Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Just to Breathe by Holly Day

Today, I have a guest: Holly Day is here to talk about her latest release, Just to Breathe. Be extra nice to her this time, please, because I feel like I’m neglecting her (and the other lovely people of my morning writing crew) with my new day job, so let’s show her some love so she doesn’t think I’ve stopped loving her 😁

Just to Breathe is a friends-to-lovers story. I love friends-to-lovers stories. In fact, I wrote a guest post over at Holly’s about it if you’re interested, or is that too meta? 😁

Anyway. Welcome, Holly!!


Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by today. Hello everyone! Did you know that on June 8th, it was Best Friend Day? That’s a day worth celebrating, is it not? I believe it is, so I wrote a story…

Just to Breathe was released last week, and it’s about Nico and Matt who have been best friends since kindergarten. For years, Nico has been in love with Matt, but he won’t risk their friendship, so he’s sworn to never let Matt know. Things don’t always go as planned, though.

This is one of those stories that got crazier and crazier while I wrote it. I love those stories – light-hearted and a bit insane.

It all started with a song by Dori Freeman on Spotify while I was walking to work one morning, and then in the evening when I sat on the sofa and turned on the TV there was a documentary about Al Capone.

What do you get if you mix a modern-day singer-songwriter with bluegrass influences with a gangster from the Prohibition era? Just to Breathe – that’s what you get.

Nico is snatched off the street, taken to a warehouse where he’s roughed up some, and then he’s told he has twenty-four hours to bring his kidnappers the item they want. Nico has no idea what it is they want, so he turns to Matt who is a cop. Together they try to figure out who the people who took Nico are and what they want, all with the help of Matt’s family who also are cops – all of them.

One crazy thing leads to another, and soon Nico fears for his life.

Excerpt:

Matt got out of the car. “You should stay inside.”

“I got worried. I tried to call you.”

Matt grabbed a bag from the backseat and walked toward him. “You shouldn’t use your phone. They might have it tapped.”

Nico sighed. “I’m not interesting enough to have my phone tapped.”

“I disagree.” He grinned. “Use mine if you want to call someone, okay?”

“You weren’t here, and your mom says you’re not to leave my side.”

Matt nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

“I have to do what Mom says, right?” He winked and went for the door. “Oh, it smells divine. Did you cook?”

“Obviously.”

“Some stuff.” He held out the bag for Nico to take.

“Thanks.”

Matt put two plates on the kitchen island and tested the temperature of the lasagna. “I think it’s still warm enough.”

Nico nodded, and they sat.

“Do you know anything?” He took a big bite of lasagna, not having realized how hungry he was until Matt got back.

“Nah. I found a man who’s recently moved to Halsworthy whose last name is Allegretto. He’s twenty-two, though.”

“So?”

“You’re thirty-four.”

“So?”

Matt rolled his eyes. “If they mistook you for him, they weren’t doing a good job. You might be young looking, but you’re not twenty-two, darling.”

“You’re saying I look old?”

Matt shook his head, a grin playing on his lips.

“And you’re older.” One year.

“I am and therefore wiser. The idiots grabbing you did a shit job.”

Nico guessed it all depended on what their purpose was, or maybe not considering they’d taken the wrong person.

“Did you talk to him?”

Matt chewed and swallowed. “Who?”

“Allegretto.”

He shook his head. “No, but I sent Amber the information I found.”

“They haven’t found it?” What had they been doing all day?

Matt shrugged. “They probably have.”

“What do we do now?” Nico hated not having anything to do.

Matt took a folded paper out of his pocket and handed it to him. Putting his fork down, Nico unfolded it and read the information.

“An auction? In Walman?” Walman was a larger city about a hundred and thirty miles north from Halsworthy. The auction was held tomorrow night, starting at midnight. Nico shook his head. “Who starts an auction at midnight? That’s stupid.”

“Read at the bottom.” Matt reached over the island and tapped at the paper.

“There is a surprise item that won’t be shown until the end of the auction.” Nico frowned. “Why would anyone bid on a surprise item?” The items listed weren’t cheap. There were paintings and sculptures, and a diamond necklace. “Who has money to impulse buy something like this?”

Matt poked at what little food he had left on his plate with his fork. “They wouldn’t be impulse buying it. My guess is they can’t show it on the viewing because they don’t have it… yet.”

Nico gaped. “It’s the it!”

Matt shrugged. “It could be.”

It could be. Or… “It’s not it.” Nico deflated.

