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The Holiday Toast Duo

The Holiday Toast Duo

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The Holiday Toast Duo

180 Seiten
2 Stunden
Jun 29, 2016


Together at last: The Christmas Toast and The Valentine Toast, plus bonus recipes and the short story Curry for One.

The Christmas Toast

Alan Randall Liebowitz is a man stuck in a pattern: right before the holidays his current significant other goes walkabout, leaving him alone … again.

Jacques Lambert is an up and comer chef with a bright future. Until his partner with benefits runs off, leaving him bankrupt and relying on the kindness of his family.

The local college holds night cooking classes, for seniors mostly. Jack’s sister talks him into applying for a teaching spot. Alan’s neighbor talks him into expanding his horizons.

When a lonesome foodie meets the chef of his dreams, more than the scallops are flambéed.

The Valentine Toast

Alan’s the numbers guys, the VP’s golden boy until a corporate shuffle leaves him downsized and at loose ends. It’s a hit to the wallet and his ego. When Alan turns to the kitchen for solace, no vegetable is safe.

With money tight and their options dwindling, Alan jumps at the offer from Jack’s brother-in-law, Ted, to run an audit on the QT. The dealership’s in trouble and Ted needs fresh eyes.

For his cooking class, Jack is faced with making comfort food sexy, not as easy a task as it sounds. Alan floats the idea of a contest, pitting the culinary arts students against the senior ladies. When the media find out, it makes a feeding frenzy look tame.

Dealerships and contests leave them little time to plan for their first Valentine's Day, but when it rolls around, they make a toast that will change everything.

Curry for One

It’s Anika’s farewell dinner for her fellow grad students.

It’s Tom’s last chance to throw his hat in the ring.

But there’s the niggling matter of cultural differences and family obligations.

And a bet on the line…

Jun 29, 2016

Über den Autor

Crossing boundaries, taking no prisoners. Write what’s in your soul. It’s the bass beat, the heartbeat, the lyrics rude and true. Nya Rawlyns cut her teeth on sports-themed romantic comedies and historical romances before finding her true calling in the wilderness areas she has visited but calls “home” in that place that counts the most: the heart. She has lived in the country and on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, earned more than 1000 miles in competitive trail and endurance racing, taught Political Science to unwilling freshmen, and found an avocation in materials science. When she isn’t tending to her garden or the horses, the cats, or three pervert parakeets, she can be found day dreaming and listening to the voices in her head. *** Websites: Romancing Words: Love’s Last Refuge: The Men of Crow Creek: *** Books by Nya Rawlyns: The Wrong Side of Right: transgressive homoerotica *** The Crow Creek Series: M/M contemporary erotic western romance Ash & Oak Pulling Leather Strapping Ash Sorting Will Flankman: The Crow Creek Series Box Set *** The Strigoi Chronicles: homoerotic lit, paranormal Penance Fane Michel Dreu The Strigoi Chronicles Box Set *** The Holiday Toast Series: M/M romantic comedy The Christmas Toast The Valentine Toast *** Acid Jazz Singer (Hunger Hurts) Skin Guardians of the Portals Finish Line Hunters Crossing Sculpting David Dance Macabre  

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The Holiday Toast Duo - Nya Rawlyns




Nya Rawlyns


Alan Randall Liebowitz is a man stuck in a pattern: right before the holidays his current significant other goes walkabout, leaving him alone ... again.

Jacques Lambert is an up and comer chef with a bright future. Until his partner with benefits runs off, leaving him bankrupt and relying on the kindness of his family.

The local college holds night cooking classes, for seniors mostly. Jack’s sister talks him into applying for a teaching spot. Alan’s neighbor talks him into expanding his horizons.

When a lonesome foodie meets the chef of his dreams, more than the scallops are flambéed.


Copyright ©2013 Nya Rawlyns


First electronic edition published by PubRight

Published in the United States of America with international distribution.


Cover Design by Sessha Batto


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.



To My Dearest Friends

You deserve many happy endings



Chapter One: Alan

Chapter Two: Jack

Chapter Three: Roll Call

Chapter Four: Dinner and a Show

Chapter Five: The Taste of Despair

Chapter Six: Tender Cuts

Chapter Seven: The Toast

Chapter One



Alan watched Edward stomp out the door, not even bothering to slam it shut. Why bother? He’d made his point, packed his few belongings, offered up a fuck you instead of a sorry, man, too bad it didn’t ... like ... work out, you know?

The toothbrush was gone. The cap from the toothpaste tube lay on the floor near the trash can. Near, not in. That more or less described that aborted relationship.

