LYLBTB Advent Event 2013 : SA McAuley

SA McAauley is a great friend to Live Your Life, Buy The Book! I can honestly say that I have loved everything I have read by  her – and I am really looking forward to reading this new book – “Treadmarks and Trade Marks.” She has kindly shared a short that is connected to this story – the timing of it comes in between the first and second parts of Tread Marks & Trademarks, so it’s not a coda, per se. But definitely new material for that time. And there’s no spoilers for the books, so it’s safe for people who haven’t read the book yet. (Like me.)

Thanks Sam ❤ 

pickle1

The Pickle

A Team Maker Jock Christmas Short

by SA MaCauley

December 2012

“Knox, I need you to take a breath.”

Alex held fast to the iPad in his hands as he paced the living room and stared seriously at the drag king—Knox Lumber—on the screen, as he tried to get Micah’s performer to calm down.

“That’s it. Inhale through your mouth—”

Alex was interrupted with a discrete, low whistle that made his head snap up. Sprawled out on the couch—his recently operated on knee elevated on a stack of pillows—Christian shook his head and pointed at his nose, opened his mouth and exhaled, then gave an overly dramatic flourish of his hands to say see, this is how you breathe.

1_dsn_img_candies christmasAlex almost rolled his eyes, then realized Knox would see the motion, not Christian, and think the gesture was aimed at him. Which would probably only infuriate the already pissed off drag king in a tattered flannel shirt even more. “Inhale through your nose and out through your mouth.” He watched as Knox took in deep, gasping breaths and his features started to soften. Micah owed him big time. “There you go, man.”

From across the room, Christian gave a thumbs up and slumped his head against the cushions, closing his eyes. Alex eyed him warily for a moment, making sure that Christian was still breathing. It had been less than a week since his knee surgery, and while Christian assured him that there was nothing to worry about, Alex had been glued to his side since he’d woken up from the procedure.

“Thank you, Alex,” Knox grunted and gave the first hints of a genuine smile.

“You’re welcome. Now go have fun. It’s Christmas Eve. You’ll have a great show. Just no stage diving into the hecklers tonight. For Micah. Please. I’d really like to have him come home with some shreds of sanity intact. So really, this request is for me.”

Knox gave a clipped nod and ran his fingers over his penciled in stubble. “Sure thing, Big Al.”

Alex giggled at the ridiculous nickname the kings had given him. “Wish I could be there, but I’ve got the walking wounded challenging my Florence Nightingale levels of patience.”

“Hey!” Christian protested, whipping his head up to glare at Alex.

Alex smirked and looked pointedly at Christian over the top of the iPad. “You hush.”

“How is your Norse god doing, anyway?” Knox asked in a sultry baritone. Even though the kings barely knew Christian, it had only one time of him stopping by the club to pick up Alex and they’d fallen in smit. Deep smit. Alex totally got it.

Just then a thickly made up face and blonde bouffant wig popped onto the screen. “I bet his hammer is back in full swing.”

Knox rolled his eyes and pushed Dor’Thea out of view of the camera.

Alex spared a glance in Christian’s direction to find him unabashedly palming his cock as he grinned at Alex. Alex felt a blush crawling up his cheeks as he stammered. “Uh, he’s better. Still not moving much, but his pain level is good.” Alex mouthed stop it and Christian chuckled.

“Is it my turn yet?” Alex heard Micah say, but couldn’t see him.

Knox looked to his left. “Nope. Big Al is all mine tonight.”

“Give me that!” Alex heard, then the camera went out of focus as it was ripped out of Knox’s hands and was swirling around—a flash of half-naked drag kings and queens burning into Alex’s corneas before he had a chance to protest—then Micah’s wide grin filled the screen. “Merry almost Christmas!”

Alex found himself smiling just as wide at his twin. But the thrill of seeing his brother was short-lived when he realized it was going to be months before they would be in the same room again.

As if Micah could read his twin’s thoughts, his lips tugged into a deep frown. “I miss you, bro.”

Alex sighed. “Me, too, Mikey. Christmas morning won’t be the same without you tearing me out of bed when it’s still dark.”

“You’re serious? You still…” Christian started, then likely realized that Micah couldn’t see him and focused his question on Alex instead. “He still wakes up early on Christmas morn?”

gift“Morn?” Micah repeated, his eyebrow lifting in disbelief. Or mockery. Most likely mockery. If there was one thing Alex didn’t miss with Micah being out of town, it was the constant banter battles his brother and boyfriend got into when they were face-to-face.

Alex ignored both of their attempts at baiting and continued, “So where are you going to be tomorrow morning?”

Micah smoothed back his hair with a practiced flip. “Bus to LA. Mom and JT fly in to meet us late tonight. Then they’ll spend the next three days on the road with the crazies.” Micah looked offscreen and bit out a frustrated Yes, I’m talking about you!, shook his head and refocused on Alex. “Anyway, Mom flies out of San Fran in four days, JT is staying on with the tour over New Year’s then heads home.”

If we decide to let that beautiful man go,” Dor’Thea added as she appeared behind Micah.

“That,” Micah agreed, pointing over his shoulder at the preening queen. “We can do this again tomorrow morning at some truck stop—so you can say Merry Christmas to Mom and JT—but that idea just makes me a sad panda.”

Alex grimaced. “Plus, it’s kind of gross.”

“Given. Now, hand me over to Nancy Kerrigan and walk away for a bit. He and I need to talk.”

