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THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING by Nic Starr

The Proof is in the Pudding

The Australian bush. A Christmas with friends. A chance to mend a broken heart.

Steve Hayes is spending Christmas break away with a group of friends. He’s determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past and enjoy his week away. Steve is equally terrified and happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he’s been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there’s no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.

Can a misadventure with a Christmas pudding help Steve’s dreams come true?

Note: This is a re-release. The original story has been re-edited and expanded by the addition of a 5k word epilogue.

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BUY LINKS

An Aussie Christmas romance… only 99c for a limited time or FREE with your KU subscription.

Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/theproofisinthepudding

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L3863SV

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07L3863SV

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07L3863SV

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07L3863SV

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07L3863SV

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“I absolutely LOVED this fantastic, sweet, poignant, engaging, charming, hilariously funny, sexy, a little naughty, and totally awesome story set in the Australian Outback. It had me hooked from beginning to end, and I would recommend one clicking this marvelous gem ASAP.” ~ Amazon Reviewer

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Author Bio

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told.

Nic loves to spend time with her family—an understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a cherished Cairn terrier. Nic is a foodie and wine lover who lives in the city but is a country girl at heart. When not writing or reading, she is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Author Social Media Links

Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nic-starr

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicki.nicstar

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicstarr_author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nic_starr_author/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nicstarr_author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8139967.Nic_Starr

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EXCERPT: Calamine & Christmas Cake by Lillian Francis #gayromance @lillianfrancis_

Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press

The Book

A romantic getaway at an all-inclusive boutique hotel over Christmas seems the perfect way for Glenn Trevor to celebrate the festive period with his boyfriend.

But he could have done without waking up on the first morning delirious and covered in spots. Abandoned by his boyfriend, Glenn’s only saving grace comes in the dynamic form of Bastian, the waiter assigned to attend his every whim, and who might just be an angel in disguise.

Bastian, has only two rules: always make the guests feel as comfortable as possible—not a problem with his innate nurturing disposition—and never ever get involved with a guest. But the quarantined guy in 210 needs someone to take care of him, and Bastian’s more than up for the challenge of making Glenn Trevor’s stay the best ever, even if he has to run himself ragged to do it.

If Bastian can learn to accept the same nurturing care he hands out so readily, and Glenn can get over the farce of his previous relationship, between them maybe they can make it the Christmas of Glenn’s dreams.

Word count: ~35, 500

Buy Links

Only $2.99

Buy Links: Kobo // Payhip // B&N // Smashwords

Universal Amazon Link

Excerpt

“Jesus Fucking Christ! What the fuck have you done to yourself?”

The shrill words tugged me from a troubled sleep, reverberating around my head despite the fact that my skull seemed to be stuffed with cotton wool.

Had I drunk that much last night? I felt as groggy as hell. I searched through clouded memories, but I could only recall a bottle of Peroni, left mostly untouched beside a half-eaten dinner.

“Glenn, I’m talking to you.”

A finger poked me in the arm, attacking a muscle that ached as though I’d been lifting weights all day. But I’d spent my day floating in the pool and doing leisurely lengths in a lopsided front crawl. The gym I left to my six-pack obsessed boyfriend. Who poked me again in that tender spot. I wanted to rub it until my skin bled. And wasn’t that a weird thought.

And I had left him, checking himself out in the mirror while I alternated between the water and stretching out on a sun lounger with my Kindle. Not that there had been much sun coming in through the glass of the pool house. Hardly a surprise since it was December in England.

Wasn’t it?

I couldn’t dredge up the date, or the day for that matter, but that was often the case once school broke up and I didn’t have to worry about classes and staff meetings.

Xander poked me again, his finger an irritant despite the duvet between the offending digit and my tortured flesh. I swatted away his attack and dislodged the duvet at the same time. Icy shards seemed to cut at my skin everywhere the air touched it. And despite the fact my body seemed to be boiling internally I had an almost desperate urge to tug the covers back up around me.

