Welcome to my little corner of the interweb Rainbow Advent Calendar elves !
Thank you so much for dropping by. I’m sending warm wishes that you and yours have the most wonderous and joyous holiday season if you’re celebrating.
Here’s the second half of Christmas Promises, A Railers Short Story, written with my fab coauthor, RJ Scott! If you’re not familiar with the Railers series of M/M hockey romances you can find all of them listed here under Stories from V.L. in the MM & LGBTQ Books tab.
We hope you enjoy the story!
Hugs – RJ and VIx
Have You Read Chapters 1-3 of Christmas Promises yet? If not, you can grab them here: http://rjscott.co.uk/ChristmasPromises123
Christmas Promises – A Christmas Short Story set in the Railers ’verse – Part 4
Holy hell, the fire in Levi’s eyes was going to burn this cabin down.
I had no clue what had taken over my body and mind. Some sort of lust demon. No, no, that was a flat-out lie. There was no putting the blame for my moronic behavior—“I can’t get my pants off” and “Little James” being the frontrunners for asshole comments of the day—on some imaginary creature from the bowels of Hell. Nope. I was being the typical idiot I always became whenever Levi and I were in the same space. Sure, the passion was the same now as it had been when we’d been randy teens, but did my brain have to revert to high school stupidity?
“I’m sorry for being a douche,” I murmured.
His dark eyes were fiery with want.
“I don’t call my dick Little James. That would be a misnomer. I call him Jumbo Jimmy.” His eyes flared. Mine snapped closed. “Jesus Christ, I am sorry for that too.” His grip tightened on my hips as I listed just an inch to the right. “This is stupid. I don’t call my dick anything anymore, well, not in front of lovers. And I’m not sure why I’m up on this stool with a boot on other than I didn’t want you to climb up here and take a header.”
“I’m really not this stupid around men that I find incredibly attractive. Sometimes I can even be so suave, James Bond feels inferior.”
“Those stupid come-ons were bad. Really bad. I did not come up here to seduce you. We promised each other that we’d not act on all those feelings and so far we’ve done really well keeping them in check. Check. Ha. Wow, whip out that hockey jargon. Did you see that check that I delivered on—”
“James. Please, just shut up for five damn seconds.”
I pressed my lips closed. For a second. “Okay, sorry. I get nervous and my mouth runs. My mother says that once my mouth engages, my brain shuts down. Which is totally clear by what has fallen out of my face in the last hour.”
He sighed, as if I were the biggest absolute asshole on the planet. Which, okay, I was right now. Then he buried his face in my crotch as his hands moved around my waist to cup my ass. My dick—which had no name because it was an appendage like my toes and I did not name them—somehow grew even harder.
“Oh,” I gasped when his lips found my cock. He began pressing kisses along my shaft, working his way up to the very tip which was now peeking out of my pants. “Levi, this is…” His tongue darted over my cockhead, gathering up the pre-cum, and my world tipped solidly to the left. He straightened me back up, then gave me a glance that begged for a reply. “Are you sure this is what you want to be doing? Shouldn’t you be resting and—”
With that, he yanked my pants and briefs down to my knees, shot me a defiant look, and licked a hot, wet stripe from the tip of my dick to the base.
“Oh hell,” I stated as my fingers wound into his short, dark hair. Thankfully, his treatments had not robbed him of his hair. It was one of his best features—all wavy and thick. I rolled my lips over my teeth and let him get to work. He had always had a creative tongue, that I distinctly recalled, and his cleverness had improved over the years. I ignored the brief flare of jealousy that burst to life in my chest when I thought about Levi and any other person getting intimate. “Shit, that is… good.”
He sucked my cockhead between his lips, his fingers now tight around the base of my cock. His tongue swirled and danced, pulling unintelligible sounds from me as he pumped, the fingers of his free hand biting into my bare ass to keep me upright and in place. As if I were going anywhere. What kind of bumble fuck would sprint away from an amazing blowjob? Hell, I couldn’t sprint if a damn grizzly were after me.
