More Holiday Fun with the New Book Release Blitz for Under The Felt Mistletoe by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 13,000 words.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

The most wonderful time of the year is about to get even better.


On a cold, rainy December morning, Finn’s beloved Grampa, his best friend and rock, makes a friend outside their home who he invites in for coffee. The last thing Finn expects is Nelson, a man with a painful past, who is beautiful and generous and turns Finn’s knees into jelly.


What starts out as a chance to get out of the rain, soon becomes more as Nelson helps Finn get ready for the Christmas market. They bond over coffee and fabric and Mariah Carey. Can handmade Christmas ornaments and an understanding heart give Nelson the love he’s been denied?

 
Excerpt



Sunday arrives with clear skies and no rain, but instead, the temperature has dropped overnight and hovers in the low thirties. I arm myself with a thermos of coffee and dress accordingly: long johns under my orange bellbottom corduroy pants, a long-sleeved t-shirt and a turtleneck layered under my windbreaker, a fluffy scarf wound around my neck and a beanie that makes my hair look ridiculous. It flattens everything under the hat, but at the ribbed cuff, my curls explode in every direction with a vengeance.


A lot of people attend the first market of the season and despite the cold pluming my breath in front of me, everyone is in high spirits and full of holiday cheer. My neighbor to the right, Mrs. Winterbottom — yes, that’s her real name — is dressed as Mrs. Santa and sells magnificent hand-crafted fir wreaths. On my left, Mr. and Mrs. Carruthers sell gold-brushed chocolate pralines that are too pretty to eat and taste even better.


Every vendor plays holiday music, greets the shoppers with a jolly ho-ho-ho, and a comment on the weather. The shoppers, in turn, have deep pockets and are eager to acquire the merchandise. People love my ornaments, and my stuff flies off the table. I will be cleaned out completely before the market closes if this continues. I need to spend more time sewing so I can bring lots more next week.


After a couple hours, huge powdery snowflakes start sailing leisurely from the sky, adding to the holiday feeling. The only downer on this fabulous day is that I ran out of coffee early. Mrs. Winterbottom forgot hers at home, and I shared mine with her. I wouldn’t let my worst enemy go without coffee if I could do something about it.


But in a lull between customers, a savior arrives.


Nelson. Carrying two paper cups in mittened hands.


Warmth flashes in my chest at the sight of him; his shy smile and brown eyes that are warm enough to thaw the thin layer of ice from the pond in the middle of the park where the market is held.


“Hi,” he says, sounding out of breath. “I know you like coffee, but I thought maybe hot chocolate would be nice in this cold?” He holds out of the cups and if we weren’t separated by the table I would show my gratitude by hugging the stuffing out of the man. New acquaintance or not.


“My hero!” I accept the offering, tear off the lid, and inhale. The sweet, slightly bitter aroma makes my mouth water. I take a small sip, but it isn’t too hot to drink so I have some more. I hum in happiness and smile at him. “This is awesome. Thank you so much.”


Nelson’s gaze is glued to my mouth with eyelids heavy and lips parted. “You’ve got …” He sets down his cup and pulls off his red and white mittens, then he leans forward and swipes the pad of his thumb along my upper lip.


I draw a stuttering breath.


“You had chocolate on your lip,” he rasps, his voice so deliciously rumbly I feel it all the way in my bones. “There. All gone.” He does a final sweep before withdrawing.


I can’t help it; my hand flies to my mouth and I finger my lip as though I’m trying to stop the lingering warmth from evaporating.


“Thank you.” My voice is hoarse. Our eyes lock as he picks up the mittens and put them back on. My breathing grows shallow and the Christmas music cacophony and loud buzz of the market-goers fade into the background. All I see is him. All I hear is his breathing.


“Finn. I …”

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 but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


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 forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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Release Blitz – Us Again by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 9,200 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

When Alex gets a call in the middle of the night telling him his ex-boyfriend is in the hospital, he only hesitates for a second before rushing to Sammy’s side. But the Sammy in the hospital bed is fragile and not the same man who told Alex to leave seven months ago.


