It’s the most horrible time of the year.
Smooches under mistletoes and tacky reindeer decorations.
Newly single, Davey has had enough of wasting his love and having his heart broken. Better to be single, he decides. No more dates. No more falling in love. No more dreaming of happy ever afters. Those are for movies.
And then Avery steps into his life, bringing care, compassion, and tenderness in his path.
Davey’s so tempted to hope again. But can an online date and a brief encounter turn into anything other than an ephemeral sexual encounter?
Is there a future for them? Will Avery stay? And most importantly, can Davey bear to offer up his heart to the season’s love—just one more time?
When he returned to his position, the lines had doubled in size, so he did his best to get rid of the ever-growing horde of impatient, loud customers. His next customer dropped a shopping bag on top of his counter, startling him. He looked up, his face full of rage ready to shoot daggers, but his retaliation was bitten down the moment he set eyes on the customer.
He was older, that much was obvious, but not by much. His grey eyes, spoke volumes with their sadness behind his spectacles, and there was a sprinkle of salt-and-pepper in his hair. He didn’t smile, but he was staring at Davey too, greeting him with a soft voice that Davey thought didn’t match his confident look.
He took the shopping cart and emptied the contents in paper bags, scanning them all one by one. His eyes kept darting back to the man’s face, betraying his attraction. Maybe the guy liked him too. Maybe he would ask his name and Davey could ignore the nervous tapping of the customers behind and chat him up. Maybe Davey could get his number and they could go out. Maybe the customer was the one.
Davey shook his head as he passed the bags to the guy, shaking the thoughts off. That was what had gotten him into so much trouble. He couldn’t keep thinking like that. It only ever ended in hurt and anguish, and he had promised himself he was done with those feelings.
The guy paid on his credit card and walked off with nothing more than an awkward smile, never looking back. Of course he hadn’t. Because these things didn’t happen in real life. No one looked at anyone and thought I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with you and told the story of their love-at-first-sight to their grandkids. And even if they did, it would go a bit more like “I saw him and I knew I wanted to screw his eyes out. But then he wouldn’t go away the next morning, and that’s how you guys came to be.” Davey knew all too well how men were, and he wasn’t gonna let anyone else use him and abuse him ever again.
Just as he was finishing up with the next customer, he saw the man coming back. He had come back for Davey. To ask him out. To tell him…
To tell him he didn’t take the security pin out of the scarf. No! Love in real life didn’t happen like that. Love in real life didn’t happen, full stop.
“Can you get the pin out of the scarf? The security guard won’t let me go away,” he said, frustrated.
Davey took the fabric in his hand. “Sure,” he said. It was soft and fuzzy but not overly warm. It was an item that had been brought in only this week, but it hadn’t been as popular with shoppers as the woolen ones. It was pink and purple. Not a great color scheme for the festive hordes. Davey inserted the magnetic side of the pin on the counter and removed the ink cartridge from the piece of fabric with ease. He wrapped it up instinctively and passed it back to its rightful owner. “That should do the trick,” he said and smiled at him.
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About the AuthorChris Ethan is a book whore. He enjoys selling his feelings for money and other pleasures and is blatantly unashamed to do so for as long as he breathes. Chris Ethan is also a persona for Rhys Christopher Ethan, author of fantasy and sci-fi. He uses Chris Ethan to share stories of adult queer romance with those who need it. Before you delve into his books however, be warned. He likes putting his characters through shitstorms and hates anything conventional. But then there’s that darned happy-ever-after. Also, he likes swearing. Deal with it!