The Reindeer's St. Patrick's Surprise (Reindeer Holidays Book 2)

By: E A Price


“No,” said Harlan. At least, he hoped not.





Three

Temp paced up and down her bathroom. Nope, she was not going to look.

The six pregnancy tests she had taken rested on the bathroom sink, calling for her to look at them. To think, she could have a baby soon. She was almost hopping up and down with excitement. Except, she needed to calm down. It might not even work. She shouldn’t start picking out names just yet. Though she did like Juliet.

“No, no, no,” she muttered over and over.

She grabbed her phone, perusing the twenty things on her ‘to do’ list. Temp ran her own charity, providing assistance and financial aid to various children and families, such as those who were struggling to cover serious medical bills, and providing a place for children to go after school when parents were working. Running it meant there was always something to do, but it was very rewarding.

Temp checked her messages, ignored the daily filthy joke from Heather, and after reading them, added a few more urgent things to her list.

She nearly jumped as the timer dinged, and eagerly she snapped up the first test and… it was negative. She threw it away and then looked at tests two to six. They were all negative. Temp stared at test number six for a few beats and dejectedly dropped it into the trash.

“Damn it,” she muttered as she thoroughly washed her hands.

She wasn’t sure she would be able to afford more. She could dip into her savings, but she wanted to save that for when the baby was born. She couldn’t blow all her money getting the baby and then not be able to take care of him or her.

She had her monthly allowance from her grandparents’ estate, but apart from the amount she used for necessities, it all went into the charity, and she couldn’t allow herself to cut back on that.

Temp forced herself to smile at her reflection, trying to erase the disappointment she saw there.

“It’ll be okay, you will think of something,” she told herself without much conviction.

She grabbed her phone and set off for work.

*

“No, you look lovely in the green and the red – take both.”

Harlan paused outside the slightly ajar door of his uncle’s office. It was the end of the day, and his uncle’s assistant was long gone, but his uncle was still here burning the midnight oil. Or at least, burning the six o’ clock oil. His mother’s younger brother had been widowed at a young age, and had dedicated his life to the herd, working long hours and barely having a social life. Much like Branch before Mira pulled him out of his funk.

But what really surprised Harlan was his uncle’s soft, almost playful tone. Harlan couldn’t scent anyone in the room, so he had to be speaking to someone on the phone. He heard his uncle chuckle lowly. His mind boggled as he considered the possibilities as to who. His uncle had always been a gruff and sometimes hard reindeer. Harlan still regretted learning the facts of life from his uncle. No eight-year-old should have heard the intricacies of that with such bald, factual statements.

“No,” purred his uncle, “you know I do.”

Harlan could only take so much chuckling before he had to put a stop to it. He was all for having fun, but listening to his uncle being all flirty and giggly was akin to witnessing the cuddly side of Vlad the Impaler – weird on lots of levels.

Harlan strode into his uncle’s office – knocking was for the faint of heart. His uncle immediately growled, mumbled a quick goodbye into the phone and hung up.

“You wanted to see me?” said Harlan, giving his uncle a curious look.

Uncle Clay paled slightly on seeing Harlan and almost seemed guilty. He blustered to cover it up. “Ah, yes, I was wondering if you could attend a certain party on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Harlan frowned slightly. “A party?”

“You do like parties.”

Harlan gave him a deadpan look. “No kidding.”

Uncle Clay cleared his throat. “You remember Candace?”

“Your sister-in-law?”

His uncle had mated a human when he was twenty. She died of heart disease at twenty-four. He hadn’t mated again since. Harlan understood he was on friendly terms with her family.

A shadow covered his face for a moment before he quickly masked it with a blank look. “Yes, she’s getting married, and I will be out of the country for the engagement party.”

“You will?”

Was his uncle actually taking a holiday? Perhaps with the person on the other end of the phone.

Uncle Clay shrugged. “Just some business at one of our resorts in the Caribbean.” The herd owned resorts across the world. Harlan visited them as often as possible, though both Clay and Branch tended never to set foot out of Chicago.