Flash Fic Friday

**Okay, yes, I know it’s actually Saturday but sometimes life…and my own brain…gets in the way. So, let’s visit with Deacon and Rory from A Timely Gift, out now. (buy links in the books tab at the top) This takes place immediately following the end of the book. From Deacon’s POV. Enjoy!**

The warmth from the fire, and the spiked hot chocolate, had lulled me into a pleasant lassitude. I’d intended to go home once I dropped Rory off, but after our kisses and conversation, I hadn’t wanted to leave. Rory was curled up against me. He had his ereader in his lap, and when I’d asked earlier what he was reading, he’d told me it was a Christmas romance. I was flicking through channels, never settling too long on one thing. I kept the volume low so as not to disturb him. It was nice, just being together, with nothing but the tree, fire, and TV for illumination.

Rory heaved a sigh, then pushed himself up. I quirked an eyebrow at him, and he grinned.

“I’m just gonna settle Apollo for the evening. It’s late, and he needs to go to bed.”

I nodded and watched as he walked over to the perch in the corner of the room. Apollo immediately stepped up onto Rory’s hand, then made kissy noises. Rory chuckled, and I saw him kiss Apollo’s beak as he turned and headed out of the room.

He wasn’t gone long, but in the time he was out of the room, I started to overthink things. Was I supposed to leave now? Stay another night? I would love to stay, but I wasn’t sure if I should ask. I definitely didn’t want to assume. We were going out to dinner tomorrow night, and maybe Rory expected us to be apart till then.

 

“Are you staying?”

I startled at the sound of Rory’s low voice, and jerked my gaze to his. He bit his lip, then let it go to take a deep breath. From where I was, in the low light, I couldn’t really make out his expression.

“That’s up to you,” I answered cautiously.

Rory took a step toward me, then froze. His hand moved, and it took me a second to realize he was playing with the hem of his sweater.

“I think it’s up to you,” he whispered.

My mind raced, trying to figure out what he wanted from me. But then I realized that was stupid. If I wanted to know what he wanted, then I just needed to ask.

“Come here, baby.”

Rory grinned and jogged across the room, and when I opened my arms, he sank down against me and snuggled in close. I took a deep breath, and smiled at the scent of him. Body wash and chocolate and just a hint of wood smoke. He smelled amazing.

“I’d love to stay, if that’s what you want. But if it’s too much, too soon, just tell me. We’re meeting for dinner tomorrow, right?”

He nodded, and huffed out a breath before burrowing closer. After a minute, he tilted his head back to stare up at me.

“You said I was your Christmas present right?”

“Yes. I meant it too.”

Rory’s grin turned wicked, and he licked his lips. “Well. It’s still Christmas for another–” he pulled out his pocket watch and checked the time. “–two hours. And you have yet to unwrap me.”

My blood rushed south, and my breathing picked up. Good God. Was there anything sexier than Rory, turned on and wanting me? I didn’t think so.

“You’re right. Merry Christmas, Rory.” I bent and kissed him, hard and consuming, until he was panting for breath. Then I gave him a nudge so he’d get up. “Get in the bedroom. I want to unwrap my present.”

He laughed and ran, stripping off his sweater as he went. I followed.

This really was the best Christmas ever.

Advertisements

Flash Fic Friday

**Hearts and Hazelnuts is available now! (You can find all the buy links at the bottom of this post) Let’s visit with Beckett and Jordan as they get ready for their first Christmas together. This takes place after the last chapter of the book, but before the epilogue. Enjoy!**

The living room smelled like fresh cut pine and peppermint tea. Beckett couldn’t help the small smile that played on his lips as he set down yet another box. He’d been searching through the attic for the past several hours, locating his mother’s Christmas decorations. The tree was ready, he had a playlist of carols queued up, and now all he needed was his boyfriend.

