Guest Post | Mated to the Fire Dragon by Holly Day

Mated to the Fire Dragon Newsletter

Hiya! I’m here as Holly today 😊 Do you know what day it is today? It’s No Socks Day 🥳 and I wrote a story. Mated to the Fire Dragon was released on the 6th. I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

If you’ve followed me for some time, you know my mother passed away back in November #fuckcancer. This is me processing that, with an added aversion to socks, dragons, and a certain blacksmith because why not?

It’s not a sad story, and no one dies, but Zale is very ill, and he is preparing to let go.

So there is illness and grieving what will never come to be, unless you find a sock-less dragon, of course.

I came home yesterday evening after having been in Mum’s house clearing out things. AND Mated to the Fire Dragon was released on her birthday. She would’ve turned 64 on the 6th of May. So I’m a little raw and a little weepy, but the story isn’t!

It’s all about life, about finding a miracle, living for several hundred years, and embracing love.

Everything you want can be yours. All you have to do is mate a dragon. It’s simple 😆

To Mum 🥂

Mated to the Fire Dragon

matedtothefiredragonZale wanted to see a dragon. He never expected a miracle.

Zale Hagan is dying. He doesn’t have many days left, but he wants to see a dragon before he leaves the world behind. As a fisherman, he’s seen where land ends many times, but he wants to visit the town where the human realm ends and the dragon realm begins.

Albus the Abomination is a blacksmith on Dragon Row. As a white dragon, he has no status and does his best to keep out of the way of the other dragons living there. But one day Zale steps into his smithy, and everything inside Albus catches fire.

Albus can tell Zale is very ill, but he can’t let him die. Dragon mates don’t get sick, and they live for a long time. Albus tries his best to get one of the other dragons to mate with Zale, but when no one wants to, Albus is at a loss. He could breathe fire into him, but then Zale would have to live his entire life with a white dragon, and no one wants that, do they?

NOTE: Mated to the Fire Dragon takes place on the same street as The Book Dragon’s Lair but can be read as a standalone story.

Buy links:

Paranormal Gay Romance: 38,392 words

JMS Books :: Amazon ::

Chapter 1

Albus the Abomination never wanted to come to the human realm. He’d dug his claws in for as long as he could, but when he’d heard his mother discuss how to make his death look like an accident with a group of her friends, he’d grabbed his sodalite and flown off the tower without another word to anyone in his family.

Why she would’ve bother to make it look like an accident, he didn’t know. She’d never kept quiet about wanting him dead.

He’d gone. Left everything he knew, went through the portal, and started a new life. It might not be the kind of life he dreamed of, but he wanted to live, and crossing over into the human realm upped his chances of survival considerably.

Dragons loved fiercely. They worshiped beauty, adored everything sparkly, revered gemstones and precious metals. The darker the skin, the more important the dragon. Albus’ family came from a family of dark blue skin. Perhaps it was why he loved his sodalite stone so much because it reminded him of home? Dark blue with little veins of white, a symbol of how he dirtied the bloodline. In the stone, it was beautiful, in the bloodline, not so much.

He shifted his throat and mouth to be able to breathe fire and blew a flame at the iron in front of him, watched it glow a pretty orange, then swung his hammer.

He’d been a disgrace to his family from the moment he’d driven his egg tooth through the shell. Maybe it had taken a bit longer. He didn’t think his parents had been able to see the color of his skin through the first crack.

He swung the hammer again. The clang of metal hitting metal helped disperse some of the shame, not all, but some.

There was no color more despicable than white, and when he’d emerged from the egg, his parents had been horrified. His mother had wanted to drown him right away despite the hard work of laying and tending to an egg, but his father’s mother had stopped her. She’d said to at least give it a summer to see if his skin changed in the sun.

It did. It turned an angry red, stung, and flaked a few days later. The new skin emerging was as white as it had been before. Pale white. Egg shell white. Plain as can be.

He swung the hammer again. The metal was too cold for it to do any good, and if he wasn’t careful, he’d break it. He always had to be mindful of his strength, but it was one of the things he liked about being a blacksmith. He could warm the metal, make it soft and pliant, but if he used too much force, it would break.

He shifted one hand into a dragon’s claw, ignoring how his skin almost luminesced in the dim light, breathed fire, and twisted the metal before dunking it in the bucket of water.

