Guest Post | Ghost Dater by Ofelia Gränd

Guest Post

Hello, everyone! I’m here stealing a spot again. A couple of days ago, Ghost Dater was released, so I thought I’d share a little about it. I hadn’t planned on writing it, to be honest. In the Rockshade’s PID series, I have Soul Eater and Mind Scrambler, and the plan was to write the third and final story. It was always meant to be three – now I’ve messed it up. 

Soul Eater is 51k and Mind Scrambler 53k, a 9k story wasn’t part of the plan, but now it’s here! 

Soul Eater came out last year, and just like Ghost Dater, it’s a Halloween story. In Soul Eater, we get to see Thaddeus bring Sandy back from the dead, and now we’re one year later – meaning Sandy has been a ghost for a year. 

Everyday life has settled in, and while Sandy is grateful for being alive – or close to at least – he’s mourning the things he can no longer do. Most of all he wants to eat. A year back on Earth, he hasn’t eaten a thing.  

Thaddeus doesn’t handle Sandy’s moping well, and things are rocky, but it’s nothing a little magic and chocolate can’t fix! 

I thought since Soul Eater and Ghost Dater are linked, I’ll share a little from both of them. 

Excerpt Soul Eater:

As he rounded a corner, he came into the main cavern. Table after table were filled with anything a magic user could need. Herbs, potions, knives, stones, and a lot of things he didn’t want to acknowledge. 

The howl of a cat in a cage had blue sparks rain from his fingertips, but he tried to suppress it as he hurried past the traders. 

Pickering had the last table in the row—of course he had. By now, Thad should have learned nothing ever went quick and easy. He held his breath as he stopped by the table. 

Thaddeus.” Pickering had short, red hair, and his face was filled with freckles. 

Einar.” Thad nodded at him. 

What can I do you for? Looking for a familiar?” He grabbed a cage with the largest toad Thad had ever seen. 

Ah… Eh… no. I was wondering—” 

A love potion?” He held up a tiny, red flask with a skull painted on it, and Thad almost laughed. 

No, thank you. Have you heard about—” 

Shrunken head?” He bent down behind the table. 

No!” Thad hoped he didn’t have a shrunken head back there. Could he ignore a shrunken head or did he have to report it at work? If a raid came out of his visit here, he’d be hunted for the rest of his life, and he did not want the wizards running the largest black market for miles and miles on his tail. 

This then?” Pickering tossed something at him, and Thad caught it. A buzz spread into his fingertips as he held up the…skull. Swallowing hard, he studied the sharp canines. The dog must’ve been massive when it had been alive. 

W-What is it?” 

Pickering looked nervous as he leaned in closer and lowered his voice into a whisper. “Werewolf skull, very powerful. But I guess it’s wasted on you, mage.” 

Werewolf? Was someone killing werewolves now or was it an old skull? Thad swallowed hard. 

Yes.” Why did it buzz? Thad was a mage, everyone in his family was a mage. Spirits meant nothing to him. 

A hundred and fifty.” Pickering raised one red, way-too-bushy eyebrow at Thad. 

A hundred and fifty dollars?” He could almost pay that to be able to bring it to work and have it analyzed. If someone was targeting werewolves, they had to be stopped. 

Thousand. A hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Do you think they’re easy to come by?” Pickering’s blue eyes were wide as they searched the shadows around them. 

Thad’s hands shook as he placed the skull on the table. “No, I guess—” 

I can get you another animal if you want? Lion shifter? I know where there’s a pride. I need your order by the end of the night, though. There isn’t much time left to get it set up. Samhain is the only day a harvesting ritual works, and special orders increase the price, so you know…” Pickering shrugged. 

Thad nodded. Coming here had been a huge mistake. 

Pickering narrowed his eyes. “So what do you want?” 

I wanted to ask you a—” 

This more your price range perhaps?” He held up four black candles. “Blood candles. They’ll help you call forth the spirits. A hundred dollars.” 

Thad nodded. He’d heard of blood candles, never owned any. Warlocks made them—a blood sacrifice to increase the power of the candles. When they were lit in a circle, they’d enhance the power…or something. Thad didn’t do circles. He was a mage, he had the power at his fingertips and not contained in a circle. Not that sorcerers and warlocks couldn’t bring their powers outside their circles—they could—but all their big, powerful magic work required a circle. But if it would get Pickering talking… 

Okay.” He grabbed his wallet and handed Pickering the money he’d budgeted for groceries. 

Excellent.” He turned to a side table to wrap the candles in paper. Thad must’ve lost his mind, but the skull vibrated. 

Have you heard of any…” Thad cleared his voice before hissing, “…soul eaters in the area?” 

Pickering froze. “Jesus, Thaddeus. If that’s what they have you working on, you need to quit. Right away.” 

There is someone?” 

Pickering shook his head, almost dropping the candles. Thad’s core filled with ice. There was a soul eater? He’d hoped he was imagining the signs. 

The skull moved. 

It couldn’t have, and yet Thad saw it turn. Perhaps he’d touched the table without noticing. 

Einar?” 

Pickering wiped his palms on his thighs, not looking at Thad. 

Einar. Someone is carving up young women. My stupid werewolf colleagues think it’s a shifter. It’s not. Someone is stealing their energy.” 

Pickering didn’t move. He stared at the half-wrapped candles. 

I’m right, am I not?” 

Pickering shoved the candles at him. “You need to leave. Leave now, Thaddeus, and don’t ask any more questions.” 

But—” 

You think he’s only making angels?” Pickering’s voice was so low, Thad had to strain to hear him. “You think a powerful warlock would leave anything behind for the police to find? It’s a game to him. It amuses him to have the dogs running around in circles. Don’t get involved in this case, Thaddeus.” He turned around so fast Thad jumped. 

As Pickering pretended to unpack a box on the ground, Thad picked up the skull. He opened his mouth to get Pickering’s attention so he could hand it back but halted. Looking around, he couldn’t see anyone watching him although that didn’t mean no one was watching him. As carelessly as he could, he placed the skull on top of the candles and cradled the bundle to his chest. 

Trying not to run, he took aim at the exit, a furious voice screaming in his head. 

 

Excerpt Ghost Dater:

Thad bought pumpkins, fake spiderwebs, bats, skeletons, and loads of candy—not that he thought any kids would come trick or treating. Their house was a good bit outside of the city. Sandy had been firm on what their house should look like, with a forest a werewolf could run in and stuff. Only, he could never run as a wolf since he couldn’t be away from Thad, and Thad couldn’t hunt like a pack. He couldn’t howl at the moonlight or whatever else wolves did in their spare time. 

What he could do was turn their house into a Halloween masterpiece. He loved decorating for Halloween, and he was eager to get back home to add to the things he’d already put up. The best piece of decoration they owned was Sandy’s skull—though he doubted Sandy agreed. 

When he parked outside the police station, he was in a better mood. Sandy was still sulking, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been at home. He’d even smiled when Thad had cracked a joke. 

“You can wait in the car if you want.” 

Sandy frowned at him. “Can I?” 

Thad judged the distance from where he’d parked and the third floor where Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department was. “Maybe you’d better come along.” He straightened, and Sandy shuddered as he melted through the car. 

“I hate going through things.” 

Thad huffed and allowed blue sparks to rain over Sandy until he became solid. “You could have asked me to make you real so you could’ve used the door, or I could’ve opened it for you.” 

The glare he got in response had Thad halting. “What?” 

“I am real, and I don’t want to have to ask you to open doors for me. I don’t want to have to ask to be corporeal.” 

“Oh, I should just know when you want to be solid?” 

Sandy’s hands curled into fists. 

“Fuck it, Sandy. Stay in the car.” 

“I can’t!” 

A woman passing by stopped to stare at them, and Thad raised an eyebrow at Sandy. They didn’t need to cause a scene, did they? “I need a quick word with Elora. No need for you to throw a tantrum.” 

Sandy grimaced. “I didn’t mean…” 

“That might be.” Fucking hell. Thad turned and headed for the entrance. 

“Thaddeus—” 

“Please try to behave in front of the guys.” He jogged up the stairs, ignoring the way his lungs burned as he reached the landing. He needed to get out running more. Sandy was by his side, not out of breath in the least since the bastard didn’t need to breathe. 

“Go talk to Leo while I talk to Elora.” 

“Why?” 

“Because I don’t want you to hear what I’m saying, and Ric’s an ass and I don’t want it rubbing off more than it already has.” He was only partly joking. Ric, Sandy’s brother, was the one he had the hardest time working with. It had gotten better, but they still didn’t get on. 

“I’m a shifter, babe. I’ll hear what you say if I’m standing two desks away.” 

Point. “Don’t listen.” 

“It doesn’t work like—” 

“Elora!” 

Elora was Thad’s partner. She was a short, curvy woman with psychic abilities, and Thad loved her. They worked well together, knew each other’s strengths and fears, and his shoulders dropped simply from looking at her. 

She looked up from a thick book and gave Thad an amused smile. “What are you guys doing here? You couldn’t stay home for one day?” 

Thad glanced at Sandy, shot more energy into him, and approached Elora’s desk. “I need a word. In private.” He tried pointing at Sandy with his eyes, which had Elora widening hers. 

“Let’s eh… grab a cup of coffee and go to—” 

“Interrogation room.” 

Elora nodded, and together they neared the coffeemaker. Thad looked around but couldn’t see Ric, which was good. If Sandy asked about the cabin, he’d know Thad was lying. Ric left for the cabin every year, and would this year too, should nothing too horrible go down. 

“What’s going on?” Elora pulled out a chair by the table in the barren interrogation room. 

Thad closed the door behind him and glanced out through the window. Sandy was watching him, so he smiled. “Sandy has been an ass for a week now.” 

“Why are we whispering?” 

