Home for the Holidays
M/M Romance Anthology
Heather C. Leigh
Cover Design: LateNite Designs
Cover Photo: StockPhoto
Release Date: 11.29.15
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/21m5PaL
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1OvvQ0e
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1lOHPN5
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1OkPsWI
Home can be a person as well as a place. Everyone deserves a home for the holidays, as the stories in this collection affirm.
Proceeds from Home for the Holidays are being donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York City to help homeless LGBTQ youth.
*The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick
Going home for the holiday only to find his parents have made other plans, Kai Meyers is thrilled to reunite with an old friend. Disowned by his religious family, Ari Fisher is use to being treated like a boy toy rather than a boyfriend, and now he only has eight days to reveal his secrets to Kai.
Kai pulled up to the valet and peeled his stiff fingers from the wheel. White-knuckling it through downtown Boston traffic did not foster the inner peace necessary to handle spending the holidays with his family. He’d spent the majority of the drive kicking himself for not taking the train from Albany, but then he wouldn’t have been able to put in a couple hours at the office before heading out.
He popped the trunk of his blue Fusion and pulled his duffel bag and laptop backpack from the passenger seat. By the time he walked to the back of the car, a bellhop had already pulled his small suitcase out of the trunk and was on his way into the building with it, leaving Kai no choice but to follow. Entering the private resident lobby, he was cleared by security and escorted to the elevators. He remembered how uncomfortable he’d been with all this pomp and ceremony when he was fifteen and his family had moved into the building. The fanciful idea of living in a hotel belonged in children’s books, not real life. He still felt awkward as an adult, as if he were acting out a scene in a movie.
He exited the elevator on the 30th floor and immediately spotted the bags in the hall outside his parents’ apartment. No. They wouldn’t…
“Malachai, you’re finally here.” His mother stepped into the hall, pulling on her gloves. “I just left you a note on the kitchen counter.” She looked down at the bags as if checking to see they were all accounted for, but Kai saw the lack of eye contact for the avoidance tactic it was.
“Going somewhere? I thought we were having a family Chanukah this year.”
Jenna Kendrick writes male/male new adult and contemporary romance, her favorite genre to read. She lives in Upstate New York, where she spends the better part of the year trying to stay warm and dry. When she’s not writing, she reads, watches The Princess Bride and The Avengers far too often, spends time with her husband and friends, and drinks more coffee and tea than she’d care to admit. She shares her home office with her dog, Tally, and her cats, Loki and Tamiris.
Jenna spent most of her class time in high school writing bad poetry and short stories in which her teachers were the villains. She began writing in earnest in college, putting it aside for a few years to work as a teacher and product manager for several online services. In addition to writing fiction, Jenna also writes nonfiction technical books under another name.
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*24-Hour Hold by Heather C. Leigh
Detectives Damon Porter and Anderson Malloy are now partners at Denver’s Major Case Unit. The problem is, they used to be boyfriends, and now they’re feeling anything but friendly towards each other.
“Shut the fuck up!” Captain Terrell roars. The room falls silent. “The holidays are around the corner and I want our citizens feeling safe enough to go out and enjoy themselves and safe in their own homes and businesses. That means closing these cases.
“Now,” Terrell walks over to the side of the room, motioning for someone to join him. From the back row, I can only see the top of a dark head of tousled hair as it weaves through the crowded room toward the front. “This detective has seven years of police experience, five of them with the Major Crimes Division in Miami. He’s originally from Denver and is going to be with us here at Robbery and Larceny temporarily to help us out as he’s being transferred to Homicide after these cases are solved, so you assholes better play nice.” Captain glares at us before nodding to the man and stepping aside.
I squint at the podium, tilting to peek around Gorski’s big fat head. Before I can get a good look at the new detective, he speaks. Seven years later, I still recognize that voice. The voice of the first man I ever loved.
“Good morning. I’m Detective Anderson Malloy, but everyone calls me Ace. I’d like to thank Captain Terrell and the rest of you for your hospitality while I’m here in Larceny. I’m a pretty easy going guy and I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.”
