Santa's Reject (Yule Tied)
Lily Vega
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2016 Lily Vega

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Every time Beryl expected the best out of a situation, the big bad world shattered her heart. To avoid being someone who constantly got crapped on, she had made a conscious effort to always be the one doing the crapping on others.

She slapped on her most seductive smile, puffed up her chest, and flipped her long dark hair. The car sped faster, and the volume of the music increased. The temperature inside the vehicle fell as icy air pumped out of the vents.

A cold shower couldn't have been more effective.

Eros, aka Cupid, the bodaciously beautiful hunka hunka embodiment of burning love was immune to her feminine wiles.

"Give me a break, cherub, "she said. "No reindeer were seriously injured. No holiday ruined. Brody and that introverted loser won the stupid reindeer game. I'm the only person who suffered. Being on the run for nearly a year takes a toll on a girl."

"I spent the last three hundred and sixty days tracking you." Frustration laced his words. "Traveled across the country checking every Elf hidey hole known to man or god. Finally caught a break with that video going viral of you dancing on the table in the Indianapolis public library. If catching you wasn't personal, I'd have outsourced the job to a bounty hunter six months ago."

"Personal? I don't even know you." She almost added that she'd love to know him in the biblical sense, but his many macho charms didn't include a sense of humor. No way would he understand the fun of shaking her hips and ass to pay for her overdue book fines. If not for the prudish librarian calling the cops, she would have earned enough cash for her penance and a steak dinner. "You manhandle me, abduct me, and cover my eyes with a blindfold. You're the one making this personal."

"Standing in the way of true love is repugnant." Disdain roughened his silky smooth voice.

She didn't bother explaining her motivations to the studly cherub. Nothing would alter his negative opinion. All she could do was wait for an opportunity to escape her prison and find a job. Strip clubs were always looking for fetish acts, and she knew how to work up a crowd.

The car jerked to a stop. Eros switched off the engine. The speakers continued to pump out sticky sweet Christmas merriment.

"Welcome to Fairyville." He rooted around in the backseat. "During our last rest stop, I noticed a new sparkle in your eyes. While I admire your plucky determination, I can't have you causing trouble like you did at the North Pole."

She felt a sting of pain on the back of her hand. "Ouch!"

A slow burn crept up her arm to settle in her chest, and her heartbeat out-sped the tempo of the holiday song blasting through the speakers.

Her lips moved of their own volition, and she joined in on the chorus of "Jingle Bells."

"Before I scratched you with my golden arrow," he said, "I rubbed the point with enchanted holly."

Her brain screamed that something was horribly wrong, but the warning didn't stop her foot from tapping and her head bobbing along with the beat.

"The arrow will make you fall in love with the first person or thing you see. Personally, I hope you develop a monster crush on a squirrel." He had the nerve to chuckle at her predicament. "The holly adds an infusion of holiday cheer to the attraction spell. You'll adore Christmas with a fervor matched only by your love for the rodent or whatever poor soul you latch on to."

She sniffled. Being stripped of her free will was a worse punishment than never-ending holiday music. The air conditioner made the wetness on her cheeks chill.

Eros brushed away her tears. "It's only a scrape." His tone softened. "If I shot the arrow directly into your heart, the condition would be permanent. Should you find true love, the magic will lose its power and you'll be as you were before. If you run away and I have to hunt you again, I won't be so kind."

The horror of the situation made her lips quiver, but still her head bobbed and her toes tapped. Mercifully, the song finally ended and Eros's door opened.

Struggling to get her shit together, she bit down hard on the inside of her cheek. A painful dig of her fingernails into her palms helped her focus. She was no victim. Every problem provided an opportunity. All she needed to do was find the right angle to turn the situation to her favor. So what if she was cursed to be infatuated with some heinous person or object along with everything Christmas? Her love for Aggie remained along with her fierce resolution.

The door at her side creaked open and her seatbelt unfastened. A strong hand pulled her to her feet, and a tug released her blindfold.

Her gaze locked on a tall, well-built man with a crew cut and piercing green eyes. He wore scuffed boots, faded jeans, and a red plaid button-down shirt. All he needed was a Stetson on his close-cropped head to complete the sexy cowboy look...

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