rec. Didn’t think we’d see you here tonight.”
Rec nodded and sat down at the bar next to one of his hard-working employees. “Hi, Noysen. I know I said I’d pass on the Christmas party, but… let’s say I changed my mind.” If coming here because Santa ordered him to do so could be called changing his mind. He’d much rather be at home, planning how he’d get a certain little Elf over to his place.
“Glad to hear it, even if our department don’t celebrate quite like those Elves who make presents for humans,” Noysen commented.
“I’m seeing that.” Rec took in the darkened, oversized convention room, the loud music and questionable-in-public cries and moans. Contrary to what his employees must think, the atmosphere didn’t make him uncomfortable. It brought back memories.
Noysen chuckled and hefted an oversized mug of ale. “Santa — he knows his Elves, ya know? Take our department. We make weapons for aliens and demons alike. With the kind of shit we see, you think we’d want to sit around fancy decorated tables and sip eggnog for fun?”
Rec barked out an unexpected laugh as the picture formed in his head. “You have that right. It’d be like imagining one of those Elves coming here.”
“That’s why we’re surprised you’re here, Mr. Rec,” Hoyden, another employee, interjected from two seats down.
Rec signaled for an ale. “How do you mean?”
“You’re a manager, don’t get me wrong. Our weapons department is running smoother than Iliaran oil right now. But I’ve always seen you as one of those fancy types.”
Rec twitched his lips. “I suppose you have a point. I don’t mind those gatherings; I’ve been attending them for years.” He sipped his ale and debated before adding, “In my younger days, I saw my share of back-alley fun. Besides, I like to kick back and relax as much as the next Elf.”
The Elves grunted their agreement and drank their ales.
After a few minutes, Hoyden cut his eyes at Rec. “There’s some awfully pretty Tipped Ears here tonight. Many are from The Leanings.”
Rec gave a short nod and a tight smile. He understood perfectly what Hoyden referred to. The Tipped Ears would be the pretty female Elves, and from The Leanings meant they were from the outskirts of the North Pole. Rec knew about Santa’s arrangement from when he was a wee little Elf and living in The Leanings himself. Not that many others knew about his past, but Rec remembered how excited all those Elves became this time of year. If invited, they could come to these parties and work — in a wide variety and loose definition of services — and be compensated enough to get them through the rest of the harsh winter.
“There sure are, Mr. Hoyden,” Rec answered. “If you find yourself with one, remember to be respectful and very appreciative.”
Rec bid the Elves a Merry Christmas, snagged his drink and made his way around the room. He stopped every once in a while to say hi or to wish another a good season. He bypassed the shady corners where the pretty Tipped Ears were earning their wages, and he politely declined several intimate offers from others. Any other time he might have given in to temptation to ease her comfort and his — as well as pad her pretty pockets with coin — but for the past month one Elf in particular had taken over his every waking thought.
Lacy. A svelte little Elf with the longest, pointiest ears he’d ever known. She had a pert nose, slanted eyes and full lips that had him mesmerized the last time he’d seen her snacking on a peppermint stick. Her hands were gifts all in themselves, being able to craft a piece of demon leather like he’d never seen.
But she could be a rabble-rouser and a prankster, and when he came into the department and started setting things right, she’d balked. She’d even tried to tell him what to do. He’d let her know fast he didn’t appreciate that treatment.
But more than that had been his growing desire for her. Even though there were no steadfast rules on relationships between co-workers, Rec had always kept his business and pleasure separate. His desire for Lacy had grown to the point that in their last confrontation, he’d broken out in a sweat to keep from hauling her pert little ass up against the wall and fucking her into obedience. Knowing he’d been at a breaking point, he’d asked — no, he’d begged — Santa to reassign her. He’d gotten his wish, and he’d not seen one black, purple-tipped hair of the little Elf in nearly two weeks. It should have calmed him down. Instead, not seeing her every day drove him nuts.
Another pretty Tipped Ear approached him, and when he turned her down, she huffed and stomped off. Kinda reminded him of Lacy and made his cock stir.
Again he thought about how Lacy had stood on her little tiptoes and shouted in his face when he told her she’d been reassigned. A tight smile crossed his lips. She was still pissed. He knew because for the past week, she’d left reminders on his doorstep in the form of sculpted miniatures depicting his death at the hands of various demons and Otherworlders. She never left her name, but he knew her exquisite craftsmanship anywhere.
