Christmas Blog Hop: Needing A Little Christmas
Dec 1, 2012 Filed under: bears, book release, contemporary, excerpts, holiday, m/m, web event
I love Christmas. I don’t allow myself to watch Christmas movies or listen to Christmas music in the “off season” except during my kids annual Christmas-in-July party, but once November hits, I wait impatiently for the official kick-off of the Christmas season. No I don’t mean the day after Halloween like so many retailers but the day after Thanksgiving.
Rather than fighting crowds at the mall on Black Friday, I spend part of my day pulling out the boxes of Christmas decorations, books, movies, seasonal artwork my kids have done, ornaments that remind me of past Christmases and cookie tins. Cookie tins that will soon be bursting with our selection of holiday cookies. Sitting down with Christmas-themed cookbooks and magazines and selecting the cookies and candies my daughters and I are going to make is one of our favorite traditions.
I love the domestic coziness of Christmas – baking, admiring the Christmas tree lights in the evening, drinking cocoa while reading our favorite Christmas books, cuddling on the couch and watching A Christmas Story for the gazillionth time. That warmth and making myself slow down to enjoy more family closeness is what I treasure each December. When I write Christmas stories of my own I try to make sure my characters get a taste of this snuggly type of Christmas cheer.
In Needing a Little Christmas, Eli is used to a cozy Christmas with his family. He’s twenty-eight and he’s never once spent Christmas Day anywhere but at his childhood home with his parents and siblings. This year, however, Eli and his brother and sister have given their parents a special gift, a holiday cruise.
Eli is supposed to spend Christmas with his boyfriend, but when he finds his boyfriend doing the naked tango with a co-worker, he’s left on his on. At his mother’s insistence, he decides to get out of the city and go to one of her friends cabins right as a major snowstorm hits. When he realizes he’s trapped with no wood to heat the cabin, he calls Mac’s Wood Delivery and unknowingly saves his Christmas.
Mac has also spent every Christmas of his life wrapped in the warmth of family. He can’t stand the thought of Eli being alone without even a Christmas tree. He knows Eli needs a little Christmas, and Eli knows that what he needs most is Mac.
To offer you even more Christmas cheer, comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of my 2011 Christmas story One Kiss, filled with truffles, cinnamon rolls, light-up polar bears, and Christmas aprons.
Needing A Little Christmas will be released on December 6. You can pre-order it now.
“What do mean you’re not going to be with Dave’s family for Christmas? Why?”
I pulled the phone away from my ear. I’d known my mother would be upset, but her reaction was even more vehement and loud than I expected. “Apparently one of the junior partners at his firm isn’t nearly as boring as I am. They’ve been having an affair for months.”
My mother made a sound of disgust. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry, and you are not boring.”
“Sure, I know, but Dave thinks I am.” And honestly, I thought he was probably right. I preferred to stay at home rather than go out. I spent most days in sweats and T-shirts. When Dave did drag me to a party with his socialite friends, I inevitably embarrassed him with my lack of knowledge of current affairs. I’d taken to hiding out in the bathroom writing notes for my next book on my phone. He’d even attempted to coach me in the art of party conversation. I’d used his lessons in a book but ignored them as they applied to me. The book had done well; readers found the lessons hilarious.
When Dave suggested I was not only an uninteresting social companion but boring in bed as well, I’d taken that seriously. I might prefer a quiet lifestyle, but I knew how to please a partner sexually. After pondering what I could do to shock him, I’d gotten my nipples pierced, something I’d secretly wanted to do for years. He’d laughed. I should have broken up with him that night. We’d only had sex a few times after that, and each time, Dave raced to completion, showered off the scent of me, and promptly fell asleep.
I heard my mother’s heels click against the floor. She must be pacing, something she always did when strategizing. “I’m so sorry, honey. Do you want us to cancel our cruise?”
That was the last thing I wanted. “Of course not. You’ve been looking forward to it for months. I’m fine. Really.”
“Are you sure?”
I held the phone between my shoulder and ear as I poured myself a generous measure of whiskey. “Yeah, things hadn’t been great between me and Dave for a long time.”
She huffed. “That doesn’t give him any excuse to—”
I held up my hand even though she couldn’t see me. “No it doesn’t. He acted like an ass, and I think he knows it. He moved out of his beloved apartment and told me I could keep it.” Not that I could afford it for long unless my next book was a runaway hit.
Mom sighed. “I don’t want you spending Christmas alone.”
After draining my drink, I’d wandered into my bedroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My eyes were red from lack of sleep and they looked more hazel than their usual bright green. My curly dark hair stood out at odd angles. The stress of trying to meet the deadline for my book and trying to hold on to a relationship that had died well before I caught Dave fucking his colleague in his office hadn’t been good for my appetite. I’d lost weight and the bones in my face showed prominently. I was definitely not looking my best, but I wanted a few more days to wallow in self-pity. “I really don’t want to be around anyone right now.”
My mom sighed. “But it’s Christmas.”
I ran my hand through my hair, making it stick out even more. “I’m not in the mood for holiday cheer.”
“Your dad and I can go on a cruise another year.”
“No, arranging this once was difficult enough. Rick and Cindy will want to spend next year with you since they’re with Cindy’s family this year. And Ally’s trip to California is a special one-time deal. This is our gift to you, and I won’t be responsible for screwing it up.”
“You wouldn’t be responsible; Dave would be.”
“I wasn’t exactly looking forward to listening to his family brag about how wonderful they all are. I’ll have a better time alone.” My mom’s pacing stopped, and I realized I’d said the wrong thing.
“Eli, why didn’t you tell us you didn’t want to go home with Dave? We would never have agreed to the cruise if we thought you’d be miserable at Christmas.”
I tried to back pedal. “It would have been fine. I enjoy visiting Boston even if the company leaves something to be desired.”
“Hmm.” My mom didn’t sound convinced. “Maybe we could get you a ticket for the cruise. It might not be full.”
The cruise was supposed to give my parents some uninterrupted time together. And the last thing I wanted was be trapped on a ship with lots of happy, smiling people encouraging me to socialize while my mom fussed over me. “No, thanks. I really, truly would rather be on my own.”
“But what will you do?”
“Stay home and drown my sorrows in Christmas cookies and eggnog.”
You can find a list of all the posts for the Christmas Blog Hop here.