CHRISTMAS GOES CAMO - A Magical Christmas Anthology
'Melting the Ice' by Desiree holt
When an elf and an alpha male collide at the frozen South Pole, will the heat they generate melt the ice?
Sonia Snowflake, one of Santa's elves and warriors, hates her new assignment - go to the South Pole with a team of three and scout a location for a new toy factory. It's bad enough that it's one week before Christmas, but they also have to dodge an angry Cupid who wants to downgrade Christmas, and three alpha military males who are also there on a mission.
Sonia's grumbling lasts only until the very alpha Jaguar Martin is literally blown into her tent. The explosive chemistry between the two is so intense they can't keep their hands off each other. Their situation is complicated even more by the drug, Thermavan, that Jaguar and his team are testing. Created to maintain body temperature at a steady 98.7, it has a side effect of maintaining constant sexual arousal.
How will this effect their respective missions, and what happens when the interlude comes to an end?
Other stories include 'Trapped by Ice' by Allie Standifer and 'Tempered by Ice' by Brenna Zinn.
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Copyright © Desiree Holt, Allie Standifer, Brenna Zinn 2010
All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Total-E-Bound.
Excerpt From: Christmas Goes Camo
Trapped by Ice by Allie Standifer
White ground beneath his Mickey’s, white flakes in front of his face—white, white, white as far as the eye could see. Teague Jester despised the soft flaky substance. Give him a warm beach and hot sun any day. Too bad his orders demanded he freeze his ass off in the middle of an Antarctic blizzard. Five minutes or five hours ago, time had stopped meaning anything once the winter storm hit. He’d lost communication with his two other team members. All were military trained, shot full of the same experimental drug developed by Doctor Axel Cole. Thermavan maintained the body’s temperature at ninety-eight point seven, or at least that’s what the good doctor hoped. They were all guinea pigs for the drug. According to Axel, the only side affect so far—a heightened sex drive.
While he forced his extreme cold weather white boots, otherwise known as Mickey’s, through the calf-deep snow, Teague could admit, at least to himself, he should have paid more attention to Axel’s warnings. Scoffing at the man’s cautious nature, Teague had ignored the lecture. No man with any sense of self-preservation would get a hard-on in the middle of an ice cube. The tenting of his thermal underwear, and Arctic parka and pants, made a liar out of him. His cock wanted to fuck. Even with the risk of frostbite to his favourite body part, the stupid organ wanted out. He looked down, and frowned. “Not going to happen, buddy. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.” Great, he’d sunk so low he was talking to his penis.
Teague needed to get his bearings, set up a temporary shelter and keep trying to reach his two other team members. How the hell experienced, combat-trained military soldiers managed to get separated, he’d never understand. The parachute drop had been routine, as had the repacking of equipment and communications testing. One minute they walked as a cohesive group in standard formation, and the next Teague stood alone in a nightmare of white. His throat mic had stopped working, the GPS attached to his wrist bouncing the needle so much he couldn’t tell shit. Grateful the medication seemed to work at least half the time, Teague forced himself to stop. Snow blindness meant he could be two steps from the frozen ocean and not know it until the icy water closed over his head. Time to play it smart.
* * * *
The snowball in her hand glowed bright red before Kendil Jolly sent it crashing to the ground.
“I’m a B.E.L.L.,” she cried out to the mass of swirling storm. “I’ve been promoted to head of the South Station toy production. Where does it say I have to spy on soldiers too stupid to get out of the snow?”
Granted, B.E.L.L.S. did stand for Battle Elves trained in Logic warfare and Land defence Scouts. Kendil was trained to fight other magical beings, not human warriors. Those creatures were unpredictable and lacked any magical ability. Give her a good, old-fashioned fight with the Easter Bunny or Cupid, and she’d be there. Fighting mortals…that felt too much like taking candy canes from hairy, overgrown, not-so-smart babies.
“Watch the humans, Kendil. Keep them away from any possible sites, Kendil.” She kicked the snow and stopped to admire her new footwear. Pink, faux-leather boots with their four-inch heels looked sexy against the white background. They matched her pink, fur-trimmed cat suit perfectly. Too bad the only things out here to admire her stunning fashion sense were the penguins and humans. After dropping her perfectly shod foot, Kendil continued her mutterings. “Don’t let them die, Kendil. Don’t lead them onto a loose iceberg, Kendil.” Accidently set a human adrift once in three hundred years and no one lets you forget it.
