We’re so pleased to welcome author Eli Easton to TNA today on the tour for her new holiday novella, Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles. Enjoy the teaser she’s sharing and also be sure to check out the great Rafflecopter giveaway below.
I left as usual at 5pm. At 7:15, I met Mr. Miggles outside the First Defense shooting range. I was startled when he got out of his car. I’d gone home and changed into jeans and a white, long-sleeved Old Navy T-shirt myself—it was the butchest thing I owned. But for some reason, I hadn’t expected Mr. Miggles to change. He had. He was wearing jeans—jeans!—and a black T-shirt under a navy wool bomber jacket. The jeans weren’t dad jeans either, but Levi 501s that had the perfect amount of loose to emphasize the tight bits.
My mouth went as dry as if I’d been sucking on sour lemon candies for an hour. I stared at the front door of the shooting range, avoiding looking directly at him. I didn’t want to have any concept of Mr. Miggles as, you know, a regular guy, a man, who existed outside the library, who wore regular clothes and incredibly sexy jeans that took ten years off his age. I didn’t want that because he’d already made it clear he didn’t have any interest in me outside the library. No, no, no.
“We’d probably get more out of this experience if we went inside,” Mr. Miggles said wryly.
“Did you call the sheriff today and find out what happened?” I still didn’t look at him, but I’d been wanting to ask all day.
There was a sigh in his voice. “Unfortunately, I’m not a relative, so they won’t give me any information on Tanya’s case.”
“Shall we then?” He walked past me and up the steps to enter the shooting range. I followed, resolutely resolutely looking at anything and everything except his ass.
We had to show our driver’s licenses and sign forms, then we were given ear protectors and goggles. We went out to the shooting area, where we had to select a gun at a big armament cage. Mr. Miggles asked for a gun that must have been the same model as the one at the library. Or in any case, it looked the same. The man handed it over along with a box of bullets.
The shooting range was open air. There was a long wooden shelter with a roof and open sides. It was divided by poles and tables into separate little rooms. Across the lawn from the shelter was a row of bullseye targets with concentric rings in different colors. Behind them were a stack of rubber tires against a wall, presumably to catch any stray bullets. The range was empty except for a party of two men shooting rifles near the end of the shelter. Mr. Miggles and I took a spot close to the cage. It felt weird being here. It was so not my usual scene.
“Now then,” said Mr. Miggles, placing the gun and bullets on the table. “I suppose the point of this is to shoot the target.”
There was a lever on a post and I pressed it up. The paper target aligned with our spot advanced and retreated. It was on a wire pulley something like a clothesline. I zipped it back out again. Zipped it closer.
“I think perhaps we should start with it stationary,” Mr. Miggles suggested with an amused smiled.
“Sorry.” Abashed, I stopped playing with the target. I left it relatively close in, maybe twenty feet.
“Care to do the honors?” Mr. Miggles nodded at the gun.
It had never been my ambition to fire a real gun, but hey, I was a child of the 90’s. I’d played plenty of video games. How hard could it be? I picked up the gun and loaded six bullets the way the man in the cage had demonstrated. I took a wide legged stance and held the gun up in my right hand.
“Perhaps you should start with two hands,” Mr. Miggles suggested.
I ignored him and fired at the target. The gun had a bit of a kick, my hand jerked right. The target was unscathed. Feeling embarrassed, I was determined to do better. Show some skills. I braced myself with my legs spread, held the gun straight out in both hands, and sighted down the barrel. I pulled the trigger. I must have still pulled a little to the right at the last second, because I hit the target just inside the outermost red circle. Not exactly Olympic worthy, but it was an improvement.
I fired four more times, emptying the gun. I stayed in the outer circles but at least I didn’t miss the target.
“Your turn,” I put the empty gun down and stepped aside.
“Mmm.” Mr. Miggles took off his coat and laid it on the table. He picked up the gun and loaded it. With a determined set to his shoulders, he took aim, holding the gun with both hands.
I stood back to give him plenty of space. That had the unfortunate effect of allowing me to get a good view of him firing the gun. Long legs locked, back strong, shoulders broad—so broad.
Wow. He had really broad shoulders. That was pure genetic gold right there.
His brown hair was the same shortish curly brown hair it was every other day, but it looked different with the casual clothes. The line of his body wasn’t new. I’d seen him around the library up on ladders to reach books and doing all sorts of things. And yet, it felt different all the same. Maybe it was the jeans and T-shirt. Or the gun. Or me. A warm thrum started in my gut and spread south.
