Working on Christmas Eve—no fun. Working a double shift on Christmas Eve? Even less fun. But working a double shift on Christmas Eve in a hotel with two guests? For Jason Martin, it was a recipe for a long, dull holiday. But then a power outage at the local airport sends a bus filled with people to Jason’s hotel. Alone, Jason not only has to attend to his guests, he has to save Christmas for a group of weary and grouchy travelers. Happily, one of the guests, a Mr. Marino, steps in to lend Jason a hand. Mr. Marino is helpful, handsome, and running right to the top of Jason’s Christmas wish list. But Jason has sworn off hotel hook-ups. And Mr. Marino will be heading out of town the next day, Christmas day. Is it worth getting involved with someone who is only staying for one night?
Room at the Inn
by Drew Marvin Frayne
Author: Drew Marvin Frayne
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 15100
Sex Content: Explicit
Room at the Inn
Drew Marvin Frayne © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Click. Click. He needed a black five. Click. Click. He hadn’t flipped either over yet. Click. Click. Click. Come on… Click. Click. Nope. No black five. Game over.
Jason sighed, shifted in his seat, closed the open window on the company computer, and looked at his watch. It was barely nine thirty. Roughly…two minutes had passed since he had last checked the time. Great. Normally, double shifts sucked. And double overnight shifts sucked even harder. But a double night shift on Christmas Eve? He looked around the deserted hotel lobby. Through the glass doors, he peered beyond that, into the almost-as-empty parking lot. Yeah. Double night shift on Christmas Eve sucked hardest of all.
He didn’t mind the Christmas Eve part so much. His parents were on a Caribbean cruise for the holiday, and his older sister had four kids and lived four hundred miles away. The Martin family Christmas was going to be held on January 4 this year, which would allow for his parents to get back from their cruise and his sister and her brood time to drive across three states. Plus it would have the added bonus of ensuring that most of the Christmas frenzy, which was gripping his nieces and nephews at the moment, would have worked its way out of their systems by then. Jason shuddered. Christmas might be more fun with kids, but four kids under the age of seven? Stuffed with sugar and mad for presents on Christmas morning? No thanks. That was a fresh hell he didn’t mind missing at all.
Besides, working the holidays meant time-and-a-half, and a quick glance at the rapidly rusting-over Toyota in the parking lot would tell anyone that Jason could use the cash. And since he had no family to be with on Christmas and nowhere else to go, Jason was happy to cover for the people who did have somewhere to be. Still, it was just so…empty.
Jason got up out of his seat, stretched, and walked out from behind the main desk. Rotely, he checked the coffee pots (regular, decaf, and high octane) and plate of store-bought chocolate chip cookies that greeted guests as they came in. The caffeinated brew was about half full—the decaf was always full. Should he make fresh? Jason shrugged. Why bother? The hotel had a grand total of three guests—one middle-aged man sleeping off an office Christmas party at which he’d gotten a little too merry, and one young couple visiting the husband’s parents for the holidays (and Jason had inferred from the look on the wife’s face that staying at the hotel was definitely her idea). None of them would want any more coffee tonight.
Jason poured himself a cup of the high octane—he was going to need it to stay awake—and contemplated taking a cookie. You haven’t had any carbs since Thanksgiving, he reminded himself, deciding that discretion was the better part of valor in both life and food choice. He walked over to the sparse green tree that some day-shifter had erected in the corner. For an artificial tree, it seemed remarkably real…largely because it looked so tattered and haphazard, as if the Charlie Brown Christmas tree had both grown up and mutated. The tree was six feet tall—about three inches taller than Jason—but had less than two dozen ornaments on it, all red balls that had seen better days. Gaily wrapped boxes were scattered around the tree’s base. The hotel had been using these same boxes for years, as evidenced by the thick bands of gray dust that clung to every crease and corner. The rest of the lobby’s Christmas corner had snowflakes cut out of copy paper festooned over any surface that had been deemed worthy. From a distance, all the green and white dotted with bits of red really didn’t look half bad. Up close…well, it was best to keep at a distance.
