RELEASE BLITZ: “Flowers Under My Pillow” by Nell Iris. Rafflecopter Giveaway Included.

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Flowers Under My Pillow

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: June 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope: Soul mates

Themes: Older characters (40+), instant connection, meet cute 

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:  17 477 words

It is a standalone story

Goodreads

Buy Links 

JMS Books  |  Universal Link 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.

Blurb

Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.

For thirty years, Frode’s had the same dream. Every Midsummer’s Eve since he was a kid accompanying his sister to pick flowers to put under his pillow, he’s dreamed of the same man. A dream he never shares with anyone, that makes him wish for impossible things…like true love.

“It’s you.”

Then one Midsummer’s Eve, the man of Frode’s dreams stands before him in the flesh. Both men recognize each other despite never having met in real life. Both men are instantly drawn to each other and want to know more.

“Who are you, Viljar? Are you even real?”

Their questions are many but do the whys and the hows matter? Or should they allow the Midsummer magic that brought them together to lead the way into each other’s arms? Into each other’s hearts?

Traditional Swedish folklore tells you that if you pick seven kinds of flowers in silence and put them under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, you’ll dream of the man you’ll marry.

Excerpt

When I look around to take in my surroundings, I realize my feet have carried me to the cottage without me noticing, and something catches my attention on the lawn on the other side of the fence.

A closer look reveals a tripod with a big, professional-looking camera attached on top. And underneath it, a man lies on his back, surrounded by a starry sky of tiny white flowers growing low in the grass. I don’t want to disturb him and I’m just about to sneak away when he turns his head toward me. 

Warm brown eyes, with crow’s feet radiating out from the corners, meet mine. But it’s his full beard, scattered with dandelions, that makes my heart tumble over itself in my chest. 

Smiling eyes. A full beard. Dandelions. 

Dandelions

My hand flies to my chest as I forget how to breathe. 

It’s him.

****

The man’s eyes widen, then he springs to his feet, banging his knee into the tripod almost making it topple over, but his arm shoots out, his big hand landing on the camera, stopping it from crashing down onto the grass.

“It’s you,” he says, his voice a deep rumble emanating from the pit of his stomach, vibrating its way to me, settling in my core.

It’s you. 

What does he mean? Does he recognize me, too? 

“It’s you,” he says again as he takes a few hesitant steps in my direction. His eyes never leave my face. 

“It’s you,” I echo, brows furrowed. 

The improbability of it all, of my recurring dream materializing and standing in front of me, makes me take a step backward. He leaps forward, dislodging a couple of the dandelions from his beard by the sudden movement, and I watch them sail to the ground. 

When I look up at him again, it’s as though I’m zooming out of my body and look at the two of us from a distance. Two men, separated by a white picket fence, staring at each other as though they’ve seen a ghost, as though they both think they must be hallucinating. His features are so familiar; I know every line radiating from the corner of his eyes, every strand of his beard. I know all the nuances of brown in his dark eyes; as though someone swirled chocolate into a deep well of coffee and then sprinkled some gold into the mix to make it irresistible. I know the sensitive setting of his mouth. I know the intense gaze.

It makes me dizzy, and I stumble but manage to keep myself upright. I take another wobbly step backward.

“Don’t go,” he says. “Please.” He stops but holds out his hand as though he wants to touch me to make sure I’m real. 

The feeling is mutual. How is this even possible? How can the man I’ve dreamed about every Midsummer these last thirty years be right here a few steps from me? As though I’ve dreamed him into existence. 

I drag my gaze away from his face and take in the rest of him. He’s tall and broad-shouldered, his biceps are straining the short sleeves of his button-down shirt. He’s got a rounded belly and meaty thighs filling out his faded jeans, and his big wide feet are bare in the grass. 

Heat stirs between my hips. God, he’s not only the literal man of my dreams, but he’s hot as sin, too. When I force myself to look away from his body, our gazes meet. 

“You recognize me, too,” he says, eyes pleading. “I can tell from your reaction.”

I dip my chin once. “I do.”

My heart flutters in my chest like the wings of a colibri. Another dandelion falls from his beard and my gaze follows it down as it lands softly on the ground. 

My mind spins with questions and it’s making me dizzy again. How can the man from my dreams stand before me in the flesh? A living, breathing human being? A living breathing human being who recognizes me too?  

