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Boughs of Evergreen
Boughs of Evergreen Volume One
Boughs of Evergreen Volume Two

Boughs of Evergreen
A Holiday Anthology

Out Now!

Boughs of Evergreen is a two-volume collection of short stories celebrating the holiday season in all its diversity.

** Buy a Copy (Paperback / Kindle eBook) **

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Video Promo...wonderful words from our wonderful authors...

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Penned by authors from the UK, the USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, these are tales of the young and the not-so-young from many different walks of life.

Themes of family, friendship and romance take readers on a journey through some of the major holidays, both past and present, including Thanksgiving, Advent, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas and New Year. In each we find at the very least hope, and often love, peace and happiness.

Available in paperback and ebook editions.
To order your copy, visit www.beatentrackpublishing.com/BoughsofEvergreen.

Stories are also available individually (ebooks).
Scroll down links and story info.
(Preorder via Amazon, Smashwords plus other retailers in due course)

Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization [USA] providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

For more information, visit: www.thetrevorproject.org.

Visit Our Trevor Project Fundraising Page: stayclassy.org/beatentrackpublishing.

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THE STORIES...

Volume One

A Friend for Christmas

“A Friend for Christmas” - J P Walker

Eve was always an outsider. So different from everyone else, she never made friends easily - until the day she met Anna, a totally mysterious girl who seemed almost too good to be true.

A few times over the years they had found each other, and then Anna would disappear, leading Eve to conclude that she is an imaginary friend - a perfect girl she had created in her own mind to help ride the wave of difficult teens and other troubles in life.

But what if Anna is real? Could they still be friends?

On Christmas Eve they might just discover that the magic and love they've found can be held onto all year round.

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A Midnight Clear

“A Midnight Clear” - Debbie McGowan

It's a cold, desperate December when a young girl flees home, in search of food, shelter and the real Santa Claus. Stranded in George and Josh's hometown, she discovers that the spirit of Christmas can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Includes the story of The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen.

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From All of Us to All of You

“From All of Us to All of You” - Ofelia Gränd

Simon is counting the days to Christmas, not because he likes the Holidays - no, he hates them. He dreads every single holiday ever created, but Christmas it the worst. As if his dad's drunken snores and his mother's faked Christmas spirit isn't enough, his sister has decided to celebrate Christmas elsewhere this year.

The stress and anxiety drive Simon crazy. When he is introduced to a work colleague's son, Hannes, he mistakenly believes he's been set up on a blind date. Even after Hannes sets him straight in his assumptions, he keeps seeing signs that shouldn't be there. Is Hannes lying when he says he isn't interested or has the Christmas stress finally driven Simon mad?

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Homme for the Holidays

“Homme for the Holidays” - Jonathan Penn

Cade Bishop is finally on the mend from a traumatic event that happened almost five years ago. That healing didn't really start until last April, when he met Alan Troxler.

Alan has problems of his own, but he's noticed over the last eight months that the more time he shares with Cade, the more easily he's able to put his troubles to rest.

They're traveling together to Asheville, North Carolina to renew a Christmas tradition that was an important part of Alan's past, and to introduce him to Cade's parents - one of the few worries he hasn't been able to let go.

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Kiss Me At Kwanzaa

“Kiss Me At Kwanzaa” - L.L. Bucknor

Coworkers and cubicle mates, Ishmael "Ish" Cutter and Adan FLionlores might come from different backgrounds but they have a good number of things in common. The biggest one? They each have a secret crush on the other. This holiday season they are both single for the first time in thirteen months. No boyfriends or clingy ex issues - maybe it's time for Adan to make his move? He formulates the perfect plan and invites Ish over for his family's Kwanzaa feast...but will he have the courage to make the first move or will this holiday season be one to forget?

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Lion's Hero

“Lion’s Hero” - Alexis Woods

Eight nights to fall in love.
Ari has a mission: meet and fall in love with a man chosen for him by God. The catch: he only has eight nights to do complete it - the eight nights of Chanukah.

