About the book
It’s always interesting to revisit a story you wrote years ago. In the case of Twinkle, Twinkle, that’s over five years for me. I like to think my writing has come a long way in the intervening years, but to be honest, there was very little here I took issue with when rereading. It was a real pleasure, however, to be able to restore the original UK spelling, and to change a candy store back to a thoroughly British sweet shop. It’s all in the details, after all.
It’s interesting to see how little my interests have changed since writing this story. These days I’m addicted to watching House, and I still adore cabaret shows—both medical drama and cabaret made it into this story. Throw in a bit of cross-dressing, twinkly Christmas decorations and fairy magic, and you have a story that’s pure Jo Myles.
I set Twinkle, Twinkle in the town of my birth. More than that, in the hospital of my birth! Having seen the inside of High Wycombe Accident and Emergency from a patient’s perspective, it’s not really somewhere I was keen to return, but I loved the idea of writing a doctor. While I’d never presume to write a full length medical romance (I’d be worried about getting the details wrong) it was fun to try it out for a short story.
I don’t write a Christmas story every year, but I always enjoy it when I do. It’s one of my favourite times of year, and although I might say I decorate the inside of the house for the kids, I do it for me, really. Now I just have to convince my partner to let me deck the outside of the house in fairy lights!
Cheers for reading,
Josephine Myles, November 2015
Published ~ 25th November 2015 (2nd Edition)
Genre ~ Contemporary Christmas M/M Romance
When old schoolmates meet again, sparks fly!
It’s Christmas Eve, and down in Accident and Emergency Dr. Tom Berriman really hasn’t got into the festive spirit. Newly returned to his home town, he’s missing the big city he left behind and can’t get enthusiastic about a holiday he’ll be spending on his own. That is until he catches sight of the attractive electrician fixing the lights—who promptly crashes down out of the ceiling and becomes Tom’s patient. Tom can’t believe his luck...until he realises he knows the man already.
Electrician Vince has changed out of all recognition since they were at school together, where Vince was the butt of all the bullies’ jibes—and worse—while nursing a hopeless crush on Tom.
If the newly-hunky Vince can forgive his former tormentor, and Tom can get over his lingering guilt, maybe their Christmases won’t be quite so lonely after all.
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"Merry Xmas, Doctor Berriman!"
Tom paused to stare at the perky receptionist. Did people actually say Xmas rather than Christmas these days? Well, Cheryl obviously did. In her flashing LED Rudolph earrings and Santa hat, she was a walking advert for all that was both tacky and cheerful about the season. She'd been wearing them for the past week, but at least on Christmas Eve they were somewhat more appropriate. If only he could get into the spirit of things by the simple expedient of donning tinsel and festive jewellery. Instead, he had the depressing prospect of spending tomorrow with a microwaveable turkey dinner for one and a rerun of The Great Escape.
"Ooh, Dr B., what d'you think of the decorations now? That electrician fella got the lights working again. Don't they look smashing?"
Tom glanced around the waiting area of High Wycombe's Accident and Emergency department. There was the usual assortment of mismatched gilt streamers and clusters of gaudy plastic baubles he'd come to expect in NHS buildings around this time of year, but now joined by a lonely string of flashing lights pinned to the polystyrene ceiling tiles. A spectacular light show it most surely was not.
But then there, in the centre, perched on a stepladder like an angel on a tree, was the most attractive pair of legs he'd seen in a long time.
"Mmm, yes, very nice. Gorgeous." And they were. Clad in blue overalls; the fabric baggy around the calves, but growing ever closer fitting up the thighs before stretching taut over the well-formed buttocks that crowned them. Yep, Tom was a man who knew how he liked his gluteus maximus, and these were just about perfect. It was a good thing the electrician had his top half stuck through the ceiling panel next to the strobing light fixture, because it'd almost certainly be a let-down compared to the long, muscular legs.
Tom blinked hard and forced his feet to move toward the staff room, wondering if Cheryl had followed his gaze. It wouldn't do to out himself so quickly, would it? He'd only been here a fortnight, and anyhow, he preferred to keep his private life just that: private.
He thought of the all the out and proud nurses, and occasional doctors, he'd met over the years. There seemed to be so many of them these days. He envied their freedom. Coming to terms with his sexuality at the time when the media was full of headlines about the “gay plague” hadn't been easy. He'd had nightmares about that AIDS gravestone in the TV public health warnings for years. It would tower over him from the end of his bed, and he'd lie there, frozen, waiting for it to come crashing down.
The staff room was mercifully empty of chattering nurses, and as he stirred three spoons of sugar into the dishwater coffee, he found himself wondering if moving back down here had been a mistake. Sure, the job was much more pleasant: he didn't find himself having to battle to save the lives of youngsters who'd somehow managed to get themselves caught in the middle of a gang war like he did back in Manchester; but on the other hand, in a small town like this he'd lost a certain anonymity. Besides the fact that he'd been to school here and could potentially be recognized by anyone at any time, there was only the one gay bar in town. He'd noticed the rainbow flag now adorning the window of the Dog and Sixpence—which when he'd left town had been a notorious biker's pub—but hadn't yet plucked up the courage to walk in there, despite not having had a shag in months.
His reverie about burly, leather-clad bikers was broken by a loud pop and flickering lights, followed by a muffled crashing sound and Cheryl's shrill call for help.
Tom rushed out into the waiting area. A small crowd of onlookers had already formed. He saw the workman's ladder lying across the main aisle in front of the reception desk. From the hole in the ceiling tiles, there hung a wire. It wasn't doing anything as sinister as sparking, but he ordered the rubber-neckers back to their seats for their own safety. A young nurse bent over the supine man in blue.
"What do we have?" Tom asked her, kneeling down on the other side of the man's head.
"Electrical burns to his left hand, front and back. He's unconscious, but breathing normally. I was about to check for spinal injury before moving him."
"I'll do that." He was on the best side, with the man's back to him. As his dispassionate fingers felt along the vertebrae and around the occipital and parietal bones, a less clinical part of his mind observed that the top half of the electrician was rather more impressive than he'd been expecting. Broad shoulders filled out the white t-shirt under the overalls, and his closely cropped hair revealed a finely shaped skull. The hair was soft under his fingers, salt and pepper with a white patch the size of a fifty pence coin behind his right ear. Funny, that. He remembered the overweight kid with the vitiligo at school. It had been in a similar spot, but it couldn't be him. He'd be long gone from here, and anyway, despite his bulk, there was nothing overweight about this man.
"He'll have a nasty contusion, no doubt, but he's safe to move to a cubicle. I'll be back to have a proper examination when he's settled."
After checking in on one of his earlier patients, the redoubtable Mrs. Brown who today claimed to have swallowed half a bottle of Toilet Duck—last week it was allegedly Persil Colour laundry liquid—Tom swung by the cubicle containing his unlucky electrician. He shooed out the nurse and took a closer look at the patient. Even unconscious, he was an attractive man; with strong bone structure, full lips and silvery stubble thick on his cheeks. Tom distracted himself by examining the paperwork. Pulse, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing: all stable. Burn to left hand, second degree: washed and dressed. Patient's name . . . no, surely not. But then again, he had that patch of white hair too.
A soft huff drew Tom's focus from the name spelled out in bold, black ink. He looked up to meet a pair of blinking, grey-blue eyes.
"Vincent Draper." It should have been a question, followed by a brief run-down of his current condition. Instead, it came out as an awed whisper.
Meet Josephine Myles
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo publishes regularly with Samhain. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion.