#FlashbackFriday

“This book wasn’t about passion or need. It was more of a discovery of wants and hopes.”

awakeningsAn existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime—drinking, dancing, and willing guys—he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late-night cup of tea, it seems that circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

M/M Contemporary / 11 120 words

BUY LINKS / ADD TO GOODREADS

JMS BOOKS | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&N | GOOGLE PLAYSCRIBD | SMASHWORDS

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Awakenings quote review quote

There’s also a short Valentine’s Day story about Iggy and Ronan you can read after you’ve read the book here on the blog

Excerpt:

We do this a lot, me and Ronan, hang out together without talking, sometimes with music playing, sometimes not. It’s never uncomfortable, I never feel the need to talk just for the sake of talking. I can relax in his company in a way I’m unable to around anyone else. I’ve come to cherish these moments and I crave them more and more.

“Thanks for this,” I say after a few minutes.

“Anytime. Tell me about the ‘eh’ night.”

I sigh and rub my palm on my head. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“Who says something’s wrong?”

“It must be, right? I don’t like doing the stuff I’ve always loved anymore. The guys brought me to a huge party tonight. I’m not kidding when I say ten guys threw themselves at me during the first hour. And what did I do? Declined their generous offers, drank sugary drinks, and hid in the bathroom where Dicky Potter tried to get me to suck his cock by waving it in my face and insulting my height.”

“Oh, no! Not your height,” he says with a faux horrified expression. “He must’ve had a death wish.”

“Ha ha, very funny.” I throw a mock glare at him. He knows that being vertically challenged is a sore spot for me, but he’s the only one who can get away with making fun of it. Also, anyone with two brain cells can probably figure out why I wear boots that add four inches. Hint—it’s not for comfort.

“And…Dicky Potter?” He rises an eyebrow.

“Yeah, you know. He waved that thing at me as though he tried to Wingardium Leviosa me.” I show the motion I’ve learned from the movies with my finger.

Ronan presses the heels of his hands to his eyes and his shoulders shake.

“What’s so damned funny?”

“I shouldn’t have let you watch Harry Potter with Emery and me. I will never be able to look at them again without thinking about Dicky Potter,” he chokes out between chuckles. “And then Emery is going to ask what’s so funny, and—”

“Stop!” I hold up my hand. “Not another word!” My eyes are about to bug out of my head at the thought of sweet Emery hearing about that. Ugh. I shiver.

He peers at me and we burst out laughing.

The silence returns after our merriment fades. A new song starts playing on the stereo. A haunting violin and a lonely piano is followed by a guy singing. His voice is so full of emotion, I can’t help wondering what he’s singing about. The words hit me right in the heart and make my chest ache with loneliness. A lump appears in my throat and I swallow to keep it from spilling out of my mouth.

I can feel Ronan’s eyes on me. Can he see my weird mood? The shine in my eyes caused by French words sung with a desperation I’ve never heard before? I suck in my lower lip to stop my chin from trembling.

“Would you like more tea?” Ronan’s voice is soft, as though he’s addressing a scared kitten.

I don’t trust my own voice, so I nod. The familiarity of his movements when he fixes my tea reassures me. The care in which he adds loose tea leaves to the infuser and pours water of just the right temperature over them. The way he patiently waits three minutes while it steeps. The gentle smile he gives me as he sets the mug in front of me.

The French guy agitates my heart with his singing, and Ronan calms it with his kindheartedness. The contrasts are intense, making my skin feel too snug for my body, my chest tight, and my stomach worried. My pulse flutters in my neck, and I worry that Ronan will see it. I don’t know what to do with myself.

 

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Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I thought we’d celebrate with a book sale (details about the sale is at the end of the post) and a short story featuring two guys you know by now: Iggy and Ronan from Awakenings & French Songs.

I hope you all have a great day, and I hope that you enjoy this little sneak peek into Iggy and Ronan’s future. ❤️


Valentine’s Day & French Songs

“What’s all this?”