“God, you taste so good,” he panted after popping off to lave the underside of my cock with his glorious tongue. “Better than I remembered.”
“Levi…” I took his head between my hands, then tipped his face up. God, what a sight he was. His lips were puffy, my dick rested on his scruffy cheek, and his eyes were drowsy with lust. “Maybe we should rethink this. I don’t want you to overexert yourself by—”
“Fuck all of that.”
He hoisted me up off the stool, arms tight around my hips and toted me to the sectional sofa. There he deposited me like a sack of spuds. My ass sank into the cushion, my damp prick bounced up to slap me on the belly. My eyes were round as dinner plates. He pulled his tee up over his head, baring all that beautiful skin and ink. So many designs covered his hairy chest. It would take days to map them all out. I wanted to be that cartographer and use my tongue and fingers to topograph every square inch. Was topograph even a word? Who cared? My mouth watered as I ogled that firm, powerful body and the thick treasure trail leading into his pants. The man had sure filled out since I’d last had my hands on him. He’d not been nearly this furry back when we were kids.
“I am fed up with everyone treating me like I’m some precious porcelain doll to be handled with white gloves.”
He unzipped his jeans with attitude, yanked them down, and stepped out of a pile of denim and soft cotton boxers. Green, they were—the boxers not his jeans. His cock stood out from his body, a thick cock with a nice bush of ebony curls at the base. His balls were hefty. They needed sucking. Yep, they did. And I was the man to do it.
“You look healthy enough,” I said as a log cracked in the stove.
“I’m good. Strong. I carried you across the room. And you’re not a lightweight. So do not treat me like I’m still sick.” He moved to me, his jaw set and resolute, and then divested me of my pants. Gently, taking great care to not jostle my foot before straddling me like a hungry wolf. His eyes glistened with desire. I ran my hands up over his arms, then traced the Eye of Providence tattoo on his throat. I could only imagine how much that had hurt, but the symbolism of an all-seeing eye of some deity watching over you was a powerful one. His family was Italian, so I was sure they and he had prayed to their god more than once during his illness. My family was kind of meh about religion, aside from my grandmother, who was Buddhist.
Excuse me, James, but why are we thinking about Grandma’s little Buddha statues right now? Levi Bonetti is naked and on top of you.
Right. Time to focus. I let my fingertips roam up over his face to rest on his cheekbones, which were a still a little too pronounced for me, but I would keep that to myself.
“I will not treat you like you’re sick or delicate or a doofus. Well, I might treat you like a doofus because, you know, you are.” I gave him a smile that he couldn’t help but return. He’d always been unable to resist my charm. “I’m just not sure if this is what we should be doing.” He rolled his hips. His cock slid over mine. We both shuddered and hissed. “Fuck.”
“Yeah, exactly. We need to do this.” He lowered his head to claim my mouth in a kiss that stripped me down to my very essence. His tongue probed, leaving my own taste behind, as his ass began this slow grind that somehow found his dick down under my balls. With each flick of his pelvis, his cock poked at my taint then rubbed over my opening. I writhed under him, mad with lust, unable to form coherent words other than short bursts of language like ‘Hot’ and ‘Cock’ and ‘Tell me you have condoms and lube’ along with other guttural sounds. After the hottest frottage session I’d had since I’d billeted with this jackass, he eased back to paw around on the floor for his pants. I laid there, spread out like a Thanksgiving buffet, my prick weeping, my shirt rucked up under my chin, and my heart thundering like crazy.
“You’re the hottest idiot I have ever laid eyes on,” I said as he tore open a condom wrapper, then flung it at my face. It bounced off my nose.
“No, you’re the hottest idiot,” he parried, then ripped open a packet of lube. My asshole twitched as he smeared slick all over his sizeable cock, then after glancing at me for the go-ahead which he got immediately with a zealous nod from me, he found my hole and began massaging it. My eyes fluttered shut as he toyed with the rim before sinking two meaty digits into me. I yelped and pressed up, using my good foot on the arm of the sofa to heft my ass off the cushion. He needed more room. And I needed more fingers in my ass. Better yet, that fat cock of his really needed to be buried in me like right now, this very second.
