We have special treats today from C.S. Poe! She graced us with an exclusive short story from her Snow & Winter Universe and The Mystery of Nevermore eBook giveaway!
The Inner Workings of Sebastian Snow
A Snow & Winter short, set in the timeline between The Mystery of Nevermore and The Mystery of the Curiosities (release March 7, 2017.)
Sebastian Snow is a combination of blunt honesty and a mystery wrapped in so many layers, I pray to find his core before I die of old age. I’ve known him for a month now. When I believe I’ve finally begun to keep up to the speed in which he thinks, or can translate his few, yet typically profound moments of silence, I’m usually wrong.
Sebastian stood in the kitchen, held a carton of Half & Half close to his face, and scowled at it. I think he was trying to read the expiration date. He has achromatopsia. Sebastian’s been completely colorblind since birth, and it also severely affected his vision. He has trouble with fine print and details, but throughout life has learned to adjust.
I don’t offer to read the date for him. If Sebastian wants help, he’ll ask. That’s his straightforwardness that I love.
But everything else he’s doing at the same time? I find it all so… baffling.
Because while Sebastian was deciphering the date on the coffee creamer, he was likely also going over his mental to-do list for the Emporium, considering what to make for dinner that night, pricing new antiques, and dredging up old facts he’d learned, God only knows where, about Victorian taxidermy or something equally not relevant until he explained to me how he jumped from Point A to Point Q.
Sebastian never turns off, never stops thinking. I’m not sure why. By all accounts, he had a good childhood and a loving parent, so I don’t think it’s anything related to forcing back negative memories. He doesn’t do it to show off either, although considering the sort of person Millett appears to be, I can imagine just how he treated Sebastian and his never-ending supply of facts. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Sebastian was looking for some sort of validation.
But he wasn’t. He never was. Not that I was aware of, at least. He was curious—almost to a fault—and easily bored, but I hesitate to say those statements are absolute truths because this is when Sebastian typically throws me a curveball.
The one thing I am absolutely certain of when it comes to Sebastian, is that he’s built up this notion in his mind for a long time that he is not an attractive man. What sparked this idea, I can’t say. It’s one of his deeply buried mysteries. He says the secondhand clothes, the worn out jeans and baggy sweaters, are because he can’t be bothered to care about fashion. He says he doesn’t like shopping, which I believe, but his reasoning is skewed and unclear. There’s a profound pain in Sebastian’s heart that makes him see so little in himself, and his reluctance toward understanding the nuances of color is only an excuse.
But I don’t push him.
We all have awful wounds, and sharing that blackness with another human is terrifying. So Sebastian can tell me when he’s comfortable, and I’ll never push more than reminding him everyday how gorgeous I think he is.
He glanced from the carton and a smile lit up his entire face. “Good morning.”
It was contagious, and I felt myself return the grin. “Hey.”
Sebastian looked back at the mugs sitting out and poured a dash of cream into each. “You don’t have to run out yet, do you?”
I checked my watch. “I have time.”
He put the cream away and poured our coffees. Sebastian stepped forward with my drink, paused, and set it back on the counter. He got close and fixed the collar of my shirt.
“Have I told you how handsome you look this morning?” he asked, but he had that particular smirk on his face. The one that damn well knew he’d said so already, but he wanted to play.
“I believe you did,” I said, catching his wrists as he pulled back. I lowered my voice and continued. “Something like, I want that handsome man to fuck me into the mattress so hard the headboard puts a hole in the neighbor’s wall.”
And… there was my blush. It wasn’t much when compared to my own complexion that reddens at the slightest fluster, only a pink dusting across Sebastian’s cheeks. But I loved it nonetheless. This is where his translucency and complexity get knotted up together, though.
Sebastian is honest about his sexual needs. He doesn’t skirt around it and it’s a huge turn-on for me. If he wants a blowjob, he makes it known. If he wants to get screwed until he can’t walk straight, he’ll make it apparent. Sebastian is very— enthusiastic. Where it gets difficult is the heat of the moment and how very shy he becomes. He’s afraid to ask for what makes him feel good— like maybe I wouldn’t want to take the time to give it to him, or only if it was something I liked too. Or hell, even that he’s embarrassed to be aroused by a particular action.
I generally have to drag it out of him. Tell me what you want. Use your words. Do you like this? And sometimes I can get him so worked up his shell will break wide open, if only for a moment, and he’s not ashamed to ask away. But… sometimes not.
Sebastian dated Millett for four years. I can’t help but wonder if this behavior, the boldness when wanting intimacy, but shyness regarding sexual acts, manifested itself after one too many years of being with a man who didn’t appreciate him. Used him, even. Maybe. I’m not sure, and Sebastian doesn’t like talking about Millett. He isn’t a pushover, either. But Sebastian is very tender and gentle and set in his ways— and his ways desperately want a special someone to be part of his routine. Sometimes that fear of loneliness makes us… complacent for the wrong person.
“I don’t think I said that,” Sebastian replied.
I moved his hands down and encouraged him to hold my hips.
He tugged me close and I had to hold my breath to keep from gasping. “I thought you had to work,” he said.
“Then why are you letting me touch with questionable intentions in mind?”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. Sebastian always makes me laugh— even when he drives me nuts. “I like your hands, baby.”
Sebastian looked down and his touch played over my hip bones. A shy smile crossed his face. He likes pet names, which is good because I can’t help myself.
He’s my baby.
Sebastian is… my prince.
I took his face into both hands and kissed his mouth. He tasted warm and minty fresh. Every kiss we shared made me recall the darkness I’d live in nearly my entire life, when suddenly in December… there was light.
