Northern Magic by Award-Winning Laura Strickland @LauraSt05038951 #ChristmasinJulyFete #giveaway #fa
Title: Northern Magic
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Fantasy Romance
When Santa asks his worker, Olja, to help make another elf’s Christmas wish come true, she believes the job calls for a love potion. Brewing it up will require her to travel all around the North Pole gathering unusual supplies, and to take a few dangerous risks. But she’s never failed Santa in the past and doesn’t intend to now.
Elf Runi’s in the business of guiding Santa’s sleigh and making other people’s wishes come true. This year he’s dared make a wish of his own, one from the heart. When he meets Olja, he hopes he’s found his forever. But it will take assistance from a reindeer, a generous helping of love and a whole lot of magic to make his wish come true. That is, if Olja and Runi can just outwit the three troublesome trolls who decide they’d make a fine winter’s snack.
They were supposed to work in shifts, aligning and massaging the massive board. Currently, four of them remained in the shed: Dagfinn had fallen asleep on the cot in the corner.
Runi experienced a surge of annoyance. He sincerely liked all his fellow routers, especially Erling. But at the moment he didn’t appreciate Dagfinn’s slacking off or, indeed, Erling’s interference.
Erling gazed at him with earnest green eyes. Considerably shorter than Runi, Erling had a stocky build for an elf and a broad, usually cheerful face.
“Seriously,” he said, “take a rest and come back to the board with fresh eyes. Sometimes that makes the snags and snarls leap out at you.”
Runi ignored the advice. “If there’s a stormover Russia on the Night, you do realize what that will mean to Europe.”
“I do.” Erling waved a hand. “But there could be a storm anywhere.”
“That’s what worries me.”
“The reindeer will get through. They can fly by instinct if they must.”
“Ja.” Runi needed to go visit the reindeer shed and speak with his favorite, Sieggi. That always reassured him.
Aarne, the fourth elf on duty, suddenly hurried to the door; Runi, hearing him speak to someone, looked round in annoyance. Another interruption.
An elf entered the shed, a female elf. The router shed being very much a male domain, that fact alone surprised Runi. And she came bearing a tray, bright mittens on her hands and a sprinkling of snow on her dark hair.
With a shock, Runi recognized her. Ja, he’d seen her at various events and admired her also, though at the moment he couldn’t recall her name, being abysmal with such details.
But what might she be doing here?
Aarne exclaimed happily. A moment later, Runi’s nose told him the truth. Cookies. Mrs. Claus’s cookies. No elf raised at the North Pole could ever mistake them.
“Cookies!” Erling exclaimed and abandoned both Runi and the board.
Runi remained where he was, watching the new arrival. How graceful she looked as she entered the room, and how sweetly her face lit when she smiled at Erling. A strange longing tugged at his heart and not just for a cookie.
Aarne and Erling, though, fell on the tray of delicacies ravenously. Even Dagfinn roused from his sleep and, a bit groggily, went to join them. Only Runi stayed where he was, half listening to their happy voices.
How comfortably they chatted and laughed together! He had no ease with conversation, especially when it came to speaking with beautiful elves such as this one. Sometimes he wished he had, but not now. This was a critical moment.
The scent of cookies approached, accompanied by another still more enticing, scent. The intruder smelled of frankincense—magic—and star shine, and female elf. For an instant, Runi’s head spun.
He turned and found himself gazing into her eyes.
All elves had green eyes—the mark of elvish blood. But the shades of green varied like the hues of a northern spring. Runi’s eyes were dark, like fir needles, almost hunter green in hue.
This young elf ’s eyes gleamed like emeralds, clear and fine. Runi’s heart skipped a beat and he got dizzy all over again. That, even before she smiled at him.
“Hello. I hope I’m not interrupting.”
She was, but at the moment Runi forgot to care.
She turned her eyes on the table and gasped. “So—this is the famed board.”
“Ja.” Somehow, Runi tore his gaze from her lovely face and directed it where she looked. The board glowed with lights where humans moved about, and vibrated with strings of magic.
“It’s huge. How do you ever keep track of everything?”
“Not easy,” he admitted, “because it’s constantly changing. People make new wishes. Or change their mind about previous ones. We can’t miss even one stop.”
That made her return her gaze to him. He felt the effect right up his spine. “That’s a tremendous responsibility.”
“I know it.”
“You must work very hard.”
He said nothing but let his gaze examine her face. Sweet, delicate lips as red as cherries; skin like new-fallen snow and those beautiful eyes set under brows like black wings.
Oh, Santa, his heart cried. I know I’ve already made my request. But if I might just be a bit more specific...
And that, he thought, was what made the board a nightmare. People altering their wishes and complicating his life.
But in this case, he just couldn’t help himself.
What I love most about the holiday season:
I love the magic of the holiday season, and the possibility that anything can come true with just a wish!
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Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Born and raised in Western New York, she’s pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Although she enjoys travel, she’s usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband. Author of numerous Historical and Contemporary Romances, she is the creator of the Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city.
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