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:

Excerpt:

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.

Bio

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.

Excerpt:

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.”

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…”

Blurb:

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

Buy links:

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

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

Guestpost, Release Blitz

Release Day Spotlight: Call Me Charles by Holly Day

Today, I welcome my friend Holly back to the blog. She’s here to talk about her brand spanking new release, and she brought an excerpt that both made me mad and broke my heart. Make sure to read it! But first, welcome Holly. It’s a pleasure to have you, as always ❤️

I’m back! Hello everyone, and thank you so much, Nell, for letting me steal a spot on your blog again. I was here a couple of weeks ago, talking about The Dragon Next Door, and now it’s time for Call Me Charles.

I wrote Call Me Charles for National Motorcycle Ride Day, which is celebrated on the second Saturday in October – so today! 🥳

For a brief moment, I played with the idea of writing a real biker story, but I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off. I mean, I’ve watched Sons of Anarchy, and, yes, there is a certain attraction to the whole anarchy thing (not to mention men wearing leather), isn’t there? But have you hung around a motorcycle club? Not the sharpest tools in the shed. Yes, I’m judgy.

And considering I can’t live without to-do lists and different coloured stick-its, I’m not sure they would like me much in a motorcycle club – at least not the Sons of Anarchy kind. Anarchy might seem alluring at a glance, but on what ClickUp lists do I fit the activities? Can I create templates to make things go smoother, you think? What do I write in my bujo?

And when it comes to books… I can’t say I’ve read many biker books at all. There is so much… pretence? I don’t know. Men in a group trying to maintain some macho culture seldom go down well with me.

Does it mean I don’t like motorcycles? No, I love going on a motorcycle. I don’t drive since I don’t have a driver’s license, but I love tagging along. And there is freedom in going on a bike. That’s what National Motorcycle Ride Day is all about – going for a ride and enjoy the freedom and autumn weather.

So in Call Me Charles, we have Hubert, who loves riding his bike, and we have Charles, who’s never been on one.

Excerpt:

Twenty minutes later, Charles was standing where they’d parked Mikael’s car. It was gone.

He clutched the paddle, tears welling up in his eyes. He was frozen to the bone. It was as if his body didn’t know if it was hot or cold. It burned, and yet he was so cold he couldn’t control the shaking.

He didn’t feel his feet as he stumbled along the narrow gravel road in the direction of the paved one. They had to come back for him. They’d already had a couple of nights where it had dropped below freezing. They couldn’t leave him cold and wet with no means to get home.

And what was he to do with the paddleboard? The number of the renting company was written on it, but he didn’t have his phone.

A tear escaped the corner of his eye, and he angrily wiped it away with the back of the hand.

They had to come back.

He kept on walking, the gravel digging into his feet, but he hardly noticed. Exhaustion settled in his bones. What was he doing? Walking half-naked in the thickening dark.

Some time later, he reached the crossing where the gravel road ended and the country road following the coastline took over. Sighing, he looked in both directions. There was no traffic.

He should know in which direction to walk, but he wasn’t sure. In the end, he took to the right and walked along the side of the road.

An eternity later, the sound of an engine came closer. Charles dropped the board and waved the paddle. He took a step out into the road, but the car only honked and drove past him.

A sob escaped before he knew he was crying. His body ached, his joints burned, his teeth chattered, and he was getting dizzy. He hadn’t eaten, hadn’t had anything to drink for hours, and he had no idea where he was.

He walked and walked but the road looked the same. There was the occasional street lamp, but nothing indicating he was getting closer to the city. Was he walking in the wrong direction?

There was a vehicle coming closer. It didn’t sound like the car had.

Charles squinted at the only headlight—motorcycle? He stepped out into the grass next to the road, not wanting to get hit. He wore nothing reflective and it was truly dark now.

The motorbike passed him, and Charles continued his walk. Then the engine stopped.

“Charlie?”

Charles turned with a frown.

“Charles, is that you?”

Charles squinted at the figure dressed in black leather. He recognized the voice. “H-Hubert?” His teeth chattered, and he sucked in a shuddering breath.

“What the hell are you doing?” He rolled the bike to the side of the road, got off, and removed his helmet. Charles didn’t respond. He didn’t know what he was doing.

“Charles.”

Why was he growling?

“Charlie.” He waved a hand in front of his eyes. “Are you high?”

Charles shook his head. “C-Cold.”

Hubert cursed. “Why aren’t you dressed? Where are your friends?”

Charles shrugged, and to his horror, a tear trickled down his cheek. He wiped it away and prayed Hubert wouldn’t comment on it.

