Guest Post | They Met in the Library (Meet Cute Chronicles) by Nell Iris

Guest Post

Yesterday, They Met in the Library by Nell Iris was released. Today, she’s here to tell us about it. Make sure to read the post, so you don’t miss the giveaway! Welcome, Nell 😀


Thank you so much to my lovely hostess Holly for allowing me to visit your blog today, talking about my newest release, They Met in the Library. I appreciate it so much!

“Guy enters library, panics at the sight of all the books, kind librarian helps him” is what I wrote in my bullet journal a long time ago when I first had the idea for this story. It was so long ago that I’ve changed notebooks several times since then, and every time I’ve transferred the idea to my new bullet journal. I’ve started writing it several times, too, but never got it right, so I dropped it and thought “maybe this will never turn into something.” It wouldn’t be the first idea that never panned out.

Until one day, when I got an epiphany (in the shower, all my epiphanies come to me there). What if I write the story from the other guy’s point of view? My original idea was to write it from the perspective of the guy panicking, but what if I switched and wrote from the librarian’s POV instead?

I ran out of the shower, dripping wet, and jotted down the idea so I wouldn’t forget it (I really need to buy one of those shower notepads I’ve seen!), and when I sat down to try and write the story, They Met in the Library happened. Sometimes the solution to a problem is easy and right in front of our eyes, and we still can’t see it. Luckily a shower can solve most problems 😊

TheyMetCover

Blurb:

Adrian, book-lover extraordinaire, adores his job at the small community library. He gets to share his passion with other people and help them with all book-related questions and issues. When a big, hulking man walks into the library, looking terrified, Adrian’s skills are tested in a completely different way.

Manne’s relationship with books is uneasy, to say the least. He’s dyslexic and events in his past have made him fearful of books and turned libraries into his worst nightmare. But when the quirky, bowtie-wearing librarian steps in to help, the experience turns positive.

Their banter is easy and their chemistry instant. But can an accidental meeting turn into something more? Can someone who has trouble reading ever fit into the life of a man whose passion is the written word?

M/M Contemporary / 17943 words

BUY LINKS:

JMS Books: https://bit.ly/JMStmitl
Universal Buy Link:
https://books2read.com/TMITLibrary

GIVEAWAY:

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e27e152216/?

TheyMet-Holly

EXCERPT

I notice him immediately when I return to my desk. He’s hard to miss; a big hulking man with a shaved head, huge gauges in both ears, and strong arms covered in tattoos.

But his looks aren’t what draws my attention. No, it’s his pale face rivaling the freshly fallen snow outside the windows. And the way he barely moves at all, not even a slight rise and fall of his chest. Is he even breathing? The only thing not frozen is his gaze. It darts over the library, from one bookshelf to the next, and he’s looking at them like they’re wolves ready to strike.

Knitting my eyebrows together, I look closer. He’s swaying a little and he really isn’t breathing, so I round my desk and hurry across the floor, slowing my steps as I approach so I won’t scare him.

“Sir? Are you all right?” I ask.

His eyes keep flitting around as though he hasn’t heard me. He’s tense; I could cut glass on the cords of his neck.

I soften my voice. “Sir?”

He tears his gaze away from one of the many book displays—I’m looking for a book and the cover was blue— and looks at me, but I’m not sure he realizes I’m a human being. His eyes are glassy and unfocused and wild. Pleading for help. He looks terrified, reminding me a little about a visitor who had a panic attack right here in the library a couple years back.

“Sir?” I keep my voice low, soothing. “Sir, you’re worrying me. If you don’t take a breath, I’ll have to call the ambulance.” No reaction. I take a couple steps closer and gently touch his arm, as I scan his face, looking for clues. He’s perspiring and his pulse flutters frantically in his neck. He’s holding his coat in one huge hand and the grip is so tight his knuckles are whitening.

This man is scared to death, and if I don’t do something quickly, he’ll pass out.

I gently squeeze his arm. “Sir? You’re safe here with me. I won’t leave you. Would you please breathe for me?”

There’s a glint of recognition in his eyes, as though my words are getting through to him, as though he realizes I’m a fellow human and not a dangerous predator ready to attack.

His chest rises and falls, and he dips his chin once. The acknowledgment—and the breathing—makes me relax, so I smile at him.

“My name is Adrian, and I work here. Would you please come with me? My desk is just over there.” I point. “You can sit down for a second and I’ll get you a glass of water, okay?”

Another dip to his chin.

“Great. Are you all right to walk to my desk on your own, or would you like me to help you?”

Without a word, he holds out his elbow; I link my arm through his and coax him toward my desk. After just a couple steps, he speaks. “There are so many books. I don’t know what I was thinking, coming here. I can’t do this. I can’t. There are so many books.” His voice is fervent. Agitated.

