I’m so so so happy, even if I’m always anxious for a new release.
Thank you, JMS Books, for your work and kindness!
This story is important to me, and I hope English readers will love it. I also hope this tale will warm my readers’ heart.
I’m here for you, let me know what you think <3
By: Erin E. Keller | Other books by Erin E. Keller
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc), Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi)
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About the book
Pete is an improbable Santa Claus ringing his bell on the sidewalks of New York. He might need this job, but he doesn’t have to like it. Impulsive and a little rough around the edges, Pete has a big warm heart, and when he sees the homeless man reading a book on the pavement, he is intrigued.
Lucas is a deaf-mute who fled an ex-boyfriend who wanted to use him as a prostitute. He is cold and isolated, but the very not-ordinary Santa Claus ringing a bell nearby makes him smile.
When Lucas is attacked and robbed, it gives Pete the opportunity to invite him home for Christmas. But can they live together long-term? Will Lucas’s bid for independence break their hearts or bring them to deeper understanding?
An excerpt from the book
The air is getting cold and my eyes start to burn. My legs are numb. People keep walking back and forth. It’s amazing how New York is truly the city that never sleeps. I put the book in my backpack and I breathe on my hands to warm them.
While I’m doing this, my gaze falls on Santa Claus, and what I see makes me smile. He is not looking at me and he is scratching his ass. Then he shakes his legs and he arranges his big belt on his huge fake belly. Poor man, he is not feeling comfortable.
At least I don’t have to stand on my feet all day.
On the other hand he probably has a normal life somewhere, maybe even a family.
I would work as a fake Santa Claus, except that with the sounds that come out of my throat, I probably wouldn’t make a good impression. I’d scare the children. I might as well wear a Pennywise costume.
I bring my knees to my chest and I continue to watch him because there’s something funny about that man. And I’m not talking about the dress, but about the fact that you can see he is feeling uncomfortable and he doesn’t have the slightest desire in doing what he does.
Who knows who’s under the costume? And who knows what he was saying earlier…
Sure, I’m used to silence, and I always understand when someone speaks to me, but when I don’t have a clear vision of their lips I feel really impaired. The more I look at Santa Claus, the more curious I feel. Who knows, maybe even if he is a fake Santa Claus, and not a particularly good one, he said something nice.
Maybe he told me that everything will be fine …
I don’t know what gets into me, but after a moment I’m behind him and I’m tapping on his shoulder. When he turns around the surprise is clear in his eyes and I can’t help but smile a little.
Then I pull his fake beard down, so that his lips are visible and I stare at them intently. I usually watch the lips, but I don’t dwell on them in the true sense of the term. Generally they are just a channel that leads the image of a word into my silent world. But this time, while he opens them in amazement, I feel a sudden urge to taste them. Those lips are young, well-shaped and they look so soft. I release the fake beard that returns into place, and I walk away quickly, squeezing the belt of my backpack.
I think I’m getting crazy. The cold must have atrophied my brain. Not only am I a beggar, but I also go and annoy people now? I try not to ever raise my head for the shame of begging, and then I act like this?
I don’t get very far before I feel something pulling me back. I almost end up with my ass on the ground. I turn around and I see Santa Claus blinking at me. I see the beard moving and I tug it again, intercepting a “… ck are you doing?” I mentally complete the phrase that probably was: “What the fuck are you doing?”
I look at him and I know for a fact that my cheeks are flushed and I must have a puzzled expression. I shrug and continue to stare at his mouth, waiting for him to say something, anything that I would comprehend in some way. He looks at my hand holding the beard and I can tell he is trying to understand.
“Is everything okay?”
“You do understand what I say, then?”
I nod again.
“But you don’t talk.”
I shake my head.
“Is it a choice?”
I shake my head again.
“And you can’t hear me …”
I shake my head again.
Santa Claus closes his eyes and I release his beard. I take my little notebook and the pencil that I always carry with me and I write fast. Sorry, I can’t see your lips if they are covered by the beard. I didn’t get what you said earlier. And I realized that I’ve been rude. And you can’t be rude to Santa.
I show him the paper and I see him smile and shake his head. He repeats what he said when he came to me and I blush. This is not what I had hoped — he’s not Santa Claus, for God’s sake — but it’s the cutest thing someone had said to me in a long time.
Thanks, I write, and then I nod before turning around and heading back to the alley where I will sleep for another night.