This is the story of two college professors who share an office and not much else – until the holiday season works its magic.
Eric’s semester hasn’t been going all that well. Not only have renovations to the English Department’s physical space forced him to share an office with the department’s newest faculty member, Mike Kistler, his mother showed up at the beginning of the semester with all her worldly possessions and a U-Haul. It’s not that he doesn’t care for his mother, but she’s disruptive. She keeps wanting to honor traditions they never cared about when he was growing up, starting with the giant antique advent calendar she dragged over from her parents’ house in Hamburg.
Eric has a solution, though. He might not have much interest in his mom’s traditions, but his irritating office mate does. He’ll bring Kistler over, and his mom will have someone who cares, and someone to speak German with, and Eric will be left alone to grade papers in peace.
Mike is the rising star of the English Department. He’s worked damn hard to get from homeless teen to young PhD, he’s proud of his accomplishment, and he loves to give back. He likes his work. He could live without his office mate, who’s attractive but stuffier than an overfull burrito. He’s shocked when Eric invites him to help his mother celebrate Advent, but intrigued by the old traditions. And it’s been more than ten years since he’s had anything like a family to celebrate anything with, so he agrees.
Moving from a cramped office to a family setting shifts things for Eric and Mike, and they start to see each other through different eyes. Can they find love, or will old family issues keep them apart forever?
Publisher: MLR Press
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Enemies to Lovers, Office / Workplace Romance, Opposites Attract
Word Count: 32000
Setting: Boston, MA
Languages Available: English