Friday, December 20, 2013


We interrupt the codas (we'll resume on Monday) to bring you a holiday giveaway. LB Gregg and I thought we would get together and gift a few of copies of Simple Gifts and The Dickens With Love audio books. There's nothing nicer than listening to an audio book as you labor long over those holiday chores. :-)

We're each giving away 5 copies, and all you have to do to be eligible for the giveaway is read the excerpts and comment on both blogs.

Pretty simple, right?

So without further adieu, an excerpt from one of my very favorite LB Gregg stories, Simple Gifts.

A former ward of the state, Jason Ferris is fiercely protective of his carefully guarded private life. When he's felled by a rogue lawn ornament at a Christmas party, Jason finds himself in the care of his first and most devastating love-- dark, dangerous, and equally damaged Lt. Robb Sharpe.


Newly returned from years away in the military, Robb's homecoming isn't exactly the stuff of fairytales. Now thrust together after a ten year hiatus, Jason and Robb discover that perhaps some things are worth waiting for.



“Jason? Everything okay?”

“Yeah. Fine. Quick question. Do you like astronomy?”

“What?” Robb closed the distance between us and I caught a whiff of spice, pine, and wool. He smelled like a lumberjack, not a soldier. He’d left his parka down in the bar, and his sweater sleeves were pushed to his elbows, his shirt collar lay open, and the sight of his pale Adam’s apple had me biting my lip.

His finger brushed the back of my hand and I fumbled the key. Sick or nervous or not, the fleeting contact snapped across my skin like an electrical shock. His touch thrilled me.


I stared at his fingertips, familiar yet strange, and the air between us shrank until I couldn’t breathe to speak. Honestly, with a single stroke, he robbed me of thought.

I pulled away, but he said, “Hey. It’s okay,” in a disturbingly husky voice that I recalled too well. He took the key from my palm and I almost fell down the goddamn steps. I wanted to bolt — living up to his expectations — but he grabbed my borrowed shirt in his fist and my heart fluttered against his knuckles. His breath warmed my cheek. “Steady.”

Mother. Fucker.

A smile hid inside the rough tones of his broken voice and the sound eased my troubled mind while stimulating other less troubled areas. I knew that voice. I’d heard it before — in the dark of night, in the back seat, under the stars, in the boathouse, in his bedroom, behind the bleachers. And I’d hear him say steady again in the dark tonight, as I lay alone in my cold bed.

And, bang, I knew why he wanted to see me. He still wants me. He hasn’t let go, either. He came to see me.

I would have stumbled a second time, but Robb had me. Jesus, he had me good. “You need to lay down.”

I really, really did, but I could not for the life of me move to unlock my own front door.

“You good?”

“Yup. Fine.” I squeaked and he let me go. Robb fit the key into the lock and I stifled a groan.

What the hell kind of drugs had they given me at that hospital? I swear I’m tripping.

The sound of my apartment door swinging free sobered me. “No, wait! My cat—”

In a flash, Norm vanished into the stairwell, but that was the least of my worries.

“What the hell...?” Robb blocked the doorway. “Holy crow. Are those stars?”

I froze at the threshold of my home, not that Robb noticed. He wandered in, face tipped heavenward to better see the strange beauty of my apartment’s contrived night sky. Above his head paper starlight shimmered down from a black-lit galaxy. Orion, Sagittarius, Ursa Major, Canis Minor, Scorpius, Gemini — the constellations hung in painstaking precision, glowing on purple pinpricks, lighting the darkness.

Accurate and overly detailed, I’d crafted every star, made each scrap of paper and creased every fold. The project had taken years but, VoilĂ , origami universe.

Robb wandered, and the stars led him through the apartment, straight toward my bedroom as if they guided a wayward captain home after years at sea.

I shook that idiocy from my head and on leaden feet I trailed after my overnight guest. Hot blood colored my cheeks. “I know my apartment is a little odd.”

“No.” He turned to look at me and I banged into his chest. “Did you make all of these?”

“Well, yeah. Who else?”

“I swear, the sky looks exactly like this in the desert. Clear and wide and the stars go on forever. Only not as colorful, or so close.” He tapped a tiny pointed star and it spun on a delicate silver thread. “This one was done in pieces, right? How the hell did you make them so small?”

“Practice.” I left him marveling over my freakish masterpiece and flipped the bedroom light switch. There were a couple pair of jeans on the floor, and the simple maple bed lay unmade, but otherwise, a portion of the Milky Way flowed from my window, over the bed, and disappeared in the closet. Pretty much business as usual.

Robb followed me, nosing into my private life with ease. “Where did you learn to do this?”

“I thought you remembered everything?” I wouldn’t bore him with a retelling, but the only real memory I had, before I became a ward of this fine state of Connecticut, was making my first paper crane when I was maybe four or five. We were in a bus station, my mother and I. We’d gone inside to keep warm and to pass the time, and she showed me how to crease those tricky paper folds. I could still see her blonde hair falling across my cold fingers as she worked. Make a wish, Jason baby.


