Blog Archive - December 2017

THIRDS Thursday - 12/28/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***
PART FOUR

Three hours earlier….

“You’ve lost your damned mind,” Ash growled. “Get your crazy-ass up here before I kick it!”

“Hold on. I just need to angle Rudolph a little more to the right.” All Dex had to do was stretch a couple more inches and he’d have the pesky reindeer right where he wanted him. “Just don’t let go, Ash. No matter how tempted you might be.”

“Can we please not discuss you falling to your doom while you’re dangling from my hands by your fucking belt! I’m going to kill you,” Ash growled. “I knew this was a stupid idea.”

Yeah. Yeah. So what’s new.

“Better yet, I’m going to tell Sloane on you,” Ash said, sounding smug.

Dex snorted. “No you won’t.” Just one more inch. Come on you holly-horned, red-nosed bastard.

“You think,” Ash challenged.

“I know,” Dex replied, the tips of his fingers grazing Rudolph’s front hoof. “You want this for Sloane as much as I do. We both know how much he loves Christmas. Both of you do. You might not bounce off the walls like little kids—”

“Like you, you mean.”

Dex wrinkled his nose. “Whatever. Don’t knock my childlike wonder.”

“Is that what you call it? I call it—”

Anyway, what I was saying is that Christmas means a lot to the both of you because neither of you had that growing up. You didn’t even have a childhood for crying out loud. You missed out on so much. Which is why I’m going to make sure that every single year Sloane has the best Christmas ever.” There. Yes! Perfect. Santa’s sleigh and his reindeer were now at the perfect angle looking as if they were taking off from the roof of their house. “Pull me up.”

Ash tugged with his usual finesse, and Dex flailed. He twisted his body so he wouldn’t hit Rudolph, and Ash growled at him.

“Stop fucking twisting, you ass!”

Dex felt Ash’s grip loosen, and he panicked, throwing an arm out to grab Ash, catching his sweater’s sleeve. The knitted Christmas sweater gave way, the sleeve tearing completely off, floating down like a giant red snow flurry. Dex yelped as he hung over the side of the house, swinging precariously as Ash held on to his belt with one hand, and grabbed a fistful of his sweater with the other, cursing him out.

Cael jerked at Dex’s distressed cry, his head shooting up to see Dex, and Dex’s eyes widened as he watched the chaos unfold before his eyes, as if it were happening in slow motion. Cael reeled back, slamming into Rosa who had a screw driver in her hand that she was using on one of the light fixtures. The tray of mugs containing hot chocolate in Cael’s hands went flying in the air, and something fizzed and popped, sparking a large flame while Rosa jerked, her hair smoking and standing on end. The hot chocolate came cascading down all over Hudson who spun to get out of the way, and slipped on one of the mugs, the rest hit the sidewalk, the ceramic shattering into hundreds of tiny projectiles and spraying Letty who let out a slew of curses to rival Ash’s. At the same time, Seb dove to catch Hudson, his boot snagging on one of the rows of garland, and over three hundred pounds of tiger Therian barreled into Letty, and Calvin who’d run out with the fire extinguisher. He cursed as Seb landed on him, his hand involuntarily squeezing down the handle, and white smoke bursting out all over Hobbs who’d rushed to help his boyfriend.

“Shit! Pull me up!”

Ash yanked at Dex, and he went slamming into Ash. They stumbled back, and Dex landed on one of the bags of dirt for the front garden. The bag burst, spewing dirt all over Ash who slipped on the melted snow and Dex’s jaw dropped as Ash soared through the air, and landed on his back in the middle of a huge puddle of snow and water which was now mixing with the dirt.

“I’m going to fucking kill you!”

Dex scrambled to his feet, and made a run for the door, Ash his heels. He hurried downstairs, and out the front realizing his mistake.

“Um, hey, guys.”

Everyone stood slowly, their narrowed eyes on him.

“Good job, everyone.” He slowly inched back toward the door. “It um, looks amazing. Sloane’s going to love it.” His back came up against something hard, and he could all but feel Ash’s laser eyes burning into him. Dex’s watched beep. “Oh, look at the time. Sloane’s going to be on his way over in five minutes. We should wrap up, and get inside.”

Everyone marched forward, and Dex knew he had about thirty seconds to live.

“I just want to say thank you for helping me with this. It really means a lot to me, and just so you know, I really appreciate you guys.” He let out a sigh, and pouted. “I’m sorry. You know Sloane means everything to me, and all I wanted was to give him the kind of Christmas he should have had as a kid.”