“Holy shit! Why did you do that?”

Albus glanced over his shoulder. He hadn’t heard anyone enter the smithy, and it took him a moment to realize no one had.

Outside, in the early morning light, stood a male, a human man Albus hadn’t seen before. He didn’t know the humans in Edge—didn’t know the dragons either. They avoided him, and he could understand why. The same rules might not apply in the human realm as back home, but no one wanted to ruin their reputation by being seen with an abomination.

“Do you need medical care?” The man didn’t enter the smithy, but he was hovering on the doorstep. Normally, Albus closed the door. He was sure he’d closed the door this morning too. Maybe not. He’d woken from a nightmare and had come straight here.

“No.” The short word came out snarly and harsh.

The man frowned. “Are you sure? You touched glowing metal.”

Hadn’t he seen him breathing the fire? Dragons weren’t harmed by fire as long as they were in dragon form, and he’d changed his hand.

Albus turned around, and the man gasped. He’d stopped wincing, at least visibly, at people’s reactions to him. He was the freak on Dragon Row. All the other shops dealt with gemstones and precious metals, Albus dealt with iron. There was no iron in a dragon’s treasure cave.

“Holy fuck! You’re a dragon.”

Albus didn’t think Reverend Goodwin would appreciate this young man’s language, but then there wasn’t much the reverend liked. Albus could relate. One of the things he liked the least was the reverend himself. He wished someone would eat him.

When Albus had first arrived, he’d learned the reverend arranged matings. Albus had been excited by the prospect. He’d always known he wouldn’t have a mate, no one would mate a white dragon even if he survived long enough to reach mature age, but it all changed when he came here. A joy he’d never experienced had bubbled in his chest, but then the reverend had changed his mind—or someone else had changed his mind.

He’d come by the smithy—it hadn’t been a smithy then, Albus hadn’t decided what he’d do on this side of the realm yet—and told him there were no available mates. Albus had been disappointed but had accepted it. He hadn’t walked around Edge. He didn’t know how many humans resided there. It was possible they all were paired up already.

It wasn’t until a few years later when Nithe the Nefarious had arrived, and the reverend had hurried to present mates to him, Albus realized there were mates. If you were another color than white, there were mates.

It was nothing new, but it hurt that he’d allowed himself to hope.

“Right.” The man bounced on the heels of his feet. “I didn’t realize… I guess I’ve reached Edge?”

Albus shifted entirely back into human form and nodded. In response, the man’s face split into a grin.

“Really?” He took a step into the smithy and spun around. “Wow. Is it yours?”

Albus nodded again. He never allowed anyone into the smithy. He had his shop; people were welcome to browse his creations there—not many did—but this was where he worked. It was private, his personal space.

“Amazing. I believed dragons only did useless things. No offense, but you’re working. A real job, I mean.”

Holding his breath, Albus tried to come up with a way to answer. Was it an insult? He wasn’t trading gemstones, there had already been several shops doing that on Dragon Row when he’d arrived, and no one would trade gemstones with a white dragon if they could do it with a red or a blue. Who would go to Albus the Abomination when they could go to Saxon the Sinful or Mort the Monstrous?

“I didn’t mean to interrupt.” The human sent him a blinding smile, and Albus’ heart made an effort to escape his body. No one ever smiled at him. This man would stop too once he talked to people in the city.

“What’s your name?”

“Zale Hagan, at your service.” The man bowed, then all color drained from his face, and he reached out to steady himself on a wrought iron bookshelf Albus had yet to finish. The iron parts were done, but he needed wooden shelves and he didn’t know where to find a woodworker. He could do them himself if he got hold of wood, but he didn’t know where to go.

“Fuck.” Zale breathed in deeply. Gone was the smile and bubbly energy.

“Do you need medical care?” Albus believed there was some kind of healer on this side of the veil. He flicked his tongue to taste the air and winced. Zale was sick, sicker than anyone Albus had met before.

Zale waved the hand he didn’t use to cling to the shelf—good thing it was sturdy. “Nothing can be done. I’ve been to all the doctors I could find, but they can’t help me. I wanted to see the edge of the world before my demise.” He gave Albus a sorrowful look. “I guess it’s time to embrace my fate.”

“And what fate is that?” What a weird human.

“My death, I mean. It’s time to accept I don’t have much longer.”

