Guest Post | Kisses and Cabins

Guest Post

Today, Ofelia Gränd is visiting the blog. She’s here to talk about her story Kisses and Cabins that’s released today.

Thank you, Holly, for allowing me to come back to your blog. It’s always a pleasure to be here. I’ve written a thing LOL. Kisses and Cabins is a short friends to lovers story.

I realised I’d never written a friends to lovers story, which is really strange. My favourite tropes to read (and write) are hurt – comfort and opposites attract. I also like fated mates. I read and write my fair share of paranormal stories, and my favourite trope to write then is interspecies fated mates.

Friends to lovers? I enjoy reading them, so I can’t say why I haven’t written one before.

Kace and Luke have been friends for thirty-five years, and Kace have always been attracted to Luke, but never acted on it. First of all, he believes Luke is straight. Second, he’d never do something that could endanger their friendship. Life without Luke is not something he wants to risk.

So when Luke kisses him, Kace is confused. Not only confused – he’s scared. Scared it’s a mistake. Scared to hope it’s not. Scared of what it’ll mean for the future.

Keywords

Excerpt:

Taking another sip, there was a bang on the door. Kace groaned. He only wore a pair of jeans, no shirt, and he hadn’t had a shower yet. When the door handle rattled, he hurried toward the tiny hallway.

Yes?” The cold March air teased his bare skin. Outside stood Lukas Holland, his best friend since kindergarten. “Luke, what are you doing here?”

They hadn’t seen much of each other lately. Kace didn’t know what it was, but Stacy, Lukas’ girlfriend, disliked him—a lot. Could be because he was queer, or maybe because he worked at a gay club without being ashamed. She’d said something about it once. You tell people you work there? And then she’d widened her eyes and shaken her head, not at him, but at Lukas.

Can I come in?” The slurred speech and the way he stumbled told Kace he was drunk before he smelled the fumes.

What’s up, dude? You’re drunk on a Monday afternoon.”

Luke dropped a backpack on the floor right on the threshold and pushed Kace against the wall. Kace went willingly. He was a big guy, Lukas was not. Had he wanted to stand his ground, he could have.

Then Lukas cupped his neck with one hand and pulled him down, pressing his lips against Kace’s. He opened his mouth in surprise. Lukas took advantage, caressed his tongue with his, and moaned.

What is going on? Kace tentatively raised his hands—to push him away or pull him closer, he didn’t know.

When Lukas pushed closer, Kace noted the hard length pressing against his thigh, and heat exploded in his mind.

Luke.” He grabbed his shoulders and gently pushed him away from him. “What are you doing?”

I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.” Lukas didn’t meet his gaze. His eyes were locked on Kace’s lips.

Luke, you’re drunk.” And straight. And Kace’s best friend. They might do manly hugs, but they didn’t kiss. Sometimes Lukas snuggled up next to him on a sofa when they watched a movie or something, but it was nothing sexual. This was…

I know.”

Why are you drunk?”

Can I stay with you?”

Kace stared. His apartment slash row house wasn’t big. It was enough for him, but his bedroom didn’t leave room for more than a bed. His living room was about the smallest he’d ever seen, and he only had a three-seat sofa, a coffee table, and a TV. His bathroom had a corner shower where he banged his elbows on the wall every time he washed his hair. And his kitchen was more like a kitchenette than a real kitchen. In the corner, he’d set up a shelf he’d placed his computer on. It didn’t leave room for any office supplies, but it worked for him.

Having another person living there would mean they’d trip over each other.

Why do you want to stay here? Hang on. I’ll call Stacy.” He turned to get his phone in the kitchen.

No.” Lukas grabbed his arm. His blue eyes were unfocused, his dark hair a mess, and there was stubble on his cheeks. Lukas shaved every morning.

Why? Are you having a fight?”

Lukas sighed. “Kind of.”


 

kissesandcabins - small

Kace Channing has been best friends with Luke Holland for thirty-five years. He can’t imagine his world without him. But over the last twelve months, they’ve hardly seen one another. And life without Luke seems empty.

When Luke shows up on Kace’s doorstep, asking for a place to stay, Kace is happy to say yes. But he isn’t prepared for the kiss that follows, or ready to admit he could kiss Luke forever. What they already have is too important.

And when Luke, the least outdoorsy person Kace knows, tells him he’s buying a cabin in the woods, Kace tries to talk him out of it. But Luke’s made up his mind. He says they need it, the two of them.

But won’t kisses and cabins ruin their friendship?

M/M Contemporary: 12,836 words 

Buy links: 

Kisses and Cabins in the JMS shop (20% off in new release sale) 

books2read.com/KissesandCabins 

About Ofelia: 

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy. 

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two. 

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again. 

Find Ofelia on social media 

Blog :: Newsletter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest 

 

 

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The List | Gay Romance Alien Stories

Kiss A Ginger - Gay Romance Books with red-haired charactersThe theme of the month is ALIENS, yay! On the 20th of March There Will Be Aliens will be released, and I wrote it in honour of Extraterrestrial Abductions Day that happens to be on March 20th.

I haven’t read all that many alien abduction stories, so I figured I’d do a list of Sci-Fi stories. I soon realised that while Sci-Fi isn’t the genre I read the most, I’ve read my fair share, so I narrowed it down to stories with aliens in them.

Here’s a list of my favourite gay romance alien stories. There is no order to them, I like them all!

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts

CalimingsClaimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings 1) by Lyn Gala. This entire series is awesome! I love Ondry – a big purple, tailed alien.

Liam is a linguist and a trader on a planet ruled by the Rownt.

There is a lot of cultural differences, and I love the slow build of Liam and Ondry’s relationship. It’s a BDSM series, though not in the dungeon master kind of way. The Rownt doesn’t have sex for pleasure, and it’s not something that changes through the books. Liam is submissive, Ondry sees and cherish that in him. Liam’s past hasn’t been easy, but Ondry does everything in his power to keep him safe.

A great series, and if you haven’t read it, do!

Gravitational Attraction

Gravitational AttractionGravitational Attraction (The ESTO Universe) by Angel Martinez

This story is about Isaac and Turk. Isaac’s spaceship is attacked and he’s the only survivor. When he’s rescued it’s by a giant of a man, a Drak’tar warrior, called Turk.
It starts out as a smaller traumatized man being taken care of by a big, strong alien LOL, but Turk is the survivor of a medical experiment, and the military wants to use him as a weapon.

This story is from The ESTO Universe Series, and I haven’t read many of the books, but I love Prisoner 374215. I couldn’t remember if they’re humans or not in it, though, so I’m just mentioning it as a side note LOL

Where Willows Won’t Grow

Where Willows won't growWhere Willows Won’t Grow by Lia Black

Dark and gritty, anyone? Alex is an undercover agent infiltrating an illegal sex slave ring and is taken to a brothel on Omanai Station.