Alex wants to help Sammy get better and is desperate to find out what went wrong between them. Maybe he’ll even get a second chance with the man he hasn’t been able to get over.


But will Sammy let Alex back into his life?


Excerpt


Except for the dim light of a wall-mounted lamp next to the only occupied bed, the room is dark. Sammy is a shapeless silhouette from here and I take a step closer. Another. And another until I’m right by his side.

My knees buckle when I finally see him. His golden hair is plastered to his face, his cheeks hollow, his full lips dry and cracked. Long lashes fan out over black shadows under the eyes. His hand rests on his pillow and is so thin and bony, tears well up in my eyes.

A steadily beeping monitor surveils his vital signs. An IV bag hangs on a metal pole, and the line snakes its way down into his hand.

My hand flies to my mouth and my shoulders shake. To avoid ending up in a sobbing pile on the floor, I sink down in the chair next to his bed.

Sammy was always slender. Like a willow with long limbs, narrow hips, and a concave stomach. But now … he looks emaciated. Hardly there. Easily breakable and so fucking small I wouldn’t be surprised if a stiff breeze could snap him in two.

I reach out but hesitate to touch him. Instead, I lay my hand next to his on the pillow. My olive complexion seems dirty next to his pallor.

“Oh, Sammy.” I don’t even try to wipe the moisture from my face; I just let the tears flow. I want to crawl into bed with him, scoop him up in my arms, and use my big body to shield him from the world. But all I do is move my hand closer, until my fingertips ghost against his pinkie. A jolt of electricity races through my body and a sigh slips out.

“Now will you tell me what happened?” I hiss to David who’s sat down on a chair on the other side of Sammy’s bed sometime during the last minute.

“His boss called me this evening. Apparently, he fainted.”

I gasp and can’t keep my hands off him any longer. Carefully, I lay my palm on top of his hand and something snaps into place in my chest when I finally touch him. He’s cold. I’d give him all my warmth if he would just open his eyes and smile at me and call me Care Bear again.

“Doesn’t he fucking eat?” I grind out between clenched teeth.

“He said he does. He said he was fine.”

“Clearly, he lied.”

“Clearly.”

“What’s all this?” I sweep my hand at the IV pole.

“He was severely dehydrated so they’re giving him fluids.” He rattles on about vital signs and nutrition and how Sammy will need to see a therapist and a dietitian to straighten out his eating and I only listen with one ear. Even though I asked, I can’t absorb all that information.

“Don’t you fucking check on your own brother?” I interrupt. I’ve always had a foul mouth, and frazzled nerves make it worse, but I don’t give a shit if David is offended.

“I should have. I knew he was … sad. I talked to him on the phone almost every day and he said he was fine.” David’s voice trembles, saturated with guilt and remorse, but it just makes me angrier.

“Are you telling me you haven’t taken the time to visit him for seven fucking months?”

“No! That’s not true!”

“It seems that way to me.”

“Who are you to talk? You left him!”

His words sting. He might as well have thrown acid on my face. I tighten my muscles, so I won’t jerk under his accusations. “He told me to leave. He said he never wanted to see me again. I did not leave willingly.” I shoot him an angry glare but quickly look away. I want to take out my fear and worry on him. Plant my fist in his face and roar out the pain that took up residence in my chest when I laid eyes on Sammy a few minutes ago.

Dear, sweet Sammy.

“I don’t even know what happened. I thought he loved me,” I whisper. My head is heavy, and I let it sink down until it rests on his bed.

 

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 but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


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 forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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A Lucy Review: Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Beckett’s best friend, Matt, comes from a big family.  As in, a really big one with eleven children.  Matt is the oldest and his younger brother, Levi, is three years his junior.  Levi is also the focus of Beckett’s crush. “I’d had a crush on him for years, but he was Matt’s little brother, and besides…what would he see in someone like me?”  Beckett is a bit of a bear, hairy with a chubby belly.  When he sees Levi, he “…pulled in my stomach and sat a little straighter.  Not that it helped.  My belly couldn’t be hidden.” 