A snowball formed in front of her face, but Kendil didn’t want to hear any more lectures. She wanted to scout for the new Toyland location, keep the big babies from falling into the chilly water, then get home before the reindeer games started. She had big money riding on Dasher this year.
With a quick swipe of her hand, Kendil dissolved the communication ball. She kicked her way through the soft, fluffy powder and wondered what to do with any humans she found. Since the ice flow idea had been vetoed, maybe she could put them on the cliffside, warn them not to move, finish up her real work then get them back to their base.
Really, what good were humans, anyway? Granted, some of the more creative ones had invented the Wii, which she loved. Currently, she held rock goddess title among all the elves. Except now that she was stuck caring for and babysitting the humans, those tricky flower elves would do anything to take the title away from her.
So humans had their uses, but sticking their fragile, big butts on the South Pole made her temper rise. Only humans could be so asinine and full of themselves to think they’d make it out alive And for a training exercise of all things.
What would the goofy beings think of next?
If Kendil had her way, she’d dump them all back where they came from, terrified of the South Pole and everything related to it.
Tempered by Ice by Brenna Zinn
Could anything else with this mission go wrong?
After delays in having orders signed, bad weather at his home base in Germany, a plane breakdown in Argentina, and now this, the answer had better the hell be no.
Colonel Axel Cole pushed back the heavy pack he’d been trying to open and stood, giving his long legs a much-needed stretch. Though the middle of summer in the South Pole, the temperature still dipped well below zero, and his gloved fingers were too numb and clumsy to be of any use with the pack’s clips. Despite the sub-freezing temperature, he’d have to bare his hands to the cold if he was ever going to get into his pack and find his GPS.
Damned Navy pilots! Because of their miscalculation, he’d missed his jump target by almost a mile. Axel took a step, feeling the crunch of the ice-encrusted landscape then sinking into the softer snow below, making the going frustratingly slow. At forty-three, he could run a mile on uneven terrain with a full pack in less than fourteen minutes without breaking a sweat. But this…this was ridiculous. Luckily, the winds had been mild enough to make the jump, though they were steadily growing stronger. Regardless, to find his supply crate before rendezvousing with the rest of the soldiers here to train, he’d have to get a move on.
He slipped the thermal glove off his right hand and immediately felt the biting sting of freezing winds blowing across the icy tundra. With little hesitation, he bent over his pack, unclipped the clasps, and located the interior pocket with the hand-held GPS device—a quick flick of a switch and the small apparatus’ screen lit up all blues and reds. After a moment, he located his present position and entered the coordinates of the supply box. Only one-point-two miles due west. He was in business.
While the pack was open, he checked the pocket containing the small glass phials of Thermavan and the case of syringes. His sigh of relief came out as a frozen puff. The experimental drug’s containers were undamaged, and hopefully, the rest of the supply in the crate was safe as well. At least the real reason for his being in this God-awful cold place wasn’t giving him any problems. Not yet. Though once he started his first experiment on himself that might not be the case. But repeating the same fiasco from six months ago simply wasn’t an option. His sanity couldn’t take another dose of that kind of weirdness. With only a few weeks until his retirement from the Army, his sanity was something he’d definitely need.
“Colonel Cole, do you copy?”
The transmission crackled over Axel’s hand-held radio. He retrieved the radio from his parka and responded. “Just barely. That you, Jaguar?”
“Ten-four, Colonel. A storm came out of nowhere. Near whiteout conditions. Highly recommend you find shelter immediately, sir.”
Axel steeled himself, his years of training refusing to allow panic to enter his thought process. He was out in the middle of the South Pole with only the parka on his back for warmth and the limited provisions in his pack. Getting caught out in a storm could mean his death, but not if he could help it. “Copy that, Jaguar. Is everyone there safe?”
The radio sputtered. “Uncertain, Colonel.” Static nearly drowned out Jaguar’s words. “The other members of the crew are scattered. I’ve located a tent…” Then the signal was lost.
“Jaguar?” Axel pounded the side of his radio with the palm of his freezing hand. “Jaguar?”
Axel searched the skies. Directly west, a fast-moving wall of grey blotted out the ground and the heavens above. His flesh twitched with an uneasy feeling of déjà vu. This was too much like the North Pole disaster.
