Lucas doesn’t usually do the anonymous holiday gift exchange. But when his office crush, Zane, extends an invite, how could he say no? A little holiday cheer might be nice for a change.
What he doesn’t expect are the bonus presents accompanying the bulge in his Christmas stocking—increasingly kinky gifts that have him wishing he’d torn into them in the privacy of his bedroom.
Though Lucas can’t stop fantasizing—in vivid detail—that his seductive Santa is Zane, he can’t quite believe it’s true. That is, until Zane starts dropping clues that have Lucas blushing almost as much as the erotic gifts themselves.
One thing is for sure: Christmas may be right around the corner, but waiting to unwrap his final sexy surprise is going to be a challenge…
This book is approximately 26,000 words
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Coming face-to-face with a row of bulges wrapped in red flannel was not on Lucas's agenda. Maybe in his fantasy version of a Saturday night agenda, but definitely not first thing Monday morning. And not at work. Well, he might have wasted some company time drooling over one particular bulge always hidden behind brown, navy or gray wool slacks, but at the moment he was completely unprepared for fourteen packages hanging at eye level.
In addition to the line of bulging stockings, the front wall of the cubicle block was as decked as any hall could dream of being. Fake holly garland, sparkling lights, a long fireplace and a five-by-three, freestanding cardboard ho-ho-hoing Santa. Or maybe he was fa-la-la-la-laing.
The elves must have stayed pretty late on Friday. The warnings Lucas had received about the marketing department going all-in for the holidays hadn't prepared him for the reality. As he absorbed the festive impact, the tree in the corner, the menorah, dreidl and Kwanzaa kinara on the cardboard mantel, he couldn't believe he'd allowed himself to get dragged across the hall and into the exaggerated cheer.
Then he read the glittery cursive name on one particular stuffed stocking and remembered exactly what had happened.
Zane. His package wasn't the only thing that had Lucas drooling. Sharp jaw, broad shoulders, muscular ass. Not to mention confident, great-smelling and totally out of Lucas's league. Zane had given Lucas a dimpled smile and said, "You're in too, right, Lucas?"
Lucas had responded with his usual stall of pushing his glasses back up his nose. "I don't usually ..." He'd trailed off, finding that it was easier to let people fill in the blanks the way they wanted to.
Zane's smile had dimmed a little. "Holiday-related trauma? Death? Mayhem? A bad breakup?"
"No. Nothing like that." Christmas was great. He had nothing but happy memories of it. And of Chanukah at his best friend Isaac's house too. Lucas just wasn't good at most things that other people found easy. Like giving strangers presents that wouldn't seem embarrassingly weird once they knew they were from him. He'd been working at EV-AR for almost eight months and still felt like the new guy.
"Good." With a wink of a blue eye that actually sparkled, Zane had slapped Lucas on the shoulder. "We're picking Secret Santas — sorry, Elf Exchange is what the company wants us to call it now. Anyway, we're doing it at three in the break room. See you then."
"Yeah. Sure." Lucas had stammered, like he probably would if Zane had asked for Lucas's left nut.
With a quick peek around — not that anyone else would be here at seven ten in the morning — Lucas darted forward and stuffed his first gift offering in the stocking that a generously applied glitter-pen labeled as Julia's.
He shuffled over to his left, then fished the lump out of the red fuzzy toe below his name before going into the break room and starting the coffee.
As he waited for the drip, he lifted his own first Secret Santa gift and shook it. Something solid slid in about an extra millimeter of space inside thin cardboard. He recognized the sound, a bar of soap. Shit. Was someone trying to tell him his hygiene wasn't working? Glancing over his shoulder, he gave himself a sniff test but couldn't detect anything offensive.
He tore off the candy cane-striped paper. Lucky Money Soap the green cardboard box proclaimed. Wash in Wealth. There was a picture of a tightly rolled bill encased in clear green glycerin. Along the side it read Every bar contains real money. $1, $5, $10, $20 or even a $50 bill.
