The last giveaway of the year! I don’t know what we’re gonna do with giveaways next year – if we’re gonna do giveaways – we’ll see. I can’t believe another year has gone by, but it has, and there’s been ups and downs, but mostly I feel fortunate for having had as much time to write as I have. It has mostly resulted in stories by Holly Day, but I’ve had fun.
Okay, enough about the year. There will be other posts for that later on 😄
We have three stories this month – Once in a Snowstorm, Trapped, and 24 Dates. Here comes the tricky part. Once in a Snowstorm is no longer available as a stand-alone story, so, instead, the winner will be given a copy of Aiden and Tristan where it’s included. Trapped is available but under a different title. It’s now called Remember Us. 24 Dates is 24 Dates as it’s always been.
How does it work?
I’ve created a Kingsumo giveaway, so hop on over there and sign up with your email address. You’re not subscribing to anything, but make sure it’s one you check regularly since it’s the one I’ll contact you on should you be the winner.
Once in a Snowstorm is a tropy – and when I say tropy, I mean I tried to fit as many M/M romance tropes as I possibly could into one story – contemporary romance.
Remember Us isn’t really a romance. It’s about an old couple in a nursing home. I know, it doesn’t sound like much fun, but it’s one of my favourite stories of those I’ve written.
24 Dates – you know how sometimes you find yourself in a dip in the relationship with your partner? That’s where Victor and Jian are, deep down in that dip, so deep that Victor is unsure if they’ll ever make it out. Jian will not give up though, so he plans 24 dates from December 1st to Christmas eve to sweep Victor off his feet… again.
Tristan hoped Tom had helped Jennifer clear the parking lot outside the motorway café. People stopped by on a night like this, especially if there was a power outage. The ones living a little closer to town than he did would make their way there. Everyone benefitted from the café’s emergency backup electrical generators in times like these. Not that the centre of the town had power outages nearly as often as Tristan did, out here on the outskirts, but it was always a comfort for people to know the café would be heated and serving food. It was the town’s gathering point, and Tristan hoped someone would help Jen out. Maybe he should take the snowmobile and head in to give her a hand. But he didn’t want to leave Og in weather like this, when there was no guarantee Tristan would be making it back any time soon.
“Og!” His call was answered by a bark nearby. “Come on, boy.”
The darn dog didn’t come. Tristan sighed, grabbed the yellow snow shovel standing by the door, and started trudging through the snow. Og had better be stuck, or Tristan would strangle the stupid mongrel with his bare hands.
Snowflakes clung to his beard, and as he touched the knitted cap on his head, he realised it was already covered with snow. A walk outside was not what he’d envisioned after his arduous journey into town. He’d only gone in on his snowmobile to make sure he’d have enough dog food at home—he was pretty sure they would be snowbound for days. He’d had a quick chat with Jennifer, and then he’d headed back home. Maybe he should’ve stayed in town.
Jen always worked too hard. Running the motorway café and taking care of Luke all by herself was tough, and Tristan always worried when he couldn’t be there.
“Og!” The dark and the snowflakes made it hard to see. Nothing but snow-covered tree trunks and not a dog to be found.
Another bark came from close by. Tristan squinted into the woods. Og’s bright eyes glowed in the dark. A white-spotted dog was not easy to locate when everything was white-spotted, but now when Tristan knew what he was looking at, he could see that Og was indeed trapped. A dark figure held on to his collar, not that Og appeared to be bothered, judging by the happy thump of his tail against the snow, creating a white cloud around both him and the person on the ground.
Tristan took a careful step closer. His grip on the shovel tightened. What kind of lunatic came into the woods in weather like this?
“Hello?” Tristan stopped a couple of metres away from the body—a man, he saw now—and waited for a response. Only a muffled groan came. Fuck!
Tristan dropped the shovel and hurried forward to the man and shook him lightly. “Hey. Come on, wake up.” The eyelids fluttered as the man tried to open his eyes. Tristan touched his forehead—icy cold. The man was almost completely covered in snow and his hair was wet—Tristan assumed his clothes were, too. Without thinking, he reached for the man’s hand, shook loose his fingers from Og’s collar, and started to pull him out of the snow.
He sighed as he took in the trendy jeans and sneakers. Why couldn’t people dress according to the weather? If Og hadn’t found him, he’d have frozen to death—he wouldn’t look so pretty in his designer clothes in a casket.
He hefted the man up in a fireman’s carry and started making his way towards the cabin. It was like carrying an ice block. He guessed he should be pleased about the man being short and small framed. His curly dark hair flopped around his face with each step Tristan took.
They weren’t far from the cabin, but ploughing through the snow with the extra weight of the man and Og running around his legs had Tristan sweating and out of breath in no time at all. He grunted as he sank knee-deep into the snow, mentally cursing the stupid man for walking into his forest.