Always a fricking bridesmaid, never a bride. Seemed strange they didn’t have a cute saying when guys broke up. Close but no cigar. That was better, but wide of the mark since he didn’t smoke and didn’t plan to start.

Drink, on the other hand... That he could do. Or he could eat himself blotto like he always did when yet another prospect bailed. There was always a litany of excuses for cutting him loose: he was needy, he was distant, he was all about work, he was a dilettante, too quiet, too chatty-cathy, too too too... And boring. He couldn’t forget boring. Edward had added that to his laundry list of personality traits.

On the upside, the accusation ... boring in bed ... hadn’t crossed Edward’s lips. Maybe because short, bespectacled and paunchy Edward was wearing his fist before he got to that part. It was hard to talk with a mouth full of blood and cracked crowns. Edward gave it a good go before stripping the apartment of every available shopping bag to handle his stay-overs.

No, I am not proud of myself, Mom. He looked at the ceiling, as if her visage had parked itself in the acoustic ceiling tile ... Saint Ann of Guilt and I-Told-You-So. A Jewish grandmother and a Roman Catholic mother made for a double whammy when it came to his love life and general lack of accomplishments.

With a sigh, he meandered into the bedroom and surveyed the damage. Edward had dribbled blood over the rumpled sheets while stuffing his boxers and gym clothes into a plastic bag. He stripped the bed and added the bundle of soiled sheets to the laundry basket.

Way to go, Alan Randall Liebowitz. Way. To. Go.

Letting the minutiae of mindless tasks occupy his brain, Alan managed to set his studio apartment to rights, except for the kitchen. That looked like it needed a major overhaul. Edward had run a few criticisms over the dividing counter. The least damning was how he, Allan Randall, couldn’t cook for shit, had all the manners of a junkyard dog, couldn’t tell the difference between Korma and Vindaloo curries, and was in all ways an oaf of the first rank.

The curry remark led to a dish connecting with the opposite wall. Others followed. If he were very clever, he might be able to piece together enough shards to make a place setting for one. Or he could take out his always overheated credit card and head to the big box store to invest in sturdier dishware. Heavyweight, microwavable plastic seemed like a reasonable alternative, especially since he was going back to shopping the meals-for-one, heart-healthy freezer section.

The cell phone played a mystery tune. He thumbed it awake without looking at the incoming and muttered, Eddy? I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better. You were right about the curry, the boring bit, the... Oh, no, um, yeah. It was his cousin Ruth. Ruth the Gossip. No, nothing. Fine. It’s all good. Say hi... Staring at the cell, hoping it would magically produce one Edward Spielmann, he was prepared to grovel. Not a lot, just a little bit.

I can handle Thanksgiving alone. I can do that. But Chanukah and Christmas? He shook his head. I’m thirty-four years old. This happens every damn year. When do I get to have somebody to share the holidays? He glanced at the ceiling again. I’d take a plus one, Mom. A BFF gal pal, if necessary. He’d settle. But what he wanted more than anything was to have the real deal. And not just somebody in his bed. What he needed was somebody in his heart.

And not, God forbid, go to my grave alone and forgotten...

"Thank you, Bobeshi, for reminding me I’m gornisht. Nothing. Nobody."

He sank to the floor, his back against the refrigerator and contemplated his options. The narrow shelf held a small selection of medium-priced whites, a rose and one red in a cardboard container. The vodka looked promising but it needed to be properly chilled in the freezer, and he was looking for instant gratification to cure what ailed him. Rum? Nuts, I’m out of coke. The tequila could do in a pinch but he wasn’t completely on board with the inevitable passing out, praying to the gods of porcelain and a world-class headache.

This wasn’t his first rodeo at the breakup corral. Reaching for the cardboard container, he fondled it, feeling bemused that he was reduced to guzzling alcohol from what amounted to a milk cartoon on scarred linoleum in a kitchen smaller than a walk-in closet in the fine state of Pennsylvania. Ironically, a part-Jewish boy on the outskirts of Bethlehem, Christmas City. Alone. Going nowhere fast.

He toasted the ceiling tiles. Here’s to losers, Ma. Guess you and Grams weren’t wrong after all.

The rap on the door was distinctive, tap tap tippity tap. It’s open, Rachel.

You okay, hon? Rachel was on the long side of twenty going on fifty. And she was from Philly so everyone was hon to her. He, on the other hand, was from the Bronx so Yo, girl, rolled off his tongue easy as goose grease.