An invisible fist curled around Albus’ soul. He was aware humans died young, but the man didn’t look to be more than… it was hard to tell with humans, but thirty-five maybe. “You should wait a bit longer.”

Zale barked a laugh, still holding onto the shelf. “I wish I could.” He sobered. “I’m ill. Something is growing in my belly, and it’s eating me from the inside.”

Albus shuddered. “A parasite?”

Zale’s eyes grew wide, then he shook his head. “No, nothing sentient, though it has a life of its own.”

It took effort not to take a step back. Dragons couldn’t be infected by human diseases, but Albus didn’t want to have anything growing inside of him.

* * * *

Zale watched the dragon, and longing welled up inside of him. He wished he’d have time to get to know a dragon, but he feared he had little more than days left. It was a miracle he’d made it this far. He’d fully expected to die on the way, and he’d been forced to remain in a few cities along the trip, had spent a few nights in hospitals.

There was nothing that could be done, so as soon as he could stand on his own, they let him go and he’d continued his travels to the end of the world.

He was done. It was over. He’d set his affairs in order, had sold his half of his boat to Dylan since he refused it as a gift. He’d get the money back when Zale died. It was all in his will. He’d sold the rest of his things, and he’d used the money to get here. He still had some left. It would go to his parents once he no longer was around, and he assumed they’d give part of it to Bay, his brother.

He’d said goodbye to his friends and family, but he wanted one last adventure. He’d sailed to the horizon until there was nothing but him and the waves. He’d seen the end of the land, but he wanted to see the end of the human realm. Edge. He assumed there were other portals leading to the dragon realm, but he’d never heard of one. So he’d packed a couple of changes of clothes, kissed his mother goodbye, engulfed his father in a wordless hug, and walked away.

The last they’d see of him was, if not a healthy man, then at least a mostly healthy-looking one. One who could walk on his own, who wasn’t bed-bound and lost to fevers and pain. He spent days lost in fevers and pain. They came more and more often now. He’d lost his strength, his legs didn’t carry him for any long walks anymore, and he had to rest several times a day. What precious time he had left was overtaken by fatigue.

At least he’d spare his family what was to come, what had already come. He had no appetite anymore and had lost a lot of weight. Seeing a dragon had sparked enough joy to fight off the lethargy for a few glorious seconds, but now he was fading fast. He needed to sit.

“I’m sorry, but do you have a chair or a stool or something?”

The dragon looked around, as if seeing the room for the first time. Zale looked too. There was no hearth or whatever a blacksmith’s fireplace was called. A dragon blacksmith. He wished he could tell Dylan.

“I don’t think I have one, but it’s time to open the shop, anyway.”

“Right, I’ll…” He allowed his legs to fold, but before he landed on the floor, strong arms wrapped around him. Zale gasped in surprise. Damn, he’d moved fast.

“The floor is dirty.”

Zale glanced down and realized the dragon was barefoot. “You’re not wearing shoes.”

He looked away so fast, Zale feared he’d inadvertently insulted him. Maybe dragons didn’t wear shoes.

“What’s your name?” Zale did his best to ignore being carried. A month ago, no one would’ve been able to carry him, both because he’d been too heavy, and he’d been healthy enough to fight off anyone who tried. Now he could accept being carried, or spend part of his day sprawled on the dirty stone floor in a smithy.

It took a few seconds before the dragon answered. “Albus the Abomination.”

Zale didn’t think he imagined the wince, and he did nothing to hide his own. Who in their right mind named their kid Abomination? He’d heard dragons had weird names, but often they were called something with strength or… They valued strange things. He’d heard of one dragon named Frightful, Finn the Frightful, or something similar. “Do all dragons have alliterations in their names?”


“What’s your mother’s name?”

“Orinda the Odious.”

Zale chuckled. “It’s not.”

Albus looked down at him, his pupils changing into cat-like slits and his eyes glowing red like rubies. Magnificent, but fear blocked Zale’s throat. Shit.

“It is.”

Zale nodded his agreement. It was, of course, it was. Could someone name their kid Albus the Abomination, someone else could name theirs Orinda the Odious.

“My mother’s name is Ocean.”

Albus blinked at him, his eyes turning human again. “Ocean?”

He nodded. “My brother’s name is Bay.”

“And your father?”

Zale grinned. “George. He’s not from the coast.”

“You’re from the coast?”

Zale nodded.