In a family of loud people, Levi is the exception.  While everyone else is yelling over each other to be heard, he is quiet.  He is a tech wizard, nearly dropping out of high school to open his business (though parents put the stop to that).  His business is very successful and he lives in an apartment over the garage at his parent’s, helping out financially and with the siblings, particularly the Hell Sisters, twins age 5. 

The story is told in back and forth first person point of view from both Levi and Beckett.  This is something I always appreciate as I like to know the why of what each person does, says and how they react.  It begins with Matt and Beckett meeting for a meal and Beckett is surprised by the arrival of Levi.  I was a little surprised at Matt’s behavior – when Beckett reads a horoscope (which is racy, gay and funny) from a website, Matt is shocked.  “It’s a site for gay people.”  Because Beckett is bisexual and his last partner was female, Matt thought, well now he’s straight.  Which is sad considering Levi is gay, but they call him out on it.

I loved reading the horoscopes, one for each chapter.  First it was surprising and then they were funny.  You can see where it’s going early but that didn’t detract from them at all. That’s the kind of horoscope I would read!

The story is sweet with very little angst, if any.  Beckett is a serious Harry Potter fan, which I enjoyed, being one myself.  Beckett is an accountant and offers to help Levi with his business accounting and that’s how the courtship begins.

“Levi: Why would you offer something that valuable to me?

Beckett: Because you always help everyone else. It’s time someone has your back.” 

Like I said, sweet.  There is quite often mentioning of how each thinks the other is so cute and so kind.   I liked that when Levi talks to Matt about asking Beckett out, Matt gives the “don’t hurt my friend” speech to Levi, rather than to Beckett about Levi.  Their first date is an amazing one and shows how much Levi understands Beckett.

The book is very relationship focused, with little outside plot. We get insights into both Levi’s and Beckett’s families.  I liked this book but be warned that at times it is very sugary.

Cover art, depicting both Levi and Beckett, was pretty close to what I imagined they would look like.

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 30th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN139781634866712
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz for Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 20,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb



Mars enters Pisces, giving Beckett Cooper the opportunity to assert himself when it comes to a secret infatuation; his best friend’s younger brother Levi. But can Beckett trust what’s in front of him and be brave enough to take what he wants?


With Venus in Virgo, people usually become more reserved, but Levi Byrne always takes the opposite road of what’s expected of him. So, instead of pulling back, he reaches out for a man he’s been interested in for years; Beckett Cooper.


Is it the celestial bodies aligning to bring together two people destined for each other? Or is it a simple tale of boy meets boy, boy likes boy, and boy wants to kiss boy? Do Beckett and Levi even care, or are they too busy getting to know each other … and falling in love?

 
Excerpt
 
“Beckett?”


The voice made my stomach jump and the corners of my mouth turn up even though I was so tired I’d thought I’d never smile again just a moment ago.


“Levi. Hi!” Stubble covered his face and he approached me with a spring in his step and a happy grin that made my heart pitter-patter in my chest. Oh gawd, he was cuter than ever. “What are you doing here?” I asked.


He threw his arm around my neck in a quick, one-armed hug. The heat of his body penetrated my cold soul, but before I had time to hug him back, he let go of me and stepped back. I missed his warmth instantly. I wanted more. I wanted to bury my nose in the crook of his neck and just stay there until this crappy day was gone and forgotten. Feel his hands on my back and his soothing breaths in my ear.


Shit. I swallowed around a lump that appeared in my throat. I had it bad.


“I’m here to get some celebratory ice cream. I finished my project on time, so I thought I’d treat myself.”


“Great job. Congratulations!”


“Thanks!” His eyes sparkled at me. “Are you getting ice cream, too?”


“No. I was trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. I can’t decide what sounds the least disgusting,” I said and picked up two depressing looking boxes. “Lasagna or pepperoni pizza?”


Levi drew his eyebrows together and then took both from me and threw them back into the freezer. “You can’t eat crap like that. It’s no good for you.”


“I know,” I sighed. “But my fridge is empty and I’m too tired to both shop for groceries and cook.”


He looked at me then, swept his gaze from head to toe. “You look exhausted. I’m sorry I didn’t notice earlier.”


“It’s fine.”


With an unconvinced look on his face, he asked, “Are you all right?”


