The Christmas Fling
Sometimes it takes a village to fall in love.
Eccentric, reclusive, socially awkward project designer Evan Myles doesn’t date. Paying for sex with professionals is so much more efficient and suits his needs well enough. But when he’s on assignment in rural Logan, Minnesota, for the Christmas Town project and a handsome stranger at the bar catches his attention, Evan decides it’s time to break his rule. It doesn’t matter that he’s never so much as flirted before. It can’t be that hard, can it?
Davidson Incorporated lead architect Terry Reid hasn’t been hit on so clumsily in his life. Terry’s the first to admit he’s a neurotic Prince Charming, and he’s kissed his share of frogs of both genders, but he’s never met anyone quite like Evan Myles. Evan calls Terry by the wrong name, mistakes Terry for a simple construction worker, and picks apart his work as an architect. Despite this rough start, Terry is lured by the brilliance of Evan’s ideas, his quirky personality, and once they’re alone in Evan’s cabin, the man’s mad skills in bed. Yet Terry knows it takes more than a single night of passion to make a relationship work, and after so many failures, he’s just not ready to try again.
Evan and Terry’s path is strewn with stones neither of them can dislodge. Fortunately, they’re not alone on the road to romance. They’re in Christmas Town, home to matchmakers, meddlers, and more “fairy godfathers” than they could possibly know what to do with.
Most importantly, in Logan, Minnesota, happy ever after is guaranteed.
Evan Myles really should have included an escort clause in his employment contract.
When he said as much to his assistant Charlotte as they sat drinking together in his Northwoods cabin one Saturday evening, she laughed. “Okay, I’ll bite. Why would you need an escort clause?”
“For the obvious reason, of course.” Evan grabbed the bottle of wine in front of him and took a swig. “I haven’t gone this long without sex since I entered puberty and learned what to do with my dick in the first place. This assignment isn’t difficult, but it’s endless. It’s not fair I have to learn how to arrange for sexual companionship in such an environment on top of everything else.”
“To be fair, I arrange for all your needs except personal hygiene.” Charlotte cupped her chin thoughtfully, resting her elbow on the tabletop. She had a glass of wine in front of her, but she sipped it slowly, as usual. “Though I hadn’t thought of the problem of your personal life. I mean, I knew you had escorts in Minneapolis, but I didn’t realize you only had escorts.”
“I wouldn’t have the first idea how to arrange for a sexual relationship in any other manner.” He glared at the label of the wine bottle. “I tried to use apps here to find men. It didn’t work. I don’t think there are very many gay people in Logan, Minnesota.”
“Please. The place is swimming in gay, proportionally. They aren’t even a thousand people in town and yet they have not one, not two, but three married gay couples, plus whatever it is you want to call Dale and his librarian. There’s also the lesbian veterinarian who moved in earlier this summer, plus that bisexual farmer. Dale has that Rainbow group too, and it’s getting so big they’re talking about building a center. This place is so queer it generates its own rainbow.”
Dale Davidson was the owner of Davidson Incorporated, the company in charge of the construction and promotion of Christmas Town in Logan. Evan liked Dale, and he understood Logan was important to his employer. That didn’t mean Evan cared for the place, especially when it was causing him so much frustration. “The point is there are no gay men for me to sleep with.” Evan stared balefully at the countertop. “It’s been over two weeks now. I’ve never gone this long without having sex. I’m starting to be convinced I might die.”
Charlotte gave him a long-suffering look.
Evan relented. “Very well, I understand I won’t perish without sex. However, my creative performance has absolutely suffered, stuck up here all this time.”
“You’ve put out some of your best work while you’ve been in Logan. Try again. I mean, it’s okay to simply say you’re horny and be done with it. I’m not going to judge. We can buzz down to the Cities for a weekend pass, get you laid, and be back by Monday. Dale’s busy with Gabriel at the moment, but I’ll leave him a message, tell him it was an Evan emergency.”