“Fuck, you need to fuck me this fucking second. No, faster than a second. Whatever is faster than a second. A nanosecond? A reverse time continuum second, which means we’re reversing time and going—Fuck!” He had found my prostate. Words failed me, so I just grunted and drooled.
“That shut you up,” he teased, working those fingers in magical ways a few more times before easing them out. I clawed at his biceps, working my fingertips into that inked flesh as he hoisted my boot up to rest on his shoulder. “Do you know how long I’ve dreamed of this moment?” he asked, and I shook my head, then nodded. That made him smile, a watery kind of smile filled with adoration and passion. Plus a teensy bit of annoyance. “Which is it?” he asked, before turning to press a sweet kiss to my chipped ankle. That undid me. Such a tender thing from a bruiser of a man who had been through so much the past year…
“It’s a yes. I know how long, because I’ve been dreaming about this moment for just as long,” I replied, breathless.
His eyes closed for a moment, and then reopened. He bent down to kiss me, pouring all he had into the kiss, so I reciprocated in kind. I gave him my all and then some. His cock eased into me as our tongues tangled. I gasped at the intrusion, then winced at the burn, and then…then he was inside me, thick and wide, moving… inch by inch. Going deeper, drawing out, going deeper. My ankle rested on his shoulder, my other foot was now on his ass cheek. I nudged him on, whispering sweet nothings as he rocked in and out, filling me then withdrawing, until he was fully seated.
“God above James,” he panted, his brow covered with a sheen of sweat, then sat back on his heels. His gaze moved over me, from my face down my chest to my ass where his cock rested. “What a sight.”
“You said… the same thing… when you saw… the Canadians dressing room exhibit… at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Think you… could do better right now?”
He flicked a look at me. “I love the way your ass is stretched around my cock. Better?”
My dick throbbed at his words. “So much better. Now get moving before… I come all over… myself from just your… dirty mouth.”
His lips drew up at the corners. And then it was game on. He began thrusting. I grabbed the back of the sofa as he drove me upward with each punch of his hips. The cushions tumbled to the floor as he plowed into me. His one hand held my calf, the other was now beside my head, keeping his weight off of me. Each time he drove home he pegged that knot of nerves, and my orgasm ran me down hard. I barely had time to shout before my cock was kicking and my belly was coated with hot, sticky semen. His gaze turned feral as he watched me blow apart.
“So beautiful,” he growled low and deep before he slammed home one final time.
I could feel his cock thicken right before he filled the condom, his head back, his inked neck straining. I held on tight, grasping at any slick flesh that I could find. With a hand on his hip and one on his shoulder, I jerked him down to seal my mouth over his. The kiss was sloppy. Both of us trembling and huffing like bellows, until our bodies slowed. Then that kiss became something incredible. A tender exploration as our pulses lowered and our cocks softened.
“I feel like a pretzel,” I said between long kisses. Levi, the darling knucklehead that he was, drew back to look down at my legs all twisted up around his body.
“I like mustard on my pretzels,” he replied, easing out of my ass, which made my ass both happy and sad at the same time. He eased my injured ankle up to rest on the back of the sofa, and then dropped his entire weight on me, his head resting on my belly. The air whooshed out of me. I had nothing witty to say, so I carded my fingers into his damp hair and laid there as the wood stove cranked out heat. “James?”
“Yeah?” I replied, his voice pulling me from that twilight place where wakefulness and sleep played.
“We just did that,” he murmured into my belly button.
“Yep. Yep, we did.” Yeppers. We just did that. That was freaking phenomenal. “So, uhm, now what?”
That was a leading question, and in typical Levi fashion, I knew I was about to fuck everything up. I never meant to hurt anyone, but in the last year all I’d done was push people away. For the first time since diagnosis, I’d actually wanted to be selfish and take something I didn’t deserve. I’d wanted James so bad and all the reasons it wasn’t fair to him had fled the minute I flirted, then add in the insecurities and fears that dragged me down, and I went into a meltdown in which I lost my ability to think.
