Today I’m a guest on The Novel Approach blog and I’m writing about a few of my favorite shifter romances. This is part of the blog tour for “How to Howl at the Moon”! (P.S. there’s also a giveaway).
Today I’m a guest on The Novel Approach blog and I’m writing about a few of my favorite shifter romances. This is part of the blog tour for “How to Howl at the Moon”! (P.S. there’s also a giveaway).
Read about the inspiration behind the dog shifters of Mad Creek (in the new release “How to Howl at the Moon“). You can enter to win a free copy of the audiobook version of this novel, which is coming out as soon as Audible approves the uploaded audio file (1-2 weeks).
It’s release day for “How to Howl at the Moon”, the first book in a new m/m romantic comedy series about dog shifters. I had a blast writing this book, and I’m so excited that it’s now out there available to the public. Fly little bird, fly! Or maybe, run, little dog, run!
It’s my tradition to share some of my photo inspiration on release day. So without further ado, here are some images that I found to use as mind candy while working on this story.
NOTE: These are all images I googled. I don’t own the rights to them and they are not used in the actual book.
Tim is our shy gardener, a full-blooded human who moves to Mad Creek by chance and has no idea that dog shifters exist (or any other shifters for that matter). Tim is tall, lanky, and a bit gawky. I looked for a long time to find the right ‘mind model’ for Tim physically, and I fell in love with the photo below. Love those bangs! (so does Lance)
SHERIFF LANCE BEAUFORT
The other MC is Lance, a border collie shifter who is the sheriff of Mad Creek, and a determined protector of the town. I didn’t find the perfect photo of Lance. He had black hair and brilliant blue eyes, he’s compact and muscular, and intense with a capital I! But here are some images that come close….
CHANCE (aka Lance in dog form)
Lance is a shifter descended from border collies. In dog form, he’s all black with just a touch of white on his chest and a dot on one ear, and he has brilliant blue eyes. He’s very intelligent looking. This is the dog photo I used for Lance. He actually looks quite a lot like the dog that ended up on the cover, no?
For my setting, I wanted a small town, someplace remote and someplace that felt a bit interesting or exotic. My husband suggested the California mountains. We lived in Oakhurst, California for about five years, a small town in the mountains up the hill from Fresno but before you get to Yosemite. Mad Creek is technically further up into the mountains than that, but I based Mad Creek on Oakhurst. Here are some photos.
RENFIELD (aka “Renny”)
Renfield is a puppy that Lance gives to Tim. He’s a 100% dog (not a shifter) and he’s mostly Bernese Mountain Dog.
LILY (Lance’s mother)
Lance’s mother is also a border collie shifter with black hair and blue eyes. She’s wiry, energetic, and basically a whirlwind of manipulation and buttinski-ness. Julie Louis-Dreyfus is a great comic model for her.
MISC STORY STUFF
Some reference images for rose hips, a Sheiff’s badge and the DEA uniform.
That’s it for this release! I hope you enjoy the book.
P.S. The audiobook is done and is ‘in processing’ at Amazon. It should be live in the next week or two!
Release date: Feb 28, 2015
I’m super, super excited about this book! “How to Howl at the Moon” is the first book of a new m/m romantic comedy series featuring dog shifters and a little town in the California mountains called Mad Creek.
I wrote the first draft of this novel during NaNoWriMo in 2014, and I had so much fun writing it. I fell in love with Molly Harper’s “Naked Werewolf” series and it inspired me to want to write a humorous shifter series of my own, only in m/m. My husband likes to say he gives me all my best ideas, and I’m afraid there’s some truth in that. When I said “romantic comedy with shifters?” He said “dogs!”. He was right.
We have three bulldogs of our own and it was a blast to write dog shifter characters and give them dog mannerisms and personality traits. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about Lance, his mother Lily (as Lance says, Jewish mothers have nothing on the relentless herding instinct of a mother descended from border collies on both sides), Gus, Roman, and the other residents of Mad Creek. And of course, Tim, our clueless hero.
The cover is awesome, no? Cover by AngstyG. (Click for close-up)
Also, I am working on an audio book version of this right now! I hope to have it out around the same time as the ebook.
Like audiobooks? “The Trouble with Tony” is newly released on audio. You can find it here!
The M/M Romance group on Goodreads is a fun and large group (the 3rd largest group on goodreads I think), and if you like m/m romance, you should definitely check it out.
