I’m so excited to be part of a seasonal charity anthology with all proceeds going to The Trevor Project.
Fifteen Authors – fifteen brand new stories – coming 1 November and available for three months only in this collection.
RJ Scott – Single Dad Christmas
It would be a Christmas miracle if he loved me back.
Annabeth Albert – Must Be Santa
Tis the season for Operation Christmas Papa!
Joanna Chambers – The First Snow of Winter
Christmas Eve, 1814: a maimed war hero and the childhood friend he almost kissed five years earlier are trapped together by the first snow of winter.
Eli Easton – Twelve Days of UPS
What happens when your Secret Santa is less intriguing than the delivery man who brings the gifts?
Suki Fleet – Sometimes, Always
When Echo’s Christmas Eve surprise for Peri goes a little sideways, it turns into a night they’ll both remember for the best reasons, for always.
Lane Hayes – Out For The Holidays
Good Things Happen When You’re Out for the Holidays!
Annabelle Jacobs – Driving Home For Christmas
A road trip, snowstorm, and only one big bed at the Inn…
Alex Jane – Homestead for the Holidays
Alone in a cabin in snowy Nebraska for Christmas
Amber Kell – A Santa for Trin
Everyone needs a bit of Christmas magic.
Garrett Leigh – No Place Like Home
As long as they’re together, love always wins
V.L. Locey – Dressed In Holiday Style
Can the spirit of Christmas save this budding love affair?
Clare London – Five Gold Blings
Where Christmas sparkle leads two lonely hearts.
Posy Roberts – Sojourn with You
This year, a place to stay is the best Christmas gift Sawyer could ask for.
Felice Stevens – The Gift of Forever
What do you get the man who has everything?
AE Via – An Unworthy Gift
BLURB and EXCERPT from Five Gold Blings
BLURB: Gray isn’t enjoying December. The weather’s grim, his job’s a struggle, and his useless boyfriend dumped him months ago. He’s a walking Mr Christmas Grump. And then he delivers a parcel to Alec, a bright, sparkly, over-earnest vlogger who’s going through his own hard times. Over the course of five days, accompanied by an irritating but relentlessly cheerful pop song, Gray and Alec share secrets, kisses, regrets, triumphs, some truly awful fashion—and maybe a love that will last far beyond the new year.
The radio presenter gleefully announced ‘It’s the coldest day of the year—so far! Let’s brace ourselves for near-Arctic temperatures in the middle of suburban London. Maybe there’ll be snow this Christmas, and won’t that be fun?’
Bloody hysterical, I thought sarcastically as I backed my van into the narrow access road behind the local shops. The gearbox crunched and the engine clunked to a stop. The heater ticked on for a few beats, maybe still trying valiantly to warm up the freezing gusts it had been sending to my feet all day. The radio continued warbling the opening verse of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” sung by this year’s TV talent show winner, then sputtered to silence. Great. Now that wasn’t working either. My vehicle wasn’t so much an old model as a spin off from Noah’s Ark. Okay, it had done me and my local delivery business proud for many years, but this winter could be its death knell.
I struggled out of the van, wrapped already in a sweater and a thick coat. The edge of the door scraped against the damp wall, adding another dent to its history, and I nearly went arse over tit on the slippery paving. I suppose gently falling snowflakes should be romantic for Christmas, now only those twelve days away. But the snow so rarely settles in central London: it turns to slush, then treacherous ice underfoot.
I hauled the last remaining box from the back of the van and turned to face the metal fire escape, leading to the apartment above the charity shop. Final delivery of the day. Deep breath, Gray. You can make it. I’d been to the shop before, but they’d recently hired out the upstairs rooms to supplement their income, and these were parcels for the tenant, Mr A Partridge. Hrmph. I put my foot on the lowest step of the staircase, testing the frost that was already settling. I wondered if Mr Partridge’s business had insurance for when I went flying.
Then sighed to myself. When did I get to be such a miserable ‘old’ git, at the age of only twenty-five? Mr Grumpy Grinch, that was me. With less than two weeks to go until the celebration of tinsel, baubles, and a hairy, red-suited guy with his own line in deliveries, my only dream for Christmas was a work-free huddle on my sofa with hot chocolate, fleecy pyjamas, and a few comforting evenings of gay porn.
I used to love Christmas: all the cheesy charm, the glitter, the eternally-looped pop songs, even the rampant commercialism—which I managed to avoid most years, because I’m always so strapped for cash. Last year had been a blast: I’d made mulled wine, got tangled in holly-decorated sticky tape, bought a pair of Santa hats at the market stall, even eaten Brussel sprouts…
Ah well. Happier, though bittersweet, times.
I climbed the stairs as carefully as I could—thank God someone had salted them—until I could safely put down the parcel while I knocked on the door. It wasn’t a heavy box, but large and difficult to handle. As the door opened, I had to peer over the top of it to see the customer.
“Hello?” The guy in the doorway was short, very slim, with spiky bleached hair that draped across his forehead into a cute curl at his temple, and eyes so wide he looked like the proverbial deer in headlights. A cute mouth framed a startled O, and in his ear…
Wow. It was maybe just a trick of the light, but a diamond stud winked like the most precious gem in a jeweller’s window. Nestled in a soft-looking, very biteable-looking lobe. I like bling on a man, you know? I have a couple of plain gold rings in each ear, but this… this was magical. The twinkling fascinated me, like it was casting its spell on me—
And then I registered what he was wearing.
Or not. In complete disregard for the wind whistling from behind me into the building with its freezing death ray in hand, he was wearing a pair of luridly-patterned swim shorts that hung down to his knees. And only the shorts. There was a very delicious moment where I gazed at his smooth, bare chest, then down to well-shaped calves and bare feet. I thought briefly: he doesn’t look like a Mr Partridge at all, like I’d imagined an old man with beady eyes and a puffed belly. Then I thought: Oh, but he’s pretty. So, so pretty, it all but took my breath away. And finally: Wonder if he’s gay, with hair like that, and doesn’t he look fabulous in eyeliner!
“Delivery?” I muttered, still rapt.
“Oh, thank God!” he cried. He took his hand away from his waist where he was clutching at the fabric of the shorts, reached for the box—and the shorts fell to his ankles.
You remember I said all I was looking for at Christmas was hot chocolate and gay porn? Well, it looked like Santa had been half-listening. A beautiful young man was less than two feet away from me—and stark, bollock naked.