“So, we did that,” I repeated. “Now it’s out of our system and we can move on.”
Silence. James stopped stroking my hair, and I could feel the muscles beneath my cheek, tense.
“‘Move on’? How are we moving on from the best sex we’ve ever had?”
“It’s just sex,” I lied. “I probably need to pack up and leave, head out to Arizona. I had a call with the Raptors—they have a space for a scout opening up in the next couple of weeks and they’re interested in me.”
“The Raptors are in Arizona.” He sounded confused. “I’m in Pennsylvania.”
“Yeah, obviously. They love you there. Anyway, I needed to start over and it’s the right decision to do that on the West Coast. You know, I’ve got friends there for barbecues and shit. It’s time I got my head around what comes next.”
He sat up. “But what about the fact we just made love?”
“Made love,” James corrected with a stubborn tilt to his chin.
“Whatever. You don’t love me, not like this. It was just sex.”
He ignored me, his eyes narrowed, and I got the sense he was heading for an epic meltdown over what I’d thrown at him.
“Have you approached the Railers? Or New York? Boston? Philly?”
Oh. That wasn’t what I thought he’d ask, and it was a straightforward question to answer.
“There’s no point in uprooting myself from over here and going to the cold side,” I added the joke, even as my heart twisted. I didn’t want to talk about love—it scared me too much, and I didn’t want to talk about hockey. If I hadn’t been ill, and I’d retired, then if it meant I could build something with James, I would have made a life on the East Coast after hockey. But my hockey career was over, and what kind of man would I be if I promised forever to anyone and couldn’t deliver, particularly to James? I may have had the all-clear so far, but I’d lived every second of the possibility of not seeing a tomorrow and I wasn’t ready to offer that dark side of me in a relationship.
It was best for me, but mostly for James, that I get dressed, get in my car, and head somewhere else for peace. I should never have given in to the love and lust that sat inside my heart for him, because now I knew what I had to give up. It hurt.
“I’m sure the Railers would love to have you, and then maybe we could get a place together. Hell, I can talk to someone on your behalf —”
My heart cracked open, and I don’t know how I managed not to grab him and hold on to him and never let go.
“Yeah, no. It’s all good,” I said, as nonchalantly as I could manage. “I just need to get dressed and I’ll be out of your space.” I rolled out of sofa and headed straight for the shower, only relaxing when the door was locked between us. Then the grief in my heart forced its way out and the tears fell. I started the shower, tears choking my throat, and stood under the lukewarm water before sliding down the tiles and curling in the corner and letting every second of grief I’d held inside slip out of me in silent sobs.
When I was going through treatment, when I kept secrets about what was happening to me, and even now, I couldn’t lay the weight of what was inside my head on anyone else. Why did I think it was a good idea to flirt with James? What in God’s name had I been thinking to let my guard down like that? I couldn’t promise forever, however much I wanted to, and I couldn’t push myself into his life and make him watch me leave one day at a time. I’d always loved James, from the day I’d first met him, but I loved him too much, and too deeply, to hurt him. He deserved to be happy—there had to be someone out there for him who wasn’t as messed up as I was. The water ran cold, but I didn’t move, numbness spreading from my shoulders to my fingers. If I stayed here, then maybe the rest of me could be as frozen as my heart, and I wouldn’t have to see James at all.
“Jesus. Levi! What the fuck?”
James was there, yanking at me, trying to help me out of the shower, the cold water off. I didn’t want to go, but he was stronger and fitter than me now, and he pulled and tugged, and dumped me onto my bed and hurried to tuck towels and blankets around me before finally giving in and sitting next to me.
“How did you get in?” I asked between shivers.
“I broke your fucking locked door. Asshole.” His tone hurt.
“You don’t get to be angry at me about anything!”
“You’re in there trying to kill yourself, so I reserve the right to be fucking angry!”
“I was the one who’d nearly died! I was the one who had to have treatments and needles and have all my hopes ripped away from me. I’m the one who gets to be angry all the time! Not you!”