The girl was at best a sprite, five foot nothing and change, plumpish, hair a wild tangle of red curls in a white girl’s fantasy of an afro.

See you ditched the cornrows, Rae.

She slide down the stainless steel surface and parked her derriere next to his. He offered the container. She accepted, took a healthy slug and handed it back. What are we drinking to tonight, babe? Babe also came with the territory.

Eddy left. He rolled the tartness around his tongue, swallowed and grimaced. It was the good stuff. We had a fight.

Rae waggled her fingers. Gimme. So. She sipped and stared at the box. You didn’t let it breathe.

I was in a hurry.

It’s brassy. Kinda tight, ya know?

Huh. The wine’s not the only brassy thing in this kitchen.

You don’t usually stray off the California stuff. Where’s this from?

Argentina. He reached for the box but Rae had a two-hand grip on it. It’s Maipe Malbec. He squirmed in irritation. He needed alcohol, even if it was his special for him and Eddy three week anniversary vintage celebratory... Shit.

Ah, hon, it’s not that bad. She grinned. Actually, ya know what?

Uh-oh, here it comes.

It’s got a ... what? Cherry. Chocolate maybe. What else?

Not bad, girl. If you stop swilling it and let it nestle for a bit, you’ll find vanilla and spices. She handed him the box and he took a long pull. Ah, and a playful spank of white pepper at the finish.

You’re shitting me, Alan. You just made that up.

Nope. Hand-to-God. He gestured just to emphasize his special relationship to a deity he rarely spoke to. I read about it in a travel magazine. Thought I’d try it. At nearly thirty bucks for a three-liter box he’d been assured that red wine lovers would be pleased.

Rae laughed. Come on, hon, the only reason you bought this crap was the spanking shit. Am I right?

Alan blushed, the heat spreading to the tips of his ears. He was too acutely aware of the thin walls separating his bedroom from Rae’s, so he’d tried to keep his extracurriculars as quiet as possible. Unfortunately, he tended to vocalize when in the throes of passion—not his term. Not Eddy’s either, but someone in the not-so-distant past had pointed out yet another shortcoming to his database of Loser-Alan-Liebowitz personality traits.

Shifting to cross his legs, he bumped thighs with the petite girl. You know what? I could get in trouble for this. He cradled the cardboard container to his chest. Rae was technically a minor.

Huh. I’m not gonna tell. Besides, my twenty-first is next week. She arrowed a steely-eyed glint in his direction. You’re still coming, aren’t you?


To my bash. We’re heading down to the Brew Works right after classes.

I dunno, Rae. When it was him and Eddy, the answer had been of course because he had a date, a man three years older, an almost significant other that would keep him from sticking out like a sore thumb.

Besides, sweetie, you might meet someone new.

Oh God, no no no no! The last thing he needed was another pickup from the University cauldron of too-young metrosexuals and intellectuals.

I’m too old to be running with your crowd, angel.

Old? Oh hon, you are not old. She brushed his unruly mop of light brown hair behind his right ear. You’re ... mature.

The carton was significantly lighter, his tongue infinitely thicker, and the thought of finding another stranger in his bed was about as appealing as chewing razor blades. He did what he usually did. He waffled. We’ll see, okay?

Sure. She gave him a devilish grin. You’ll still give me a present, won’t you?

Handing Rae the last sip, he smiled, though it didn’t quite reach that inside spot where the mist coated his innards with regrets and longings he no longer had words to describe. He had to give Rae credit, though. She had a way about her. Impish, naughty, bright as a copper penny, she never failed to lift him from his funk. Except this funk wasn’t going away quite so easily.

Struggling to his feet, he swayed and extended a hand. The tiny imp popped to her feet and gave him a hug. It’ll be all right, Alan. Eddy was ... um, what do call wine you won’t even cook with?


Yeah, there ya go, hon. He’s swill. Not worth your time. She threw the carton in the trash and said, Hang on a mo. I’ll be right back.

Hanging onto the counter seemed like a decent idea. They’d consumed a substantial amount of wine in a very short time, with perhaps more of an emphasis on he than she. Come morning, he was going to have the mother of all headaches and no one to bitch and complain to.

Damn, I miss him already. And I didn’t even like him. What the heck does that say about me?

Here ya go, hon. He stared at the pamphlet, too woozy to reach for it. It’s for the community college. She fanned the pages, then stopped about midway through. Here. This will be just the ticket.

Curious, he took the booklet and tried to focus. My glasses? Rae hunted around the living room, picked something off the floor and returned to hand him his reading glasses. Cooking school?

"Well, not the real deal. But they have a really

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