Review: DSP Advent: Homemade for the Holidays Week 3

Choosing the right gift for that special someone can be the most daunting part of the holidays. In a sea of mass-produced items, why buy when you can DIY? The end-of-the-year festivities are the best time for crafts, whether they’re made from yarn, paper, flour, or even code. And with some love and luck, these special presents might inspire a romance that lasts an evening… or a lifetime. Nothing makes the season merry and bright like a gift handmade from the heart, and to bring smiles to the faces of the ones they care about, these guys are willing to get creative.

Week 3 is here!

Hole-Hearted by Sam Burns

Pediatrician Luce Wright’s bad breakup gets worse when his drunk ex drives a car through his house a week before Christmas. His whole family is coming over in just a few days, and he can’t have a hole with a tarp over it in the middle of his dining room. Fortunately his neighbor’s son is moving back into town, and he owns a construction company. Can Luce and his homemade cookies persuade Darren to mend the hole in the house… and maybe the one in Luce’s heart too?

Ann - 2.5 Hearts

Well, that escalated quickly. Hole-Hearted is an extra short story so the romance/lust approached light speed to make it be a thing in 20 pages. I honestly thought I got to know Luce (and his family’s dynamic) pretty well in the page time given, so I was pretty happy in the ‘getting to know the MC’ department. Darren was more of a shell of a character, he didn’t get much beyond a basic description and history.

Luce’s ex causes major damage to Sam’s house right before Christmas and it’s super handy dandy that his neighbors son has returned home and has his own construction company. Soooo, he’s giving Luce an idea of time for repairs, etc., comments are made about how the neighbor wants to fix them up and wham, bam, thank you Darren, the two are dry humping in the damaged dining room. It kind of felt like a little too much gay convenience, as in, your both gay, so you should obviously date. 

There was a very optimistic HFN, but I didn’t get enough chemistry to base that on anything solid. Both characters and their respective families were happy though, so yay for home repairs and neighborly convenience!

A Holiday Homecoming by Liv Rancourt

Ten years ago Jon’s passion for the piano took him across the country to New York, where a demanding concert career consumed his life and left him no time to look back. His father’s stroke is the only thing that brings him home to Seattle. The sickroom makes for a dreary holiday until Jon runs into Bo, whose inner light can make anything sparkle.

Bo loves the holidays: the food, the crafts, the glitter! A fling with an old school friend—who grew up to be his celebrity crush—makes a good thing better. The season turns sour, though, when Jon is offered a gig he can’t refuse. He wants Bo to share the moment, but Bo doesn’t fly. Anywhere. Ever. 

Is this goodbye, or will a handmade ornament bring Jon home to Bo?

Ann - 4 Hearts

I liked this one. It’s a little darker and a little bittersweet, but Bo makes everything better and he was the necessary light in A Holiday Homecoming.

Jon is at a bit of a forced crossroads with his family and career. He’s come home to help his mom care for his father who recently suffered a stroke. They aren’t the closest of famiies and reading about their lives before and after was actually kind of sad. Jon and his dad have some undefined animosity between them that was alluded to and witnessed, but not really explored. So, I felt like something was missing a bit there.

Now, Bo, Bo is a force to be reckoned with. Bo and Jon were friends in middle school and Bo still lives in the town they grew up in. He’s close with his family, makes friends almost before he even meets them and he and Jon have some chemistry between them that needs exploring. They were too young to know what they were feeling back in the day, but now they know they want/need each other.

Jon is there temporarily though and it’s pretty easy for circumstances to convince him to rethink his future. Which I really appreciated. A lot of times a character will dig their heels in for “reasons” without giving the sappy stuff a chance to change their mind. Jon finally decides to give himself a full opportunity at life and it’s amazing what a compromise or two can do.

I completely bought into a HEA for these two, it’s kind of necessary.

Love in 24 Frames by C.S. Poe

Declan Groves is a CPA in New York City. His adult life is dictated by routine and borderline monotony. The need to express himself, in ways his career and crippling shyness have never allowed, leads Declan to becoming an amateur stop-motion filmmaker.

The one problem is that Declan is also in love with the Wandering Artist Studios receptionist Shota Watanabe. Shota has always had a smile and engaging comment ready for Declan, but even if it is more than casual politeness, Declan hasn’t been able to get out more than a tongue-tied sentence at a time. And a man like Shota surely has no intention of waiting forever.

So when an unexpected change to Declan’s daily schedule throws the two together outside of the studio, it might be the catalyst needed to explore what’s unspoken between them. But if they’re to have a future, Declan needs to find a way to tell Shota how he truly feels.

 R *A Reader Obsessed* - 4 Holiday Hearts

I’ve read every single one of Poe’s advent stories, and I’ve yet not been disappointed. This was a total win!

Understated and sweet, this starts with Declan - older, so so shy, and unable to make a move on his secret crush Shota.

Cue some awkwardness and a back and forth slow burn that ended with a really wonderful HEA for these two - and just in time for the holidays!

Poe definitely has that rare talent for shorts. This is one advent that will warm you up and keep you cozy through the cold wintery days, leaving you wanting more but not at all dissatisfied!

Ann - 4.5 Hearts

Love in 24 Frames is absolutely adorable was exactly what I expected from C.S. Poe. I read her advent tales faithfully every year and she has a real gift for writing short stories.

Declan is incredibly shy and his shyness is holding him back from his dream man who works at the studio that Declan rents to work on his stop motion animation project. Shota is charming and is subtley giving off interest vibes in Declan’s direction, but Declan is clueless and there’s no way he would believe that someone as incredibly lovely as Shota would be interested in him.

But, literally no one is as charming as a smitten Declan and through circumstances the two end up spending time together and Declan starts some actively wooing Shota and oh my, what an ideal wooing it was. Declan is quiet and sincere and Shota was perfect for him. Shota appreciated every little thing and everything about it made me happy.

I would have loved to dive into Shota’s life a little bit and to see a little redemption for him in the form of a Noah takedown, but all that would have derailed this from being a short story. The journey Declan and Shota took was such a treat and this one will be going on my Christmas reread list.

Making the Holidays Happy Again by Pat Henshaw

Blacksmith Butch has secretly loved his best friend, science nerd Jimmy, since grade school. Now their shops in Old Town Seven Winds, California, are only doors from each other.

