Archive for December, 2010

Title: Nice: Mistletoe and Wine
Author: Elizabeth Coldwell
Length: 5,400 words (18 pdf pages)
Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C+


Ryan hopes a Christmas party will give him the chance to get together with Luke, the man of his dreams. Fate steps in and pairs them for a scavenger hunt, but a mishap with a glass of wine leaves Ryan naked in a Laundromat, waiting for his rented angel costume to go through the wash. Will Laundromat attendant Michael turn out to be Ryan’s real Christmas angel?


Ryan is thrilled when he gets paired with his current crush for the scavenger hunt, and by chance his partner’s devil costume compliments his angel costume well. Luke is good-looking and everything Ryan thinks he wants in a man, although as they start the scavenger hunt he soon realizes that Luke is more interested in Ryan for his knowledge of the town (Luke is new in town) and his ability to get them to the clues first than as a potential date. To top things off, a woman spills red wine on his white angel costume and he’s so disheartened by Luke’s behaviour that he tells Luke to go back with the list of things and leave him at a local laundromat to get his costume clean. When the laundromat attendant Michael returns to find a naked Ryan reading the paper, he invites him upstairs to wait for his costume to be finished.

This is told in first person which is not one of my favourite points of view but I think it works well here. First Ryan’s excitement at getting paired with his crush and then his growing disappointment when he realizes Luke is all about winning and not really interested in getting to know him personally comes through well in this POV. Although I never really quite got his connection to Michael, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s a guy thing, “hi, nice to meet you, let’s get naked” (well, he was already naked technically). It was a well written story with an interesting concept of the scavenger hunt, but perhaps because Ryan and Michael only meet and have a few hours together I didn’t get all that invested in them as a couple.

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Title: Happy New Year
Author: Kenn Dahll
Length: 2,375 words (5 pdf pages)
Excessica Publishing*
Genre: m/m contemporary/erotica
Rating: D+


Zane and his lover survived a horrendous year which began last New Year’s Eve with a car accident on the way home from a party. Misfortunes abounded including a rained-out orgy, a Halloween costume mishap, and a bed collapse in the middle of heavy sex. They were hoping that the New Year would bring better luck.

The evening started out great. The two couples seated on either side of them were both fun to talk to and very attractive. Plans were underway for a future get together for six-way sex when calamity struck!


Zane and the unnamed narrator, have had the year from hell. Car accidents, lost jobs, a birthday party orgy that is marred by a sudden thunderstorm, illness, house repairs, and a collapsing bed leaving our narrator impaled on a giant dildo. They hope that New Year’s Eve at a gay restaurant (do such things exist?) will be the start of something new as they flirt with their neighbouring diners, however it seems the luck, or lack thereof, seems to be holding into the New Year.

I did find some of the descriptions of the mishaps amusing, however I personally find the language used in this story off-putting. Some examples are “ass lips”, “shitter” and “anal starfish”. I got the feeling that this is a depiction what some people think (or wish) that being gay is like. Life is just one long unadulterated orgy while being in a loving relationship. Best of both worlds.

I know this type of erotica appeals to some readers and that is who this book is aimed at. But personally, it was very much not to my taste, as I didn’t find it erotic, nor romantic if that was the point. The fact that it held a fair dose of humour saved it for me, along with a cover I actually rather like. Readers who enjoy a more raw style of erotica will likely enjoy this little taste much more than I did.

*This book was free at All Romance eBooks which is the link above.

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Title: As the Snow Lay All Around
Author: S. Blaise
Length: 38 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M historical
Rating: C+

On Boxing Day, young Gerard Greville’s mother insists that he accompany her on her holiday visits to the servants and the less fortunate, as a lesson in charity. It’s then that Gerard briefly meets Matthias Dunn, a young boy of the servant class. But his short time with Mattie makes a huge impression, and ten years later, Gerard becomes determined to reconnect with him—despite the chasm between their social classes—and discover why Mattie has been so long in his thoughts.

I’ve a fondness for S. Blaise’s stories which often crop up in DSP anthologies or these Daily Doses so I was pleased to see that she’d contributed one to the Advent anthology this time. The story follows young lordling Gerald who, after being dragged along to his Mother’s annual Boxing Day charity gifting to the poor tennants on their land, meets Mattie an older boy, and how he becomes almost fixated on him.

In the end I had mixed feelings about the story which I think mainly suffered from trying to fit too much into a short format – isn’t that often the way with shorts? The idea of pairing up two men from different social backgrounds was interesting and I usually like that sort of story, but the way that the story was spread out over several years didn’t work as well for me. I think this was because during those years the two boys/men spend so little time in each other’s company it was difficult for me to really believe that they knew each other enough to make the sacrifices they make at the end of the story. However, the ‘love across the years’ story may work for some readers, even if it did leave me a little cold.

Having said that, this was still a well written story and there were some aspects I did like. The character of Gerald in particular was well drawn and sympathetic and I thought the author did a good job of subtly showing his loneliness as a child, and the weight of duty and expectation as he grew older. Mattie is pretty flimsy as a character, but made a good contrast as the ‘hard-working but poor’ to Gerald’s ‘Lord of the manor’ and, although we get a few mentions and hints, it’s a shame that more wasn’t made of that side of their relationship.

This is quite a historical-lite story, with very little detail in the description, probably because the story focuses on the social side of life in the (I think) Victorian age, and within that just the two men and their respective backgrounds. I liked it well enough and would recommend it if you like historical settings.

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Title: Sharing Christmas
Author: Shae Connor
Length: 11,600 words (43 pdf pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C+


Christmas looks to be a bust for Rick, who’s stuck covering the office over the holiday. But when his neighbor, Steven, invites him to join some residents in their apartment complex who put together gift bags to distribute at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day, Rick decides to join them and finds an unexpected holiday gift: a new love interest.


Rick is new in Atlanta having moved away from Texas and his family three months ago to take a promotion, and spread his wings a bit. But that means he hasn’t really had time to make friends and is stuck working on-call over Christmas as the new guy. However when his neighbour Steven invites him over on Christmas Eve to help prepare the gift bags for the homeless, he screws up his courage and decides to try. He’s been fantasizing about Steven for a bit now and maybe he’ll find out if Steven is interested or even gay. Steven’s best friend helps smooth the way for some alone time after the dinner party is over.

There is immediate chemistry between Rick and Steven and the sex was very hot and steamy in this, however it takes place really over about 24 hours and to be honest I kind of hit sex overload in such a short story. Granted that’s not easy for me to get to that point, LOL, but they kept saying “I don’t like you only because of the sex” and yet that’s all they did more or less, or that’s how it came across except when they were out in public.

There was nothing wrong with the story, it was well-written, I liked Rick and the fact that even though he was a bit sad about not being with his family he accepted that was life this year, and Steven and his friend’s efforts to make Christmas a little more pleasant for others was a nice touch, but I just didn’t connect with the couple too much, perhaps because it’s told from Rick’s POV, I didn’t get a feel for Steven beyond how Rick saw him. There is no real conflict, just whether Steven likes Rick or is even gay, but that is resolved once he’s in the apartment for about ten minutes, so for a sweet story about two nice men just starting a relationship with good physical chemistry it’s a good choice.