Illythe is the manager of the brothel, but Alex soon figures out he’s not there by choice either.

This story has the most amazing creatures, but don’t go into it thinking it’s a pink and fluffy read. The graphic rape warning should be heeded.

The Experiment

The ExperiemntThe Experiment (Saving Caeorleia 1) by Alicia Nordwell

It’s been a loong time since I read this, and my memory is that I liked it, but it’s a bit too lovey-dovey to be my favourite alien story. I think many readers will love it though.

It’s a series of three books and I’ve read the two first. What I remember about it is that I liked the planet they were on. There are some action and deception and I do like me some medical experiments LOL.

Ryker, our main character, had his body altered against his will with the plan of being used as a weapon against the alien race the humans are fighting. It’s not nearly as dark as it sounds, though, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then perhaps try something else.

It Doesn’t Translate

It Doesn't TranslateIt Doesn’t Translate by Ofelia Gränd

A hamburger bar in space… Humans are an endangered species, few survive once they’ve left the planet, but Max decided to leave Earth anyway. He put all his investments into open a restaurant in space, serving human food. Sadly, space pirates have made his place their favourite place to hang out.

Noir is an undercover agent investigating a smuggling ring. His intel leads him to the Luna Terminal, and there, in a restaurant serving human food, he finds a human – a human! And not only that, the human is his mate, but he can’t let anyone know or he places him in danger.

Cat aliens and ice cream! LOL

Dark Space

Dark SpaceDark Space by Lisa Henry

It’s been a long time since I read this too. Brady is protecting Earth from alien attacks, and no matter how much he wants to go home, he can’t. Then we have Cam who was taken by the faceless – an alien race – and something went wrong during his rescue, so now he needs to bond with someone so they can share a heartbeat.

Brady is that someone.

But what should be Brady acting as a pacemaker turns into much more. Cam and Brady share thoughts. The attraction between them grows, but they do their best to ignore it.

Bone Rider

Bone RiderBone Rider by J. Fally

If you haven’t read this book, you’ve missed something. I’d say it’s not only my favourite Sci-Fi story but one of my all-time favourites in any genre. Amazing!

Riley is on the run. He figured out his boyfriend, the love of his life, the one person he can’t live without, is an assassin for the Russian mob. His life is falling apart. He doesn’t know where to go, what to do, but he knows that if he wants to live, he has to hide.

At the same time, a little distance away, a spaceship has crashed, bodies are burned and the US military is trying to clean up the evidence. There is just one problem, one entity isn’t dead. It escapes, but not without a trace.

Soon Riley isn’t only on the run from the Russian mob, he’s also on the run from the military for harbouring an alien he at first doesn’t know he’s harbouring.

This is an amazing book, I’ve read it several times, and just writing this makes me want to read it again. I can’t recommend it enough.

Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle

Tuluscan SixTuluscan Six and the Time Circle by Anne Brooke

This is another favourite, but completely different from Bone Rider. Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle is a short story and it’s time travel – I do not read a lot of time travel stories. I’m just not smart enough LOL. But this is cute.

I haven’t read a lot of Brooke’s books, a few, and when I’m done, I’m always thinking to myself that I need to read more, and then I forget. It’s strange, the stories I’ve read have been great.

Anyway, Karlan is working in the Earth Interplanetary Administration Office, and one day an alien, Tuluscan, appears and tells him a decision they’ll make in one year will wipe out a planet and it’s population by mistake. It’s Tuluscan’s home planet and he has to save it even though Karlan and Tuluscan will become lovers in the real timeline and changing the past will change that. Karlan doesn’t believe him at first, but he wants to save the planet even though it could mean he’d never get to have Tuluscan as his lover.
It’s good!

The Last Pure Human

The Last Pure HumanThe Last Pure Human by Twisted Hilarity

Ah, if you haven’t read this, you’ve missed out. It’s been many many years since I first read it, then I reread it a few years ago, but that too is beginning to be many years ago LOL.

Kasan is a Kyashin – cat alien – who’s gone into some sort of mating frenzy. If he doesn’t find a mate in two weeks, he’ll die. There is some political play, and his enemy locks him up to make sure it doesn’t happen. Only the law says they have to offer Kasan a compatible mate. Laughing, his enemies hands him a small creature they claim to be human. Humans and Kyashin are compatible, only there are no humans left.

Kasan has no choice, he mates with the little thing, fully expecting to die.

Max boarded a ship and was put in some kind of time capsule that has allowed him to survive when no other humans have. But when he wakes up it’s in the arms of a huge cat alien on a strange planet.

Sadly this is a WIP that probably never will be completed. I read Twisted Hilarity has some health issues that make it so she can’t write. But if you don’t mind speech tags (My God, the speech tags *sigh*) and that there is no real ending, then give it a go. It’s funny.

Line of Sight

Line of SightLine of Sight by Jenn Burke

This is a short story written for the Don’t Read in the Closet event over at Goodreads, which means it’s free.

Cailad kar Natoth, now known as Cal Smith, is stranded on Earth after having been betrayed by his alien partner. He used to be an intergalactic cop, now he works as a bartender. It takes him a year to come to terms with there not being anyone coming to rescue him, but once he does, things aren’t too bad. being on Earth gives him time to explore the emotions he feels towards Ryan, the man who took him in when he had nothing.

A nice little read!

Slave Auction

Slave AuctionSlave Auction by Stormy Glenn

We can’t talk aliens and not include Slave Auction. We have Rojan Ja’Dar, a space pirate, who has some shady affairs going on. He shows up at an auction where they sell human pets. He doesn’t plan to buy one, but something makes him do it, and when he has, he realises he’s bought his mate.

Tyion doesn’t want to be a pet though and resists Rojan best he can.

Considering the premises of the story you’d think it’d be a dark and gritty one, but no. And that’s often my problem with Stormy Glenn, there is just too much love LOL. But, if you like this, I think you’d like the Saving Caeorleia series by Alicia Nordwell that I mentioned above.

Bonding

BondingBonding (Himiko 1) by C.B. Conwy

This is an interesting story. It’s been years since I read it and some of the details are slipping, but aliens, called the Himiko, arrive and at first, the humans welcome them. Their quiet ways is a bit unnerving, but it isn’t until individuals start to disappear, people get alarmed. Some people manage to escape but they end up in the psychiatric wards.

Matt is one of the men the Himiko kidnaps and he expects to die, but then he meets Pietr who is his mate.