“Fuck that! You…” He twisted his hands in his short hair. I realized he was still naked and wet, and I shoved a towel off me to pass to him. Only he didn’t want a towel. He clearly had a lot to get off his chest, which appeared to be an entire speech punctuated by cursing. “I get why you didn’t tell me to start. I get why I wasn’t the first person you phoned. I know your family is more important than I am, but you never called me about any of what you were going through, or how you were feeling. I had to hear every fucking detail through Tanner, and he wouldn’t tell me everything. He said you’d made him promise not to tell me things, to keep me in the fucking dark. Why the fuck would you do that? You wouldn’t let him talk to me? Would I have had to wait until they were burying you to know everything? What if you died, and I’d been nowhere near you, and I had no way of saying goodbye? For God’s sake, Levi. I’m your best friend, I love you, I always thought that one day after hockey, we could be together. I wanted forever with you and —”
“Well, I don’t have forever to offer you!” Something snapped inside me, and I yanked the blanket up closer to my throat as I shivered.
His expression changed from heated temper to cool in an instant. He grabbed his crutch and limped out of the bedroom, still naked as the day he was born, and when he came back in he was balancing a mug, a hot water bottle, and a quilt from one of the other bedrooms. I could smell chocolate, and he set it on the table next to the bed, then he yanked every single blanket and towel from me. I yelped, as he smacked my chest, right over one of my more subtle tattoos where his name was mixed in with a rose. Sappy, I know, but James was always close to my heart even if he didn’t know it.
“Nobody lives forever!” he snapped, and then with hands under my arms he levered me to sit upright before climbing onto the bed, sitting as close to me as possible and then tucking in the surrounding quilt, wrapping the hot water bottle in a separate blanket, and placing it between us. At the last minute, he reached for the hot chocolate and gestured for me to drink. I did as I was told, only because his expression was so fierce that I thought he might force me. It was good chocolate, warm enough to gulp, and as soon as I was done, he tucked my hands under the quilt and then pulled it up so the daylight was blocked out. He’d made a quilt tent, and his naked body was way too close to mine for comfort. I wriggled away a little, and he followed me, gripping my hip to stop me from moving.
“We’re sharing body warmth.” he rubbed my hip then up to my waist, then my arm, to generate some heat.
“Oh,” was all I could manage, lost in the scent of him, and the sensory deprivation of the dark.
“Then when you’ve warmed up, I’m going to kill you for being such an idiot,” he muttered under his breath. “Fucking idiot. Nothing to give. No kind of forever. Fucking loves me, pushes me away. Honestly, I don’t know why I put up with this shit.”
Then, he went quiet, and him rubbing my arm turned to something more gentle. I knew I’d fucked up, but he wasn’t the one who’d gone through months facing their own mortality—that had been me, and he had to understand I was broken into tiny pieces.
“I have a percentage,” I whispered, “a survival rate for five years.”
He cleared his throat, and his voice wobbled. “Five years.” He cleared his throat again. “Okay. Here’s what happens. I’ll retire. We got more than enough money between us to travel the world for five years and make every second count. Because you know I fucking love you, and I know you love me back, so there’s no use lying about it.”
I had to unpack all that. “No, I haven’t been given five years. I’ve just been told that I have a ninety-eight percent chance of living past those five years. I could live a lot longer, but there’d always be the specter of something else going on inside to me.”
“Ninety-eight sounds good. We can deal with that.”
“No, you don’t get it. I led you into this, and I’m sorry we had sex, but I kind of needed that just once, to keep me going. And no, I won’t let you give up the career you love because of me for however long I’m here. I’m not your responsibility.”
“You kind of are.”
“No, I’m not.”
He was quiet for a moment, and I figured he’d understood my point of view. All I wanted was for him to see I couldn’t offer him a forever, and that I’d been selfish to have sex with him as my way of saying goodbye. But why did it hurt so much to do what was right?
“You really are a special kind of stupid,” he finally offered, then sighed. “You want to hear a story about life?”