At least the gift wasn't an obvious attempt to let him know he was stinking up the place. He carried the soap and his coffee back across the hall to the accounting department and into his cubicle.
Another squat box sat just behind his monitor stand, this one wrapped in a metallic blue. As he tugged it forward, he saw a block-printed gift tag. Open in private. A quick prairie-dog peek over the top of his cubicle wall told him what he already knew. No one ever came to the office this early. That was why Lucas liked it.
He lifted it and shook it. The cardboard was much thicker, and inside it a bottle of something liquid, but not as heavy as he'd expect a mini liquor bottle might be. And there'd be no need to open that in private. A bottle of ... His brain didn't supply anything predictable. But being stumped for a change was fun, so he let anticipation build for a moment. Maybe this Secret Santa thing would be fun, rather than embarrassing.
Skin prickling with excitement, he tore off the paper.
The white cardboard didn't offer any more clues, so Lucas slid his letter opener under an edge and sliced through the tape holding it shut, then tipped the box. The expected bottle tumbled out into his hand. Then Lucas read the label and dropped it.
The small bottle rolled out of his cubicle, and he scrambled after it, face burning as hot as the contents. Holy hell, that bottle had really taken off, twenty feet away and still rolling. His hand closed around it just as the elevator chimed in the lobby. He rushed back to his desk and stuffed it as deep into his messenger bag as he could. He didn't need to see it again to remember what the bottle's label had said.
Hot Nights. Add a Little Spice to your Love life. Smaller print read, Cinnamon-flavored, self-warming personal lubricant.
Lucas waited until the voices in the lobby faded before carrying the box and the wrapping paper to the on-site shredder.
* * *
"Here you mean?" Zane pointed to a block on the spreadsheet.
Lucas had to bend closer to see where he pointed and got another whiff of Zane's aftershave. The woody spice was delicious smelling enough, but then Lucas thought of the hidden bottle of cinnamon warming lube and had to will his cock to stay down.
"Yes. You have to break that out into separate expenditure categories." Lucas backed up a fraction, but there was no minimal safe distance from Zane — at least not where Lucas's dick was concerned. He might be out of range of the aftershave, but not from the perfect symmetry of Zane's features, from the sweet mouth Lucas was dying to taste and so not out of range of those fucking dimples that threatened to blot out all thoughts of spreadsheets and even turn basic math functions into Sanskrit.
Zane considered the budget sheet again. "What about here?"
The question forced Lucas to step closer again. "No, that's fine." He stared at the back of Zane's neck, at a square brown mole on the pale white skin just visible above his shirt collar. That shouldn't be sexy, but Lucas pictured himself kissing it, and Jesus he needed to get back to the safety of accounting. Right now.
"Do you think you could check it over for me one more time? I mean, after I make the changes?"
Zane spun his chair around, forcing Lucas a step back. Looking up through his thick dark lashes — was there any imperfection on this man? — Zane said, "So, did your Secret Santa slash Exchange Elf treat you all right today?"
Lucas's mouth went dry, but he summoned up enough spit to answer "Uh yeah."
Not in a million years could the lube have been from Zane. Not because Zane wasn't gay. He was. In fact, everyone knew he had a boyfriend. A boyfriend who wasn't just model-beautiful. He actually was a model.
Resisting the urge to push his glasses back up, Lucas added, "So we're just supposed to bring in one gift each Monday and Friday, right?"
Zane's brows drew down for an instant. "Yeah, until the party when we give them the last one in person."
That was what he'd explained when he roped Lucas into this. Lucas remembered the last company party. The picnic where he'd seen Zane and Jimmy together. The sight of that much masculine beauty in proximity had him mentally agreeing with the woman in the break room who talked about what a shame it was that Zane and Jimmy couldn't blend their DNA because of how beautiful their babies would be.
Lucas nodded and began making his escape.
"Why? You got your gift, right?"
"I did. Just checking."
"Cool." Zane smiled. "I'll do exactly what you want."
Zane looked back at his monitor. "On the budget."
"Right." Lucas swallowed and escaped.
