Well, the holiday season is officially upon us– a little quickly, actually, because Thanksgiving was a wee bit late, right? Anyway– we have now entered the season of madness, and what better way to hide away from it all than with a some new stories–some for the holidays, and some, just because!
For Christmas stories, E.J. Russell, Tara Lain and R.L. Merrill– writers of the sweetest, most adorable stories during the rest of the year who will make your heart happy during the holiday season. For regular stories, you have the inimitable Kaje Harper, who writes splendid angst–and this time, it’s a throuple, and an angsty one with a murder mystery– how delicious in so many ways! And from me, on December 3rd, you have the conclusion to the Rec League Soccer series that started with Winter Ball. Fall Through Spring– Clay and Dane’s story–is coming, and it’s a doozy.
So no matter what your passion, we’ve got your flavor– come join us for a Christmas Flail!
By E.J. Russell
Introverted software engineer Brent Levine struggles with the life part of work-life balance, but to hold on to his new job, he’ll have to embrace his employer’s dreaded “staff enrichment” events. This year’s annual ugly holiday sweater party will strain his ambition to remain inconspicuous: everyone has to wear sweaters converted into pants—aka “swants.”
Brent’s an ace at coding, but when it comes to handcrafts, he’s definitely at the far left end of the bell curve. Luckily he encounters seriously cute theater costumer Jonathan at the Goodwill Outlet. Jonathan offers Brent both an acceptably ugly sweater and his expertise in swants conversion. Attraction sparks on Brent’s side, but can Jonathan be interested in a guy like him?
Sheriff Casey Barlow has a slick, media-savvy challenger out to beat him in the upcoming election. Casey’s damned good at his job, but he hasn’t kissed the right asses, and early polls suggest voters like his opponent’s style. Coming out now, let alone revealing his relationship with two men, could sink any hope of keeping his badge.
Scott Edison has a real shot at the NHL. He’s playing the best hockey of his life. Whenever he can, he travels home to his gruff sheriff and their laid-back cowboy, but there are no out gay players in the NHL. As a rookie working his ass off to be called up, he can’t afford to make waves.
Will Rice always figured he’d live alone, managing Graham and Annmarie Slater’s cattle ranch, but a hot, young hockey player and a compact, muscled lawman rearranged his plans. Even though he’s older and lanky and ordinary, he’s been sharing their lives and their beds. He doesn’t need to be out— isn’t sure he ever wants the Slaters to know about him. Life’s good the way things are.
Then Graham and Annmarie are killed in a hit and run that may not be an accident. As Will grieves, and Casey investigates, the coming changes will shake all their lives.
** this is a re-edit and expansion of the story in the “Hunting Under Covers” anthology
When Nate Hawthorne meets Asher Dane, the huge, tattooed hunk is the personification of Nate’s dreams. But Nate knows there’s no future, because Asher is also the personification of his beloved five-year-old daughter Delly’s nightmares. She’s frightened of big men. Things turn around for both of them, however, when Delly goes Christmas shopping at the Fairy Shop and begins her quest for a wand that will make her brave. Neither of them guesses that the Fairy Shop will be the source of far more than Delly’s courage. On Christmas Eve, under the influence of a very unusual fairy, Nate’s life will change forever.
Dover Billings has sold his handcrafted wares at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco for over twenty years. He’s not as outgoing as the other artisans at this yearly Victorian celebration and prefers to observe the festivities from the shadows. That is until a new corset maker moves into the booth next door and unsettles his carefully constructed life. Landry Malcolm is handsome, well dressed, and the life of the party… one Dover wants no part of. Too bad he’s attracted to his confident younger rival. Landry desperately wishes to get through to the beautiful artist next door, but every move he makes seems to be the wrong one, until a drunken kiss breaks through Dover’s serious demeanor. Miscommunications plague any attempts to find common ground, though, leaving Landry wondering what—if anything—he can do to make things right. Will a custom-made peace offering open the door to friendship, cooperation… and maybe more? A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2019 Advent Calendar “Homemade for the Holidays.”
As far as Clay Carpenter is concerned, his abusive relationship with food is the best thing he’s got going. When a good friend starts kicking his ass into gear, Clay is forced to reexamine everything he learned about food and love—and that’s right when he meets troubled graduate student, Dane Hayes.
Dane Hayes doesn’t do the whole monogamy thing, but the minute he meets Clay Carpenter, he’s doing the friend thing in spades. The snarky, scruffy bastard not only gets Dane’s wacky sense of humor, he also accepts the things Dane can’t control—like the bipolar disorder Dane has been trying to manage for the past six years.
Dane is hoping for more than friendship, and Clay is looking at him with longing that isn’t platonic. They’re both positive they’re bad at relationships, but with the help of forbidden desserts and new medication regimens, they prove outstanding at being with each other. But can they turn their friendship into the love neither of them has dared to hope for?