When our eyes meet again, I read the same confusion in him. 

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. 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Profile

Twitter  |   Instagram   |  Goodreads

Pinterest  |  BookBub  |  Newsletter

Giveaway

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one of three ebook copies from Nell’s backlist

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BOOK BLAST: “The Emancipation: Dion’s Baptism” by Dijon M. McIntyre

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Emancipation: Dion’s Baptism

Author: Dijon M McIntyre 

Publisher: FreedomArtz LLC

Cover Artist: Cameron Dudley 

Release Date: December 5, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction

Trope: Therapy

Themes: Love, Depression, Forgiveness, Coming out, Acceptance

Heat Rating: No heat

Length:  34 365 words/128 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

 

A young gay man has a near death experience that forces him to go through therapy and recount the events of his abusive past that led to his excessive drinking and depression.

 

Blurb

The Emancipation: Dion’s Baptism is a fictional story about a young man who has a near death experience and ends up going to therapy, forcing him to dig up painful memories from his past and discover what is the real cause behind his depression and his excessive drinking. He not only finds the answers he’s looking for but also the strength to forgive all the people who have hurt him.

 

Excerpt 

“It’s something I don’t normally tell people about because I don’t want them blaming my sexuality on that. With me being gay, I feel that people in my life always look for an explanation as to why I’m gay or how I “became” gay. It’s not like it was one particular incident that made me like guys, I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. As a child I didn’t really know a name for it or a label to attach to it, I just knew I was always attracted to men. I don’t care too much about how anyone else feels about it, this is part of who I am.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what people in your life did you feel wanted an explanation from you about your sexuality?”

“Everyone, at least that’s the way it felt. Close friends, family members. They all wanted to know why I’m like this; they treated it like it was a disease. I remember people in my family asking me if I had been molested by someone in the family or saying that I turned out like this because I used to carry my grandmother’s purse to her car for her before she went to work. People tried to find every explanation for something that didn’t need one. It’s like I’m asking me why I’m black. Who cares as to why I’m this way, I just am.” Dion doesn’t look Cathy directly in her eyes when talking about him being gay and feeling rejection.

“Seems like you felt the pain of rejection a lot in your life.”

“More than you know, in some ways I think rejection is the very reason that I’m in this office talking to you in the first place.”

“What is your earliest memory of being rejected?”

“Ouch. I need to take another drink before I tell you this one.”

“Is it that bad?”

“Not sure if bad is necessarily the right term to use–more so painful.”

 

August 5th, 2001

“DJ, what are you doing?” Kesiah asks in a slightly critical tone.

“Singing duh, I love to sing.”

“You do?  Since when?” She rolls her eyes.

“Since always, I always sing in my plays at B.C. Cook.” Dion expresses with a child-like excitement

“Well you need to stop singing.”

“Why?” 

“Because you aren’t good at it. Momma used to always say that ‘if you ain’t gone sing a song right then don’t sing it at all.” Keisha walks away, leaving Dion’s eyes full of tears that he silently lets out. 

 

Present Therapy Session

“Keisha is your sister, correct?

“Yeah.” Dion twiddles his thumbs showing his anxiety from talking about his sister.

“When she told you that you couldn’t sing, how old were you?”

“I was seven, I looked at my sister at that time as my best friend. I looked to her for encouragement and support.”

“In that moment, do you feel like she failed you by crushing your expectations of her?”

“I did feel that way, wisdom and time has helped me to forgive her and understand that she wasn’t really trying to hurt my feelings. She was a  thirteen-year-old girl who was still hurting from the death of her mother, our mother. And she didn’t fully know how to process the things that were going on in her life at that time. Looking back, I actually feel bad for not being more understanding about the pain she was in. I held that against her for a long time.

“I know you said that you forgave your sister but what about the effect of what she said? Do you still want to become a singer?”

“Not really, I mean she wasn’t entirely wrong in what she said. She wasn’t entirely right either. I did love singing and my elementary school was a performing arts school so I got to do every area of performance whether I was good at it or not. I decided that my real passion lies somewhere between not just performing but also creating.”

“So you want to be a music producer? Or a singer-songwriter?”

