As it is the holiday season, this week and the next two will have holiday snippets. Today I’m giving you an excerpt from Leland’s Final Gift, a holiday story I released last year.
Leaning back against the door, he closed his eyes, taking a few deep breaths. Of all days of the year for Jessup to move in, this was the worst. Usually Thane was a good neighbor and would have offered to help the man with his boxes. But right now, he had a date. With a ghost. Forcing himself off the door, he walked down the darkened hallway to the living room. There was no need to turn on any lights as he knew where everything was. Besides, turning on the lights would just make everything a bit too real. It was best to suffer in silence and in the dark. Or at least that was his motto.
Turning to his right, he removed his coat and scarf, hanging them on the coat tree Leland had purchased for the last Christmas present he had given him. Thane’s fingers slid along the intricately carved wood. Leland had it made with gorgeous images of men in all manner of sexual ecstasy engraved from top to bottom. Thane loved this thing.
“You’re an idiot, Kinder.”
He trembled as his lover’s voice wafted over him. “I knew you’d come.”
“Only because you expect me to. It’s been three years, my love. Why haven’t you moved on?”
“Why haven’t I—?” Thane whipped around and glared into the darkness. “Maybe because the love of my life died.”
“Okay, you’ve got me there,” Leland said in wry amusement. “But this was always your favorite time of year. You were always like a little child.” His chuckle filled Thane’s ears, making his eyes prick with tears. “No matter how I tried, you always found a way to unwrap your presents before Christmas day. And now….” His voice saddened. “You don’t even have a tree.”
Stumbling over to his sofa, Thane collapsed onto it. This was not what he expected. The last couple of years Leland had kept him company through the two days he suffered the worst, talking like they usually did. He’d never scolded him before. “I can’t celebrate the day you died,” he whispered in a husky voice.
“I’m not asking you to. But I am asking you to live.”
His partner sighed. “Then maybe I need to give you a kick in the ass.”
Thane glared into the darkness. “I’m fine.”
“Right.” The wry amusement in Leland’s tone made him smile, even though he tried to stop it. He could see the curve of Leland’s lips, the expression that would be on his face in that moment. If he weren’t dead. Instantly the smile was gone.
“Kinder, am I going to have to encourage you along?”
There was no way for Thane to respond to that. He wanted more than anything for Leland to encourage him for the rest of his life, but that wasn’t possible. Besides, why would he want his deceased lover to encourage him to leave Leland behind?
“So be it, my love.”
Before Thane could ask him what he was up to, someone hollered. “Ahhh!”
Thane jumped at the yell from the hallway. It was quickly followed by a huge thump and several smaller ones.
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.
Next week you’ll get to check out my brand new holiday tale: Of Mooning Santas and Penis Lights.
Now check out the rest of this week’s bloghop offerings: