Max Futé and Avery “Smitty” Schmidt are both doctors who work for the Washington Bureau of Intelligence and Security. They’ve settled into a comfortable relationship, and although Max assures him otherwise, Smitty is waiting for the other shoe to drop. That will be when Charles Browne, Max’s former lover, realizes what he’s let slip through his fingers and comes to take Max back.
Although Charles had enjoyed having Max in his bed, he’s always declared he wasn’t gay. And finding solace with other men after Max left him had nothing to do with ... anything. Now, however, he’s found a woman who ticks all his boxes in spite of her somewhat kinky tastes.
Will Santa give them each what they want most this Christmas?
They stayed after hours at the WBIS, first setting up the larger tree in the doctors’ lounge, then tacking up the pine garlands. With that done, they began stringing the icicle lights along the corridor.
“This is going to make Medical the most festive department in the entire WBIS.” Max was pleased with the results and was glad Smitty had persuaded him to decorate.
Smitty came up behind Max, wrapped his arms around him, and nuzzled a path up the side of his neck. “It will. Foreign Affairs is going to be seriously pissed off.”
“It’s Christmas, Smitty,” Max chided, leaning back and enjoying the sensual feel of it. Foreign Affairs was Charles’s department, and although Smitty was smart enough not to say anything bad about Charles in Max’s presence, Max knew there was no love lost between the medical examiner and the special agent, not that Max had revealed the way Charles had treated him before they’d parted ways. Smitty was astute enough to read between the lines, and Max waiting for him with a couple of brown grocery bags filled with his belongings was a dead giveaway, as M. Vincent liked to say, that things had not been going well. “Be kind.”
Max also knew Smitty worried that one day Charles would realize what he’d lost when he’d let Max walk out the door, and that the next time he asked Max to leave Smitty for him, Max would. Max was no fool, though, and it wasn’t going to happen.
“Come on.” Smitty slung his arm around Max’s shoulders. “Let’s get your overcoat and go home.” They walked to Max’s office. “I’ll even make dinner for you.”
“Smitty, you don’t cook.”
“No, but I dial a mean telephone to order takeout. How does a pepperoni and artichoke hearts pizza sound?”
“It sounds perfect, mon cher.” Max wanted to cringe. He’d always called Charles that, and he didn’t want Smitty to ever think he was in any way comparable to Max’s onetime lover. They entered the office, and the sight distracted Max so that he smiled. “Thank you, Smitty.”
He gestured around his office, at the tiny Christmas tree Smitty had insisted they place on Max’s desk, at the crèche and all the decorations. It was cheery and brightened the room.
“Mmm.” Smitty shoved the door closed with his foot, wheeled Max around, and pressed him up against the door.
“I don’t want to wait to get you home.”
“Bon, d’accord. What did you have in mind?”
“Don’t move.” Smitty twined his fingers with Max’s and raised their hands to shoulder height.
Max tipped back his head and let Smitty take his mouth in a voracious kiss. After long minutes, Smitty trailed his lips up to Max’s eyes and kissed them closed.
“Je t’aime, mon amour,” Max whispered.
Smitty raised his head. “Seriously? You ...” His voice cracked. “You love me?”
Max smiled. “Seriously.”
“Well, Merry Christmas to me!”