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 man in charge of the dancers, she wonders if it’s a curse, instead.
For the Kwadran queen has secretly ordered idealistic nationalist Rafael Sekwa to produce a Christmas potlatch honoring Kwadra’s tribal ancestors—on same day and time as Holly’s Nutcracker. He’s determined to do so, no matter what, Holly finds her ambition melting in the face of her growing admiration for his artistry, his caring nature…and his body.
The first crack in their impasse comes when Rafe asks Holly to pretend to be his girlfriend to make another woman jealous. When the magic of Christmas conspires to make the playacting feel too real, Holly tries to back out of the concert. But is it too late for escape—and for her heart?