He couldn’t stay angry, though. He worried about the man being injured. It would be impossible to get an ambulance out here, and Tristan only had a basic knowledge of first aid. First, he needed to get him out of his wet clothes, that much he knew. Hypothermia was no joke.
Desperately, I searched for something to say, something to make him forget about this place. My heart banged in my ears. I didn’t have the energy for any breakout attempts today. My body ached, and the weariness in my bones grew more insistent for each minute passing.
I honestly didn’t know how I’d find the energy to walk back to my flat. It wasn’t far, but I was finished. I’d had enough. Deep inside, my soul screamed at me; it said I couldn’t leave William, and I wouldn’t, but I’d had enough.
“No, I believe we come here for the apple pie.” It was Friday; there was a strong possibility there would be apple pie in the cafeteria. I watched William. His blue eyes too alert for his age—too alert for someone as confused as he was.
“Stop looking at me!”
It took me a second too long to look away.
“I said, stop looking at me! You think it’s all right for perverted old men to come here and ogle me?”
“No, of course not. I wasn’t ogling you.”
“I know what I saw.”
I sighed. The sting of the heron picking at my heart made me sink even lower. I shouldn’t have come, but there hadn’t been one day when I hadn’t. I couldn’t leave William here, but something was off with me today. If it all were to end now, I wouldn’t be sorry.
“You’re a handsome man.” I shrugged and hoped he’d drop the subject.
“I have a husband back home, and I do not intend to leave him. Ever.”
The words made me smile. I ignored the lump in my throat and tried to focus on the fact that he did love me. “He’s a lucky man.”
“He claims to be. Are you married?”
I met William’s gaze and nodded. “I am, and I love him.”
William’s lips thinned. “Then why are you here with me? You should be at home with him.”
“I would be if he was at home.”
“Where is he?”
Yeah, that’s the question, isn’t it? “He’s on a trip.”
William gasped. “He went on a trip without you? The bastard!”
“Yeah, no. He didn’t have a choice.”
“Oh, but still… It’s hard to be the one who’s left behind. When will he be back?”
I opened my mouth only to close it again. “He drops in now and then.”
“Yeah? Where is he now?”
I chuckled. “Somewhere down memory lane, I think.”
William reached out and squeezed my shoulder. “I’m sure he’ll be back soon, don’t worry about it.”
We sat in silence for a while. The morning show on the TV drew close to an end, and I started to long for a cup of coffee. I had no desire whatsoever to go to the cafeteria, though.
“Have you been married long?”
I glanced at William. He was watching me with a crease between his brows, clenching his jaws the way he did when he was thinking too hard.
He nodded, and the crease between his brows deepened. I held my breath, both fearing and hoping he would remember me.
“I’ve been married a long time, too…I think.” He rubbed his forehead, looking lost.
“Yeah? He’s a lucky man.” I patted his hand. It wasn’t often he allowed touch, but I figured since he’d squeezed my shoulder, a pat on the hand should be okay. He grabbed my hand and intertwined our fingers. My joints protested, but I didn’t care.
“I miss him.” William blinked more rapidly. “I miss him every second of every day.”
I swallowed to prevent my throat from closing up and cursed the way my eyes started to burn. “And he misses you.”
He nodded. “I think he does.” With his free hand, he rubbed his chest. “It feels like he does. It feels as if I should be somewhere else.”
I didn’t say anything. What was there to say?
The silence grew. A soap opera started on the TV, and we sat there next to each other and held hands. Rain began to fall outside, drops fighting for room on the glass of the window.
“Do you want some coffee?” I was sure I could call on a nurse and have them bring us a cup. We never asked for it, but today I didn’t want to be around the others living here. All I wanted was to sit next to William, sip on a cup of coffee, and forget we weren’t at home.
He let go of my hand as if I’d burned him.
“Who are you?”
“We’re late for our date.”
“No more dates, Jian.” He sipped on the coffee and glanced at him. “At least not in the morning.”
“Come on, babe.” He rustled a paper bag in front of him, and Victor narrowed his eyes.
He remembered the avocado sandwich Jian had made him for the ride and perked up a little. “Can’t I have it now?”
“Nope. I need you to get out of bed, put on a pair of sweats and a sweater.”
“Sweats?” What kind of date involved sweats? “Should I shower?” Jian hadn’t. His hair was a mess, and the dark stubble could soon be called a beard. Victor loved it when he grew it a little rugged.
“Nope, you’ll get wet enough later.”
Victor scrunched his nose and took another sip of the coffee. “I’m not sure I like the sound of that.”