“Oh, honey, what happened?” Hubert grabbed the paddle, pulled it out of Charles’s hand, and wrapped an arm around him. The leather was cold against his wet T-shirt and skin and didn’t offer any of the heat Charles needed.

“They left me on the beach.”

Hubert was quiet for several seconds. “Where are your clothes?”

Charlie shrugged—or tried to, his muscles weren’t cooperating.

“We need to get you somewhere warm. How long have you been walking wet and without clothes?”

Filling his lungs, Charles tried to think. “S-Since b-before dark.”

“For fuck’s sake.” Hubert increased the distance between them and rubbed his arms. “Why aren’t you dressed?”

“They had me paddle boarding.” He gestured at the board.

Another growl followed.

“I didn’t know where to leave it.”

“Fuck the board!”

“B-But it’s rented. I h-have to return it.”

Hubert groaned. “Charles—” Hubert never called him Charles. “—they rented the board, not you. Let them deal with it.”

“Why did you call me Charles?”

“You want me to call you Charles.”

Charles nodded. “But you never do.”

“I didn’t, no, but then they came, and they called you Charlie despite you wanting to be called Charles.”

Charles giggled. He didn’t know why, but it spilled out through his chattering teeth. Hubert who always called him Charlie wouldn’t because Connor called him Charlie? It didn’t make sense.

Hubert smiled. “You’re adorable, but I think we need to get you warm sooner rather than later.”

Charles nodded. He’d love to get warm, but how?

“I live a few minutes’ ride up this road, but I fear you’ll freeze to death on the bike.” Hubert’s gaze traveled his body from his wet hair to his dirty toes. Unzipping his jacket, he shook it off. “Here.” He held it up so Charles could stick his arms in, but he couldn’t get himself to let go of the paddleboard.

“The board.”

“Put it to the side of the road. I’ll come back for it while you take a shower, okay?”

Charles nodded and put the board by the side of the road as instructed. Then he pushed his arms through the sleeves of the jacket. It was warm but so stiff and heavy he couldn’t move.

“It’s not a good fit, but better than nothing.” Hubert zipped up. “If we crash, we’re toast, but I’ll drive really fucking slow, and you’re wearing the helmet.”

Charles looked at him. He’d never been on a motorcycle, he liked living too much.

“It’ll be cold as fuck, but it’s only a few minutes, okay?”

Charles nodded. He didn’t think he could get any colder.

It turned out he could. Once Hubert had helped him onto the bike and got them rolling, Charles realized that while he’d been frozen before, the natural wind was nothing compared to being on a bike.

He hugged Hubert hard and curled up as much as he could behind him. Hubert didn’t go fast, part of Charlie was aware of it, and yet they flew down the road. They passed the gravel road Charles had walked from the beach and continued on. The night was thick, the air cold, and Charles was floating. A sense of weightlessness filled his chest.

Blurb:

Charles Bowman was having a bad day even before his friends showed up to kidnap him for his birthday. He lost his nametag, missed the bus, and was late for his shift in the sandwich shop, but that isn’t the worst. The worst is he’s accidentally been poisoning Hubert, the owner of the candy shop across from the sandwich shop, with gluten despite Hubert ordering gluten-free sandwiches.

When Charles finds himself soaking wet on a deserted road in the chilling October night, the worst gets an entirely new meaning. But right as he’s about to give up, Hubert comes driving on his motorcycle. Being responsible for gluten poisoning aside, Charles has never been as glad to see his knight in black leather, but is going home with Hubert a good idea? Or will the worst get even worse?

Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,071 words

Buy links

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

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

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: The Dragon Next Door by Holly Day

My friend Holly Day is back for a visit today, help me welcome you. And before I leave the floor to her, I have to tell you that everything about this book appeals to me. The blurb, the cover, the promo picture she’s made. And the excerpt is fantastic, leaving me wanting more. Read it, and I’m sure you won’t be able to resist to one-click it.

Well, enough blabbering. Welcome, Holly! ❤️


Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by again. Right now, I’m working hard to make the last deadlines for this year. If I pull it off, I’ll have a release every month of 2021, and I do hope Nell will allow me to come back and tell you about them. (Nell’s comment: of course I will, you know you’re always welcome here!!) First, I have to make the deadlines, though 😬 But let’s pretend I’m not buried in work and focus on The Dragon Next Door – an as good coping mechanism as any 😆

The Dragon Next Door might be my favourite story so far this year. I adore the characters and they were nice and cooperative throughout the entire process LOL

Adrian is a super sweet guy who wants everyone to be happy. When Lorcan moves in next door, he’s set on cheering him up despite Lorcan growling at him every time he rings his doorbell… or calls for him to open the door through the mail slot.