Going into the story, I was expecting some angst and pain and darkness, but it’s soulmates and insta-love. I still enjoyed it, but the premises of the story make it sound darker than it is.

Links to mentioned books:

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts
Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities
Affiliations, Aliens, and Other Profitable Pursuits
Expeditions, Estimation, and Other Dangerous Pastimes
Gravitational Attraction
Prisoner 374215
Where Willows Won’t Grow
The Experiment
Adverse Effects
It Doesn’t Translate
Dark Space
Bone Rider
Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle
The Last Pure Human
Line of Sight
Slave Auction
Bonding

Guest Post | They Met in the Park by Nell Iris

Guest PostRemember a while back when it was Umbrella Day? Nell Iris dropped by to tell us a little about her upcoming release They Met in the Park. It’s not upcoming anymore. It was released yesterday, and Nell is back to share a little more about it. Welcome, Nell!

Thank you so much for lending me space on your blog, Holly. You’re always so kind and generous. *sending you grateful (covid-safe) cyber kisses* 😊

I’m here today to talk about my brand new release, They Met in the Park. It’s the second of the Meet Cute Chronicles books, three completely standalone stories connected only by the meet-cute theme.

Or actually…that’s not entirely true. They have one more thing in common: they all have mature main characters. Five of the six Meet Cute Chronicles MCs are in their forties, (only Adrian from They Met in the Library is in his thirties, such a baby! 😊 ), including Jacke and David from They Met in the Park.

I’m writing more and more characters in their forties lately. I’m drawn to the different sets of challenges older people have in their lives compared to a twenty-something person just starting their life. And even when the challenges are the same as the younger crowd’s, I love exploring how they react in those kinds of situations.

Take Jacke in They Met in the Park for example. He’s in his forties and has never been in love. Now, he’s resigned himself to it, thinking he’ll most likely be alone for the rest of his life. But then David walks into his life and suddenly what Jacke thought he knew is turned upside down and he has to re-evaluate. Maybe he’s not condemned to being alone after all?

Quote - taste

Excerpt:

“Ready to go?” David asks.

I hum and we take off into the park. Our pace is slow, and we walk hand in hand, shoulders brushing, sending sparkles of electricity through my body even with the layers of clothing between us. We don’t talk much; David is unusually quiet.

“Are you all right?” I ask after a few minutes, bumping my shoulder against his.

“I am.” He flashes me a smile and strokes his thumb over mine. “Why?”

“You’re not talking.”

He chuckles. “Yeah, I can see why that’d make you worried.”

I hum.

“I guess I just…enjoy being quiet with you.”

“Yeah?”

He nods. “You don’t make demands. You just…are.”

I stop and tug his hand lightly. He turns and looks at me. “Is that a good thing?” I ask.

He steps into my space. So close his breath caresses my cheek. “Yes.”

My gaze falls to his mouth. His lips are slightly parted and surrounded by a shadow of stubble. They’re luring me in, begging me to kiss him, to ghost my mouth over his, bump our noses, touch my tongue against his. What will he taste like? Are his lips as soft as they look? Is he an eager kisser?

All this is new to me, too. I’ve never been much of a kisser. Not that I’m against it, but kissing’s never the goal of hook-ups. If any of the guys I’ve hooked up with over the years have tried to kiss me, I’ve wriggled my way out of it. I’ve never longed to feel someone’s lips against mine. And not once have I thought ‘if I don’t kiss him right now, I’m gonna die.’

“I want to kiss you,” David whispers, as though he can read my mind. I close the distance between us and brush my lips over his, making the hairs on my arms stand up at the feeling of his mouth against mine. His grip on my hand tightens and he lets out a tiny whimper when I pull back.

His gaze meets mine, eyes twinkling. “Was that a preview of the main attraction?”

“Maybe.”

Princess interrupts our moment with a short bark and pulls on her leash. David chuckles. “All right. We’d best not keep Her Highness waiting.”

We resume the walk. I’m sure other people are in the park, too, but all that exists in this moment is David. His blazing hand in mine. His warmth surrounding me. Tingles in my stomach and a thumping heartbeat in my ears. It’s dizzying.

“What’s happening here?” I mumble.

“What do you want to happen?” I like that he’s not trying to pretend he doesn’t understand what I’m asking.

I answer his question with a question of my own. “Why are you single?”

He lets go of my hand and instead hooks his arm in mine, resting his cheek on my shoulder. It makes walking a bit awkward, so we slow down even more.

“I guess I haven’t met anyone who I can see myself spending the rest of my life with,” he says after a few moments. “I’ve had relationships. Serious and not. But somehow it’s never been right.”

“Why not?”

He shrugs. “We’ve been in different stages of our lives. Or…I don’t know. For a while now, I’ve been thinking maybe I’m not built for relationships.”

“Me, too.”

“So what are we doing?” he says, straightens, and takes a tight hold of my hand, as though he’s making sure I won’t run away. For the longest time, I don’t say anything. Neither of us does; we just hold tight to each other and let Princess decide the tempo.

When we reach “my” bench, we both stop as if on cue. I face him, look into his eyes. He shows no signs of impatience. No irritation that I still haven’t answered his question. All I see is calmness and contentment.

“Maybe we’re testing our theory?” I say.

He shuffles closer until we’re almost chest to chest, and I can easily lean in and kiss him again. “What do you mean?” he asks.

“Seems we both think we’re not relationship material. But maybe…I’d like to try to disprove that notion with you?”

Cover

Can a spoiled little dog bring two strangers together?

The first time Jacke sees him, it’s a happy accident. He’s taken refuge in a quiet corner of the park, decompressing after a difficult day at work, when the man, dressed in a fancy suit, passes by him walking a spoiled little dog.

As the days pass, Jacke notices the adorable pair several times. He’s unable to take his eyes off the man whose first priority is the dog, even over his own comfort. And one day, when circumstances are right, Jacke takes a chance and speaks to the man. David.

David’s personality is as adorable as his outward appearance, and a short walk in the rain results in mutual attraction and a promise to see each other again. A second meeting in the park turns into a date, and Jacke starts longing for something he thought he’d never have; a partner. But does David feel the same? Will a chance meeting in the park turn into love?

M/M Contemporary / 17478 words

Buy link:

JMS Books :: Universal Buy Link

Chronicles

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Find Nell on social media:

Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest

#LifeInASquare | Coping in the February Cold

Life in a square

Another month has passed, a cold one! We had a couple of weeks in a row with really cold temperatures. Everything froze which the kids thought was great. We were ice skating and ice fishing and having barbeques out in the cold.

Then came the snow.

Feb Cold

The image in the upper left corner it the view from my window when I’m at my desk. The others are from walks along the river, all of them from the beginning of the month before most of the snow came.

