The 42 Days of Christmas Series from MLR Press continues and today I’m posting an excerpt provided by Clare London!




Clare London


Available at MLR Press.

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Seb and Jamie argue over most things, even in the season of presumed good will.  When a totally unsuitable "Secret Santa" present for each of them causes even more tension, the hostility threatens to ruin the pleasant Christmas meal they had planned with friends. But there are strange forces at work tonight and both of them seem to be acting out of character. They find they’re working together in the kitchen, sharing confidences, and admitting to feelings they never dared before – and cooking up something rather more exciting than food!



The temperature in the kitchen had increased by many degrees and not all of them were caused by the oven.

Jamie broke from the kiss and pressed Seb against the counter, until its edge must have dug painfully into his waist. Seb didn’t complain, though, or not so Jamie noticed. Seb had a smudge of cranberry chutney on his nose, and his breathing was much more shallow than earlier in the evening. They both were. When Seb lifted a hand to his nose, Jamie grasped his wrist, not harshly, but firmly enough.

“I’ll do that.” With his free hand, he wiped the chutney gently off Seb’s nose. Then he trailed his finger tips down Seb’s cheek, under his jaw and along the lines of his throat.

Seb groaned aloud, a soft growling sound in the back of his throat. His head went back, baring his neck, and he swallowed heavily.

Jamie dropped his hand, leaning in even closer. “What I’m saying…what I mean…”

“What?” Seb’s voice was just a whisper. “For fuck’s sake, say it.”

“I want you.” Jamie murmured directly into Seb’s ear, trying to breathe all the heat and sweet excitement he felt into the other man. In case he couldn’t find the right words—better words—he hoped his actions worked instead.

Seb bit back a gasp. His body shivered. “How long?”

Jamie watched the movement of Seb’s mouth; the drop of sweat on his upper lip. He thought he could watch it for hours. He’d never imagined quite how fascinating this bloody annoying, astonishing, sexually provocative man could be. He wanted to kiss him again, he knew that more surely than anything he’d ever known before. “What do you mean?”

“How long have you wanted me?”

Jamie smiled. That was a stupidly easy question, at least tonight it was, when his heart felt released, and his mouth eager to get back to more important things. “Since I met you. Forever. For too long. Have I said the wrong thing again?” He realized he didn’t care anymore. All he could do was be honest, to let himself be exposed. “We’ve never talked about these things, never stopped arguing long enough to discover an alternative way of communicating. Do you…are you angry with me?”

“Angry?” Seb’s laugh was a little shaky. “I’ve wanted you since you first turned those icy blues on me when I lurched in late for another of our get-togethers, and told me I was a waste of everyone’s time.”

“I never said that. It doesn’t sound like my phrasing at all.”

Seb grinned at him. “You’re too literal. Maybe I paraphrased. You know how serious you look when you frown like that?” He leaned forward as if to kiss Jamie between the brows, but dropped his head down to Jamie’s mouth instead.

Jamie kissed back. Daringly, he ran a hand down Seb’s back and over his arse, his fingertips brushing at the crease of Seb’s jeans, just underneath his left buttock.

Seb jerked against him, and sucked in a ragged breath. “Any more of that, man, and I’ll roll over and play ‘dead’ like the best kind of pet.”

“You like that?” A lucky guess, Jamie thought with delight, and squeezed again. Seb felt good under his grasp and tasty on his lips. When and how had he deserved this Christmas present?

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