Get swept away to times past. Thirteen authors share the history and setting of their books or book excerpts.
Follow the links to the authors’ websites to read all the authors’ posts and then go pick up a great read for half-price or less from December 12 – 24!
Happy Holidays to all from Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon! We want to share Simon and the Christmas Spirit, the first in our Victorian Holiday Hearts series, for 99 cents through the month of December. This sweet seasonal read will be sure to warm your heart like stockings on a hearth.
The holiday spirit has forsaken Simon Harris. A recent reminder of the man who used then left him sends lonely Simon on a glum visit to his club to while away a few hours. A breath of fresh air in the form of Christopher Andrews is about to enter his stale life.
Performer of many talents and faces, Christopher gained entré into the club to win money at cards. Unfortunately, he’s losing. But the evening needn’t be a complete disappointment as he strikes up a friendship with a gentleman which ends in a bedroom.
Simon and Christopher enjoy a few hours of pleasure together, never expecting to see each other again, but Simon’s newfound resolution to change might just transform both their holidays.
“I apologize,” Simon said, “if I have misread the situation. But your brother said that you require money, and the cards didn’t yield any. And then this…” He waved a hand. “Upstairs. In a bedroom.” He felt his face redden, but he refused to remain silent. If Christopher could be outrageous, he could at least attempt to meet him partway. “I wanted to be honest, but if you’re insulted, I am sincerely sorry.”
“It isn’t my intention to charge you for anything.” Christopher’s smile didn’t seem real. “Oh, I’ve been called worse. I have a thick skin. But it does feel odd to be offered money for that. No one has in the past, you see, and we have had dire times.” Now his smile seemed real, as if recalling marvelous occasions instead of a time he would have sold his body to stay alive.
He cocked his head to the side and examined Simon. “It’s odd that this situation should be an insult to me but not to you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You assume that I wouldn’t spend time with you without charging you. Seems rather as if you expect it would only be worth my while to gain profit and not to simply enjoy your company.”
Simon hardly supposed a creature this bright needed company. “I suppose the insult comes from using a person like a money box, for one, and a place to deposit, um, pleasure.”
Christopher whooped with laughter. Really, it was the strangest situation Simon had ever encountered. “Depositing pleasure,” he said and began to laugh again. “Such a bank,” he explained.
Simon smiled. “Sticky,” he said, and that sent Christopher off again.
When he could speak, he said, “It’s a pity this will never work in any kind of routine. I can imagine the master of ceremonies would call for a player’s removal the moment he discussed that kind of bank…” He went off into a wheezing fit. The man was a party, a celebration of life unto himself, and Simon couldn’t help but be buoyed along on such a wild current. He too began to chuckle, then laugh until he was whooping breathlessly along with his unexpected companion.
When was the last time he’d laughed loudly and freely without concern? Never with Thomas Millard, who’d cared very much about appearing sophisticated and, now that Simon thought of it, had been quite vain about his appearance. Millard would never have let go and laughed like a child about something entirely silly. But still, Simon had cared for him, and the thought of the lover who had badly used him sobered him from his laughter.
Christopher’s laughter also slowed, though his ever-present smile remained. “What is it? This is a night for confidences. You know all about me already. I’m a performer and a man who is perhaps too much entangled with his family. Tell me about the dark thing that haunts you during this joyous holiday season.”
“Haunts?” Simon snorted. “I’m no Ebenezer Scrooge. I have no ghosts that haunt me.”
“But something has happened to you, and fairly recently, I’ll wager.” Christopher set the wax fruits and nuts on the marble table, so close to Simon, he held his breath.
Christopher walked to the bed and perched on it. He patted the counterpane. “Sit, please, and tell me.”
Simon rose from the chair but was afraid to take a step. If he sat on that bed beside this man, it was tantamount to admitting what they were both here for and that he trusted Christopher. And despite Christopher’s talk about “just talk,” Simon knew better.
But the man was too damned appealing with those sparkling eyes and that too-wide mouth stretched even farther by a smile. Simon uncrossed his arms and took a seat on the bed. He still didn’t speak and, what a wonder, neither did Christopher for a few moments.
“Tell me,” he murmured again. “Was your heart broken?”
“A bit pummeled, but I shall be fine.”
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The Victorian Holiday Hearts series of seasonal tales continues throughout the year with Will and the Valentine Saint, Mike and the Spring Awakening, and Delaney and the Autumn Masque.
Now discover a new author. Find a new book to read. Click on the “website” links to read the authors’ posts.
Ganymede: Abducted by the Gods
Era: Bronze Age, fantasy, alternate myth
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