Beck’s smile grew a little at the thought. He and Jordan hadn’t seen each other for three weeks, when Jordan drove back down to Medford the Sunday after Thanksgiving. They’d texted frequently and Facetimed every night. But it wasn’t enough. Beck knew they had many, many more months of this. Years, maybe. No, that thought was too depressing. This was their situation for now, and since he was finally confident in Jordan’s feelings, Beck could handle it.  He would handle it. He didn’t have a choice.

But tonight, after so many days, Beck would finally get his hands on Jordan again. Be able to hold him and kiss him, and really see Jordan’s eyes when they talked. They’d be able to have their conversation while snuggling on the couch. Beck had been looking forward to that since Jordan left. And now he only had to wait…

Beck’s smile turned into a frown when he glanced at the clock. It was later than he thought. Jordan should have been there nearly an hour ago. Refusing to panic or worry, Beck crossed the room and woke up his phone. No missed calls or texts. No messages of any kind. Beck reminded himself again not to worry, but a niggle crept in anyway. The weather was clear, and the traffic report free of construction or accidents. There should be nothing holding up Jordan’s progress. And if he got stuck at work, he should have let Beck know.

Right?

Okay, so Beck was definitely starting to worry. Things between them were new, and it had only been a few weeks since they’d defined their relationship and talked about he long haul. Had Jordan changed his mind about coming up for the weekend? Beck should have offered to go down to him. Things were slow enough now at the farm that he could have left Cory in charge and made the trip. But Jordan had seemed excited about coming back. Beck knew how much he loved the farm. Plus he could visit with his brother as well. Jordan had been the one to suggest he come up in the first place.

The sound of a diesel engine broke through Beck’s thoughts, and he didn’t realize how panicked he’d gotten until it all released. Dropping his phone on the couch, he hurried to the door, and threw it open just as Jordan jumped down from his truck. Jordan looked up, and his face broke into a wide smile. Beck had a moment to wish he still had his shoes on, so he could run out to greet Jordan, but even as the thought entered his brain, Jordan jogged across the expanse and engulfed Beck in a tight hug.

Beck tucked his head down against Jordan’s throat and inhaled the scent uniquely Jordan. A hint of citrus and engine grease overlaid the scent of warm male skin.

Jordan pulled away after a long moment, and practically shoved Beck through the door.

“Get inside. It’s freezing out here.”

Beck chuckled as Jordan took off his coat and boots. The moment he was done, Beck threw himself back into Jordan’s arms and kissed him hard, putting all the waiting and longing and worry and love he had into it. Jordan gasped, and Beck took advantage to press his tongue inside.

Eventually they separated, because breathing was necessary, and Jordan grinned up at Beck. “I’m sorry I’m late. I left a little bit later than I planned, and I thought I could make up time, but then it was one thing after another. By the time I realized I was going to be significantly late, I was on the road and I don’t have the hands free thing in my truck.”

Beck was getting the man a Bluetooth earpiece for Christmas. “I wasn’t worried.”

Jordan snorted out a laugh. “Liar.” He stretched up and kissed Beck again. “It smells great in here.”

“The tree. And the tea. You hungry, babe?”

Jordan shook his head. “I grabbed some food on my way out of town. Ate while I drove.”

Beck sighed and refrained from pointing out how dangerous that could be. One moment’s inattention and…nope. He wasn’t going to go there. Instead, he took Jordan’s hand and led him toward the living room. All the boxes were laid out, and Beck was itching to get started. It could wait until tomorrow, but there was something about decorating his home with the man he loved, that really spoke to him.

“Did you test the lights?”

Beck blinked. “What?”

“The lights.” Jordan walked around the couch and grabbed a string of lights, holding them up. “Did you test them to make sure they still work?”

“Not yet, I…” Beck trailed off as he watched Jordan proceed to do just that. His heart swelled. He loved watching Jordan confident and in charge. Beck moved to help, pleased to see that all the strings still worked.

