Good Morning Monday! An outtake and a Kindle Unlimited Update.
Wow, these Mondays are coming around fast! Another busy week has gone by, and an even busier week ahead for me, but I remind myself that busy is productive… and exhausting and enough to drive me crazy LOL but here I am!
First, to celebrate getting the rights back to, and the re-release of Starting Point, I have added an outtake to my blog. You can read it HERE or find it in the Menu under Outtakes 🙂
Now for the Kindle Unlimited update. I have had quite a few readers contact me in the last few weeks asking if any of my older books will ever be added to KU. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of it, I don’t know why. About a year ago, I added my Blind Faith books to KU, given they were first released in 2012, and found them being read/borrowed/bought with a vengeance – which was fab! I can’t deny they found me new readers. So after these readers asked me about putting some other books on KU, I decided to add my Cronin’s Key trilogy to KU. They’ve been a little stagnant on other sites for a while, so here’s hoping they’ll find their way onto some Kindles they might not have otherwise.
I’m still debating adding my Red Dirt Heart Series to KU. Given it was released two years ago (OMG can you believe that?) it makes sense to broaden their readership. If I do add them to KU, I’ll have to do it soon – the ninety day cycle will end a month or so before I leave for the US, so I’ll be suuuuper busy with other things then and won’t really have the time to worry about re-adding books back to all other platforms.
At this point, Cronin’s Key will only be doing one cycle (90 days) on KU then will go back to other sites. This will depend on their success of course. If the KU market makes it viable for them to stay for a second cycle, then they will.
So, as of right now and for the next three months, the only place you can find the Cronin’s Key trilogy, is Amazon.
That being said, I’ve nominated my Spencer Cohen series to NOT do another cycle on KU. So, as their 90 day KU cycles expires, they’ll be added to all other platforms. Spencer One is June 14 (or thereabouts) Spencer Two is July 19, and Spencer Three is August 21.
And now for some translation news! Cronin’s Key 1 will be out in French later this month! And, Red Dirt Heart will be out in Italian later this month also!! *twirls* Red Dirt Heart will also be out in French later this year! I will post links when I have them 🙂
Until next week… <3
RJ Scott’s Blog Hop – Free Read – Sixty Five Hours Christmas OuttakeClick on the link to go back and read other awesome blog posts!As part of RJ’s December Blog Hop, I’m posting a Christmas Outtake from my Free-Read, Sixty Five Hours. If you haven’t read it, go to the Free Read PDF tab, scroll down to the rainbow colored socks, click on the link and enjoy a 60K free story!Disclaimer: This outtake is not edited. The lovely Bridgette Standford beta’d it for me. It is also written in present tense, as was the original. I simply ran out of time to change it to past tense. Blame NaNo. I do. This outtake is pure fluff, smut and tooth-decaying sweetness. Enjoy.
Sixty Five Hours Outtake
The Twelve Days of Christmas14th December. On the first day of Christmas…Like any other day, I sit in my office across from his. I can see him through the glass walls that separate us; sometimes I watch him when he doesn’t know I’m watching.Cameron.I love to watch him when he thinks no one is looking.Like now.He’s just got back from a sales brief – a meeting I thankfully didn’t have to attend, to find a neatly wrapped Christmas gift waiting on his desk.I watch as his brow furrows, for just a second, before he looks up at me.I smile, and he grins. And he starts to unwrap it, but then stops.I watch as he picks up his office phone, and my intercom button lights up. “Excuse me, Mr. Hensley,” his smooth voice speaks to me. “Would this gift be…appropriate for work?”Oh, he knows me so well. But it’s not like I’d wrap up a sex toy for him to open at work. “Why, yes it is appropriate,” I say with a chuckle. “But I like the way you think, Mr. Fletcher.”He puts the phone back and grins at me through the glass walls.He unwraps the paper and pulls out the socks. There’s three pairs; a naughty or nice Santa pair, a cheeky Rudolph the reindeer pair and the naughty elf pair. He looks up at me and grins; it’s his eye-crinkling, full teeth grin that makes my heart thump against my ribs.This is going to be so much fun.15th December. On the second day of Christmas…Cameron has a meeting with Bree from Accounts, so getting his second gift on his desk is easy.I remembered how he’d told me of a book he’d read as a boy; he told me how it struck a chord with him; how he’d loved it, and how he’d read it over and over, until it fell apart.The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupery.It turns out it’s a