Five Gold Blings by Clare London

A big welcome to Clare London as part of her release of Five Gold Blings.

One Christmas, two lonely hearts, five portions of sparkle!
• Five meet-cute days
• All the glitter
• All the romance
• And a Happy Christmas HEA!

Book Title* Five Gold Blings
Book Author* Clare London
Publisher* self-published
Length* 51 pages / 15k words
Release date* 20 November 2021
Subgenres* Contemporary, MM, holiday romance
Other* Available at all online bookstores
Buy Link

Gray isn’t enjoying December. The weather’s grim, his job’s a struggle, and his useless boyfriend ran out on him months ago. He’s a walking Mr Christmas Grump. And then he delivers a parcel to Alec, a bright, sparkly, over-earnest vlogger who’s going through his own hard times.

Over the course of five days, accompanied by an irritating but relentlessly cheerful pop song, Gray and Alec share secrets, kisses, regrets, triumphs, some truly awful fashion—and maybe a love that will last far beyond the new year.

This short story was previously published in the 2020 anthology “Gifts for the Season”. It is a standalone Christmas romance.

I hauled the last remaining box from the back of the van and turned to face the metal fire escape, leading to the apartment above the charity shop. Final delivery of the day. Deep breath, Gray. You can make it. I put my foot on the lowest step of the staircase, testing the frost that was already settling. I wondered if Mr Partridge’s business had insurance for when I went flying.

Then sighed to myself. When did I get to be such a miserable ‘old’ git, at the age of only twenty-five? I used to love Christmas. But this year? With less than two weeks to go until the celebration of tinsel, baubles, and a hairy, red-suited guy with his own line in deliveries, my only dream for Christmas was a work-free huddle on my sofa with hot chocolate, fleecy pyjamas, and a few comforting evenings of gay porn.

I climbed the stairs as carefully as I could—thank God someone had salted them—until I could safely put down the parcel while I knocked on the door. It wasn’t a heavy box, but large and difficult to handle. As the door opened, I had to peer over the top of it to see the customer.

“Hello?” The guy in the doorway was short, very slim, with spiky bleached hair that draped across his forehead into a cute curl at his temple, and eyes so wide he looked like the proverbial deer in headlights. A cute mouth framed a startled O, and in his ear…

Wow. It was maybe just a trick of the light, but a diamond stud winked like the most precious gem in a jeweller’s window. Nestled in a soft-looking, very biteable-looking lobe. I like bling on a man, you know? I have a couple of plain gold rings in each ear, but this… this was magical. The twinkling fascinated me, like it was casting its spell on me—

And then I registered what he was wearing.

Or not. In complete disregard for the wind whistling from behind me into the building with its freezing death ray in hand, he was wearing a pair of luridly-patterned swim shorts that hung down to his knees. And only the shorts. There was a very delicious moment where I gazed at his smooth, bare chest, then down to well-shaped calves and bare feet. I thought briefly: he doesn’t look like a Mr Partridge at all, like I’d imagined an old man with beady eyes and a puffed belly. Then I thought: Oh, but he’s pretty. So, so pretty, it all but took my breath away. And finally: Wonder if he’s gay, with hair like that, and doesn’t he look fabulous in eyeliner!

“Delivery?” I muttered, still rapt.

“Oh, thank God!” he cried. He took his hand away from his waist where he was clutching at the fabric of the shorts, reached for the box—and the shorts fell to his ankles.

You remember I said all I was looking for at Christmas was hot chocolate and gay porn? Well, it looked like Santa had been half-listening. A beautiful young man was less than two feet away from me—and stark, bollock naked.

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About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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