This post by the Author comes just in time! In case you need any idea for a Christmas gift, read on.
Heart of the Holidays by Pat Henshaw released Friday in the LGBTQ+, Christmas, romance genre.
Everyone hopes his road to happily ever after will be carefree and smooth, but too often hair-pin turns and detours seem to get in the way. Having thought he was on the road to forever before, former Silicon Valley programmer Dan Lassiter is leery about pedaling down it again. His elderly companion Charlie urges him to get to know Rick Reardon whose bakery is across the street from Dan’s bicycle shop.
Under the watchful eye of Charlie, Dan and Rick take tentative steps towards each other, all the while trying to avoid potholes such as exes, homophobes, and family problems.
As summer turns to fall and then winter, they hope that the road will be smooth going from their first date and first kiss to having what Rick’s sister euphemistically calls their “sleep overs”. At each step, though, they are tripped up and wonder why there seem to be so many bumps in their road.
Maybe Dan and Rick should heed some of Charlie’s sage advice or maybe they should listen to their hearts instead of the warnings from their pasts.
The kids and their mom arrived after lunch, right about the time Charlie usually turned in for a nap. He gave them the once over as they got out of the car, nodded to me with raised eyebrows, and ambled back toward the house. I guess he figured he’d meet them sometime, probably sooner rather than later, so he didn’t have to knock himself out now. It was the siesta part of his day.
After the kids tumbled from the car and jumped on Rick, he pointed at my open garage and waved at me. I waved back, and they galloped across the street.
“Hi, I’m McKinsey! You can call me Mack.” The red-haired boy danced in front of me. His hair blazed in the sun and was as bright as his green eyes and freckles. He didn’t look anything like his uncle. “So these are all the bikes I can ride? Can I try them out first?”
“Yeah, but don’t go very far. I’ve got an app keeping an eye on them.”
He didn’t wait for me to explain further, but ran toward the racks so fast that I thought he would barrel into them. A small hand on my arm stopped me from chasing after him.
“Don’t worry. He’s careful. He won’t hurt the bikes. We won’t go far because of mom.” Since I wasn’t worried about the bicycles, I looked down into brown eyes, a solemn face, and curly sable hair. “I’m Leslie. Everyone calls me Lee. My brother throws himself into his activities. I don’t. Can we choose any of the bicycles?”
I glanced up at their uncle who shrugged at me. The small hand let go of my arm, so I looked down at Lee again.
“Yes. You have three choices. One, you can select a bike and ride it the entire time you’re here. Two, you could come back to the garage and pick another one to ride for the day, the half-day, the hour, or however long you want it. That means if you wanted, you could ride every bike in this place in one day. Or your third choice, you could stay at the bakery and not go bike riding at all.” I winked at her. “I would choose the bakery except then I’d look like a human lead balloon if I did.”
She giggled and put her hand on my arm again.
“I like you, Mr. Dan. I think we’ll get along fine.” She nodded and gave me a long assessing once over. “Don’t worry. You don’t look like a balloon at all. Not at all.”
If she’d been in her teens, I would have thought she was flirting. But Lee seemed as if she was merely making an observation.
I liked both kids and their approaches to life. I’d be willing to bet Charlie would like them too when he got up from his nap and met them.
Unlike her brother, Lee sauntered over to the bikes, many of which were now askew thanks to Mack’s unsorting process. She carefully started to right those tossed aside. She stopped at a turquoise bicycle, hopped on, and waved to me and her uncle as she sped away. Her brother was long gone. The bike rack still needed straightening which would give me something to do while Charlie snoozed.
I started toward it. Rick had surged across the street and was striding up to me.
“Here. I’ll help.” He stood staring down at the mishmash of bikes. “If you show me how to untangle them without making things worse.”
“I don’t get it. Aren’t you afraid people will just take off with your bikes and you’ll never see them again?”
