I could never resist a good cause. ‘Twas the month before Christmas and I had a loooong to-do list for my writing in late 2014 / all of 2015. I finally created a schedule and resolved to stick to it, then Alessia Brio posted in a mailing loop.
“Would you all submit to a holiday anthology benefiting Stand Up for Kids?” She may not have worded it exactly like that – the memory, it fuzzes – but when I learned that Stand Up for Kids assists homeless and at-risk youth I had to do my part to help. I don’t boast about charity work, but I’ve always done my best to help the less fortunate. Times are rough for somebody every day, and it’s criminal to see children without a home or food in one of the richest nations in the world.
I wanted to offer something original, too, and since I’d knocked around the idea of M/M shifter I wrote “Fox’s Holiday,” which is now part of this awesome collection. The core of the story was to have been part of my Love is Bliss series, but I decided to change the setting to sunny Florida. The “fox” is Antonio, a teacher enjoying the solitude of Christmas vacation. He’s surprised to see somebody move into his condo complex on Christmas Eve – actually, he’s worried that he won’t be able to shift at night so easily.
One look at Neil, though, and he doesn’t mind so much. Here’s a tease:
He should have offered to help the guy unload his shit. More than once he curled his fingers into the handle of his sliding glass patio door, then changed his mind and returned his attention to the yellow denizens of Springfield. Ant rationalized his reluctance—the guy didn’t ask for assistance, and maybe he didn’t want a stranger touching his belongings. He noticed the New York plates on the U-Haul, and knew half the Mai Kai folks had retired from there. They all kept to themselves, and he had no reason to believe his new neighbor wasn’t as private. Besides, it was a small truck by moving standards, and maybe he didn’t have much with him.
Right. You’re too damn chicken to go up and talk to a good-looking man.
Ant shook off his conscience and muted the commercial. Chicken, hell. He was a fox, and foxes stole chickens from their pens. Well, he didn’t, but still…
He couldn’t argue with himself. His fondness for privacy cost him the ability to socialize. He replayed what little dialogue he shared with the man, realizing it may be their only conversation for months. Damn.
Close to midnight, he scanned the courtyard from the lip of his concrete porch. Twelve lampposts burned bright yellow, but no windows glowed and no shadows slithered along the brick lattice walls hiding back entrances. A small animal could trot on the grass in peace, and as a fox Ant could move pretty fast. Confident he wouldn’t need to change his routine, he undressed and folded the pajamas he’d worn all day on a folding chair and focused on shifting.
After a deep breath and a perfunctory stretch, his skin prickled with the rapid onset of fur and his bones ached and shrank to a more canine shape. The process took seconds, but in Ant’s mind it seemed longer if he didn’t fully concentrate. The excitement of a new, hot-looking neighbor threw him off his game. He needed this run.
He sniffed for signs of activity in the courtyard and detected the pungent, unmistakable aroma of an illegal substance. Whoever toked did so at great risk. If Mrs. Kolpacki caught a whiff the residents would soon find the streets aglow with blue strobes.
It also annoyed Ant that nobody bothered to pass after puffing, but what should he expect since he didn’t know the first names of half the people here?
His run forgotten, Ant trotted across the lawn, following the strength of the smoke until he came to the lighted spots filtering through the lattice wall. He spotted a flash of bare knee bouncing in time to a stereo playing softly inside the unit. He realized he’d walked a straight line and stood in the back of the newly occupied condo.
He crept away a few steps, worried by a rough cough, but when the U-Haul’s driver emerged into view, wearing nothing but a watch and a smile, it gave Ant pause. He settled on his hindquarters and looked up at the man with the impressive cock and washboard abs. Dark curly locks shook with his laughter and a deep voice boomed into the silence.
“Hey, pup. Merry Christmas. Did Santa leave you here for me?”
I enjoyed writing this for Coming Together, and I’ve since had a story come out in another recent anthology of theirs, Coming Together Pro Bono. This week, I submitted another M/M short to another of their calls. I can’t help it…I love to write and I love to help out.
As for my festive fox shifter, I believe we’ll see him again soon. I’ve started a second story to expand on “Fox’s Holiday,” which takes them into the Spring. No Easter rabbits will be harmed, promise.
I am Leigh Ellwood. I write smutty stories about people who like getting naked and having sex. Some have more sex than others, some have sex with people of the same gender, some have sex with more than one person, and still others have sex with toys and things that require the use of batteries. My stories range from a few thousand words to well past 70k.
I have won awards for writing, and I have received 5-star reviews. I have also received 1-star reviews and people have looked at me funny at cons and events. I enjoy reading, yoga, and rock music. I liked the 9th Doctor best. I don’t wear dresses. I won’t cut my hair or color it. I will not limit myself to one genre when it comes to writing. I write contemporary, paranormal, gay, lesbian, menage, geek, short, long, purposely funny and hilariously sad. If I never win a major award or make a list, I will live content in the fact that I have written something, and that’s the dream.
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