Christmastime brings joy to hearts everywhere. Between snow angels, festive clothing, holiday decorations, and of course, all the beautiful lights, it’s hard not to partake in the season.
Unless you no longer have Christmas in your heart.
Dermot Alasdair has never shared the horrific memories that keep him from celebrating the happiest time of the year, nor does he ever plan to. He’s fine being alone and shut off from everyone; he has his restaurant and that’s all he needs. He believes that, too…until the craft store next door from his eatery hires a perpetually smiling annoyance. Really, it isn’t normal for someone to be that happy all the time.
Xander Leahman didn’t know what he was getting into when he accepted an invitation to visit his best friend and help her interview people for the newly created position of manager at Craft Time. When a surly man bumps into him and then walks away with an enticing sway to his hips, Xander decides the position—and Dermot—are perfect for him. Now all he can think of is finding ways to get Dermot out of his clothes. Well that, and how to open this grinch’s heart to the Christmas season and, hopefully, love.
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Holiday
“Hey! Good morning!”
The cheerful greeting broke through his concentration, and Dermot looked up to see the new manager of the Craft Time craft store sweeping the sidewalk in front of the shop. “Hey,” he muttered sourly. Xander Leahman made his head ache. Just one glance and he wanted to snap at the man to comb his hair, put on a heavier jacket, and for Christ sakes why wasn’t he wearing gloves outside in this weather?
Dermot wasn’t going to stop. He had no plans stop and talk to the smiling man. Xander bubbled more than a bottle of shaken soda water. Dermot didn’t have time for his chatter, and he didn’t have time for the strange, compelling not-quite-nausea he seemed prone to in Xander’s company.
Maybe he was allergic to the man’s cologne, or deodorant, or shampoo. Dermot leaned forward and sniffed surreptitiously, but he couldn't smell anything other than cinnamon and vanilla. An overwhelming urge to bake overcame him, and he jerked himself upright.
He was an executive chef, not a pastry chef. He didn’t bake, and especially not something as…plebeian as oatmeal raisin cookies, which was what Xander smelled like.
“Excuse me.” He deliberately stepped around Xander, who put out a hand and caught his arm.
“I saw you coming down the street.” Xander set the broom aside and picked up a steaming mug from the windowsill. “It’s not as good as Prudence’s coffee, but I made it fresh this morning.”
Blinking in astonishment, Dermot stared from the mug to the hand on his arm. He could really… “Thanks.” He accepted the mug and inhaled the rich aroma of good coffee, scented with cinnamon and…yeah, vanilla. And he’d thought it was Xander who smelled so good? He didn't know whether to be relieved or embarrassed. “I needed this. That walk feels longer every day that the temperature drops.” The first sip exploded on his tongue with soothing heat and delicious flavor and he bit back a moan of appreciation.
Publisher: Lime Time Press
Cover Artist: Laura Harner
About Lee and Havan:
Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it's nevertheless one hundred percent true.
Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.
Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don't belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don't fit?
Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.
I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It's why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it's why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.
If I'd had my way, I'd have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I've come to realize that's the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.
If I hadn't learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.
I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.
Okay no, seriously…I'm a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own. And just like every other red-blooded human—I love hearing from people. So feel free to drop me a line—whether it's a comment on my blog, an email, a tweet, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it's easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.
What part of writing Christmas in His Heart did you least enjoy and why?
Havan: I don’t think there was a part I least enjoyed...I mean seriously, Lee had a way of making even the edits fun. :) Now...if we are talking about content of the book, I hated when Xander and Dermot had their downs. Lee and I talked about these characters so often to each other that they were real in my mind and I just wanted to strangle them sometimes.
Lee: I guess that what I least enjoyed was having to be patient sometimes. Havan has this wicked, evil day job thing that kept getting in the way of creating. I’d wake up all inspired, whip out a thousand plus words, and then bounce around thinking about how she was going to react to it, whether she’d like it, or how her character would carry it forward, until she got home from work.
What part of writing Christmas in His Heart did you most enjoy and why?
Spending even more time with Lee...sharing our creativity and the workload! I loved sharing the workload…*blushes*.
I loved how the whole story just clicked...I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that just flowed so beautifully, from idea to idea. Usually, I end up at least once or twice in a story sitting there staring at a blank page thinking I should just delete it all and start over. That never happened.
You’re right...there was no “That’s it, I’m done with this book” moments...I fell in love with the characters and storyline and never lost that interest in it. :)
What would you do differently?
Well, I’m not sure about that. I really enjoyed the whole experience, you see. There were some timeline issues that we had to finesse later, so probably we ought to work out the timeline more carefully ahead of time next time.
Yeah, definitely write out a more detailed timeline and maybe better plotting (which kills me to say since I’m a pantser lol), but as for the whole experience in general - I loved it.
Do you have plans to work together again soon, and under what circumstances?
Actually, we are always working together. We both contribute to a group project called Pulp Friction, which is a series of inter-related stories, with Laura Harner and Tom Webb. Currently we’re writing a group finale for the 2014 series and plotting out the basics of the 2015 series, where we are joined by Will Parkinson.
Awww...that’s Lee’s PC way of saying he’s stuck with me...lmao
Lee Brazil’s Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/crawlinbedwithlee/
Lee Brazil on Twitter: @LeeBrazil
Havan Fellows on Twitter: @Havanfellows
Lee Brazil on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/leebrazil/
Havan Fellows on PInterest: http://www.pinterest.com/havanfellows/