Comment below and then pop over to LB's and comment there!


  1. As I said at Lisa's blog - you're both very generous.

    This is a story I haven't read, but I enjoyed the excerpt. I'm heading off on holiday in the new year, and would love to have an audio-book to relieve the monotony of air travel.

  2. One of my very favorite Christmas shorts. It never fails to help get me into the Christmas spirit. Read this story! You'll love Jason and Rob.

  3. I love both The Dickens With Love and Simple Gifts, and I'd love to have the audio books, too.

  4. I absolutely love these stories & would love to add them to my audio library too

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  6. Such a nice excerpt! Now I am looking forward to reading the book.

  7. It's been a while since I read this book. Now I'm just gonna have to dig up my stash and reread this! ;D

  8. I am collecting your audio books. I would love to have this in my collection. I really like your narrator Adrian Bisson in the dangerous Grounds Series.

  9. A double excerpt morning. Bliss. Simple gifts is pretty wonderful - I'm envisioning myself lying on the floor of a darkened room with a glass of wine and back-to-back Lanyon/Gregg audiobooks playing in the background . Santa?

  10. Being a huge of L.B. Gregg, I have already enjoyed this lovely story several times in ebook format. Its addition to my audio book library would be icing on the cake. Thank you both for this holiday giveaway. :)

  11. I love stories about lost/old loves that find their way back to each other. My husband and I were together in high school, but didn't see other again until we were in our early thirties. Fifteen years now and I have time now to listen to audio books WITHOUT headphones now because my girls are out of the house more often! So much nicer having the words surround you! Thank you so much for the giveaway.

  12. I'm addicted to audio books. I already have "Simple Gifts," but I'd love a copy of "The Dickens with Love." It's in my wish list.

  13. I have both, but I discovered this story just a few days ago and it took only one listen for it to become one of my favorite Christmas stories. Thanks for your generosity, Josh and LB.

  14. Well since I have you both on my audible watch list, I already downloaded and listened to these holiday treats when they were first released. So here is a note to your blog readers, if you aren't lucky enough to win the contest - do not let that stop you...these are well worth the price/credit, you will not be disappointed. L.B. takes you on a journey - rocky road at times...but :-) AND Josh's writing goes without saying not to mention Both Chase and Sean did a nice job on the narration.

    1. Thank you very much! I happen to agree these are very nice audio books -- the narrators were both wonderful.

  15. I haven't read this story but I loveThe Dickens With Love. Looking forward to this one now. Thank you for the giveaway.

  16. Thank you both. The story looks very interesting.L.B is one of my favorites .Gracias.

    Taty Noriega

  17. Five copies each? Gosh, l hope am one of them.

  18. Oh funny, I didn't "get" the Dickens audio cover until seeing LB's. Sweet!

    P.S. This isn't an entry, since I already have and love both stories, ebook and audio book.

  19. Don't have either book yet but if I don't win the audio book version then I'll buy them for sure! Audio books are awesome!

  20. I'm going to listen to the Simpe Gifts on Christmas Eve, audiobooks are always a nice distraction, when you are stuck traveling.

  21. I'm not familiar with this story, but I bet it would make a great companion on my drive across the California desert. :D

  22. I haven't read this story, but it sounds great :)

  23. I have most of your audiobooks. You know when I can buy one without the husband knowing I needed both written and audio of the same book.

  24. Win or not, these stories are such wonderful gifts for the holiday season!

  25. I love both books, and I love you both, please count me in :)

  26. I already have "The Dickens with Love" audiobook, so please exclude me from that drawing, but I would be very pleased to win "Simple Gifts." Thanks! Happy Holidays!

  27. Wonderful excerpt, thank you! I have been wanting one of your audiobooks quite badly, please count me in for both books.

  28. I really had fun reading this book. I would love a chance to win it in audio. Thank you for the giveaway =)

  29. The Dickens with Love is one of my all time favourites. I have it in ebook and paperback and love to reread it. It would be great to have it to listen to too. Thoroughly enjoyed reading Simple Gifts too

  30. Hi Josh, I've read both your and LB Books. I already have Simple Gifts on Audio and plan to listen soon. I don't have The Dickens with Love. Both are great books.

  31. Thank you both for this - Simple Gifts is my favourite LB Gregg story...may have to reread it for Christmas :) (I love all your stories btw).

  32. Wow I had not read this yet but I'll be remedying that today.

  33. I just love your books, but I haven't read this one, wouldn't mind hearing it ;-) Anyway, I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas, bye !

  34. These are both lovely stories and there's something really nice about hearing a holiday book read aloud. Wonderful gifts, you two!

  35. I love this book! It also happens to be really painful at the begining, but that all adds to some of the reasons why I'd love to have this in audio.

    Have a great holiday!

  36. Simple Gifts sounds really interesting, and I love The Dickens with Love. Lovely giveaway!