King Mason doesn’t want to spend another year alone. He loves his job at the men’s shelter, but there has to be more from life than work. He’s seen the pretty blond man around the community and can’t wait to make a move at the Christmas street party.
Randall Stevens has big plans for Christmas 1980, and all of them involve meeting King Mason. He’s fallen hard for the man, and his wish is to take things to the next level. Christmas Eve just might be the night — except some wishes are meant to go sideways. Can Start Me Up help provide the solution he and King need?
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Copyright ©2020 Megan Slayer
King Mason tipped his face to the sky and breathed in the night air. For a December evening, the weather in Ohio was unseasonably warm. Probably good since the Christmas street party was scheduled for tonight. He wasn’t in the mood for dancing or drinking, but he wanted to be around people. For the last year, he’d drowned his sorrows in his work at the men’s shelter. He needed to forget his boyfriend, Chuck. Now ex-boyfriend. Chuck wanted to move on. He didn’t want a daddy. He wanted a pretty boy.
King gritted his teeth. Even thinking about Chuck’s term for him annoyed him. A daddy. So he was hairy. So he liked to take care of his partner. Was that bad? At least he could’ve been called a bear or something. He wasn’t super hairy, but more than a lot of guys. He’d never be pretty. It just wasn’t in his genetic makeup. He had scars from his antics as a child and would never not have five o’clock shadow. He looked rough.
He sighed and headed out to the street party. Guys he’d seen from the community, plus a whole lot more, had poured out to the streets. Guys of every shape, size, and so much red and green. Some guys had arrived in drag, sporting sumptuous glittery ball gowns and others with hair a good foot tall. He admired the drag queens. They had so much charisma and ferocity.
Christmas music played and lights glittered from every post. Whoever had done the decorating really liked the twinkle lights. Strands of tinsel blew in the slight breeze. The only way there could be more glitter would be to have someone tossing it from up above.
A guy sashayed passed King and flapped a length of garland at him. He’d decorated his blond wig with rhinestones and wore thick makeup, giving him the look of a tall version of the blond bombshell, Mae West — except with a moustache. “Come up and see me sometime,” the guy said and grinned. “When I’m bad, I’m better.”
King nodded. “Next time.” Everyone loved those old Mae West lines. He wandered through the men to the knot of his friends. Seeing the guys he knew and the ones who respected him helped. They wouldn’t ask about Chuck, and they wouldn’t bother him to hook up with someone else.
That didn’t mean he didn’t have a wish for Christmas. He tipped his face to the stars and murmured his desire. “Santa, I want a man for Christmas. A sweet one, who understands I want love and is willing to be a partner. Someone who will accept my idiosyncrasies and won’t run because I’m getting older.” He doubted there was enough magic in the cosmos to grant that wish, but it didn’t hurt to try. He wished the handsome man he’d seen wandering the community would be there. Every time he looked at the pretty blond man, sparks shot through his system. He’d like to hang some tinsel on him and kiss him under the mistletoe.
King snorted. He never considered himself a romantic, but he’d like to try a little romance with the blond — if he showed up.
“Gonna wrap someone in tinsel and kiss them under the mistletoe?” Todd asked. He’d made overtures toward King lots of times, but wasn’t quite what King wanted. “You keep telling me I’ll get a turn, but you’re always off with someone. You want to tease me, don’t you?”
“I wouldn’t say that.” King shrugged. “I’ve been single for almost a year.”
“Then take me home. We can play a game and hide presents from each other.” Todd trailed his fingers down King’s chest. “Or fuck. Who needs presents when you can fuck?”
“I’ll take it under consideration.” King smiled to hide his true feelings. He hated having to be on, but he wanted men to feel comfortable coming to the shelter, and Todd frequented the shelter — usually trolling for dates.
King prided himself in perpetuating a pleasant atmosphere at the shelter. The guys who showed up tended to be scared and at their wits’ end. Many had been disowned by family and were living on the fringes. They needed somewhere safe to exist and sort themselves out. Some needed to dry out, others needed to clean up… King wanted to be sure the guys were safe and had a friendly face at the desk.
Being a friendly face didn’t soothe his loneliness, especially at Christmas.
Kaz, a man King knew from the baths, crooked his brow. “Want to hook up in the changing rooms? Share a little Christmas cheer? I’ve got poppers.”
“Not tonight.” King wasn’t one for drinking, and he’d taken drugs exactly once — not his thing. The headache from the hangover was a drag, and the lone time he’d gotten high freaked him out too much. He hated losing control, and Kaz tended to fly a little too close to the edge for King. “Have a merry Christmas,” King said. “Happy New Year if I don’t see you before then.”
“You know I will — on both accounts.” Kaz shrugged. “If you’re interested, I’ll be at the baths until two.”
He didn’t doubt it. Kaz spent all his time looking for someone to fuck. King wasn’t one for casual. He wanted a steady guy. Someone to come home to, fuck, and love. Someone to hold when they slept. That’s what he wanted. Was that guy out there?
He hadn’t found the opportunity to talk to him. What if he could be King’s forever?
Darryl, the new owner of Start Me Up, strode up to King. “I hear you could use this.” He handed King a card. “I don’t know what for, and I don’t want to know. Take it.” He mashed the card into King’s hand. “Trust me.”
ABOUT MEGAN SLAYER
Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.
When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.