RICK hummed along with Bing Crosby wishing him a happy
holiday as he slapped together a ham sandwich to take to
work the next day. It wouldn’t exactly be a festive lunch to
celebrate Christmas Eve, but he’d be nearly alone in the
office, so it didn’t matter much.
Stuffing the sandwich into a lunch bag along with an
apple and a can of Coke, Rick turned to put the bag into the
refrigerator. The brightly colored flyer advertising free
Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter nearby, stuck to the
door with a cheesy snowman magnet, caught his eye. His
next-door neighbor, Steven, had dropped it by a few days
earlier, along with an explanation and an invitation to a
group dinner the next night.
“There’s a group of us who’ve gotten together on
Christmas Eve the past few years to have dinner and put
together care packages for the homeless,” Steven had said,
his smile somehow a little nervous. “You’re welcome to join
us if you’ll be around. And then we take the bags down to
the shelter on Christmas Day. Some of us help them out
while we’re there. It’s a pretty cool way to spend the holiday
if you can’t be with family.”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [3]
Rick had been noncommittal at the time, but the idea
had grown on him. He’d been in Atlanta a scant three
months, after being offered a combined promotion and
transfer from his company’s Dallas office that put him at the
management position and the salary level he’d been wanting.
Moving away from his family and friends had been difficult,
but he’d lived in the Dallas–Fort Worth area all his life, and
he was ready to try out something else for a while.
The downside was that, even as manager, he now sat at
the bottom of his department’s totem pole, leaving him stuck
babysitting his company’s servers over the holidays. The rest
of the information technology team he supervised would be
with their families, but Rick had none nearby and knew
almost no one in town. He’d met a few neighbors here and
there, not just Steven, but he hadn’t really gotten to know
any of them beyond their names. Steven’s invitation would
definitely beat sitting home alone. He’d be on call, of course,
but the likelihood of anything going wrong when everyone
else was off work was low.
Flipping off the kitchen light, Rick padded down the
hallway in socked feet toward his bedroom. The apartment,
in a high-rise along the city’s famed Peachtree Road, gave
him a view of downtown from the living room and bedroom,
both rooms with doors opening onto a small balcony. He’d
rented the place sight unseen, based on pictures and the
word of a real estate agent recommended by a colleague, and
he’d been thrilled by it so far. If nothing else, the view he was
afforded three mornings a week when he took advantage of
the heated pool to swim laps was worth it: beautiful women
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [4]
and even more beautiful men working their bodies hard as
they sliced through the water.
Rick’s thoughts wandered as he stripped out of his
clothes, dropping them into the basket in the bottom of his
closet before walking naked over to his bathroom. He took
only a few minutes to finish getting ready for bed, working
on autopilot, mind offering up images from that morning’s
workout. He mentally discarded the two overly muscled men
as not his type, and the too-thin woman with the obvious
fake breasts who’d seemed to spend most of her time batting
her eyelashes at those two men. Rick preferred long and
lean, and men in particular, although more than one woman
had gotten his attention over the years.
He smiled at his reflection, watching his hazel eyes start
to darken as he thought of Steven, who’d appeared poolside
just as Rick had been leaving and who certainly fit the long
and lean category. He had dark, wavy hair, much like Rick’s
but a few shades darker, smooth, lightly tanned skin, and an
elegantly Roman nose sprinkled with freckles. He was just
about Rick’s height of five-eleven, and his deep brown eyes
had been behind frameless glasses when he’d stopped by
Rick’s apartment. Rick had never seen Steven with anyone
else in the few times they’d run into each other in the
elevator or hallway, and the fact that he was getting together
with friends for Christmas seemed to indicate he was single.
His nervousness during the invitation pointed toward
possible interest.
Rick felt his cock twitch and swell at the thought. He
hadn’t had time to so much as go out on a weekend since
he’d moved, too busy settling into work and his new place.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [5]
He didn’t know much yet about his next-door neighbor,
except that he was pretty much Rick’s physical ideal, and
just thinking about the possibility of having that body
pressed up against his sent a shudder through Rick.
Giving in to the inevitable, Rick reached for a clean
washcloth, dampening it and heading back toward his bed,
flipping off the bathroom light as he went. He let his free
hand wander as he walked, fingers sliding up his thigh to sift
through the wiry brown curls between his legs. His cock
stiffened further and Rick let out a soft sigh, setting the
washcloth on his nightstand and reaching for the bottle of
lotion, squirting a little into his palm. He climbed into bed,
curling onto his side, shivering in anticipation.
His eyes fluttered closed and he wrapped his hand
around his cock, stroking softly and slowly, slicking up his
skin as he gradually brought himself to full hardness. He
pictured Steven’s smile and the lines of his body in his snug
swim trunks from the brief look Rick had gotten that
morning. Rick lifted his other hand to his mouth, wetting the
thumb and forefinger and bringing them down to pinch at a
nipple, imagining the wetness was Steven’s mouth. He let
out a soft moan and tightened his hand around his
throbbing cock as his fingers moved to tease his other
nipple, pinching tight.
In his mind, his hands became Steven’s, the other man
touching and stroking, exploring his body, bringing him
closer and closer to the edge. Rick wet his fingers again,
sucking strongly, this time sliding his hand over his hip and
down the cleft between his cheeks. He teased his opening,
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [6]
dipping a fingertip inside, circling lightly, then sliding two
fingers in to the knuckle.
“Yeah,” he groaned, back arching, fisting his cock
harder as he fucked himself on his fingers. As Steven fucked
him hard, driving his cock against Rick’s prostate, and that
thought was enough to push him over. He groaned again,
louder, his body tightening down on his fingers, and his cock
erupted, come ribboning out onto the sheets.
It wasn’t until his mind started to clear that he felt
guilty. Masturbating to nameless, faceless bodies was one
thing; fantasizing about someone he knew, even on a
superficial level, wasn’t usually his style. He reached for the
washcloth, wiping come from the sheets and his skin, and
silently told himself he wouldn’t do it again.
For the third time that week.
AS EXPECTED, work was quiet on Thursday. With Christmas
on Friday, even more people than usual were taking
advantage of the extra-long weekend. Only seven people
came to the office, and two of them left early; four of the
remaining five, everyone except Rick, didn’t celebrate the
Isaac, who had the office next to Rick’s, stopped by
while he was eating his lunch. “You’re not staying, are you?”
he asked, crossing his arms and leaning against the
doorframe. “Or do you not do Christmas either?”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [7]
Rick swallowed and grinned. “I do, but I’m the new guy,
so I got the short straw,” he said. “I’m here all day today and
on call through the weekend.”
“That sucks.” Isaac tilted his head down and looked at
Rick over the thick black frames of his glasses. “You aren’t
spending tomorrow alone, though, are you? Even we take
advantage of the day off to spend with family.”
Rick shrugged, picking up his sandwich again. “I may go
help out with dinner at the shelter on Washington,” he said.
“Some of the people in my apartment building do it, and one
of them invited me.”
Isaac made a small sound of what Rick guessed was
approval, since he also gave a nod. “Good,” he said. “It’s not
my day, but I know it’s important. No one should spend a
holiday like that alone.”
Rick nodded. “Agreed,” he said. He laughed briefly. “And
I think you just talked me into it. Certainly beats sitting
home with a frozen turkey dinner and a game on TV.”
Isaac smiled broadly. “Happy to be of service,” he said.
“Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.”
His mouth full, Rick waved with one hand as Isaac
turned to leave. He chewed thoughtfully. After his little
fantasy session the night before—and the several before
that—he’d have to be careful tonight and tomorrow. The last
thing he wanted to do was risk scaring Steven off. Whether
or not he turned out to be interested in Rick, he still lived
right next door. And he knew from experience that keeping
the neighbors happy was often much more critical than
keeping a lover happy.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [8]
RICK didn’t know why he felt so hesitant as he locked his
apartment door behind him and walked down toward
Steven’s. He might not be the most outgoing guy ever, but he
wasn’t a wallflower, either. Plus, he’d been invited. He felt a
little strange showing up for dinner without bringing
anything for the meal, but at least he’d swung by the dollar
store and picked up some toys for the care packages.
He shifted the bags to his left hand and knocked on
Steven’s door, hearing noises from inside.
“Just a second!” Steven’s voice rang out, and a few long
moments later the door swung open, revealing Steven
standing there in jeans, sneakers, and a dark green Henley,
his glasses on and a wide smile creasing his face. “Rick, hi!”
he said, stepping back and waving a hand to direct him
inside. “Glad you made it. Come join us.”
“Thanks for the invite,” Rick said, trying not to stare too
hard at Steven, trying to wipe out the images his mind
conjured up, but the snug fit of Steven’s shirt didn’t help one
bit. He held up the bags. “I didn’t want to come emptyhanded,
so I brought a few things for the care packages.”
Steven laughed. “Not necessary at all, but thanks, every
little bit helps.” He nodded to one side, where several other
people stood around a folding table set up in front of the
fireplace. “We’re getting things sorted while dinner finishes
cooking. Hope you like lasagna.”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [9]
He held Rick’s gaze, still smiling, but softer now. Rick
smiled back. “Love it,” he said. “Although really, does anyone
not like lasagna?”
“My crazy ex,” came a voice from the table, and Rick
turned to see a woman he’d seen by the pool a couple of
times smiling over at them. “He hated tomato sauce and
cheese, so no lasagna or pizza for us.” She laughed. “That
should’ve been a clue from the start.”
Steven snorted. “Lila, everyone, this is Rick,” he said,
starting the introductions. “Rick, meet Lila, Josh, Amy, and
Beth.” The others waved or nodded in turn, and Steven
turned his attention back to Rick. “If you want to add your
stuff to the piles, I think Lila can show you where everything
Rick nodded. “I bought some balsa wood plane kits for
kids, and packs of cards for adults and maybe older kids,”
he said. “Hope I got enough.”
“Everything helps,” Lila assured him as he set the bags
on the table and started emptying them. “We have basic
toiletries, a few things like wallets, and toys and games,
mostly. They’ll have other people bringing care packages,
too, but we usually do a couple dozen.”
“Well, I have ten each of the planes and cards, so I hope
that’ll work.” Rick looked over the table, seeing how
everything had been arranged into piles of like items, and he
slid his contributions into the line that ran around the edge
of the table. Josh, a stocky blond a couple of inches shorter
than Rick, laughed and slapped him on the back.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [10]
“Fast learner, this one,” he said, catching Rick’s eye.
“Glad to have you, Rick. You going down to the shelter
tomorrow, too?”
“Planning on it,” Rick said. Feeling heat next to his arm,
he glanced over to see Steven looking at him.
“You’re welcome to ride over with me,” Steven said,
holding Rick’s gaze. “Lila and Josh already volunteered to
take the care packages over early, so we wouldn’t need to get
there any earlier than eleven.”
Rick smiled at Steven. “Sounds good,” he said. “Wasn’t
sure if I’d need to be up at the asscrack of dawn or what.”
Lila laughed and reached to slide her arm into Rick’s.
“No, you can snuggle up with whoever or whatever you like
for a while longer than that,” she said, her blue eyes flashing
at him from under long, jet-black bangs as she led Rick away
from the table. “Now why don’t you help me get dinner up
and we’ll let these reprobates finish up the sorting.”
Rick chuckled as they walked into the kitchen. “Afraid
the reprobates will corrupt me, or trying to get me alone for
an interrogation?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Lila grinned at him, grabbing an oven mitt and bending
to check on the two pans of lasagna that were baking. “A
little of both,” she admitted. “I’ve seen you swimming a
couple of mornings, but you never seem to talk to anyone.
Didn’t know if you were new in the complex or new in town.
Feel free to tell me to shut up at any time. I’m a natural-born
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [11]
Rick crossed his arms and leaned against the counter.
“New in town, moved here for a job about three months ago,”
he said. “Don’t really know anyone, and my family’s in
Texas, such as it is. Since I’m the new guy, I’m stuck on call
for the holiday. I’m IT manager for a civil engineering firm.”
Lila reached for a second mitt and slid the lasagnas out
of the oven one at a time, setting them carefully across the
burners on the stovetop. “So you really don’t know anyone
here? I’m guessing you’re single?”
She made it sound like an innocent question, so Rick
took it at face value. “Nope, really don’t know anyone, except
co-workers and you guys.” He shrugged. “Haven’t had much
time to get out. I’m hoping things will slow down a little in
January and I can actually explore the city a little.”
Lila pulled the foil off a cookie sheet sitting on the
counter, uncovering rows of garlic bread, and slid the pan
into the oven to replace the lasagnas. Bumping the door
closed with her hip, she took off the mitts and laid them on
the counter. She mirrored Rick’s pose, arms crossed, leaning
against the counter. “Okay, then,” she said. “Before any of us
makes a fool of ourselves, if we were to introduce you to
someone”—the way she emphasized the word made her
meaning clear—“what should we consider?”
Rick laughed softly. “If that’s a roundabout way of
asking me if I’m gay, the answer is yes,” he said. “Or mostly,
at least. I’ve dated women, but not often.”
Lila raised an eyebrow. “And Steven’s the one who
invited you?”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [12]
Rick smiled slowly. “Yeah, he is,” he said. “Why, you
aiming to set the two of us up?”
“No need,” Lila said, waving a hand. “Already got the
answer he wanted.”
Rick laughed again, surprised. “So, what, he’s got you
running interference? He couldn’t just ask me himself?”
Lila shrugged. “What’s a gay guy’s best friend for, if not
to scope out a new prospect?”
She grinned at him, and Rick had to smile back. He
couldn’t really fault either one of them, since he’d gotten the
answer he’d wanted out of the exchange, too.
DINNER was the perfect combination of delicious and fun.
Rick learned that Lila worked with Steven in the
communications department of a large retailer that was
based in Atlanta, both as copywriters. Josh taught political
science at Georgia State University while working on his
doctorate, and Amy and Beth were sisters, both with curly
auburn hair and hazel eyes, who owned a popular diner that
had been in their family for three generations. Amy had
married young, but her husband, an Army lieutenant, was
killed in Iraq three years later.
“I don’t mind talking about it now,” she said in her soft
voice, thick with a lilting Piedmont drawl. “But it was tough
for a while there. I don’t know what I would’ve done without
