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Hung by the Fire

44 pages39 minutes


Teaching the visitors about the holiday stars is fun until a man who burns brighter than the sun enters Vixen’s orbit.

Vixen chooses life with astronomy, and she ends up as an educator and a researcher for a tiny observatory struggling to make ends meet.
When Vi arrives, she makes an impression and takes over most of the day-to-day operations, which is fine until an elf comes calling.
Xander has been sent to bring Vixen home, but he doesn’t know how he will go about convincing her that it is a good idea, until he asks her out and she tells him what she wants.
Magic and wonder are the hallmarks of Christmas, and these two have it in spades.

Violette smiled and addressed the assembled donors in the observatory. “We are very lucky to have gained this position, and it is your donations that keep us discovering new phenomenon.”
The crowd of donors clapped politely, and Dr. Violette Xenic inclined her head with a smile.
A deep voice boomed out from the rear of those assembled. “Dr. Xenic, what is the newest discovery from the Arbin Observatory?”
Violette smiled and grabbed her remote, dimming the lights and triggering the projectors. The auditorium lit up with a map of the stars. Just a tiny slice of the heavens and it was a view that Vi never got tired of looking at.
“The Cor-Tin-Xen meteor was discovered here, and it will be skidding close enough to fill the skies with bright sparks as we approach the holiday season. On December twenty-second, we will be in the full glory of the shower, and it was this observatory that found the incoming wonder.”
The same man moved forward and raised one very elegant brow. “Wonder? Glory? You are not speaking like a scientist, Doctor.”
“When you stop looking to the skies and feeling wonder, you may as well be in a coma. If this can’t touch you, nothing can.” She felt her cheeks heat.
The crowd chuckled at her, and the servers began to circulate through the star-speckled gala.
Violette set the projector and lights for a more comfortable level and started circulating with the donors. When she had decided that she wanted astronomy as her occupation, fundraising had not been part of her plan.
Unfortunately, she rapidly discovered that raising money was definitely part of being a researcher.
Violette took a glass of white wine and circulated with the guests examining the equipment they had paid for. She answered questions, identified constellations and generally toned down her knowledge to what could be described in two-minute sound bites.
“It seems that our funds are going to good use, Doctor. You certainly put me in my place.” The man who had spoken earlier appeared at her elbow.
Vi’s mind spun as she tried to place him, but it took an embarrassingly long time before his name came to mind. Colin Zeller.
“Well, Mr. Zeller, it was never my intention. I simply wished to share my wonder with the cosmos around us.” She inclined her head with a smile.
“That is abundantly clear. Do you put this much passion into everything you do?”
She focused on flirting and smiled. “Well, I do yoga so quickly that I did nine moves while I was talking to you without breaking a sweat.”
He chuckled. “Talented and quick witted. Add in the intellect and you are a surprise in that amazingly charming package.”
Colin shifted forward to slide his hand up her arm. Vi was about to back away when a strong, warm arm slid around her waist.
Whomever it was pressed a kiss to her cheek and whispered, “Sorry I missed your speech, sweetie.”
Vi glanced up at him, but could only see golden skin and dark-bronze hair. Her senses were spinning, and she pasted a bright smile on her face. “You have heard it all before.”
He gave her a squeeze, and Zeller’s hand fell away from her. “The wonder again?”
She chuckled and leaned against him. “All the time, every time.”

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