“OMG! You’re covered in it! Gross.”

Whatever sleep I’d been clinging on to was ripped away, as I was jerked to full wakefulness not by the harsh unfathomable words, but by the pitch and lurch of the bed as Xander scrambled away. His sudden move took most of the covers with him, leaving me totally exposed to the cool December air that made my skin tingle and itch. I scratched at a particularly annoying patch of skin at my hip and tried to unglue my eyelids enough to glare at my boyfriend.

He wavered into view but refused to properly focus. I suspected my glare lacked its normal power that regularly left 10-year-olds quaking in their non-school compliant trainers. Not that it mattered, blurry Xander’s gaze was fixed on the area where I was scratching. I didn’t even have the energy to convince myself that he was staring at my dick.

And now that itched too.

I rubbed at my shaft lazily, soft and stuck to the crease of my left thigh. No sign of my normal morning wood, and I really didn’t have the energy to care.

Xander shrieked—the drama queen—the sound ripping a hole in my skull. I waited for the inevitable leakage of brains on to my pillow. When that didn’t happen, I opened my eyes—which had apparently drifted shut again—just in time to watch his fuzzy shape toss the duvet in my direction. Whether by accident or design it settled on me like falling snow. The cotton felt cool against my skin. I spread my arms and began to make a snow angel—it was nearly Christmas after all. Two sweeps in and the heat and friction made me uncomfortable and itchy again.

Banging and muttering from the other side of the room distracted me from the tightness of my skin. I tugged the duvet closer around me and tried to lift my head to focus on the crashing just long enough to tell the noisy fucker to piss off.

My heavy skull wouldn’t obey. I rolled onto my side, my head cradled by the super soft feather pillows. White, fluffy, floaty clouds. Floating up into the sky, away from all the noise. But clouds weren’t pure white when there was the angry rumble of thunder in the air.

Not thunder. I blinked and made a concerted effort to focus. Xander slammed the wardrobe door, the empty hangers clanging together. He was still muttering furiously away to himself and I forced myself to make sense of the words.

“…invited to three parties over the holidays. But nooooo, I turned them all down for a romantic week with Spotty McSpotDick.”

There was something off in the way he spat out the word romantic but I couldn’t quite work out what, in my befuddled state. Instead, I focused on the part of his rant I could appease. “I told you,” I started but it came out more like Didoldu so even I was distracted from what I’d planned to say next.

I attempted to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth and tried again.

I don’t think I was any more successful the second time. Xander gave a snort of disgust. He stomped over to the mini fridge, yanked out a bottle of water and twisted the cap off, with more aggression than his lithe frame would imply. All that time in the gym working on his six-pack was obviously doing wonders for his biceps too. Not that I could appreciate any of it with all the clothes he was wearing.

“This is why I don’t do sick people.” He held out the water bottle and glared expectantly. I raised myself up enough to take the offered bottle and risk a sip of the water.

Oh, that tasted good. Cool and refreshing against my scratchy throat. I took another swallow and smiled my thanks. Xander grimaced and moved away from the bed, back towards the wardrobe. He opened the other door.

Another sip of water and my brain seemed to come back online. “We can go to the parties and still have a romantic break. I never intended for us to stay in the hotel the entire time but it’s nice to be able to just spend time relaxing and not to have to worry about cooking, especially on Christmas Day. And the staff here are really attentive.” Something tugged the edges of my mind. Sleep or just that hazy mist that had been bothering me since I’d woken that morning. I took a longer swig from the bottle then, because it was a good point and I felt it needed to be stressed, I added, “Really attentive.”

Xander snorted, apparently unimpressed with my reasoning. “What, like that twinky waiter who was flirting with you at dinner? Don’t think I didn’t notice him out at the poolside too. Bringing you extra towels and drinks.”

