Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Gifts

After a year long hiatus, LB Gregg returns with a teensie tiny (truly adorable) holiday novella!

 It's brand spankin' new! And Simple Gifts arrives this Friday 11/25 from Musa Publishing (and is available at the usual third party vendors as well!)




 A former ward of the state, Jason Ferris is protective of his carefully guarded private life. When he's felled by a rogue lawn ornament at a Christmas party, Jason finds himself in the care of his first and most devastating love-- dark, dangerous, and equally damaged Lt. Robb Sharpe.

Newly returned from years away in the military, Robb's homecoming isn't exactly the stuff of fairy tales. Now thrust together after a ten year hiatus, Jason and Robb discover that perhaps some things are worth waiting for.



Excerpt:

We arrived at the library door where an enormous tree filled the room. Cocooned in finely spun angel hair, and crisscrossed with strands of bold lights and flimsy strings of popcorn, the fragrant pine floated above a sea of tastefully wrapped gifts. It looked exactly as a real Christmas tree ought to — only more so. Wooden toys, ceramic birds, and shimmering bells weighed every branch. Round glass ornaments hung from the boughs. The tree-topping star could have guided the Magi east. 
“Wow.”
“I know. Christmas is what I do best, however I lose all sense of proportion during the holidays. Maybe Sunny warned you?” Mrs. Sharpe winked before turning to dig through the pile of loot on the rug. “Now, let’s see...I have a little something here for you.” 
“For me?” I almost asked her why, but I sealed my lips and settled my feet. 
Mrs. Sharpe straightened and dumped a bulging Christmas stocking, com- plete with a striped candy cane poking from the top, into my empty hands. I hadn’t had one of these since...well, ever. I squeezed the velvet until the sound of crumbling paper stopped me from strangling the thing. She’d written my name in glittery cursive on the cuff. Handcrafted, like I was family or something. 
But I wasn’t family. No family of mine had ever given me a scrap, unless you counted the one-way ticket to foster care. 
Yes, Sunny and I always exchanged gifts. We were friends. This year, I had a new book on astronomy and I’d given her a tiny hedgehog charm for her bracelet, but a gift from Mrs. Sharpe? I was practically a stranger to Sunny’s parents. Probably the gesture meant nothing — maybe she gave presents willy- nilly to every constituent who entered her palatial lake house. 
But, damn it, her gift meant something to me. 
My throat closed and I swallowed against a rising tide of emotion. 
“Merry Christmas, Jason.” Mrs. Sharpe said gently and, alcohol afflicted or no, she seemed so fucking sincere I had to look away. Robb’s quiet stare met mine from across the room. He saw right through me. He always had. Heat reached my hairline. I broke free of his gaze and squinted down at my overfilled hands. 
You knew better. You knew not to come. 
My eyes blurred.
I had nothing in return for this woman. Not a bottle of wine, or a grocery store poinsettia, or even a lame greeting card. A plate of cookies, for Christ’s sake, I could have made a paper chain for her tree. Something. Anything. I hadn’t even come properly attired. 
There should be a handbook for orphans. Honestly. 
Mrs. Sharpe waited, her eyes soft. 
Damn Sunny all over again. She could have given me a heads up about this, too. She knew I’d arrived here like that pitiful Drummer Boy from the song. I had nothing to give. And I hadn’t offered a single word of welcome to Robb. 
The shame that had stolen my tongue as a child returned, but I managed to keep things real enough by eking out a simple, “Thank you.” 
“Oh, you’re very welcome, hon. We’re glad you came — and if you’d like to stay, please do. We’ve plenty of room and we’d love to have you.” She gave me another squeeze, rumpling the present between us, and when she let go, the second after I wrinkled her dress with my sweaty orphan palms, I fled.

I nabbed my coat, located the nearest exit through a jungle of elephantine pink poinsettias, and hit the Sharpe’s narrow sun porch at a goddamn trot. A zillion festive white lights lit my way until I passed through that dazzling portal to a silent, frigid night.

