About Nell

New release: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings

Today is the release day for my advent calendar story! Wohooo, yay! It feels like I’ve been working on it forever: I started writing it in March, submitted it in June, and spent the entire fall editing it.

But now it’s finally here!! *throws confetti* If you’ve ordered the entire advent calendar from Dreamspinner, it will be delivered sometime between today and Christmas…and that’s all I’m saying on the matter. 😁

But if you’re only interested in my book, there’s a link to the store down below. But let’s look at the cover and read the blurb first, shall we?? 😊🎅🏻🎄

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Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

Available now at Dreamspinner Press. 

Nell Iris' Christmas, Super Short

Christmasvaganza: #SuperShort

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During the Christmasvaganza, the Friday SuperShorts will be winter- or holiday themed. I hope you enjoy 🙂

The Clandestine Tree

I was stretched out on my tippy-toes, trying to make myself taller so I could reach to put the star on top of the tree. Damn my parents! Couldn’t they have made me a few inches taller, so I wouldn’t need to live my life this…vertically challenged?

“Pete? Where are you?” I almost fell on my face when my boyfriend’s voice interrupted what I was doing. Snatching back my hand as if I’d burned it, I hid the top star behind my back and looked frantically around the room. Would I have time to throw a blanket over the tree before he walked in on me? I groaned at my own stupidity. How exactly would I explain a big Christmas tree-shaped blanket to him? As a teepee blanket fort only I was allowed to use? Yeah, that would work. Not.

I ran out of time for coming up with another harebrained idea when he stumbled into the living room, barely awake, rubbing his hand over his face. His chocolate brown hair stuck out in every direction and he looked adorably sleepy.

“Honey, what are you doing awake so earl—” His eyes widened as he took in the giant Christmas tree I’d smuggled in that morning.

“I, um…” I didn’t know what to say, so I stared down at my feet and fidgeted. Technically, we had agreed to hold off a little with the tree. Or he’d wanted to hold off—saying that the weekend after Thanksgiving was too early—and I’d agreed. Reluctantly, since I would have put it up at the beginning of September if he’d let me.

“Oh, babe,” he sighed.

“’M sorry,” I muttered.

“Couldn’t wait?”

I shook my head, still refusing to look at him. He took a few quick steps across the floor, and then he gripped my chin, nudging my face up. He still had sleep creases on his face, but his gray eyes shone with amusement.

“You silly man.” He leaned down and stole a kiss.

“Ewwww, morning breath.” I giggled and twisted my face away from him.

“Sorry,” he said, not looking sorry at all. “How did you even get that thing in here by yourself? It’s huge!”

I shrugged. I was resourceful when I had to be. Especially when it came to Christmas cheer.

“So what are you up to? What are you hiding behind your back?”

I showed him the star I hadn’t been able to resist when I saw it at the store yesterday. It was the reason I had been unable to wait any longer to start decorating. It wasn’t really one star; it was a starburst with many silvery stars and it was so beautiful I’d had to swipe away a tear in the Christmas aisle.

Now I understand,” he said and smiled.

“Isn’t it gorgeous?”

“It is.” He cupped my neck with a large hand and pulled me in for another kiss. I didn’t object; I even let his tongue into my mouth without wrinkling my nose. “You need help to put it on?” he asked when he pulled away.

“Please?” I fluttered my eyelashes at him and he chuckled.

“Yeah yeah. Turn around.”

I did, and he bent his knees, put his arms around my hips, and lifted me high up in the air with a grunt. Laughter bubbled out of me, but I hurried to put the starburst on the top branch. It looked magnificent on the full tree and my stomach fluttered with happiness as if it was full of cheerful, dancing Christmas elves.

When he put me down again, I leaned back against his bare, muscled chest with a happy sigh. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Mhm, perfect,” he replied. But he wasn’t looking at the tree.

He was looking at me.

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Inspirational image found on Instagram.