Holiday Sneak Peek with ZA Maxfield’s What Child is This?

What Child is This? by ZA  Maxfield

A Crossing Borders Christmas Story

Loose Id Publishing

LGBT Contemporary


Michael and Tristan are finally taking that much needed weekend away for Christmas. They’ve been working so hard at their respective careers there hasn’t been time for a breather, much less a chance to reconnect and see if they’ve been working toward what they both want.

Like always, Michael’s well-laid plan is derailed by a phone call from Apple House. Three of their charges have gone missing and while Michael is worried, it’s not unusual for the young adults who stay at the shelter for homeless LGBT teens to come and go.

But when one of them calls Michael and asks if – hypothetically speaking – it’s considered kidnapping to keep a baby who’s been abandoned, Michael and Tristan head home with all speed to sort things out.

Two couples need answers in a heartwarming holiday tale of taking stock, reaffirming commitments, and catching the perfect wave in What Child Is This? A Crossing Borders Christmas Story.


If ever there was a time for former police officer Michael Truax to throw all caution to the wind, this was it.

His “Sparky sense,” the little voice in his head that told him when his lover, Tristan, was running on too much work, too much responsibility, too many family obligations, and too much rigid self-control, was screaming at him to get his man out of town. Because all those things — plus the uncharacteristic quiet Tristan had been exhibiting lately — were completely foreign to his nature. Sooner or later, he was going to crack and do something really reckless like skydive or hang glide or pierce something highly sensitive and important to both of them just to feel back in control. Which, all in all, usually required a great deal of sweating and praying on Michael’s part.

So he’d come up with an idea. A marginally devious plan, one that would remove his Sparky from the environment currently crushing him and put a little, much needed hell yes back in his pale, freckly cheeks. And it started now, with a clandestine phone call he had to take in the shop out behind their house so Tristan couldn’t hear him.

“Did you get all the stuff there?” Michael asked.

“Yeah, I did, and traffic was a nightmare, so it took forever.” Ron, the aging biker who was Michael’s mother’s friend — and Michael’s former lover — had been surprisingly helpful. Despite his gruff words, he hadn’t hesitated to ask what he could do to help. “Remind me why I’m your number one go-to guy for weird shit these days?”

“You have to ask? You should look in the mirror.”

“Ha, ha. I take it Julia and Emma got off okay?”

“That went like clockwork. The limousine picked them up, and you know my mother. They were cracking into the champagne before I could even wave good-bye.”

“That’s good, but sending both your mother and Tristan’s on a cruise to Hawaii was a little extreme.”

“They needed a break too. They’ve done so much for Apple House. It’s time we gave back. Tristan’s mom said she was going along just to dance with gigolos.”

“If you wanted some alone time, why didn’t you guys just get on your bike and go?”

“I don’t know.” Michael chewed on his lower lip. “Tristan’s been too quiet lately. Something’s getting to him. I need to see his eyes light up. ”

There was a pause before Ron said, “The little shit’s eyes light up whenever you’re around, boy.”

“I know.”

Ron took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I didn’t think Julia would leave Lily.”

“The baby’s not due until February. Plenty of time. Lily doesn’t need the holiday stress either. She and Jim will be happy to be off the hook for big family events. She gets tired easily and –”

“She snaps. I know. So it’s just you and Tristan this year?”

“Yeah. Tristan’s brothers are staying in Colorado to ski.”


“Tristan’s got himself all worked up over preparing to defend his dissertation, and he hardly has a moment free while he’s coaching the science olympiad at school. He needs to blow off steam. My plan is to find him a nice, safe outlet.”

“Good luck with that, Officer Helmet. The minute the pressure gets to be too much, he’s likely to do something stupid. Naked street luge. You know him, he’s gonna go just a little crazy and that’s when he –”

“That’s why I formulated the plan,” Michael reassured him. “As long as you and Stella can be counted on to keep Apple House running while we’re gone, then we’re golden. Once the plan is in play, Tristan will have no choice but to relax and get some much needed rest.”

“Yeah well. No sane man would ever hook up with Tristan Phillips in the first place, but no amount of talking has ever done a damn bit of good with you.”

“Remember when I said don’t diss the redhead?”

“Yeah.” Ron huffed a laugh. “It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.”

“I know you love him too, or we’d have words.”

“What the hell does that mean, have words? That like do lunch?”

