Guest Post | Willow Road

Hello, everyone! I’m here as Holly today. I don’t know if you’re aware, but yesterday was Crossword Puzzle Day, and I wrote a story for it! Willow Road is a paranormal, fated mates, interspecies couple.

Jeremiah hasn’t left his house in over a decade, except when he has to go to the dentist. All other things he’d managed to solve. He works from home, his groceries are delivered to the door, and nowadays he cuts his own hair after that disastrous time when he had a hairdresser coming to his house.

He told the hairdresser about how he solved the crossword puzzle in the newspaper every day and how he needed to do it while she cut his hair to have something to focus on other than freaking out. She then went on and told the entire village, and that was when the ads started.

Someone is putting ads in the paper, encouraging people to ring his doorbell for one reason or other. Jeremiah has removed his doorbell, but it doesn’t help much.

Zeeb is a wolf shifter and the new chief of police. When he learns about the ads, he’s furious and goes to talk to Jeremiah. Never could he have guessed Jeremiah was his mate. He can’t have a human mate. No one will respect him if he mates a human.

So Zeeb plans to ignore the pull. Jeremiah is oblivious so that works in his favour. The problem? Someone is messing with his mate, and Zeeb will have heads rolling if it doesn’t stop right this minute.

It doesn’t stop right this minute. Of course, it doesn’t. It wouldn’t be much of a story if it did, would it? 😁

If you’re in the mood for some shifter fun, you can grab Willow Road over at Smashwords for 50% off till January 1st.

Willow Road

willowroadJeremiah Pace hasn’t left his house in thirteen years. He doesn’t trust anyone, least of all shifters. School was a nightmare, and despite never interacting with anyone in the village, the bullying continues in his adult life. Someone is putting ads in the paper, encouraging people to drop by his house for one service or other, but Jeremiah never opens his door.

Zeeb Hemming is a lone wolf and the new chief of police. He’s only been in Stoneshade for six weeks when he learns about the ads and goes to knock on Jeremiah’s door. Not because of what today’s ad said, but to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Human or not, Jeremiah deserves to live life in peace. The moment Zeeb nears Jeremiah’s house, he knows he’s his mate. But he can’t have a human mate.

Jeremiah pleads with Zeeb not to stir anything up. Yes, the ads are bad, but things can always get worse. Zeeb is furious someone is mistreating his mate and is willing to skin anyone who has any connection to the ads alive. But how is he to convince Jeremiah to trust him when he talks to Zeeb through a gap in the window instead of opening the door to his house?

Buy links

Gay Paranormal Romance: 19,909 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/WillowRoad

Excerpt:

Every muscle in Zeeb’s body tensed. The sight of Jeremiah punched him in the gut, the scent of him threatened to buckle his knees. He’d suspected when walking up to the house, and now when he could smell him, he was sure. He gritted his teeth not to let a howl fly over the sky. His. Jeremiah was his.

He cleared his throat to rid it of the worst of the growliness, but his eyes wouldn’t shift back to human, no matter how many times he tried to get them to.

“Jeremiah?” Zeeb did his best to ignore the pleading tone in his voice. He should have known. Should have understood. Never before had he stalked someone’s house unless they were a suspect, but he’d spent far more time hidden in the trees surrounding Jeremiah’s garden than he should have. There had been a pull, an invisible rubber band yanking him closer every time he’d tried to leave.

But it couldn’t be. Jeremiah was human. It wasn’t unheard of that shifters found their mates among humans, but… It wasn’t acceptable.

When Jeremiah nodded, Zeeb cursed himself mentally. He was here for a reason.

“I’m Zeeb Hemming, the new chief of police.”

Jeremiah’s eyes widened. “Chief? Am I in trouble?”

“No! No, you’re not in trouble. I only wanted to check on you.”

Jeremiah didn’t so much as move a muscle, so Zeeb continued. “I’m on my way to have a talk with whoever is working the ads department in the newspaper.”

Jeremiah had been pale when he’d opened the window. Now he turned the shade of a ghost. “No.”

“No? Why not?”

Jeremiah shook his head, his eyes wide, and Zeeb growled.

“Why? Do you know who it is who puts the ads in the paper?”

