Short Stories

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All I Want for Christmas… Is No Christmas

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Alec Ryder’s arrest in Aspen, early on the morning of December twenty-fifth, is the latest disaster in his series of unhappy Christmases. He’s dreaded the holiday since being subjected to endless church services as a child. Being kicked out on Christmas Day after he came out to his parents, followed by an improbable series of yearly yuletide trips to the emergency room, haven’t made his Christmases any merrier. But getting busted for prostitution is the worst catastrophe; it means Alec’s dream of a college degree is gone, replaced by the specter of jail time. 

Just when Alec thinks things can’t get worse, Hayden Adler shows up to interrogate him. Hayden is a glamorous attorney who also happens to be Alec’s college roommate’s cousin. Alec’s had a crush on Hayden for years, but whatever miniscule chance Alec might’ve had is now history—just like the life he’s been trying to build for himself.  

But things aren’t quite what they seem. In a long line of miserable Christmases, Alec will never forget this one, although not for the reasons he suspects.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Anyplace Else

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Grant Beaudoin should be thrilled to escape Minneapolis at Christmastime and grateful to lounge on a Hawaiian beach. Instead he is mired in self-pity and drowning in too much tequila. His twin is marrying the perfect man, while Grant is stuck in middle management with no love life in sight. A walk into the rain forest leads to a meeting with a doomed man who has a story about a holiday that predates Christmas. Grant comes to realize that difficult endings can lead to new beginnings—and perhaps a brighter future.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Bite Night

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Creatures of the Night and Santa’s Christmas duties don’t mix. Every myth and bedtime story tells you so.

But on Christmas Eve, when the Elves walked off the job over pension rights, it was time for me—Irwin, the only vampire on Santa’s payroll, despite recent diversity initiatives—and my trusty team to help out. Just deliver a few parcels, Santa asked me. Just help out on your local patch. Just for one night.

Armed with my reluctance to face all that human sentimentality, and accompanied by a wise-cracking werewolf and an unruly fairy with a taste for vodka, I did my best. Honest.

But we were heading for disaster until I came face-to-face with cute babysitter Benny. It’s Santa’s Number One Rule—no interaction with the clients. But Benny somehow managed to upset my appetite, inflame my libido, and restore my faith in the Christmas spirit, with one cheeky smile and a tasty body piercing.

It’s Christmas, and the show must go on!

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Crashing the Party

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Retail workers and evil never get a day off, and traveling printer salesman Kale Green is no exception. He might look like a Jolly Green Giant, but he can be a real grinch. Working on the holidays can dampen anyone’s spirits, and on top of that, a sleepy Georgia town has it out for Kale and his car. From fender-benders to flat tires, Kale and his trusty company car Bessie suffer through it all. 

While everyone else enjoys holiday parties, Kale drives down south to demo printers. Business is good, but on Christmas Eve, the weather turns bad. A few patches of ice put an end to Kale’s Christmas plans—a night alone with his video games. While Kale waits for the police, his only consolation is the company of fellow driver Wes Armstrong. As festive as a Christmas tree and as jolly as Kris Kringle, Wes proves unexpectedly charming. Kale never thought he’d crash right into a crush. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Driven to Distraction

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Cowboys Wyatt and Brady are competing in a team-roping event in Missoula, Montana’s annual Christmas Eve rodeo. Christmas is Wyatt’s favorite time of year and nothing is going to dampen his holiday spirit, not even his surly, no-nonsense roping partner. They’ve only been riding together for a week, but Wyatt has already secretly fallen head over bootheels for Brady, though it’s painfully obvious Brady only has eyes for the rodeo’s grand prize purse.