* * *
At ten thirty in the morning, the gym on the fortieth floor was almost empty. Too soon for lunch walkers and noon spin classes, too late for morning workouts. Lucas hurried into the men's locker room, rushed into the bathroom, and slammed a wooden stall door shut behind him.
He clutched his Secret Santa bonus gift in one hand and freed his dick with the other. For the last twenty minutes every space on his spreadsheets had seemed to fill up with six ridiculous words: I'll do exactly what you want.
Zane hadn't meant it like that, of course. It was Lucas's brain that twisted it into something far dirtier. Zane kneeling in front of him, full lips opening with that promise, breathing those words on the head of Lucas's dick. I'll do exactly what you want.
Lucas hoped he wouldn't regret not following directions because he didn't have time to test for a reaction. He spilled some of the lube onto his palm and stroked the head of his dick. Wet, yeah, and it smelled good, but — oh God, that was, he stroked again, so warm. It might as well have been Zane's mouth. His tongue, his lips. Velvety hot.
Lucas shut his eyes. Will you? Do exactly what I want? Fantasy Zane nodded with a shyness he'd never shown in real life.
Then take it all. Imaginary Lucas was bossier than he'd ever dare be in real life too.
Zane sucked him all the way in, throat working to swallow, desperate sounds like Lucas was choking him with his dick. Lucas moved a hand through what he knew would be silky dark hair and took a rough grip. The more desperate the sounds imaginary Zane made, the harder Lucas fucked that slick, tight mouth.
He shuddered, balls full and tight. He drove faster, the sweet build winding him up, and then, the heat took over. The shock of orgasm jolted, rushed and pulled so hard he fell forward, head smacking into the tile behind the toilet. He clung to a final moment of fantasy, lips tight as his mind whispered Swallow it all to the gorgeous image of Zane with his lips swollen and slick. Lucas's hips jerked again, and he pressed his face harder into the tile, aching for the cool against his hot cheek. His glasses went crooked as the earpiece pushed up to get a hinge caught in the tight curls of his hair.
He took away the hand he'd bitten to stifle his gasps and wiped the other with toilet paper, then flushed away the load he'd splashed into the bowl.
The roar of the flush echoed over the upbeat Latin music pouring from all the speakers. Oh God, he hoped he was still alone in here. He tried nudging his glasses back down with a wrist but really didn't want to touch anything until he'd washed his hands.
He sighed out a breath and straightened, listening for anything that might tell him he wasn't alone.
Except for the beat and pleas to mi corazon coming through the speakers the bathroom area seemed quiet. Lucas pushed open the door and made his way to the sinks. The club offered two barbershops worth of men's grooming supplies on the counters and shelves. After a lengthy hand wash, Lucas wiped his face with a towel before adjusting his glasses. As the world came back into focus in the mirror, he caught a glimpse of a guy in the changing area.
No, not just a guy. Zane.CHAPTER 2
As Lucas stared into the mirror, Zane put a foot up on the locker room bench and laced his sneaker, long gym shorts stretched over the tight curves of his ass, dark, furred hamstrings showing off their firm tone as he switched to tie his other shoe.
Unless Lucas wanted to slink back into a stall, he was going to have to go right past the man he'd just face-fucked. Only in his imagination, sure, but it was still ridiculously embarrassing.
He decided to do what usually worked. Slide by and hope Zane didn't notice him.
He froze, face flaming like he'd just run ten miles into the wind. He hoped his cheeks wouldn't show it, then he felt it spread into his neck and ears and knew he was screwed.
Zane finished tying his shoe and stepped closer.
At no time in his life did Lucas want his secret super power wish more. If he could just teleport himself back to his desk, Zane might not smell cinnamon, or lube, or come.
Zane stopped, and Lucas realized for the first time that Zane's head was just about chin-height. His confidence had always made him seem so much taller. Maybe telling the fantasy-version of Zane to take it all and swallow had let Lucas finally notice.
"I thought you always hit the gym before work."
Wait. Zane knew when Lucas worked out? He actually noticed that Lucas worked out? Try as he might, he couldn't get into anything under a thirty-five-inch waist. His Meem said he had big bones.
