Release Day | 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance

It’s release day! 🥳 Today, the 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology is released, and The Ruby Tooth is in it 😁

It’s an anthology of the ten best-selling gay romance stories under 15k during 2022, so if you’re in the mood for short stories, give it a go!

I wrote The Ruby Tooth as part of a Naughty or Nice call where we were to pick one or the other. I cheated and had a little of both. The Ruby Tooth is a bar divided in two. The doormen are veritas, which means they can look into everyone’s soul and see if they’re good or bad people. 

Ilya is sent to the good side and Ulric to the bad, but Ilya is Ulric’s mate. Ilya doesn’t believe him. He’s human and doesn’t believe in werewolves and other paranormal beings, at least not until he’s attacked by a vampire. Then having a crazy man claiming he’s a werewolf and your mate isn’t all that bad 😆

2022 Top Ten Gay Romance

2022toptengayromance2022 Top Ten Gay Romance brings together the best-selling short stories published by JMS Books that year.

From first love to true love, from submission to sensual, from heat to sweet and everything in between, the couples in these stories are sure to keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with them.

With stories by Sarah Hadley Brook, Holly Day, Ofelia Gränd, Nell Iris, Hannah Morse, K.S. Murphy, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Ellie Thomas, and Tinnean, this head-over-heels collection goes beyond bedtime reading. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, there’s an ending for everyone in here!

Contains the stories:

  • Found in the Storm by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • The Wingman by Holly Day
  • The Ruby Tooth by Ofelia Gränd
  • Secrets on a Train by Nell Iris
  • Hatch by Hannah Morse
  • Trust with Glittering Eyes by K.S. Murphy
  • The Snails of Dun Nas by K.L. Noone
  • How to Cheat at Dirty Santa by Amy Spector
  • The Thrill of the Chase by Ellie Thomas
  • Twelve Desserts by Tinnean

Buy links:

Gay Romance Anthology: 119,567 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/2022TopTenGayRomance

Bullies

Excerpt from The Ruby Tooth:

Ilya placed his glass on a table by the wall and pushed through the door to the kitchen. His heart was hammering as he took another few steps. What the hell was he doing? He should phone Vera and suggest they call it a night, or head out for pie. He had a sudden craving for apple pie.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” A woman glared at him. She had tattoos everywhere—hieroglyphs. He almost yelped.

“No, I know, and I’m sorry, but a woman is throwing up right in the middle of the dance floor and no one seems to care.”

She frowned then headed for the door. Ilya didn’t wait for her to turn around and tell him to come along, he darted through the kitchen. Someone else called after him, but he rushed through the brightly lit room and pushed open a door.

Stumbling, he was momentarily blinded by the change of light as he proceeded out into a shadowy room. His lungs shrank as his gaze swept over the people there. Most of them were men twice his size, and the women resembled the woman he’d met in the kitchen—tattoos and dramatic clothes.

Dress-up party. He pulled in a sigh of relief, and while he couldn’t say what they were dressed up as, it calmed his soul. There were two lumberjacks by the bar—wild beards, broad shoulders, and plaid shirts. He smiled and nodded toward them. The man behind the bar looked like someone you should avoid, but he wore a Santa hat, and Ilya’s shoulders dropped a fraction.

“Ilya!” Vera jumped to her feet by the table she was seated at, and Ilya might have imagined it, but he believed the lumberjacks growled. Maybe Vera had misunderstood the theme of the night.

In the more lit area of the club, everyone—or close to, at least—had been wearing Christmas costumes. Here Ilya tugged at his tunic, wishing it hid more of his tights-clad thighs.

Nervously, he touched the tip of his ears. They were pointed. Vera had gotten him elf ears and body glue. They looked surprisingly real, but now he wanted them off. This was not the place to have elf ears, he couldn’t say how he knew, but he wished he wore his normal clothes.

Vera called his name again, and several heads turned his way. He hunched his shoulders and hurried over to her table. She was with a dangerous-looking man—of course she was.

Ilya hesitated. His heart beat fast, but not in a wanting-to-get-away kind of way. No, he found himself taking a step in the man’s direction, wanting to be close to him.

He stopped himself before he embarrassed them all. “Hi.”

He waved his hand but regretted it when the man groaned. Vera frowned at the sound but pulled Ilya in for a hug.

