Stocking Stuffers – my Amazon whoopsie

What can I say?! I’m having one of Those Weeks and uploaded the wrong file to KDP yesterday. We haven’t officially launched Stocking Stuffers yet, but it is up on Amazon and KU earlier than expected, and it is WRONG :(.

I’m putting the correct file through *as we speak* and it should update today (Tue 12).

***If you’ve bought or KU-borrowed a copy, please try downloading again in 24 hours and/or let me know and I’ll make sure you have a REAL copy.

*goes away to hide back under my rock until Fate stops picking on me*

Advent Calendar – FREE fiction!

Follow the Rainbow Advent Calendar* Group this December, with FREE fiction every day from favourite MM authors. Make sure you bookmark the group, visit it regularly, and please let the authors know you’re loving the reads!  😀

And read my story BELOW, because I’m on TODAY 🙂

ALL THE STORIES can be followed from this MASTERLINK.
And last year’s schedule?? 2017 HERE. Because many of us authors are becoming regulars *wink*.

If you enjoy my story, please check out all my other seasonal books HERE.

*the Facebook Group requires you to join, but it’s free for all readers. The more the merrier!


 

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Roger only popped out for breakfast supplies. Was that long enough for Allen to have second thoughts?

Read it FREE below, or download it in all formats for later.

 

 

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

“You’re back quickly,” came Allen’s muffled voice from inside the flat.

Roger stood patiently in the hallway, outside the closed front door. “Is that a problem?” He peered at the spyhole, though obviously he couldn’t see inside from where he was.

Allen coughed. There was a shuffle of feet. The door remained firmly shut. “Yes. No. Maybe.”

“Cover all the bases, why don’t you,” Roger said. He shifted the bag of supplies from his right hand to his left to ease the weight. “I brought the stuff we need for breakfast.” There was silence from inside. Roger frowned. “Unless you have some new, inter-dimensional way of cooking bacon, I’d say it’s pretty tricky to proceed when the cooker’s in your kitchen but the food is out here in the hallway, still in a shopping bag. But hey…”

“All right, all right,” came the snappy answer. “Cut the sarcasm. I suppose you want to come in with it, like… right now?”

Roger rolled his eyes, even though no one could see him. “I’m demanding that way, yes. Is something wrong? You were all right when I left you.”

“I’m fine.” Allen’s voice sounded strained. “Of course I am.”

“Of course,” Roger echoed in a murmur. The door was still shut. His gaze roamed over the hallway. A dog was barking in another flat downstairs. One of the doors further up the corridor had a dent in it as if someone had kicked it in. Another had a child’s bicycle stacked against it. Roger thought he could smell toast from another room and it made his mouth water.

“Do you want to go out for breakfast instead?” He listened for any change in Allen’s tone, assuming he could tell that from complete silence, of course.

“No.” A muffled grunt.

“Do you want me to fetch something different? There aren’t a lot of places open on Christmas morning, of course. What about some of those hash brown American things? Pancakes? You like all those…”

“No! Shit.”

The muffled grunt was angry now, though Roger hoped it was with itself, not him. He took a calming breath and put the bag down on the floor, relaxing his wrist. “Work with me here, Allen. If there’s a problem, tell me. I’ll go and sit in the one coffee shop that’s open and wait for you to join me, if you like. Or I can go back to my own flat.” He sighed. “Though I don’t want to, believe me. I want to talk to you some more, have breakfast with you. See more of you.” He smiled, still to himself of course, unless you could count the small spider in a web on the staircase. “I’m bloody hungry, too.”

The door swung open abruptly. Roger stared.

“So am I,” Allen said, but he made it sound like a declaration of intercontinental hostilities. His brow was furrowed, his generous mouth pursed. “Of course you can come in. I’m just a stupid, moody bastard.”

Roger ran his gaze down then up Allen’s body, taking in the sleep socks, the crumpled pyjama pants, then the bare torso. By the time his eyes met Allen’s, he could feel the flush heating his face.

“You’re not stupid,” he said slowly, as if he were really considering Allen’s self-assessment and not trying to get his libido back under control. “Moody, yes, maybe. Lively. Impulsive. Volatile…”

“Smart arse,” Allen interrupted, scowling even more, though his mouth twitched at the corners. “So, come back in. I haven’t got dressed or cleared up or anything.”

