Today I am so pleased to welcome Jessie G to Joyfully Jay. Jessie has come to talk to us about her release, Talk Dirty to Me (you can check out my review here). She is sharing a special scene with us with her characters celebrating Thanksgiving. She also has a fun giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for families to gather in thanks for all their blessings. Or not.
When they say ‘life is stranger than fiction,’ I’m sure they use Thanksgiving as an example. Whether I travel to New York to spend it with family or across the state to spend it with my BFF’s family, there always seems to be an interesting cast of characters. You know who I’m talking about, right? The relative who must talk politics or religion, even though you explicitly asked them not to. Or that friend who nitpicks over the meal (Is that cranberry sauce out of a can? For shame!). Or the guy on the patio drinking himself into a stupor and insulting the other guests (Oh, wait, that’s my husband!).
I personally love it and I just knew Greg & Snake would be itching to host their first ever joint family Thanksgiving. They’re both smart, capable, former-DEA agents. What could go wrong?
Whether you celebrate or not, know that you, my wonderful readers, are at the very top of my gratitude list. You inspire me to be the best writer I can be and to bring you stories that are meaningful as well as smexy and funny. It’s been an amazing two years and I can’t wait to see what the next two bring.
And to Jay, who is always such amazing support for this whole MM community, thank you for hosting my guys.
From me and my crazy extended family to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
“Do you think we need place cards?” Greg stepped back from the brand-new dining room table and eyed his handiwork.
They’d had a few gatherings since moving into the house—a pot-luck house warming and a few barbeques—but their eclectic group of friends was not nearly as daunting as bringing the Perfetto and Bacchus clans together under one roof. Which was ridiculous when you considered there were forty people at their last party and were only expecting six today.
Gene watched him from the doorway with an indulgent smile. “Are you sure I’m the right one to ask? After all, I wasn’t sure why we needed a dining room set, expensive china, or those ‘guest-only’ hand towels you put in the bathroom.”
Greg leaned in to nudge his turkey shaped salt and pepper shakers over an inch. “Our families are meeting each other for the first time.”
“And?” The confusion in the question had Greg looking at Gene in surprise. Did the man not understand how important it was for everyone to get along? “My mother loves you.”
The simple statement warmed him just as it always did when Carmella told him that directly. She could be blustery like her son at times, but she was just the sweetest to him. “I know and my family thinks your amazing.”
When Gene puffed up his chest and grinned, Greg could only groan. “Amazing, huh?”
As if this day wasn’t stressful enough, now he’d have to work around Gene’s already overinflated ego. “That’s not the point! They need to like one another.”
“I could tell you that it’s a given because, obviously, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t.” Gene pushed off the door frame and ambled around the table. “But I have to know—what horrible scenario have you worked up in that overactive mind of yours?”
Greg immediately started retreating. “Nothing.”
“No?” Though he didn’t pick up speed, the thrill of the chase was obvious in Gene’s expression. “So you haven’t even considered the possibility of a food fight?”
“A food…no!” At least, he wasn’t before now. “You don’t think…” No, he couldn’t even worry about that.
“Mash potatoes flying, cranberry sauce dripping from the ceiling fan, and Butch taking off with the turkey when no one’s looking.”
At the mention of their always hungry Pitbull puppy, Greg turned and ran into the kitchen just to be sure the main course was secure. He’d only taken it out of the oven about twenty minutes before and it was sitting under a foil tent to rest. That’s how his mother had always done it and he was grateful she was willing to share her recipe.
Another quick glance around the kitchen assured him that nothing at all had been disturbed and considering the amount of food they’d prepared, that was cause for alarm. If Butch wasn’t trying to sneak off with their dinner, what had he found as a replacement?
Strong arms came around his waist and Gene’s chin came to rest on his shoulder. “Even if they hated each other, I’d still love you.”