I give his arm a little squeeze, reminding him that I’m here. “Yes sir. We have a lot of books here. A little too many if you ask me, at least when it’s time to put them all back.” I’m hoping my words and a little humor will divert his attention from whatever scares him about the books and bring him out of his state. The little huff he lets out tells me I’m onto something, so I continue to babble. I’m very good at babbling, after all.

“Just a few more steps and we’ll be there. I’m the boss of the information desk, but don’t tell my coworkers I said that. They’ll try to tell you I’m wrong. That we’re all equals here at the library. But you and I know that’s not the case, right? Only someone wearing a bowtie can be the boss of the information desk, that’s an old rule.” I bump my shoulder to his to show I’m kidding and get another huff as a reward.

I pull out the visitor’s chair. “Please sit, sir.” He collapses into the rickety old wooden thing that’s seen better days—every year, the city council cuts funding to our little library, so we can’t splurge on stuff like furniture— and it groans underneath him. He’s way too big for the tiny little thing; he’s spilling out of it, as though someone poured him into it and didn’t stop when he started flowing over. The man is muscle upon muscle—easily double my width—and tall, maybe even a bit taller than my own six feet four inches. I hope the chair won’t collapse underneath him.

Chronicles
Nell Iris author bio and social media links

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide 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 me on social media:

Webpage/blog: http://www.nelliris.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nellirisauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor/
Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nell-iris
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.se/nelliris/

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Celebrate | National Rubber Duckie Day

Today is (Inter) National Rubber Duckie Day – yeah, I was unaware too.

The first rubber duck was made in the 1880s, it was solid and didn’t float. Then rubber became expensive during the world wars, and they started making them in plastic instead. All of a sudden we had a floating duckie!

How to celebrate Rubber Duckie Day? You listen to the Rubber Duckie Song from Sesame Street, and when you have, you take a bath with your favourite duckie LOL

The first thing popping up in my mind when I saw it was Rubber Duckie Day was Tommy’s Blind Date by Anne Brooke. There isn’t a single rubber duck in that story, but there are on the cover. I reread it just to make sure I was remembering correctly – I was. (Though there is a pub called the Dog and Duck.)

I love Tommy’s Blind Date. It’s a short story about Tommy Godolphin (why aren’t there rubber dolphins on the cover? LOL) who goes on the most terrible blind dates. He’s telling his best friend, Jacob, about it, and Jacob decides it’s time they go on a date.

Tommy doesn’t believe in friends-to-lovers, but Jacob, who is an actor, says he’ll be acting.

I adore Tommy, especially at the beginning of the story when he is at one of those terrible blind dates.

If you want to celebrate National Rubber Duckie Day by reading a book, check it out.

Have you read any stories with rubber ducks in them?


TommysBlindDateThirty-two year old Tommy Godolphin has been on a series of blind dates, as he doesn’t want to be single any more. However, none of them really hits the spot and the latest one has proved a complete, if amusing, disaster.

When he recounts what happened to his best friend, Jacob, he expects Jacob to laugh with him as usual, but this time he doesn’t. Instead, Jacob challenges Tommy to go out on a blind date with him, to see what, if anything, he might be doing wrong. If Tommy accepts, how will their friendship survive?

books2read.com/TommysBlindDate

Celebrate | Kiss A Ginger Day

Miss a Ginger

Today is Kiss A Ginger Day!

My friend, Nell Iris, alerted me to the fact that Kiss a Ginger Day has been changed into the more covid appropriate Miss a Ginger Day this year. For some reason, it made me really happy.

So instead of kissing a ginger, reach out and tell the gingers around you how much you miss them

Did you know that red hair doesn’t originate from Scotland or Ireland as most might think? It’s not a bad guess considering 13% of the Scottish population has red hair and 10% of the Irish, but it comes from central Asia. It’s caused by the MC1R gene which also creates freckles.

The MC1R gene is regressive so it mostly survives in closed communities like Ireland, Scotland, and *drum roll* costal Scandinavia which is where I grew up. My great grandmother had red hair, and my uncle was mostly blond on the top of his head but with a bushy red beard. When my oldest daughter was a baby, she had strawberry blond hair, and I hoped she’d get to keep some of the red, but no. She turned out blond.

Only about 2% of the world’s population has red hair – far more if you count bottled red, of course, LOL – and it’s dwindling.

Did you know that bees are more likely to sting redheads than they are blonds or brown-haired? Redheads are more often lefthanded than those with other pigmentations, they bruise more easily, have a higher risk of getting skin cancer, and are more sensitive to hot and cold.

During the middle ages, it was believed gingers were pals with the devil and turned into vampires when they died – if you read paranormal stories, I’m sure you’ve read a few where all vamps have red hair. I know I have.