The nights have been really cold so we installed a heating lamp for the hens, poor little things. They don’t like snow…

Feb Ice

The dog doesn’t mind, though. He went crazy when we went to a lake nearby and he got to run around on the ice. The kids were ice skating, and the dog running. He only slipped a little LOL

We have a depression in the ground in ‘the garden’ that fills with water in the autumn and spring. There was water that froze, so the kids were ice skating there too. Though the ice was too uneven and they had to zigzag between trees. Little one didn’t much care though 😀

These last few days most of everything has melted. When I look out my window now, I see grass. There are specks of ice, but I think they’ll be gone soon too.

Spring is coming!

What Are They Eating | Be Still, My Heart

What-are-They-EatingDo you remember that I wrote a post like this for Hop Hop, Carrot Top? You know how in some books you read, the author lists brands of the clothes the characters are wearing – I don’t give a damn. Should I’ve done a What Are They Wearing post, you’d soon come to realize I they all wear jeans and a T-shirt, and if they’re cold, they put on a hoodie. On occasion, someone will show up in a suit.

Though, in Be Still, My Heart, I do talk about the colours of Elian’s shirts.

But, today we’re talking food.

So what are they eating?

Pizza! Of course, they’re having pizza LOL

Elian stared at him. “Oh my God, Douglas is right! My analysis is infantile.”
Dimitri frowned at him and reached for a slice of pizza. “How so?”
“Mpreg stories aren’t about love, or, they are, but they’re also about freedom.”
Dimitri bit into the pizza and groaned. He was much hungrier than he’d realized. “Aren’t all stories?” He chewed and swallowed, aware of Elian watching him the entire time.
He was about to take another bite when Elian frowned and shook his head. “How do you mean?”

Pizza is an important dish *snort* but most important of all is coffee. You could claim it’s not food, and you might be right, but I’m gonna list it anyway. What would the world be without coffee?

Dimitri grabbed his shoulders and increased the distance between them enough so he could see Elian’s face. “It doesn’t suck. They wouldn’t have asked you to make a speech if it sucked.”
“I have no idea what to talk about.” The frantic shake of Elian’s head melted Dimitri’s heart.
“Come on.” He steered Elian toward his chair. “Sit. How do you take your coffee?”
“Any way it comes.”
Dimitri shrugged, walked over to the coffee machine, and pushed the button for a latte. He made an espresso for himself. “Okay.” He placed the cup in front of Elian. “The theme is in eternal lines of time, right?”
“To time, but how did you know?”
Dimitri grimaced. “A client.”
Elian’s eyes widened. “I’m not the only one coming here begging you for a date? Of course not, you’re a handsome man.”

At one point, they’re at a swanky restaurant, but Elian doesn’t want to be there, and Dimitri’s PTSD makes it impossible for him to enjoy the food.

“Sorry, what?” He shook himself, aware he hadn’t been paying attention to the surrounding conversation.
“About the new interior design.” Elian gestured around, and Dimitri scanned the walls. Perhaps they’d been another color the last time he’d been here. He nodded.
“It’s too dark.” Douglas met his gaze before putting food into his mouth. Dimitri glanced down at his untouched plate and grabbed his cutlery. Steak and some potato cake. He cut a piece, popped it into his mouth, and chewed without tasting it.
“I like it.” Elian grinned at him, and Dimitri suspected he’d said it to annoy Douglas.
“It looks like a bordello.” Douglas glared at Elian.

When Dimitri’s leg bothers him too much for him to be able to sleep, he walks to the diner on the corner of his block.

Dimitri poked at the cheesecake with a small fork. He wasn’t hungry, wasn’t in the mood for something sweet, but he didn’t want to come to the diner and order nothing more than a cup of tea.

The whole reason they’re at a Valentine dinner in the first place is that Elian had been invited to speak about love in fiction through time. Sadly, neither Elian nor Dimitri can enjoy the food. That doesn’t stop Irina, Dimitri’s sister, though.

The food looked lovely, and Dimitri put a few pieces into his mouth, but mostly he moved things around on his plate. When the dessert came, he feared Elian would faint. Both of them stared at some crème caramel thing. Dimitri wished he could ask for a doggie bag, but he didn’t think it was that kind of place.
“This is delicious.” Irina was pointing at the dessert with her spoon. Dimitri nodded, not tasting anything.
Elian leaned in close and whispered, “Let’s sneak out of here.” Right as he’d spoken the last word, a man walked up to the podium, welcomed everyone, and introduced their first speaker—Elian Hubert.
“Oh, fuck.” The hiss wasn’t loud enough for anyone but Dimitri to hear. He reached over and squeezed his hand.
“We’ll sneak out once you’re done.” He winked, and Elian nodded.

That’s about it. I guess they weren’t all that hungry LOL


bestillmyheartFour years ago, Dimitri Petrov had his leg blown off by a landmine while in military service. Suffering from PTSD, he doesn’t do crowds, and he doesn’t do people. If he had his way, he’d never leave his house at all. Dimitri’s sister, Irina, runs a dating agency, and despite that it would be better for business if they had a pretty woman working the front desk, Irina insists Dimitri’s the man for the job.

In a whirlwind of pink shirts, flapping hands, and outrageous flirting enters Elian Hubert. Elian needs a date. Invited to speak on love through time in fiction at a Valentine dinner, there is no way he’s showing up alone. When Dimitri tells him The Single Pursuit is unable to help on such short notice, Elian suggests Dimitri be his date.

Dimitri doesn’t do dates, and he doesn’t do dinners, but Elian’s made him happier in the last few minutes than anyone’s been able to do in years. He might not do Valentine’s, and he might not do gatherings, but maybe he can do Elian … a favor and accompany him to his presentation? If things go too badly, he can always hide behind a curtain and pretend he’s somewhere else.

books2read.com/BeStillMyHeart

Be Still, My Heart in the JMS shop

Celebrate | Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day

Today it’s International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. When it showed up in my calendar, I thought Ha! I have the perfect book. And then I thought… and thought… and thought. I can’t for the life of me recall either title, cover or author of the book I wanted write about.

The more I tried to remember, the more insecure I became. Have I made it up? Is it an M/F book perhaps? I don’t think so, but I’ve been wrong before.

As I recall, it’s a magic-user having a bakery making dog biscuits. And I think – maybe – there’s a shifter. Fated mates, perhaps? Or there could be a hot neighbour – I can’t remember *growl*

This is terrible.

If you think you know which book I’m trying to dig up, let me know in the comments below! Meanwhile, here are some books with dogs in them LOL

Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton

I’ve talked about this before, but I love it, and Jamie’s dog Dolly plays a big part in the story. A favourite!