Gabriel has a test of faith. Reaching out to a young man, he finds himself confronted with the unbelievable. Believe, and the Festival of Lights may herald a miracle.

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One Nightstand

“One Nightstand” - Rick Bettencourt

Doug's not good with one-night stands, yet in the early hours of Christmas Eve, he returns home with Kirk - a good-looking guy he met at the club. Nestled together in the kitchen of his New England cottage, sipping hot chocolate and watching the snow fall, Doug wishes there could be more to this casual encounter. It's a feeling that stays with him as he heads off to a frantic day of work at the mall, swamped with last-minute holiday shoppers...the last place he expects to find something magical.

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Shiny Things

“Shiny Things” - Amy Spector

At sixteen, Nathaniel Avery was shipped off to live with an aunt in hopes of quelling a budding relationship between him and another boy. Ten years later, a frantic call from his younger brother and his father's failing health, brings him back home.

Just weeks before Thanksgiving and the most important day in Vincent Cooke's career, he nearly collides with the grown version of the boy he never really forgot.

Will a gallery renovation, the holiday season and the art of a mad genius help them to rebuild a friendship and rekindle a romance?

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The Bard and His Boyfriend

“The Bard and his Boyfriend” - Kathleen Hayes

Seth is a member of an ancient clan of druids that have existed for over 5,000 years. The rituals they perform at the changing of the seasons keep the very fabric of reality from unraveling. But as he goes home for the Winter Solstice, all Seth can think about is the huge fight he had with his boyfriend before he left school for the holiday break.

Much to Seth's surprise, Alejandro decides to follow him home to apologize. When Seth decides to tell him the truth about his heritage, Alejandro has to make a decision. Seth and Alejandro must work together to make sure that wherever they are spending the holidays - they are home with each other.

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The Christmas Present

“The Christmas Present” - Larry Benjamin

At Christmastime, a mother, unhappy her son is gay, turns to an Obeah practitioner to change him with surprising results.

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Xmas Cake: A Modern Fairy Tale

“X-Mas Cake: A Modern Fairytale” - Raine O’Tierney

Once upon a snowy Christmas season, in the glowing metropolis of Midday...

If this were a fairy tale Kyle would be the handsome prince and Riley would be the poor baker in distress. Oh wait, but that's exactly what it is!

When Kyle Prince sees Riley collapse in the snow-covered parking lot, he swoops in to the rescue, whisking the feverish young man off to his high-rise apartment without a second thought.

As Riley mends under Kyle's care, a feeling of closeness grows between the two men. But every fairy tale has its complications. Will the two find their happily ever after this Christmas?

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Volume Two

A Christmas Tale

“A Christmas Tale” - Hans M Hirschi

Imagine meeting Santa Claus for real and being granted a wish on Christmas Eve... This sweet little story will take you back to a time, not all that long ago, when life for gays was quite different from how it is today—a time when it seemed easier to believe in Santa Claus than believing it would ever be possible to build a family of one's own.

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A Family Christmas

“A Family Christmas” - Terry Kerr

Christmas is Brian Carson's favourite time of year - a time to be with his family, to share gifts, eat Christmas dinner and watch the Queen's speech, together. He's determined to be there, and nothing's going to stop him. Not even death.

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A Little Christmas Magic

“A Little Christmas Magic” - K.C. Faelan

It's the day after Thanksgiving and Ryan Forsyth is helping his friends decorate for Christmas. Little does he know that the weekend will usher in a profound change to his life, a chance for happiness if he isn't too afraid to reach out and grasp it.

Boone Ainsworth has been friends with Ryan since junior high, ever since their mutual friend Greg Hayes introduced them. Since the day they met, no one has stood a chance at claiming Boone's heart except Ryan, but Ryan is so deep in the closet, he hasn't got a clue.

Their happily ever after is just a step away, until a panicked decision changes everything. From that point on, things don't go smoothly and Ryan and Boone make mistakes neither may be able to forgive. But it's the holidays, and Ryan is banking on a little Christmas magic to help smooth the way.

