Today I am so pleased to welcome Keira Andrews to Joyfully Jay. Keira has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Santa Daddy. She has also brought along a giveaway to share. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

 

Excerpt

Of course Hunter staying the night was a terrible idea, but Nick couldn’t seem to do anything but grin to himself as Hunter hung up with CAA.

“I assume you got all that? They are way over capacity. Said they’ll come tomorrow and tow the car back to my mom’s house, or a garage if it’s damaged. So…”

Nick took the carton of eggs out of the fridge, glancing over to see Hunter watching him with apprehension and an unmistakable flicker of eagerness. Nick said, “So you should stay the night. I have a guest room. You’ll be safe here.”

Hunter bit his lip. “You really don’t mind? I don’t want to be a pain.” Nick could almost see the insecurity and self-doubt flood Hunter’s mind. “I’m sure I can figure something out. Maybe I can—”

“You can stay.” He repeated, “You’ll be safe here. And welcome. All right?”

“Yeah? Okay, cool.”

“How do you like your eggs?”

“Huh? Oh! Uh, over-easy?”

“Is that how you like them? You don’t sound sure.”

“Yes.” He laughed nervously. “Over-easy, please.”

“Done.” Nick returned to the pan and grabbed the bacon with tongs, plopping the strips on a paper-towel-covered plate while shooing Ella away.

He realized with a pang that Hunter would be the first man to sleep over since Eric’s death. A few had come over for sex, but Nick had never considered having them stay. Granted, there was a raging blizzard, and he couldn’t exactly turn Hunter out.

Of course he heard Eric’s teasing brogue in his mind on cue.

You want him to stay, and the blizzard is very convenient, isn’t it? He’s a beautiful boy. Why shouldn’t he stay? You’ve been a lonely grump far too long, my love.

Nick couldn’t argue that he’d been alone a long time. He hadn’t thought of himself as particularly lonely, but… Regardless, he shouldn’t get ahead of himself.

John had said Hunter lived in Toronto, and this would obviously only be a holiday fling—assuming it even happened. Hunter might end up sleeping in the guest room after all. He was staying a night—not moving in.

Hunter’s voice came from the couch as Nick cracked the eggs into the greasy pan. “Hey, Mom. Yeah, it’s crazy, huh? Is it bad in town?” He was silent a few moments, then he said, “Wow. Way more snow than they were calling for. It’s a blizzard out here. And I’m fine, but—” He sighed heavily. “Mom. I just said I’m fine. Would you let me finish? The car slid into a ditch, but I’m not hurt. I don’t think there’s any damage to the car, but I’m not positive. CAA said they’ll get it tomorrow and tow it to you.” After a pause, he said, “I’m not hurt at all, I promise. Yeah, I’m going to stay the night. Uh-huh. He’s really nice.”

Nick gave him a dubious smirk as he grabbed the sourdough loaf from atop the fridge. Hunter said into the phone, “Okay. Love you too, Mom. Walk carefully tomorrow.” He hung up.

“‘Really nice’ is a generous assessment,” Nick noted.

Hunter shrugged. “It’s like with the kids. You were actually sweet with them in the end.”

“Hmm.” He flipped the eggs. “Am I being sweet with you now?” He hadn’t meant it to sound suggestive, but somehow it had.

Hunter shifted on the couch, looking a little flustered. “I dunno. I guess?”

Guilt still nagged. “You really could have ended up in a bad way this morning. I didn’t realize a storm was blowing in.”

“It’s okay, really.”

Nick put two slices of bread in the toaster. “I don’t know if I deserve your forgiveness.”

“Well, you have it.” There was no question in Hunter’s tone, and when Nick glanced over, Hunter nodded seriously. “Don’t worry about it anymore. I’m fine, and you’re making it up to me, remember?”

Their gazes held, silence in the house but for the fire crackling and eggs sizzling. Nick nodded slowly. “I will.” Oh, he was going to make it up to Hunter all right. He was going to—

The toast popped up, and they both jerked before laughing. Nick quickly slid the eggs from the pan onto plates before they overcooked, and put down two more pieces of bread in the toaster.

