Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing ...
On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic at work after all.
Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime ... if they’re willing to accept it.
“What are your plans for Christmas?” I had no idea where the question came from, but when the light dimmed in his eyes, I instantly regretted it. It was probably a stark reminder he was alone for the holiday. Considering he was standing on the walk in front of my house the day before Christmas Eve -- unless he was travelling later that day or the next.
He shrugged and did his best to look unaffected. “You know, probably takeout on the couch with some movies.”
Crap. “Come spend the holiday with me.”
He blinked. “What?”
“Yeah. It’ll be great.” I hadn’t intended to invite him, sure, but I knew it was the right thing. “No one should be alone at Christmas. I have a movie fest on Christmas Eve. It’s my tradition, so you can do that with me instead of by yourself. And then Christmas Day we all gather at my family’s house.”
He didn’t say anything for a long moment. “I wouldn’t want to impose.”
I quickly shook my head and placed a hand on his arm. “I promise, you won’t be.”
He bounced in place, gaze darting around for a moment, and then let out a breath. “You sure?”
“Absolutely. Say you’ll come.”
Another few seconds of silence passed, and he nodded just once. “Okay. Thanks.”
Deacon’s smile was soft, and he shook his head. “You headed somewhere?”
“What? Oh yeah. Crap. I need to go into work for a few hours. If I don’t get a move on, I’ll be late.” I turned toward my car and then stopped and spun back. “But tomorrow you’ll be here?”
“Yes, Rory. I’ll be here.” He sounded amused.
“Okay. Good. Wait. Give me your number.” I fished my phone out of my pocket, unlocked it, and handed it over. He tapped at the screen and then handed it back. I shot out a quick text and heard his phone chime in his pocket. I grinned. “And now you have mine. I’ll talk to you later. I need to go.”
“Have a good day at work.” His grin was more of a smirk. He was trying for funny, and I laughed because he was adorable.
“Have a good run. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Deacon waved and jogged away. I watched him go for a minute to admire his strength and power, and then I chuckled to myself as I got in the car.
There was no doubt in my mind I was still attracted to him, but that wasn’t what it was about. I had to remind myself of that. We were friends spending the holiday together. That’s all it was. And since that was a very good thing, I didn’t try to stop the smile that didn’t want to leave my lips.