“Tough shit, because I’m telling it. We were in Buffalo, and Ten had read about this fancy restaurant that apparently did the best wings outside of Texas. We all grab cabs and head over there. We get dropped off, and we’re chatting, waiting outside for them to be up to sit all sixteen of us, just joking and messing about. Then there was this other guy, Edward Lassiter, eighty-one. He had a seizure at the wheel of his ancient Toyota, went through a red light, and mounted the pavement, right next to Adler. I mean inches from Adler.”
“Jeez, was Adler okay —”
“Jared grabbed Adler’s jacket and yanked him out of the way, so he didn’t get caught between the car and the lamppost that ended up stopping it. Thing is Levi, no one knows when their time is up. So, step one, we see a counselor together, and we come to terms with what happened to you. Together. Then we find out a way of moving forward. Because you’re it for me, and together-forever is exactly what I want. Even if you stay in the land of sunshine, and we only get to see each other every other weekend.”
“I’m seeing a counselor already,” I admitted after a long pause, where I tried to process everything he’d said. It was easier to think in the dark when I couldn’t see his expression. He said he loved me, he said he wanted to make things work, but I loved him too much to have to watch him get sad if he was losing me. “I know I’m being irrational, I get that, but what if I mess things up, and you get to where you give up on us because you think that’s what I’ve done already? Fuck, am I making any sense?”
“We’ll get through this together, because however we make this work, we’ll always love each other, and that will never change.”
I relaxed against him so I could place my cheek on his chest, and I pressed a kiss to his skin. “You seem so sure of everything when I’m not sure of anything.”
“Answer me this,” he began in a soft tone, “do you love me?”
I didn’t have to think about the answer. “Of course, I do. I’ll never stop loving you.”
He cuddled me closer, and carded his fingers through my hair, holding me still, and I could hear his heartbeat, the regular rhythm of it reassuring.
“And I love you. It’s as simple as that.”
“So what now?”
“Sleep, cuddling and then we’ll take everything a day at a time. Yeah?”
“Okay, but the moment it’s all too much for you—”
“Shut up Levi and go to sleep. Love you.”
I sighed into his hold. “Love you too.”
“Cold. Cold. So cold. So very cold. My balls have literally frozen and fallen off. Do you see them anywhere?”
I rolled my eyes at my boyfriend. Levi was such a drama llama when it came to being cold. I mean, sure, it was cold out here on the tree farm, but it wasn’t that cold. The temperature was hovering around thirty degrees; the wind was calm, and the sun was high in the bright blue skies over Pennsylvania.
“Are you asking me to look for your frozen balls under the Christmas trees?” I asked, not bothering to look at him because he would just add more goofiness to his already goofy face. “I’m rather fond of your balls, as we all know, but if I find them lying about, I may have to set them up out of harm’s way and then where will you be?”
He trudged along beside me, bundled up as if we were venturing out from an Antarctic base instead of walking through a snow-covered tree farm in search of our Christmas tree. A thick fur-lined hat gifted from Stan Lyamin, our Railers goalie, covered his head, thick skiing gloves, a coat and a sweater and a fleece hoodie, as well as flannel-lined work pants and snow boots. Snow boots. For the two inches of snow on the ground. I loved the man, but he was not a wintery sort of fellow.
“Just hang them on the tree. Hang them high. Maybe you can take them down from time to time and kiss them.”
A family of five met us, them coming down as we made our way up the narrow lane between beautiful pine trees. Small birds such as titmice, chickadees, and even a cardinal had been spied flitting from fir to fir. We’d seen rabbit tracks and what seemed to be deer tracks as well. I’d known the drive from Harrisburg to New Cumberland would be worth it. Trees from those lots in the city weren’t as good as a freshly cut tree from this massive tree farm, in my humble opinion. Levi had argued for a fake tree that would sit on top of a coffee table out of harm’s way. I’d asked him if he were a senior citizen or something. That had gotten his goat. Sure, he was retired from playing hockey but his role as a North American scout for the Railers meant he wasn’t collecting his Social Security quite yet.
