Comfort and Joy
Sam and Charlie have been together over a decade, and their commitment to each other has only grown stronger through the years. But love isn't always easy, and eighteen months after a violent assault, their fairy-tale relationship is still struggling. Charlie can’t shake the lingering fear of attracting more violence by displaying affection, and he's angry at himself for not getting past it. Sam would do anything to help Charlie feel better—if only he knew what that was.
The century-old farmhouse in Northwest Oregon is the perfect place to spend the holidays with Sam’s family, but it was their refuge after the attack, and it still holds painful memories of those difficult first months. Christmas should be a joyful time, but even being surrounded by people who love him isn’t enough to make Charlie feel safe. He could try to keep to himself, but even if Sam agreed to give him the space he needs, Sam’s warm and loving family might not. And even though they agreed not to exchange gifts, Sam has a surprise he hopes will make everything merry and bright. But he may end up more surprised than Charlie before the week is out…