“And when you’re from the sea, you have sea names?” Albus bent to open the door to one of the narrow, tall houses on the street. It was like stepping into a fairytale. An entire street of small, tower-like houses. They had to be at least four floors. Some towered over the others, but no house appeared broader than another.

“Wow, this road is—” Zale didn’t have time to say anything else before Albus stepped into the shop. There were things everywhere—shelves, large wooden boxes filled with what looked like hooks, coat racks, wine stands, tables without tabletops, room dividers, but most of all there were candle holders. Wall mounted, floor standing, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and some scattered around the floor.

“Holy fuck!”

Albus jumped at his outburst.

“Did you make all these?” There were too many things to give them justice, and there wasn’t any order to where things stood or how they were organized, which was too bad. The more Zale looked, the more amazed he became. “You’re an artist.”

“I don’t deal in art. It’s too risky.”

“But you sell these. These are your things, your shop?”

Albus grimaced. “On this side of the veil, everyone is paper-note dragons. If I get enough paper notes, I invest in gemstones, but my treasure is still small.”

Zale tried to process what he was saying without much luck. All dragons on this side of the veil collected money? Humans did too. “Have you been on this side of the veil for long?”

Albus put him on an iron-wrought stool by the counter, next to the brass cash register. “Did you make this too?”

Albus looked at the cash register with narrowed eyes. “I don’t like working in brass.”

“Oh. But could you make one?”

For a second, scales covered his throat before smoothing out into skin again. He flicked a forked tongue as he moved away, which made Zale freeze. Shit, he hadn’t known they had forked tongues. Knowledge about dragons wasn’t widespread, and not much reached small seaside towns like the one he came from.

“Too many details.”

Zale nodded his understanding. Buttons, and he assumed there were a lot of cogs and stuff inside. Not things you made in a smithy, perhaps.

“I’ll go clean up.” And then he was gone.

Zale slumped against the counter, the pain in his stomach gnawing at him. He closed his eyes for a moment, wishing for more time, but he was so tired.

There was a chime of a bell when the door to the shop opened, and a priest entered. He looked around in distaste, and when his gaze landed on Zale, he stilled. “Who are you?”

Where he came from, they weren’t big on formalities, but hospitality was important. “Zale Hagan.”

The man’s eyes narrowed and something close to a sneer crept onto his lips. “And what are you doing here?”

He was saved from replying by Albus entering the shop. “Reverend.”

The sneer bloomed. “Albus the Abomination.”

Since Albus didn’t move a muscle, Zale assumed he’d foreseen what kind of greeting he’d get.

“Why is there a human on that side of the counter?”

Rude. Zale wished he’d had the energy to stand. He wasn’t as strong as he’d been, his muscles fading with each passing minute, but he was taller than the reverend, and something inside urged him to stand united with Albus against him.

Albus didn’t answer, his eyes had changed to the glowing red color Zale had seen earlier, but it was the only indication he’d heard the reverend’s question.

Zale used the counter for support and stood. He did his best not to show what it cost him and smiled at the reverend. “How can we help you?”

“We?” The reverend slid his cold gaze over Zale. “I don’t know who you are.”

Did he know everyone in this city? Maybe he did. Zale was unsure of how big it was, but it was a tourist town. He couldn’t possibly keep track of the people coming and going.

“I’m with Albus the Astute.” He gestured at Albus so there wouldn’t be any confusion about who he meant. Albus hadn’t shown much emotion before, but now his face grew into a blank mask.

“You’re his mate?” The words dripped with distaste.

“What’s it to you if I am?” Oh, shit. He didn’t mind pissing the reverend off, though he should play nice with the church considering where he was heading, but he didn’t want to offend Albus. Would having a male mate make him less of a dragon? He’d heard the dragons coming here often took human mates, but maybe it was a bad thing in the eyes of a dragon too?

“I’m the one handling the human-dragon matings and Albus the Abomination—” he emphasized Abomination “—hasn’t been approved.”

The growl coming from Albus had Zale’s heart quicken, and he fought against the need to sit.

“What Albus the Adroit does is not your business. Now, how can we help you?”

Red painted the reverend’s face as he spluttered. “You can’t change his name!”

Zale glanced at Albus, who still held on to his blank face. “I don’t see how what I call Albus the Adept is any of your business. Did you have a reason to grace us with your presence?”

