It’s release day!!! #PictaBook is live, isn’t it amazing?! I think it is LOL
So often when working on a book, I love my characters through the first draft. I’m fond of them through the second draft. They’re dear to me through the beta reading process. When we reach the blurb writing, I often feel a bit of distance would be good. When the edits appear in my inbox I sigh – not because of my editor, she’s great – but by now I’m already writing another story, I’m already in love with a new set of characters, and the old guys are intruding on that love affair. Then by the time of the release day, I’m mostly happy to be able to move on.
The love affair is over.
But… I still love Nix and Jules.
No blurbs, edits or proofreadings killed them.
There are a few of my books that still make me smile when I see them. It has nothing to do with sales or reviews or what other people have thought of them. They make me smile because of how I felt writing them – because I still care about the characters. Elevator Pitch is one, Banger Challenge another. They might not be the best stories I’ve written, but they’re special to me.
And now I’m adding #PictaBook to that list.
It’s a 36k contemporary gay romance story about a dyslexic carpenter and a librarian with social anxiety and a murderous cat. And it makes me laugh.
Jules’ heart was throbbing in his throat as he pulled the door open and stepped into the restaurant. It was a dimly lit Indian place and Jules’ tongue got stuck to the roof of his mouth when he spotted Nix at a table in the corner.
He wore a shirt perfect for him. His intense eyes were glowing in the dark, and Jules’ steps faltered. This isn’t a date. Nix didn’t want to eat alone, and he was here to keep him company, nothing else.
“Hi.” It didn’t come out louder than a whisper, and Jules looked away before he blushed. Pulling out the chair across from Nix, he sat.
“Hi.” Nix smiled and Jules’ heart—if it was even possible—beat faster.
A short woman, dressed in a dark red sari, appeared by their table to take their orders. Jules couldn’t find his voice to answer her, but Nix rattled off a few things, and when she finally turned to him, he ordered a Masala Chai tea with an explanation of already having eaten.
Silence settled over them as she left.
“Did you have a good day?” Nix spun his glass and looked at Jules.
“It was okay. Jenny and I went out to eat.”
Nix nodded. “Were you arguing?”
Jules frowned, then he remembered the scene in the parking lot. “No, no… it was… She insulted my cat.”
Nix widened his eyes. “You have a cat?”
Jules smiled. “Yeah, Booksy. He’s great. He hates everyone, so we’re kindred spirits.”
Nix laughed, deep and low, and it sent a tingle down Jules’ spine. This was not good.
“I already knew you had a cat.” Nix grimaced. “Jenny told me that unless I knew the name of your cat, I was a stranger. But she insulted him?”
Jenny had told Nix about Booksy? “Not everyone has to like to cuddle.”
If possible Nix’s eyes widened more. “Of course not.”
Jules sighed, fully aware he sounded like a crazy person. “I don’t do well with people.”
“You do well with me.”
He grimaced. “I almost turned back twenty times on the way over here.”
Nix’s gaze softened. “But you made it.”
Jules shrugged. “Jenny wants me to meet someone.”
Oh God, had she tried to get Nix to ask him out? “She didn’t put you up to this, did she?”
“No.” He laughed and shook his head. “No, this is all me.”
“She made it sound as if it was an effort to love Booksy, so I had to defend him.”
“Of course.” Nix smiled at him. “So… he’s a lovable little furball?”
“He’ll scratch your eyes out in your sleep.”
Nix laughed. “Charming.”
The tea arrived with some of Nix’s dishes, and along with them came the silence again. Nix took a few bites before looking at Jules. “Want to taste?”
“No.” He smiled and shook his head. “It smells good, but I’m full.”
Silence again, but it wasn’t the kind that made Jules want to scream. He studied Nix, watched the fork go in between his lips only to slide out again, and soon after he was squirming in his seat. This was not good. He shouldn’t get a hard-on from watching Nix eat.
“What happened to your date?”
Nix grimaced. “Turns out it was a booty call.”
Cold washed over Jules. “Oh, so it’s… already over?”
Nix snorted. “I left.”
“What? No… booty?”
Oh… “A rain check?”
#PictaBook in the JMS shop (20% off)
Jules Rose leads a quiet life working as a librarian. He’s happy to spend his spare time reading books and talking to his homicidal cat. What more could he wish for? But when his cozy Friday night is shattered by a friend request on his book community app, politeness gives him little choice but to accept. Jules doesn’t want to talk to anyone, but he can’t be rude. Besides, if he had to talk about something, books is the topic he’d pick.
Phoenix Ford is dyslexic and avoids everything that has to do with the written word, but when the colleague he’s trying to impress calls him stupid, he decides to convince the other man, he’s mistaken. All he needs is the right book to make him look smart, a perfect balance between intelligent and short. And who better to ask for help than a guy who loves books so much, he labeled one boner-worthy on a book app?
When Jules finds out Phoenix never has read a book from start to finish, he’s on a mission. He will find the right book, the book that will make Phoenix fall in love — with reading. Phoenix’s plan might have been to listen to the book Jules picked for him to impress his colleague, but that was before he got to know him. Talking about books is a sure way to Jules’ heart, but is it enough for him to agree to go on a date?