Today, Nell Iris is visiting! It’s the release day of her story, They Met in the Park, and she’s here to tell us a little about it. Welcome, Nell!
Thank you for having me on your blog, Ofelia! Again. I’ve been here a lot lately (and hope to get invited back soon) and I hope your readers haven’t grown tired of me! 😁
Today, I’m here to talk about my new release, They Met in the Park, the second of the Meet Cute Chronicles books. The first book, They Met in the Library, was released in January and features a librarian and a dyslexic. The three Meet Cute Chronicles stories are completely standalone and are only connected through the meet-cute theme. Because who doesn’t like a good meet-cute? 😊
Jacke and David, the main characters of They Met in the Park, meet when David is out walking his elderly neighbor’s spoiled little dog. Jacke is hanging out in the park, trying to find a moment of peace and quiet after a difficult day at work. He’s had a string of those lately, so when he came across a lonely park bench underneath an old oak tree some weeks ago, he’s returned to it daily after work to decompress.
Jacke’s a bit of a loner, so he likes it there on the bench, where he can hear and see other people but doesn’t need to interact. From the beginning, his loner ways were by choice; he grew up in a bigoted family in a bigoted town and was forced to keep his biggest secret—that he’s gay—close to his chest. But by the time he leaves his family behind after high school, the behavior is so ingrained in him that he hasn’t changed even now, in his forties.
But then David shows up. David who wears a fancy suit while walking a little dog. David who protects the spoiled creature—and not himself—with an umbrella when it rains. David, who awakens the want for something more in Jacke’s chest. So when the opportunity arises for Jacke to speak to David by offering him his umbrella when David forgot to bring his own, Jacke takes it.
And luckily David seems interested, too…
The dog stops, sniffing something interesting on the ground before continuing her slow meander.
“You all right, there, Princess?” David says, but the dog doesn’t acknowledge him.
“It’s a very fitting name for her. Maybe you should address her as ‘Your Highness.’”
He laughs. “Yeah. Probably.”
Far too soon, we reach the parking lot and stop by a new-looking hatchback. David tries to open the trunk while holding both Princess and the open umbrella but gets all tangled up.
“I can take it,” I say.
He smiles at me and hands me the umbrella. “Thank you.” He grabs a towel from the trunk, crouches down and wraps it around Princess, and starts drying her off. I keep them protected with the umbrella, ignoring that the rain and the chill are finally getting to me. I can always warm up in the shower later.
When the dog is dry and back to her impeccable self, David opens the back door and lets her into a crate before turning back to me.
“That was very kind of you. I’d still be out there, struggling to get her to move, if it hadn’t been for you.”
“Glad I could help.”
“You should go home and warm up, though, so you won’t catch your death like my mom used to say.”
I smile. “Yeah.”
“I’m sure your wife must be wondering where you are.”
“No wife,” I say.
I shake my head.
Another shake, but slower this time, followed by a slow gaze traveling along his body. He’s mostly obscured by the overcoat, but he’s medium height and looks to be medium built, too. He’s always well put together, even on the occasions he’s wearing more informal clothes. His classically styled hair is usually immaculate and his clean-shaven face sports a dimple on his chin.
I guess his looks could be considered pretty average, too; not classically handsome, not ugly. Nice.
But there’s something about him that makes it impossible for me to take my eyes off him. Maybe it’s that he’s so unabashedly gay and does nothing to hide it, and I wish my teenaged self could have seen him. Maybe it’s the way he fusses over a little dog. Maybe it’s his smile or the quiet confidence in his movements or that he radiates contentment.
I don’t know, but I like what I see.
His smile widens under my perusal and he indulges in the same. I let him watch. After spending over half my life doing manual labor, a lot of it outdoors, I’m in great shape. Yes, my hair started turning gray early, so I’m sprinkled with salt and pepper—both on my head and in my stubble—and I have lines by my eyes, but my body is nothing to complain about. Strong. Toned. Capable. A little tired sometimes, but it always recovers.
“I don’t have a husband either,” he says and meets my gaze, bold and blatant.
“No one has applied for the job.”
I take another look at him. The dimple in his chin is adorable. I want to brush away the hair from his face and warm him up, kiss the blue tinge from his lips. “I find that hard to believe,” I say.
His eyes twinkle. “Same.”
“People have been applying, but no one’s been hired.”
He steps closer. “Oh? Why not? You picky?”
I shake my head. “Wasn’t hiring.”
His eyes crinkle with mirth. “You a one-man company, then?”
“I have been, yeah.” I chuckle.
“How about now?”
“Now I’m starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be nice with…another employee.”
He bursts out laughing. “Oh God, we took that analogy too far, didn’t we?”
“A bit, yeah.” I grin.
Can a spoiled little dog bring two strangers together?
The first time Jacke sees him, it’s a happy accident. He’s taken refuge in a quiet corner of the park, decompressing after a difficult day at work, when the man, dressed in a fancy suit, passes by him walking a spoiled little dog.
As the days pass, Jacke notices the adorable pair several times. He’s unable to take his eyes off the man whose first priority is the dog, even over his own comfort. And one day, when circumstances are right, Jacke takes a chance and speaks to the man. David.
David’s personality is as adorable as his outward appearance, and a short walk in the rain results in mutual attraction and a promise to see each other again. A second meeting in the park turns into a date, and Jacke starts longing for something he thought he’d never have; a partner. But does David feel the same? Will a chance meeting in the park turn into love?
M/M Contemporary / 17478 words
Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide 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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