BLURB: A collection of Clare London stories full of sweet, sexy romance, and boys seeking friendship, fun and inspiration.
A GOOD YEAR
It’s Joe and Duncan’s first Christmas as a married couple, and there are bound to be tensions, right? Joe’s a man of few words, unlike Duncan, but he loves his guy and is happy to let Duncan talk as much as he needs. He’s even resigned to the occasional argument. But when Duncan wakes him in the middle of the night, Joe hopes he has something more interesting to share than what gifts to buy.
Andy Jackson always knew that class 2C’s help in preparing for the annual Christmas Fair would be a mixed blessing. Then he’s paired up on the Lucky Dip with Greg, the man who dumped him but now can’t keep away, the pupils are either lecturing him on his lovelife or losing bladder control, and no one’s fixed the broken handle on the storage room. It may all be one whoopee cushion too far for him.
Seb and Jamie argue over most things, even in the season of presumed good will. When a totally unsuitable “Secret Santa” present for each of them causes even more tension, the hostility threatens to ruin the pleasant Christmas meal they had planned with friends. But there are strange forces at work tonight and both of them seem to be acting out of character. They find they’re working together in the kitchen, sharing confidences, and admitting to feelings they never dared before – and cooking up something rather more exciting than food!
Drew hates the Christmas season – the noise, the crowds, the commercialism, the enforced jollity. But on one notable bus journey, his friend Joe finally speaks out against Drew’s grumpiness and, for Drew, things will never be the same again!
Caleb and Owen are all but living together, but one couldn’t call it a harmonious time. Owen likes things to be his way, and Caleb just likes to argue. Two alphas, crazy for each other, but reluctant to give ground. When a silly challenge over how a late Christmas card is addressed turns into something more personal, passion is the only thing left to distract them.
IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS
In the small hours of the morning, on opposite sides of town, Jake and Matty each seek a shoulder to cry on after a fierce argument. But when their long-suffering listeners have had enough, it’s time for the guys to realize where they’ve gone wrong.
EXCERPT from First Footing:
Owen knew that mischievous look meant trouble. He’d seen it, glinting in darkness, like that of a prowling wild animal. He’d seen it, full of naked hunger, making him feel like an early supper. He’d seen it just before he was tempted into uncontrollable laughter; he’d seen it promise—and deliver—hours of unimaginable and immeasurable pleasure. His body shuddered involuntarily. A hell of a lot of his actions were involuntary, nowadays. Ever since Caleb all but moved in with him.
Caleb was frowning now. “You know, Owen sounds like a name for one of those bear cubs.”
Owen snapped back. “Better than Caleb. That sounds like one of Santa’s elves.”
“If you believed in Santa.”
“Which I don’t, of course. It’s a fable, a pagan myth, and I’m too old and wise for such crap.”
Caleb tilted his head thoughtfully, and gazed up as if he sought an answer to life itself from the kitchen ceiling. His throat stretched, the tendons strong in his long neck. “Caleb and Owen,” he said, musingly. “Or Owen and Caleb. Hmmm. Of course, they do say, ‘age before beauty’.”
Provocative bastard. Owen was only two years older than Caleb. He tore his gaze away from Caleb’s throat and let out a snarl. There was no other word for the guttural sound that emerged. “Actually, I believe they say ‘cast pearls before swine’.”
Caleb’s mouth twitched. He obviously didn’t think Owen would notice the way he’d snuck an additional finger on to the spine of the card, trying for extra purchase. “Then they are sadly deluded. The phrase is ‘dust before the broom’, surely.” He tugged.
Owen was ready for him. He’d placed his foot nearer to Caleb’s, surreptitiously balancing himself for any further attack. He tightened his grip and tugged back in his direction. Caleb’s body jerked and the card creased in protest along one corner. Owen used Caleb’s momentary surprise to push his knee between his lover’s thighs, anchoring him against the counter.
“You’re perverting this, Caleb. This… discussion.”
Owen immediately realised he should never have used the “p” word. Caleb raised an eyebrow and licked his lips. It was his favourite “pervert” look, and Owen felt the muscles in his buttocks clench as if he were preparing for flight or flight. He wanted to move his feet, but not to help him fight for a bloody Christmas card. He found he wanted to move them much nearer his companion. Actually, they wanted to be bare, and tucked possessively around Caleb’s ankles, supporting his own body as he crouched above Caleb, who would be lying beneath him, arching up and moaning…
“Discussion, you say?” Caleb hissed into Owen’s ear.
Owen jerked back, startled. Bloody hell, they were now inches from each other, clutching at nothing more than a rectangular piece of card. Glitter sparkled on his palms and he could see more of it stuck to Caleb’s forearm. How ludicrous must they look? He stared into the other man’s black pupils, felt his breath catch. A strand of Caleb’s hair had fallen forward over his ear and teased against his cheek. Owen glanced at the curl, knowing how soft it’d feel. He imagined it brushing across his belly, trailing slowly and smoothly across his nude, hot skin, down towards his spread thighs. His flesh felt uncomfortable in his clothing, despite his casual jeans and loose shirt. When he looked up from the errant lock of hair, he saw Caleb’s cheeks were flushed. There was the flicker of strong emotion in his eyes—a slim tongue of flame in his irises.
“Discussion. Yes, Matheson.” Owen cleared his rather painfully tight throat. “You’re losing the point, so you use distraction. I am not so—”
“—easily distracted?” Caleb moved his free hand on the counter top and his thumb brushed at the hairs on the back of Owen’s hand. They sprang up at his touch like reeds under a sudden breeze.
Owen cursed the fact he couldn’t control his smallest reactions. “No. I’m not. You should learn to choose your battles.”
“They also say possession is nine tenths of the law.” Caleb sighed as if resigned, his eyes following the path of his thumb, watching it stroke along the pale-blue veins under Owen’s skin. He ran it apparently aimlessly along the dark-skinned forearm, up towards the elbow. Owen’s shirt was short sleeved, and his bare skin goose bumped underneath the caress. Caleb licked his lips again, as if he wanted to lick gently at the million little bumps. All of them.
But he didn’t relax the grip of his other hand, clamped to the Christmas card.