Christmas means two things for Percy—a sad turkey meal he can’t eat since he’s a vampire, and even sadder memories. He didn’t expect this year to be any different, but he hadn’t counted on meeting Roan.
Roan comes from a big, happy family, and he hates the thought of anyone spending Christmas alone. When he bumps into Percy at the grocery store, it’s obvious from the contents of Percy’s basket that it’s exactly what he’s going to do, and when Percy loses his wallet, Roan sees it as an opportunity to change that.
Percy is surprised when Roan knocks on his door on Christmas day, and even more surprised when he realizes why Roan is there. Will he be able to open his heart again? Or will the memories of his past cling to him and make him pass up this new chance at happiness?
Percy scowled at the little girl blocking his way. He needed to get into the soap and lotions aisle, and he couldn’t, not with the girl sitting in the middle of the grocery store, playing with a unicorn and a doll. Where was her mother?
Percy looked around, but he didn’t see anyone who looked like the girl or was frantically looking for their child. He looked down at the girl again and wrinkled his nose.
He had to go, but he couldn’t leave the child there on her own. Or could he? He was so very tempted to do just that, but while he might be a vampire, that didn’t mean he was cruel or callous.
He crouched next to the girl, ignoring the people coming and going around them, doing the last of their Christmas shopping. He shouldn’t have left it until the last minute, but he’d hoped people had gotten more intelligent over the past year, enough to realize Christmas shopping shouldn’t be left until December 24th.
They hadn’t, and the grocery store was full of people.
“Hi,” Percy told the girl.
She looked up and blinked, unicorn in one hand, doll in the other.
“Where’s your mom?” Percy asked when she didn’t say anything.
“I can’t talk to strangers,” the girl said instead of answering Percy’s questions.
“You don’t have to talk to me. You just need to go find your mom.”
“She told me to wait here.”
Good Lord. The mother had left her kid alone on purpose? What was Percy supposed to do? “All right. Can you at least move to the side? People need to be able to walk into the aisle.”
“I don’t wanna.”
Percy gritted his teeth. He was tempted to flash the kid his fangs, but the last thing he needed was to alarm the people in the store.
“What are you doing to my baby?” a woman yelled from behind Percy.
He got up and turned to face whom he supposed was the girl’s mother. The woman was pushing a full cart, but she let it go as soon as she was close enough to snatch the girl from the floor and press her to her chest. The cart continued in its path and hit Percy’s hip.
“Holy fucking shit!” Percy yelped. The woman gasped and covered her daughter’s ears. Percy scowled at her.
“I wasn’t doing anything to your daughter except asking her to move so I could pass.”
The woman stared at him with narrowed eyes. “You leave her alone.”
“Oh, trust me, I’d be delighted to know that she’s not blocking my way anymore.”
He clearly wasn’t going to get any kind of apology from the woman, so he stomped away, making his way toward the lotions part of the shelves.
And of course, his favorite lotion was sold out, its spot on the shelf woefully empty. Percy’s day kept getting worse as it unfolded. He should have stayed in bed that morning. He would have if he hadn’t felt the need to follow his stupid Christmas tradition. Really, what vampire bought turkey for Christmas even though they couldn’t eat it?
Percy glanced at his still empty basket and huffed. He reached for his second favorite lotion and threw two bottles of it into the basket, just in case, then turned to go get tissues and lube. While he was there, he remembered he also needed to buy napkins—even vampires needed to clean their mouth when they were done eating—and dish soap.
The last thing he stopped to grab was the turkey—sliced and already cooked. It didn’t look particularly tasty, but he wasn’t going to eat it anyway. He’d just stare at it for a few hours while he remembered Robert and the good times they’d had together, then he’d throw it to the stray cats that lived in the alley next to his apartment building.
His basket was full by the time he headed toward the cashiers, his wallet already in hand. He took the money he’d need from it and pushed it back into the back pocket of his jeans. He had to avoid humans going crazy over the last can of cranberry sauce in one of the aisles, and when he turned into the next one, something hit his legs.
He stumbled, his hands shooting forward on instinct, his basket tilting and emptying its contents onto the store floor. Percy managed not to fall to his knees, but the damage was done. His basket was on the floor, half-empty, and the little girl from before was giggling, laughing at him.
He glared at her and hissed, baring his fangs. She stopped giggling, her eyes going wide and her lower lip trembling. Then she turned around and ran, crying for her mom.
Percy knew he was evil for doing that, but he couldn’t even bring himself to feel guilty. He looked at his stuff, still spread on the floor, and sighed before kneeling down.
A hand hit his as he reached for the tissues. He looked up and blinked at the sight of the most beautiful brown eyes he’d ever seen.
They belonged to a man—of course they did. A man who was picking Percy’s stuff up and setting it back into his basket. The man looked at Percy and smiled, gently taking the box of tissues from Percy’s hand and putting it next to the lotion bottles before picking up the lube.
If Percy could have blushed, he would have. He didn’t use much lube since most of his sexy encounters happened with his own hand, but of course, the sexiest man he’d seen in a long time had to be the one to help him and pick it up.
The man looked at the lube, smiled, and put it into the basket without saying anything. He looked amused, which helped to loosen the knot in Percy’s gut, but not by much.