Guest Post | So Far Away

Guest-Post

Hi everyone, have you missed me since I was here last? It’s always a pleasure to be here, talking to you people and visiting the lovely Ofelia. I’m very grateful for your hospitality and kindness ️ Today, I’m here to talk about my newest release, So Far Away.

What’s the first thing you’d do if you’d been separated from your significant other (others) for a long time—weeks or even months—and finally got to see them again?

Zakarias and Julian in So Far Away are separated because of a global pandemic; Zakarias has caught the virus and Julian is an ICU nurse and to keep him safe, Zakarias moved out of their house and into the guest house on their property. They’re only separated by a few meters, but it might as well be the moon. Before this happened, they hadn’t been apart a single night for years, so neither of them is coping well. Julian is swamped at work and worried sick about his fiancé. Zakarias only has mild symptoms, but he worries about Julian working himself to the bone and is frustrated about the situation.

They talk every day, even see each other from a safe distance, and try their best to keep their spirits up, but it’s not the same when they can’t touch each other. Can’t offer physical comfort.

So when Julian asks What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get out of there? Zakarias’ answer is immediate. Kiss you.

Me, I’d cuddle up next to my husband, bury my nose in his warm skin, and sleep. I sleep like crap without him, so I’d be exhausted if we’d been in this situation. What would you do?

Caveat: While this story is definitely inspired by the covid-19 pandemic, the virus in my story is a figment of my imagination and not covid-19.

So close

Excerpt:

When the rumble of his SUV approaches, I flip open my laptop and log onto Skype. It doesn’t take him long to call, and I answer with a grin. “Hey, babe. I’ll just check the soup.”

I’ve already made sure my laptop camera is facing the kitchen so he’ll see me move around. And who’s to know if I stretch and bend a little more than necessary?

Julian groans. “I see you’re in a better mood.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, grin widening.

“Yeah, drop that innocent routine. It doesn’t work with me.”

“It doesn’t?” I wink and saunter to the cupboard, stretching and reaching for a glass on the top shelf. “I think I’m gonna drink water from a wineglass today. Makes it feel more special, you know,” I say over my shoulder, catching a quick glimpse of him on the monitor, eyes glued exactly where I want them. Score!

His microwave dings, but when I turn around a few seconds later, he’s still eating me up with his gaze.

“Your food’s ready,” I say.

“Mhm.” He nods slowly but makes no move to go get it. So I let him be for a while. Saunter around the small kitchen area, grabbing things I don’t need from high shelves to make sure my T-shirt rides up more. Stick out my ass whenever I can, swing my hips more than necessary, smile, and flirt while I chat about nothing in particular. When I can’t drag it out any longer, I ladle soup into a bowl and sit by the computer.

He meets my gaze. His mouth is upturned, his eyes shiny, and he shifts in his seat. “I guess I’ll go get dinner then,” he says, and when he stands there’s a noticeable tent in his pants.

I make a mental fist pump.

He quickly returns with his heated lasagna. We’re both hungry and devour our dinners without talking much. We put away the dirty dishes in companionable silence; doing everyday household chores together makes it seem a little more normal, even through a laptop screen.

When we’re done, he wanders to the couch, but I lie down on the bed, resting the laptop on my stomach.

“I have stuff I need to do,” he mutters. “Laundry. Or neither of us will have anything to wear soon.”

“That would be worse for you than me. I can always claim a bad Wi-Fi connection and leave my camera off for meetings. Work in the nude.”

That makes him chuckle. “You’re too proper for that. You’d be embarrassed and you’d worry your camera wasn’t properly turned off.”

“I could put duct tape over the camera.”

“We don’t have duct tape in the guesthouse.”

I scowl. “Why not? Duct tape is a necessity of life.”

“I know you think so,” Julian laughs, “and I know you keep some in your drawer at work for emergencies. But you do realize you’ve lived in the guesthouse for weeks now without noticing there isn’t any, not to mention needing it?”

We banter back and forth for a long time, and it does us both good. Julian relaxes more and more every minute and my anxiety level hasn’t been this low since I moved out here, maybe even since the pandemic started.

When we can’t put off real-life any longer—he needs to do the laundry and I need to clean this place, it’s getting filthy—we say goodbye and hang up. But instead, we text each other between chores.

Julian: What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get out of there.