“I don’t know how well he can hear us.” 

“Ah…” Elora frowned and continued in a low voice. “So what’s going on?” 

Thad slumped on the chair across from Elora. “I don’t know, to be honest. I’ve told him we’re having a Halloween party, but we’re not.” He sighed. “Have you read anything about allowing a spirit or ghost to eat?” 

Elora pursed her lips. “Not that I can recall.” 

“Damn.” He put his elbows on the table and cradled his head. 

“Why?” 

“Well, it’s a bit rocky.” 

“You and Sandy? No, you’re his mate.” 

Her words calmed him a fraction. “Yeah, I know, but… I think he feels trapped with me.” 

“He’s said that?” 

Thad shook his head. “No, but he’s frustrated about not being able to do things.” 

“He’s a proud man. You know how werewolves are.” 

All shifters were insane. “I want to cook dinner.” 

Elora’s dark eyes flew over his face. “Cook?” 

“Yes. I want to take him on a date, or a date at home. I want to cook a three-course dinner, wine, candles, the whole thing. And I want him to be able to eat, to taste.” 

Elora shook her head. “I’m sorry, Thad. I’ve never come across anything about letting a ghost eat.” 

“But he’s my familiar, right?” 

She narrowed her eyes. “I guess… I mean… but he’s not alive.” 

“No, I know.” Maybe it was a stupid idea. Perhaps heʼd have to have a Halloween party instead, but Ric was going away, and he was off work, which meant the others would have to work. 

“There might be… but I don’t know…” 

Thad stared at her. “There might be what?” 

She waved a hand. “Don’t get your hopes up, but I just recalled… I’ll see if I can find it and get back to you, okay?” 

“I love you!” 

Elora widened her eyes and glanced out the window. “Eh…Sandy’s coming this way. I’d rather you didn’t say things like that when he can hear.” 

Thad leaned forward. “He knows I don’t mean it like—” The door was yanked open and a pissed off Sandy stepped into the cramped room. 

“What’s going on?” 

Thad grinned. “Elora is coming to the party, and she’s gonna dress up like Catwoman. It’ll be a fancy-dress party. Isn’t it great!” 

When Sandy grimaced, Thad had a hard time not laughing. 

Blurbs:

souleater

Detective Thaddeus Ezax is in over his head. He’s the only wizard in Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department, and it was his name that got him the job. The Ezaxs are known as some of the most powerful wizards in the world, but Thaddeus isn’t your average Ezaxs. Is it any wonder his family shuns him?

When a kidnapping case is dropped into his lap, Thaddeus must act fast. While most five-year-olds can cast a location spell, Thaddeus can’t and is forced to get creative. When he finds himself in possession of a black market werewolf skull with a ghost trapped inside, accidentally releases the spirit, and somehow forms a connection with it, things get even crazier.

Sandulf Hunter doesn’t remember dying, but he remembers the last thing he saw before everything went black — a wizard. All wizards must die! The only problem is, the wizard standing next to him smells too damned good, so good Sandy thinks he might have to keep him.

And since wherever Thaddeus goes, Sandulf finds himself yanked along, he might not have a choice in the matter anyway.

Buy links:

Gay Paranormal Romance: 51,577 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

ghostdater

Thaddeus Esax has a grumpy werewolf problem. For a year, he’s been mated to Sandulf Hunter, a ghost werewolf he brought back from the dead without meaning to. It’s been great. Thad’s been happy, and he believed Sandy was too. But Sandy has been sulking for more than a week, and Thad fears their relationship isn’t going as well as he believed.

The problem with being mated to a ghost is that said ghost never can leave your side, and therefore it’s extremely hard to keep secrets. Thaddeus wants to surprise Sandy, to cheer him up, but to do that, he has to trick him into believing they’re doing something they’re not.

Telling Sandy they’re having a Halloween party doesn’t go over well, but how do you trick a ghost? By making him believe he’ll be dressed up as a pirate for an evening, of course.

Buy links:

Gay Paranormal Romance: 9,376 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

Celebrate | National Stop Bullying Day

Today, it’s National Stop Bullying Day, and since we have books with bullying as a theme this month, I figured I should write something about it.

The most crucial thing to do to stop bullying is to involve bystanders. The person being bullied is most often unable to do anything about the situation on their own, they need help. And many think bullying only exist in schoolyards – that’s not the case. Many adults are being bullied too, even though you’d think grown-ups should know better than to be jerks.

So this is the day to stand up for what’s right and put a stop to shitty behaviour. You might save someone’s life by doing so.

I’ve written a few books with bullying, mostly past bullying – both as Ofelia and Holly – and I thought I’d share a few excerpts.

Hop Hop, Carrot Top

Hop-Hop-Carrot-Top-(web)

Flynn ran. He ran despite his muscles screaming in protest; ran despite tasting blood at the back of his throat, and ran despite his lungs burning from his rapid breaths.

Blade still guarded the bridge. Hop hop, carrot top. His voice echoed in Flynn’s mind, the water was ready to swallow him as Blade pressed him against the too-low railing, his upper body folding over the fence until his backpack hit him at the back of his head, and all he could hear was the raging water.

More times than he could remember, he had pictured himself, limp and broken, on the rocks below. He used to wake up covered in sweat with Blade’s laugh ringing in his ears.

He’d lost count of the number of bags Blade threw down into the water, the number of books his mom had to compensate the school library for.

He had to leave.

He couldn’t stay here, not with Blade knowing he was back. The day after he’d finished high school was the day he left Hartley, and he’d sworn he’d never come back.

He ran the long way around, not going over the footbridgenever over the footbridge againbut all the way down to the southern bridge. He crossed the river, and despite his legs hardly being able to carry him anymore, he pushed forward.

When the house came into view, he sped up. He grabbed the key, unlocked the door with shaking hands, and locked it again as soon as he’d closed it.

Panting, he slid down on the floor in the hallway. He laid there for several minutes, his breathing slowly going back to normal.

This was ridiculous. He was a thirty-seven-year-old man. He didn’t have to run from his childhood tormentors.

On wobbly legs, he got up from the floor and went into the kitchen. Right as he was about to hit the light, his gaze fell on the silhouette of a hulking man with three dogs standing across the street. The air got stuck in his throat, and he pressed himself against the wall.

The door was locked. Blade wouldn’t break and enter to get to him. He swallowed hard. He hoped he wouldn’t break and enter to get to him.

Several seconds went by, and Blade continued to watch the house, then one of the dogs bumped him with its nose, and Blade bent to pet it. The Blade he remembered wouldn’t pet a dog.

He hid again. Sweat had his clothes sticking to his body, and he shivered as he cooled down. When there was a knock on the door, he yelped.

No way he’d open it. No fucking way. The house might be dirty, but to coat it in blood as Blade beat the shit out of him would not help matters.

The knock came again, and Flynn pressed himself against the wall. What if it was someone else? Mrs. King from across the street? She’d seen him arrive. He blew out a breath and rubbed his face. Should he open?

No, he was in the shower.

Slowly, he crept through the house to the bathroom and turned the water on. He hadn’t heard the knock, because he was in the shower.

Tomorrow, he’d get up at dawn and pack as much as he possibly could. He’d call a moving firm to have the heavy things removed. Where he would tell them to move it was a problem of its own. And what would he do about the car? Was it still running? Mom had been sick for a long time, she hadn’t driven it for more than a year. She’d been in the hospital for months, and it had been six months since she’d passed away.

He’d have to call an auto shop too. Should he look for one in one of the neighboring towns? If there was still one in town, it would be easier to use it, but… back when he’d lived here, Blade’s dad had owned the town’s only garage, but he’d been old back then.

Tearing off his clothes, he stared at himself in the mirror only to look away. How many times had he watched his reflection in this mirror and prayed his appearance would change? Freckles. A wide mouth with pouty lipsgirly, Blade had said. And the hair.

As a teen, he’d dyed it, but it had made him look ill. His pale skin didn’t do well with any other color than his natural one—if that could be considered doing well. He threw his hands in the air, annoyed with himself for allowing old hang-ups to surface. He was a grown man, hair-color didn’t matter, and hopefully, he’d go white-haired soon. Stepping under the spray of the shower, he tried to wash away old memories.

Crazy Joe

Crazy Joe by Ofelia Grand

Abe Cooper tried to swallow, but his mouth had gone dry. How many times had he wondered what had happened to Crazy Joe? Jonas. The last day he’d seen Jonas before he disappeared he’d had a horrible feeling and he’d spent many years trying to shake it, but every time Crazy Joe had popped up in his mind it was followed by unease.

Something terrible had happened, and he wasn’t sure, but maybe he was part of it. Joe—Jonas—had been a year after him in school, but everyone knew who he was. Crazy Joe—swishy Joe with glitter stains on his jeans who’d argue his opinion in every matter. He’d been brilliant, though. Abe had always been in awe of the way he expressed himself. In retrospect, Abe had realized how smart he was, and how much he must’ve read to know what he did back then. Sure, he’d argued conspiracy theories left and right and always had a rather grim view of society, but they’d been teens—a certain amount of fuck-the-world and know-it-all attitude was to be expected.

Abe had had it in spades.

Many believed Joe was crazy for real, but Abe was sure it was just a case of being different. High school wasn’t the most forgiving environment. He sighed, wished he’d done things differently, but he hadn’t been very brave back then.

Well, it was nice seeing you, Abe. Take care.” Joe turned, and before Abe had time to blink, he was several steps away. Panic rose in his chest.

Wait! Joe…nas.” Abe didn’t stop to see if Jonas would wait. He trotted to catch up with him. “That day—”

Forget about it.” The smile Jonas gave him was haunted and an invisible fist punched him in the gut.

Not only had Abe played a part in what had happened, but Jonas knew it.