“Yeah. Just tired. I had a terrible day at work.”


“I know all about those.” He sucked his lower lip into his mouth, letting his eyes flick over my face, taking in what I was sure was tired lines around my eyes and a mouth trying its best to smile. “I have an idea,” he said after a few moments. “What if I make you dinner? I’d need to borrow your kitchen of course, but if you feel like a homecooked meal … I’m your guy.”


I drew a breath and held it. Blinked. “Are you serious?” I asked in a whooshing exhale.


“I am.”


“But what about your ice cream celebration?”


“It can wait.”


His kindness coupled with my fatigue choked me up. Half a second from bursting into tears, I asked, “Why?”


“Because you look like you need someone to take care of you.”


I couldn’t help it then. A tear escaped. I turned my face away and squeezed my eyes shut. A part of me wanted to turn and run away, hide my stupid sensitivity from him and not be the guy who cries in the grocery store aisle. But another part knew he could be trusted and even if I broke down completely here, he wouldn’t make fun of me.


“Then yes. Thank you,” I choked out.


Gentle fingers plucked the shopping basket from my grip. His other hand found it’s way to my nape and caressed me for a second. It was just a brief touch, but it gave me the strength to wipe away the tear and look at him again.


“Let’s go. I know just the thing.”

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 but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


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 forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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A VVivacious Review: Angel and Firebird by Nell Iris

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Phoenix has been in love with Gabriel was as long as he can remember but losing him so tragically hasn’t gotten any easier even after five years. As he struggles with his loss, he yearns for Gabriel…

This story ended way too quickly. I wanted more. So much more. Also, I was completely unaware that this was a short story. So the ending caught me by surprise and I was reluctant to let this story and its characters go.

I remember having gotten through just the very first page of this story and being shocked at how invested I already was in these characters. This was a very engrossing story from its very first words.

It was a story of loss and overall this story has a melancholic tone but everytime Phoenix would talk of Gabriel it was like a ray of light passing through dense black clouds. Their love was palpable. God I would have loved to read about them during the time they were together.

I understood Gabriel’s grief. I understand his actions but I don’t know how justified he is if at all but I really did want him to get all the happiness he deserved.

I found myself really invested and at the risk of repeating myself, I would love to see how these two are together because the image of them together has me bursting with love and hope.

Cover Art by Written Ink Designs. I really liked the cover especially because combined with how the story starts, it leaves a very vivid impression of innocence and love.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 21 pages
Published May 12th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
ASINB07C1D4GSD
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What do you do when your past comes knocking?

Six hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long it’s been since Jude’s fiancé broke off their engagement. With the help of his brother and his all-encompassing love for music, Jude glued the broken pieces of his heart back together, but when his ex shows up on his doorstep late one evening, Jude fears it will fall apart again.

Two years ago, Vincent made a terrible mistake. He left the love of his life for stupid, ill-advised reasons. It took a traumatic event to bring what was truly important in his life into focus. Older and wiser, he’s now ready to do whatever it takes to win Jude back.

Their chemistry is as explosive as ever, but will they be able to work through the real issues? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

Promise Me We’ll Be Okay starts in the middle of the action and it’s packed with feelings and broken hearts. It’s more of a moment in time than a full story; a detailed look at a second chance relationship without the need to see what happened before or after the fact.

The best part is the ability the author has to make the reader feel the characters’ sadness, need, and happiness. There’s not much of a plot since it takes place within a couple of days, but what we get to learn is part of the characters and not a simple retelling of events. Even the secondary characters have great backstories.

I wish we had more of it. Not only because it has a great premise but because it has the opportunity to bring a great redemption. Yes, we get all the necessary information to understand the main couple’s actions, it just needed a bit more to be great. But that’s a problem most short stories have in common.

It is a very quick read and if you only want a taste of a love story, this story is for you. If you are looking for complicated stories and plot twists, then keep looking.

The cover by Written Ink Designs show’s Vincent and Jude. The piano gives us an idea of what’s the story about.

