Excerpts, Late Night Poetry, Nell's WIP

Late Night Poetry, excerpt

I’ve actually written since my last writing update, so I thought that you’d like to read an excerpt from my story Late Night Poetry. It’s still unedited, so forgive any mistakes.

The tagline for the story is A love story told in answering machine messages. Enjoy.

Monday October 22, 1990

“Hi Sully. It’s me. Um…Lou. But yeah, you can hear that of course. I…uh…know I shouldn’t call you, but…I just had to hear your voice, even if it’s just your answering machine message. I’m…”—deep sigh—“I’m so fucking sorry, you have no idea. I wish I was brave like you but I’m not. I’m so sorry for letting you down. So, so sorry.”—Sob. Long silence—“I…guess I should hang up. I just… I love you, you know? I guess I’m like that Donne fellow you told me about. Two kinds of fool? But instead of being in love and talking about it in a poem, I’m letting the one I love go. That’s gotta be worse, huh? Take care, Sully. I…uh…

My legs turn to jelly as I listen to the message, and I sink down on the chair and lean my forehead on the kitchen table with a loud groan. When the machine beeps, I rewind the tape and listen to the message again. And again.

I just love you, you know.

I bang my head against the table repeatedly as I listen to it a fourth time, my heart aching more and more for every repeat.

“Ouch,” I yelp after a too hard thump, and rub my sore forehead with fingertips still stiff after the outdoor chill. “And you just had to quote John Donne to me, you dickhead,” I mutter and shove my hands under my thighs so I won’t replay the message a fifth time.

I didn’t even know he paid that much attention to me when I read poetry around him. He’s the kind of person who prefers beer over books and paintball over poetry. He’s constantly in movement even when he’s sitting; legs jiggling or fingers drumming a tattoo on his leg, or he’s tossing and catching with his ever-present baseball.

So to hear that he actually listened to me when I read out loud around him—and poetry no less—prickles my heart. I always thought he was in his own world, not paying much attention to me. He never mentioned it after he caught me doing it the first time.

“You’re reading out loud.” He’d found me with my coffee, a lit candle, and whatever poetry book I’d checked out of the library, the first time he spent the night in my tiny apartment.

He startled me, but I nodded. “Yes. I like to hear the words out loud. Does it bother you?”

“Nah,” he said and kissed me on the mouth, morning breath and all since the sleepover was unplanned and he hadn’t brought a toothbrush.

After that, I continued reading the poems out loud around him, thinking he tuned me out and didn’t pay attention.

Seems I was wrong.

But it wasn’t the only time I was wrong. I also thought that when someone said “I love you,” it meant that they wanted to be with the other person, but that was obviously wrong, too. At least if the person saying the words were named Lou Hillman.

Abruptly, I stand and slam my hand on the delete button, strip out of my running clothes, and jump into the shower.

Mood board:

late night poetry picspiration v2

Awakenings and French Songs, Excerpts

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?


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.

Excerpts, Us Again

Us Again excerpt

Two weeks until the release of Us Again, and I thought you might want to read an excerpt? It’s a different one than will be used in the release blitz (starting on October 6), so be sure to check out all the blogs that have so graciously signed up to participate if you need to read a little more before you decide if you want to buy it or not.

What am I saying? Of course, you will want to buy it! I love Alex and Sammy, they might be my favorite couple yet 😉😁

usagain blub releasedate cover

Available for pre-order now:

JMS Books (20% off) | Amazon

add to goodreads


“Alexander?” Sammy’s hoarse whisper pulls me out of my walk down memory lane, and I lift my head and look at him.

“I’m here.”

His eyes are little more than narrow slits, and he squeezes them shut and opens them again slowly, as though he’s making sure I’m not a hallucination. He turns his hand and laces his fingers with mine, making my breath stutter to a halt.

“What are you doing here?”

“David called me.”

“David called you.” It’s not a question, more like an unsurprised statement. “Why?”

I sweep my thumb over the back of his hand. “Because you’re in the hospital.” I keep my voice low.

His eyes flutter closed, and a sigh escapes him. “That’s not a reason.”

“Seems legit to me.”

Gently, he releases his grip on me and wiggles his hand free, hiding it under the blanket. “I told you to leave and never come back.”

My hand flies to my chest and I rub over my heart. Fuck. “I remember.”