I should perhaps mention that I wrote this story to celebrate National Neighbor Day, which is on the 28th. Adrian tries really hard to be a good neighbour.

The first time he saw Lorcan he dubbed him a dragon – not that he believes he’s a dragon for real, but Adrian has a lively imagination. Since Lorcan is a dragon, Adrian has it in his mind that he has to find treasures for him, and his favourite place in the whole wide world is a second-hand shop close to where they live. 

In the story, there is a table. When I met my husband, many years ago, he was living in a tiny student flat. It was one small room with a kitchenette on one wall, his bed pushed up against the other, and between the two, there was a folding table.

One day, we sat by that table, and I asked about the hollows in the side stretchers. Hubby told me that the table had once belonged to his mother’s aunts who had a cafe together, and the hollows are from where people have had their feet. The table is ancient. I don’t know when they closed the cafe, but the aunts were both dead in 2002 when I met hubby.

Every time we’re at hubby’s parents’ place, we eat on plates with a flowery decor. They have stack upon stack of those plates, and they all come from the cafe.

The table in question is right now with one of my husband’s nieces in her tiny flat. I hope that one day when my kids find themselves in a tiny place, the table will come back to us. Meanwhile, I have to make do with Adrian’s table, though the original one isn’t blue.

Excerpt:

“So, what are you buying today?” Doris’ eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Nothing.” He took a sip of his coffee. It was too bitter to be good, but it always was, and it was a taste he associated with the peace of sitting with Doris surrounded by discarded yet beautiful things. “Have you any small tables?”

She chuckled. “I have an exquisite three-piece set in the back. It’s not really a set, but it came in together. It’s two odd chairs and a small table.”

“Oh?”

“Originally painted in an antique blue, but the paint is flaking. I was gonna seal it with some Tough Coat to prevent it from flaking any more, before I brought it into the shop. I didn’t want to re-paint it. It’s beautiful with the natural wear and tear.” She sipped on her coffee and watched him over the rim of the cup. “It comes from an old cafe.”

“It does?”

Nodding, she put the cup down. “There are hollows on the side stretchers from where people have had their feet.”

Adrian’s heart sped up. He wanted the table. He hadn’t seen it, but a table with that history… “Antique blue would match the china.”

“Or you could give him your old kitchen table and keep this for yourself. If you apply the coat, I’ll give it to you at half price.”

“How much is it?”

She shrugged. “I haven’t decided yet.”

“Doris!” He wanted that table.

She chortled. “If you do the work and help me with another table I have in the back, I’ll give it to you.”

“No, I can’t let you. I want to pay for it.”

She shrugged. “It was given to me. I can do what I want with it.”

“I’m gonna pay for it.” And he would give it to Lorcan.

* * * *

“Come on, Jesse! I need you to help me carry it.” Adrian glared at Jesse who was standing outside the apartment building, smoking. He’d come to the second-hand shop to pick up the table and the chairs in his car since Adrian didn’t drive, but now he was smoking instead of helping.

“You can carry it yourself. It’s a small table.”

Adrian growled at him. “Watch the chairs, so no one steals them.”

“No one’s gonna steal two rickety chairs.”

“They’re not rickety.” Adrian hefted the table and maneuvered into the building. Jesse was a lazy fucker. He turned, banged a table leg against the wall, and cursed. Why couldn’t they live in a building with an elevator?

After two flights of stairs, he stopped to rest. It wasn’t that the table was heavy, but the awkward way he had to hold it had his arms shaking. It would’ve been so easy if Jesse had helped him. After taking a few deep breaths, he grabbed the table again and went up the last flight of stairs. He eyed Lorcan’s door but opened his own instead and placed the table right inside. He didn’t dare leave it. It was a treasure and someone could steal it while he went down to get the chairs.

Jogging down to the street, he spotted Jesse talking on his phone a good thirty feet away from the chairs. He huffed and grabbed them both, not wanting to leave one unguarded, and climbed the stairs again.

They were lovely, with patches of worn paint where there had been a lot of wear and a beautiful blue where there hadn’t been. Adrian wished he could keep them for himself, but he already had a table and chairs, whereas Lorcan had nothing.

He’d lived there for close to two months now, and Adrian had never seen him leave the apartment; had never seen a delivery person come to his door, and the man with the radio voice hadn’t been back.