 

About the Author

Dijon McIntyre is an Author/Actor/Director amongst many other things. He was raised in the beautiful sunshine state of Florida which has had a profound effect on his writing and his artistic performances. Getting into acting at the young age of 6, he is familiar with many different types of performing including acting and music but he attributes his love for all of these things to his undying love for God. Raised as a Christian and now identifying as a “follower of Christ”, Dijon has a vision to use his publishing/production company FreedomArtz to open up opportunities for the people who want to make their dreams come true while still maintaining a liveable wage doing what they love. You can find any of his three books on Amazon, Google Books, or any major online retailer. 

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  | Twitter  |  Instagram  

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

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Continue Reading BOOK BLAST: “The Emancipation: Dion’s Baptism” by Dijon M. McIntyre

RELEASE BLITZ: “#Sliding Into My DMs” by Nell Iris

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: #SlidingIntoMyDMs

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books 

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: February 17, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope: Friends-to-lovers

Themes: Bisexual character, 40+ characters, old friends reconnecting

Heat Rating: 3 flames  

Length:  21 998 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Publisher – JMS Books  

Universal Link 

 

It all started with a DM on Instagram

 

Blurb

“Hi. I heard you’ve been sick.”

Eddy Pennington is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia when an old acquaintance, Moss, sends him a message on social media. They haven’t spoken in years, but Eddy is pleasantly surprised. He always liked Moss even if they were never close friends.

Moss Fanning has no ulterior motive with his message: all he wants is wish Eddy a speedy recovery. He got over the crush he used to have on Eddy a long time ago.

They reconnect easily and have even more in common now. And when they meet in person, the attraction is instant. Will an innocent, well-meaning message on social media lead to something more? Something deeper? Something…everlasting?

 

Excerpt 

I bump my shoulder against his. “You are fucking perfect, Moss Fanning.”

His hand brushes against mine, sending a shower of sparks up my arm. “Nah.”

“Don’t fight me on this. You don’t want to upset a poor, sick man.” 

Moss chuckles. “No indeed.”

We continue a while in silence before he speaks again. “If you think I’m perfect, I guess that increases the chances of you considering this a date.” It’s a calm statement, casually put out in the universe, and I like that he shows no hesitation. 

So I hook my pinkie with his. “I guess it does.”

“Good.”

Huh. I guess I’m on a date. My belly does a happy flip. 

After a few more steps spent in silence, he slips his entire hand into mine. His rough palm sends a wave of happiness up my arm, coiling itself around my soul. Our shoulders brush and intensify the emotion. 

I had no idea a simple walk could be so intense. 

“Did you have a hard time finding work here?” I try to keep my tone casual, not wanting to betray what holding his hand does to me, not wanting to draw attention to the easy way a slow walk slipped into a date. I like the ease; I hate complicated and games and playing hard to get. I hated it in my twenties, and I hate it even more now. 

“No. I come highly recommended. I’m a damned good carpenter.”

“All the more reason to take you to Anne and Rosa.”

He laughs. “You just want me for my skills, is that it?”

“Nu-uh.”

“Then what?” 

I stop on the path and make a show out of checking him out, slowly letting my gaze travel from his face, down his chest and rounded belly, lingering on his thighs—I have a thing for thick thighs—and then reversing course until I meet his gaze. 

Moss shakes his head with a fond smile and tugs my hand to get me moving again. “You’re not well enough for any of that.” 

“Nope. But I’m getting better.”

“I’m glad. We can revisit that discussion when you’re capable of walking faster than a quarter of a mile an hour.”

“Hey!”

He laughs at my indignation, and Balderik joins in the fun by letting out a playful ruff. 

I squeeze his hand. “In all seriousness, I like you for your no-nonsense attitude. It’s very attractive.”

“Thank you.” His husky voice reverberates up my arm. “I appreciate you saying that. Not everyone likes blunt honesty, but I knew you could take it before, so I took a chance you still can.” 

“Oh, I can.”

“Good.”

All too soon we reach the end of the trail, and we’re back where we started by Moss’ SUV. Another car has parked in the clearing while we were walking, but there’s no trace of the owners. The daylight is fading fast and so is my energy, and no matter how much I’d like to be able to continue our walk forever, I have to admit defeat. 

Moss opens the car door for me and helps me inside. “I’m sorry,” he says. 

“What for?”

“You weren’t ready for such a long walk.”