What little energy Zale had was quickly leaving him. He needed to sit, or his legs would soon go out from under him, but he didn’t want to show any weakness. He didn’t mind if Albus knew he was hanging on by a thread, but admitting defeat to the reverend would sting more than Zale wanted to admit.

“A nozzle on one of the church’s candlesticks has come off, and I was wondering if you could attach it again.” He dug out a heavy-looking bronze candle holder from the bag he was carrying and then held up a small plate-like thing—the nozzle—from his pocket. “If you could weld it back into place.”

Weld? Zale didn’t say anything. This was Albus’ field of expertise, so he’d sit this one out. And sit he did. It still hurt to have to lower himself in front of the reverend, but he made it look as nonchalant as he could, as if he’d lost interest now when they were talking shop.

“I can fix it.” Albus’ voice was growly, and when he stepped forward to grab the candle holder Zale was struck by how big he was. Not only was he more than a head taller than the reverend, but he was also twice as broad. Blacksmith, lots of heavy lifting.

“Can you do it now? I need to get back to the church.”

Albus nodded, and he plucked the nozzle from the reverend’s hand.

“I can take your payment while Albus is working.” Zale didn’t know what all the buttons meant, but there was one that was bigger than the rest, and he wanted to push it.

“It’s for the church.” The outraged tone had Zale fighting a grin. He wasn’t normally this petty.

“Yes, and the church will want to show their appreciation for Albus’ hard work, not to mention how important it is to keep a dragon fed. If all he has to eat is the customers daring to enter the shop, there will be a problem.”

Albus whipped around and stared at him, but Zale ignored him.

The reverend more or less threw a bill on the counter, which Zale quickly picked up. “Thank you.” He placed it in one of the slots and closed the drawer with a grin. The reverend glared, but Zale didn’t care. He wouldn’t be here long enough to have to suffer any repercussions, and he hoped he hadn’t made things harder for Albus.

It didn’t take many minutes before Albus came back into the shop and handed the candle holder to the reverend. “Done.” Then he walked in behind the counter without so much as looking at the reverend. Zale bit the inside of his cheek and waited until the bell above the door chimed before he chuckled.

He reached out and patted Albus’ arm. “I’m so sorry if I made things harder for you, but he wasn’t pleasant to talk to. It was childish of me.”

Albus studied him for a second. “Hatchlings are rude?”

Hatchlings? Ah, childish. “They can be.”

Albus nodded as if it explained everything. “You’re young, so it makes sense.”

A laugh bubbled out of Zale. “I’m not young. My mother would be appalled by my lack of manners.”

Albus didn’t reply. He had a faraway look in his eyes, which made Zale suspect he’d said something wrong. “How old are you?” He didn’t know if it was rude to ask, but at least it was a different topic.

“Two hundred thirty-four.”

“And yet you don’t look a day over forty.” Zale grinned, but it was soon replaced by a sigh. Two hundred and thirty-four years. Wouldn’t it be amazing? Or maybe you grew bored. Life was precious because it was limited and always a little too short. In his case, a lot too short.

“How old are you?”


“A hatchling.” There was something similar to fondness in Albus’ eyes, and it had a lump forming in Zale’s throat. He wasn’t sure his voice would carry, so he nodded instead and did his best to blink away the burn in his eyes.

When the silence grew too long, he cleared his throat. “A dying man.”

Albus was saved from answering by the bell above the door.

Guest Post | May Wedding by Ellie Thomas

Today, we have Ellie Thomas back on the blog 🥳 She’s here to tell us about her latest story, May Wedding, which is released today! Welcome, Ellie!