There was a growl coming from nearby. Ilya jumped, then bent to search for a dog underneath the table.

“Strange. I could’ve sworn I heard a dog.” He focused on the man and almost jumped again. “Oh, cool contacts.” The man’s eyes were a glowing honey color. Ilya nervously offered his hand. “I’m Ilya.”

The man grunted and grabbed his hand. Ilya never wanted him to stop touching him. Then he became aware of Vera frowning at him and tried to pull back, but the man refused to let go. For a second, Ilya’s heart jumped to his throat. The man wasn’t hurting him, but the hold on his hand was tight.

“Excuse me.” He tried pulling again, and the man let go. Ilya forced himself to take a step back and focus on Vera. “So… erm… what the hell are you doing here?” He kept his hissing low and was somewhat discreet as he gestured around. The man Vera was with saw him, of course. Those honey eyes never left him.

“The goon at the door showed me in here.”

“They were so creepy! When I tried to search for you, they stopped me.”

“They?”

“Had to lie to the poor woman in the kitchen.” He shook his head regretfully, and the man chuckled at the same time as he buried his face in his hands. Ilya gave Vera a glance. The poor soul looked like he was having a breakdown.

Vera shrugged, so Ilya waved a hand and pretended the man wasn’t there. “Anyway, I was thinking…” He wiggled his eyebrows at her. “Let’s grab some pie!”

Vera groaned. “No. You’re getting wasted, we’re gonna get laid—” The growl sounded again, and Ilya stared at the man. It had sounded as if it came from him, but it couldn’t have. He bent and glanced under the table again—only legs. When he glanced up, the man was studying him.

“See anything you like?”

Ilya jerked. The tone was harsh, more growl than anything else. “Eh… no… I thought I heard a dog.”

“A dog? In a nightclub?”

Heat climbed Ilya’s cheeks. “Health regulations, of course. Didn’t think of that.” He nodded and a mix of a groan and a laugh escaped the man. Ilya looked at Vera again. Pie would be really nice now or to go home, slip on flannel bottoms, and curl up in front of the TV.

“Can we go? Please?”

“But we just got here.” Vera toyed with her glass.

“No. I’ve been here for an hour, if not more.” He didn’t think it had been more than an hour, but he was already exhausted. This many people and having rushed through the kitchen when he wasn’t supposed to be there. It took its toll.

“Pie?” Maybe she’d agree to go to a calmer place. Not that this part of the nightclub was noisy. The music and the chatter had been louder on the other side.

“No. We’re having a drink.”

Ilya groaned.

Giveaway | December

Book Giveaway

We’ve reached the last giveaway of the year 🥳 Or you know, the last giveaway of the year on this blog. If you had any idea how many events I’ve signed up for in December where I will be giving away books… Keep an eye on social media if you want free books in December, people!

Visit the JMS Books advent calendar, there you’ll find a free book (recently published) every day starting today and running till the 24th.

M/M Euro Book Banter Group on Facebook, also an advent calendar with one author posting giveaways and games every day up until the 24th.

Talking RoMMance… with a British accent Group on Facebook, another advent calendar where one book will be given away every day up until the 24th.

Small but Mighty MM Romance Group on Facebook will have a holiday book drop on December 4th where authors will post games and giveaways.

Small but Mighty MM Romance Group again, on December 9th to 20th, there will be games and giveaways for one trope per day.

Those are the ones at the top of my head without having checked my journal, so… loads of giveaways 😆

What we have here is The Scent of Pine since it’s the only Christmas-related story Holly has so far and was the December book of last year. And we’ll be matching it with 24 Dates since it’s a favourite.

The Scent of Pine was written to celebrate Christmas Card Day. Rafael is on the run from a stalker ex and he thinks he’s safe until his neighbour, Ashton, starts getting creepy Christmas cards meant for Rafael.

24 Dates is about Jian and Victor, an established couple who’s hit a rough patch. Victor thinks divorce is on the horizon, but Jian is not willing to give up. He plans 24 dates from December 1st to December 24th to win Victor back. 

If you want in on the draw, hop on over to Kingsumo and type in your email address. You’re not subscribing to anything, but make sure you use an address you check since it’s the one Ofelia will contact you on if you’re the winner.

Join the draw!

the scent of pine

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?