When Brady is distracted during a crucial moment in the night’s first roping run and nearly disqualifies them, Wyatt is almost certain he is going to be another of Brady’s many rejected partners. Will Wyatt and Brady be able to sort out their differences and work together to win the grand prize? Maybe, if Wyatt can show Brady that Christmas really is a time for miracles. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Guardian Angels

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

One snowy evening, a car wreck in front of his toy store triggers terrible memories for Jake. Suddenly, he is in the midst of another winter storm—and another accident, one that not everyone walked away from. When he returns to the present, Jake is on the ground, being watched over by a guardian angel in the form of a kind man named Eli. Eli is no stranger to panic attacks and PTSD, and he’s happy to help Jake get home—where the weather forces him to remain for the night. For Jake, it could be the first step toward a life free from fear and loneliness. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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How the Supervillain Stole Christmas

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Rex Devious (Dr. Devious to meddlesome do-gooders everywhere) can go toe-to-toe with superheroes without blinking an eye. So picking out a Christmas present for his new boyfriend should be no problem. After all, he and Sanjay seem perfect for each other. But with a terrible track record for finding gifts that won’t scare his potential partners away, Rex is paralyzed with insecurity. Until, of course, he decides to change tactics. Instead of having to pick out that perfect present, why not just destroy Christmas altogether? If his nemeses (or his conscience) can’t stop him first, he might just become the supervillain who stole Christmas. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Iced

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Keith Walker, a mall bookstore employee, is struggling to get through another miserable holiday season while trying to preserve a crumbling long-term relationship. One of his few comforts is his morning coffee made by a good-looking, younger barista. Austin Novak felt an attraction when Keith started frequenting the coffee shop, but he doesn’t think the older man has any interest in him or his graphic novel collection.

A Christmas week snowstorm buries the city and locks Keith’s car into its parking spot. Keith decides to show Austin his gratitude for helping free the car from the ice with a dinner invitation. The meal becomes complicated when Austin meets Keith’s boyfriend, Shawn, and things go downhill from there when Shawn announces he’s heading to Cancún with his coworkers. Keith is caught between keeping his boyfriend happy and keeping his job. But Keith might not need a plane ticket to find the happiness that’s been missing from his life.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Matthew’s Present

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Matthew Blick is almost thirty years old, and he hates the thought of another holiday alone. He has become a bit of a wet blanket when Christmas rolls around every year. So much so that even his five-year-old niece, Hannah, knows something needs to change. She asks the department store Santa to bring her uncle a man to love, and when Santa sees her uncle, he formulates a plan to set that possibility in motion. 

Santa shows up at Matthew’s house and at first Matthew can’t place him, but then the memories of his first kiss flood his mind and he is shocked to find that Santa is the man he has carried a torch for since high school. Will this twist of fate help Matthew change his view on the holidays? Only a kiss can tell. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Of Mooning Santas and Penis Lights

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Former US Marine John Ving hates everything about holiday displays: they’re tacky, they waste energy, and they’re an eyesore. So what does his new neighbor do? He sets up the holiday spectacle from hell, and he doesn’t seem to care which holiday—he has a menorah, a baby Jesus, a Santa, and everything in between. Not to mention it’s swathed in enough lights his house is probably visible from space. 

High-school teacher Kaden Melling loves the holidays, and huge light displays on his lawn make his heart glow. He’d love to share some cheer—and maybe some kinky fun—with his smoking hot neighbor John. Odd things start to happen to his displays, but just as he begins to think life is going his way, with the holidays and with John, a Grinch destroys everything. 

It’s gonna take the display-hating John to set things right—and what he has planned might blow Kaden’s mind.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Popcorn Garlands

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Carlos Mendez spends all year working hard at his Houston-based landscaping business, and he sends every spare penny he earns back to his family in Mexico. By the time the holidays roll around, he doesn’t have much patience for the unadulterated greed and consumerism paraded past him. But a chance meeting with his neighbor, Ned Williams, and Ned’s cancer-stricken daughter, might help to remind him of the real meaning of the season—something beyond the gaudy lights and extravagant displays—something he wants to be a part of. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Ranger Station Haven

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Federal park ranger Carter Williams dislikes kids almost as much as he dislikes Christmas. He chose his career to escape human contact, not embrace it. And no matter how much his husband Owen tries to sway his opinion, Carter is a grump who would rather ignore the holiday. Owen’s efforts are put on hold, however, when they get a call about six missing foster kids lost in the park. 

