In Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker, Holly has been hired by the aliens’ king to conduct a performance of The Nutcracker on Christmas Even. Rafe, the sexy lead dancer has other ideas, which she learns when she watches the dancers rehearse.
The troupe dispersed. Rafe walked toward her, shaking his head. “Well, what do you think?”
From his raised brows and direct, probing eye contact, she guessed this was a test. Was she discerning enough to speak intelligently about what she’d seen, or would he dismiss her as just another philistine, worthy of nothing but a curl of the lip?
“Well, Holly Jansen?” The skeptical rise of his eyebrows warned that he expected her to fail his test. He draped his shirt around his neck, emphasizing his bare chest, which rose and fell as he recuperated from dancing.
His pecs and abs were distracting, so her voice wasn’t as firm as she wished. “It was interesting. The storytelling style is new to me, though, and a bit confusing.”
“Yes, we told a story. But what story?”
“Well, the part where the dancers lined up to give out boxes from the pile reminded me of Christmas—”
“– or maybe a potlatch.”
Potlatches were elaborate ceremonies in which a host invited guests and gave away presents. The parties, which could last days, involved singing, dancing, and telling stories — or at least they had in the old days. The ceremony established your social status — the more you gave away, the more prestige you gained.
Mostly, though, potlatches were the main part of the economy. Instead of accumulating wealth for its own sake, aboriginal people accumulated wealth in order to give it away. Holly thought that was admirable even if it was a kind of boasting. And although potlatches must’ve changed a lot by the other Earth’s twenty-third century, Holly could still recognize one.
Rafe tipped his head back and beamed toward the heavens. “Bravo, Holly, bravo.” He threw his arms around her and hugged.
Kwadrans, she learned, hugged exactly the same as enthusiastic Americans, though perhaps the hug lasted longer. She also learned that after an initial moment of resistance, she wanted to hug him back.
Alien Contact for a Christmas Nutcracker
The Nutcracker ballet … 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 native 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.
Which will she choose — love or her dreams?