“Can you grab a couple place mats and cutlery? In those two drawers.” He nodded toward them. “We can eat by the window.” His round dining table of sturdy oak and four matching chairs sat by the wide expanse of glass.

Feet silent in the big socks Nick gave him, Hunter padded over to the kitchen. He gave Ella—clearly torn between him and staying near the bacon—more rubs and set the table, humming a carol. “Joy to the World,” Nick thought. He rarely heard Christmas music nowadays—although he’d gotten his fill at the mall—but he found he liked Hunter’s gentle hum.

Nick fetched the butter crock and brought their plates and toast to the table, putting the plates on the cork-backed place mats, which depicted forest and lake scenes painted by the Group of Seven.

After tossing Ella a piece of bacon, he pointed to her bed and snapped his fingers. She went, gobbling down the meat. She’d be giving them puppy eyes, but Nick didn’t let her beg by the table. If she was good, she’d get another bacon strip when they were finished.

As Hunter sat, he seemed to realize he was humming and broke off with a guilty expression. “Sorry. I can’t get Christmas music out of my head.”

Nick smiled. “Peril of the job. Orange juice? Or I can put more coffee on. I don’t have any tea.” Being a Scot, Eric had drank it daily, but Nick had never taken to it.

“Juice is awesome, thanks.” Hunter slathered butter on his toast and dipped it into an egg, smearing the yolk around. “Mmm. This is perfect.”

Nick got their juice and sat across from him at the round table. They ate in comfortable quiet, the wind howling, trees barely visible through the whiteout. The fire roared, keeping them toasty while Mother Nature raged, and the meal was salty and hearty. It really was perfect. Nick couldn’t recall the last time he’d felt so…peaceful in someone’s company.

Eventually, Nick said, “John mentioned you came out in high school. Impressive.”

Hunter shrugged, swiping with his tongue at a dribble of yolk in the corner of his mouth. “My one moment of bravery. I got so pissed with the teasing I couldn’t take it anymore. My friend Shelby thinks the bully was probably in the closet. Maybe she’s right.”

“That’s often the way it seems to go. And I’m sure there’s much more bravery in you. Don’t sell yourself short.”

Hunter scoffed. “I doubt it.”

Ignoring that, Nick asked, “Then you went to U of T?” He took a bite of warm, buttery bread.

“Yeah, for the all the good it did me. If you want to know about the arbitrary nature of rule itself in Arthurian legend, I can tell you all about it. Not much good in the real world. But I always sucked at math and science—my brain just doesn’t work that way, you know? So I got my English degree, and now… I don’t know. I figured marketing and communications since I’m a pretty good writer. I’ve had three unpaid internships—doing mostly promo type of stuff. There don’t seem to be any actual jobs. It’s a little depressing.”

Nick remembered his judgment of Hunter wanting to be paid for being an elf and felt like an ass. “That’s frustrating. Although I don’t think education is ever useless. I never went to university, and I wish I had sometimes.”

“Yeah, I guess. I just feel like…” He toyed with a strip of bacon, picking it up and shredding off a piece. “I should be getting a real job, like in an office. But I don’t think I really want to. I mean, I know most people don’t like their jobs, but the whole nine-to-five thing in the city? My soul was being sucked out already. But obviously I need to suck it up.”

“And be miserable?” Hunter’s uncertainty and turmoil made Nick want to reach for him. He kept hold of his cutlery. “Don’t make yourself unhappy doing something you believe you ‘should.’ There are plenty of things people think I should do. But I know myself.”

“Yeah, I mean, you’re so…” Hunter waved his hand. “Confident and stuff.” He chewed the bacon and asked, “Do you enjoy your job?”

“I do, yes. Always have.”

“What’s it like? I know you cut down the trees to sell in November and December, but what about the rest of the year?”

“January and February are quiet. I still check on the trees regularly, so I keep busy. Spring is planting season, of course. Have to watch the late frosts here. Then the warmer months are filled with weeding and insect-management. Also shearing to make sure the trees grow in the right shape.”