"I — uh — I'm trying something new."
"New is good. Spicing things up is always fun."
Spice up your Love life. No. Do not go there.
"Yeah." The habit was too ingrained. He pushed his glasses back up.
Zane studied him, handsome face open, eyes wide like he was waiting for Lucas to share something else about spicy workouts.
He wished he could. He wished for once he knew the clever thing to say, the thing that would make people laugh with him instead of at him, but his jaw and his brain were undergoing a hyperfreeze despite the continuing pump of hot blood to his cheeks, ears, and neck. At least his dick would stay down until he got out of here.
Great. Now Lucas had something in his eye. When Zane had called his name, why hadn't he just nodded and kept walking?
He blinked hard, but that just made it water more.
"I'll have that budget for you to look at by two today." Zane said, when it was obvious Lucas had nothing useful to add.
"Good." God, his eye was on fire. What the hell — oh, no. But he'd washed his hands. That cinnamon stuff couldn't have gotten in there, could it?
"Lucas? Man, are you all right?"
He could not see out of his right eye. At all. Exactly how would he explain this to the eye doctor? Cause of blindness, self-warming lube.
"Here." Zane's voice was calm. With a hand on Lucas's shoulder he steered him toward the sinks. "Probably the eucalyptus oil in the aftershave. I've told them they should be more allergy friendly. Hm, you might want to take off your shirt." Zane soaked a hand towel under the faucet.
"What?" Lucas heard him, he just couldn't figure out how it made sense. Could the stuff go through his eye socket into his brain?
"So it doesn't get wet."
"Wait." Zane carefully pulled off Lucas's glasses.
Lucas wished he could duck his head. He knew he wasn't one of those people who looked better without glasses. They balanced out his face. Without them, his wide mouth overpowered his narrow chin.
Lucas loosened his tie and pulled it off, then unbuttoned his dress shirt.
Zane titled his head. "Do you really want to spend the day in a wet undershirt?"
Swallowing hard, Lucas pulled off his undershirt and squeezed his eyes shut, rather than submitting himself to the mirror's comparison of his body next to Zane's. The T-shirt he was wearing didn't leave much to the imagination when it came to broad shoulders, pecs, biceps. Besides, Lucas's eye hurt too much to keep it open.
Zane pressed the soaking cloth to his eye and Lucas tried blinking. The burn got worse. He jerked his head back.
"Sorry." Zane stepped away.
"No. I know you're trying to help." He scrubbed at his hands and then made a cup of them under the faucet.
"Don't. If it's on your hands at all it will only make it worse. Wait a second ..." Zane's voice trailed off.
Lucas forced his eye open and leaned over the sink. It didn't look bad. Maybe a few blood vessels making themselves known against the white. His iris and pupil looked clear. The lower rim seemed to be the worst of it. On top of thinking Lucas an absolute incompetent for getting something in his eye in the first place, Zane probably thought the whole thing was an overreaction.
Lucas squeezed his eyes one more time. The burning wasn't getting any better though. But it was just one eye. He'd go, tell his boss Daksh he had to leave for a doctor's appointment. He blinked hard. Well, he could always buy an eye patch after it had burned out of his socket. With his eyes shut, he patted at the shelf where he thought he'd dropped his undershirt.
But before he could put his plan into action, Zane was back, holding a blue plastic cup from one of the water coolers. "Try this."
Lucas grabbed the plastic cup and filled it. Then tried blinking his eye in it like he was opening his eyes while swimming.
He lowered the cup. His eye was still on fire. Everything they did seemed to make it worse.
"Maybe if we pour it?" Zane suggested.
When Lucas squinted at him, Zane angled his torso over the other sink so that his one ear faced the drain and mimed pouring water over his face.
If it didn't hurt so much, if he wasn't really worried about going blind, Lucas would have thanked him and walked away. And he'd thought he was going to be embarrassed walking past Zane after the imaginary oral.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Stuffed Stockings"
Copyright © 2018 K.A. Mitchell.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
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