“That was the same guy?” I could barely remember him. Although I think I recalled a waiter, dark hair with a fiery red streak, ask with concern if I needed some water and express dismay about the amount of food I left. Could he have been the pool boy in the shortest of shorts who’d been happy to run around and get me drinks from the bar? I’d had an unquenchable thirst yesterday that I’d put down to the chlorine and the amount of shouting I’d done on the last day of term. But his hair had been slicked back and the red streak was the only thing I remembered from the waiter. I couldn’t even remember what I’d ordered to eat, but I felt bad that I’d left food uneaten.

“Anyway, we still have New Year’s parties to go to when we get home.”

“With you looking like that? I don’t think so.”

I frowned as Xander tugged his shirts from the hangers. Wind chimes jangled but the air in the room was still, stifling. Xander rammed the shirts in his case. Strange, he was normally such a meticulous packer. Even his gym bag.

Packing?

“Are you going somewhere?”

“I’m not staying here to get sick. I’ll call you in the New Year.”

“But, Christmas?”

“Bye, Glenn.”

I blinked my eyes open at the slamming of the door. God, it was hot in here. All that fractious energy my boyfriend had been giving off probably. I rolled out of bed and stumbled to the window on legs weaker than Bambi. After some fumbling, I finally got the latch unfastened and threw open the window letting in blessedly cool air.

My stomach caught up with my sudden departure from the horizontal. It lurched in protest. I spun around in desperation—probably not my finest idea—until I spied the waste bin under the dressing table. My legs gave way and I crumpled to the carpet. I just had the presence of mind to grab for the bin before I puked my guts up.

Next time I woke there was a woman standing over me, screaming. I smiled at her reassuringly. It didn’t seem to help.

* * * * *

About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter @LillianFrancis_

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Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com

 

 

 

 

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GUEST POST: The Perfect Gift by Joe Cosentino

What do Capri, Italy and Philadelphia, PA have in common. It turns out a lot actually. Both are gorgeous, magical, romantic, and the perfect place to spend the winter holidays. Capri has its ancient, quaint church with stained glass windows and pipe organ, steep white cliffs hovering over clear turquoise water, historic villas, and mouthwatering food. Philly is home to the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest ice skating, Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, Christmas Village, Holiday Market in Dilworth Park, Germantown Avenue’s Winter Wonderland with Victorian-costumed carolers and bell ringers, and Dickensian Street where people dressed as characters from Dickens’ novels stand in front of Victorian-style bay-windowed shops lit up for the holidays.

Two years ago, I wrote a holiday short novella loosely based on my trip to the magical and gorgeous island of Capri: A Home for the Holidays. Bobby, a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays meets his quaint Italian relatives, and falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo. Readers and listeners loved the e-book and audiobook performed by the talented Joel Leslie, feeling as if they could see, hear, taste, and touch the captivating characters and romantic locations. Since A Home for the Holidays leaves open the future of Bobby’s and Paolo’s relationship; Joel, readers, reviewers, and Dreamspinner Press staff asked me why I hadn’t written a sequel. So this month we are releasing The Perfect Gift e-book.

The two-part story begins a year after A Home for the Holiday ends. Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding (December Grooms). A year later, since it’s Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in the area featuring elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. They exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Like the child we celebrate at Christmas, could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo (An Unexpected Present)?

I hope you enjoy Bobby and Paolo’s next adventures in Bobby’s beautiful hometown. And I hope you get what you need for Christmas. Enjoy my special holiday gift to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.

 

THE PERFECT GIFT (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)

by JOE COSENTINO

published by Dreamspinner Press, e-book $4.99

Blurb

Back in America after finding A Home for the Holidays and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

What reviewers said about A Home for the Holidays (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 1):

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.” Kathy Mac Reviews

“The one thing you can’t escape when reading Cosentino’s books is his humour; it’s what draws me back time and again to this author. Sometimes the humour is subtle, sometimes it’s unashamedly overt – every time it is hilarious.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail…exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.” AM Leibowitz

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Excerpt 

“Hi, Mom. What are you doing?”