He shook his head again while edging away from the window.

Zeeb cursed. “Why don’t you want me to talk to them?”

“It’ll only make it worse. Hardly no one comes anymore. I lock all doors, and I don’t answer when anyone knocks.”

Zeeb studied him. The scent of fear wafting out through the tiny gap in the window made him want to tear open the door so he could get to Jeremiah. “Nothing will happen. I will put a stop to this.” Because Jeremiah was his and if someone so much as dared to look at him the wrong way, he’d gut them.

He winced at his thoughts. He couldn’t have a human mate. As chief of police, it was important people respected him, and no one ever would if he had a human mate.

It was a blessing Jeremiah appeared unaware of the connection. Zeeb could ignore it. He was strong and in control of his emotions. Had Jeremiah been a shifter, he’d known they were mates the second he met Zeeb. But he was human, so it wasn’t a problem. Though, if he’d been a shifter, it wouldn’t have been a problem either.

He growled, which had Jeremiah backing away from the window so fast, Zeeb feared he’d fall. Fuck. “I’ll get to the bottom of this.”

“Please don’t.” Jeremiah spoke so low he never would’ve caught it if his hearing hadn’t been as good as it was.

“It’s harassment.” And he would not have his colleagues laughing at his mate. He would not have strangers ring his doorbell—though the doorbell wasn’t functioning. Zeeb had tried it before he’d knocked.

“I’ll be back later to check—”

“No!” Jeremiah wrung his hands. “Please, don’t come back. I’m fine. No one’s been by today.”

Today. Had someone been by yesterday? He had, but he didn’t think Jeremiah was aware of it. Zeeb didn’t care what Jeremiah said. He’d get to the bottom of this. The ads had to stop or people would die. He might not be able to mate with Jeremiah, but he’d make sure he lived the best life he could, and the first step was to snarl at the person accepting the ads into the paper. The poor soul would remember Willow Road 1 and would make sure no ad with it mentioned would make it to print ever again.

WhatToReadWednesday | Christmas Reads

It’s time for the #WhatToReadWednesday post, and I have not prepared one. So… I’m gonna cheat 😆 Holly did a Christmas read recommendation post at the beginning of the month, and since we have the same taste when it comes to books… Here are some holiday reads you should check out! LOL

Sock it to Me, Santa! by Madison Parker

This is a super cute young adult story, and if you know me, you know I don’t normally read young adult, but despite it being more than ten years since I read this, I smile every time I see the cover.

Sock-it-to-meRyan is assigned to Jamie Peterson for his class’s secret gift exchange. If word gets out that he has to make a handcrafted gift for flamboyant and openly gay Jamie, Ryan will be the laughing stock of the school. It’s a good thing no self-respecting boy would be caught dead in a craft store, because otherwise he’d be at risk of being spotted when his mom drags him to her weekly craft workshops. He hopes Jamie will appreciate all the trouble he’s going to for this assignment. Finding the perfect gift is gonna be tricky. Jamie deserves something good, though, after all the crap he has to put up with at school. At least, Ryan tells himself that’s the reason he’s putting so much thought into the gift. It couldn’t be that he has feelings for Jamie, could it?

https://books2read.com/SockItToMeSanta

Lone Star by Josh Lanyon

This isn’t my favourite Lanyon story, but it has a certain appeal. It’s a second-chance story, and the beginning grabbed me when I read it. It would’ve been great if there had been an epilogue, and there is a question that I won’t ever be able to let go of: What happened to the reindeer?

Lone StarGrowing up in rural Texas, Mitchell Evans’ ambition to be a dancer made him a target. Though he found success in New York City, Mitch is at a crossroads, and heads home for the first time in twelve years to figure things out. When what appears to be a reindeer jumps out in front of his car, he drives off the road and into the path of the one man he hoped to avoid.

The last person Texas Ranger Web Eisley expects to see four days before Christmas is his first love. He hasn’t seen Mitch since they quarreled over coming out to their friends and family years ago. Though he’s not in the closet now, Web has worked hard for the respect of his fellow officers, but he still regrets the loss of Mitch in his life. And his bed.

