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"Can you get me a man for Christmas?"When he said those fateful words, Ben didn't know what he was setting in motion.Ben is a busy dad to a four year old little girl. He doesn't have much time for a social life, but he wasn't serious when he asked for a man for Christmas. His daughter, Maya, doesn't know that. She is determined to play Santa and get her dad the gift he asked for.The man she picks for her dad is her preschool teacher, Jason Kenney. Neither Jason nor Maya think he's the right man to be a present for Ben, so why is he standing there on Christmas Eve with a gift bow in his hair?Smarting from a recent breakup, Jason isn't looking forward to the holidays. Despite his reservations, Jason gets tangled up with Ben. There is something about Ben that he just can't resist. As their feelings intensify, will spending Christmas together turn into something more?
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A Christmas Boyfriend: Gay Romance
By Trina Solet
Copyright © 2015 by Trina Solet
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, locales or actual events is entirely coincidental.
All sexual activity takes place between persons eighteen years of age or older.
This novel contains material intended for mature readers.
Cover image is only for illustrative purposes. Any person depicted is a model.
Coming home from work, Ben had his hands full. He had his laptop bag in one hand and the takeout for dinner in the other. Juggling the bags and his keys, he got through the apartment door. He yelled hi from the welcome mat then went in to find Carly, his kid sister, and Maya at the kitchen table. Carly was helping Maya with her Christmas cards. That project had stretched out for days. Maya was only four so it took her forever to write one card. Some of her cards weren't going to get there before Christmas for sure.
"Hey, guys," Ben said as he kissed them both on top of the head.
"Look, Daddy," Maya said and held up a card with a penguin in a Santa hat. "This one is for Uncle Will. I gave him an extra L by mistake, but Aunt Carly said it's OK."
"You can never have too many L's," Ben told her. "Now you better clear this table. I got us some dinner." Ben held up the takeout bag.
Maya frowned at the bag. "Is it healthy or is it good?"
"It's both," he told her, but his answer was met with skepticism from both Maya and Carly.
As Maya went to put away her writing and drawing supplies, Ben got some plates from the kitchen. "Thanks for picking her up," he said to Carly. She was on her winter break from college so she had time to get Maya. Ben usually did that, but he had a few things that had to be done before the holidays. The extra work kept him late at the office so he was happy that Carly could pitch in. "You're staying for dinner, right?" he asked her.
"I have to. I need to pick your brain about a Christmas gift and I'm running out of time," Carly told him and peered into the takeout bag. She made a face at his kale salad.
"I told you, just get whatever you want for me. It's Maya's gift you need to worry about."
"I already got hers. She's easy. Come on, give me a clue. Otherwise you're getting socks for Christmas," she threatened him.
"Socks are fine," Ben said as he grabbed some forks and handed them to her.
"Ugly, old man socks!" she said while pointing the utensils at him.
"I don't have some kind of secret wish list I'm keeping from you to make your holiday shopping harder," Ben told her. He was getting glasses from the cupboard. Maya had a special set of snowman glasses, and he was relieved to see one was still left. To him, Christmas was all for Maya. There was only one thing he wanted for himself. It wasn't something Carly could get him, but he decided to tell her anyway. "The only thing I'm missing is a man in my life. Can you get me a man for Christmas? At least six feet, perfectly muscled – like a TV ad for a home gym. Tall, dark and gorgeous. I'll settle for tall, blond and gorgeous, if I absolutely have to. I want him to have an awesome job, awesome car, and enough money to swim in," Ben said as he set out the glasses for Carly to fill.
"Socks it is," Carly told him as she poured regular iced tea, sugar free green iced tea and juice for the three of them.
Taking his glass of green tea and the juice, Ben turned back to the table to see Maya standing on the other side of the kitchen counter, looking very attentive. He smiled at her and she blinked. As they all sat down to dinner, he never imagined what schemes were brewing in that little, blond head.
The closer it got to Christmas, the more Jason dreaded the passing of every day. Thanksgiving had been hard enough. He went to Seattle to visit his sister and her family. His dog, Alfie, and his friends had all done their best to distract him, but Jason was still pretty miserable. Only two months ago, he was sure he was going to be spending the holidays with Troy, all his holidays, maybe forever.
He wasn't sure about that last part, and he never got the chance to figure out if Troy might be the one. He did think that they were both at least considering a future together. It was a hard punch in the gut to find out Troy didn't feel the same way. Things were moving too fast for him. He wasn't ready to get so serious. The two of them split up.
To add to Jason's misery, a week ago he found out through mutual friends that Troy was dating someone – the new weatherman from Channel 4 who drove a Porsche. Great. Awesome. Happy Holidays to him. Next he would hear that they were engaged. Jason hated that Troy replaced him so fast while he was alone at this time of year.