the restaurant to keep me busy.”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [13]
Beth spoke up, drawing Rick’s attention. “The real irony
is that neither of us is a particularly good cook,” she said,
smiling. “Thankfully, the recipes and the chef both came
with the inheritance. Zach’s supposedly been training his
replacement for over a year, but we’re beginning to doubt
he’s ever going to retire.”
“You’ll have to try the restaurant out, Rick,” Lila said.
“Amy and Beth always insist on giving friends their first meal
“Don’t let them fool you,” Steven chimed in, leaning over
from where he sat to Rick’s left. “They’re kind of like drug
dealers that way. First one’s free, but then you’re hooked,
and you’ll never want to eat anywhere else ever again.”
He then jumped a little and let out an “Ow!” He leaned
over to rub his ankle. “Gee, thanks, Lila,” he groused. “I
needed a kick in the shin.”
Lila blinked, all mock-innocence. “Who, me?”
Rick couldn’t help it. He burst out laughing, which set
everyone else off one by one in a chain reaction. By the time
they’d calmed back down, a couple wiping away tears, they
were all grinning like loons.
“I like this guy,” Beth said, lifting her wine glass. “Let’s
toast to friends, old and new, and to happy holidays.”
“Cheers,” Rick agreed, as they clinked and drank.
Rick tried not to notice Steven’s eyes on him, but he’d
been finely attuned to the other man since the moment he’d
arrived. Sitting so near him only served to heighten his
awareness. He told himself to relax and enjoy the feeling of
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [14]
anticipation, even if he had no idea whether it might lead
THE tension crawling along Rick’s skin increased as the
group set to work on filling their packages. Rick and Steven
stood at the end of the assembly line, their hands and arms
brushing often as they passed the gift bags along and
reached for more items. The conversation meandered
through a host of different subjects, from childhood
experiences with the simple toys among the supplies to tales
of late-night college poker and hearts tournaments,
prompted by the playing cards Rick had contributed.
By the time they’d run out of packages to fill, eyelids
were beginning to droop all around from the combination of
good food, good fun, and just a touch of alcohol. One by one,
the guests took their leave, until it was down to Rick and
Steven. Rick hadn’t meant to linger, but he’d been helping
Steven stack the packages near the door to be delivered the
next day, and it wasn’t until Lila gave him a sharp look and
tilted her head toward Steven on her way out the door that
Rick realized she’d left the two of them alone.
Steven grinned as he stood up from placing the last
package on top of the stack. “Didn’t mean to put you
through this much work your first time,” he said. “Usually
we give the newbies a little bit of a break.”
Rick smiled and leaned against the wall next to the
door, just a couple of feet from Steven. He crossed his arms
loosely over his chest and one ankle over the other. “In my
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [15]
experience, the newbies usually get the hazing,” he replied.
“Unless there’s some secret ritual you haven’t let me in on
Steven’s gaze flicked to Rick’s mouth. “That depends,”
he murmured. “Is it hazing if you enjoy every second of it?”
A hot flush ran through Rick’s body. “Is that a warning
or a promise?”
Steven looked back up at him and smiled, slowly this
time. “Maybe a little of both.”
Despite the hazing comments, Rick was the one who
made the first move. He uncrossed his arms and ankles and
took one step forward, sliding one hand behind Steven’s
head and drawing him into a kiss.
He kept it gentle, soft, and they fell quickly into an easy
give-and-take, trading control, tongues sliding from one
mouth to the other. Steven’s arms wrapped around Rick’s
waist, pulling him closer until their bodies aligned from
chest to thighs. Rick sighed into Steven’s mouth at the feel of
the other man against him, a sigh that bled into a groan as
Steven’s hands wandered further down, cupping Rick’s ass
and squeezing lightly.
Steven broke the kiss and let his mouth wander along
Rick’s jawline toward his ear. “I’ve been wanting to do that
for weeks now,” he murmured, hot breath brushing across
Rick’s skin. “Wanted to do a lot more than that too.” He
kissed Rick’s earlobe, sucked it into his mouth, and bit down
lightly, drawing a full-body shudder out of Rick. Releasing
the fold of skin, he returned to Rick’s lips, kissing him
harder this time, thrusting his tongue deep.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [16]
Rick brought his hands up to frame Steven’s face and
pulled them apart, pausing just long enough to catch
Steven’s gaze. “Whatever you want right now,” he said in a
low voice, “is going to be just fine with me.”
Steven grinned and kissed him again, quickly, before
bringing his forehead to rest against Rick’s. “I want the
fastest way to get you into my bed, naked and writhing,” he
said, one of his hands wandering slowly from Rick’s ass
around to cup him through his jeans. Rick moaned, pressing
his hips forward into Steven’s grip, and moved his hands to
Steven’s shoulders, pushing lightly, intending to get them
moving in the direction of that bed. Steven’s hands fell away
and he took a step back, and Rick realized he’d gotten the
wrong idea. He grabbed for Steven’s hand and brought it
back to his crotch. “Not going anywhere,” he said. “Not
without you, anyway.”
Steven gave him another quick kiss and lifted his free
hand to grab Rick’s. He started walking backward, fingers
tracing the outline of Rick’s quickly hardening cock through
the denim of his jeans. Rick slid his free hand onto Steven’s
waist and pushed under the soft cotton of his shirt, letting
his nails scratch lightly across the bare skin of Steven’s
stomach. Steven half groaned, half giggled, and Rick smiled.
Steven blushed lightly. “A little,” he said, pausing in the
doorway of his bedroom. “But I’ve found that just means
you’re extra sensitive in spots. And trust me, that’s not
always a bad thing.”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [17]
Rick grinned and brought his other hand to the hem of
Steven’s shirt, stripping it up and off quickly, Steven raising
his arms automatically as the cotton skimmed up his body.
As his hands came back down, Rick flattened them on
Steven’s upper chest, fingers tracing the hard lines of his
pecs, circling the taut nipples. Steven had just a small patch
of hair at the center of his chest, and Rick bent forward to
run his tongue through it before sliding his mouth to one
side, capturing one dark brown bud between his lips. He felt
Steven’s hands settle on the back of his head, and Steven let
out a long breath that ended in a sharp hiss as Rick’s teeth
gave a quick nip.
Steven lifted Rick’s head away, shifting his hands to the
buttons on Rick’s shirt, working them open quickly and
tugging the tail out of his jeans as he backed toward the bed,
Rick following every step of the way. The last button undone,
Steven pushed the fabric back, and Rick shook it off his
shoulders and down his arms, letting it drop onto the floor
behind him.
Steven didn’t waste time on preliminaries. He dove
forward to suck hard at one of Rick’s nipples, catching Rick
by surprise and driving a gasp out of him. He felt Steven grin
against his chest as he switched to the other side, biting
gently, tugging the bit of hardened skin with his teeth.
“God, you taste amazing,” Steven murmured as his
mouth traveled up from Rick’s chest to his mouth. Rick
moaned as Steven kissed him again, firm and deep, tongue
exploring. You taste pretty damn good too, Rick thought,
savoring the feel of his hard body against him and the smell
of his skin.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [18]
Rick reached for Steven’s pants, unbuckling his belt and
popping the button open. Steven drew back and watched
Rick’s face as he lowered the zipper with one hand and
brought the other up to cup Steven through his boxers,
squeezing lightly. Steven let out a harsh breath and leaned
forward, nuzzling his nose alongside Rick’s before kissing
him again.
Rick held the kiss for a few long moments and then
shoved Steven lightly in the center of his chest, knocking
him off balance and onto the mattress. Before he had time to
orient himself, Rick had pushed Steven’s jeans and
underwear off his hips and dropped to one knee, licking a
hot stripe up the underside of Steven’s dick. Steven moaned
and shoved at his pants, and Rick paused long enough to get
everything down and off before returning his attention to
Steven’s body.
Steven’s cock was slim but long, much like the rest of
his body, and the wide head made Rick’s body spasm at the
thought of how it would feel against his prostate. Rick
curved the fingers of one hand around the base and licked
his way up again, bathing the head with saliva before sliding
his lips around it. Steven’s taste filled his mouth, his smell
filled his nostrils, and his harsh breathing filled his ears.
Rick found himself moaning deep in his chest as he took
Steven in further, bobbing his head slowly, gradually
working his way down until his mouth brushed Steven’s
pubic hair and the head of Steven’s cock tagged the back of
his throat.
He stopped there, breathing carefully through his nose,
and then swallowed, feeling his throat tighten around
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [19]
Steven. Steven shouted something incoherent and thrust up,
and Rick would have choked, but he anticipated Steven’s
movements and backed off in time, pressing his hips back
down with steady hands. He went back to sucking the head,
his tongue sliding up and down the underside of the shaft,
his hand squeezing the base. Steven shuddered under him,
and he stepped up his movements, everything harder and
faster. Steven’s hands slid from his shoulders to his hair,
tugging lightly, and Rick half moaned, half hummed,
knowing the vibrations might be just what Steven needed to
fall over the edge.
He was right. Steven shouted again, something that
sounded vaguely like Rick’s name, and shot streams of warm
come into Rick’s waiting mouth. He swallowed as much as
he could, loving the sharp, bitter flavor, and backed off to let
the rest spill out, moving to lick it away. Steven collapsed
against the mattress, seemingly boneless, barely twitching as
Rick finished cleaning him up.
Smiling, and hard as a fucking rock, Rick pushed to his
feet, surveying his work as he stripped off his jeans. Steven
looked like the picture of debauchery, skin slick with sweat,
flaccid cock lying in the crease of his hip, face flushed, hair
tousled. Rick wished he had more of an artistic eye, because
that would be an image he’d like to put down on canvas.
Heck, a simple photograph would do the trick, but etching it
into his memory would have to do.
Distracted by his thoughts, Rick didn’t even realize
Steven had moved until he’d yanked Rick down and rolled
him onto his back, Steven straddling him on hands and
knees. “Your turn,” he said, diving in for a feast. His mouth
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [20]
and hands seemed to be everywhere at once, kissing,
stroking, licking, even scratching now and then. Rick
writhed, just as Steven had wanted, hopelessly aroused and
desperate for more. He wanted to be fucked so much he
could hardly breathe, but Steven seemed content just to
keep driving him crazy without making any moves toward
anything more.
Finally, as Steven licked his cock just once before going
back to sucking at his hipbone, Rick lost all control. “Oh my
God, would you just fuck me already?” He arched his back,
head rolling to the side. “Please, Steven. Want you inside me
right fucking now.”
Steven laughed, actually laughed, sounding as if he
were calm and collected. “Well, if you insist,” he said, moving
to the side to retrieve a tube of lube and a condom from the
bedside table. Freed from the cage of Steven’s body, Rick
immediately rolled onto his stomach and pushed up onto
knees and forearms, and that move got a reaction. He heard
Steven suck in a sharp breath, and then his body was
pressing against Rick’s back from hips to shoulder. “God, so
fucking hot,” Steven murmured, biting the curve of his ear.
“Gonna fuck you so good.”
Rick could only let out a long groan, tilting his head
back as Steven sucked at the tendon bulging along the side
of his neck. Rick heard a low snick over the sound of their
harsh breathing and felt a wet finger probing, slowly sinking
inside, soon joined by a second. Steven’s mouth stayed on
his neck, and his free hand ran across his chest and
stomach, plucking at his nipples, tugging at his pubic hair.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [21]
By the time Steven had a third finger in, curving down
to rub at Rick’s prostate, Rick’s mind had nearly shut down
and he’d fallen into a well of pure sensation. He moaned and
pressed back against Steven’s hand, begging without the
words he couldn’t form for Steven’s cock.
Then the fingers were gone, and Rick felt the heavy
pressure and burn of Steven pushing inside him. He paused
with just the head inside, but Rick was out of patience. He
braced both arms and shoved back as hard as he could,
pushing out against the intrusion, and Steven gave a
surprised shout as his cock bottomed out inside Rick.
“God!” Steven’s hands scrambled to grab Rick’s hips,
holding him still. “Jesus. Give me a second.”
Rick groaned and squeezed his muscles around Steven
as hard as he could, and that was the last straw. Steven
shouted again and started thrusting, short, hard strokes at
just the right angle to drive the thickest part of the head
across Rick’s prostate. Rick let his weight fall onto his
forearms and dropped his head forward, panting, mouth
open, so close he felt like his balls were on fire. Steven’s cock
fit inside him perfectly, just long enough and thick enough to
hit all the right spots without stretching him too far, and
Steven kept up his pace at an angle that was blowing Rick’s
mind in every way possible.
He’d just reached his limit and was about to grab for his
cock when Steven beat him to the punch, fingers wrapping
around his shaft, jerking in short, harsh strokes. Rick
groaned, the sound echoing even over the noises filling the
air, and he lowered his forehead to the mattress, hands
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [22]
gripping his hair, needing something, anything to hold onto
so he wouldn’t fall to pieces. It didn’t matter. He felt it
building, but even then he was caught off guard when his
climax hit, his body tightening and then convulsing, come
pulsing out of his cock, streaking the sheet under him.
Hazily, he heard Steven moan out his name as he thrust in
hard a final time, cock pulsing deep inside as he came into
the condom.
Steven’s weight draped over Rick’s back, warm and slick
with sweat, and Rick let out a shuddering sigh. God, that
was good, he thought, his speech centers not quite back
online yet. He whimpered a little as Steven drew away, pulled
out, and flopped onto his back next to him on the bed. Rick
turned his head to look at him, flushed and sated, the
condom still hanging half-off his softening cock.
“Don’t think I can move again,” Steven muttered, and
Rick had to smile. He stretched out flat on the mattress and
slid one hand across Steven’s stomach, feeling the muscles
“We should—” His voice cracked, his throat was so dry,
and he had to swallow before trying again. “We should get
cleaned up,” he said. “Feels good now, but it’ll get gross
before long.”
Steven smiled, bringing up one hand to rest over Rick’s
on his stomach. “Gimme a second,” he said. “Need to
relocate my brain first.”
Rick snickered into the sheet, understanding
completely. He lay there content, relaxed, and happy, a
feeling he’d been missing for much too long. He couldn’t
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [23]
believe he’d only officially met Steven the day before, and
now he was lying in his bed after some of the best sex he’d
ever had.
He tensed up a little despite himself. This had all
happened awfully fast. Rick wasn’t usually one for jumping
into bed so soon, but something about Steven seemed to
strip away his natural reticence in that area. He just hoped
he hadn’t given Steven the wrong idea.