17,557 words

Read an excerpt

24dates

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?

38,008 words

Read an excerpt

Release Day | The Setup

It’s release day!!! 🥳

Normally, at this moment in the process, I’ve been posting about my upcoming release all over social media, I’ve written blog posts, both for my blog and other blogs where I talk about it, I’ve sent out ARCs and kept track of ranking on Amazon etc.

I haven’t done any of that this time. My mother passed away a few days ago, and in the days leading up to her passing, I spent in her room at the hospital. I didn’t turn on my computer for days, didn’t check my email or log into any social media.

But now we’re here, and this story is just what I need. Both because it forces me to focus on something other than grief, and because it’s short and it’s fluffy.

I wrote it back in July – I think it was July – because all Christmas stories had an early deadline, so when the edits came, I’d almost forgotten it. I hadn’t forgotten the story as such, but I’d forgotten that Ellis makes me laugh, and I needed to laugh.

We’re back in Nortown, though considering there is a snowstorm and Ellis and Dax are trapped in Dax’s cabin, we don’t see much of the town filled with queer lumberjacks 😆

Neither Dax nor Ellis wants to date. Dax because he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, Ellis because he’s drowning in work and doesn’t have the time. Their friends don’t listen, and when Dax and Ellis realise they’ve been set up, they plan their revenge.

I had so much fun writing this one, and who doesn’t love a snowed-in kind of story??

Below you can read the first chapter.

The Setup

the setupThree 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?

Buy links

Contemporary Gay Romance: 14,382 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

Chapter 1

Ellis Rush tightened his hold on the steering wheel. He was gonna strangle Daniel, and then right before he died, he was gonna let up a fraction, so he could breathe for a second, only to then strangle him again. His brain painted a vivid image of his face turning blue. It didn’t look anything like how he assumed people being strangled looked, more like Daniel had become a member of the Blue Man Group.
The point was Daniel being blue and Ellis being pissed off as hell.
He was in the middle of fucking nowhere, not seeing more than a couple of feet ahead, and the snow was coming down in fast-falling, cracker-sized flakes. How the hell would he get home again?
Had he passed Nortown? Maybe he had. Daniel said it wasn’t more than a blip on the map. He’d gotten off the highway by the first sign to Nortown, as Daniel had told him to, but all he could see was snow.
He should turn around. Go home. Daniel would understand. Double dates weren’t something they did, and he sure as hell didn’t do blind dates. If Daniel wanted to date some small-town god, then he could do it without involving Ellis.
Fuck, this was stupid.
A knot formed in his gut. He’d been too focused on not getting stuck in the snow or driving off the road to think about the date. He had wine. Daniel claimed he was in charge of drinks, which was unfair. Why should he supply wine for four people, two of whom he didn’t know. He didn’t know if they liked wine. He’d bought both red and white since Daniel had failed to inform him what they were eating, and then he’d grabbed a few beers too since Daniel’s new obsession was a mountain man. Sasquatch. Daniel claimed he worked in a sawmill, but Ellis got serious Bigfoot vibes—he hadn’t met him, but he could sense these things. Demond was clearly a made-up name. No one in their right mind named their kid Demond… unless they were demons.
He had it all wrong. Daniel’s new boyfriend wasn’t Bigfoot. He was a demon.
Sighing, he slowed. He couldn’t see the road for all the snow and crept forward. If he had an accident and died, he’d haunt Daniel for an eternity.
Reaching for his phone in the cup holder, he growled. There was no reception. That settled it. He was gonna die. Being out of reception only happened in movies, not in real life. And when it happened in movies, there would either be a serial killer or a monster. Bigfoot and his friend would have him for dinner. Crap! He’d brought the wine, so they had something to wash him down with.
Squinting ahead, he believed there was a light flickering, maybe. He didn’t dare look away from the road long enough to make sure, but with luck, he was here.
He wished he could stop and double-check on his phone, but he’d have to live with the embarrassment if he was in the wrong place instead. Turning in at the driveway, he yelped at how his car sank into the deep snow. When they came running for him with forks at the ready, wanting to eat him, there was no way he’d be able to drive out of here. He didn’t think Bigfoots—Bigfeet?—would stop and allow him to shovel his car out of the snow before they attacked.
For a few seconds, he rested his forehead against the steering wheel. If Daniel wasn’t dead already, he’d kill him.
With a deep breath, he opened the door and looked down at the snow. It was knee deep, if not deeper, and he wore sneakers and his good jeans. He might not want to be on this date, but he never went on one without making sure his ass looked divine.
Better bring the bottles at once so he wouldn’t have to walk back through the snow to get them if he was at the right place.

