A short Christmas-themed bonus scene told from Althea’s POV.
Note: There may be spoilers if you haven’t read the full Pride trilogy, plus book 1 in the Wrath trilogy.
(Est. reading time: 20m)
Harry grinned as she unwrapped a pair of cosy socks in red and gold paper. Reggie glanced at them with disinterest before zoning back into the magic sand set he had received.
I beamed, reaching into my gift bag for another present. Taking a cursory peek at the tag, I ripped off the ornamental string. Inside was a miniature glass jar of Graceburn Truffle Cheese from Georgia, Ambrosia, and Galen. The label described it as a creamy feta-like soft cheese marinated in rapeseed oil and black winter truffle. My mouth watered. I scrunched up the ball of wrapping paper and tucked it into a black bag resting amid the Christmas chaos.
My heart expanded as I looked around. Our Christmas tree was bedecked in silver and blue baubles with an intricate white gold star at the top, standing proudly next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Harry had found a TV channel that simulated a fire and the crackling logs and blazing embers created a lovely cosy atmosphere. Through the windows, a deep blanket of exquisitely white snow was visible beneath the street lamps, the only source of light at six o’clock in the morning.
Libby and Reggie had run through to our bedroom twenty minutes ago, bouncing on the balls of their feet to find out whether Santa Claus had visited. Harry and I had forced ourselves out of bed with a mutual promise of coffee, and right into matching red flannel pyjamas and elf slippers with bells. Harry had arched her eyebrow at me when I’d brought them home from the shops a few weeks ago, but seeing her in them now was the most adorable thing I’d seen all year.
I suppressed a giggle and watched as Libby enthusiastically tore at the paper of a large box. She threw the tag aside without a care in the world, and I reached over for it. Love from Aunt Bella X.
Peering over Libby’s shoulder, I realised it was a magic set, thankfully still with the cellophane on. If the cellophane had disappeared, I’d have bet that half the pieces would have been missing. I rolled my eyes when Libby squealed, her eyes lighting up. Trust Greed to get my daughter something that teaches her sleight of hand.
I picked up the discarded paper Libby had flung aside and squashed it into the black bag. There was still a considerable quantity of presents under the tree and we’d require more than one black bag to dispose of the rubbish. We hadn’t even started removing the packaging from most of the toys and gadgets yet. I grimaced at the prospect of those puny little plastic pouches and cable ties holding everything in place.
“Another coffee?” I asked, standing up.
“Please, and stronger than the last one,” came Harry’s yawning reply. She was watching Reggie press numerous buttons on a fire engine through the cardboard, the blue lights reflecting off the windows. “Do you want that one open, champ?”
“Yes!” Reggie cheered, passing Harry the box. She chuckled, reaching behind her for a pair of scissors, while I retreated to gather two more cups of pure caffeine. We would definitely need them today.
When I returned, Harry was sprawled on her stomach, pointing out different features of the fire engine while Reggie looked on with excitement. He pressed the buttons again and a siren wailed throughout the room that was much too shrill for this early in the morning.
“Thanks, pet,” Harry said, sitting up and accepting her enormous white mug with a Pride flag on the side. She was gentle as she took it, wrapping both hands around it and stretching out her legs. Her elf slippers jingled.
At a soft knock on the door, Harry grinned from ear to ear. “Come in!” she called, looking around as Rue entered.
I’d persuaded him to wear matching pyjamas and elf slippers as well. His cheeks darkened when Harry burst out laughing. Rue scowled at me, and I just shrugged, the corner of my mouth twitching.
“Coffee?” Harry asked.
Rue nodded. He was twenty-one years old now and had gained a fondness for the morning elixir. “Aye, cheers Mum.”
Harry stifled her radiant smile and disappeared through to the kitchen. I shuffled up the sofa to make room for him. He carried three massive gift bags crammed full of more presents. Definitely going to need more than two black bags.
“Rue!” Libby jumped up and ran to her big brother. Rue lifted her up over his head, swinging her around while she cackled. Reggie didn’t even look up from his fire engine, working to crush one of the firefighters into the front seat while winching the crane attached to the back.