“I, uh….” He trailed off, uncertain. “I don’t know any
way to say this that won’t come across like a giant cliché,
but I don’t normally do this. I mean, usually I spend more
than a few hours with someone before I sleep with them.”
Steven turned his head to meet his gaze, serious. “Me
either,” he said. “I won’t pretend I haven’t had a few onenight
stands over the years, but that’s not the usual.” He
rolled onto his side toward Rick, pulling Rick’s arm around
his waist. “I don’t want you to think that’s what this is
either,” he murmured, eyes open and honest. “I like you, and
I’m hoping this could be the start of something, not just a
little holiday fling.”
Rick smiled. “Sounds like we’re on the same page, then,”
he said, and Steven smiled back and kissed him, long and
“Stay with me,” Steven murmured into their kiss, before
drawing back a little to catch Rick’s gaze again. “We
shouldn’t have to wake up alone on Christmas Day.”
Rick grinned. “Okay, but let’s get this mess washed off
first,” he said. “Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [24]
think spending Christmas morning peeling off dried come
would be a whole lot of fun.”
Steven laughed and started to climb out of bed, pulling
Rick along with him toward the bathroom.
RICK woke up the next morning to the glare of sunlight in
his eyes and a warm body pressed against his from behind.
He squinted and tilted his head away from the brightness,
which he could then see was coming from a small gap in the
curtains over the window.
The body he didn’t have to think about. He smiled and
lifted his hand back to settle onto Steven’s upper thigh, not
squeezing or even caressing but just resting there, relishing
the scratchiness of the coarse hairs, the smoothness of the
skin below, and the strong muscle underlying it all.
He had no idea what time it was, but it couldn’t be too
terribly early, if the sun was so bright already. He turned his
head toward the side of the bed, looking for a clock, but he
didn’t see one. It must be on Steven’s side, he thought, and
then rolled his eyes at himself. As if he was on his side. Not
that he’d mind if it ended up that way, but no matter what
they’d said the night before, one night in bed together did
not a relationship make.
Steven stirred then, but only to tighten the arm he’d
slung around Rick’s waist, pulling him closer. He hummed a
little under his breath, a sound of deep satisfaction that shot
straight to Rick’s cock, already half hard from morning wood.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [25]
Rick wanted nothing more at that moment than to roll over
and push Steven onto his back to take a nice, long ride, but
they did have to be at the shelter by eleven, and Rick needed
to go back to his place to get ready first.
On the other hand, he didn’t really need that much time
to get ready.
Slowly, carefully, trying not to disturb Steven any more
than necessary, Rick rolled over, sneaking a look at the clock
as he moved. Just a few minutes after nine, more than
enough leeway for what he had in mind.
He pushed Steven on his back, just as he’d imagined a
few minutes earlier, and climbed on top, straddling his
stomach, Steven’s morning erection riding into the cleft of
Rick’s ass. Steven jerked awake, eyes wide for a long moment
before Rick bent down and kissed him. Steven’s mouth was
stale from sleep, but Rick didn’t care. His probably was too,
but a few minutes of kissing would take care of that. Steven
moaned into Rick’s mouth, and Rick smiled but didn’t break
the kiss, just changing the angle, bringing both hands up to
cup Steven’s face, tilting it to the side so he could cover his
mouth more completely, sliding his tongue against Steven’s.
Steven met every movement, following Rick’s lead, letting
him take what he wanted.
Rick left Steven’s mouth reluctantly, but only to journey
further down his body, licking and sucking his sleep-sweet
skin. Steven shifted against the sheets, his breathing
growing gradually more rapid as Rick progressed further
down, pushing the blankets out of his way and moving to
kneel between Steven’s legs. Mouth hovering inches above
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [26]
Steven’s fully erect cock, Rick looked up the long line of his
body to meet Steven’s gaze, dark and liquid, burning with
“What do you want?” Rick asked, and Steven let out a
shaky breath.
“Whatever you want, I want,” he replied, and Rick didn’t
make him wait. He opened his mouth wide and slid it around
Steven’s cock, watching intently as Steven’s eyes fell shut
and his mouth opened on a loud groan, a low scratching
sound indicating that his fingers had gripped the sheet
underneath him. Rick hummed when Steven shivered and
smiled again—well, smiled as well as he could around a
mouthful of cock. He’d appreciated Steven’s size inside him
the night before, but this feeling, Steven’s dick heavy on his
tongue, soft velvet over hard steel, made Rick want to do this
all the time. Every day and every night, until all he had to do
was close his eyes and the feel and flavor of Steven would
flood Rick’s senses.
He blinked away his thoughts and focused back on
Steven, bobbing his head slowly, sucking lightly, bringing
one hand up to wrap around the base where he couldn’t
quite reach yet and the other to gently massage Steven’s
balls. Steven moaned again, louder this time and
accompanied by Rick’s name. “So good,” Steven rasped, but
Rick didn’t speed up, didn’t increase the pressure. As much
as he’d love to taste everything Steven had to give again—
and he had definite plans for that later—that wasn’t why
he’d woken Steven up.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [27]
He pulled his mouth away from Steven with one last
long lick up the underside and moved to the side of the bed,
reaching for the bottle of lube still sitting on the bedside
table and digging another condom out of the drawer. He
glanced back to see Steven watching him, eyes hungry but
questioning, and Rick moved back to kiss him quickly.
“Just lie back and relax,” he said, setting the condom
packet in the center of Steven’s chest. “I’ll take care of
He slicked up his fingers with lube and sat up onto his
knees to give Steven the best view possible as he worked
himself open. Steven’s hands moved seemingly of their own
accord to wrap around Rick’s legs just above his knees, his
thumbs rubbing the insides of Rick’s thighs. Rick opened his
mouth and let sounds fall out, moans and sighs and
whispers of Steven’s name, but his gaze stayed locked with
Steven’s, watching his reactions.
When he was ready, Rick pulled his fingers free and
reached for the condom. He sat back on his heels, Steven’s
cock brushing his between his legs, and covered Steven’s
shaft with the latex sheath, slicking him up with the lube
remaining on his fingers. He moved forward again, bracing
one hand on the mattress and wrapping the other around
Steven’s cock again, using the grip to guide Steven to his
hole and hold him steady as he pressed his body down.
He let out a gasp as Steven’s wide head popped inside,
pausing to let the burn fade and his body adjust before
shifting his hips and sliding all the way down in one fluid
movement. Steven groaned out Rick’s name, and his hands
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [28]
tightened where they still rested on Rick’s thighs. Rick
moaned and shifted, feeling sparks fly out across his skin
when Steven’s cock brushed the perfect spot inside, the
wedge-shaped head seemingly molded to hit his prostate at
just the right angle.
Gradually, Rick fell into a rhythm, lifting up slowly and
dropping back down fast. He tried to keep his eyes open so
he could watch Steven, but the pleasure filling his veins
overcame him too quickly, and his eyes fluttered shut. He
managed a few quick glances after that, and every time he
met Steven’s gaze, his near-black eyes seared into him,
ratcheting his arousal even higher until he thought he would
burn up with it.
He hung on the edge as long as he could, drowning in
the exquisite sensations coursing through him, fighting to
hold on and not let those feelings go. When he couldn’t stand
it another second, he reached for his dick only to find
Steven’s hand already there, gripping him perfectly, jerking
hard and fast, demanding everything Rick had to give.
Rick broke quickly. No one had ever drawn so much out
of him like this, seeming to know instinctively how to touch
him, what he needed. Rick cried out as his orgasm dragged
him under, grinding down hard onto Steven’s cock, feeling
the pulse and twitch inside him as Steven came right behind
Rick collapsed forward, smearing his come between
them but not caring in the least. That’s what showers were
for, and they still had plenty of time for that. Well, assuming
he ever managed to move again after one hell of a climax.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [29]
A CACOPHONY of noise assaulted Rick’s ears as he walked
through the shelter’s front doors an hour and a half later.
People of all ages and races filled the large room in front of
him, everything from babes in arms to graybeards, a few
seated at the long tables, others standing in line for their
meals, and still more (mostly the kids) running around and
Rick couldn’t help but smile, which widened when he
felt Steven’s hand slip into his. Rick glanced over his
shoulder and impulsively leaned in for a quick kiss. They
hadn’t discussed anything like public displays of affection,
but Steven didn’t seem to have any qualms, tugging him
closer for a second kiss, this one a bit longer, before pulling
away and nodding toward the food line.
“Let’s see if we can find a couple of people to relieve for a
bit,” he said. “This will go on for hours, so everyone needs to
take breaks now and then. Lifting a spoon over and over
again will wear you out a lot faster than you’d expect.”
He pulled Rick along with him, and Rick grinned as he
saw Lila standing behind a tray full of dinner rolls. Her gaze
zeroed in on their joined hands immediately, and she shot
him a wide, wicked smile. “Have a nice night, guys?” she
Steven waved his free hand dismissively. “I don’t kiss
and tell,” he retorted, but she just grinned wider.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [30]
“Oh, so there was kissing!” she crowed. “That’s an
excellent start. And then…?”
“None of your business, nosy,” Rick replied as the two
men came to a stop next to her. “Now forget about things
that you don’t need to hear and tell us what we can do to
Lila didn’t stop smiling, but she did nod toward the
double doors behind her. “The next round is in the oven
heating up,” she said. “They’ll need help switching them out
when these start to empty. Some of the helpers can’t carry
the pans because they’re pretty heavy, so if you guys can
handle that, that’ll be great.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” Steven replied. He gave her
another quick wave, and the two men walked toward the
kitchen, pushing carefully through the doors and running
into even more chaos than the room they’d just left. Rick saw
Amy and Beth giving orders at one end of the kitchen, where
food prep was under way, and Josh was just pulling a big
tray of mashed potatoes out of the oven, balancing it
carefully as he turned to set it down on the counter. He
caught sight of Rick and Steven and grinned.
“C’mon, boys,” he called out. “Get those butts in gear.
We got people to feed!”
For the next three hours, Rick barely had time to catch
his breath except for the ten-minute break Lila insisted he
take with her, during which they each wolfed down a small
plate of food to keep them going. He literally ran into Steven
twice, making both men laugh and getting a kiss on the
cheek the second time. He grinned his way through helping
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [31]
hand out gift bags—the ones they’d made and ones others
had brought—and watching children and adults alike light
up with joy as they dug into their prizes quickly made the
day into one of the best Christmases he could remember.
Knowing that Steven would be waiting for him when
they were done was just the icing on the cake.
Rick also had a chance to talk to some of the other
volunteers, discovering several more people who lived nearby
as well as some who’d driven in from far out in the suburbs.
One group consisted of an entire family, father, mother, and
twin college-aged daughters, who’d been coming to the
shelter to serve dinner for over ten years. Sally, the mother,
smiled proudly as she told Rick, “It was the girls’ idea. They
had a lesson in social studies in sixth grade about
homelessness, and they wanted to do something to help. I
helped them find the shelter, and we all decided to come
down on Christmas that year. We’ve been coming back every
year since.”
Rick smiled and, impulsively, gave her a hug. “Thank
you,” he said, off her surprised look. “I’ve been missing my
family today, and seeing yours and how close you all are
helps a lot. Being here when I can’t be with my family has
been great, even better than I thought it would be.”
People started trickling out of the room around two,
most headed upstairs to the shelter’s sleeping areas, and
Rick and his new friends stuck around to help with cleanup,
albeit at a slower pace than the frenzy they’d been in while
serving dinner. As things were winding down, Amy and Beth
stopped on their way out the door to hug Steven and
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [32]
repeated their invitation to come to dinner, and Rick assured
them he would. Beth smiled and reached up to give him a
second hug, which he discovered was just an excuse to
whisper in his ear. “Bring Steven,” she said. “Not that I really
have to tell you that, do I?”
Steven walked up as Beth was walking away, and he
smiled. “Charming the ladies again, are we?”
Rick grinned and stepped closer. “Thanks for this,” he
said. “All of it. If you hadn’t invited me, I probably would be
sitting at home alone feeling sorry for myself.”
He kissed Steven, soft and lingering, and when he drew
back, Steven’s smile set Rick’s heart thumping in his chest.
“Come on,” Steven said. “Let’s get this stuff finished so
we can go home.” The look on his face left no doubt about
exactly what he had in mind.
IT WAS a little after four when they got back to their
apartments, Rick carrying a bag with two Styrofoam trays
filled with leftovers the shelter had provided for the
volunteers. Steven stopped at his doorway, but Rick tugged
at his hand where their fingers were tangled together.
“Come to my place,” he said. He paused. “No, pack a bag
first. Then come to my place. I don’t plan on letting you leave
again for at least a couple of days.”
Steven grinned widely and kissed him quickly. “Give me
maybe fifteen minutes,” he said.
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [33]
He disappeared into his apartment and Rick walked
down to his own. Inside, he put the food into the refrigerator
and considered for a moment before turning on the television
to find a basketball game, digging out a couple of beers, and
setting a bag of popcorn in the microwave to start once
Steven arrived. Nice, normal, natural—watch a game and
drink some beer. He’d said as much the night before, but he
still wanted to be sure Steven knew that this wasn’t just
about sex. He genuinely liked Steven and wanted to get to
know him better, not just sleep with him. Although that part
certainly appealed quite a bit too.
He checked his bedroom and bathroom to be sure they
were okay for company. He wasn’t a neat freak or anything,
but he did tend to keep things straightened up, so it all
looked fine. He moved the unopened box of condoms and
bottle of lube from his bathroom to the bedside table, but
then a thought hit and he grinned, tearing open the box to
pull out a few condoms and taking those and the bottle into
the living room, where he slipped them into the drawer of the
end table next to the sofa instead.
A knock came at the door as he finished, and he pushed
back the rush of anticipation that flooded through him. All in
good time, he told himself, opening the door and smiling at
Steven, who looked good enough to eat in jeans, a black
turtleneck, and those frameless glasses. He held a small
duffel bag in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other.
“Thought I’d bring you a housewarming gift,” he said as
he stepped inside, holding out the bottle. “Better late than
