Blake has big plans for the holidays. With no skills at all in the kitchen nor in decorating, he still decides to try and create the “perfect Tygerian Christmas.” He orders a complete holiday meal—like the ones he remembers from Earth. His reasoning is that Tygerians have no idea what they’re missing, and they’d love Christmas and holiday meals if they were just exposed to them. He plans a big dinner with all the trimmings and plans to teach the holiday traditions to all his sons and create wonderful new Christmas memories.

His plans begin to unravel when one thing after another goes wrong. No one seems to care, the food he ordered is all wrong and he loses his temper, along with the joy he used to find in the holiday. Davos is out of town, avoiding him, and none of his children seem interested at all in his plans. Blake’s hidden fears bubble to the surface and he wonders why he even tries. Frustrated and unhappy, he wishes he’d never come to Tygeria in the first place, throws a jar of gravy against the wall, and slips in the greasy mess, knocking himself out. When he wakes up, his whole life has changed, and he gets the chance to see what his life might have been like if he'd never come to Tygeria or met Davos or had any children at all. He learns that sometimes life is really wonderful after all, and it’s a terrible mistake to throw it all away. Because love, like the holiday spirit, can show up where it's least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it's been there all along.

A Tygerian Christmas
0 Ratings (0.0)
In Bookshelf
In Cart
In Wish List
Available formats

"What’s wrong with Blake?" Ryan asked, glancing over at his father-in-law as the family gathered for the nightly family dinner. Mikos shrugged, while continuing to chow down on his orlew stew, a spicy meat dish that Ryan heartily disliked. For one thing, it smelled like someone had boiled up an old shoe, and for another, the meat, though it came from a domestic animal and was the Tygerian version of beef, was greasy and an odd, grayish color.

Ryan was eating a salad, the iceberg lettuce and a few of the other greens grown in Blake’s personal hot house, where he grew some of his favorite Earth vegetables. Not so much he, personally, but the gardeners Davos had hired. Doing it himself would have entailed Blake putting his hands in dirt and risking the chance that a bug or God forbid, a worm or two, might be lurking around, ready to crawl on him, and Blake didn’t do bugs and worms.

The small, heated building, made entirely from some glass-like substance, had been a gift from King Davos a few years earlier, and Blake and Ryan supplemented most of their meals from the garden’s bounty. Davos had arranged for the seeds for the vegetables to be brought in by Nilanium traders either directly from Earth or from the old Earth colonies in the solar system, all of which were now Tygerian territories.

“You’ll have indigestion later, you know,” Ryan said, glancing over at Mikos and addressing his remarks to him, as he filled his bowl with stew again. “You’ll be up half the night, complaining about your stomach.”

Mikos gave him a sideways glance. “I may indeed be up half the night, but not because of any stomach issues.” He leaned over and murmured in Ryan’s ear. “Have I mentioned how good you look in that robe, nobyo? Though the fabric is a little too thin, don’t you think?”

Mikos eyed the perfectly inoffensive silk of Ryan’s robe critically, reaching over to finger it and managing to grope Ryan pretty effectively while he was at it. “Yes, this is way too flimsy—it’s practically see-through. We’ll have to get you out of that as soon as possible. Let’s go to our bedroom and talk about it.”

Ryan slapped his hand under the table. “It’s fur-lined, as you well know, and definitely not see-through. And Blake would have a fit if we left now. Behave yourself before someone sees you fooling around.”

“Let them,” he replied with a smile, leaning back in his chair. “Besides, no one’s looking at us,” Mikos glanced down the table. “My omak is moping around about something, and I’d be willing to bet that Rakkur and Tilar are busy making plans to sneak out later tonight after omak goes to bed. Look at them. They’re plotting trouble right now, as bold as brass.”

Ryan smiled at the old Earthan expression coming from this fierce alien prince. Blake’s fault, of course, who never discouraged his children speaking the same way he did, even down to his old-fashioned Earthan slang. He always said they didn’t look anything like him, but he’d try to make sure they at least sounded like him. Their conversation was full of not only old Earthan expressions, but some old southern ones too, as Blake had been born in the southern part of what was formerly called America. Occasionally, Ryan had even noticed a slight southern accent creeping into his husband’s voice.

Rakkur, Mikos’s youngest brother, was seated beside Tilar, his nephew and the son of his brother Vannos. Tilar was only a few years older than Rakkur, so during his extended visit, they’d become close friends. Tilar had come to visit Blake “for the summer” back in what Ryan called “summer” though there were no real seasons on Tygeria. He’d never left and was now Rakkur’s partner in crime.  Vannos, who was married to King Stefan of Moravia, was allowing his son to hide out from his husband, the king of Moravia, who had been trying to arrange a marriage for him. Tilar apparently didn’t much care for the intended groom and was making that clear to his father, with Blake’s able assistance. Between the two of them, they kept coming up with one excuse after another for Tilar to extend his stay on Tygeria.

Smaller and more human looking than any of his brothers, the blond, blue-eyed Rakkur greatly resembled his father Blake, which was to say he was extraordinarily beautiful for a male. He was also wilder and more spoiled than any of the other brothers had been, even Nicarr, though Davos and Mikos tried valiantly to keep a tight rein on him. Blake had been far too indulgent with his youngest son, in Mikos’s estimation, though Ryan thought Mikos might also be a bit jealous of their close relationship.

Tilar, who looked like his father, Vannos, except for his mahogany-colored hair, was usually as easy-going and sensitive as his Tygerian father too, which made his rebellion against whoever it was that had been chosen for him all the more strange. Tilar’s latest gambit had been to ask if he could stay for the “Christmas holidays.” Vannos, who knew how important the Earth holidays were to Blake, had sent gifts for the family to help Blake keep up the pretense that Christmas was a real thing on Tygeria. Blake’s family, all of whom adored him, tried to help him pretend, each one in their own way, and he’d been trying to promote the holiday for twenty plus years.

With very little luck so far.

Most of his sons tried to help him and came to see him when he told them the “holidays” were near. Not Larz, in particular, who didn’t spend much time at home any more. Or Anarr, who was a Lycan voyager, or trader, along with his husband, Renard, and who came only when he was in the same galaxy—which wasn’t often. This year, he’d sent his regrets. The remaining two sons, Derrick and Nicarr had arrived back home in response to Blake’s invitation, however, and they were at the moment both off somewhere with their husbands. Nicarr had said he’d be visiting old friends, and Derrick, accompanied by Rhaegar, his pirate husband, were probably drinking and partying at some Tygerian pub or other. Ryan doubted they’d see any of them before morning.

Ryan was still hoping his son Mikol and his new mate, Kalen, would come for the holiday, like he’d promised, though if he did plan on making it, they were cutting it really close. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve, after all, which was Blake’s favorite day of the Christmas season.

Read more