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  • Excerpt: American Christmas by Adriana Herrera

Today I am so pleased to welcome Adriana Herrera to Joyfully Jay. Adriana has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, American Christmas. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!



“So you’re really not going to give me a hint?”

I couldn’t help the laugh that rumbled in my chest. “Yin, you were the one who came up with the rule that we couldn’t give any clues about what we were getting each other for Christmas, even though you hate surprises.” That reminder got me an adorable pout, which I had to kiss him for. “And then you made it into a competition.” He opened his mouth to protest, but I leaned and in and kissed him again, sliding my tongue with his until I knew he was properly distracted, then pulled back. “You have to be patient.”

There was a huff and then a familiar grin, “Fine, but you were supposed to buckle under my charms and tell me.”

I squeezed him tight as I bit back a smile at his very serious tone. “You’ll find out tomorrow. I have to get ready.” I gestured to the small bathroom, before grabbing a clean towel. “I told Nesto I’d help out with the catering orders.” That was a cover of course. I was actually going to meet up with Carmen, who had part of my present for Yin. Carmen was a good friend of Nesto’s. Nesto was more than an employer actually, he was family. Carmen too. And they’d both been assisting me with the gift that would blow my man away. I had tricks up my sleeve too.

“I thought you said you were off today?”

I could practically see Yin’s antennae pinging, but unlike my boyfriend, I

had a pretty good poker face. “He’s short on some staff and wanted to be

done in time to get to Nurys’s house early to help her set up.”

Yin narrowed his eyes like he could tell I was fibbing.

“You still want to go tonight?” I asked hoping to distract him. I knew mentioning dinner at Nesto’s mother’s house would mollify him.

He nodded cautiously, still not looking too convinced. “Yes, Maiah is making rolls and laphet thoke.” I groaned at the mention of his sister’s delicious tea leaf salad, then panicked, wondering if I’d forgotten to get part of our contribution to the dinner. Yin smiled and shook his head as he signaled to the little kitchen. “We got some wine and I got a cake from Philmans.”

As always my man was on top of all social engagements. “You’re the best. I did get something for the White Elephant party, even though I’m still not sure what it is.” He snorted at my puzzlement over the weird title for a gift exchange event.

“You’re really worried about that,” he said happily and brought me down for a kiss after I crawled back in bed. Within seconds we were tangled in each other again. Until the alarm on my iPhone went off telling me I needed to meet with Carmen in an hour.

“I have to go, bébé,” I said regretfully, and pulled back, eliciting an unhappy moan which almost managed to convince me to forget my plans and stay in bed. But I had to get moving. The last—and most important— part of the gift that I’d been planning for weeks was with Carmen, and I’d be damned if I didn’t make sure that Yin’s Christmas morning went perfectly.


Denpo Myint “Yin” Thuta is living the dream. His dream. A good job, higher education, supportive community and, best of all, his live-in boyfriend, Ari. Yin has his happily-ever-after…if only he and Ari could take the time to actually enjoy it. With the holidays fast approaching, Yin’s determined to change all that and surprise Ari with an over-the-top gift that will leave him in no doubt how much he’s loved—even though they agreed to keep things simple this year.

Like Yin, Aristide “Ari” Douniama worked so hard to secure his future that he may have forgotten how to enjoy his present. Despite there being plenty to be thankful for in the moment. With big plans of his own in the works to surprise Yin, Ari may or may not have gone overboard. Or forgotten to check their respective schedules.

’Tis the season of giving, and in their quest to celebrate the “perfect” American Christmas—and failing—Ari and Yin get a much-needed reminder that they already have the greatest gift of all: each other.


  • Book 1: American Dreamer
  • Book 2: American Fairytale
  • Book 3: American Love Story
  • Book 4: American Sweethearts

Buy links: Amazon 


Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last fifteen years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a trauma therapist in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Her Dreamers series has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and has been featured in The TODAY Show on NBC, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Library Journal and The Washington Post. Her debut, American Dreamer, was selected as one of Booklist’s ‘Best Romance Debuts of 2019’, and one of the ‘Top 10 Romances of 2019’ by Entertainment Weekly. Her third novel, American Love Story, was one of the winners in the first annual Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. Adriana is an outspoken advocate for diversity in romance and has written for Remezcla and Bustle about Own Voices in the genre. She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective. Represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.

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