Guest Post | Coming of Age by Ellie Thomas

Ellie Thomas is back on the blog, yay! Welcome, Ellie 🥰

Coming of Age Promo 4

Thank you so much, lovely Ofelia, for having me as your guest again. I’m Ellie Thomas, I write MM Historical Romance, and I’m here today to chat about Coming of Age, my November release for JMS Books.

Coming of Age is the third story in my Twelve Letters series about the lives and loves of a group of young men in Regency London. The series expands mainly because the characters keep wandering into my head to continue their story!

By this stage, we have three established couples. Firstly, Captain Ben Harding and Doctor Edward Stephens, then gentleman about town Jo Everett and Daniel Walters, a Bond Street tailor, who met their love matches in the first story, Twelve Letters. Thirdly, we have an unlikely couple in Regency himbo Percy Havilland and sensible older man Nathan Brooks. This couple stopped squabbling long enough to fall in love in the second story, Queer Relations. In this third story, our assorted couples struggle with relationships and life circumstances while supporting each other as a group.

As I am a self-confessed history nerd, there’s nothing I enjoy more than poring over an antique online map or looking up a specific place where my characters will meet, or checking a history timeline for world events in the year I’m writing about. But what floats my boat is social history and that element always creeps into my characters and stories.

Percy and Nathan are both rich and privileged enough to escape conformity to a certain extent, but as they grow closer in this story, Percy shoulders more family obligations, which puts an inevitable strain on his temper and so, their relationship. Ben and Edward remain blissfully happy, with Edward outwardly acting as Ben’s personal physician, but their lasting togetherness is threatened by Edward’s father. Unaware of the nature of their union, the older Doctor Stephens fears that his clever son is throwing away his career prospects by pandering to a single wealthy patient, which puts poor Edward in an impossible situation.

Jo, my main character in Twelve Letters, has a conundrum to solve as he has fallen in love out of his own class. Jo might not be hugely wealthy but he’s still a gentleman by rank, whereas Daniel, his true love, although in a respectable and upwardly mobile trade, is still a working man. Within their small society, their love is entirely accepted, but in wider society, even their friendship would be viewed as unsuitable, and of course, in a time where gay relationships were illegal, they cannot afford any suspicion to fall on them. As Jo miserably concludes, if they were both gentlemen by birth, they could share lodgings apparently as companions and no one would be any the wiser, and so the class barrier for their future happiness seems insurmountable.

I thoroughly enjoyed causing historically apt problems for our ensemble cast, so that as couples and loyal friends, they could attempt to solve their difficulties. Now they have all fallen in love during the first two books, Coming of Age is about the shifts in relationships as circumstances change and the commitment needed for lasting love. But I have every faith in my boys that they will overcome their obstacles, if not in this story, then the next!

Coming of Age:

comingofageAfter the London Season of 1815, having guided his younger sister Eustacia through her come out despite the social impact of a disastrous family scandal, Percy Havilland is at a loose end. Accustomed to being spoiled and generally admired, although still wealthy, he is shunned by most of the ton. Also, he discovers that he misses looking after his sister now she’s returned to the family estate in Sussex. Taking his frustrations out on Nathaniel Brooks, his long-suffering lover, only makes Percy more uncertain about his future.

Also, Percy’s good friend Jo Everett is having his own problems, thwarted in his dearest wish to share a home with the love of his life, Daniel Walters, a hardworking Bond Street tailor. And the final couple in the ensemble, Captain Ben Harding and Dr Edward Stephens realises the course of true love doesn’t always run smoothly.

Can this society of gentlemen solve their romantic dilemmas to their satisfaction? And might Percy, with a birthday looming, surprise himself by opening up to love?

Extract:

In between dances with his hostess’ daughters, Jo could not help but witness a complementary series of moves around the edge of the ballroom as the night progressed. 

He had arranged to arrive with Percy, well aware that despite Percy’s formal invitation and the good graces of a favoured guest in Mrs. Dalrymple, walking into a crowded salon alone could be an isolating experience where those who wished to be disparaging would take full advantage. Jo’s presence was a welcome buffer, and it was no hardship for him to ensure a cordial start to the evening.

Naturally, the two men separated as the music commenced, with both of them engaged on the dance floor. Mrs. Southerby was not only financially generous towards the soldiers’ charity that Jo oversaw, but also showed great interest in helping in several practical ways, so Jo felt duty bound to demonstrate his gratitude by squiring her numerous female relatives for the remainder of the soirée.