They just had their annual awards to determine the group’s reader’s favorites for 2014. Two of my books won in several categories. Given all the books that I personally read and loved that were nominated this year, and all the very talented authors, I feel super honored.
The Mating of Michael
Best Sex Industry — #1
Best Medical/Rescue Works Prof — #2 (#1 – The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes, #3 – Collide by Riley Hart)
Best Hurt/Comfort — #1 (#2 – Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane, #3 – While All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry)
Blame it on the Mistletoe
Best Gay/Out for You — #3 (#1 – Try by Ella James, #2 – The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes)
Best Coming of Age — #3 (#1 – The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune, #2 – The Family We Make by Kaje Harper)
Best Friends to Lovers — #3 (#1 – All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes, #2 – Collide by Riley Hart)
Best Humorous — #2 (#1 – #3 – Loving Jay by Renae Kaye, #1 The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune)
Thank you so much to those who voted!
My very first m/m story published was “Before I Wake”, which came out from Torquere Press in April 2013. They only had a year contract, so the story has been out of print since Apr 2014. I finally got my ass in gear and have self-published a new edition.
The original story was written for a fairy tale anthology with a strict 8000 word count. Of course, self-pubbing I was able to expand it a bit, adding a new 3K epilogue.
You can find it here:
ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beforeiwake-1721954-145.html
Hope you like the new version,
I’ve finished my little Christmas freebie, “Fielding’s Fa La La”. You can now find the entire story here! http://elieaston.com/fieldings-fa-la-la/
This Christmas story features Mick and Fielding from “Blame it on the Mistletoe”.
I published my first Eli Easton m/m romance in April 2013, so 2014 was a “year two” for me. That’s the year when newbie enthusiasm faces the realities of the market and the daily work flow, and you either flunk out entirely, settle into a dabblers casual ‘tude, or decide you’re in it for the serious long haul.
As of Dec 2014 I can say that it’s option c—my butt is firmly planted on this piece o’ earth.
In 2014 I published 5 m/m romance books, making 13 total. I had less publications in 2014 than in 2013, but I released my first full-length novel (“The Mating of Michael”).
Many readers of m/m romance also write it, so you will know what I’m talking about when I say there are things an author must consider when deciding whether or not to invest more time in a genre. First: Am I objectively any good at writing it? Second: Do I really like the genre enough to dedicate a large chunk of my time to building a career in it? Third: Can I continue to come up with fresh ideas and fresh work in this area story after story?
The answer to those questions for me is ‘yes’. I still feel I have something to offer the genre, I still really enjoy writing it, and I’ve gotten some lovely encouragement which makes me feel like my efforts are not in vain.
The m/m romance genre is an interesting beast. If being a ‘romance author’ is not taken very seriously by the general population and/or literary world, writing m/m romance is regarded with even more confusion/embarrassment/disdain. It seems to be the equivalent of saying ‘I write porn’. Now, I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing porn, but that’s not the way I consider my Eli Easton books.
Granted, I am probably in tune with point-oh-one percent of the population in this, but I really don’t see a lot of difference in regular (m/f) romance and gay (m/m) romance. At the heart, a romance is a romance. Love is a mystery. Why do two people fit together? And how do they figure it out? To me, a romance is about two people discovering their perfect partner—from first meeting, to getting to know one another, to overcoming obstacles, to realizing they want to be together for life. It’s about the dynamics of their personalities and daily lives and how they fit together. It’s about realizing that love is more important than anything else. It’s family and psychology, personal flaws and strengths. It’s chemistry and heat. In the end, very few things in life impact us the way our choice of life partner does. So what could be a more important subject to write about?
How I landed in the m/m genre is a bit of luck and a bit of good casting. My first exposure to m/m was Anne Rice’s “Cry to Heaven”, which I read in high school and found compellingly unusual and sensual. Later on, there was fan fiction (johnlock and sterek mostly). As a writer, I’ve always been more comfortable with male characters. Never a girly girl, I am sometimes irritated by romance heroines. Bottom line: I find men more interesting creatures and far sexier. So being able to write two male leads works for me on many levels. I also find the social and personal dynamics of being gay interesting. Let’s face it, unless you want to write regency romance, there’s not a lot left in our modern society to keep men and women from doing whatever they damn well please. There are more hoops to jump through, and thus more opportunity for denial, obstacle, and conflict, in a gay relationship. I also like the idea of contributing, however obliquely, to normalizing gay relationships. I am absolutely in favor of gay rights.