They’re about to turn thirty, and Butch refuses to wait another day to make a decision: propose to Jimmy and start the family he’s always wanted or forget his dream to avoid risking their friendship. Why can’t the choice be as easy as creating decorative ironwork in his forge?

 R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3 Hearts

Another easy going advent that features a gentle giant and a friends to lovers trope.

As per the blurb, Butch and Jimmy have been friends for forever, and Butch has finally resigned himself that things will never progress further than that and hence, he needs to just move on and make some long term plans without his BFF.

Beware that this is all in Butch’s voice, and the author made it a point over and over how not educated he is. Admittedly, Butch’s low self esteem bummed me out, and I didn’t want that to be the main thing holding him back. Not surprisingly, he and Jimmy do get their happy ending, though I would’ve appreciated Jimmy’s POV to better understand his actions and feelings.

Regardless, I always give a lot of leeway with holiday reads and in the end, Butch and Jimmy’s happiness is what counts!

Ann - 2.5 Hearts

This friends to lovers story had a great setup and the little town sounded so quaint and I just wanted to pack up and visit.

The story is told through Butch’s POV and I liked him very much. It was mentioned repeatedly that Butch had not graduated high school he referred to himself as dumb entirely too often. It made me sad for him, because he was a successful businessman and an accomplished artist, he is obviously intelligent. His poor grammar made him seem like more of a caricature and wasn’t necessary and became slightly distracting.

I didn’t get much of a feel for Jimmy. He didn’t get a ton of page time and the time he and Butch were together was spent bickering. I was told they were BFFs forever, but I didn’t get a solid feel for what I was being told. I did get a good gist of Butch’s relationship with pretty much everyone else and he was a solid guy and good friend.

Jimmy went from 0 to 60 at the end and while it was what everyone wanted, especially Butch it came a bit out of the blue and that’s where a bit of Jimmy’s POV would have been helpful.

The Music Box by Kassandra Lea

It’s the eve of Alvin’s favorite holiday—the little-known St. Nick’s Day. His devoted boyfriend, woodworker Milo, has been planning for months to make it a day neither of them will forget, and their peaceful annual nighttime walk will pale in comparison to what Milo has secreted away in the basement.

Ann - 4 Hearts

The Music Box is a refreshingly sweet story about an established couple and there just aren’t enough of those around. We’re dropped into a moment with Alvin and Milo and these two are really good with moments. The author did a great job of showing the relationship between the two through great dialog and references to their past and wishes for their future.

Milo has a special surprise hidden away for Alvin for St. Nick’s Day. St. Nick’s Day is their own special day where they have a some sweet homespun traditions and the two of them are incredibly sweet together. Like really, really sweet. Really sweet.

The story of the tree and Milo’s gift for Alvin are so very thoughrful and something every established couple wishes they could have in their lives, probably not super realistic, but I don’t read for realism, I want the thoughtful sugar and Milo and Alvin delivered.

Notes from Home by Dirk Greyson

While deployed on a covert mercenary assignment, Johnny doesn’t have much in the way of holiday cheer. But the mysterious notes from Dex that somehow appear in his bunk—reminding him of the gifts, cookies, celebrations, and most of all, love, waiting for him back in Wisconsin—help him get through the long, hot days. Will they be enough to keep his spirits up when the rest of his unit goes home to their families and he’s left alone?

Ann - 4 Hearts

This short and sweet little nugget really delivered a lot of feels for being only 22 pages long. All the more impressive considering the two MC’s aren’t even together for the bulk of the story.

Johnny is on assignment and receives love letters from home from Dex on the regular and those letters get him through the hot and lonely days and nights. The author does a really solid job of showing how much these two love one another through Dex’s letters and handmade Christmas tchotchkes, as well as through Johnny’s inner musings. The fact that they won’t be able to be together for the holidays is heartbreaking, but something that they both accept as part of Johnny’s job for the greater good.

 The ending is a perfect coming home moment and my heart grew three sizes just reading it.

**copies of the Advent stories were provided for honest reviews**

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Back Door Into Purgatory (Soul Shares #9) by Rory Ni Coileain

Author Rory Ni Coileain and Other Worlds Ink visit on the Back Door Into Purgatory (Soul Shares #9) blog tour! Join them as they celebrate the urban fantasy series finale and enter in the $20 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Back Door Into Purgatory - Rory ni Coileain

Rory ni Coileain has a new MM gay/demi/ace urban fantasy romance out, the last book in her Soul Shares series: "Back Door Into Purgatory." And there's a giveaway!

Sometimes Fae love stories aren’t what you expect.

The Marfach—devourer of magick, long-imprisoned mortal enemy of the Fae race—is free of its Antarctic prison.

The Demesne of Purgatory—Fae, humans, a Fade-hound puppy, a Gille Dubh, and a darag—is all that stands between the monster and the power it needs to destroy both the Fae Realm and the human world.

The only clue they have as to how to kill the unkillable is a cryptic note from the Loremasters:

“Osclór, Nartú; Tobar, Soladán; Nidantór, Breathea; Glanadorh, Coromór, Farthor; Scian-omprór, Nachangalte; Crangaol, Síofra; Gastiór, Laoc, Caomhnór; Fánadh, Ngarradh.”

Opener, Strength; Wellspring, Channel; Unmaker, Judge; Cleanser, Equalizer, Sentry; Blade-bearer, Unbound; Tree-kin, Changeling; Binder, Warrior, Guardian; Wanderer, Sundered.

As they rebuild Purgatory from the rubble the Marfach left behind, they have to stand together, using everything they know—everything they are to their partners, lovers, husbands. Everything SoulSharing has made them.

And not everyone who enters the final battle will leave it.

Riverdale Ave Books | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink
About the Series:

Soul Shares Series

What if you could only be whole by finding and loving the human with the other half of your soul? The SoulShares are the sword of two worlds... and love is the shield of the SoulShares.

Follow this merry band of Fae, humans, a tree spirit, and a flatulent Fade-hound puppy that make up the Demesne of Purgatory as they seek magick and love. Celtic lore (with a twist), hot guys, terrible danger, and heart-wrenching love stories will drag you body and soul into SoulShares.

Amazon Series Link

  1. Hard as Stone
  2. Gale Force
  3. Deep Plunge
  4. Firestorm
  5. Blowing Smoke
  6. Mantled in Mist
  7. Undertow
  8. Stone Cold


Rory is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:


Back Door Into Purgatory meme

“It’s beautiful.”