popular book. But tracking down a first edition was a bitch. It just so happens I’m talking on the phone with a client when he opens it. But watching his face through the glass walls when he sees what it is is priceless.Shock. Awe. Disbelief. Love.So much fucking love.I clear my throat and ask the person on the phone – whose name has completely slipped my mind – if they’d be so kind as to hold on a sec. I cover the receiver with my hand at my chest. I swear there aren’t two walls of glass between us. There isn’t an office buzzing with staff, phones, voices…Just Cameron. And me.He stares at me, and I can see him swallow. Then he mouths, “Thank you.”I smile at him, tip my imaginary hat and mouth back to him, “You’re welcome.”16th December. On the third day of Christmas…Work is busy; people want things finalized before Christmas, and they want them finalized now. I might be one of those people.I’m pacing in my office with my phone to my ear. The multi-million dollar, snow-filled view out the window would be considered beautiful by some, but I don’t even bother looking.I’m talking to the accounts director of a new client, who demanded to see my sales percentages before he’d commit, who in all his infinite fucking wisdom is trying to tell me what will sell.Me.He’s telling me what will and won’t sell.At first I found it amusing. But he crossed the line when he told me he thought my campaign was missing something.And that just pissed me off.So I’m pacing, telling Mr. I-know-fucking-squat, what it actually takes to sell his company’s technology in an already flooded market, in the middle of the global financial crises.I turn to find Cameron standing at my door, leaning against the door frame, listening to me rant at my client. He’s holding his next wrapped Christmas gift in his hands, and he’s smiling at me.I bark into the phone. “You wanted brilliant when you came to Fletcher Advertising, Mr. Tanner,” I say, out of fucking patience. “And you got brilliant when you got me. Because that’s what I am, Mr. Tanner; I am brilliant.”Cameron walks in, grins and sits at my desk. “It’s true,” he says quietly. “You are.”I can’t help but smile. Mr. Tanner is grumbling something into the phone, but I cut him off. “Mr. Tanner, quite frankly I’m surprised a man with your expertise in figures is doubting my ability.”He starts to apologize or make excuses or something, but I’m not listening.“You’ve seen my statistics,” I interrupt. “You’ve seen how good I am at my job. I’d appreciate if you’d now let me do my job, Mr. Tanner.”I miss the old phones with the big heavy receivers. Because when you hung up on fuckwits like Mr. Tanner, it was loud and satisfying; final.These new phones are pissy and soft – and the dumb fuck probably doesn’t even know I hung up on him. I don’t want a pissy click. I want a resounding clunk.“What’s wrong?” Cameron asks me, trying not to smile.“The phones don’t clunk like they used to.”Cameron snorts. “I meant with Mr. Tanner.”Oh. I huff out a sigh. “That bean counter seems to think he knows more than me about advertising.”Cameron fakes a gasp. “The hide of him!”I scowl at him. But he smiles, and my anger and frustration fades away. I look at the large, flat square gift he’s holding. “Whatever do you have there?” I ask with a grin.He smiles, and then he sings, “On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”I laugh at him. “Oh, just open it.”He tears at the wrapping paper, and when he sees what it is, he looks at me. “Luc.”I look at the two vintage LP vinyl records – Roberta Flack’s The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, and Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World – the very two albums he once mentioned as the one music experience to be heard on vinyl, only he couldn’t find them, or so Ben had told me.He looks at me. “How did you know?”I smile. “I’m brilliant, remember?”December 17th. On the fourth day of Christmas…I wake up to Cameron peeling back my eyelid. I gotta say, it’s not overly pleasant. “Urghwbngh,” I huff at him. That’s Lucas-speak for I-don’t-fucking-like-mornings. He really should know that by now.He chuckles, so I roll over away from him. “Mm mm.”He’s persistent and too fucking happy for whatever goddamn time it is. Even pulling the blankets over my head doesn’t deter him.“But ,” he whines. “It’s the fourth day of Christmas…”I groan.Really?He woke me up so I’d give him his next gift?Ugh.He laughs and pulls the blankets down. “You started it.”