I'm so excited to share that I have a short story coming out for the Christmas Holidays. It is a M/M contemporary romance and part of Silver Publishing's 25 Days of Christmas and due to be released December 3, 2011.
It's called Rudy's Red Nose. This is a light romance, unlike my other works there is no erotica in this story, it's a simple gay romance. I hope you'll enjoy it.
As always, Wishing you Love and Butterflies,
Austrian exchange student Rudolph Stroh is spending his first Christmas abroad in
, where he's attending graduate school at Missoula, Montana . With his family thousands of miles away, homesickness and loneliness are Montana State University
Rudy's only holiday companions.
Benjamin Tinge is a nineteen year old college dropout. A family tragedy left him and his little brother, Tommy, homeless and living in a tent in the park, struggling just to stay warm. Keeping Tommy alive as a blizzard rolls in is all Benji wants for Christmas.
When Rudy discovers the brothers huddled in their tent behind a holiday display, he offers to help. Benji is wary, afraid to trust. Can the two mend each other's hearts as Christmas Eve draws near?
"I know, Mama, I wish I could come home, too…"
"Yes, I got your care package and the cookies arrived—intact for the most part."
"Tell him to slow down. I want him to still be around when I'm able to come home and visit. That stubborn ol' man will…"
"Sorry, Mama. I wasn't being disrespectful. Just…"
"Yes, Mama. I love you too. Say hi to Victor for me. I sure wish he was here."
"Okay, auf wiedersehen." Rudy Stroh sighed dejectedly. He always missed his family. Talking to them on the phone and receiving their care packages in the mail just didn't stave off the homesickness when the holidays rolled around. Rudy sat in his apartment in
, moping around, nursing his loneliness. He was an adult, twenty-two years old, for god's sakes; shouldn't he be beyond the age of homesickness? Rudy ran a hand through his blond hair. It was early afternoon, just enough time to get over to the coffee shop for a sandwich and then a walk through the park as the decorations were lit. He needed to catch the bus to make it before the shop closed, but he could take his time walking home. Missoula, Montana
His friends had all abandoned him for the holidays. Not that he could blame them—he wanted to go home, too. He'd also lost his roommate. Danny had completed his program and returned home… permanently. At least having Danny's things around during previous holiday's had helped to stave off the loneliness with the appearance of others being around. Now Rudy had no such illusions. He was utterly alone.
Unfortunately, as a foreign exchange student, his options were limited. It was expensive to travel back and forth from the
to US . He'd expected to be on his own from time to time, but the Christmas semester break was three weeks long, not including the two weeks of finals that he didn't have to take because he'd maintained a 4.0 GPA. He had five weeks of being alone ahead of him, during the most love-filled time of the year, and he didn't relish the thought. Austria
Rudy shrugged on his heavy, navy blue, down-filled winter coat, slid his hands into his knit mittens, and wrapped a matching scarf about his head, then headed out the door. He'd found the quaint coffee and sandwich shop in the neighborhood where his apartment was located shortly after his arrival. During the semester, he'd spent many hours studying there while imbibing cup after cup of coffee. The Daily Grind catered to university students, being close enough to the campus for them to be able to run in and grab a quick coffee to go first thing in the morning and still make classes.
Rudy rushed to the corner and climbed into the bus. He showed the driver his student pass, then took a seat. He hated being so homesick. This wouldn't be happening if his brother hadn't been such an idiot. Victor had let his grades slip the last semester. He was supposed to be in the
attending classes, too. But with his grades not making the cut, he hadn't been allowed to become an exchange student. Rudy was on his own and with an apartment leased for two. Now, with too much time on his hands and five weeks left 'til the new semester began, he was reduced to sullenness and self-pity. US
The bus pulled to a stop. Rudy got off, heading down the street to The Daily Grind. He'd found himself spending more time downtown at the coffee shop, watching the people as they went about their holiday preparations, trying to stave off his loneliness by surrounding himself with people.
He took a seat in one of the booths beside the windows, watching the passersby scurry about, laden with packages. From his vantage point, he could vicariously enjoy the hustle and bustle of the families—the smiles on the faces of the children, so full of excitement and hope in eager anticipation of the big day, and the knowing glances of parents who understood and thrilled to their joy. He missed it all so very much. His chest tightened with thoughts of his mother doing her Christmas baking, and oh, the wonderful aromas that must be filling the house even now. He sighed, looking up to find a waiter standing beside his table.
"Hi. What can I get ya?"
"How about the white chocolate mocha?" Rudy glanced up at the young man. He looked a little worn today; dark rings practically encircled his eyes. The young man always held Rudy's eye. Truth be told, the blue-eyed blond was one of the main reasons Rudy kept coming back, beside the coffee being good.
"Sure thing." The waiter moved off to make his drink.
After the first couple of days, he'd begun getting to know the various waiters in the shop. They were cordial enough and lately he'd been tipping more than usual when he left, as a thank-you for allowing him to stay during the day. They always greeted him with a smile, and were sure to keep his coffee hot and flowing.
It was the time after he left the shop—the late afternoons and evenings—that were tiresome. He'd leave the shop and, if it was relatively warm, he'd wander through the park. He loved the park, even with all the couples that were strolling through it this time of year. The city had put out its decorations, and the park was a veritable Winter Wonderland.
"Here you are, sir." The waiter's voice brought Rudy back to the present as he sat his white chocolate mocha beside him. The cup was adorned with red and white candy stripes; whipped cream and sprinkles floated in frothy splendor on top of his beverage.
"Thank you." Rudy tried to smile, but either the waiter didn't notice or he'd failed miserably. The young man rushed off to help someone else, leaving Rudy alone once more.
He remembered last night's trip through the park. The whole Christmas scene made his heart long for someone to love, but he still couldn't resist staring—and hoping. Rudy had sighed as he watched a young couple who’d stood oblivious to the cold in the shelter of the gazebo, gazing deeply into each other's eyes, and shook his head and moved on down the path. On a normal day, the trip through the park took about fifteen minutes. Last night Rudy had lingered for over an hour, wandering amongst the displays, listening to the carolers, and watching the people 'til his nose was ice cold, his fingers and toes having long since gone numb.
Today he felt particularly sad; calling his Mama on the phone hadn't eased the tightening in his chest he always felt when thinking about them.. He just couldn't seem to get around his loneliness.
Even now, sitting in his favorite spot in his favorite coffee shop, instead of the usual peace he felt in watching people, he just felt miserable. Everyone had somewhere to go and something to do—except him. He moped as he sipped his coffee and sucked on the peppermint candy the waiter had brought with the drink. Now even the wait staff were keeping their distance. His mood must be showing, despite his best efforts to keep his misery to himself.