Levi’s family knows he needs to find a way out of his funk and be a part of the world again. His brother, Jesse, invites Levi to join him in sunny Spain for the holidays, but a delay at the airport finds Levi at Jesse’s home while his brother is stranded in Scotland. Luckily Alejandro—Alex—is on hand with a key, a friendly smile, and a willingness to keep Levi company. He might even manage to draw Levi out of his shell for some mutual flirting.
Levi surprises himself when he accepts an invitation to spend New Year’s Eve with Alex at Alex’s café, but is he ready for more when it means jumping back into life feetfirst? Besides, with an ocean between them and Alex hiding a part of his life that Levi isn’t sure he can handle, they’ll need their own Three Kings’ Day miracle to stay together.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 16224
Languages Available: English
THE TAXI turned off the single road through El Morche, and I caught my first glimpse of the sea. You’re not in New York anymore, Dorothy. I snorted because I was no Dorothy, and this was no big adventure. It was my first time traveling alone, though. My first time visiting Spain. My first time leaving the US. Two weeks of sea, sun, and sand. A fortnight where I didn’t have to force myself to try to write a story. Or find an old one I could recycle and submit to a magazine hoping they would pay me something for it.READ MORE
The car stopped outside a whitewashed villa, and I handed over a twenty euro note. “Gracias.” See, the Spanish lessons were paying off. The driver grabbed my luggage from the trunk as I slung my messenger bag over my shoulder. “Gracias.” He shot off a string of syllables I assumed was supposed to be a sentence, and I smiled back at him, clueless. Yes, the lessons had really helped. Not. The driver climbed back in behind the wheel and drove off.
I dragged my suitcase down the terra-cotta-tiled patio to the front door, took a deep breath filled with that fresh ozone scent wafting off the sea, and my shoulders dropped as the sun warmed my face. I rapped on the door, shifted from foot to foot as I waited for Jesse to answer, then took a step back to look over at the windows, but the lowered metal blinds revealed nothing. I knocked again, then fished my cell out of my jeans and pulled up the contact details for my brother. When there was still no sound of movement from inside, I hit dial and the ringtone droned on and on and on. Was he still in bed? Mom always said I was the lazy one when in truth Jesse held that title, my brother just better at hiding it from Mum than me. It was almost lunchtime, but it was Saturday. The call went to voicemail, so I hung up.
I turned in a slow circle and debated what to do. The lure of the ocean was too much, so I slipped my cell into my pocket, slid my case under the table out of sight, and strolled across the street, took in a salty-laced breath. God, living that close to the coast would never get old. The cold, dirty streets of New York were a world away. Golden brown sand stretched as far as I could see. Waves crashed, spewing white foam, and in the distance, a palm tree swayed in the breeze, adding to the surrealness of the view.
And for the first time in too long, I got that itch of a story idea forming at the back of my mind. How many people, apart from those who lived there, knew this place even existed? I could see the headline: Hidden Gems of Spain. No, that was terrible and so cliché. But so far the only spark of an idea I’d had in months, so I’d take it for now.COLLAPSE
Bonus epilogue available free at http://bethlaycock.com/newsletter