“Coffee first,” I mumble.The blankets rustle, the bed dips and he’s gone. I hear him take the steps and then I hear him in the kitchen. I roll over, lean down and take his gift out from under the bed.When he comes back with his peace offering of steaming caffeine, I’m leaning against the headboard and have his gift on his pillow.He grins like a child, all excited and bouncy. He hands me the coffee and jumps onto his side of the bed, making me nearly spill hot coffee all over me.He doesn’t apologize. Hell, I don’t even think he realized.He wiggles himself against the backboard with his present in his lap. And my too-early-in-the-morning-for-this-shit attitude fades away when he looks at me and grins.He’s really fucking beautiful.I chuckle and shake my head at him, and he tears into the wrapping. A slow smile spreads across his face, and he flips through the pages of the book.“I didn’t think it was appropriate for work,” I explain.He chuckles. “Mmm, page twenty-seven looks interesting,” he says, holding the book up and tilting his head.“Page seventy-six is my personal favorite,” I tell him, nonchalantly sipping my coffee.He quickly turns the pages of The Gay Kama Sutra to page seventy-six. He looks at the picture for a while, licks his lips and hums. “I can see why you’d like it.”I sip my coffee and smile.Cameron speaks without looking from the book. “Luc?”“Yeah?”“Put your coffee down.”I barely have time to put the mug on my bedside table before he does page seventy-six to me, and when I think he couldn’t possibly better it, he does page twenty-seven.Jesus.I spend the fourth day of Christmas in bed, certain of one thing…my boy sure can fuck.December 18th. On the fifth day of Christmas…Cameron sleeps in on Sunday, so waking up to find him still beside me is not altogether uncommon. But him waking up to find me tying his wrists to the bed head is.“Uh, Luc?” he asks, still sleepy. “Babe, wattcha doing?”When both wrists are bound by silk ties to the top of the bed, I straddle him. I can feel his morning wood against my ass, but I ignore it. For now.I put his next gift on his chest.It’s a smallish box, not much bigger than my hand, but thicker.He grins, his eyes sparkle and he wriggles his fingers on his tie-bound hands. “I can’t undo it.”I smile and turn the box over in my hands. “I get to open this one,” I tell him. “But believe me, this is a gift for you.”I pull the ribbon, and the bow unravels. “Then again,” I add, “it really is a gift to me too.”Cameron bites his bottom lip.I wiggle my ass over his lengthening cock, and he lifts his hips. I shake my head at him, “Mm mm, not yet.”He pouts, and it makes me grin.I tear off the wrapping paper, but don’t really show him the box. He’s trying to look at the picture, trying to determine what it is, so I just rip it and pull out his prize.It’s a small, black, hand-held prostate vibrator. Similar to the wand, but with more of a blunt hook and a little button on the end…to make it vibrate.Because that’s what it does. It vibrates.Cameron’s eyes widen, and he instinctively pulls on the restrains at his wrists. I throw the discarded box to the floor and put the sex toy on his chest so he can feel the weight of it. I lean down and whisper against his ear, “On the fifth day of Christmas…”He shivers and huffs out a breath, so I lick his goose-fleshed skin, and kiss down his chest, rolling his nipple between my teeth.“Oh, fuck,” he groans.“Oh, I will,” I tell him honestly.I pick up the prostate vibrator and press the button. The toy buzzes in my hand, and his eyes pop. “Oh, fuck,” he says again.“Oh, I will,” I repeat.With the device still switched on, I press it against his chest, his nipple and trail it down to his navel. It tickles his skin, rippling goose-flesh in its wake, and he writhes underneath it.I lick the length of his cock and then press the vibrating toy against the base of his cock, and he bucks at the sensation. “Fuck,” he grunts, but he widens his legs.He wants more.I never could deny him.I rub his hole with a little lube; while I rub the vibrating toy over his perenium, I slip my fingertip in his ass.But then I press the button to turn the vibrations off.He throws his head forward, looking at me like I’ve lost my fucking mind. “Don’t fucking stop,” he whines at me.I grin and lick the tip of his cock. When I take him into my mouth, his head falls back to the pillow, and he’s moaning almost incoherently that I should never, ever stop.I almost laugh. As if I ever fucking would.But I don’t want him to come just yet.I release his cock only to take his balls into my mouth, one at a time and tonguing between them. His moans of, “Please, please, Baby, please,” tell me he’s ready.I slip the head of the vibrator into his ass, slowly, slowly, pressing, searching. And his body tells me when it hits my target.I pump his cock and watch in wonder as he writhes and arches, and moans and begs.And then I turn the vibrator on.His entire body convulses, his hips leave the bed and his head pushes back, exposing his corded neck. His mouth is open in a silent scream, and I watch as his cock spills violently onto his stomach.Oh my, fucking God.There is nothing more spectacular than watching him cum.And there is nothing that turns me on more.I lean over him, take both our cocks in my hand and using his cum as a lube, I pump