10835196Levi Binder is a Miami bartender who cares about only two things: sex and surfing. Ostracized by his Mormon family for his homosexuality, Levi is determined to live his life his own way, but everything changes when he meets massage therapist Jaime Marshall.

Jaime is used to being alone. Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly. He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.

Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something that they can only find together. Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints.

Blind Faith (Blind Faith 1) by N.R. Walker

Isaac has been blind since childhood, but since his guide dog died, he has a hard time connecting with a new dog. The local vet tries to help him form a bond with his new doggie.

17450677Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece makes a house call to a very special client.

Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn’t going well.

Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?

Hairy Harry’s Car Seat (Lyon Road Vets 1) by Sue Brown

Another story where the poor doggie dies. Having had dogs most of my life, books where a dog dies always have me crying.

17257772Peter Mitchell walked away from his marriage with two things: a suitcase and Hairy Harry, the family pet.

When Harry becomes ill, Peter is faced with one of the hardest decisions he’s ever had to make… saying goodbye to his best friend.

Evan Wells is the local vet who attends to Harry and Peter is surprised at how quickly they become friends. Peter finds himself looking forward to Evan’s phone calls and the meals they share together. He knows Evan is gay but it doesn’t bother him until Evan confesses his attraction to him. Peter has to admit to himself that he’s not as adverse to the possibility as he thought he would be, and that does bother him.

Driftwood by Harper Fox

Dr Tom suffers from PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan, he self medicates with alcohol while struggling to get his life back on track. Tom has a dog called Belle (I think) and that dog makes the whole story for me ❤

35277527._sy475_Thomas Penrose is a village doctor in rural Cornwall. Popular with patients and friends alike, and handsome into the bargain, he lives in a romantic clifftop tower by the sea. It’s a wonderful life – if only Dr Tom could enjoy it. He’s a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, fighting a lonely battle against alcoholism and PTSD.
Determined not to inflict his troubles on anyone else, Tom keeps himself to himself. But fate has other ideas, and brings a handsome surfer crashing to his feet after a dreadful wipe-out on Porth Beach. Just another crazy surf bunny? Not a bit of it – Flynn Summers is one of Cornwall’s heroes, a fearless search-and-rescue helicopter man. Why is he risking his beautiful neck in the stormy off-season waves?
Despite the rocky beginning, Tom and Flynn become friends. Both are concealing sorrows behind a tough facade, and for once in his life Tom thinks he’s met someone who can handle him, shadow-side and all. But Flynn isn’t a free man. He’s unhappily locked into a bond of obligations and bad memories with formidable pilot Rob Tremaine – and Rob has no intention of letting Flynn go.
As Tom and Flynn begin their high-risk, high-reward romance, will the tides of the past sweep in to destroy their new love?

Once in a Forest by Ofelia Gränd

I had to include this since Jason not only has a dog, but the dog’s name is Biscuit LOL. Jason comes to Nortown to visit his friend, and when Biscuit runs away, he runs into Tom in the woods.

29588617._sy475_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 do relationships, he rarely does hook-ups and never too close to home. Living on his own without attachments is far 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 programme. 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, and will Tom value their relationship higher than the town gossip?


I’ve read more books with dogs in them, but I’m still stuck on the dog biscuit story and can’t really think LOL

Links:

books2read.com/BetweenSinnersAndSaints

books2read.com/Blind-Faith

books2read.com/HairyHarrysCarSeat

books2read.com/Driftwood

books2read.com/Forest

Guest Post | #PictaBook

Guest Post
Thank you, Holly, for allowing me to take over your blog for a little while 😀 Today is the release day of #PictaBook! This is one of those stories that make me smile as soon as I think about it. I don’t know what it is really, but Jules, Booksy, and Phoenix are very dear to me.

At the beginning of last summer, JMS Books sent out an in-house call for 12-40k long LGBT+ stories where the characters would connect on social media. We could pick an existing platform or come up with one of our own.

I made one up – PictaBook.

Jules is a librarian with social anxiety issues. He doesn’t like to talk to people, but he does like to read.

Phoenix is dyslexic and does what he can to stay away from the written language, but when the man he’s flirting with turns out to be a reader obsessed with PictaBook, he signs up. He is trying to find something short – super short – to read so he can add a review to his profile, and when he sees Jules’ reviews, he asks him for help.

#PictaBook

Excerpt:

Nix chuckled when ReadingInACorner approved him for private messages.

What are you doing?” Logan shook his head at him. “I thought we came here to have a beer together, not for you to stare at your phone the entire night.”

I’m talking to this dude about books.”

Logan stared at him. “You’re talking books with a guy online?”

Yeah, through the app.” He showed Logan on the screen.

Wait, so you read books, post a picture you think is suitable, and make up hashtags for the story?”

Erm…” Nix scrolled through ReadingInACorner’s reviews, or pictures, or whatever they should be called. “I think so.”

So, you can make up any hashtags you want to describe a book?” Logan looked skeptical.

I think so. I haven’t done any reviews yet, so I’m not sure.” He showed Logan ReadingInACorner’s profile. “Look here. If I tap the short and sweet hashtag, all the books he’s given that hashtag come up.”

It’s a he?”

Nix rolled his eyes. “Would a girl label a book boner worthy?”

Logan choked on his beer, the coughs turning into laughter. “It was what made you pick him, right?”

Nix grinned. “Personally, I’ve never gotten a boner from a book. I’ve never finished an entire book, and it’s too much work to figure out what it says to maintain an erection throughout it all, but yeah.”

So what did he label boner worthy? Smut?”

What’s smut?” A genre?

A sexy book?” Logan raised his eyebrows at him.

Books can be sexy as accessories. Kyle’s profile picture is of a naked guy who hides his bits behind a book. That’s sexy. But a book, like the content of a book—” Nix shook his head.

There are a lot of those kinds of books, Nix.”

He wasn’t stupid, he’d heard of erotica books, but did people read them? He shrugged. “Maybe.”

So what book had he labeled boner worthy?”

Argh, trying to read all the titles ReadingInACorner had listed made him dizzy. He tapped the speech bubble and found the old notifications of ReadingInACorner replying to his comments, and clicked one.

This book.” He squinted at the screenThe Empty Eggand handed the phone to Logan again.

Nix, this is a gay romance book.”

What?” There were books like that?

Logan chuckled and shook his head. “You’re sure you’re talking to a guy?”

Yes.” No one could ever be sure, could they? But #BonerWorthy—a woman would write #PantieMelting or something.

I still think it’s a bad idea. You’re good at many things, Phoenix, but reading isn’t one of them.”

I know!” He didn’t need people to remind him.

