Laura Browning 

Teacher. Editor. Author.

Santa's Helper

Excerpt

“I thought you might like a cup of coffee.”

Jack looked down for what seemed like forever to a pair of bright blue-green eyes and curly red hair sticking out from beneath…an elf’s hat? He blinked. Was he delusional? Had the cold gotten to him to the point where he was imagining elves?

Her smile disappeared as she bit her lip. “I noticed you when I came in to work. I thought you might be cold if you were still out here. And we—we had some leftover coffee.”

He took the cup from her. “Thanks.”

She shifted from one foot to the other. “Right. It’s black. I hope that’s how you like it.”

“It is.” Jack knew he was making her nervous, but he couldn’t resist. He remembered her now. She was the woman in the tailored overcoat who’d been so cheap…tossing in just a buck. And here she was dressed like an elf.

She hadn’t entered the mall to shop; she’d arrived for work. The woman in the tailored camel hair coat was working as an elf. For whatever bizarre reason, Jack found that intriguing.

She nodded and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. A small shiver shook her slender frame beneath the costume.

“You’ll freeze out here. You should go in unless elves have some sort of magical protection.”

This time she blushed, as if only now realizing she still wore her elf suit, and nodded her head… Her hands fluttered, and he noticed how fine-boned she was. “I should go inside.”

She turned to hurry away from him.

“Wait!” She stopped and glanced over her shoulder. His gut clenched with sudden desire. “What’s your name?”

She blinked. “Merry.”

“Mary?”

“Merry—like Merry Christmas.”