us both. He’s still hard and throbbing, twitching in my hand and he’s almost convulsing underneath me.I press my hips harder into his and pump harder, harder, harder. When he groans long and low, my balls tighten and with an almost painful surge, my cock empties between us.It takes a while before either of us can speak.It was the fifth day of Christmas three more times that day.December 19th. On the sixth day of Christmas…Monday mornings are filled with planning meetings, progress meetings and team meetings. I barely even have time for lunch.I ask Rachel to grab me a sandwich I can eat at my desk, and imply she’d be most kind if she could put this – I hold up a neatly wrapped box – on Cameron’s desk.She grins and skips into his empty office, placing the present, no doubt, perfectly positioned on his desk.I get lost in product design and phone calls, and I don’t see Cameron walk into his office.I turn to see him through the glass walls, sitting at his desk holding his already unwrapped gift in his hand.He looks up at me and grins. I can see his eyebrows lift mischievously, and I chuckle. I then have to explain to the set designer I’m talking to on the phone, that I wasn’t laughing at him.I watch Cameron as he wraps the expensive gold silk tie around his wrist, holding it up to show me.Smiling, I shake my head telling him no.He pouts, and this time I cover the phone when I chuckle.Then Cameron slips it around his neck, and I nod yes.He knows it’s expensive. He knows quality when he sees it.He pulls it from around his neck and gently folds it, placing it back in the box. Then he looks at me through the glass walls and smiles, suddenly shy.It’s then I notice Rachel is standing in my office watching our silent conversation, and Cameron’s embarrassed.She giggles at me, and I grin at her.“You’re so in love,” she says, sighing dramatically.Yes.Yes, I am.20th December. On the seventh day of Christmas…Work on Wednesday is hellish. We both finish up around seven; the office is almost empty, and I find myself sitting on his desk, waiting for him to wrap things up.He groans tiredly, stretching his neck from side to side. “What did you want for dinner?”I smile at him. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”He stops and stares for a moment, so I prompt him. “On the seventh day of Christmas…” I pull out the small rectangular wrapped box from my breast pocket.A slow smile spreads across his face. “I did forget, yes,” he admits. “It’s been a helluva day.”I hand him the present, waiting for him to open it.He smiles wistfully. “I can’t believe you’re doing this.”“Doing what?”“This,” he says, holding up his gift. “The whole twelve days.”“Just open it,” I tell him. I know it’s outlandish or even corny, but I want to spoil him.He opens it slowly. It’s pretty obvious from the shape of the box that it’s a pen. But when he opens it to find what kind of pen it is, his head jerks up to look at me.“Luc…”I smile. I know what he’s about to say.“Luc, this is…”Beautiful. Extravagant.Fucking expensive for a pen.“…this is too much,” he says quietly. He looks at the Montblanc pen in his hand, and then back to me. His voice is quiet, “Why are you doing this?”I walk around to his chair, bend down and kiss his lips. I tell him, “Because you’re worth it,” which is the truth.Well, a half truth. Because it’s not like I can tell him the real reason.He’ll know soon enough anyway. In four days… he’ll know in four days.21st December. On the eighth day of Christmas…Tobias pokes his head in my office door. “Luc,” he says with a smile. “Can I see you for a second?”“Sure,” I answer. It could be one of a million and one reasons why he wants to see me, but I’m suddenly really, really nervous.I sit in one of the chairs at Tobias’ desk, facing him and the big gold Fletcher arrow that graces the wall behind him.He glances around nervously. “Cameron’s not here, is he?”“No,” I reply dubiously. “He’s at Crawford’s, going over last minute details.”His father smiles. “Good. This came today.” He pulls out a large, white envelope from his top drawer, and my heart beats double-time.I don’t have to ask. I know what it is.“Is it all there?” I ask. My mouth is suddenly dry.He nods, grinning. “Did you want to take a look?”I shake my head, because I don’t. Then I nod, because I do. But then I shake my head because I don’t. “No.”Tobias laughs. “I’ll hold it for safe keeping, shall I?”I nod and try a couple of times to swallow.Ignoring my obvious nervousness, he asks, “What gift are you up to today?”He knows what I’m doing. He knows everything.