I take his hand again, a shudder racing up my arm when his palm rasps against mine. “I was. I admit I’m tired and I’ll probably fall asleep in the shower later, but this walk helped heal my soul and that’s important, too.” 

“Yeah, sure. But—”

“Don’t feel bad. Please. Just drive me home and promise we’ll come back here soon. Promise my weakness didn’t scare you off.”

He brushes his thumb over the back of my hand. “I promise.”

 

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. 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Profile

Twitter: @nellirisauthor  |  Instagram: @nell_iris  |  Goodreads

Pinterest  |  BookBub

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of five ebook copies from Nell’s backlist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Continue Reading RELEASE BLITZ: “#Sliding Into My DMs” by Nell Iris

RELEASE BLITZ: “The First Boy I Ever Kissed” by Suki Fleet

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The First Boy I Ever Kissed

Author: Suki Fleet

Publisher: Stars and Ink Press

Cover Artist: Suki Fleet

Release Date: January 11, 2021

Genre: Contemporary New Adult M/M 

Trope/s: . Second Chances, Friends to Lovers, I have always loved you

Themes: Second chances, Bi awakening

Heat Rating: 3-4 flames (not frequent but detailed)

Length: 35 000  words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

 

Kim was the first boy Tommy ever kissed. The only person he’s been in love with.

But Kim broke Tommy’s heart when he left without a word. Can Tommy give him a second chance?

 

Blurb

It’s been over two years since Tommy’s heart was broken. Two years since Kim vanished from his life without a word. 

Kim was the first boy he’d ever kissed. The only person he’s been in love with. He’d thought they were starting something when he showed his feelings on prom night, and they shared their perfect messy kiss, but he’d been wrong. He never saw Kim again. Until tonight when joy riders crash into the warehouse complex where he works. 

Kim’s life is a mess. For two years he’s been involved with a criminal gang, trying to protect his mum from harm. He knows he has nothing to offer. But seeing Tommy again gives him the strength to try. If only Tommy wasn’t leaving the day after tomorrow to go travelling around the world. If only tonight wasn’t all they had. 

 

Excerpt 

It’s almost Christmas Day—surely, he’s got somewhere else to be, other people to be with? People far more important to him than me. I think again of the girl with the green braids. The sharp-eyed way she watched him as he gave a false name to the police. Wherever his life is at, ramming a four-by-four into a warehouse complex and then being arrested has got to build up some serious tension. Maybe he needs to let off a bit of steam too. Maybe that’s what this is.

I take my time cycling down the rough track to the park. I’ve popped a tyre before on the glass that’s scattered around here, and my fingers are too frozen to be fiddling around with fixing on a spare.  

As soon as we make it into the skatepark’s tiny car park, Kim hops off the bike. I find myself still wanting to feel his arms around me. The ache of it. Like the past has a weight, a texture, and it’s all him. 

God, what am I doing? This is such a bad idea. Spending time with him is just going to hurt, I know it is, and here I am just about offering myself up to it like a masochist.

He scrambles to the top of the little grassy hill surrounding the park. “God, I’ve missed this place.” 

The wistfulness in his voice surprises me. I follow him up with my bike. He turns to me, pulls off my massive gloves, hands them to me in my helmet, then holds his arms out, races down to the centre of the second biggest ramp, and starts spinning. Spinning and spinning, his head flung back, hair flying. He looks seventeen again. Young. Wild. Free.  

For a moment whatever shadows are haunting him are chased far away. And my heart aches and aches.

I remember the first time I saw him, swinging on the metal railing by the coffee shack near the smaller ramps with a couple of girls from school. He was laughing, head thrown back like it is now, pink hair falling away from his narrow face, sharp white teeth flashing, the whole of him vibrating with some wild aliveness I’d never seen in anyone else. Still haven’t. Too involved in watching him, I forgot what I was doing and nearly killed myself, lost control of my bike in the middle of a turn and crashed face first into the ramp. Later, I told myself I’d been so transfixed because I didn’t know whether he was a boy or a girl. But, of course, it wasn’t true. It took a long time for me to realise that though. 

That was the summer I finished my GCSEs. I was fifteen. Kim was new. He’d moved from another school across town. I never asked him why.

Back then the skatepark was full from sunrise till late into the night, and Kim hung around almost as often as I did. He made friends quickly, and though I watched him all the time and caught him watching me, I remained clueless. Maybe if I’d have worked out sooner that I was bi, things would’ve been different. I don’t know. 