Two hours later, the tree was decorated, the fire was blazing, and they sat together on the couch with nothing but the Christmas lights and the fire for illumination. Jordan was down to his T-shirt, and Beck caught the edge of tattoo out of the corner of his eye. He stretched out, and Jordan easily moved with him, lying down so Beck could lie on top of him. But when he lowered his head to start licking that tattoo, Jordan caught his face in his hands.

“Love you,” Jordan mumured, the words barely audible.

Beck sighed happily, the last bit of tension leaving him. “I love you too.”

Jordan pulled him up so that he settled right on Jordan’s chest. Together, they stared at the tree, with the soft music playing around them. This, right here, was what Beck wanted for the rest of his life.

A Timely Gift Releases

Four years ago today, my very first published story released. Worth It hit shelves at midnight on December 1, 2013, was part of the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar, and it was the most exciting, most nerve wracking thing that’s ever happened to me. Since then, I’ve released 15 published works (number 15, Hearts and Hazelnuts, just released 2 days ago!)

Today, I come full circle.

A Timely Gift is out for individual sale today! Like Worth It, it’s a reunion romance story, though that’s entirely a coincidence. But it’s also part of the Advent Calendar, and I love it so very much. It’s sweet and fluffy, Rory and Deacon are adorable, and I included some of my favorite things. Also, if you’ve read Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds, you might recognize a secondary character and a certain coffee shop!

This was one of those stories that just worked from the moment I started writing it. I wasn’t going to…I mean, I didn’t have any plans to write a holiday novella this year. But the sub call is strong, and I had a flash of an idea, and so I sat down to write it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

(and just a quick reminder, that if you’ve already bought the set, it’ll show up in your inbox sometime this month. But if you haven’t, and want to get individual titles, they’re all available now.)

Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….

On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.

Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

 

 

Available at Dreamspinner Press!

(more buy links to come as it rolls out to other etailers)

2 Releases

It’s sort of hard to promote two books at one, but here’s my best try.

Hearts and Hazelnuts is out! You can pop here to find all the buy links. I hope you get a chance to read this story, because I love it so.

And tomorrow! Tomorrow A Timely Gift hits shelves for individual sale. Now, if you’ve already bought the advent calendar, then sit back, relax, and wait for it to show up in your inbox. But if you’re the type who wants to pick and choose which stories you want to read, they are all up for individual sale now.

A Timely gift is about Rory and Deacon. And solstice. And Christmas. And a watch. And it’s probably too cute for words.

Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….

On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.

Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll post the buy links, as they don’t go live until then.

Release Day!!

Hearts and Hazelnuts is live! I’m so excited for this story, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. 

Meet Jordan and Beckett, and watch them fall in love in Oregon.

Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.

Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.

Dreamspinner Press   Amazon   BN   iBooks   Kobo

Tomorrow!

Hearts and Hazelnuts hits shelves tomorrow! Woo!

I’m bouncing around the web this week and next, with some excerpts and guest posts. Today I’m over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words answering some of their fabulous questions, so be sure to pop over.

In the meantime, you can get it at any one of these places:

Dreampsinner Press   Amazon   BN   iBooks   Kobo

Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.

Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.

Flash Fic Friday

**This week’s prompt is a first Thanksgiving for a new couple. Enjoy!**

“Maybe I shouldn’t go with you.”

Liam chuckled, and reached out to grab my hand. “I told you, Charlie. Its–”

“But we’ve only been together for six months. It’s our first holiday together. Real holiday I mean, and maybe it’s too soon.”

“Charlie.”

“I mean, maybe they won’t like me, and then I’ll ruin everything.”

“Honey.”

“Thanksgiving is a big deal!” I shook my head, nerves threatening to overwhelm me. I had to swallow fast, or else I’d throw up. “And your family does it right, and it’s important and I just–”

“Charlie!”

His shout startled me, and I turned to look at him. Liam’s expression was a mix of affection and exasperation. Which, if I was honest, was not that unusual when it came to me. He got me like no other person, and I was fortunate that I’d stumbled into him at the bookstore six months ago. Literally. I’d tripped over a low display table and slammed into him. He’d kept us both upright, and then asked me for coffee. The past six months had been amazing, and I loved him with everything in me. But this was a big step and I wasn’t sure I was ready.

