Guest Post | They Met in the Library (Meet Cute Chronicles) by Nell Iris


Today, Nell Iris is with us to celebrate the release of They Met in the Library, which is the first of three meet-cute stories that will be released during the first months this year. And make sure to read the entire post, because there is a giveaway in there. Welcome, Nell!

First of all, I’d like to say thank you to Ofelia for letting me borrow her blog today and tell you all about my new release. You’re always so kind and generous. Thank you 😘

They Met in the Library starts with a meet cute. A meet cute is, according to Wikipedia (link:; “In film and television, a meet cute is a scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances.”

The first time I heard this term was when I watched the movie The Holiday for the first time. Wonderful character, old guy Arthur Abbot who used to work in Hollywood, explains to Iris (Kate Winslet’s character) what it is, and then the movie itself is full of meet cutes (I especially like the one between Graham (Iris’s brother played by Jude Law) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz)).

After the meet cute, the writer can flesh out the story into a whole novel following the classic story structure (attraction-tension-big drama climax at around 80% – HEA), or they can do what I chose to do in Meet Cute Chronicles: focus on the meeting, one or two more dates/meetings after the first one, and then add an epilogue for the HEA. I found it a great way of keeping things lighthearted in a time when cute, funny, and flirty is something many of us desperately need.

First out is Adrian and Manne in They Met in the Library. Adrian is a librarian who loves books, and Manne is dyslexic with a fraught relationship to them. They meet when Manne steps into Adrian’s library and is on the verge of panic at the sight of all the books. Luckily, Adrian comes to the rescue…

The meet cute is the common theme for all three books in my Meet Cute Chronicles; They Met in the Library (release day January 16), They Met in the Park (February 27), and They Met in the Woods (March 2021). Meet Cute Chronicles isn’t a series, they’re not connected other than through the main theme, the meet cute.


Adrian, book-lover extraordinaire, adores his job at the small community library. He gets to share his passion with other people and help them with all book-related questions and issues. When a big, hulking man walks into the library, looking terrified, Adrian’s skills are tested in a completely different way.

Manne’s relationship with books is uneasy, to say the least. He’s dyslexic and events in his past have made him fearful of books and turned libraries into his worst nightmare. But when the quirky, bowtie-wearing librarian steps in to help, the experience turns positive.

Their banter is easy and their chemistry instant. But can an accidental meeting turn into something more? Can someone who has trouble reading ever fit into the life of a man whose passion is the written word?

M/M Contemporary / 17943 words


JMS Books:
Universal Buy Link:





I notice him immediately when I return to my desk. He’s hard to miss; a big hulking man with a shaved head, huge gauges in both ears, and strong arms covered in tattoos.

But his looks aren’t what draws my attention. No, it’s his pale face rivaling the freshly fallen snow outside the windows. And the way he barely moves at all, not even a slight rise and fall of his chest. Is he even breathing? The only thing not frozen is his gaze. It darts over the library, from one bookshelf to the next, and he’s looking at them like they’re wolves ready to strike.

Knitting my eyebrows together, I look closer. He’s swaying a little and he really isn’t breathing, so I round my desk and hurry across the floor, slowing my steps as I approach so I won’t scare him.

“Sir? Are you all right?” I ask.

His eyes keep flitting around as though he hasn’t heard me. He’s tense; I could cut glass on the cords of his neck.

I soften my voice. “Sir?”

He tears his gaze away from one of the many book displays—I’m looking for a book and the cover was blue— and looks at me, but I’m not sure he realizes I’m a human being. His eyes are glassy and unfocused and wild. Pleading for help. He looks terrified, reminding me a little about a visitor who had a panic attack right here in the library a couple years back.

“Sir?” I keep my voice low, soothing. “Sir, you’re worrying me. If you don’t take a breath, I’ll have to call the ambulance.” No reaction. I take a couple steps closer and gently touch his arm, as I scan his face, looking for clues. He’s perspiring and his pulse flutters frantically in his neck. He’s holding his coat in one huge hand and the grip is so tight his knuckles are whitening.

This man is scared to death, and if I don’t do something quickly, he’ll pass out.

I gently squeeze his arm. “Sir? You’re safe here with me. I won’t leave you. Would you please breathe for me?”

There’s a glint of recognition in his eyes, as though my words are getting through to him, as though he realizes I’m a fellow human and not a dangerous predator ready to attack.

