Short Stories

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Boca Dreams

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes
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You can’t correct the past.

Or can you?

Stephen’s not proud of who he was back in boarding school—spoiled and a player. Now, at the holiday reunion ten years later, he has a chance to show his former classmates who he really is: out and proud, devoted to helping others, and partnered with Victor.

Stephen understands why Victor, who grew up in a poor and abusive household, hates the rich kids at the reunion, but his attitude is ruining everything. Luckily Stephen bumps into Aaron, a former grunge rocker who has also changed. Stephen never forgot their one steamy night together.

With the help of three very unusual personifications of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, can Stephen revisit his mistakes and find the happiness that’s eluded him?


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

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Exit Through the Gift Shop

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes
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Alex’s traditional family Christmas Compromise means spending the holiday at a second-rate theme park, Poseidon’s Planet, but Alex doesn’t mind. He enjoys the rides and the company of his family, and it’s a good break from his going-nowhere existence back in Indiana. Then he meets a certain sexy employee in a pirate costume, and Alex’s vacation gets even better. But thrill rides last only a short time, and sooner or later everyone has to return to real life. Alex long ago gave up on marrying a handsome prince—will he have to give up on his pirate as well?


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

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Guess Who's Coming to Karamu

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes
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Grant Cary, a twenty-eight-year-old grad student, has let his Kwanzaa shopping go to the very last minute. In his rush to get home, he quite literally bumps into Will Sheritan, a fortysomething software developer, in the elevator. But luck favors (or curses) the adventurous, because their elevator shuts down due to a blackout. Grant and Will learn about each other’s pasts and find more than just a casual interest.

Will has never celebrated Kwanzaa, and he’s reluctant to enter into a relationship, but exploring a new tradition—with a new friend—might brighten his lonely holiday. And if Will accepts Grant’s invitation to join his family for the Karamu feast, Grant might get his Imani gift early.


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

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Haste Ye Back

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes
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The situation seems ideal: a month off work and a sweet deal to extend his stay in an unexpected paradise. Needless to say, Aaron is thrilled to snag an extra few days in Scotland after his work conference to soak up the magic of the country.

However, his plans to tourist his way around Edinburgh before his January 1st flight home are thwarted by a strange influx of people into the capital. Add in trains that don't run on New Year's, fireworks, first-footing, and running into the same gorgeous stranger as he exits every other shop, and Aaron really should have googled what “Hogmanay” was before he found himself whisked into the whirlwind of Scottish revelry and the impossible draw of that sexy stranger who tastes like scotch and, impossibly, already feels like the beginnings of home.


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

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Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is

2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

Josh's son, Ernie, can't wait to go, so Josh dresses up like a movie cowboy and saunters over. It’ll be the best Halloween of Ernie’s life, but there’s another sharpshooter roaming the dark corridors, and this one might have a special treat for Josh….

2nd Edition
First Edition published as part of Halloween Heat (IV anthology), "Trex or Treat," by Etopia Press, October 2012.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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