He twists his upper body away from me and reaches for a glass of water on the bedside table. I hurry around the bed, so I can give it to him.

“Thank you,” he mumbles and gulps down the contents in one go before giving it back.



I sit in the chair previously occupied by his brother and move it closer, but don’t touch him. I want to. Oh, fuck, do I want to, but my gut tells me I need to give him time. To let him come to me. My gut is usually right when it comes to Sammy; I just hope that today isn’t the first time it will fail me.

“What are you doing here? I yelled at you. Screamed terrible things. Why would you even care about me enough to visit me in the middle of the night?”

My hands twitch and I shove them under my thighs. “I needed to make sure you’re okay.”

He sighs. “That makes sense. It’s who you are. Care Bear with the huge heart.”

The sound of his old nickname for me makes my eyes and throat burn. I try to swallow it down and close my eyes, but the image of him snuggling against my chest, his fingers playing with my fur as he presses kisses to my skin, whispering, “You’re so cuddly, Care Bear,” pops up on my retinas, and I force myself to look at him or I’ll definitely start bawling.

“Now that you know I’m okay, you can go. Thanks for checking up on me.” His chin wobbles, but he doesn’t look away, trying so hard to convey confidence and assurance, and he’s so fucking brave I fear my heart will explode.

“You want me to go?”

He throws his arm over his eyes. “Yes,” he says in a barely audible voice.

“If that’s what you really want, I’ll go.” The words taste like vomit in my mouth, and I want to rush to the sink and rinse it with water. “But you have to look at me and say it. No hiding. Straight-shooting.”

Everything stops. Time. My heartbeat. Rational thought.

This is it. What the fuck do I do if he tells me to go?

Slowly he lowers his arm. His lips quiver and moisture leaks from his eyes, but he does it.

He says the words. “I need you to leave, please.”

Excerpts, Nobody Else's

Happy release day to me!

Wohoo, today is the day Nobody Else’s is released into the wild! I’m super excited for you to meet Beckett and Levi and I hope you will love them as much as I do.

promo prerelease reviews available now

Mars enters Pisces, giving Beckett Cooper the opportunity to assert himself when it comes to a secret infatuation; his best friend’s younger brother Levi. But can Beckett trust what’s in front of him and be brave enough to take what he wants?

With Venus in Virgo, people usually become more reserved, but Levi Byrne always takes the opposite road of what’s expected of him. So, instead of pulling back, he reaches out for a man he’s been interested in for years; Beckett Cooper.

Is it the celestial bodies aligning to bring together two people destined for each other? Or is it a simple tale of boy meets boy, boy likes boy, and boy wants to kiss boy? Do Beckett and Levi even care, or are they too busy getting to know each other … and falling in love?


JMS Books | AmazonAmazon UK | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play | B&N | Smashwords

add to goodreads



The voice made my stomach jump and the corners of my mouth turn up even though I was so tired I’d thought I’d never smile again just a moment ago.

“Levi. Hi!” Stubble covered his face and he approached me with a spring in his step and a happy grin that made my heart pitter-patter in my chest. Oh gawd, he was cuter than ever. “What are you doing here?” I asked.

He threw his arm around my neck in a quick, one-armed hug. The heat of his body penetrated my cold soul, but before I had time to hug him back, he let go of me and stepped back. I missed his warmth instantly. I wanted more. I wanted to bury my nose in the crook of his neck and just stay there until this crappy day was gone and forgotten. Feel his hands on my back and his soothing breaths in my ear.

Shit. I swallowed around a lump that appeared in my throat. I had it bad.

“I’m here to get some celebratory ice cream. I finished my project on time, so I thought I’d treat myself.”

“Great job. Congratulations!”

“Thanks!” His eyes sparkled at me. “Are you getting ice cream, too?”

“No. I was trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. I can’t decide what sounds the least disgusting,” I said and picked up two depressing looking boxes. “Lasagna or pepperoni pizza?”

Levi drew his eyebrows together and then took both from me and threw them back into the freezer. “You can’t eat crap like that. It’s no good for you.”

“I know,” I sighed. “But my fridge is empty and I’m too tired to both shop for groceries and cook.”

He looked at me then, swept his gaze from head to toe. “You look exhausted. I’m sorry I didn’t notice earlier.”

“It’s fine.”

With an unconvinced look on his face, he asked, “Are you all right?”

“Yeah. Just tired. I had a terrible day at work.”