“One more and those pants will have to go!”
Rec turned toward the hoarse shout at the back corner of the room. He asked an Elf at the back of the crowd, “What’s going on?”
The Elf chuckled. “That’s the dart area. A sexy pointy ear decided she wanted to play strip-darts.”
Rec smiled. “I bet those Elves are getting an eyeful. I hope they pay her handsomely.”
The other Elf laughed outright. “So you’d think. She’s good. I’ve never seen a female play so perfectly. I don’t think she’s lost more than her shoes.”
“You’re kidding.”
“No. And she’s drunk off her ass, too. Must be. She keeps ordering double rounds of Sens-poison. I’ve never known any Elf to handle more than one shot before he goes under.”
Rec chuckled. “I have to check this out.”
He studied the tightly knit group. He couldn’t quite see over the crowd, but he did spy a dart sailing through the air and heard the solid thunk as it landed, quickly followed by chortles and wolf-whistles. Maybe they finally got something more than a shoe off her. Still, he was intrigued. He’d been one hell of a dart player in his day, and to find another supposedly that good would be a treat.
“That’s it, baby. All the way off. Let me get an eyeful of those heavy Christmas balls.”
The low, seductive voice stopped Rec as he worked his way through the crowd. “Could that be…” He muttered the words to himself. “No, not Lacy.”
“Aw yeah, nice and heavy. I like your cock too. Go to the left with the others. C’mon guys. I need one more.”
Rec broke through to the front of the crowd and stopped in shock. There stood Lacy, all right — completely clothed minus one shoe, front and center of the dartboard. To the left, against the wall, stood four very naked, very aroused Elves. Each sporting goofy grins.
“What’s going on?” he growled to the Elf to his left.
“What? Oh, she’s daring the guys to play strip-darts. Every guy she beats has to stand over there and wait until she’s finished for the night. Then she gets to do anything she wants to them.”
Even as Rec seethed over the stupidity of this game, he also warred with jealousy.
“Ooh, aren’t you a sexy one,” Lacy commented loudly and sauntered over to a stick-thin Elf.
“And what if she loses?” Rec asked.
He laughed. “I don’t think that’ll happen. She’s hitting bull’s-eyes every time.”
“What happens if she loses?” Rec repeated with a snarl.
“Easy. If she loses, she said the winner could do anything they wanted to her.”
“That’s what I thought,” Rec murmured. If there was one thing he knew about the boundary-pushing female, it was that she was fair. A plan quickly formed in his mind. He wouldn’t take advantage of her if she were truly inebriated, but the thought of having her to himself caused his cock to go rock hard.
Meanwhile, Lacy petted the skinny Elf and made a few comments that had the boy blushing.
Rec had had enough. He stepped forward and in a loud voice announced, “I’m in.”
* * *
Lacy woke slowly to her surroundings. She blinked into the dim light and tried to get her bearings because, try as she might, she couldn’t remember owning a blue bedspread.
“Awake?”
She ignored the voice, closed her eyes and sniffed. The bedspread might be blue, telling her she wasn’t in her own bed, but it smelled like the musk of a male — as did the voice. She must have gotten lucky the night before, just like she’d wanted to. Hopefully she’d gotten enough mindless sex so she’d stop thinking about how much she wanted that asshole of an ex-boss.
She smiled and turned over with her arms above her head, hoping to give a good, seductive morning stretch to the handsome Elf who must have captured her attention the night bef —
“Mr. Rec!” She shot off the bed. “What are you doing here?”
Her boss — rather, the asshole of an ex-boss — lounged in a reading chair nearby. He wore slacks, but nothing else. Her shock stalled as she made out the rippling muscles in his arms and torso. She’d had no idea…
“I live here,” he was saying. “And since you asked, I’m guessing you’re going to want to know what you’re doing here.”
“I, ah…”
Think, Lacy, think. What had happened last night? She’d gone to the Christmas party, hoping to rub her nose in Mr. Rec’s business, but he hadn’t been there. Um… then she’d seen the dart board… Sens-poison. She’d wanted to get laid…
“Need a reminder?”
“No. I mean, I’m coming to. I was playing darts at the party.”
“Strip darts.”
