I love Christmas! And these days, nothing makes me sadder than not having a story to offer for the season.
Last year, I was unable to finish the novella I was writing for the holidays, but I was saved by a request for short stories on the theme of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” My contribution, a sci-fi story on a space station called “Five Rings,” was released as one of a series of podcasts on WROTE Podcast.
This year, I was able to return to the novella from last year, which I’d only just begun, and finish it up. The result was one of the longer novellas I’ve written: A Cop for Christmas
The cover art is by the fantastic Reese Dante.
I actually commissioned it last year, but was unable to use it then. I’m so excited to have this story come out now!
Mason Collier isn’t big on authority figures. When Office Steve Coleman pulls him over and gives him a speeding ticket, he doesn’t react well. He’s even less happy when he discovers the cop lives next door to his parents’ house.
No matter where they turn this holiday season, Steve and Mason keep running into each other, and whenever they talk for more than a minute, they piss each other off. But from wayward dogs to Christmas tree hunts to maple syrup festivals, it proves impossible to avoid each other in the small town.
If Mason can see the good man behind the badge, he might just get a cop for Christmas.
Steve decided to take Rufus out into the yard to pee. The dog had already marked most of the yard by this point, and probably didn’t have much left in him, but he assumed Mason had come to talk to Sam. Steve didn’t need to hover around for that.
To his annoyance, Mason followed him.
“What?” Steve asked testily when they were out of earshot from anyone listening in the barn.
Mason stopped walking, startled. “What do you mean, ‘What?’”
“Why are you following me?”
“Sorry. I just thought…. It’s pretty awkward between me and Sam right now.”
“I know. I heard all about your date last night.”
Mason grimaced. “Exactly. I tried to tell Mom it was a bad idea for me to come over here, but she twisted my arm.” Rufus was begging for his attention, so he petted the dog’s head absently. “She seems to think Sam and I are perfect for each other. We just don’t know it yet.”
“Sam’s a good guy,” Steve said, the old feelings of protectiveness welling up again. He glanced at the barn, certain Sam was watching them, but there was too much contrast between the bright sunlight in the yard and the shadows inside for him to make out anything.
“I don’t doubt that. But he’s really not my type.”
Steve snorted. He didn’t have much respect for the idea of people having a “type.” “My mother practically hated my father on sight. He was ex-military, clean-cut, a cop, and she was an anti-war activist who mostly went for scruffy-looking guys in Bajas and sandals.”
“It’s hard for me to imagine you with a hippie for a mom.”
“Activist,” Steve corrected. “She wasn’t what I’d call a hippie. I mean, she wasn’t particularly into mysticism, and she never did drugs. That would have been a deal-breaker for Dad. He loved her, but he was still sworn to uphold the law. My point is, he wasn’t her ‘type,’ and she wasn’t his. But they still fell in love.”
Mason smiled and came closer, his feet crunching on the packed snow. “That’s really sweet. How on earth did they even meet to begin with?”
“How do you think? Dad arrested her at an anti-nuclear protest. I hear things got a little rowdy.”
Mason laughed. “Yeah, I went to a couple of protests against the Iraq war when I was in college. Kade still does a lot of that.” He shook his head sadly. “But I’ve turned boring in my old age.”
“According to your driver’s license, you’re twenty-nine,” Steve said, then wanted to kick himself for bringing up the traffic stop while they were having a pleasant conversation.
Mason didn’t seem upset by the reminder. “I just mean I’m not a very interesting guy. I do freelance illustration for a living, if you can call it that. I read a lot of books, watch a lot of romantic comedies, and help out with UNH art classes for extra money.”
“And I’m a cop who watches a lot of action flicks and loves dogs more than people. I’m not your type, and you’re not mine.” The implication of that suddenly struck him, and he froze, his eyes going wide like a deer in headlights.
Mason stared at him, an expression of surprise on his handsome features. He said quietly, “Dogs are pretty awesome.”
They jumped at the sound of Kade’s voice.