Hunter frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Douglas firs are generally a natural cone shape that people want for Christmas trees, but I still have to keep an eye on them. Scotch pine needs regular shearing, though.”

“Huh. I guess I thought Christmas trees just…grew like that.”

“Not in the perfect shape, I’m afraid. My job would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to shear and guide them.”

“How many trees do you have?”

“About seventy-five thousand on fifty acres.”

Hunter’s eyebrows shot up. “Whoa. That sounds like a lot.”

“It’s big enough. There are massive operations that would dwarf my farm, and smaller ones as well. It’s a lot of work for one person, but I manage. I’m used to long days.”

Eric’s voice piped up with: Yes, because if you’re a workaholic, you don’t have time to think about how lonely you’ve become out here.

“Wow.” Hunter scratched at his neck, and Nick’s eyes dropped to his collarbones before he forced his gaze back to his plate. “Do people come and cut their own trees?”

“Hell no.” Nick grimaced at the thought. “I sell to nurseries and stores. Last thing I want is people tramping around here with axes they don’t know how to use.”

Hunter chuckled. “Fair enough. I remember going to some place when I was a kid, and we made a wreath.”

“Mmm. I sell greenery for that. Wreaths are good business. Does your mom do a tree?”

“Um…” Hunter winced.

Nick had to laugh. “Don’t tell me she has a fake tree. You know those things will sit in a landfill forever.”

“I know! If it’s any consolation, it’s the same old tree we’ve had as long as I can remember.” He peered around. “For a Christmas tree farm, there is a distinct lack of holiday decoration.”

Nick hadn’t really thought about it. “I suppose there is. Doesn’t seem worth it when it’s just me and Ella. She’ll probably try to eat everything anyway.” He thought back to something Hunter had said earlier. “Where’s your mom walking to tomorrow? You mentioned it on the phone. Sorry for eavesdropping.”

“It’s okay—hard not to hear when we’re in the same room. She works at the hospital, and it’s close enough to walk since she won’t have the car back.”

“Ah.” Distant memories of Eric and that gray brick building flitted through his mind. “What’s her name? John mentioned it, but I can’t recall.”

“Pam Adams?”

“Hmm. I don’t know if I ever met her.” He realized Hunter might not understand what he was talking about, but before he could explain, Hunter nodded.

“I think once or twice? She remembered you. And…him, obviously.” Hunter glanced toward the fireplace. “Is that… Is he with you in that picture?”

The rustic wooden mantel was an old railway tie, and there were a few framed pictures atop it. “Yes. Eric.” Nick looked toward the photos across the room even though he’d seen them a million times. “That was on my birthday one year. Long time ago now.”

The memory was faded, a summer barbecue at the cottage of a friend Nick hadn’t spoken to in years. He’d drifted away from almost everyone, and if not for John’s stubbornness, he wouldn’t know any of the old group anymore.

“He had a great smile.”

Nick smiled himself, bittersweet memories filling his mind before receding. “He did. He was brilliant, although he struggled to believe that sometimes. His parents were harsh.” They hadn’t approved of his homosexuality either, and Nick was glad they were back in Scotland and he’d never had to deal with them.

“What about your parents?”

“I never knew my father. My mother died years ago now.” The distant ache of her loss was familiar and bittersweet in its own way. “Lost touch with the rest of the family over the years. My brother lives in BC. We email once in a while.”

Hunter was quiet a moment. “I didn’t know my father either. It sucked, but it was what it was. My mom’s amazing, and so’s my sister.”

Nick went to the fireplace and tossed in a couple logs, sparks spraying. He nodded to the mantel and the other silver-framed pictures. “The golden retriever’s Max, and that’s John and Desmond with me and Eric in that one shot.”

“I’ve never actually met Desmond, but I’m sure he’s great. John’s always been awesome to me.”

“They’re good friends. Stubborn friends, luckily for me.” From her bed in the kitchen, Ella whined. Nick laughed. “Want to give her that last piece of bacon? Unless you want it.”

