Our second holiday story was released by Torquere Press yesterday! Santa’s Naughty Helper is now available in html, Adobe and Sony optimized pdf, prc, epub formats for $3.99.
When shy attorney Kevin Anderson draws Erik Wilson, his hunky co-worker, in their office’s secret gift exchange, he realizes this might be just the opportunity he needs to make Erik notice him. Erik seems to enjoy the game of twelve days of naughty gifts, but can Kevin overcome his fear of rejection enough to go through with his plan and offer himself to Erik on Christmas Eve?
Have an excerpt!
When his name was called, Erik smiled with anticipation as he approached the table and Shelley held out his gift. The box was long and narrow, wrapped in an expensive gold foiled paper embossed with tiny Christmas trees. A card was attached to the top by a red ribbon, which was unusual.
“You have to read the card to the rest of us,” Shelley informed him.
“Okay, sure.” Erik untied the ribbon and opened the card, not at all reluctant to share its message. Typed on the plain white card were six lines:
Christmas is the time for giving, and what I have for you,
Is a little mystery, and every gift’s a clue.
For twelve days, just like the song, another gift I’ll send,
Until the night of Christmas Eve, when our game will end.
The challenge that I make is to guess my identity,
And if you do it just might lead to an epiphany.
The crowd responded with laughter and rowdy catcalls about Erik having a secret admirer, and Erik felt his cheeks growing hot. Part of him was wildly curious about who was behind the poem, and part of him was flattered that perhaps he did have an admirer.
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he joked, slipping the card into the pocket of his tailored black jacket. Although everyone’s interest seemed to be more in the card, he opened the box and pulled out a bottle of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, his favorite wine. “Thank you, mystery elf! I’ll drink a toast to you when I open this.”
With that, Erik returned to his seat and looked at Kevin, shaking his head in disbelief. “Well, that was a surprise.”
Kevin studied him closely. “I bet it was.” He gestured at the bottle. “Any idea who might have done it?”
“Someone who knows what kind of wine I like, but that doesn’t narrow down the list much.” Erik pulled out the note and studied it in silence for a moment. “I wonder what this means,” he mused. “Twelve gifts for me? Why? And what kind of epiphany is he talking about?”
“Who knows?” Kevin shrugged and drained his glass of champagne. “Sounds like someone is flirting with you.”
“Maybe, but if he wants to flirt, why doesn’t he just talk to me?” Erik frowned slightly, puzzled by this new mystery. “I’m not scary. I don’t bite. Well, not without permission,” he added with a teasing grin, knowing the remark would probably fluster Kevin, who was adorable when he blushed.
As if on cue, Kevin’s cheeks turned pink, and he looked down at his hands. “Maybe he’s afraid of rejection, or maybe he just likes to play games. It could be any number of reasons.”
“I guess you’re right.” Erik put the note aside, since the gift exchange wasn’t over yet. “It’s another case to be solved, right?”
“Apparently so.” Kevin gave him a quick smile, just as his name was called. “Looks like it’s my turn. Bet I don’t get a poem or a secret admirer.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Erik called, and he applauded along with everyone else when Kevin opened his present, but he was distracted, his mind straying back to the cryptic note and its meaning.
If he did have a secret admirer, Erik wished the guy would step forward. But then again, a holiday game like this was a novel approach, and he had to give the guy credit for style. Erik decided to hold off before going to the company grapevine for information, in order to enjoy the game for a while. Maybe he’d end up with someone to share the holidays with after all.