I sucked sweet air into my lungs once my feet were safely on the porch and clutched the collar of my coat, then tucked the stocking under my arm. Pinpricks of sleet bit my cheeks, but at least there weren’t any Sharpes here — only a howling gloom that whistled over the frozen waters of the lake and shaped the fallen snow into long, spiny hills. Lights flickered on the north shore. Or maybe that was Old Saint Nick himself headed this way.

Maybe he could give me a lift back to town.

Freebies!

To celebrate Thanksgiving, my new release, and your continued support, I have a couple copies I'd like to give away.

So, what are you thankful for this holiday season?

Leave a comment right here by midnight, Wednesday November 23rd and I'll chose two winners to receive downloads of my new novella, Simple Gifts!

Contest open internationally. Good luck!

LB

44 comments:

Chris said...

Missed you!!! :) Let me know if you want to do a post-release promo/giveaway.

What am I thankful for this holiday season... Having good friends, a low-drama family, a job I mostly enjoy, and kitties to keep my lap warm while I read.

lbgregg said...

Those are good things indeed, especially the low drama part!

Chris said...

I come from mellow stock and my brother married into mellow stock. :)

Marilyn said...

I'm thankful that I don't work in retail this time of year! I have a nice cushy office job that allows me to take a 4 1/2 day weekend.

azteclady said...

*throwing confetti and mixing margaritas to celebrate*

I'm thankful you are still writing :grin:


I'm also very thankful my kids (adults both by now, how did that happen?) are healthy and fairly sane. I'm thankful I have a job (even if it's food service, which will be absolute insanity on Friday--dear lord, have mercy on us).

petal63 said...

I am truly thankful that I found a certain german soap opera, which lead me to find awesome friends and in turn lead me to you and your super blog and website...I love seeing you on Fb catching up on your travels and learning new and exciting things. I am truly thankful that when my father recently passed away it was peaceful and that he was surrounded by those who loved him.

batchelorboy55 said...

In Australia of course we dont observe Thanksgiving, but having grown up in a religious family I always think of this time like the harvest festival, thankful for those things that so many struggle to maintain shelter, food, families, friendships and health. They are simple gifts.

Anonymous said...

HJ

Welcome back!

I am thankful for books, print and electronic, and of course for their authors.

JL Merrow said...

I'm thankful for having got most of my Christmas shopping out of the way already! ;D

Alex said...

I'm thankful for my family, and I hope we can all be together in the coming holidays. I'm also VERY thankful for my accepting friends, who love me whoever I am!

And for tea, because some mornings I just wouldn't make it :)

Petie said...

Looks like another touching story.

Will there be a third Romano & Albright book?

lbgregg said...

Marilyn~Retail is a difficult road this time of year, for sure. Four and a half day work week! That's a keeper.

lbgregg said...

Azteclady~Nice to see you, dear. And I'm thankful to be writing again,too. *g* Good luck on Friday!! Wear comfy shoes and rest up on Thursday. Make your kids take care of you.

lbgregg said...

Petal63~ I'm glad his passing was peaceful. Thanks for sharing that. I welled up. Totally did. Blessings on you and your family this year.

And a certain German soap opera (and the former star) brought me a wealth of new friends over the past two years. That's lucky. :)

lbgregg said...

Batchelorboy55-The best gifts are the simple ones, you're so right! We've much to be thankful for this year.

lbgregg said...

HJ

Books. I should have added that to my thanks list!

lbgregg said...

JL~How did you do it?! Already?! Holy smokes. I have like two presents done. 0_o

lbgregg said...

Alex~Tea! And coffee for me. :) And word about acceptance. That's a lovely thing.

lbgregg said...

Petie--YES THERE WILL!!! :) I've got that on my agenda, and I'm putting together an awesome play list. I have tons of notes, did some puttering in NYC over the last year, and I'm ready.

So are Ce and Dan.

Thanks so much.

kyreadinggirl said...

I am thankful for my son's health. He usually is really sick all during the holiday season, but this year he has been doing pretty well and hasn't had a surgery in over six months! Thank you for the contest--your story looks great!

kyreadinggirl (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Beatrice said...