“Sitting home alone like a dog.”

That’s Mom’s logic. If their house isn’t full of people eating and carrying on, she’s alone. “Where’s Dad?”

“In his den, watching the game on TV as usual.”

I’m Bobby McGrath. Since this is my story, I should tell you more about myself. I have frizzy red hair, green eyes, and a swimmer’s body, thanks to the pool at my gym. The swimmer’s body is thanks to the pool. The red hair and green eyes are courtesy of my dad’s side of the family, which my mom calls the Bad Seed. And I passed the bar. I don’t mean I’m a recovering alcoholic. I aced my bar exam, and I’ve been a junior lawyer for nearly a year now.

“Bobby, are you listening to me or thinking about one of your cases?”

“I’m listening, Mom.” I sat on the window seat in my Victorian apartment’s turret and gazed out at the carolers appropriately dressed in Victorian garb as they sang in front of the department store across the street. That’s the department store where my father is manager and plays Santa every December. “How did Dad’s physical go with Dr. Sherman?”

“He said Dad’s overweight. Like we didn’t know. For that we shelled out a thirty-dollar co-pay.”

“Did you mention how Dad’s been forgetting a few things lately?”

“I told him how your father forgot to take out the garbage, sweep out the garage, and chase the squirrels out of our summerhouse in the backyard.”

I couldn’t help thinking Dad’s memory lapses were intentional.

“Dr. Sherman asked Dad some questions, like Dad’s birthdate and our anniversary.”

“And?”

“Your father never remembers things like that, so I answered for him.”

“Mom, you shouldn’t have—”

“Your father’s fine, except for an enlarged prostrate.”

“That’s prostate.”

“Don’t correct your mother, especially now.”

“What’s wrong?”

“You know I don’t like to burden you with my problems.”

“All right. I should get on my laptop to do some research for a—”

“I’m worried about your sister.”

“Which one?”

“Both of them.”

I took a sip of Lemon Zinger tea and braced myself for a long story.

“They work so hard at their jobs and taking care of the kids, they never see their husbands.”

My sisters’ know-it-all spouses? “Is that a bad thing?”

“Watch your mouth, mister. I’m your mother. In my day we never disrespected our parents, no matter how wrong they were about everything. And we never took drugs.”

“I don’t take drugs, Mom; neither does Paolo.”

“But plenty of young people today are drug addicts, Bobby. They say they’re nervous. If young people are nervous, they should do what I do, and take a Prozac.”

As Mom rambled on about the sad state of our youth, I glanced over at the antique cherry coffee table to a framed picture of Paolo and me smiling in front of the Mascobello villa in Capri, Italy. That’s where I met Paolo, when I visited my extended family. Don’t freak out. Paolo is a very distant cousin. He has dreamy sapphire eyes, wavy chestnut hair, more muscles than a daytime television star, and a little-boy pout that makes me want to take care of him for the rest of his life. Which I do. Since Paolo was quite the playboy in Capri, I had my doubts about our relationship. But we’ve been living in boyfriend bliss here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, for a year now.

Buy Links

http://myBook.to/PerfectGift

Barnes & Noble

 

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EXCERPT: More Than Christmas by Lane Swift

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Title: More Than Christmas

Author: Lane Swift

Series: Michigan Seasons #1

 

BLURB

Keeping life simple can be a complicated business.

High-flying young British executive, Nick Harris, knows exactly what he wants out of his two-year American assignment—a bigger salary, a promotion and some no-strings fun. How convenient then, that his gorgeous hunk of a next door neighbour, Dale Hepburn, is friendly, single and bisexual?

But Dale has had his fill of casual and he’s holding out for love that will last. Knowing that Nick’s stay in America is temporary, he welcomes him into his life as a friend; they train together in his garage gym, hang out and watch television, and dress up for the neighbourhood kids at Halloween.

Then the first snow falls, and with Christmas approaching and temperatures plummeting, Nick finds he increasingly yearns for the warmth of Dale’s arms—only he’s worried that pushing Dale for more heat in their relationship will land him outside in the cold.