Roger stepped cautiously into the flat, watching as Allen slammed the door behind him with a firm push of his knee. “Why should you clear up? I just went out for food. I wouldn’t have bothered, really, but you only had that out-of-date cereal and no tea.”

Allen shrugged. He was keeping two feet away from Roger as they moved down the hallway towards the kitchen. “Hell, if I’d known I’d be entertaining…” He bit off the sentence, colouring.

Roger smiled. “You were that, definitely.” He reached out a hand to stroke Allen’s arm.

Allen stopped dead. “You’re a witty bloke, Roger, but if you joke about this—”

“God, no!” Roger protested. He stopped walking as well. He took his hand away and ran it back through his tousled hair. “It’s no joke. I mean, it was fun and exciting, but I’m taking it very seriously.” When Allen peered at him, slightly less warily, he smiled back. “Exciting doesn’t cover it. Inspiring. Awesome. Astounding.”

Allen had started to smile, too. He reached a hand out himself, and fingered the edge of Roger’s thin jacket. “Yeah, right. Like the earth moved for you.”

Roger caught Allen’s shifting gaze. “Yes. Actually, it did.”

Allen’s eyes widened. “Not just because we were totally wasted after the Christmas Eve party? I mean, it was pretty wild.”

“No,” Roger said quietly. Though the party had, indeed, been wild. Getting a cab to the nearest flat—Allen’s—had been all they could manage after it finished. Laughing, still drunk, sharing stories of the people there. The flat had been dark, peaceful, private. There’d been no plans, no premeditation.

Just a sudden touch. And then the floodgates opened.

“Not just for a laugh, or… to experiment?” Allen obviously noticed Roger’s frown, because his gaze slid away again, and he hurried on, “You know how some blokes can be. Try it for the sake of getting off. Do it because we were there and randy and a friend’s better than a stranger from the pub. Do it…”

Roger stepped forward and grabbed Allen’s arm, tightly. “None of that. I did it—we did it—because we wanted each other. Didn’t we? I’ve wanted you for a long time.” His laugh sounded nervous. “As a friend you’re great, of course, but then there’s the other thing.”

“The other thing?”

Roger coughed to hide his embarrassment. “The way I feel when you wear that dark blue shirt, or you suck syrup off your fingers, or you hunker down by the TV to find the remote, or you wander about the kitchen making bacon with nothing on but pyjama pants—”

“I can lose the sleep socks,” Allen said quickly, grinning. “Watch me.” His eyes were brighter now.

Roger could hear his own breath in the quiet hallway. It was much shallower than before. “But if you’re having regrets…”

Allen shook his head vigorously, his eyes fixed on Roger’s mouth. “Hell, no. Just thought you might be. You know? You got up way earlier than I would. And this going out for breakfast stuff. It might have been an escape. You might not have bothered to come back.”

Indignant, Roger started to protest, but Allen stopped the words with his hand over Roger’s mouth. Allen’s palm was slightly damp and smelled rather deliciously of him.

Roger let his tongue slip out, just the tip of it. He licked the skin at the base of Allen’s thumb.

Allen’s breath hitched. “I mean, it doesn’t matter, Rog, if you had gone. I’d still have things left here, like the smell of you on the sheets and all your spare change on the floor by my bed. But I had hoped…” He flushed. “That we’d do it again some time.”

Roger grunted until Allen took his hand away. “But I’m back. I didn’t escape.”

Allen bit his lip. “No,” he agreed. “I can see that.”

Roger met Allen’s stare for a long moment. He suspected the inane grin was common to them both. “So, what about you?” he asked. “Was it the same for you? Maybe you’re the one who just wanted something casual, just needed—”

“You,” Allen interrupted. He looked fierce again but it wasn’t one of his hostile expressions, more like a hungry one, and perhaps not for pancakes. “Yeah, I agree, the friend thing is great, but I’ve wanted you—like wanted you—for a long time. The way you grin, really slowly, and the way those jeans hug your bum, and the way you run your hand back through your hair…”

Roger did the hair gesture again. And grinned. Really slowly.

Allen had also started to breathe very heavily. He glanced down the corridor in the direction of the bedroom door.

