Throwback Thursday | Once in a Forest

Easter is approaching and I thought we’d prepare by having a look at Once in a Forest (Nortown #2).

The Nortown series was never supposed to be. I wrote Once in a Snowstorm (Nortown #1) as a one-off. I was doing NaNoWriMo and had finished the story I’d been working on but still had a couple of ks left until I hit the 50k you’re supposed to during one month, so I started writing Once in a Snowstorm….mostly as a joke – read about it here.

After I’d written Once in a Snowstorm I thought to myself ‘hey, that was fun. Perhaps I should do one story for each holiday’ and I starting writing about Easter.

Nortown didn’t turn into a series revolving around holidays, but the first two stories and The Empty Egg (Nortown #2.5) are holiday related. And Honey Baked (Nortown #5.5) too for that matter.

Writing stories about holiday can be really hard. At first, when you start, it’s easy because you know your holidays, right? You know that Easter is eating eggs and pickled herring and drinking påskmust, you know that it’s the Easter Rooster who lays the Easter eggs, you know that you light a bonfire on the Maundy Thursday (that’s today, people! Light up!) to scare off the witches so they’ll fly on their broomsticks to Blåkulla…or wait a minute, doesn’t other cultures have the Easter Bunny? And don’t some of you have Easter ham? And I’ve been in the UK during Easter, I’ve had Hot Cross Buns.

When I write a Nortown story, I mostly write it from a Swedish perspective. I take my inspiration from the nature around me, and since I’m living in a village (that’s not even allowed to be called a village) with less than 200 inhabitants in the ‘town centre’ and about 500 people in the entire parish it’s not hard. But, I don’t want it to be too alien to the reader, so I try to not make it too Swedish, and with holiday food and traditions that’s hard.

What’s your favourite thing about Easter?

In Once in a Forest Tom and Jason are going on an egg hunt. In Nortown the entire town gets together and search for Easter eggs hidden in the forest around them, it’s a tradition.

Jason had butterflies in his belly—not pleasant ones. He didn’t know how to celebrate Easter. What if the people of Nortown thought he was an idiot? What if he did something he wasn’t supposed to do? He didn’t even know how to tap eggs, though the word gave him a pretty good idea.

Biscuit was bouncing around in Jason’s lap, oblivious to the strained silence in the car. Tom had an almost desperate hold on the steering wheel, and Jason wondered what had made the happiness he’d seen during breakfast go away. He didn’t know why. He shouldn’t care, but he wanted Tom to smile again.

“You okay?”

Tom didn’t look at him, simply grunted, and turned off the main road towards the forest. “About last night…”

Jason’s gut tightened. Now what? “Yeah?”

“You can’t tell anyone.”

Oh… “You’re not out.” He didn’t make it a question; he already knew Tom wasn’t.

“Nortown isn’t like the city.” The defensive edge in his voice made Jason think before he opened his mouth.

“I won’t say anything, but—”

“No. I know you’re gonna say something about being true to myself, or for Tristan and Aiden’s sake, or something along those lines, but I was here when Tris came out, and I never want to go through that.”

Jason nodded. Why he was disappointed, he didn’t know. It was not his place to judge or even have an opinion. He didn’t know the people of Nortown, but he had a hard time thinking Jen or Marge and Monica would give a damn. “I won’t say anything.”

Tom’s shoulders slumped, and he eased his hold on the steering wheel. “Thanks.”

“So what should I expect at this egg hunt?”

Tom gave him a quick glance. “You know how egg hunts work, right? We’re here to help Jen prepare, hide eggs for people to find, and then in a couple of hours, everyone will show up. Kids, pets, adults—most of Nortown’s population will stroll into the woods and search for eggs.” Tom laughed. “Afterwards, everyone heads to Jen’s. There’ll be coffee, prizes, and lots and lots of gossip.”

Jason didn’t really know how an egg hunt worked, because he’d never been to one. He’d never celebrated holidays in any other way than to make sure he had a hot fuck at the end of the night. There wouldn’t be any sex happening tonight, unless… He pushed away the idea even as it sent a tingle of excitement down his spine. He was not going there, no matter how hot Tom was, or how considerate he appeared to be. Jason would not put himself in a situation where he could be used like that.


