Title: After the Snow
Author: Lane Swift
Series: Michigan Seasons #2
Release Date: April 4th 2017
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
To be that perfect someone doesn’t mean you have to be perfect…
Christmas is over, but Dale Hepburn is determined to show his new British love, Nick Harris, how much fun a Michigan winter can be, starting with outdoor ice skating lessons. His life would be perfect—if he wasn’t secretly trying to dig himself out of an avalanche of debt that he doesn’t want Nick to know about. After all, Nick believes Dale is reliable, sensible, and solvent.
But while Dale works extra hours, and saves every spare cent, and hopes Nick never finds out about his past financial mistakes, unforeseen expenses keep piling on like Michigan’s unrelenting snow. And to make matters worse, there’s that little white lie Dale told Nick about having another teaching job lined up after the end of his current contract…
An emotionally tense romance with a satisfying HFN
Find After the Snow on Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon Universal
I put the latch across the door and sat on the bed to undo my laces, eager to get my feet out of those stiff, patent rental shoes. Hours of socialising melted away in the ordered quiet of our room, and when I toed off my shoes it was a special kind of bliss to be able to wriggle my liberated toes.
Nick stood by the window, and I could see his reflection in the glass. With his hands stuffed in his trouser pockets, he seemed tense, like maybe he was already playing back the entire night in his head and analysing every word he’d said.
He had a way about him, my beautiful Nick. Sometimes he seemed so confident and in control, other times kind of innocent and bewildered, like he wasn’t quite sure how he’d got to wherever he was. Either way, he kept me enthralled.
I said, ‘A company like Lamplin isn’t going to risk its profits on someone who doesn’t cut it. If you get some small advantage in terms of being noticed because you’re a person of colour or because you’re gay, so what? What about all the advantages us cis white guys get every single day?’
‘I suppose. Anyway, there’s no point in worrying, is there? It’s not like I can change who I am.’
‘And hallelujah to that,’ I said, pulling off my socks.
Nick took off his jacket and hung it over the back of one of the chairs by the window, then draped his bow tie over his jacket. ‘The view is amazing.’
It sure was from where I was sitting. The bedside lamp illuminated his profile, and drew me to him like a moth to a flame.
We were on a high floor, with partial glimpses of the Detroit River and Windsor, Ontario on the opposite shore. Nick rested his forehead and hands against the glass, and I stepped in behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist. It was a clear, starry night and the city lights stretched on for miles, but the soft skin behind Nick’s ear interested me more. America had plenty of iconic cities, and if I was brutally honest, most of Detroit was rundown or derelict. A few shiny lights and the distant view were deceiving.
Nudging the shell of his ear with my nose, I kissed Nick, and his shiver rippled through me. ‘You should see the New York skyline.’
‘I’d like to.’ His breathing grew heavier as I pressed my chest to his back and ran my hands over his chest and stomach. ‘We could go together. What do you think?’
I’d only been to New York City once before, in my early twenties. Mostly, that weekend had consisted of drinking too much alcohol in a dive bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Fun at the time, but not what I would choose to do now.
‘Sounds like a good idea, after the snow.’
Over Christmas I’d decided that come the warmer weather I’d sell my pickup and get a small SUV. Maybe an Escape. If I released some cash, I could pay off one credit card, and maybe swing for a real vacation instead of packing and hauling boxes for Vinny.
Nick covered one of my hands with his, and pushed it down, down over smooth fabric and the hard bulge in the front of his trousers. His voice had the huskier pitch of arousal. ‘After the snow? When will that be?’
I squeezed his dick through the fabric, and he groaned.
‘I was thinking more along the lines of February. Sometime around Valentine’s Day.’
A month. Two measly pay cheques and no extra work. I’d never be able to scrape the funds together. My hand drifted, searching for an excuse, which in my present state of arousal was like trying to catch a football kicked into the stratosphere. The best I could come up with was: ‘It’ll be too cold in February.’
Nick retrieved my hand and put it back over his dick, where it belonged, at the same time as he ground his ass against my own aching erection. It was a dirty, offensive move, beautifully executed, topped off with a satisfied grunt and a gentle plea. ‘But I was hoping we’d be able to go ice skating together on one of the outdoor ice rinks. I should be able to make it around without causing any major damage by then.’
