Nell Iris' Christmas

Advent calendar: day 11


Behind door number 11 of my advent calendar, we find Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay. I’ve had this book on my TBR list since it was released last year, but haven’t come around to buying it until now. Why, oh why haven’t I read it before?

I wanted something diverse for my advent calendar, something not Christmas and maybe even with MCs that weren’t white, gay, CIS dudes. And Watermelon Kisses ticked all these boxes. It also made me cry and swoon and smile and love. It made me want to scoop these two men up in my arms and promise them everything will be all right. It made me want to go and find my husband so I, too, can have flavored kisses (but unlike Esmail, I want coffee flavored kisses, not watermelon flavored ones).

I want to scream from the rooftops how great this book is and make everyone understand that they need to read it. You there, you reading this. You need this book. Trust me.

watermelon kisses


Life hasn’t been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.

​But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.

Buy link: Amazon | Mischief Corner Books

Today’s quotes from the book:

(I can’t just pick one quote from this book. It’s impossible!)

“[—] But I fell for you right then and there. Those eyes-”
“They’re just plain brown,” Amir protested.
“So deep, so sincere,” Esmail continued.


Esmail kissed Amir’s forehead and sighed. They leaned against each other, beard against beard, heart against heart.


“[—] Stolen moments away from prying eyes. That’s what those were,” Esmail continued. “I loved every one of them. Eating watermelon and stealing kisses. Best taste in the world. Your watermelon kisses.”


“[—] as a thumb traced over a long keloid that cut from the tip of his hipbone to Amir’s ass. “These don’t scare me away. Never will. These scars mean everything to me. I love every one of them, because they meant you lived. That you came back to me.”

Today’s song to go with the story

Winterlude by Bob Dylan. Not a Christmas song for a non-Christmas story. Instead, a wintery song that’s the perfect companion to Amir and Esmail’s celebration that takes place on the winter solstice. And because the lines below fit perfectly with the song. (Sorry about the Spotify link, but I couldn’t find it on YouTube. I guess Bob Dylan makes sure to protect his stuff!)

Everything is gonna be all right
Oh, I see by the angel beside me
That love has a reason to shine
You’re the one I adore, come over here and give me more
Then winterlude, this dude thinks you’re fine