Nick’s long-term future in America may not be certain, but if he wants a future with Dale, he must find a way to persuade him they can be more than Christmas.

A heartwarming romance with a satisfying HFN
~32,000 words

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

EXCERPT

The weather was still warm. I stretched, scratched, and ambled downstairs in my boxers. Sleepy-eyed, and stiff-necked from too many hours in the car, I shuffled into the kitchen, heading straight for the kettle. I hadn’t shut the blinds across the patio doors the night before, and through them I had a crystal-clear view. The lawnmower I’d heard was in my garden, and Dale was pushing it.

He hadn’t seen me. He was almost at the back fence, about to turn. I could have gone upstairs and put on some clothes before I introduced myself, but I’m not shy, and this was my turf, so to speak. After scrubbing my face with my hands, I slid open the patio door, walked onto the deck and, hands on hips, waited for Dale to notice me.

The second he did, the buzz of the lawnmower withered and died, along with his fierce expression of concentration. His jaw dropped. He looked away, and lifted his hand, like he was trying to shield his eyes from the sight of me in my undies. He seemed so shocked, that I looked down to see if my dick was hanging out. (It has been known to happen, once or twice; though that’s another story.)

‘I didn’t think you were home,’ he said to the back of his hand. ‘I knocked but there was no answer.’

‘I got back late last night. I was knackered—must have slept through it.’

The temperature was cooler than it looked from inside the house. My nipples tightened. But that was the chill air, and had nothing to do with Dale in a white T-shirt tight enough that I could see the outline of his nipples and the shape of his pecs through the fabric.

‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Did I wake you?’

‘Nah.’ He already looked guilty and embarrassed enough; to add to it would have been cruel. ‘Can I get you a drink?’

‘Ah, yeah. Sure.’ Dale clutched at the back of his neck and his ample bicep bulged. He had quite a grip. ‘I’ll have whatever you’re having.’

‘That would be tea. With milk.’

For a moment, it looked like the beginnings of a smile played at the corners of his mouth. I wasn’t sure. His face was still partially turned away from me.

‘If you have ice,’ he said, ‘I’ll take mine cold, no milk. Two sugars.’

He must have known I had ice. The refrigerator he’d installed in the kitchen had a water and ice dispenser. I must have really flustered him. Who’d have guessed my five-foot-nine of fairly average could be that disarming?

About the Author

12715686_1687991428142110_6410281020405230469_nLane Swift is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal.

She lives in Hampshire, England, between the sea and the South Downs, with her husband, two children, and two guinea pigs. She can often be found running the roads and trails in her local area, or at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.

Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher, and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played rugby, climbed one mountain, and run one marathon, but has never managed to learn how to whistle.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Reading #mmromance #gayromance

Are you looking for a holiday story?

Get into the festive spirit with my Christmas story from last year. Experience an Aussie Christmas in the bush as a group of friends go away to enjoy the Christmas break together.

Blurb:  The Proof is in the Pudding

TheProofIsInthePudding_432Steve never expected making a Christmas pudding would bring him the man of his dreams.

Steve Hayes is away with a group of friends who are spending the Christmas break together. He’s determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past, and enjoy his week away. Steve is happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he’s been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there’s no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.

However, thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding, Steve will find that dreams can come true.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

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“I thoroughly enjoyed this short sweet Christmas tale of finding love at Christmas! If you want a quick feel good holiday story, then this is the book for you.” 5 stars from Kylee at Bike Book Reviews

“I found The Proof Is In The Pudding, a totally engaging, heart warming Christmas story. Oh, and as for the heat factor – it wasn’t just the Aussie sun that made me break out my fan.” 4.5 stars from Freya at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Happy reading,

Nic ❤

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GUEST POST: Bonfire by Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt

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GUEST POST

Thanks very much for having us back, Nic & RJ! Irene and I are excited to be sharing our upcoming release, Bonfire, with your readers. For this post, we thought we’d talk about some of the behind-the-scenes thinking that led to our new story.