Sebastian made a small sound in the back of his throat and it was all I needed for my cock to stiffen. The urge to slam him back against the nearest surface and drive him mad with desire was kicking in hard. Only a vague sense of responsibility was keeping my hands north of the border— that and my barely recovered shoulder injury wasn’t exactly up to manhandling Sebastian onto a countertop, sexy as that would be.
“How much time do you have?” Sebastian whispered against my mouth.
I reminded myself to breathe. “A cup of coffee’s worth.”
“I’ll lend you a travel mug,” he replied before unbuckling my belt.
I let go of Sebastian’s face and held my hands firmly over his. “You don’t have to.”
“Uh-huh. And if I want to?”
He has such big, gorgeous brown eyes hiding behind glasses and disheveled hair. I don’t think he’s aware of it, but Sebastian definitely has a pouty, puppy dog expression when he really wants something. And hell. Who am I to deny him anything? I’d give him the moon if he asked for it.
“You make it hard to say, no thank you,” I answered.
Sebastian grinned and reached up to kiss me again. His tugged my belt open and unzipped my trousers. “You’re terrible.”
“And you’re sexy, what do you expect from me?”
But a solid knock at the front door made me jump and kept Sebastian from slipping his hand inside. I swore mentally and gripped his hands tight. Sebastian looked up at me and I turned away. If I saw his face— concerned a knock scared me— I couldn’t deal with that right now.
Sebastian got the hint. He said, “Ignore the door.”
“If it’s Max?” I tried.
“I’ll have to fire him.”
“Your father?” I continued, now smiling a little at the look of utter indignation on his handsome face.
“He tells me when he plans to come over.”
“Holy shit, Cal. Are you trying to say a neighbor asking for a cup of sugar is more important than you getting a happy ending?”
Ah, bless Sebastian’s crotchety soul.
I leaned down and kissed his lips. Just a light touch. “Rain check.”
Another knock. Louder. I winced but didn’t jump.
Sebastian huffed and walked out of the kitchen. “Do I really need to buy a Do Not Disturb sign?” he called out.
After adjusting myself, I picked up my now lukewarm coffee and took the first sip before I heard my partner’s voice. Clearly, me and coffee weren’t meant to have a relationship that morning, so I left the mug and walked into the living room.
Quinn Lancaster stood at the door, an unlit cigarillo between her lips and nose red from the cold morning. “Hey. Answer your phone, will you?”
“I called looking for you. We’ve got a body dump. Happy Hump Day.”
I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell. Sure enough, three calls from Quinn. “I don’t remember silencing my phone.” When I looked up, Sebastian had a very guilty expression on his face, and we both caught it. “Seb.”
Quinn pulled the cigarillo from her mouth. “Yeah, Seb,” she echoed, despite never calling him anything but his full name.
Sebastian glanced at me and shoved his hands into his sweater pockets. “What? I— wanted to spend the whole night with you.”
“You can’t turn my phone off,” I said, catching my voice rising.
“I didn’t,” he protested. “Just silenced it.”
I closed my eyes for a moment to center myself before taking Sebastian’s elbow and leading him away from the front door. “Sebastian, you can’t—“
“You’ve been working your ass off the last week,” he said firmly. “You’ve just gotten back in the field and I… I didn’t want you getting hurt.”
“I won’t get hurt, baby.”
“You can’t say that,” he replied. “And every call that comes in, you just….” he trailed off and shook his head. “Never mind. Forget it. I’m sorry.”
“I wanted to spend time with you. That’s all. I won’t do it again.”
I glanced over my shoulder and Quinn gave me an expectant and rapidly losing patience expression. “I have to go,” I told him.
Sebastian nodded, staring at his feet.
“Hey.” I tilted his chin up. “I’ll see you when I can.”
He nodded again.
The look of rejection on his face broke my heart. He knew what came with dating a cop. The hours, the danger, and Sebastian usually took it in stride. I’m not sure why today it suddenly upset him so much, but his sadness was more painful than a bullet.
I wrapped my hands around the back of his head and leaned my forehead against his. “Do you know what you are?”
He snorted. “A pain in your ass?”
I smiled. “Besides that? My sunshine.”
A hesitant smile crossed Sebastian’s face, and he asked in a cocky tone, “Your only sunshine?”
“You guys,” Quinn grumbled from the door. Her lighter snapped open and shut, open and shut.
I kissed Sebastian. “You make me happy when skies are gray.”
He didn’t finish the nursery song. Instead, he stepped back and cleared his throat. “Be safe, okay?”
I dropped my hands. “Promise.”
Sebastian shooed me toward the door.
I grabbed my coat, looked back once more, and stepped out into the hall with Quinn. I paused long enough to button up before following her down the rickety stairs.
Sebastian Snow is many things, and I’m sure to drive myself crazy trying to solve the puzzle that is his mind as we become more serious.
He’s complex and simple. Straightforward and evasive. Bold and shy. Snarky and tender. Brilliant and frustratingly dense at times.
Sebastian is my sweetheart.
He’s my prince charming. And yet, somehow it was more frightening to tell him this than it was to tell him I loved him.
Maybe the moment simply hasn’t been right.
The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter Book One)
It’s Christmas, and all Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with CSU detective, Neil Millett. But when Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.
He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.
In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive, and live happily ever after with Calvin.
In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive, and live happily ever after with Calvin.
C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.
C.S. Poe can be followed on her website, which also has links to her Goodreads and social media pages. She can also be followed via her e-mail newsletter on the website.
Be sure to let C.S. know what you thought of her story in the comments!
The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) on 11/29/16. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!
Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!
Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway here!