Nell Iris

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I Declare Paint War

“Bye-bye, Clara! Come back soon!” I called after my niece as my sister Jenny buckled her into the car.

“Bye, Uncle Joe.” Clara leaned out and waved at me. Her little heart-shaped face was set in a happy grin and streaked in all colors of the rainbow after our afternoon finger painting session. She also had a bright pink strand in her blond hair. Lucky for me, I’d bought water soluble colors.

I exchanged goodbyes with my sister and remained on the porch—waving after the car until it was out of sight—before returning inside to take care of the cleanup. My T-shirt had handprints all over it made by a mischievous four-year-old and I grabbed the neck and pulled it off. My pants followed, and I was in the middle of scrubbing red spots off the floor in my boxer briefs when the door opened and my fiancé got home from work.

“Honey, I’m hooooome.” A giggle followed the greeting. Ben loved ridiculing old gender stereotypes and couldn’t help laughing at himself when he did. He’d be tickled when he found me on all fours in the kitchen.

“In here,” I hollered and as predicted he burst out laughing when he saw me and the state of our kitchen.

“Oh Em Gee, Joe. Did you forget to give Miss Clara paper to use for her art?”

With a final scrub, the floor was restored to its original state and I jumped to my feet. “No. But I had to go to the bathroom. I swear I was only gone for two minutes.”

“Mhm. She’s quick,” he said and his eyes twinkled with mirth.

“That she is.” I threw the dishrag in the sink. “Hey, where’s my kiss?” I dried off my hands on a paper towel as I pursed my lips.

“Joooeee,” he whined. “You’re all covered in paint.”

“I’ll keep my hands on the back.” I made a show of holding them up first and then clasping them behind my back. My fingers brushed against an open container of finger paint on the table.

“You have a blue handprint on your cheek. Looks like you’ve been slapped by a smurf.”

I chuckled. “Don’t rub against it and you’ll be fine.”

“You promise?”

“Mhm,” I said and nodded, doing my best to keep a straight face.

“All right,” he sighed and took a small step forward. He leaned his upper body toward me, but tried keeping his distance. He pursed his lips and closed his eyes and I took what he offered. His lips were soft and warm against mine and we both hummed in happiness.

I let myself enjoy it for a second before I dipped my fingers in the paint, lifted my hand quickly, and drew a line over his cheek. He squeaked and jumped back, slapping his palm to the paint, smearing the yellow color, and I collapsed into fits of laughter.

“You promised,” he said as he tried to scrub away the paint but only succeeding in spreading it out more.

“You forgot to check if I had crossed my fingers.” I waggled my eyebrows at him.

“You…you…” Quick as a weasel, he darted around me and grabbed another container. Before I had time to react, I had a wide green line from my nipple all the way to my belly button.

My eyes flitted between my painted chest and his gloating face. “You’re even quicker than Clara,” I said, snatched a paint container, dipped my finger in it and poked his nose, making it bright blue.

He narrowed his eyes. “Are you declaring war, sir?” he asked with his hands on his hips and a defiant look on his face.

“I do believe I am, Mr. Collins,” I replied and swiped my blue finger over his eyebrow.

He held up both his hands and said, “Stop!”

I faltered in my planned attack on his other eyebrow and pulled back. He held up his right index finger and when he was sure I was waiting, he quickly stripped out of his clothes and threw them out of the kitchen. Then he armed himself with two paint containers: the yellow and the green.

In response, I snagged the red to accompany the blue I was already holding.

“Ready, sir?” he asked.

“Ready, Mr. Collins.” I widened my stance and rolled my shoulders.

“Oorah,” he yelled, jumped forward, and the battle was on.

Skärmavbild 2017-11-17 kl. 22.17.13

Inspirational picture found on Instagram. 






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Release blitz and #giveaway: Breaking Free (Den Boys #3) by A.T. Brennan


Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 72,000 words
Cover Design: Teresa Conner
Den Boys Series
Book #1 – All In –  Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Healing Him –  Amazon US | Amazon UK

“I would never forgive myself if something happened to another man I cared about because I’d been careless and given in to temptation.” ~ Zander

The last thing I was looking for was a relationship, then I laid eyes on a dancer at a nightclub and my entire world was flipped upside down. Kai is everything I’ve ever wanted, but shouldn’t have. I’m haunted by a past I can’t seem to break free from, and I’m not sure I can be the man Kai deserves. He makes me want to try, but I worry that I’m broken beyond repair.

“There was already a big enough stigma attached to being a go-go dancer, but add being a webcam model to the mix and people tended to assume things about me.” ~ Kai

School, dance, cam, repeat. My life was on a constant loop as I struggled to keep my head above water. After seeing Zander in the crowd while I was dancing, I knew I had to meet the handsome stranger who took my breath away. I don’t know if I’m the right man to help set him free from his pain, but I’m going to do everything I can to try and help him see that the past doesn’t have to define his future.