“What do you mean, it’s not?” A frown overtook Matt’s face.

“I guess it could be.” Maybe. “But it could also be they, Mr. Cheekbones and the goons, want to grab it before it’s sold.”

Matt nodded. “You’re too good for glitter glue.”

“Nothing and no one is too good for glitter glue.” Nico pushed his plate aside. “You want to go to the auction?”

“We need to survive tonight first.”

Nico frowned. “What do you mean?” Dusk was slowly falling, but it would be a long time before it got dark for real. They’d eaten and now when Matt was back, things were as they should be.

“It’s twenty-four hours soon.”

A chill crept into Nico’s chest. “But they don’t know where I am.”

Matt looked at him. “Perhaps it was stupid of me to go back to Halsworthy. It gave them an opportunity to follow me.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Matt!” Nico threw his hands in the air. “Do you think they did?”

He shook his head. “No, I didn’t see anyone, but I was in your apartment for about half an hour. They could have placed a tracker on my car.”

Nico stared at him. “They would?”

“I don’t know, Nico. Perhaps they’re too stupid to do something like that.”

Nico got up and turned off the light.

“What are you doing?”

“Making it look like we’re not here.”

A smile stretched Matt’s lips. “My car is outside.”

“Move it. Put it somewhere where it isn’t visible from the road.”

“If they have a—”

“Move it!” It wouldn’t matter if they’d put a tracker in it, but he wanted Matt to hide it anyway.

Blurb:

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

Buy links:

Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,392 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/JustToBreathe

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 @ https://lnk.bio/xpae or visit her website @ hollydaywrites.wordpress.com

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: 4 Small-Town Romances by Ofelia Gränd

Today, I welcome Ofelia Gränd to the blog, who’s here to talk about all her May releases, that are all small-town romances. I love small-town romances! I’ve never understood the big city romances where the big city is almost like a character in the story; I much prefer a small-town setting. Preferably paired with a lone wolf!

Before I leave give the floor over to Ofelia, can we just take a moment to admire the model on Aiden and Tristan? He’s too cute for words!! 😍


Hi! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by today.

I’m in the middle of moving all my books to JMS Books, which means I have a lot of re-releases, and May is the month of small-town romances.

I have a series called Up North. It’s a series of contemporary stand-alone M/M romance stories. They’re all taking place in the same area, in small towns scattered around the north.

This month, I have four releases in the Up North series, all of them re-releases, and all of them taking place in the same little town – Nortown. We have Pet Delivery (was called Once in the Underworld before) that’s a 30k story and was released on the 8th. Then we have The Empty Egg which is a 4.6k freebie about Aiden and Tristan that was released on the 19th. Today, Aiden and Tristan is released. It includes Once in a Snowstorm, The Empty Egg, Happy Endings, and Just Words, which adds up to 46k. And then on the 29th Once in May will be released, and it’s about 48k. It’s a lot of titles to keep track of LOL

Have you lived in a small town? I have, and where I live now you can’t even call a town. We have no shops, no public transportation, nothing. It’s a crossroad with about 150 inhabitants.

I’d say the biggest pro with living in a small place is the community. People are looking out for each other. The biggest con is that everyone knows what you’re up to. And the gossip, my God, the gossip LOL.

In Nortown, they have a grocery shop and a cafe. The cafe is the social hub. It’s where everyone meets up, where the gossip is spreading.

Aiden has lost his job and he only has a few days until he has to leave his apartment in the city. When the walls are closing in on him, he hops into his car and heads north. He’s on his way to his mother’s, in hopes of her taking him in despite not having spoken to him for years. He didn’t think the snowstorm would be as bad as it is.

Tristan lives in a cabin outside of Nortown. He’s your garden variety grumpy lumberjack LOL and he’s not pleased when he finds a guy face down in the snow without proper clothing for the weather. City people, ey? They don’t even know how to dress right. But Tristan can’t let the poor bastard freeze to death, so he takes him to his cabin.

That’s pretty much how Aiden and Tristan’s adventures start, and soon they’ll become part of the small-town everyday life. Once they’re no longer trapped by the snowstorm, Aiden gets many of his preconceptions concerning small towns confirmed, but he’s also welcomed into the community.

Excerpt:

“Og!” His call was answered by a bark nearby. “Come on, boy.”

The darn dog didn’t come. Tristan sighed, grabbed the yellow snow shovel standing by the door, and started trudging through the snow. Og had better be stuck, or Tristan would strangle the stupid mongrel with his bare hands.