Leaving Kim spinning, I clip my helmet in place, toss my gloves next to my backpack on the frozen ground, and take off down the biggest ramp, doing a few sharp turns at the top to warm up. 

“I used to love watching you,” he yells. “You ride like the water flowing in a river.”

It’s ridiculous how buoyed up his words make me feel, and I flush. I’m too old to be showing off at the skatepark, trying to impress some boy I know is watching every jump I make, and still I do it, taking my bike through a few 360 tailwhips. Making it look casual, easy, though it’s not, but that’s the trick. Isn’t that always the trick?

Limbs vibrating with adrenaline, I skid to a stop in front of him. “Get on.”

Kim’s eyes widen. “You’re going to kill us if you jump with me on your bike.” But still he gets on.

I laugh. “Still up for anything, eh?”

“With you, yeah.” His arms fasten around me, and he plasters himself close. “I’ve missed you, you know?”

Has he? I stiffen a little. I can’t let myself believe him, not just like that, because, no, I don’t know. But I don’t say that. I don’t say anything. My feelings are too jumbled to work out how to respond. Instead I focus on the things I do know and take us swooping down the big ramp and up the other side. I’m not about to do any tricks with Kim on my bike. He’s right, it’d probably kill us, plus I only have the one helmet. But it’s just nice riding around with him like this, even though I’m not sure how I feel right now. 

“I’m sorry,” he whispers after a while, his arms squeezing me a little tighter like he’s afraid I’m suddenly going to stop and shove him off. “I’m really fucking sorry. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me.”

“I don’t hate you,” I say quietly. Of course I don’t. How could I ever hate him? I kind of suspect in forty years’ time, if I’m still around, I’ll still get this sharp pain in my chest when I think about him.

 

About the Author 

Suki Fleet is an award-winning author, a prolific reader (though less prolific than they’d like), and a lover of angst, romance and unexpected love stories.

They write lyrical stories about memorable characters and believe everyone should have a chance at a happy ending.

Their first novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards. Their novel Foxes won Best Gay Young Adult in the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter @SukiFleet

  Instagram  |  Newsletter Sign-up

 

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of five ebook copies from the author’s backlist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Continue Reading RELEASE BLITZ: “The First Boy I Ever Kissed” by Suki Fleet

RELEASE BLITZ: “Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday” by Nell Iris. Rafflecopter Giveaway Included!

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: December 30, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary, holiday M/M Romance

Trope/s: Meet cute

Themes: Being true to yourself, New Year’s Eve, holiday

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 20 849 words

It is a standalone story.

 

Buy Links

JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK

B&N | Kobo | Apple Books

 

Two strangers, a twisted ankle, an ancient stone ship, and a New Year’s Eve they’ll never forget

 

Blurb

Petter sneaks out of the New Year’s party he didn’t want to go to and treks to an old burial site he’s dying to see. Alone. Without telling anyone on a freezing December night. Without cell service…a huge problem when he twists his ankle.

Someone passes by Isak’s house on the path leasing to the stone ship. When the person never returns, Isak worries and sets off to investigate. What he finds is Petter, a pack of sparklers, and an instant connection.

Under a starry sky, they learn they have a lot in common. Will the attraction burn hot and fizzle out like the fireworks going off over their heads when they return to the real world? Or will it deepen, grow, and turn into something real? Something everlasting like the stone ship?

 

Excerpt

“Did you come here to ring in the new year?” He nods toward the bottle still positioned between my legs.

“Yeah. I’ve always wanted to visit this place and since I was dragged to the village, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I even brought sparklers.” I pull them out of my pocket, holding them up for him to see.

“Bubbly and sparklers by the stone ship. Sounds like the perfect New Year’s celebration to me.”

I stare at him. He sounds serious enough, not like he’s mocking me. And he doesn’t know me, so he won’t know what buttons to push to get me to agree to do shit I don’t want to, like my friend Jonas, who’s the sole reason for me being here. “You can’t be alone on New Year’s Eve, Petter. Only losers and people with no friends stay home alone on holidays. Besides, you don’t want Maja to think you’re not her friend, do you?” Bastard played me and used his girlfriend to get me to agree, knowing how much I like her. More than him, most days.

But this guy, this stranger, seems honest. “You really mean that?”

