KAREN: Dianne Hartsock not only pens m/m erotica tales, she's designs gorgeous floral arrangements. She's here today with a special story for everyone to enjoy: Quinn has a Merry Christmas.
But for our naughtier crowd...
***CONTEST FOR 18 YEARS AND OLDER: To one lucky commenter, Dianne is offering a digital copy of one her books from her backlist. Read on and find out how you may add this naughty treat to your Christmas Stocking. CONTEST ENDS AT MIDNIGHT.
Quinn paused on the steps of the gatehouse and sighed under his breath. Halloween as a ghost had been fun, and sharing Thanksgiving with Nevil's family had made that holiday bearable. But Christmas as a specter? Sounded lonely.
Well, it couldn't be helped. He was a ghost, nothing to be done about that. He pushed the latch and entered the cold foyer of the house he and Liam had been haunting for the last year. The house was Liam's choice, but it did boast a wonderful old graveyard Quinn spent most of his time in. He could almost feel the warmth of the sun there.
He frowned as he kicked off his shoes. Why was the parlor door closed? It never had been before.
Quinn crossed the hall toward it but heard Liam call him from the library and switched directions. He smiled as he looked in. Liam had a fire roaring on the hearth and he waved to Quinn from the couch pulled close to the warmth of the flames.
"Come on over. I want to read you a story."
Liam smirked. "Yes, seriously. Come here."
Quinn smiled indulgently and slipped onto the couch with Liam, allowing a sweet kiss before looking at the book in Liam's hands. "You want to read me A CHRISTMAS CAROL?"
"Why not?" Liam cleared his voice. 'Marley was dead, to begin with. There was no doubt whatever about that.'
Quinn grimaced. "I'm not sure I want to hear about ghosts tonight."
"It gets better!" Liam turned the pages. 'Who, and what are you?' Scrooge demanded.
'I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.'
'Long Past?' inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.
'No. Your past.'
A shiver passed through Quinn and he glanced over his shoulder.
Liam's arms tightened around him. "What is it?"
"None of you friends are going to barge in and scare the crap out of me, are they?"
Liam laughed fondly. "No, but here, I'll read something less scary." He turned some more pages.
`Come in.' exclaimed the Ghost. `Come in, and know me better, man.'
Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though the Spirit's eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.
`I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,' said the Spirit. `Look upon me.'
"Liam…" Quinn warned, not in the mood for a ghostly visit.
Liam tossed the book aside. "Okay, enough reading." He pushed Quinn away and rose to his feet. He held out his hand. "Come on, I have a surprise for you."
Quinn took his hand and Liam led him across the hallway to the parlor door. He laughed with excitement and flung open the door with a flourish. Quinn gasped. A Christmas tree was lit in the corner, bright with blue and green lights. Candles were lit around the room. A small fire burned on this hearth as well. Best of all, gaily wrapped presents were scattered under the tree and stockings bulged on the mantle.
"You did all this for me?" Quinn asked after swallowing a lump of emotion. He'd been feeling sorry for himself, when all the while Liam had been planning a special evening for him.
Liam squeezed his hand and gently kissed his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Quinn. I love you."
"Merry Christmas, darling," Quinn told him with tears in his eyes, then knelt and tugged Liam down beside him to open their gifts.
***Gift time! Hope you all enjoyed my little story, and as a Christmas present I'd like to offer a PDF copy of any book on my backlist to a commenter who tells me their favorite Christmas present of all time. Don't forget to leave your contact info!
There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to mediums and apparitions, Quinn has to make a decision: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time.
Quinn frowned at the crumbling gate house of the manor, unsure of why Liam had brought him there. Then again, he shouldn’t be surprised by anything his partner did.
“Let’s go in.”
Quinn hushed the voice in his head. “I’m thinking.”
He jumped slightly when Liam materialized at his side. He tried to hold onto his annoyance but couldn’t stay mad for long when the other grinned in that attractive way.
The man threw an arm across his shoulders, waving a languid hand at the decrepit building.
“Can’t you make up your mind inside? It’s getting dark.”
Quinn glanced behind them at the lonely driveway. He shivered when he saw the shadows creeping from under the trees. Shrubs overran the flowerbeds and weeds grew between the closely fitted flagstones of the walkway. He couldn’t understand why Liam always had to choose the scariest places to haunt.
“It’ll be darker inside,” he hinted to the apparition.
Liam slid his arm from his shoulders and sauntered up to the wooden door sagging on its hinges.
He wiggled his fingers and a bluish light filled the house, spilling out from between the slats of the broken shutters.
“Show-off,” Quinn muttered as he joined him at the front entrance. The door felt solid under his hands. He gave it a nudge, testing its stability.
Watching him, Liam put his chin on his shoulder. “Give it a shove.”
“Why don’t you?”
He regretted the words instantly when Liam’s eyes flashed.
“I’m sorry. Don’t be mad,” he said, but Liam had glanced aside, hiding his expression. Quinn felt like a brute, knowing his friend’s manifestation had no substance. He took out his frustration on the door, putting a shoulder to it. He pushed, and stumbled across the threshold when the ancient latch unexpectedly gave way. Dust filled the air and he sneezed several times.
Liam swept passed him, his skin luminescent in the pulsing blue light he’d created. Quinn watched enviously as he crossed the hallway and glided up the swaying staircase. His own efforts to get an aura only resulted in dim blobs that people dismissed as figments of their imagination.
His friend’s glowing figure disappeared through the door at the top of the landing, and he hurried after him. His foot caught on a loose board as he entered the room and his dignity was bruised as he sprawled on his face. Liam’s amused laughter did nothing to help.
He climbed to his feet and stalked towards a mirror, the only item of furniture in the room propped against the wall. . He scowled at the mottled surface. “May I go home now?”