Ronan’s voice startles me out of my close inspection of our dinner table, and I squint at him. “What does it look like?” I bark, cross my arms over my chest, trying to hide the nervous flutter in my stomach.

He steps closer to the table; his eyes taking in the flickering tea lights, the fancy place settings with the huge red wine glasses he loves so much, and the bottle of Bordeaux decanting in his Grandmother’s old crystal carafe. There are no roses though, I draw the line at clichés such as roses and heart-shaped chocolate.

“It looks like a romantic dinner.” He steps closer to me, nudging my shoulder with his arm. “But that can’t be it, can it? Surely Iggy Wilker wouldn’t do something as banal as a romantic dinner for his partner on Valentine’s Day?” He clutches a strand of imaginary pearls and flutters his eyelashes.

“Shut up,” I grumble and slide my hand around his waist, burying my nose in his upper arm and inhale his scent.

“If I remember what you told me last year correctly,” he continues and flings his arm around my shoulders, “the only way Iggy Wilker, gay party-boy extraordinaire, will ever spend Valentine’s Day is with go-go boys in red skimpy underwear or giving head in a public bathroom.”

I tilt my head back and shoot him a glare. But the impish look in his eyes tell me he’s enjoying himself far too much and there’s only one way to shut him up. So I reach up, cup the back of his head, pull him down, and kiss him.

It’s hot and wet and eager and dueling tongues and clashing lips, and my knees go weak when he moans.

When I pull back, his eyes pupils are blown, his lips puffy, and his mouth stretched in a wide, sunny smile. He wraps his arms around me and crushes me against his body.

I cuddle close, resting my cheek on his chest. The beat of his heart is strong and steady in my ear. His hands wander up and down my spine and he presses a kiss on the top of my head.

“I did it for you,” I blurt.

“What?”

“This. I did it for you. Because I’d do anything for you, even celebrate fucking Valentine’s Day.”

“Oh Iggy,” he says in a shaky voice and tightens his grip on me.

I look up and meet his gaze. “I wanted to do something special since Emery is with Maya.”

He meets my gaze and cradles my face in his hands. “Every day with you is special.”

“You’re a sap.” I rise to my toes and brush my lips against his before letting him go and pulling out a chair. He sits. and then knits his eyebrows together as though he just thought of something. “You didn’t cook, did you?” he asks with alarm in his voice, peering out into the kitchen.

I chuckle. “Honey, no. I’m trying to wine and dine you. Not burn our house down and poison you.”

He laughs, eyes crinkling with happiness and glittering with mirth, making my heart stutter in my chest.

“Pour us some wine and I’ll go get the food,” I say.

On the way to the kitchen, I press play on the stereo. A moment later, I rejoin the love of my life, hands laden with food, accompanied by Edith Piaf singing Je ne regrette rien.

I couldn’t agree more.


vday sale

All ebooks are 40% off at JMS Books thru Monday, even pre-orders. So if you want to buy cheap books, click here to get to my author page.

Awakenings & French Songs – available now

awakeningsAn existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime—drinking, dancing, and willing guys—he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late-night cup of tea, it seems that circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

AVAILABLE NOW
JMS BOOKS (20% OFF) | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&N | GOOGLE PLAY

add to goodreads

Coming soon: Awakenings & French Songs

It’s only three more days until the release of Awakenings & French Songs. I thought we’d take a look at a couple of pre-release reviews if you need help to decide if this is something for you. 🙂

“Family and waiting was the theme here and there were such tender moments, I couldn’t help but fall for this story.” said Kristin at Gay Book Reviews and gave it 4 stars.