What was beautiful, in Lucien’s opinion, was the light in his Fae husband’s eyes as he studied the huge tank built into one wall of what was going to be the new Purgatory dance floor. Other clubs had cages for dancers; one the three of them had found in New York had glass-walled shower stalls. Purgatory was going to have the biggest mauditefish tank anyone had ever seen.

Complete with naked mermen. One of whom—because le bon Dieu apparently had a perverse sense of humor—was going to be Lucien de Winter.

Arms went around Lucien from behind, and a chin rested on his shoulder; Lucien didn’t need to turn, or even to look down and see the “Semper Fi” tattooed on one forearm to recognize Mac. “Ready to take the plunge, Fuzzball?”

Lucien grunted. “I hope the filters in this thing are up to spec. You know how I shed.”

A flash of white reflected in the glass of the tank was Rhoann’s grin. “Perhaps we should put a tail on you.”

“If the tail didn’t have hair, no one would believe it was mine.” Lucien couldn’t stay grumpy, though, not when Rhoann teased him. “But I think the two of you, not to mention our boss, are out of your minds, if you think our guests are going to be turned on watching me doing underwater barrel rolls.”

Rhoann left off studying the tank fittings and took Lucien’s hands, running his thumbs lightly over knuckles dusted with short dark curly hair; his slight worried frown was one of the sweetest things Lucien had ever seen. “How could they not be, laród-ar-Fuzz?”

Lucien found himself having to swallow an unexpected lump in his throat before he could answer. “I love you, too.”

Mac leaned around and kissed the side of Lucien’s neck. “He beat me to it. And I’m not even going to tell you how many guys used to come up to the bar and ask me why the bouncer wasn’t part of the floor show.”

Lucien craned his neck, partly to plant a kiss of his own on Mac and partly to glance at the new bar, the one the workmen had just finished installing last week, to replace the one Mac had presided over ever since Tiernan bought the place. The curved expanse, now taking up the whole back wall of one level of the club instead of being shoehorned into a corner, looked pretty much the same as it always had, from where Lucien stood. But no one had been able to figure out how to replicate the show-stopping feature of the original, the hellish flames dancing under the glass bar top, that seemed to go down and down into an infinite depth. Conall thought he might be able to do it with magick, or maybe Rian could, but nobody wanted to fuck around with magick of any kind near the great nexus, not with the way it and its companion wellspring were acting right now. Good thing he and his husbands had decided to try out the famed nexus chamber when they had—a half-Royal Fae in the throes of erotic overload was the kind of thing guaranteed to short out the entire wellspring network right now.

The fact that their new-found underground garden of delights was now off limits seriously pissed Lucien off. It wasn’t forever, though. The three of them could get back to happy business just as soon as they figured out how to kill the monster who had left him for dead behind the bar back in August.

Can’t happen soon enough for me. Lucien was a peaceable sort—as peaceable as a nightclub bouncer built like a hairy fire hydrant and married to an only-sort-of-ex-Marine could be, anyway—but he was looking forward to getting his hands around whatever was left of Janek O’Halloran’s throat and getting creative.

“I recognize that look.” Mac nipped at the top of Lucien’s ear.

“What look?” Lucien blinked. “And I could have sworn you’re standing behind me.”

“You reflect in the tank.” Mac’s chuckle rumbled against Lucien’s back. “At least for now—once you’ve been for a swim after we open, the glass is going to have... uh, palm-prints... all over it.”

Lucien couldn’t help snorting. “I repeat, what look?”

Rhoann wrapped his arms around both humans. He could do that—Mac was a good head taller than Lucien, but their Fae had Mac beat by a good four or five inches, and he had arms to match his height. “The look you wore through most of the bás i’gcuine last night.”

The Faen words Rhoann had originally translated for them as “war council” turned out to have meant something closer to “fore-memory of death.” The intent of the Demesne of Purgatory had been, more or less, to create the memory of the Marfach’s death before it happened. And, like pretty much everything asking Fae to behave in an organized manner, it had gone south from the moment Rian tried calling the group to order. It hadn’t helped that Fae who learned English magickally thought the word “brainstorming” was almost as funny as horseradish. Which wasactually pretty damn funny, once Maelduin had explained it to him.

Author Bio

Back Door Into Purgatory - Rory Ni Coileain

Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major, so she had to design it herself, at a university which boasted one professor willing to teach creative writing, he being a British surrealist who went nuts over students writing dancing bananas in the snow but did not take well to the sort of high fantasy she wanted to write.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, sent off her first short story to an anthology being assembled by an author she idolized, received one of those rejection letters that puts therapists’ kids through college (Ivy League), and found other things to do, such as going to law school, ballet dancing (at more or less the same time), nightclub singing, and volunteering as a lawyer with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her.

Now she’s a lawyer, a legal journalist (and thus a card-carrying Enemy of the State and darn proud of it), an Associate member of the Order of Julian of Norwich, a proud mother, studying for her certification as a spiritual advisor, and engaged to the love of her life, and is busily wedding her love of myth and legend to her passion for m/m romance.

Author Website:

Author Facebook (Personal):

Author Facebook (Author Page):

Author Twitter:

Author QueeRomance Ink:

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

Blog Tour: Captivating (Elite Protection Services #2) by Onley James

Join author Onley James and Vibrant Promotions on today's blog tour stop for Captivating (Elite Protection Services #2)! Learn more about the romance today!

captivating tour banner
Elite Protection Services Series Book 2
Onley James
M/M Romance
Release Date: 12.04.19
ebook (1)

Cover Designer: Molly Phipps with We Got You Covered Book Design

Jayne Shepherd has spent his life blending in. He smiles. He laughs. He’s likable. He’s also a sociopath. His emotions are limited. Love, fear, desire don’t exist in his world. Until he meets Elijah.
Elijah Dunne had everything. Third generation Hollywood royalty. Child star. Untouchable. Until one man ruined it all. Elijah fled LA to try to forget, but now, he’s back on top and back on a monster’s radar. Elijah doesn’t think he’ll ever feel safe. Until he meets Shepherd.
Elijah and Shep only have one thing in common. They both wear masks. Shep makes Elijah feel protected. Seen. Elijah makes Shep just feel. Now that he’s had a taste, he’s not about to let him go.
Everybody warns that what they have isn’t real. Shep is obsessed with Elijah, not in love. But Elijah craves Shep’s obsession. He can’t imagine life without him. In Hollywood, being a sociopath is more a life skill than a diagnosis. Could Shep be the monster Elijah needs to finally slay his demons?
Captivating is the second book in the Elite Protection Services Series and contains age-gap, cum-play, voyeurism and one very sexy interrogation scene complete at 72,000 words with an HEA and no cliffhangers.
Trigger Warnings: This book contains talk of past child sexual abuse


32 (1)

“What’s wrong?” Shep asked.