Christmas Eve takes a turn for the worse when Owen injures himself rescuing the children. Stranded in a snowstorm until dawn, Carter has to keep Owen awake and healthy while simultaneously watching six runaways. What he thinks is a nightmare come to life is actually a beautiful gift in disguise—the kids transform the ranger station into a Christmas wonderland. And before it’s all said and done, they might transform Carter’s heart as well—if he can keep his bah humbug attitude in check. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Resolutions

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

As an advertising executive, it’s Logan’s job to sell people holiday cheer, and he’s good at what he does. But deep down, Logan hates everything about Christmas, so he worries that his crush on the hot baker who loves the holidays is a recipe for disaster. 

Last year, Logan saw Ryan at a holiday party Ryan was catering, and the attraction was instant. In a drunken moment, Logan made it his New Year’s resolution to ask the pastry chef out. But another year has slipped away, time is running out, and Logan’s assistant demands he collect on his resolution. Can Logan find the confidence that usually comes so easily to him? And if he does, will Ryan have any interest in spending the holidays with a man who doesn’t share his enthusiasm for the season? 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Santa for Hire

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Dumped by his ex on Christmas Eve two years ago, Oxford Street department store manager Richard Barratt now hates the holidays. Things go from bad to worse when the store's usual Santa is too ill to reprise his role and the firm sends cocky but handsome Blaine Ryder to take his place. The attraction between the two is clear, but Blaine is an incorrigible player who reminds Richard of his ex. His idea of a relationship is a quick roll in the hay, and his advances have Richard running for the hills. It might take some special intervention for both of them to realize they can change enough to have a chance at a holiday romance. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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The Orpheum Miracle

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

Christmas joy is a matter of perspective. For some, it’s the happiest time of the year. For others, not so much.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mick, the son of crack addicts, isn’t exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Scrooge. Mick’s been on his own from childhood. As a teen, he lived in a shelter, where for a short time he had a boyfriend. After the boyfriend left, Mick moved to the Orpheum Theater. While squatting there and taking care of the grand old building, Mick watched others celebrate the holidays from a distance, never able to share in their merriment. 

Only his Technicolor dreams liven his dull, mechanical life until one day the world around him begins to change. Mick is surprised when a man named Jim buys the vintage Orpheum and plans to restore it. Something about Jim makes Mick think they’ve met before. In fact, Jim rekindles Mick’s longing for a better life and a little holiday magic for himself.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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The Vampire’s Dinner

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

For vampire Charles Redfort, Christmas is a bitter reminder of the day he was killed by a werewolf. After fleeing the vampire army he was created to serve in, he has lived in exile in England. Once a year he allows himself to tell the truth about his life over dinner. Then he eats the man he’s hired for the night.

Blake Wells is an engineering student by day and escort by night. He works Christmas because he doesn’t want to see his father, and his mother doesn’t want to see him. When he meets Charles, he thinks he’s gotten a bonus present that he can’t wait to unwrap. But as the truth is revealed, Blake will have to think fast to live until morning and convince Charles to give up his lonely life.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Traditions

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

When Marcus and James started dating a few years ago, James invited Marcus home to spend the holidays with his close, Christmas-loving family. Marcus quickly realized once was enough, and since then, he’s stayed behind. 

But this year will be different. Though the festivity and chaos make Marcus uncomfortable, he loves James, and he’s decided to put aside his unease so they can spend Christmas together—even if it means losing his hotel room to one of James’s siblings, braving the cold to go caroling, and battling the crowds so the children can visit Santa. It’ll all be worth it if Marcus can take his place in the family’s traditions—and maybe begin a new tradition for the two of them. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Alpaca Lies

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Alpaca shifter Alfie dreams of a life beyond the petting zoo at stately Mattock Hall. He can’t explore his crush on Simon Mattock, heir to the estate and caretaker to the animals, for two reasons. One, he’s never shifted into human form, and two, Simon is saddled with a boyfriend who’s exploiting him for his wealth. But when a fire threatens both the zoo and Simon, Alfie knows the time has come to put his fears aside, make his first shift, and save them. He just hopes Simon will like what he sees.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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