See, Bonfire picks up a couple months after our first book Vespers left off, and takes Thaddeus and Sarasija through the holiday season.

Yep, the holidays.

We finished Vespers, a book about a vampire, his assistant, and an assortment of evil demons, and decided to follow it up with Christmas. Because, like Irene said, “doesn’t everybody love Christmas? Even if you’re an agnotic Hindu vampire’s assistant? <grin>”

The decision isn’t as strange as it might seem. Thaddeus Dupont is a vampire, but he’s also a good Catholic boy, which obviously has all kinds of associated traditions. There are also vibrant holiday customs associated with our Louisiana bayou setting. From holiday carols to the Christmas Eve bonfires on the levee that give the story its name, we had plenty to work with.

Another reason for a holiday novella is to take two characters Irene and I have a great deal of affection for and focus on their relationship. There’s not a lot of opportunity for the warm fuzzy stuff when there are demons knocking on the door, you know? Here’s Irene again…

“The main series has a lot going on and we’re anticipating it’ll span at least three books. I liked the idea of spending some time with the guys outside of those confines. Maybe explore their “normal” life and have a light mystery that we could wrap up in a short space.”

Writing a novella gave us the chance to show Thaddeus and Sara as a couple, and setting the story during the holidays provided a way of framing their growing pains. Sara’s secular Christmas traditions are quite different that Thad’s, and the way they negotiate their distinct ways of celebrating represents how they work through other issues.

If we’d only focused on the relationship though, things could have gotten a little angsty. We didn’t want that (because holidays!), so we gave Thad and Sara a mystery to solve. There’s a definite spook-factor attached to chasing mysterious lights around the swamp at night, but there’s not nearly as much mayhem in Bonfire as there was in Vespers.

Nohea is missing, too. She was such a key part of Vespers, but she doesn’t live at Thad’s house on the river, so she’s not part of everyday life there. She’s also a little (or a lot) frustrated with her vampire-boss as a result of events in Vespers. Until they work things out – which’ll happen in book 2 – she’s making herself scarce. She’s not completely invisible in Bonfire, but she’s not on the page at all.

And yeah, I totally just talked about one of my characters as if they’re a real person. You should try being in my head sometimes. It really is that confusing.

Bonfire’s a little bit lighter than Vespers, but it carries over some important elements, namely how our two heroes relate to each other and how their beliefs influence their behavior. There’s heat, and there’s humor, and there’s eight tiny alligators pulling Santa’s sleigh.

And you know, Thaddeus and Sara might have defeated the Big Bad in book 1, but Weyer’s Praestigiis Daemonum is still out there somewhere, and depending on who gets ahold of it, all hell could very well break loose.

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Releases 15th November

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BLURB

Silent night, holy hell.

Thaddeus and Sarasija are spending the holidays on the bayou, and while the vampire’s idea of Christmas cheer doesn’t quite match his assistant’s, they’re working on a compromise. Before they can get the tree trimmed, they’re interrupted by the appearance of the feu follet. The ghostly lights appear in the swamp at random and lead even the locals astray.

When the townsfolk link the phenomenon to the return of their most reclusive neighbor, suspicion falls on Thaddeus. These lights aren’t bringing glad tidings, and if Thad and Sara can’t find their source, the feu follet might herald a holiday tragedy for the whole town.

This holiday novella can be enjoyed alone or as book 1.5 of the Hours of the Night Series. Bonfiretakes place the December after the events in Vespers.

EXCERPT

Dorothy ran Pinky’s, a small sundries store with a restaurant in back, the only place to buy groceries within ten miles. In her day, she’d been widely acknowledged for her beauty, though I had always respected her for her intelligence and wit. If she recognized the similarities between me and the Mr. Dupont who’d lived in the River house when she was a girl, she’d never mentioned it. We had an accord, Dorothy and I, one I would be reluctant to break.