I don’t… look, Kyle’s an ass, why do you allow him to make you feel bad?”

He’s not. He’sokay, he’s a bit of an ass when we’re around other people, but he was sweet when we were alone.”

Sweet? You were both drunk, and you screwed. It didn’t sound sweet when you told me the day after.”

Yeah, but he made me breakfast, and we…” Nix shrugged. He’d believed they’d connected. They had laughed, and kissed, and taken a shower together, which had led to some fooling around, and more laughs. It had been great. He’d been unable to stop smiling, butterflies had taken up residence in his belly, and he’d planned their future in his headpainted weddings, and houses, and children, and everything else he could think of. But when he’d met Kyle at work the following Monday, he’d ignored him. He had continued to ignore him for two whole months now.

I don’t get it.” Logan studied his face. “You hook up with one guy after the other, and yet you pine for the one treating you like shit.”

He’s not—”

He is, Nix. Put away your phone. There is no impressing him. Reading won’t impress him.”

I don’t plan to read!” Unless it’s a really short story. If it was, then perhaps he could get through it before all the words melted together.

Logan put his hand over Nix’s. “You’re awesome, and if he can’t see it, he’s not worth your time.”

Gee, thanks for the pep talk.”

I’m serious. You deserve someone who appreciates you for who you are.”

Nix sighed. This was not how he’d predicted the night to go. “I’m going to say I’ve read a few books, and I’m going to find him on there and friend him so he can see that I’m not stupid.” He looked deep into Logan’s eyes, hating the desperation creeping into his voice. “I’m not stupid, Logan.”

Logan sighed and shook his head. “I know you’re not. Everyone has things they’re good at and things they’re not good at. Written language isn’t your thing, it means nothing, Nix. You’re great at what you do.”

Yeah, because people were always impressed by carpenters. He snorted.


pictabook (small)Jules Rose leads a quiet life working as a librarian. He’s happy to spend his spare time reading books and talking to his homicidal cat. What more could he wish for? But when his cozy Friday night is shattered by a friend request on his book community app, politeness gives him little choice but to accept. Jules doesn’t want to talk to anyone, but he can’t be rude. Besides, if he had to talk about something, books is the topic he’d pick.

Phoenix Ford is dyslexic and avoids everything that has to do with the written word, but when the colleague he’s trying to impress calls him stupid, he decides to convince the other man, he’s mistaken. All he needs is the right book to make him look smart, a perfect balance between intelligent and short. And who better to ask for help than a guy who loves books so much, he labeled one boner-worthy on a book app?

When Jules finds out Phoenix never has read a book from start to finish, he’s on a mission. He will find the right book, the book that will make Phoenix fall in love — with reading. Phoenix’s plan might have been to listen to the book Jules picked for him to impress his colleague, but that was before he got to know him. Talking about books is a sure way to Jules’ heart, but is it enough for him to agree to go on a date?

books2read.com/PictaBook

#PictaBook in the JMS shop (20% off in new release sale)

About Ofelia Gränd

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

https://ofeliagrand.com/

Guest Post | #SlidingIntoMyDMs by Nell Iris

Guest Post

Nell Iris is here on a visit today! #SlidingIntoMyDMs is released today, and Nell is here to tell us all about it!


Thank you so much for having me, Holly. It’s very generous of you to always let me stop by and talk about my books. It’s always a pleasure to hang out here with you 😘

I’m here today to talk about my new book, #SlidingIntoMyDMs, which’s a part of a multi-authored series released by my publisher JMS Books. Last summer, JMS Books sent out an in-house submission call for their authors, where the theme was “falling into love on social media.” We could either pick an existing SM platform where our MCs would meet and fall in love, or we could come up with a new one. The title for the submission call was #Love, and the title of our stories had to start with a hashtag. Hence #SlidingIntoMyDMs.

for Holly

I love reading romances where the MCs meet and fall in love with the help of one of the many technological communication platforms available to all of us in this day and age. Like a text sent to the wrong person (like in Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood) or the main characters meeting on social media (like Edgar and Walter in New Game, Start by C.S. Poe) or in chatrooms, via email, in DMs, and so on.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the epistolary novel; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Dracula by Bram Stoker. And this kind of story is the modern-day version of the old letter-writing trope, so it’s no wonder I’m all over them as soon as I find them. So it’s also no wonder I jumped on this submission call as soon as JMS Books sent it out. I’ve always wanted to write an epistolary story, and now I got the chance.

Originally, I had two ideas for the call; one was a story of a blogger and one of his readers and how they fall in love, but I’d recently read a story like that (The Naked Remedy by Vivien Dean – adore it!), so I decided against it. Instead, I decided to go with my other idea; two old acquaintances who haven’t seen each other in over a decade who reconnect when one of them (Moss) slides into the other’s (Eddy) Instagram DMs…

Blurb #SlidingIntoMyDMs:

CoverHi. I heard you’ve been sick.”

Eddy Pennington is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia when an old acquaintance, Moss, sends him a message on social media. They haven’t spoken in years, but Eddy is pleasantly surprised. He always liked Moss even if they were never close friends.

Moss Fanning has no ulterior motive with his message: all he wants is to wish Eddy a speedy recovery. He got over the crush he used to have on Eddy a long time ago.

They reconnect easily and have even more in common now. And when they meet in person, the attraction is instant. Will an innocent, well-meaning message on social media lead to something more? Something deeper? Something…everlasting?

M/M Contemporary / 21998 words

Buy links #SlidingIntoMyDMs

JMS Books :: Universal Buy Link

dog

Excerpt #SlidingIntoMyDMs:

When I step out on the street, he’s already there. Waiting.

Moss’s back is turned to me, and he’s standing by the open trunk of his huge SUV, speaking to who I presume is Balderik.

I sneak closer, wanting to hear what he’s saying, not even feeling bad for eavesdropping.

“…you have to be on your best behavior, boy. We want him to like us.”

Balderik whines a little and Moss reaches inside, I assume to give him scratches, and say, “I know. You’re always a good boy. I’m not worried about him not liking you.”

Was the sound I just heard my heart melting in my chest?

Hey you,” I say, and he jumps, hitting his head on the door as he turns toward me.

Shit, are you okay?” I ask and hurry the last steps to check on him, not wheezing too badly when I reach him.

He rubs his head but smiles. “Yeah. I’m good.”

Balderik sticks his huge head out from the trunk, whining, and Moss calms him with a hand on his head. “Don’t worry, boy. I’m all right. Stay in the car, okay?”

The big dog cocks his head as though he’s considering Moss’s request, then he disappears back into the car.

I didn’t mean to scare you,” I say when Moss turns his attention back to me.