Gingerphobia is a word. As someone who has ranidaphobia (fear of frogs) I don’t want to take a piss at people’s phobias, but really? I can’t accept that it as a real phobia – prejudice if you ask me.

Then we have gingerism which is bullying of gingers. Stop it! So many red-haired children are facing a hard time in schools simply because of the colour of their hair. In connection with Kiss a Ginger Day, there are often anti-bullying campaigns running. Kiss a Ginger Day was founded as a counteraction to Kick a Ginger Day – a good example of gingerism, don’t you think?

So to celebrate this day, do something nice for the gingers around you – if you have any. Given the times, a kiss might not be the best way to go about it.

And if you don’t know any redheads, may I suggest reading a book? LOL
Here you find my favourite stories with red-haired characters, and three days ago Hop Hop, Carrot Top was released – my contribution to the celebration. Flynn’s name, one of the main characters, means reddish complection or ruddy 😀

Kiss a Ginger Day

Cover Reveal | Be Still, My Heart

Cover RevealI have a cover!!! I actually had a cover yesterday, and I was over at Ofelia Gränd’s blog and showed it off, but since it was release day for Hop Hop, Carrot Top, I figured I’d wait a day before I posted it here.

Though I totally cheated and uploaded it to the book page – look how pretty Be Still, My Heart is next to Hop Hop, Carrot Top‘s cover. Or wait! Don’t go there yet. First, read on, so you get to see it below 😀

Be Still, My Heart is about Dimitri Petrov and Elian Hubert. Dimitri is a military vet who suffers from PTSD. He wants to isolate himself, but Irina, his sister, won’t let him. Instead, she has him working at the front desk at her dating agency.

One day, Elian storms in, asking Dimitri to fix a date for him for a Valentine dinner he’s supposed to attend. Dimitri tries telling him they’re not that kind of place.

If you want to read an excerpt, click here, but now, let’s have a look at the cover!

Seeing it appear in my inbox made me so happy. It matches the cover of Hop Hop, Carrot Top, and I had not asked for that. So cool! Now I can’t wait to see the covers for There Will Be Aliens and Blown Away LOL.

But one thing at the time. Are you ready?

Here it comes!

bestillmyheart

Four 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.

Release Day | Hop Hop, Carrot Top

Release-DayIt’s release day! Can you believe it? I actually wrote Be Still, My Heart, that’s coming next month, before I wrote Hop Hop, Carrot Top. But Be Still, My Heart is a Valentine story, so February seemed like a fitting month to release it, and Hop Hop, Carrot Top is a Kiss a Ginger Day story, which is on the 12th of January.

Hop Hop, Carrot Top is about Flynn Thomas and Caspian Cook. Both of them grew up in Hartly, a small, less than accepting, town. Caspian is a few years older than Flynn and always tried to help when kids were mean to him. Worst of all was Caspian’s younger brother who still haunts Flynn in his nightmares.

Caspian couldn’t protect Flynn at all times though, and the moment Flynn is old enough to leave Hartly, he does.

Fast forward twenty years and Flynn is back to clear out his mother’s house. She passed away six months ago, and with his sister on the other side of the earth, it falls on him to pack everything up. In and out, that’s his plan, but he can’t get his mother’s car to start and makes a phone call to the local car shop. The man answering is Caspian.

He dropped the wrench on the floor and cursed. The nuts on the old Ford were as rusty as the rest of the car. He wiped his hands on a rag he’d put in his back pocket and went toward the desk in the corner. He didn’t have an office, only a dirty old desk.

The phone rang, and he glanced at the clock. Twenty to seven in the morning. Who called at twenty to seven? No one was open for business at this hour. He grabbed the phone.

Hartley’s car repair.”

Eh… you’re open?”

Caspian rolled his eyes. He’d answered, hadn’t he? “No, not yet.”

Oh. Should I call back later? I didn’t mean to interrupt… I figured if someone answered, then… eh…”

Caspian ran a hand through his hair, smiling as the man on the other end rambled on. “Yes, call back in twenty.”

Silence overtook the garage. “Okay… Sorry, I bothered—”

Wait! I was joking, sorry.” Fuck, he shouldn’t joke with people on the phone before seven in the morning.

Oh…”

He shook his head. “How can I help you?”

I have a car.”

Looking at the dogs, he shook his head again. “I’m glad to hear it.” A chuckle traveled through the phone, and it made Caspian grin.

The problem is, I don’t know if it’s running or not.”

He glanced at Taco, who was chewing on a bone while lying on his dog bed against the wall. They each had a dog bed along the wallTaco, Moose, and Chocolate. He didn’t have one for himself, though some days it was tempting to get one. “You haven’t tried to start it?”

