Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: The Scent of Pine by Holly Day

Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by 🥰 Today, The Scent of Pine is released. It’s my 12th story of this year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit impressed by myself LOL. (Nell, who’s talking about herself in third person apparently, is super impressed, too!! Great job, you!)

A little over a year ago, I was with my two youngest at a playground, and I sat on a bench watching them, and as always when I’m not close to my computer, I had an idea for the story I was writing – a Christmas story. And while sitting there plotting, I thought: I could do this all year round. Writing holiday stories, that is.

I dreamed up a scenario of how it would be, I even decided that if I ever was to do it, I would name myself Holly Day since it sounds like holiday LOL. I never really believed I’d do it. It was a playground fantasy 😊

But I told Nell, Ally, and JM about it and they all thought it was a fun idea. And here we are. Insane, but a lot of fun!

With today’s release, we’re celebrating Christmas Card Day, which is on the 9th of December. Do you send Christmas cards? I used to, but I haven’t in years.

The Scent of Pine was meant to be a feel-good story, but it didn’t turn out that way. I had this idea of a Christmas card arriving at the wrong address, and the man getting it tracking down the one who it was for, and sparks would fly.

And that’s sort of what happens, only it’s a stalker ex sending the cards, and they’re creepy, and Rafael, who is the one who was meant to get the cards, stays with Ash, who got them, more out of fear than of any sparks flying. They’re getting there, but not in the carefree, cosy way I’d predicted.

There is snow, Christmas decorations, and, of course, the scent of pine.


Blake had known where he was for over a week. It was likely he was watching the building.

Rafael didn’t know how he’d be able to leave, but he had to. He didn’t know where he would go, but he had to get away.

After throwing most of his clothes in a backpack together with his laptop, wallet, phone, and charger, he neared the door. The building was mostly quiet, the traffic had died down on the road outside, and the snow gave the world an innocent look—deceitful.

He pulled the hood of his black hoodie over his head. Everything he wore was black, but the snow made it harder to blend in with the shadows. He crept down the stairs and spent a couple of minutes peering out through the door window. A man walked past with a dog the shape of a loaf of bread—not Blake, he’d never get a pet.

With a deep breath, he pushed the door open. His heart thudded against his ribs as he looked up and down the sidewalk. No one was watching him, at least no one he could see.

After a few seconds’ indecision, he crossed the road. Better to put some distance between him and the apartment. The faster he could get away, the slimmer the chance of Blake spotting him.

A voice in his head told him he was overreacting. Blake might be on the other side of the world, only sending those cards to mess with him—to remind him he’d never be free of him.

It wasn’t illegal to send cards. Blake never did anything illegal. He had never hit Rafael, had never taken anything from him, had never locked him up inside their apartment, had never withheld food, had never done anything—Rafael had done it all, to himself, to please him.

Blake had claws buried in his brain.

“Where are you going?”

Rafael yelped. Ashton Cross was standing in his socks in the snow, blocking his path. Or not blocking, there was plenty of room to walk around him, but he was in Rafael’s way.

“Nowhere.” Rafael made to walk past him, but as he did, he shouldered him. It all happened so fast. Rafael never shouldered his way past anyone, and he could’ve stepped around Ashton, but he was scared and wasn’t thinking. So, he more or less tackled Ashton which had Ashton falling toward the wrought iron fence. Rafael’s brain had a millisecond to present an image of Ashton impaled on the arrow-like spearheads. He rushed to grab Ashton, wrapped his arms around his middle, and pulled him close.

Ashton was a good bit taller and broader than Rafael, but he managed to halt the fall before it was too late.


Ashton looked at him with wide eyes. “It’s okay. I’m a little unsteady.”

Rafael didn’t let go. He stood there breathing in the fresh winter air and held Ashton. He hadn’t held anyone in a long time.

“Are you okay?” Ashton looked at him with raised eyebrows.

Rafael let go and stepped away. “Ah… yes… I was afraid my carelessness would have you impaled on the spikes.” He gestured at the fence.

“That would’ve been a sight.”

Rafael stared. He didn’t sound angry, more like he was amused.

“I don’t think anyone would’ve appreciated it, to be fair. Least of all you.”

Ashton chuckled, which had Rafael staring at him. Rafael had pushed him, and he chuckled. “Are you sure you’re okay? Maybe you should have a lie-down. Almost being impaled can be scary.”