The attraction between them is as strong as ever, and it doesn’t take long for the men to pick up where they left off. But is love enough to keep Mitch in town in the New Year? 

https://books2read.com/LoneStar

A Reason To Believe by Diana Copland

I’ve been meaning to reread this. It’s a paranormal mystery with ghosts, and I remember liking it, but I also have this niggling that there was some aspect of it that didn’t appeal to me, but I can’t remember what, so maybe I’m misremembering. Rereading is the only way to find out!

A reason to believeDetective Matthew Bennett doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the spirit of a murdered child leads him to her body, he’s shaken to the core—and taken off the case. Unable to explain his vision, or to let go of the investigation, Matthew turns to renowned medium Kiernan Fitzpatrick. Though he has doubts about Kiernan’s claims to communicate with the dead, Matt is nevertheless drawn to the handsome psychic, who awakens feelings he thought were long-buried.

Haunted by the lingering spirit of the little girl, Kiernan is compelled to aid in the search for her killer. The chance to get closer to the enigmatic Matt is an unexpected bonus. Although Kiernan’s been betrayed by people who turned out to be more interested in his fame than in himself, with Matt he’s willing to risk his heart. As the two men grow closer, Kiernan helps Matt rediscover that life offers no guarantees—but love offers a reason to believe… 

https://books2read.com/AReasonToBelieve

Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles

In the mood for something British? This is another second chance story, with a crazy seagull, and cold market stalls. Lovely and with some funny moments.

Merry-Gentlemen’Tis the season of goodwill to all men…even the one who dumped you.

Riley MacDermott’s ambitions are simple. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive herring gull.

The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. So does their habitual head butting.

Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley was firmly planted in the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.

As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless one of them can compromise.

https://books2read.com/MerryGentlemen

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish

A recent read for me, and absolutely lovely. You know how much I love bakers. The story spans over a long time, but there is some focus on a Chanukah dinner, so I’m including it here.

39347033._sy475_Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.

Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.

When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.

https://books2read.com/TheRemakingOfCorbinWale

The Invasion of Tork by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

An old favourite. New adult, with origami, Dickins, and a trigger warning for self-harm. And if you’re on a tight budget, you can indulge because this is a free read.

The invasion of TorkAdam is cool, intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous – all the guys tell him so! When he is forced to start voluntary work at the local homeless shelter, all he worries about is keeping the clients well away from him and finishing the placement as soon as possible. Until he meets Tork.

Tork is clever and funny. He makes origami models and reads Dickens. Tork has green hair and makes Adam’s heart race with longing. But Tork is homeless and not at all impressed with Adam’s attitude.

Can Adam see past his fear and arrogance? Can Tork give Adam a chance?
Can two such different men turn the world upside down and find out what really matters? Read to find out their story.

Content Warning: the story includes reference to and description of self-harming.

https://books2read.com/TheInvasionofTork

Shiny Things by Amy Spector

I love this book. It’s Thanksgiving, so I’m afraid we’ve already missed it, but… There is a scene in this, an exhibition at an art gallery that makes me cry every time I read it, and I’ve read it a few times.

Shiny thingsAt sixteen, Nathaniel Avery was shipped off to live with an aunt in hopes of quelling a budding relationship between him and another boy. Ten years later, a frantic call from his younger brother and his father’s failing health, brings him back home.

Just weeks before Thanksgiving and the most important day in Vincent Cooke’s career, he nearly collides with the grown version of the boy he never really forgot.

Will a gallery renovation, the holiday season, and the art of a mad genius help them to rebuild a friendship and rekindle a romance?

https://books2read.com/ShinyThingsSpector

Always Have, Always Will by Amelia Mann

This isn’t your usual romance story. It’s about a couple who’s been together forever, they have two kids, and they’re living everyday lives until Jay collapses while out shopping.

Always-Have,-Always-WillJay thinks official commitments aren’t necessary in a relationship. For the last fourteen years, he has loved waking up beside Gabriel, watching their two adopted kids grow up – even enjoyed painting the fence once in a while and paying his part of the mortgage on their New Jersey home. To Jay, that’s a family. No papers or ceremonies will make their relationship better than it already is…though Gabriel has a different opinion.