My mind races, scrambling for a way to sneak out of the room without being noticed. Fuck! Seven fucking years and it feels as if it was just yesterday that Anderson Malloy pressed me down on his bunk at the academy, his hot mouth traveling across my chest.
“I also want to say—”
Malloy’s gaze lands on me, causing him to stumble over his words. My mouth goes dry and blazing heat floods my face.
Anderson blinks, dazed, and rushes through the rest of his little speech. “I want to say… ummmm, I hope we can work together and clear up some of your case load. Thanks.”
“Alright assholes,” Captain says. “I’ll be reassigning cases so stay close to get your new files.”
Anderson tries to get to me, waving his fingers in my direction, but every detective in the room wants to introduce themselves, standing in his way with outstretched hands. Taking advantage of the distraction, I grab my mug of faux-coffee and dart out of the room before anyone can stop me.
Hurriedly, I weave my way through the desks in the bullpen, ducking back into the kitchenette like a coward. My heart is racing in my chest. I can feel sweat gathering under the collar of my very expensive designer shirt. Shit, I’m acting like a nervous virgin on prom night. Big fucking deal if Anderson is here. I dumped him, not the other way around. If anyone should feel uncomfortable, it should be Malloy.
Then why am I the one hiding?
“Porter, if you’re not going to have coffee, think you can move your not-so-sexy ass out of the way?”
My back bristles at the sound of Dave Richardson’s snarky jab at my sexuality. Hiding my anger, as usual, I step aside so he can fill his well-worn Denver Broncos mug with coffee-substitute.
Hope you choke on it, asshole.
Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon bestselling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.
Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.
She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.
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*Learning to Love by Felice Stevens
Returning home for the holiday, caterer Gideon Marks tried hard to push away his high school crush. But Rabbi Jonah Fine wouldn’t let him run again, or keep the secret Gideon’s tried so desperately to hide.
“What do you want?” I blurted out. Yes I was rude, but he deserved it for waking me up.
He stood and met my glare with a troubled expression in those deep blue eyes. “To talk to you and find out why you’re so mad at me.”
“Didn’t you ever hear of the invention known as the telephone?” I couldn’t help it. After all these years, having Jonah in such close proximity to my body was affecting me in ways I didn’t want and couldn’t let happen. “I’m making coffee.” I turned my back on him and went into the kitchen.
“I’m not stupid. You’d either ignore my calls or hang up on me.”
He was there right behind me, his breath touching the back of my neck. I finished pouring the water into the well, congratulating myself that though my hands shook, I didn’t spill any. I set it to brew and sidestepped to the counter that doubled as my table, away from the heat of Jonah’s large body. He had a good four inches on me and although I never felt small, standing in front of Jonah I could easily imagine sinking into his broad chest, his arms wrapped around me.
“So you’re here now. Talk to me, but make it quick.”
Jonah seemed surprised. “Why, what’s the hurry?” He followed me and sat at one of the bar stools. “Besides.” He grinned and pointed to the bag on the edge of the counter I’d somehow missed seeing. “I brought cinnamon raisin bagels and that chocolate chip cream cheese you always liked so much.”
Stunned by Jonah’s recall, I stared at him. “How…what?” I couldn’t wrap my head around Jonah remembering such a minute detail about me.
His warm smile beamed. “I have an excellent memory for things. Like how you like hazelnut flavored coffee and your fries extra crispy. That you hate Sicilian pizza. How you like 80’s music and Britney Spears.”
“Well, yeah, duh. What gay man doesn’t?” I shrugged.
Smile lines radiated from the corner of his eyes. “I made a point of not losing track of you, Gideon. And I’ve been proud of your successes.”
The warm glow from Jonah’s response faded. “Why? Because you thought I couldn’t do it and you expected to see me fail?” Even though his actions belied my words, I couldn’t stop ranting. “Surprised you didn’t I? Dumb Gideon made something out of himself.” I fled to the opposite side of the apartment and stood by the windows, which overlooked the street below.
Once again Jonah stood behind me, but this time he took me by the shoulder and spun me around so we were face to face. I gazed up at him, shocked by the desire I saw in his eyes. I licked my lips and watched his stare drop to my mouth.