Maybe it had been Troy. Troy—tall, broad-shouldered and with a radio voice. Troy was everything Adrian was not. It didn’t matter… much. He sighed.

Sweat threatened to pearl on his forehead as he got up to their floor. As quietly as he could, he placed the chairs outside Lorcan’s and hurried over to his apartment for the table. Excitement was bubbling in his chest when he knocked on Lorcan’s door.

When no response came, he leaned on the doorbell.

When there still was no sign of life, he pushed the button for about fifteen seconds, rested for three, and then rang it for another fifteen.

Lorcan yanked the door open, water and foam dripping from his hair. “For fuck’s sake!”

“Oh, hi.” Adrian gave him a sheepish smile. Had he known Lorcan was in the shower, he’d have come back later. He was still wearing a T-shirt and underwear—as always—but maybe he’d thrown them on when Adrian had knocked. “You could have called out.”

“You wouldn’t have heard me over the racket of the doorbell.”

Adrian grimaced. “Do you want me to help you?”

“With what?” The growl sent a shiver down Adrian’s spine. Bear shifter. Lorcan had to be a bear shifter. Or… did bears growl?

“With the shampoo dripping on your shoulders.”

Lorcan’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t raise a hand to see if he had shampoo in his hair. “What are you doing here, Adrian?”

“Oh!” Adrian gestured into the hallway. “I have the best present for you.” He grinned so widely it almost hurt.

“A present?”

He waved a hand. “It’s nothing, but this table and these chairs once belonged to a cafe. You can see where people put their feet.” He gestured again, but Lorcan didn’t move a muscle.

“They’ll be perfect in your kitchen. So you have somewhere to sit.”

Lorcan nodded. “You got me a table and chairs?”

Some of Adrian’s excitement died at Lorcan’s impassive face and even voice. “You need furniture.”

Before Lorcan could say anything else, he grabbed the table and carried it to the kitchen. He placed it by the wall and went back out into the hallway for the chairs.

Putting them by the table, he grinned at Lorcan who stood in the doorway with his hair still foamy with shampoo. “Beautiful, right?”

The set fit perfectly as he’d known it would. His gaze swept over the surface. It was in the perfect state of wear. The work he’d done in Doris’ back room to make sure it would stay this way was worth it.

Lorcan grunted and a part of Adrian’s soul died. “You don’t like it?”

“It’s a table.” Lorcan shrugged.

“Adrian?” Jesse appeared behind Lorcan. “Hi, the door was open.” He gestured in the direction of the hallway.

“Yeah.” Adrian looked at the table again. It was more than just a table, it had soul. He’d picked it for Lorcan, had worked to fix it, had made plans with Jesse to get it here, and had fantasized about seeing it in this kitchen. Disappointment burned his chest and eyes, and he wanted to be away from there. “I think I need to go do some work.” He pushed between Lorcan and Jesse.

“What did you do, man?” Jesse directed the question to Lorcan, and Adrian did his best not to hear his reply.

“Nothing.”

The groan coming from Jesse meant he would say something Adrian didn’t want to hear, so he increased the pace of his steps. As he reached the door, Jesse’s words filled the air. “He’s worked hard to get you that table. Only so you know.” Then his steps closed in on Adrian despite him hurrying.

Blurb:

Adrian Green’s new next-door neighbor isn’t really a dragon, but he does snarl an awful lot.

The first time Adrian saw Lorcan Walsh, he knew he needed Adrian’s help. Lorcan has a fractured leg and an empty apartment. Luckily, Adrian doesn’t mind helping him fill his lair with gems, and Doris’s second-hand shop has everything a dragon could possibly want.

The problem is, Lorcan doesn’t seem to want his apartment decorated, and sneaking presents past a grumpy dragon isn’t easy.

All Adrian wants is to cheer Lorcan up, but when Lorcan’s ex appears at the door, Adrian fears not even vintage coffee cups will get them their fairy-tale ending. What if the way to a dragon’s heart isn’t lined with treasures?

Gay Romance: 14,488 words

Buy links:

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

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.

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Guestpost, Release Blitz

Re-release Spotlight: He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd

Today, my lovely friend Ofelia Gränd is back on the blog with another of her re-releases. I haven’t read this one but I like the sound of it, so while you read this post, I’ll go buy it. Okay? 🙂


Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me swing by today. Yesterday, my story, He Melted Us, was re-released. It was first released as part of an anthology called Love Unlocked. This was waaayyy back when they removed the love locks from Pont des Art in Paris, and the call was to write a story about one of the locks.

I did. My lock was removed five years prior, though. There was an incident with an art student stealing a few locks to use in a sculptor – my lock was one of them.