“See you.”

“Yeah. You know there was a time when things were a lot simpler. You met a guy’s eyes in a bar, and if he met you in the bathroom unarmed, it was a safe bet he’d get on his knees for you.”

“Yeah, those were the days, huh?” Michael said drily. “I love you, man. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. I may have tucked a thing or two of my own into your deal there, boy.”

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised.”

“You will be if Tristan finds them first…” Ron laughed, then hung up.

What the hell could that mean?

Michael heard footsteps behind him and turned. Seeing Tristan still took his breath away.

Tristan rested a hand on Michael’s Harley, stroking it lightly, running one of his long fingers over the studs that ran across the back of the leather seat, and Michael felt it as though it stroked his dick. Watching just that, the idle way Tristan’s hand caressed his bike, caused Michael’s breath to hitch and his cock to tighten. His boy was so beautiful. Long and lean…lithe. He moved like he was made of nothing but muscles and bad thoughts. His shoulder-length red hair was drawn back into a haphazard ponytail, while hanks of the shorter hair around his face fell free. A thick fringe hung over one blue eye. He glanced at Michael, always seductive, always aware of his power.

“Hey, baby.” He hooked a hand around Michael’s neck and strolled around him, swiveling his hips to the music on his iPod. Michael joined in the dance and caught his hand, reeling him in and letting him grind a little. Tristan grinned at him and caught on, leaning back and shaking his hips so their cocks brushed together.

“You should have seen the kids do this at the homecoming dance. The girls bend way over with their hair hanging on the ground and rub their asses on their partner’s crotch. It’s like the entire room is simulating anal sex.”

Michael’s heart lit up to see Tristan so happy.

“I was outside the band room yesterday and I heard this one kid singing, ‘I touch my boyfriend with my derriere, singing Hey, Oh, let’s get some Crisco…”

Michael barked a laugh. “Oh, no he dih’nt.”

“Oh yes he did. High school isn’t the same as when I went, that’s for damn sure.”

“Yeah, ’cause that was so long ago…”

“I have my own version of that song that I sing for my students. ‘I throw your tests up in the air sometimes, singing Hey, Oh. You all get Zeeeeee-ros’.”

Michael continued to lead Tristan in a modified cha-cha, turning and letting Tristan chase him, then turning again to pursue the pursuer until Michael caught him and brushed kisses all along his sandpapery jaw. Michael found his mouth and invited him to open. Their tongues joined for a dance of their own and for a heart-stopping moment they froze, locked in the tenderness of a kiss. Michael broke away and lipped Tristan’s earlobe, pressing his nose into the skin there and breathing him in.

“Any reason we’re escaping like this?” Tristan asked. He hooked his fingers into the belt loops on Michael’s jeans, teasing him, bringing a flush to his skin and scattering his thoughts like butterflies.

“I wanted to get you alone,” Michael said thickly.

“I think you’ve managed to get rid of any obstacle to our spending Christmas alone, lover.”

Michael nipped at Tristan’s lip. “Is it that obvious?”

“Ya think? My brothers seem to have received new skis, so they’ve decided to winter at school in Colorado.”

Michael stopped Tristan’s hands and held him away a little. “Lily is still around… If you want we can go see her right now. Get into the Christmas spirit?”

Tristan shook his head. “Oh, hell no. After going through my sister’s first pregnancy, no way I’d hang around for the second. We might as well just peel off all our skin and salt ourselves. Lily’s hormones: the home game.”

“That’s what I thought. I told her we were heading out of town. I didn’t tell her where.”

“Good man.” Tristan pushed back into Michael’s arms. “So… Now?”


“Should we back your truck out of the driveway without starting up the engine so no one knows we’re leaving? Steal Ron’s spark plugs so he can’t follow us?”

“You’d like that, huh?”

“It might add to the excitement dramatically.”

“Ah. How well I know you…” Michael shot Tristan a smile. “Let’s go.”

“Have you given any thought to where we’re going?”

“Of course not. I fly by the seat of my pants. I live for danger and adventure.”

Tristan coughed behind his hand, and it sounded like helmet boy.

Michael leaned in so close his breath moved the long strands of hair near Tristan’s ear. “Yeah well, safety first.”

Tristan nipped his neck and said the only four damned words that could derail Michael’s plan. “Get on your knees.”

Vacation interruptus.


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