Snowflakes clung to his beard, and as he touched the knitted cap on his head, he realised it was already covered with snow. A walk outside was not what he’d envisioned after his arduous journey into town. He’d only gone in on his snowmobile to make sure he’d have enough dog food at home—he was pretty sure they would be snowbound for days. He’d had a quick chat with Jennifer, and then he’d headed back home. Maybe he should’ve stayed in town.

Jen always worked too hard. Running the motorway café and taking care of Luke all by herself was tough, and Tristan always worried when he couldn’t be there.

“Og!” The dark and the snowflakes made it hard to see. Nothing but snow-covered tree trunks and not a dog to be found.

Another bark came from close by. Tristan squinted into the woods. Og’s bright eyes glowed in the dark. A white-spotted dog was not easy to locate when everything was white-spotted, but now when Tristan knew what he was looking at, he could see that Og was indeed trapped. A dark figure held on to his collar, not that Og appeared to be bothered, judging by the happy thump of his tail against the snow, creating a white cloud around both him and the person on the ground.

Tristan took a careful step closer. His grip on the shovel tightened. What kind of lunatic came into the woods in weather like this?

“Hello?” Tristan stopped a couple of metres away from the body—a man, he saw now—and waited for a response. Only a muffled groan came. Fuck!

Tristan dropped the shovel and hurried forward to the man and shook him lightly. “Hey. Come on, wake up.” The eyelids fluttered as the man tried to open his eyes. Tristan touched his forehead—icy cold. The man was almost completely covered in snow and his hair was wet—Tristan assumed his clothes were, too. Without thinking, he reached for the man’s hand, shook loose his fingers from Og’s collar, and started to pull him out of the snow.

He sighed as he took in the trendy jeans and sneakers. Why couldn’t people dress according to the weather? If Og hadn’t found him, he’d have frozen to death—he wouldn’t look so pretty in his designer clothes in a casket.

He hefted the man up in a fireman’s carry and started making his way towards the cabin. It was like carrying an ice block. He guessed he should be pleased about the man being short and small framed. His curly dark hair flopped around his face with each step Tristan took.

They weren’t far from the cabin, but ploughing through the snow with the extra weight of the man and Og running around his legs had Tristan sweating and out of breath in no time at all. He grunted as he sank knee-deep into the snow, mentally cursing the stupid man for walking into his forest.

He couldn’t stay angry, though. He worried about the man being injured. It would be impossible to get an ambulance out here, and Tristan only had a basic knowledge of first aid. First, he needed to get him out of his wet clothes, that much he knew. Hypothermia was no joke.

Blurb:

Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden Evans has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find that at his mother’s place, but it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.

Tristan Gardner is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.

Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?

Contains the stories “Once in a Snowstorm,” “The Empty Egg,” “Happy Endings,” and “Just Words.”

Buy links:

Contemporary M/M Romance:46,142 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/AidenandTristan

About Ofelia:

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

Find Ofelia on social media:

Blog :: Newsletter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: The Hunger Gap by Holly Day

Today, I welcome the lovely Holly Day back to the blog to talk about her newest release The Hunger Gap. Welcome back, it’s always a pleasure to have you here! ❤️


Hello, Nell! Hello, Nell’s readers! *waves*

A few days ago, my story The Hunger Gap was published. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with what the hunger gap is. I suspect it’s a term you might not have heard unless you’re into gardening and growing fruit and veg. It probably depends on where you live, too.

The hunger gap is that period in the spring when there are no fresh fruit or vegetables to be had. If you’re in California or Florida, then you don’t really have a hunger gap since you can have fresh things growing year around. In Sweden – we’re still at risk of getting nights below freezing. Things are starting to grow, gradually. The trees are getting greener by the day and my radishes, lettuce, spinach, and snow peas are just peeking up out of the soil.

So if we’re going back to a time when our grocery shops weren’t overflowing with fruits and vegetables from around the globe, the hunger gap was very real and had a huge impact on people’s lives. About this time last year, my biggest fear was a food shortage. I might like to have a few garden beds, but I don’t have the knowledge, and I don’t have the space to provide for my family. What if they closed the borders? What if lockdown meant no one would go out into the fields to harvest?