Elijah took a shuddery breath and then dragged his shirt over his head, dropping it onto the floor.

The blood rushed from Shep’s brain to his dick so fast it made him dizzy. Elijah locked eyes with him as he hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his pajama pants and slid them off, leaving him naked and hard. The look on the boy’s face was so vulnerable, it kicked up an instinct in Shep that was too primal to name.

Elijah seemed to make some kind of internal decision, closing the distance between them to straddle Shep’s thighs. “Tell me this is okay,” he whispered, gaze pleading.

Shep nodded, his hands already skimming across Elijah’s bare thighs, itching to touch as much of the boy as possible. “Yes. Just tell me what you need.”

“Kiss me.”

Shep complied, capturing his mouth in a kiss that turned dirty. Kissing Elijah ignited something in him. Everything about Elijah turned him on. The way he sucked in a startled breath when Shep’s tongue slipped into his mouth, the way he moaned when Shep bit his bottom lip. His scent, the heat of his skin, all of it. Everything.

“Put your arms around me,” Elijah demanded. Shep did as he was told, his palms finding Elijah’s ass and squeezing. “Fuck. Yeah. Like that,” he gasped against Shep’s lips. “You feel so fucking good. I just need to come.”

Elijah’s words had Shep’s cock aching. “Take what you want.”
onlylogo (1)
Onley James is the pen name of YA author, Martina McAtee, who lives in Florida with her daughter, her daughter-in-law, and a menagerie of animals, both good and evil. When she’s not writing m/m romance or supernatural LGBT young adult books, she’s running 7 Sisters Publishing and attempting to maintain both her sanity and her full-time job as an RN.
When not at work you can find her mainlining Starbucks refreshers, whining about how much she has to do and avoiding the things she has to do by binge-watching unhealthy amounts of television in one sitting. She loves ghost stories, true crime documentaries, obsessively scrolling social media and writing kinky, snarky books about men who fall in love with other men.

Social Media Links


Audiobook Review: Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings #1) by Lyn Gala

Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won't risk letting anyone come too close because he won't risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam's past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes
Narrator: John Solo

Full disclaimer here. This series is in my top 5… or 3. That’s a tough list to be on, but either way Lyn Gala’s Claimings is on it! So this review will not discuss the story content, otherwise the review would just be ridiculous ravings of an over excited unicorn.

This is just a review on the narration and honestly, John Solo had a big task ahead of him. When you risk listening to a favourite story in someone else’s voice you have to agree, accept and in the case of an all time favourite, love their take on the character. I’ve obviously already got ideas of what these men sound like in my head, adding a real voice to that is very dangerous…..

Did he live up to the challenge? Yes absolutely! But…. there was this one niggle…. i’ll get to that.

John Solo captured my attention from the moment he spoke, I was back to finding excuses to clean the house or drive around so I could have his narration in my ears. His voice acting is spot on, the fear, anger, lust and uncertainty in Liam’s voice was perfect. The slight accent change for Ondry was… well let's face it sexy as hell!! It was strong, smooth and calm, just how I always picture Ondry. I smashed through this audiobook and cannot wait to hear John’s take on the next few books in the series.

‘So get to the point, what was this niggle?’ you might ask. Well this book revolves around Liam learning the language and some communication barriers between Liam and Ondry, therefore John uses that stilted punctuation of each word during certain dialogue. This actually worked well for the most part, however I found it was used far too much for Ondry’s voice. This book is written with the characters speaking Rownt, therefore Liam is the character new to the language and Ondry is the native speaker. However Ondry’s voice had so many punctuated words and not nearly enough flow, which really didn’t make sense to the character and more than that became really very annoying. I almost wanted to put the audiobook on 1.5x speed to make his sentence flow seem more natural. I guess some people would put it down to his accent but that stilted speaking wasn’t always present, just present too often.

I’m really hoping the next audiobook will have improved on this as Liam and Ondry become more accustomed to each other. If that’s the case I’ll completely take back my comment as it shows amazing thought and detail from John to make their communication issues more realistic. But if Ondry still speaks like someone who doesn’t know his own language I will probably come back looking something like this...

Anyway, despite my little hiccup which took up way too much time in the review, it really was amazing!

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Release Blitz: The Marshal's Teacher (Yours to Protect #3) by Este Holland

Join author Este Holland and A Novel Take PR celebrating the release of The Marshal's Teacher (Yours to Protect #3)! Discover more today!

Banner 1
The Marshal’s Teacher
(Yours to Protect, Book 3)
By Este Holland

Marshal's Teacher 1.jpg
Publisher: Self-Pub
Release Date (Print & Ebook): December 12, 2019
Length (Print & Ebook): Approx. 40,000 words
Subgenre: lgbt/action
Warnings: talk about deaths of parents
Book synopsis:
Protecting him is no hardship.
Chaze Pullman has a sixth sense for trouble. He never thought it would come in handy when a man threatens him over a hot US Marshal.
Kean York may be recovering from a gunshot wound, but he’ll go to any length to protect a certain stubborn man. After all, Chaze’s life was put in danger because of York…
Or was it?
When emotions run high, information can be overlooked, and Chaze’s instincts are telling him something else is going on.
Something that may not involve him at all.
This is the third book in the Yours to Protect series. It’s novella length with a cliffhanger for the overall plot of the series, but it is HEA for the main characters.
Teaser 4.png


Chaze called the next day, and they arranged to meet at York’s house later that night. It wasn’t the weekend yet, but he’d sounded…not desperate, more like in a hurry.

York smiled as he made the bed with clean sheets. He stocked the fridge with plenty of cold beer, then showered. He had to be careful how he moved and to not to get his stitches wet, but he managed. He was feeling better already.