As for stigma or literary snobbery, I am old enough to have given up on expecting to rule the world—or the NY Times bestseller list. The fact is, whatever people think of romance, more people read it, and buy it, than any other genre of book. People read it because they enjoy it—it’s an escape, a comfort, entertainment, and a solace. It’s fantasy and an outlet for the love and desire that is often lacking in our ‘real lives’. I am honored to provide that for readers.
On to the old and new!
2014: Looking Back
“Stitch” (gothika anthology, my story “Reparation”), Apr 2014
“The Mating of Michael” (Sex in Seattle #3), Jun 2014
“Heaven Can’t Wait” (in Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose), Jul 2014
“Bones” (gothika anthology, my story “The Bird”), Oct 2014
“Unwrapping Hank” (Christmas novella), Nov 2014
Dreamspinner’s author con
“Blame it on the Mistletoe” gets over 2000 rankings on Goodreads
“Unwrapping Hank” hits #1 on Amazon’s gay romance list (briefly, but it was there!)
“The Mating of Michael” wins #1 place in the William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance category, 2014 Rainbow Awards and #2 place in “Best Gay Book” overall.
3 audio books published in 2014: “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”, and “Superhero”.
‘Came out’ as Eli Easton under my writing/game design nom de plume of Jane Jensen
2015: Looking Ahead
I plan to spend more time writing in 2015 since I’ve recently finished a huge work project.
“The Lion and the Crow” (expanded edition), Dreamspinner, Jan 2015
“How to Howl at the Moon” (new paranormal dog shifter series), Love Lane Books, Feb 2015
“Claw” (gothika anthology, my story “The Black Dog”), Apr 2015
A novel for Dreamspinner (TBD– probably Sex in Seattle #4 or Prairie Dog #2), Aug 2015
“gothika #4” (anthology), Oct 2015
Christmas novella 2015 (Micah Springfield’s story), Nov 2015
“Kingdom Come” (murder mystery set in Amish country from Berkeley’s Prime Crime line),- sometime in 2015
Writing in 2015: Kingdom Come #2, Howl at the Moon #2
Dreamspinner’s author con
* continue to build name recognition and reader base
* do a better job updating my blog!
* would be lovely to have a #1 on amazon for longer than one day!
That’s it for this year’s round-up. Please let me know your suggestions and if there’s anything you are dying for me to write in 2015!
This story features the main characters from my 2013 Christmas novella, “Blame It On The Mistletoe”. It takes place during Fielding and Mick’s second Christmas as a couple, just before the epilogue of “Blame It On The Mistletoe”. It was written for RJ Scott’s Christmas story posting.
by Eli Easton
On the morning of December 2nd, Mick wandered into the kitchen of the little house he shared with Fielding near the Cornell campus. He was midway through a nice, juicy morning yawn and stretch when he noticed the card propped up on the kitchen table. It looked like this:
Mick huffed a confused laugh, picked up the card, and turned it over. There was nothing else on the card. Probably it was something from Fielding’s physics department, but it looked odd for an assignment.
He made a couple of mugs of green tea, tucked the card under his arm, and went back into the bedroom. He sat the cups on the bedside table and bounced his ass on the bed.
“Come on, Babe! Time to wake up.”
Fielding, lying on his stomach like a very large, dark-haired, and angly rag doll, grunted without opening his eyes. “Kay.” That meant he was about to go back to sleep.
“Hey, I found a card on the kitchen table. What is it?” Mick picked up the card and turned it over again, but there was still nothing written on the back.
Fielding abruptly sat up. His eyes blinked from dreamland to fully alert in record time. “Oh. I put that there.”
Mick snorted. “Really? It wasn’t midnight elves? Or maybe a cat burglar who gets off on leaving enigmatic mathematical messages?”
Fielding rolled his eyes, but his mouth tugged up into a smile. He took his cup of green tea and had a sip. “It’s for you.”
“It’s December 2nd. Last year on December 2nd I asked you to kiss me. The rest, as they say, lives in infamy.”
Mick smiled, a genuine, deep-down, giddy smile this time. “It was a year ago, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” Fielding said seriously.
“Okay, so what is this supposed to be then?” Mick held up the card.
“It’s the formula for a Euclidean triangle.”
“Under mistletoe. Okay.” Mick pursed his lips and nodded. “That’s… sweet. Thanks.”
Fielding huffed. “The card is merely bracketing the start of a series of proofs. It gets better. Also, this isn’t your real Christmas present. You’ll get that at Christmas. This is merely preparing the stage. A little holiday Euclidean fa-la-la.”
