Released: December 2014
While on a break at Martin's Department Store, Derek Campbell, aka Santa, wishes aloud for a little something for Santa and he gets it, and more.
Derek Campbell loves his job as Santa at Martin's, but finds himself wishing for a little something for himself. He's surprised when an elf hears his request and answers him. Derek gets more than he bargained for when he meets young Michael and then Max, who just happens to own Martin's. He falls in love with both of them and they him, then something happens, something bad. They overcome because they're strong together, and they have a good Christmas. But then, even worse things happen. What now? What follows is a wonderful holiday story filled with love, adventure, fear, hope, and kittens. This is a re-release but has been greatly expanded and re-edited.
“And what do you want for Christmas, young man? Have you been a good boy this year?” Derek muttered, leaning back against the wall in the dark hallway. He answered himself, too.
“I’ve been an exemplary boy, Santa. All I want is someone to love me. Is that too much to ask? A little something for Santa for a change. No more losers and no more rough stuff. I just want someone nice, someone who’ll see me.” Derek was tired of guys who were self-centered or who expected things from him that he wasn’t into, like pain, for example. So, he was cute. He’d heard it all his life. Big f’ing deal. Cute didn’t pay the bills. Hard work and several odd jobs were barely doing it.
“I see you,” said a small voice to his right, about knee level.
Derek jumped and nearly said a word Santa really wouldn’t say, especially in front of a young…his eyes widened…elf?
“Okay, I’m the only Santa on today and I know you’re not one of mine. So, who are you?” Derek looked down at the little tow-headed elf with big sky-blue eyes by his side. Holding his little hat in his hand, the young elf looked up at him with quiet contemplation, then nodded his head as if having decided something.
“I’m Michael, not Mike, but Michael. Do you know anything about main headaches?” Michael asked, seriously.
Derek was a little lost, but he still had about forty-five minutes before he had to go back for another three hours before the store closed. He could see what Michael, not Mike, wanted.
“I know some. My mom used to have them.” Derek figured Michael was talking about migraine headaches. His mother had suffered greatly and Derek had eventually gotten pretty good at easing her pain. He missed her terribly, having lost her after heart surgery that just didn’t happen in time. Those bills were part of why he was so strapped for money now. He had a good way to go before the bills were paid off, but he sent some regularly and was thankful the hospital was allowing him to pay if off slowly.
“If you come with me, I will meet you to someone who is not a loser and he’s never rough with anybody. But he’s got a really main headache again.” With that, Michael took Derek’s hand and tugged. Intrigued, Derek let the funny little elf lead him to an elevator that he’d never noticed before.
“Where are we going?” Derek asked.
“To see my dad, but we have to be quiet ‘cause he’s really sick right now.” Ah, so his elf was really a child whose father must work for the store.
When the elevator doors opened, they were facing an office door. This was certainly not an area that Derek had seen before. The carpet in the hall was thick and soft and the colors and decorations screamed “Money”. This must be the place where the high, mucketymucks, as his mom used to call the rich, must work. Michael again took his hand and led him to it, opening it slowly and putting his other hand up to touch his lips with his finger.
Derek nodded his understanding and followed the boy into the darkened room. Michael closed the door and they stood a few seconds, letting their eyes adjust to the low light. Derek could see a huge desk on the other side of the room, in front of big windows that were now curtained. There was a sound from the right and Derek saw a big man lying on a long couch, his arm over his face. He knew that position, like there wasn’t any way to get it dark enough to keep the pain away.
Michael stepped over to the man and touched his arm, leaning down to whisper into his ear.
“Hmm?” Derek could barely hear the word, the faint question.
Derek had never seen such a long couch. The man, probably six feet four or five was stretched out and there was still room, with big pillows, at both ends. Derek moved closer, his experience kicked in, and he took over. Sitting with his back toward the end of the couch by the man’s head, he leaned over and told him, “Shh, relax. Let me help you.”
“Can’t. Hurts. Michael, honey, what’s…oh…” His questioning stopped and he groaned. Derek took hold of the man’s shoulders and scooted closer to him, putting one leg behind to lie along the back of the couch, thus enclosing the man. The other leg, he brought up, close, making a warm soft cocoon for the man’s head and shoulders.
“Hey…” the man tried to sit up and question what was going on, but pain made him subside again. Derek thought he’d have to relieve his mind before he could relieve any of his pain.
“Michael brought me up here. I’ve got about half an hour on my break left. I can help you if you’ll let me. Shh, relax, my fat Santa suit makes a nice soft pillow, huh? I’m going to try what used to work on my mom’s migraines, okay?”
There was no answer, but the man relaxed back onto the V of Derek’s legs. Softly, Derek put his long fingers to work, starting at the forehead and slowly, gently, stroking along it to the temples. After a few minutes of this, with nothing but quiet acceptance from the man in his lap, Derek moved a bit further back into the thick, dark blond hair. With just a bit of light coming from a partially opened door, which led to what Derek figured was a bathroom, Derek could see the lines of stress and pain on the man’s face.
Looking around for Michael, he found him sitting on the floor beside the couch, hand touching the fist that was beside the man’s leg. Care and love for his parent radiated from the little boy’s face and his posture.
“Relax you muscles if you can, unclench your fist, let peace take you. Hold Michael’s hand.” Derek knew that touch was a big part of the release of tension and pain. Clearly there was a bond between these two. He watched as the man slowly opened his fingers and Michael slipped his hand into the big man’s. The man sighed and Michael smiled just a little.
I love to read M/M books. It’s hard to find me without my Kindle in my hand. I never want to lose an opportunity to read and have so many authors that I enjoy. The idea of being an author that readers enjoy fills my heart. I’ve wanted to write since I was in high school and I did. I wrote a short story for the school newspaper. Hooked.
I wrote three mainstream novels and got rejections and just kind of lost interest. Then along came Brokeback Mountain and I ordered the movie and got the script with it. Loved it. Then I went on line to see if there way anything else like it. I found Cowboy Up from Torquere Press. It was an anthology and had such good stories. I was more than hooked. I wanted to do this. I wanted to write a story. Soon after that I went to a drag show in my little town, heretofore unheard of, and watched these two guys dance. That scene is in my first novel, Smart Alex. I couldn’t stop then.
You will find that I like to have my characters meet, have feeling for each other, start a relationship, and then face some kind of conflict together, instead of it being about whether they really like each other or not. That’s just the way I like it. I want them as a unit facing whatever comes. I also like to do series. I try to populate my books with wonderful side characters that just beg for their own stories. Life is full of side characters, right? Sometimes they just need their story told, too. (And then you get to revisit the first couple and see how things are going!)
I now write for four different publishing houses and love being an M/M author. Want to know what I like most about it? Oh, I love getting good critiques from places who specialize in that, but it’s the readers who blow me away. I can’t believe the response I’ve gotten to some of my books. They inspire me and make me want to do more and better. I love love some of the connections with people in the industry.
Through ups and downs this career has kept me going with the warmth I’ve received from other authors, publishing people, and fans. I’m excited about future books that are swimming in my head right now. I hope you love them, too.
Find AKM Here