Sometimes he hated how easily Gene understood the things he didn’t say. It wasn’t that he truly believed Gene would leave him if their families didn’t immediately fall in love with each other, but there was a small part of him that worried about how corrosive it could be if they didn’t get along. Maybe that was ridiculous because, like Gene said, there was no reason they wouldn’t get along. Still, he worried because it was that important to him.
The sound of a car door outside was immediately followed by Butch’s fog-horn back and the mad scramble of paws on the hardwood. A tell-tale squeal of delight was all the confirmation they needed to know the first of their guests arrived. “Sounds like Nicholas.”
“Sure does.” But Gene didn’t let go. “Tell me you love me.”
“Because you need the reassurance?” Greg nearly laughed at the absurdity until big hands spun him around until he was looking at his fiancé’s very serious face. Gene’s confidence was one of his most attractive traits and something Greg counted on when his insecurities creeped in. If Gene doubted, then where would they be? “Come on, be serious.”
“I am. You all but admitted that if things didn’t go well today it would somehow reflect poorly on our relationship. I thought we were stronger than that, solid.”
“Of course, I love you and no, I don’t believe it will reflect on our relationship.” Greg shook him a little, unable to believe that this was happening. That he had caused this! “We’re totally solid. I’m wearing your ring, aren’t I? Come on, you know how I feel! Right? Don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do.” A self-satisfied grin broke through the façade and Greg realized he been played. “Just making sure you didn’t forget.”
“Ass.” The grumble was half-hearted at best. After all this time, he shouldn’t have needed a reminder about either of their feelings. “Will you ever get tired of reminding me?”
“Nope.” Gene kissed his forehead and sighed when they heard the jiggle of the doorknob. For some reason, none of their relatives understood a locked door. “I better get that before they let Nicholas lean on the doorbell.”
Greg leaned back against the counter and got his racing heart under control. Maybe Gene wouldn’t tire of it, but Greg was definitely getting annoyed that it was still cropping up—less frequently and usually when he least expected it, but still annoying. After the holidays, he’d find someone to talk to so he could put it to rest once and for all. They both deserved that.
It wasn’t until Gene was out of sight that he turned and took stock. The plan was to serve the antipasto first and he was proud of how they combined their Greek and Italian heritages into one platter by offering an assortment of imported meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables. During the next break, Gene would carve the turkey while he put the finishing touches on the sides.
Their relatives had also insisted on bringing a dish. Between the appetizer and main course, they’d serve Carmella’s signature stuffed shells. Greg had never had pasta at Thanksgiving, but Gene insisted that it was a tradition for every holiday. Then they would round out the meal with his mother’s baklava and his sister’s apple pie, thereby paying homage to the holiday along with their ancestry.
Consider it was their first time hosting a holiday and neither considered themselves better than average cooks, he was really proud of what they’d accomplished
Another squeal had him turning to see his mother Rhea carrying his nephew. “Hey, Mom.”
“Hi, honey.” As she leaned in for a kiss, Nicholas threw his little arms around Greg’s neck and screwed up his lips. Greg caught them both up in a hug and together they showered the baby with kisses until he was breathless with laughter.
“What are you doing to my baby?” Eva demanded from the doorway before jumping in. Little Nicholas was beside himself when she blew bubbles on his tummy.
“She’s going to regret that when he pukes in her hair.” The senior Nicholas stood back with Gene, watching the antics with a sad shake of his head. “You know how long it takes for the smell to go away?”
Eva snatched her son up and snuggled him. “You wouldn’t do that to mommy, would you?”
They all laughed because they all knew he would and smile doing it.
Greg greeted his brother-in-law and then looked beyond them with a frown. “Where’s Dad?”
“Checking out your avocado trees.” Rhea poked around the covered dishes until Greg slapped her hand away. “Do you know how much we pay for those things up north?”
“Even more reason for you to consider retiring down here,” Greg pointed out as he nudged her toward the living room. “Did you bring my baklava?”