Being a substitute teacher did keep him on his toes. It didn't leave him too much time to mope. He never knew where he would be working or for how long. His main worry was that he wouldn't have enough work to keep him busy through his heartbreak. If he had time on his hands, all he would do was brood over Troy. It was a relief to get the call that told him he would be filling in for a preschool teacher going on maternity leave.
There were seventeen kids in his class and every one of them was an irrepressible ball of energy. He had to find the best way to teach them, to keep them busy, and to keep them from missing their regular teacher. That should leave no time to think about Troy.
After a few days of sticking to the lesson plan, Jason decided to mix it up. He went to a local print shop and got the biggest piece of white cardboard they had. It barely fit through the door. The kids were wide-eyed with curiosity seeing him lug it in. When he told them his plan for the giant piece of cardboard, they were thrilled.
The tables and chairs had to be pushed back to make room for the cardboard in the middle of the floor. Then the kids crawled all over it drawing the card for Ms Gomez, their regular teacher. Though he had assigned them each their own area to draw on, arguments broke out as they jostled each other and stepped on each other's drawing space. Jason decided to call it organized chaos. He sat at his desk and watched to make sure there was no serious fighting.
Some of the other teachers we're going to visit Ms Gomez. They would have the fun of delivering the card. He could already see their dirty looks for sticking them with a card that size.
It was recess, but the kids didn't want to stop working on the giant card. That's when one little girl stood up. Jason had memorized all their names, and he even had a good sense of their personalities. This little girl could be trouble.
He readied himself as Maya Owens turned and marched up to him. "Hey, Mr. Kenney. I need to know where to get a man for Daddy for Christmas."
OK. There was no way he could be ready for that. It wasn't the kind of request he expected to hear in a million years. For a moment, he only stared at her. "You don't. Get him something else."
"You don't know anything, Mr. Kenney. I wish Ms Gomez was still here." She pouted at him.
"She'll be back," Jason told her. He had noticed that the kids were very fond of their regular teacher. They were always asking about her. That's why he had them make that extremely inconvenient and unwieldy card.
"I know Ms Gomez is coming back after she has her Christmas baby," Maya said. "But I want to get Daddy a man for Christmas. He asked for a man, so I'm gonna get him a man."
"Just get him a tie, Maya."
"Nooooo," she said and shook her head. "Aunt Carly is gonna get socks for Daddy. I'm gonna get him a man."
"Socks are good."
"You don't listen, Mr. Kenney," she complained then one of her friends called her over and she ran off.
At the end of the school day, Jason was a little bit curious about the kind of dad who asked for a man for Christmas. He saw Maya run up to someone, but a lot of parents were there picking up kids and he couldn't get a good look. As he tried to get closer, another kid's mom wanted to say hi. It didn't take long, but he didn't expect that Maya and her dad would still be around. That's when he felt someone tugging on his sleeve.
He turned to see that Maya was trying to get his attention.
"This is my dad," she told him. She had her dad by the sleeve too.
Jason looked him over. He shouldn't need any help finding a man. Mr. Owens was fairly tall and blond like his daughter. He had a strong profile, and his eyes were blue and smiling. If they were at a party, he was the guy Jason would gravitate to. He had something warm and easy about him. The only reason Jason could resist him now was because he was a father of one of his students.
He offered Jason his hand. "Hi, I'm Ben Owens. Maya said you were substituting for Ms Gomez. It's nice to meet you."
"So you're Maya's dad," Jason smiled knowing that this was the guy who wanted to gift wrap some hunk and set him under the tree.
"She's been giving you a hard time?" Ben said, seeing the funny look in his eyes.
"You could say that, but it's all part of the job," Jason told him.
Later, as Jason walked home, he thought about how nice it must be to have a kid especially around Christmas time. Even a kid who tried to get you a man for Christmas wasn't so bad. Actually he wished someone would do that for him. Being newly single for Christmas wasn't going to be much fun.
The streets and sidewalks were teaming with people, more of them all the time the closer it got to Christmas. Heading in and out of stores, they were loaded down with bags and packages. Jason should be one of them, but he was buying all his gifts online and sending them. He couldn't face the crowds at the stores, and the sight of happy couples shopping together would just drive him crazy.
He didn't need any reminders of what he didn't have. His head was full of what might have been. He had already planned just the right thing to get Troy for Christmas. He imagined giving it to him. He pictured Troy's face as he opened his gift and saw it was the watch he had admired in the store display. None of that was going to happen now.
He just had to make peace with that and power through Christmas then New Year's then Valentine's. Oh hell, no. If he wasn't at least dating someone by Valentine's, he was going to be seriously pissed.