“This was a short and sweet read. Iggy and Ronan were such nice guys and I loved them as a couple. Although this was short, the story was well-written, felt complete and the characters were well-developed.” said Tracy from Bayou Book Junkie (on Goodreads) and gave it 4 stars.


awakenings blurb releasedatum

PRE-ORDER NOW:

JMS BOOKS (20% OFF) | AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO | ITUNES | B&N | GOOGLE PLAY

add to goodreads

Excerpt from Awakenings & French Songs

In little more than two weeks (fifteen days to be exact) Awakenings & French Songs will be released, and I thought you might like an excerpt? 🙂


awakeningsAn existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime—drinking, dancing, and willing guys—he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late-night cup of tea, it seems that circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 12, 2019

Pre-order now:

JMS Books (20% off) | AmazonAmazon UK | Kobo | iTunes | B&N | Google Play

We do this a lot, me and Ronan, hang out together without talking, sometimes with music playing, sometimes not. It’s never uncomfortable, I never feel the need to talk just for the sake of talking. I can relax in his company in a way I’m unable to around anyone else. I’ve come to cherish these moments and I crave them more and more.

“Thanks for this,” I say after a few minutes.

“Anytime. Tell me about the ‘eh’ night.”

I sigh and rub my palm on my head. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“Who says something’s wrong?”

“It must be, right? I don’t like doing the stuff I’ve always loved anymore. The guys brought me to a huge party tonight. I’m not kidding when I say ten guys threw themselves at me during the first hour. And what did I do? Declined their generous offers, drank sugary drinks, and hid in the bathroom where Dicky Potter tried to get me to suck his cock by waving it in my face and insulting my height.”

“Oh, no! Not your height,” he says with a faux horrified expression. “He must’ve had a death wish.”

“Ha ha, very funny.” I throw a mock glare at him. He knows that being vertically challenged is a sore spot for me, but he’s the only one who can get away with making fun of it. Also, anyone with two brain cells can probably figure out why I wear boots that add four inches. Hint—it’s not for comfort.

“And…Dicky Potter?” He rises an eyebrow.

“Yeah, you know. He waved that thing at me as though he tried to Wingardium Leviosa me.” I show the motion I’ve learned from the movies with my finger.

Ronan presses the heels of his hands to his eyes and his shoulders shake.

“What’s so damned funny?”

“I shouldn’t have let you watch Harry Potter with Emery and me. I will never be able to look at them again without thinking about Dicky Potter,” he chokes out between chuckles. “And then Emery is going to ask what’s so funny, and—”

“Stop!” I hold up my hand. “Not another word!” My eyes are about to bug out of my head at the thought of sweet Emery hearing about that. Ugh. I shiver.

He peers at me and we burst out laughing.

The silence returns after our merriment fades. A new song starts playing on the stereo. A haunting violin and a lonely piano is followed by a guy singing. His voice is so full of emotion, I can’t help wondering what he’s singing about. The words hit me right in the heart and make my chest ache with loneliness. A lump appears in my throat and I swallow to keep it from spilling out of my mouth.

I can feel Ronan’s eyes on me. Can he see my weird mood? The shine in my eyes caused by French words sung with a desperation I’ve never heard before? I suck in my lower lip to stop my chin from trembling.

“Would you like more tea?” Ronan’s voice is soft, as though he’s addressing a scared kitten.

I don’t trust my own voice, so I nod. The familiarity of his movements when he fixes my tea reassures me. The care in which he adds loose tea leaves to the infuser and pours water of just the right temperature over them. The way he patiently waits three minutes while it steeps. The gentle smile he gives me as he sets the mug in front of me.

The French guy agitates my heart with his singing, and Ronan calms it with his kindheartedness. The contrasts are intense, making my skin feel too snug for my body, my chest tight, and my stomach worried. My pulse flutters in my neck, and I worry that Ronan will see it. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Cover reveal: Awakenings and French Songs

If you remember: when JMS Books had the huge Black Friday 60% off all ebooks sale, I told you about one of my upcoming releases (because it was available for pre-order at 60% off), named Awakenings and French Songs. I didn’t have a proper cover at the time, only a temporary “coming soon” cover that JMS provided.

But now I have a cover!! Wanna see?

awakenings

An existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime—drinking, dancing, and willing guys—he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late-night cup of tea, it seems that circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

PRE-ORDER AT JMS BOOKS

hearts border

Release day is January 12th, it’s a M/M contemporary story, approximately 11K words long. You know me, I like it short and sweet, and this is no exception.