Sale Links: JMS BooksAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 92 pages
Published: March 3, 2018, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634865869
Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris

Standard

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Six hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long it’s been since Jude’s fiancé broke off their engagement. With the help of his brother and his all-encompassing love for music, Jude glued the broken pieces of his heart back together, but when his ex shows up on his doorstep late one evening, Jude fears it will fall apart again.

Two years ago, Vincent made a terrible mistake. He left the love of his life for stupid, ill-advised reasons. It took a traumatic event to bring what was truly important in his life into focus. Older and wiser, he’s now ready to do whatever it takes to win Jude back.

Their chemistry is as explosive as ever, but will they be able to work through the real issues? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

 

I thought Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris was a sweet contemporary romance. In the trope of lovers reunited and second chance at love that so many people love, myself included, it’s the story of Jude and Vin’s love affair broken off by Vin leaving Jude crushed.  Now two years later Vin reappears wanting a second chance, saying he had made a huge mistake.  And Jude give it to him.  That’s the story in 92 pages.

I liked the premise.  Lovers reunited with a second chance at love is always a favorite theme of mine.  You have a support system for Jude in his brother and sister in law who helped pick up the pieces when Vin broke it off.  There is a nice start of seeing Jude as a teacher which I wish there was more of seeing that it’s his love of teaching and Vin’s inability to recognize it’s importance that leads to the split.

I think the shortness of the story works against it here.  It’s a likable story but Jude after being crushed to the point of not functioning and still in recovery mode after 2 years, immediately takes him back.  Which I found exceedingly strange without a strong narrative to support it.  Also Vin’s excuses for the breakup, while valid, haven’t exactly disappeared nor does he put forth any well thought out ideas of how he will cope in the situation exactly.  I don’t know, perhaps his character just needed a little more depth here. And again, you get little of Jude as a teacher, something so central to  him as a person and as a part of their breakup.  Instead you get music? How did that feed into Jude’s supposed lack of ambition?

No a longer story to help with the holes in the narrative and perhaps flesh out the charactions would have left this a richer story.  But as it is, its an immensely likable one.

Cover art is nice and certainly has all the right elements, right down to the long hair on the character of Jude.

Sales Links:Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 92 pages
Published March 3rd 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
Original TitlePromise Me We’ll Be Okay
ISBN139781634865869
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz – Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

 
 
Length: 27,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

What do you do when your past comes knocking?

Six hundred and ninety-five days. That’s how long it’s been since Jude’s fiancé broke off their engagement. With the help of his brother and his all-encompassing love for music, Jude glued the broken pieces of his heart back together, but when his ex shows up on his doorstep late one evening, Jude fears it will fall apart again.

Two years ago, Vincent made a terrible mistake. He left the love of his life for stupid, ill-advised reasons. It took a traumatic event to bring what was truly important in his life into focus. Older and wiser, he’s now ready to do whatever it takes to win Jude back.

Their chemistry is as explosive as ever, but will they be able to work through the real issues? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?


Excerpt
 

I was still wide awake when someone knocked on my door half an hour later, and I knew who it was before I even got out of bed. Who else could it be at four in the morning but Vee?

I didn’t bother to turn on the lights or get dressed, and I opened the door in my boxers. My heart lurched at the sight of him. He still hadn’t shaved and he had black rings under his eyes. His usual confidence was nowhere to be seen. Usually, his presence took over the entire room, but today he looked as if he was trying to make himself smaller.

Without a word, I stepped aside and let him in. I grabbed his hand and led him to the den. “We’ll talk in the morning. You can sleep on the couch,” I said. “I’ll get some sheets.” I got some fresh linen from the closet and grabbed an extra blanket — he was always cold when he slept — and made up the sofa for him. He didn’t move from the spot where I’d let go of his hand, and he didn’t take his eyes off me.

“You gonna sleep in your clothes?” I asked.

He shook his head and peeled off his lavender V-neck sweater — probably cashmere — and flipped open the jeans’ button while I fluffed his pillows and spread out the cozy blanket. When he pulled down his pants, I had to avert my eyes. To stop myself from staring, I jogged to the kitchen and brought back a bottle of water for him.

