May 9

I’m hosting the Queer Romance Freebie Fan Club on Facebook this week. If you aren’t already a member, you can join below. The group is manned by more than a dozen mm authors who regularly give stuff away:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/queerromance/

This week I’ll be giving away a few books, audiobooks, an ARC of my upcoming “Five Dares”, and an Amazon gift certificate.

To kick off the week, I offered a chance to win any of my Christmas novellas in ebook or audiobook (includes “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank”, “Midwinter Night’s Dream”  and “Merry Christmas Mr. Miggles”). To enter to win you just need to comment on that thread in the facebook group above.

Today’s giveaway is for one copy of the audiobook of “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”.  To enter, comment on this post on the Facebook group. You can listen to a sample and check out reveiws here:

AUDIBLE: MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. MIGGLES

Today’s post is an excerpt from “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”.

Excerpt (from chapter 2):

 

The next day when I arrived at the library at 8 o’clock, Mr. Miggles was already there. He was in Santa’s Headquarters. Christmas tunes played over the library’s speaker system, and he was swathed in an apparently infinite strand of gold tinsel.

He fought against the tinsel’s stranglehold harder when I walked into the room, embarrassed to be caught out. It was hilarious and precious at the same time, like a video of a kitten falling off a sofa, but I kept a straight face. I plopped my backpack down and helped him unwind. He was dressed in his usual gray suit pants and starched white button-down shirt. Today his tie was navy and yellow and had subtle smiley faces on it. The tinsel strand had gotten itself entwined on a button on his back suit pants pocket. I couldn’t help noticing, as I freed it, that he had a decent ass.

Did I mention that I’m twenty-four?

“I was, um, trying to judge the length of the strand,” he said with strained dignity.

“By pole dancing with it?”

“Don’t be cheeky.” He gave me a warning glare that looked amused at the same time. “I’m glad you’re in. I wanted to discuss the Christmas Surprise Box before the library opens.”

“Okay. But why are you here so early? You shouldn’t come in early like this.”

The library ran on a very tight budget. There were only two paid employees—Mr. Miggles and me. We had a few volunteers, but either he or I had to be there at all times. So I worked 8 to 5 and he worked 10 to 7.

He waved away my concern. “Needs must. Now. The Christmas Surprise Box.” He picked up his pen and notebook from the table. “We’ll have the traditional chocolates, of course, but I want something new. You’re young. What latest trend might we be able to afford?”

I leaned against the table and crossed my arms. “What’s the budget this year?”

“Same as every year. Fifty dollars.”

I gave him an incredulous look and sighed. “Well, that leaves out a smart phone.”

“What about a smart phone case? Or another accessory?”

I shook my head. “There are too many phone sizes to do a case. No way to know what the winner would have. Besides, they’re expensive.” I thought about it. “Earbuds?”

He hummed and wrote it down. “Possibly. You’re sure most people would have a mobile communication device?”

I opened my mouth to accuse him of being a hopeless Luddite, but then I saw the suppressed smile on his face. He was yanking my chain. Of course he was. He had a cell phone, I reminded myself. I even had his number in case of emergencies.

“You’re not the least bit funny,” I grumbled.

His grin broadened. “Just making sure you’re awake, Toby. What else might be an option?”

“iTunes Gift certificate?”

“Too impersonal.”

“But flexible.”

Clearly this was a teaching moment to Mr. Miggles. He gave me a serious look. “A gift says as much about the giver as the receiver. How much thought went into it? Does the giver truly know the recipient’s heart? Did the giver put time and care into the selection, or was it merely a chore to be ticked off?”

“Chore,” I said decisively. “Oh… you meant hypothetically.”

Mr. Miggles looked rueful. “Of course, if you’re the sort of person who prefers to put the minimum amount of effort into a thing….”

I rolled my eyes. “We don’t know who’s going to win the surprise box, so how personal can it be?”

“We know the winner will be a human being with all the needs and frailties that implies. Also, it’s someone who lives in Sandy Lake and comes into the library. There are scores of information in those few data alone.”

“So no alien technology then. Or dog biscuits.”

Mr. Miggles gave a “this is what I have to put up with” sigh. “Something about the town, perhaps. Something for a reader.”

“What about a Sandy Lake bookmark? We might be able to get something custom done on Etsy fairly cheap. We could use a photo of the town clock.”

“Excellent!” Mr. Miggles wrote it down. “Is there anything I might get at the mall? I’m planning on a hike near Columbus on Sunday, so I could make the dreaded mall run.”

My face must have given me away, because Mr. Miggles blinked at me. “What is it?”

I tried to downplay my frustration. “Nothing. Justin and I were supposed to go to Columbus on Sunday, but now he has to work.”

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. I suppose you were quite looking forward to it. Do you….”

He trailed off, stopping himself. And I thought. Do I… what?

Mr. Miggles looked at me and I looked at him. In a flash, the room was full of this weird frizzle of… something. It was definitely tingly. And awkward. He clenched his jaw as if he wanted to say something. Was he going to invite me to go with him? That would be weird.

I suddenly wanted him to ask and… I didn’t. The idea of having company for a trip to Columbus, not to mention going for a hike on a nice November day, sounded righteous. Why shouldn’t I go out and have fun since Justin had bailed on me?

But Mr. Miggles was my boss. We didn’t socialize. And there was the gay thing too. Would he think that, because I was a gay man, any invitation would be misconstrued as a come on? Mr. Miggles wasn’t gay. At least, I didn’t think so. Come to think of it, I had no idea what he was or even if he was anything at all. Possibly, he was asexual or he’d been kidnapped by white slavers during his formative years and castrated. That would explain his “tragic past” vibe. Hey, anything was possible.

“So, um, have fun, you know, with that,” I stammered. “If I think of anything you could pick up at the mall, I’ll let you know.”

“Yes. Fine. Good.” Mr. Miggles nodded adamantly.

I looked at the clock on the wall in desperation. The second hand edged toward 8:30, when the library officially opened. I had a few things to do to prep for that and a cup of coffee was definitely high on the list.

“I’d better….” I jerked my thumb at the door.

“By all means. Get to it.”

 

See you tomorrow!

Eli