Ashton’s chuckling turned into a real laugh. After a few seconds of Ashton laughing and Rafael staring, he sobered. “Sorry. It’s just…” He gestured at the fence. “I chase down criminals for a living. I’m on sick leave because I was pushed out of a window, shattered my leg, and was sliced up by glass shards. Being nudged toward a fence doesn’t scare me.”

Rafael winced at the image of falling out a window. “I’m so sorry. It must’ve hurt like hell.”

Ashton shrugged in a slow, careful motion. “Falling didn’t hurt, and I passed out when I hit the ground, but waking up in the hospital was no fun.” He looked down the road then at Rafael again. “Now, tell me what’s going on.”

Rafael grimaced and evaluated his chances of escape. He’d say they were pretty good. He’d always been a fast runner and with Ashton still recovering from a fractured leg he was sure he could outrun him without too much trouble.

“Come inside. I’ll make you a cup of tea, and you can tell me what’s going on.”

Part of Rafael yearned to. Ashton might not be on duty, but he was still a cop, and unless he was a homophobic, racist bastard, he’d know what to do. Rafael took a deep breath and nodded.


Ashton Cross was stupid enough to fall out a window while trying to catch a criminal. Now he’s on sick leave and has been for weeks, and has nothing to do but watch his neighbors go about their day. It’s driving him insane. When he gets a Christmas card not meant for him, he doesn’t think much of it, but then there is another and another, all with the same motif.

For two years, Rafael Vidal has been hiding from his ex. He almost believed he’d gotten away when his neighbor knocks on his door to hand over a stack of Christmas cards. One look at the writing, and Rafael suspects he has been found.

When Ashton understands the situation, he’s set on catching Rafael’s ex. He might not be ready to get back to active duty at the police station, but finally, he has something to do, and he doesn’t mind keeping Rafael close. Rafael is trying to distract himself by helping Ashton put up Christmas decorations, but will they be able to enjoy Christmas with his stalker ex lurking around the corner?

Contemporary Gay Romance: 17,557 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2read

About Holly Day:

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.

Connect with Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Instagram

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: How to Soothe a Dragon by Holly Day

My friend Holly Day is back on the blog! This is her eleventh release this year, so can we just take a moment to admire how freaking productive and creative she is? And on top of that, she’s a lovely human being, so if you’ve never read any of her stories, maybe give her a try? 🙂

Hello! *waves* Thank you so much, Nell, for letting me swing by again. Yesterday, How to Soothe a Dragon was released. It’s a story I wrote to celebrate National Button Day, which is on November 16.

I had this vision… I thought I’d write a story similar to There Will Be Aliens. If you haven’t read it, it’s a story I wrote for Extraterrestrial Abductions Day, and it’s a rather silly little tale about a human man and his best friend. They’re walking home from the pub after one beer too many when they get abducted by aliens. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I wanted to do something similar, only now on Earth.

Yeah. So. Badass aliens, right?

I wrote and I wrote and I grew more and more frustrated. I liked my characters, I liked the story, but I just couldn’t get it to work, and do you know why? What I’ve written is waaaayyyy more like a paranormal romance story than a sci-fi story. And in my mind, I was writing sci-fi.

Yes, Ocren is from another planet, but this is a fated mates dragon shifter story. No matter how hard I tried to push it into being sci-fi, it’s not – not really *shakes head*

I was about to toss it all together. Took a few days off writing, and when I read it again, I was amused. You think, as an author, you have control. You make up the world, right? You create the characters. You decide what they’re gonna think, feel, and do. Right? WRONG.

This story is a perfect example of things getting out of hand, so much so that I didn’t even know what it was I was writing.

But we have alien dragons, people dressed as The Beatles on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover and there is nothing more dangerous than lemons 😆

Derek does his best to avoid his neighbour, a big, scary Pacurian male (the alien race). Ocren, Derek’s neighbour, doesn’t know what it is about Derek, but he simply can’t stay away. He’s shunned by his people for being born under the Zatera moon. It makes him dangerous and unpredictable, but Derek could soothe him – if only he stopped running away every time he saw Ocren.


Ocren Starburst leaned his forehead against Derek’s door. He was gone. He knew it in his soul. The ache was welling up again. His hands shook as he pushed away from the wall.