* * * *

Dax Howard watched some idiot in a car turn in on his driveway. He hadn’t shoveled it. The snow was coming down hard. It had started snowing while he’d still been at work, but it was a Friday night, and he’d be off for the coming three weeks. He hadn’t planned on going anywhere for a few days and wouldn’t be shoveling anything until it had stopped snowing.
What kind of halfwit drove in weather like this?
For a moment, he considered going out on the landing and waving him away, but it was already too late. He’d already buried half his car in the snow.
Dax sighed and went to put on his rubber boots. It was knee deep out there. He grabbed his jacket and put on gloves. The snow shovel was out on the landing, leaning against the wall, and he had another in the garage. Though he wasn’t looking forward to trudging through the snow to get there. If someone was stupid enough to drive in this weather, surely they had a snow shovel in their car.
He yanked the door open only to draw back since the man standing there had a hand raised to knock, and Dax had been punched enough times to know he wasn’t in the mood to get a fist in his face.
“Oh, shit, I’m sorry.” The man moved back so fast Dax reached for him. He didn’t touch him, but it was instinctive to try to halt his fall. He didn’t fall, but he balanced on the edge of the landing for a few seconds.
“It’s okay. You need help out of here.” He didn’t make it a question, since it wasn’t one.
“Erm… Daniel isn’t here, is he?”
Daniel? Dax didn’t know any Daniel. “No.”
The man’s shoulders slumped. “Do you know how to get to…” It clinked as he put the plastic bag down in the snow. Glass bottles, wine most likely, Dax recognized the sound. The man grabbed his phone from his pocket and held it up to Dax. “There.” He sighed. “I’m to go there, but there is no reception, so my dot hasn’t moved on the map for the last half hour or so. I hoped I was in the right place.”
Dax frowned. It was his house on the map. “Are you sure you typed in the right address?”
“Is this some kind of practical joke?” The anger glinting in the man’s eyes made Dax look at the phone again.
“It’s my address, but I don’t know any Daniel. Was he supposed to meet you here?” It better not be a joke. He didn’t want to be part of a joke. And if it was a joke, it was at his expense as much as it was at the guy’s.
“You don’t know a Daniel?”
Dax shook his head. “I’ll help shovel your car free of the snow so you can go.”
The man narrowed his eyes. “But this is the address!”
Seconds went by as Dax watched him. “There is no Daniel here, and you shouldn’t be driving in this kind of weather. It’s gonna snow all night. I suggest we get your car free, so you can go home. It’s the safest thing to do.”
The man looked at his car. “Don’t you think I can put it in reverse and back out?”
Dax shrugged. He didn’t think so, but if he didn’t have to shovel, no one would be happier than him.
“Right. Sorry for disturbing you.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Dax didn’t move as the man grabbed his bag of bottles and went down the stairs. Hopefully, he’d make it home okay. It wasn’t a night anyone should be out driving, but he was a grown man. He could take care of himself.
It was evident he didn’t have a lick of sense. He wore sneakers in a snowstorm. He was out driving in a snowstorm. He had no gloves and his jacket was way too thin. He drove a red Toyota Yaris. It was a miracle he’d made it as far as he had. He kept his mouth shut, though. The sooner the idiot left, the sooner he could go back to his quiet night in front of the TV.
“Fucking Bigfoot.” The man hopped between his previous footsteps, making the bottles clank in the bag. Dax hadn’t studied his feet, but considering he was a head, if not more, shorter than Dax, he didn’t think he had big feet.
“If the prints are big, it should be easier to step into them.”
The man stared at him over his shoulder. “Huh?”
“Big feet. It’s good with big feet when walking in snow.”
He nodded slowly. “I meant the man Daniel is dating.”
Dax nodded, only to then shake his head, and the man groaned. “He met this mountain man, but I don’t think he’s a mountain man at all. I think he’s Bigfoot. Oh, we’re queer, unless you’d figured it out by now. It’s not contagious. No need to kill me and bury me in the woods. You know what they say about big feet, and who can have bigger feet than Bigfoot? Anyway, Daniel and Yeti—”
“Bigfoot and Yeti aren’t the same.” Dax took a deep breath. He wasn’t surprised by the queer comment. Normally, he couldn’t tell when it came to people. Sometimes there was that spark. You met someone’s gaze, and you knew they were the same, but in general, Dax had been born without a gaydar. This man, Dax would’ve been surprised if he’d said he was straight.
“No, I know, Mr. Know-it-all, but Yeti is a nicer name than Sasquatch.”
Dax fought a grin at the exasperated tone. “You didn’t say Sasquatch, you said Bigfoot.”
“It’s the same thing!”
“I know, but it wasn’t the word you used.”
The man groaned. “I know which word I used.”
“Okay.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Are you making fun of me? Why is everyone making fun of me today?”
Dax hadn’t been, but he couldn’t help but smile.
“It doesn’t matter. Daniel has turned into a necromancer and has summoned a demon.”
Dax was quiet for several seconds. “You didn’t have an accident on the way over here, did you?”
The man widened his eyes. “No.”
His car looked unscratched. “Didn’t get out of the car to have a look around and slip on some ice underneath the snow? Hit your head?”
The man wiggled his fingers at him. “Ah, I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to be nice about calling me insane.”
Dax scowled. “No. I think you might have a concussion, is all. I never meant to imply you were permanently insane.”
He huffed.
“Look, what’s your name?” Dax hoped he wasn’t hurt.
“Ellis Rush, chocolatier extraordinaire.” He bowed.
“Chocolate?”
“The universe’s gift to humans.”
Was being a chocolatier a real job? There was a chocolatier in Whiteport. He’d never been there, but he’d heard people gush about it. “In Whiteport?”
“Ah, you’ve heard of me.”
“Not you specifically, but I’ve heard the… erm… salted caramel fudge, or whatever, is divine.”
“I’m divine.”
Dax laughed. “I’m sure you are. Now, let’s get you out of here so I can get back to my divine life.”