Date. He’d promised a date, not sex, but it didn’t hurt to be prepared. And he liked Chaze. He didn’t want to screw up. There was something about him that made York feel good, like he wanted to be near him more and more every time he saw him.

They’d agreed to stay in, since it was still difficult for York to move around much, so he ordered dinner ten minutes before Chaze arrived. And arrive he did, in tight jeans, a black, short-sleeved button-up, and a loose, skinny blue tie.

Damn. It was going to be difficult to keep his head on straight when all he wanted to do was peel off those jeans, blindfold Chaze with that tie, and suck his cock.

“Hey,” York said, stepping aside and to let him in.


“You look great.”

“Oh, thank you.” He pulled on the tie. “I had a meeting this morning.”

He blushed, eyes darting around the room. York chalked it up to first-date jitters.

“How are you feeling?” Chaze asked.

“I’m good. I can move more today.” York demonstrated by rolling his shoulders carefully.

“That’s good.”

“Have a seat. Want a drink?”

“Yeah, beer, if you have it. Thanks.”

York took his time getting the frozen mugs out of the freezer and pouring two Coronas and squeezing in limes. He figured Chaze could use the time to settle.

“Here you go.” He brought the drinks in and set them on the table just as the doorbell rang. Chaze jumped and York chuckled. “It’s dinner. I hope Thai is okay.”

He blew out a breath. “It’s fine.”

Chaze lifted his mug and gulped half of it in seconds. York’s brows rose. He opened the door, gave the driver a tip, and brought the food into the kitchen.

Was Chaze that nervous to be there? Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Disappointment made York’s shoulders sag, and he winced at the tug of pain. He’d foregone a pain pill since that morning so he could drink.

He made two plates of food with a little bit of everything and carried them to the living room. Chaze stood studying the bookshelves. York didn’t have a lot of books, but enough were interspersed between the various photos and knickknacks he’d accumulated over the years to make him seem less plebeian.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” York asked, setting the plates on the coffee table. “You’re a little jumpy.”

Up close, York could see dark circles under Chaze’s eyes.

“I…” He ran those slender fingers through his hair, pushing back the front. “I don’t know what to do.”

Chaze’s voice held a certain note York associated with witnesses or victims, and his training kicked in. “Hey, it’s okay. Whatever it is, we’ll get it sorted out.” He gripped Chaze’s arm and guided him to the couch to sit. “Just start at the beginning.”

Teaser 2.png

Interview with Este Holland:

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first novel in 2012, so 7 years. Though, I’ve written other things since I was in elementary school.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes! I’ve always loved books. I’m an avid reader, but writing was always something I craved. I used to have a binder with a story that was going to be my first novel. I was about nine or ten years old, I think. Can’t remember what it was about.

Writing is the one thing I do consistently, and the one thing that holds my interest. Jobs I’ve had always get boring after a few years…but not writing.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Watch your filters. One way to spot a new writer is when their sentences are filtered with pronouns and verbs. You hear people say, “show don’t tell”. Basically, this means don’t use: to see, to hear, to touch, to sound, to taste, to realize, to look, to notice etc… For example: “She realized he was it for her.” You don’t need “She realized”, it’s implied by the context of your paragraph. I’m still guilty of it and have to cut them when I’m editing. You don’t always have to cut all of them, but 99% of the time you can. So, if you see them in my books, you can point and laugh and say, “Ha ha, she missed one!”

How do you handle writer’s block?
I don’t really get writer’s block (knock on wood). It’s more of a laziness thing with me, lol! Some days, I have to force myself to write. And it’s not that I don’t love to write, I do. But if the characters aren’t jumping out at me, I have to make myself write a few sentences, then a few more, until I have enough words that I feel productive for the day. Luckily, that doesn’t happen all the time.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good characters. You have to have compelling, fascinating characters. I think importance is place on relatability, and while that is a good trait for characters, the characters who really stand out are the ones that fascinate us. Take Snape in Harry Potter. I won’t go into details, but you know what I mean. He wasn’t likeable, or particularly relatable. We hated him, but in the end, he was the most compelling character in the series, in my opinion. I can only hope I write a character like that one day. I haven’t yet.

What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, it’s the characters. Usually. My last release, First Priority, came about because I wondered what Emperor Kuzco from the Emperor’s New Groove would be like as a character in a mm novel. Weird, yes. But there you go. It’s a writer’s brain. (It was Truman, btw, if you’ve read it. Obviously, I changed him along the way!)

In the Yours to Protect Series, Rio was the first character I thought of. (He’s one MC from The Artist’s Boxer.)

How do you develop your plot and characters?
They tell me who they are. I start with a name and general idea of what they look like in my head. Maybe what they do for a living. My plots are simple to start. I don’t outline, I’m a pantser, and the plot evolves as I go. It’s not a good thing to do for a series, but I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to write a series from Yours to Protect until Kai popped into Rio and Rake’s story. I knew I wanted to give him a story, so I decided who I wanted to pair him with, and he was already working for the mob, so the plot for The Marshal’s PI evolved out of that.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Right now, I’m writing the fourth book in this series, The Marshal’s Mobster. Actually, I’m kind of alternating between that one and the second Priorities book.

Do you have any new series planned?
I have The Marshal’s Mobster, which is the last one, and then a character from those books (Luke Kairo) will get his own sort of standalone book, which I’m hoping to transition into a spin off series in LA. It’s about a secret intelligence agency. That’s on the back burner for now though.

I will have two more books in the Priorities series first. Daniel and Riley, and Brian and Jay. And I have another book to write for my paranormal series, The Metis Inquiries, but that’s a way’s off.

More from Este
Yours to Protect Series

Yours to Protect.png

The Artist's Boxer (Yours to Protect Book 1)

Screenshot 2019-12-05 15.57.25.png 
He won the championship. Now he must run for his life.
Winning the welterweight championship was everything Rake had worked for. Now it’s all come crashing down, and he has no choice but to flee his hometown of Las Vegas.
When he stops in a small town in Utah, Rake meets a man who makes him forget all about the danger he’s in.
Rio has a good life. He loves his family and career, but when Rake blows into town, something stirs in his blood...something like desire.

Rio doesn’t do relationships, not since the last disaster, but Rake makes it impossible for him to say no.