Next time. He’d handle it better the next time.

Shaking his head, he went back to his apartment. Hopelessness painted the walls, and cold sweat coated his skin. He needed Derek. The moment he’d seen him, he’d known he needed him. He didn’t know what to do.

As soon as he saw him, he wanted to push. Wanted to take over his mind. Wanted to crawl into him, and he feared taking over his mind wouldn’t be enough. It was as if Derek was the key, the one person who could heal the rip in his soul. The only one who could calm him.

He was born under the Zatera moon—volatile and feared by most. His stay on Earth wasn’t one he’d chosen, but it was an effective way to get rid of the Zatera born. Put them on Earth, and since most of them never sired any offspring, they’d remain there. The only way to get back home, unless you were of an important family, was to sire a child. Then they welcomed you with open arms. A Zatera born would never be welcomed with open arms.

He growled.

They’d placed him in a human building because no one wanted to be close to him. Fine with him, he didn’t want to be close to them either. His teeth grew sharp as he neared the window and looked at the ugly fire escape blocking most of the view.

After a second’s thought, he opened the window and pushed through. Derek would have no problem climbing out the window, he was small and fine-limbed—maybe not by human standards but compared to him at least. A metallic groan sounded as he put his boots on the grid and climbed up the two flights to Derek’s apartment.

Part of him was ashamed of his behavior, but he was only gonna make sure Derek was okay. He isn’t there. Whatever he told himself, it was a lie. Derek wasn’t in the building. Ocren sensed when he was nearby, and when he wasn’t.

Biting back a snarl, he looked through the glass into Derek’s living room—tidy. There weren’t many things, only a couch, a coffee table, a TV, and a bookshelf. His heart ached. Derek’s scent would be strong inside.

He glanced toward the bed and pictured Derek sleeping there, warm and cozy. His pale skin fascinated Ocren, and he wanted to run his hands over it, over every part of him. Burning heat coursed through his veins and his cock was painfully hard—it always was when he could breathe in Derek’s scent.

The scent wasn’t enough, though. He needed Derek, and he needed him now. It had been four years, and Ocren didn’t have much time left. He wanted to spend whatever time he had with Derek.

Ocren was forty-four, and he’d never heard of any Zatera born living that long without a mate. The few who lived long, happy lives were those who found a mate born under a more balanced moon. Hardly anyone would ever consider mating a Zatera born. They were cruel, turned feral, got violent… or so everyone was told—Zatera born included.

Ocren had been violent, he’d been angry—still was—but he’d never hurt someone he loved.

He didn’t have anyone to love here on Earth.

His rage was getting out of control. He’d almost taken off his boss’s head earlier today. The fucker had touched him—no one touched him—and Ocren had snapped. He’d thrown him into the wall and had been about to pounce when Kan had stepped into his line of sight.

Kan was another Zatera born, the only other Zatera born at their department. He was mated to Ilqan, a quiet Pacurian male with a soft face and sharp eyes. Ilqan leveled him.

Ocren had seen Kan at his worst, but after meeting Ilqan he’d turned into another man. He was still Zatera born, still sharp and harsh, as warriors should be, but he was more balanced.

Because of the incident earlier in the day, Ocren was on a week’s leave from work, and he feared it would tip him over the edge. What if he ended up slaughtering the inhabitants of the entire apartment block? He wanted to sink his fangs into anyone who’d ever spoken to Derek, and while part of him knew it wasn’t a charming trait, he couldn’t stop his brain from painting pictures of blood-sprayed walls and broken bodies.

A drop of rain landed on his forehead, making him aware of being outside—not only outside, but on the fire escape, three floors up, looking into an apartment that wasn’t his.

If his colleagues found out, he’d be put in isolation. He could hold on to his sanity while being at home for a week, but there was no question what would happen if they locked him up—he’d go feral.


Derek Herman is living a nightmare. Long before he was born, the planet was taken over by a mind-controlling alien race, and everyone is affected except for him. Derek does his best not to draw attention to himself, but it’s not going well.

Ocren Starburst is obsessed with his human neighbor. Every time he sees Derek, he wants nothing more than to grab him, hold him, and keep him forever. And four years of chasing him up the stairs in their apartment building has resulted in Derek refusing to even acknowledge his existence. That is, until Derek accuses Ocren of breaking into his apartment.