I'm thankful for my family - my immediate family (my parents, sis) may seem like a crazy kids most of the time, but I still love them. My extended family is crazy in the awesome way! I'm thankful for my friends whom I've met more than ten years ago - even if I moved halfway across the world they're still willing to keep the communication lines open. They're so sweet.

And books! I'm thankful for all the books I've received this year. Reading has kept me sane. Also, I'm thankful that there'll be a third book with Ce and Dan! :D

Beatrice
beatrice.g.tan [at] gmail [dot] com

Emilie said...

I know it's kind of a last year's thing, but I am still thankful about being able to walk again. I am thankful to have supportive friends in real life and online, and my secret love child. I'm thankful for having the wonderful brother that I have, and a cool extended family.

Tracy said...

A new book! Woohoo! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to read it!

I'm thankful for making it through the past year! lol Seriously sometimes I didn't think the oldest daughter and I would survive each other but we did!

I miss you and hope you're well my friend!

Joanna Chambers aka Tumperkin said...

Oh lovely! I love Christmas books, especially ones with orphans! This excerpt is delicious. I will be buying.

I'm thankful for my kids who make me laugh every day, and my husband who has broad shoulders, in every sense.

Don't count me in the draw.

Joanna Chambers aka Tumperkin said...

Oh, and tea.

Sarah said...

I'm thankful for my friends and family :-D

Great to see a new release from you L B

Sarah

KB/KT Grant said...

Sounds tres hot! Can't wait to read :)

Glad to see you back.

lbgregg said...

kyreadinggirl~That's great news. I can't imagine the stress of a sick child along with the holidays. Here's to his continued good health! =)

lbgregg said...

Beatrice--And yes to good friends, good family and good reads. I need to write all this down for the toast on Thursday.

Now if I could just get crackin' on that story...

lbgregg said...

Emilie~Me too--all those things. **hugs**

lbgregg said...

Tracy--I'm thankful for not having to go through that again!!

I miss you too. And hopefully, if the stars align, I'll see you soonish. *g*

lbgregg said...

Tumperkin--I've only ever imagined Mr. Tumperkin as having the broadest of shoulders.

:)

lbgregg said...

Sarah--I'm thankful to all of you who commented. I was worried it would be a lonely two days!

lbgregg said...

KB/KT--I don't know if it's hot as much as it's sweet. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it.

Thanks. Good to be back.

KB/KT Grant said...

I'll take either :)

Petie said...

Glad to hear so LB :D I love love love Ce and Dan :D. Especially how good Dan is at dirty talk. It's a wonder he never been offered to be phone sex operator :P

I realized that, after two books and Dan's offer, Caesar hasn't top Dan yet. Hopefully that will happen on the third book ;)

BJ said...

I'm thankful for so many things! My health, my job, my home, my husband and his health. My stepkids, and the fact that they keep reproducing, making me a very happy stepgrandma at far too young an age ;) I'm thankful for books, your work, and being able to read them without fear of reprisal in my country. I'm thankful for my animals, who touch me in so many ways throughout the day.

LinNa said...

I am thankful for Art and Artist in all forms. Be it the writer, painter, photographer, sculptor, wood carver, glass blower, doll maker, quilter, musician, singer, actor or a chef! The beauty they create and bring into my life is undeniable. I THANK them all!.

(Who would have thought it, but I grew up to be a patron of the arts!)

Juliana said...

I have to say I am most thankful for green been casserole! It is my favorite thing about this horribly awkward Thanksgiving. And this book sounds so cute!

lbgregg said...

Petie~We'll just have to wait and see about that topping thing. =D

lbgregg said...

BJ~Lovely. Lovely. Thanks so much for sharing that.

lbgregg said...

LinNa~And Blacksmiths!! (my son is an aspiring blacksmith).

Happy Thanksgiving!

lbgregg said...

Juliana~Does your casserole have crunchy onions on top? Yum!

LinNa said...

Blacksmiths, Weavers, Carvers, ...