His chest rises and falls, and he dips his chin once. The acknowledgment—and the breathing—makes me relax, so I smile at him.

“My name is Adrian, and I work here. Would you please come with me? My desk is just over there.” I point. “You can sit down for a second and I’ll get you a glass of water, okay?”

Another dip to his chin.

“Great. Are you all right to walk to my desk on your own, or would you like me to help you?”

Without a word, he holds out his elbow; I link my arm through his and coax him toward my desk. After just a couple steps, he speaks. “There are so many books. I don’t know what I was thinking, coming here. I can’t do this. I can’t. There are so many books.” His voice is fervent. Agitated.

I give his arm a little squeeze, reminding him that I’m here. “Yes sir. We have a lot of books here. A little too many if you ask me, at least when it’s time to put them all back.” I’m hoping my words and a little humor will divert his attention from whatever scares him about the books and bring him out of his state. The little huff he lets out tells me I’m onto something, so I continue to babble. I’m very good at babbling, after all.

“Just a few more steps and we’ll be there. I’m the boss of the information desk, but don’t tell my coworkers I said that. They’ll try to tell you I’m wrong. That we’re all equals here at the library. But you and I know that’s not the case, right? Only someone wearing a bowtie can be the boss of the information desk, that’s an old rule.” I bump my shoulder to his to show I’m kidding and get another huff as a reward.

I pull out the visitor’s chair. “Please sit, sir.” He collapses into the rickety old wooden thing that’s seen better days—every year, the city council cuts funding to our little library, so we can’t splurge on stuff like furniture— and it groans underneath him. He’s way too big for the tiny little thing; he’s spilling out of it, as though someone poured him into it and didn’t stop when he started flowing over. The man is muscle upon muscle—easily double my width—and tall, maybe even a bit taller than my own six feet four inches. I hope the chair won’t collapse underneath him.


Nell Iris author bio and social media links

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide 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 me on social media:
Facebook page:
Facebook profile:

Cover Reveal | Be Still, My Heart

Today, we have Holly Day here, and the funny thing is Holly has release day today, but that’s not the books she’ll be talking about. She’s here to show off the cover of her next release.

Thank you for having me here today, Ofelia. I’ll be back next week to talk about Hop Hop, Carrot Top that’s released today, but right now I wanted to focus on Be Still, My Heart.

I actually wrote Be Still, My Heart before I wrote Hop Hop, Carrot Top, but it’s a Valentine story, so February seemed the right month to release it.

I had a great time writing it, and when I got the cover I was so pleased – it matched that of Hop Hop, Carrot Top perfectly! Not that they are a series, I don’t plan to write any series.

Cover Reveal

Be Still, My Heart is about Dimitri Petrov who works at the front desk at his sister’s dating agency – not because he wants to. All he wants it to stay at home and not see a living soul, but his sister won’t allow it.

And then we have Elian Hubert, an eccentric literary professor who at the last minute realises he needs a date for the Valentine dinner he’s going to. He completely misunderstands what it is the dating agency does, and ask Dimitri if he can rent a date for the evening. I love them both LOL.

Okay, are you ready to see the cover? *drum roll*

Here it is! Isn’t it pretty?

If you want to read an excerpt, visit my site.



Four years ago, Dimitri Petrov had his leg blown off by a landmine while in military service. Suffering from PTSD, he doesn’t do crowds, and he doesn’t do people. If he had his way, he’d never leave his house at all. Dimitri’s sister, Irina, runs a dating agency, and despite that it would be better for business if they had a pretty woman working the front desk, Irina insists Dimitri’s the man for the job.

In a whirlwind of pink shirts, flapping hands, and outrageous flirting enters Elian Hubert. Elian needs a date. Invited to speak on love through time in fiction at a Valentine dinner, there is no way he’s showing up alone. When Dimitri tells him The Single Pursuit is unable to help on such short notice, Elian suggests Dimitri be his date.

Dimitri doesn’t do dates, and he doesn’t do dinners, but Elian’s made him happier in the last few minutes than anyone’s been able to do in years. He might not do Valentine’s, and he might not do gatherings, but maybe he can do Elian… a favor and accompany him to his presentation? If things go too badly, he can always hide behind a curtain and pretend he’s somewhere else.

About Holly:

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserves a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee. 

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time. 