I… can’t. I-I… what happened? I need to know.” There had been so many rumors. Crazy Joe beaten to death, sold into trafficking, gone into rehab, kidnapped. The kidnapped theory had the biggest following since Jonas never came back to school after the weekend. But Abe had seen him on the Sunday, so he was sure he hadn’t been abducted. He’d heard his mom tell one of the neighborhood women about how perhaps it was for the better to move a boy like that to a different school.

A boy like that.

Jonas’ grin was too bright, the shrug too careless to be believable. “I don’t remember.”

Given a little time, Abe could remember the outline of the bruises on his face. The sun had been shining and at first glance, Abe had thought it was some strange shadow falling over Jonas where he’d stood behind the ice cream stand where he used to work on the weekends, talking to an older man Abe had assumed was the owner. His lip had been split and swollen, he’d had a Band-Aid behind his left ear, and a butterfly strip over a cut on his cheek. Someone had shaved off part of Jonas’ thick, wild hair.

Abe shook his head, not wanting to remember the stark fear in Jonas’ eyes when Abe had walked closer to him. They hadn’t talked. A jolt had shot through Abe when he’d met Jonas’ gaze and he’d… walked away.

Coward, he’d been such a coward.

Are you… erm…” He rubbed his neck. “You wanted to work with the theater, right?” Abe remembered he’d had a part in some school play, though he couldn’t say which one, he’d been too busy making out with Stephanie Samuelsen to know what it was about. He shuddered at the memory of her sticky-sweet perfume mixed with the bubblegum she always chewed.

Jonas tilted his head and a lock of his brown not-quite-curly-but-not-entirely-straight hair fell into his eyes. “No, I never wanted to perform.”

He hadn’t? He’d always hung around the art kids, and he’d never hesitated to speak up if he wanted to say something, had never feared attention. He’d held presentations in front of the entire school, had debated one thing after the other. Abe recalled him being in the school orchestra for a short time, and he definitely remembered him being part of arranging an art show in favor of some charity.

They’d had an away game that night so Abe hadn’t gone—probably wouldn’t have if he’d been home either. He wasn’t ‘a boy like that’… except, in a way, he was. Not artsy, not openly passionate about stuff, not fighting to right some injustice. But, no matter how hard he’d tried to hide it, he’d been a boy like that… even back then. “O-okay.”

It was nice seeing you, Abe.” Jonas didn’t look like it was nice seeing him. Abe curled his fingers into fists so he wouldn’t reach for him. He tried to speak, tried to halt Jonas’ escape, but he was already halfway to the checkout.

Be Still My Heart

bestillmyheart

The dinner went by in a haze. Dimitri didn’t taste the food, but he was sure it was lovely. When he wanted to pay, Elian refused his offer and paid for them both. He guessed it would’ve looked strange if they’d split the bill. Elian squeezed his arm. “I’ll pop into the restroom before we go, okay?”

Dimitri nodded, battling the urge to follow him to make sure no threat lurked in one of the bathroom stalls. It wasn’t more than a second after Elian had left before Douglas came up to him. “So… how long have you been seeing Elian?”

Dimitri shrugged. He had no idea what Elian had told them. “For some time.”

Uh-huh. And what do you think about his latest essay?”

The one on love through time? Brilliant. He is brilliant.” And it would be good if he magically appeared by Dimitri’s side right now.

You don’t find it… trite? That was the word you used, right?”

Love? How can love ever be trite?”

You’re not queer.”

Dimitri widened his eyes. Of all the things Douglas could’ve said, he hadn’t seen that one coming. “No?”

Look at Elian, he’s a cliché. Always swishing around, dressing more girly than most girls I know. I’ve seen him wear makeup.” He scrunched his face in distaste. “Would you like a man like him influencing young minds?”

I would.” He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Douglas. “He knows what’s important.”

Douglas sneered. “Love in fiction? You think love in fiction is important?” He shook his head. “You’re a man who’s sacrificed a lot for this country; you’ve fought a war. You can’t possibly find anything interesting in a man like Elian. He’s a disgrace to the department.” Douglas eyes narrowed. “Why are you wasting your time playing gay for a man like him? Did he think it would make Cunningham view him differently? Think of your reputation.”

Dimitri looked up in time to see the stricken look on Elian’s face as he came to a stop behind Douglas. Saying something now would only make him think Dimitri was making it up, so he settled for a blank look and kept it up until Douglas was squirming. Idiot. He held his hand out to Elian and when he took it, he pulled him along toward the exit.

The man is an idiot,” he muttered as they stepped out into the cold February night.

You don’t have to pretend anymore now. I know what he said is true. I’m a swishy old queer with nothing to offer. You’re a hero.”

Dimitri stopped so fast he almost lost his balance. “Never say that.” He glared at Elian, but not because he was angry with him, he was angry with the world. Angry because someone had made Elian think he needed to fit some norm for his work to count. So what if Dimitri didn’t understand the importance of love in fiction, it didn’t mean it wasn’t important. He dealt with the reality his way, and Elian dealt with it in his. And Dimitri’s reality most often wasn’t the reality. There weren’t threats everywhere. He made it all up. His brain worked so hard to keep him safe, it invented danger.

He couldn’t find the right words to tell Elian how important he was, how much his view of the world mattered. He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to express or why, but he wanted the happy, flirty Elian back. The crestfallen look had to go.

Pie?”

Elian blinked. “What?”

Do you want some pie?” When Elian didn’t respond, he continued, “There’s an old diner close to my house that’s open around the clock. I go there when I can’t sleep.” Which meant most of the time. “I…” He grimaced. “I get these phantom pains.” He motioned at his leg. “Pie is a good distraction.”

I…” Elian frowned. “I don’t know if I want to be around people, and the dinner is over so you don’t have to—” He waved a hand, and Dimitri took it, palm to palm. He wrapped his other arm around Elian’s waist as if they were going to dance, and stood there, not caring about the people passing them by. Though, Dimitri monitored them to make sure no one looked suspicious.

What are you doing?” Elian’s whisper made Dimitri smile.

Holding you.”

A few seconds later, Elian breathed out a shuddering breath and rested his head against Dimitri’s shoulder. He was the perfect height to do so without having to bend his neck.

Don’t listen to Douglas, ever.” Dimitri tightened his hold. “The man’s an idiot, and you shouldn’t let his opinions affect you.”

He’s right. I’m just a femmy old—”

You’re amazing. You’re funny. You’re handsome. And you’re going to make some man a very happy guy one day.” Dimitri already envied the person who’d get to live his life with Elian.

The Snowflake

thesnowflake

Dylan almost gave himself whiplash when Theo walked into the warehouse. He would’ve smiled if it weren’t for the worried look Dylan sent to the other workers. Theo rolled his shoulders, cracked his neck, and continued up to the pallet jack Dylan was about to move.

Hi, babe.” He leaned over and kissed Dylan’s cheek.

Theo.” The breathlessness would’ve been flattering but for the way his eyes sought out one of the men over by a pallet in the corner. “It’s another thirty minutes till my break.”

Is it?” Theo glanced around as if looking for a clock. He knew damn well what time it was. “Well, carry on then, and I’ll have a look around. I can have a look around, right?”

Erm…” Dylan glanced at the man in the corner again.

Great.” Theo squeezed his shoulder and went straight over to the man. He was about ten years older than Theo, or it would’ve been his guess. Shorter, broader across the shoulders, and with a middle too big for his narrow hips. Theo hadn’t seen him before—he’d have remembered how the distance between his nose and his mouth was too narrow.

Hi, I’m Theophile Lekas.” He held out his hand.

The man sneered but shook it. “Chad Jonson.”

Chad? He’d never had guessed on Chad, he looked more like a Dave or maybe a Jeremy. It didn’t matter. “So…you’re the supervisor here?”

Nope, if I was, the floor wouldn’t be crawling with fairies.”

This was his guy. Theo grinned. “Too bad, I like fairies myself. They make beautiful sculptures.” He glanced over his shoulder. Dylan was pale, his lips pressed together in a thin line. Definitely the next pieces of the sculpture.

Theo chuckled, giddy with the need to act but knowing he had to wait. He hated waiting. Waiting should never be a part of art. When inspiration hit, there shouldn’t be anything standing in the way, but his freezer capacity did put a little bump in the road. It didn’t matter, though.

Yeah, I heard you were an artist.” Chad spat out the word as if it was an insult.

I am. You want to come to see me work?” Theo grinned and raised an eyebrow in waiting.

Nope. Ask Dave.” He nodded towards a man unloading boxes from yet another pallet. There is a Dave after all. “He has experience in handling the faggots. Even fooled your guy over there into believing he was a poof. We had a laugh, that’s for sure.”

Theo’s blood boiled but he imagined a layer of ice spreading over him. Why was Dylan working here? “Ah, practical jokes, how delightful.”

Chad narrowed his eyes. “Everyone has to be able to take a joke now and then.”

Of course. I bet you joke with everyone, right?”

Chad didn’t answer.

A joke is a joke, but if it happens too many times and always to the same person it’s bordering on bullying, is it not?”

What are you, his sugar dad?”

Hardly.” Theo walked away. Fucker would soon swim in the lake with his father and Ms. Warren. He passed Dylan. “I’ll sit and wait over there.” He pointed at a dirty stool with flaking blue paint by the door. “The air over there was a bit too oppressive for my sanity.”

The panic shining in Dylan’s eyes convinced him of Chad and Dave being the correct pieces of the puzzle…or rather sculpture. Did he need four or five? Either would work. He’d have to wait and see if Dylan mentioned someone else who needed to be included.

Call Me Charles

callmecharles

Charles looked at the board—like a surfing board but thicker. He’d never surfed in his entire life. Why would anyone subject themselves to such horrors?

