Today I am so pleased to welcome Eliot Grayson to Joyfully Jay. Eliot has come to talk to us about a new release, Yuletide Treasure. Eliot has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and copies to give away! Please join me in giving a big welcome!
Hi there, Joyfully Jay readers! I’m so happy to be dropping in today to share an excerpt from my holiday book, Yuletide Treasure. (Thanks for having me, Jay and company!) Any of you who’ve read the previous two books in this series, The Replacement Husband and The Reluctant Husband, will be familiar with my Goddess-Blessed world, an alt-Regency universe in which pagan goddesses and gods are very much present and like to meddle in the affairs of mortals. (And sometimes watch them in intimate moments. Goddesses don’t have normal boundaries.)
Yuletide Treasure is an M/M adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and while I doubt Mr. Dickens would approve wholeheartedly, no offense is meant to him or to his classic story of Christmas redemption.
In the excerpt below, Eben Sypeman has been having a rough time of it. His business partner is dead, his patron goddess isn’t happy, and his clerk’s son is proving to be something of a distraction…
They stared at one another in silence. Eben’s cheeks prickled, from his embarrassed flush and from two days’ growth of beard. He resisted the urge to scrub at it with his hands, or to straighten his loosened cravat, or to run his fingers through his hair to tame down the waves it formed when he hadn’t wetted it in the morning. Of anyone who could have caught him like this, why, why did it have to be Timothy?
Timothy, whose mouth had fallen open in shock. “Did you sleep at your desk, Mr. Sypeman?”
No, of course not. “Yes, and I don’t know when or how, it’s the damnedest thing. Oh goddess!” Eben snapped his mouth shut and put a hand up to his face, meaning to squeeze his lips closed with his fingers if he had to…and then — goddess. Althyone, Eben’s patron goddess, who had been right there…
The room blurred, swimming around the edges, and Eben’s neck went hot and stiff. He heard a muffled shout in Timothy’s deep voice as he collapsed back into his chair, his knees buckling, striking his wrist against the arm with a crack and a jolt of pain. Eben’s head fell back and he swallowed hard, fighting the bile rising up in his throat.
It was a dream. It must have been a dream, a terrible dream brought on by too little sleep and too much worry, by too many near-arguments in one day wreaking havoc on his nerves.
He vaguely registered the sound of Timothy saying his name, a little frantically, as if he’d repeated it several times without receiving an answer. A shuffle and the tapping of a cane echoed hollowly in Eben’s muffled ears, and then a few heartfelt curses. A large, warm hand cradled the nape of Eben’s neck, the callused fingers digging in beside his spine. Oh goddess, but that felt good. Eben leaned into it — slumped into it, really, since he seemed to have no control over his own body. The other hand was on him too, that one gently wrapped around his own, with more of those gloriously strong fingers carefully chafing his injured wrist.
“Mr. Sypeman, can you hear me? Can you nod, or press my hand, or anything?” Eben let out a pitiful sound, something between a moan and a whine, and Timothy sighed; he was close enough that Eben could feel the warm gust of his breath.
He cracked his eyes open a fraction. Timothy was braced against the desk, balanced on his good leg, with his cane on the floor. That had been the cursing, no doubt. He still held Eben’s neck and arm, and he’d leaned down to peer into Eben’s face. This close, his eyes weren’t just dark brown as Eben had thought. They had streaks of mossy green, like the depths of a forest in the autumn, and a ring of the purest jet black surrounding them.
“You have beautiful eyes,” Eben mumbled. “Like polished agates.”
He blinked, slowly, and when his eyelids lifted again Timothy was frozen in place, staring at him, those magnificent eyes so wide Eben could see every bit of their irises and glimpse his reflection in the pools of black in the center. The hand around Eben’s neck tightened, and the fingers stilled.
“If you say so,” Timothy said, sounding rather choked.
Oh goddess, what had he done? “I do say so,” Eben replied, entirely against his will. “I’ve never seen anything like them.”
Timothy’s lovely eyes narrowed with concern, then, the fine lines at the corners crinkling in a way Eben found fascinating. “Are you quite yourself? Did you hit your head, or just your arm?”
“No, I didn’t hit my head!” Eben replied, stung. Did he really sound as foolish as that? But of course he did — he’d been maundering on about Timothy’s eyes like a lackwitted mooncalf. “I’m simply —” He forced himself to stop, and succeeded primarily because he wasn’t at all certain what he was. He couldn’t lie, after all; the words stopped in his throat when he tried to say that he was simply dizzy from his tumble.
He couldn’t lie. Oh, buggering dreadful meddling goddesses, he couldn’t lie.
“Oh no,” he whispered. “Oh no, oh no, oh no…”
“Mr. Sypeman, please! Tell me what’s wrong — I’ll fetch a doctor, there’s one with an examining room just down the way near the market, it won’t take me so very long —”
“Don’t!” Eben cried, and lurched out of the chair, desperate to get away. But Timothy was too close, and his arms were on either side of Eben’s body. Timothy ended by falling back against the desk, Eben tumbling after and landing sprawled across his chest. Timothy’s arms came up and around his back to steady him, one hand resting on his opposite shoulder and the other splayed across the small of his back. Eben was pressed against him, his hips cradled between Timothy’s thighs.
And oh, the heat of him, the delicious solidity of his body. Eben could have sunk into him and never moved again. His prick was hot and heavy between his legs, so close to stiffening. If he shifted only a little, he would be able to feel Timothy’s.
There’s not enough Yuletide spirit in the world to fix this holiday disaster…
Eben Sypeman’s world is falling apart. It’s two days before Yule and his business partner is dead, leaving behind empty accounts and looming bankruptcy. And if that isn’t bad enough, his patron goddess is irritated with him. It seems she’s tired of his tendency to mince words and avoid conflict. She’s insisting—quite forcefully—that he start being totally honest with everyone, including himself. Divinely enforced honesty couldn’t have come at a less opportune time, especially when his clerk’s tall, dark and distractingly handsome son enters the picture.
The last thing on Tim Pratchett’s mind is romance. All the former soldier wants is to fill in for his sick father at work and recover from his war wounds in peace. But there’s something about the grumpy Eben that confounds and entices him in equal measure. Their timing couldn’t be worse. They’re complete opposites. And yet…none of that matters when he’s with Eben.
But if Eben and Tim have any hope of finding their very own happily ever after, they’ll have to survive a dickens of a truth curse and the machinations of a trickster goddess—all while searching for enough yuletide treasure to save them all.
A joyous, relaxing Yule indeed. Bah, humbug.
This is an M/M romance with explicit scenes, a voyeuristic pagan goddess, and an odious nephew. Despite any other possible similarities to A Christmas Carol, there are neither ghosts nor geese, but readers can expect a happy ending and at least one use of the word “dickens.”
Eliot Grayson is an editor by day and a romance writer by night, at least on a good day, and more of a procrastinator by day and despairing eater of chocolate by night when inspiration doesn’t flow and the day-job clients aren’t cooperating. Go ahead and guess which of these is more common.
A steady childhood diet of pulp science fiction, classic tales of adventure, and romance novels surreptitiously borrowed from Eliot’s grandmother eventually led to writing; Eliot picked up an M/M romance a few years ago and has been enjoying the genre as a reader and an author ever since.
Eliot has brought three copies of Yuletide Treasure to give away to three lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, December 17th at 11:59 pm ET.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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- Void where prohibited by law.