Connect with Holly @ or visit her website @ 

Guest Post | The Hunted and the Hind


Today, we have a guest! Remember a few weeks back when A.L. Lester was here to show us the cover of her upcoming release? Well, it’s been released now, and today she’ll tell us a little more about it and share an excerpt. At the bottom, you’ll find a link to a giveaway.

Hello there! Firstly, thank you so much to Ofelia for having me visit today to talk about The Hunted and the Hind! And secondly, happy New Year to you all. Let’s hope 2021 brings us all thing things we deserve rather than all the things we fear.


Will GrantThe Hunted and the Hind is the third in my paranormal series set in 1920s London. I didn’t intend to write a trilogy when I started Lost in Time in 2015. I was coming out of a period of quite bad depression where I hadn’t had the mental energy to write anything for a while. I felt very displaced in my own self if that makes sense, and so the idea of writing about someone who was displaced himself was very attractive. And of course as well as Lew being displaced from 2016 to 1919, the other MC, Alec–and all the characters–had been through the Great War and were finding their way in the new world on the other side. At the end of Lost in Time, the pair of them found what was to me a satisfactory resolution in an uncertain world, but there was definitely more of their story that needed telling, so I moved on and wrote Shadows on the Border.

Shadows turned into a story with four MCs, two couples. We needed to know more about what Lew and Alec’s happy ending looked like, but as that was happening, Will, Alec’s Sergeant, was falling for Fenn and Fenn was…probably falling for him back?

FennI didn’t really know enough about Fenn at that point to be sure what was happening in their head and I didn’t want to write a fantasy novel, so poor Will and Fenn were left in limbo for a bit whilst I kicked that around and wrote other things. I think Will is the most grounded of all the characters in the series, possibly with the exception of Detective Constable Sedman, who is a very steady sort of chap (with really bad adenoids, if you happen to listen to Callum Hale’s audio interpretation!). He’s a very wealthy man, which gives him more choices and security than someone with less money would have and I think that’s part of it. Also though, he’s secure in himself and his sexuality, although of course he’s still living in a time when he could go to prison.

When I began writing the book and explored the characters further, it turned out that Fenn was also displaced in their own way. However, having a fully formed not-quite-elf throw themselves bang into the middle of my writing was a bit disconcerting. I got away with it in Shadows because they were a secondary character to a great extent. But now…why were they there? Well…they were chasing the murder-creature. But…why them? Why not someone else? What was their background? It was hard to write because I needed to put enough in to make their character sympathetic, but not so much that the story turned into a fantasy novel. It’s already got more fantastical elements than anything I’ve ever written and I didn’t want to change the tone of the trilogy like that.

A lot of the fantasy bits got cut out, which mean I have a deleted scene for you, here. Fenn, before they leave their own world to search for the Carnas.


The lower caves were lit with the same glowing lim-light as the upper living areas, but much less of it. Instead of a wall or ceiling covered with lim-moss to give enough light to see properly, here it only provided small, patchy stars to guide Fenn downward along the smooth sandy curl of the path underfoot.

As they descended the air became less arid. They scented water. Eventually the path gave one last twist and disgorged them in to the Meeting Chamber. Here the lim-light grew more strongly. The Ternants sat around the edge of the shallow pool. The moss grew under the water, giving the depths a translucent sheen and lighting their faces with an uplit, ghostly glow.

Malach rose to their feet.

“Fenn of the Hunters. The Council of Ternants greets you.” Their voice echoed around the hollow space.

“I am come as summoned, Council.” Fenn responded politely, stifling the impulse to draw Alaress and threaten them. “I seek the return of my sibling.” They bowed their head slightly.

There was a stirring of robes among the eight Council members, like the ruffling of bird feathers in the cold of winter.

“We have a task for you, Hunter.” Malach continued as if they hadn’t spoken.

There was a silence. Fenn was presumably supposed to ask what the task was. They weren’t going to oblige them; they had Fenn’s sibling and they weren’t going to let Keren go until Fenn did what they wanted. No-one in Fenn’s kindred, or even the wider Frem, was particularly happy about it, but taking a hostage against a task to be completed was not a new thing. It was a tradition that went back in to the dark reaches of Frem history and no-one could really balk at the Ternants resurrecting it.

Eventually the bird-feathers ruffled again and a different voice, dry as a raven’s rasp, spoke. Fenn didn’t recognise this one. “We need a Hunter to go through the shimmer and bring back a carnas.”