Author Bio
A.T. Brennan, who also writes under the name Mandie Mills, is a romance and erotica author. A native of Ottawa, Canada, she enjoys picking up and moving from city to city every few years. A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, current entrepreneur and freelance writer, she enjoys spending her days working on her many projects and her nights writing and not getting enough sleep. Currently she lives on Canada’s East Coast with her family, both two- and four-legged. She enjoys collecting books and exploring the different sides of romance and romantic expression in her works.

You can visit her at, or on Facebook at A.T. Brennan Author, and also at Author Mandie Mills.

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Release blitz and #giveaway: Texas Gift (Texas #8) by R.J. Scott


Length: 50,000 words approx
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Texas Series
Book #1 – The Heart of Texas – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Texas Winter – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Texas Heat – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Texas Family – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Texas Christmas – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Texas Fall – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Texas Wedding – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A gift for every single reader needed to know what happened next for to Jack and Riley…

When Hayley arrived on the steps of the D, Riley and Jack knew life would never be the same.

Told through Riley and Jack’s eyes, this is ten years in the life of their family and watching Hayley grow up, fall in love, and start her own life. Hurricanes, illness, babies, happiness, sadness, work, play, the barn, the office, horses, friends, enemies, and above all love.

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Weekends means Rainbow Snippets-time here on the blog, since I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook. According to their description, “it’s a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction—a WIP or a finished work of even 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).”

Don’t forget to like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I’d also be happy to become friends on Facebook if you’d like 😁


Last time on Rainbow Snippets (a couple weeks back, I needed some time off) I posted lines from a current WIP about Benji and Mr. Grunge. After struggling with it for some time, I realized it wasn’t working and I scrapped the whole thing and started over. It’s so radically different, it’s not even the same characters. I kept Mr. Grunge (whose real name is Jude, btw), and he’s the narrator in this new WIP. Benji is playing a minor part, but he’s not the love interest like I’d originally planned. Nope, Jude had other plans for his life. That’s what happens sometimes when you’re a hardcore pantser like me 😁

So here’s the opening lines of the new WIP. Working title is Jude and Vee, but that’s subject to change. In a week I’ve written about 11K words. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! Almost makes me regret I didn’t sign up for NaNo 😁


Three knocks on the door was all it took to demolish my carefully reconstructed world. Three raps, seemingly as innocent as rapid beats to a snare drum, but that turned out to be more like explosions.

It was Friday night and I lay sprawled on my couch after six long weeks of teaching the Rock Band Summer Program. I reveled in the blissful silence after forty-two days of constant noise, and enjoyed a glass of red wine as I read a well-loved paperback about punk music one of my kids at summer school had given me. He’d promised it would change my aversion to the genre. I’d tried to decline the gift, but found it in my guitar case after all classes were over and the kids had all left.



Some shameless self-promo before I go: You in the mood for five FREE Holiday stories? Then I’ve got just the thing for you: 

Make the Yuletide Gay: a Collection of M/M Holiday Stories

Five FREE holiday short stories by me, Addison AlbrightStephen HoppaNicky Spencer, and Amy TasukadaRelease day: November 24. Add it to Goodreads now. Did I mention that it’s free?? Happy holidays from us!! 😁

(The blurb to my story The Christmas Day Date is below the image.)

Sleigh bells ring—are you listening?

It’s that time of year again, and we have the perfect way to get you in the mood: A free anthology! Five holiday stories that are guaranteed to warm your heart, heat up your cold nights, and most importantly: Make your yuletide gay.


The Christmas Day Date

Two men. Changed Christmas plans. A gazillion cookies.

Lenny Painter’s idea of the perfect Christmas is sleeping the holiday away. He’s got nowhere to be, and the only item on his Santa wish list is to catch a glimpse of his cute neighbor, JJ.

Julius Jones’s carefully organized Christmas is canceled at the last minute. In a fit of rage, he rids his apartment of all holiday cheer, including the rainbow-decorated tree.

But Lenny rescues the beautiful tree from a sad demise and end up spending the afternoon with JJ. When JJ asks Lenny to celebrate Christmas Day with him, Lenny accepts.

But it isn’t a date. Or is it?




Inspirational image found on Instagram.

Morning Dance

We were running late. For some unknown reason, neither of our alarms had gone off that morning and I woke up forty-five minutes before work started. My loud cursing awoke Elijah, who elbowed his way past me into the tub. I growled in his direction and had to splash off in the sink since there was no way I would have time for a shower after he finished.

I pulled on my pants with one hand and brushed my teeth with the other. A quick glance in the mirror told me I was presentable enough for work—aside from the sour I overslept-expression on my face that I needed to work on.