Harry returned and handed Rue the mug. “I’ll put some Christmas songs on.” She fiddled with her phone until she located a festive playlist. She bumped up the volume and set the phone on a shelf before sitting back on the floor.
Libby picked up her favourite blanket after Rue put her down, and walked to Harry, who signalled her onto her lap. Libby snuggled into Harry’s chest, and Harry wrapped her arms around her, planting a kiss on top of her head.
“Want to help open Mum’s presents?” Harry asked, and Libby nodded. “OK. How about this one?”
Harry pulled a large box towards her and glanced at the label before she stuck it back under the tree and chose another. She handed the second one to Libby and peered around, mouthing, “To both of us from Madison,” at me.
I snickered. Knowing Maddy’s nature, I doubted her gift would be suitable for children. While Libby was busy unwrapping the present in her lap, Harry slid Maddy’s over to me. I hid it behind me, ignoring Rue’s curious expression.
“Ooooh, look!” Libby said, holding up a book. Harry took it from her, squinting to read the title. “Princess of Thermopylae,” she stated, turning the book in her hands. She scanned the blurb and her eyes lit up. “Oh, this is the book that Lexi was named after, with the Greek princess,” She flipped through the first few pages of the paperback. “It’s from Emilia. I’ve been looking forward to reading this one.”
I took another sip of coffee and smacked my lips together, resting the hot mug on my lap. Reggie abandoned the fire engine on its side in the middle of the floor. He stretched to pluck out another present from under the tree and was about to tear it open before I interrupted, “Read the tag first, Reg. Who’s it for?”
He grumbled and huffed, briefly glancing at the label before shrugging and throwing the present aside, reaching for another.
Harry chuckled. She didn’t look at the label either before handing it to me with a wink.
I smiled and placed my mug on the side table. Taking the present, I read, “To A, love H,” on the little silver tag.
I carefully unwrapped the box and tucked the wrapping paper into the black bag before opening a long navy blue jewellery box. Inside was a white gold necklace with the lips of my Clava Sexus swinging from the chain. I beamed, slipped the chain out, and passed it to Rue, before turning around and swiping the hair from my neck.
Rue secured the clasp, and I stood to admire it in the small mirror on the wall, running my fingertips around the edge. The lips were inlaid with tiny rose gold gems that matched my engagement ring. I leaned down to peck Harry on the lips. “It’s beautiful. Thank you, toots. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Reggie had found another of his presents among the pile and was staring open-mouthed at the doctor’s surgery in his hands, complete with two surgeons, an operating table, and various medical tools. He had been ecstatic about the game, ‘Operation,’ already this morning. It wouldn’t be much of a coincidence if he grew up to be a doctor.
“Here,” Harry said, pulling me from my thoughts. She nudged a generous box towards Rue and his eyes expanded.
“Of course,” Harry retorted, rearranging Libby in her lap. The excitement must have been too much for Libby already. She sat quietly, snuggling into her blanket at her mother’s chest.
Rue picked up the box and placed it on his lap. He glanced between us before he said, “Thank you!”
We smirked at each other as Rue opened the present. When the last scrap of wrapping paper fell off, his mouth gaped. “Virtual reality?”
To see a grown man let out what I could only describe as ‘the excited screech of a five year old girl’ made me and Harry explode into hysterics.
“This is amazing!” He hugged the box to his chest. “Thank you so much!”
“I want a shot when you’ve got it set up,” Harry declared, and Rue nodded, busting open the box. “Want to open another one for Mum, Libby?” she added, placing another kiss to her daughter’s hair.
When all the presents had been unwrapped and many cups of coffee consumed, Rue had the virtual reality headset ready to go. It had been a challenge to clear space in the middle of the packed living room, but we eventually sat back on the sofa to watch Rue try out his first game.
Between Rue and Harry, they worked out how to cast the virtual reality to the TV so instead of a crackling fireplace, the screen now showed us what Rue could see, which appeared to be red and blue boxes flying towards him.