Erm, no. I need to get rid of it as fast as possible. Do you take in used cars to sell?”

We do.”

Great! Can you come get it?” The hope in his voice made Caspian want to say yes, but he was alone in the shop.

You’re unable to drive it here?” What kind of car was it? How old? Did he own it, or had he stolen it since he was in such a hurry to get rid of it?

Silence stretched again. “Who’s working there?”

Caspian flattened his lips. “It’s only me. Why?”

Erm… it used to be run by Harold Cook.”

Caspian was about to say it was his dad, but something in the man’s tone made him reword his sentence. “He’s retired.”

Oh… okay, then.” The sigh following was one of relief; Caspian couldn’t be sure, but he believed it was a sigh of relief.

Let me know if you can’t get the car to start.”

Okay. Bye.” The line went dead and Caspian frowned. The man had never introduced himself. With a shrug, he went back to the Ford.

books2read.com/HopHopCarrotTop

In the JMS shop (20% off)


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?

The List | Top 6 Ginger Characters

Kiss A Ginger - Gay Romance Books with red-haired charactersJanuary 12th is Kiss A Ginger Day, so we’re having us a bit of a ginger theme on the blog this month.

Only about 2% of the world’s population has red hair, and yet you run into a lot of red-haired characters.

I thought I’d do a Top 6 Ginger post, but how the heck am I going to pick only six? And how the heck would I order them? So much depends on what mood I’m in. So what follows are six stories with red-haired characters I recommend – not in any particular order.

The Magpie Lord

MagpieThe Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1) by K.J. Charles

I know, if you’re an M/M reader, you’ve probably already read this one, but it still is one of the best stories with a red-haired character that I’ve read.

It has magic, social differences, some creepy monsters, and shady characters. I love Lucien, his disregard of rules and the chemistry between him and Stephen. Writing this makes me think that maybe it’s time for a reread. Magic!


The God Eaters

The-God-eatersThe God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek

Pure iron, pure diamond, pure rage. 

This, I have no words for this. Kieran is a Ghoul Witch who can kill people at will. And Ash is an empath. They’re both in a high-security prison where they perform experiments, on the prisoners, in a laboratory. There is so much evil, and yet there is hope.

It’s a fast-paced, magical story. It’s brutal yet tender. It has this sense of it being a legend, as if Ash and Kieran are living in a story told through generations – epic!


Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace!

Anthony-PaceShut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis & Al Stewart

I don’t read a lot of YA/NA stories. I prefer my characters to be adult, preferably over thirty LOL. But this story, it touched me. I cried buckets.

When Charlie turned 8, his mum bought him a microscope, and ever since he’s been hooked on science. Charlie is on the Autism spectrum. He has a beautiful mind, and he has Anthony Pace, a red-haired force of nature and poetry.

The poems Anthony writes are awesome, and he loves Charlie. Overall, there is so much love in this story. Friendship, young love, a parent’s love for a child, a child’s love for a parent.

Two boys, one who sees the world through poetry and one through science, finding their way in life.

Once a boy shows you the stars, they’re a hard act to follow.


The Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole

Duncan-ColeThe Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole by S. Hart

Steampunk anyone? This is so awesome. It’s a long read, and I think the story would’ve benefited from having ended at around 90%, but it’s still one of my absolute favourites.

Duncan Cole is an eccentric mad scientist who is hunted by the steam monster who took his leg. We’re talking trains here, and steam, and inventions.

To be honest, I don’t know what to tell you about this story. It’s awesome! It’s hot, the humour is great; the characters are jerks, but you’ll love them. There is suspense, they’re on a journey. I even love the coffee maker.


The Red King

The-Red-KingThe Red King by Rosemary O’Malley

This story hovers between awesome and making me uncomfortable. I couldn’t put it down, but parts I read through my fingers LOL. The Red King – Ruaidhri, Rory, the Pirate Captain – steers his ship over the oceans in search of the people who have harmed him. He’s unable to see anything beyond his need for revenge until he meets Andrew.

At first, Andrew is just a means to crush those who’s done him wrong, but little by little, he sees Andrew. And little by little, love grows. Rory still can’t let go of his need for revenge, but maybe there is room for more in his life.

This story is brutal, so don’t go into it expecting a pink, fluffy romance.


Protection

ProtectionProtection by S.A. Read and T. Baggings (same author) takes place in a prison in 1931. This story is brutal. Gabriel is a killer, he should’ve been hanged, but he was saved and will spend two life sentences in prison. Joey is a doctor who has done nothing wrong.

This story is not for the faint-hearted. There is a rape scene and there is violence, and in any other book I’d probably hate if one of the main characters got together with their rapist, but…

I cried my eyes out. The epilogue.