* * * *

Ellis winced. He always talked too much when he was nervous, and while he didn’t think he’d found a mountain man, he’d sure found a mountain of a man, a god of the forest, and it made him weak in the knees. “What’s your name?”
The forest god studied him for several long seconds, and Ellis almost whimpered—he was pathetic that way.
“Dax Howard.”
Dax. Ellis gave a dreamy sigh. It’d look good doodled in a heart. It would fit on a chocolate truffle.
“Are you all right?”
Ellis jumped; having forgotten he was in the presence of a god. “Yes, sure, why wouldn’t I be?”
“You looked like you were spacing out, and I’m still not convinced you’re not suffering from a concussion.”
“Because of Bigfoot?” He took the last few steps until he could reach the handle of the car door. He could see how he hadn’t made the best first impression.
“Among other things.”
Should he be offended? “No concussion. I was born this way.”
“Fascinating.” The tone was dry, but there was a sparkle of amusement in Dax’s eyes.
“I think it is.” He hesitated before opening the car door. “You don’t have a working phone, do you? I should call Daniel.”
“The necromancer?”
Ellis nodded.
“I have a landline.” He gestured toward the house, which looked plucked from a postcard from the Alps.
“Wow, you’re some kind of ancient vampire, aren’t you?”
Dax breathed in deep. “About the head injury—”
“It’s not an injury.”
“Drugs?”
Ellis huffed. “Can I use your ancient device or not?”
“You can use it.”
“I didn’t mean it in a dirty way.”
Dax’s eyebrows climbed his forehead. “What? Dirty how?”
“Your ancient device. I figured you’re a good bit older than me, ancient even, and when I mentioned your device, I didn’t mean your cock.”
Dax didn’t move a muscle for several seconds, and it wasn’t until the world spun around him, Ellis remembered to breathe.
“I’m not sure how to unpack that.”
“No! No need for you to unpack it.” Ellis widened his eyes but couldn’t stop himself from dropping his gaze to Dax’s crotch. Sadly, it was hidden underneath a bulky jacket.
“Jesus, I should take you to a hospital.” Dax eyed Ellis’s car as if he was thinking about commandeering it and drive to a hospital, then he gestured at the house. “Please, go inside and call your friend.”