Reggie and Libby stared, watching Rue shout and duck and slice through the air every few seconds. Libby was yawning into her blanket on Harry’s lap again, while Reggie kept jumping up excitedly and I had to grab him before he accidentally got wiped out by one of Rue’s innocent backhands.
Rue fist-pumped the air when he passed the first level, and Reggie cheered. As Rue prepared for the next level, there was another knock on the door.
The guest didn’t wait before they came in, and we smiled when Emilia and Maddy entered. Emilia held Lexi, her one-year-old daughter, in her arms. Lexi giggled when her eyes settled on Rue, dancing around in his own little world.
We shuffled up the sofa and they sat down, narrowly avoiding a few errant swings from Rue. “How’s things?” Emilia asked with a broad smile. “Thank you for our presents, by the way. These fit perfectly.” She raised her feet to flex her ankles, showing off her brand new white Nike trainers.
“Your foot size hasn’t changed in over two and a half thousand years, Emilia,” Harry chortled, guzzling the rest of her coffee. “But I’m glad you like them. Will you watch the twins for a second while we get ready to go to Georgia’s?”
I grabbed Madison’s present from behind me, giving her a cheeky side-eye which she looked away from shyly, before following Harry through to the bedroom.
Christmas breakfast at Georgia’s was invariably an excellent affair where we tucked in to a delicious spread created by the wonderful Gluttony and her daughter, Ambrosia. We always dressed smartly for the celebration, knowing we would be home and in our pyjamas again within a few hours. This year, Maddy looked sensational in an elegant red midi skirt and a white cashmere top, and Emilia looked sharp in a simple pair of navy blue trousers and a short-sleeved shirt, her hair slicked back. The white trainers should have looked odd, but somehow, she pulled them off admirably.
Shouts and cheers emanated from the living room while Harry and I got ready. When she was dressed in a smart pair of black trousers and a black shirt, I helped her with her festive-themed tie. It was another delight I’d found while shopping for the pyjamas. Harry tried not to roll her eyes while I weaved the red fabric adorned with green holly into a delicate knot.
When I stepped back to admire my handiwork, Harry stepped forward and placed her hands softly on my waist. She stroked her thumbs over the fabric of my strapless black dress, the hem decorated in white outlines of several beautiful deer with proud antlers rising amongst bare trees. Her gaze roamed my exposed shoulders and she smiled when she adjusted the necklace that she’d bought me.
Before I could say anything, her lips met mine and I melted. With a deep exhale, she wrapped her arms around my back and pulled me towards her. I placed my arms around her neck, sighing against her mouth.
For such a gentle and loving kiss, I was panting when she pulled away an inch and rested her forehead against mine. We were silent for a few moments, just enjoying each other’s presence. Harry brushed aside a few strands of my long blonde hair.
“You’re so beautiful, sweetheart,” she whispered.
“As are you, my darling.” I placed my finger underneath her chin and kissed her once more. As open as we were with everyone, those terms of endearment were sacred. No one else had heard us utter those words besides us. It was one tiny thing that we had all to ourselves.
“Shall we open Madison’s present?” I asked.
I grabbed the present from the nightstand where I’d set it earlier and handed it to her. The shape of the box itself gave nothing away about its contents. The tasteful and elegant gold wrapping and string gave the impression that Maddy had put quite a lot of thought into this gift. Harry was methodical as she untied the string and pulled off the paper.
Both of our mouths gaped when the gift was revealed.
Set against a gorgeous deep purple satin backdrop was the most gorgeous crystal whisky decanter I’d ever seen. Harry’s eyes lit up as she studied the rectangular bottle with a stopper in the shape of her lion’s head symbol. Delicate etchings in the glass decorated the sides.
Harry gulped as she carefully pulled it out. “Wow.”
“That’s stunning,” I said breathlessly. I glanced in the box at the seven rocks glasses sitting plush against the purple fabric, each one etched with one of our Sins and symbols. My own was in the top corner, the word “Lust” written in elegant calligraphy, the symbol I had tattooed on the back of my neck glinting gold underneath.