“Um, the leather passport holder,” I tell him. “I gave it to him this morning.”I had a leather case etched with the initials CAF; his initials. Not extravagant, though still somewhat pricey – but cheap by comparison to the other gifts but equally as beautiful.Tobias smiles. Then he asks, “Do you think he suspects anything?”I shake my head. “Not a clue.”22nd December. On the ninth day of Christmas…This time, I watch him as he paces his office floor with his phone to his ear. He’s pissed off about something, and whoever he’s talking to is getting an earful.I love it when he’s pissed off. It makes for fucking hot sex.I’m half tempted to just walk into his private bathroom and wait for him. He’d follow me as soon as he could. Hell, he’d probably end the phone call right then and there so I could suck him off.In fact, that’s a fucking marvelous idea.I tell Rachel to hold all calls; I’m taking ten minutes.And I just walk straight into his office, walk right past him and straight into his private bathroom.He watched me.I have no fucking doubt he watched me.I count the seconds. Twelve. That’s all. Twelve seconds later, and he stalks into his bathroom, locking the door behind him.“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he starts to say, but I’m already on my knees in front of him. I unzip him, taking his cock into my mouth, and suck him and pump him until his knees buckle and he shoots his load down my throat.He slumps against the wall, all dreamy-eyed and smirking. I stand up, lick my lips and kiss him. He slides down, and when I think he’s still all cum-woozy, he unzips my pants, and my erection springs free.“Does giving me head make you hard?” he asks, looking up at me before he slips the head of my cock between his lips.I moan. “Watching you cum, feeling you cum, sucking it right out of you,” I tell him with a groan. “That makes me hard.”It feels so fucking good. The way he slides and sucks, and twirls his tongue. Fuck.I grab his head with both hands, guiding, feeling, fucking.I’m so deep in his mouth, his throat, all of me. Every throbbing inch. Then he cups my balls, and the room spins. I cum so hard.So hard.So fucking hard.The smug sonnava bitch is still smirking when we’re re-dressed and straightened up, sitting at his office desk.“Feel better?” I ask.“Much better,” he says proudly. “Thank you.”Just then there’s a knock at the door. In walks a Fed-ex guy with a wooden crate looking box in his hand. “Cameron Fletcher?”I look at Cameron.He looks at the delivery guy, then at me. “Ninth day of Christmas?”The guy puts the box on Cameron’s desk, and Cameron in turn signs for the box. He waits until we’re alone before he opens the lid to reveal the 1983 and 1984 bottles of wine.His eyes dart to mine, and I can see this gift has thrown him; the confusion is clear in his eyes.“It’s the years we were born,” I tell him.He nods as though he understands that much, but doesn’t really understand why I chose them. “Dad has a cellar,” he says. “We could house them there.”“I thought we could have them at Christmas dinner,” I suggest, trying for nonchalance.His brow furrows for just a second, but then he shrugs. I’m thankfully saved by Rachel, who interrupts to tell me my three o’clock meeting with Marcus from accounts is about to start without me.But I spend the entire meeting distracted that he might know what’s going on.Sunday 23rd. On the tenth day of Christmas…It’s Friday before Christmas. We have a half day and a fully catered staff Christmas lunch at the office. It hasn’t really felt like Christmas, with all that’s been going on; I’ve been so distracted. But with the jovial atmosphere at lunch and the well-wishes of a Merry Christmas and a few Christmas drinks, I’m in a much more festive spirit.Until we get home.And I ask him if he wants his next present – his tenth day of Christmas present – and he hesitates.He fucking hesitates.He looks at the small gift-wrapped box like it’s gonna fucking bite him.And that’s a festive mood killer right there.He looks hesitantly at his gift, like he’s almost scared to open it.It’s supposed to be good thing – no, a fucking greatthing.“What’s wrong?” I ask, probably a little too rudely. But fuck it, this is important.He shakes his head, quick to explain, “I’m just worried what I got you won’t ever be enough,” he says sadly. “I mean, how can it compare with what you’ve done?”“That’s not why I’m doing this.”“Why are you doing this?” he asks me again, more serious this time.Should I tell him? Should I just ruin it all and fucking tell him?I can’t. Two more days, that’s all. I’ve just got to hold out for two more days. No matter how much he pouts, begs and pleads, I have to bite my tongue.Letting my temper out won’t help any matter, so I cup his face with my hand and kiss him. “Just open your present.”He sighs, then slowly opens the small box. When he sees the matching gold cufflinks, his eyes well with tears. “Oh Luc, they’re beautiful.”