Don’t go there. Do not even go there, I told myself sternly.
He emptied the gun and stepped back so I could have my turn. I forced myself to focus on the task. His shots were all over the target, but he’d gotten one on the yellow ring, which was better than I’d done. No way could I let that stand. I loaded the gun and shot. I managed two inside the yellow zone. Go me. We both took another turn.
If this were a novel or a rom-com film, there’d be some flirty contact. He’d step up behind me and help me brace the gun. Or we’d stand shoulder to shoulder and thigh to thigh, firing like bad asses. Alas, that didn’t happen. My bubble of personal space remained discouragingly intact. There was nary a thigh touch in sight.
Nevertheless, the swoops in my gut grew worse as the minutes ticked by, despite the distraction of trying to hit the target. I shot, then he shot, then I shot then he did. And that feeling grew. It began to feel like a magnetic field between us. Neither one of us said anything, and that was part of it. Like, if he didn’t feel this, if he felt nothing, he’d be talking, right? He’d be blathering on, oblivious. But he wasn’t. And I wasn’t. His eyes rarely met mine, and when they did, they shied away again, like he wanted to hide what was in them. I brushed by him once when we were changing places and he literally jumped.
Either there was something between us or I was losing my mind. Is that a thing? Delusions of attraction? Sexual tension hallucinations?
After an hour, we were both hitting the yellow part of the target reliably. I even got close to the center bullseye a few times.
Mr. Miggles took the empty gun from me and nodded in satisfaction. “I think that’ll do for today.”
“Good.” My right shoulder was a little sore. I rubbed it. His gaze followed my hand like it was a lure. He blinked and looked away.
“Thank you for doing this, Toby. I’d prefer there were no guns. But… I won’t allow you to be harmed.”
“Maybe I won’t allow you to be harmed,” I teased.
A strange look crossed Mr. Miggles face, like he was touched, like he took what I said more seriously than I’d meant it. He looked down. “Quite right. I didn’t mean to paint you as a damsel in distress.”
“I don’t mind being a damsel. Or maybe we could take turns,” I said coyly.
Mr. Miggles looked quickly away but a red stain rose up in his cheeks. I saw his Adam’s apple bob up and down as he swallowed. “Yes, well, I….” He swallowed again. Wow. I’d never seen Mr. Miggles speechless. “It’s getting quite late, isn’t it? I really must go. I have a few other things to accomplish tonight.”
The words were brusque and they killed the mood like a stab in the heart. If there ever had been a mood. Probably the only mood was inside my head.
“Sure,” I shrugged. I turned to go, suddenly feeling foolish. I’d done it again. I’d flirted with him, damn it. And, once again, he’d shut me down cold.
“Have a nice night,” I said without looking back. I turned in my earphones and goggles at the front desk and got out of there as quickly as I could. In the parking lot, I got into my Hyndai and pulled out so fast you’d think I was being chased.
But the only person I had to fear was myself. I was letting my feelings about Mr. Miggles screw with my head. He was confusing me, and I didn’t like feeling confused. Unfortunately, it was getting to be the norm lately.
He’s not interested. Never will be. There was nothing to be confused about. Whether I liked it or not, I had to accept the facts and stop this.
Mr. Miggles and me were never going to happen.
About the Book
Toby Kincaid loves being the junior librarian in his hometown of Sandy Lake, Ohio. He spends his days surrounded by books and chatting with the library patrons. He especially adores the head librarian, Mr. Miggles, who is kind, witty, knowledgeable about everything, and hopelessly addicted to Christmas. Sean Miggles is also pretty cute—especially for an older guy who wears ties and suit pants every day.
But Sean keeps himself at a distance, and there’s a sadness about him that Toby can’t figure out. When Sean is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he gives up without a fight. Toby realizes that he alone can save the library—and their head librarian.
Toby will need to uncover the darkness in Sean’s past and prove to him that he deserves a second chance at life and at love too. And while Christmas miracles are being handed out, maybe Toby will get his own dearest wish—to love and be loved by Mr. Miggles.
About the Author
Having been, at various times and under different names, a ministerís daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happy these days writing love stories as a m/m romance author.
As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, two cows, pot belly pig, and cat.