May Wedding FB Promo 4

Thanks so much, Ofelia, for having me as your guest again! I’m Ellie, and I write MM Historical Romance novellas. I’m popping in today to chat about my new story May Wedding, currently in the 20% off new release sale at JMS Books until May 12th.
May Wedding is the sixth book in my Regency romp Twelve Letters series featuring an ensemble cast. After a digression in book 5, The Misfit, which introduced a new couple, Luc and Harry, May Wedding resumes with our established couples of Jo Everett and Daniel Walters, Captain Ben Harding and Dr Edward Stephens and Nathan Brooks and the Hon. Percy Havilland.
This story focuses on the weddings of the title. In the 21st century, although weddings have become big business and can be increasingly elaborate, society’s attitude to marriage in the main has become more relaxed than two centuries ago. Also, it’s become increasingly acceptable for some long-term couples, straight, gay or non-binary, to choose to remain unmarried.
Although heterosexual marriage was pretty much socially compulsory in Regency times, in practice, there were all sorts of less formal living arrangements where people adapted to their different circumstances. And, of course, until very recently, lesbian and gay marriage was not an option.
In May Wedding, I was interested to explore my characters’ attitudes to marriage. The story begins with the grand society wedding of one of Percy’s beloved younger sisters. This includes all the financial formalities of a dowry and allowances, choosing the most fashionable church for the ceremony and the headache of finding a venue for the wedding breakfast that embarrassing relatives can’t gatecrash.
In some ways, much of the organisation resembles a modern wedding, worrying about seating arrangements or the pros and cons of inviting awkward guests. But there are essential differences. Unless you’re enough of a celebrity to have a pre-nuptial agreement, the financial element is far less formal these days, as both partners usually have jobs and their own incomes. Women had very few legal rights in Regency times, so Percy’s efforts for his sister’s financial protection are understandably important.
For the couples in my ensemble, however devoted the relationship, marriage was out of the question. Even living together was fraught with difficulty unless you were wealthy and influential enough to flout draconian laws.
But, then as now, people are people, and although some find the idea of marriage unappealing, for others, it is meaningful. When one of my couples decide to stage their own informal ceremony, it was interesting to explore the attitudes in their tightly bonded group. Some members are excited and enthusiastic to help, whereas others go along with the plans without understanding what all the fuss is about.
It was fun to plan two contrasting weddings, one completely conventional and the other totally informal and gauge the emotional reactions of everyone involved in their May wedding.

May Wedding

mayweddingSome of the gentlemen who meet weekly for supper at The Golden Lion in London’s St. James’ are preoccupied with the prospect of matrimony.
The Honourable Percy Havilland is at full organisational pelt for his sister’s triumphant society marriage, ably backed by his friends. His frequent stress-induced outbursts are endured by his ever-patient lover, Nathan.
Percy has mixed feelings about the upcoming nuptials, the sorrow at losing one of his precious sisters balanced by the opportunity of exhibiting his exquisite good taste to make this the wedding of the Season.
His friend Jo Everett reacts differently to the wedding, desiring an equivalent opportunity to mark his enduring love for Daniel Walters.
Will Percy manage to survive the wedding without falling out irreparably with Nathan? And might Jo and Daniel discover they have the support of their close circle to celebrate their own special day?


Nathan, more than anyone, comprehended how much Percy agonised over relinquishing his sister. Partly because Percy no longer practiced caution with Nathan where his feelings were concerned. But also because his lover bore the brunt of Percy’s feverish exertions for the wedding.

Percy recalled when they were in Nathan’s private sitting room in his great house off Leicester Square, during a rare hour together before Percy returned to Little Chelsea to accompany his sisters to an evening’s revels. Nathan sat in his favourite Chesterfield armchair while Percy paced before him in a manner that Nathan remarked reminded him of a caged tiger.

When holding forth at great length on selecting the exact shade of soft pink for the bridesmaids’ dresses, Percy started to argue with Nathan, despite the gentleman’s indifference to whether the ladies should wear muslin or sackcloth.

Instead of justifiably losing his temper with Percy in this wildly unreasonable mood, Nathan said, “Come here,” and patted his thighs encouragingly. After a brief hesitation, while formulating a heated debate between the virtues of a bright peach hue or a subtle shade of apricot, Percy rather sulkily sat on Nathan’s lap, holding himself stiffly.

“That’s better,” Nathan said, pulling him close. All Percy’s nervous tension started to dissolve as he breathed in Nathan’s familiar Bay Rum cologne, listened to the steady rhythm of his breath, and felt the warmth and strength of his body that Percy relied on and frequently enjoyed.

“Whatever you choose,” Nathan opined, “will be perfect, not only in tribute to your excellent taste but because of your insurmountable care.”

At this disarming statement, rather than bristling, Percy found himself weeping copiously on Nathan’s broad shoulder while his paramour patiently stroked his back and kissed his neck between reassuring endearments.

Needless to say, that had not been the only circumstance when Percy had relieved his raw nerves on Nathan. The degree of toleration Nathan exhibited on account of Percy’s mental and emotional strain in the run-up to the wedding had resulted in far fewer spats than was their habit.

