Hiya! I’m here as Holly today, and I thought I’d tell you a little about Squirrel Circus, which was released a few days ago 😊 I wrote it for Squirrel Appreciation Day because squirrels are cute, right?
In this story, we have Jyran, who is a squirrel shifter. Squirrel shifters are near extinct because people – both humans and shifters of predatory species – hunt them.
Then we have Gideon, who is a grumpy werewolf who wants nothing to do with squirrels.
Jyran is a darling. Did you know squirrels misplace about 75% of the food they gather? Well, Jyran misplaces food too.
I’m not here to talk about squirrels today, not much, at least, and as you can see, I’m failing. But what I came here to talk about is fated mates. I write a lot of fated mate stories. I don’t really know why I do. I often say it’s because I can cheat on the romance, but that’s not entirely true.
It’s a shortcut, but just because you have a soulmate doesn’t mean you can skip the getting-to-know-each-other part. It’s just that it’s decided from the beginning that they’re gonna be together. But if you read romance, you know the characters are gonna end up together, fated mates or not. If there isn’t a HEA or at least HFN, it isn’t romance you’re reading.
What I like is the willingness to sacrifice yourself for your mate. I’m not saying you don’t see sacrifices in contemporary stories, but it’s not the same. In most fated mates stories it’s ingrained in the characters to protect each other, and they want to be together at all costs.
Though not always. Squirrel Circus is a rejected mate story, my first! Unless I’m forgetting something 😆 I don’t think I do. So far, I have 12 fated mate stories. The level of choice varies in them, some are more in the potential mate category, and some are that there is a one-and-only.
In Squirrel Circus, it’s a one-and-only, but that doesn’t stop Gideon from rejecting Jyran. He does not want to be mated to a squirrel, and it takes a long time before he can accept that his mate, his better half, his one-and-only, is in fact a squirrel.
I think I’ll write more rejected mate stories in the future. I loved writing this one!
Can you forgive being rejected by your mate?
For as long as Jyran Pechman can remember, he’s dreamed about finding his soulmate. As a child, he lost his family, and he’s been moving around ever since. He hates it, and he wants nothing more than to have a home. A mate. A place to belong.
Gideon Everett might have dreamed about the day he’d find his mate, but his mate was never an unorganized, nut-hoarding squirrel shifter in those dreams. Wolves eat squirrels, so when Jyran walks into Gideon’s bar, he throws him out and tells him he wants nothing to do with him. He has a reputation to think about, and he will not be known as the wolf who mated a squirrel.
Being rejected hurts more than Jyran ever imagined, and he swears never to set foot in Gideon’s bar again. After the initial shock, Gideon is almost sure he made the right decision. Almost. What if he made the wrong decision? Now when he knows his mate is out there, can he live on as if they’ve never met, or does he have to … ugh … apologize?
Paranormal Gay Romance: 36,035 words
Gideon was slicing lemons for the evening when the air stirred, and Adara appeared in front of him. He sucked in a breath, for more reasons than one, and his gaze jumped to the entrance. Was Jyran with her? Hot and cold washed over him.
“What do you know about Valerie?”
Gideon forced himself to look at her and not wait for someone else to enter. “What are you talking about?”
She slammed her palm against the bar, and Gideon swallowed a growl. “Valerie, who used to work for me.” It took his brain a second to catch up, but Adara was furious… and maybe scared. It had tension creeping into him. What could scare a vampire?
“I don’t know anything about her. Are we talking about the bear?” If so, she’d come here with Adara a few times, but it had been a few years since he’d seen her.
“Yes, the bear. She’s not been in here? She lives here now.”
Gideon hadn’t seen her, but it didn’t mean she hadn’t been in. He had a pretty good idea of who his customers were, but it didn’t mean he never missed anyone, and on occasion, he had a night off. “I haven’t seen her.”
Adara glared, and Gideon’s initial annoyance melted into confusion. “Are you here for a few days?” He could use a good night, and if he could get her to play, it would get him to the end of the month. She hadn’t played at The Howling Moon since that night… She was big shit now, though. Toured the world. She didn’t do gigs in seedy bars anymore.
Close enough. “Want to come to Doson, for old times’ sake?”
She shook her head. “Can’t bring Jyran here. I have to get to the bottom of this before I take him anywhere.”
Ice filled his gut, but he refused to ask what she meant. “You can come without him.”
She huffed. “I’m not leaving him unprotected. I might have to cancel the gigs in Ordbury.” She leaned against the bar with a dramatic groan. “Fuck, he’ll hide spiders in my bed if I do.”
Gideon would not get involved in this. “Why did you ask about Valerie?”
“She was attacked.” Adara looked around the bar. He hadn’t changed anything since she’d last been there, he didn’t think.
“And it has something to do with Jyran?” Damn. He didn’t want to know.