Jian chuckled, and it had a wicked ring to it. Victor’s nerves woke up. “Jian! Where are we going?”
“You’ll see. Get your sweet ass out of bed because we’re going in five.”
Victor growled, took another sip of the coffee, and stumbled into the bathroom. Seven minutes later, he climbed into the truck, accepted the thermos cup Jian had prepared for him with more coffee, and the bag with the sandwich. As they rolled out of the driveway, Victor looked at him. “Are you gonna tell me now?”
Jian grinned and shook his head. The soft sounds of Christmas music filled the tinsel-decorated pickup and the tiny Christmas tree glowed on the dashboard. Outside the streets were mostly deserted, the snow was white and glistening.
When Jian turned north instead of toward Courtland or Whiteport, Victor frowned. North? What the heck could they do north of Northfield? Skiing? He hoped not, he’d break a bone or two hundred and six.
“Where are we going?”
Jian raised an eyebrow at him.
“Oh, come on, we’re on the way, you might as well tell me! Communication is a good thing, Jian.”
Victor narrowed his eyes. “Where are we going?”
“Snowmelt.” Jian drummed his thumb on the steering wheel, a grin tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Snowmelt? There was nothing in Snowmelt… except ski slopes. “I’m not skiing.”
“No, Jian, I’m serious. I won’t ski. I’ll be in the pub while you go.”
Jian nodded, his face might’ve held a blank expression, but Victor knew he was laughing at him.
Victor blew out a breath. He wasn’t looking forward to sitting in a bar while Jian was out skiing. He could drink alone at home—he never did, but if he had, it would be considerably cheaper.
For the most part, pine trees lined the road, not giving Victor much to look at other than Jian. He didn’t mind, he loved looking at Jian. He wasn’t classically handsome, but Victor loved the bump on the bridge of his nose and the dark, dark eyes where you could hardly see where the iris stopped and the pupil began. Though, he couldn’t look into his eyes when he was driving. He loved the black stubble against the olive-colored skin that grew darker in the summer.
The morning sun was streaming through the now thinning trees, giving warning about civilization up ahead, but before they reached Snowmelt, Jian turned left.
“What are you doing?” There were no ski slopes down there. The mountain was on their right.
Jian chuckled. “You’ll see soon enough.”
“I hate you a little right now.”
Jian nodded. “It’ll get worse before it gets better.”
“What?” Get worse? What could be worse than skiing? “It’s a date, right?”
“Aren’t dates supposed to be… pleasant?”
Jian pursed his lips. “I don’t know if pleasant is the word I’m going for today.”
Victor took a deep breath but kept his mouth shut. Jian turned in on a small gravel road and followed it for a couple of minutes before he parked in a three-car wide parking lot that had been cleared of snow. Pine trees surrounded them and silence descended in the pickup.
“Where are we?”
Jian gave him a serious look. “In Snowmelt.” He opened his door, walked around the pickup, and grabbed a bag from the back.
Victor followed, his heart thudding more rapidly than it should on a Saturday morning. A few seconds later, Jian led him out on a jetty where a man dressed in thick winter clothing waited for them. He grinned and shook Jian’s hand.
“Jian?” Victor stared at the rectangular hole in the ice of the lake. “Jian, what are we doing here?”
Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden Evans has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find that at his mother’s place, but it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.
Tristan Gardner is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.
Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?
Note: This book contains Once in a Snowstorm, The Empty Egg, Happy Endings, and Just Words
Charlie Wilkins had everything he wanted—a husband, a daughter, a house that was his home. He still has his husband, but William has forgotten who he is. He still has his daughter, but the roles have switched, and Ann is now the one taking care of them.
There is only one thing Charlie wants, and that is to spend the rest of his days with William by his side. But William is living in a nursing home, and Charlie is living…somewhere. Ann says she will fix it; she’ll make sure they’ll get to live together again. Charlie hopes she will before William either escapes or figures out Charlie has left him in someone else’s care. He promised William they’d stay together till death did them part, and he meant it, but what was he to do when he no longer could take care of William?
When Victor Hill bought a house with his boyfriend, Jian Kouri it was a dream come true. But now, two years later, instead of living their happily ever after, they hardly see the other awake.
With Jian out the door before Victor gets up in the morning, and asleep on the couch nearly as soon as he walks in the door, the life Victor imagined couldn’t be further from reality. They don’t talk; they don’t touch, and Victor fears he and Jian have already drifted too far apart.
The holiday season is a time for hope, but when Victor comes home to find Jian with a plan to woo him for Christmas, is it too little, too late? The dates are great, and there are filled with Christmas fun to get Victor in the right spirit for the holiday, but are they enough for the two of them to fall in love again? Or is there just too much in their relationship that needs fixing?