His friends stopped. They exchanged glances before all looking up past him to Ash who whirled Dex around to face him. He grabbed Dex by the collar, and thrust a finger in his face, opening his mouth to no doubt tear him a new one.

Dex mumbled quietly. “I’m sorry, Ash.” He shrugged. “He just means everything to me, you know?”

Ash let out a groan, and released him. With a sigh that told Dex he was the most annoying thing in Ash’s life, Ash turned toward the door.

“Everyone get inside. Sloane’s on his way.”

Dex stood to one side, his heart full of love for his friends. His family.

“Dex?”

Dex blinked, his eyes refocusing on the beautiful face looking down at him. He gave Sloane a sheepish smile. “So that’s what happened.”

Sloane looked from Dex to their friends, and back. His expression softened, and he pulled Dex up against him to kiss his brow. Then he turned to their friends, his expression filled with so much love and pride.

“Thank you. Thank you for,” he motioned to the house, “taking all this on, just for me. It means so much. You all are the best family a guy could have.” Sloane left Dex to grab Ash in a big hug. “Thanks, Ash.”

Ash grunted, but he wrapped his arms around Sloane, squeezing, his voice rough when he spoke. “You deserve the best. Even if your husband is a menace.”

Sloane chuckled as he pulled back.

“Okay,” Ash said, clearing his throat. “Let’s all get cleaned up and get this party started.”

Dex hung back as everyone headed in, and Sloane pulled him into his embrace again. The flurries turned into a beautiful snowfall. The street was quiet, Christmas carols playing while the lights of their house twinkled. Sloane put his hand to Dex’s cheek, and Dex all but melted against him.

“Merry Christmas, baby,” Sloane said softly, his amber eyes filled with so much adoration for him.

“Merry Christmas,” Dex replied, his heart feeling as though it would burst from all the love he felt for this amazing man. “I love you.”

“I love you.” They kissed sweetly until it got too cold to stay outside any longer. When they pulled apart, Dex gave Sloane a mischievous wink. “Wait until you see what I have planned for next year.”

Sloane stared at him before he threw his head back, and laughed. He laced his fingers with Dex’s, and as they headed inside to spend Christmas surrounded by their little makeshift family, Dex couldn’t think of a time he’d been happier. He was so very lucky, and blessed. His family had grown over the years, and even though they had their differences, and they drove each other crazy, they all loved each other, and Dex wouldn’t change that for anything.

They stepped inside, and Dex stopped just inside the living room watching his friends and family laughing, joking, and chatting as they helped clean each other up. Letty and Rosa were in hysterics as Tony helped them attempt to tame Rosa’s frizzed mane. Seb stole a kiss from rosy-cheeked, somewhat tipsy Hudson as he wiped the hot chocolate off his husband’s face. Ash had a dopey grin on his face as Cael fussed over him. Hobbs and Calvin had their heads together, big boyish grins on their faces as Calvin murmured something to him, making Hobbs laugh softly, happiness twinkling in his green eyes.

“So what did you ask Santa for?” Sloane asked, kissing the top of Dex’s head.

“Nothing,” Dex said, his eyes getting a little teary as he smiled up at Sloane. “I already have everything I ever wanted.”

 

   
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.    

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THIRDS Thursday - 12/21/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***
PART THREE

“You’re going to burn a whole in my floor,” Tony grumbled.

Sloane couldn’t help his pacing. It was almost time. Dex wanted to surprise Sloane by getting the crew to help him decorate the house for Christmas to make it extra special, which was touching. It really was. Sloane loved that Dex was even more excited about Christmas than usual, and all because it was their first as a married couple. It didn’t however ease his mind. Dex had a habit of going over the top, and the fact that he was bringing the rest of the crew in to help, made Sloane a little nervous. Okay, a lot nervous.

“Hey,” Tony said, interrupting his pacing. “There’s been no word from dispatch on any fires or emergency services being sent out.”

“You’re right.” Sloane sighed, and took a seat on the couch. “I’m overreacting.”

“No, you’re reacting appropriately,” Tony said, a hint of amusement in his tone. “This is Dex we’re talking about. God only knows what he’s up to, but he’s not ended up on the news so that’s a good sign.”

The fact they could judge how his husband’s evening was going based on whether or not Dex made the news was… somewhat disturbing, yet comforting because no news was good news.

His watch beeped, and Sloane stood. “It’s time.”