Roger turned them both around and pushed Allen bodily towards it. “That thing about doing it again some time…”

Allen nodded, and kept nodding. “Yeah. Right. Pity you had to get dressed to go shopping.”

Roger began shrugging out of his jacket and shirt with indecent haste.

“You’re still hungry, though,” Allen said. His grin was mischievous.

Roger slid a hand down inside Allen’s pyjama bottoms and squeezed his arse.

“Okay,” Allen gasped. He twisted his head back to breathe into Roger’s ear, to lick at the lobe. “The cooking can wait, I suppose. Stale cereal’s good, too.”

Roger’s mouth groped clumsily for Allen’s. “It’ll have to be.”

“Huh?”

“We’d need the inter-dimensional cookbook.” He pushed with more determination until Allen tumbled back onto the bed, both of them laughing. “The food’s still out in the hallway!”

© Clare London/2018


 

And last year’s short story is still available too, in case you missed it. It’s here as a FREE download: UNWRAPPING.

New Christmas Release

GOLDILOCKS AND THE BEAR

BLURB: One week, two men, three Christmas trees. And hopefully a fairytale romance.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:
We both turned to stare at the tree behind him. The lower half, including the thick trunk, had come easily over the doorstep, but at some stage the netting that kept it in place had torn, and the branches had sprung free. They stretched either side of the doorway, at their full extent, and inside the café. One side reached half way up the open door, now pressed flat against the wall, and the other side had upended two chairs at a front table. Behind them, still on the pavement outside, the branches from further up the tree had mushroomed out like the upper half of an egg timer—with the café doorway as the squeezed middle. It was a magnificent tree: its needles shone a bright, clean green. The trunk was sturdy, copper-toned wood. The whole thing reeked of health and beauty and Christmas spirit.

And it was crushed up in my café’s doorframe until I was afraid the old wood would split asunder. I may even have heard it creak in protest.

The man-bear shook his head and shoved the delivery note back into his pocket. “Looks like they directed me to the wrong shop.”

“Well, obviously, because I never ordered it—”

“In fact,” Molly broke in. “Gil hasn’t ordered a tree at all this year.”

“No tree at all?” The giant man looked momentarily disconcerted—or was that disapproving? “You don’t like Christmas?”

“I like it well enough,” I muttered. “But as you can see, there’s little enough space here.” I could only afford this small unit on the outskirts of a small Essex shopping mall. It was last Christmas’ gift to myself, the best I could do when Paulie, my partner—in business and romance—had scarpered with most of my savings to set up a bar in Ibiza. Without me, in either capacity. But life has to go on, right? I just downsized my dreams from our swish supper club venue to my small local café. After installing the counter and display cases, and covering two of the other walls with bookshelves for the romance novels I loved to read and share with customers, there wasn’t much room left for tables and chairs, let alone ambitious decorations.

Over the giant’s left shoulder, I could see old Mr. Brooke hopping from one foot to another as he peered into the shop past the branches. He was a creature of habit, and he always had his caramel latte at this time of the afternoon. If he could get into the café, that was. Behind me, a half-dozen members of the Women’s Institute Book Club stirred restlessly, and two pre-school boys had wriggled out of their mothers’ clutches and were gleefully stabbing a pile of paper napkins with a stray pine stalk.

“So. Anyway. You have to do something about this!” My voice seemed to be higher than usual.

He shrugged, his grin now rueful. “Not a lot I can do, at the moment. It’s well and truly stuck.” He tugged on the trunk as if to convince me further and, yes, I definitely heard the doorframe creak. “Should have realised the measurements didn’t add up. All I can do is apologise and arrange to have someone come and cut it out as soon as possible.” He rummaged in the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his phone. His fingers darted over the keys as fast as any teenager, sending a quick message. My gaze was still fixed on the backs of his hands—strong, with more than a smattering of dark hair over the lower digits—when I realised what he’d said.

“But it can’t stay there! My customers can’t get out—”

“I can open the back door,” Molly offered helpfully, or not, as the case may be.

“—and no one can get in, either. This is Christmas week, with all the passing trade from shoppers. I have a full schedule of seasonal events, and those new snowflake cupcakes on offer!”

The man’s pupils dilated. “There are cupcakes?”

