Short Stories

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A Gift of Family

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Scott Burke has always desired a big family, but as a divorced single dad, all he has is his young daughter, Lexi. He pours himself into raising her, half-convinced he’ll never find what he’s looking for. When Brennan Price strolls into Scott’s life, he’d better have enough patience for both Lexi and Scott if he intends to stick around.

Brennan has a huge family and a successful career, but no one to call his own. Wooing Scott and his daughter is right up his alley, though, and he steps up to the challenge to prove he’s enough for both of them. His attraction to Scott is immediate, but he recognizes a family man when he sees one and hatches a plan to win Lexi over. Her handsome father is sure to follow….

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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A Holiday Crush

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

 

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All Creatures Great and Small

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Growing up an orphan meant Charlie never celebrated Christmas. He’s committed to making sure his newly adopted cat, Max, doesn’t miss out like he did. Unfortunately, he discovers that giving Max the perfect Christmas might be easier said than done—and not without risk.

Charlie’s landlord, successful and wealthy real estate developer Aemon Scotfield, is charmed by the gorgeous redhead and his shameless alley cat. He finds himself compelled to help orchestrate a memorable celebration for Max—and Charlie—despite the mishaps that seem to just keep coming. As difficult as it will be to pull off the perfect holiday, the real challenge might be walking away when it’s over.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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An Open Window

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s bad, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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An Unexpected Sanctuary

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

An aggressive super-flu pandemic wipes out a majority of the population over the course of one Christmas holiday—and brings Tobin and Kyle together. For almost a year, they’ve been trekking across the country from Colorado toward a sanctuary in upstate New York. Kyle’s survival skills have kept them alive, and Tobin wants to repay the man he loves with a very special gift of his own making. He sneaks off in search of the last few pieces… only to get himself and Kyle kidnapped by a desperate stranger. With their journey to New York on hold—possibly indefinitely—they’ll need to accept that home isn’t always defined by a place as much as the person you’re with.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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A Timely Gift

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

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.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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Candy Canes and Cappuccinos

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Kyle is struggling to run his coffee shop on his own after his partner walked out on him. He has his eye on Steven, who comes into the shop each day, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to express his interest. When Steven asks Kyle to help out with Christmas lunch at the homeless shelter where he works, Kyle is too exhausted to agree. He donates his tips but still feels he’s blown his chances with Steven and made himself look like a selfish jerk.

On Christmas Day, Kyle sees a way to make amends—to both Steven and the needy people depending on his kindness. It’s the right thing to do, and Kyle hopes he can clear up the misunderstanding and show Steven the type of man he really is. Maybe then they can consider some dessert when the lunch at the shelter is over….

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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New Game, Start

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.

He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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O Hell, All Ye Shoppers

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Ethan Hall plans to fill Saturday, December 23, with junk food and bad TV, a day just for him amid the holiday chaos… until his baby sister calls and begs him to go collect a present for her. At the biggest shopping center in Australia. On the busiest shopping day of the year. Hell no. Right?

Ethan’s soft heart gets the best of him. He battles through the parking lot, and in the main shopping concourse, he’s trampled, elbowed, and bombarded with terrible holiday music. Then he enters hell itself, a specialty store aimed at women… where he meets Ty. They bond in a sea of estrogen and manic shoppers, fighting together to attain freedom, only to find they’re not quite ready go their separate ways.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

 

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Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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Salvaging Claus Day

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

For three years, Filo has reveled in silence and solitude as the sole occupant of a space station, where he maintains the communication satellite.

Everything changes with the appearance of Luz Espina’s lifepod. Filo shares many interests with the flirtatious Luz, though Filo’s isolation has strained his communication skills. Still, Luz pushes all his buttons… and reminds him of the last man he was attracted to—an attraction that ended in disaster because the man was straight. When Luz learns Filo has never celebrated a holiday, he vows to cobble together a Claus Day celebration for them to share. But is it merely a friendly gesture… or something more?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Billionaire’s Boxing Day Bargain

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Milo is too nice to say no when the desperate call goes out for more staff to work Boxing Day at Eden Consumer Electronics. It’s just until they sell the door-crasher specials, but it means he can’t see his billionaire boyfriend Lance until later that day.

Lance spends December 25 jetting back from a business trip, eager to see Milo. He calls as soon as his flight lands Boxing Day morning, only to find out that seven hundred and thirty televisions are cock-blocking him.

What’s the point of being a billionaire if you can’t spend your way around obstacles? Milo doesn’t want Lance solving his problems with cash, but he’ll never find out because Lance’s efficient personal assistant, William, is on the case. Unfortunately, even billionaires are subject to the law of unintended consequences—and these aren’t the kind Lance can buy his way out of.

Will Lance and Milo have their Boxing Day date? Or have Lance’s pushy billionaire ways finally gone too far?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Last Gift

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick's reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick's workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick's help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Frankie Faraday is a promising young salesperson at Mason’s Emporium. Bill Mason is his boss, the son of the store’s founder, and the object of Frankie’s long-suffering, deeply devoted crush. Bill is steady and sober; Frankie is frivolous and flaky. Or so they seem to each other, until the night of the annual inventory, when they’re trapped together in the Seasonal Gifts storeroom, with nothing but candy and peppermint schnapps to sustain them until they’re rescued. And then the real truths—and something definitely more intimate—emerge!

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Probability of Mistletoe

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

When software engineer Keith Trainor decides to start his own company, he knows exactly who he wants as his partner: Parker Mulvaney, his best friend from high school. But in the ten years since graduation, their contact has dwindled to nothing, and it’s all Keith’s fault. If he hadn’t tried to kiss Parker under the mistletoe at the winter formal their senior year, Parker wouldn’t have bolted. At their ten-year reunion, Keith intends to do everything in his geeky power to make amends.

Parker should have known that scheduling the reunion the day before Christmas Eve was a recipe for a headache of monster proportions. But when Keith sends a text that he’ll be attending, the evening doesn’t look so bleak. Can an unnecessary makeover, a nostalgic breakfast, an abortive shopping trip, and a whole lot of mistletoe culminate in a long-overdue first kiss?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Puzzle Box

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.

The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Storm’s Gift

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Snowed in together in their college dorm, two men share a quick connection that creates enough heat to spar with the blizzard outside.

Rory Blackwell plans to rejuvenate his mind and repair his battered heart after his world is shaken by an unexpected breakup. James Austin’s freshman-year plans of improving his social life crashed and burned, leaving him feeling as alone and outcast as he did back home.

One man is hurting while the other is eager to provide comfort. One is a virgin, the other experienced with other men. Both are looking forward to Winter Break, but can they take full advantage of their situation—or will the passion ignited between them fizzle out with the storm?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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The Werewolf before Christmas

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

Ray seems like the perfect boyfriend—he’s gorgeous, incredibly romantic, and has a mechanical suit he invented to become the dastardly MantaRay. For Alec, who also spends his nights making life difficult for do-gooders everywhere, it’s a match made in supervillain heaven. Except that Ray is a bit too into the hit soap opera All My Werewolves. When tempers flare during what’s supposed to be a quiet night out, Alec nearly ruins everything over a stupid bet with an alien gorilla.

Desperate to prove his feelings to Ray, and with Christmas fast approaching, Alec decides the fastest way to Ray’s heart is to embrace the thing that threatens to divide them—a certain werewolf show with a certain actor who Ray admires. A simple kidnapping promises to do the trick, only fur (and fandom) fly when Alec’s romantic gesture leads to a very hairy situation. Can Alec prove to Ray how much their relationship means to him, or will his plans be ruined by the werewolf before Christmas?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

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