Zakarias: Kiss you.

Julian: Yeah?

Zakarias: Definitely. Kiss you, get you naked, cuddle, and smell you. I miss your scent.

Julian: What if I’m at work? What will you do then?

Zakarias: Lie in our bed? Use the coffee grinder and make some of the really good stuff? Use every appliance we have in our kitchen? Break open a fancy bottle of the best wine? Abduct you from work so I can kiss you?

Julian: Yes, please. Abduct me from work.

Blurb:

sofaraway

Engaged couple Zakarias and Julian are convinced nothing can separate them…until a global pandemic hits. Zakarias catches the virus with mild symptoms and isolates in the couple’s guest house. The few meters dividing them might as well be the moon as he watches Julian, an ICU nurse, work himself to the bone, unable to support him the way he needs. Frustration and worry build as the weeks pass. Will Zakarias be declared healthy before Julian burns out?

M/M Contemporary / 14 567 words

Buy link:

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read

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 :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest :: Ko-Fi

Release Day | Dazzle Me

Release-Day

It’s release day!!!

Dazzle Me was first released back in 2015. It all started with me reading an article about sparkling nether regions – it’s true. People who, after having been thoroughly waxed, decided to decorate their bits *blinks owlishly*

So naturally, the wheels began to spin.

Poor Tom has no desire of being silky smooth and hairless, but Santino, his boyfriend, had booked him a day at the spa. Tom expected a massage and maybe a pedicure or something, but that’s not what he’s getting.

I had a great time writing this one. The things we do for love, ey LOL

Excerpt:

I lay down on my back and gazed up at the tiny spotlights that were scattered over the ceiling like faraway stars. Mahdi was pottering about, I could hear him moving things, but I didn’t look. My limbs were heavy. I hoped he would do something soothing. I let my eyelids droop shut, and shivered even though it was warm in the room. My body became heavier by the second, and the soft music playing in the background made me think of sunlit beaches and palm trees. 

Keep on relaxing like that, Mr. Williams.” Mahdi touched my shoulder right before putting something cold, and quite heavy, on my cheek. It felt like it was moving. It was moving! Another one was planted on my other cheek, and then one on my forehead. My breath quickened. Oh God, something is moving on my face…several somethings. I stared at the ceiling, I couldn’t remember opening my eyes, but they were definitely open now. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tiny tentacle approaching. 

Relax, Mr. Williams. The snails will cover your skin with their mucus, and you’ll feel ten years younger.” 

I gagged a little. Saliva was flooding my mouth, and I had to force myself not to scream. Snails were crawling on my face. The saliva continued to flood my mouth. I was going to be sick all over the spa table. I swallowed, and swallowed, and swallowed again. How the fuck could Santino do this to me? I would kill him! He knew I hated slimy animals. I squeezed my eyes shut, strained to hear the music over my heartbeats and thoughts. Slow even breaths. Goose pimples spread over my body. There are no trails of mucus from nasty animals on my skin. I could feel one getting close to my lower lip. Breathe. BreatheDo not pay attention to the one slipping in its own mucus and sliding down your cheek. 

Ugh.” I clamped my lips shut in case one of them wanted to crawl into my mouth. 

Oh, I’ll get it.” Mahdi placed the one that’d been slithering down my cheek closer to my nose. “Just relax.” 

Relax? Was he out of his mind? Did Santino really think I needed this? Maybe I had been looking a bit haggard lately, but snails? Couldn’t he have told me that he wanted me to take better care of myself? I should’ve known. He was always gorgeous. Before we’d started dating, I’d had a toothbrush, toothpaste and my electric razor in my bathroom cabinet. Now it was filled with creams and stuff. I should’ve paid attention. Hadn’t he said, only the other week, that I needed to moisturise? 

One nasty creature crawled over my nose. Don’t think about it! Don’t think about it! I breathed through my mouth, not opening it more than I absolutely had to. My feet had a life of their own. I tried to relax and listen to the music, but I kept clenching my toes. 

Keep on relaxing, Mr. Williams. Rab will be with us soon.” 

He said something more that I didn’t quite catch, and since I didn’t dare open my mouth to speak, I sort of grunted a reply. A few minutes later I heard a soft knock on the door and the two men whispering in Thai. I paid no attention to them. One snail was almost up in my hair, and I did not want it in my hair. Breathe, Tom. You can do this; you can do it for Santo. 