Mick sighed and looked fondly at his boyfriend. Only Fielding would think Euclidean geometry was… romantic? Holiday fun? Then again, knowing Fielding’s kinky side, this could get interesting.
“A series of proofs, huh? Does this involve you and me getting naked in some way, he asked hopefully.” Mick waggled his eyebrows.
“If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise,” Fielding said in his gravelly morning voice. “Anticipate and tremble, Mick. Anticipate and tremble.”
With a final enigmatic glare, Fielding hopped out of bed and headed for the shower.
* * *
That weekend, Mick didn’t have to work on Friday night. He was looking forward to a slothful night at home with Fielding—no studying, just some good quality couch potato time. But when he got home, Fielding met him at the door wearing his winter coat.
“Get dressed for the cold. You’ll want thermals under your jeans and on top, but you’ll need flexibility, so don’t get too bulky.”
“For…?” Mick asked.
“Proof number one. You’ll see.” Fielding smirked.
Mick was game. After all, there was a sparkle in Fielding’s eye that promised fun or, at the very least, something interesting and unexpected. Practically every day with Fielding was interesting and unexpected, but when Fielding put a bit of effort into it, things really got wild.
Mick changed and followed Fielding down the street toward campus. They held each other’s gloved hands, interlocked like padded pythons. “Where are we going?”
Where they were going was Lynah Rink, Cornell’s ice skating venue. Fielding paid for two entrances and two pairs of rental skates.
“I don’t actually skate,” Mick said, wondering where Fielding had gotten the idea.
“Precisely the point.” Fielding led them over to the rental skate counter.
“Okay. So this proof is to see how many times I can fall on my ass?” Mick smiled. He was always up for anything athletic, despite his protests.
They got their skates and took them over to a bench to put them on.
“Proof number one, the first side of the Euclidean triangle, is friendship,” Fielding explained, all serious intensity. “How do you demonstrate friendship? I determined that a defining characteristic of our friendship was one person teaching the other how to do something. It’s a shared skillset. A willingness to bring the other to one’s own level of competency. As opposed to the opposite of friendship, which would be competition and jealousy, hoarding one’s skills in an effort to yield the upper hand.”
“Makes total sense.” Mick bit back a grin. God, Fielding was adorable.
“Ice skating is a skill I have from when the pater took me to Rockefeller Center. Hence it is a skill I can share with you.”
“So no sex then?” Mick feigned a pout. “I was hoping the proof would be of a highly sexual nature.”
He dropped his gaze to Fielding’s lips and allowed it to grow heated. Mick knew his boyfriend—that look was a hundred percent guaranteed Fielding kindling right there, a weapon Mick only dared wield when he was ready to go to bed immediately. Because once Fielding’s brain locked on sex, it didn’t shift gears until they were both boneless–in all senses of the word–and their balls were set on “E”.
Which was, of course, not possible in a skating rink. Fielding deserved a little payback. Just because.
Fielding sucked in a breath and grabbed Mick’s forearm. “Stop it. No anticipating the other proofs. This is proof number one. Friendship.”
“Oh, so there is sex in this plan somewhere?” Mick licked his lips and winked.
Fielding glowered. “I’ve never attempted to skate whilst having an erection, but I doubt it’s a pleasant experience.”
Mick chuckled and relented. “Okay, pal. I get it. I’ll be good. But only if you promise me a blowjob when we get home.”
Fielding narrowed his eyes. “Hand job,” he countered.
Mick snorted. “As if you could ever have my dick in your hand and have it not end up in your mouth.”
Fielding seemed to take that as a challenge. “Just because that’s my usual modus operandi doesn’t mean I can’t complete a hand job without oral. I told you, no anticipating the proofs. Hand job. That’s my final offer. Say yes.”
Mick laughed and kissed Fielding with hard, closed mouthed enthusiasm. “Okay. I look forward to seeing your mental struggle over your oral fixation later then during my hand job. Now show me how to skate.”
Fielding did. He was graceful on the ice, sturdy and stable. He made it look effortless. He was a gliding post for Mick to hang on to as Fielding led him around and around the arena. Mick clung on for dear life at first. And then he thought, well, it didn’t look that hard, and he was pretty fit. He wanted to try it on his own, to look cool. So he let go and moved his feet more confidently. And he fell. Repeatedly.
“Fuck, this ice is hard!” Mick laughed after a particularly meaty thump.
