“I warn you,” Thomas Raith drawled, lounging across Justine’s well-covered lap in the love seat of Harry’s borrowed apartment. “Mine’s pretty great.”
“Unless it’s The Force Awakens on a specially-made wizard-available DVD, I’m not buying it,” Harry said, arching an eyebrow at his brother. He shook the small, flat box in his hand, scowling as he tried to figure out what was inside.
“It’s still in theaters, man, give me a break. Even I have limitations. Besides, I’d never be so obvious.”
“Yes, we all know you’re the king of subtlety,” Murphy said around the mug of spiked eggnog.
“Absolutely. Quit stalling and open it, you wimp.”
“Alright, pretty boy.” He tore the wrapping paper off, then the small ribbon, and popped the slender box apart.
And promptly growled, “I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL END YOU.”
Thomas erupted into hysterical laughter at the look on his brother’s face. “Now you have no excuse!”
Murphy peeked over Harry’s shoulder and promptly glared at Thomas as her cheeks reddened. There was a sprig of mistletoe with a small card only had the word “Karrin” written on it. “You’re a dead man, Raith.”
“Too late,” Justine grinned. “Pucker up, Dresden.”
“You guys are ridiculous.”
“And subtle. Don’t forget subtle.”
Harry snapped the box closed and tossed it on the coffee table, crossing his arms. “Next present.”
“Aw, don’t be a Grinch about it. ‘Tis the season, Harry.”
“Can you go one day without meddling in my personal life?”
“Nope. Because I’m family. And Karrin’s been here long enough that I want her to be a part of ours. So, for your own good, kiss the woman.”
Harry reddened even further and glanced at Murphy warily. She rolled her eyes, but smiled gently and shrugged. “Tis the season.”
He leaned over and kissed her gently. It was a slow one that warmed him down to his toes, moreso than the apple cider he’d drank earlier. She offered him a coy little smile and pulled away. Harry blinked a couple times, coming out of the daze, and then glared at Thomas and Justine again.
“I’ll be happy when I get a second niece.”
“THAT’S IT YOU’RE DEAD.”