There was a soft touch by my right shoulder before Mahdi rearranged the snail on my forehead. “Keep on relaxing, just like that, Mr. Williams.” 

Keep on relaxing? He had no idea what he was talking about. This was so bloody— 

Ouch! What the fuck are you doing?”  

Buy links:

Contemporary M/M Romance: 9,524 words

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

Blurb:

dazzlemeTom and Santino’s anniversary is coming up, and Tom has a plan. He’s going to show Santino how much he means to him. The night will be magical.

Tom’s plan did not include a trip to Thailand. He doesn’t do aeroplanes, doesn’t do tropical climate, and he doesn’t do spas. Yet he finds himself without a stitch of clothing on a spa table, with a man he’s never met before while Santino is away on a business meeting.

This was not how it was supposed to go. Tom will do his best to live through the day so they can celebrate their anniversary when they get back to the hotel, but If Santino wanted him smooth and sparkly, couldn’t he have told him instead of booking him an appointment?

May Giveaway

Giveaway!

New month, new giveaway! I’m so glad I made a plan for these posts before January 1st – before I decided to move all my books to JMS. I have a spread in my bullet journal where I’ve written down the titles of the books published each month. Thank you, past me. With all the re-releases now, I wouldn’t have a clue which book belonged where LOL 

If you haven’t been following the blog, I’ve decided to do a giveaway each month this year where I give away an ebook copy of the books published during the month previous years. 

How does it work? 

Last month we did comments, but this month I’ve set up a Kingsumo giveaway. So hop on over here and sign up. You will NOT be added to any email lists by doing so. If you want to get my monthly newsletter, click on the Acronym picture to the right if you’re on a computer, if you’re on your phone, you’ll find it below the post. 

May 8th is the last day to enter, and on the morning of May 9th, Kingsumo will pick a random winner. 

The Books: 

In May we have two books – Falling Through and Crazy Joe 

Falling Through is one of the pulled ones and not available anywhere at the moment. I still have the book files, though, so worry not. It’s been a long time since I wrote this. It’s a ghost story. Larry is trapped in an apartment, he can’t leave it, and through the years there have been some terrible tenants sharing his space, but now Travis lives there. Larry loves watching Travis, too bad Travis can’t see him.    

I love the idea behind Larry and Travis, and it’s one of the stories I haven’t sent to JMS Books yet because I plan to expand it. We’ll see if I get there – so many stories, so little time 🙂 

Crazy Joe – the voice in my head says ‘aww’ LOL It’s not an overly cute story, but it’s dear to me. Jonas was bullied in school, and while Abe never was mean to him, he belonged to the group of jocks who were. It’s been sixteen years and Jonas loves his life, but one trip to the grocery store and there he is – Abe Cooper. Abe in his grocery store. Then Abe is at his work. Then in his office… 

Excerpt:

Falling Through

The buzz from the TV in the living room reached him as he ran his hand over his hair; it seemed to be in order. Travis didn’t often have the time to watch TV. He was always working. Larry didn’t get it. He worked, and worked, and worked, and yet he always fretted over money.

Larry walked towards the noise. He longed to spend some time with Travis, even though Travis couldn’t see him, or hear him…or touch him. Larry wanted to feel the heat from Travis’s body, wanted to see his chestnut hair all messy because Larry had threaded his fingers through it. He wanted to feel those lips against his own, see Travis’s almost grey eyes light up with desire.

It would never happen, though.

Larry shuddered as he remembered the hand going through his chest earlier today, or, at least, he hoped it still was the same day. He hated when he got the time mixed up. Instead of thinking about the Nothingness, he let his thoughts wander back to Travis. What would it be like if his hands didn’t go right through him?

He rolled his shoulders and fixed the collar on his leather jacket before he went into the living room.

His steps faltered at the sight of Travis furiously wiping tears off his face. They’d lived together for two years now, and not once had Travis cried. There had been times when Larry might have shed a tear or two if he’d been in Travis’s shoes, but Travis hadn’t.

He hovered by the sofa. Oh, this is awkward. Should he sit down next to Travis? Larry had never been good at comforting people, and being invisible hadn’t helped him develop the skill. Maybe he should check the kitchen instead, give Travis a moment to collect himself.