“Of course, I brought it.” All eyes turned toward his lover and Greg narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Gene, what did you do with the dish?
Gene had never had real, homemade baklava until Greg brought him home to meet his parents. He’d been hooked ever since and Greg wouldn’t put it past him to try to hoard the goodies all for himself. “Don’t look at me like that. The dish is on the top of the china cabinet so Butch doesn’t sniff it out.”
“Uh huh. Speaking of, where’s that dog hiding?”
“I let him out back until everyone gets settled. Hopefully, he’ll run off some of that energy and be too tired to sniff any crotches when he comes back in.”
“Seriously?” Greg groaned when Eva and his mother giggled. Gene just shrugged as if to say dogs will be dogs.
“I found this lovely young lady out at the curb,” Greg’s father Spyro said by way of greeting as he led Carmella through the front door. “She’s got food, so I stopped her before she could get away.”
“Young? You, sir, need to get that prescription checked.” But they could all see the faint blush on Carmella’s cheeks and knew she was secretly pleased.
“Hey, Mom.” Gene stepped forward, taking the aluminum baking pan from her hands and passing it off before enveloping her in a bear hug. “How was the drive?”
“Insane, of course. I should have come down yesterday like you suggested.” Carmella stepped back and look around until her gaze landed on him. “Greg, honey, thank you so much for having me.”
“Of course, uhm, Mom.” He had no trouble calling her that, but he’d never done it in front of his own mother before.
Rhea just rolled her eyes, snatched the aluminum tray out of his hands, and hooked an arm through Carmella’s. “Since our sons are having some awkward meet the parent moment, let’s go poke around in the kitchen and see what kind of trouble we can cause.”
They were gone in a flash, leaving Greg scrambling to race around them. “No way are you two taking over our dinner.” He took back Carmella’s dish and pointed to the living room. “Go, sit, relax, talk about us. I’ll bring in the wine.”
Carmella let out a long-suffering sigh. “I suppose I could relax. It was a very long drive.”
Gene coughed behind her and herded them all toward the living room, before returning to help him in the kitchen. “I know you wanted everyone to sit in the dining room and that’s fine, but don’t you think we can lay out the antipasto in the living room? Butch is outside and everyone’s just getting comfortable.”
While he did have visions of the family gathered around the dining room table, Gene was right. They weren’t formal people and the living room was the perfect place to start getting to know one another. “Sure. Open the wine and I’ll unwrap the platters.”
Soon they were all seated around the coffee table sharing food and stories in equal measure. All of Greg’s fears vanished in the happy, relaxed atmosphere, so he didn’t know what to do when Spyro said, “In light of recent events, we need to start planning your wedding before that knucklehead screws things up.”
Greg looked at Gene who seemed to be hiding a smile behind his beer. “Who’s screwing…oh, wait, no, Dad, we agreed no politics tonight!”
“Spyro’s right, though,” Carmella interjected softly. “My church is very progressive, they’d be happy to do it for you.”
“Church?” Now it was Gene’s turn to bug out. “Religion is off the table too.”
“It’s not like she offered to read passages from the bible,” Rhea added. “You proposed and he accepted. Now it’s time to start planning.”
“We have a plan!” Greg shouted in exasperation. “Something small, on the beach, just you guys and some friends, and a justice of the peace. April sixteenth. Put it on your calendars.” (yes, you, mark that down!)
“Well, see how easy that was?” Rhea asked as she picked off an imaginary piece of lint. “We’ve been asking ever since Gene proposed and you kept brushing us off. Right Carmella?”
“Wait, did you two conspire just now?” Gene leaned forward in his seat and stared the two women down. “But how? You don’t even know each other.”
Carmella lifted one slim eyebrow and said, “You’re not the only one with connected friends, Eugene.”
“You did not use Dad’s contacts on the police force to find out their phone number?” Greg could tell that Gene didn’t know if he was supposed to be angry or impressed. For his part, he was totally impressed and not at all surprised that their mothers had worked around them.
