Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks


Publisher: ManLove Romance Press (print Hot Comfort Anthology)
Genre: Contemprary Erotic Romance
Sexuality: Male/Male
Release Date: Fall 2008 (ebook) / September 2009 (print anthology)
Length: Novella
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Read an Excerpt | Read the Reviews

It’s another Thanksgiving for lovers Derek and Troy. Another holiday to pretend they are merely platonic roommates in the chaos of Derek’s family celebration. When Derek snaps after one too many confrontations and admits he’s gay, his father disowns him on the spot. It’s going to be a quiet Thanksgiving…or is it?


Troy turned down the street, bone-deep exhaustion warring with anticipation. Tired as he was, the double-shift before Thanksgiving was worth it so he and Derek could have two days free. Thanksgiving for Derek’s family and the day after for just the two of them. Even after two years together, he still couldn’t believe how happy he was. How eager to come home to Derek. How thankful he was they’d found each other.

He caught sight of Derek’s Toyota in the driveway as he pulled near the house. Derek shouldn’t be home. He’d been scheduled to work at his family’s restaurant until early evening and that was still hours away. Derek’s schedule had never run unexpectedly early.

His stomach clenched. He had a bad feeling about this. A very bad feeling.

As soon as he’d parked, he grabbed his duffle bag and hopped out, barely tugging his coat from the car before the door shut. He trotted up the walkway to the front porch. Gut still roiling, he paused for a long deep breath before he slowly opened the door, unsure of just what he would find. He was sure it wouldn’t be good, though.

He heard a loud clatter from the direction of the kitchen, followed by a snarled curse. Oh yeah, not good at all. Nothing in the kitchen ever fazed Derek, not even the time they’d gotten too distracted by the recreational uses of clarified butter and their dinner had caught on fire. Troy had been the one who’d almost fallen over when he rushed to get the fire extinguisher from the pantry, forgetting his pants were around his ankles. Derek laughed hysterically at Troy’s shuffling hop, but still managed to put out the fire with a pan lid and even retained the presence of mind to silence the smoke detectors before a neighbor called the fire department.

It had still taken him three tries to get the oily spots out of his favorite jeans and to this day Derek persisted in cracking jokes about the perils of buttering him up. At least he’d not hurt himself and had to explain that to his co-workers.

He quietly set down his duffle bag near the stairs, took off his coat and hung it and his keys on their respective hooks. It only took a moment to sit on the wrought iron bench and take off his work boots to set them next to Derek’s chef’s clogs before padding toward the kitchen.


The kitchen island had several grocery store bags on it. Why had Derek gone shopping when they were eating at Derek’s parents’ house tomorrow and would have leftovers enough for a week?

Turning the corner, he spotted Derek standing in front of the large stainless double sinks. He was still dressed for work his white chef’s coat and a pair of his tacky baggy pants, this pair with brightly printed chili peppers on them. A big tub sat on the floor near the sink, half-full of some liquid and he seemed to be vigorously washing a rather large turkey with the spray nozzle.


Still no response and the sick feeling in the pit of Troy’s stomach only got worse. He walked over to Derek and ran his hands up his lover’s back, slowly and firmly. Then back down Derek’s sides and around his waist.

Tense. So tense. Derek felt almost brittle to the touch. Not something he was used to feeling in his lover.

“What’s wrong, Derek? Why are you home already?”

No answer. He just continued to scrub at the poor abused turkey. Then a tell-tale catch in his breath. A sob. Derek never cried, he just got angry and yelled a bit. What the hell had happened?

Troy reached over and shut off the water, then coaxed Derek to release the very clean turkey and the sprayer. His lover grasped the edge of the sink so tightly his knuckles were white through the thin latex gloves he was wearing. Tiny, not quite stifled sobs shook his body. “I’m here for you, love. What’s wrong? What’s happened?”

Troy rested his cheek briefly on Derek’s back, then pulled Derek’s wet hands off the sink and overcame his token resistance to turn him around. Troy caught sight of his face. “What the fuck? Who did this?”