Larry huffed. How the hell would he know he needed to collect himself? It wasn’t as if he was aware of Larry’s presence.

He made it halfway through the room, the kitchen door clear in view, when something banged and shattered right next to his head. Larry ducked—silly, since whatever Travis had flung through the air had already hit the previously scarred wall. The soft yellow colour on it had been lovely a few years ago—maybe ten…Larry had a hard time remembering—but since then, there had been several tenants.

A shard from Travis’s coffee cup skidded over the floor and came to a stop right where Larry intended to put his foot. A few brown drops trickled down the paintwork—yet more evidence of a life lived inside these walls. Larry sighed. He tried not to let the melancholia get a grip on him, but after sixty years of staring at the same walls, he sometimes wondered why he still was here.

Decades without anything to do, without any goals or challenges, without someone to talk to. He’d talked plenty over the years, but he never got any response.

Travis was resting his head in his hands, and against his better judgement, Larry went over. He threw himself on the sofa and put his feet on the table, the black-and-white brogues still as polished as they’d been that day so long ago when everything had changed. Larry figured he was one of the best-looking eighty-year-olds alive—or whatever he was.

“So, what’s going on?” He put his arms behind his head and stretched out on the sofa. He picked the pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and shook one out. It always soothed him to feel a cigarette resting on his lips. He couldn’t light it, couldn’t taste it, but the motion was comforting. “Rough day at work? Because, let me tell you, my day wasn’t a picnic, either. You don’t fool around in the Nothingness.” He tsked and shook his head. “You wouldn’t last a day, kid.”

Then he eyed Travis. He probably was a little older than Larry had been when he’d died, but Travis couldn’t hear him, so he couldn’t oppose the kid comment, anyway. And, come to think about it, Larry was old enough to be his grandfather even if he didn’t look it or feel it. Time passed was simply that; Larry hadn’t aged, he couldn’t even say he’d changed his way of thinking over the years, though it was hard to know, of course.

“So, anything good on TV today? We could grab a beer and watch a movie.” Larry laughed. If only he could have a beer.

He glanced in Travis’s direction and almost choked on the air he’d breathed in.

Travis watched him. His brow softly creased as if his red-rimmed eyes strained to see. It looked like he was trying to figure something out. Scary how he looked Larry straight in the eye. Larry didn’t move, he hardly dared to blink, but then he lifted his hand and waved it in front of Travis’s eyes.

Excerpt:

Crazy Joe

After pouring the coffee in a thermos cup, he splashed in some milk and then headed for the door. Dairy, coffee, and cocoa were all bad for the environment, and Jonas prided himself in making good choices for his food, but no man was perfect, and coffee without milk was just plain coffee while coffee with milk was magic. Everyone needed a little magic, and he needed to get to school, needed to sit by his desk with a pile of essays and hearing the familiar chatter and shuffling feet around him. It was his life now—colleagues, students, and coffee.

He needed nothing else.

It was a fifteen-minute walk to the school. He kept his pace slow so he could sip on his coffee in peace. The smooth, warm surface of the cup soothed him.

Good Morning, Mr. Raghnall.”

Morning, Ava.” Jonas nodded at the shy girl who’d be in his class in the afternoon and continued his walk.

Mr. Jonas!” Jonas winced as Dylan came jogging toward him. Damn it! He’d stopped wincing at school jackets a long time ago. “Is it true there’s a new gym teacher?”

New gym teacher? Ms. Sanders had left them for a school in Whiteport—shudder—three weeks ago, and they’d all helped cover gym class since. Jonas had stayed in the main building and made his classes theoretical. “I haven’t heard anything.”

There had been a staff meeting he’d missed because he’d been in another meeting with a parent of a girl in the ninth grade, but surely someone would’ve informed him if there was a new teacher.

Oh…” Dylan’s shoulders slumped. “I heard someone say there would be.”

I’m sure Principal Wright will hire someone soon.” Though getting anyone to apply for a job here wasn’t easy. Northfield was a small town, the school tiny compared to most high schools, and the salaries offered were lower than in the bigger cities. That was life in the countryside, but Jonas wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Yeah… See you later, Mr. Jonas.” Dylan jogged ahead to meet up with a group of guys dressed in similar school jackets. They were all on the football team. Jonas tried really hard not to hold it against them. Most of them were good guys, teenage boys as a group, though… Sighing, he shook his head. One run-in with his past shouldn’t upset his calm this way. He was a grownup, a teacher… a role model.