“He doesn’t think so, but he’s never realized his worth. People always treat him like shit, so he believes it’s what he deserves.” She shook his head, seemingly forgetting Gideon treated him like shit. He wasn’t. He wasn’t treating him at all. “I wouldn’t last a day without Jyran. Valerie tried to warn me about something, but I was too busy playing superstar to call her back. She mentioned Jyran, and she never mentions Jyran. If anyone wanted to ruin things for me, all they’d have to do is get to him. If they know we’re in Ordbury… and it’s not much of a secret, is it?” She sighed. “They’d know I’d come if Valerie was attacked. Either they wanted me to come, so Jyran would be unprotected, or they’d assume he’d come with me. Most likely the latter since he’s always with me, and they don’t know you’re an ass.”
So many questions were resting on Gideon’s tongue, but he wouldn’t ask them. “He’s safe now?” The cold in his gut spread to his veins after he’d uttered the words. It wasn’t pleasant.
She shrugged. “I left him in bed with his boyfriend—” Gideon saw red but forced down a breath. In bed. With his boyfriend. “—but Justin isn’t enough protection. He’s human.”
“He’s… dating a human?” Fuck his traitorous tongue. He wouldn’t ask questions.
She shrugged. “There is always someone, but they can’t protect him properly. They don’t know what he is or the danger he’s in. I have to find out who attacked Valerie and why. I think it’s connected to what she was trying to tell me.”
Gideon couldn’t think. There is always someone. His bed hadn’t lacked lovers for the last six years, but he’d never imagined Jyran being with someone other than him. He was his mate, why would he want to bed anyone else? The voice in his head snorted. “Human?”
“What? No, shifter. She had scratches from claw marks. I’m heading to the hospital in a minute to talk to her. When I called, her mother was there, so I figured I’d pop in here first.”
“I mean Jyran. You left him with a human.”
He watched as a little light came on in her eyes. “Right, yeah, our entire team is human these days. Valerie was the last to go. I didn’t renew her contract when it came to an end. No hard feelings.”
“What? Why?” Who would want to work with humans? Humans couldn’t protect them.
She shrugged. “They love Jyran.”
Right, and shifters would want to kill him.
“Oh, and he wrote you a letter.” She pulled a paper that had been folded a million times from her pocket.
“He wrote me a letter?” He tried to halt the warmth spreading in his chest.
“Sure. He does it all the time, and then we normally get drunk and burn them. He’s a cute drunk.”
Gideon tried to process what she was saying while clutching the letter.
“Go on, read it.”
Part of him wanted to, another part suspected this would end badly. He slowly unfolded the paper and read the date in the corner. It was dated two weeks prior. He glanced at her, but she was studying her nails.
Skimming the first paragraph, he grinned as Jyran told him about Fewood. How lovely the city was, and how he’d gotten two pairs of shoes from the biggest shoe store he’d ever been in. Then the paper crinkled in his grip as he described, in detail, how Justin had sucked him off in a park under the moonlit sky and now was sleeping in his bed. How lovely he was, how Jyran wished he could love him. Then he went on a rant about how much he hated wolves and ended the letter with a fuck you. It was more like a diary entry than a letter.
“He wanted me to read this?”
“No, of course not.” She yanked it from his grip and tore it. “I had to steal it while he was in the shower. I’d have taken a juicier one, but he was done in the bathroom, so there was no time.”
Gideon filled his lungs. “How many letters are we talking?”
Adara shrugged. “He writes to you almost every day, but then, when he’s extra depressed, we burn them.” Her grin was evil. “You don’t deserve him.”
Maybe not, but he didn’t want him either, so it didn’t matter.
“Why give it to me, then?”
“Because you’re an ass.” She made a move to leave but turned. “If you hear anything about someone wanting to skin a squirrel or kill a singer, let me know, yeah?”
Gideon didn’t know what to do. His inner wolf whined with the need to protect his mate, but he was a stupid, mindless beast. Gideon couldn’t have a squirrel mate. “You think you’re in danger? For real? You’re not here to punish me?”
“Gid, had I wanted to punish you, you’d be bleeding. I’m sorry your idiocy is hurting Jyran, but as long as you’re pushing him away, I can keep him, so the selfish part of me doesn’t mind your stupidity at all. The day Jyran settles down with someone, I’ll be lost. I might stop touring. I’ve made enough money to last me a lifetime, but I kind of like it. He doesn’t, though. One day, he’ll settle for someone, and we’ll stop this nomad way of living.”
“You’ll stop touring?” He didn’t believe her. “For Jyran.”
“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for Jyran, but not until I know he can be happy. Justin is all right, but he’s not the one. I had higher hopes for David. For a while there, I believed David would be enough for him.”
It hurt more than it should. Gideon had worked his way through a long line of lovers, but he’d never kept anyone for more than a night. Jyran had relationships, and it hurt. He laughed with someone, cuddled with someone, shared meals with someone.
But he was a fucking squirrel. Gideon couldn’t be with a squirrel.
About Holly Day
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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