When Rake comes clean about what he’s running from, Rio just might have a way to help.

Now the two of them must fight to free Rake from the man who took everything...and stay alive until the end.

The Artist’s Boxer is the first book in the Yours to Protect series. It contains mature sexual content of hot adult men, intended for readers 18 and older, a one-night stand turning into several days, and a crafty old man who loves to butt into his grandson’s life.

The Marshal's PI (Yours to Protect Book 2)

Screenshot 2019-12-05 16.24.29.png 
Dodging bullets shouldn’t be fun…should it?

It is when the man protecting you is hot as sin.
Kai is a happy-go-lucky guy. At least, he was before the mob came knocking on his door.
He’ll go to any length to protect a secret, even work with US Marshal Gannin West.
The only man who can help.
The only man who drives him crazy.

To figure out how to stop the one who wants Kai erased, he’ll have to cooperate… But will it be too late?

The Marshal’s PI is the second book in the Yours to Protect Series. It features a goofy PI who wishes he lived in the 1930s, and a Federal Marshal who hates breaking the rules. Male/male romance, action, adventure, enemies to lovers, 18+ only.

About the Author:

Est H.jpg
Este Holland is a writer and reader of all things Romance. She's also a treasure hunter, a word wizard, a lover, and a fighter. She was born and raised in WV, and now lives in Virginia. She works in marketing during the day. She began writing novels in 2012.

Teaser 5.png

Screenshot 2019-09-12 19.20.38.png

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Grimmer Intentions (Tales from the Grim #2) by Jodi Hutchins

Join author Jodi Hutchins and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the release of Grimmer Intentions (Tales from the Grim #2)! Discover more about the latest from the paranormal series and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Grimmer Intentions
Series: Tales from the Grim, Book Two
Author: Jodi Hutchins
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 9, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 91100
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, romance, paranormal, demons, ghosts, spirits

Add to Goodreads


She screwed up. She broke protocol. She saved a life. Grim Reaper Margo Petrov may have resurrected a drowned surfer on the brink of death, but she isn’t earning any awards or receiving employee of the month from Corporate; she’s under more scrutiny from the Grim governing body than ever before. Since she has a massive secret that could spell disaster if revealed, she sure as hell doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, in any form.

Margo vows to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, reaping her quota of spirits lest she cause more problems for herself and the woman she saved with an illegal blood bond. She certainly shouldn’t be opening doors to the Fae lands or offering her neck to an Empusa woman suffering from bloodlust, but Margo’s laundry list of bad decisions keeps growing. With the threat of becoming decommissioned by Corporate looming in her periphery, Margo stumbles deeper into the politics of her people and soon realizes their intentions are far worse than she initially thought.


“Margo, calm down. You can’t go killing someone just because they pissed you off.”

Margo Petrov pumped her arms, increasing her speed as she cut across the dead grass of the front lawn, though her initial fury had settled to a low broil. The cold metal of the baseball bat against her palm was soothing but not calming enough to ease the rage completely.

The sound of Luis’s sneakers pounding the asphalt behind her indicated he’d finally caught up. “I’m not going to kill them,” she grumbled.

Luis snorted. “Okay, well, when you storm out of your apartment, yelling, ‘I’m going to fucking kill ’em, Luis,’ I think I can safely assume you’re going to kill someone.”

She stopped abruptly, causing Luis to run into her chest as she turned to face him. “Fine,” she said, tossing the bat into the bushes lining the sidewalk. She grabbed his shoulders, lowering her gaze to his. “Nobody fucks with my brother without consequence. Nobody,” she said, shaking him slightly to emphasize her seriousness.

Headlights from a passing car gleamed in his wide brown-eyed gaze as he nodded.

“Besides”—she started, as she dropped her hands from him, quirking an eyebrow—“I just want to know if they’re afraid of the dark.” She’d been livid when Luis told her the resident group of asshats from their high school decided to give Luis hell on his way back from the library.

Without further discussion, Margo continued down the cracked sidewalks of downtown Philadelphia.

“They still hang out at the bowling alley on Daly Ave?”

Luis huffed a discontented sigh, eliciting a grin from Margo. “Dude come on. Think about this for a second; do you really want to risk another arrest? You’re almost eighteen, and you could be charged as an adult.”

He had a point, and she admitted that to herself, but she continued down the sidewalk anyway, cutting across the street, her feet displacing loose black asphalt pebbles on the worn roadway. “Yeah, but they need to leave you the hell alone. This is getting ridiculous.” For years, she and her brother experienced taunting for their otherness, Luis taking the brunt end most times. The basketball team tormented Luis for merely existing; however, Margo guessed they blamed their mocking on his differences. They needed a good scare, using a bit of magic, the otherness his tormentors weren’t aware of. She wanted to scare them so bad they’d piss themselves. If all else failed, she’d just beat the shit out of them.

Luis gave a shrug of nonchalance, something she instantly recognized as her brother’s passive language, which furthered the desire to teach the perpetrators a lesson. Instead of digging into his dismissal, she turned and continued her way toward downtown.

Luis followed.

The streets were busy even though rush hour had ended a few hours prior. Cars zipped past, a stray honk resounding a few blocks away, voices rising in a cacophonous argument. The late-night city sounds were laden with a warning, hinting at the kind of night bad things happened, stirring a deep foreboding in the air around them.

Luis jabbed her in the ribs, ripping Margo from her eerie thoughts. “Hey, do you see that?” He pointed to LOVE Park on the opposite side of the crosswalk. Standing beside the water fountain was a child, their head turning from side to side in rapid succession. Luis was clearly pointing to the small person; however, the iridescent shift of air around the child indicated to Margo they weren’t alive.

Before meeting Luis, she agreed with the titles given to her—weirdo, crazy, psychic—the names condensing her down to a freak who could see ghosts with the only person to possibly believe her long dead. Of course, she’d been ecstatic to find kinship in another, to prove at least to herself she wasn’t crazy. That is until Luis stopped for every spirit in sight with their Sally-sob story. “Yeah, I see them, and no, we don’t have time.”

Luis scoffed just as the light turned, and he hurried across the street without waiting for Margo.

She rushed after him, forgoing her planned scare tactics on the basketball team in hopes she’d convince him to leave well enough alone.

They approached the park’s edge, Luis carefully watching the child. Luckily, the park held no other visitors, alive or dead. “We have to help her,” he whispered before he stuck his lower lip out.

