Today, Nell Iris is with us to celebrate the release of They Met in the Library, which is the first of three meet-cute stories that will be released during the first months this year. And make sure to read the entire post, because there is a giveaway in there. Welcome, Nell!
First of all, I’d like to say thank you to Ofelia for letting me borrow her blog today and tell you all about my new release. You’re always so kind and generous. Thank you 😘
They Met in the Library starts with a meet cute. A meet cute is, according to Wikipedia (link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_cute); “In film and television, a meet cute is a scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances.”
The first time I heard this term was when I watched the movie The Holiday for the first time. Wonderful character, old guy Arthur Abbot who used to work in Hollywood, explains to Iris (Kate Winslet’s character) what it is, and then the movie itself is full of meet cutes (I especially like the one between Graham (Iris’s brother played by Jude Law) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz)).
After the meet cute, the writer can flesh out the story into a whole novel following the classic story structure (attraction-tension-big drama climax at around 80% – HEA), or they can do what I chose to do in Meet Cute Chronicles: focus on the meeting, one or two more dates/meetings after the first one, and then add an epilogue for the HEA. I found it a great way of keeping things lighthearted in a time when cute, funny, and flirty is something many of us desperately need.
First out is Adrian and Manne in They Met in the Library. Adrian is a librarian who loves books, and Manne is dyslexic with a fraught relationship to them. They meet when Manne steps into Adrian’s library and is on the verge of panic at the sight of all the books. Luckily, Adrian comes to the rescue…
The meet cute is the common theme for all three books in my Meet Cute Chronicles; They Met in the Library (release day January 16), They Met in the Park (February 27), and They Met in the Woods (March 2021). Meet Cute Chronicles isn’t a series, they’re not connected other than through the main theme, the meet cute.
Adrian, book-lover extraordinaire, adores his job at the small community library. He gets to share his passion with other people and help them with all book-related questions and issues. When a big, hulking man walks into the library, looking terrified, Adrian’s skills are tested in a completely different way.
Manne’s relationship with books is uneasy, to say the least. He’s dyslexic and events in his past have made him fearful of books and turned libraries into his worst nightmare. But when the quirky, bowtie-wearing librarian steps in to help, the experience turns positive.
Their banter is easy and their chemistry instant. But can an accidental meeting turn into something more? Can someone who has trouble reading ever fit into the life of a man whose passion is the written word?
M/M Contemporary / 17943 words
I notice him immediately when I return to my desk. He’s hard to miss; a big hulking man with a shaved head, huge gauges in both ears, and strong arms covered in tattoos.
But his looks aren’t what draws my attention. No, it’s his pale face rivaling the freshly fallen snow outside the windows. And the way he barely moves at all, not even a slight rise and fall of his chest. Is he even breathing? The only thing not frozen is his gaze. It darts over the library, from one bookshelf to the next, and he’s looking at them like they’re wolves ready to strike.
Knitting my eyebrows together, I look closer. He’s swaying a little and he really isn’t breathing, so I round my desk and hurry across the floor, slowing my steps as I approach so I won’t scare him.
“Sir? Are you all right?” I ask.
His eyes keep flitting around as though he hasn’t heard me. He’s tense; I could cut glass on the cords of his neck.
I soften my voice. “Sir?”
He tears his gaze away from one of the many book displays—I’m looking for a book and the cover was blue— and looks at me, but I’m not sure he realizes I’m a human being. His eyes are glassy and unfocused and wild. Pleading for help. He looks terrified, reminding me a little about a visitor who had a panic attack right here in the library a couple years back.
“Sir?” I keep my voice low, soothing. “Sir, you’re worrying me. If you don’t take a breath, I’ll have to call the ambulance.” No reaction. I take a couple steps closer and gently touch his arm, as I scan his face, looking for clues. He’s perspiring and his pulse flutters frantically in his neck. He’s holding his coat in one huge hand and the grip is so tight his knuckles are whitening.
This man is scared to death, and if I don’t do something quickly, he’ll pass out.
I gently squeeze his arm. “Sir? You’re safe here with me. I won’t leave you. Would you please breathe for me?”
There’s a glint of recognition in his eyes, as though my words are getting through to him, as though he realizes I’m a fellow human and not a dangerous predator ready to attack.
His chest rises and falls, and he dips his chin once. The acknowledgment—and the breathing—makes me relax, so I smile at him.
“My name is Adrian, and I work here. Would you please come with me? My desk is just over there.” I point. “You can sit down for a second and I’ll get you a glass of water, okay?”
Another dip to his chin.
“Great. Are you all right to walk to my desk on your own, or would you like me to help you?”
Without a word, he holds out his elbow; I link my arm through his and coax him toward my desk. After just a couple steps, he speaks. “There are so many books. I don’t know what I was thinking, coming here. I can’t do this. I can’t. There are so many books.” His voice is fervent. Agitated.
I give his arm a little squeeze, reminding him that I’m here. “Yes sir. We have a lot of books here. A little too many if you ask me, at least when it’s time to put them all back.” I’m hoping my words and a little humor will divert his attention from whatever scares him about the books and bring him out of his state. The little huff he lets out tells me I’m onto something, so I continue to babble. I’m very good at babbling, after all.
“Just a few more steps and we’ll be there. I’m the boss of the information desk, but don’t tell my coworkers I said that. They’ll try to tell you I’m wrong. That we’re all equals here at the library. But you and I know that’s not the case, right? Only someone wearing a bowtie can be the boss of the information desk, that’s an old rule.” I bump my shoulder to his to show I’m kidding and get another huff as a reward.
I pull out the visitor’s chair. “Please sit, sir.” He collapses into the rickety old wooden thing that’s seen better days—every year, the city council cuts funding to our little library, so we can’t splurge on stuff like furniture— and it groans underneath him. He’s way too big for the tiny little thing; he’s spilling out of it, as though someone poured him into it and didn’t stop when he started flowing over. The man is muscle upon muscle—easily double my width—and tall, maybe even a bit taller than my own six feet four inches. I hope the chair won’t collapse underneath him.
Nell Iris author bio and social media links
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.
Find me on social media:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor/
Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12