“I could never deprive her.” Hunter went and knelt by her bed, and she licked his face while he laughed, the sweet, low sound echoing through the house. He stood and grabbed the bacon, Ella practically leaping up to the counter.

Nick should have scolded her, but he didn’t as Hunter fed her, still laughing. Instead, Nick said, “She lives to eat.”

The phone rang, and Ella barked. Nick shushed her as he went to pick up the receiver by the couch. He still had an old wired phone since cordless receivers didn’t work in power outages, and in an ice storm electricity could go out for days. “Hello?”

John’s deep, cheerful voice filled his ear. “Nick! How’s it going out there? Thought I’d check in on you.”

“We’re fine. Getting a lot more snow than expected but still have power. Can’t complain.”

“We, huh? Wasn’t sure if Hunter would make it. How’s he working out?”

“We can’t do much until the storm passes, but…” He cleared his throat. “I’m sure he’ll be a hard worker. For now we’re snowed in.”

John’s laughter boomed. “You’re fucking him already, aren’t you?”

“What? No!”

“Oh, don’t try to deny it. I know you too well, my friend. If you haven’t tapped that fine ass yet, you will soon.”

Nick grumbled, “Whatever.”

“Well, that works out for me, because I have another favor to ask.”

“No. Whatever it is, no.”

“There’s one more weekend of Santa’s Village. There’s buzz around town about hot Santa. You’re such a recluse, and people are curious. And if you and Hunter are fucking, I’m sure you won’t mind spending more time ogling him in his tights.”

He wanted to deny the ogling, but couldn’t with Hunter listening—and because it would be a lie. “I have too much work.”

“May I remind you that it’s for charity? Think of the children.”

“You’re a son of a bitch, you know that?”

“Yep. You and Hunter enjoy yourselves. See you Saturday!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Nick hung up and turned back to Hunter. “Well, I guess we’ll be teaming up in Santa’s Village again this weekend.”

Hunter grinned. “I guess John really can get you to do something you don’t want to.”

Nick chuckled. “Yes. One of the few.” He smiled over at Ella. “And her, of course.”

Hunter toyed with the frayed seam on one of the sweatshirt’s cuffs. “I guess we really are snowed in, huh?”

“Seems that way.” Anticipation skipped through him as Hunter neared to stand before him on the blue rug.

Hunter asked, “What should we do?” He peeked up at Nick through his thick lashes. Was he trying to be…seductive? Nick honestly couldn’t tell, but he hoped so.

Of course the best thing to do would be to put physical distance between them. Stay professional. Avoid complications.

Eric’s voice echoed again in his head before Nick banished it.

Oh, however will you pass the time? The poor lad still needs warming up, surely…

Nick heard himself say, “I promised I’d make it up to you. Being such an ass earlier.”

Hunter stared up at him, his lips parting. He scratched his neck, tugging down the low collar of the baggy sweatshirt. Before Nick could shove his hands in his pockets, he was reaching out and brushing his thumb over the knob of a collarbone. Hunter sucked in a little gasp.

Nick pulled his hand back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. That was inapprop—”

Hunter lunged, kissing him forcefully, his arms looping around Nick’s neck and tugging him down. He’d apparently found another moment of bravery inside him, and Nick felt strangely proud of him.

The kiss was clumsy—but, oh, the hunger in it fired Nick’s blood. He opened his mouth, urging Hunter’s lips to part so their tongues could meet.

The sweatshirt bunched up under his hands, and Nick stroked Hunter’s back, stopping at the cotton of his underwear even though he wanted to rip them off, the PJ bottoms sliding low on Hunter’s hips. Ella barked, butting against their legs.

Moaning as he gasped into Nick’s mouth, Hunter rubbed against him, actual static electricity sparking on the flannel of Nick’s shirt. Hunter yelped and jerked back, laughing. Nick smiled, and they both laughed at Ella by their feet, barking and confused by what exactly her master was doing.

