My friend Holly Day is back for a visit today, help me welcome you. And before I leave the floor to her, I have to tell you that everything about this book appeals to me. The blurb, the cover, the promo picture she’s made. And the excerpt is fantastic, leaving me wanting more. Read it, and I’m sure you won’t be able to resist to one-click it.
Well, enough blabbering. Welcome, Holly! ❤️
Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by again. Right now, I’m working hard to make the last deadlines for this year. If I pull it off, I’ll have a release every month of 2021, and I do hope Nell will allow me to come back and tell you about them. (Nell’s comment: of course I will, you know you’re always welcome here!!) First, I have to make the deadlines, though 😬 But let’s pretend I’m not buried in work and focus on The Dragon Next Door – an as good coping mechanism as any 😆
The Dragon Next Door might be my favourite story so far this year. I adore the characters and they were nice and cooperative throughout the entire process LOL
Adrian is a super sweet guy who wants everyone to be happy. When Lorcan moves in next door, he’s set on cheering him up despite Lorcan growling at him every time he rings his doorbell… or calls for him to open the door through the mail slot.
I should perhaps mention that I wrote this story to celebrate National Neighbor Day, which is on the 28th. Adrian tries really hard to be a good neighbour.
The first time he saw Lorcan he dubbed him a dragon – not that he believes he’s a dragon for real, but Adrian has a lively imagination. Since Lorcan is a dragon, Adrian has it in his mind that he has to find treasures for him, and his favourite place in the whole wide world is a second-hand shop close to where they live.
In the story, there is a table. When I met my husband, many years ago, he was living in a tiny student flat. It was one small room with a kitchenette on one wall, his bed pushed up against the other, and between the two, there was a folding table.
One day, we sat by that table, and I asked about the hollows in the side stretchers. Hubby told me that the table had once belonged to his mother’s aunts who had a cafe together, and the hollows are from where people have had their feet. The table is ancient. I don’t know when they closed the cafe, but the aunts were both dead in 2002 when I met hubby.
Every time we’re at hubby’s parents’ place, we eat on plates with a flowery decor. They have stack upon stack of those plates, and they all come from the cafe.
The table in question is right now with one of my husband’s nieces in her tiny flat. I hope that one day when my kids find themselves in a tiny place, the table will come back to us. Meanwhile, I have to make do with Adrian’s table, though the original one isn’t blue.
“So, what are you buying today?” Doris’ eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Nothing.” He took a sip of his coffee. It was too bitter to be good, but it always was, and it was a taste he associated with the peace of sitting with Doris surrounded by discarded yet beautiful things. “Have you any small tables?”
She chuckled. “I have an exquisite three-piece set in the back. It’s not really a set, but it came in together. It’s two odd chairs and a small table.”
“Originally painted in an antique blue, but the paint is flaking. I was gonna seal it with some Tough Coat to prevent it from flaking any more, before I brought it into the shop. I didn’t want to re-paint it. It’s beautiful with the natural wear and tear.” She sipped on her coffee and watched him over the rim of the cup. “It comes from an old cafe.”
Nodding, she put the cup down. “There are hollows on the side stretchers from where people have had their feet.”
Adrian’s heart sped up. He wanted the table. He hadn’t seen it, but a table with that history… “Antique blue would match the china.”
“Or you could give him your old kitchen table and keep this for yourself. If you apply the coat, I’ll give it to you at half price.”
“How much is it?”
She shrugged. “I haven’t decided yet.”
“Doris!” He wanted that table.
She chortled. “If you do the work and help me with another table I have in the back, I’ll give it to you.”
“No, I can’t let you. I want to pay for it.”
She shrugged. “It was given to me. I can do what I want with it.”
“I’m gonna pay for it.” And he would give it to Lorcan.
* * * *
“Come on, Jesse! I need you to help me carry it.” Adrian glared at Jesse who was standing outside the apartment building, smoking. He’d come to the second-hand shop to pick up the table and the chairs in his car since Adrian didn’t drive, but now he was smoking instead of helping.
“You can carry it yourself. It’s a small table.”
Adrian growled at him. “Watch the chairs, so no one steals them.”
“No one’s gonna steal two rickety chairs.”
“They’re not rickety.” Adrian hefted the table and maneuvered into the building. Jesse was a lazy fucker. He turned, banged a table leg against the wall, and cursed. Why couldn’t they live in a building with an elevator?
After two flights of stairs, he stopped to rest. It wasn’t that the table was heavy, but the awkward way he had to hold it had his arms shaking. It would’ve been so easy if Jesse had helped him. After taking a few deep breaths, he grabbed the table again and went up the last flight of stairs. He eyed Lorcan’s door but opened his own instead and placed the table right inside. He didn’t dare leave it. It was a treasure and someone could steal it while he went down to get the chairs.
