Reindeer Games (multi-author series)
by B.J. McCall
Ebook ISBN: 07544-02433
[ Shifter Christmas Romance, MF ]
Vixen thinks all is lost, but she’s in for a Christmas surprise. Comet knows nothing about Santa’s plan, but he’s been flying in Vixen’s scented wake for years and no way is he losing her to Dasher. Can a determined Comet convince Vixen he’s the alpha of her dreams?
Vixen fluffed her brown curls and checked her lipstick. She wanted to look her best for the meeting with Santa. She left her apartment and zipped downstairs to the ground level of the reindeer barn. Only the residents of the North Pole knew that Santa’s reindeer were shape shifters.
She passed by Dasher’s stall. “Merry Christmas.”
Dasher shook his head, rattling the jingle bells on his antlers in greeting. Dasher preferred to sleep in his stall, but Vixen loved her apartment upstairs. Hooves had limitations while fingers and thumbs were far more useful. She waved goodbye, leaving Dasher to his breakfast of reindeer moss.
Snow crunching beneath her boots, Vixen headed for the center of town. The North Pole was a busy place, especially on Christmas Eve. Elves scurried about, gathering toys and loading up the sleigh. Vixen must have said Merry Christmas several dozen times during the short walk to Santa’s home.
Smoke curled from the chimney of the large gingerbread house. Although the temperature was always perfect and the snow wasn’t wet or cold, Santa loved a cheery fire. A candy cane fence surrounded the house and a large wreath hung on the front door. Vixen walked up the front steps and knocked.
Santa answered. “Thank you for coming, Vixen. Please, let’s sit by the fire.”
Vixen settled into a comfortable chair with fluffy red cushions.
“As I said before, I have something of importance I’d like to discuss with you.”
Vixen leaned forward. Rarely did Santa request a private meeting. He usually spoke with the herd, but he’d singled her out. “How may I be of help?”
“You may not have noticed but I’ve gained a bit of weight recently.”
Santa had gained more than a bit, but Vixen wouldn’t dare comment on his girth.
“And every year there are more wonderful children which means more toys to deliver. The Elves work harder every year to keep up with the demand.”
Last year the increase in volume required Santa to return to the North Pole and load up the sleigh two more times. Between pickups, both Santa and the reindeer had to refuel with eggnog.
“We can handle the extra loads,” Vixen said, wondering why Santa hadn’t spoken with the herd.
“The Elves have drawn plans for a larger sleigh. They begin construction after the holidays. The sleigh will require two more reindeer.”
Santa was adding to the crew, two new reindeer to recruit and train. The last recruit was Rudolph and he’d been a blessing for the herd.
“I’m sure if all of us put our antlers together we can find suitable recruits. Perhaps we can hold a competition?”
“I don’t wish to recruit from the wild herds,” Santa said. “Even with Christmas magic training a wild reindeer to shape shift and fly takes years. We need to handle this need internally.”
Vixen blinked. Surely, Santa wasn’t thinking about calves. Only the wild reindeer took mates and had offspring. Pulling Santa’s sleigh was an honor and all nine reindeer had taken a solemn oath to preserve the team above personal needs. Sex between consenting reindeer in human form was acceptable. Christmas magic prevented the females from entering breeding cycles.
Was Santa going to let her go into heat?
“This is rather delicate,” Santa said, picking up his corncob pipe. “Perhaps I should have had Mrs. Claus broach the subject of breeding.”
Vixen had secretly dreamed of having her own darling calf. “I’ll do it!”
He struck a match and lit his pipe. “Motherhood is a very serious undertaking.”
“And a most wonderful one.” To conceive she’d need a male. Vixen cleared her throat. “Who have you chosen as the father?”
“That’s for you to decide.”
Vixen immediately thought of Comet, but Dancer was always at his side. And although she really liked Comet and wanted him for more than a friend, she wouldn’t have the heart to hurt Dancer. But which reindeer to chose? Dasher was a good friend and the strongest on the team.
“You’ll need to make your decision quickly, Vixen.”
Santa puffed on his pipe. “By flight time on Christmas Eve.”
“I don’t wish to rush you, but a year passes so quickly. Your offspring should be born a shape shifter. You’ll have to teach your calf to fly. Add a bit of Christmas magic and your calf should be ready to pull the new sleigh. This is a big responsibility.”
“Thank you for choosing me.”
“Ready to begin?”
Vixen was so ready. She rose and stood before Santa.
Santa held out his hands, palms up. Thousands of tiny sparkles danced on his palm. Vixen placed her hands over Santa’s with her palms down, accepting the Christmas magic that would make her a mother.
Vixen left Santa’s house and hurried back to the barn. Dasher had already left his stall. Every morning, Dasher and Prancer went for a long run in the woods.
She shifted, morphing in a flash of Christmas magic. Her red plaid velvet jacket, matching skirt, hat and boots vanished. Fur covered her skin and hooves replaced hands and feet. Antlers sprouted from her head and a cute white tail appeared.
She wiggled her tail and headed out of the barn. Instead of running after Dasher and Prancer, Vixen leaped into the air and flew along the wide trail winding through the forest. She spotted the bucks. Muscles rippling and hooves pounding, the two bucks were running side-by-side.
Dasher’s rack was a bit larger than Prancer’s. A proud reindeer, he held his head high and was in excellent physical condition. Santa wanted a strong addition to the team and Dasher was good breeding stock.
Her decision made, Vixen flew back to the end of the trail to wait for Dasher.
By the time they appeared, Dasher and Prancer were snorting from exertion. Dasher challenged Prancer to another turn on the trail. When Prancer declined, Vixen spoke up.
I’ll run with you.
Okay, try to keep up.
As they ran, Vixen considered telling Dasher about Santa’s request. It would make things easier, but it would also take all the fun out it. Conception would only happen in reindeer form and Vixen wanted the moment to be mating magic rather than an act to fulfill Santa’s request.
Unlike Donner, who had had relationships with Blitzen and Prancer, Vixen had remained unattached. She wondered why Santa had chosen her instead of Donner.
Maybe Santa had sensed her desire for something more meaningful than a romp in the woods. She loved visiting with the wild herds during calving season.
At the midpoint on the trail, Dasher began to pull away. Vixen didn’t mind. Dasher’s strength and agility were breeding assets. Pushing herself, Vixen caught up and bumped his flank.
He slowed and bumped her. The game continued until they reached the end of the trail. They slowed to a walk. Vixen flipped up her tail, hoping Dasher would catch her heat scent.
Dasher spotted a patch of reindeer moss and began to chow down.
Vixen sidled up next to him and nibbled on the moss. She tossed her head and tapped her antlers against his.
Snorting, he moved aside and kept eating.
Vixen waited until he’d finished, then holding her tail high, she trotted in front of him all the way back to the barn, hoping her scent trail would stir his hormones.
Instead of inviting her into his stall, Dasher said goodbye.
Disappointed, Vixen shifted. Inside her apartment, she fell onto her bed. She was doing something wrong. Maybe she’d chosen the wrong male. She longed for Comet with his charming smile, easy sense of humor and sexy brown eyes, but as long as Dancer wanted him the handsome buck was off limits.
She had to seduce Dasher. Santa was depending on her.