With as much speed as he could muster, Axel removed one of the phials of Thermavan, ripped open the hypodermic needle’s protective plastic, and thrust the needle into the small glass container. He was skipping too many protocols to consider this first injection as a part of his experiment, but at the moment, saving his butt was more important than the tests. Just how helpful the drug would be was another matter. If the changes he’d made in the last few months didn’t work, the drug might still be unstable. The heat Thermavan provided may only last for short bursts, coming and going like the hot flashes of a menopausal woman. Then there was the side effect. Walking around the South Pole in a storm with a hard-on and nothing to relieve his condition wouldn’t exactly be pleasant.
The syringe full, Axel tapped the side of the glass to remove any excess air, then jabbed the needle into his leg through his clothing. No time to undress and inject himself in the arm. Not today.
Melting the Ice by Desiree Holt
The huge sleigh swept across the sky, B.E.L.L.S. jingling with the swaying motion as wind currents buffeted it this way and that. The reindeer pranced on the frozen air, their breath making little tiny puffs like cotton clouds. The driver, in his heavy green outfit that covered him from head to toe including a warm cap that came down over his ears, hummed Christmas carols to himself. His passenger huddled into her seat, a green and red plaid blanket wrapped around her as she cursed under her breath.
Why me? Why did I have to get the call? This is just stupid, stupid, stupid.
It’d been bad enough when that fat old man in the red suit had announced he was building a second headquarters and toy factory at the South Pole. The South Pole! Hadn’t anyone told him it was colder down there than at the North Pole? Apparently he didn’t care. Now, he was sending the three of them off one week before Christmas! They should all be busy with the last-minute preparations instead of off on this wild-ass idea.
“Buckle up,” he’d told the three B.E.L.L.S. he’d chosen when he’d called them in for a meeting. “We’ve outgrown our current facilities, as I’m sure you’re all aware. With this new age of electronic toys, we are just flat out of room to work.”
“Why can’t we just build more buildings up here?” someone had whined.
He’d turned his famous glare on the elf who’d dared to speak out. “Because I’ve decided we need two completely separate locations. Did you want to argue with me?” He waited but they were all silent. “All right, then. As I was saying, it’s time to expand our horizons. I trust, as you explore the area, that among the three of you, someone will find the perfect spot to build our new location.”
It was bad enough that they couldn’t search as a group. He’d quite deliberately given each of them a separate section of the South Pole to explore. Alone. He didn’t even let them land together. Oh, not. Not him. The team of reindeer, the fastest in the herd, had dropped them in three different locations with all their gear. The only additional assistance they got was the ‘helpful hint’ that they could use their magic powers when they needed to.
She hadn’t even been scheduled to go on this stupid trip to begin with. She’d had other assignments as the Important Night approached. But then she’d suddenly been appointed head of the new southern toy production factory and put in charge of the trip. As if she didn’t have enough to do already.
“You have to go,” the old man had told her. “You’re one of the B.E.L.L.S.”
“Aren’t you the Battle Elves trained in Logic warfare and Land defence Scouts?” He rubbed his red nose. “Who else would I send? Word has arrived that Cupid, with his Red Army of Vinions, is on the warpath again.”
“Somehow that deranged archer has learned of our expansion plans,” Mrs. Red Suit had told them. “We understand he’s marshalling his forces and his magic to stop us.”
“That’s right.” The big man sighed. “He’s still doing his damndest to make Valentine’s Day bigger than Christmas. So you see? You’re the logical choice for many reasons.”
The other members of the team had also been replaced by B.E.L.L.S., so they’d be heading down south as a well-armed and well-trained team of elf warriors. And the B.E.L.L.S. had orders to thwart Cupid and get on with business.
But that was only part of it. Preparations had barely been underway for the trip when they learned the U.S. military planned to parachute three of its best and brightest trained war machines on some kind of secret, ten-day survival mission right where the B.E.L.L.S would be scouting. Apparently, some dipshit thought the South Pole would be the perfect place to do whatever it was they were supposed to be doing.
So now, in addition to everything else, they had to watch out for these stupid humans and make sure they didn’t cause trouble. The B.E.L.L.S. were told to foil the military any way they could. After all, toy manufacturers and military bases didn’t exactly mix. How can you have a toy factory going full tilt in the middle of dangerous war games?
Why me? What did I ever do to deserve this miserable honour?
The only bright spot, if you could call it that, was the fact that, at the South Pole, they were still in the middle of the six months of sunlight rather than the six months of darkness. Battling winds that could blow an elf straight back to Toyland was bad enough without doing it in the pitch dark.
“Almost there,” the driver called back to her. “Better buckle up for landing.”
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