In 1867, there was a bad harvest here. People starved to death, and out of those who survived, about 20% of all men and 15% of all women left for the USA in the following years. If you’re from the midwest, you might have some Swedish genes since it was where most of them ended up. They left because they didn’t want to see their children starve to death, and they’d heard about the fertile soil on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Enough of a history lesson, and by now, you might have an idea of what The Hunger Gap is about. It’s a dystopic story where every district has to grow its own food. And since I’m Swedish, I gave them a climate similar to where I’m at in Sweden – with a hunger gap stretching from January to May.

As if having to struggle through a hunger gap wouldn’t be enough, we also have a corrupt government and rigorous controls of how much food you’re allowed to keep for yourself and your family. George has a homestead and has to pay a weekly toll in food that he’s to produce. And the story starts with Axel’s first day at the job as a controller – the one who has to make sure people pay their tolls.

Oh, and I probably should say, I wrote this story to celebrate World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day, and that’s today.


Excerpt:

As soon as the car rolled out of the yard, George rushed through the house. He stopped a few seconds by the light switch and flicked it up and down at a rapid pace, hoping June would see it.

Then he ran out the back door, took the stairs up the hill two steps at a time, and then jogged down the slope they’d dug out of the stony ground, and in through the door on his side of the hidden garden.

“What the heck are you doing with the lights?”

He jumped at June’s voice. “Run!”

June looked up at him, her hazel eyes widening. “What’s going on?”

“New controller. He’s traveling the round to prepare for Thursday, inspected my barn and wanted to see my hens.”

“Shit.” What little color she had on her cheeks drained away. “Shit, the hens are out. The roosters—”

“I know. One cockerel came strutting into the barn.”

She dropped the garden trowel to the ground. “What happened?”

“I scared him off, and when he crowed, I told them it was your rooster.”

She nodded.

“Go! I’ll try to lock them in. Turn off the light.” She jogged toward the door, scared a couple of hens in the process, but left the secret garden within seconds.

They had dug out a hole in the hill. It wasn’t a perfect square, but they’d aimed for thirty feet times thirty feet, and they’d dug it ten feet deep. It had taken ages—buckets of sweat and too many blisters on their hands to count, but they’d done it.

George had traded food for acrylic glass at the black market. It wasn’t ideal, but they needed a material that wouldn’t shatter if something fell on it, or if an animal were to walk on it. They’d installed poles to keep the glass from falling in, and while it was slow to get the heat up at this time of the year, it created a big greenhouse.

June had gotten hold of wires, so they’d hooked it up to the distribution box in George’s house and buried the cord in the ground. They’d built an area in the corner where they’d installed shelves with growing lights for seedlings.

By the door on the other side of the hidden garden, they’d built chicken coops from leftover boards and planks they’d found, stolen, or borrowed. Farther in, they kept a few rabbits. George didn’t like raising rabbits, but it was food. They reproduced fast, which was good. The main problem was keeping them fed.

Together, they kept twenty hens and two roosters. Which were fifteen birds more than they were allowed. The cockerel walking into the barn earlier was not included in the twenty-two birds, he was destined for the pot. George would take care of him. With a new controller, they had to be more careful. Better to eat the bird than get thrown in jail because of him.

George had watched June starve, had watched her children starve, and had suggested they work together. It had started with allowing June’s rooster to walk with his hens. Then there had been chicks that he’d butchered and given the meat to June.

He’d been starving too, but as Mr. Rowe had pointed out—he got breakfast every day at the bakery. June did too, and he suspected, now during the hunger gap, it was all she ate.

Watching children starve was terrible.

He didn’t agree with the government’s system; didn’t agree with people being given less food if they worked less than others. He did not agree with the government having the right to take everything you made for yourself.

Yes, there was a food shortage, he understood that. And yes, he understood people living in apartments in the city could not grow their own food. But to take the food he grew, to restrict how much he was allowed to have when he worked hard for it—that he didn’t agree with.

A person like June didn’t stand a chance. She was a single mother of three boys, her husband had walked out on her years ago. How was one person’s weekly quota supposed to feed four people?

It didn’t. Even with the extra food packages for children, it was nowhere near what a family needed to survive.

She got a little extra for having the kids, and a few measly boons for being a homesteader, but it wasn’t nearly enough. After a few years of watching her struggle, and struggling himself, he’d tried to do something about it. It might be his death, would most likely have him end up in prison one day, but to see those kids get to have fresh vegetables, allow them to eat eggs and the occasional chicken—it made it worth the risk.

Blurb:

After years of the government taking everything he grows, homesteader George Vega has had enough. Food is scarce and people are starving. To provide for himself, he’ll need to break the law. Together with his next-door neighbor June, he sets up a system to hide food from the controller during his weekly collecting visits.

