>Excerpt: Sharing Christmas

>Taking a short break from NaNo for a quick reminder that presales for the Dreamspinner Press 2010 Advent Calendar Set, Naughty or Nice, run through Thanksgiving Day, November 25. You get a pretty good discount by ordering in advance; the individual stories—31 of them in all—will be available starting December 1.

As a little appetizer, here’s an excerpt from my contribution, Sharing Christmas (adult content, m/m).


Rick hummed along with Bing Crosby wishing him a happy holiday as he slapped together a ham sandwich to take to work the next day. It wouldn’t exactly be a festive lunch to celebrate Christmas Eve, but he’d be nearly alone in the office, so it didn’t matter much.

Stuffing the sandwich into a lunch bag along with an apple and a can of Coke, Rick turned to put the bag into the refrigerator. The brightly colored flyer advertising free Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter nearby, stuck to door with a cheesy snowman magnet, caught his eye. His next-door neighbor, Steven, had dropped it by a few days earlier, along with an explanation and an invitation to a group dinner the next night.

“There’s a group of us who’ve gotten together on Christmas Eve the past few years to have dinner and put together care packages for the homeless,” Steven had said, his smile somehow a little nervous. “You’re welcome to join us if you’ll be around. And then we take the bags down to the shelter on Christmas Day. Some of us help them out while we’re there. It’s a pretty cool way to spend the holiday if you can’t be with family.”

Rick had been noncommittal at the time, but the idea had grown on him. He’d been in Atlanta a scant three months, after being offered a combined promotion and transfer from his company’s Dallas office that put him at the management position and the salary level he’d been wanting. Moving away from his family and friends had been difficult, but he’d lived in the Dallas–Fort Worth area all his life, and he was ready to try out something else for a while.

The downside was that, even as manager, he now sat at the bottom of his department’s totem pole, leaving him stuck babysitting his company’s servers over the holidays. The rest of the information technology team he supervised would be with their families, but Rick had none nearby and knew almost no one in town. He’d met a few neighbors here and there, not just Steven, but he hadn’t really gotten to know any of them beyond their names. Steven’s invitation would definitely beat sitting home alone. He’d be on call, of course, but the likelihood of anything going wrong when everyone else was off work was low.

Flipping off the kitchen light, Rick padded down the hallway in socked feet toward his bedroom. The apartment, in a high-rise along the city’s famed Peachtree Road, gave him a view of downtown from the living room and bedroom, both rooms with doors opening onto a small balcony. He’d rented the place sight unseen, based on pictures and the word of a real estate agent recommended by a colleague, and he’d been thrilled by it so far. If nothing else, the view he was afforded three mornings a week when he took advantage of the heated pool to run laps was worth it: beautiful women and even more beautiful men working their bodies hard as they sliced through the water.

Rick’s thoughts wandered as he stripped out of his clothes, dropping them into the basket in the bottom of his closet before walking naked over to his bathroom. He took only a few minutes to finish getting ready for bed, working on autopilot, mind offering up images from that morning’s workout. He mentally discarded the two overly muscled men as not his type, and the too-thin woman with the obvious fake breasts who’d seemed to spend most of her time batting her eyelashes at those two men. Rick preferred long and lean, and men in particular, although more than one woman had gotten his attention over the years.

He smiled at his reflection, watching his hazel eyes start to darken as he thought of Steven, who’d appeared poolside just as Rick had been leaving and who certainly fit the long and lean category. He had dark, wavy hair, much like Rick’s but a few shades darker, smooth, lightly tanned skin, and an elegantly Roman nose sprinkled with freckles. He was just about Rick’s height of five-eleven, and his deep brown eyes had been behind frameless glasses when he’d stopped by Rick’s apartment. Rick had never seen Steven with anyone else in the few times they’d run into each other in the elevator or hallway, and the fact that he was getting together with friends for Christmas seemed to indicate he was single. His nervousness during the invitation pointed toward possible interest.

Rick felt his cock twitch and swell at the thought. He hadn’t had time to so much as go out on a weekend since he’d moved, too busy settling into work and his new place. He didn’t know much yet about his next-door neighbor, except that he was pretty much Rick’s physical ideal, and just thinking about possibility of having that body pressed up against his sent a shudder through Rick.

Giving in to the inevitable, Rick reached for a clean washcloth, dampening it and heading back toward his bed, flipping off the bathroom light as he went. He let his free hand wander as he walked, fingers sliding up his thigh to sift through the wiry brown curls between his legs. His cock stiffened further and Rick let out a soft sigh, setting the washcloth on his nightstand and reaching for the bottle of lotion, squirting a little into his palm. He climbed into bed, curling onto his side, shivering in anticipation.

His eyes fluttered closed and he wrapped his hand around his cock, stroking softly and slowly, slicking up his skin as he gradually brought himself to full hardness. He pictured Steven’s smile and the lines of his body in his snug swim trunks from the brief look Rick had gotten that morning. Rick lifted his other hand to his mouth, wetting the thumb and forefinger and bringing them down to pinch at a nipple, imagining the wetness was Steven’s mouth. He let out a soft moan and tightened his hand around his throbbing cock as his fingers moved to tease his other nipple, pinching tight.

In his mind, his hands became Steven’s, the other man touching and stroking, exploring his body, bringing him closer and closer to the edge. Rick wet his fingers again, sucking strongly, this time sliding his hand over his hip and down the cleft between his cheeks. He teased his opening, dipping a fingertip inside, circling lightly, then sliding two fingers in to the knuckle.

“Yeah,” he groaned, back arching, fisting his cock harder as he fucked himself on his fingers. As Steven fucked him hard, driving his cock against Rick’s prostate, and that thought was enough to push him over. He groaned again, louder, his body tightening down on his fingers, and his cock erupted, come ribboning out onto the sheets.

It wasn’t until his mind started to clear that he felt guilty. Masturbating to nameless, faceless bodies was one thing; fantasizing about someone he knew, even on a superficial level, wasn’t usually his style. He reached for the washcloth, wiping come from the sheets and his skin, and silently told himself he wouldn’t do it again.

For the third time that week.

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