Derek found a button on his living room floor, the same kind of button Ocren wears on his police uniform. And while Ocren hasn’t broken in, he knows the button means someone has. Ocren’s race has kept their shape-shifting abilities secret for years, but now his other form wants out to slaughter everyone that dares to get too close to Derek. And staying in control proves hard when threats toward Derek increase.

Will they be able to keep Derek safe without Ocren losing control of his dragon self?

Gay Paranormal Romance / 28,195 words

JMS Books :: Amazon ::

About Holly

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.

Connect with Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Instagram


Audiobook spotlight: The Lost in Time Trilogy by A.L. Lester

Finding happiness between the cracks

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit today, Nell! (You’re always welcome here, my friend ❤️) I’m doing some guests post around and about to let people know the 1920s London Border Magic trilogy has relaunched in audio. The books are now available wide rather than just with Audible.

If you’ve never read or listened to any of my books before, I usually describe them as paranormal, historical and queer. There’s a scattering of contemporary short stories and a couple of novellas that are lacking in screaming monsters from beyond the void, but most of my books are set in 1920s England. The 1920s London trilogy features a gay couple—Lew and Alec—and a gay/non-binary couple—Fenn and Will.

Writing Lost in Time seems aeons ago now. I finished it during NaNoWriMo in 2016-the only thing I’ve ever managed to get to the end of during the month and then only because I’d already written a lot of it! It really was a labour of love; and looking back now with a few more books under my belt I think it does show that it’s a first book. When I finished it, I felt I’d brought things to a satisfactory happy-for-now conclusion with Alec and Lew. Shadows on the Border is in effect a second volume of the same story and then begins another with Will and Fenn that is brought to a conclusion in The Hunted and the Hind.

My personal opinion is that you can’t ever have a happy-ever-after with a story that ends any time in the first half of the twentieth century. You’ve got two world wars looming there that foreshadow everything. All you can do with your historical characters is show them finding happiness in the cracks.

I think a lot of my stories tend to have that sort of vibe about them, because that’s the sort of life I live. Those of you who follow my newsletter etc will know Mr AL and I have a life-limited teenager. When she was born we never thought we’d get this far with her, but here we are. She turned thirteen this month! Our life revolves around her care—she’s very severely disabled. And the thing they say about parenting a disabled child is you live your life in the cracks. I think a lot of people live like that, whether they’re in our situation or not. People are just jogging along, trying to get through the day at work, scrape up the cash to pay the electricity bill and fill up the car, remember to buy some more potatoes on the way home, remember wash the kids’ PE kit and buy a birthday card for their mother-in-law.

All those day-to-day things we do in real life braid around our more abstract thoughts and feelings.

That’s what I try and show in my stories—extraordinary things happening to ordinary people, who have to deal with them regardless of what else they have going on in their lives. I sometimes think I have too much plot…my characters tend to have complicated lives and then whoops, magic is real! What do they do about that! ends up being another plot-strand I have to weave in.

In 1920s London everyone is trundling along dealing with their residual trauma of having fought a terrible four year war…and suddenly, bang, into the middle of all of that is Lew, who is from 2016 and completely skews everyone’s perceptions of reality. Even the people who already knew about the border and magic, because no-one realised you could travel through time. And of course Lew is completely off balance as well.

As always, Callum Hale, my narrator, was brilliant at pinning down the tones of each of the characters, modern, historical or fantastical. Lost in Time was out in audio before I finished writing The Hunted and the Hind and I found myself hearing his interpretation of the characters in my head as I was putting them down on the page. I have four audiobooks with him so far and fully intend to use him for future projects if I can persuade him to put up with me! Lew comes across as a modern Londoner, and Alec and Will are perfect for their class and their time. Fenn has this eerie sort of tone to them in Shadows on the Border which we toned down slightly for The Hunted and the Hind where they had more ‘screen-time’, so to speak. I felt that it would be easier for readers to identify with them if that was the case.

You can find most of my audiobooks at my Authors Direct page—all three 1920s London books can be bought for $20!—but they are also available wide at Apple, Hoopla, Scribd, LibroFM, Kobo, Chirp etc. and I think Audible have them on Whispersync—I am perpetually confused by how they work. I know some audio-library services are carrying them too. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I’ve enjoyed hearing Callum bring the characters to life!