Axel Rowe won’t survive much longer. Every scrap of food he can get his hands on, he gives to his six-year-old daughter, but it isn’t nearly enough. Luck is on his side when he secures a job as a controller. He realizes taking the job will make people dislike him, but he has to eat.

George understands the danger he’s in when his old, lazy controller is replaced with a new, more observant one. Axel suspects there is something George is withholding, but when George takes care of him after nearly collapsing from hunger, Axel is more curious about how he’s able to keep food for himself than he’s interested in reporting him. George knows the risk, but after having looked into Axel’s desperate eyes, he’s compelled to take care of him. But can an outlaw homesteader have a relationship with the man who’s supposed to make sure he follows the law?

Buy links:

Dystopian M/M Romance: 23,976 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheHungerGap

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 @ https://lnk.bio/xpae or visit her website @ hollydaywrites.wordpress.com

Guestpost, Release Blitz

Re-Release Spotlight: Dazzle Me by Ofelia Gränd

Today, I welcome my dear friend and morning writing buddy Ofelia Gränd back to the blog. She’s here to talk about the re-release for one of her books, and you can expect her back several times in the future to do the same. I welcome all my writer friends on my blog when they need a place to talk about their books.

Now, before I leave the floor to Ofelia; is it just me, or is the guy on the cover reminiscent of a young Johnny Depp? 😁


Hi! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by yet again. I have so many releases coming up – they’re re-releases, I haven’t written four years’ worth of stories these past few weeks – I fear I’ll write more blog post words than words on new stories. But it’s all good. I’m excited to get the stories out there again.

The one I’m here to talk about today is called Dazzle Me. I wrote it back in 2015 for an anthology called Summer Bigger Than Others which is an anthology of short summer stories.

I seldom write summer stories. I’m not a big fan of heat – and for those of you who don’t know, I’m Swedish. What I think is too hot might not be hot at all for you LOL. And I don’t like bugs. Winter is a blessed bug-free season. I honestly don’t understand how Nell could live in Malaysia for several years. I would’ve died 😀

In Dazzle Me, we have Tom who has it in his mind that he’s gonna propose to his boyfriend on their one-year anniversary. Santino, the boyfriend, has to go to Thailand for work at the time of their anniversary and begs Tom to come along. Tom doesn’t do aeroplanes, he doesn’t do tropical heat, and he does not do spas – but for Santino, he’ll do anything.

I can still remember laughing while writing this LOL

Excerpt:

“Wow! Look at all these sculptures. Hey, Tommy-boy—”

“Stop calling me that,” I hissed and peered around the enormous airport.

“But we should totally get one of these when we move in together. How cool would it be to have a huge Buddha in the living room?”

My breath caught in my throat. He’d never mentioned us living together before, and happy as I was hearing him talk about it, I also realised—he’s never mentioned us living together before! My stomach turned inside out. What had I been thinking? God, I wanted to ram my face into one of the stone pillars next to us.

Maybe this whole wedding thing was too impulsive of me. I wanted to get married, but that was the thing: I wanted it. I’d never even considered him not wanting to spend the rest of his life with me. I’m such an idiot! I pinched the bridge of my nose. Why would he even want to? I was old and grumpy, well maybe not that old, and not that grumpy, but I had eleven years on him. My God! Am I going through a midlife crisis?

Santino was too fascinated with a sculpture of a bunch of people having a tug of war with a dragon to notice my little breakdown. My Santo, so animated and alive. Was it selfish of me to want to trap him? What would he do with a rugged, oil-stained husband? I rubbed my forehead, trying to see this whole thing from his point of view.

“Look at this! Tom? What’s wrong?”

So much for him not noticing. “Erm…nothing. Nothing. Where did you say our bags would be?”

“Oh, right! Across the hall here, I think. Read the signs—ours should be on ten.”

It was impossible to miss the baggage claim, and we went to number ten to wait for our bags to arrive. The carousel started humming a little before the conveyor belt began to move. People pushed and shoved to get to their bags, the smell of perfume and sweat almost suffocating. Santino’s bag was among the first out on the belt. He grabbed it and edged to the back of the hall, waiting for me to get mine.

The suitcases rapidly became fewer and fewer, and sooner than I thought possible the hall had emptied of people. My skin was shrinking. A girl the age of maybe four or five managed to grab her pink little Hello Kitty bag before it could go on another spin, and I watched as the empty conveyor belt came to a stop. Dread spread like evil tentacles throughout my body. My bag wasn’t there. Saliva flooded my mouth, my stomach threatened to turn. I never should’ve put the ring in the bag. What if someone had stolen it? I’d had that ring custom-made for Santino.