Their lives are turned upside-down a month before Christmas, when he collapses in the plumbing aisle of the store. In the aftermath, Gabriel discovers that Jay’s only legal next of kin is his long-time absent father, and later Jay has to confront the painful memories of growing up, and the real truth behind his parents’ divorce.

But perhaps now Jay might be ready to give Gabriel a Christmas gift he will never forget. 

https://books2read.com/AlwaysHaveAlwaysWill

One Nightstand by Rick Bettencourt

Oh, this is just Christmas cosiness through and through, cabins and hot cocoa.

One NigthstandDoug’s not good with one-night stands, yet in the early hours of Christmas Eve, he returns home with Kirk – a good-looking guy he met at the club. Nestled together in the kitchen of his New England cottage, sipping hot chocolate and watching the snow fall, Doug wishes there could be more to this casual encounter. It’s a feeling that stays with him as he heads off to a frantic day of work at the mall, swamped with last-minute holiday shoppers…the last place he expects to find something magical.

https://books2read.com/OneNigthstand

Graham Ran Over A Reindeer by Sterling Rivers

Okay, I’m including this solely because Graham ran over a reindeer. He didn’t kill it, so you don’t need to worry about that, but there just aren’t many stories where the main character collides with reindeer shifters

Graham ran over a reindeerNeed a little spice with your sugar this holiday?

Rudy Snowden has been pining for Graham Miller since they were teenagers, but being a shape-shifter and in love with a human isn’t easy. After years of dancing around each other, Rudy decides to take the big leap and ask the guy on a date.

Truck driver Graham Miller is glad to be home for Christmas in Alaska. Road weary and suffering from the holiday blues, Rudy Snowden is the perfect pick me up—if Graham can summon the courage to ask him out. While picking up a Christmas tree from Rudy, Graham is unable to find the words, and leaves without the man he’s wanted for so long. Lost in a snowstorm sprinkled with misery, Graham hits a caribou—could his day get any worse? He rushes the animal to the Snowden vet clinic, where he quickly learns things can always get… stranger. The creature he nearly killed isn’t just any animal, and the Snowdens aren’t a normal family. With his secret finally revealed, Rudy makes his move. But can Graham accept Rudy’s inhuman nature and be the life-mate he wants?

https://books2read.com/reindeer

Joys R Us by Kim Fielding

This is short and cute, and if you, like me, dislike shopping, this is for you! LOL

Joys R UsReece is a practical, orderly man, a financial analyst who considers most holiday events wasteful. But his sister coerces him into standing in line overnight for this year’s must-have toy. Supplies prove smaller than expected, and Reece gets trampled in the resulting stampede. Toy store manager Angel tends to Reece’s wounds. When Angel discovers Reece’s cynical attitude, he invites Reece to spend Christmas Eve with him. Over the course of the day, Angel shows Reece what Christmas means to him. With Angel’s guidance, maybe Reece can finally understand the joy of the holiday—and maybe even find love as well. 

https://books2read.com/JoysRUs

Just Like Heaven by Suki Fleet

In favour of snowstorms? I love the snowed-in trope. This is a sweet, gentle YA story.

Just like heavenOne rainy night in December, David helps a busker with pretty eyes get his stolen money back. He doesn’t imagine the strong attraction he feels is mutual. But after overcoming his shyness, David discovers Jess is definitely interested.
Jess just isn’t interested in anything but a one night stand. Or maybe two. Falling for David is definitely not part of his plan. But when David gets trapped in a snowstorm the night before Christmas Eve, Jess realises a night or two is never going to be enough.

Proceeds of this sale will be divided between two UK charities working to support homeless youth: Shelter and Centerpoint.

https://books2read.com/JustLikeHeaven

Mr. Frosty Pants by Leta Blake

Another YA/NA story. Why are so holiday stories YA/NA? I’m not a fan, but this is lovely, though I wanted Casey to cut all ties to his terrible family LOL

Mr Frosty PantsFrosty former friends get a steamy second chance in this Christmas gay romance!

Can true love warm his frozen heart?

When Casey Stevens went away to college four years ago, he ghosted on his straight best friend, Joel Vreeland. He hoped time and distance would lessen the unrequited affection he felt, but all it did was make him miss Joel more. Home for the holidays, Casey hopes they might find a way to be friends again. But Joel’s frosty reception reminds Casey of just how hard he had to fight to be Joel’s friend in the first place. It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to get past that cool façade again.