Jason took his coffee back to the desk, but didn’t sit down. What time was it? Nine forty. He sighed. He hated being bored. He’d already been here—what? He’d started at two…so seven, seven-and-half hours? Which meant eight-and-a-half to go. And all he’d done was check in a total of two parties. There were no reservations until tomorrow, so unless some stray traveler came in off the highway, no one else would be checking in tonight. This particular branch of the Bethel Inn and Suites mostly served the large state university that was a mile down the road—which, of course, was deserted for the holidays. The regional airport was a good sixteen miles away, and there were three other hotels between the airport and here, including another, newer, fancier Bethel Inn and Suites (Jason had pulled a few shifts there—they always had fresh cookies, never store-bought, and flavored coffee to boot). Besides, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The planes would get in and out all night long, no problem.
Jason stared at the phone on his desk. But who would he call? His sister would be desperately trying to get her kids to sleep—difficult to do under normal circumstances, but impossible on Christmas Eve. His parents were—who knows? There really wasn’t anyone else—certainly no one in the hotel. He was the only one working tonight. No need for housekeeping or maintenance when no one was here—Jason had sent them home two hours ago. Karla would be in at five thirty to set up breakfast, and then Jenny worked a short morning shift—six to noon—before Jason pulled another double. At least he didn’t have to go home for six hours. He’d just camp out here in an empty room—grab some zzz’s, take a quick shower, put on some fresh underwear, and get back to being bored.
Jason stretched his lean frame again, running his fingers through his short blond hair. He still wasn’t used to the haircut. He’d kept it longer throughout college, even when working at the hotel. But when he graduated and was promoted to assistant desk manager, well…the promotion meant wearing a suit all day long. Somehow the gray jacket, ironed white shirt, and striped maroon-and-gray tie didn’t quite match his bushy head of blond wavy hair—or so his manager had frequently implied.
Jason sat heavily in his chair. Four years of college—okay, five—for this? When he’d been offered the position, he’d felt lucky. Full-time employment, a big hourly pay raise, and the benefits were nothing to sneer at. But now…Jason tried to shake off his doldrums. He was just bored. Antsy. Since graduation, he’d been earning his keep, averaging sixty-plus hours a week at least. His life had taken a back seat to work—which meant, after six months or so, he had no life at all. God, he hadn’t even had a date since—he couldn’t remember when. That was depressing.
Occasionally, working the night shift did offer up…certain opportunities. It was a building full of beds, after all. But these brief encounters never seemed to quite work out for Jason. There was the one guy who’d come last May—a hot prospect being recruited out of a junior college for the university football team. Hot was certainly the right word for him—all beef and muscle and nineteen-year-old curiosity. But shortly after trading blows with Jason—and pumping two enthusiastic “finishes” all over Jason’s face—the big manly football player broke down crying and called his mom first and pastor second. Not a good outcome. The bear couple Jason had met in July weren’t really that bad, though Jason couldn’t sit down for two days afterward without a small twinge of regret. Still, the younger of the two kept in touch, if only through a monthly emailed newsletter that included pictures of their seven ferrets and a lot of recipes for German food. Jason shrugged. At least he knew how to make spaetzle now.
But it was the guy in October that really did it for Jason. Handsome Italian businessman—all suit, smile, and hairy chest. Approaching forty, maybe, but damn did he wear it well. But the guy took two business calls while Jason was blowing him and a third call—from his wife—when Jason’s ankles were pointing toward heaven and the two were approaching a climactic end to their time together. Jason wasn’t sure what was worse—being a married guy’s out-of-town booty call or having to stay utterly silent as his ass got pounded by Italian cock so the businessman and his wife could talk about the color of the drapes she wanted to get for the new baby’s room. Oh, yeah, that was definitely it. No more hotel hookups, no more one-night stands, no more married men. Jason wanted something—something more. Something real. Something that didn’t end with him sneaking out of a guest’s room at one in the morning.