“I’ll kiss them when we get home,” I whispered after lifting the faux rabbit’s fur ear flap from the side of his head. Three kids raced past, followed by weary-looking parents. The father and I both raised our handsaws in greeting as we passed. Levi’s face was bright red either from the cool air or my racy comment. “Happy holidays!” I called out to the twosome. They replied in kind as they broke into a jog to catch the kids.
“That was scandalous,” Levi said, then chuckled. “Why, after a full year of living with you, and knowing you forever, do the things that you say still shock me?”
“I couldn’t say.” I paused by a huge blue spruce, cocking my head this way and that, as I gave it a good once over. “What about this one?”
“Yep. Cut it down.” I gave him a flat stare. “What? I’m freezing. We’ve been for close to two hours. Can’t you just shut your eyes and point at a tree? They all look the same.”
“Levi Bonetti, that was blasphemous! What would your mother say if she heard such things flowing from your mouth?”
A blue jay flew past, shouting down at us as he soared overhead.
“She’d say that her favorite son was right.”
“No, no, Mama Bonetti would not say that. Also, we all know that Tanner is the favorite because of him being the baby.”
“Pfft.” He stamped around the blue spruce, his breath fogging, and examined it. “It’s fine. Kind of big through for our little living room.”
“Hmm,” I took a step back and measured it with my keen measuring eye. “Nah, it’ll fit. I say we take this one. It’ll look good in front of the window.”
“Are we sure we don’t want to rethink the artificial tree on the end table idea? It really does have merit. And it’s fiber optic. You know how much you love tech stuff.”
He was smiling at me like he does when he’s trying to talk me into giving him a blow job. Not that he had to do much talking because there was nothing I loved more than his cock in my mouth. Unless we were talking about live versus fake Christmas trees. Then I maybe loved live trees more than sucking his dick. No. No, that was a lie. Lying this close to Christmas was bad. Santa was watching. That was what we’d been telling our newest family member anyway. It hadn’t seemed to sink in yet.
“I do like tech stuff, yes. But no, this is the one. It’ll fit.”
“It’s not going to fit.”
“If this tree does not fit in our living room, I’ll be your personal sex slave from now until New Year’s.”
He drew back, his eyebrows beetled. “I thought you were already my personal sex slave.”
“That, sir, is where you are mistaken.” I moved the handsaw from my right to my left hand, then shoved my naked right hand—no gloves for me because I was a manly man—and held it there. “Come on, are you scared or something?”
His grin was kind of scary. The man was confident. He slapped his gloved hand over mine. We shook. I threw myself down to the snowy ground and started sawing away, feeling all kinds of cocksure.
The damn tree didn’t fit.
Levi was seated on our sofa with Harmony on his lap. Smug just rolled off of him like stink off a skunk. I threw a look at the blue spruce crammed into the corner of our living room, the top four feet bent over like a new yoga student trying to touch his or her toes.
“Okay, so for my first command of my new sex slave—” Levi opened with, his expression bright as he ran his hand down the silky back of our beautiful and mischievous long-haired Dachshund puppy. Harmony—or Harm, as we call her because she is a short-legged little tornado—was eyeballing the tree like it was the world’s largest chew toy.
“Nope, no commands yet. I can make it fit.” I studied the tree closer.
“That’s what you’ll be saying when you fulfill my first command as your sex master.” I threw him a dirty over-the-shoulder stare. Christmas carols filled the room. I loved a whole-house stereo system. “You’re stalling.”
“I am not stalling. I’m calculating just how many feet I have to saw off to make it fit.”
“That’s not fair. You said the tree would fit. Period. You did not include any provisions for trimming it down to size. Ergo and forthwith you cannot chop, saw, or burn any inches or feet off that tree to make it fit. It had to fit perfectly from the get-go, which it did not. Oh, bummer. So sorry. Loser, loser, chicken… cruiser.”
That got my attention. I turned to frown at him. “Stop. That makes no sense. What the hell is a chicken cruiser?”
He gave Harmony’s wheaten-colored coat a soft little ruffle. She loved to roughhouse and got silly, trying to nibble Levi’s fingers.
“It’s a rooster. Haven’t you ever seen a rooster cruising the chickens in the yard?”