Joel isn’t as straight as Casey believes, and his years of pining for Casey have left him hurting and alone, caring for his abusive father and struggling to get by. Unable to trust anyone except his rescue dog—and with no reason to believe Casey is interested in him for more than a holiday fling—Joel’s icy heart might shatter before it can thaw.

Can Casey and Joel’s love overcome mistrust, parental rejection, class differences, and four long years apart?

Mr. Frosty Pants is a stand-alone, Christmas gay romance by Leta Blake featuring a virgin hero, childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance, and romantically steamy scenes.

https://books2read.com/MrFrostyPants

A Christmas Outing by Jonathan Hill

Before moving on to the ego part of this post, I want to give you something that will make you laugh. This is so great, and if you haven’t read it, you have to!

A-Christmas-OutingIt’s that time of year again, when Mum insists on dragging us to the Christmas markets. This year is a bit different, though, as my friend Jamie is coming too.

Mum is so stressed about enjoying the evening that she probably won’t enjoy it, Dad has conveniently developed a sudden fear of crowds to try to get out of it, and I’m waiting for the right moment to tell them both that Jamie is more than just a friend…

A feel-good comedy short story of around 10,000 words.

https://books2read.com/AChristmasOuting

My stories

Right, what to pick what to pick. For Holly, it’s easy. I only have The Scent of Pine which was released this time last year and is celebrating Christmas Card Day. As Ofelia, I have quite a few Christmas stories. One of my favourites is 24 Dates which is about an established couple trying to save their relationship by going on 24 dates. Then maybe The Setup since we like the snowed-in trope, and it’s light and fluffy, so a good contrast to the other two.

thescentofpine

Ashton Cross was stupid enough to fall out a window while trying to catch a criminal. Now he’s on sick leave and has been for weeks, and has nothing to do but watch his neighbors go about their day. It’s driving him insane. When he gets a Christmas card not meant for him, he doesn’t think much of it, but then there is another and another, all with the same motif.

For two years, Rafael Vidal has been hiding from his ex. He almost believed he’d gotten away when his neighbor knocks on his door to hand over a stack of Christmas cards. One look at the writing, and Rafael suspects he has been found. 

When Ashton understands the situation, he’s set on catching Rafael’s ex. He might not be ready to get back to active duty at the police station, but finally, he has something to do, and he doesn’t mind keeping Rafael close. Rafael is trying to distract himself by helping Ashton put up Christmas decorations, but will they be able to enjoy Christmas with his stalker ex lurking around the corner?

https://books2read.com/TheScentOfPine

24 Dates

When Victor Hill bought a house with his boyfriend, Jian Kouri it was a dream come true. But now, two years later, instead of living their happily ever after, they hardly see the other awake.

With Jian out the door before Victor gets up in the morning, and asleep on the couch nearly as soon as he walks in the door, the life Victor imagined couldn’t be further from reality. They don’t talk; they don’t touch, and Victor fears he and Jian have already drifted too far apart.

The holiday season is a time for hope, but when Victor comes home to find Jian with a plan to woo him for Christmas, is it too little, too late? The dates are great, and there are filled with Christmas fun to get Victor in the right spirit for the holiday, but are they enough for the two of them to fall in love again? Or is there just too much in their relationship that needs fixing?

https://books2read.com/24Dates

thesetup

Three years ago, Dax Howard got out of a bad relationship and swore never to date again. He loves his picturesque cabin outside Nortown and is looking forward to three weeks of quiet over the holidays. He hadn’t foreseen a stranger turning in on his driveway in the middle of a snowstorm, claiming he’s there for a date.

Ellis Rush has risked his neck driving in a snowstorm to meet his friend Daniel and his boyfriend Dom for a double date he agreed to go on as a favor. Reaching the destination, he can’t see Daniel’s car anywhere, and when the mountain of a man opening the door says he’s never agreed to go on a double date, Ellis realizes he’s been played.

