Today I’m doing something different. I read two holiday short stories by the same author, C.S. Poe, and couldn’t decide which one I loved the best, so I said Screw this and decided to feature them both! They’re both on the low end of the holiday feelings, but high on the feels 😍, and that’s what really matters, isn’t it? 🙂
(Update: I had first scheduled this post for the 28th, but shuffled the posts around my schedule a little…so if you happened to visit the blog and the pictures said December 28 instead of 21, you know why. Oooops. So many blog posts, such a small brain 😁)
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Declan Groves is a CPA in New York City. His adult life is dictated by routine and monotony. The need to express himself, in ways his career and crippling shyness have never allowed, leads Declan to becoming an amateur stop-motion filmmaker. The problem with this—Declan is now in love with the Wandering Artist Studios receptionist, Shota Watanabe. Shota has always had a smile and engaging comment ready for Declan, but even if it’s more than casual politeness, Declan hasn’t been able to get out more than a tongue-tied sentence at a time. And a man like Shota surely has no intention of waiting forever.
So when an unexpected change to Declan’s daily schedule during Christmastime throws the two together outside of the studio, it might be the catalyst needed to explore what’s been unspoken between them. But if they’re to have a future, Declan needs to find a way to tell Shota how he feels before the magic of the holidays is behind them.
This story has everything I love: mature characters and a quiet kind of romance. I love how Declan brings the dinner date to Shota when he doesn’t have the time for a real date. I love the way they’re both on the same wavelength, and I love the quite intimacy between them.
The intimacy of lying curled up in bed with him, listening to his gentle breaths, memorizing the feel of Shota’s skin under my hand…that was far more rewarding to me than sex.Quote from Love in 24 Frames
Does that mean that I’m old and boring since I prefer this kind of romance instead of grand gestures and the sex-up-the-wall? If yes, I don’t care, gimme more of it! This was just my thing!
His warm skin and firm touch sent actual tingles all the way up my arm. like little pinpricks of light.Quote from Love in 24 Frames
If you want more of Declan and Shota when you’ve read this lovely book, C.S. Poe has written a short coda available on her website. Click here to read it.
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Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message. He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob.
When it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent, even with Walter giving all the right signals. Edgar lacks the courage to do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship, but then again, he’s always been better with the written word. So maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.
This is a super cute story about a famous gamer and a reclusive medieval scholar finding each other on Twitter. I guess their fictional Twitter isn’t the cesspool of nastiness that my real world Twitter is 😉
“Aahre you fuffing kipping meh?” I said around a mouthful of rice, crab, and avocado.Quote from New Game, Start
This is insta-connection and pretty much instalove, too, but I have no problem whatsoever with that. I read this book between writing sprints on an early Sunday morning, and I smiled the entire time and it made my words flow from my fountain pen during the actual sprints.
I love that they’re both so nerdy in their own way. I mean, who wouldn’t fall for a guy who can recite Beowulf in Old English from memory? 🙂
There’s a short coda for this book, too, on C.S. Poe’s website. Clickity-click here to read it, you won’t regret it.
“It’ll be a save-the-date,” Walter continued. “Be it known that on December the eighteenth, Mr. Walter Chase will be presenting one kiss to Mr. Edgar Royal at Retro, New York City.”Quote from New Game, Start