There was a little silence whilst Fenn digested the enormity of this. And then a different voice again added “and their eggs.”

Fenn drew a breath. This was very bad. Going through the shimmer would be difficult enough. Capturing and controlling a carnas enough to bring it back would be arduous. Finding and bringing back a clutch of eggs safely would be almost impossible. The eggs would be well hidden. And in the Delfland, Fenn would not have the knowledge of the country to help a search. They had always understood that taking eggs through the shimmer would likely render them infertile.

It was probably best to view Keren was already dead, given those conditions.

“To what purpose?” Fenn asked.

“That is not yours to know.” The same voice replied.

“But it is mine to know because you have Keren. What guarantee do I have of Keren’s safety? And when I return? Will you leave us alone?”

“If you return, Fenn the Hunter, your sibling will be returned to you and your family will be left alone. Provided you do not cause trouble for the Council.” The fourth voice came from a small person to the rear of the pool.

“Bring the sibling.” They turned behind them as they spoke and then turned back and gestured at Fenn. “Keren is here. You see they are safe.”

Keren was pushed forward by a stranger to Fenn, into the soft lim-light. Their arms were bound loosely behind them and their feet were bare on the stony floor, but as far as Fenn could see, they were unharmed. Fenn stepped forward, but Malach held out a hand out and Fenn felt kias pressing against their chest. “No further, Fenn. You may speak. But no further.”

“Fenn-se!” Keren’s young voice was raw with fear. “Fenn-se. Are you well?”

“Yes, Keren-ke. I am well. Are you safe?” Their own voice felt sodden with emotion. “Are you being treated kindly?” Keren was barely sixteen. Fenn did not really think the Ternants would treat the child badly. There was no requirement for needless savagery in their behaviour. Their role was simply to decide what was necessary to keep the balance of kias and to carry it out.

“Yes. They tied my arms to bring me here. But otherwise I am fed and warm and they are kind enough,” Keren replied, young voice stiff with control.

“I will return soon for you, Keren-ke. They want me to complete a task for them. And then they will release you.”

“So Lina told me. It is not good, Fenn-se. It is not good at all. Namma will be…,” they cut off as the person standing beside them took hold of their elbow and said something low and savage to them that Fenn couldn’t hear.

“Yes, I know. We will make it right between us. Try not to worry, Keren-ke. Lina will look after you. Fenn looked at Lina seriously, where they stood in the group of council members. “And I will manage. Do not worry, Keren-ke. I will do it. Carnas are not that hard to track. This will all be over before you know it.”

“Enough, now.” Malach said, in a kindly enough tone. “Take the child back now, Lina. And Fenn, you will come here and I will tell you what has happened.”


Inadvertently tumbling through the border after Fenn and then thrown into the middle of the internecine political disputes of their people, Sergeant Will Grant of the Metropolitan Police has spent three months in prison in the Underhalls of the Frem. When Fenn comes to free him and return him home through the border, he has very little time to work out what’s going on before the sudden appearance of Fenn’s missing younger sibling, Keren, throws Fenn for a loop.

Instead of returning them to London as planned, the trio step through the border to the Egyptian desert. Once they work out where they are, it’s a two week trip back to England with the possibility of pursuit both onboard ship and when they reach home.

Will the journey give Fenn and Will time to resolve the feelings they have been dancing around since the day they met? How will they keep Keren from recapture by the faction who tried to persuade Fenn they were dead? And has Will’s friend Alec forgiven Fenn for lying about their motives when they first traveled to London four months ago?

The Hunted and the Hind is the third and final book in the 1920s ‘Lost in Time’ trilogy. The books need to be read in order.

  • Tag line: The third in the Lost in Time series. Queer British, Lovecraftian romantic suspense set in the 1920s.
  • Genre: MM, gay, non-binary, romance, historical, paranormal, suspense
  • Length: 40,400 words
  • Publisher: JMS Books
  • Release Date: 30 Dec 2020
  • Buy:

About A.L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat and some hens. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.


All my links are gathered here (this is by far the easiest!):

Or pick and choose:











To celebrate the release of The Hunted and the Hind, enter the giveaway draw to win previous books in the trilogy… the winner can choose EITHER ebooks of Lost In Time & Shadows On The Border OR a copy of Lost in Time in audio!