What am I to wear?” The sand of the beach was clinging to his shoes and he shivered as the wind danced over the waves. He needed to get home and call Lucile to apologize. He needed to head to the station mall, though it would be closing soon, and clean and lock up.

You can undress if you want.” Mikael’s laugh reminded him of when they’d stolen his clothes in gym class while he was in the shower. Walking around the school in a towel had not been great.

Life jacket?” Charles was sure everyone on such a thing should wear a life jacket. You never knew what would happen when you fell off.

You know how to swim.” Connor crossed his arms over his chest and Charles’s heart sped up. It was the look he got when he didn’t get his way and was starting to get angry. An angry Connor was a mean Connor, and it wasn’t something Charles ever wanted to see again.

He kicked off his shoes. “You’re doing it too, right?”

Yeah.” Mikael nodded, but the others didn’t speak, which had the knot in Charles’s belly wind itself tighter.

He unbuttoned his pants. They were ruined anyway so it wouldn’t matter if Connor stole them. The shirt followed, but he kept the T-shirt he wore underneath and his underwear.

The air was frigid. It would get colder, but October wasn’t a warm month, and he was in his freaking undies on a beach. In October.

He shivered and grabbed the paddle. “Okay, what do I do?” He didn’t want to do this.

Go in, hop up, and paddle.” Conner still had his arms crossed over his chest and his eyebrows were creeping down over his eyes.

The water was like ice around his feet. Charles took a shuddering breath and continued forward. The chilling waves lapping at his calves had him pressing his lips together to prevent any sounds from escaping. Damn, it was cold.

By the time the water reached his groin, the air whooshed out of him and a bellow escaped, which had Connor doubling over on the beach.

It’s fucking cold, I’ll have you know.”

Connor laughed harder. “Come on, Charlie. Get up there.”

Charles reached for the board; the paddle held high over his head. “Now what?” The water was to his waist and he wasn’t sure he wanted to get up on the board. Was it deep enough for it to be safe? What if he hit his head on the bottom or if there were rocks underneath the surface? If he hadn’t walked out into the water, how had they planned on getting the board back on the shore?

Get up on it!” Connor was the one calling, but all three of them stood in a row watching him. Though Adam looked more interested in the sand around his shoes.

Have you checked the area around here? There aren’t any obstacles underneath the surface, right?” His teeth were chattering, and he dreaded having to duck his head under.

People bathe here all the time. Now get up!”

Not reassuring.

Charles put the paddle across the board, placed his hands on the surface, and heaved. The whole thing shot away from him and he was swallowed by the sea. He sucked in a breath right as his mouth went down under the surface and ended up swallowing half the ocean. Standing, he coughed and snorted to get rid of the water in his nose.

Laughs rolled over the surface, and he glared at the beach.

I think it’s easier to start on shallow water.” It had to be, if he could step on the board instead of having to heave himself up, it would be much easier… probably.

Whatever man. It drifted out.”

Charles hid an eye roll. As he reached the board, he noticed a string attached to it with a soft cuff at the end. Charles inspected it for a few seconds—for his ankle, he assumed.

He was shivering and his body was covered in goosebumps, but he pulled the board closer to the beach. When it was shallow enough for him to step over it, he did and sat. Gripping the paddle, he steered for deeper water.

It was wobbly, but he could see the appeal. Not in October, though. Had it been a sunny day and the water had been warm, he could understand people wanting to paddle on a board like this.

Stand up! You’re supposed to stand up!”

Supposed to. They only wanted to watch him fall. Charles sucked in a breath. This whole day had been about them watching him fail and laugh about it. It always was.

When they’d been in school, Charles had been a nerdy kid, no question he was queer, and it had been rough at times. But then Connor had invited him to come along on different activities, and it most often ended with him hurt or embarrassed and them laughing, but not always, so he’d gone with them.

As he grew older, he got less willing to endure their jokes, but he felt an obligation to partake in their birthday tradition despite not wanting to. The years of friendship made it hard for him to cut them out of his life, even when he knew he should.

Come on, Charlie boy!” Connor’s voice had an evil ring to it, and Charles blew out a breath.

He leaned forward, made sure to balance his weight, and got up on his knees. The board wobbled, but not too bad. A small smile spread over his lips. He could do this. Maybe.

He put the paddle across the board, put a foot in the middle of it, and rose. He got to his feet and kicked the paddle into the water when compensating for the wobble. Crap!

Bending his knees, he tried to reach it, and he did. As his fingers curled around the handle, his legs shook, and he fell headfirst into the water.

The bawl leaving him as he breached the surface should have been met by laughter, but the beach was silent.

Dread crept into Charles’s mind long before he turned to watch the sandy dunes—empty. Connor, Mikael, and Adam were nowhere to be seen.

He swam in the icy water to grab the board—if he ever did this again, he’d attach the foot thing—and started toward the beach. Dusk was falling and Charles’s teeth chattered more than before.

His clothes were gone. With a sigh, he pulled the board onto the sand. Weren’t they too old for pranks like this? He didn’t have his phone, keys, or wallet.

It had to be a joke. They wouldn’t take his phone, keys, or wallet—it was too much even for Connor. They were probably waiting by the car, laughing at him for believing they’d abandoned him on the beach.

Links to information about the books:

Hop Hop, Carrot Top

Crazy Joe

Be Still, My Heart

The Snowflake

Call Me Charles

Release Day | Call Me Charles

Motorcycle Ride Day

Happy National Motorcycle Ride Day! It’s release day for Call Me Charles which I wrote to celebrate National Motorcycle Ride Day, but I have to say that while it’s a lovely autumn day here today, I wouldn’t want to go for a ride 🥶 

But I guess that’s why the day is celebrated now because it’s the last chance you have to ride before winter comes. And you’d probably want to wait until midday at least to give the sun a chance to heat the world a bit. 

In the story, we have Charles and Hubert. Charles is having a horrid day and it doesn’t get any better when his sometimes-friends kidnap him to celebrate his birthday – that’s two months away. 

Hubert is a calm and controlled man, for the most part, he flirts with Charles but on a low-key level. When he finds out what Charles’s friends have done, he’s furious. He wants to teach them a lesson, but when Charles begs him not to do anything, he makes sure to be close to Charles instead so it won’t happen again. And what better way to keep someone close than to take them for a ride on your motorcycle. 

Excerpt:

Charles allowed Hubert to dress him and together they went to the kitchen. Jake was eating, loudly, from the bowl of cat food, and Charles was hit by how domestic it all was. Hubert poured him coffee, then placed cheese and gluten-free bread on the table together with some yogurt and fruit. 

“You’ll stay here until I get home?” Hubert wasn’t meeting his gaze. Did he want him to stay? 

“I can go with you if you want. I can walk from the mall, and I’m sure I could get hold of the caretaker, so I can get into my apartment.” Mrs. Oliver would probably help him since he helped her the day before. 

Hubert shook his head. 

“No?” 

“If you want to go home, I’ll go with you to make sure you get in all right.” 

“You have to be in the candy shop.” 

“Yes, so you’ll have to wait.” Hubert grinned, but there was a hint of uncertainty. “Feel free to grab whatever you want from the freezer. I think there is some frozen pizza if you don’t have the energy to cook.” 

Charles watched him. “You’re fine with leaving me in your house? What if I snoop around.” He wouldn’t. 

“Feel free to. I have nothing to hide. And there aren’t many cupboards and drawers you can go through. You’d be done in fifteen minutes or so.” 

“I would never!” 

Hubert laughed. “I know you wouldn’t, Charlie.” 

They were silent for a few seconds, both chewing and sipping on their coffee. Charles looked out the window to the glittering sea outside and took a deep breath. He understood why Hubert would want to live here. The sea was endless and the sky a clear blue. 

“Sadly, I don’t have shoes that would fit you.” 

Charles looked at him. “Eh… no, I guess not.” 

“It’s lovely walking the gravel road.” He gestured in opposite direction from the city. “There’s a tiny marina, red little fishing huts in a row, and real fishing boats, no touristy crap.” 

“Touristy crap?” Charles chuckled. 

“You know what I mean. People don’t use boats for fishing anymore, they have them to show off or compensate for something. In that marina, fishermen have their boats. They fish, the old-fashioned way, and sell their catch to the local restaurants.” 

“Cool.” Charles hadn’t known there was a marina out here. 

“Wait.” Hubert frowned, then he got up and went out the front door. Charles stared in confusion, then took another sip of coffee and watched the sea. He needed to get himself a house with an ocean view. Sighing, he drank some more coffee. He’d never afford a house with an ocean view. He didn’t have a job. 

The front door opened, and Hubert held up a pair of red rubber boots. “How are these?” 

Charles accepted the boots and put his foot in one of them. They were okay, maybe a size too big. “With woolen socks, I’m sure it’ll work.” 

Hubert grabbed the boot he hadn’t put on and turned and twisted. “A size too big?” 

“Yeah, I’d say so. It’s fine. Thank you.” 

“Craig had a pair here. He hated being here, but he kept them for when we picked blackberries.” Hubert gestured toward the back of the house. “Guess he assumed he wouldn’t need rubber boots when he wouldn’t come here anymore.” 

Charles looked at the red rubber boots and tried to create an image of Craig, but red rubber boots weren’t much of a clue. “Were you together for long?” 

Hubert shrugged. “Eight years.” 

“Wow.” 

“I loved him, but we never… We’re very different, he and I. We wanted different things out of life, and in the end, we spent more time shouting at each other than we did talking.” He scrunched his nose. “Right, I better get going.” He began clearing the table. “There is some more coffee if you want.” 

“I’d love some more, thank you.” 

