Today I am so pleased to welcome Charlie Novak to Joyfully Jay. Charlie has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Strawberry Kisses. She has also brought along a great giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I took a deep breath. Now was as good a time as any, I guessed. “I need to tell you all something.” There was a pause, and I looked at my hands rather than the camera. The last thing I needed was to see their faces right now. My heart was racing, and the lump in my throat made it so I could barely get the words out. “I… I’m gay.”
My laptop speakers exploded with chatter, and when I finally glanced at the screen, all I saw was a gaggle of smiling faces. I’d sort of tuned out their reactions, mostly because they were so loud, I’d been half-deafened. From what I could pick up, there seemed to be non-stop words of love and support. Relief flooded my system, and I let out a breath that I felt like I’d been holding for years. I’d imagined having this conversation a thousand times with my family, but I’d never quite pictured it happening like this. Everything was going to be okay.
Just like Connor had said it would be.
Until I heard Connor’s name and all my thoughts came to a screeching, grinding halt.
“Sorry, repeat that,” I said, staring blankly at my screen. This time, I knew I’d missed something important.
“So we’re finally going to get to meet Connor then?” my mum asked, a beaming smile on her face.
“I… I…” I couldn’t figure out how the two connected. What mental maths had my mother done to connect those points?
“You have to bring Connor,” Mary said. “We’ve heard so much about him! I always wondered if he was your boyfriend, but Orla told me I shouldn’t ask.”
“Well, I was right,” Orla added. “I told you he’d tell us when he was ready. And he obviously is.”
“I… I… What?”
“It’s okay,” Imogen said softly. She’d always been the gentle voice of reason, and out of all my sisters, she was the quietest. “We’re so happy you felt like you could finally tell us. We’ve all thought Connor sounded amazing from the moment you first mentioned him.”
Da nodded and spoke for the first time. “Imogen’s right. He sounds like a good man”
“We all want to meet him,” Mum said. “He’s your boyfriend, and he’s important to you.”
“You have to bring him with you!” Mary added, and the sentiment was echoed around the little screen bubbles.
I stared at them, their words finally sinking into my brain.
Somehow, we’d gone from me telling them I was gay… to them thinking Connor was my boyfriend and demanding that I bring him to the party. How the hell had we gotten there?
“Er, I… I…” was all I could say, but somehow everyone seemed to take it as my agreement. My mum started muttering about changing the sleeping arrangements around while my sisters made a variety of happy noises before the conversation suddenly moved on again.
Shit. How on earth was I going to get out of this?
Patrick’s To Do List:
1. Tell family I’m gay
2. Make giant cake for anniversary party
3. Convince Connor to be my fake boyfriend for the weekend
4. Try to keep my hands off Connor
5. Make sure Connor doesn’t find out I’ve been in love with him for the last three years
Connor’s Steps for Success:
1. Perfect pole routine for Chrome Stars
2. Continue search for perfect music
3. Survive weekend with Patrick’s family without mauling him while sharing a bed
4. Prevent feelings from exploding like a glitter bomb
5. Make sure Patrick doesn’t find out I’ve been in love with him forever
Strawberry Kisses is a 78,000 word standalone, contemporary MM romance featuring a sweet pastry chef, sassy pole dancer, a nosy but loving family, fabulous make-up, fluffy feels, and copious amounts of cake.
Charlie lives in England with her husband and a dachshund named Biscuit. She spends most of her days wrangling other people’s words in her day job and then trying to force her own onto the page in the evening.
She loves cute stories with a healthy dollop of fluff, plenty of delicious sex, and happily ever afters — because the world needs more of them. Charlie also believes that loves comes in all shapes and sizes.
Charlie has very little spare time, but what she does have she fills with cooking, pole-dancing, reading and ice-hockey. She also thinks that everyone should have at least one favourite dinosaur…
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To celebrate Charlie’s new release, we are giving 2 lucky winners the chance to win e-copy of Strawberry Kisses directly to their Kindle and 1 lucky winner will win a $20/£20 Amazon Gift Card & a e-copy of Strawberry Kisses! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
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