This list is not typical of what I normally read. It’s not often I read historical stories, and yet most of them are, though most of them paranormal. But these are all great books, and if you haven’t read them, you should!

If you’re looking for other ginger books, perhaps check out Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander, Ethan who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless, Linheart’s beautiful beast by Mel Bossa, Worth His Salt by Ofelia Gränd, The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney, and I’m sure there are many, many more I don’t remember now.

What are your favourite books with red-haired characters?


Links to mentioned books:

books2read.com/TheMagpieLord
books2read.com/TheGodEaters or read online here
books2read.com/AnthonyPace
books2read.com/DuncanCole
books2read.com/The-Red-King
books2read.com/Protection
books2read.com/ShatteredGlass
books2read.com/EthanWhoLovedCarter
books2read.com/LinhartsBeautifulBeast
books2read.com/WorthHisSalt
books2read.com/TheNothingnessOfBen

Guest Post | The Hunted and the Hind

Guest Post

If you remember a few weeks back, A.L. Lester was here to show off the cover of The Hunted and the Hind. Now it’s been released, and she is here to tell us a little about it and share a deleted scene.


Hello everyone! Thank you so much to Holly for letting me pop in today. I’ve come to pimp my latest release, The Hunted and the Hind and talk a bit about the pain of editing. I’ve also got a deleted scene for you.

Deleting sometimes means losing the good bits

The Hunted and the Hind is the third in my 1920s England trilogy that began with Lost in Time. They are historical books with a paranormal twist and Hunted is the one with the most paranormal shenanigans and therefore, for me, the most difficult to write. Eventually it came in at just over forty thousand words, edited down from just over fifty.

It was so, so painful to cut out all those words I’d hammered out in the early mornings over the summer and felt like I’d wasted my time. I’d got sucked down a rabbit-hole of too much fantasy world—in all my other books, not just the 1920s ones, the paranormal world is glimpsed from this one. But at the end of Shadows on the Border, poor Sergeant Will Grant got sucked through the border (or jumped through?) after Fenn, who was returning home. I knew I wanted them to be together, but I also felt it was a cop-out to just have them pop back into 1920s London from Fenn’s world as if they’d hidden in a cupboard for a while and then re-emerged.

I ended up writing quite a bit of what turned into back-story or an alternate time-line, set in Fenn’s world. A few of the scenes have ended up in the finished book, but a lot of them were cut. And the not-popping-out-of-a-cupboard problem was solved by having them re-emerge from Fenn’s world in Egypt and having a two week journey back to England.

Luckily this has given me lots and lots of deleted scenes to share! The only thing I kept from this one is the lim-moss, that provides the lighting. The rest is in my ‘bits and bobs’ file!

Hunted M Non

Deleted Scene

Will leaned his head back against the wall. It was lovely to be properly warm. He didn’t think he’d been warm in all of his body at once since they’d come through the Border. “I fell.” He stated the obvious. “I fell and I put my shoulder out. I, er. I rather lost track for a bit.”

Fenn was looking at him with that steady, slightly unnerving gaze. “Come, Will. Come and bathe.” He extended a hand and Will grasped it, grateful for the help getting up. Fenn was in some sort of loose robe affair, not quite dressing gown, not quite robe. Will still wore the remnants of his slacks and shirt.

“Let me help you?” Fenn asked him.

“Yes. All right.” He could do with the help. Fenn stepped close and put his hands inside the padded coat, on his shoulders as he slid it off down Will’s arms. He laid it on the stone bench beside them. Then he started to unbutton Will’s shirt, fumbling a little with the tiny mother of pearl buttons. Will half-shut his eyes and enjoyed not having to think of anything. “That should probably be burned.” he commented as Fenn laid that aside too. “It all should, really. I’ve been wearing it for days”.

“It is certainly not in the cleanest of conditions.” There was a smile in Fenn’s voice as he put his hands on Will’s belt. “This next?”

“I can do it.” Will’s voice was not quite steady as he took over. There was something very comforting about letting Fenn look after him. Dangerous, his hind brain told him. Dangerous to get used to it.

“Very well.” Fenn waited for him to push his trousers down and step out of them and then started unbuttoning his combinations, gently easing them over his duff shoulder. “There. It hurts?”

“Not as much as it did.” He scrunched his face up. “I’m almost getting used to it, it’s been in and out so much.” He carefully pushed his underwear down to his ankles and stepped out, naked.

“Come.” Fenn took his elbow and guided him down some shallow steps in to the pool. The warm water lapping higher around him was an almost erotic pleasure. He sighed. The pool was about chest depth and large enough to comfortably float and splash about. There seemed to be a sunken stone bench around the edges. Fenn drew him to it and sat beside him. The light was coming up from underneath.

“What’s causing the light?” he asked, with idle curiosity.