“There’s a Vickers hardness scale for ice, but it depends significantly on the temperature,” Fielding offered.
“Yeah, my ass appreciates that tidbit.”
“Your ass might be less bruised if you weren’t such a dare devil. Go slow, and use the toe stops,” Fielding advised, helping Mick up. “And there’s no shame in holding my hand, you know.”
“True,” Mick said as he regained his feet. Or his blades anyway. He was holding both Fielding’s hands and he leaned in for a chaste kiss. “No shame in holding your hand, Babe.”
Fielding smiled shyly. “Good. Let’s go again.”
So Mick kept ahold of Fielding’s hand and, yeah, that worked much better.
When they got home, Fielding had apparently been thinking about the hand job, because his fingers dove into Mick’s pants before he even got his coat off.
“Hey! Your hand is freezing!” Mick yelped, pulling away.
“Oh. Sorry.” Fielding looked abashed, then his eyes brightened. “Hot water.” He ran off into the bathroom and Mick heard the sink run.
He chuckled and went to change into his flannel pj bottoms. He intended to enjoy this. A lot.
Mick was on the couch, arms stretched out over the back, pj-clad groin open for business when Fielding came in. He was drying his hands on a towel and carrying a bottle of lotion in the crook of his arm.
“Hand lotion? Not lube?” Mick said with surprise.
“I’m not supposed to put my mouth on you,” Fielding said. “Our lube is edible. I don’t like the taste of the lotion.”
“Stacking the deck in your favor. I see.”
“Yes, that’s why they call me a genius,” Fielding said facetiously.
Mick was half hard just at the idea of what was to happen, and the hunger in Fielding’s eyes made his blood rush faster still. Fielding made Mick sit up and slipped behind him on the couch so Mick was sitting between Fielding’s spread legs. Fielding carefully pulled down Mick’s pj bottoms to expose him, gave off a little growl of interest at the sight, and pumped lotion onto his hands.
“I thought, if I’m to bring you to orgasm with a hand job only, this position would be ideal. I can touch you like I touch myself.”
“Also, conveniently, you can’t get your mouth near my dick.”
“Also a bonus.”
Mick gasped as Fielding’s hot and lotion slick hands took turns wrapping around his cock and pulling up slowly, spreading the lotion all over him.
“Fuck. Nice job warming up your hands.”
An ‘mmm’ meant Fielding was going quiet, which he tended to do when he got really aroused. When he was fully cranked his mouthiness turned off except for spontaneous curses, Mick’s name, and groans. Mick loved seeing Fielding reach that state.
“That’s so good,” Mick panted. He was absolutely hard now as Fielding stroked him firm and slow. Those long fingers of his were dexterous from dancing over computer keys all day.
“Oh,” Fielding agreed.
“Not gonna have any problem achieving your objective.” Mick sucked in a calming breath, wanting this to last. No trouble at all.
“Mmm.” Fielding nuzzled into Mick’s ear. “But you’re right. I do want it in my mouth. Badly.”
“Oh God,” Mick groaned, his hips pushing up involuntarily. Fielding increased the pace and pressure and it was awesome.
“Can’t touch your penis or even see it without wanting it in my mouth. All the way in.”
Apparently, verbal stimulation was part of Fielding’s hands-only strategy. It was highly effective.
“Oh my God,” Mick groaned. His baby did have an oral fixation. Mick had never been with any girl who loved sucking cock the way Fielding did. And that… that was fucking fantastic. Mick loved that. Just the thought of it….
Fielding cupped Mick’s balls with one hand while jerking rapidly with the other. His thrust his tongue in Mick’s ear.
“Fuck!” Mick’s orgasm slammed into him with embarrassing speed. But, man, it was too good to regret.
“Fa la la,” Fielding said, a smirk in his voice as he kissed Mick’s ear.
* * *
On Sunday afternoon, Mick came back from working at the gym, tired and hungry. He was thinking about the salmon dish he wanted to make for super—marinated with spicy orange glaze, Fielding’s favorite—when he realized a car had pulled up to the curb in front of their house just behind him.
Fuck. It was Fielding’s mother.
“Hi, Sandra,” Mick said with as much enthusiasm as he could muster. “I didn’t know we were expecting you.”
“Oh, I was in the mood to get out of the city, and I wanted to visit that antique store I love. The one downtown? So I just got in the car this morning and drove. I thought maybe we could all do a late lunch before I head back.”
