When one down-on-his-luck gardener and one garden centre owner meet, neither could predict the attraction they’d feel towards each other. Toby is just about turning round the business he’d inherited from his dad, and it’s all going well—until a risk he took looks like it might not pay off. Rhys’s employment at Toby’s garden centre is temporary, just to cover the Christmas sales, and frankly he’d much rather be outside gardening. And avoiding Christmas.
When an accident means Toby can’t be at work at a crucial time, it’s time for Rhys to step up to the mark. But can the Christmas Scrooge make the difference required for the man he’s starting to love?
Author: Olley White
Title: For Want of a Christmas Miracle
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 7, 2015
Genre: Gay, Contemporary Romance
Tags: Holiday Romance, M/M, Erotic-Romance
Such a great short holiday read!
Rhys is an out of work gardener who finds a seasonal job at a garden center. Even being around the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Rhys is having a hard time getting into the spirit of the season. Toby, the owner of the garden center has taken a huge risk in doubling his holiday Christmas tree stock, he will need a Christmas miracle to pull off the biggest gamble of his professional life.
When an accident with Toby’s Dad keeps him away from the store at a crucial time, Rhys steps in to make sure this is the garden center’s best holiday yet. Working together to make Rhys’ idea come to life sparks fly and both wonder if these new feelings will last further than the holiday season.
This was such a cute holiday read. I loved it. It’s sweet, it’s romantic without being cheesy, it’s perfect!
4 pieces of eye candy
Toby appraised the area in front of him again. He couldn’t believe it; he honestly thought he was going to have a good couple of hours work out here before he could start shifting the Christmas trees that had been delivered earlier. He spent longer looking than it was really worth; it was only a clean shop floor after all, but all the time he spent looking at it meant he didn’t have to meet the gaze of the employee in front of him. He needed a moment to gather himself. A moment was all it took though, and his natural confidence returned.
Turning, he smiled again at Rhys, taking in the tall wiriness of the man and accepting the beat his heart skipped before he spoke.
“So, you’re our newest employee, huh?” he repeated.
“Yep. Just temporary over the holiday period.” Rhys faced him, dark eyes flitting momentarily to his before darting to stare back over the cleared space. “Well, I suppose I’d better go in and see what my next job is.”
Toby supposed Rhys should as well, but he didn’t want him to. “Have you been out here all afternoon?”
Rhys glanced at his watch and nodded. “Since tenish,” he said, and a serene look settled on his angular features.
“You’ve been stuck out here all day?” Damn. It was freezing. “I’ll have a word with your supervisor; nobody should be stuck outside all day. It’s meant to work on a rota system. It’s too cold.”
“No.” Rhys reached and grabbed Toby’s sleeve. “I mean, I don’t mind. I like it outside. I’m a gardener; I’m used to it.” Rhys’s eyes flicked to the shop and the bustle and brightness inside. Toby watched a small frown cross the man’s face.
“Nobody likes it out here at this time of year. Nobody. In the summer, I can’t get the staff to stay indoors, but this time of year, it’s the opposite problem. It’s why I end up doing a lot of it myself. I like it outside, whatever the weather.”
“God, yes, me too. Who’d want to be stuck inside when you can be out in the fresh air?”
Toby narrowed his eyes. “There’s not going to be TV crew coming to tell me I’m the butt of a practical joke, is there?”
Rhys looked at him blankly.
“Never mind. I thought I’d never find anyone who was willing to do the outdoor jobs in winter.”
“Well, I’m more than happy to. But now, I’d better go in and get my next job.” Rhys repeated, turning towards the shop. A look of mild horror crossed his face as he took in the customers looking through the plants, knick-knacks and endless boxes of Christmas decorations.
There was something about the reticent look that tugged at Toby’s heart. He found himself wanting to know all about the newest employee of Brambley Garden Centre; not a good idea, he knew that. He did, he really did.
Still, having someone who didn’t mind working out in the cold was a godsend. It meant he didn’t have to do it all by himself and that was the only reason he made his next suggestion to Rhys. At least that was what he was telling himself.
Guest Post from Olley White
Hi, Two Chicks. Thanks so much for having me on the blog today. It’s a pleasure to be here.
You asked me what it takes to write a Christmas novella. Well for me it started with Rhys. I knew Rhys pretty much inside out before I started. He was the character who came to me first. There were things I knew about him from the beginning. I knew he wasn’t the biggest fan of Christmas; I knew he wasn’t having the best time workwise; I knew he was a hard worker; and I knew he needed someone to see the real him under the slightly grumpy, antisocial exterior. It was obvious to me that he was not someone who would work your average 9 to 5 in an office. He was the start of my tale.
I admit, I’m a “pantser”; I cannot plot or plan to save my life. I started the opening scene knowing that Rhys wasn’t happy; that life was not going as he’d anticipated. From there, I just started writing. The journey took me to the garden centre and to my other main character, Toby, and then the story really took off.
My favourite part of Christmas is the tree, so I wanted to include trees. There is something incredibly evocative about the tradition of trees; they are so personal.
I also have the idyll of a perfect white Christmas (let’s blame Dickens and ignore the fact that I’ve not actually experienced a proper white Christmas), so I had to include snow. I wanted romance and family and that feel-good factor that sums up the cheesy films I devour at this time of year. And as I wrote, all these factors wove themselves into my story.
Really, it was all about Rhys and Toby and the tale they wanted me to share. I just added the glitter and metaphorical mistletoe.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that you enjoy reading about Rhys and Toby’s Christmas miracle as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Olley White x
Olley White is the alter ego of Lori Powell. Her home is in England with her husband, children and animals. She uses the fenland where she lives as inspiration for her writing. She loves romance in stories – boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl…if they’re in love she loves them.