This story is more than a little crazy. Delron, one of the main characters, has the idea that his and Phillipe’s relationship is tied to the padlock. As long as the padlock is in place, everything will be fine, but when it’s stolen, Delron is certain it’s a sign their relationship will end.

When I’m thinking about this story, I mostly remember laughing. Half of the things in there, my sister made up. I was on the phone with her, laughing so hard I cried, while she suggested things Delron could do to get the lock back.

Some of the ideas came from little news snippets, like when Del scrawls at one of the sculptures in École des Beaux-Arts. There was a picture of someone having written vulgar words on Aphrodite, so Delron does too LOL

So, is Delron sane? Not really. Are his actions realistic? Not very. Did I laugh while writing it? A lot 😂

Excerpt:

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

“Hey, listen to this.” Phillipe took a sip of his creamy coffee before reading out the article in Le Monde.

“In response to speculation about the Paris mayor’s involvement in the disappearance of the locks on Pont des Arts, Town Hall yesterday firmly denied having any connection to the incident.”

“They have to say that.” A light flush spread over Delron’s fair skin, and his eyes glistened with anger. Phillipe didn’t know if he should laugh or cry. Delron was way too worked up—it was just a freaking lock, a tacky symbol that had nothing to do with them. He shook his head.

“Here, they’ve asked a woman what she thinks has happened.”

“And what does she think?” Delron’s tight voice made Phillipe glance in his direction again before he continued reading. His strawberry-blond hair was standing on end. He was clenching his jaw and fisting his hands as he waited for Phillipe to continue.

Phillipe skimmed the paragraph. “She says she thinks the mayor hired someone to remove the locks during the night. That it can’t be a coincidence that Town Hall said last week they wanted the locks removed, and now they’ve miraculously disappeared.”

Relief shone in Delron’s eyes. Phillipe double-checked the text to see what might have brought on the change in his demeanour, but he couldn’t find it.

“So they’re out there somewhere? Someone has them?”

“Erm…Del? It’s one woman, a random person, who thinks that. No one knows.”

“No, I know that, but what if she’s right? What if we could find the person who has our lock? Then everything would be fine again.”

Phillipe creased his brow. What the hell was Delron talking about? “It’s just a lock, a piece of metal—”

“It’s the symbol of our love, without it—”

“It means nothing!” Phillipe hadn’t meant to raise his voice. He didn’t want to argue, but it was just a fucking lock.

Delron stared at him. For a moment Phillipe saw hurt in his eyes, but then a perfectly neutral expression chased away every indication of feeling.

“You need to hurry if you don’t want to be late.”

Phillipe glanced at the clock—the ugly cat-shaped clock that defiled the entire room merely by being there. He hated it—he hated the colour, hated the form, and he definitely hated the ugly pink bow around the deformed head. It had been a sunny day about four years ago when Delron had come home with it. He’d presented it as if it were a treasure, and Phillipe didn’t have the heart to tell him he wanted to drop it from the balcony and watch the cars below run over it. It was an urge he fought every day—to throw the darn thing off the balcony and see it shatter into tiny pieces.

The hideous brown cat swung its tail back and forth in sync with each click of a second. The body formed the round shape of the clock, and two creepy yellow eyes followed you wherever you went in the kitchen. He guessed he should be happy it wasn’t one of those models where the eyes moved as well, they were eerie enough as they were, distracting him every time he wanted to see what time it was.

“Shit.” He gulped down his coffee, left the newspaper on the table, and hurried out the door. He was halfway down the stairs before he realised he hadn’t said a proper goodbye to Delron. Argh, I don’t have the time to run back up now.

Blurb:

All Delron Chastain wants is to live his life with Phillipe, but when their love lock is stolen from Pont des Art, their relationship is in jeopardy. Without the lock holding them together, Delron is convinced they’ll crash and burn. The only way he can save their relationship is to find the stolen lock, and that is what he plans to do, no matter what.

Phillipe Lebeau loves Delron, but a padlock is simply a piece of metal, and Delron not seeing that is driving him insane. The lock has nothing to do with them. Their life was great until the night the lock was stolen, and Del’s crazy behaviour makes Phillipe question if he’s ever really known him.

Delron’s search leads him through an art-filled Paris. Will recovering the symbol of their love be enough to soothe the mistrust his quest has planted in Phillipe? Phillipe believed he’d spend the rest of his life with Del. But who can live with anyone willing to break the law simply to find an old rusty padlock?

Gay Romance / 16,930 words

Buy links

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/He-Melted-Us

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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