Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press
A romantic getaway at an all-inclusive boutique hotel over Christmas seems the perfect way for Glenn Trevor to celebrate the festive period with his boyfriend.
But he could have done without waking up on the first morning delirious and covered in spots. Abandoned by his boyfriend, Glenn’s only saving grace comes in the dynamic form of Bastian, the waiter assigned to attend his every whim, and who might just be an angel in disguise.
Bastian, has only two rules: always make the guests feel as comfortable as possible—not a problem with his innate nurturing disposition—and never ever get involved with a guest. But the quarantined guy in 210 needs someone to take care of him, and Bastian’s more than up for the challenge of making Glenn Trevor’s stay the best ever, even if he has to run himself ragged to do it.
If Bastian can learn to accept the same nurturing care he hands out so readily, and Glenn can get over the farce of his previous relationship, between them maybe they can make it the Christmas of Glenn’s dreams.
Word count: ~35, 500
“Jesus Fucking Christ! What the fuck have you done to yourself?”
The shrill words tugged me from a troubled sleep, reverberating around my head despite the fact that my skull seemed to be stuffed with cotton wool.
Had I drunk that much last night? I felt as groggy as hell. I searched through clouded memories, but I could only recall a bottle of Peroni, left mostly untouched beside a half-eaten dinner.
“Glenn, I’m talking to you.”
A finger poked me in the arm, attacking a muscle that ached as though I’d been lifting weights all day. But I’d spent my day floating in the pool and doing leisurely lengths in a lopsided front crawl. The gym I left to my six-pack obsessed boyfriend. Who poked me again in that tender spot. I wanted to rub it until my skin bled. And wasn’t that a weird thought.
And I had left him, checking himself out in the mirror while I alternated between the water and stretching out on a sun lounger with my Kindle. Not that there had been much sun coming in through the glass of the pool house. Hardly a surprise since it was December in England.
I couldn’t dredge up the date, or the day for that matter, but that was often the case once school broke up and I didn’t have to worry about classes and staff meetings.
Xander poked me again, his finger an irritant despite the duvet between the offending digit and my tortured flesh. I swatted away his attack and dislodged the duvet at the same time. Icy shards seemed to cut at my skin everywhere the air touched it. And despite the fact my body seemed to be boiling internally I had an almost desperate urge to tug the covers back up around me.
“OMG! You’re covered in it! Gross.”
Whatever sleep I’d been clinging on to was ripped away, as I was jerked to full wakefulness not by the harsh unfathomable words, but by the pitch and lurch of the bed as Xander scrambled away. His sudden move took most of the covers with him, leaving me totally exposed to the cool December air that made my skin tingle and itch. I scratched at a particularly annoying patch of skin at my hip and tried to unglue my eyelids enough to glare at my boyfriend.
He wavered into view but refused to properly focus. I suspected my glare lacked its normal power that regularly left 10-year-olds quaking in their non-school compliant trainers. Not that it mattered, blurry Xander’s gaze was fixed on the area where I was scratching. I didn’t even have the energy to convince myself that he was staring at my dick.
And now that itched too.
I rubbed at my shaft lazily, soft and stuck to the crease of my left thigh. No sign of my normal morning wood, and I really didn’t have the energy to care.
Xander shrieked—the drama queen—the sound ripping a hole in my skull. I waited for the inevitable leakage of brains on to my pillow. When that didn’t happen, I opened my eyes—which had apparently drifted shut again—just in time to watch his fuzzy shape toss the duvet in my direction. Whether by accident or design it settled on me like falling snow. The cotton felt cool against my skin. I spread my arms and began to make a snow angel—it was nearly Christmas after all. Two sweeps in and the heat and friction made me uncomfortable and itchy again.
Banging and muttering from the other side of the room distracted me from the tightness of my skin. I tugged the duvet closer around me and tried to lift my head to focus on the crashing just long enough to tell the noisy fucker to piss off.