never, and I figure it’s a good bet that you’d be willing to
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [34]
Rick laughed and tilted his head toward the kitchen.
“Let me set this down and I’ll show you where you can put
your bag,” he said. He paused and leaned around the corner
to put the bottle on the counter and then reached for
Steven’s free hand. “The apartment’s laid out just like yours,
only reversed,” he said, guiding Steven toward the bedroom.
“You can put your bag in here, but I thought maybe we’d
watch a little basketball and relax before bed.”
Steven laughed softly as he set down his bag and turned
back to face Rick. “So what you’re saying is you want to
cuddle and maybe make out on the sofa for a while,
“Caught me.” Rick kissed him quickly and stepped back.
“There’s beer on the coffee table, and I was going to pop
some popcorn if you want?”
“Sounds great.” Steven followed him back toward the
living room and into the kitchen, where Rick pushed the
button on the microwave and leaned back against the
counter, hands resting on the edges on either side of him.
Steven moved toward him slowly, as if drawn in by a
magnetic force, until he stood with his feet on either side of
Rick’s and his hands on the counter between Rick’s hips and
“Thanks for the wine,” Rick said in a low voice. “And
you’re right, I’ll be very willing to share it.” His gaze flicked
down to Steven’s mouth. “Among other things.”
Steven kissed him then, hands coming up to cup Rick’s
face tenderly. Rick sighed into Steven’s mouth, his hands
moving to Steven’s hips, thumbs rubbing gently just above
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [35]
the waistband of Steven’s jeans. They might have stayed
right there kissing for quite some time if the microwave
hadn’t let out a loud ding as the cycle ended, making both of
them jump a little and then laugh.
Rick pushed at Steven’s chest playfully. “Go warm up
the sofa,” he said. “I’ll get a bowl and bring the popcorn out.”
Steven kissed him one more time, quickly, and headed
out into the living room. Rick took a deep, calming breath to
settle his raging libido before opening a cabinet to get a bowl
for the popcorn.
THE basketball game was good, tense and close, but Rick
found he couldn’t pay all that much attention to it. Not with
one of Steven’s arms around his shoulders, hand lightly
squeezing his bicep, and the other on his thigh, thumb
stroking teasingly along the inner edge. For his part, Rick
had one hand in a similar position on Steven’s thigh, and his
head rested on Steven’s shoulder. He felt warm and secure,
but with an undercurrent of slowly growing arousal.
Rick wanted to touch Steven everywhere, not just in the
one little spot covered by his hand. He wanted to discover
every secret Steven’s body had to give and bring him the
kind of pleasure most people only dreamed about. He hadn’t
felt this way about anyone in years, and he wasn’t sure that
even then his desire had reached the kind of fever pitch he
felt with Steven. He only wished one of them had made some
kind of move sooner. They could’ve been doing this for weeks
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [36]
“Hey, where’d you go?”
Steven’s whisper cut through Rick’s thoughts, and he
turned his head to find Steven’s face hovering just inches
away from his. Rick smiled and dipped forward to kiss him
quickly. “Didn’t go anywhere,” he said. “Just thinking.”
“You, mostly.” Rick shifted, turning toward Steven,
sliding his palm flat across Steven’s stomach. “Just wishing
we’d started this all sooner. Seems like we wasted time or
Steven smiled, moving his hand from Rick’s thigh to
wrap around his waist, pulling Rick half into his lap. “We’re
here now,” he murmured, brushing his lips along the edge of
Rick’s jaw line. “With plenty of free time and lots of space to
“Mmmmm.” Steven’s mouth was wreaking merry havoc
on Rick’s body, sending out shockwaves of pleasure with
every touch. “You just keep right on exploring,” he finally
managed to say. “I’m sure I’ll be taking a turn at it soon.”
Steven chuckled against Rick’s body before surprising
him by biting down at the spot where Rick’s neck and
shoulder met. Rick groaned at the exquisite pleasure-pain as
Steven followed up the love bite by soothing it with his
Steven’s hands pushed at Rick’s shirt, and he sat up far
enough to strip it off, tossing it behind the sofa for later.
“You too,” he said, watching as Steven took off his shirt and
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [37]
sent it to meet Rick’s. He took off his glasses too, reaching
out to set them on the coffee table.
Rick moved then, turning to straddle Steven’s lap, knees
pressing into his hips, legs folded in on either side of
Steven’s. He leaned forward, wrapping both arms around
Steven’s shoulders, and kissed him hard, mouth open,
tongue flicking out to meet Steven’s. Steven’s arms slid
around Rick’s waist and then up across his back, fingers
spread wide.
They kissed like that for long minutes, changing the
angles and pressures, exploring, trying out new things to
figure out what they liked best. Finally Rick broke away and
leaned back a few inches, shifting his hips to grind down
against Steven, their cocks rubbing together, pushing groans
from both of them.
Steven slid his hands up further to grip the back of
Rick’s hair, pulling him back in until their lips just met.
“Want to fuck you,” he growled against Rick’s mouth. “Want
to be so deep inside you that you can taste me.”
Rick moaned as Steven kissed him again, hard, deep,
demanding, blowing out Rick’s synapses and leaving him
desperate to feel Steven inside him.
He broke away, this time pushing to his feet and
reaching for the button on his jeans. Steven’s head tilted
back and he watched Rick from under heavy eyelids, one
hand rubbing slowly over the bulge between his own legs.
Rick’s mouth curved into a dirty smile, and he slowed his
movements down, teasing Steven with a gradual unveiling of
his skin. Once his jeans had been sent to join their shirts, he
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [38]
dropped to his knees and leaned forward, both hands on
Steven’s thighs. He opened his mouth against Steven’s cock,
lips tracing the hard line through the denim, ending with a
brief nip at the bare skin just above the waistline.
“Rick.” Steven’s voice was deep and shredded, and it
drove Rick onward. He popped the button and drew down
the zipper carefully, watching as Steven’s cock swelled out
from its confinement, still covered by the soft cotton of
Steven’s black boxer briefs. Rick didn’t want to wait any
longer, so he simply reached in and pulled Steven’s cock
through the slit in the fabric, immediately wrapping his lips
around the head.
“God!” Steven jerked, and Rick smiled, knowing he’d
caught him off guard. He didn’t plan to do this for long—he
had other things in mind—but Steven tasted so good and
sounded so sexy that Rick lingered, sucking and licking,
humming his pleasure against Steven’s skin. When Steven
seemed to have lost his words in favor of harsh breaths, Rick
finally pulled away and tugged at Steven’s jeans. After a
moment, Steven came back to himself enough to help, and in
moments he was naked too. Rick licked his lips, which really
wanted to go back to sucking Steven’s dick, but that wasn’t
what the rest of Rick wanted.
The rest of him wanted to be fucked, and fucked hard.
Rick stood up and grabbed Steven’s hands, pulling him
up too. Their cocks brushed against each other and they
each sucked in a breath, then laughed a little at themselves.
Rick took a step to the side and reached into the drawer of
the side table, handing over the lube and one of the condoms
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [39]
he’d stashed there earlier. He raised an eyebrow at Steven
and then climbed onto the sofa, on his knees with legs
spread and his back to Steven, hands gripping the top edge.
He looked over his shoulder.
“Fuck me,” he said, watching as fire flashed across
Steven’s face.
Steven was all over him then, one hand jerking his cock,
the other cupping his balls. Rick moaned, the sound echoing
through the room, and let his head drop forward, bracing his
arms. He felt something wet brush across his hole, but it
took a moment to register that Steven’s hands were both
occupied, so that was his tongue at work.
Rick had never been a big fan of rimming. He didn’t hate
it, but he could take it or leave it. A few seconds of Steven’s
tongue changed his attitude completely. Steven circled the
tight pucker with first the tip and then the flat of his tongue,
flicking across the opening, and then gradually working the
tip inside, making a contented sound in his throat, almost
purring. Rick groaned and focused on relaxing the muscles,
and in another moment Steven’s tongue thrust in deep,
fluttering against Rick’s inner walls.
“God!” The word burst out of Rick, and he pushed his
hips back instinctively, desperate for more of that, more of
everything. Steven drew back, kissing Rick’s hole softly, and
then suddenly drove his stiffened tongue back inside, at the
same time cupping the head of Rick’s cock and squeezing.
“Oh fuck!” Rick’s knees nearly gave out, and he sagged
slightly, only Steven’s hands and mouth holding him up.
Steven pulled away again, licking across Rick’s opening one
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [40]
more time, and then he pulled his hands away too. Before
Rick could protest, he heard the flick of the lube bottle
opening, and in another few seconds two wet fingers were
probing, slipping inside easily, the lube combining with
Steven’s saliva and Rick’s relaxed state to make the way
easy. Steven curved his fingers down, pushing against Rick’s
prostate, and Rick groaned again.
“Oh fuck, please, fuck me,” he moaned out. “God.
Steven. Want you inside me so fucking much.”
“Good,” Steven answered, his fingers disappearing, only
to replaced by the blunt head of his cock. “Because that’s
right where I want to be.”
He slid inside on one long thrust, and Rick half-sighed,
half-moaned at being so full. He pushed back against
Steven, encouraging him to move, and Steven took the hint,
starting up a rhythm of short, fast thrusts, his cock dragging
across Rick’s prostate with every movement. Steven wrapped
his hands around Rick’s hips, helping him move in
counterpoint to Steven’s thrusts.
The room filled with the sounds of sex, skin slapping
together, grunts and moans coming from the mouths of both
men. Rick let his head drop back, his mouth open on a
smile, skin tingling all over. Steven felt so good, so right
inside him, their bodies fitting together in every way, like
they’d been built for each other.
Steven’s thrusts grew shorter, harder, faster, and he slid
one hand from Rick’s hip to wrap around his impossibly
hard dick, stroking in time with his thrusts. Rick braced
himself again and pushed back in the same rhythm, mind
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [41]
melting at the twin sensations of fucking forward into
Steven’s hand and back onto his cock. Steven’s other arm
slipped around Rick’s body, his hand splaying out in the
center of Rick’s chest, and Rick felt Steven’s mouth on the
nape of his neck, nipping lightly, sucking hard.
“Oh fuck yeah,” Rick groaned, his climax speeding
toward him like a runaway train. “Oh, fuck me, fuck me….”
Steven bit down on his neck again, hard enough to send
a jolt of energy through Rick’s body and set off his orgasm.
He gave a hoarse yell as his back arched and his head
curved down, his eyes snapping shut and his mouth falling
open. Delicious waves of pleasure crashed over him, and it
was only distantly that he heard Steven let out a shout of his
own, Rick’s name mixed in, as he reached his own release.
Rick slumped forward, body falling flush against the
back of the sofa, smearing his come everywhere, but he
couldn’t find it within himself to care. It would wash out
later. Steven stayed pressed up against him, cock still deep
inside, and Rick let out a long sigh, skin still tingling and
muscles still trembling.
“God.” Steven kissed the spot he’d bitten on Rick neck.
“So fucking good.”
“Mmmmm.” Three amazing orgasms in less than twentyfour
hours seemed to have taken away Rick’s powers of
speech and movement. He stayed on his knees, arms folded
on the back of the sofa, head resting on his arms, and barely
even flinched when Steven pulled out. He shivered when his
warmth moved away, though, and managed to turn his head.
“Where’re you going?”
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [42]
“Be right back.” He couldn’t see Steven, but in a
moment he reappeared, still naked, holding a damp towel.
He climbed onto the sofa behind Rick, knees on either side of
his, and wrapped an arm around his waist to pull Rick into
his lap. Rick went willingly, his eyes closing again and his
head dropping back against Steven’s shoulder, and he let
out a soft whimper when Steven started wiping his chest and
stomach with the cloth.
“Made a little mess here.” Steven’s voice rumbled in
Rick’s ear, and he hummed softly, smiling. Steven shifted to
the side a little and the cloth went away. “Don’t know if this
will do any good, but I guess it’s better than nothing.”
Confused, Rick peeled his eyes open and focused
enough to see Steven wiping at the streaks of come Rick had
left on the back of the sofa. Rick snickered. “Um. Whoops,”
he said, tilting his head back and to the side to find Steven
grinning at him.
“Guess we should’ve covered the sofa first,” Steven said,
before leaning forward to cover Rick’s mouth with his. Rick
moaned into the kiss, opening for Steven’s tongue, lifting one
still-shaking hand back to slide into the soft hair at the back
of Steven’s head.
Steven pulled away slowly and smiled. “C’mon, let’s go
to bed,” he said. “We can nap a little before we dig into the
leftovers for dinner.”
Rick nodded and let Steven help him up, wincing at the
pull on his knees from the workout they’d gotten. Steven
wrapped an arm around his shoulders to steady him and
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [43]
walked toward the bedroom. Inside, he pulled back the
covers and waved Rick ahead, crawling in after him.
They lay on their sides facing each other, legs entangled,
arms around each other’s waists. Rick smiled. “Some
Christmas,” he said, and Steven laughed softly, then sobered
and seemed to come to a decision before he spoke again.
“Rick, to be perfectly honest, I’d been wanting to meet
you for weeks now,” he said, eyes searching Rick’s. “I just
didn’t want to come across as creepy or too forward or
anything like that. I’m really glad you came over last night,
and not just because of… all this.” He waved a hand between
them. “I really like you. I had fun talking to you and working
with you on the stuff last night and at the shelter today.” He
smiled softly. “Getting to know you, getting to spend time
with you, it’s really been the best Christmas gift I ever
could’ve asked for.” The smile widened into the grin. “And
the sex, well, let’s just say that hasn’t hurt one bit.”
Rick laughed and kissed him. “Me too,” he said. “To all
of it. I’m glad you invited me over, and I’ve loved sharing
Christmas with you.” He skimmed his hand up the side of
Steven’s body to cup his cheek. “I hope we’ll have a lot of
chances to try to top it in the future.”
Steven smiled and turned his face far enough to kiss the
center of Rick’s palm. “That sounds like an excellent idea to
He shifted closer, nuzzling his nose against Rick’s,
kissing him slowly, gently, mouth open and soft. Rick sighed
into Steven’s mouth and kissed him back, soaking up his
warmth. When they finally parted, Steven leaned his
Shae Connor Sharing Christmas [44]
forehead against Rick’s and lifted one corner of his mouth in
a half smile.
“So,” he said. “I guess the next musical question would
be, what are you doing New Year’s Eve?”
Rick laughed and kissed him again, hard and fast. “I
don’t know yet,” he said. “But whatever it is, I hope I’ll be
doing it with you.”
Steven’s eyes flashed wickedly, and suddenly Rick was
flat on his back, Steven lying full length on top of him. “I
hope you’ll be doing it with me a lot from now on,” he teased,
and Rick laughed again, loudly, lifting his legs to wrap
around Steven’s waist.
“Oh, I have definite plans,” he said, sliding his hands
down to cup Steven’s ass. “Let me tell you all about them.”
And he did.