Nick snapped his fingers and ordered her back to the kitchen. “Bed. Now.” She hesitated, barking softly and looking between Nick and Hunter. Then she obeyed, still tense and giving them a decidedly judgy glare.

Laughing softly, Hunter ran his palms over Nick’s pecs with awe. “Oh my God, did I really do that? Is this really happening?”

Nick held Hunter’s waist. “Do you want this to happen?”

“Yes.” He nodded vigorously, meeting Nick’s eyes.

“You’re feeling all right?”

“Uh-huh,” Hunter breathed, his arms snaking around Nick’s waist as he thrust his swelling cock against Nick’s hip. “I could have died out there, and I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m positive I want to do this. I need…” He panted softly, licking his lips. “I need to get out of my own way.” He stared up at Nick, his expression open and vulnerable. “Will you help me? Please?”

Nick slid a hand beneath the sweatshirt, teasing one of Hunter’s nipples. Hunter shivered as Nick circled rhythmically with his thumb. “You need to get out of your own way?”

Tensing, Hunter dropped his gaze. “That must sound stupid. It’s something my friend Shelby says, and—never mind.”

There it was, that anxious self-doubt that Nick instinctively wanted to calm. He could practically hear Hunter berating himself, and he wanted to take control and give him the freedom to stop worrying. To help ground him. He pressed his palm over Hunter’s thudding heart.

Hunter was still doubting and tense. “I need… I don’t know what. I’m such a mess.”

“Maybe you need a daddy.” As Nick said it, it felt right, and goddamn, he wanted this. More than he’d thought.

Hunter stared up at him, his eyes widening as he whispered, “What?” He looked truly shocked, his hands jerking on Nick’s waist before dropping, his fingers twisting anxiously.

Damn it. Nick had gone too far. “Never mind.” He stepped away, though his body protested, his cock demanding friction and his hands eager for more skin. “I need to…” He cast about for tasks. “Stoke the fire and let Ella out.”

But Hunter reached for him, snagging Nick by his belt. “Wait.” He looked down at his hand, as if surprised to see it grabbing onto the black leather. Brow creasing, he licked his lips. “Did you mean…”

“It was inappropriate. You’re probably still in shock from the accident.” This was the part when Nick would gently ease Hunter’s fingers from his belt and walk away.

Any second now.

Hunter stepped closer, the rug thick beneath their feet. Nick gripped with his toes in his wool socks instead of walking away like he was supposed to.

Yep. Any second now. Walking away. He’d gone too far.

“So you did mean like…” Hunter blinked up at him. “Like that?”

Lust hung thick in the air with the husk of their breathing and a spray of sparks in the fireplace as a log shifted. Nick couldn’t look away from Hunter’s hopeful blue eyes, glowing with such innocence and desire.

Then Hunter dropped his hand and head, shoulders hunching. He crossed his arms like a shield. “Never mind. I’m an idiot. The cold obviously affected my brain. I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

Sighing in silent relief, Nick took Ella outside, cooled off, and he and Hunter spent the rest of the day with polite distance between them as they watched movies. The next day, Hunter went home, and Nick returned to his solitude, so busy with work he barely had time to think of anything, let alone the narrow escape he’d made from an enticing complication he didn’t need in his life.

Well.

That would have been the smart thing to do, but Nick couldn’t bear the defeat in Hunter’s voice—how the tremor returned as he stared at his feet, looking unbearably fragile.

So instead of walking away, Nick said clearly and confidently, “Yes. That’s what I meant.” When Hunter’s head whipped up, his eyes wide again, Nick held his gaze and asked, “Have you ever had a daddy?”

Hunter swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “No,” he whispered. “But I want one.”

Copyright © Keira Andrews


Blurb

Mall Santas aren’t supposed to be hot

Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts.

When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

Santa Daddy is a holiday gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring an age gap, steamy m/m first times, daddy role-playing and light spanking, Christmas romance feels, and of course a happy ending.


Bio

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”


Giveaway

Keira has brought a $5 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, December 5th at 11:59 pm ET.


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