“We call it lim-light. It’s a kind of moss. We use it everywhere – you just need a little piece of it and it spreads steadily. Very convenient.” Fenn laid his head back on the edge of the pool and sunk down a little further, shutting his eyes. “Graces, I missed this. Your people do not have good baths, Will Grant.”

He sounded so complacent that Will chuckled a little. He could feel the aches soaking out of him already. He splashed Fenn with a small wave that lapped over his face, making his silver eyelashes clump together as he laughed softly and opened his lids a little, directing his sleepy gaze at Will, eyes still protected by that inner eyelid. “It is true. You know it is true. Since, since the Romans! You have not had proper baths.”

Will snorted at that. “You aren’t allowed to read my mind in order to be smug at me.” He chided.

“It was on the surface. You were shouting.” Fenn shut his eyes again, glimmer of humour fading. “You did not ask me about Keren.”

“No.” Will was solemn now, too. “No. I didn’t. I just assumed. When you didn’t come back. Is he still alive?”

“No. No, he is not. He tried to escape when he realised that I could not come back and the carnas got him by the shimmer, out at the Eastern Point, where I first went through. Malach said it was quick.” He passed a hand over his lashes, rubbing dampness off them. “I loathe Malach. I always have. They are always so reasonable.” He sat up and pushed off with his feet, moving to the other side of the pool, unable to stay still. “I understand their position. Of course I do. But to use my sibling to force me in to something I would have done regardless.” He put his hands over his face. “I am at a loss, Will.”

Will stood too and went over to him, waist deep in the warm water. What could he say? There was nothing to say to a man who’s brother, little more than a child, had been killed by those things. And for no reason. Just another senseless death. He found that he had said it aloud. “A senseless death.” He put his hand on Fenn’s shoulder, a firm, comforting grip.

Fenn moved closer, resting his head on Will’s shoulder, his hand on Will’s neck to hold him close. Will brought his other arm around him and clasped him tightly, in silence. It was perfectly peaceful in the cavern, like this. No sound except the deep green lapping of the water and the steady breathing of two people who had lost more than either of them deserved. Fenn stepped back a little, opening up the space between them. “For all that you have done for me, Will Grant …” he raised his gaze from the surface of the pool and met Will’s as he stretched out a hand and very lightly touched Will’s wet shoulder. The water droplets glimmered with lim-light as he removed his hand. Will shut his eyes briefly at the intensity of the sensation. When he opened them again, Fenn was watching him. His nictating membrane was open in the dim light of the cavern and the beech green of his eyes was as startling as the first time Will had seen it. Neither of them moved. They were both breathing as if they had been running. “For all that you have done for me, Will … I am thankful.” His voice was lower than before.

He dropped his eyes to his fingers as he raised them out of the water again to Will’s shoulder, running them slowly down over his pectoral to his nipple. Will watched too, biting his lip and concentrating on keeping his breath steady. The long, elegant fingers circled around the little peak, pearled with water. “Fenn.” He said.

“Will.” Will could hear the hunger in his voice, hidden under a smile.


Cover Hunted and the Hind

Inadvertently tumbling through the border after Fenn and then thrown into the middle of the internecine political disputes of their people, Sergeant Will Grant of the Metropolitan Police has spent three months in prison in the Underhalls of the Frem. When Fenn comes to free him and return him home through the border, he has very little time to work out what’s going on before the sudden appearance of Fenn’s missing younger sibling, Keren, throws Fenn for a loop.

Instead of returning them to London as planned, the trio step through the border to the Egyptian desert. Once they work out where they are, it’s a two week trip back to England with the possibility of pursuit both onboard ship and when they reach home.

Will the journey give Fenn and Will time to resolve the feelings they have been dancing around since the day they met? How will they keep Keren from recapture by the faction who tried to persuade Fenn they were dead? And has Will’s friend Alec forgiven Fenn for lying about their motives when they first traveled to London four months ago?

The Hunted and the Hind is the third and final book in the 1920s ‘Lost in Time’ trilogy. The books need to be read in order.

  • Tag line: The third in the Lost in Time series. Queer British, Lovecraftian romantic suspense set in the 1920s.
  • Genre: MM, gay, non-binary, romance, historical, paranormal, suspense
  • Length: 40,400 words
  • Publisher: JMS Books
  • Release Date: 30 Dec 2020
  • Buy: http://books2read.com/thehuntedandthehind

About A.L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat and some hens. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

Links:

All my links are gathered here (this is by far the easiest!): https://lnk.bio/gjD5
Or pick and choose:

Webpage: https://allester.co.uk
Email: ally@allester.co.uk
Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/allester
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CogentHippo
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CogentHippo
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-l-lester
YouTube: https://bit.ly/3bgvVGl
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-954808628

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of The Hunted and the Hind, enter the giveaway draw to win previous books in the trilogy… the winner can choose EITHER ebooks of Lost In Time & Shadows On The Border OR a copy of Lost in Time in audio!

https://kingsumo.com/g/alhbky/welcome-to-the-hunted-and-the-hind-release-drop-giveaway

New Year Sale

NewYearSale

Are you ready for 2021? I’m not sure I am. I find it really hard to set up any goals for this year since I have no idea what it’ll look like work-wise for me. 2020 gave me plenty of time to write, but I don’t know what awaits now.