Mick bussed Sandra’s cheek. They had an interesting détente. Although Mrs. Monroe wasn’t thrilled about Mick ‘seducing’ her baby (ha!), Fielding and his dad, Lex, had talked her around to being genial. Now when she called she spent a lot of time asking Mick how Fielding was doing, since Fielding never told her, and giving Mick advice on how to make sure Fielding ‘had everything he needed’.
Sandra had just finished telling Mick about a darling bench she’d seen at the antique store as Mick opened the front door and they stepped inside.
“TA DA!” Fielding leapt into the living room from the hall. He was… God, he was completely naked except for a red and white yarn knit Santa thing—apparently they made cock-and-balls cozies, who knew?—that was decoratively adorning his extremely erect genitalia.
Mrs. Monroe gasped, sputtered something that had no vowels, turned on her heel and marched out, slamming the front door hard behind her.
“What’s she doing here?” Fielding said, sounding disappointed.
Mick thought he sounded disappointed, but he couldn’t tell for sure because his hands were plastered over his face. “Oh my God,” Mick managed.
“Are you laughing?” Fielding said hopefully.
“I’m not sure.” Mick’s heart was up around the roof of his skull, and a large bubble of something was caught in his throat, but he wasn’t sure if it was laughter or a scream.
“Don’t worry about my mother. She’s seen worse.”
Oh, really? Mick lowered his hands and looked at Fielding. He was naturally lean and he had a nice body, honestly, though he was a bit pale. The yarn Santa though…. Fielding was still, remarkable, quite hard and Santa’s hat fit right there. The ball cozy part was black Like Santa’s boots.
“Oh my God,” said Mick. A hysterical laugh escaped. “Like what? What could your mother have possibly seen that was worse than this?”
Fielding waved a dismissive hand, causing Santa to bob in agreement. “Oh, like one time I stripped off long skinny strips of the wallpaper in my bedroom for a poster I was making for school. It had these red lines and I needed them for a graph.”
“Um, Fielding? That’s not worse. You were naked and had a woody. In front of your mother.”
“I’m not naked!” Fielding looked down. “You can’t actually see anything.”
“The only thing you can’t see is the skin color of your dick, and that’s because you have a yarn Santa over your hard-on. Trust me, that’s worse than naked.”
Fielding thought about it as he gazed down. He did an experimental little jump, resulting in yarn gyrations. “Hmm. Maybe it is the worst thing.” It didn’t seem to particularly bother him though. “Anyway, she’s gone now. Can we try it again? Go out and come back in!” Fielding giggled.
Mick looked out the front window. Yes, Mrs. Monroe’s car was gone. Bye, mom! He turned to look over his boyfriend’s eager face and smiled. “Is this one of those Euclidean proof things?”
“Yes. This is the one you were waiting for. So do it! Go out and come back in!”
Despite the bone-killing horror that was Fielding’s mother, Mick’s body was starting to take interest. He laughed. “You certainly know how to make things memorable.” Still laughing, he went back outside and shut the door.
It took him several minutes of deep breathing on the doorstep to quell his laughter and lingering sense of embarrassment. But finally, he was ready to do this thing right.
He loudly unlocked the front door and opened it. “Fielding! I’m home!”
“TA DA!” Fielding jumped from the hallway, his bits all saying hello.
“Oh my God, that’s so hot!” Mick exclaimed. “What a surprise!” With a growl he shoved the front door closed, tossed off his coat, and grabbed Fielding around the waist, picking him up a few inches and swinging him around. “Just what I always wanted!”
“Sex!” Fielding said enthusiastically. “The second side of the Euclidean triangle is sex! Lots of sex. Hope you’re horny.”
“I so am,” Mick agreed.
And if he wasn’t totally at that moment, he was soon as Fielding kissed him hot and dirty. Fielding Monroe was the best kisser on campus. Of that, Mick had no doubt.
Mick put his hands on Fielding’s bare ass and squeezed. Apparently, Fielding had taken the cold hands thing to heart, because he felt like he’d just gotten out of a bath, his skin all warm and slightly moist from steam and lotion. Yum.
Mick broke the kiss to suck on Fielding’s neck. “You’re like a hot Christmas toddy. Edible.”
“Great minds think alike.” Fielding wriggled his way free and pulled Mick into the bedroom.
“Et voila!” he said with a flourish.
It was a scene worthy of a ‘voila’ if ever there was one. Mick gaped, amazed. There were candles all over the room. The bed had nothing on it but a sheet and some of the thick beige towels the pater had got them. By the bed was a TV tray draped with a clean white napkin and items arrayed as neatly as a surgical tray. There was a can of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, lube, a bowl of fresh cherries and other delights.