Lost in Time

You can listen to the first half hour of Lost in Time here at Bookfunnel!

Gruesome murders taking place across 1920s London draw Lew and Alec together through the desolation of the East End and the smoky music clubs of Soho. They both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?

Not Lew, who is struggling to get to grips with life a century before he was born. Or Alec, who wants Lew in his bed, despite liking him for murder.

#1 in the 1920s London series. Gay paranormal, historical, romantic suspense of 53,000 words, set in the Border Magic Universe.

Buy the audiobooks!

About A. L. Lester

Ally Lester writes queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense and lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, three guineapigs, some hens and the duckettes.

She likes permaculture gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy these days. Not musical, doesn’t much like telly, likes to read. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has fibromyalgia and tedious fits.

Join my newsletter for a free copy of the novella An Irregular Arrangement, visit my website at or find me on social media via my link-tree.

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: October by Candlelight by K.L. Noone

Today, I welcome K.L. Noone back to the blog. She’s here to talk about her brand spanking new book that’s released today, so let’s all throw some virtual confetti her way and maybe even a virtual cake? Let me tell you a secret before I let Kristin take over: I adore her writing, fall is my favorite season and, stories described as “a soft domestic sort of love” is my crack. So this book could be written just for me. But I’d never be so selfish and not share it with you. Great writing is best shared with friends, don’t you agree. So while you read the post, I’ll go download my pre-ordered copy, make a cup of tea, light some candles (and my fire), and start reading…😍

Hi, Nell and Nell’s readers! Happy October to you—and thanks to Nell for letting me stop by to share my seasonal new release!

October by Candlelight might be among my favorite stories I’ve written—autumn is my favorite season, made of bonfire-leaves and candy-corn sugar and bone-thin branches and glowing jack-o-lantern gold, and I loved getting to imagine the decorations and atmosphere for this story!

Finn and Wes are also some of my favorite characters; they fit together so well, they make each other happy, and they’re very fun to write! Wes more or less has my day job, by the way, though he’s more of a medieval historian and my specialty is more literature-focused. And Finn has my sense of humor, with the dreadful puns…so, well, apologies for pun-ishing you (and Wes) with that!

When JMS Books put out the call for Trick or Treat themed stories, I knew I wanted to write a Treat: because I love the season, and because I was in the mood for a soft domestic sort of love, a love written in book-presents and apology candles and pumpkin-spice cinnamon rolls, learning to live together (they’ve just moved in together!) and learning to listen.

The world knows a lot about Finn, or it thinks it does—he was a teen idol mega-star, after all, all those posters and interviews and television shows, over a decade ago—but there’re some things he doesn’t talk about much. Like how badly he’s always wanted a home, someplace snug and warm and settled, someplace he can fill with books and his favorite season and leaf-garlands and pumpkins everyplace, a fantasy of coziness. Wes, on the other hand, wanted their new home together to be neat and clean and minimalistic and ruthlessly tidy…

But, of course, they’ll work it out. Because they’re in love. And did I mention book-presents and pumpkin-spice cinnamon rolls and autumn-themed apology candles?

I hope you enjoy meeting them—and all the autumn scents and glowing lights—in October by Candlelight!

Living with former teen idol Finn Ransom isn’t like a movie. But it’s worth it.

Wes loves his boyfriend, and he knows all the stories about Finn’s celebrity past and old accidents and rebuilt career — or he thinks he does. But Wes also loves his organized historian’s life, neat and tidy and efficient — and moving in with Finn is the opposite.

Finn’s messy, colorful, exuberant … and in love with autumn. Pumpkins. Black cats. Fall leaves. Rain. Wes wants to be patient, but one more cinnamon candle might be one too many.

But maybe Wes doesn’t know everything about Finn’s past. And autumn candlelight is good for sharing stories … and opening up hearts.

Buy links:


Two days later, on Saturday, a delivery arrived: three pumpkin-spice candles, a paperback copy of The History of Silver Age Superheroes, a zucchini, and a loaf of raspberry wheat bread. None of these had been on the shopping list tacked to the fridge, except Finn’s zucchini, which had a muffin-related destiny.

Wes, who’d answered the door and opened the package, considered this fact. “I’m not sure you’re allowed to buy things without me.”

