12 Dates of Christmas

Cover for 12 Dates of Christmas by Tanya Chris shows a young man in sun glasses in front of a wintery Christmas scene

Orion has devised a brilliant strategy for achieving internet fame—an Instagram campaign where he

goes on twelve dates over twelve days, culminating in a made-for-TV happy-ever-after with fellow influencer and hot Brazilian model Afonso. Their pre-arranged fake relationship is bound to capture hearts and dollars, skyrocketing Orion from mid-tier to top-tier. His plan couldn’t be more perfect.

And then he meets Gustav. Gustav isn’t famous or devilishly dark and handsome. He’s not even on Insta. And he has an annoying habit of calling Orion out on his dubious ethics.

Now Orion is torn between fake fame and true happiness as he tries to continue his campaign while dating Gustav on the sly. The world thinks it knows a lot about Orion, but none of what it knows is true, and as Christmas comes to a close, Orion is wishing he could start the new year in a whole new way.

This 20,000 word Christmas novella takes place in a non-COVID timeline.

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Publisher: Tanya Chris
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Gustav’s benevolent bulk and obvious interest were making Orion realize there were aspects of this fake boyfriend business he hadn’t given sufficient consideration to. Namely, how he was going to get laid. He and Afonso looked great on paper, but they were going to be duds in real life. They were both bottoms, for one thing, and both attention whores, for another. Attention whore wasn’t the nicest label Orion could stick on himself, but it was the most accurate.

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On top of that, Afonso came across as emotional, finicky, and high-strung, none of which were characteristics Orion appreciated in a partner. He wanted someone like this guy—the blond hulk standing steadily in a swaying train car looking at him with eager eyes. But if Orion was “dating” Afonso, he wouldn’t be free to date anyone else. Even hookups would be dangerous because if he got exposed as either a liar or a cheater, this campaign that was supposed to make his career would be the end of it instead. He was going to have to keep his dick in his pants for the next six months.

“Maybe you’d join me and my friends when you’re finished looking at the tree?” Gustav suggested. “Or I could look at the tree with you.”

“No! I mean, thanks. For the offer. Only—” Shit. He didn’t like seeing the enthusiasm wash out of Gustav’s eyes. The two of them had been making a real connection. Why did fate have to be such a bitch? Yesterday, Orion hadn’t had even a tingle of interest in anyone, and now he had to meet someone on the first day of his self-enforced celibacy? It wasn’t fair. But he’d put too much work into this campaign to bag it for a stranger on a train, as handsome and friendly as that stranger might be.

“I’m meeting someone,” he told Gustav, giving up on putting it any other way.

“Oh. Well. Good for you.” Gustav’s smile was a hollow echo of his earlier one. “Like you said, Christmas is about connection. I hope it works out for you.”

Orion considered backpedaling. He could say it was only a friend he was meeting, get Gustav’s phone number, track him down later. But he didn’t. He’d been planning this for months. Months.

The subway jerked to a halt and the doors slid open. People poured on and off. Gustav headed for the exit with a mumbled This is my stop that Orion could tell was a lie. He felt like the prince watching Cinderella escape. He should at least have a glass slipper to remember Gustav by, but what would be the point? This Cinderfella wasn’t his to catch.

The doors slid shut, the woman Orion had given his seat to rearranged her bags, and the train moved on.

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Reviews:Mirrigold on Mirrigold's Mutterings & Musings wrote:

So much fun. Tanya Chris pitched this book just perfectly.
It could have easily gone another way, with the reader finding it hard to sympathise with Orion, who really was a self-proclaimed attention whore but he was actually a sweetie at heart. I loved seeing how he slowly began to realise the fake persona he projected on his Instagram really wasn’t who he wanted to be.

loveQhuay on Reading under the rainbow wrote:

It was a fascinating story and so, so real, because this is what this generation is doing. Everyone is an influencer and live their life on Instagram - but that life is so fake, that they don't know how to live otherwise. The whole 12 date with 12 different people to find The ONE, and post all the perfect date photos on instagram, than all of a sudden fall in love with the last person - but keep it a secret that it's all fake. Yeah.

Susie Umphers on Amazon wrote:

This is such a fun Christmas romance. You have to feel sorry for poor Orion initially. He thinks he has the perfect plan to make himself a star and even lines up a fake boyfriend, model to make sure his story ends the way he wants it to. We of course, as the reader also expect the fake boyfriend to become a real one until Gustav shows up and changes everything. That's when the real fun starts as Orion tries to have his cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, Gustav is the adult Orion doesn't want to have to grow up to be just yet. Watching him mature and become a man worthy of Gustav makes for the perfect holiday romance.


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