“I know all about those.” He sucked his lower lip into his mouth, letting his eyes flick over my face, taking in what I was sure was tired lines around my eyes and a mouth trying its best to smile. “I have an idea,” he said after a few moments. “What if I make you dinner? I’d need to borrow your kitchen of course, but if you feel like a homecooked meal … I’m your guy.”

I drew a breath and held it. Blinked. “Are you serious?” I asked in a whooshing exhale.

“I am.”

“But what about your ice cream celebration?”

“It can wait.”

His kindness coupled with my fatigue choked me up. Half a second from bursting into tears, I asked, “Why?”

“Because you look like you need someone to take care of you.”

I couldn’t help it then. A tear escaped. I turned my face away and squeezed my eyes shut. A part of me wanted to turn and run away, hide my stupid sensitivity from him and not be the guy who cries in the grocery store aisle. But another part knew he could be trusted and even if I broke down completely here, he wouldn’t make fun of me.

“Then yes. Thank you,” I choked out.

Gentle fingers plucked the shopping basket from my grip. His other hand found it’s way to my nape and caressed me for a second. It was just a brief touch, but it gave me the strength to wipe away the tear and look at him again.

“Let’s go. I know just the thing.”

Angel and Firebird, Excerpts

Angel and Firebird – excerpt

aaf w review quotes

Five years ago, Phoenix lost his lover Gabriel, his angel, in a horrific hate crime. All he wanted was to follow him into death and he struggled a long time trying to get his life back together. All this time later he still hasn’t been able to put the past behind him and forget about the love of his life.

On the anniversary of Gabriel’s death—and 25th birthday—Phoenix’ apartment building catches fire. Will Phoenix do the reasonable thing, or will he rise from the ashes to reunite with his beloved angel?

Available now:

JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play | Smashwords

add to goodreads



I shake my head, trying to get out of the funk I’ve been in since I woke up. Grabbing his favorite throw blanket and my Kindle, I carry them to the living room and dump them on the couch before continuing to the corner of the room masquerading as a kitchenette and chug down a bottle of water. It’s pitch black outside my window and the streets are silent. Not even the cat that’s usually perched on a branch high in the tree spying on guileless birds is present. But sounds of people moving around in the hallway drift through my front door. I scrunch my eyebrows together and glance at the clock on the wall. Three thirty. Is the neighbor having one of his crazy all-night parties again?

Sighing, I shrug. I don’t really care what he’s doing. We made an agreement one of the times I woke up in the middle of the night to him blasting Nirvana so loud I was sure the people two streets away heard it: I would ignore the ridiculous volume and he would never try to invite me to the parties again. It has worked well so far.

A loud banging on my door, followed by a panicked “Fire!” makes me jump. “Yo, Phoenix, you in there? Get out, get out!” After another bang, hasty steps disappear from our apartment and the procedure is repeated next door.

My heart speeds up. The damned fire alarm must be broken. Again. If it’s not the elevator, missing light bulbs, or a faulty water heater, it’s the fire alarm.

Shaking my head, I try to get a grip on my thoughts. I need to get out of there, but my naked feet are glued to the floor and I can only stand there listening to the sounds of doors opening and people running. There aren’t many apartments on each floor in this crappy building, the sounds soon disappear, leaving behind only a thundering silence.



“Move, dammit,” I mutter to my feet and thankfully they obey. Jogging to my bedroom, I grab my phone and wallet. I shove my feet in my shoes and pull a warm sweater over my head before hurrying to the door.

When I get back out to the living room I feel it. The stench of smoke. It seeps in under the door, invades our home, and threatens my entire existence. I fight the urge to cough. Flutters of panic start in my belly and it has never taken so long to cross the floor of our small place as it does now. I feel like I’m stuck, like I’m moving in slow motion, like I’ll never make it.

But of course, I do. I reach for the handle, ready to get out of there, but …

The photo album! Shit, I almost forgot!

I can’t leave without my pictures of him. My most prized possessions that I watch regularly because I fear his dear face will fade from my memory and slip into oblivion.

I want to remember his piercing blue eyes forever. The way his entire person lit up as he laughed. I want to remember his chin dimple and the nose that was crooked because he sledded into a tree when he was a kid and broke it. I want to remember his hands, his long legs, his ridiculously small ears, and everything about him. I can’t go on with my life if I forget what he looked like.