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Title: Nice: Holiday Deal
Author: Mel Spenser
Length: 8,600 words (34 pdf pages)
Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B


Greg has nothing special going on for the holidays, so when his friend Sophie asks him to charade as her fiancé for an upcoming office party, he agrees. But he hadn’t planned on finding a lost dog, and then meeting cute veterinarian Ted. It’s not long before the deal he made with Sophie threatens his new relationship with Ted. Will Greg and Ted be able to overcome the confusion and strike up their own deal?


Right from the start you know this is whole plan of Greg’s friend is going to come back and bite them both in the ass. Of course, Greg didn’t know he’d meet sexy vet Ted or find himself a lost abandoned dog when he agreed. Seems Ted and Sophie’s boss whom she’s trying to trick with the fiancé have a much closer relationship than anyone thought, like genetically close. And when Ted is told that Greg is Sophie’s fiancé, he is needless to say upset and Sophie and Greg run for it, leaving Greg to try to fix things with Ted and explain the mess the next day.

I know the mess was created as a source of conflict for the guys, but Sophie wants to impress her boss and be a full professor and then as Ted says “What are you two? Sixteen?” Exactly. A mature university professor would simply tell her boss she’s not interested in her son and get the job based on her abilities, not come up with some elaborate plan. So that really annoyed me because I would NEVER hire her after that came out. But I liked Greg, and Ted was great and easy-going. He was willing to hear Greg’s explanation and give him a chance when he probably just deserved a kick in the ass.