“They have the Hensley family crest on them,” I tell him with a shrug. “Seeing though everything I ever see has the Fletcher arrow on it, I thought you might like them if they had my namesake.”He nods, and I think for a moment his tears might fall, but they don’t. He pulls me into his arms and he just holds me. He wraps himself around me and holds me so damn tight, like I’m some precious little thing he doesn’t ever want to let go of.24th December. On the eleventh day of Christmas…I hang up the phone from talking to my mom, when I hear Cameron. “Mom,” he gripes into the phone. “I wear suits every day. I don’t want to get dressed up for Christmas day.”“Cameron Anthony Fletcher,” I hear Cynthia bark down the phone, playing her part perfectly. “Please do not argue with me. I want family photos, and you will be dressed for the occasion.”Cameron sighs and rolls his eyes at me. I throw myself onto the sofa next to him, and his fingers automatically find their way into my hair. I listen as Cynthia lays down the law. Cameron huffs and sighs, resigned.When he finally disconnects the call, he asks me, “How was your mom?”“She’s okay,” I tell him with a smile.“You know,” he says suggestively, “we could always go to Texas for Christmas. If we left now…”I laugh. “We agreed; your family this year, my family next year.”He sighs again. “With a bit of luck, we’ll get snowed in and won’t be able to leave the house.”I laugh. “I can just picture your mother behind the wheel of a snow plough.”He snorts and snuggles down onto the sofa, and I lay back against him. His arms fold around me. I take his hands in mine, and he kisses down the side of my neck.“Who knows, babe,” I tell him. “You might just have a good day tomorrow.”He mumbles, still kissing my neck. “I’d have a better day if I stay here with you.”I laugh, but then he bites my neck, sucking the skin between his lips.I pull his face from my skin; the last thing I need is a hickey on my neck for tomorrow. “None of that thank you, Mister.”“Why?” he questions softly, kissing the side of my neck. “We don’t have to go to work for a week. No one will see it.”“Mmm, you can mark me anywhere, just not there,” I tell him. “But about that week off,” I hedge. “Do you want today’s present? It is the eleventh day of Christmas…”He falls back against the cushion. “Is this one ludicrously expensive?”I grin. “Well…yes,” I admit. There’s no point in lying. He groans, so I’m quick to explain, “But this one is for both of us. Not just you.”His brow flinches, so I kiss him hard, grin at him and tell him not to move a fucking muscle. I jump up and come back five seconds later with his next gift. I place the thin parcel on his chest, plonk myself at the opposite end of the sofa and pick up his feet.“For both of us?” he asks, tentatively opening the wrapping.I pull his stripy sock off and bring his toes to my mouth as I look at him. “Both of us,” I nod to him before taking his ring toe into my mouth. He’s used to me sucking on, biting and licking his feet now. It even turns him on, especially when I bite the perfect arch of his foot.He wiggles his toes to get my attention, and I look at him. He’s holding the two tickets, looking at me. “Two tickets to Whistler and a week at the Four Seasons?” he asks incredulously. “Jesus! How much did that cost? No,” he stops. “Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”I laugh at him, and he shakes his head, exasperated. “For a week? Luc, you can’t ski!”I grin and bite his toe. “You have a week to teach me,” I tell him. “If we make it out of bed.”He shakes his head, like he truly can’t believe it. He smiles slowly. “Really? A week? Just you and me?”I laugh at him. Then he reads the departure information. “Our flight leaves at seven AM after Christmas Day! How the hell are you going to be up and organized that early?”I gasp at him, pretending to be offended and drop his foot. I quickly snatch the two tickets out of his hands and lean over him. “If you don’t like your present…”He laughs. “I love it,” he admits, leaning up and pecking my lips. “It’s ridiculously expensive.” He slides his hands over my ass, bringing my hips to meet his. “But a week alone with you is perfect.”Throwing the tickets onto the coffee table, I settle my weight on him, and his hands trail up to my face. He pulls my chin between his thumb and forefinger.“That’s the last gift, yes?”I snort. “Since when does the twelve days of Christmas end on the eleventh day?”He sighs. “Luc, you’ve spent far too much money already!”I smile at him. “Tomorrow’s gift cost next to nothing.”He stares at me like he doesn’t believe me.“It’s true!” I tell him. “And it’s by far the best yet.”25th December. On the twelfth day of Christmas…I get out of the shower to find a very handsome Cameron looking at his gifts on the dresser. He’s dressed in a charcoal suit with the naughty elf socks I gave him on the first day, the gold tie I gave him on the sixth day and the cufflinks I gave him on the tenth day.“Watcha doin’?” I ask him as I start to get dressed.“Just looking over your gifts,” he says quietly. He says nothing else, just waits for me to dress, and when he fixes my tie for me, he says, “Can I give you your present before we get to Mom and Dad’s?”He seems a little nervous. Which is odd, because I expected to feel nervous today, but I don’t. Not one little bit.