Tony’s reply was a chuckle as he made his way to the front door with Sloane quick on his heels. They’d had a nice relaxing day—at least when Sloane wasn’t thinking about news headlines containing the words “Strange Blond Man Causes Christmas Chaos…”.

Sloane was enjoying his “play dates” as Dex called them, with Tony. His father-in-law and former sergeant wasn’t big on chatting. He was one of those guys that believed in talking when there was something worth talking about, but there was never any need to fill the silence. Sloane could just sit and enjoy the man’s company as they hung out and read, watched TV, or played cards.

They took a cab to Sloane and Dex’s house, and on the ride over, Sloane checked his phone. No texts from anyone. No calls. No alarms. That was good right? He checked his phone battery. Fully charged. The closer they got to his block, the more he found himself leaning forward.

“You planning on crawling into the passenger seat,” Tony teased.

With a sheepish grin, Sloane sat back. “Sorry. No, you’re right. I’m good.”

The cab came to a stop, and Sloane bolted from the car. Shit. Spinning around, he ran to the window, and gave the driver money. “Thanks!” Not bothering with change, he ran across the street just like he’d been instructed. As nervous as he was, he didn’t want to spoil Dex’s surprise. Nothing was on fire, so there was no immediate danger. That he could see, anyway.

“Sweetums!”

Sloane couldn’t help his dopey smile. He laughed when Dex barreled into him, and hugged him tight.

“I missed your face,” Dex said, kissing him sweetly. When he pulled back, he winked playfully. “Among other things.”

With a chuckle, Sloane pulled him close, and nuzzled his temple. They’d only been apart a few hours, but with their bond, it felt much longer. Having Dex back in his arms settled his felid half, and he let out a happy sigh.

“Where is everyone?”

Dex looked up at him, eyes slightly wide. Uh-oh. His husband might be training to be a spy, but when it came to Sloane, he was still shit at lying.

“They’re inside.”

Sloane peered at him. “Why haven’t they come out to see your big surprise?”

“They will.” Dex pulled out his phone, and waved it at Sloane. “Soon as I text Hobbs, he’s going to hit the lights, and then they’re all going to come out.” Dex’s smile widened, and Sloane braced himself.

“Is everyone inside?”

Dex nodded slowly. “Yes.”

What wasn’t Dex telling him?

“Are they all in one piece?”

Dex’s expression was unimpressed. “I did not maim any of our friends in the making of the The Daleys’ Eye-gasm-inducing Décor of Christmas Awesomeness.”

Sloane nodded, though he wasn’t quite sure he believed him.

“Ready for your surprise?” Dex was so excited he was practically vibrating.

Well, Dex was in one piece, no bandages, bleeding, bruises, or missing appendages so that was a good sign. Sloane looked him over while Dex was sending his text. He looked perfectly fine. Wait, what was that on his Christmas sweater?

“Is that me?” Sloane asked, pointing to the somewhat grumpy looking black jaguar wearing a Christmas hat.

Dex grinned up at him. “You have been forever immortalized in 100% cotton.”

“Um, thanks?” He was a little bit worried about the Christmas sweater he knew Dex had inside for him.

Dex reached into his pocket, and pulled out a pair of sunglasses that he then handed to Sloane. “Here, you’re going to need these.”

“But it’s eight in the evening.” Sloane took them, and put them on. Relax, it’s going to be fine. Where the hell had Tony gone? Probably inside. Because he’s a smart man.

“Okay, turn around,” Dex said excitedly.

The block was suddenly plunged into colorful daylight, and Sloane turned around. “Holy fuck!”’ His jaw dropped, and he took a step back. Somewhere under the millions of tiny bright lights was his and Dex’s house. The strings of lights ran from the base of the house to the roof. There were lights around the windows, the handrails, the fence. There were reindeer pulling a sleigh angled off the roof, frosted holly wrapped around the handrails along with the lights, and candy canes attached to the fence. The words “Happy Holidays” flashed in sequence to what Sloane now realized were Christmas carols coming from speakers somewhere. Christmas had exploded all over their house, and it lit up the entire block like a supernova had just gone off. There was a giant wreath on the door, and even their tree was lit up, from the bottom of its trunk to the very top, and candy canes were plunged into the dirt circling it.

“Don’t look directly at it without sunglasses or you might burn your retinas,” Dex said casually before he bounced like a little kid beside Sloane. “Do you love it?”