Hubert smiled and nodded. “If you grab your cup and follow the tiny trail right across the road, you’ll come to a large rock right by the water. On days off, I often drink a cup out there and watch the waves.” He bent and gave Charles a quick peck. “I’ll be back later. I’ll make some calls during the day and see if I can find some protective gear that will fit you so we can go to the burger joint.” 

Charles nodded. 

“And if Connor comes by, please say I can pretend I have no clue where you are.” 

Charles hesitated. Would Connor come by? Maybe. Maybe they’d all come to laugh at him. Hubert must have some special skill of reading his mind because his expression hardened, and he gave a short nod. “I will scare them if they come by.” 

“No, don’t.” 

“How old are they? Thirty-two, like you?” 

Charles shrugged. 

“So they should be old enough to understand the risks.” 

They should. Charles sighed. “Fine, tell them I’m dead.” 

Hubert grinned. 

Blurb

callmecharlesCharles Bowman was having a bad day even before his friends showed up to kidnap him for his birthday. He lost his nametag, missed the bus, and was late for his shift in the sandwich shop, but that isn’t the worst. The worst is he’s accidentally been poisoning Hubert, the owner of the candy shop across from the sandwich shop, with gluten despite Hubert ordering gluten-free sandwiches. 
 
When Charles finds himself soaking wet on a deserted road in the chilling October night, the worst gets an entirely new meaning. But right as he’s about to give up, Hubert comes driving on his motorcycle. Being responsible for gluten poisoning aside, Charles has never been as glad to see his knight in black leather, but is going home with Hubert a good idea? Or will the worst get even worse? 

Buy links 

Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,071 words 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/CAllMeCharles 

Celebrate | Cinnamon Roll Day 

Cinnamon Roll Day is an important day LOL One day I’ll write a story for this day, but for now, we’ll have to make do with books that fit the theme. 

But before we move on to the books, we need to sort a few things out. I’ve googled, not just this year, but several times before, and I just can’t get the hang of it. Is it roll or is it bun? I don’t mean the heinous thing where you degrade a perfectly good pastry by making it look like a creampie porn shoot. I mean the real thing. I’m Swedish, we invented kanelbullen, and I know what it’s supposed to look like. The abuse has to stop. Show some respect LOL  

There, I got it off my chest. This day is to celebrate a beautiful cinnamon bun/roll – keep it clean, folks! 

While I haven’t written a particular story for the Cinnamon Roll Day, I’ve written a few stories with pastry-loving men. So to celebrate, perhaps have a look at one of these: 

Blown Away

Espen is a bear, so naturally, he has a sweet tooth. All through the story, he is eating or fantasising about eating cakes and cookies.

Someone was running toward him, and his arm shot out without thought. He curled his fingers around the man’s throat, his claws threatening to come out as he slammed the man against the wall of the house. He hoped Rosalinda Ayala, who lived in the house, wouldn’t hear him. She made a divine Tres Leches cake. His stomach rumbled as he recalled the sweet taste.

It made him angrier. If it hadn’t been for these idiots, he could be at home in his nice warm farmhouse, and he could be eating.

Being a bear, he towered over most people both in human and in shifted form, even alpha wolves. When shifted, his teeth might not be as impressive as a wolf’s, but he was bigger and stronger, and his claws could do a lot of damage.

Snarling in the wolf’s face, he met his gaze full on. “Give me one reason not to rip your throat out?”

Espen couldn’t think of one. The man was in his territory. He was hungry. The man was keeping him from eating. None of those things worked in the wolf’s favor.

Omega.”

Espen refrained from rolling his eyes. As far as he was concerned, omegas were a myth. He was forty-three years old and had never met one. Often when a group of alphas ganged up like this to hunt down an alleged omega, it was some poor submissive running for her life. “I don’t care. You’re to leave my territory. Now.”

The wolf snarled, so Espen snarled back. If they were having a competition in who could be the loudest, there was no question who’d win. Only… he didn’t want to frighten Rosalinda. What if she wouldn’t make him the chocolate cake with cinnamon and cayenne frosting again? Before Rosalinda moved here, he’d never had cayenne and chocolate together. If he’d been into women, he’d marry her to ensure he got access to her baked goods.

A door banged against the wall on the other side of the house. With a sigh, Espen pulled the wolf closer to the corner so he could look down the side of the house. Rosalinda was struggling to get the door to close, probably having lost her grip when the wind took hold of it when she’d opened it. He squinted against the rain hitting his eyes.

Go back inside, Rosa. It’s not a nice weather for a late-night stroll.”

Espen?” She shielded her eyes. Her long black hair blew into her face as the wind hit her from behind. “What’s going on?”

Nothing to worry about, dear. I’m taking care of it.” He had to shout to make himself heard. He glanced at the wolf, who frowned at him.

Are you sure you’re okay?”

Yes, go back inside before the roof tiles come off.”

She nodded and took a step toward the door. “Be careful!”

I will.” He smiled and nodded, but when the door closed, he snarled in the wolf’s face again.

blownaway

Espen Urso would rather stay inside and enjoy a nice, sweet cake than be out in the worst storm of the year. But there’s a group of alpha shifters trespassing, and he needs to defend his territory and keep the people in his village safe. A group of wolf shifters he can scare off, but when he realizes they’ve hurt a defenseless little bird, he loses his patience. 

Arvid Rai is having a bad day. He’s an omega on the run, with a group of alphas on his tail. If there hadn’t been a storm, he could have easily flown away before the stupid wolves got their hands on him, or the angry bear noticed he was in his territory. But there is a storm, and the idiot who grabbed him broke his wing, so now he can’t fly anywhere. Still, he deems it best to stay with the growly bear rather than having the other alphas fight over him. 

Espen has never believed in the myth of omegas, and it isn’t until he takes Arvid in he realizes how much trouble he’ll be in when shifters from near and far learn he has one in his home. Will he be able to keep Arvid safe from other shifters? Is it even possible to defend his territory with an omega in it?  

M/M Paranormal Romance: 13,628 words 

Amazon :: JMS Books :: books2read/BlownAway 

Elevator Pitch

From one cake-loving bear to another. Bjorn, who is a bear shifter just like Espen above, has his own cafe. Right now, he’s trapped in an elevator with a claustrophobic bat shifter named Cecil, though.

Bjorn’s phone buzzed again and Cecil didn’t need the light to know he’d stiffened.

Do you want me to read the texts to you?”

Bjorn made a strangled sound. “You’re not wearing any glasses.”

I can guess what it says.” Cecil didn’t have a clue what made Bjorn so tense, but he could guess it had something to do with his mother.

Sure.”

Cecil shivered as the warmth of Bjorn disappeared. He never sat this close to anyone, it was far better to keep everyone at a distance, but when Bjorn came back, he sat closer than before, and Cecil did nothing to move away.

Here you go.”

Cecil accepted the phone and squinted at the screen. The letters melted together and he didn’t have a chance in hell to decipher them. “It’s from your brother. He’s asking you to feed his goldfish.”

Oh, yeah?”

That’s a question, Mr. Ritter. And yes, it’s what it says.”

Funny, I didn’t know I had a brother.”

Cecil almost asked if he had siblings but bit his tongue. Bjorn was silent for a long time, then he sighed. “It’s from my mother.” He looked at the screen, turned it away, aiming the glow at the button panel on the wall. There was a yellow one with a bell on it. “She’s angry I haven’t arrived.”

Doesn’t she know there’s a blackout? Should we press that button?”

I don’t think a blackout is a sufficient excuse, and yeah, maybe we should.” He got up and pushed the bell button. A faint sound came on somewhere outside. Bjorn sat back down, as close as before, and turned off his phone. “This elevator is super old. I wonder if the alarm is connected to an outer service.”

What did that mean? Wasn’t there anyone coming for them? Cecil’s lungs shrunk and his skin itched. He needed to get out, he needed to fly, needed to escape. The first sign of the change was hairs covering his skin.

Easy, easy.” Bjorn’s large hand landed on his thigh, halting the process. A second later the tiny hairs melted away. “Someone’s coming. We’re in a hotel full of bears, someone will get us out soon even if the power doesn’t come back on. What was the last thing you painted?”

Painting? “I’m not done with it.”

No? What is it of?”

A woman drowning while a bunch of faceless people is standing around watching.” His lungs burned, but he forced himself to take a slow breath and not think about the shrinking space he was sharing with a huge bear.

Sounds…cheerful.”

Art doesn’t have to be cheerful; it doesn’t have to be beautiful or aesthetic or tasteful. Art is supposed to provoke, to make you think, to evoke a reaction, a memory, a feeling.”

I’d love to see it someday.”

Cecil rolled his shoulders. He didn’t want anyone he knew to see his paintings. It made him self-conscious. “It’s not…you don’t have to…you might not like it.”

Doesn’t matter. I want to see what you do.”

Okay.” It didn’t mean he’d invite Bjorn to come home with him. He wouldn’t. His home was his safe place and while Bjorn seemed nice enough, shifters didn’t tolerate people like Cecil. A millennium-old fatigue settled in his bones—chitchat was one thing, acceptance another.

Do you have any hobbies?”

Bjorn shrugged. “I like to read.”

Read? Cecil never would’ve guessed—and that made him a prejudiced bastard, didn’t it? Stupid, nosy bears aren’t supposed to read. “Yeah?”

Mhm, and I love baking, though I hardly ever do it anymore.”

Baking he could understand, bears were known for having a sweet tooth, but Cecil had expected something along the lines of liking to tinker with cars or ride a motorcycle. “That’s nice.”

What’s your favorite cake or cookie?”

Cecil frowned. “I don’t know.”

That makes it hard for me to bake for you.”

The laugh surprised him. It was a short, soft mix of a chuckle and a giggle, but considering he was sitting in the dark with a stranger, laughing was a gift. He doubted Bjorn would want to bake for him if he knew him, though.

Carrot cake, I like carrot cake.”

