Monday, December 28, 2009

Astra Takes Out The Grinch

As my Christmas gift to you, in honor of Christmastide (the twelve days of Christmas), a free Astra Q Phelps Christmas story will be available online until January 6th. Enjoy!!!


In this short Christmas story, Astra has been conscripted to deal with a demon that’s been sliding down chimneys after Santa leaves, stealing toys, and beating up anyone who tries to stop him. The reportedly hairy, green demon wearing a red Santa suit and hat has been really hard to catch in previous years, but the Big Guy has grown increasingly tired of his antics and, this Christmas, has called out the big guns.

Angry at having to work on Christmas Eve, Astra reluctantly trudges out to deal with The Grinch on a bitterly cold night, carrying with her some really dark thoughts. But the spirit of love and giving soon touches Astra and she discovers she’s not as alone and unloved on a cold night as she might have thought. All she has to do is reach out and embrace her blessings. Not an easy thing for a cynical Tweener to do. But Astra Q Phelps is definitely up for the challenge.

Astra Takes Out The Grinch
(Beware the Double Entendre)

Bah Humbug.

Sometimes it just sucks being a demon slayer. Demons don’t take off for the Holidays. So that means I don’t get holidays off either.

It was Christmas Eve, and everybody but me was warmly ensconced in comfort and/or festivities.

I was standing in a snow bank.

I’d been asked by the Big Guy to capture a nasty green demon named The Grinch, and was currently standing outside some of the buildings where he was expected to strike.

I stomped my feet in an attempt to remove four inches of icy, wet snow and grimaced at the soggy ring around the calves of my pretty leather boots. I figured they were pretty much ruined. Swearing softly, I realized I should have worn my furry boots to the demon stakeout. Who knew I’d be standing around in snow up to my armpits waiting for a skinny green demon with bad fashion sense to show up and steal a bunch of toys? Somewhere in the back of my beady little brain I’d pictured myself quickly swooping in and scooping up the cranky green guy and flinging him into Celestial jail before you could say snicker doodle.

Occasionally I’m over-optimistic.

I scowled, in a truly bad humor. Who had I pissed off to be given Grinch duty? I’d saved the world from certain destruction for God sakes! Not just once but multiple times.
And now I was chasing down a dammed toy thief!

An icy breeze swung across the street and drove its frigid fingers between the thin layers of my clothing. I tugged on the lapels of my short, leather jacket, which was woefully inadequate for the climate, and tucked my frostbitten fingers under my armpits. Sighing, I found myself wishing I’d given more thought to prep for my current assignment.

The air shimmered beside me and Flick appeared, dressed in full guardian regalia. His face was split in a grin and he held a brightly wrapped package, tied with ribbon, in his hands.

“Hey Flick.”

“Hey, Astra.” He pushed the package toward me and I winced.

“Oh…um…I left your gift at home.”

Flick gave me an all-knowing, guardian angel type look that said, I know damn well you didn’t get me anything. “That’s okay, Astra. I was going to wait on this but I think you need it now.”

I took the package from him and tugged on the ribbon reluctantly. Inside the box was a pair of thick, fur-lined gloves of the softest leather. My eyes widened in surprised delight and my fingertips tingled in anticipation of the warmth they would bring. “Flick, you have no idea how much I need these right now!” I pulled them on and moaned with pleasure at the incredible softness and warmth. On impulse I leaned forward and placed a kiss on his cheek.

His pale face turned a deep red. “I’m glad you like them. I figured they’d come in handy tonight.”

I cocked my head at him, seeing a new side that my cynical outlook didn’t usually allow me to see. “That was very thoughtful.”

He shrugged and started to shimmer away. “ ‘Night, Astra.”

“ ‘Night, Flick.”

Smiling, I watched him disappear, my night having gotten a tiny bit better from his visit. A noise in the alleyway across the street brought me out of my warm thoughts and back to the brutal reality of my task. My gaze whipped toward the alley just in time to see a flash of red disappearing between the buildings.

I concentrated my power and shifted to the mouth of the alley, landing with my knives clutched firmly in my toasty fingers. I was happy to note that the gloves didn’t affect my grip at all.

A handsome, surprised face, over scored by white fur, turned in my direction. Sexy lips curved upward at my battle stance. “Hello, my queen.”

I slapped my knives back into their sheaths, feeling my previous good mood slipping away. “Don’t call me that, Dialle. What’s with the garb?”

He was wearing skin-tight, black leather pants that skimmed his long, muscular legs and yummy round posterior in a truly mouth watering way. Tall, red boots with white fur on the tops skimmed his lean calves in a loving embrace. His torso was covered in a form fitting red velvet shirt, which was laid open at the neck to showcase a truly astounding pair of pecs. He wore a fur trimmed Santa hat. Silky black hair fell in smooth waves from beneath the hat, to curl softly around a square chin with a dimple in the center.

I loved that dimple.

Dialle opened his arms and grinned widely at me. “I’m your Christmas Angel.”

I snorted in a less than ladylike way. The idea that I would have a leader of the Royal Devils as a Christmas Angel was just too funny. “You are many things, bud, but an angel you ain’t.”

Dialle stepped closer, bringing an unnatural and very welcome heat with him. He pulled me into his arms and I sighed, enjoying his scent and warmth. “That’s just because you bring out the devil in me, Astra.”

I looked up and fell into his black gaze. The passion swirling through the midnight spheres of his eyes made me shiver with need. I lifted onto my tippy toes and captured his soft lips in a hungry kiss. Dialle responded by pulling me closer and twining his hands in my hair.

He held me in the kiss and against the hard planes of his body until stars burst before my eyes. I could almost hear the blood singing through my veins, rushing southward, to more demanding spots. When Dialle broke the kiss I made a tiny sound of regret. For a heartbeat I stood where I was, lips still lifted expectantly and eyes closed.

Dialle kissed the end of my nose.


To read the rest of this story, visit my website at and download the pdf.

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