Nell Iris' Christmas

Holidays at Nell’s: Day 2

On the second day of Christmas, you won’t get any turtledoves but it’ll be something even more special. 🙂 Not only will I recommend you a fabulous book, the book in question is released today and as treat for you, I have the author here with a guest post and an excerpt. Fancy, don’t you think?

First, I’ll talk about the book, and after that I’ll leave the floor to my morning writing buddy and overall fabulous human being, Ofelia Gränd. Happy release day, Ofelia!!

Day 2 of Holidays at Nell’s: 24 Dates by Ofelia Gränd

We were falling apart, and I can’t lose you.

Quote from 24 Dates

I’ve had the good fortune to read this book twice already. I read the manuscript back in September when Ofelia sent it to her beta-readers, and I had the privilege to read an ARC, too.

It’s a great story about an established couple, who are trying to save their relationship by going on 24 dates in December. The dates are great; they are varied and creative, a mix of indoors and outdoors, activities only for the two of them, or with other people. Some of the dates are very romantic, so despite what Ofelia writes about in her guest post below, I don’t think she’s the most unromantic person in the whole wide world. 🙂

The first time I read the story, my favorite date was day 18: wine and paint by numbers, but this time around I found other favorites. I loved the ice-fishing date, the snowman competition (I’m already in training, I started with Mini-Frosty the other day), and my absolute favorite must be date number 14: sitting on the roof, looking at the stars, and drinking Arabic tea. That’s something I can get behind, even if it’d be icy cold.

Also: considering I hate snow and cold weather, isn’t it funny that I was attracted to those three activities in particular? 🙂 I won’t agree to bathing in an ice hole, though. No, nope, absolutely not! 🙂

“My junk is forever traumatized.”

Jian huffed and swayed a little as he pushed his foot through his sweats. “I’m sure it will be fine with the right aftercare.”

Quote from 24 Dates.

I loved the way that every date healed their relationship a little, I loved the characters and how they both desperately wanted to make their relationship work. It’s a book that will make you smile and be wowed by the creativity of the dates that Ofelia Gränd has thought up. I tip my hat to her for that.

“I don’t want you to have to sacrifice anything because of my decisions.”

“Honey.” Victor placed a hand on his thigh. “I’ll give up everything I own simply to get to spend more time with you.”

Quote from 24 Dates.

Buy links

JMS Books | Universal buy link

And now, it’s time to welcome Ofelia Gränd to my blog. Hi. Welcome back to my blog!!

Thank you for having me on again, Nell. I enjoy swinging by now and then.

I thought I’d tell you a little about my latest release. 24 Dates is a contemporary M/M Christmas story. Jian and Victor have been a couple for several years, they’ve bought a house, and should live their happily ever after, but they’re not.

They’ve hit a rough patch. Jian works a lot and is always tired. Victor feels rejected and avoids situations where Jian might reject him once again. They don’t see each other in the morning before work, and Jian falls asleep on the couch almost every night. They don’t talk; they don’t touch, and Victor can’t remember the last time he saw Jian smile.

Victor is preparing for a long, lonely holiday, and he isn’t sure their relationship will survive the coming year.

Are you familiar with the five love languages? I’m no expert, so I won’t give you a lecture, but they are:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

I often say that I’m the least romantic person you’ve ever come across because I don’t give a damn about gifts, and words of affirmation make me uncomfortable. I tell my husband I love him when he tells me he loves me, but deep down I think he should know by now, so no need to repeat ourselves LOL

If he got to be too busy to spend time with me, we’d be in trouble, though. I could spend 24 hours a day, every day, with my husband and never want to leave his side. If he doesn’t listen to me when I speak, my feelings are hurt. Not for the little things, but if he’s looking at his phone when I’m trying to tell him something, I might stomp off into another room LOL.

I would say hubby primarily is an act-of-service guy. He fixes a lot of things for me, does what he can to make my life easier. I get gifts occasionally too, and as I said before, he has some of the words of affirmation going on, though generally, we steer clear of those.

Victor, in the story, is more like me. His feelings are hurt when Jian falls asleep on the couch, and when he prioritizes work above spending time with him.

Jian isn’t unaware, and he has a plan. He understands the importance of quality time spent together, so he plans 24 dates—one every day from December 1st to the 24th. Are 24 dates enough to get them back on track?

Probably not, but Jian has more cards up his sleeve.

  • Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Christmas, Established couple, interracial
  • Length: 38.000 words


The next morning, Victor woke alone in bed, again. A radio played downstairs, it sounded like Christmas music, but he wasn’t sure. This time of year, the radio most often played Christmas music. He stretched before grabbing a pair of jeans and a sweater and trudging down the stairs. The music was low and soft in the kitchen, three candles were lit in the advent candle holder, leaving only one to go.

“Morning.” Jian hugged him from behind and nuzzled the side of his throat.

“Morning.” Victor raised his hand and cradled Jian’s neck. “Did you sleep well?”

“I did. You?”

Victor nodded and Jian hugged him tighter. “Coffee’s done.”

“Lovely.” Victor sat, taking a deep breath. The kitchen was mostly dark apart from the light from the candles. “Third Sunday of Advent today.” Jian was obviously aware since he’d lit the candles.

“Mhm. Why do we light the candles?”

Victor stared at him. “How should I know?”

Jian snorted. “You’re the Christmas fan.”

“Well, yeah, but… as a kid, it was a way of counting down to Christmas. I always had an advent calendar too.” He mused. “One gift every day leading up to Christmas, it was magical.”

“So it’s not religious?” Jian poured them both coffee and sat across from him.

“Sure it is, I just don’t know what we’re celebrating.” He smiled. Jian should know he didn’t know his religion.

“So we’re doing it to count down to Christmas Day?”

“Of course.” Victor sipped on his coffee and groaned. “I love mornings like this.” The calm, the flickering lights, the scent of coffee and the Christmas tree, and the soft Christmas music in the background.

Jian nodded and reached for an egg.

“Oh, we have eggs?”

Jian nodded again and handed one to Victor. “So, it’s to build tension?”

“Christmas foreplay? Sure. But it’s also—” He gestured at the kitchen table. “I mean look at this. What more could you wish for in the morning? We have food, it’s cold outside, but we’re warm and cozy, it’s lit candles and soft music.” Though the kitchen was freezing. There was a draft from the back door. In the summer, it wasn’t a problem, but in the winter the kitchen was the coldest room in the house.

“This isn’t today’s date.”

Victor laughed at Jian’s outrage. “No? It could’ve been. I think this is the perfect date.”

“I haven’t planned any breakfast dates.” He frowned as if disappointed.

“You mean you have planned more dates?” Victor grinned at him.

“Of course, this is your dating advent calendar.”

Victor stared. “You’ve planned twenty-four dates?” He blinked as his eyes started to burn.

“I believed you’d figure it out by now. We’re on date thirteen, and it’s the thirteenth of December.”

Victor swallowed around the lump in his throat. “No, I… I hadn’t figured it out.” He cleared his throat and blinked some more. “It’s amazing, Jian, but why?”

“Because I love you, and because I needed to do something, and because you love Christmas, and I have never understood why, and because you get all wistful when you talk about your advent calendar as a kid.”

Victor nodded, mostly because he didn’t know what to say.


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.

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