On the odd stolen night in Nathan’s bed during the Season, Percy lay wrapped in his strong arms, momentarily soothed and protected from all his fears, demands, and struggles. He didn’t know how he would have survived the headlong months of Araminta’s betrothal without Nathan’s support and even managed to admit that once or twice.

With a rush of affection and gratitude, Percy raised a grin and his glass in a private toast. Nathan’s frown disappeared, replaced by an answering smile as he emulated the gesture. Percy presumed that when the last slice of cake was consumed, and they all gathered on the front steps of the house to wave off the bride and bridegroom, he would feel a discreet touch on his shoulder, or a hand briefly grasping his waist, Nathan’s way of showing solidarity.

Naturally, after the splendid formality of the Seymours’ hospitality, Percy’s wider family and even a few friends might convene at Little Chelsea for a dish of tea or something stronger to discuss the joyoyus event. But after Simeon and Cordelia departed to collect Harriet and bestow a similar rehash of events with a new audience in Emma, Percy idly wondered if he could excuse himself for the afternoon and decamp to Leicester Square.

He had caught that brief heated flash of interest when Nathan first laid eyes on Percy in church, delectable in tight-fitting dove grey. It seemed only fair to allow Nathan to appreciate Percy’s new clothing behind closed doors and slowly remove every layer. After being such a faithful knight during the wedding campaign, tolerating the worst of Percy’s barbs and inconsistencies, Nathan deserved a leisurely reward.

Also, losing himself in the intense, deliberate, and mind-numbing loving that only Nathan could give, Percy could glory in the achievement of the nuptials without dwelling too much on the lack of Araminta at home.

Anticipating such a sweet release, Percy put his glass on the table and ran an elegant middle finger around the rim before dipping it in the fizzing liquid. As he raised the digit to his lips, he looked directly at Nathan, allowing the promise of a flash of tongue as he delicately sucked on his fingertip.

Nathan adroitly responded to a remark from his near neighbour, only a faint flush of colour on his cheekbones betraying his response to Percy’s teasing. I’ll pay for that later, Percy thought with a pleasurable squirm.

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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.


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Guest Post | Saved by the Bear by Holly Day

Shut book

Hiya! I’m here as Holly today 😊 A few days ago, Saved by the Bear was released 🥳 It’s a story I wrote to celebrate Tell a Story Day which is celebrated on the 27th of April.

This is the shortest story I’ve published so far this year, and given I’m freaking out about not making my deadlines because my stories get a life of their own and get longer and longer, I fear it will be the shortest for some time. I wouldn’t have minded if it hadn’t been for the chasing-deadlines thing LOL

This story is about Frode who inherits a book with Will Tell Your Story written on the cover. It makes him uneasy, but he laughs it off, especially after seeing the pages are blank. 

The problem is, they don’t remain blank.

A sentence appears, and it yanks Frode out of his body, leaving him to hover above himself while he’s watching his life from the beginning up to the present day. Since he only has a few pages left of the book when they reach the current day, he assumes the book will end with him reading the book, but it doesn’t. 

The book turns a page and shows him the next day. 

After freaking out about seeing the future, Frode freaks out about how few pages there are left. His life is coming to an end, and as he sees himself die, he tries to change his fate by seeking help from his neighbour who happens to be a bear shifter.

When I sent this story to my beta readers, one of them asked if it was an old story I’d rewritten because she was sure she’d read it before. It isn’t, and I don’t have any stories (on either name) that are similar to it. No magic books, no trying to outrun death, no bear living next door. 

I haven’t read a similar story either, but if you know of one, let me know. Because we tried to figure out why she got the deja vu feeling. Maybe she read a book about her reading a book about a book… 😆   

I really don’t think there are any new stories under the sun, everything has already been written, maybe not in the same style as I write, but I’m sure there are plenty of stories about magic books and guys trying to escape death. As an author, you just add your spin to it. 

Saved by the Bear


Would knowing how you die change the way you live? 

Frode Hall inherits a book that promises to tell his story, and it does. It starts with a recap of his childhood, leads him through his teens and into adult life. Then it turns a page and shows how he dies in a car crash the following day. Frode panics, but can he trust the book? It’s showing a huge Grizzly sneaking around the garden, and there are no bears in the garden, only Imre, his neighbor. 