She rolled her eyes. “They aren’t stray puppies, Luis. We can’t help every single one of them.”

Brows cinching, he met her gaze with an icy stare. “Maybe this is why we can see them, to help them move on.”

Though reluctant to admit it, she’d come to the very same conclusion herself a long time ago. With no way of knowing why they could guide ghostly apparitions to the other side, she couldn’t come up with a better reason herself. She glanced over at the redheaded girl and sighed. “Fine, but we need to be quick, and I still want to find those idiots so I can mess up their night.”


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Jodi Hutchins is a healthcare professional by day and fanatical writer by night. They are also an avid reader, coffee connoisseur, helpless romantic, amateur artist, enthusiastic maker-upper of things, spouse, and parent. The frequent rain of western Washington doesn’t stop Jodi and their wife from gallivanting through the next trail head with their two children.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Review: Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry

Brady Garrett is back in space, this time as an unwilling member of a team of humans seeking to study the alien Faceless and their technology. It’s not the first time Brady’s life has been in the hands of the Faceless leader Kai-Ren, and if there’s one thing Brady hates it’s being reminded exactly how powerless he is. Although dealing with the enigmatic Faceless might actually be easier than trying to figure out where he stands with the other humans on board, particularly when one of them is his boyfriend’s ex.

Cameron Rushton loved the starlight once, but being back on board the Faceless ship forces him to confront the memories of the time he was captured by Kai-Ren, and exactly how much of what was done to him that he can no longer rationalize away. Cam is used to being Brady’s rock, but this time it might be him who needs Brady’s support.

This time Brady is surrounded by the people he loves most in the universe, but that only means their lives are in danger too. And when Kai-Ren’s fascination with humanity threatens the foundations of Faceless society, Brady and Cam and the rest of the team find themselves thrust into a battle that humans have very little hope of winning, let alone surviving.

Brady and Cam hold a special place in my heart. I loved ‘Dark Space’ in all its grittiness, and it remains on my favourites shelf.

‘Starlight’ doesn’t really add anything new to Cam and Brady’s relationship, but it does affirm what they’ve built since first being thrown together.

They’re tough, committed, and so completely in love with each other and their little family with Lucy. Yes, I did in fact swoon quite a few times!

The two men really do complete each other, and they’ve remained true to themselves despite everything they’ve been through.

Brady is still the scrappy refugee kid terrified of the black, willing to do whatever it takes to get to his sun, beach, and little sister. And Cam is still the level-headed soldier who works towards the greater good, and believes a future with Brady is just around the corner.

They’re an odd mismatched pair, but they just work.

Book 3 picks up not long after ‘Darker Space’, with the specially-chosen humans onboard the Faceless ship. They’re none the wiser for their trip into the black with the very monsters that humanity fears the most.

The only thing that’s clear - the humans are there safe and sound only because Kai-Ren finds them faintly interesting.

The constant level of danger and uncertainty made this a really gripping read!

I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look at the Faceless in their own territory. They were fascinating - so completely different from humans, and so unbothered by the fact that humanity consider them an existential threat.

Does it say something about me that I like Kai-Ren? He’s awful by human standards, but downright cuddly for a Faceless.

I won’t give away any spoilers, but ‘Starlight’ more than delivers on nail-biting action, twists and turns, and some heartstopping moments!

The ending was brilliant and perfect for Brady, Cam, and Lucy. But there has to be another book - I still have questions that need answers.

If you’re looking for amazing MM sci-fi, I can’t recommend the Dark Space series enough!

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: This Christmas by J.R. Hart

New author J.R. Hart and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the holiday romance release, This Christmas! Learn more about the story and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: This Christmas
Author: J.R. Hart
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 9, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 56800
Genre: Contemporary Holiday, LGBT, gay, in the closet, holiday season, coming out, virgin, opposites attract, new adult

Add to Goodreads


Alex Ross can’t catch a break when it comes to Christmastime. With a long history of bad holiday experiences—like getting rejected under the mistletoe or playing referee to his mother’s divorce—he’s just trying to survive it.

New in town and a stranger to everyone, he plans on ignoring the holiday altogether. That would be easier if his ridiculously cheerful new neighbor would cool it on the Christmas hype. Nicholas is annoying and loud. Worst of all, he’s also impossibly attractive and nice to everyone. It’s getting harder for Alex to deny his interest, especially when Nicholas leaves Christmas cookies at his door and wages a snowball fight against him on the coldest day of the year.

Can Alex open up to him and get into the holiday spirit before he endures another ruined Christmas?


Christmas Spirit

Peppermint. Everywhere Alex looked, on every shelf, peppermint surrounded him. Before Thanksgiving had ended, someone sneezed red-and-white stripes throughout the grocery store. Most of the year, Alex was indifferent to peppermint. He didn’t have a personal grudge against the flavor, not really. At Christmas, however, indifference became loathing.

What was the point of basing an entire season around one specific flavor profile? He didn’t get the excitement of mint, the mad rush to stock up as if the ingredient were scarce. Calculating an extra ten minutes into his routine to account for peppermint mochas being all the rage and the long lines accompanying the seasonal drink? Not particularly enjoyable. Personally, Alex preferred peppermint in the summertime, stirred into a glass of lemonade. In the current season, chamomile tea was a far better option, particularly in Omaha, which may as well have been a frozen wasteland. As he loaded the chamomile variety into his cart, he looked at the peppermint tea beside the others on the shelf again. How many people buy that thinking this is the only time it’s available? It wasn’t a limited holiday tea. Do people really not know this? Peppermint tea was right there, on the shelf, year-round. But somehow, no one touched the tea in the summertime.

Alex found it a little scary how some crafty marketing on the part of a few national giants—a few food brands—could push peppermint to the forefront of everyone’s minds, convincing them the one flavor was a requirement for a good Christmas. Marketing alone could make one flavor of tea, available year-round, fly off the shelves during the right time of year. “Madness.”

While he could deal with the fascination—darn near obsession—with peppermint products surrounding him in the aisles, he couldn’t stand the chaos and overcrowding Christmas caused. He hadn’t realized he’d been standing in front of the tea for as long as he had until a woman bumped him out of the way—no “excuse me” or anything—to reach the tea. He watched her snatch up several boxes of the very same peppermint green tea he’d rolled his eyes over. He wanted to be home badly, instead of at the store.