“Is this sex or a picnic?” Mick teased.
“A sex picnic. Or a feast, preferably. You see, while planning my proof, it was difficult to find sexual activities we haven’t already done. But we’ve never played with food before.”
“So… it’s time to take our oral explorations to new orgasmic heights. Hence this.”
Fielding pulled a yarn string between his legs and whipped off the yarn Santa.
“Holy shit!” Mick exclaimed.
No wonder Fielding had looked so bare. He’d shaved. Every single hair.
“Also, I’m so clean you could eat off me.” Fielding paused dramatically, eyebrows raised. “Everywhere.”
There was a half a beat where Mick had a ping of thought that he ought to go shower himself. But he’d showered well that morning and hadn’t been working out or anything .Besides, Fielding was right there, still skin-warm and fucking bare, and any thought that didn’t involve attacking Fielding’s body immediately pretty much had no prayer.
Mick swung Fielding onto the bed and hastily removed his own clothes. “I’d offer to shave for you sometime, but I hear it’s a bitch growing back in.” Mick crawled up between Fielding’s legs. Fielding was just lightly ghosting fingertips over himself, which drove Mick insane.
“Totally worth it. That is—do you like it?”
Fielding sounded a little insecure. Mick wouldn’t have thought he would prefer Fielding groin as bare and smooth as a baby’s bottom, but with whipped cream in the room, the answer was obvious. “Hell yeah.”
He proceeded to show Fielding how much. The chocolate sauce was sticky, which offered some unusual friction sensations for both giver and receiver. The whipped cream made pretty designs, but melted quickly. Mick soon figured out less was more. A little dab of whipped cream on Fielding’s blushing, smooth sac and he could play there for long minutes without wanting another dose.
Fielding was squirming with delight, all silent and panty. Mick sucked and licked his balls and perineum, only randomly giving a few sucks where Fielding really wanted them. Soon Fielding was so sensitive he was shuddering at every touch of Mick’s tongue.
“Need—ugg—need to do you!” Fielding complained, sitting up and pulling weakly at Mick’s arms to dislodge him.
“Still working on it,” Mick said firmly, as if a waitress was trying to take his plate away.
“But my proof! I should!”
Mick loved it when Fielding’s lofty speech went Cro-Magnon. “You’re the one who came to this party dressed as a hot buffet plate. Consequences, babe.”
“Ugg.” Fielding said, as Mick pushed his thighs to his chest and discovered how clean he was everywhere. The fresh cherries were a nice touch.
Fielding came when Mick added loosely sliding fingers on his cock to the subterranean explorations of his tongue. And yeah, wow, that was hot.
Fortunately, Fielding had a short refractory period. Mick kissed the melted lump that was his boyfriend and went for the most intense, fastest shower in history. He was still rock hard when he walked back into the room five minutes later, warm and clean. Fielding was kneeling on the bed, hands on his hips.
“My turn,” he threatened, in a low, enthusiastic rumble.
And he proceeded to eat Mick alive.
Mick fucking loved Euclid.
* * *
The third proof came to Mick’s email inbox, but he didn’t know what it was at first. It was Friday, December 12th, and he was working his noon shift at the Grain Basket. They had a long enough break in the sandwich orders that he idly checked his email on his phone. There was a notice from the Bursar’s office.
Mick lived in fear of the Bursar’s office. They were the raven to his Poe—always looming, ever glooming. So he opened the email with dread, expecting a warning about another raise of tuition. But that’s not what it was.
He didn’t have time to do much with the information other than store it away as a… potentially happy surprise? Mistake? Until he got home that night.
“So something weird happened today,” Mick told Fielding over their chicken Caesar salad. They were at their small dining room table, and it was already pitch black outside. The Christmas lights they’d strung over the kitchen window twinkled merrily.
“Well, there was the largest solar flare in ten years, but I doubt that’s what you mean.”
Mick smiled. “Yeah, good bet. Not what I meant.”
Mick dug out his phone. “Look at this.” He brought up the email and showed it to Fielding.
“Ah.” Fielding said, blushing a little. “Fa la la?”
Mick got a funny feeling in his stomach and his appetite went M.I.A. He put down his fork and spoke carefully. “What do you mean exactly?”
There must have been something unpleasant in his tone, because Fielding started talking fast. “The third side of the Euclidean triangle is love. How do you design a proof that demonstrates love, a ephemeral concept? I decided the main feature of love is that it’s unselfish.”