Finn gave him a sorrowful-kitten look. Wes knew that look. He gave in to that look just about every time.

“Is this what living with you is like? It is, isn’t it? Not,” he added hastily, “that I mind.”

He didn’t. Not at all. This house had room for their combined eclectic library; Wes’s organized desk and an old guitar from his wayward college rock band days lived alongside Finn’s hobby-of-the-month origami and card-trick magic practice and ocean-themed coloring books, finding three-month-old harmony. The pool out back was good for Finn’s physical therapy and also just for floating around in, and they did a lot of that. These days Wes’s world was wondrous.

He lifted up a bright orange shape, turned it around. “More candles?”

“They were on sale,” Finn protested. He’d gotten up, and Wes nearly argued, but it seemed to be a good day; that wasn’t even much of a limp. “They smell like pumpkins. And autumn grass. And bonfire smoke. Here, I can help—”

“Yes, thank you,” Wes said, now juggling three candles and bread and zucchini and a book, trailing Finn into the kitchen. “You want pumpkins and bonfires in our house.”

“I’ll make cinnamon rolls with pumpkin cream cheese.” Finn was only half paying attention, entranced by autumnal temptation and finding gleaming silver to put candles inside. “Anyway you like pumpkin spice.”

“I’m not sure I want to, you know, breathe and eat pumpkin…” He did love Finn, though. And he loved the sparkle in those huge eyes, diving into the world with full-on enthusiasm. “I can build a fire if you want. In our fireplace. For you.”

Finn set down the third candle. Smiled. “Come on, baby, light my fire.”

“Terrible classic rock puns,” Wes informed him, “mean absolutely guaranteed seduction,” and took a step forward, everything else shoved onto a countertop, hands finding and cupping Finn’s face, thumb skimming over a dimple because it was there and he could.

Finn looked at him, smiling, waiting; pure anticipation danced in every line of him, every lifted eyebrow. Wes kissed him for it.


K.L. Noone teaches college students about superheroes and Shakespeare by day, and writes romance – frequently paranormal or with fantasy elements, usually LGBTQ, and always with happy endings – when not grading papers or researching medieval outlaw life. She is currently the servant of a large black cat named Merlyn, who demands treats on a regular basis.

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Ghost Dater by Ofelia Gränd

Hi! 👋 Thank you, Nell, for letting me stop by again (You’re always welcome, my friend!). Today, I’m actually here to talk about a new release. It feels like I’ve been here a lot this year, but I’ve mostly talked about re-releases.

Ghost Dater is a short story about Thaddeus and Sandy from Soul Eater, and I think it’s best if you’ve read it first. I’m not gonna tell you what to do, but it’s my suggestion 😄

This is part of Rockshade’s PID series, which are paranormal mysteries. The plan is to write one more 50k-ish story, but I keep procrastinating. I tell myself that as soon as I’ve finished this or that story, I’m gonna start writing it, but then I sign up for something else and manage to get another deadline.

When JMS Books sent out an in-house call about short stories that either should be a Trick or a Treat, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to get back to Rockshade. A short little story to see what everyone was up to.

I meant to write about Jaecar and Elijah from Mind Scrambler, even told my publisher the story was gonna be about them when I signed up to write it, but things don’t always turn out the way I plan – they seldom turn out the way I plan.

So there I was with characters who didn’t want to be written and with another pair who did, and somehow I was gonna have a trick or a treat. With Jaecar and Elijah, I had an idea about a trick of emotions – how do you trick an empath? But since Thaddeus all of a sudden was pissed off at Sandy, I had to rethink things.

How do you trick a ghost werewolf? Especially since he’s your mate and tied to you so he never can be more than 150 feet from you. By making him believe he’s gonna be dressing up as a pirate for Halloween of course – no one can think beyond that LOL

It was great to visit Thad and Sandy again, and I will write about Ulf and Beau – I will. Soon.


Trying to be sneaky about things wasn’t easy when you had a ghost werewolf as your mate and familiar. Sandy saw everything he did and could never leave his side, so Thaddeus bought way more food than he needed. He should write a manual: How to Trick Your Ghost Werewolf into Believing You’re having a Party. He was sure it would become a bestseller.

“Weren’t you grocery shopping yesterday?” Sandy had his arms crossed over his chest as he eyed the meat Thaddeus had grabbed.