For God’s sake. Again. Was no one taking this crisis seriously?

“We could cut the branches off right now,” said a voice at my ear. Mrs. Potter from the Book Club had crept up beside me without me realising: no taller than five foot, no heavier than eight stone, and seventy-two last birthday. But the gleam in her eyes was worthy of a Steven King character at his most manic. “Do you have a chainsaw in the café, Gil?”

“No, I bloody don’t!”

The giant was grinning at me, though he’d taken a cautious step away from Mrs. P. “Please don’t worry, ma’am. Leave it to a professional. A guy from the garden centre is on his way with the right tools.”

“The right tools are always useful.” Mrs. Potter gave a snort. When I snapped my gaze to her, she waggled her eyebrows and winked at me. Winked! What on earth was that all about? She knew, of course, I was gay and, yes, I had occasionally dated a customer, though it wasn’t like I shared my social diary—sparse as it was—with all and sundry. But this guy was just doing his job, wasn’t he? This poor guy… this poor, buff, guy… this poor, buff, strong, hairy, handsome bear of a guy…

A passing jab in the ribs from Mrs. P on her way back to the Book Club table, and I started to wonder if I’d been wise to add more gay romance titles in with the historical bodice rippers………….

Happy Christmas MM Blogshop!

Well, the excitement of Christmas anticipation has overcome me, and I’m launching my Christmas Blogshop/Shopfront of MM seasonally-themed books earlier than I planned LOL. There are already 55 titles to browse, from almost as many authors, from stars to those rising to stardom! Novels, novellas, shorts, humour, drama, bittersweet, fantasy, paranormal, historical – and a lot of romance.
 
Readers – Hop on over and take a look at the books already on display, and I hope others will be added all the way up until Christmas.
 
Authors – if you would like your Christmas title(s) added, new or backlist, just comment on Facebook, here on my blog, or email / message me with your BUY link and I’ll be happy to add you within 24-48 hours. This is a mutual promo opportunity and the more the merrier!!
ALL I ASK is that you promote the page wherever you go, to share the news ❤
 
And don’t forget, the Halloween page is still live too, on all the same terms!

Holiday Blogfest at Long and Short Reviews

Oops! Sorry for pre-empting this blog post earlier this month – it slipped through my fingers while I was still preparing it LOL.

Hop on over to Long and Short Reviews today and find out what I love about Christmas:D. And maybe WIN some goodies!

There are prizes and happy reads every day from Dec 18-27, so make sure to check them all out.

My offering? Leave a comment AT THE LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS BLOG for a chance to win a free download in the format of your choice of ANY of my Christmas-themed books. All the choices can be seen at http://www.clarelondon.com/all-books/if-you-like-christmas/.

 

Under the mistletoe (MM/gay romance giveaway)

UNDER THE MISTLETOE (MM/gay romance giveaway)

FREE reads especially for the Christmas season!

Yes, there’s more freebie seasonal joy!! hurrah for Christmas readers, I say. 😀

This Giveaway runs from Dec 15-25, so dip in there and choose your FREE holiday reading.

It includes my SECRET SANTA:
Seb and Jamie argue over most things, even in the season of presumed good will. When a totally unsuitable “Secret Santa” present for each of them causes even more tension, the hostility threatens to ruin the pleasant Christmas meal they had planned with friends. But there are strange forces at work tonight and both of them seem to be acting out of character. They find they’re working together in the kitchen, sharing confidences, and admitting to feelings they never dared before – and cooking up something rather more exciting than food!

***Also featured in my anthology BOYS IN SEASON, with lots of my other winter seasonal short stories***

12 Days of Christmas offers at Sexy Little Pages

Each day we’ve got a different anthology on offer at 99c, selling at Smashwords:

14th Inked
15th Silence is Golden
16th Silver Desire
17th Love of the Game
18th Love & Lust in Space
19th Goodbye Moderation: Lust
20th Ticket to Ride
21st Rule 34
22nd Symphony Amore
23rd Myths, Moons, and Mayhem (includes my MMM story INSIDE MAN 🙂 )
24th Goodbye Moderation: Gluttony
And to finish off the twelve days, Sacred & Profane is on offer for all of December!

Please note that coupon codes expire at midnight (PST).