Without such pressing obligations, Percy could afford to pause from dancing and bow out for a set or two. Halfway through the evening, from his position in the centre of the ballroom, Jo noticed Nathan’s entrance during one such refreshment break. Uh-oh, he thought as Nathan perceived Percy immediately, his rough-hewn features hardening into a scowl.

Percy, with his back to the door where Nathan had entered, was engaged in a lengthy conversation with the amiable Mrs. Dalrymple, his great supporter, who enjoyed nothing so much as an extensive and harmless flirtation with a gorgeous young man in a public setting. Jo was too occupied with guiding a somewhat wayward and chatty dance partner through her steps to gather the precise moment when Percy became aware that his disgruntled lover was present.

To an unpractised eye, it would seem as though Percy was entirely oblivious of Nathan for a full quarter-hour, but Jo had been at the receiving end of Percy’s games sufficiently to recognise some small but telling signs. In the old days, before Percy became involved with Nathan, Jo surmised as he twirled yet another young lady, Percy would have openly played the coquet with several of his most avid admirers to arouse jealousy or ardour in the breast of his current paramour.

Although Percy’s coterie had diminished somewhat with his family’s fall from grace, he would still be able to gather a circle of potential suitors had he so wished, but genuine attachment had modified his strategies. So Percy alternated between squiring ladies onto the dance floor before returning to exchange a few more words with his hostess or Mrs. Dalrymple. Nathan, who was not disposed to dance, and was much vaunted for his financial and business prowess, was talking in a quiet corner with other serious-minded gentlemen. 

Jo could not help but notice how, apparently artlessly, Percy orbited closer, casually selecting dance partners in ever-decreasing circles to Nathan’s proximity. Once they were within touching distance, instead of confrontation or apology, there was a teasing glance, just a flash of those glorious blue eyes directed at Nathan. The next occasion warranted a delicate half-smile revealing a hint of a dimple. 

Depending on the prowess of his current dance partner, Jo watched this progress with fascination as Nathan’s forbidding expression subtly softened at each circuit until Percy’s careful choreography drew them together. By the time Jo consumed a well-deserved glass of punch and discreetly mopped his brow with his handkerchief, the previously warring duo was standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Percy tilted his golden head winningly as he uttered a bon mot that made Nathan smile in genuine amusement, all annoyance forgotten.

Jo was unsure whether to be impressed or appalled at Percy’s scheming ways and his ability to manipulate the most clear-thinking and hard-headed fellow from a state of severe exasperation to pliable putty. 

He wasn’t remotely surprised when shortly afterwards, Percy prettily made his excuses to his hostess, with Nathan taking his leave after a decent interval of a full five minutes. So neither of them will suffer a lonely night, Jo thought with a grin. All’s well that ends well. That is, until the next spat.  

Book links:

Publisher: https://www.jms-books.com/ellie-thomas-c-224_420/coming-of-age-p-4523.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BM3TKRFD/ref=sr_1_1?crid=61N4W4RNC5D5&keywords=coming+of+age+by+ellie+thomas&qid=1668178195&sprefix=coming+of+age+by+ellie+thomas%2Caps%2C167&sr=8-1

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/3kYg9L

Bio:

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

 Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/

Twitter: @e_thomas_author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas

Guest Post | Eight Months Without You

We have Nell Iris back on the blog 😊 Welcome, Nell!


Hi everyone, I’m back! I want to start with a big thank you to my lovely hostess, Ofelia, for inviting me to come to talk about my new release today 😘

My new story is called Eight Months Without You, and like I wrote when I visited Holly’s blog yesterday, it features two themes I usually don’t include in my books; jealousy and communication breakdown. I wrote about jealousy at Holly’s blog yesterday, and now I’m here to talk about communication breakdown.

I’m wondering if you notice how I keep using the phrase “communication breakdown” instead of miscommunication which is more commonly used. Well, I’m doing that on purpose since one of my least favorite themes/tropes in the whole wide world is miscommunication, and I tend to avoid those kinds of books like the plague. Jealousy is different, I’ve always loved reading about jealous MCs, but people who fight or break up because they refuse to talk to each other give me the hives. 😁

I can almost hear you asking, “But Nell, why did you even write a book on that theme if you hate it so much?” and I can’t blame you if you do. In my defense, it’s not really miscommunication, it’s more like the communication stopping completely after a spectacular fight including accusations of cheating and one character (Joakim) walking out on the other (Sami) and doesn’t come back…for eight months.

If you think that makes Joakim sound like a jerk, Sami isn’t much better. He didn’t exactly blow up Joakim’s phone trying to get him to come back, he didn’t march over to his place, bang on his door, demanding to be let in so they could talk. No, at first he was angry, and then he was miserable.