“Where’s your bag?” Santino searched the hall.

“Don’t know.”

“Huh.” He shrugged. “Guess we’ll have to report it missing.” He took my arm and dragged me toward a petite Thai woman standing by a desk farther down the hall. I cast a longing look over my shoulder, hoping the conveyor belt would miraculously start moving again. It didn’t.

Santino did most of the talking, and the woman gave me a reference number and promised that they would be in touch as soon as possible, but that it would probably take twenty-four to forty-eight hours to locate my lost baggage. I started to hate Thailand. I needed my bag now, not in forty-eight hours. I needed the ring. Selfish or not, I was going to ask Santino to be mine tomorrow. But I couldn’t tell that to the woman with him standing there, I hardly think she could’ve done anything to help anyway.

Blurb:

Tom and Santino’s anniversary is coming up, and Tom has a plan. He’s going to show Santino how much he means to him. The night will be magical.

Tom’s plan did not include a trip to Thailand. He doesn’t do aeroplanes, doesn’t do tropical climate, and he doesn’t do spas. Yet he finds himself without a stitch of clothing on a spa table, with a man he’s never met before while Santino is away on a business meeting.

This was not how it was supposed to go. Tom will do his best to live through the day so they can celebrate their anniversary when they get back to the hotel, but If Santino wanted him smooth and sparkly, couldn’t he have told him instead of booking him an appointment?

M/M Contemporary: 9,524 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/DazzleMe

About Ofelia

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods… if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

Find Ofelia on social media:

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Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: As the Crows Fly by A.L. Lester

Today, we welcome my friend and morning writing buddy to the blog, Ally Lester and their new book As the Crows Fly. This book sounds right up my alley: short, loosely based on a Celtic myth, featuring a loner. Gimme!! *grabby hands* 🙂


Thank you so much to Nell for having me here to day to tell you about As the Crows Fly, my new short story—11,500 words—in my Reworked Celtic Myths collection. The stories are a loose set of contemporary stories set in Wales, and the seed of each one comes from a Welsh or Irish legend.

The seed for As the Crows Fly is the story of St Kevin. You can read about him in the afterword of the story (ha! See what I did there!) or on my blog. The story was a bit lacking in romance, even more so that my previous story Playing Chicken, which involved St Dwynwen and a magic well full of eels.

The thing I really wanted to write about though, and which sent me off to find a Celtic myth I could twist to fit, was crows. I’ve always been fascinated by their intelligence and their ability. A friend of mine talks a lot about a place she goes to deliver crafting courses where there is a resident jackdaw. He’s called Harry and he’s a real character (here’s his advice about staying safe during covid in a short facebook video) and of course there’s a long tradition of corvids being associated with both magic and shiny things.

I spent a lot of time in Wales in my young adulthood and one of the things that has stayed with me is the way crows circle and play in the wind around the ruined castles that dot the coastline. There’s this great sense of history past, and also loss, I think, that I get from places like that and somehow that has become associated with crows for me.

So my Kevin is a lonely young man, living alone on the south coast of Wales. He’s made friends with a local group of crows, called a murder. One in particular, Grackle (which is an old world for crow) is particularly friendly.  Kevin works as a veterinary nurse during the day and in his free time he hangs out with his crow-friends and draws them.

He meets Webster one day by chance, offers him hospitality during a storm, and they just click.

It’s a short, hopeful story, a complete change from my usual longer historical angst-and-magic-filled queer books. I hope you enjoy it! I’m planning on adding to the collection regularly over the next few months!

Paul Webster has come out the army after a twenty-two year stretch with a trick hip and no idea what to do with his life. He takes a few weeks walking along the Welsh coast to get his head on straight.

Kevin Davies is a veterinary nurse and an artist. He’s getting lonelier and lonelier in his cottage on the edge of the sea, kept company by his cats and a friendly flock of crows.

What happens when the two men hunker down together to wait out a wild March gale?

A 11,500-word short story in the Reworked Celtic Myths series. This time, there are crows.

Buy As the Crows Fly

Find Ally

A. L. Lester is a writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. She lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, and some hens. She likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

Find her at her website, allester.co.uk or you can find on your preferred social media via lnk.bio. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now, shockingly, Tiktok!