No problem. It was only a bump.” He offers me his hand. “Hi! It’s great to see you. It’s been years.” His hand is warm in mine, the strength in his grip is apparent but tempered, his palm rough.

It’s great to see you, too.”

We grin, and don’t let go. I sweep my gaze over him, not even trying to hide that I’m checking him out since we’re still “shaking hands” and it should’ve turned awkward by now but hasn’t.

He’s wearing sweats, a hoodie, and a baseball cap. Nothing special, clothes appropriate for a walk, but ga-ah-awd, he fills them out nice. His shoulders are even wider in real life, his rounded belly stretches the fabric of his hoodie, his thighs are thick and the sweats cling to them like a second skin, and holy crap, I’m going to start drooling any second now. He’s also taller than I remember, and I have to look up to meet his eyes.

His smile grows even wider when I meet his gaze, his eyes asking, “Like what you see?” and if we’d been living in an erotica story, I would have answered affirmatively by licking my lips.

Wanna say hi to Balderik?” he asks.

Yeah.” I’m reluctant to let his hand go, but I can’t figure out a way to keep holding it and say hello to the giant dog in the trunk of the car without tying myself into a knot, so after a light squeeze, I release him. Then I step closer to the SUV but keep a respectful distance from the dog, careful to let him come to me.

He sticks out his head, his tongue lolling out, and I swear he smiles despite the drooping skin on his snout.

Hey there. You’re even bigger in real life.”

He crawls closer, tail thumping on the floor, and his nose works as though he’s trying to sniff me, so I reach out my hand for him to smell. The dog is so careful; I don’t know what I expected, but his size is a little intimidating. Yet, despite his history of abuse, he’s the epitome of a gentle giant as his nose nudges against the back of my hand.

I must have passed inspection because he starts licking me. I don’t care that he slobbers all over me. Instead, I lay my free hand on his head and give him a light scratch.

Yes, big boy, I like you, too,” I mumble as I keep up the scratching, and he does everything in his power to get closer to me without actually getting out of the trunk. Someone has been told to stay put and is obeying orders. “You’re such a good dog. Yes, you are. Big and strong and good.”

Moss is looking at us with a soft smile and warm eyes, and I smile back. “He’s so gentle. I admit I expected an abused dog to be aggressive, or at least not a big teddy bear like this one.”

Moss’s hand joins mine and together we’re scratching Balderik, who preens under our attention. “We had a rough start. The shelter warned me it would take a long time for him to properly warm up to me, but he was never aggressive, not even when they first rescued him. He just…curled up and took the beating. It was difficult for him to trust me at first, and I worked hard. Now we’re best friends, and he knows I love him to death and won’t let anyone hurt him. Isn’t that right, boy?”

Balderik whines and leans into Moss.

He’s too cute to be so big.”

Moss chuckles. “We better go, he can do this all day. Lie down, boy.” Balderik obeys immediately.

We get into the car and take off.

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Find Nell on social media:

Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest

Release Day | Be Still, My Heart

keywords - 6It’s release day!!! Be Still, My Heart is finally here! When I decided to create Holly, Be Still, My Heart was the first story I wrote. Hop Hop, Carrot Top was released first since I wrote it for Kiss a Ginger Day which is in January, but this was the first.

I had this vision of an eccentric man wanting to book a date for an evening without having to actually date – he doesn’t have time to date. The clearer the vision of him, Elian Hubert, became in my mind, the more I wanted to write him, but I needed a counterpart.

Dimitri Petrov is Elian’s opposite. He’s calm and controlled – or is he? At first glance perhaps. Four years ago, Dimitri lost his lower leg to a landmine while serving in Afghanistan and since then he suffers from PTSD. So he might look calm, but his brain is constantly searching for danger.

Giveaway:

To celebrate this release, I put together a giveaway! When I got the idea, it was to have this fun game of you searching for hearts – since it’s Valentine – in reality, it wasn’t as easy to put together a heart hunt LOL

I have put together a rafflecopter giveaway, and there you can increase your chances of winning by counting hearts – it was the best I could do.

So count the hearts you see in this post, hop on over to the giveaway, and answer with how many hearts you found. Then continue on to Nell Iris, Ofelia Gränd’s, and A.L. Lester’s blogs and do the same – Nell’s post goes live tomorrow, and Ally’s on Monday. Ofelia’s you can find here.

Excerpt:

I can write you down for an appointment with one of our matchmakers.”

Elian frowned. “What good would it do? I’m not picky. All I need is a plus one for dinner.”

We’re here to help you find your true match, your soulmate.”

Elian rolled his eyes. “I don’t have time for a soulmate. I need a date for one night—one. It’s to make me look good.” He popped his hip out and made a swishy motion with his hand.

I would look better next to a big strong man, but a woman will do. I’m not paying for sex, it’s a dinner date.”

Dimitri blinked, unable to decide if he should be offended or laugh. “This is not a bordello. Men come to us to find a wife or a steady girlfriend. They go through a lot of… screening.” It was a million questions. Dimitri had seen the forms. “And our dating agents find them the best match and then set them up on a date.”

Elian rolled his eyes again. “Look. Do you want to go on a date with me?”

Dimitri couldn’t breathe. A date? He hadn’t been on a date in years. Hadn’t touched a person other than doctors and nurses in longer than he could remember. He would avoid crowds for as long as he lived. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

I’ll pay you.”

I’m not a whore.” He kept a stony expression on his face, but part of him was amused by this vibrant creature being willing to pay him to go on a date.

Elian sighed. “I didn’t mean that you’d have to sleep with me.”

But you want to pay me to dress up nice for you and act as arm candy.” He gestured at himself. “I’m not a pretty man.”

Elian’s eyes widened. “I beg to differ.”

I’m not dating material.” Dimitri crossed his arms over his chest. He should stop talking.

I’m not asking you to date me for more than one night.” Elian placed his hands on the counter and leaned in closer.

Dimitri narrowed his eyes. “What kind of date are we talking about?” He wouldn’t go.

I wrote this—” He waved his hands, “—thing. And now they want me to speak at a dinner.”

Dimitri blinked. “You wrote a thing?”

I teach history of literature at the university.” He motioned in the direction of the old stone building that had always fascinated Dimitri, but where he’d never dared set foot. He didn’t think of himself as stupid, but he wasn’t cut out for academics. Especially not now.

And I wrote this piece for a magazine; it’s about love through time. They published it and, apparently, some know-it-all deemed it interesting and invited me to talk about it.”

That’s great. Congratulations.”

Panic shone in Elian’s eyes as he shook his head. “No, I made it up.”

What?”

