New Release Spotlight: The Setup by Ofelia Gränd

Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for allowing me to steal a spot on your blog 🥰

Have you started reading holiday stories yet? I’ve only read one so far, but I’m starting to get that feeling where I long for snow, crackling fires, and glögg – a type of Scandinavian mulled wine.

I’ve written a story, The Setup, and it’s a snowed-in kind of story. I’ve come to realise that I really like snowed-in stories. Have you ever been snowed in?

I have, and it’s not at all as cosy and romantic as fiction makes it out to be, but who cares! When it’s in a book and not in real life, I love it 😁

The Setup is about Ellis and Dax. Dax refuses to date, so his friends are smart enough not to convince him to go on a blind date. Ellis might have dated if his life allowed it, but he’s drowning in work and he simply doesn’t have the time. But when his best friend pleads with him to go on a double date with him and his new boyfriend, Ellis reluctantly agrees.

When he arrives at the given address right in the middle of a snowstorm, he realises something isn’t right. Dax has no idea who he is or why he’s there, and his best friend and his boyfriend are nowhere to be seen.

Dax might not want to invite Ellis inside, but leaving him outside in the snow is out of the question. A phone call later and they realise they’ve both been played. It was a set-up from the beginning, and neither Dax nor Ellis is pleased.

But since the roads are undrivable and the snow keeps coming down hard, Ellis has to stay the night. A night is plenty of time to come up with a plan to get back at their friends, there is even a little time over for other things too 😆

I had so much fun writing this one. It’s short, light and fluffy, and Ellis is insane.


Three years ago, Dax Howard got out of a bad relationship and swore never to date again. He loves his picturesque cabin outside Nortown and is looking forward to three weeks of quiet over the holidays. He hadn’t foreseen a stranger turning in on his driveway in the middle of a snowstorm, claiming he’s there for a date.

Ellis Rush has risked his neck driving in a snowstorm to meet his friend Daniel and his boyfriend Dom for a double date he agreed to go on as a favor. Reaching the destination, he can’t see Daniel’s car anywhere, and when the mountain of a man opening the door says he’s never agreed to go on a double date, Ellis realizes he’s been played.

The more Ellis explains the situation, the more annoyed Dax gets. Dom is one of his closest friends, and he does not appreciate the setup, no matter how intrigued he is by Ellis. Since the roads are undrivable, Dax invites Ellis to stay, and together they plot their revenge. Cooking for Ellis, kissing Ellis, and sleeping next to Ellis isn’t the same thing as dating, is it?

Contemporary Gay Romance: 14,382 words

Buy links

JMS Books :: Amazon ::


“I’m sorry! Demond said it had to be now when the weather was bad or Dax never would’ve let you over the threshold.”

Ellis froze. He was in the right place? But Daniel wasn’t here.

Dax must have noticed the tension in him since he was waving his hand. Ellis nodded and forced a smile.

“What are you talking about?”

Daniel groaned. “Demond has a colleague who hasn’t dated anyone in years. His ex did a number on him.” Ellis chanced a glance at Dax. “Knocked him around, and you’re the least threatening guy I know. You try to cover the world in chocolate, so I thought you’d be perfect for him, and Demond agreed when I told him about you. So, we… schemed.”

“You did what?” Ellis hadn’t planned to shout, but what the fuck!

“I’m sorry, Ellis. I never meant for you to get stranded in the snow.”

“But you meant for me to drive out in the snow. You meant for me to go to this stranger you haven’t met—have you met him?”

“No, he’s not very social. Not a hermit, but… he declined when we asked him to dinner.”

Ellis looked at Dax again. “You tried to set me up with someone you haven’t vetted first? In the middle of nowhere. In a snowstorm. If you don’t want to be my friend anymore, you could have unfriended me on Facebook. Murder is a bit of an overkill.”

Daniel growled. “You’re hopeless! You never date, and he sounded like a good guy. I only want you to be happy.”

“I’m working! This is the busiest time of the year, and I hardly have time to sleep. I agreed to come as a favor to you, but you didn’t plan to show, did you?”

“No, but Dax has a soft heart—”

“You’re telling me a guy you’ve never met has a soft heart?” Dax frowned at him, and Ellis waved a hand to show he wasn’t as upset as he sounded. Though part of him was upset.

“The plan was for you to arrive and look as adorable as you always do and for him to let you in, since the weather is terrible. Then you were to have a glass of wine, you were to woo him with your charm and your talk about the importance of chocolate. You shine when you get to talk about chocolate. Then you were to get horny and fuck on the kitchen table.”

Ellis looked at the kitchen table. It looked sturdy, but he couldn’t believe Daniel had set him up. It stung. Ellis might come across as a clown at times, but he didn’t appreciate people having a laugh at his expense. Or at Dax’s expense.

“Hang on. You wanted me to drive out into the middle of nowhere, pester a guy into letting me in, and then have him fuck me on his kitchen table as a thank you for saving me from the snowstorm?”

Dax whipped his head around to look at him, something dark and dangerous creeping into his eyes, but Ellis was pretty sure it wasn’t directed at him.

Daniel growled. “You’re always twisting my words, Ellis.”

“You said I was adorable.”

“Look. I said you look adorable. Looks can be deceiving.”

“They sure can. I have to go, Daniel. I think we should take a break; you know? Maybe I’ll talk to you next year.”


“No, I feel a severe breach of trust.” He did. He’d always trusted Daniel, but he’d set him up, had set Dax up. The weather was terrible. He could have had an accident for real, and now he’d have to call Jenna and ruin her day too. She deserved time off, needed time off. Fuck.

“It was meant to be fun, a story you could tell people in the future.” Daniel was pouting, and it pissed Ellis off. He was pouting because his matchmaking scheme didn’t work.

The last of the adrenaline trickled down on the floor and puddled around Ellis’s feet, and it took what little energy he had with it. “Look, Daniel. I know you didn’t mean any harm, but do you realize the consequences of this? I’m exhausted, and now I have to deal with all this shit. Jenna is exhausted, and now she’ll have to cover for me, and it’s all because you wanted to have a little fun. And what does a tow truck cost? I’ve never had to be towed before.”

Silence spread.

“Maybe, if you’re close enough, you can walk to the address I gave you? To get away from the taxidermy guy, I mean.”

Ellis shook his head. “You want me to freeze to death? Up until now, I believed it was some kind of misguided kindness or wish for my wellbeing, but you truly want me dead. You’re not in my will, you know. If I die, Jenna gets the chocolatier.”

Dax crossed his arms over his chest and scowled while watching Ellis. He must’ve figured out there was more to this story than they’d first believed.

“I don’t want your fucking chocolate!” Daniel had the audacity to sound offended. “I only wanted—”

“I have to go, Daniel.” He hung up without saying goodbye.

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.

Find Ofelia on social media

Blog :: Newsletter :: Facebook :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s