While Elijah got dressed and fussed with his hair, I made coffee, fixed a couple sad sandwiches for lunch—PBJ, what are we? Five?—and rushed around in a frenzy trying to find my shoes that seemed to have gone missing since last night. I found them halfway under the couch where I’d kicked them off yesterday after curling up next to Elijah, doing my damnedest not to poop my pants while we watched Stranger Things on Netflix.

As I’d finished pouring coffee for the both of us in travel mugs, Elijah stepped out of the bedroom, looking rosy-cheeked and perky as if he’d had all the time in the world to get ready this morning. Ugh, that man didn’t know the meaning of the word “hurry.” Yet he always managed to be on time somehow, while looking spotless and freaking adorable. If he hadn’t been the love of my life, I would have been annoyed.

“Let’s go.” I hustled us both out the door and kept my pace slightly below jogging as we made our way to work. Elijah walked a few steps behind me, whistling happily, and I swore to God if there’d been roses along the way, he would have stopped and smelled them.

When we came to the fork in the path where we would part ways, I waited for him and handed over the tote bag with his coffee and sandwich. I gave him a little wave, and turned to go as I threw a quick, “See you after work,” over my shoulder.

“Gabe!” he called after me.

I whirled around and hiked up an eyebrow. “What?”

Stepping closer, he coaxed the tote out of my hand and put both of them down on the ground. Then he held out his hand, smiled, and said, “Dance with me.”

“Here? Now?” I squeaked. “I’ll be late for work.”

He didn’t say anything, just waited for me to make up my mind. I really should go. I hated being late, my boss hated when I was late, and the universe was, in general, a better place when everyone was on time.

But I’d never been able to say no to his beautiful brown eyes, and against better judgment, I lay my hand in his, and let myself be pulled close to his body. I threw my arm around his neck as he started humming a melody I didn’t recognize—probably because he was so tone-deaf he couldn’t sing in tune even if his life depended on it—and we waited a heartbeat before taking our first dance steps.

People stared at us where we danced in the middle of a sidewalk, but gave us space to do our thing. I followed his lead as he shuffled us around the imaginary dance floor. My poor stressed heart slowed down, and the frown I’d worn since I woke up disappeared. Soon we were grinning at each other like loons.

After a couple rounds, he tightened his grip on my waist, waggled his eyebrows, and dipped me backward, old Hollywood-style. He held me in place for several seconds, eliciting a happy laugh from me, and his eyes brightened at the sound.

When he straightened me up again, I hugged him. Hard.

Elijah squeezed me before letting me go. He picked up our totes and handed me mine with smiling eyes that melted my heart so badly I feared it would pour out of my body. He gave me a warm kiss on my cheek and whispered, “Have a great day at work, honey.” Then he waved and walked away.

I stayed for another second or two, watching his retreating back before taking the path leading to my workplace. I smiled broadly at everyone while I tried to whistle the tune we’d just danced to.

Today was going to be a fantastic day.


Two images

Here are two pictures from my (bookish and writerly) life:


This tote caught my eye in the bookstore and I just had to buy it. It’s amazing! And you can’t have too many totes, can you? 🙂


I was a cliché writer the other day, grabbed my laptop, and went to Starbucks to write. I’ve given up coffee (because I’m sensitive to caffeine), but at Starbucks I can order decaf, so I had a huge cappuccino. It was soooo good. I’ve missed my fancy coffee drinks!

I kind of felt like Carrie Bradshaw (but less glamorous and without boy troubles), but to be honest I couldn’t really concentrate on my writing. Instead, I ended up chatting online with my husband (who was on a business trip) and a writer friend of mine. So, I guess I’d better stay home next time I want to get some writing done.

Where’s your favorite place to write or read?


Cover reveal and #giveaway: Undercover Star by Jackie Keswick


Release Date: November 22 2017
PreOrder: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads
Cover Design: Emma Griffin
Length: 41,000 words approx.

It sounds like the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas. Detective Inspector Josh Ingram wants to find a deadly medieval locket and through it, a murderer. So why does his boss decide to team him up with Matisse Vervein, a pop idol many consider just a pretty face… and expect the two of them to hunt down an art thief?

Marissa Godwin, Matisse’s no-nonsense manager, isn’t stupid. Neither is her brother-in-law, Detective Superintendent Tim Montgomery. Each is looking out for a lonely man on the verge of quitting what he does best, and both believe that their charges would make a great team.

The attraction sizzling between Josh and Matisse is hard to miss, but there’s plenty of resentment, too. Focussed on pushing Josh and Matisse towards each other, Marissa and Tim haven’t imagined the kind of trouble a music star and a detective can find when they ditch their prejudices and accept that the attraction between them is mutual. Or how far each is prepared to go to prove it to the other.

A standalone, feel-good, action adventure romance set in England and Scotland, featuring a reluctant pop star who’s not out, a detective trying his hand at being a bodyguard, plenty of adventure, and a happy ending.

Author Bio

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes, blogs about English history and food, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:


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