“Jonah?” I couldn’t get another word out.
He took my face between his hands and brushed his lips against mine, gentle as a feather, yet my body burned. His lips rested on the corner of my mouth, our cheeks touching. The entire world could have disappeared; nothing else mattered but the feel of Jonah’s hands on me.
“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this.” The curve of his smile imprinted itself on my skin.
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.
But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
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Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor?ref=hl
*Saving Silas by SJ Himes
Paramedic Gael Dominic wasn’t expecting much from the holidays. Blood, death, and loneliness were constants. So when tragedy puts a wounded Silas in his path, Gael takes a chance on his alleyway angel and love.
Someone needs to turn off that notification alert…Silas thought, annoyed. He tried to turn his head and bury it under his pillow, but he couldn’t seem to muster the strength. He moaned, irritated, and tried to lift a hand to wipe at his face. There was something making his nose itch. A tug on his arm made him stop, and he gasped as pain radiated out from his shoulder and down his chest.
“Don’t move,” came a voice from nearby. Deep and rumbly. Smooth. Like coffee. Silas smiled, and settled back into his bed, wanting to hear more of that voice. The pain went away, and he floated in a gray place, light coming and going as he listened to the world around him. “That’s it, angel. Don’t try to move, just relax.”
The annoying beeping faded, and Silas focused on the sounds of someone moving next to him, and the warmth of a hand taking hold of his. Larger, callused, strong. Silas smiled, despite the itching around his upper lip and nose. He closed his fingers around the hand that held his, and rubbed his thumb over hot, smooth skin. He hated to be touched by strangers, but this man, this hand, was something else.
“Nurse, I think he’s waking up.” That voice again. “Hey, angel. Can you open your eyes? The doctor is coming, and some people need to talk to you. Can you wake up for me?”
“Keep…” Silas whispered, throat dry. He swallowed, and tried again with better success. “Keep talking to me.”
A chuckle, flowing like warm water over his body. Silas shivered, and held the hand tighter. It had been so long since he felt the affectionate touch of another. That kiss which started his nightmare didn’t count, it was nothing compared to how it felt to hold this man’s hand. “I can do that. Let me see those eyes, kiddo. Wake up for me.”
“Not a kid.” Silas pried one eye open a fraction, wanting to see the owner of the sexiest voice in the world. His eyes watered at the brightness, and he blinked, managing to open them both. Everything was blurry, and it was hard to think past the gray haze swirling around in his brain. He squinted, and his gaze narrowed to the figure standing next to him.
“Wow….” Silas breathed out, in awe. “You are so pretty.”
The man above him froze, bronzed skin going dusky rose from a blush that swept his high cheekbones. Dark eyes, dark hair shorn short, and tattoos peeking out over the top of a dark blue uniform shirt collar, the man above him could’ve been a one of those half-naked veteran models that was flooding Facebook. Just wearing too many clothes. He was gorgeous. And he looked very tired.
He should be scared. This man, this hot, sexy man, was exactly the type of guy he should be afraid of, he should be wary of…though his father was older, and not as broad across the chest and shoulders. This man oozed strength, without the malice his father wore like a mantle. This man gave him a soft, awed smile, a smile that made Silas’ skin shiver in reaction, his belly quiver.
“Umm, thanks. You’re not bad looking yourself, kid. Can you tell me your name?”
I’m a thirty something bisexual cisgendered woman with way too big an imagination, but that comes in handy when I’m writing. I have been writing since I was a child, when I took a four page assignment on what I was going to do on summer vacation and turned it into a 100 page fantasy epic all written by hand…in crayons. No joke.
I work a day job, but I can’t share for who, since the Old Man isn’t as liberated as the people who read my books. I’m married, I have furbabies, and I live with loved ones. I adore a certain show about a British consulting detective and his grumpy army doctor, and that spawned an addiction to Johnlock fanfiction, which then evolved into me writing it. Gawd, that’s embarrassing. Put this down in the TMI section of my Bio, okay? I enjoy martial arts, movies where things blow up, and I wish I lived in a Marvel movie.
