My Gifts At Christmas (Bewitched and Bewildered #13) by Alanea Alder


PROLOGUE





Present Day

Noctem Falls





Magnus mulled over what he had learned from Kendrick and Meryn as he and Sebastian stepped through the portal to return to Noctem Falls. Normally he'd welcome the chance to travel and visit, but, for the first time in his long years, he wanted to return home as quickly as possible. He did regret that he hadn't a chance to say goodbye to little Meryn, but according to her mate and squire she needed her sleep more than a goodbye.

"Will it ever end?" Sebastian asked, out of nowhere.

Magnus knew exactly what he was referring to. The changes in their world was happening so fast that they barely had time to let their feet touch the floor before the rug was pulled, once again from under their feet.

"I know that it seems ominous now, but I still would not trade the changes in Noctem Falls for any degree of normalcy."

Sebastian nodded. "I was actually looking forward to returning," he turned to face him. "How strange is that?"

Magnus chuckled. "I thought the exact same thing as we stepped through." He was about to say more when the door opened and Vivi, his precious godsdaughter strode in. "I'm gonna kill him!" she announced, as she slammed the door.

Magnus felt his jaw tighten as his fangs descended. If another damn escort hurt his Vivi he'd make what Aiden did look like a bedtime story. "Tell me who to kill darling," he said, in soothing tones, leading her over to the sofa.

"My mate!"

And, just like that, his fangs rescinded. "What on earth did he do?"

"I will go put your favorite tea on. I found a caffeine-free variety last week, you can drink all you want." Sebastian immediately retreated to his domain.

Vivi closed her eyes and sat back. "He said he's going to restrict the number of hours I can work in the lab."

Magnus thought that made a lot of sense considering she was pregnant, but dare not admit to it. "No!" he exclaimed, putting a sense of shock in his voice.

Vivi's eyes opened and she took his hand. "I knew you'd understand Maggie."

Magnus felt his heart swell. Since rediscovering their tie to one another they had both been going out of their way to establish new bonds. Her faith and trust in him was priceless.

He squeezed her hand. "I am sure between the two of us, we can come up with a sound argument that will sway his train of thought. Now, how many hours are you looking to spend there?" he asked, casually.

"Twelve would be ideal, but I'm willing to cut that back to ten," she admitted.

Magnus blinked. No wonder Etain was putting his foot down. He had to get Vivi to realize she couldn't put twelve hours in, not in her condition.

He nodded. "With so much at stake with the families in Éire Danu, that is understandable. Will you be unable to determine matches if more time goes by?"

"No, the samples are being stored so that degradation will be nearly at a standstill."

"That is excellent to hear. While we are on the topic, would an assistant help? I have had many younger vampires step forward with medical degrees looking to help you in your lab."

He noticed that she hesitated in answering. If he had to guess, getting an assistant was probably something Etain had suggested.

Vivi frowned. "Depending on who it is, it could take me longer to train them to my way of doing things, than if I were to just do it myself."

"True, but once your little one arrives, you would not have to worry about the work piling up. Your lab would be in safe hands, especially if you start training them now on something as simple as DNA comparisons, correct?"

She nodded slowly. "That is a wonderful idea. I could observe them doing something routine like that before trusting them with my own research." She looked up at him. "Do you think you and Beth could handle the interviews? The things I would want to know, can only be observed in practice. So, if they have the credentials and both you and Beth are satisfied, I will take them on."

Magnus beamed at her. "I will absolutely do this for you my dearest. You have made the league of waiting scientists very happy knowing that there is now a chance to work with you." He thought she was adorable when she blushed. "But, let us get back to the important task at hand."

He heard the kitchen door open and Sebastian came through holding a tray. "I added some of those shortbread cookies you loved so much from your last visit," he informed Vivi, who brightened considerably.