It’s another wonderful WipItUp Wednesday! I’m giving you a snippet from a little book of mine that came out yesterday called Leland’s Final Gift. In this snippet, Thane found the grapefruit and a few other things he didn’t expect to get.
He unlocked his door and opened it, not even thinking as he turned on the light before carting in all his purchases. It wasn’t until everything was inside and the door shut behind him that he realized what he’d done. For a moment, panic filled him at the sight of the place. Ever since his lover had died, he always kept the lights off this time of year.
“Calm down.” Leland’s voice made his breath stutter and smooth out. “What have you got there?” The amusement in his voice made Thane grin.
“I couldn’t resist.”
Laughter filled the apartment making his grin grow. “I love this part of you, my love. The kind that gets so excited about shopping for someone else. So tell me what you got.”
In no time, as he unpacked the bags, he shared the food, stocking, stocking stuffers, and the tree. When he brought out the grapefruit, Thane stared at them. “You hate grapefruit,” Leland reminded him.
“But they mean Christmas for Jessup.”
“Good for you, Kinder.”
Leland spoke to him as he set up the tree and plugged it in. “It needs decorations.”
It truly did. “But the only decorations I have are… ours.” Thane gulped. He hadn’t taken them out since his sister packed them away after that horrible holiday.
“Maybe it’s time they saw the light of day?” Leland suggested quietly. “Give them a new lease on life.”
At first, Thane ignored that as he went into his closet and removed the packages he had purchased for his sister and her family. They weren’t expecting him until late on the twenty-fifth, so usually he left them there. But the tree needed something underneath it. Once seven brightly wrapped packages sat under the tree, he had to agree with his boyfriend. It needed decorations desperately. Reminding himself that he could do this—They’re just ornaments. I will not fall apart just by touching them—he walked into the spare bedroom and opened the closet. It took all his mental strength not to shut the door again. Inside were Leland’s things, stuff he just couldn’t part with when he died.
Kinder Thane lost his life partner three years ago and ever since, has folded into himself. He doesn’t speak to friends and only sees his family once a year. Every year on the anniversary of Leland’s death, he spends his time with the ghost of his dead boyfriend.
When Jessie Riley moves in across the hall, it sends his entire existence into a flurry. Suddenly there’s life out there, happiness, the joy of the holidays, and it’s so shocking he almost doesn’t know what to do with it. It gets to be too much but before he can pull back inside and go back to the way he was, Leland has a final gift for him, one that changes everything.