“I do.” He grabs the bottle and takes a swig, his face scrunching up in a grimace.

“Yeah, I know,” I snicker. “It’s vile. Serves me right for grabbing someone’s bubbly from the fridge before heading up here.”

“I’m not a wine expert, but that was…”

“…too sweet,” we say simultaneously.

He nods. “Exactly.”

I smile.

“Listen. What do you say we ring in the new year a bit early? New Year’s is just an arbitrary mark of the passage of time invented by humans anyway, so who says we can’t do it now? Light some sparklers, tell each other our resolutions. Try not to barf as we drink more of this.” He holds up the bottle. “Then I can help you down. Call a doctor if you need one. Or take you back to your friends if you prefer. I assume you’re at the Andersson house for the party?”

I raise an eyebrow. “How did you know?”

“It’s a teeny tiny village. Everyone knows what’s going on in their neighbors’ houses.”

“Really? That can’t be good?”

“It has its downsides, that’s for sure. But I’m mostly fine with it.”

“Okaaaay.” Because surely, he doesn’t mean the neighbors know everything? Not what other people have in their nightstands and stuff? Ew.

“So what do you say?” He nudges his knee against my leg.

“Sure. I approve of the plan.”

Isak removes his gloves and holds out his hand. “Let me light the sparklers. Did you bring a lighter?”

“Yeah, hang on.” I dig into my pocket without taking off my mittens—my fingers are pretty cold—until I find it. “Here you go.”

“Awesome. Are you the kind of person who makes resolutions?”

“Usually not.” I accept the lit sparkler he holds out to me. I’ve loved these things since I was a little kid, even more than fireworks, and up here, in the howling wind with a sky full of stars above my head, in the company of a kind stranger and huge ancient stones, they’re more beautiful than ever.

“But this year is different?”

“Yeah. I’m doing some…significant changes in my life this coming year, so I thought ‘why not?’ It can’t hurt, right? Even if I agree with you about the arbitrariness of this so-called holiday.”

“You do?”

“Sure. It’s not a thing we celebrate because of some natural phenomenon, like the solstice. It’s just to mark that the Earth has done another lap around the sun. I mean, that’s great and all, but why do we need to celebrate it?”

Isak’s face lights up in a wide grin. “Yes! This is what I always say when people complain because I refuse to embrace the spirit of the holiday.”

I return his smile. “Exactly!”

“I’ll drink to that.”

 

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.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook Author Page | Facebook Profile

Twitter: @nellirisauthor | Instagram: @nell_iris | Goodreads

QueeRomance Ink | BookBub

 

 

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BLOG TOUR: “Foreign Affairs” by Daniel M. Jaffe.

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Foreign Affairs: Male Tales of Lust & Love

Author: Daniel M. Jaffe

Publisher: Rattling Good Yarns Press

Cover Artist: Ian Henzel

Genre/s: Short stories, literary fiction, LGBT romance

Trope/s: Travel romance, flirtation, sexual encounters, history in contemporary life

Themes: Travel, sexual/gender identity, love, desire, loss,

friendship, historical memory, spirituality

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 60 000 words/168 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Publisher: Rattling Good Yarns Press

Paperback – US addresses only (includes FREE shipping)

Blurb

In this newest story collection from award-winning writer, Daniel M. Jaffe, red-blooded American men make mischief while vacationing abroad. They encounter a serial killer in a Munich bathhouse, a gay Holocaust ghost in Prague, a shape-shifting seductress in Mexico City, a desperate prostitute in Seville, a closeted Catholic school administrator in Dublin, and many others. These stories will transport, titillate, intrigue, and tug at your heartstrings.

Excerpt

Bill understood Quinn to be whispering “dirty,” but in the raspy, heavy brogue, the word came out as “dehrty”: “Yer a dehrr-ty, dehrr-ty man.” Quinn flicked out his tongue and sucked it in, frog-like. With a thurping sound: “You’re a dehrr-ty, dehrr-ty man,” thurp thurp thurp.

A journalist for the Chicago Tribune, Bill had arrived in Dublin this morning to write a human interest story on the upcoming gay marriage referendum. Polls anticipated Ireland becoming the first country to authorize gay marriage by public vote. Traditional, Catholic Ireland.