Harry was still in shock, turning the decanter in her hands. “Madison really went all out for this, didn’t she?” she said in awe. “I love it.”
“There’s something else.” I reached into the box for a piece of paper that was rolled into a scroll and held with matching gold string. I handed it to Harry and she took it, laying the decanter down on the bed. When she unrolled the paper, she tried her best to hide the tears that bloomed in her eyes.
“What is it, toots?”
She swiped at her eyes with the cuff of her shirt and cleared her throat. “She’s had stars named after the kids,” she beamed, handing me the paper. I scanned over it, my heart swelling. Madison had indeed had three stars in the Cassiopeia constellation named for Ruairidh, Regulus, and Libidyne, their coordinates listed on the registration certificate. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts Madison had given either of us in our lifetimes.
Harry chuckled, swiping more aggressively at her cheeks as her tears fell unabated. I placed the scroll down and pulled her into a hug.
When we returned to the living room, we pounced on Madison and pulled her into a bear hug. She grinned from ear to ear, though she seemed almost hesitant to believe how much we truly loved her present. She blushed furiously when Harry kissed her cheek.
Rue was dripping in sweat and had sat on the sofa to give Emilia a turn in virtual reality. Emilia was swinging violently at those multicoloured boxes. Harry had to arch out of reach of an enthusiastic swing before she got clobbered around the head. Emilia had a harder level than Rue, and she was gritting her teeth and grunting as she struggled to keep up with the flying targets.
As soon as we managed to get the kids dressed, we herded everyone out the door. When we reached Georgia’s restaurant on the fourth floor, my stomach was rumbling impatiently.
The room looked incredible, decorated with pretty white tablecloths, festive centrepieces, and crackers. One large table set for twelve stood in the centre, and we moved towards it, greeting Bella and Riley who had already arrived.
The fact that Sloth had turned up early was a Christmas miracle.
Reggie and Libby ran into Bella’s outstretched arms, and Rue gave Riley a hug. Riley looked cute in her tight jeans and Christmas jumper, while Bella looked as eccentric as always, sporting a graceful skirt and knee-high boots with a fun Christmas T-shirt tucked in.
“Merry Christmas, everyone,” Georgia said when she approached, and we all chorused “Merry Christmas,” in return. She arranged the first platter down in the centre of the table.
When the feast was displayed, we swooned in delight before diving in. The fry-up had everything you could wish for, from link and Lorne sausages, to black pudding, beans, potato scones, and eggs, fried, scrambled, and boiled. Plates of warm toast sat surrounded by butter and home-made jams, and there was even a fresh fruit salad bowl next to a steaming stack of hot pancakes and maple syrup.
Harry and I helped the twins slice up their preferred cuisine while Rue and Emilia chatted about the virtual reality game. Madison sat with Lexi on her lap, spooning little portions of pancake and strawberry into her mouth.
Madison had taken to parenting like a duckling to water. She never once grumbled about being woken up in the middle of the night, nor having to leave a party early because Lexi was tired, nor having to change her into fresh clothes for the umpteenth time that day after Lexi spilled something down herself.
After the biggest breakfast I’d had all year, I sat back with my hands on my belly and yawned. Stuffed to the brim, I knew I’d need a nap before dinner tonight, but there was something else I had in mind first. I smiled as I lightly fingered the necklace that Harry had given me.
Reggie and Libby were already jumping up and down, eager to get back to their pile of toys. I stood up and stretched before kneeling down in front of them.
“We’re going to help Aunt Georgia clean up and we’ll come and get you soon, OK? Stay with Aunt Emilia and Aunt Maddy. They’ll take you home and you can show Lexi your new toys.”
“OK,” Reggie said, turning around and looking up at his Aunt Emilia with pleading green eyes. “Can we have chocolate?”
Emilia arched her eyebrow and gave me a sly glance. I nodded, and Emilia swooped down and lifted Reggie up onto her shoulders. “Absolutely!”
“YES!” Reggie roared as if this was the best day of his life.
Harry and I chatted with Georgia and Ambrosia as we helped clear and reset the table for the dinner service later that day. Georgia’s turkey and home-made cranberry sauce was a thing of legend, and the dinner service was fully booked.
