Book Title: So Far Away
Author: Nell Iris
Publisher: JMS Books
Cover Artist: Written Ink
Release Date: May 1,
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope: Established couple
Themes: Illness, separation, pandemic (inspired by Covid, but
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 14 567
It is a standalone
So Close, Yet so Far
Engaged couple Zakarias and Julian are convinced nothing
can separate them…until a global pandemic hits. Zakarias catches the virus with mild
symptoms and isolates in the couple’s guest house. The few meters dividing them might as
well be the moon as he watches Julian, an ICU nurse, work himself to the bone, unable to
support him the way he needs. Frustration and worry build as the weeks pass. Will Zakarias
be declared healthy before Julian burns out?
When we’d just bought it, we spent many long evenings
making plans and discussing options. We’d share a bottle of wine and make long lists of
things we wanted, things we deemed necessary in what was going to be our forever home.
The lists started outrageously—a wine cellar
bigger than the actual house with an employee who turns the bottles? Really,
Zakarias?—but distilled into a few reasonable
items. So Julian’s dream of the biggest bathroom in the northern
hemisphere—a Bath Palace, Zakarias, not a
bathroom—complete with a pool, a jacuzzi, a
sauna, and every other imaginable luxury, turned into a more feasible sized room with a
fancy walk-in shower and a separate bathtub with jets—both of them big enough to
accommodate the two of us. It also has a heated floor and double sinks. And my favorite
feature; the tiny lights over the bathtub, sprinkled in the ceiling like a starry sky.
We both love the house; it’s our sanctuary. Every design
element is chosen for comfort and to make it feel like a real home. Like someplace we can
be ourselves. Someplace we can grow old together.
There are things left to do on the house before we’re happy
with it, and we still spend evenings on the couch, sipping wine and making lists. Evenings
that more often than not turn into heavy make-out sessions on the couch, with clothes
being torn off and strewn about. Evenings that end with us panting in a sticky mess and
blissed-out grins on our faces, but without deciding what to do with whatever room we’re
considering remodeling at the time. “The discussion is half the fun,” he’ll say with sparkling
eyes, and my mouth agrees, while I’m thinking the discussion is all the fun, because I
could live in a tiny shack in the forest and be happy as long as he lived there with
But this house…it’s not just a house, it’s a home.
Our home and I miss it.
I miss coming home from work and finding Julian sprawled
on the couch in only his underwear, watching some horrid reality show or other on the big
screen TV. I miss waking up early on weekends and preparing luxury breakfasts for him, miss
how the scent of freshly baked bread never fails to wake him and lure him out of bed. I miss
the adorable sight of him stumbling into the kitchen, bleary-eyed, hair in disarray with pillow
creases on his cheek and dried drool on his chin. I miss how he beelines for me like a
heat-seeking missile and winds himself around me, burying his face in my neck, snaking his
arms around me, and tapping three times over my heart.
His family came up with that code when he was little; his
younger sister was born with a genetic developmental disorder and never learned to speak,
so three taps to the heart meant “I love you.” She died when she was only five, but the
family keeps her memory alive with that gesture. It was how Julian told me he loved me for
the first time. I didn’t understand it at the time, but when he told me the story, I realized
he’d been telling me he loved me long before the words were spoken out loud.
I straighten my spine. Shake my head at my moment of
weakness before marching back to the guesthouse and pulling a sweater over my head. I
pour out the cold forgotten contents of my mug and pour fresh, steaming coffee into it.
Then I sit, take a sip, and breathe.
About the Author
Nell Iris is a romantic at heart
who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to
read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something
to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but
she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet
journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving
coffee and pastry!)
Nell believes passionately in
equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better,
less hateful, place.
Nell is a bisexual Swedish
woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is
approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends
her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer
for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and
released her first book in 2017.
Nell Iris writes gay romance,
prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.
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