He was tense when I returned as if he’d thought I’d gone to bed without saying goodnight. I didn’t like seeing him uncertain. He was a guy who was assured of himself. Never doubted himself or his intelligence. But he was never arrogant. No, he hid a kind and generous man behind his cocky smile. It was one of the things that had attracted me to him in the first place; all the different layers of his personality. The sides of him he only ever showed me.

“Go to bed,” I murmured and lifted the blanket in invitation. After a brief hesitation, he lay down and curled up on the couch. I tucked him in — pulling the blanket all the way up to his chin — and made sure it covered his naked toes, too.

I resisted leaning down and kissing him on the cheek. I managed to keep myself from ruffling his hair or touching the unfamiliar stubble to see if it was as silky as I imagined. And I didn’t beg him to take off his T-shirt so I could run my fingers through his treasure trail. I simply gave him a smile and said, “Sleep well Lovee.”

As soon as the old endearment slipped out I wished I could take it back. He, on the other hand, lit up, and for the first time since he’d knocked on my door yesterday, something looking a lot like hope shone from his eyes.

I whirled around and ran out. Dove under my covers, and buried my face in my pillow, not moving until my lungs screamed for oxygen.

Gasping for air, I tried to find a comfortable sleeping position. My questions had disappeared and been replaced with the image of him on my couch, all pleading eyes, and heartbreaking vulnerability.

I turned to the other side and fluffed my pillow, but it was too hot from my breathing into it, so I flipped it over. I rolled over on my back and flung my arm over my eyes. Then I tried to lie on my stomach with my arm tucked under the pillow, but it quickly went numb. It got too hot under the cover, so I threw it off and then it got too cold. I shivered and pulled it back up, but kept a leg outside.

After twisting in my bed for what felt like an eternity, I gave up. I sighed, stood, and padded back into the den. Vee looked up at me when I entered, as awake as I was. Tilting my head in the direction of my bedroom I said, “Bring your blanket.”

He scrambled off the couch and followed me. Tucked under my covers at a safe distance from him, I could finally fall asleep. The last thing I remembered before closing my eyes, was his sooty lashes fanned out on pale cheeks, and the snuffling sounds he made as he slept.

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 but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

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 forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters



Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

 

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Release Blitz – Nell Iris’ Unexpected Christmas (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS
 
Length: 13,527 words
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Daniel Erickson stormed out of his family celebration after choking on turkey served with a side of bigotry. Utterly miserable, he reluctantly lets himself be charmed by the hulk of a man and gets into the stranger’s car … hoping he won’t be axed before the night is through.


Axel Wilson — Ax for short, unfortunately — is a sweetheart. Really. He may be badass-looking but his heart melts into goo at the mere mention of his four-year-old niece. Surely he isn’t dangerous?


Thrown together by family drama, the two men spend the evening getting to know each other. Axel is nothing like Daniel expected. But it doesn’t matter that he loves poetry, is gentle and patient — and hot! — Daniel is absolutely not falling in love at first sight. There’s no such thing.


Right?

Excerpt
 

A few minutes later, a vehicle approached from behind. Reacting instinctively, I turned around and waved my arms, hoping the big truck would stop and have mercy on my freezing ass.


I let out a giddy yelp as it slowed down, but it got stuck in my throat when the driver rolled down the window.


He was huge and couldn’t hold his head upright without banging it on the ceiling. Big steel gauges adorned both his ears — at least an inch and a half wide — and his hair was black and so closely cropped it resembled a five o’clock shadow more than an actual haircut.


“You need a ride?” he asked and his voice was deeper than the Mariana Trench, perfectly matching his frightening appearance. Black tattoos crept up his neck and snaked down his hands below his sleeves. His shoulders were wide, his muscles strained the sleeves of his thick black jacket, and his cheeks were hollow. I was one second from shitting myself.


“I’m not riding with a serial killer!” The words slipped out of my mouth and I groaned. I couldn’t have kept my mouth shut for five fucking seconds to avoid being chopped up and thrown to the wolves?


He threw his head back and let out a thunderous laugh.


“What’s so goddamned funny?” I glared at him, but he didn’t seem to care.


“I’m no serial killer.”