Walking in through the main entrance, he waved at the school caretaker as he changed a light bulb, and slipped into the office he shared with three other teachers—two now since Ms. Sanders had moved.

The room smelled of coffee and paper. Jonas took a deep breath and allowed his shoulders to drop. This was what he did, this was where he belonged.

Did you hear?” Sara Nelson, a fellow language teacher and his best friend, stormed into the room, dumped her bag on her desk, and sat on her chair.

About?”

The hot guy.” She wiggled her eyebrows and laughed.

Jonas rolled his eyes but smiled at her. “Who did whom and did you guys go out without me? Since when am I not invited?” There wasn’t anywhere to go in Northfield, but the cafe served alcohol, so pizza and a beer was a possibility. They usually met up once every other week or so—Sara, Gabriel Gonzalez, and him—to share a glass and talk some shit. Sometimes other teachers tagged along, but mostly it was just the three of them.

Oh, no.” She leaned in closer and lowered her voice. “Apparently some guy called Wright, practically begging for a job—”

Ah, Jonas, Sara.” Principal Wright filled the doorway, his thinning gray hair neatly combed, and his suit immaculate. Robert Wright had been the principal at the school for as long as Jonas had worked there. He was a quiet man who kept to himself and seldom needed to assert his authority. “I want you to meet our new coworker, Abe Cooper.” Wright stepped aside and gestured for Abe to enter.

The room spun around Jonas, but no matter how much he prayed he’d wake up at home in his bed and realize this was just a dream, he remained seated by his desk. Sara’s mouth was moving, and Abe was smiling and shaking her hand, but Jonas couldn’t hear what they were saying.

Abruptly, he stood. Everyone turned to look at him. Wright frowned, Sara had her eyebrows raised, and Abe took a small step in his direction, preparing to offer his hand.

I have to go.” Jonas squeezed himself past Abe without looking at him and stumbled out into the corridor.

This was not happening.

Nausea curled in his stomach, and he hurried into the bathroom to splash some water on his face. How long he stood there he didn’t know, but for some unknown reason, he couldn’t let go of the sink.

Enter the giveaway here! The winner will be drawn on May 9th.

Crazy Joe

Abe Cooper is starting over. For fifteen years he’s lived the life that was expected of him, but not anymore. He’s packed up his things, bought himself a cabin in Northfield, and managed to secure a job at the local high school teaching gym and coaching the football team. But his new beginning didn’t include running into Crazy Joe on his first trip to the grocery store.

Jonas Raghnall has everything he needs — good friends and a job he loves. He’s worked hard to get over what happened sixteen years ago, but one run-in with his past and all the memories come flooding back. Seeing Abe Cooper, The Abe Cooper, sets everything out of balance.

Abe had pictured a fresh start with no ties to his past, but now that Jonas is there, he wants nothing more than to be close to the man who had butterflies filling his belly when he was in high school. Jonas doesn’t want to come face to face with his past, but if he sees Abe every day, it’s not really meeting up with your past, is it? It’s more like a date with your future.

Falling Through

Travis is running himself ragged. He’s trying to keep two jobs just to pay his rent. If he has to flirt with some creepy old women at the pub to get a little extra tip money then so be it. One day, he’ll have someone special waiting for him when he gets back home from work, or is that too much to ask? Right now isn’t the best of times to get a boyfriend anyway since Travis is going mad, but one day… Every so often, Travis gets the feeling of not being alone, and sometimes, he sees things. But he tries to stay positive; maybe there’s a strapping young fella waiting for him in the looney bin.

Larry’s existence was dead boring until Travis moved in. Now he spends his time watching Travis, fantasising about touching him, kissing him… Their movie nights would be a bit cosier if Travis knew he was there, but sometimes, you have to settle for what you can get. As far as roommates go, Travis is the best Larry has ever had, and it isn’t Travis’s fault he can’t see Larry – no one has been able to since the day he died.

When Travis loses one of his jobs, both he and Larry fear for their future. Larry can’t imagine being without Travis, and Travis is desperate to find a way to pay his bills. While Travis searches for a solution to his money problems Larry has to decide if he’s willing to risk existence as he knows it for a chance of a better life.