“You know I did. You were there.”

“So why are we here again?” Some of the grumpiness was back, but not nearly as bad as it had been.

“Because we’re having a party tomorrow.”

“You knew that yesterday.”

Thaddeus nodded absently as he eyed the vegetable display. “I didn’t know how many would show.”

He’d persuaded Sandy not to follow him into the clothing store where he’d bought black pants and a dress shirt for Sandy. At first, he’d planned to buy a suit, but then he’d changed his mind. Sandy wasn’t a suit kind of guy.

The grocery shopping he could fake too, but Elora was getting him blood candles. He hated blood candles, and Sandy would freak out the moment he lit them, but he needed a blood sacrifice for a circle.

He should do something nice for Elora. She’d spent most of the day in the precinct basement, going through the old spell books they had there. It was books they’d confiscated, and while they could check them out if they were working on a case, everyone preferred it when they were locked up in the basement.

The spell Elora had found should be easy enough, but he still wasn’t sure it would work. He would draw a circle, cast a spell that would lock them in the circle—Thaddeus could break it, so the locking themselves in part didn’t worry him. What worried him was that they’d be locked out of the normal world while in there. He suspected it would freak Sandy out since they’d been trapped in a similar circle once. He didn’t plan on telling him they wouldn’t be visible should someone enter their house.

While in the circle they were supposed to be equal. Worst case: it would mean that Thad might become a ghost while in there, but since he was the one with the magic, he didn’t think so. He hoped it would mean Sandy would become like him. If that meant he would be able to do magic, he didn’t know, but as long as Sandy could eat Thad was happy.

“Why are you frowning?” Sandy’s gaze swept over the grocery store.

“Just thinking.” He looked at the items he’d picked. “I think we’re good to go.”

“Are you sure?”

Thad shrugged. “What would you like to drink?”

“I don’t drink.”

Fuck. “No, I know, but if you were to eat meat, what would you like to drink? Red wine?”


Beer. Thad nodded. “Then we need some beer too.”

A look of longing stole over Sandy’s face. “Yeah, Ric would prefer beer over wine.”

He didn’t give a fuck about what Ric preferred since Ric was an ass most of the time and, perhaps more importantly, wouldn’t be coming on this date—he hoped. “Then we should skip the beer.” He grinned at Sandy and went to grab beer.

Forty-five minutes later, Thad was waiting outside the police station. Elora’s shift would end in two minutes, and they were to meet away from everyone else. He’d asked Sandy to wait in the car, which he did—while sulking again.

“Thad.” Elora pushed open the door and approached him. “I couldn’t get hold of any blood candles. You never told me they were illegal!”

Thad grimaced. “I think there are legal ones, aren’t there?”

Elora frowned at him. “I couldn’t find any, and I think we’ve learned our lesson with black markets.”

Thad grimaced.

“Here’s the book.” She wore gloves, as she always did, when she handed over the thick, scarred book that sent a chill down Thad’s spine.

“Shit, it’s creepy.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend trying most of the rites in there, and…” She looked around. “I took it from the archives without signing for it, so make sure you bring it back.”

“Of course.”

Elora grimaced. “I’d prefer it if Jaecar didn’t find out I’ve spent most of the day searching for a spell that would allow you to properly date your mate.”

“I promise, Elora. I’ll bring it back, good as new… or, you know, as scarred and creepy as it is in its current state.”

She studied him with a frown. “Thad…”

“Yeah?” He didn’t like the way she studied him.

“Are you sure this is a good idea. You don’t know what will happen, and…”


Thaddeus Esax has a grumpy werewolf problem. For a year, he’s been mated to Sandulf Hunter, a ghost werewolf he brought back from the dead without meaning to. It’s been great. Thad’s been happy, and he believed Sandy was too. But Sandy has been sulking for more than a week, and Thad fears their relationship isn’t going as well as he believed.

The problem with being mated to a ghost is that said ghost never can leave your side, and therefore it’s extremely hard to keep secrets. Thaddeus wants to surprise Sandy, to cheer him up, but to do that, he has to trick him into believing they’re doing something they’re not.

Telling Sandy they’re having a Halloween party doesn’t go over well, but how do you trick a ghost? By making him believe he’ll be dressed up as a pirate for an evening, of course.

Gay Paranormal Romance: 9,376 words

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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.

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