Short Stories

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Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

Jared’s been all over the world as a traveling manny with Holiday Helpers, and the itch to put down roots is is starting to eclipse his wanderlust—especially since his current family is a handful. 

After culinary school, Wes did some wandering of his own, exploring Central America before settling as a resort chef in his mother’s homeland of Costa Rica, a place he loves and plans to stay. If he’s learned one thing, it’s to be wary of flings with vacationers. Still, he can’t stand to watch two little Swiss kids lose their belief in Saint Nicholas, so he’ll lend a hand to the manny assisting the family. It won’t be easy to recreate a traditional European Christmas in a tropical paradise. 

Between a snowball fight on a sunny beach and sledding down an active volcano, Jared and Wes discover some renewed holiday magic of their own. Can they make it last a lifetime?


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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Make a Circle

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

Pagan punk musician Lucas is fully prepared to spend this Yule with the rest of the band and his beautiful bass guitar when Oliver, his boyfriend of almost a year, asks if he wants to join the rest of the Han family for their annual winter celebration. It comes as a shock since Ollie has gone to great lengths to keep the two apart, and Lucas always assumed he was the reason. Since they’re planning to be together long-term, Lucas can't say no to meeting Ollie’s parents, but he better brush up on his manners and his Mandarin because this is going to be a holiday season like no other—and it has some surprises in store for both of them.


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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Once in a Lifetime

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

All his life, astrophysicist Peter has dreamed of seeing the comet that last appeared on his birthday—and won’t be seen for another thirty-eight years. Since it could be his only chance, he travels to New Zealand. But his dream might be quashed after all when his rental car breaks down on the way to the observatory. He doesn’t even have a place to stay.

Fortunately a New Zealand native with a heart of gold offers assistance. But is kindness the only thing drawing the two men together?

Rangi can’t leave Peter stranded so close to Christmas, and his family has plenty of room—and love—to share. While Rangi is attracted to Peter, he’s seen too many of his friends get their hearts broken by tourists. Will they manage to see the comet on its decades-long journey across the sky… and take advantage of a rare opportunity that might never come again?


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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Summer Santa

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

Sam is a journalist struggling with the recent transfer to his magazine’s Brazilian office. He doesn’t speak the language and isn’t all that familiar with the customs. It also isn’t easy to make friends when you’re the new guy. Then there’s James, his friendly and gorgeous coworker, who is so out of Sam’s league, he knows he doesn’t stand any chance with the handsome Brazilian. 

Just as Sam is preparing to spend Christmas away from his family, an unexpected surprise spins his lonely holiday plans around. Another unforeseen gift is James’s offer to show Sam some of the city’s holiday traditions. With his significant low self-esteem, Sam doesn’t know what to make of James’s offer and apparent interest. Can some last-minute decorations and an impromptu meal make Sam’s apartment feel more homely? 

Maybe everything could come together in a wonderful way—if Sam can find the courage and confidence to accept all James wants to give.


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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The Last Birthday Party

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

Their favorite holiday is going away. Will it take their friendship with it? 

Since 1989, the birthday of the Emperor of Japan has been celebrated on December 23rd. But this is the last year; the Emperor is abdicating, and next year there will be no holiday.           

For twenty-year-old Akihito, the holiday has always been special. It’s his birthday, too, and a perfect excuse for spending the entire day celebrating across Tokyo with his life-long best friend, Kenji. But now that they will no longer get the day off and will soon face adult responsibilities, will they drift apart? Or if Akihito confesses the secret love he’s held in his heart for years, will their closeness be ruined? One thing is certain: nothing will be same by the end of the day.


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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The Night Sky Festival

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

Photographer Zach is happy to pack up his gear and head to the Mojave Desert over the holidays. Ever since his ex-husband filed for divorce a day before Christmas, it’s safe to say this isn’t Zach’s favorite time of year. 

Fortunately, he stumbles upon a town where the residents seem to agree. The good people of Baker would much rather celebrate the possibility of extraterrestrials as they dance under the stars in their unique “Night Sky Festival.” The locals are interesting, to say the least, and they want Zach to join them. 

But is Zach ready to let go of his holiday bitterness? And if so, whose invitation should he accept: the cute cashier, the burly single dad, or the sexy fun-loving cop?


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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Trapped in the Valley of the Kings

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes

Rival archaeologists Will and Jude slept together a year ago, on the night of the Summer Solstice at a dig in Stonehenge. But they were both wearing masks, so Jude has no idea it was Will he slept with, and Will’s been harboring a powerful, one-sided crush ever since. 

Now they’re in Egypt, competing to find the lost tomb of Queen Nefertiti. Jude falls through a crack in the cave floor, and when Will reluctantly climbs down to help him, they find themselves in Nefertiti's tomb, surrounded by archaeological treasures—where they must spend Christmas stranded by a sandstorm. 

Will a few sultry hours stripped almost bare from the heat and sharing a bottle of whiskey sort out who should get credit for the discovery—and the real reason for the tension between them?


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

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Cops and Comix

Murder and Mayhem

A Murder and Mayhem Short

It’s all fun and games until someone leaves a dead body on the floor.

Life for comic book store owner Alex Martin usually runs to the mundane. Sure, he has a regular influx of geeks and freaks, but for the most part, it’s a familiar weird. That all changes when he opens up Planet X Comics one morning and finds a corpse in the middle of his shop.

When Detective James Castillo is called in to investigate, Alex is torn between wanting to climb the man like a tree and giving him a wide berth. Luckily for Alex, the handsome detective is just as interested in him—as a suspect in the murder.

Previously published in Grand Adventures by Dreamspinner Press, March 2014.

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Scott y Marco son los mejores amigos y se encuentran en una azotea en Nochebuena, cada uno de ellos escapando temporalmente de situaciones familiares muy difíciles. No tienen regalos para compartir,  pero Marco promete que algún día rescatará a Scott y lo llevará a Alaska. Los años pasan y de vez en cuando se encuentran de nuevo (la primera vez de forma planeada, la siguiente por pura casualidad), siempre en Nochebuena, y cada vez descubren que la vida tan sólo se complica más y más. Atesoran cada momento que pasan juntos pero ¿podrán realmente huir a Alaska algún día?

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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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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 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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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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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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Trading Tridents

2017 Advent Calendar | Stocking Stuffers

DecemberCon 2017. John Perlan, aka YouTuber “SmileyNibor,” has come to the con for one reason and one reason only: to see his idol, actor Derek Kitow. And since Derek has announced he’ll be dressed as the original Aquaman, Perlan decides to come as the Aquaman reboot. It helps that he already has the beard and the bod to make a convincing Momoaman.

But when Derek Kitow makes his entrance, he recognizes Perlan from his tiny YouTube channel and wants him onstage! Has Kitow been following him online? Could SmileyNibor’s hero also be a fan? And what exactly does Kitow have in mind by inviting Perlan to meet him after the panel?


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

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Wade Porter spent his whole life in the shadow of a lover who doled out snippets of love and time as he saw fit—and who insisted that love stay deep in the closet. But now that man is gone, and Wade finds the oceanside cottage where they spent so many weekends together in the Florida Keys cold and empty. He has come one last time, not even sure he wants to keep living. 

To his surprise, the house next door is occupied by another bereaved and lonely man. Kent Walker is an artist of romantic gay paintings who is open to the future—and determinedly interested in Wade. Kent wants to show Wade the beauty in being an openly gay man and the possibilities for a real relationship. 

Maybe Kent can help Wade let go of the past and discover a better way to live—and love.

2nd Edition
First Edition published in Two Tickets to Paradise by Dreamspinner Press, 2012.

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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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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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