Many thanks to Elisa for letting me come talk about the re-release of Rivals, a short story that was originally out from 2009-13 and is just back in ebook from JMS Books this week. Rivals takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which to me is such a wonderful time of year since the holiday spirit is all around. It seemed the perfect time to bring two former high school rivals together.
Revisiting the story to get it ready for the re-release I find that I appreciate holiday romance even more now than I did when I initially wrote this. Over the past couple years in particular, I’ve come to love Hallmark Channel holiday films, especially the more romantic ones. As I revisited the story of Mitchell and Alex, I wanted to punch up some elements around the holiday and, of course, romance. Part of that included tweaking and extending the ending to give it a more satisfying fade out. Of course, readers will be the ones who decide if the changes do the story justice.
The Thanksgiving to Christmas timeframe can be such a wonderfully romantic few weeks that I loved using it in Rivals. As I wrote it, I remembered how wonderful the first Christmas I shared with my husband, which is now nearly twenty years ago. We’d been going out about seven months and it felt like everything was amped up because of the season. Our dates had extra sparkle with the holiday lights everywhere. Figuring out just the right gift was a combination of nerve wracking and fun. Waking up together Christmas morning and making breakfast was one of the best things ever.
We had it much easier than Mitchell and Alex because we lived in the same city. They’ve got to deal with distance as they court each other following Thanksgiving. It does mean, however, that the Christmas reunion is even more special. Below is an brief excerpt from Christmas Eve to give you a glimpse of how their visit kicks off.
I hope you enjoy the excerpt, and that you’ll leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook copy of Rivals. Plus if you have any questions for me, I’ll be back later to answer them.
Alex picked me up from the airport when I arrived Christmas Eve afternoon. We’d talked, instant messaged, video chatted and e-mailed every day since I’d gone back to S.F. I’d fallen hard for him.
My parents were disappointed I was staying with Alex while I was home for the week. I figured I could go to their house if that turned out to be a bad idea. I didn’t think that was going to happen though.
Alex was leaning against the side of his car as I came out of the airport, bags in hand. He leapt forward when he saw me and grabbed the hockey bag. “Hey you,” he said, kissing me. I was happy to kiss right back.
“Hey. It’s good to see you in person instead of on the computer screen.” It was lightly snowing and the flakes in his hair gave him a sparkly appearance. “You even arranged snow, I love that.” We piled the bags into the car and took off.
“So we’ve got the place to ourselves. Everyone went away, so it’s perfect.”
“It’s just more perfect. Spending the week was already perfect.”
“Awww.” He held my hand as he drove.
We talked endlessly on the drive home—the schedule of seeing his friends and mine, weighing the options for New Year’s Eve and the somewhat dreaded parent visits. We were lucky with the traffic and we parked and unloaded in no time.
“Oh wow,” I said softly as we walked into the loft. “This is beautiful.” The loft was decked out for Christmas. Along the top of the walls, white icicle lights hung down. The huge tree in the corner was glowing with hundreds of small multi-colored bulbs. I set my bags down and went to look at the tree. Adding to the sparkle of the lights were small crystal prisms that cast the light out in all directions. “It’s a Christmas wonderland.”
Alex came up behind me and wrapped me in a hug. “I’m glad you like it.” He nibbled on my neck. A long, slow moan was the only response I could make. I hadn’t realized exactly how much I’d missed his touch. “So, I got you a present.” He released me and pulled a flat package from under the tree. The shiny purple paper was gorgeous as it reflected the light from the tree. “Merry Christmas.”
Rivals by Jeff Adams
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (December 14, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Rivals
Mitchell Turner and Alex Goodman squared off over a face-off dot throughout high school. Their schools were cross-country rivals. Those face-offs were tough on Mitchell because he harbored a huge crush on Alex. High school, and college, are behind the guys and they meet unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day, once again on the ice. Mitchell is home for the holidays and is thrilled to see his crush all grown up.
Alex asks Mitchell out for coffee to catch up. Could this be the start of something magical for the holidays ... and beyond?
Jeff Adams caught the writing bug in middle school and finally became a novelist with the Hat Trick series, which will conclude in 2015. He’s also written a number of m/m romance shorts. Jeff and his husband, Will, left the hustle and bustle of New York City to return to the more peaceful lifestyle of Humboldt County, California, during the summer of 2014, which allows more time for him to write. Extending his love of hockey beyond novels, Jeff covers the Detroit Red Wings, as well reviews books that feature LGBT hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com. To learn more about Jeff, visit jeffadamswrites.com and follow him on Twitter at @hockeyguynyc.
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