Rage burned through Troy at the sight of the bandage below Derek’s right eye and the bruise that was blooming around it, the skin already swollen and a dusky purple. “What happened, Derek? Tell me what happened.”

Derek’s beautiful blue eyes swam with tears, his blonde lashes clumped and dark from those he’d already shed. He attempted a weak smile. “Well, we don’t have to hide the fact I’m gay from my family anymore.”


EBook Addict named Giving Thanks a Must Read and her Recommended Thanksgiving Read for 2008 and says: “I love holiday stories love, forgiveness and happily ever after, and this one surely didn’t disappoint me. This was my first book by Maura it won’t be my last!!

Derek and Troy will grab your heart from page one and you won’t want the story the story to end I kept putting the book down not because I didn’t like it but because I knew the end was near and just was not ready to let them go. The love that Derek and Troy have for each other is really going to give you that little knot in your throat. You will be crying, laughing, angry and HOT all in equal parts, It is a wonderful Thanksgiving story that I will be reading over and over and every Thanksgiving to come!!!!!!!!

I wish I could say more but it seems that everything I tell you would ruin the story for you and I don’t want to do that so please don’t miss out on your chance to buy this great story I promise you won’t be sorry.”

Wave from Reviews by JesseWave gave Giving Thanks 4.5 stars out of 5 and says: “This is Maura Anderson’s first M/M story and I think it was a very good debut for her in a different genre. The characters were well developed and three dimensional and the author didn’t shy away from the intimate sex scenes which were warm and loving in addition to being very hot. The author obviously has a lot of experience, due to her many het romance books, in making sure that her protagonists are real. This is the first book that I have read from Ms Anderson and I was impressed. Giving Thanks is a “feel good” story – it’s about Thanksgiving after all, but the author didn’t just phone in the story – she took the time to introduce some complexities into it and gave us a picture of a loving family headed up by a very strong mother who dealt quite effectively with a bigoted husband that was still living in an era where being gay was reprehensible.

The story was funny and heartwarming and filled with lots of delicious food. I could feel the aromas wafting into the book – either this author really loves food or she’s trying to make gluttons of her readers. I hope that this is not Ms Anderson’s only venture into the M/M genre because she seems to have an instinctive touch for creating gay male characters that are real and not caricatures. I recommend that you buy this book as a great start to the Thanksgiving holiday. My only regret was that I could not live in Troy’s and Derek’s world a little longer.”

Chocolate Nymph from Literary Nymphs gave Giving Thanks 4 nymphs and says: “The talented Maura Anderson created a captivating plot of realistic concerns and the emotional impact on everyone involved; include two very sensual characters plus a touch of humor and you have a very impressive story that I greatly enjoyed.”

British Bull Dog from Rainbow Reviews gave Giving Thanks 3 stars and says: This is a delightful story. The characters are believable and well-drawn. The topics of homophobic hatred and eventual forgiveness are handled well. Moments of humor, such as the running joke about grandpa’s big gut, were great fun.

Of especial delight was the loving and mutually supportive relationship that Troy and Derek enjoy. It was a change to read a story about an already established couple.

Jhaboy at Romance Junkies Reviews gave Giving Thanks 4.5 Blue Ribbons and says: The book has not only that hold your breath moment when you think, ‘please let it work out’ but also some hilarious moment where you just have to say thank God for the in-laws. I really enjoy Ms. Anderson’s GIVING THANKS.

Elise Lyn at eCataromance gave Giving Thanks 4.5 stars and says: A quick, pleasurable read, Giving Thanks with have us all Giving Thanks for this wonderful tale by Maura Anderson.

Lily at I Love Books says: Although this was a short book Ms Anderson managed to pack it full of wonderful characters who dealt with a surprising revelation in differing yet believable ways. I really liked both Troy and Derek and the family member’s that come for dinner were a wonderful addition to the book. The ultimate resolution to the book was, I thought, handled quite well and the epilogue was the icing to the sweet love story. A truly enjoyable book.