Jogging down to the street, he spotted Jesse talking on his phone a good thirty feet away from the chairs. He huffed and grabbed them both, not wanting to leave one unguarded, and climbed the stairs again.
They were lovely, with patches of worn paint where there had been a lot of wear and a beautiful blue where there hadn’t been. Adrian wished he could keep them for himself, but he already had a table and chairs, whereas Lorcan had nothing.
He’d lived there for close to two months now, and Adrian had never seen him leave the apartment; had never seen a delivery person come to his door, and the man with the radio voice hadn’t been back.
Maybe it had been Troy. Troy—tall, broad-shouldered and with a radio voice. Troy was everything Adrian was not. It didn’t matter… much. He sighed.
Sweat threatened to pearl on his forehead as he got up to their floor. As quietly as he could, he placed the chairs outside Lorcan’s and hurried over to his apartment for the table. Excitement was bubbling in his chest when he knocked on Lorcan’s door.
When no response came, he leaned on the doorbell.
When there still was no sign of life, he pushed the button for about fifteen seconds, rested for three, and then rang it for another fifteen.
Lorcan yanked the door open, water and foam dripping from his hair. “For fuck’s sake!”
“Oh, hi.” Adrian gave him a sheepish smile. Had he known Lorcan was in the shower, he’d have come back later. He was still wearing a T-shirt and underwear—as always—but maybe he’d thrown them on when Adrian had knocked. “You could have called out.”
“You wouldn’t have heard me over the racket of the doorbell.”
Adrian grimaced. “Do you want me to help you?”
“With what?” The growl sent a shiver down Adrian’s spine. Bear shifter. Lorcan had to be a bear shifter. Or… did bears growl?
“With the shampoo dripping on your shoulders.”
Lorcan’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t raise a hand to see if he had shampoo in his hair. “What are you doing here, Adrian?”
“Oh!” Adrian gestured into the hallway. “I have the best present for you.” He grinned so widely it almost hurt.
He waved a hand. “It’s nothing, but this table and these chairs once belonged to a cafe. You can see where people put their feet.” He gestured again, but Lorcan didn’t move a muscle.
“They’ll be perfect in your kitchen. So you have somewhere to sit.”
Lorcan nodded. “You got me a table and chairs?”
Some of Adrian’s excitement died at Lorcan’s impassive face and even voice. “You need furniture.”
Before Lorcan could say anything else, he grabbed the table and carried it to the kitchen. He placed it by the wall and went back out into the hallway for the chairs.
Putting them by the table, he grinned at Lorcan who stood in the doorway with his hair still foamy with shampoo. “Beautiful, right?”
The set fit perfectly as he’d known it would. His gaze swept over the surface. It was in the perfect state of wear. The work he’d done in Doris’ back room to make sure it would stay this way was worth it.
Lorcan grunted and a part of Adrian’s soul died. “You don’t like it?”
“It’s a table.” Lorcan shrugged.
“Adrian?” Jesse appeared behind Lorcan. “Hi, the door was open.” He gestured in the direction of the hallway.
“Yeah.” Adrian looked at the table again. It was more than just a table, it had soul. He’d picked it for Lorcan, had worked to fix it, had made plans with Jesse to get it here, and had fantasized about seeing it in this kitchen. Disappointment burned his chest and eyes, and he wanted to be away from there. “I think I need to go do some work.” He pushed between Lorcan and Jesse.
“What did you do, man?” Jesse directed the question to Lorcan, and Adrian did his best not to hear his reply.
The groan coming from Jesse meant he would say something Adrian didn’t want to hear, so he increased the pace of his steps. As he reached the door, Jesse’s words filled the air. “He’s worked hard to get you that table. Only so you know.” Then his steps closed in on Adrian despite him hurrying.
Adrian Green’s new next-door neighbor isn’t really a dragon, but he does snarl an awful lot.
The first time Adrian saw Lorcan Walsh, he knew he needed Adrian’s help. Lorcan has a fractured leg and an empty apartment. Luckily, Adrian doesn’t mind helping him fill his lair with gems, and Doris’s second-hand shop has everything a dragon could possibly want.
The problem is, Lorcan doesn’t seem to want his apartment decorated, and sneaking presents past a grumpy dragon isn’t easy.
All Adrian wants is to cheer Lorcan up, but when Lorcan’s ex appears at the door, Adrian fears not even vintage coffee cups will get them their fairy-tale ending. What if the way to a dragon’s heart isn’t lined with treasures?
Gay Romance: 14,488 words
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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