Home > The Geek Who Saved Christmas

The Geek Who Saved Christmas
Author: Annabeth Albert


Acknowledgments

 

Also By Annabeth Albert

 

Author Bio

 

 

His grumpy neighbor needs some holiday sunshine…

Gideon Holiday is the perfect neighbor. Need a cup of sugar? Spare folding chair? Extra batteries? He’s always ready to help. And he’s waited years for his hot, grumpy, silver fox neighbor, Paul, to need him. For anything. But this December, Gideon would be happy if he could just get the Scrooge-like Paul on board with the neighborhood holiday lights fundraiser.

Paul Frost has no intention of decking his halls or blazing any Yule logs. Even if his spunky bowtie-clad neighbor does look perfect for unwrapping, Paul would prefer to hide away until December is done. But when his beloved younger brother announces an unexpected visit, Paul needs all the trimmings for a festive homecoming—and fast.

Luckily, Gideon is there with a color-coded plan to save Christmas. Soon Paul’s hanging lights, trimming trees, and rolling out cookies. And steaming up his new flannel sheets with Gideon. How did that happen?

It’ll take some winter magic to preserve their happiness and keep these rival neighbors together longer than one holiday season.

The Geek Who Saved Christmas is a low-angst m/m holiday romance with a guaranteed happy ending. This grumpy/sunshine, neighbors-to-lovers, found family tale features two heroes in their forties figuring out that maybe their sexily-ever-after was right next door the whole time. It stands alone and is not connected to any of the author’s other universes. However, it does contain a heaping helping of the same emotions and steamy moments readers have come to expect!

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

‘Tis that time of year again, neighbors! The annual holiday lights charity fundraiser is coming! It’s time to get serious about those decorations, folks! ~Cheryl Bridges posted to the What’s Up Neighbor app

Gideon

“See the blazing Yule before us,” I sang happily. I was running late, but that didn’t stop me from summoning some early seasonal spirit on my way into the tiny Evergreen Park community center at the heart of our historic neighborhood. I’d been looking forward to this meeting for weeks now, the moment when my grand plans would all be revealed. I did love a good plan, and I had the schematics to prove it.

Deck the halls, indeed. If I had my way, the whole neighborhood would be transformed into a perfect—

“Watch it.” A voice I knew a little too well had me looking up in the nick of time to avoid crashing into my next-door neighbor. My very hot, very grumpy, very not-into-community-meetings neighbor.

“Paul!” I faked some cheer in the hopes that maybe his grinchy heart had thawed this year, and he’d finally join us in decorating. “You here for the meeting?”

“Yep.” Typically monosyllabic, his stony face revealed nothing about his intentions.

“Does this mean you’re going to put up some lights this year?” I asked brightly. My voice had the same embarrassingly breathless quality it always took on around Paul Frost. Something about all those muscles and silver-fox looks combined to fluster me every darn interaction. We were both over forty, but he wore it so much hotter. “I’ll be going over guidelines and helpful hints.”

“I don’t need hints.” It really was a darn shame, the way the man totally lacked an appetite for fun and community togetherness. But maybe when one filled out a leather jacket like he did, a personality was strictly optional.

“Still, everyone is looking forward to hearing my plans.” Everyone other than him went without saying. And if he was there to object, he could save it. I’d worked too hard on my plans to turn back now. “I’d better get in there.”

“Sure.” Paul held the door for us both. “Nice tie.”

“Um. Thanks.” I had no idea what to make of the half-smile that teased the edges of his mouth as he indicted my bow tie, which featured cheerful and seasonally appropriate turkeys.

Mr. Leather Jacket had an endless wardrobe of plain black T-shirts and wasn’t the type to appreciate my fashionable whimsy, making me even more suspicious of his motives for coming to the meeting. However, before I could question him further, Cheryl, our longtime leader, frantically motioned me over to the coffee table. I headed toward her and most certainly did not sneak a look at the flex of Paul’s muscles as he found a seat near the back of the community center.

Liar. Okay, a tiny peek. It wasn’t my fault the man was riveting. Even frowning, he added something to the otherwise drab space. The multipurpose room consisted of a low stage at the front and folding chairs, which could be stowed for senior citizen fitness classes, kid art classes, and other community activities.

“See something you like?” Cheryl raised an eyebrow as I reached her. Oops. Maybe I hadn’t been as subtle as I thought.

“Your new sweater. Love the rose shade on you,” I said smoothly.

“Gideon.” Her pragmatic tone was just this side of scolding. “Paul Frost is a tree you can’t climb.”

“Not planning on trying,” I lied. I’d blaze his Yule in a heartbeat if I thought he was interested, but he was most decidedly not. Every neighborhood interaction tended to turn frosty in a hurry. Which was a shame because we were both single men of a certain age.

According to Cheryl, who had an unparalleled talent for getting details, he’d never been married and didn’t have kids. What he did have was a discreet rainbow on his truck and business logo. And over-forty, unattached homeowners who were possibly into guys didn’t come along all that often in our sleepy suburb. So, understandably, I’d initially been gleeful when he’d moved in, but four years of terse interactions said that short, geeky, snappy dressers didn’t float his particular boat.

Or maybe it was my relentless optimism. Maybe he was allergic to smiles and needed someone similarly dour to hang with, not that I’d seen him date. No hookups escaping late at night or early morning either. And yes, I was a nosy enough neighbor that I’d know.

“Well, he’s not the only new face tonight. This crowd is an excellent omen.” Cheryl patted me on the sleeve as I removed my stack of handouts from my leather messenger bag.

“The big turnout is great, but we may need more snacks.” I gestured at the table, which was already running short on cookies and coffee cups.

“I’m on it.” Smiling deviously, she retrieved an extra platter of turkey-shaped cookies from under the table. “Think Paul will actually decorate this year?”

“That would be a pleasant change.” This was my third year as holiday chair, and if I’d learned anything, it was that Paul Frost didn’t do seasonal celebrations and quite possibly went into hibernation each December. No parties. No appearance at Cheryl’s big New Year’s Eve celebration. No neighborly food offerings. And nary as much as a wreath or single strand of lights.

“I suppose we should get started.” After setting out the fresh platter of cookies, Cheryl clapped her hands with all the authority of a woman who’d raised four sons to adulthood. “Now, I’m sure you’re all here for Gideon’s decorating plans, but before we get to that, we have some housekeeping. The first snow is coming soon, and you’ll want to remember our shared sidewalk obligations.”

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