My heavy skull wouldn’t obey. I rolled onto my side, my head cradled by the super soft feather pillows. White, fluffy, floaty clouds. Floating up into the sky, away from all the noise. But clouds weren’t pure white when there was the angry rumble of thunder in the air.
Not thunder. I blinked and made a concerted effort to focus. Xander slammed the wardrobe door, the empty hangers clanging together. He was still muttering furiously away to himself and I forced myself to make sense of the words.
“…invited to three parties over the holidays. But nooooo, I turned them all down for a romantic week with Spotty McSpotDick.”
There was something off in the way he spat out the word romantic but I couldn’t quite work out what, in my befuddled state. Instead, I focused on the part of his rant I could appease. “I told you,” I started but it came out more like Didoldu so even I was distracted from what I’d planned to say next.
I attempted to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth and tried again.
I don’t think I was any more successful the second time. Xander gave a snort of disgust. He stomped over to the mini fridge, yanked out a bottle of water and twisted the cap off, with more aggression than his lithe frame would imply. All that time in the gym working on his six-pack was obviously doing wonders for his biceps too. Not that I could appreciate any of it with all the clothes he was wearing.
“This is why I don’t do sick people.” He held out the water bottle and glared expectantly. I raised myself up enough to take the offered bottle and risk a sip of the water.
Oh, that tasted good. Cool and refreshing against my scratchy throat. I took another swallow and smiled my thanks. Xander grimaced and moved away from the bed, back towards the wardrobe. He opened the other door.
Another sip of water and my brain seemed to come back online. “We can go to the parties and still have a romantic break. I never intended for us to stay in the hotel the entire time but it’s nice to be able to just spend time relaxing and not to have to worry about cooking, especially on Christmas Day. And the staff here are really attentive.” Something tugged the edges of my mind. Sleep or just that hazy mist that had been bothering me since I’d woken that morning. I took a longer swig from the bottle then, because it was a good point and I felt it needed to be stressed, I added, “Really attentive.”
Xander snorted, apparently unimpressed with my reasoning. “What, like that twinky waiter who was flirting with you at dinner? Don’t think I didn’t notice him out at the poolside too. Bringing you extra towels and drinks.”
“That was the same guy?” I could barely remember him. Although I think I recalled a waiter, dark hair with a fiery red streak, ask with concern if I needed some water and express dismay about the amount of food I left. Could he have been the pool boy in the shortest of shorts who’d been happy to run around and get me drinks from the bar? I’d had an unquenchable thirst yesterday that I’d put down to the chlorine and the amount of shouting I’d done on the last day of term. But his hair had been slicked back and the red streak was the only thing I remembered from the waiter. I couldn’t even remember what I’d ordered to eat, but I felt bad that I’d left food uneaten.
“Anyway, we still have New Year’s parties to go to when we get home.”
“With you looking like that? I don’t think so.”
I frowned as Xander tugged his shirts from the hangers. Wind chimes jangled but the air in the room was still, stifling. Xander rammed the shirts in his case. Strange, he was normally such a meticulous packer. Even his gym bag.
“Are you going somewhere?”
“I’m not staying here to get sick. I’ll call you in the New Year.”
I blinked my eyes open at the slamming of the door. God, it was hot in here. All that fractious energy my boyfriend had been giving off probably. I rolled out of bed and stumbled to the window on legs weaker than Bambi. After some fumbling, I finally got the latch unfastened and threw open the window letting in blessedly cool air.
My stomach caught up with my sudden departure from the horizontal. It lurched in protest. I spun around in desperation—probably not my finest idea—until I spied the waste bin under the dressing table. My legs gave way and I crumpled to the carpet. I just had the presence of mind to grab for the bin before I puked my guts up.
Next time I woke there was a woman standing over me, screaming. I smiled at her reassuringly. It didn’t seem to help.
* * * * *
About the Author
Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.