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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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