He’s enhanced; what woman could resist? #mfrwhooks

I’ve decided to change the name of the holiday novella I’ve been snippeting from. The new name:

Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker

Fitting the word Christmas into the title seems like a better idea, I hope, than Alien Contact for an Enhanced Nutcracker.

Holly Jansen has been saved from financial disaster by an offer from the King of Kwadra. Her new job is to conduct a performance of The Nutcracker ballet as a surprise Christmas present for his American-born wife. In this snippet, Holly continues her tour of the arts center, led by Lissette, the center’s manager.

After hearing the orchestra and learning about the television exposure, Holly was hoping the dancers were so magnificent they’d distract everyone from the orchestra. “I’m dying to see your dance troupe.”

“Good.” Lissette’s face went momentarily blank. Receiving an implant message? “Lord Rafael says he is ready to receive you now.”

Most talented people were astonishingly nice and down to earth, but some… Holly had worked with an unfortunate number of artists who ran their orchestras or dance troupes like fiefdoms. Rafael must be one of those. Still, at the salary she was making, she could get along with anyone for six weeks. As conductor, she was the dance master’s equal, so if she stood up for herself and didn’t quit, she should be able to handle him.

Unless Rafael was literal, not figurative, royalty. Kwadra’s social structure was derived from a hierarchical culture complete with not just King Tro, but dukes, duchesses, barons and the like. Holly’s nerves were almost numb, yet they clenched like an over-tightened violin string. “Tell me about Lord Rafael. Is he arrogant? Is it going to be a problem for him to work with a commoner like me? How do I address him? Is he a prince?”

Ripples of laughter answered her questions even better than Lissette’s headshake. “Oh my, this is going to be fun.”

Holly groaned. She couldn’t help it.

Lissette paused outside the dance studio doors. “No, do not worry. Rafe is talented, not arrogant. If anything, he is self-sacrificing, like what he did for his children.”

“What did he do for them?”

“That is not my story to tell. And then there was the wife he left behind on the Old Earth.”

“He left his wife behind?” That sounded bloody arrogant.

“That also is not my story to tell. And what he has done for his tribe — he is Haida, not Kwadran — it is magnificent.”

“What did he do for them? Never mind — it’s not your story to tell.”

“But this is.” Lissette leaned close. “For reasons unknown, Rafe wants to marry me and I’ve been unable to dissuade him.” She sighed. “No, actually I know the reason, and it is my own fault. I made the mistake of splashing the orca’s tail with him.”


“What is the American euphemism? I slept with him.” After a glance at the door, she leaned closer still and whispered, “You see, Rafe is enhanced. What woman could resist auditioning him?”

Be sure to check out the hooks by other great writers in the Book Hooks blog hop.

Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet . . . performed for and by aliens?

Holly Jansen, a young orchestra conductor down on her luck, is secretly hired by an alien king to conduct The Nutcracker on Kwadra Island as a Christmas present for his American wife. This big break seems like a Christmas miracle. But after she meets the lead dancer, she wonders if it’s a curse, instead . . .

. . . because the queen has secretly ordered Rafe Sekwa, dancer extraordinaire, to produce a potlatch ceremony honoring her husband’s ancestors — on the same day, time, and stage as The Nutcracker. The stubborn genius is determined to do so no matter what. Soon Holly finds her ambition melting in the face of her growing admiration — and love.



  1. personalizedmarketinginc · · Reply

    Hi Ed,

    Great excerpt! We have shared your posts on Excerpts and Promotions Facebook Page.


    1. As always, thanks!

  2. Genius idea for a Christmas story, Ed!

    1. It’s been percolating in my brain for a long time as I sit in the orchestra pit playing The Nutcracker — but until earlier this year, I didn’t have a story line to go with the concept.

  3. The meeting will be interesting and all those stories not tole intriguing

    1. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I am enjoying this story! Love the last line of the excerpt. 🙂

    1. Glad to hear it, Kate!

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