When State Trooper Travis Kinslow is injured right before Thanksgiving, the only positive is that for once he won’t be working during the holidays. Since he has no family, Travis was absorbed into his best friend, Joe’s, and he considers them as good as his own. Everyone except Joe’s brother Noah. Travis has been in love with the younger man for much of his life, but he’s always kept his distance.
As an ER nurse, Noah is a caretaker by nature. When his brother’s best friend is hurt, he’s happy to help Travis while he heals. He’s only ever allowed himself to think of Travis as the next best thing to an older brother, but by the light of the Christmas tree, Noah finally sees Travis’s true feelings. And in that moment, everything changes.
When faced with opposition and a Christmas nothing like they imagined, will their hopes for the future be enough to carry them through?
Hi everyone! Kris Bethke here to talk about my latest release, my holiday novella His Needs. First let me say thanks to gang here at Two Chicks Obsessed for letting me have a spot and to (hopefully) entertain!
I’m honestly a little obsessed with Christmas. Not for any religious reasons, though if that’s your thing, good for you. No, for me, I love all the trappings. The decorations. The lights. The snow and the candy canes and pine trees and cookies. I love sappy holiday movies and going all out to make my space as festive and cheery as possible.
So when I got it into my head to write another holiday story, I knew the decorating was going to be a pivotal part of it. Early on in the planning stages (though I can’t say I actually plan too in depth) I knew exactly what the scene was going to look like. What was going to kick it off, and exactly at what moment things were going to go from “everything’s normal” to “oh damn, this is something else.”
And it all centers on decorating the Christmas tree.
Travis has been injured. He can’t do it on his own. And Noah, the sweet man, is right there to help with anything Travis needs. But Travis has wanted Noah for a long time, and this simple act of domesticity is something he’s been aching for. To share this moment with Noah. And Noah, in that moment, finally sees Travis as something more.
It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book. Both to write at the time, and still to read. Oh, there’s plenty of other things going on. Hot, sexy times, and some family drama. And falling in love so hard there’s no going back. But that moment, when Noah turns and sees Travis’s face with the Christmas tree and carols playing in the background? That moment is everything.
If you enjoy the holidays, I hope you’ll like that scene just as much as I do.
Noah was still chuckling as he directed me to sit. “You have to chill and relax now, Travis. I’ll do all the work. You tell me where things go and I’ll take care of it. All right?”
I was going to protest. I was, in all honesty, perfectly capable of helping. But there was no denying I was tired. And there was a certain appeal about giving him orders and watching him follow them. We worked that way for a good twenty minutes as I pointed to all the places where I liked the hanging decorations to go. He set the elves on the shelves, end tables, and coffee table. He hung the garland over the door and the string of colored lights around the window. Then he took a break to make us sandwiches for lunch.
I did my best not to watch him eat, because when Noah was hungry, he ate like what he was putting in his mouth was the best thing he ever tasted. There had been times, when we were younger, that just watching him eat had given me wood. So I focused on my own sandwich, steadfastly ignored his moans, and before long we were done. I insisted he leave the plates in the sink, that I would wash them later. I could tell he wanted to protest, but I wasn’t a complete invalid, so I simply said, “Please.”
Noah left the plates without another word and set to work on the tree.
He plugged his iPhone into the dock on my stereo, and seconds later classic carols were playing. Noah let me get up to help with wrapping the tree with lights, but then he insisted I sit back down so I didn’t wear myself out. He put the tote on the coffee table and then pushed it closer to me so I didn’t have to bend or reach too much.
“You hand me the ornaments and I’ll put them on the tree. How’s that?”
I couldn’t speak, so I nodded, reached in and pulled out a classic red ball ornament, and handed it over. The smile he gave me, so full of gratitude and so pleased, was a reward in and of itself. We didn’t say anything as we worked. I handed him an ornament, and he walked the two feet to the tree, humming along with the music. He’d study it for a moment before finding the perfect spot and carefully hanging the ornament.
This was what I wanted with him. Every year. I’d been wanting it for nearly two decades, and I wanted it for all the Christmases to come. I loved him, and I wanted nothing more than to spend quiet days with him, eating together and enjoying each other. To spend Christmas together, and all the other holidays. To do things as partners, both of us being a part of it.
Noah turned, hand outstretched for another ornament, but he froze, his eyes widening and his breath catching. His gaze was glued to my face and he was barely even breathing.
“Noah?” I asked, concerned.
His voice was low. “How long?”
I blinked. “What?”
“How long have you been in love with me?”
The excerpt above is the pinnacle moment of this short story, the momentof change between Travis and Noah. The moment that Noah discovers that Travis has been in love with him for 20 years. It’s such a touching moment. It creates such a dynamic between them. Noah discovers Travis’s love, and then discovers his own.
Their relationship is sweet, and super sexy. Noah has a dirty mouth that both Travis and the reader don’t expect 😉 However, Noah also cares about Travis and his recovery, assisting him through his recovery.
Travis is sweet, and loves Noah’s family as his own, even more than his own. The family has never been anything but supportive of Travis through the years. Which makes the conflict in the book that much more challenging to accept, as a reader. And although it partially resolves itself at the end of the novella, it wasn’t satisfying as the reader. It felt as if there needed to be more resolution between the family and Travis.
3.75 pieces of eye candy
Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.
Find her on her site https://kristbethke.com or on Twitter twitter.com/kristbethke