So on the whole I enjoyed Ted and Greg together  and Ted’s menagerie of animals was cute and endearing, even Greg’s enthusiasm for his new guy was appealing, however the fact that Greg would even go along with Sophie’s moronic plan took him down a few notches in my book. I’m getting a bit tired of the “best friend who’s a girl asks the gay boy to do something totally ridiculous and out there but  because she’s been there for him he does most anything, no matter how stupid or harmful to all involved” storyline. Maybe I just don’t have close friends, but I’d think a real friend would smack you in the head and tell you to get a clue if you came up with some lame plan, not go “Oh well, you’re my best friend so I’ll do it”. Still, I really like the characters (except for Sophie) that this author creates and I find her style easy to read and engaging.

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Title: Christmas Angel, A Hammer Story
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 44 pages (10, 800 words)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: M/M contemporary BDSM
Rating: B

It’s Christmas Charity Auction time again at the Hammer Club, and this year Oliver has convinced Kein to put a couple of hours of time up for bid. Kein, confidence shattered by his Dom leaving him, is worried that no one will want him, even just for a couple hours of service.

Mac is attending the auction for the first time, and he’s drawn to Kein as soon as the beautiful sub walks onto the stage. His is the winning bid, and he and Kein retire to one of the back rooms to have dinner and get to know each other better.

Will sparks fly between them? Could Mac and Kein be each other’s Christmas angels?

I’ve dipped in and out of Sean Michael’s Hammer series, having only read 1 or 2 shorts and one full length novel. In the case of this story, I think that it will appeal both to fans of the series and those, like me, who know only a little about it. It follows sub Kein (who I kept wanting to read as Klein, but that’s probably just my quirk), he was rejected suddenly by his Dom and now, even after three years, Kein’s confidence is in tatters. When the club owner, Oliver, persuades Kein to enter the charity auction, Kein is convinced that no-one will bid on him. Mac sees Kein and is immediately drawn to him. He can tell that Kein is hurting and is determined to give him what he needs at Christmas.

Whether you like this story will depend on how much you like the sweet character of Kein. I liked him a great deal, but then again I have a real soft spot for characters with low self esteem. My heart went out to the poor man, especially at the beginning when we discover how devastated he was at the rejection of his Dom:

“He worked at the art supply store. He went home. He loved on his cat. He counted it a victory that he didn’t cry anymore.”

When Mac rescues him from all that, he does it so gently and compassionately that I found it delightful. I also liked how sensible he was and attuned to Kein’s needs without making it seem that he pitied the man. The story is basically a slowish lead up followed by a couple of well written and very hot sex scenes, but in amongst the BDSM-lite is also a tenderness between the pair. It pinged my ‘insta-love’ button a little, but given that I liked both characters, and that I enjoyed the way that Mac began to repair Kein’s self confidence, then it didn’t matter too much that they were making a commitment after knowing each other less than 24 hours.