“You’re missing the point. I don’t want to go to Minneapolis and get laid.”
Raising her eyebrows, Charlotte tilted her head at him. “You’re right, I did miss the point. Tell me again, and I’ll listen harder.”
Most people would say something like that and they’d be teasing Evan, but Charlotte never made fun of him. She was as refreshing as always. “Escorts aren’t only sex workers. They provide companionship for me. Yes, I pay them for it, but it’s a tidy arrangement, and it suits me. I miss that more than the sex. I don’t think I can find that kind of situation up here.”
“You didn’t say that, though. You told me how you’d never gone this long without having sex.”
Evan drank more wine. “Well, I was embarrassed.”
Charlotte winked as she rubbed his arm. “You know, if you were a woman, I’d have seduced you a long time ago and made you mine.”
“It wouldn’t have worked. I prefer men, and we’re both too dominant in bed.” He frowned. “I assume you’re dominant.”
“Oh, I am. It also wouldn’t matter that you prefer men. If I wanted you, I could win you.”
Pushing the wine bottle away, Evan threw up his hands. “How? How can you be so good at seducing people you can win them over even if they aren’t interested in you? I can’t believe that’s true.”
“Believe it. I’ve dined like a queen in Christmas Town. All the so-called straight girls loved having one-night lesbian stands with the wicked lady from Minneapolis, especially when they heard what I could do with my tongue.”
Evan considered this. “So I should let the straight men know I give incredible blow jobs?” He tried to imagine himself walking up to men in Logan and shuddered. “I couldn’t do it. I haven’t even left the cabin once since I got here. I hide in the basement when the cleaning people come, or whoever it is bringing the food.”
“That would be Frankie Blackburn, one of Dale’s good friends. He’s a hair stylist formerly from the Cities who owns a salon on Main Street, but he’s also married to a local lawyer, Marcus Gardner.”
The sea of names and titles had leaked out of Evan’s ears, with the wine to sail away on. “The point is I don’t speak to regular strangers, let alone strangers I’d like to sleep with regularly.”
“Strangers you’d like to sleep with are easier than regular strangers. That’s Charlotte’s hot tip number one.”
Somehow Evan found this claim suspicious, but he wanted to believe. “How are they easier?”
“It’s not much different than your escorts, to be honest, except you’re not paying them. The exchange is that you promise them a good time instead of money.”
Already Evan wasn’t fond of this. “See, I’ve had a few escorts who admitted they’d see me for free, which sounded like dating. I told them it would lead to complications and declined.”
“You’re one in a million, Ev. I take it this means you give your escorts a good time either in bed or out of it?”
“They usually tell me I take some getting used to because I’m so blunt, but I’m a generous lover.”
“See? All we need to do is give you a bit of polish and set you loose on Logan.”
Evan was nervous simply thinking about it. “I don’t know about that.”
“I do.” Charlotte clinked his bottle with her glass. “Drink a little more wine, and we’ll head into town and people-watch at the bar. If you see someone you like, you can go in for a dry run. If you don’t, we get you an emergency session with an escort for tomorrow and try again with the locals next week.”
The idea of trying with the locals at all was so terrifying Evan wanted to skip to the emergency session here and now. Except he did need to set something up in Logan. He’d be here for several more weeks at least, and he’d be back up again at some point for another phase of the project. Even if he could bring up an escort, he could only bring one, and in his experience relying on one escort made things awkward.
Charlotte patted his leg. “Don’t worry, honey. I’m going to be with you every step of the way. Well, up until you bring your catch of the day back to your luxury cabin and decide to show him your shower attachments. Okay?”
Evan nodded. “Okay.”
“Right. Class is in session, genius boy. I’m going to teach you how to get laid no matter where you are. Ready to get schooled?”
“I’m ready,” Evan said, though he wasn’t confident in this plan in the slightest. Somehow he was sure what worked for Charlotte wouldn’t come as easily to him.