How could I refuse when he’d brought my fingertips to his soft, sweet mouth? The answer was simple. Because thirty thousand dollars of credit card debt—not to mention the money I owed Maggie and the bank—had me bound and chained.
Review:Each book is a stand-alone story with no major cliff hangers, but it's recommended that you read them in the proper order as After The Snow is a continuation of More Than Christmas.
More Than Christmas (Book 1) begins the relationship between Nick and Dale. It's a shorter and quick read with a bit of a slow start to their romance.
Nick moves from the UK to the USA for work and rents a house from Dale. Throughout the first book, they get to know each other and start a relationship. They end up sharing Christmas with Nick's cousin who's married to one of Nick's co-workers.
After The Snow (Book 2) begins immediately after Book 1 ends. Dale has a large debt build-up that threatens his relationship with Nick. He's also almost about to be out of work and hasn't told Nick the entire truth.
When Nick finds out the truth from Dale's friend Maggie, he's upset at Dale for covering things up. One of the things about Nick's job is that he's flying all over the world for his company. This leaves Dale with lots of time to himself and their romance hanging in the air a few times, especially when Dale moves out of his house next to Nick and moves in with his brother.
Overall, the story has good and bad. The romance is a little slow to start and then Book 1 ends just as things really fall into place. The good news is that Book 2 opens right where Book 1 left off. The entire thing would have been just as good as one complete novel.
I like that both characters are a bit flawed. No one's perfect. Nick's public persona is a bit of a dick, but he's trying to protect himself and really just want's to be a family man. Dale is Bi, and his family isn't supportive if he's with a man, but he's very attracted to Nick. He's trying to deal with his family attitudes as well as make a life for himself which leads him into making some bad financial decisions.
Another thing to note for American readers, both are written in the UK style, so spelling and some punctuation are not "American" standard.
Michigan Seasons Book One
Title: More Than Christmas
Release Date: December 10th 2016
Genre: MM Contemporary Holiday Romance
Keeping life simple can be a complicated business.
High-flying young British executive, Nick Harris, knows exactly what he wants out of his two-year American assignment—a bigger salary, a promotion and some no-strings fun. How convenient then, that his gorgeous hunk of a next door neighbour, Dale Hepburn, is friendly, single and bisexual?
But Dale has had his fill of casual and he’s holding out for love that will last. Knowing that Nick’s stay in America is temporary, he welcomes him into his life as a friend; they train together in his garage gym, hang out and watch television, and dress up for the neighbourhood kids at Halloween.
Then the first snow falls, and with Christmas approaching and temperatures plummeting, Nick finds he increasingly yearns for the warmth of Dale’s arms—only he’s worried that pushing Dale for more heat in their relationship will land him outside in the cold.
Nick’s long-term future in America may not be certain, but if he wants a future with Dale, he must find a way to persuade him they can be more than Christmas.
A heartwarming romance with a satisfying HFN
Find More Than Christmas on Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK
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About the Author
Lane’s earliest attempts at fiction writing were sporadic, haphazard and utterly cringeworthy: a bit of maudlin poetry here, the odd short story there—and somewhere in between, half a dozen pages of a memoir that didn’t get beyond reminiscing over the untidy draw in her childhood kitchen.
Years and years later, after several career-changes, two children, and two international house moves, Lane arrived at a time and place in her life where she wanted to return to writing. Since then, it has become her passion; the one thing she wants to do for the rest of her life.
As far as reading goes, she enjoys many genres: science fiction, mystery, crimes, thrillers and horror. But there’s nothing she likes more than when those stories are driven by the power of true love. So, it was really no surprise that when she finally put her middle-aged fingers to the keyboard, she started writing romance.
Lane’s love stories feature diverse queer characters in the starring roles. She sometimes combines contemporary romance with mystery, suspense or paranormal, and always gives her heroes and heroines their hard-earned happy ending. She has books published with Less Than Three Press and Dreamspinner Press, as well as self-published titles.
Home is currently in Hampshire, on the south coast of England, and there are no plans to move for the foreseeable future. Eighteen house moves in the last twenty-five years is surely enough for anyone! And when she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Lane can often be found running on the local roads, trails and beaches.
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