One final thing I liked was the way that the author gave little hints about the characterisation by describing the houses of the men. Kein’s house is small and homely, representing his giving nature, whereas Mac’s place is large but cold, showing his loneliness. It would have been nice to have a glimpse of how a shared house would have looked, and the positive influence Kein would have had on Mac. As it is, we just get to see how Mac’s nature influences Kein. Perhaps there’ll be another story with this pair in the future.

Fans of Sean Michael are not going to be disappointed with this story, which I felt was one of the better ones I’ve read recently. There’s still the trademark sex scenes, but also a decent and sweet story of being saved and saving in return.

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Title: Nice: Christmas Magic
Author: GH Worth
Length: 8,000 words (28 pdf pages)
Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal contemporary
Rating: B-


Being the lead designer for the Clausner Software Development Company is a dream job for Timothy Mitchell, but his desire for his sexy and unattainable boss Anthony Nicholas Clausner Jr. is slowly driving him insane. He’s tried dating other men since moving to town, but after the last date almost ended in a fist fight over being a cock tease, Timothy’s stopped trying and he doesn’t know what to do.

Since the first moment he walked into the building, Nick Clausner has watched Timothy, waiting for the months to rolls by and the days surrounding Christmas Eve to approach. It’s been some of the hardest and most frustrating months of his life and now finally the time is right to show his most important employee that with Christmas Magic swirling in the air anything is possible, and that dreams can come true.


Timothy has been crushing on his boss since he started work, however when Nick suddenly invites him into his office for a pre-Christmas drink he’s not sure what to think. After feeding Timothy (endlessly it seems – cookies, sandwiches, wine, cheese and crackers – the guy should have been in a food coma), Nick tells him he wants to be together with him and well, he’s got a bit of a confession. His Dad, Mr. CLAUSner runs a toy company. His mother Mrs. CLAUSner is totally into Christmas, making cookies and decorating Nick’s office. Uh huh.

Timothy is a bit shocked as you can imagine, but wants Nick so bad he’s soon stripped down naked and they are getting festive on the office couch, until Mom and Dad make an impromptu visit, luckily after the deed is done, to welcome their new son-in-law to the family. This story has an interesting twist on the Santa myth, with several siblings involved in various successful business enterprises that in someway furnish gifts, and the story of Nick and his family being the last of their race. There is also a mating scheme in place which I never associate with Santa. To be honest, I try not to think of sex and Santa in any way because that’s just wrong.

Of course you have to go with the flow in a paranormal and there may be a few things that make people roll their eyes like Timothy’s quickness to disrobe following Nick’s confession, but on the whole I thought the concept was fresh and appealing. So for something a bit different from the usual Christmas contemporaries, but still set in a familiar world, it would be a fun choice and I enjoyed the departure from straight contemporaries.

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Title: Christmas Bells
Author: Andi Deacon
Length: 42 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M, contemporary
Rating: B

When the ridiculously functional Bell family gathers for the holidays, oldest son Jon, a college professor, is very taken with the friend his brother Eric brings home with him from graduate school. Kim was recently disowned by his family after coming out. Eric just wants to give his friend a simple, happy family holiday, but the rest of the family has another idea: they want to encourage the budding feelings between Kim and Jon, making for a merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

In many ways this little sweet romance was more about family and family dynamics than it was about the romance between the heroes. It follows Jon as he comes to the family home for the Christmas period where he meets one of his brother’s friends, Kim. Their attraction is almost immediate, but Jon is warned off by his brother who knows that Kim has had it tough recently. It takes the gentle interference of Jon’s mother and sister to get him to realise how ridiculous he’s being.

As I said, the attraction for me was in the way that the family members interacted, which I felt was done quite realistically. There’s the usual bickering and good natured teasing, but overall the story shows a family who love each other and are concerned over each other’s interests. It was, perhaps, a little idealised, but given that the story is set at Christmas I could forgive that. Besides, the awkwardness that Jon feels after talking to his brother at the beginning of the story added to the realism as it meant not everything is lovely.

The romance between Jon and Kim was quite humourously handled with lots of longing looks, ‘accidental’ touches and sexual tension before they came to their senses. I also liked that it was the sensible females in the story who, through their loving and not at all pushy hints, made Jon think about what he was doing. It was amusing to see Jon trying to puzzle out what the women were trying to say in their subtle way. The character of Kim wasn’t as well defined as Jon, but I did like his pragmatic outlook on life and the way he happily fit in around Jon’s family.

Overall, this well written short was perfect for Christmas. It was sweet and touching without straying over the line to mushy and overly sentimental. I read it on Christmas Day, after all the family had gone home, and enjoyed it very much.

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Title: Batteries Not Included
Author: J. L. Merrow
Length: 42 pages, 10k words.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M, contemporary, paranormal
Rating: B+

Blurb: How would you react if you woke up one morning to find you were in bed with your favorite pop star? More to the point: how would the pop star react? Sam’s celebrity crush, Cain Shepney, isn’t so pleased to wake up with a stranger, but that’s far from the worst shock the day has in store for them both! Sam’s used to his mother messing with his love life, but this time, Lilith may really have gone too far.


This was an amusing, dream-come-true story, with an unusual twist.

A delightful rollercoaster starts with Sam waking with his popstar idol Cain in a very compromising situation. I admit I love this scenario in fiction! But instead of the plot then being the familiar get-together, the author cleverly twists us and takes us on a race with them across country to confront the odd conclusion that maybe Cain isn’t Cain at all. Yet who – or what – else could he be?

For me, the whole story hinges on how the reader takes to Sam. He’s a self-confessed conservative young man, who’s had a very un-conservative upbringing with his wild-child mother Lilith. Sam’s narrative style is idiosyncratic, frank and self-deprecating, with plenty of humour in it. Oh, bloody hell. It was turning out to be a nightmare. Which was odd, because usually my dreams about Cain Shepney were strictly of the pleasurable sort. You know, the sort where you have to change your boxers after, and possibly the sheets as well… is that too much information? I liked his wit, his pragmatism, his hopeless crush on his idol, his weary but loving frustration with his mother.

The start felt a little uneven to me. The original scene was fun, but diluted by Sam’s mental rambling about his mother. It was important to give the reader information about her, but a lot of it was anecdotal, and I found it too much, especially at the beginning when I’d barely been introduced to Sam himself. Perhaps this was a good illustration of how the chap had always been overwhelmed by Lilith’s larger-than-life personality! The pace picked back up again when Sam and Cain went together to find the truth.

There was little about Cain to go on, except for his reaction to his strange situation at Sam’s, but I did like the way they shared humour and quickly found rapport. And it was very refreshing that Cain developed the same pragmatism when faced with his history instead of turning diva.

I loved best the scene when Cain meets … well, his nemesis, for want of another word (no spoilers!). This was very well written because I was never confused as to who was who. Lilith came into her own and provided the plot explanation, and the characters from Cain’s professional life were amusing though I didn’t feel they added much more than cameos. Yet again, I was happier when Sam and Cain were back together alone. The sex scene was consummation of the suspense and very hot, and worked well because I’d come to like them both.

I didn’t find it particularly Christmas-sy, but that didn’t matter at all to the enjoyment, and I enjoyed the occasional digs at reality star-making shows. The author’s wit and British vocabulary were out in full force, and gave the story a unique style. A very good read, the plot was fun, the two main characters were very attractive, and I rate it a B+.

by pettyprose…my opinion alone.

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Title: A Very D Christmas
Author: Jane Seville
Length: 13,600 (40 pdf pages)
Publisher: Self published*
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B


This short story featuring the characters from the gay romantic thriller “Zero at the Bone” by Jane Seville. Former hitman D and his partner, surgeon Jack Francisco, unexpectedly spend the holidays with D s long-estranged sister and her family.


For fans of Zero at the Bone who fell in love with D and Jack, we finally get a little taste of them. They are settled into life in Columbus, and Jack has found information about D’s sister who lives about two-hours away. After some nagging, D finally steps out of his comfort zone and calls, sure that he’ll be rejected. He’s shocked when she’s thrilled to hear from him and before he knows what hit him, he and Jack are spending Christmas Eve with the family he hasn’t seen in thirteen years. Jack inadvertently finds that D’s nephew is being bullied and beaten and being accused of being gay.

It was nice to see D changing, but not so much that he was not the same surly, uncomfortable guy he was in the novel. He’s mellowed and he’s still madly in love with Jack, but he’s still got his edge. Fifty cents from each sale of this short go toward the Trevor Project, so a large portion of the story deals with bullying and how kids cope with it, or don’t. D’s discomfort when asked to speak to his nephew was humorous at the same time being poignant. As his nephew points out, there is so much to worry about, do people think you’re gay, are you acting gay, is someone gay? When I was a kid being gay was the last thing anyone would bully you for. Better? Just different I suppose.

So there isn’t a lot of interaction between Jack and D, it’s predominantly with D’s sister and her family and a large percentage of the story deals with bullying which is definitely a subject that needs attention and some way to stop it. But it was certainly nice to see Jack and D and know that they are still in love and doing well, arguing over who takes out the trash and all those great things that couples get to do. 🙂

You can read this as a stand-alone, as there is enough background and a small preface to let you understand how Jack and D got together, however those who’ve read the first book will likely appreciate it more. I highly recommend the novel Zero at the Bone for those who haven’t read it yet.

* As I noted, fifty cents from each sale goes to The Trevor Project until Jan. 31, so here’s a great opportunity to not only visit old friends, but to contribute to a very worthy cause. Congratulations Jane on making such a generous effort.

featuring the characters from the gay romantic thriller “Zero at the Bone” by Jane Seville.  Former hitman D and his partner, surgeon Jack Francisco, unexpectedly spend the holidays with D s long-estranged sister and her family.

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