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Simple After All

M/M, Contemporary, Holiday Romance
[50 Pages / 17,400 Words]

Dreamspinner / Amazon / Apple / B&N / Kobo

"Simple After All" is part of the 2016 Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar collection, "Bah Humbug".

Noah Fiore, contracts attorney and dedicated curmudgeon, spends every Christmas with his family on the shore of Lake Superior. It's practically tradition for his sister to invite a tragic tagalong to the festivities. But this year Kara's guest is no pity case. Riley Coto is a friend, and his warmth and charm quickly win over the Fiore family.

When Riley overhears Noah complaining about Kara's habit of bringing home strays for the holidays, he feels more than a little out of place. But Riley finds himself drawn to Noah. Something tells him there's more to the man than the bad attitude he shows the world. With Christmas coming fast, Riley is falling for Noah, and there's nothing simple about that.


He could barely hear the nearest of the noisy household now. Sounds came muffled and soft through the heavy door. The quiet was a relief, and Riley closed his eyes for a moment. Just breathing. Collecting himself and doing his best not to feel like an idiot teenager with a crush, surrounded by pulpy paperbacks and well-worn classics.

He didn't know how long he'd stood squirreled away amid the books when a quiet click drew his attention to the door, just in time to see Noah step into the limited space beside him.

"Thought you might be hiding in here." Noah spoke the words in a dry voice, low with gravel. "Don't really blame you. Mom and Deana can't sing for shit."

Riley snorted and cracked a wry half smile. "I'm not hiding."

"Of course not. My mistake." Noah's gaze held his, warm with questions. Without breaking eye contact, Noah reached back and locked the door.

Riley hadn't even noticed the lock before. Anticipation snuck beneath his skin with a quiet thrill.

"If you're not hiding," Noah murmured, taking a tentative step toward Riley, "there must be some other reason you're in here. Waiting for someone?" The question came with the faintest suggestion of a smile.

Riley wasn't capable of a suave reply, so he opted for the direct approach. "Obviously I'm waiting for you."

For an instant before it vanished, the faint smile on Noah's face flashed wide and wolfish, perfect teeth in a hunter's grin. Then it was gone, replaced by focused heat as Noah strode forward. He crossed the minimal space in two steps and then—reaching Riley—pushed him past the books until Riley's back met the narrow patch of wall between shelves.

Noah searched Riley's face in the slow seconds that followed. Riley stared at Noah in kind, skin buzzing pleasantly at the way Noah held him by the arms. There was something heady in the way Noah pressed close, the physical weight of him in Riley's space. Riley had reached without thinking when Noah pushed him back, and his palms pressed flat to Noah's chest.

Noah's dark eyes were narrowed and stormy and Riley couldn't breathe.

He was pretty sure he never needed to breathe again as long as Noah kept looking at him like that.

Dreamspinner / Amazon / Apple / B&N / Kobo
book cover: Simple After All by Yolande Kleinn
Dreamspinner Press
(Cover design by Bree Archer)
ISBN 978-1-63533-182-0
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