Alex arched an eyebrow and his twin huffed in frustration.

“Please, Alex.”

Alex huffed down on the edge of the couch next to Christian and moved the iPad over so Micah could see him, too. “Fine. Love you. I’ll see you—” the words caught in Alex’s throat as he remembered just how long it was going to be before he got to see his brother in person again “—in three months. Merry Christmas, baby brother.”

Micah blew a noisy kiss to Alex and Alex had to get away from the camera before he lost it completely and started sobbing. He really fucking missed Micah. He pushed off the couch and stalked out of the room. He drummed his fingers on the side of his leg as he debated really walking away, but he was too curious and he stayed just outside the door to the living room, listening.

“What’s up, mate?” Christian’s gruff Aussie accent boomed from the room. He likely knew Alex was listening in and was trying to  make it easier for Alex to eavesdrop. Alex’s heart warmed a bit with the realization.

“I know you’re the one laid up, Christian, but make sure Alex gets the pickle tomorrow. It will make his whole day. Believe me.”

Alex wasn’t sure what was happening on the screen, but Christian was stammering, then the sound of Micah’s high-pitched giggle bounced around him.

“Oh. My. God. You’re blushing, Christian? Thor does blush! Dor’Thea come see this, it’s adorable.”

“Enough, Micah,” Christian growled. “What are you going on about this pickle, mate? I’m wary, but assuming this isn’t a double entendre. As it would usually be.”

Alex felt a smile tugging his lips up and his sadness being wiped away. He knew exactly what Micah was on about and had to love him even more for involving Christian in something that had been a Christmas tradition between the twins since they were kids.

“Oh, Christian,” Alex heard Micah purr out with fondness. “The pickle is a holiday battle. A war that may have ended with a smooshed tree a couple of years.”

“A couple years as in more than once or a couple years ago?”

“Pretty sure it was the year Alex and I turned twenty-five.”

“Of course it was. Now, tell me about the pickle.”

“It’s an ornament. A sacred ornament that Mom hides in the tree very year. The first one to find it wins.”

“Wins what?”

“Pride.”

Christian hummed. “I see you’ve lost most years.”

BellAlex heard Knox’s low rumbling laugh come through the speakers the same time Micah audibly hmmphed. He put his hand over his mouth, stifling a responding laugh.

“And it’s literally shaped like a pickle?” Christian asked.

“Literally.”

“Got it.”

“Anyway, I had Mom hide it in your tree before she left. So you better let Alex be the one to find it.”

“For pride.”

“Now you’re in the spirit. Have to go, Christian. Show’s about to start.”

“Have a good show, Micah,” Christian said with sincerity. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Thor.”

Christian chuckled and Alex could only assume that his brother had thrown his usual peace sign as he clicked off the video. Then Christian was calling out to him, “You can stop eavesdropping now, Alex.”

Alex pushed away from the wall and peeked his head around the corner.

Christian laid the iPad down on the coffee table and pushed an errant strand of blond hair behind his ear. “You get the pickle, huh?”

Alex nodded. “That’s the tradition.”

Christian shifted on the couch, making more room for Alex. “We wouldn’t want to mess with tradition, would we?”

Alex started to walk towards Christian as a myriad of emotions flooded him.

Yes, he missed his brother terribly. It wouldn’t be a normal Christmas without his family. But his brother and boyfriend were becoming friends. And things between him and Christian were better than they ever had been. Christian had made sure to take Alex out before his surgery so they could put up their tree and all the decorations before he was laid up for weeks. Christian was on the mend, their business was finally off the ground. Alex was the happiest he’d been in years. Hopeful. Content. Warm and secure.

This Christmas wasn’t going to be the same, but that didn’t mean he and Christian couldn’t start their own traditions.

Christmas-Bauble-psd94456Alex dropped down next to Christian. “I don’t know. This may be the year I let someone else get the pickle.”

Christian licked his lips. “We’re not talking about ornaments anymore, are we?”

“Definitely not.”

Alex grinned. Oh yeah, coming up with new traditions was going to be the best part of the holiday this year.

* * * * *

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title : Trademarks and Tread Marks

Series : Team Maker Jock, Book 1

Author : SA McAauley

Publisher : Wilde City (BUY IT HERE)

Length : 50,000 words (e-book)

Published : December 11, 2013

BOOK ONE

BLURB

Alex Maddox may be a genius. Or not. In thirty-four days he’ll know for sure. The robot he’s been perfecting for the last four years is finally ready. Alex won’t accept anything less than perfection—if he can keep a broken air conditioner, a flaky twin brother, a thirtieth birthday, and falling for the Norse god of advertising from derailing him.

Christian Lawson is an advertising god. A blond hottie with the beautiful brains to match. He’s worked hard to move past the accident that nearly took his legs, but it’s been years since he let any man get close enough to see just how deep his scars really go.

Christian isn’t the advertising executive Alex expected, and Alex isn’t the coolly confident inventor Christian’s had his eye on for years. But what they discover in each other may just be better than what either of them could have hoped for.

About the Author

sam

Sam sleeps little, reads a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. Stalk her here :

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Lets talk Christmas decorations today … do you have any that are really special to you? Do you colour-coordinate your tree decorations? Who am I kidding?? ANY comment will get you in the draw – and one lucky winner will win this very book!! All winners will be announced on December 30th – Good Luck!!