Birthday Surprise by Piper Vaughn
Happy birthday month, Amber! Thanks for inviting me to contribute to your Birthday Bash. I had a birthday earlier this month too, so it’s extra special for me. 😀 This flash fic features Aaron and Malachi, characters from my co-written book, Wood, Screws, & Nails, which came out from Dreamspinner in April.
Hope you enjoy!
“Happy birthday, Mal.”
Despite being distracted by the sight in front of him, Malachi shivered at the whisper in his ear, the scrape of stubble on his skin, the warm, hard body against his back. He stood in the entryway to Aaron’s apartment—which typically exemplified the definition of “Spartan bachelor pad”—but tonight, it had been transformed into something magical. Candles of various sizes adorned every flat surface, casting a welcoming yellow glow. In the center of the living room lay a red and white tartan-patterned blanket. Plates and silverware had been spread out across it, and a wicker picnic basket sat unopened in one corner next to a vase of deep red roses.
Malachi turned to Aaron with a grin. “You remembered.”
Aaron kissed him lightly and shuffled him the rest of the way into the apartment so he could close and lock the door. “Course I did,” Aaron said, unzipping his coat. “You thought I forgot?”
Malachi shrugged, but he was sure his mood when he greeted Aaron earlier had given him away. He’d been pretty grumpy after not hearing from Aaron throughout the day, especially with this being the first birthday celebration for either of them since they’d become an official couple four months before. Then when Aaron picked him up and acted like it was any other Thursday, stopping by the bank and running a few errands for his construction business without a hint he remembered why the day was special, Malachi’s crankiness had grown. He hadn’t known whether to remind Aaron it was his birthday or keep quiet about it. Neither option had appealed. But it appeared he needn’t have worried. Aaron had come through with a romantic surprise that eclipsed any disappointment Malachi might’ve felt at being left to believe he’d been forgotten all day long.
“This is beautiful,” Mal said as he stripped off his jacket. He handed it to Aaron, who put it in the hall closet with his own coat.
“I’m glad you think so.” Aaron bent down to remove his work boots as Malachi toed off his trainers. When Aaron finished, he grabbed Malachi’s hand and pulled him farther into the apartment, leading him to the makeshift picnic area. “I hope you’re hungry. Sit. Everything should still be warm.”
Malachi sank down onto the blanket as Aaron kneeled next to the basket. He opened it, and the mouthwatering scent of fried chicken struck Malachi’s nose. Malachi’s stomach growled. “God, that smells good.”
Aaron started unpacking the basket, setting out containers of mashed potatoes and coleslaw and a carton of fluffy biscuits. “I had Riley set this up. He texted me ten minutes ago to tell me we were good to go.”
“I was wondering how long you’d left those candles burning. You know how much of a fire hazard an unattended candle can be, Costa.”
Aaron grinned. “I’m well aware. You know I’m a safety conscious guy. The building was never in danger of going up in flames.” He opened the carton of chicken and nodded to Mal. “Go ahead. Dig in.”
They served themselves and ate, chatting amiably about their respective days and some issues that had cropped up at Aaron’s latest construction site. Afterward, Aaron produced a small chocolate cake from the kitchen with four lit candles—one for every month they’d been together. He sang Mal “Happy Birthday,” and he couldn’t carry a tune to save his life, but Malachi could feel the soppiness on his own face as he stared at his boyfriend. Partner. Because who cared if Aaron sounded like a warbling duck? He was singing to Malachi, and he was scruffy, and there was that gap between his upper central incisors that charmed Malachi for some weird, ridiculous reason, and Malachi felt himself smiling even as he blew the candles out.
He kept smiling as Aaron kissed him, as their clothes came off, as they came up with creative uses for the cake and frosting and ended in a blissed-out sprawl across the picnic blanket. Malachi was pretty sure he had a fork digging into his back and he’d kicked over what was left of the mashed potatoes, but he couldn’t care about that either—especially not when Aaron withdrew a small, plain jewelry box from under the couch.
“This is only one of your gifts,” Aaron said as he handed it to Malachi. “Well, maybe it’s not so much a gift as a request.”
Mal accepted the box and opened it with trembling fingers. Inside sat two keys, and for a moment, he just stared. Something deep and sweet stirred inside him, and suddenly his heart felt too big to be contained by his ribcage. It threatened to burst out of him and fly away into the stratosphere.
Was this really what he thought it was? Malachi shot Aaron an inquisitive look.
“Those are the keys to the building and to my front door.” Aaron cupped the side of Malachi’s face, caressing his cheekbone with a callused thumb. He smiled crookedly, and his hair was mussed, his mouth swollen from their kisses. Malachi wanted to jump him all over again. “I want you to move in with me,” Aaron went on. “I want you in my bed every night. Put me out of my misery, huh? Say you’ll stay.”
Malachi flung himself onto Aaron’s chest and laughed. “Of course! I’ve been hoping you would ask.”
Aaron’s arms closed around him, and the friction between their naked bodies made Malachi’s breath catch. “I’ve wanted you here since we got back from Florida. I just didn’t know if you wanted to keep your own space, and I’ve never lived with anyone before. I had to work up to it.”
“I never wanted to leave your bed after the first night I spent in it.” Malachi pressed a kiss to Aaron’s scruffy chin, then licked a line along the side of his neck. “You’re stuck with me now, old man.”
Aaron’s hand landed on his ass, hard, and he rolled them over so that Malachi was on his back, breathless and laughing again. “I’ll show you ‘old man.’”
Malachi arched against him and hooked his legs around Aaron’s waist. “Yeah. Show me.”
Aaron spent the rest of the night doing exactly that.
Read more about Aaron and Malachi in their story, Wood, Screws, & Nails, and be sure to check out Hook, Line, & Sinker, the spin-off for Aaron’s best friend Blake and his love interest, Castor, which just released on November 19th!
If you want a chance to win a free copy of the Hook, Line, & Sinker ebook, be sure to check out my Rafflecopter giveaway! Or if you want to buy it now, you can do so at the following links. 🙂
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PEC2JEO/
Amazon CA – http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00PEC2JEO
Amazon AU – http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00PEC2JEO
Thanks for reading! ❤
When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.
Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred.
Piper Vaughn Bio
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two thousand book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.
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