“Sure you can,” I tell him, curious as to what he could be nervous about.He holds out a small blue box; a light blue, Tiffany’s box. He takes my hand, lifting it to place the box in my palm. I open it to find not one, but two white gold rings.“I know I acted all weird when we talked about getting rings,” he explains quickly. “I didn’t want to think of the toe ring as anything but perfect, because it is perfect. But I know you wanted proper rings and only dropped the subject because I acted like an ass-“He’s still rambling on, and I’m still staring at the rings in my hand.They are so fucking perfect.“Luc, please say something.”I look up at him, and I know the tears in my eyes surprise him. He thinks I don’t like them, but I can’t really explain just how fucking perfect they really are, so I kiss him instead.It’s a hard kiss, a pressing-too-tight kiss that tells him I love his present to me.To us.“So perfect,” is about all I can say.He blinks, unsure. “You like them?”“Love them,” I say, still fighting tears. “So, so very perfect.”He cups my cheek. “Oh, babe,” he whispers. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”I laugh at my stupid tears, close the box and slip it into my pocket. “Come on, we can’t be late.”He’s obviously surprised I didn’t put the rings on our fingers, but says nothing.Not that I really give him time to.I grab the pen I gave to him on the seventh day, slip it into his breast pocket without a word of explanation and hand him the two bottles of wine and the two vinyl records, telling him to put them in the box of gifts for his family.I tell him I’ll grab our coats and meet him downstairs. When I slip into the walk-in-robe, I slip today’s present – the very best of presents – into my breast pocket.I’m still not nervous.Even in the car on the way to his parent’s house, I’m not nervous. I want this. I know he does. He tells me all the time. He just doesn’t know about it happening today.It’s snowing, and it’s a beautiful Christmas day.And it’s about to become a whole lot more beautiful.We pull up in front of his mom and dad’s, grab the bottles of wine and climb out of the car. He’s a step ahead of me when he gets to the front door. “Cameron, stop!”He turns to look at me, and I pull us closer to the door, out of the wind. I take the box of presents and put them on the doorstep. “I need to give you today’s present.”“Now? Out here?” he asks, looking at me like I’m crazy. His hair is blowing, and his cheeks and nose are tinged pink from the cold. “It’s freezing fucking cold out here!”I nod. “Yes, now. Yes, out here. You need to read this first.”I reach into my inside breast pocket and pull out a folded piece of paper. It’s thick, heavy, expensive paper, but that’s all it is; a folded piece of paper.I hold it up between us, but before I give it to him, I tell him, “On the twelfth day of Christmas…”He takes the paper, looking at me cautiously.And then he opens it.And he reads it.And I’m still not nervous.I fucking should be. But I’m not.His eyes go wide, and he stares at me. He pulls back his sleeve to look at his watch, then he stares at me.I nod. “Twelve o’clock.”He opens his mouth; I think he’s trying to say my name. He swallows and blinks, reading and re-reading the piece of paper.Only it’s not just a piece of paper.It’s a wedding invitation.To our wedding.Finally he speaks. “Right now?”“Only if you want to,” I tell him. “If you don’t want to, then none of what’s behind that door has to happen. We’ll just have a wonderful Christmas lunch with our family, and we can work out details later,” I tell him. “But you’ve been saying ‘I’d marry you tomorrow if I could’ since we got engaged.” I take his hand, his freezing cold hand, and look into his still-wide eyes. “I’m not asking you to marry me tomorrow, Cameron. I’m asking you to marry me today.”And then, so fast I hardly see him move, he picks up the box of gifts, grabs my hand and drags me inside. Then the box is gone, and he’s pulling my coat off, just throwing it somewhere before he’s dragging me through the double doors into the formal lounge.Where his family is waiting, where my Momma is waiting; all with smiles a mile wide.The minister, a rather round woman I presume to be Siobhan – who I’ve only spoken to over the phone – is also waiting, smiling, with a book in her hand. Cameron drags me toward her.And so the ceremony begins.I couldn’t tell you what Siobhan said. Cameron and I just have another one of those ‘just us’ moments for the entire service. All I can do is stare at him; at the love, the wonder, the complete fucking adoration in his eyes.I’d told her we wouldn’t say our own vows. It’s not like I could explain how one of us had no fucking clue he was getting married, and how I’d forged his