“Love is caring about the other person’s wellbeing, and doing things to support that, because it’s as important, or even more important, than your own well-being. Because when you love someone, if they are suffering or tired or stressed out, you are too.”
Mick picked the phone back off the table and looked at it. “What has that got to do with a one-thousand, seven-hundred and eight-five dollar credit to my tuition account?”
Fielding’s lower lip stuck out stubbornly. “You work too much. You have a job at the Grain Basket and at the gym, and you’re taking an extra class every semester to try to get through school sooner. It’s an unsustainable burden.”
“I’m sustaining it just fine!” Mick felt a hot tightness in his chest, unease and impending anger.
“I know you enjoy working at the gym. But the Grain Basket is just a job. You earn eight dollars and twenty-five cents an hour there, working ten hours a week. Between January and the end of term in May, you’ll work twenty one weeks. Ergo: one-thousand seven-hundred and eight-five dollars is what you’ll make from that job, and that’s before taxes. You have the money now, so you can quit the Grain Basket and have one less job to juggle next semester.”
Fielding seemed to have felt he’d stated his case satisfactorily, because he picked up his fork and took a big bite of chicken salad.
And it was sweet, really. It was. But also wrong.
“Fielding… you can’t just give me two thousand dollars.”
Fielding frowned. “I’m not giving you two thousand dollars or even one-thousand seven-hundred and eight-five dollars. I’m giving you ten hours a week of free time next semester, hours in which you can study, or relax, or have wild sex with your boyfriend. Which is me, by the way. I’m a beneficiary.”
God. Mick felt all squirmy inside, like his subconscious was waging some epic Game of Thrones battle between the white faction, which wanted to be noble and refuse the gift, and the black battalion, which was lusting after the extra time like it was the Holy Grail.
“Fielding…” Mick began firmly. “I won’t take your money. I appreciate the sentiment, but, seriously–”
Fielding shoved his chair back and stood up, fists balled at his side, face upset. “Do you realize I have a full scholarship ride here at Cornell? My parents are paying nothing in tuition right now. God, the pater paid tens of thousands a year for private schools from pretty much kindergarten on. So right now he’s practically in a fugue state, stunned at how cheap I suddenly am.”
“But he’s your dad, not—“
“And that tutoring job I’ve been doing since September? It pays in tuition credit, which I don’t need. So I had them transfer that much credit from my account to yours. Ergo, it’s not my dad’s money, thank you very much. It’s my own credit, which I worked for, and I don’t need it, and if I ever did need more tuition, the pater would cover it, so shut up now.”
Fielding sat down, looking pissed and dejected as he stabbed at a strip of chicken. Mick felt guilty. And slightly amused at Fielding’s outburst. And then guiltier still. And touched.
Maybe it was harder to receive than to give, especially for Mick’s ego, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t learn. He could learn anything at all for Fielding. Mick put his napkin on the table, got up, and went around to kneel by Fielding’s chair.
“That’s the coolest, sweetest, most practical thing anyone’s ever done for me. Buying me time. I love it.”
Fielding sniffed and turned to face him. “Seriously?”
“Yes. And what a perfect proof of love.”
Fielding’s eyes got a spark in them. “It was a difficult proof to demonstrate.”
“It is, and you nailed it. Come here.”
It was a bit awkward, because Fielding was tall, even sitting down, but they managed to kiss with Mick on his knees. That soon gave way to couch snogging, though, because. And chicken salad be damned.
“So what was this whole Euclidean triangle proof about anyway?” Mick asked when they were both warm and liquidy. “Friendship, sex, love. Adds up to…?”
Fielding pulled away so he could look into Mick’s eyes. “I wanted to prove that our relationship was like a Euclidean triangle. Because a Euclidean triangle has infinite symmetry.”
Mick thought about that, and about the spark of something very Fielding in his boyfriend’s brown eyes. Infinite symmetry. Yeah. Wow. That… sounded like him and Fielding? It did. It really did. And God, whoever would have believed Fielding could be so fucking romantic?
“Infinite symmetry. I like it,” Mick said quietly.
“Yeah. Of course, all of this leads in a dastardly way to your real Christmas present.”
“Oh? And what is that?” Mick asked.
Fielding smiled. “You’ll see.”
~ The End ~
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Eli Easton is the author of m/m romance stories and erotica, publishing under Dreamspinner Press and Torquere Press. You can read more about her here.