Sloane turned to Dex, his husband’s blue eyes filled with adoration, and his face lit up like the lights on their house. Sloane's expression softened, and he pulled Dex into his arms.

“Baby, it’s amazing. Thank you for doing this. I love it.” He kissed Dex, pouring all his love and admiration for his man into the kiss. As much trouble as Dex got into, his intentions were always nothing but pure, and everything he did, he did from his big heart. He was the best man Sloane knew, and he loved Sloane like no other. “I love you,” Sloane murmured against Dex’s lips. Dex melted against him with a dreamy sigh, and Sloane chuckled. “I have to admit, I was a little worried. I’m glad to see it all went as planned.”

Dex cringed, and Sloane opened his mouth when he heard Ash grumble behind him.

“Your pain in the ass husband needs to be declared a national disaster.”

Sloane turned, ready to reply that it couldn’t have been that bad, but when he saw their friends, the words died on his lips. Ash looked like he’d fallen down a ravine. He was covered in dirt, had a bandage over his right eyebrow, he was missing a sleeve, and a shoe. Everyone else looked just as bad. Rosa’s hair was standing on end like she was the Bride of Frankenstein. Letty was wrapped in so many bandages she looked like a mummy, Hobbs was covered from head to toe in—

“Oh my God, did someone use a fire extinguisher on you?”

Hobbs nodded, a big boyish grin splitting his face as he held two thumbs up.

“What the hell happened to you guys?”

Everyone turned their narrowed eyes to Dex.

“Well, you see….”

Three hours earlier….

PART FOUR ON CHRISTMAS DAY!
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.    

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Goodreads M/M Romance Group's 2017 Members' Choice Awards

Hello, all! A huge thank you to everyone who nominated me and the fellas for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's 2017 Member's Choice Awards! I'm so very honored to be listed alongside so many amazing authors and books. Voting has begun, so if you fancy voting for me or the THIRDS fellas, you'll find the link and categories below. I'm so excited to see the THIRDS has been nominated for the Hall of Fame All_Time Favorite M/M Series! Thank you again all so much for all your awesome support!

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CATEGORIES NOMINATED Hall of Fame All-Time Favorite M/M Series: THIRDS All-Time Favorite Author: Charlie Cochet All-Time Favorite Romance: Smoke & Mirrors Best Paranormal: Darkest Hour Before Dawn Best Cover Art: Gummy Bears & Grenades Best Established Couple: Dex & Sloane - Gummy Bears & Grenades Best Main Character: Sloane - Gummy Bears & Grenades Best Humorous: Gummy Bears & Grenades Best narrator: Mark Westfield Narrating - Darkest Hour Before Dawn  

THIRDS Thursday - 12/14/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***
PART TWO

“Is this a schematic?”

Calvin stared down at the large, intricate diagram of what looked like Dex and Sloane’s house, along with a detailed layout of—were those Christmas lights? When Dex had approached him, Calvin had expected a few strings of lights, some wreaths, a few outdoor decorations. He’d never thought he’d be involved in something that involved a schematic created by a government intelligence agency.

Ethan rested his chin on Calvin’s shoulder, and reached over him, snickering as he pointed to a particular spot on the schematic.

“That’s….” They both tilted their heads. “Is that a tiny digital Dex and Sloane in the window?”

“Yes!” Dex bounced over to Ethan and threw a hand up. Ethan high-fived Dex without moving his gaze away from the schematic. His boyfriend was way too amused. He should be more concerned. Terrified actually.

Calvin narrowed his eyes at Dex. “Can you read this?”

“Of course he can,” Ash replied with a smirk. “It’s all pictures. No words.”

“Bite me, Simba.” Dex flipped him off, and turned to Ethan with a huge smile. He was looking a little unhinged.

“Is that Sloane on your ugly Christmas sweater?”

Dex looked down at his knitted red sweater with alternating snowflake and heart pattern running across it. In the center was a black jaguar wearing a Santa hat.

“Isn’t it amazing?”

“It’s… something all right.”

Christmas did weird things to Dex, and Dex was weird enough at the best of times. Calvin turned to Cael to ask how much sugar Dex had already had, but quickly realized asking the guy stuffing his face with sugarcoated Chex Mix was probably not the best idea.

“What?” Cael asked through a mouthful of crunch. His pupils were looking a little big.

Calvin smiled then took hold of Ethan’s elbow, and turned him away to whisper at him. “We’re looking at an optimum Threat Level Fuchsia situation here. Get the fire extinguishers ready, and make sure Rosa’s bringing her medical kit.”