Mine’s Russian honey cake.”

Cecil chuckled again. “I didn’t ask.”

It was a freebie answer.”

I don’t bake.” Though he’d always figured he’d be pretty good at decorating cakes and stuff. He decorated lattes so why not cakes?

You buying me a cake would make me just as happy as if you were to bake one.” Bjorn leaned into him, making them sway.

Elevator Pitch

Bjorn Ritter only wants one thing – to live his life away from nosey, demanding bears. That’s easier said than done when you’re the son of the female running the Bayside Bear Community. Cecil Baxter might be a bat, but he grew up away from shifter communities and he’s doing his best to continue to keep his distance. Shifters aren’t an accepting bunch and Cecil has never fit the norm.

Already facing a dreaded meeting with his mother, the last thing Bjorn needs is a stranger using his elevator to escape a pack of werewolves. And Cecil, whose day just seems to be getting worse and worse, could really do without the added stress of finding himself trapped in an elevator with a huge bear shifter.

Still, what could go wrong in three minutes?

Gay Paranormal Romance: 11,197 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/ElevatorPitch

The Bear Claw

And last but not least, we have The Bear Claw, which is the name of Shiro’s bakery. In this story, we have a wolf shifter instead of bear shifters. Maybe it’s time to write a contemporary story…

Shiro was aware of Bernard leaving and Pitch remaining, he was aware of Astra and him talking, he noted when Bernard came back freshly showered, but he lost himself in the baking. He didn’t add any emotions to the cookies, he wasn’t in the right state of mind to do so. For the most part, he managed to block the others out.

When the chocolate chip cookies had cooled, he added them to a small tray and carried them out to the display shelf.

Time for breakfast?” Astra touched his arm.

Five minutes. The last sheet of cinnamon rolls is in the oven.”

Astra nodded, and Shiro went back into the kitchen. Once the rolls were done, he entered the café area and took in the table Astra had set. Four seats, four plates with a club sandwich on each, coffee, and juice. He’d rather eat in the kitchen.

With a deep breath, he neared the table. The only available seat was next to Pitch, and he took up way too much room.

Come on, Shiro. The coffee is getting cold.” Astra gave him an encouraging smile and Shiro nodded. He didn’t care if the coffee got cold, but he couldn’t let Pitch know how much his presence scared him.

Seconds after he sat, Pitch’s knee brushed against his, and he jumped, almost spilling his coffee.

Sorry.” Pitch didn’t look sorry, and Shiro did his best to ignore him.

We got an order for a cake. It’s for a birthday.” Astra reached for her coffee and met Shiro’s gaze.

When?”

The day after tomorrow. They wanted something with passion fruit.”

Shiro nodded and took a bite of his sandwich. He could do a passion fruit vanilla layer cake. They were fun to decorate.

Pitch changed position and his thigh brushed against Shiro’s. He glared at him while chewing, and Pitch grinned. There was no skin contact, but the warmth of him was enough to have both hot and cold skid over Shiro’s body. He didn’t want to react. Bernard hardly ever touched him, but if he did, there was no spark whatsoever—here it was as if an electric current went from Pitch and into his core.

He wouldn’t have it.

After he’d eaten the sandwich as fast as he could, he got up and headed back toward the kitchen.

Shiro!” Astra threw her hands in the air. “Can’t you sit for a bit?”

Vanilla hearts.” He gestured at the kitchen. He hadn’t started any, but if he did now, they’d be done in time for when they opened.

Astra sighed but didn’t argue.

thebearclaw

In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas. 

Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day. 

Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe? 

Gay Paranormal Romance: 46,763 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheBearClaw

The List | Gay Romance books with Bullying 

Gay Romance Books with Bullying

New month, new theme! This month’s release is Call Me Charles. I wrote it for National Motorcycle Ride Day, which is on the second Saturday in October. One of the themes in Call Me Charles is bullying, so that’s what this month’s list is about.  

I scrolled through the shelf in the Goodreads MM Romance Group, and I found a list on listopia to see what titles we’re dealing with.  

Here’s my pick: 

One of Those Days by Zathyn Priest 

I went to check if it was still available, I think a searched for it some time back and couldn’t find it, but now I found it on Smashwords. It’s a short story about one of those days, and while years of trauma is glossed over pretty easily, it’s an entertaining story. 

One of Those Days by Zathyn PriestFrom the moment Alex woke up that morning, he knew it would be one of those days. Things go from bad to worse when his old high school bully, Ric, shows up at the chiropractic clinic where Alex works. Torn between having to fix Ric’s neck and wanting to break it, Alex sees the appointment through with the hope he’ll never cross paths with Ric again. But, Ric has other ideas.

https://books2read.com/OneOfThoseDays

St-St-Stuffed (Enemies to Lovers 2) by Anyta Sunday  

It’s been a long time since I read this, and I never read the first story in the series, but I remember liking it. 

St-St-Stuffed by Anyta SundayOther than his most prized Lamborghini, Karl Andrews has nothing to his name. He’s down on his luck and his dollar, and his dream of becoming a professional chef is looking more and more like a pipe-dream. Even less than a pipe-dream when restaurants won’t even take him on as a waiter.
And he won’t ever, no not ever, consider selling his one possession. No matter how much he could make from it. Just wasn’t going to happen.
He’d rather . . . rather . . .
Hell, he’d rather apply for that position to be a Girl Friday.

Other than the title, the job sounds all right. Bit of cooking, cleaning—nothing he can’t handle.
Really.
Until he goes to the interview and discovers the man looking for the help is the same man he’d bullied, mocked, terrified as a boy. But Paul Hyte is obviously a better man, gracious and forgiving. And trusting—as the biggest part of the job requires looking after his son.

Despite the initial forgiveness, things are tentative between Karl and Paul, and they’ve both got to reconcile their pasts if they want any type of proper closure. As the two men learn more about each other an undeniable attraction grows between them—but can the two manage to forge a future together on such a rocky past and complicated present?

https://books2read.com/St-St-Stuffed

Coming Home (Rock Bay 1) by M.J. O’Shea  

I read the first edition of this several years ago, I haven’t read the second, but I liked it. I liked that Tallis didn’t know the guy who hired him was the kid he used to bully. 

Coming Home by M.J. O'SheaIt’s not always easy to start over where everyone knows you… especially when the hottest guy you’ve ever seen already hates your guts.

Tallis Carrington ruled Rock Bay with his gang of jocks and an iron fist – until a scandal destroyed his family’s name. Ten years later, Tallis is dead broke, newly homeless, and on the walk of shame to end all walks of shame. Rock Bay is the only home he knows, but the people in town haven’t forgotten him – or the antics of a spoiled brat who’d had everything handed to him.

The only person in town willing to overlook his past is Lex, the new coffee shop owner, who offers Tally a job even though he appears to despise Tally on repuation alone. When Tally discovers his gorgeous boss is the kid he tortured back in school, his ice cold routine finally makes sense. Now, Tally has to pull out all the stops to prove he was never really the jerk he seemed to be.

After all, if he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of town should be a piece of coffee cake.

https://books2read.com/ComingHomeOshea

Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin 1) by Jordan L. Hawk

This was on the bully list, but I can’t remember any specific incidents, but since dear Whyborne is one of the main characters… I should re-read it.

Widdershings by Jordan L. HawkA reclusive scholar. A private detective. And a book of spells that could destroy the world.

Love is dangerous. Ever since the tragic death of the friend he adored, Percival Endicott Whyborne has ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man. Instead, he spends his days studying dead languages at the museum where he works. So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible.

Griffin left the Pinkertons after the death of his partner. Now in business for himself, he must investigate the murder of a wealthy young man. His only clue: an encrypted book that once belonged to the victim.

As the investigation draws them closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. But when they uncover evidence of a powerful cult determined to rule the world, Whyborne must choose: to remain safely alone, or to risk everything for the man he loves.

Widdershins is the first novel in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America. Buy it today and join the adventure.

https://books2read.com/Widdershins

Jack: Grime and Punishment (The Brothers Grime 1) by Z.A. Maxfield 

What I remember most from this story is what they work with… it made an impression.

Jack: Grime and PunishmentThe Brothers Grime Book 1

One man’s tough job is a path to love.

The Brothers Grime is Jack Masterson’s way of helping people in crisis after disability ends his career as a firefighter. Jack’s people get to a scene long after the physical trauma ends. They don’t solve crime or rescue the victims. They help people move on. The new job is all Jack wants or needs, until he gets the call about old flame Nick Foasberg’s suicide.

Ryan Halloran’s cousin Nick has been on a downhill slide for a long time. Despite that, Ryan does everything he knows to help. Ryan only understands part of what happened between Nick and Jack in high school, but after Nick’s suicide, Ryan agrees both he and Jack need closure. They work together to clean the scene and despite the situation, heat flares between them.

Jack is keeping a painful secret and fighting his attraction to Nick’s lookalike cousin, Ryan. Ryan calls himself a magnet for lost causes and worries Jack might be the next in a long line of losers.

Despite his misgivings, despite the past and the mistakes they’ve both made, Jack gives Ryan something to look forward to, and Ryan gives Jack a reason to stop looking back, in Grime and Punishment.

This is a rerelease of the 2013 novel with bonus stories in the Grime-verse!!!

https://books2read.com/JackGrimeandPunishment

 

When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock  

This is a rather creepy tale – sleepwalking, arson, and icy locks. 

When All The World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and A.J. RockDaniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.

Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.

Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.

https://books2read.com/When-All-the-World-Sleeps

This is Not a Love Story (Love Story Universe) by Suki Fleet 

An YA tale well worth the read if you haven’t read it already! 

This is Not a Love StoryWhen fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).

https://books2read.com/ThisisNotaLoveStory

fawn by Nash Summers 

fawn by Nash SummersThis is beautiful, poetic…and free, so read it if you haven’t. 