I live in the beautiful and lonely Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and I see way more wildlife than I care to on a daily basis (bears!). My perfect day is reading surrounded by friends and family who don’t think it’s odd I want to hang out but not talk, and my favorite scent of all time is a cool fall evening with leaves burning….less a scent, and more of an experience.
My writing is focused on gay and lesbian people, who are more than interesting side characters that hang out with the heterosexual MCs. My wish for the future is that when people ask me what I do for a living, I can say, “I write gay romance,” and NOT get weird looks. Also write under pen name Revella Hawthorne.
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Amazon/SJ Himes: http://amzn.to/210nIeU
Amazon/Revella Hawthorne: http://amzn.to/210nW5P
Blog as SJ Himes: http://www.wherethewolvesrun.blogspot.com/
Twitter : @WriterSJHimes
Facebook/SJ Himes: https://www.facebook.com/SJHimes/
Facebook/Revella Hawthorne: https://www.facebook.com/Revella-Hawthorne-742177039236198/
*Christmas in LaLa Land by Liv Rancourt
For a Danaan sidhe like Aron, touching a human has consequences, while Damian’s hiding some serious scars behind his smile. A holiday trip to LA forces them to choose between acting on their attraction or giving up on love because of the past.
An evening spent siphoning off another soul’s fear of mortality is a fabulous way to mess up a good night’s sleep. Around nine in the morning, I sank into my favorite kitchen chair, nursing a fresh-brewed cup of coffee and wondering if a fan would work to blow away the stink of burned java from last night’s pot. Wednesday was delivery day, my regularly scheduled opportunity to flirt.
The small Formica table was older than me, and though the tube-metal chair wasn’t comfortable, the spot by the window gave me a view of the alley that ran behind our house. Our San Francisco neighborhood was made up of Victorian painted ladies, now occupied by the kind of people who drove Saabs, Volvos, and the occasional Prius. Late commuters slowly navigated the steep incline, while fog smudged the alley’s edges, narrowing their route.
My mug was half-empty when the boxy, green, AmazonFresh delivery truck pulled up behind the house. I held my breath. What if he’d taken the day off?
The truck’s engine stopped with a heavy cough.
My heartbeat hitched, skittered, and I washed down a tangle of nerves with some coffee. The Man of the Hour swung out of the driver’s seat, all dark, dark skin, glossy white smile, and a sweet fade with mini-dreads on top. Damian Jones.
The whole package made me shiver.
A moment later he knocked, and I popped up to open the back door.
“Gurl, you look like something the cat upchucked and left for dead,” Damian said.
The gleam in his dark eyes lit a match somewhere down south of my border. Awkward, because I’d dressed in little bootie shorts and had to sit down fast to avoid giving him an anatomy lesson. “Thanks, darling.”
Sitting didn’t disappoint me. I mean, it’s not like I was hoping he’d notice my ass. At all.
He carried in two large, green plastic tubs loaded with enough stuff to make his biceps bulge. Setting them down by our antique refrigerator, he gave the kitchen a quick scan. “You know where she put the empties?”
“Maybe down in the basement?” A nice person would get up and look. A nice person who didn’t have a hard-on busting through his bootie shorts.
“All right, honey. I got another armload out in the truck, and then I’ll go get ’em.”
He called me honey!
Damian left, and the burned coffee stink overwhelmed me. He handled everything with such cool while I sat like fruit on a log.
I huffed, straightened, and planted my hands on my hips. Not this time. This time I’d take the initiative. Jumping out of the chair, I figured the steep cellar stairs would bring my dick crashing back to reality.
The empty Amazon containers were there, and on the way back to the kitchen, my initiative rolled over into inspiration. Or insanity.
In my excitement, I almost ran right into Damian. He came through the back door, carrying a couple soft-sided carriers by the straps.
“Hey,” I said, spitting out the word before common sense could crush my enthusiasm.
His tongue flirted with me, bright pink against his dark lips. “Wassup?”
“Ahh … do you have time for coffee?” Because why live forever if you hate being alive?
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
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Come find me. We’ll have fun!
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