“That’s stupid. You’re stupid. Chickens can’t drive. Just stop being you.” I stomped over to flop down beside my guy and my dog on the couch. We’d built a small fire in the fireplace and had all the decorations up all over our house in Camp Hill. The older ranch was everything that we’d been searching for in a home. A nice yard, close to the barn with a fifteen-minute ride over the Harvey Taylor Bridge bypass, and friendly neighbors. There were two baths and three bedrooms, and the schools were good. We had plans for kids in the future. Right now, we were practicing with Harmony. The verdict was out on if we were doing well or not. Toddlers didn’t eat shoes. Did they?
“You’re just mad because you lost, and that makes you my sex slave for the next ten days. Hmm, what shall I have you do first?” He tapped his chin. Harmony wiggled off his lap into mine, tail wagging, pretending that she wasn’t slowly working her way down off the sofa to investigate—aka eat—the bowed tree in the corner.
“I’d not suggest putting your dick anywhere near my teeth right now,” I mumbled, folding my arms over my chest. Harmony licked my cheek then jumped to the floor where she snuck across the new carpeting like the Grinch slithering around the Who house.
“Good call. I’ll put my dick near your ass.”
He draped an arm around me. I let my head drop to his shoulder. “It’s okay. We can’t always be right one hundred percent of the time. Well, I can, but you mere mortals can’t.”
“You need to do something with your mouth other than talking with it.”
“Something like this?” He pressed on my jaw to turn my face toward his. Then he kissed me softly, his lips skimming over mine. I sighed into the moment, letting him lead me into a long, wet kiss that went on and on and on.
“Mm, that was nice. I was thinking more like eating.”
He dropped tiny kisses along my nose and eyelids. “But no one has made dinner yet.”
“Yeah, I know. So sad, too bad. Guess you could nibble on something else.”
He chuckled against my throat. “You have a few tender spots that are just right for nibbling.” I melted into his side, offering my mouth to him for another kiss. “I love you even if your sense of tree height is fucked.”
That made me snicker. “I love you too, even if your sense of what a sex slave will do is fucked.”
“Yeah, fucked is one thing on my incredibly long list.”
I slung a leg over his thighs, straddled him, and gazed into his eyes, losing myself in the love I saw reflected there.
“I’m so happy right now. This Christmas is going to be amazing.” I took his face between my hands, then covered his mouth with mine. He wound his arms around my middle, licking deep, his body humming with desire and good health. His last check-up had been good. And while we would have to live with that specter hiding in the distant shadows, we were living life to the fullest. Every. Single. Day. Because you never knew what was around the corner.
“You’re amazing,” he whispered when we came up for air. “What’s the sound?”
I was too busy peppering his face with little bitty kisses to pick up the distinct noise of something gnawing on something wooden. It was a sound we knew well now. All one had to do was look at the legs of every table and chair that we owned to know a puppy lived here with us. We’d not even get into the destruction of the baseboards. There was no way to keep baseboards out of Harm’s way that I could come up with. Maybe we should strip down a room to the bare walls and call it Harmony’s Hell Hole. That had a nice ring to it.
“That’s the dog eating the tree,” I sighed, sat back, and glanced over to see… Yep, a Dachsie chewing on the stump of the Christmas tree. “Are we sure that the word Dachshund isn’t really German for beaver?” I asked, giving Levi a swift smooch before climbing from his lap to save the tree from our fur baby. I could only pray that our human kids—when we had them—wouldn’t eat evergreens. I gathered her up, carried her back to the sofa, and began picking tree bark from her teeth and handing the sticky bits to Levi.
“Is this not the most romantic holiday evening you have ever experienced? Be honest now.” Levi asked as his hand filled with spittle-soaked bits of tree.
I gazed from our dog to him and nodded. “As long as I’m with you, then yes, it is and will always be the most romantic evening ever.”
“Just like a romance novel,” he teased before leaning over to kiss me gently.
Yep, it was exactly like a romance novel. Well, aside from the hot canine huffs flowing into our faces. I wasn’t sure romance novels ended with pine-scented dog breath, but it seemed ours did.