I watched him bend over to pick up one on the ground. My groin tightened at the sight. We were going out to dinner. Together. Soon. My heart and dick lifted as my mind piled up image after image of dinner and afterward. It was about time for me to get back in the saddle as it were.
Pat Henshaw, born and raised in Nebraska, has lived on the U S’s three coasts, in Texas, Virginia, and now California.
Before she retired, she held a number of jobs, including theatrical costumer, newspaper features reporter and movie reviewer, librarian, junior college English instructor, and publicist.
She also loves to travel and has visited Canada, Mexico, Europe, Egypt, Thailand, and Central America as well as almost all fifty US states.
Now retired, she enjoys reading and writing as well as visiting her older daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren on the East Coast and playing havoc with her younger daughter’s life in NorCal.
She thanks you for reading her books and wants you to remember that every day is a good day for romance.
Gifts for the COVID Holiday Season
by Pat Henshaw
No getting it around it, 2020 has been one tough, weird, crazy year. To my way of thinking, what it deserves is a holiday season just as skewed, strange, and sassy as it has been.
To that end, here are some suggestions for the perfect 2020 holiday gifts. All can be bought online, most on Amazon, but a few only at other wacky but reputable cyber shops like Archie McPhee, Evangeline in Sacramento, and others.
Bacon bandages with a yodeling pickle: That’s right. Bandages that look and smell like strips of bacon paired with a yodeling pickle. What could sum up this year better? And it would be the perfect reminder to the person you give them to that things had to be looking up in 2021.
Original portable pizza pouch: You have things you have to pick up, but you have a slice of pizza in your hand. What are you gonna do? Slip the pizza in the pizza pouch hanging from your belt, of course. The perfect gift for a friend who can’t go two steps without his favorite meal.
Squirrel underpants: This one’s for your super conservative relatives and friends who are shocked by nudity. They won’t be shocked by the unclad wildlife in their backyards when you give them the gift of squirrel underwear. Make sure you get a ring-side seat to watch them sanitize their neighborhood. I’m not sure every squirrel is concerned with nudity, and they may resist change.
Light Saber Chopsticks: That’s right. Exactly what the title implies. Available in light saber colors.
Dill Dough: For those who are stressed by 2020 and the holiday season, this stress relief putty in green should be able to pull your family or friends back from the edge. Just the name of it alone (Hey, I got you Dill Dough for the holidays!) should be enough to get a laugh, or at least a gasp.
Meditating Big Foot: Here at the end of 2020, do you or does someone on your shopping list need a reminder that all is not lost? The calm, tranquil face of Big Foot seated in a yoga pose should do the trick. If Big Foot looks a little like Chewbacca, all the better, right?
Glenda Glitterpoop the Unicorn Feisty Pet: Splendid in purple and white with her sad-cat Bambi eyes, Glenda turns evil and mean-looking with only a squeeze of her tummy. Don’t fancy a unicorn? Feisty pets come in all sorts of animal shapes including pigs, bunnies, koalas, and kangaroos. Want to tell someone how you feel without using words? A Feisty Pet makes a statement.
Tin Foil Hat for Cats: Don’t let the Martians brainwash your feline companion! Get your cat—or maybe all the cats in the neighborhood?—protection. You never know what electronic waves are turning Fluffy into a real, live Feisty Pet.
Are these all real gifts? Yes! Go online and check them out.
Or you can give yourself or a friend a gift of cheer with four HEA romances to take the edge off 2020:
Blame It on the Fruitcake where a motorcycle shop owner and a location scout bond over a grandmother’s holiday recipe;
The Orpheum Miracle in which a squatter in a revival theater meets the man of his dreams;
Making the Holidays Happy Again that sees a blacksmith forge a future with a chemist; and
Heart of the Holidays where a bicycle repairman and a baker travel down the road to love.
And whatever you do, remember that Every day is a good day for romance.
Author Website: https://pathenshaw.com
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- Pat is giving away two $10 JMS Books gift cards