The more Ellis explains the situation, the more annoyed Dax gets. Dom is one of his closest friends, and he does not appreciate the setup, no matter how intrigued he is by Ellis. Since the roads are undrivable, Dax invites Ellis to stay, and together they plot their revenge. Cooking for Ellis, kissing Ellis, and sleeping next to Ellis isn’t the same thing as dating, is it?

https://books2read.com/TheSetup-Grand

willowroad

Jeremiah Pace hasn’t left his house in thirteen years. He doesn’t trust anyone, least of all shifters. School was a nightmare, and despite never interacting with anyone in the village, the bullying continues in his adult life. Someone is putting ads in the paper, encouraging people to drop by his house for one service or other, but Jeremiah never opens his door.

Zeeb Hemming is a lone wolf and the new chief of police. He’s only been in Stoneshade for six weeks when he learns about the ads and goes to knock on Jeremiah’s door. Not because of what today’s ad said, but to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Human or not, Jeremiah deserves to live life in peace. The moment Zeeb nears Jeremiah’s house, he knows he’s his mate. But he can’t have a human mate.

Jeremiah pleads with Zeeb not to stir anything up. Yes, the ads are bad, but things can always get worse. Zeeb is furious someone is mistreating his mate and is willing to skin anyone who has any connection to the ads alive. But how is he to convince Jeremiah to trust him when he talks to Zeeb through a gap in the window instead of opening the door to his house?

https://books2read.com/WillowRoad

Guest Post | After Marcus by Nell Iris

Nell Iris is back on the blog 🥳 She’s here to let us know a little about her newest release, After Marcus. Welcome, Nell!


Ho-ho-ho, it’s me again. Nell. The wonderful Ofelia has yet again been kind enough to allow me to visit and talk about my newest release (and if you knew just how last minute this post was, you’d realize what a great person she is!) 😍

After Marcus is about Ossian who unexpectedly lost his husband Marcus three years ago, and his neighbor, friend, and rock Joar, who stood by Ossian after his husband’s death. It’s a short and emotional story about finding love a second time around.

There’s one thing that always bugs me in books and movies and the likes when one character is about to die: the moment when they tell their partner Promise me you’ll find someone else when I’m gone. I guess it’s supposed to be romantic, I guess it’s supposed to show that the person speaking the words has a huge heart and wants what’s best for their partner even after they’ve passed.

And okay. I get the sentiment. But I’m a selfish b*tch; if I was on my deathbed, I wouldn’t tell my husband to go forth and replace me. I’ve loved him since I was 17, how could I say it and mean it? Would I want my generous teddy bear with the huge heart to be forever alone after I’m gone? No. Of course not. But he wouldn’t be alone if he moved in with our daughter and grandbaby, right? 😊 And if he finds someone else after I’m gone, that’s okay because I won’t know about it.

I’m sure you’re asking yourselves Why are you rambling about this, Nell? Because Ossian’s now-deceased husband once said that to him. “If I die before you, I want you to find someone else.” Ossian was furious with him and didn’t want to hear him saying things like that, but then he got to experience it long before he expected to.

But even as time passes and mellows the pain, and as Ossian’s heart starts to flutter in the presence of someone else, he struggles with these new emotions. Even though he knows he’d have Marcus’s blessing, even though he doesn’t want to be alone, he feels like it’s wrong.

Luckily, Joar is understanding. And patient. And smoking hot…at least according to Ossian 😍

After Marcus

Blurb: 

Ossian’s heart shattered when his husband Marcus died unexpectantly. He shut down, put his life on hold, and would’ve wasted away had it not been for his neighbor, Joar.

Joar was there when Ossian needed him, offered a friendly shoulder to cry on, convinced him to eat, and helped coax him back to the living.

Three years after the life-altering event, Ossian starts seeing Joar in a different light, awakening feelings he thought were dead forever. But is Ossian ready to take the leap and open his heart to someone new? And does Joar feel the same?

M/M Contemporary / 11340 words

 

Buy links: 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read

After Marcus cover

About Nell

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.

Find Nell on social media:

Newsletter :: Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub

Excerpt: 

Marcus Nyman 1972 – 2018. Beloved husband. 

“Hey you,” I say, caressing the headstone, knowing he’d be so pissed off at me for driving on a pitch-black December night and in such awful weather conditions.