While the phone was ringing, I noticed two paper shopping bags in the corner of the room. The phone had just enough cord for me to reach the closest bag, but before I could open it, Dorothy answered.

“This is Thaddeus Dupont.”

“I guess you got my message.” Dorothy sounded annoyed, as if she’d rather I hadn’t called.

“Yes. What can I do for you?” I opened the bag and lifted out a glossy black box. Christmas lights. Surprised, I bit my lip against a sharp surge of irritation.

“Well,” she said, “those lights are back.”

Confused, I set aside the first box and lifted out another. “Lights?” More lights?

“You know what I’m talking about. The swamp lights. Back in my grandmother’s day, she’d say Old Ivey was out looking for someone who got murdered.” She paused, and he could almost hear her collecting her thoughts. “Some call ’em the feu follet, and people been following ’em to find the treasure but getting lost in the swamp instead.”

I lifted a third and then a fourth box of Christmas lights out of the bag. “And what has this to do with me?” Fueled by exasperation, my tone was sharper than normal, but what was Sara thinking? A single ornament was one thing, but I never decorated for the holidays, especially with multicolored, LED, synchronized flashers.

“Maybe nothing, Thaddeus, but after the troubles you all had last summer, I figured I better say something in case Old Ivey’s looking for someone you know.”

I carefully set down the box of lights. “I can assure you, Miss Dorothy, I have not murdered anyone and stashed their body in the swamp.”

She paused for a good long while. “No, no, I suppose you haven’t.” The stiffness left her voice, and she exhaled softly. “But something’s going on, and you know how some people get carried away.”

Sara wandered out of the kitchen, his smile brightening when he saw I’d discovered his secret. “Things will die down. They always do.” I knew that from experience. As a solitary man who kept to himself, I periodically came under scrutiny from the neighborhood. There would be talk, and the bravest would come down the river to my house and poke around. My assistant, or maybe Mayette, would allay their fears, and the next good bit of gossip would distract them.

She snorted. “Well maybe you should, I don’t know, see if you can find where those witch lights are coming from.”

Now we’d come to the root of her problem. She wanted me to investigate. Sara pulled one of the strings of lights out of its box and plugged it in, flooding the room with color. I blinked hard against the glare. “You think that will help?”

“Yep. So far, everyone who’s gone missing has turned back up, but if they didn’t, well, that’d be real bad.”

“Look!” Sara’s enthusiasm bled through his whispered comment. He pressed a button so the lights started flashing. “They work.”

I waved off Sara’s laughter. “I agree. Thank you for the information, and I’ll let you know what I find out.”

She thanked me, grudgingly, and ended the call. I hung up slowly, considering the best approach to take.

“You don’t mind, do you, Thaddeus?” Sara unplugged the string of lights and began packing them away. “I wanted to surprise you, put some lights on the porch and maybe on the banister. We don’t have to do the whole Christmasy-Christmas thing, but the lights are pretty.”

Did I mind? Yes, in theory, though when faced with the hope in his eyes, I found the idea of decorating might not be so intolerable. “We do have a bauble.” I sighed, rubbing at the tension in my neck. “I think, Sara, you could ask me to hang the Christmas star in the heavens, and I would find a way to accomplish the task.”

“You’re crazy.” He ducked, hiding behind a shield of hair.

Unable to resist the temptation, I crossed the room and wrapped my arms around him. “You may be right.”

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About the Authors

About Irene Preston

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one.  As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe.  Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

Where to find Irene

IrenePreston.com

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Mailing List | Goodreads

About Liv Rancourt

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

Where to find Liv

LivRancourt.com

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Red Dirt Christmas

HERE IT IS!!!!!!