No use in worrying about it, though. We’ll just have to take one day at the time.

Today is the last day of JMS Books’ New Year Sale. All ebooks are 30% off, and that includes Hop Hop, Carrot Top that’s on pre-order. Only a week left now!!!

You’ll find it here.


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?

Guest Post | Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday by Nell Iris

Guest Post

Today, Nell Iris is here to ring in the new year with us! She has written a New Year story and is going to share a little about it 😀


First, I’d like to thank my lovely hostess, Holly for having me here today, for celebrating the release of my new book with me. Also: happy new year. May 2021 be better than 2020. It can hardly get worse, can it?

I’d like to talk a little about the inspiration for my story.

Stone-Ship-n

This summer, the hubby and I went on a road trip. I moved back to Sweden in November 2019, after living in Malaysia for over 8 years, but instead of moving back to our old hometown, we settled down in a new part of the country, in the south of Sweden. So we spent this past summer exploring, something that one day in July led us to a place called Ales Stenar (Ale’s Stones) on the southernmost shores of Sweden.

Ale’s Stones is a megalithic monument, a stone ship, high up on a hill, overlooking the ocean, and a tiny fishing village. A stone ship is believed to have been an ancient burial site, but some scientists say it may also be some kind of sun calendar. With the help of the Carbon 14 method, scientists have estimated that this setting of Ale’s Stones was erected sometime around 600AD, but has also revealed material dating back as far as 5500 years, indicating there have been people there since long before the stones were erected.

It’s been a life-long dream of mine to visit the Stones, and they didn’t disappoint. They are huge and awe-inspiring, and I shivered when I rested my palm against them. I took a gazillion pictures and looked at the ocean waves rolling onto the shore and reluctantly followed my husband down the hill when he’d had enough.

When I left, I posted pictures from the visit on my social media and didn’t think more about it until one of my fellow JMS Books authors, Thomas Grant Bruso, commented on the pictures, saying I should write a story about them.

That got me thinking. “What if someone snuck out of a house in the village and trekked up to the stones on New Year’s Eve, wanting to ring in the new year surrounded by history? And what if something happens and he needs to be rescued…?” And the result of this innocent comment and a busy mind is Petter and Isak’s story in Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday.

The story is set at the stones I visited, they’re up on a hill and next to the ocean. But the village below is a figment of my imagination. I mean, there’s a real village there, but it’s nothing like the one in my story, so if you’ve been there, or if you live there, don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize it 😊

Stones

Blurb:

Two strangers, a twisted ankle, an ancient stone ship, and a New Year’s Eve they’ll never forget

Petter sneaks out of the New Year’s party he didn’t want to go to and treks to an old burial site he’s dying to see. Alone. Without telling anyone on a freezing December night. Without cell service…a huge problem when he twists his ankle.

Someone passes by Isak’s house on the path leading to the stone ship. When the person never returns, Isak worries and sets off to investigate. What he finds is Petter, a pack of sparklers, and an instant connection.

Under a starry sky, they learn they have a lot in common. Will the attraction burn hot and fizzle out like the fireworks going off over their heads when they return to the real world? Or will it deepen, grow, and turn into something real? Something everlasting like the stone ship?

M/M Contemporary / 20849 words

Buy link:

JMS Books: https://www.jms-books.com/nell-iris-c-224_232/resolutions-for-an-arbitrary-holiday-p-3607.html

Resolutions-for-an-arbitrary-holiday

Excerpt:

Are you the kind of person who makes resolutions?”

“Usually not.” I accept the lit sparkler he holds out to me. I’ve loved these things since I was a little kid, even more than fireworks, and up here, in the howling wind with a sky full of stars above my head, in the company of a kind stranger and huge ancient stones, they’re more beautiful than ever.

“But this year is different?”

“Yeah. I’m doing some…significant changes in my life this coming year, so I thought ‘why not?’ It can’t hurt, right? Even if I agree with you about the arbitrariness of this so-called holiday.”

“You do?”

“Sure. It’s not a thing we celebrate because of some natural phenomenon, like the solstice. It’s just to mark that the Earth has done another lap around the sun. I mean, that’s great and all, but why do we need to celebrate it?”