Not having slept on the plane—and his body reminding that he was older than he used to be—he spent the day napping in his Jury’s Inn Christchurch hotel room, studying local newspapers and webzines, making notes and listing questions for his article. He supped in his room on take-away from the “great wee chipshop” around the corner, Leo Burdock Fish & Chips—greasy, salty, thick-crusted smoked cod accompanied by more fries than he could possibly consume. Later on, he trimmed his gray beard, donned jeans and a button-down blue shirt that showed off his squarish pecs without appearing too obvious—his decades-old uniform whenever scoping out a new city’s gay life. Bill always enjoyed these forays most of all, surveying the terrain before his newspaper’s photographer arrived and hovered, thereby preventing Bill from conducting his most enjoyable background research.

Passionate encounters with locals were the secret to Bill’s success as human interest story writer—even in his late 50’s, he could still get laid with fair enough regularity, especially as exotic foreigner. Few journalists’ articles contained the under-the-skin insights Bill’s did, revelations feeling like disclosure to a trusted confidant. Bill’s interviews read like intimate pillow talk because that’s precisely what they were.

Bill put little stock in ethical baloney about maintaining journalistic distance: if you want to get an inside story, you need to get inside. Repressed countries were Bill’s specialty because they burst with scared horny locals who had few other bed partner options. Want a journalist to cover police harassment of Russian gay activists? brutality against gays in Iraq? death-threats against gays in Uganda? Send Bill with a pack of condoms to ferret out the under-cover(s) scoop. Only a matter of time before he’d win a Pulitzer. He sure was having fun trying.

Bill headed out in the cool evening for George, the nightclub touted on all Irish gay websites as Dublin’s primary gay hangout. He’d undoubtedly find some trick to “interview.”

Strolling down Dame Street—odd, he thought, how historically grand the word “Dame” sounded in Ireland, whereas in American ears it came across as outdated Al Capone cheap. He walked the narrow sidewalk past restaurants, pubs, cafés, repeatedly bumping shoulders with those walking toward him until he realized that the Irish walked the way they drove—on the left, unlike on-the-right Americans: head-on collisions were inevitable.

A scan around the cobblestone courtyard of Dublin Castle, a mix of red brick Georgian palace, gray medieval fortress, and white-gray Gothic revival chapel. A quick look-see at City Hall with its white-gray granite columns and triangular pediment. On the corner of South Great George’s Street, a main shopping avenue, he faced an enormous mural covering the entire side of a gray building: two young men, one in white sweater, the other in black, snuggling in romantic embrace. Larger-than-life gay love, four stories high. And tacked to a lamppost on the corner beneath it—a bold, green-lettered “Yes For Marriage Equality” poster sporting a rainbow flag. All this smack in the center of Catholic Dublin. A more in-your-face public display than he could recall having seen in Chicago’s Boystown.

That must be the place, with the rainbow flag over the entrance and a thick bouncer staring into Bill’s eye. He nodded at the guy and stepped inside. A low-lit cavernous space with stairs to the right—the upper level looked closed…well, it was a Sunday. The music was fast-paced and louder than he liked. Bill walked to the far end of the long bar with men and women in their 20’s chatting, noted the stage behind the bar, empty now of the drag acts he’d read about. He grabbed a black leather barstool, asked the muscular barman for a pint of Guinness, one of those touristy must-do’s. He savored the thick molasses foam, the mix of bitter and heavy sweet, then turned to the lean young man beside him, a handsome fellow with close-cropped blond hair, and introduced himself, knowing that his accent would lead at least to a where-are-you-from conversation. Bill slapped on his personae of naïve visitor: “All I basically know about Ireland is leprechauns and four-leaf clovers.”

“And all I know about America is that you all carry guns and shoot black teenagers when you’re strung out on crack.”

About the Author

Daniel M. Jaffe is an award-winning writer whose short stories and personal essays have appeared in over half a dozen countries and several languages. He has been profiled in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature, and his work has been taught in college and university courses. Daniel is author of the novels Yeled Tov, The Genealogy of Understanding, The Limits of Pleasure, and the short story collection, Jewish Gentle and Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living. He lives in California with his husband, the writer and professor, Leo Cabranes-Grant.

Read more at www.DanielJaffe.com.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook: Daniel M. Jaffe

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Continue Reading BLOG TOUR: “Foreign Affairs” by Daniel M. Jaffe.