Heaven is rays of sunlight dancing slowly on wheat stalks. It’s wind twirling itself around chimes hung from low tree branches, and robust bursts of scent and color, far beyond anything describable with words.

Heaven is a flightless crow, a promise of forever tied to a necklace, and hidden love letters tucked away safely inside a tree.

Heaven is a fire-haired boy named Rust and his love for Ancel, a boy full of storm clouds.

Heaven is all the tiny threads of hope that hold them together.

https://books2read.com/fawnSummers

Pressure Head (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries 1) by J.L. Merrow  

This is another story I feel like I have to re-read. It’s been so long! 

Pressure HeadSome things are better left hidden….

Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.

https://books2read.com/PressureHead

Glitter by Ayla Starr 

I know, I know, I had this last month too, but really, it’s a 2.9k word story, it won’t take you many minutes to read.

GlitterI kept tripping over my feet, tripping over my words, and eventually gave up talking all together. You continued to smile anyway.

Words: 2,869 (approx)  

https://books2read.com/Glitter

Nobody’s Butterfly by Claire Davis and Al Stewart 

Too early? This is one of the least Christmassy Christmas books I know, and, as always with Davis & Stewart, gripping.

Nobody's Butterfly Davis StewartCobweb ghosts are so inconvenient—especially grumpy ones with bad breath. Don’t they know silence is golden?

Johnny Strong is the expert; he hasn’t spoken in two years. Not one word to anyone except the ghost. The main purpose of life is to avoid people and not get noticed. Friends? He doesn’t need them; and certainly nobody wants him despite what the ghost says.

Until a new boy appears at Windybank—Finn Lyons, teenage wizard. He eats frogs, concocts potions, and is always hungry. Not only does Finn stand up for Johnny; he actively seeks his company and soon becomes part of life.
First love; family and words; a heady mix to go in the potion but how will it all turn out?

Hubble bubble; Johnny Strong’s in trouble! Silence is not always golden in this sweet, zany story of the purest magic at Christmas.

https://books2read.com/NobodysButterfly

Crazy Joe (Up North) by Ofelia Gränd 

And time for some ego-tripping. Jonas runs into one of his tormentors from his childhood in the grocery shop…and then at work. 

Crazy Joe by Ofelia GrandAbe Cooper is starting over. For fifteen years he’s lived the life that was expected of him, but not anymore. He’s packed up his things, bought himself a cabin in Northfield, and managed to secure a job at the local high school teaching gym and coaching the football team. But his new beginning didn’t include running into Crazy Joe on his first trip to the grocery store.

Jonas Raghnall has everything he needs—good friends and a job he loves. He’s worked hard to get over what happened sixteen years ago, but one run-in with his past and all the memories come flooding back. Seeing Abe Cooper, The Abe Cooper, sets everything out of balance.

Abe had pictured a fresh start with no ties to his past, but now that Jonas is there, he wants nothing more than to be close to the man who had butterflies filling his belly when he was in high school. Jonas doesn’t want to come face to face with his past, but if he sees Abe every day, it’s not really meeting up with your past, is it? It’s more like a date with your future.

https://books2read.com/CrazyJoe

Hop Hop, Carrot Top by Holly Day 

Flynn never planned on coming back to his hometown, too many memories are haunting him, but life doesn’t always go as planned. 

Hop-Hop-Carrot-Top-(web)Flynn Thomas is back in Hartley. His plan is to be out of there before anyone notices he’s back. He left twenty years ago and promised himself he’d never have to face his childhood bullies or set foot in his bigoted hometown ever again. But it’s been six months since his mother passed away, and someone has to clear out the house.

Caspian Cook is out on a walk with his three dogs when he sees Flynn Thomas, at least he thinks it’s Flynn Thomas. He never forgot the red-haired boy his brother used to harass, and he never forgot how he used to wonder if there were freckles underneath his clothes as well as on his face.

Flynn mistakes Caspian for his childhood tormenter and flees. Caspian can guess why he’s in such a hurry to get away, but he hasn’t seen Flynn in twenty years, and if he allows him to run off, he fears he’ll never see him again. Will spending time with Flynn be enough for him to forget who Caspian’s brother is?

Flynn needs help. He underestimated how much work it would be to move his mother’s things. Caspian offers to give him a hand, but can he trust someone who looks like his worst nightmare? 

https://books2read.com/HopHopCarrotTop

callmecharles

Charles Bowman was having a bad day even before his friends showed up to kidnap him for his birthday. He lost his nametag, missed the bus, and was late for his shift in the sandwich shop, but that isn’t the worst. The worst is he’s accidentally been poisoning Hubert, the owner of the candy shop across from the sandwich shop, with gluten despite Hubert ordering gluten-free sandwiches.

When Charles finds himself soaking wet on a deserted road in the chilling October night, the worst gets an entirely new meaning. But right as he’s about to give up, Hubert comes driving on his motorcycle. Being responsible for gluten poisoning aside, Charles has never been as glad to see his knight in black leather, but is going home with Hubert a good idea? Or will the worst get even worse?

Pre-order JMS Books

Holly Around the World | September

Holly Around the World

I’ve had an intense month, both writing and editing wise, and I’ve done quite a lot of promo posting – mostly on Facebook, but there are some blog posts too. The Dragon Next Door was released on the 25th, and it was written for National Neighbour Day.  

My first stop around the globe wasn’t too far away from where I live – less than two hours in a car 😊 I went to visit Nell Iris, not in her home, but on her blog 

Adrian, the main character in The Dragon Next Door, loves to go thrifting. He believes second-hand shops are filled with treasures, and in the story, he finds the perfect table for Lorcan, his grumpy neighbour. Over at Nell’s, I talk about a table my husband had when I met him, and how that table has been given new homes within the family for generations. 

Next stop was at Ofelia’s blog where I talk about how I yet again failed to write a story LOL. It was an article I read saying a barebone story needed at least 5 characters – protagonist, antagonist, friend, sceptic, and mentor. I failed, and you can read just how much here. 

Then I visited Iyana Jenna where I talked about the different days I’ve been writing about and Adrian’s love for second-hand shopping. 

And last but not least, I stopped by Addison Albright’s site. I was there on National Neighbour Day, so there I talk about how I love Adrian in the story but how I never, NEVER, would want to live in the same apartment building as him LOL 

Next month, Call Me Charles, written for National Motorcycle Ride Day, will be released, and it’s high time I start to plan for that!  

National Neighbor Day

Life in a Square | Autumn is here!

Another month has passed, and this time when I went through my phone, I had soo many photos – mostly of chickens, but still 😆  

We went on a family outing to Ale stenar, which is a really cool place about two hour’s drive away from here. It’s a stone ship. They think it was created about 1400 years ago, but they don’t know why. Some think it’s a grave monument others think it’s a sun calendar. I think it’s Sweden’s answer to Stonehenge 😄  

It was a lovely day. We’ve meant to go all summer, but we didn’t want to go when there were too many people, so we waited until most of the tourists had gone back home.  

Ale's Stones

I’ve been missing the sea a lot lately, so it was nice to be able to breathe in the salty winds. And now I have it in my mind that we need to go there in the winter and see the stone when frost-covered ❄️ 

Sea

But winter is some weeks away still. Autumn is here though, which means both things to harvest in the garden, and misty mornings. 

Harvest

Ove Fall

Höst

Fog

And we have to have at least one chicken picture – it’s a rule! Here we have Blanka. I think she’s been on the blog before. She’s named after a queen back from the 1330s who was known for her beauty and wisdom (and for not covering her hair despite being married #YouGoGirl). Our Blanka is a pretty lady, don’t know about the wisdom, though 😊 Blanka

Release Day | The Dragon Next Door

National Neighbor DayIt’s release day!!! The Dragon Next Door is a contemporary story despite what the title might lead you to believe. I wrote it for National Neighbour Day, which is on September 28th every year.  

I have a few life goals, not many, but a few, and one of them is to live in a place where I can’t see my closest neighbour’s house. I live pretty rurally as I do now, but imagine the freedom! I dream about it more often than I think is considered healthy LOL 

So why did I go and write a story for National Neighbour Day? I had this idea…  

Adrian is a darling, he truly is, and I adore him. I’m just glad he doesn’t live close to me. He does some really sweet things, and he wants what’s best for Lorcan. Lorcan, however, might not see it that way – at least not to begin with. He growls and snarls and is reluctant to accept Adrian’s help. 

It all works out in the end, though 😊 

Excerpt:

Adrian’s heart beat uncomfortably as he knocked on Lorcan’s door. He’d been here enough times by now; his heart should be fine.

No sounds came from the apartment, so he knocked again. He’d rather not shout through the mail slot with the bowl in his hands.

The lock rattled, and Lorcan opened the door with a glare. “What?”

His beard had grown and gotten out of hand, and Adrian went through all the fantasy creatures he could come up with. Maybe he was a yeti or something.

Adrian? What are you doing here?” Lorcan’s voice was deep and rough and it made Adrian shiver.

I come bearing gifts.” He held up the bowl heaped with grapes, cherries, and plums. When Lorcan didn’t speak or move out of the way, Adrian frowned at him. “Do you need help shaving?”

Lorcan’s eyes widened. “What?”

I only meant… maybe it’s hard standing on one leg for any length of time, so you might need help. And showeringI can help you shower. It can’t be easy with a leg in a cast.”

I manage fine, thanks.”

Adrian shrugged. “I guess. Rabid werewolf is also a look.”

There was a twitch at the corner of Lorcan’s mouth. “It is.”

Adrian sighed. “So… are you gonna let me in?”

I wasn’t planning on it.”

