Devon Gateman has been in a partnership with his much younger lover, Jake Lewis, for almost three years. Christmas is approaching, and he wants to make it special. He brings home a live goose, intending to prepare an uber special Christmas Eve supper. Using a little spicy persuasion, Devon convinces his lover to accept the animal…for a few days, anyway.
At first, Jake is flattered that Devon brought home a goose. He knows his man has the best of intentions. Unfortunately, caring for the animal for a week falls on him. During that time, Jake actually comes to care for the honking, ankle-biting, guard-goose-terrier of a bird.
Then events happen that make Jake realize he can’t break the trust of his weird new friend. Can he come up with an alternative for dinner that will be just as special?
Jake Lewis bobbed his head as he sang along with the Christmas carol. Leaning forward in his driver’s seat, he squinted through the windshield. The darkness and heavy snowfall made seeing too far in front of him tough.
“Fiiiiiive golden rings!” Jake felt the wheels of his Jeep slide a little and snapped his mouth shut. Gritting his teeth, he white-knuckled the steering wheel. When Jake felt the tires catch on the freshly fallen snow, he relaxed back into his seat and started singing along again—under his breath, however, since most of his concentration was still on the road and getting home safely.
“…seventh day of Christmas my—shit, it’s a snowstorm, moron. Slow down,” Jake snapped as he saw a car slide through the four-way stop intersection in front of him. Shaking his head, he waited and watched the driver re-gain control and trundle off. Jake started across the intersection. “…to me, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, fiiiiive…”
Jake turned into the driveway of the home he shared with his partner, Devon Gateman. After hitting the button to open the garage door, he smiled. Seeing Devon’s BMW already inside, he knew his big, dark-skinned lover had beat him home.
As Jake parked, he found he wasn’t surprised. Devon worked less than fifteen minutes from their home as a chiropractor who owned his own practice. That meant he could set his hours and change them if need be…like when a snowstorm blew in.
Jake was in his senior year of college and wasn’t nearly as fortunate. Snow or not, his afternoon class had still been held. Since Jake was working to get top marks for his Bachelor of Science degree, he couldn’t skip his advanced biology class.
After turning off his Jeep, Jake grabbed the strap of his school satchel. He opened his door and slid from the vehicle. As Jake closed the door, he slung the bag over his shoulder. Jingling the keys in his right hand, he hurried to the door, a spring in his step.
Not only couldn’t he wait to see Devon—even after almost three years, his love for the amazing man still seemed to be growing—but he loved the holidays. They were planning to trim the Christmas tree that evening. As Jake opened the man-sized garage door that led into the laundry room, he could already hear the carols filling the house.
Jake grinned, enjoying the soothing tones of Elvis Presley singing about being blue for Christmas. Shaking his head, he chuckled under his breath. Learning Devon had a secret infatuation with The King had been a surprise, but since Jake enjoyed most of his music, he didn’t mind.
After toeing off his sneakers, Jake removed his coat, hat, and gloves, hanging them up to dry. He hummed along with the song as he exited the room and entered the kitchen. Setting his bag on the counter, he rummaged through it until he found the plastic container that had held his lunch sandwich. That he opened, rinsed in the sink, then placed into the dishwasher. After rinsing the plastic baggy he’d used for his dill spear, he placed it upside-down in the drain rack to dry.
Jake glanced around, surprised to see that Devon hadn’t appeared, yet. “Devon?” he called, picking up his bag and heading through the dining room and toward the stairs.
He’d just placed his foot on the first step when he heard Devon holler back, “That you, Jake?”
But that wasn’t why Jake had paused. Cocking his head, he stared at the baby gate spread across the open French doors that led to Devon’s home office. Scratching his head, Jake set his satchel on the steps, then headed that way.
Reaching the blocked off room, Jake couldn’t help the way his jaw sagged open in shock. His lover’s desk had been pushed to one side, and all the books that had been on the bottom three shelves had been piled upon it. There were newspapers spread out on the floor as well as a kiddie pool in the corner. Towels curved around the exterior of the plastic, water-filled item, probably to offer extra stability as well as to soak up spilled water.
However, Jake’s gaze remained riveted on the animal placidly eating from a doggie-style bowl full of what appeared to be spinach and lettuce.
“Devon?” Jake shouted, confusion mixing with alarm. “Why is there a goose in your office?”
God, what a weird thing to ask.
Jake heard Devon’s slow, slightly awkward gait as his lover descended the stairs. His man had been in a car accident years before they’d met, and his knee and thigh were heavily scarred. While it limited Devon’s mobility at times, Jake never found the man lacking in any way.
Still, Jake couldn’t seem to pull his attention away from the goose. When he’d hollered, the animal’s head had jerked up. It began honking and heading toward Jake, so he backed up a few steps.
He didn’t know how long a goose’s reach was, or if it was strong enough to get through the gate. Hell, for all Jake knew it could fly over the barrier. After all, it was a bird.
“Hi, hon,” Devon greeted, wrapping his arms around Jake from behind. He dipped his head and nuzzled Jake’s neck with his soft goatee hair. “Welcome home.”
Jake tipped his head to the side, giving Devon more room. Resting his hands over his dark-skinned lover’s strong forearms, he hummed appreciatively. As much as he loved the feel of Devon’s facial hair teasing along his neck, even that couldn’t distract Jake.
“Hi, Devon. Thanks.” Then Jake returned to his original inquiry. “Why is there a goose in your office?”
Devon chuckled, the sound deep and husky in a way that caused Jake’s balls to tingle and his blood to flow south.
Damn, my man does it for me.