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Always Have, Always Will

“Always Have, Always Will” - Amelia Mann

Jay thinks official commitments aren't necessary in a relationship. For the last fourteen years, he has loved waking up beside Gabriel, watching their two adopted kids grow up - even enjoyed painting the fence once in a while and paying his part of the mortgage on their New Jersey home. To Jay, that's a family. No papers or ceremonies will make their relationship better than it already is...though Gabriel has a different opinion.

Their lives are turned upside-down a month before Christmas, when he collapses in the plumbing aisle of the store. In the aftermath, Gabriel discovers that Jay's only legal next of kin is his long-time absent father, and later Jay has to confront the painful memories of growing up, and the real truth behind his parents' divorce.

But perhaps now Jay might be ready to give Gabriel a Christmas gift he will never forget.

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An Angel in Eyeliner

“An Angel in Eyeliner” - Hunter Frost

All Mitch wants for Christmas is a quiet holiday free from grief. Patching up the face of the target of a mugging in the back alley of his bar seems to throw that wish right out into the cold Chicago night. But the tatted, pierced, and skinny-jean wearing Keller Graham is fearless and proves to be more than a pair of icy blue eyes lined in black. Keller may be a thief, but Mitch never expected him to steal his lonely heart.

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Boyfriend Goes Home

“Boyfriend Goes Home” - Laura Susan Johnson

As a family scrambles to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, they discover that the greatest blessing of all is just being together and being alive.

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Christmas Commitment

“Christmas Commitment” - Shayla Mist

Dick hates Christmas. This year more than ever because he's been dumped by his boyfriend. There's only one way to prove to Zack he's serious about their future together: coming out to his family. Dick might be willing to do that, but what if it's already too late?

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Coming in from the Cold

“Coming in from the Cold” - Ava Penn

What's a poor, East coast boy fending for himself in Colorado to do when winter sets in on the Rockies?

Declan Stoeber finds himself freezing every minute of the day once autumn ends and the snow begins to fall in the Centennial State. With no family to go home to for the holiday season, he plans to put extra time into his studies and maybe look for a part-time job. What he gets is a part-time job with benefits and a few new friends.

Xander Duchesne is a savvy businessman in the harsh world of deals and projects. Estranged from his mother due to her matchmaking tendencies, he is resolved to spending Yule (or Winter Solstice) by himself for the first time in his life. He wasn't expecting his mother's impossible-to-ignore demands, and he certainly wasn't prepared for a college freshman who was just coming in from the cold.

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Holidays with Drum and Bell!

“Holidays with Drum and Bell!” - Matthias Williamson

When Jeff drops a card in the lap of meditating Jonah, they begin a journey of discovery and find out that anything is possible.

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Te Amo, You Mushrooms

“Te Amo, You Mushrooms” - S.H. Allan

T. Livius Quintillus expected to finish his duty as a soldier triumphant, with enough wealth to buy the freedom of Felix, the man he loves, and secure a life together. Instead, he has returned to Rome permanently disabled, with not nearly the money he needs. To others he is a hero, but Quintillus worries that his love might no longer want a man who isn't whole. With Felix seemingly avoiding him, his hopes are fading. But it's Saturnalia, a time of feasting and revelry and joy, a time when dreams of freedom feel more than just a fantasy. With the blessing of Fortuna and Minerva, Quintillus may still have a chance for a future with Felix. If only he can find him first...

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The Invasion of Tork

“The Invasion of Tork” - Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Adam is cool, intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous - all the guys tell him so! When he is forced to start voluntary work at the local homeless shelter, all he worries about is keeping the clients well away from him and finishing the placement as soon as possible. Until he meets Tork.

Tork is clever and funny. He makes origami models and reads Dickens. Tork has green hair and makes Adam's heart race with longing. But Tork is homeless and not at all impressed with Adam's attitude.

Can Adam see past his fear and arrogance? Can Tork give Adam a chance?

Can two such different men turn the world upside down and find out what really matters? Read to find out their story.