Once in the ForestJason has one rule when it comes to holidays – work his shift behind the bar and then find a willing body to distract himself with. One night is long enough to satisfy his needs and still walk away with his heart intact. It has worked out fine for most of his adult life, but this Easter, he’s trying something new. He’s leaving the city to visit his friend, Aiden, who recently moved in with his boyfriend in the middle of nowhere, but one unfortunate incident leaves Jason without a place to sleep.

Tom doesn’t do relationships, he rarely does hook-ups and never too close to home. Living on his own without attachments is far easier than having the whole town knowing about him. As the holiday approaches, his lonely house grows even quieter than normal – at least until his friend, Tristan, dumps an arrogant bartender in his lap.

As soon as Jason lays eyes on the gruff lumberjack whose home he’ll be sharing, he knows who’ll warm his bed for the weekend and help chase away any pending holiday gloom. Too bad Tom doesn’t want to get with the programme. As much as he wants to let Jason close, he won’t risk outing himself for a weekend fling. Will Jason trust Tom not to break his heart if he stays longer than a couple of days, and will Tom value their relationship higher than the town gossip?

books2read.com/Forest


 

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Us Again

I love short fiction, I’ve said that over and over again. Some days I fear I’ve lost my ability to tell a story in just a few pages – flash fiction used to be my favourite format – that’s not something Nell Iris suffers from, though. Us Again is a sweet short story told in about 30 pages.

Alex had everything he wanted in Sammy until one day when Sammy ended their relationship. Alex has no idea why. They loved each other, and even if they didn’t say the words it was all there in their actions.

Several months later, Sammy’s brother calls Alex and asks him to come to the hospital. Sammy collapsed at work due to not eating or drinking properly.

Alex is filled with worry and fear that Sammy will ask him to leave and never come back again, but what follows is an explanation to why Sammy told Alex to leave and why he hasn’t been taking care of himself since. It’s an emotional revelation that’ll tug at your heartstrings.

If you’re up for a cuddly, sweet read, you should check this one out! You’ll get yourself a reunited, hurt-comfort fix through a conversation in a hospital bed.

books2read.com/UsAgain


Us Again, a bench in an autumn landscapeWhen Alex gets a call in the middle of the night telling him his ex-boyfriend is in the hospital, he only hesitates for a second before rushing to Sammy’s side. But the Sammy in the hospital bed is fragile and not the same man who told Alex to leave seven months ago.

Alex wants to help Sammy get better and is desperate to find out what went wrong between them. Maybe he’ll even get a second chance with the man he hasn’t been able to get over.

But will Sammy let Alex back into his life?


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Cop Out

Cop Out (Toronto Tales #1) by KC Burn is one of those I’ve seen around for years and always thought to myself that ‘yeah, maybe I’ll read that next’ but I never had. Now I did.

I’m not really a Gay-For-You or Out-For-You kind of girl. I read them if there is something else about the book that interests me, but you won’t see me scroll the GRY / OFY shelves. I liked this though, the slow burn romance is really nice and there is coping with grief and a lot of self-discovery.

I was sure I’d read KC Burn before, I’ve seen so many of her books around, but apparently, I haven’t. This won’t be my last Burn book, though. I’m looking forward to more books set in Canada.

It also made me want to expand my greenhouse – all those tomatoes! LOL Now, I just have to look over my shoulder to realise I already have more tomato plants than I could possibly fit in my garden as it is now so I’ll have to come up with some smart solution for that. I’m practically living in a jungle at the moment.

books2read.com/CopOut *


Cop Out doesn’t focus much on Kurt being a cop, but if you’re looking to be introduced to an officer you might find him here or maybe you’re in the mood for some slow-burn.


Cop OutDetective Kurt O’Donnell is used to digging up other people’s secrets, but when he discovers his slain partner was married to another man, it shakes him. Determined to do the right thing, Kurt offers the mourning Davy his assistance. Helping Davy through his grief helps Kurt deal with the guilt that his partner didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, and somewhere along the way Davy stops being an obligation and becomes a friend, the closest friend Kurt has ever had.

His growing attraction to Davy complicates matters, leaving Kurt struggling to reevaluate his sexuality. Then a sensual encounter neither man is ready for confuses them further. To be with Davy, Kurt must face the prospect of coming out, but his job and his relationship with his Catholic family are on the line. Can he risk destroying his life for the uncertain possibility of a relationship with a newly widowed man?


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.