“Ah, yeah.” She rubbed her head. Thank goodness she never suffered headaches from drinking too much. If only she could remember more, though.
“I’ll make it easy on you. I challenged you to a game. You lost.”
“Impossible.”
He looked her over.
She glanced down and squeaked. She was naked as a brand-new baby Elf. “Where are my clothes?”
Again he nodded, this time to the left side of the room. Stacked neatly atop a drawer were her clothes. She headed over to get them.
“No. Sit down and stay there.”
Lacy never followed curt, direct orders. Never. She was her own Elf. But the calm command in his voice had her planting her butt on the bed. What the hell?
“I like seeing you naked. I worked hard to get you this way.”
Lacy didn’t consider herself modest by any means, so she sat up straight. “How do you mean?” She hated asking him questions, but she couldn’t remember jack shit after stripping the third Elf of his clothes. She needed to know what had happened. Had they fucked — her deepest secret desire — and now she couldn’t remember? She snapped her attention back to him as he spoke.
“You and I played strip-darts. You won some. I won most. You got pissed and gave me an earful, right before passing out at my feet. I brought you here, and I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
“Why? So you could rub your win in my face?”
“Not so much. Do you remember the terms of your bet?”
Oh, shit. “You won… most?”
“Who’s wearing less right now?”
Double shit. She ran her fingers through her hair and her wrist rubbed one of her many ear clamps. Her grin made Rec shift noticeably in his seat. “I may be wearing less clothing, but I still have all my ear clamps on. They’re each worth another round.”
At this Rec stood up. Damn, he seemed tall. She froze as he came close. Without a word, he burrowed a hand in her hair and tilted her head back. She tracked her gaze up the close and personal view of his delectable body before meeting his eyes.
“In my entire life, I’ve only met one other pointy ear who wore clamps on her ears.”
“So?” She knew she should pull away from him, but the strength in his arm had her arrested and the warm palm cupping the back of her head felt right.
He placed a knee next to her naked hip, making the bed sink and her body shift against his inner thigh. “So, she told me the only reason she decorated her ears was because –” He reached over with his right hand and pinched off the clamp covering the tip of her left ear.
The cool air washing over the exposed tip made her shiver. She grabbed his arm. “Please stop.”
He didn’t. He lowered his head and ran his tongue over the skin there. Her pussy spasmed and she squeezed his thick forearm.
“Rec,” she moaned.
“Take your hands off my arm and hold them behind your back,” he commanded. His voice sounded low and heavy right at her ear.
“I don’t want –”
“Yes. You do. We’ve both wanted this for weeks now. You can place your hands behind your back, or you can stand up, get dressed and walk out. If you leave, I’ll take that as a no, and we’ll never do this again.”
“Rec.”
“Make up your mind, Lacy.”
Time seemed to stand still for a breathless second. Then she loosed her grip on his arm and slowly lowered her hands, snaking them behind her back as he’d requested. Then neither of them moved for a minute. Her heart beat double time, but she knew what she was doing now. She’d planned on leaving the North Pole anyway. She’d wanted a final fling, so to speak, before she left — thus the strip darts and dares the night before. In truth, she’d wanted enough sex to fill her up because Rec pegged her right — she wanted him — but she’d never thought she’d have this chance.
When he still didn’t move, she whispered, “I’ve never let anyone else… you know… tell me what to do.”
“Then it’s about time you did.” Relief and promise filled his voice. He quickly unclamped the rest of the decorations on her ears. The sudden rush of blood combined with the brush of air made her moan again. She reached once more for his arm.
The hand in her hair tightened and he stared hard at her. “Put your hands back. I know you can do this, Lacy. You’re simply not used to it. I could restrain you, but I know you like a challenge. Yours will be to do exactly what I say, when I say it. If I tell you to put your hands behind your back, you will do so until I tell you otherwise. If I tell you to suck my cock, you will do so until I tell you otherwise. If I tell you to come — if I give you permission to come — then and only then will you do so. If at any time you want to stop, you can say ‘pepper’ and everything stops. Everything. Understand?”
She’d heard about men like Rec. Demanding. Controlling. She’d heard about sex like this, but had never truly experienced it. His words, his voice, his body so close to hers, his eyes boring into her, made her want every single word he said.

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Read #excerpt of A Reckless Gift by @AylaRuse #urbanfantasy #ChristmasRomance Click To Tweet