I… I’ve read a lot of books, you know, and in the old ones there is this pining, letter writing, rules—but in contemporary literature there’s a drunken text, a hook-up in an alley, or a werewolf fucking a zombie in a graveyard.”

Dimitri spluttered. Elian clearly read other books than he did.

Elian grinned. “I still haven’t found the last one, but I’m sure it’s out there.”

So you didn’t write about zombies?”

I can’t remember what I wrote.” He widened his eyes

Be Still, My Heart in the JMS shop

books2read.com/BeStillMyHeart

19 Hearts

Celebrate | Umbrella Day

Today we’re celebrating Umbrella Day! And what better way to do it than to have Nell Iris on a visit? Welcome, Nell 🙂


Thank you, dear Holly, for inviting me to visit your blog. I’m very grateful *blows you cyber kisses*

I’m here to talk about my upcoming release They Met in the Park and Umbrella Day.

Umbrellas have been a part of human culture for thousands of years; the first reference to a collapsible umbrella is made in the Book of Han in the year 21AD, but the first ones were discovered in historical Mesopotamia, dating back almost 4000 years. Of course, back then it was used to protect oneself from the sun and not the rain, and they were made from materials like palm leaves, papyrus, and peacock feathers. They were only for the wealthy and so heavy it required a person to carry it for them. The umbrella as we know it, used to protect us from rain, first appeared in the 16th century, and by the 17th century, it was also a fashion accessory.

This is all very fascinating, Nell, you say, but what does it have to do with your book?

Well, the inspiration for They Met in the Park struck me one day when I scrolled my (personal) Instagram feed. I follow a Swedish singer/artist called Magnus Carlsson, and he’d posted a picture of himself out walking his little dog. Holding an umbrella over the dog but not himself. (If you’re curious about the picture, here’s a link).

That’s how I got the idea. The main characters of They Met in the Park meet when David is out walking his elderly neighbor’s dog in the rain without an umbrella. And Jacke offers to lend him his…

Two Dogs

Excerpt:

Then I hear him. My reason for being here in the first place.

“Oh, Princess, my darling. I know it’s raining. I know you hate getting your paws wet, but it didn’t look like it would rain, so I didn’t think to bring the umbrella. Be a dear and walk a little. It’s not much longer. If you give me a tiny little break, I promise I’ll get you a treat.”

That last part sounds so hopeful I can’t help smiling. Because yes, when it rains, the man usually holds an umbrella over his dog. Not over himself, only over the dog. On particularly bad days, the dog wears a sweater or boots on its tiny feet and prances along the path like a show pony. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know a lot about dogs and have no idea what breed it is, but it’s a dainty little creature, mostly white but with a brown face and ears, and a personality the size of an elephant. The guy indulges her and fusses over her and talks to her like she’s a person and not a dog. They’re both too adorable for words and have been a bright spot for me these last few weeks, even if it’s only for a few, short minutes every day.

When they come around the bend on the path, they’re even cuter than I imagined, and I have to hide my wide grin behind my hand.

The man, who’s probably around my age, is wet from the rain in a way that tells me this walk has lasted for longer than he planned. His usually perfectly styled dark-brown hair is plastered against his face, his overcoat is damp and clings to his fancy suit underneath, and his dress shoes are splattered with flecks of mud. His entire focus is on his companion, and he’s pleading now.

“I know you’re angry with Uncle David, Princess, but please please please please. Just a little longer? You know how strict your mama is about your exercise.”

I swear the dog glares at him, but it takes a few more steps—lifting its small paws high, her little face is set in the dog-equivalent of a wrinkled, disgruntled nose—before stopping again, whining.

“You want me to carry you?”

The dog cocks its head.

“Awww, Princess.” He crouches next to the dog. “I can’t have muddy little paw prints all over my suit, honey. Can’t you please walk for Uncle David?”

David. The name fits him. And uncle? Does that mean it’s not his dog?

“Please,” the man says. “I’ll tell your mama you were the bestest dog in the whole wide world and you deserve the biggest treat she has.”

Princess—a very fitting name for the little dog—huffs but refuses to move. She just glares at him with a look that says “Listen, buddy, you know you’re not going to win this fight so you might as well pick me up,” and my smile is so wide the muscles in my face are starting to hurt. I can’t take the cuteness any longer.

“Excuse me?” I say, remaining seated.

Both man and dog whip their heads in my direction. “Yes?”

“I couldn’t help but overhear.” I hold out my umbrella. “You’re welcome to borrow this if you like.”

The eyebrows shooting up into his hairline ask, “What do you know about me, the dog, or umbrellas?” so I hurry to explain. “I usually come here after work.” I gesture to the area, showing him what I mean. “I’ve seen you around, before, walking her.”

And hoping to catch a glimpse of you, my brain adds, but I’m not saying that out loud.

David nods. “I’ve seen you before, too.” He smiles. It’s a bit apprehensive but genuine enough.

“Heard you say you forgot your umbrella, so I’m offering you mine.”

“Don’t you need it for yourself?”

I shake my head. “Nah. I like the rain. I grabbed it in case it got worse.”

“But why?”

I shrug. “Thought it’d be helpful, that’s all. You don’t have to take it.” I smile to tell him my words are sincere. “Didn’t mean to freak you out. I won’t bother you any longer. Bye.” I smile, stand to leave, but haven’t even taken one step away from the bench when he calls out.

“Wait. Please.”

I turn to him.

“If you’re serious about your offer?”

“I am.” I walk closer but stop at a safe, non-threatening distance. I’m a big, muscly guy—it comes with the territory in my line of work—and can be a bit intimidating up close. I hold out the umbrella, and he takes it with a grateful smile and relieved eyes.

“Thank you so much,” he says as he opens it and holds it over the dog. “See Princess. The nice man let us have his umbrella. Much better, right?”

Blurb:

Cover

Can a spoiled little dog bring two strangers together?

The first time Jacke sees him, it’s a happy accident. He’s taken refuge in a quiet corner of the park, decompressing after a difficult day at work, when the man, dressed in a fancy suit, passes by him walking a spoiled little dog.

As the days pass, Jacke notices the adorable pair several times. He’s unable to take his eyes off the man whose first priority is the dog, even over his own comfort. And one day, when circumstances are right, Jacke takes a chance and speaks to the man. David.

David’s personality is as adorable as his outward appearance, and a short walk in the rain results in mutual attraction and a promise to see each other again. A second meeting in the park turns into a date, and Jacke starts longing for something he thought he’d never have; a partner. But does David feel the same? Will a chance meeting in the park turn into love?

M/M Contemporary / 17478 words

Release day: February 27, 2021

Buy link: JMS Books (20% off pre-orders)

Chronicles

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

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