Up North | Turning Wood

turning wood

For Otho Newcomer, the small village of Snowmelt is a haven from his old life. If he’s not exactly a changed man, he at least hopes to keep his distance from all those easy romances, and the inevitable heartache and disappointment that have always followed.

Mason Dager is an idiot. His ex has cleared out his bank account, sold his car and gotten him thrown out of his apartment. And he has no one to blame but himself. But what better way to celebrate a new chapter in his life—one that includes homelessness and the humiliation of telling his family they were right all along—than to spend Christmas at a swanky winter resort like River Cove? It’s already paid for after all.

When a very drunk Mason makes yet another dumb decision, Otho comes to the rescue, throwing the two men together during the most magical time of the year.

What should be the wrong choice for both of them, might be exactly what they need. They’ll just have to survive a nosy best friend, an asshole of an ex, and the scars of their pasts.



Mason was shaking so hard the bed was groaning in protest. Where was he? He looked around. This wasn’t his bedroom. His entire body burned, his throat ached, and his eyes stung. Lifting the cover, he looked down at himself and groaned—naked. The bed smelled nice, though.

Bolting upright, he remembered. He’d been out walking and…Santa had been there. He rubbed his forehead. It couldn’t have been Santa, but some guy dressed like Santa.

A kidnapper.

He’d been kidnapped by a guy disguised a Santa who had stripped him and put him in a bed. What was he planning on doing with him in bed, naked?

Mason flung off the cover and put his feet on the floor, a nice old hardwood floor but cold enough to make him want to climb back into the bed. So typical of him to get drunk and kidnapped by a Santa lookalike. He couldn’t go anywhere without getting in trouble.

Meet a nice guy and he’ll clear out your bank account, sell your car, and have you evicted from your apartment. Go up north on a holiday and a sex offender looking like Santa will kidnap you and bind you to a bed.

Though, in Santa’s defense, he wasn’t bound, and… Mason rubbed his neck. An image of frantic blue eyes behind… He tried to pinch the bridge of his nose, but his fingers weren’t working as they should. Had that been protective glasses?

Maybe the guy hadn’t looked like Santa at all. Now when he was thinking of it, his hair had been dark, and had he been wearing a white sweater?

A door opened somewhere in the building and Mason’s heart leaped to his throat. Shit, he’s back.

Pushing off the bed, he stumbled a few steps only to once again realize he was naked. Gripping the cover, he wrapped it around his shoulders and turned toward the window. His fingers shook as he tried to open it. He had to push with all his strength to get it to yield, the ice working in his kidnapper’s favor.

He got it open and one leg out, the snow on the windowsill chilling against the inside of his bare thigh.

“Hey! Stop.” A tall, dark-haired man with icicles in his beard took a step into the bedroom.

Mason yelped and shoved away from the building. The cover tangled around him; the snow burned against his bare feet as he tried to gain his balance.


The kidnapper knew his name?

Mason ran. It didn’t go nearly as fast as it normally did, it was as if his muscles had melted. Had he been drugged? He only needed to get back to the resort then he could call the police. It couldn’t be far away.

A wall of pine trees appeared in front of him, it grew into a forest, but Mason didn’t care. He ducked and shielded himself from the prickly limbs the best he could.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Mason! Come back here!”

Mason glanced over his shoulder, the guy gained on him, easily. He ordered his useless legs to move, but they continued their slow-motion thing.

Strong arms grabbed him from behind and Mason might have yelped again. He wasn’t a yelper, not normally.

“Are you out of your mind? You could have died.” The man’s gruff voice did nothing to calm him down. “Come on, let’s get you back in bed.”

The man steered him around, Mason would like to say he fought for his freedom, but his resistance only lasted for thirty seconds or maybe it was closer to five. He was too exhausted to stand, and the man carefully wrapped an arm around his waist to help him back towards the building—a cute little log cabin.