By not being in his car when the predicted car crash was to take place, he survives another day. But someone has learned he has the book, and it’s showing ninjas breaking into his apartment to get it. Unsure of what to do, Frode turns to Imre. Frode doesn’t know what to believe about his growling and talk of mates, but he trusts Imre to help him. They leave the city in a hurry, but will the book give them enough warning to keep them alive or will their journey end in a gruesome prophecy? 

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Paranormal Gay Romance: 14,970 words 

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Then the air froze in Frode’s lungs.

The book showed the morning, the coming morning. Frode slammed a hand over the open page as he took a shuddering breath. It hadn’t happened yet. Fuck.

His hand shook as he removed it and watched himself walk down the stairs. The book allowed him a glimpse of Imre waiting on the other side of his door. He wasn’t waiting, was he? When Frode was halfway down the stairs, Imre exited his apartment.

Shit. Frode’s heart was beating so fast he feared he’d have a heart attack. Maybe he was dreaming? He checked how many pages there were left of the book. Hard to say, twenty perhaps. Did he dare read them? It was a thick book, and a chill went through him as he realized there were several hundred pages of his past and only about twenty of his future. Was he dying? He was thirty-four years old. If thirty-four years took up—he looked at the thick part of the book—could it be five hundred? Or maybe the entire book was about five hundred pages and he’d read through four hundred and eighty.

He bit his lips not to make a sound and focused on the text again. It showed him in the office, throwing paper clips into the pencil holder. Charming. He winced. He had to do better at work. If they fired him, he wouldn’t be able to pay rent, but customer service was mind-numbingly boring.

Was throwing paper clips significant? The book lingered in the moment. He huffed and looked around the image shown. It looked like it always did. Hye Choi was on the other side of the cubicle divider, as he always was. Frode hated him—maybe hated was too strong a word, but he made him uncomfortable. He was too good-looking, too charming, too… Frode had learned his lesson when it came to smooth, charming men. They never were what they made themselves out to be. He didn’t think Hye would slap him around if he took him up on the invitation sparkling in his eyes, but something set off his alarm bells.

 As he studied Hye, he noticed how he leaned toward the wall separating his and Ana’s booth. Frode leaned closer to the book. Ana was talking on her cell phone. They weren’t allowed to while they were working, and she seemed to be whispering. It could be because she wasn’t allowed to talk, but the way Hye stiffened had him taking slow breaths. What the hell? Was this important? It had to be since the book played it at the same pace it would have—will?—played out.

Frode swallowed. He shouldn’t watch this, and why the hell didn’t the book have sound? He wanted to know what she was saying.

The moment Ana ended the call, Hye stood and strode past the desks on his side, rounded the last one, and headed for Frode.

He missed the pencil stand, and the paper clip slid off the desk and would’ve dropped to the floor hadn’t Hye caught it. Frode groaned. Of course, he had to see him miss.

Hye’s lips moved, but Frode had no idea what he was saying. To his surprise, he got up, and together they walked toward the elevators. What the fuck? He’d never go anywhere with Hye.

He watched the color drain from his face as Hye spoke, then he dashed back into the office area and spoke to Mrs. Lewis, his boss. Hye was nowhere to be seen when Frode hurried back toward the elevators.

The book fast-forwarded as he drove through the city and back to the apartment. Imre was nowhere to be seen, and neither was the grizzly. He didn’t know what Imre’s job was, but he knew he had one.

 He watched himself rush up the stairs only to come face to face with a tall, broad-shouldered, faceless ninja—why was he faceless?—who exited his apartment. Under his arm, he had the book. Frode hissed, his grip on the cover tightening.

The ninja pushed him, and he fell backward down the stairs. Frode gasped, his body jerked as if it happened to him now.

He landed in a heap at the bottom. There was a bleeding gap in his forehead, and his right leg was at an awkward angle.

Air no longer entered his lungs. Someone would break into his apartment tomorrow and steal the book.

He flew to his feet, too shaken to remain seated, and paced the living room. A glance at the clock told him he’d been reading most of the night, and it was soon time to get up.

He couldn’t go to work.

The man came while he was at work. Something Ana had said made Hye go to him, and whatever he’d told him made Frode rush home. He couldn’t leave the apartment. Or he’d have to go somewhere with the book. He had to hide 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.  

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