Rhea leaned over and offered Carmella a fist bump. “I think we got them.”
“Yes, you two definitely did that.” Greg had to laugh and when the others joined in, he let go of any lingering doubts. The Bacchus and Perfetto clans blended just fine. Maybe better than they’d hoped.
“Hey, what’s Butch got in his mouth?” Eva asked as the laughter died down.
All eyes turned toward the sliders as Gene jumped out of the chair with a curse. He hustled across the room, opened the door, and immediately began wrestling with the dog.
“What’s wrong?” Greg tried to see around him and couldn’t understand when Eva started laughing. “What’s he got?”
“I do believe he’s discovered your toy collection,” Eva whispered, causing Greg’s heart so sink.
And of course, everyone was watching. Before he could think of a distraction, Gene yanked hard, falling back on his ass in the process and sending his favorite vibrator skidding across the floor. Butch bounded over Gene and chased it toward the dining room, further threatening his carefully planned dinner.
“Butch!” Greg stood and used his firmest voice. The dog came to a halt, looked at him and then back at the mangled toy in indecision. Inching forward, he motioned Gene around the other side and warned the dog, “Stay right there. Don’t you move. Don’t you do it. No, Butch!”
Gene dove again, catching the dog’s collar in one hand and snatching up the toy with the other. For a heart stopping moment, Greg pictured his lover holding it up in triumph, but Gene quickly stuffed it behind his back and guided the dog outside with a stern lecture.
Greg looked back at the others and saw them all trying to corral their smiles. Finally, it was his father who suggested solemnly, “With a new puppy, it’s not just the baklava that belongs on the top shelf.”
Mortification complete, Greg could only cover his face and groan. “Dad!”
“What? Am I wrong?”
Sadly, the answer was no.
“Eh, it’s not a holiday until someone gets embarrassed.” Rhea stood and clapped her hands. “I don’t know about anyone else, but all that laughter worked up an appetite. Let’s go see if those stuffed shells are ready.”
As their mothers shuffled off the kitchen and the rest of the family made their way to the dining room, Greg felt a big arm came around him and sighed. That embrace was always comforting, at least until Gene nuzzled against his ear and whispered, “I know that was one of your favorites, but don’t be upset. I’ll buy you a new one.”
Greg wanted to be disgruntled that Gene thought the loss of the toy was more important than his complete and utter mortification, but he knew that at last part of him was more upset by the loss too. “A bigger one?”
Gene laughed softly and bent him backward to plant a big wet kiss on him. “That’s why I love you, Sunshine.”
He held on tight when Gene stood them upright and kept holding on long after. “I love you too, Gene.”
“Hey, you two love birds better get in here before Dad and Nick eat your share!”
As they all settled around the table, Spyro stood with wine glass in hand. “It always seemed odd to me that there was a day set aside for giving thanks, but never more so than when I married your mother. After the heat of the honeymoon is over and the reality of everyday life settles in, you’ll find yourself and your relationship tested often. Job responsibilities, conflicting schedules, in-laws, new puppies, kids—both your mothers made me say that—all take a piece of you. Find time every day to nurture your relationship, build upon its foundation, communicate and have respect for one another…and be thankful.”
Spryo looked around the table, his generous chin wobbling with emotion, and held his glass higher. “Every day for forty-odd years I’ve been grateful that Rhea was willing to put up with me—there’s no one else I would’ve wanted to take the journey with. I am grateful that Eva and Nicholas have given us our first grandchild—but he needs a sibling. And I’m grateful that Greg has brought Carmella and Gene into our family. You all make this old man very happy. Happy Thanksgiving!”
With glasses clinking and a few sniffles, Greg looked over at Gene sure that he’d see a little bit of ‘I told you so’ in that face he loved. Instead, all he saw were reasons to be grateful.