For now he would just suffer through being single. Or maybe he could ask for a man for Christmas like Ben Owens did. That still made him grin. If Ben wasn't a father of one of his students, Jason would have volunteered to strike that gift off his wish list.
The next day at school, Maya was on the same mission. She was telling her friend, Dahlia, about getting a man as a Christmas gift for her dad.
"What does he want him for?" Dahlia wanted to know.
"For Christmas," Maya said.
"But what for?"
Maya thought about it, then she figured it out. "I know. A boyfriend! Daddy wants a man to be his boyfriend."
"Then you have to get a really good one," Dahlia told her.
Maya agreed. She already had a list of requirements. She came over to Jason to tell him all about it and try to get his help again.
"Sixty tall, on the TV, dark and blond, and awesome and with a job, awesome car, and money for swimming," she rattled off.
"OK, some of that almost makes sense, but I still can't help you." Jason didn't exactly like that list, what he could understand of it anyway. And why did that description have to sound so uncomfortably like Troy's new stud? Jason didn't want to hear that yet another guy wanted someone who was nothing like him.
Dahlia came over to join them, and she had a suggestion. "You can give him Mr. Kenney. Mr. Kenney is a man."
Maya looked at Jason skeptically, not sure about his qualifications. "Mr. Kenney, if Daddy wants to make you his boyfriend, do you know how?" Maya asked.
"How? Yes. I've had a little practice," Jason told her. It didn't work out for him so well the last time he was a boyfriend, so maybe he should have said no.
"What about the other stuff?" she wanted to know.
"Other stuff? Like what?"
"Awesome and a car and money for swimming. You have them?"
"I'm not sixty tall," Jason told her. He imagined that must have been six feet. He was six two. He was pretty sure that the whole money and awesome car thing disqualified him, but he decided to stick with something that was easier to explain.
"How much is sixty? This much?" she asked putting up her hand as far as it would reach and standing on her toes.
"A little more than that," Jason told her. He looked over at the height chart that Ms Gomez had made.
"You can wear high heels," Dahlia threw in.
"If Maya's dad wanted someone who wears high heels, he would have mentioned that," he told the girls. "Let's go look at that height chart and see if any of you are all grown up yet."
For the rest of the day, he managed to stay clear of Maya's manhunt. But when he was in front of the school, helping to supervise as the kids were being picked up, he just couldn't help himself. He went over to Ben Owens. Maya was delayed by another little girl who had a new baby sister and was showing her off to everyone.
"Mr. Kenney, nice to see you again," Ben said to him and smiled.
Jason looked at him wryly. That smile was nice, but now he knew what kind of guy Ben was after. "I'm still here. I guess Maya will have to put up with me for a little while longer."
"Put up with you?" Ben asked, looking confused.
"Maya isn't too happy with my performance as a teacher. That's because I still haven't been able to help her line up that man for you for Christmas," Jason explained and watched Ben's face turn red.
That was perfect. Jason had to needle him a little. It wasn't pleasant to hear the qualifications and find out that he didn't fit the bill. He met the height requirement, but in every other way, he wasn't the kind of guy Ben was looking for. It was stupid to take that personally, but he got some satisfaction as he watched him turn red and glare at him with those gorgeous, blue eyes.
When Maya's teacher first approached him, Ben was happy to see him. He had already guessed that Jason Kenney was gay. He was also good-looking, tall, with amazing dark eyes and a smooth, deep voice. Now all that was ruined and Ben was mortified. He couldn't believe this was happening. Maya must have overheard what he said to Carly.
"She told you she wants to get me a man for Christmas?" Ben asked, stunned.
"She thinks I know where they keep them. She won't let up. Please get a love life, for my sake," Maya's teacher said with a smug look on his face.
"Are you volunteering?" Ben asked archly.
He wanted to put him on the spot, but it didn't work out that way. Mr. Kenney only gave him an "Are you kidding me?" look. Ben gritted his teeth and glared at him.
Further mortified, Ben was glad when Maya dragged him away. For some reason she wanted him to talk to her principal, Mr. Nance.
That evening Carly stopped by the apartment again. Her roommate had a boyfriend and Carly didn't want to stick around for the show they were putting on. She complained to Ben about that while Maya was doing homework in her room and couldn't hear.
"Those two are all over each other. They hog the couch and then they engage in couch porn." As Carly was helping him make dinner, she turned to him and said, "I know there's no danger of that here."
"Don't take your frustration out on me," Ben told her. "And there could have been couch porn right here and now if Maya had her way. She tried to set me up with her principal." That was a fun moment for both him and Mr. Nance.
Seeing Ben make a face, Carly asked him, "What was wrong with him?"
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