“But Nell, why should we even read a book about two jerks?” you might ask, and to that I say; because they still love each other, and they desperately want to be together so they’re ready to talk. Isn’t that reason enough? 😊

Eight months without you quote

Blurb: 

Can Sami and Joakim’s relationship survive accusations of cheating, a thrown wineglass, and eight months of silence?

Hurtful words and a thrown wineglass in a fit of jealousy tear Sami and Joakim apart; fiery tempers and stubbornness keep them from making up. But then, after eight months without a single word, just as Sami is about to make the first move, Joakim shows up, eager to make things right.

Can they overcome accusations of cheating and eight months of silence? Are conversations, confessions, and planning for the future enough? Will the love they still share conquer all?

M/M Contemporary / 15207 words

Buy links: 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read

Eight months without you

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: 

When I open my front door and am faced with Joakim, my first thought is He’s wearing his Christmas sweater. Why is he wearing his Christmas sweater? It’s August.

My gaze flits from his sweater to his chest, up his neck, to his face, and back down to the sweater, unable to settle, trying to drink all of him in at once.

I rub my forehead. His Christmas sweater? That’s where my mind goes? Not what are you doing here? Not where have you been these last eight months? Not why didn’t you call, or why now after all this time of silence? Not even it’s in the middle of the night.

No, it’s the stupid, garish sweater. “Make Love, not Lutefisk,” it says on the chest, and underneath the text is a huge fish wearing a Santa hat. It’s the ugliest thing I ever saw; Joakim’s sister Ellen gave it to him a few years ago because It’s ridiculous and Joakim’s weakness is ridiculousness.

The sweater is the reason we started talking to each other the first time we met; I’d been tricked into sitting on the jury of an Ugly Holiday Sweater Competition held at my neighborhood pub owned by a friend of mine. Joakim won in a landslide and my first words to him as I handed over the prize were, “Good Lord, man, where did you find that monstrosity?”

My question made him smile, and it transformed his face from serious and somewhat harsh to stunningly handsome. It was like the first drink of water after running for ten kilometers, like watching my favorite hockey team win the cup, like the first glimpse of the bright red Mustang I couldn’t afford when I saw it at a car show at twenty.

Perfection. That’s what it was.

And the way to Joakim’s heart was apparently through his Christmas sweater, because he waggled his eyebrows, leaned closer to me, said “Admit it, you just want to peel it off me,” and that was that. We fell into bed later that same night.

Despite that fond memory, I still hate—or at least strongly dislike—the sweater. Especially in August, after not seeing it—or him—for eight months.

Hey Sami,” he says when all I can do is stare with my heart pounding in my ears. My mind is blank, and I have no idea what to say, or if I even could say anything at all because my mouth is so dry. Not even the breathiness in his voice when he says my name helps.

I’m frozen. An ice sculpture.

Why is he here? Now? Eight months after our relationship ended spectacularly with a screaming match, a thrown wine glass exploding on impact with my crisp white walls—forever staining them deep burgundy—and Joakim storming out of my apartment?

Not that I knew it was the end at the time, but it’s been a long time since that night ten days before Christmas, a long time without hearing a word from him, and I can take a hint.

But I’ve been a dick, too, to be honest. I haven’t exactly blown up his phone trying to contact him either. At first, because I was a mess of steaming anger and piercing pain caused by the accusations he hurled at me, and when he didn’t come back for days, confusion set in. When days grew to weeks that grew to months, resentment settled in my gut.

He was the one who left; if he can’t be bothered to call me, I won’t call him either.

Ridiculously childish for a man in his late thirties, but I can hold a grudge.

Unfortunately.

And by now, too much time has passed. Eight months without contact, without a single word from either of us or without an official ending to a two-year-old relationship we both were convinced would last forever.

How did that even happen? What kind of people are we who can do shit like that to each other? What kind of coward can’t pick up the phone and call his partner after a stupid argument? And who throws a glass at someone’s head and walks out without looking back?

I can’t think about that night. When I do, my chest grows so tight I can hardly breathe, making me lightheaded and dizzy. So I’ve been trying to forget him like he must have forgotten about me.

It’s getting easier.

At least that’s what I try to tell myself.

Guest Post | Returning to the Werewolf

Hiya! I’m here as Holly Day today. On November 5th, Returning to the Werewolf was released. It’s a story I wrote to celebrate Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

Lex is in Warwood, a tiny place surrounded by wide stretches of forest, to attend his grandmother’s funeral. Instead of staying in the motel where he has rented a room, he decided to drive home. But it’s a long way, and it’s in the middle of the night, and he’s tired.