What? Why?” Adrian tried to see past him. “Who’s here? Is your lover back?He went up on tiptoe to try and see over Lorcan’s shoulder, but he was too tall and the gap between him and the door too small.

He stopped when he noted Lorcan watching him.

Sorry.”

Lorcan shook his head and opened the door wide. The apartment was still empty and echoing. Nothing had changed since the last time Adrian had been there.

Where do you keep your shoes?”

Lorcan frowned. “My shoes?”

Adrian wrapped an arm around the bowl, so he could gesture at the empty hall with his hand. “You have no shoes, no jackets, no bags, nothing.”

Lorcan didn’t answer, his face blank again.

What do you wear when you go outside?”

I don’t.”

Adrian pursed his lips and continued into the apartment—still no furniture. “You have to go out at some point.”

Wasn’t planning on it.”

Walking into the kitchen, Adrian put the bowl on the kitchen counter since it was the only place he could put something in the entire apartment other than the floor. “I got you dish towels. Aren’t they cute?” They had multicolored stripes along one side in red, green, blue, and yellow. “I got them at Doris’s.”

Dish towels?”

Yeah. Beautiful vintage ones for a dollar each. So cheap.” He ran a hand over the woven cotton. “I only got you three.” He didn’t mention the bowl. It hadn’t been expensive, but both the towels and a bowl could prove to be too much for a reluctant dragon.

How do you like your plates and cups?” Adrian wanted to peek in the cupboard simply to see them.

They’re functional.”

Adrian huffed. “Hey, when are you getting chairs and a table? It must be hard to have to stand all the time.”

Lorcan stared at him. “I don’t.”

But you have nowhere to sit.” And it had been weeks.

I have my bed.”

Blurb:

thedragonnextdoorAdrian Green’s new next-door neighbor isn’t really a dragon, but he does snarl an awful lot. 
 
The first time Adrian saw Lorcan Walsh, he knew he needed Adrian’s help. Lorcan has a fractured leg and an empty apartment. Luckily, Adrian doesn’t mind helping him fill his lair with gems, and Doris’s second-hand shop has everything a dragon could possibly want. 
 
The problem is, Lorcan doesn’t seem to want his apartment decorated, and sneaking presents past a grumpy dragon isn’t easy. 
 
All Adrian wants is to cheer Lorcan up, but when Lorcan’s ex appears at the door, Adrian fears not even vintage coffee cups will get them their fairy-tale ending. What if the way to a dragon’s heart isn’t lined with treasures? 

Buy links: 

Gay Romance: 14,488 words 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheDragonNextDoor 

Celebrate | Redhead Appreciation Day 

I couldn’t pass this holiday up. Together, we (Holly and Ofelia) have written quite a few stories with gingers in them. It’s gone so far as to me telling myself not to write any more redheads 😆 

Only about 2% of the world’s population has red hair – that number is far higher in my stories LOL and I don’t know why. Living in Scandinavia, redheads aren’t very uncommon. It’s not something I consider exotic, and I’m more worried about them getting sunburned than I’m in awe by their colouring, you know? Especially the kids – I always worry about the ginger kids running over the schoolyard in the sun 😊 

But, Redhead Appreciation Day, could I suggest a book or two?? 

Here are our ginger stories, and if you want more, I have a list here of books with red-haired characters. If you click the preview, I think it’ll take you to an excerpt.

Blurb Hop Hop, Carrot Top:

Flynn Thomas is back in Hartley. His plan is to be out of there before anyone notices he’s back. He left twenty years ago and promised himself he’d never have to face his childhood bullies or set foot in his bigoted hometown ever again. But it’s been six months since his mother passed away, and someone has to clear out the house.

Caspian Cook is out on a walk with his three dogs when he sees Flynn Thomas, at least he thinks it’s Flynn Thomas. He never forgot the red-haired boy his brother used to harass, and he never forgot how he used to wonder if there were freckles underneath his clothes as well as on his face.

Flynn mistakes Caspian for his childhood tormenter and flees. Caspian can guess why he’s in such a hurry to get away, but he hasn’t seen Flynn in twenty years, and if he allows him to run off, he fears he’ll never see him again. Will spending time with Flynn be enough for him to forget who Caspian’s brother is? Flynn needs help. He underestimated how much work it would be to move his mother’s things. Caspian offers to give him a hand, but can he trust someone who looks like his worst nightmare?

Blurb Worth His Salt:

Eldred Henstare is a not so powerful witch who’s been left in charge of helping the city’s lingering spirits to move on. He usually handles it pretty well, but something’s wrong with the spirit leading him to the abandoned lighthouse.

Mo Vin likes his quiet life in the cottage next to the lighthouse, at least it’s quiet until one night when Eldred Henstare—young, beautiful and crazy—arrives. After that night things aren’t the same. A man is found dead on the beach outside Mo’s cottage, and he’s almost sure he’s the one who killed him, except it doesn’t make sense. Why would he kill anyone?

Eldred needs to get rid of the ghost haunting Mo. If he doesn’t Mo’s life is in danger, but to do it he needs both Mo and his brother Lachtin to help out.

Blurb The Maddest of Men:

To prove his loyalty to Cham, Grayham is willing to do anything, and he does. He helps Cham run his empire by finding out the truth by any possible means. It’s not as hard as it may seem, all he has to do is ask the right questions, and his internal polygraph will tell him if someone is lying or not. And when they lie—well he deals with that too. Life as an executioner can get quite lonely, not that Grayham plans on doing anything about it. It would kill him to have to off a lover.

Creed is a retrieving agent on a mission. He is to infiltrate one of Carona’s drug organisations to get to the inquisitor. Rumour states the man with the fiery red curls has supernatural powers; it also says anyone coming close to him disappears. Creed has no idea how he’s going to make it out alive or why his supervisor sent him in without backup. But, when an opening to work as a waiter at one of the drug lord’s parties presents itself Creed sets to work.

In a world where people compensate for the years of bombings and starvation with clinic bought physical perfection a man with crooked teeth and mismatching eyes stands out. Grayham notices the waiter watching him straight away. If he’s there to harm Cham, he’ll deal with it. Creed knows he must get his hands on the inquisitor so when he is invited to the man’s flat he agrees to come even though he knows it might be the last thing he’ll ever do.

Blurb The Egg Hunt:

Jason has one rule when it comes to holidays — work his shift behind the bar and then find a willing body to distract himself with. One night is long enough to satisfy his needs and still walk away with his heart intact. It has worked out fine for most of his adult life, but this Easter, he’s trying something new. He’s leaving the city to visit his friend Aiden, who recently moved in with his boyfriend in the middle of nowhere, but one unfortunate incident leaves Jason without a place to sleep.

Tom doesn’t just not do relationships, he rarely does hook-ups, either, and never too close to home. Living on his own without attachments is easier than having the whole town knowing about him. As the holiday approaches, his lonely house grows even quieter than normal — at least until his friend Tristan dumps an arrogant bartender in his lap.

As soon as Jason lays eyes on the gruff lumberjack whose home he’ll be sharing, he knows who’ll warm his bed for the weekend and help chase away any pending holiday gloom. Too bad Tom doesn’t want to get with the program. As much as he wants to let Jason close, he won’t risk outing himself for a weekend fling. Will Jason trust Tom not to break his heart if he stays longer than a couple of days? Will Tom value their relationship higher than the town gossip?

Blurb Around Seven:

Oswald Sattle has been sleeping in his Toyota Camry for the last 273 days, the exact number of days since he discovered his fiancé cheating on him. Now, out of money and out of options, he’s on his way to Nortown. Aiden, an acquaintance from his past, has offered him a job opportunity he can’t turn down, no matter how much he’d like to.

Joshua Roth moved to Nortown four years ago, and he has everything he needs — a job, friends, peace and quiet. He’s not looking for a boyfriend; no one even knows he’s gay, and he’d like it to stay that way. Everything changes when he offers Oswald a place to stay, though.

Oswald looks like he wants to run away, and Josh finds himself suggesting things that will make him stay. All he wants is for Oswald to smile. Oswald doesn’t want to overstay his welcome, but nothing soothes his nerves like being with Joshua in his cabin.

How long can Oswald stay before it’s time to move on again? Can Joshua have Oswald staying with him without the whole town talking about them? Probably not, but does he care?

I think that’s it, but I have a feeling I’ve forgotten someone. Five books isn’t too bad, is it? Makes me think that maybe I could write one more LOL

Cover Reveal | Call Me Charles

Cover Reveal Call Me Charles

I have a cover!!! On October 9, Call Me Charles will be released, and I have a cover 🤩 I love it!

I had an intensive period submitting stories (and I’m heading toward another one of those) so I can’t really remember what I asked for in the cover, but I love this one. The yellow and orange text gives it an autumn-y feel – or maybe it’s just because I know the story takes place in October LOL

Call Me Charles is a 15k contemporary story about Charles Bowman. Charles has shitty friends, really shitty friends, but luckily, he has a knight in black leather too.

It’s a hurt-comfort, age-gap story written for National Motorcycle Ride Day. Are you ready to see the cover?? 🥁

callmecharles

Blurb:

Charles Bowman was having a bad day even before his friends showed up to kidnap him for his birthday. He lost his nametag, missed the bus, and was late for his shift in the sandwich shop, but that isn’t the worst. The worst is that he’s accidentally been poisoning Hubert, the owner of the candy shop across from the sandwich shop, with gluten despite Hubert ordering gluten-free sandwiches.

When Charles finds himself soaking wet on a deserted road in the chilling October night, the worst gets an entirely new meaning. But right as he’s about to give up, Hubert comes driving on his motorcycle. Being responsible for gluten poisoning aside, Charles has never been as glad to see his knight in black leather, but is going home with Hubert a good idea or will the worst get even worse?

Pre-order link:

 Gay Romance: 15,071 words

JMS Books