“You know they sell that stuff all year?” Alex asked. Stupid question.

She replied with a glare, then added two more boxes to her cart before wheeling away.

“Okay, then.”

Comfort food. Alex stalked away in search of comfort food. Not comfort food in the way most people would define it, but rather the food he personally found most comforting. Starting with the obvious item—the largest jar of peanut butter the store had to offer. He wondered how offended the cashier would be if he grabbed a pack of plastic spoons and tore into the jar now. He needed comfort. Moving to a new city, right before the holidays? Yeah. He needed peanut butter. Bread wasn’t important. His preference was to eat the substance straight out of the jar, where the creamy—never crunchy—mass could squish in and fill the emotional void left behind from the tension of shopping at Christmastime, the internal stress from packed aisles crowding in on him, overwhelming him. He scuffled his feet along the floor, head low, set on trying to avoid eye contact with any other shoppers.

Alex wasn’t in the mood to conjure the polite, Christmassy grin he was forced to give the other shoppers. The store piped in annoyingly saccharine, cheerful Christmas tunes, and the music was starting to give him a headache. I hate Christmas. He hadn’t always, but right now, he couldn’t bring himself to like the holiday. He attempted to elbow his way around a cookie display with shoppers crowded around. When he couldn’t manage to get through the crowd, he maneuvered between, reaching an arm in under someone’s elbow and above another shopper’s wrist. He grabbed two boxes, tossing them unceremoniously into his cart.

Too late to put the cookies back, he noticed the words “candy cane,” printed on the label. With the crowd, there was no way he could reach in and put the packages back. What about the season necessitated peppermint added to the cream-filled center of a sandwich cookie? He didn’t understand the need there. “What’s wrong with plain Oreos?” No one heard his question. Which was fine—he hadn’t wanted an answer. He should have ordered his groceries online, he realized in hindsight. But, he was here now. Leaving the store empty-handed didn’t make sense.

Saccharine tunes came through the speakers, crooning classics surrounding shoppers in the store. “On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” From the next aisle, he could hear a voice singing along. The stranger didn’t bother to hum or sing along quietly as most other shoppers did. Instead, he made his presence known. “Eleven pipers piping.” His voice was booming and excited. “Ten lords a-leaping!” Whoever he was, he was getting into the music, holiday cheer annoying Alex from an aisle over. As Alex grabbed a box of cereal off the shelf, he caught a glimpse of a garish Christmas sweater, a peek of beard, and lips moving along to the song. Of course. He was desperate to get out of the store. The sooner he finished shopping, the sooner he could leave the festive hellhole and take a nap. His mind flitted to the booze aisle. Alex considered alcohol to be a decent enough solution for getting through the holiday season. Unfamiliar with the store’s layout, he wanted to find where he needed to go so scanned above him for a sign. He didn’t see it. Instead, he turned and saw a lone box of peppermint bark on an endcap. He debated grabbing some.

If the candy was any good, it might make up for the peppermint overload the season itself had. Besides, it was the last box. The fear of missing out overwhelmed him. Peppermint wasn’t all bad, even at Christmas. He reached his hand out to grasp the box as a large hand wrapped around the other side.

“Oh. Oh gosh.” A man, the one who had been singing, judging by his festive, candy-cane-striped sweater matching the one Alex had seen through the aisle divider, looked at him. “You can have it,” he said, but he didn’t let go of the box. He was offering with the hope Alex would decline and let him have the box. Alex could barely stifle a groan as he looked up at him. The guy looked a little too into Christmas in the sweater, and his obnoxious attire was a lot to take in.

Alex wasn’t short. He rarely had to look up at anyone. But this festive giant towered over him, so he let go. “I don’t even like peppermint bark,” Alex said. “Take it.” The last thing he wanted was to get on this guy’s Grinchy side over a box of candy he didn’t actually want.

“What?” The man in front of him stared, aghast, mouth open, jaw dropped in an exaggerated way Alex had only ever seen in movies, as if Alex had somehow personally attacked him with the statement. “You’re not a fan? It’s a holiday staple, man!”

Alex resisted any and all temptation to tell him, “I’m not your man.” He hated when people said things like that, so overly friendly, as if they knew each other, but he bit his tongue. Instead, he tried to hide his basket behind him, remembering it was full of peppermint cookies, not that he’d wanted them either. He worried the man had caught an eyeful, but then again, did he really care? He wasn’t on trial here! Apparently, what was on trial was whether or not he liked peppermint bark. Christmas and everything related to the holiday was on his last nerve; that was certain.

“No,” Alex said. “I am not a fan of peppermint bark. All it is is mint and chocolate. Go get a box of chocolate mints in the candy aisle—exact same thing, but the stuff sits there year-round, and nobody’s trying to convince you you’ll have the worst Christmas ever if you don’t have it.”

“Uh…” The man cocked his head to one side.

Alex considered he might have come off a little too strong, and for a moment, he was embarrassed by his mini-tirade about how awful the holidays were. He didn’t back down though. In fact, he realized he’d made a good point. Like he’d told the guy, he could go to the candy aisle if he needed chocolate and mint so badly. “It’s true,” Alex said. Frustrated with himself for getting sucked into the marketing, he was thankful some crazy person in a sweater had come along to snap him out of buying the peppermint bark—or worse, into the peppermint delusion—when he didn’t want it.

“It’s not the same!” The man protested. “This has a pepperminty crunch! It’s magical! I can’t imagine not loving peppermint bark!” Alex quirked an eyebrow and backed away slowly. “Or Christmas! Or candy canes! Of course, I bet that’s because my mom set me up with the whole naming me after Saint…” Alex shook his head, muttering “Merry Christmas,” and went down an aisle before the man could finish explaining how his mother’s love for Christmas somehow translated into a desperate need for peppermint. He didn’t have the energy for any of this. Instead, he stalked away, grabbing a bag of chocolate-dipped pretzels—sans any sign of peppermint—before checking out.


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

J R Hart is a queer 30-something novelist passionate about telling romantic and erotic stories about LGBT+ characters. When J R isn’t writing, you can find her at the science museum with her son, cheering for her favorite soccer team, or at The Bean Coffee Co plotting her next work. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @jrhartauthor, or on her website at

Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2