Ethan nodded, and gave him a salute, before darting off to prepare for Dex-induced mayhem.

Since everyone would be with their respective families for Christmas, Dex had decided they should all get together to celebrate their own Christmas a couple of weeks early. He’d put off decorating until today, and poor Sloane was staying at Tony’s until the surprise was ready.

The room suddenly burst into Jingle Bell Rock, scaring the crap out of Calvin. Before he could say anything, the doorbell rang, and Dex bounced over like a reindeer on crack, the bells hanging from the reindeer antlers on his head ringing. Calvin once again asked himself what the hell he had gotten himself into.

“It’s worse than I thought,” Calvin murmured to Ethan who stepped up beside him. He looked up to ask Ethan if he was ready with the stuff when his words failed him. “What’s on your head?”

Ethan beamed at him, and flicked the little bell hanging from one of antlers, the name “Comet” stitched in white up one of the brown antlers. He held a headband out to Calvin.

“I’m not wearing that,” Calvin grumped.

“Suck it up, Summers,” Ash said as he walked past him toward the door, antlers on his head. “If I gotta wear this shit, so do you.”

Calvin glared at Ash’s back. “Yeah, because you got Blitzen. Why do I have to be Prancer?” He growled at his stupid antlers before putting them on, ignoring Ethan’s delighted gasp. He leaned in and kissed his cheek.

“Yeah, yeah.”

The girls had arrived, and cheerfully put on their antlers. Rosa was Dancer, and Letty Vixen. When Seb and Hudson arrived, Seb was given Donner, and Hudson Dasher. Cael was Cupid, and Dex Rudolph.

“Okay, who picked these?” Calvin asked. “Why am I Prancer?”

Everyone went quiet and turned to him before they burst into laughter.

“What?” They were losing their minds. Oh God, it was catching. Dex pulled his phone out of his pocket, and walked over. He tapped away at it, and Calvin eyed him warily.

“This is why.” Dex handed him the phone, and Calvin hesitantly pressed play on the video. His jaw dropped. No way. It was a video of him, drunk off his ass at Dekatria, dancing—no prancing—to Barry Manilow’s Flashy Lady. “You’re such a flashy lady,” Dex teased.

Calvin’s face went up in flames. “Delete it.”

“After you help put up the Christmas lights for my beautiful unsuspecting husband.”

“I’m gonna kill you, Daley!” Calvin launched himself at Dex, but Ethan caught him before he grabbed Dex’s antler’s and gave him a different type of holy night.

“Such a grumpy little reindeer,” Dex said with a laugh. “You have my word that I will delete it the moment the lights are up.”

“Fine,” Calvin grumbled.

Ethan wrapped his arms around Calvin, and pulled him close against him.

“Did you know about this?”

Ethan shook his head. He leaned down, and pressed his lips to Calvin's. Damn him. It was hard to stay annoyed when Ethan kissed him all sweet like this. Calvin let out a sigh.

“Okay, let’s do this.”

“I brought my medical kit,” Rosa said, winking at Ethan.

“Really, guys. It’s just some Christmas lights,” Dex said walking into the sea of lights in the middle of the living room.

Rosa arched an eyebrow at him. “Which Destructive Delta are putting up according to a schematic you had made.”

Letty turned to Rosa. “Hey, how many agents does it take to put up Christmas lights?”

“Six,” Rosa said motioning to the rest of them. “The same number it takes to cause a citywide incident

“Don’t include us in your crazy,” Seb said, holding Hudson close against him.

Ash patted Seb’s shoulder. “Not only did that ship sail long ago, it’s been docked in Crazy Town for a while now.”

Hudson sniffed Ash. “Have you been drinking the spiked eggnog? Because if you have, I want some.”

Everyone laughed, and Hudson blinked at them. “What? Are you saying there’s no alcohol?”

“You can sniff the eggnog, and get drunk after the lights go up,” Ash said.

Dex clapped his hands together to get everyone’s attention. “Rosa, Letty, you take the banisters. Hudson, you’ve got the fence. Seb, the windows. Cael, you, me, Hobbs, Ash, and Cal are on lights. Any questions, just let me know, otherwise, just look at the schematic. Decorations that are not lights can be found in their respective boxes in the dining room. All the boxes are labeled.”

Calvin had to admit, he was pretty impressed with how organized Dex was. Maybe this was actually going to be okay.

PART THREE NEXT WEEK.
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.    

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