When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.
While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.
As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.
ER doctor Dusty Lowry grew up in a conservative rural Texas family that has never quite forgiven him for staying in New Mexico after his stint in the Army. Paramedic Nate Miller, Dusty’s best friend since their early Army days, has a hippie momma, a tiny apartment, and is in lust with his buddy. When their other Army friend, Kyle, gets married, they start thinking about settling down. In fact, they both know what they want: each other. Too bad they’ve never shared that goofy little fact.
A trip to visit Dusty’s family in Texas changes everything, and Dusty and Nate aren’t sure where to go from there. Good thing they’re smart guys, and between a series of bombings that target first responders, their friend Kyle’s wife getting pregnant, and more than one bowl of guacamole, they begin to figure out how to have a relationship.
But as the bombings get closer to home, Nate and Dusty must navigate love and commitment before they lose their chance.
Joseph is Kyle’s polar opposite in other ways too, well-off where Kyle is poor, and self-assured while Kyle is insecure. He’s also determined to show Kyle what a great guy he is and bring the confidence Kyle shows in the ER out in his everyday life. But Kyle’s hectic work schedule and inexperience with relationships won’t make for an easy romance.
Gray throws himself into learning everything he needs to know to be President, especially a liberal president surrounded by a conservative cabinet and staff. Even though he puts in outrageous hours working and traveling seven days a week month after month, he’s happy. But David has trouble coping with Gray’s new job requirements. He can’t help but feel abandoned by his husband of ten years.
When Gray asks for his help with a public-health crisis, David obliges, but he is furious about what happens once the emergency passes. When they learn that the President’s staff has manipulated them both, they wonder if their relationship can survive the White House.
Seth Wilder lost his partner of twenty years to suicide two weeks before a long-anticipated cruise. Cancellation insurance was never purchased, and Seth can’t get a refund. Bryce McFarland, his late partner’s gym buddy, appreciates his predicament, and when asked, agrees to accompany him on the trip. This way, Seth recoups the money and doesn’t have to cancel his plans. The gesture is unexpected but accepted gratefully.
The two men have nothing in common. Seth is a reclusive romance writer, and Bryce is a hard-core Grindr user with major commitment issues. Out of necessity and despite the seemingly insurmountable differences in personality, they develop a tentative rapport. As they begin their journey through the UK, Bryce helps Seth come to terms with his partner’s sudden death while Seth, in turn, discovers the root cause of Bryce’s phobia.
Shipboard romances rarely work. Sensible men resist, sexual tension notwithstanding. But a full moon and late summer breezes lend themselves to the impossible situation, barriers are crossed, and a love affair is kindled.
Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself.
But Sam can't imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package "Sleigh Ride".
Marjorie Steel is still healing from the events of the past year, and she’s happy to put her plans to study culinary arts on hold to help her best friend deal with a difficult pregnancy and two recently adopted troubled boys. The fact that Bryce Simpson spends a lot of time at the Steel Ranch is a benefit, and she’s ready to see if her attraction to him might be something more.
Bryce wants to do a hard day’s work on the ranch. Once his muscles give out and he collapses from exhaustion, maybe he’ll stop torturing himself over his late father’s horrific double life. The Steels have a different idea. They ask Bryce to take an executive position complete with a profit share. As he has a young son and widowed mother to support, it’s an offer he can’t refuse. The only catch is Marjorie. She’s beautiful, smart, feisty, and her kisses set him on fire. But he’s an empty shell with nothing to offer her, and she deserves the world.
As the sins of his father continue to haunt him, Bryce learns the horrors of the past may not yet be buried.
Big, burly CEO Abe Behr is dismayed to discover someone—possibly a family member—is stealing from Behr Construction, which primarily employs Behr relatives. Abe takes the unprecedented step of hiring an outsider, likeable CPA Jeff Mason, to go over the books and help find the culprit. They are drawn to each other as they talk to workers, including Abe’s two younger brothers and their shifty cousin.
Since he has sacrificed romance all his life to build the business, Abe’s surprised by his feelings for the handsome Jeff. He’s even more shocked when they are confronted by bigotry in the Sierra Nevada foothills community, which is being inundated by gays moving from the San Francisco area. As he and Jeff get closer, Abe must come to grips with coming out to a family and community that aren’t very tolerant. Fortunately, being the head Behr helps him find his footing and grab onto love when it bites him.
Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts.
Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them.
As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk.