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Return to the world of the Court of the Yuletide Fae and learn more about the Winter Queen!
His warmth will melt the coldest winter heart…
Kris Kringle was content to live a quiet life in his village, making toys for the children and raising reindeer for the townsfolk. One magical night, he encounters a beautiful Fae woman whose power reveals her to be the Winter Queen.
The Winter Queen’s curiosity leads her to disguise herself as a mortal woman. Posing as Kris Kringle’s new wife, she and Kris join in the village’s Solstice celebration. The more she experiences of the humans and their celebrations, the more intrigued she becomes.
Kris has never met a woman like the beautiful Fae queen. Despite the children’s tales, he knows there is nothing frozen about the Winter Queen’s heart. She captivates him. The more he learns about her, the more he wants to give his heart to her. Can the love of a mortal man win the heart of the Queen of the Winter Court? Find out in this captivating twist of The Winter Queen!
(Here, the Winter Queen is posing as Mrs. Kringle!)
By the time they reached the boys standing by the fire, Mrs. Kringle had worked her magic on Kris’s empty bag. Each step had seen it grow bulkier, until it seemed full to the brim. The boys snickered as she approached, but as she regarded them cooly, their mirth lessened, being replaced with fidgeting.
“Now, that’s better,” she said. “I have something for you.”
They glanced at each other, as if unsure of how to react. She held up the bag to the closest boy.
“Go on,” she said.
He stepped forward and reached into the bag. His eyes widened as he pulled out a hat and gloves spun from a dark blue wool, wrapped neatly in a matching scarf. Smiling at his peers, he quickly bobbed his head toward her and said, “Thank you,” before backing away and inspecting them more closely.
One by one, she went down the line of adolescents, each reaching into the bag and pulling out a bundle of warm clothing. If she had thought of it, she would have made sure there were coats within as well. She would simply have to remain as ‘Mrs. Kringle’ for long enough to furnish them all with coats in a way that didn’t raise their suspicion. The laws among the Fae regarding concealing their presence from mortals were strict and bound all the Courts. She would need to add plenty of time to her stay to provide the same for the younger children.
Finally, there was only one boy left—the first she’d noticed. He stood in a corner formed by the hearth, as if that could hide him from her view. Undaunted, she strode up to him and held out the bag. When he didn’t reach inside, she shook it, frowning imperiously.
“My Uncle provides for me,” he said.
“Your Uncle?” She glanced around, noting that Kris stood a few feet behind her. “Is he here?”
The boy nodded toward a table surrounded by men who were laughing loudly and ignoring most of the others nearby. Through her magic, she could sense that they had pulled more from the barrels of mead than the plates that eve.
“And how does he provide for you?” she asked.
“Gives me clothes. Food. A place to sleep by the fire.”
Looking at his garb, the clothes hanging off his slight frame, she didn’t doubt they were castoffs from the older man. And judging by his thinness, food was not shared in plenty. Sleeping by the fire… She couldn’t bring herself to think on it without a cold fury gusting up inside of her.
Tamping it down, she said, “Never mind him.”
Once more, she shook the bag, holding it closer to him. He rolled his eyes, but then reached inside, a look of hope softening his features. They darkened, hardening once more to the scowl that had greeted her.
“It’s empty,” he said.
“Ridiculous.” She shook the bag again.
“It’s okay.” He straightened a bit, as if trying to show her he could stand on his own. All it did was reveal how gaunt he was. “I’m fine as I am.”
The feeling from earlier tightened around her heart, so much less pleasant than what she felt when she looked at Kris or felt his touch. Dark and… cold. For the first time ever, a shiver passed through her. She shook her head, then stepped closer to the child.
“You have to believe there’s something in here for you,” she said in a hushed tone. “All children deserve kindness. All children deserve to be cared for. You have to believe that as well. I believe in you. You must believe in yourself. Try again.”
“That isn’t how the world works,” he said, his tone as jaded as if he were a dozen years older.
She glanced over her shoulder at the Uncle carousing with others rather than spending this sacred evening with his kin. Turning back to the boy, she stepped closer still.
“Usually, perhaps.” She pushed a bit of her magic closer to the surface of her skin, letting it sparkle like sunlight on freshly fallen snow. “But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it did just this once?”
His mouth dropped opened, and his eyes widened. She saw no fear in him, though. Only the wonder that was supposed to fill little boys’ eyes. He was too young yet to have hardened so.
With a soft smile, she held up the bag once more. “Try again.”