JMS Books always have a 20% sale off pre-orders so if you click the link above now, you can buy it at a reduced price!

Here’s the song that inspired the whole story. Do you like old French songs? I LOVE this song, it’s so emotional!

hearts border

Excerpt:

“Iggy?” A slow smile blooms on his face and his eyes brighten. “What are you doing up this early? What happened to no knocking on my door before ten on weekends, young Miss Emery?” he asks, imitating my words perfectly.

“I grew old, that’s what happened.”

“Awww. Poor Iggy.”

“Hey! Be nice or I won’t share my breakfast.” I hold up the bags to show him what he’d be missing.

His eyebrows shoot to the heavens. “You brought breakfast?”

“Um, yeah. You gonna let me in, or …?”

“Of course. You just about shocked me to death, that’s all.” He pretends to clutch his pearls.

“That seems to be my theme this week,” I mutter and follow him to the kitchen.

“I was just about to start breakfast –” he points at a carton of eggs, “– but I guess I don’t have to?”

“Nope. Coffee would be good though. I didn’t buy any.”

“Sure.” He leans over to the machine and pushes the button. “All done.” He grins at me and takes a seat at the table. “Show me what you got.”

He watches as I unload my purchases. Baguettes. Croissants. Pain au chocolat. A box of pastel colored macarons I bought only because they’re so pretty and I thought Emery would appreciate the pinks and purples and yellows. Three tiny, fancy-looking jars of French jam; black cherry, fig and walnut, and raspberry. And finally, a box of huge, dark red strawberries the bakery sold for some unknown reason.

Ronan’s mouth falls open as he takes in everything. “What brought this on?”

I take my usual spot at the table. “I’ve had that song on my mind ever since the other night. I have no idea what it’s called or what the guy was singing about, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. So when I walked past Knead It and they had a French flag hanging in the window, I couldn’t help myself.”

“Which song?”

I hum a few bars, hoping I don’t butcher it too much so he won’t recognize it, but he nods.

“‘Ne me quitte pas’ by Jacques Brel.”

I repeat the title in a terrible French accent. “What does it mean?”

“It means ‘Don’t leave me.’”

His words make my heart stutter in my chest. “It’s great. So emotional,” I rasp out.

“I didn’t know you were a fan of old French songs.”

“I’m not. But it’s really beautiful.” The explanation feels inadequate, but I don’t know how to express myself better.

He doesn’t talk for several seconds, and then he says, “Huh.” His gaze is full of questions he’s not asking, and he doesn’t let up the intense scrutiny for even a moment. Inside, I’m squirming like a maggot on a fish hook, but I hope I manage to present a calm exterior.

For the first time ever, things are weird between us. The conversation is stilted, and the silences awkward. I know why, of course. By showing up like this, I changed the dynamics of our relationship. I’ve never been one for socializing in the mornings. And while I’ve brought the occasional pizza or six-pack, I’ve never brought anything like this before. Something meaningful. Something that shows I’ve been thinking about him and the time we spent together. Something serious.

I can’t blame him for wondering what’s going on. He listens to that French stuff all the time and I’m sure he’s played that song a million times before, but it’s like I heard it for the very first time on Wednesday.

I can’t stand his close examination any longer, so I get up and start setting the table with plates and cups and cutlery. “What’s the deal with you and all the French stuff anyway?” I ask with my head buried in the refrigerator, looking for butter and something for Emery to drink since she’s not allowed coffee.

“My grandmother was from France. She always used to sing the old songs to me and teach me the lyrics.”

I place a cutting board and a bread knife on the table. “Oh. What was her name?”

“Celeste.”

“That’s a beautiful name.”

“Yes.”

I look around for something else to do. “Do you speak French?”

“Iggy?”

I gulp, knowing what’s coming. “Yes?” Reluctantly, I retake my seat at the table.

“Why are you really here?” His voice is soft and caring and I’ve heard him use the same tone when he speaks to Emery about important matters.

I line up the jam jars in a perfect row, needing something to do with my hands. “I … uh … want to spend more time with you and Emery.”