Isak’s face lights up in a wide grin. “Yes! This is what I always say when people complain because I refuse to embrace the spirit of the holiday.”

I return his smile. “Exactly!”

“I’ll drink to that. Finding a like-minded person makes it worth subjecting myself to this awfulness.” He takes another swig, face contorting, and then hands over the bottle to me.

“Are you trying to poison me?” I take the tiniest of drinks, barely enough to wet my mouth.

“Hey! You’re the one who brought it.”

“And I regret it deeply.”

The sparklers have gone out, and Isak lights a couple new ones, handing me one. “So tell me about your resolution.”

“You’ll think it’s stupid.” I avert my gaze, looking out over the ocean. Far away a tiny pinprick of light moves across the water. Who’s out in a boat now?

“I won’t. Promise.”

I follow the little prick of light as it moves away, and it’s easier to talk about it when I’m not looking at him. “I’m going to be more true to who I really am.”

Gently, he replaces the burned-out sparkler in my hand with a new one. “Why would I think that’s stupid?”

“Because people do. I’m almost thirty, I’m supposed to have reached that stage already in my life.”

“People assume a lot of shit, don’t they?”

I take my eyes off the boat and allow myself to be mesmerized by the sparkler, by the tiny stars shooting out of it in every direction, by the crackling sound and its energy. It burns hot and fast, but it gives its all doing it. “Yeah,” I say.

“I’ll drink to your resolution. I’m sure it doesn’t mean much to you because we don’t know each other, but I think you’re doing the right thing. Now drink.”

When the sparkler sputters and dies out, I look at Isak. “It does mean something. Thank you”. I take an even smaller drink, but the taste still contaminates my tongue.

“What is this crap anyway?” Isak asks


Nell Iris Bio and social media links:

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 me on social media:

Webpage/blog: http://www.nelliris.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nellirisauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor/
Facebook profile: www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nell-iris
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.se/nelliris/

Cover Reveal | Mind Scrambler

Guest Post
Today, Ofelia Gränd is here to show off the cover of her upcoming release, Mind Scrambler.

Thank you so much, Holly, for letting me hijack your blog today. Two days ago, I got the cover for Mind Scrambler, which is the second story about the guys working in Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department.

The first story is called Soul Eater and is about Thaddeus, who is a wizard, and Sandy, who is a werewolf turned into a ghost. Together they take down an evil sorcerer, and Mind Scrambler starts just a few days after that case is closed.

Elora, who is Thaddeus partner, has a brother who goes missing, and she asks Captain Kol Jaecar for help to find him. Jaecar, who hates sitting idle, jumps at the chance of doing something while waiting for the next case to come in – little does he know what awaits him.

Cover-reveal-Mind-Scrambler

When I wrote Soul Eater, I’d already decided I would do three Rockshade stories (which means there is one left to write) so I talked to my publisher – JMS Books – about matching the covers. But finding stock photos that match isn’t easy, and especially not when Thad, one of the main characters in Soul Eater, is a wizard, and Jaecar, one of the main character in Mind Scrambler, is a shifter. They’re not similar.

I’d more or less given up on getting that ‘series feeling’ so when the cover showed up in my inbox I was soo pleased. I love it! Want to have a peek?


mindscrambler

Years ago, empath Elijah Long made a bad decision, and he is still paying for it. He’s kept hidden from his abusive werewolf ex for years, but when he wakes in a dark room, cuffed to a wall, he knows he’s out of luck. Elora, his psychic sister, will come for him, he just has to endure long enough to give her a chance to find him.

Captain Kol Jaecar of Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department detests slow times at work, so when Elora wants time off to search for her brother, Kol treats it as if it’s a real case and starts an investigation. What he assumed was a brother not picking up when his sister called turns out to be something else.

Elijah experiences people’s emotions so strongly, it prohibits him from living a normal life. Spending time in the city is out of the question, yet it’s where Elora takes him once she finds him. Elijah does his best to keep his distance, especially from the growling man Elora brought to his rescue. Elijah will never make the mistake of getting close to a shifter again.

The moment Kol smells Elijah, he knows he’s his mate, but how to get close to someone who doesn’t want to be near you? The man who abused Elijah is still on the loose, and Kol calls in the entire team to hunt him down. But how are they to keep Elijah safe when he can’t be around people? And how will Kol stay sane if he can’t touch his mate?

Paranormal romance / 53.000 words

Release day: January 30th, 2021


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.

https://ofeliagrand.com/
https://cutt.ly/ReaderGroup (Newsletter)
https://www.facebook.com/ofelia.grand
https://www.facebook.com/groups/412111659209785/ (Group)
https://www.pinterest.se/ofeliagrand/
https://www.instagram.com/ofelia.grand/