Love Stories for the Holidays
Holidays mark the passage of time in a way that synchronizes the calendar kept by the heart with the one kept by the head. More than just dates, holidays are intersections of memory and emotion, annual snapshots of who we are as we travel through life—and who we’re traveling with. Holidays remind us of who we want to share special moments with, and of those without whom the moments aren’t quite as special.
Julian Keys shows us how the quest to discover a secret love restores a cynic’s hope, how a moment of compassion turns a thief into a hero, how sympathy for the Devil can lead to a happy ending, and how a multicultural celebration opens the way for even the most unlikely unions.
Cold Days, Hot Nights shares four tales of holidays that become turning points in life and love for people who have lost faith in themselves, in each other, and in romance. From Halloween to Christmas to Valentine’s Day, Keys’ stories show how not simply the feeling of love, but the willingness to risk pain to be open to the possibilities love offers, can change a person’s life in wonderful ways.
In this latest Fancy Man story Mason (aka the Fancy Man) is faced with one of the biggest challenges of his life as leatherman and Master: introducing his slave and lover, Charles, to his mother. But this isn’t all that Santa is giving him for Christmas. In between holiday gatherings, he must deal not only with family traditions and demands, but with helping his lonely, taciturn friend Owen from turning into a bitter hermit, saving the rejected slave boy Hadji from despair, keeping his sister and her boyfriend together, and trying to infuse the holiday spirit into the depressed patrons of the Cockpit bar. Topping this all off, he also has an important decision to make: on Christmas Day he will either let Charles in on a terrible family secret or not. If he does, things might radically change between them. The days are counting down and Mason can’t afford any mistakes or failures. But keeping control of all this may be too much… even for the Fancy Man. (M/M)
“So someone left you a valentine. You can’t expect the world to know you don’t want one.”
Or so Wade Arkin’s assistant told him when he found what would be the first of several mysterious valentines, all from the same secret admirer. A recovering romantic whose heart had been badly shattered two years back, Wade refused to even wish others a “Happy Valentine’s Day,” let alone participate in it. Someone, however, was trying to lure him back into Cupid’s realm of poetry and roses by making him pick out gifts for a lover he didn’t even know existed. Yet with each valentine he felt himself wanting to believe again in the gods of romance and desire, to pray again to them, and believe, as he had once before, that his prayers would be answered. (M/F)
Noel Larkin’s hyper-holiday spirit is a mystery to both her boyfriend, Roland and her dour accountant, Benjamin. So when charming Hank, a non-profit organizer, re-appears in her life, Noel was delighted. At last she’d found romantic harmony, or so she thought. Then comes Christmas Eve and revelations that shake her faith in all three men. Can anyone restore her Christmas spirit to her before her birthday arrives the next morning? It would take an act of selfless charity to do so. (F/M)
“In this family, the greeting is ‘Happy Holidays!’ And we mean it.”
It’s three days before Christmas, and out-of-work handyman Ethan Rowe has hit rock bottom. In the midst of robbing a thrift store, he responds to a loud and ringing cry for help.
Science teacher Sophie Cauldwell isn’t looking for love when she shouts for help, only a rescue from attempted robbery. When soulful, chivalrous Ethan answers that cry, however, she’s found her knight in shining armor. It doesn’t matter that she knows absolutely nothing about him, Sophie opens herself, her soul, and her family home to him.
Enchanted as Ethan is by brainy, beautiful Sophie, he is only hoping to get a free meal when he accepts her invitation to dinner. Warmly welcomed into a home that celebrates the season in every possible way, however, he begins to fall in love with her and her multi-cultural kin. But is it only the magic of the holidays keeping their romance alight? Ethan finds it hard to believe that their love could survive the truth, even in this time of miracles. Can Sophie and her family change his mind and restore his faith?
Alex Thorson and three fellow directors sit in the board room with their CEO, Dempsey Kincaid, for what was meant to be a simple holiday drink. When an attractive young woman in fur-lined negligee, heels and a pair of elf ears arrives at the board room door, Alex is rather pleased at the tantalising turn of the evening. However, the raunchy high spirits soon take the gathering to places that leave Alex with questions about the exact powers of Kincaid, and just what kind of woman has been hired to entertain them…
Even after The Fall, a new world that struggled with changes also fought to keep some of the old traditions alive. Wren’s life as a slave has left him with years of painful memories, including those of terrible holiday gifts meant to hurt and humiliate. Wren’s new master, Jere, has treated him far kinder since inheriting him, but when their first Christmas together comes upon them, the promise-dipped threat of a Christmas present makes Wren question how long such kindness will last. (M/M)
At the company Christmas party at a local bar, a woman finds herself avoiding the co-worker she longs for. The intensity of her desire builds past her limits, and she flees temptation into the snowy night. But temptation follows her, and even the freezing wind can’t damp her need for his warmth. (F/M)