When we finished, I entwined my fingers through Harry’s as we walked towards the lift. With a soft smile, she took me in her arms after the doors sealed closed with a gentle hiss.
The doors opened on the sixth floor and Harry frowned. “Um. We live upstairs, in case you’ve forgotten.” She laughed. “How many Buck’s Fizz did you have?”
I rolled my eyes. “It’s time for your present.”
Harry’s eyes lit up. I fumbled around in my bra for the key to my Clava Sexus that I’d hidden away earlier. With a soft click, the playroom opened before us. I switched a couple of lights on, locked the door, and then dragged Harry towards a secluded chamber at the back of the room. I had spent ages getting it ready yesterday and I was eager to see her face.
When I unlocked the chamber, though, I held a hand up to stop Harry from following me inside. “Wait here,” I murmured, pecking her on the cheek. I had one more preparation to make.
A few minutes later, I opened the door with a flourish. Harry was leaning back against the wall opposite the door, her Christmas tie loose around her shoulders and one foot on the wall. Her jaw dropped when she looked up.
I wore a sexy red and white Santa dress with shockingly high red heels. I grinned and twirled, the bells at the bust jingling merrily. I glanced up at the mistletoe hanging from the doorframe with a smirk.
“Wow,” she gasped. Her eyes roamed my body, from my exposed collarbone dusted with white glitter, to the vivid red polish on my fingernails. “Well, Mrs Claus,” she purred, kicking off the wall, “I must have been nice this year.” She grabbed my waist and captured my lips in a deep kiss full of promise, walking me backwards. Kicking the door closed behind her, it took her a moment before she noticed the rest of the room.
The space had been transformed into a winter wonderland. Like a snow globe, dry snow blew in a warm breeze, swirling through the air. Red and green fairy lights were strung up everywhere, entwined with shiny tinsel. Festive tunes hummed quietly from the speakers, and a classic red Christmas stocking with white fur hung at the end of the bed.
“Open it,” I said excitedly.
Harry moaned with want when she pulled out an elegant curved glass dildo in the shape of a candy cane. The white and red striped implement was cold to the touch, and Harry bit her bottom lip as she studied it. She also pulled out a tube of candy cane flavoured lubricant from the stocking.
“You must have found my letter to Santa,” she whispered with a growl.
I grinned, licking my lips as I sensually unbuttoned her shirt, throwing the tie aside. She stood stoic in all her glorious confidence, her eyes darkening. She followed every movement, watching my nails intently, the sharpness drawing a hiss from her when I purposefully snagged the swell of her breast.
She remained motionless while I stripped her, but my breath hitched when I lowered her trousers. It seemed she’d had a similar thought in mind because she wore a handsome pair of red satin boxers that I’d never seen before. She wiggled her eyebrows, twisting slightly, the fairy lights accentuating each muscle in her taut abdomen.
I moved towards her, gliding my palms up her bare chest, tweaking her hardening nipples on the way. She watched, her pupils blown, small pieces of dry snow whirling around us and frosting her long brown hair.
Wrapping my arms around her neck, I lifted onto my tiptoes to kiss her. Her lips were soft, the remnants of maple syrup from breakfast lingering on her tongue. A tender moan rumbled in her throat and her hands tightened around my back. The bells at my bust jingled again.
“Lie down, toots,” I whispered.
Harry hopped backwards onto the immense bed. Shuffling up, she nestled her head into the fat pillows, the corner of her mouth twitching as I slithered up to straddle her.
“Shouldn’t I be sitting on your lap, Mrs Claus?” she teased, raising her neck for another kiss. “There’s a lot more I want that I didn’t put in my letter.”
“Tell me later.” I winked and lay on top of her, allowing her tongue into my mouth. I pressed my hips between her thighs until she acquiesced, spreading them wider. The satin boxers were incredibly sexy and I almost didn’t want to remove them, but I finally dragged myself away. Sliding down her body, I pressed light kisses to her throat, her breastbone, and her belly while I slipped my fingers underneath the waistband and tugged them off.