I dropped a big hint in there, huh? Well, how about this little twist—first person to correctly comment with the significance of April 16th will be the officiant at Snake & Greg’s wedding. Happy Thanksgiving!
© 2016 Jessie G Books, Inc. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessie G and Jessie G Books, Inc. with the appropriate and specific direction to the original content here at Joyfully Jay.
I hope you enjoyed the 12th installment of my #13months13scenes tour. I can’t believe it’s almost over. Or is it? Starting in January, I’ll be posting scenes based on reader prompts. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to know about my characters or see them do, email your prompt (with picture inspiration) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Reader Prompt.”
Did you miss a previous installment in the 13Months13Scenes tour?
|December 20th||KathyMac Reviews||Merry Christmas from Ric & Davin|
|January 20th||Book Lovers 4Ever||A Sizzling WTF Moment with Saul, Javier & Kyle|
|February 20th||Carly’s Book Reviews||Chocolate Hearts & Cuban Sandwiches with Chris & Owen|
|March 21st||3 Chicks After Dark||Thinking Mushy Thoughts with Ty & Chase|
|April 20th||Sassy Girl Books||There Are No Losers in Love with Billy & Liam|
|May 20th||Two Chicks Obsessed||Memorial Day with Garrison & Micah|
|June 21st||Foxylutely Books||!!Jessie & Greg’s Birthday Surprise!!|
|July 20th||BFD Book Blog||Bull & Red’s 1 Year Anniversary|
|August 20th||Molly Lolly||Clay & his boys celebrate Romance Awareness Month|
|September 20th||Bike Book Reviews||Kyle’s Birthday – Preview of Saving Saul|
|November 11th||Divine Magazine||Happy Belated Halloween with Colin & Arnaud|
|November 21st||Joyfully Jay||Snake & Greg’s first family Thanksgiving|
Mark your calendars, there is only 1 more installment to come!
|December 20th||Prism Book Alliance||Christmas Theme|
As a secret agent for the DEA, Snake’s gone deep into Devils Pride MC with the hope of bringing down the head of Miami’s lucrative drug trade and finds himself saddled with the club’s volatile and secretive SA instead. Unfortunately, after years as partners doing shit neither of them wanted to do for reasons neither of them felt comfortable sharing, Snake considers Trick his best friend. Now he’ll do anything to repair the damage his own necessary lies did to their friendship because, while Trick may have walked away from the MC, Snake needs someone he trusts to have his back.
Meanwhile, Snake’s contact at the DEA has him tied up in knots. The sexy voice and inappropriate comments have him walking around with a permanent set of blue balls. Life undercover is lonely and he lives for every phone call, but his own personal Deep Throat is skittish about committing to a date once Snake returns to headquarters. As far as Snake’s concerned, they only have one shot to build something together and he’s not willing to waste it.
Greg knows he’s not Snake’s type, or anyone’s for that matter. Former love interests called him plain, chubby, and boring. More comfortable in his tech cave than with people, he’s a grade A nerd who isn’t exactly GQ material. Normally he would never be brave enough to flirt with anyone—much less the very hot and very dangerous ginger who’d been starring in his nightly fantasies—but Snake needed something to keep him from getting lost undercover. What started out as a helping hand quickly became an integral part of their relationship—if one could call a five year phone conversation a relationship—and Greg is terrified that once Snake’s sees the wizard behind the curtain, he’ll lose the only man he’s ever loved.
Now the DEA has called Snake home to plan the next stage of the mission, leaving Greg no more places to hide. When fantasy and reality collide, will it be everything Snake hopes for or everything Greg fears? The trick will be staying alive long enough to figure out the answer.
Authors Note:This book is NOT a standalone and should be read after Tricking Chase
Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.
I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.
I dropped a big hint in there, huh? Well, how about this little twist—first person to correctly comment with the significance of April 16th will be the officiant at Snake & Greg’s wedding. Happy Thanksgiving!
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