“And I’m just supposed to take your fucking word for it?” I raised an eyebrow. I knew I was being combative and taking out my frustration on this stranger, but I couldn’t stop myself.


“You could call my ma for references.”


“Ha ha. Very funny.” With a deep sigh, I resigned to my fate and started walking again. No way was I getting into a car with that mammoth of a man.


“Where you goin’?” he called after me. When I didn’t bother to answer, he eased off the break and let his truck crawl after me.


I swirled around. “Stop following me, you creep,” I hissed.


He let go of the steering wheel with one hand and held it up as if he surrendered. “Look, man. It’s freezin’. You’re wet and miserable. Get in the truck and lemme take you wherever you’re goin’.” His deep voice was surprisingly gentle. Non-threatening, as if he’d come to expect reactions like mine.


“I’m really not a bad guy.” He stuck out his lower lip in a pout that would have made a five-year-old girl green with envy and I had to bite my lip to stop a smile from erupting.


“Really?” I tried to hang on to my mistrust, but he made it hard. His appearance screamed RUN AND HIDE, but there was something soft in his eyes that told a different story.


He shot me a crooked smile. “It was worth a try. It works on my niece every time.”


The fucker knew all the right words to say to disarm me. “And how old is she?”


“Four.”


I huffed out a reluctant chuckle. “Well, you know how it is. Everyone always says how they couldn’t believe their neighbor was a serial killer because he seemed like such a nice guy.”


His eyes grew big and round. “You’re sayin’ you don’t trust my niece as a character witness?” He sounded as I’d just delivered the biggest insult of his life, but the amused glint in his eyes told me it was all for show.


“Can you blame me?”


“I guess not.” He sighed and grew serious. “Please. I couldn’t live with myself if I left you here to freeze to death.”


My body screamed at me to take him up on his offer. The ice pellets were relentless and I was soaked and gloomy and was starting to feel like maybe being ax murdered wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to me right now.


The openness in his posture and honesty in his eyes had me on the verge of caving. “You promise you won’t kill me?” I sounded like a scared little kid even to my own ears.

Author Bio
 

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. Sheís a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldnít dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but letís face it, sheís not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


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 40-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Website

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A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

Stories of poor people in love striving to find  gifts to give each other is a staple at this time of year, dating back to that classic story, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry.  In Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings Nell Iris takes that familiar, poignant theme into a tin can of a worn down trailer, home to Casey and Ellis and somehow, Iris makes it feel,  if not new, then remarkable again.

That Casey and Ellis are almost survival poor is obvious through the author’s descriptions without coming right out and saying they are close to starving.  Yet Ellis is the embodiment of the spirit of the season, ebullient even, with songs pouring out of him, long red hair swinging about his thin shoulders.  As we watch the joy of Ellis in the Christmas mood, we also get glimpses into the harshness of his upbringing and the pain of his past.  It explains so much about his current conditions even as his buoyant attitude lifts us into loving him and his outlook.

The arrival of Casey brings the love of Ellis’ life into the picture and will explain the rest of their history together.  It comes with a snips of recollections, small scenes, and a smattering of moments of reality clashing down on their heads.  We see that even Casey is hard-pressed to stay afloat financially for them both, yet his love is solid.  Nell Iris’ narrative and characters have both a believable grittiness to them and yet a glow as well.  You can feel that tiny trailer leaking any warmth they can cobble together,  that sad tree that Casey’s boss deemed unworthy now a star inside, making Ellis’ Christmas all the brighter.

I defy any of you not to be blowing into the  hankies by the dozen by now.  I was….because the story and the characters deserved it.  They caught at my heart.  I was committed to their happiness on whatever scale it was.  And boy, did I hope that all their futures may be bright.

Such a wonderful story.  Sniffle.

Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris is one Advent story I will be holding close to my heart this year.  So too the characters of Ellis and Casey.  I would love to see them back again in another story to see where they  are standing after the new year.Until then, here’s a story you definitely should pick up and add to your holiday TBR list!

Cover by Paul Richmond is the wonderful Advent Stocking Stuffer series cover, full of humor and good cheer.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781640802940
Edition Language English