What’s so important you need to risk your fucking life? 

“You.”

A dead guy is never more important than your life, precious. 

Precious. He never used endearments unless he was being ironic or upset at me for some reason. 

“I needed to talk to you.”

His imaginary voice in my mind is right, though. I was irresponsible driving here, barely paying attention, after not sleeping at all. I’m lucky I managed in one piece.

It’s past four in the morning and the winds have picked up, sneaking underneath my clothing, whirling the falling snow around me until it finds its way into my ears, underneath my scarf, attacking me from every direction. I need to stand up right now and leave, or I won’t be able to drive home. 

But I remain in my spot, needing to be close to him. 

You’d be closer to me in our home, my treasure. These are just my cremated bones, they’re not me. 

I know. His presence still lingers everywhere in the house we bought ten years ago when we needed to get out of the city. The people, the cars, the constant noise levels were all stressing me out, making it impossible for me to focus on my writing. When Marcus got a job offer from another university, we leaped at the chance to get out. That’s when we bought the house. 

We met Joar the second day after our moving truck had dropped us and all our belongings off in our new home in the forest. 

Marcus was the first to spot him as he came walking through the trees. “Oh-oooh, here comes trouble,” he said, and when I joined him by the window, I could understand his concerns. 

“The trouble” my husband referred to of course Joar and even at a distance, he was huge, and he was dressed from head to toe in camo clothing. His long legs ate up the distance between the forest line and our house, and as he approached, I noticed the rifle resting in the crook of his elbow. But the weapon was open, the double barrel pointing down, and even though his face was serious, he didn’t look angry or menacing. 

“Stay here,” Marcus said and stepped out onto the porch. 

I snorted. His protective streak was ridiculous, but he knew better than to try to get me to stay put like I was a spoiled lapdog. I followed him outside, stepped into his space, close enough for our shoulders to touch, and slid my hand into his. Together, united as always, we waited as Joar approached. 

Joar didn’t blink an eye at us holding hands. He just introduced himself, told us he lived further up the road, and welcomed us to the neighborhood before he left again, disappearing into the forest to go hunting. 

“He was unexpectedly nice,” Marcus said after Joar left. 

“Don’t be a judgmental jerk,” I said. “He doesn’t have to be a bad guy just because he looks a little rough.”

“Yeah, but the rifle didn’t help the impression that he’s not going to be on Santa’s nice-list this year.”

“Well, look at you. You look like a perfectly respectable, dry professor in your tweed jackets, but you’re definitely on Santa’s naughty list.” I pinched his ass.

“I am a respectable, dry professor.”

I stepped into his space, so close our noses touched, and grabbed his crotch. “You’re a professor, yes. But you won’t be dry,” I gave his dick a good squeeze, “when I’m finished with you.” 

Marcus chuckled. “Seriously, Ossian, you need to work on your seduction technique.”

“Yeah?” 

“Mhm.”

I flipped open his jeans and shoved my hand into his briefs. 

I jerk out of the memory and shake it off; it feels wrong to think about things like that in a cemetery. Is it even allowed?

Don’t be a prude, Ossian. It’s not like you.

No, I never was a prude. I couldn’t keep my hands off Marcus, not even after being with him for close to twenty years. His body, his mind always excited me in a way that no one ever had before I met him. And all those feelings died with him. When he was no longer around, my body shut down. 

My grief counselor said it was natural, that it was a part of the process, but I never really believed her. I was so certain I was going to live out the rest of my life like a dry husk, feeling nothing but pain and sadness. I’d never experience closeness again, or the exhilaration of being turned on by another person.

Seems I was wrong. 

I don’t know when things changed, when my body started thawing, even warming up to someone else. 

It seems to me you’re more than warmed up, baby.

“Shush,” I say without heat. But I need to know. “Would you mind?”

You know I wouldn’t.

do know. He said it once, one night as we were cuddled up together after making love. “If I die before you, I want you to find someone else.”

At the time, I was furious with him. “Don’t say shit like that, you’re not gonna die.”

“Everyone dies, Ossian. And I don’t want you to be alone.”

Oh God, I’m so alone. I don’t want to be alone.