Casey froze when the floorboard under his foot creaked.
“You could have just used magic you know,” Jackson said from behind him, causing Casey to jump at least five feet in the air.
Rounding on Jackson he snarled, “are you trying to give me a heart attack or something?”
Jackson gave him a thorough look up and down. “Or something,” he purred with a wink.
Casey shook his head. Since Jackson had mated him and they’d sorted out the mess with Vash’s old pack, Jackson had become a different vampire. He was attentive, romantic, great with the sifter kids they’d found and adopted. It was raking some getting used to.
Shaking himself to clear his thoughts Casey glowered at Jackson. “We need to get these Christmas presents under the tree before the kids catch us at it.”
“And I ask again, why aren’t you using magic?” Jackson seemed genuinely perplexed and Casey was about to answer when…
“Hey, are you two trying to wake the whole house up? Shifter hearing is better than even vampires.”
Casey let out another unmanly yelp and rounded on Vash with a growl that had Vash grinning like a loon.
“Do not creep up on me like that. The next one of you to do that is going to end up missing some essential anatomy, and remember being a witch I could do it without you even noticing.”
Both men grimaced and went silent. Casey led the way to the main room and stopped to gaze at their tree.
Jackson had come home with it at the beginning of December. He’d that their first Christmas as mates, and parents, needed to be celebrated properly.
The next day a box containing various decorations had arrived from the mainland and the next day came lights. The deliveries had continued until the main room was packed with various shaped boxes and bags.
Three days had been set aside and Jackson, Casey, Vash, Helen, Kelly, and Billy, had spent the entire time turning their home into a winter wonderland. Magic had been banned—much to Casey’s disgust—and they’d had a grand time.
The tree was beautiful with a mishmash of colorful ornaments hanging from it. The crowning glory was the Santa hat that had been placed with much care on the top.
The fireplace had been given a red and white makeover, complete with stocking hanging from nails waiting for Santa to come and fill them.
Casey moved slowly into the room and scanned around for the stuff he’d told the children to leave out. he found the mince pies and glass of milk sitting neatly on a table by the couch. Picking up the drink he wrinkled his nose and down it in one. The pies he passed off onto Vash and moved toward the fireplace. Working quietly, but quickly, he filled the stocking—including the one the three kids had insisted had to be there for the three adults.
After everything was set out to his satisfaction Casey led the way back to the bedroom. they were about halfway when the sound of feet stopped them in their tracks.
“Shhh,” came Kelly’s hoarse voice. “Quiet or you’ll wake the grownups.”
“Do you really think Santa ad been yet?” This came from Helen.
“I’m telling you I heard movement down there,” Billy put in.
The sound said the kids were getting nearer and there was nowhere to hide. Casey grabbed both Jackson and Vash and in a wink, they were all back in their bed. They hurridly pulled the covers up and waited.
From downstairs, they heard squeals peeling out. “Santa’s been. Santa’s been.” The pounding of feet on the stairs heralded the door to their room being slammed open.
Three bodies jumped on the bed, knocking the breath out of Casey’s lungs.
“You gotta get up. Santa’s been. Come on get up.” Helen chattered on as she—with the help of Kelly and Billy, who were equally excited—pulled them one by one from the bed.
Back downstairs again, Casey sat on the couch with his mates and watched the children tearing into their gifts. The community had been really generous and gifts had been pouring in.
Casey cringed when he heard squeaking and saw someone had got the kids a trumpet each. That person would be regretting it, very soon.
In short order the gifts had all been opened and Vash got the children to put all their paper in the trash.
As they sat down for breakfast Casey looked around the table. He had his mates and now children. Added to his brother and his growing family, his life felt complete. This was the best Christmas of his life, and he planned to make many more to come.