GENRE: Gay Holiday Romance
LENGTH: 28,148 words
Twenty-five-year-old TV producer Jared Greenfield loves his big city life -- job, friends, and shopping -- but even with all the fun of big city life, he feels a longing for something, or someone, more. Then, on the very first night of Hanukkah, he spots a handsome, sweaty basketball player at the Jewish Community Center.
Tall, dark, and Orthodox, the young and athletic Shai Goodhart strikes up an easy friendship with Jared, only to discover Jared has very little appreciation for his own Jewish heritage and religion. Determined to enlighten this “Bad Jew,” Shai invites him over for a family Hanukkah celebration.
Then Jared discovers Shai’s deepest secret and the biggest threat to his future. Over the eight days of Hanukkah, deep emotions pull them closer and closer together. Can they ever reach across the divide of their shared culture and fall in love?
“Borough Park, Borough Park!” the subway announcer shouted through the intercom and the doors opened.
“This is me,” said Shai, getting up.
“I’ll get off with you,” said Jared, following him behind. For a minute, the two men walked in silence, then turned to one another and began speaking at the same time.
“I feel bad for asking you such a big favor,” said Shai.
“I feel bad for teasing you about your beliefs,” Jared interrupted.
“I’m sorry,” they both said at the same time, then laughed. They exited the subway station and sucked in the cold, winter air of Brooklyn. It always felt cleaner than Manhattan, thought Jared.
“Here’s an idea,” said Shai, turning to Jared. “How about you come over to our house tomorrow -- it’s Hanukkah, the whole family’s gonna be there -- all the nieces and nephews. Why don’t you come over and see how we do it -- you can come as my guest. Really.
“Oh I couldn’t impose like that. I mean, thank you, it’s very generous, but come on -- it’s a family thing, right?”
“No, no -- yeah, the whole family’s gonna be there, but the cousins will be there, neighbors, friends. It’s practically an open house. You would fit right in, and you could see how we do Hanukkah.”
“You mean -- how good Jews celebrate Hanukkah?”
“Yeah, pretty much -- we definitely do Hanukkah right,” said Shai with confidence.
“Okay,” Jared agreed without much thought. He wasn’t going to see his mother until the weekend -- and he was actually quite curious to see inside an Orthodox family. Not to mention, he did not want let Shai disappear so quickly from his life.
“Great! Tomorrow it is -- can you make it by sundown. Say, around five o’clock?” said Shai.
“I’ll be there,” said Jared. “And I’ll try to put your name down for tickets -- wait, what name should I put down?”
“Shai -- Shai Goodhart.”
“Plus ten?” asked Jared.
“Shai plus ten,” said Shai. “That’s right.”
“Okay then,” laughed Jared, comfortable with the ease of his interaction with this beautiful dark-haired man. Shai reached out and shook his hand, and Jared absorbed the touch like a warm blessing in his palm.
“You alright getting home?” asked Shai, looking up the street.
“Yeah -- I’ll grab a taxi,” said Jared, reaching out to shake his hand once more. “Thanks for the chat -- and I guess I’ll see you tomorrow!”
“A Gute nakht,” said Shai, in Yiddish, then waved his hand and began walking down 12th Street.
“Goodnight,” said Jared, reaching his hand into the street and waving away until a yellow taxi pulled over.
This book was published on December 24, 2016.