When a naked man appears on the road, Lex slams the brakes, and when he sees the man turn into a wolf, he’s convinced he’s fallen asleep and dreamt what he saw.

He didn’t, but Lex doesn’t know werewolves exist, and he doesn’t know that Cash, the only man he’s ever loved is a werewolf. He doesn’t know anything about packs or fated mates, and it’ll take some time to wrap his head around it.

This is an interspecies, fated mates, second chance story, and I love Lex and Cash, but I also have a soft spot for Samus.

Samus is a low-ranking wolf who tries to help Cash win Lex back. Sadly, Cash doesn’t always understand what’s best for him LOL

Returning to the Werewolf

returningtothewerewolf

Lex Gray was in love once. He was young and gave his heart to Cash Udolph, who he believed would be with him forever. When his world fell apart, Cash was nowhere to be found. Lex left Warwood, the tiniest village ever placed on a map, and swore never to come back. Seventeen years later, he’s there to attend his grandmother’s funeral. 

Lex needs to get out of Warwood, but driving in the middle of the night might not have been his best idea. A naked man jumps up on the road only to turn into a wolf before his eyes, and Lex slams the brakes hard enough to slide off the road. When Cash is called in to sort a situation with a human, he never expected the human to be his Lex. He’s been given a second chance, but Lex wants to leave as soon as possible. Can Cash convince Lex to allow him back into his life before the tow truck gets there? 

Buy links

Paranormal Gay Romance: 20,870 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

Returning to the Werewolf

Excerpt:

“Has Lex been in touch?”

Anyone else and Cash would’ve snarled in their face. “Not for a few days.”

“Maybe you should go see him.”

Cash frowned at him. “In Cottleway?”

“Doesn’t matter where, only to show you’re willing to…” He shrugged.

“Willing to what? I’m willing to do anything, but I can’t leave here. If I leave the pack, you’re without an enforcer. I don’t think Arric ever would allow Gordon to take the position, but it could be someone equally unfit.”

“You’ll give up your mate to protect the pack? It’s a noble cause, Cash.” Samus nodded, but it didn’t come across as sincere.

“I never… What would I do in Cottleway? Given Lex would have me.”

Samus laughed. The sound stunned Cash, and he realized how seldom Samus laughed. Shit, why wasn’t he laughing more often?

“What’s so funny?”

“If he’d have you.” He chuckled. “He’s your mate. He might not understand the pull since he’s human, but there will never be anyone else for him. His brain might not comprehend, but he reacts to your scent as you react to his. He reacts to your touch as you react to his. He is your mate, and you are his. He’s scared.”

“Scared?” Lex couldn’t be scared, could he?

“Shitless.”

Cash frowned at him. “How would you know?”

Samus raised an eyebrow at him. “Common sense, my friend. We grow up knowing there are mates. He didn’t. And I don’t know all the details about your past, but enough.”

“Enough?”

“Enough to know he once placed his heart in your hands, and you dropped it in the dirt.”

Cash winced. “I did not! I didn’t want to drop anything. I—”

“Was young, was treated unfairly, was forced to take on your position earlier than you should have. Lex doesn’t understand any of it. He didn’t know werewolves existed until a few weeks ago. He still doesn’t understand pack structure or what you do. He has no idea what your dad did to you—”

“And you do?” Cash had believed Arric was the only one who knew.

“Not in detail, but I’m a submissive wolf people ignore since I have no value.”

What the fuck? Who had ever told him he didn’t have any value? “You have value.”

“They talk as if I’m not there. I learn things.”

Cash was back to snarling again, but not for his own sake. “You have value, Samus. You’re important, and probably my favorite pack mate.”

“Probably?”

He shrugged but grinned. “Your only other competition is Arric.”

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is you need to show Lex he can trust you.”

“How?”

“I don’t know, but this is the grand gesture moment in all the movies.”

Cash stopped and stared at him. “The what?”

“Don’t you ever watch romantic movies?”

“No.” Cash hadn’t meant to sound horrified, but no.

“Oh my God. You need me.” Samus pushed on. “Movie night tonight.”

“What?”

“We’ll watch Romeo and JulietPretty WomanDirty Dancing, and… do you sing?”

Cash gaped at him. “Do I look like someone who sings?”

“I was thinking I love you, baby, in 10 Things I Hate About You. You can show up where he is and sing to him. So romantic.”

“Have you lost your mind?” Disgust was dripping from his words.

Samus huffed. “You’ll thank me later.”

Cash doubted it.

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.  

Connect with Holly on social media: 

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