I’ve kept this secret for so long, it’s almost killed me!  But it’s finally here. My 2015 Christmas story cover for the world to see!!  (I’m so excited it’s ridiculous)

That’s right, folks. We’re off to the Outback for Christmas this year!!  I can’t tell you how much I loved visiting these boys again.  I found the cover images and sent them to the fabulous Sara York and almost cried when I saw how gorgeous the cover turned out. It suits the series PERFECTLY.

Now you know why every part of the cover had to be a secret! If I showed one corner, or gave any hints, ya’ll would have guessed it straight away!

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Publication date: 11 December 2015

Blurb:

Travis had been here for just over a year. We were technically engaged, not that we’d told anyone. He was happy just knowin’ I’d said yes, and I had some head-clearin’ stuff to work through. Knowing I was good enough for Trav was one thing, but knowing if I was good enough to be a husband and father was somethin’ else entirely.

Life at Sutton Station had never been better. Business was strong, Trudy and Bacon’s little baby, Gracie, was a few weeks old now and as cute as a button, Ma’s health was good, and my relationship with Laura and Sam was in a pretty good place. And Travis? Well, life with him was still all kinds of perfect.

But, to Travis’s dismay, Christmas at the Station was just another day. Another day of getting up before the sun, feeding animals, fixin’ what needed fixin’, and checking water troughs all while tryin’ to keep out of the blistering heat.

And this year weren’t much different. Only that it was Travis’s first Sutton Station Christmas. The fact we didn’t go all out with decorations and celebrations baffled him, and if I was bein’ truthful, it disappointed him too.

Which was why I had to make it a special kind of Christmas…

Christmas backgrounds. Christmas decor on the white wooden background.

Buy links to follow:

N.R. Walker’s Bio: N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

N.R. Walker’s Internet Links:

nrwalker2103@gmail.com

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Facebook Page

Twitter: @NR_Walker

Giveaway: Hop over to my blog here and tell me your best Christmas memory to enter the draw to win a copy of Red Dirt Christmas. Draw closes 11th December at 9am EST.

Teaser:

Travis chuckled and nodded toward the lounge room. “I finished the tree,” he said and disappeared through the open doorway. I followed him to find the pine tree he’d brought in earlier now covered in tinsel, ornaments, and baubles. “I know you think the whole Christmas thing is kinda silly, but—”

“I love it,” I said. “The tree. I mean, I love what you’ve done to it.”

“I didn’t have much to work with,” he said. The corner of his mouth pulled down in a frown. “And it was all pretty old. I hung up all the things you made as a kid. I just wanted to do something.” He shrugged again. “I mean, it’s Christmas.”

“Trav.”

“And I know you guys aren’t big on the whole festive thing out here,” he said. “But I just thought it’d be nice, ya know? It’s Gracie’s first Christmas. Granted, she’s only four weeks old but that’s not the point.”

“Trav.”

“It’s about building memories, Charlie,” he said softly. “Family memories. Not just with everyone here, but our family. Ours start now. This is our first real Christmas too and I just thought it might be nice if you, you know, thought it was special too.”

 

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NIC STARR: The Proof is in the Pudding Holiday Giveaway

It’s time to celebrate the holidays! Yippee!

** $10 All Romance eBooks Gift Voucher to be won **

With so many wonderful holiday stories coming out, I thought you might like a chance to win a $10 ARe Gift Voucher so you can buy the holiday story of your choice (or maybe two!).

I have a Christmas story being released by MLR Press on 4th December. Here’s a bit more about it.

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Blurb

Steve Hayes is away with a group of friends who are spending the Christmas break together. He’s determined to put his two-timing ex-boyfriend in the past, and enjoy his week away.  Steve is happily surprised to find that Corey Oh, the guy he’s been admiring from afar, has been invited along too. But Steve knows there’s no way someone as wonderful as Corey, who could have any man he wanted, would be interested in him.

However, thanks to a misadventure with a Christmas pudding, Steve will find that dreams can come true.

Buy Links

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Giveaway

Win a $10 All Romance eBooks Gift Card. The winner will be drawn on 21st December.

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Happy reading and happy holidays,

Nic xx