signatures on the application forms. Well, I didn’t…I couldn’t get it to look right. Tobias did it, first go.It’s not until she asks for rings that I remember what I’m up here for. Rings. Rings. Rings. Patting down my pockets, I pull out the rings Cameron gave to me not even an hour ago.His face lights up. “The rings!”I nod and laugh. “I told you they were fucking perfect.”Then I remember the minister. I look at her, apologetically. “Sorry.” I’m not struck down by lightning for swearing in front of her, so I presume I’m still good with God.Cameron chuckles. “You planned all this, but no rings?”I roll my eyes at him. “Every time I tried to mention getting new rings you got all pissy.”Oh, yeah. The minister. I apologize again. “Sorry.”I take the rings from the box and hand one to Cameron. He takes my ring finger on my left hand and slides the ring on, and then I do the same to him.And it just strikes me, right then and there, how beautiful, how significant it is.He’s wearing my ring.And the words just tumble out. “That’s so hot.”Ugh. Again, with the minister. I look at her. “Sorry.”Someone giggles. Cynthia, I think. I turn to face our little crowd watching us exchange rings, but Cameron grabs me and kisses me. I don’t think we were up to that part yet, but I’m certainly not going to argue.Then Siobhan mumbles something beside us about ‘this civil union’, and I think it’s a done deal. I laugh into his kiss and pull away from him, only for Siobhan to roll her eyes and smile, telling us, “You may now kiss.”So he kisses me again.And when we’re finally pulled apart, we’re pulled into warm embraces and warm congratulations. I’m smiling so fucking hard my face hurts.The first to hug me is my momma. It’s fierce and squeezy like all ‘momma hugs’ should be. And when she finally lets go of me, Cynthia is finished with Cameron and is waiting for her turn. She’s been working on her deep-breathing to tame the urge to tackle-hug, and right now, she’s about to burst.I grin at her, and she throws her arms around me. She tells me through her tears how her family is complete now. How Ben has his Ashley, and now Cameron has me. Life is exactly as it should be.I tell her the only thing better than having one momma, is having two. And then Cameron interrupts, telling me not to make his mother cry.He kisses the side of my head just as my Momma joins us.“I tried to get the minister to say ‘married’ or ‘wedding’ or ‘husband’ but she wouldn’t do it,” Momma says with a disdainful nod toward her intended target and loud enough for Siobhan to hear. “I tell ya one thing,” Momma says, “when two people stand before friends and God, exchange rings and say forever, it’s a wedding.”I give Siobhan an apologetic smile, and she grins at me. I smile at Cynthia and kiss my momma’s cheek. “Momma, it doesn’t matter,” I tell her. “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks; politicians, governments, or the State. What matters is what I think,” I slide my arm around Cameron’s waist, “what we think.” I look to both our mothers, and tell them, “Cameron might be a ‘domestic partner’ in their eyes, but he’s a husband to me.”And both mothers start to cry.Siobhan interrupts, telling us we need to sign some papers to make it official.When Cameron pulls the pen from his pocket, he looks straight at me. “You thought of everything, didn’t you?”I smile again. Or still; I haven’t stopped smiling yet.“The pen, the cufflinks, the tie,” he says.I correct him, “The LP for our song, the wine for toasts, the passport holder, the week away…our honeymoon.”“It was all a lead up for today,” he says. He shakes his head at me. “It never crossed your mind I might not want to get married today?”I snort. “Not at all. Never a doubt, Baby.”We sign the paperwork, making this Domestic Partnership, this marriage, legal, and Ben declares it’s time for the first dance.The scratchy sound of the vinyl record starts, and the lounge room clears to become our dance floor. When Roberta Flack’s soulful voice fills the air, singing about the first time I ever saw your face, Cameron’s grip on me tightens. We’re supposed to be dancing the waltz or something, but we don’t move. Not really.With one hand on my lower back and one hand at the back of my neck, he holds me so fucking tight. We sway a little, and his breath and his lips are right at my ear.And right there, in front of our closest family, they see inside this ‘just us’ moment.And when Louis Armstrong sings about what a wonderful world, others join us on the lounge room dance floor. No one cuts in, no one dares. And Cameron doesn’t let go of me.I whisper into the skin just below his ear that I love him, that I love him so, so much. “Oh, and Cameron?”“Mmm?”“Merry Christmas.”I can feel him grin against my neck. “Merry Christmas.”~The very, very end~Thanks for reading! Have a Merry Christmas!!
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