jasmineskie: (Snowy lantern by enriana)
[personal profile] jasmineskie
Well, this is quite a day. I have not one, but two new stories out today at Torquere. :)

The first one is It's Tradition -- here's a short summary:

"Justin isn't much for Vegas Christmas parties, especially when his sister is throwing them. She always wants to set him up with someone, and this time is no different. Justin thinks Reggie is hot, but he's been hurt too badly to trust someone so quickly, and he decides to leave before he can get too interested. Can meeting up with Reggie at his sister's house for dinner change Justin's mind?"

And under the cut, a :

"Come to the party for a little while," Justin's sister had said. "Only a few friends, nothing special. You might even have a good time."

Justin stood inside the lobby doors of the Orion, Las Vegas' newest hotel and casino, and wondered exactly why he'd decided to accept the invitation to Lisa's annual Christmas party. While he had nothing against the holiday, even though Christmas had been pretty much just another day of the week for years now, Justin wasn't a party kind of guy.

He wasn't a casino kind of guy either. Too much smoke and noise and drunken gamblers for a man who was a virtual hermit, not to mention terminally tacky decor, which the Orion seemed to have taken to a whole new level.

Most of the major Strip casinos had some kind of theme. The Luxor sported an Egyptian pyramid and Caesar's Palace was an homage to ancient Rome. The Orion? Outer space nerd meets heterosexual male's wet dream.

Being neither an outer space nerd nor a heterosexual male, Justin was less than impressed with the buxom cocktail waitresses rushing around the gaming floor dressed in outfits that could best be described as a cross between Playboy Bunny and one of those taped-on female alien of the week outfits from the original Star Trek series. He also wasn't seduced into gambling his money away by the big-busted cartoon alien women bursting out of their shirts with a come hither bedroom grin prominently featured on the rows of slot machines near the lobby. At least the machines didn't chant Wheel Of Fortune! over and over again like the ones at the airport.

This year Lisa's holiday party was booked for Rockets, the small lounge that housed the Orion's comedy club. The comedy club was dark on Mondays – apparently the first workday of the business week wasn't a good night for comedians – and the Orion rented out the space for private parties.

A small party for a few friends. In a comedy club. No doubt the Orion had set the party up as a promotional gig, which meant Lisa would have more "friends" at this party than he'd had his entire life. Then again, Lisa had never done anything on a small scale, which was probably why her career had taken off, and his was... well, "stalled" would be a kind description. Just like his love life. Stalled. Broken down. Or just plain broken.

Rockets was off to the left past rows upon rows of slot machines. Justin wound his way through the machines, avoiding bumping into any of the players and thus ruining their luck – luck being a very important commodity in Vegas.

The crowd didn't thin as he reached Rockets. If anything, it got bigger. Lisa must have invited half of Vegas for her private little party.

"This is such a bad idea," Justin muttered. The idea of spending the next hour being introduced to everyone Lisa knew as "her baby brother, the writer" was his idea of hell, complete with slot machines and glow-in-the-dark neon on black carpeting.

"Research," he told himself. "Every life experience is potential research."

Some experiences were just more painful than others.

It's Tradition is available here for $1.29 US.

The second story is a novelette -- Secret Santa. Here's a summary:

"Ollie Dickinson, the office Scrooge, hates company parties, especially the yearly Secret Santa gift exchange. Except this year he's drawn Matt Robbins, the hot new junior accountant, who just happens to be the object of loner Ollie's very secret fantasies. Great, right? Not exactly. Matt is the protégé -- and some say boy toy -- of Ollie's cougar boss, and totally out of poor Ollie's middle management league.

Ollie finds out his secret crush on Matt isn't quite so secret when he gets gift-giving advice from co-workers who seem to be pushing him in Matt's direction. Can Ollie find the perfect Christmas gift and win Matt's heart without getting himself fired? Christmas is, after all, the season of miracles."

And under the cut, :

Ollie Dickinson had just opened the latest departmental audit file when Thelma Johns darkened his office door. Ollie thought momentarily about ignoring her, or glaring at her; either tactic worked well with ninety-nine percent of Ollie's staff.

"It's that time of year," Thelma said in her perpetually cheery voice.

Ollie glanced at his desktop calendar. December 2nd. How could he forget?

"I'm busy, Thelma." He pushed his wire rim glasses tighter against the bridge of his nose.

Thelma raised an eyebrow. "No one's too busy." She jiggled the black felt party hat she held upside down in one hand. A sprig of plastic mistletoe decorated the crown of the hat and paper rustled inside. "The quicker you pick a name, the quicker you can get back to those fascinating reports of yours."

Thelma was sixty, if she was a day. Each year as Christmas rolled around, Ollie found himself hoping she'd retired. Only then could he avoid the office tradition he hated above all else -- Secret Santa.

It was bad enough everyone tried to hit him up for donations whenever anyone had a birthday, had a baby, or heaven forbid, got married. Then there was the annual office picnic, which he managed to avoid thanks to a severe allergic reaction to barbecue sauce. He'd become adept over the years at weaseling out of the office summer softball leagues and winter bowling leagues. He ducked proud parents who hit him up for Girl Scout cookies and raffle tickets and frozen cookie dough to support their darlings' after-school activities. Ollie even managed to avoid his own birthday parties by scheduling his annual checkup with the dentist for the exact time each year when he knew cake would be served in his honor.

Ollie, however, had never been able to duck Thelma, his own personal Secret Satan.

Thelma was to Christmas what Red Bull was to soda. She bore a striking resemblance to Mrs. Claus, right down to the red dress she wore every year at the office Christmas party. Her hair was white and short and curly, her cheeks were round and rosy, and Ollie swore she wore the scent of hot chocolate for perfume. Thelma made sure everyone participated in Secret Santa, even Ollie Dickinson, Director of Accounting, and resident party pooper.

"You spend too much time on this," Ollie told Thelma.

"I do it on my own time."

Ollie glanced at the clock on his office wall. "Ten minutes after three is not your own time."

"Afternoon break." Thelma thrust the hat at him. "Lots of names in here, you just have to pick one."

Ollie scowled.

"The sooner you pick, the sooner I leave." She was positively jolly. No one in accounting should be jolly so close to the end of the fiscal year.

Ollie folded his arms across his chest. "Find someone else."

Secret Santa is available here for $2.49.

Both stories feature one old and one younger guy. I'm sure you all know what my inspiration was in writing them. ;)
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