“Baby. I know you’re nervous.” Liam leaned into my space, and cupped my cheek so I couldn’t look away.

“Nervous is an understatement,” I croaked.

He smiled sweetly. Then pecked my lips, and stayed close enough I could see the flecks of gold in his brown eyes.

“I know your family isn’t like mine. You’ve had to make your own way for a long time. But I swear to you, you won’t mess up. And my family will love you. Almost as much as I do.”

I melted, and some of the tension left my body. Not enough though, because I was still vibrating with it. Knowing he loved me helped, but I was still scared.

“Still,” I whispered. “Maybe I shouldn’t go. Christmas might be better.”

“Baby,” he said, laughing again. He used his hold to turn my head. “We’re already at my parents house.”

I gulped and nodded as much as I was able. “I’ll just stay in the car.”

He raised an eyebrow. “For four whole days.”

“Yup.”

Liam chuckled again, and the sound soothed me even more. He had a great laugh. It was the first thing I noticed about him.

“It’s going to be fine. I want you with me. Our first Thanksgiving together.” His eyes went dark. “The first of many right?”

I let out a swoony sigh as I nodded, because really, how could I not? After three weeks together, he told me he wanted exclusivity. He said the thought of someone else touching me wanted to make him commit murder. At six weeks he told me he loved me. It took me a little longer to say it back. But it was clear from early on that we were made to be together. And I loved him so much I couldn’t imagine a future without him.

“Okay,” I said quietly. My voice shook and I tried for a smile. “Okay. Let’s do this.”

***

Three hours later, I was sitting at the huge table between Liam and his younger brother. I swear, the table actually groaned with the amount of food piled on it. And there were at least twenty people squished around it. Liam’s parents and siblings, and their kids, and a few aunts, uncles, and cousins. Everyone talked too loud and teased each other. But the love pouring off these people was amazing. I’d never had anything like it, and I didn’t even know it really existed. Not outside of movies anyway. But here it was.

It was awesome and terrifying at the same time.

After everyone had eaten their fill, the noise quieted some. Full stomachs would do that. I’d eaten so much I had to discreetly reach down and unbutton my jeans.

“All right, now it’s time for my favorite part of he festivities,” Liam’s father Joe said. He smile widely, and I couldn’t tear my gaze away from him. I now had a good idea what Liam would look like in thirty years, and it was good. “Let’s go around the table and say what we’re all thankful for.”

There were a few groans, but they were playful. I, on the other hand, started to panic. I shot Liam a scowl, but he just grinned back. How could he not have told me about this?

“I’ll go first,” Joe said. He took a second to gather his thoughts, and then smiled again. “I’m thankful for this amazing, loud, messy, loving family I have gathered around me. And I’m especially grateful for Charlie’s presence this year. It does my heart proud to see my son so happy and settled, and that’s down to you, Charlie. Thank you.”

I gaped at him, eyes wide and cheeks hot. I was sure I looked ridiculous, but I couldn’t seem to stop. If Joe noticed, he didn’t show it. He just gave me a tiny wink, and turned to Liam, who was seated at his right.

Liam cleared his throat. “It’s been a great year for me, and I’m beyond thankful for the blessings I’ve had. In particular, this man who came here with me, even though he was nervous. I’m thankful for your love, Charlie.”

The tears welled up faster than I could stop them, and I cleared my throat, trying to find my voice. Everyone waited, and a quick glance around let me know there were mostly smiles. And in Liam’s mother’s case, a few tears as well.

“That,” I whispered, forcing the words out. “That’s what I’m thankful for too.”

Liam put his arm around me and tugged me into his side. I hid my face in his shoulder and just breathed in his scent.

I had a lot to be thankful for. But this moment was at the top of the list.