I exhaled a harsh breath, gazing upon her naked splendour. Her shaven pussy was already glistening, her labia slick with arousal. With a groan of desire, I licked the length of her, causing her to gasp.
“Fuck,” she muttered, her eyes rolling back in her head. Her strong thighs trembled when I licked again, savouring the musky taste of my lover.
With as much restraint as I could muster, I pulled back, my chest heaving. I blew lightly over her throbbing clit, knowing I was causing every nerve-ending within to flare. Harry swallowed hard, her fingertips playing with my hair between her legs.
“Oh!” She got a fright when I trickled the cool lube over her folds, not bothering to warm it up first. I chuckled at her startled exclamation. She tugged on my hair in warning. “Play nice, Mrs Claus.”
“Always.” I scratched my sharp fingernails down her rib cage, eliciting a deeper groan. Thin lines appeared on her flushed skin, sprinkled with snow. She grit her teeth, but said nothing else, an impish glint in her eye.
Settling back between her legs, I kissed over her midriff, her mons, and grazed her wet lips with warm breath. My mouth watered at the taste of candy cane, the sweetness blending exquisitely with hers. Without taking my attention away from her pulsing clitoris, engorged and pink, I wrapped my fingers around the glass dildo and drew it towards me.
Harry watched me between her legs. A growl echoed around the room when I slid the dildo into my mouth to warm it up. For several seconds, she couldn’t remove her gaze from my wet lips moving up and down the toy.
When I was ready, I guided her hands to her knees. Panting in dire need already, she complied, pulling towards her shoulders and opening her hips. Her mouth opened wide when I settled again, swirling my tongue through her wetness and arranging the smooth rounded tip at her entrance.
Harry’s eyes rolled back in her head again, but she forced them open, staring longingly down at me while I slowly—painfully, agonisingly, excruciatingly slowly—filled her. Her hands shook and she rearranged her grip on her knees, arching her back as the dildo slid deeper.
I began a leisurely rhythm and dipped my head. The sugary candy cane coated my tongue as I flicked her clit, pushing and pulling the dildo in perfect synchronicity. Her toes curled and her chest lifted towards the ceiling, her nipples even harder now. In, out. In, out.
“Faster, please,” she begged breathlessly, her nails leaving indents in the sensitive skin behind her knees.
“All good things come to those who wait,” I whispered, savouring the surge of her juices at my sultry words. “You have been very good this year, and you can be good for a little longer.” In, out.
A pleasurable moan was her only response, her hips rolling.
I was mesmerised by the muscles clenching in her abdomen. Her thighs shuddered, her tits bouncing as she rocked more urgently, a translucent sheen of sweat dampening the dry snow that had landed on her chest. She angled her head back, her eyes pinched shut.
“Al-Althea,” she groaned.
“What, toots?” I nursed her swollen clit between my lips, the glass dildo shimmering. In, out. “What do you need?”
“Faster,” she repeated, followed by a deeper groan than before. Her breastbone lifted towards the ceiling again, her breasts a gorgeous outline in the faint light. I smiled, sucking gently.
“Please, I’ll do anything,” she whimpered. Her teeth ground together, her forehead creased, and her collarbone flushed a rich red. Her hips rocked again, her legs quivering.
“I’ll think about it,” I purred.
Before she had drawn her next breath, I began to fuck her furiously. Pounding the dildo, my hand was a blur in the dim light, the wet slap of her dripping pussy music to my ears.
Harry screamed. She pulled her knees right back to her shoulders and her head and neck lifted from the pillow, her chin on her chest. Her abdomen was so tight, the muscles clenching in her thighs as her entire body convulsed, every nerve-ending erupting. The fire in my belly raged as I watched her come, the swirling snow and twinkling fairy lights emphasising every angle as her body contorted. She rode her release hard.
With an exhausted moan, she eventually slumped back, releasing her legs. Her entire body shook and she buried her face in her hands, panting wildly.
“Fucking hell,” she croaked.
I kissed the inside of her thighs. “Merry Christmas, toots.”