Today I welcome my wonderful friend, N.R. Walker, with an excerpt from her new Christmas story – Red Dirt Christmas.
Travis had been here for just over a year. We were technically engaged, not that we’d told anyone. He was happy just knowin’ I’d said yes, and I had some head-clearin’ stuff to work through. Knowing I was good enough for Trav was one thing, but knowing if I was good enough to be a husband and father was somethin’ else entirely.
Life at Sutton Station had never been better. Business was strong, Trudy and Bacon’s little baby, Gracie, was a few weeks old now and as cute as a button, Ma’s health was good, and my relationship with Laura and Sam was in a pretty good place. And Travis? Well, life with him was still all kinds of perfect.
But, to Travis’s dismay, Christmas at the Station was just another day. Another day of getting up before the sun, feeding animals, fixin’ what needed fixin’, and checking water troughs all while tryin’ to keep out of the blistering heat.
And this year weren’t much different. Only that it was Travis’s first Sutton Station Christmas. The fact we didn’t go all out with decorations and celebrations baffled him, and if I was bein’ truthful, it disappointed him too.
Which was why I had to make it a special kind of Christmas…
“What else did you do?” I asked, lookin’ in the hallway. I couldn’t see anything else particularly Christmassy. But Trav was out of his jeans and wearing shorts and a t-shirt, bein’ all barefoot, like he was done for the day. “You put on a shirt, I can see that much.”
He snorted. “Well, it’s too hot for jeans and boots. And you might like me shirtless, but I don’t think Ma did.”
“She’s such a spoilsport.”
“I heard that,” Ma hollered from the kitchen.
Travis chuckled and nodded toward the lounge room. “I finished the tree,” he said and disappeared through the open doorway. I followed him to find the pine tree he’d brought in earlier now covered in tinsel, ornaments, and baubles. “I know you think the whole Christmas thing is kinda silly, but—”
“I love it,” I said. “The tree. I mean, I love what you’ve done to it.”
“I didn’t have much to work with,” he said. The corner of his mouth pulled down in a frown. “And it was all pretty old. I hung up all the things you made as a kid. I just wanted to do something.” He shrugged again. “I mean, it’s Christmas.”
“And I know you guys aren’t big on the whole festive thing out here,” he said. “But I just thought it’d be nice, ya know? It’s Gracie’s first Christmas. Granted, she’s only four weeks old but that’s not the point.”
“It’s about building memories, Charlie,” he said softly. “Family memories. Not just with everyone here, but our family. Ours start now. This is our first real Christmas too and I just thought it might be nice if you, you know, thought it was special too.”
I stepped in close to him and softly pressed my lips to his. “I do. And I gotta say, Trav, when you talk family as in me and you, it does somethin’ to me in here,” I said, putting his hand to my chest. “Can you feel that? Makes my heart go beat itself all outta rhythm.”
He shook his head at me. “Why do you have to go saying stuff like that?” he whispered, before he nudged his nose to mine. “Being all sweet and shit.”
“Same reason you do your nose nudgin’ thing,” I whispered back, givin’ him an almost-kiss. “But I don’t need it to be Christmas Day to remind me how lucky I am. I wake up every day with you in my bed, so I know how lucky I am.”
He put his hand to my face and kissed me harder. It was a deep kiss, an I-love-you kind of kiss, and just when I was imagining takin’ him into our bedroom….
He headbutted my nose.
“Ow!” he cried, taking a step back. I might have seen that he was holdin’ his foot if I weren’t looking through tears.
“What the fuck, Trav?!” I said, holding the bridge of my nose, tryin’ to ignore the blinding spear of pain that was shootin’ through my skull. My eyes were waterin’ and my nose… shit, my nose.
“Nugget bit me!”
About the author
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
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