Christmas—a time for Santa, elves, and angels. But they don't exist. Or do they? Alex is about to find out.
Alex loves making Christmas special for the customers who visit his shop, despite his own sadness and loneliness. He employs Michael as his store Santa, and when a young would-be shoplifter, Jackson, is caught, he's persuaded by Michael to give him a chance. To Alex's surprise, he's attracted to Jackson, but he really has no idea how to deal with it.
Will Alex get a touch of the heart from an angel to help him find the love he deserves?
Heading downstairs on Michael's heels, Alex ignored the curious glances of the gathered crowd. The guard had taken the young man over to Jayne, his senior till operator. The pinched and sour look on Jayne's face told Alex she, too, had become judge, juror, and executer in regards to the would-be shoplifter. She met Alex's gaze squarely as he approached.
"It's all right. Everything's under control. I've told security to call the police. He probably wanted to sell the scarf to get money for drink or drugs."
An inner voice told Alex that wasn't the case. Yes, the man had piercings, and tattoos, but that was no reason to make such a sweeping judgment. Especially in front of onlookers. The guilt and sadness in the young man's eyes were unmissable. This was no seasoned thief. His skin was pale, but blemish-free, and he didn't strike Alex as someone who did drugs.
Stepping between the guard and Jayne, Alex held up his hand. "Don't call the police just yet. I haven't decided whether I need them or not. What's the story here, Max?"
"Seems this feller thought he didn't need to pay like everyone else." The guard shook the young man's arm. "Spotted him slipping a scarf inside his jacket. Are you sure you don't want me to call the police? This lady did." Max indicated Jayne, who glowered at the young man.
"It would teach him a good lesson to be locked up." Jayne sniffed loudly.
Instinctively, Alex felt certain that was far from the truth. He shook his head. "Not now. Thank you for spotting what happened, Max, but I'd like to speak to him in my office."
"I'll hang around." Max glared at the man as Michael and the would-be shoplifter headed toward the stairs.
"Don't let him fool you with some sob story," Jayne called out.
"That won't be necessary. I can call the police if needed." Alex glanced over his shoulder and wasn't surprised to see Jayne, the guard, and a few customers huddled around the till. He shook his head.
Once in his office, Alex sat at his desk with Michael and the stranger opposite him, seated next to each other. He steepled his fingers and leaned forward. "Why don't you tell us your name to start with?"
"Look, I did it. Just call the cops and get this over, okay? I knew my luck would run out eventually. Don't drag it out." The young man's green-eyed gaze was filled with defeat, and his voice was world-weary. Alex's heart ached at the despondent tone.
Living in clean, green New Zealand, Pelaam is a best-selling, multipublished author of gay romance and erotic books. When not busy writing, she can be found indulging in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation.
Pelaam’s book Breath of the Feathered Serpent is a finalist for the 2014 Rainbow Awards in Gay Futuristic/Sci-fi and has been given an Honorable Mention. Bedazzled and Firebird were a combined finalist for the Rainbow Awards in Gay Futuristic/sci-fi 2013.