GUEST POST ~ Call Me Charles by Holly Day ~ #GuestPost #Excerpt

Hello everyone! Thank you, Addison, for letting me drop by again. [It’s always a pleasure to have you, Holly!] It’s not long ago since I was here, but a lot has happened since. I have a new story out, Call Me Charles, and, if I’m allowed to brag for a bit, I have submitted another story to JMS Books which will give me one release a month this year, yay 🥳

I think I’ll rest till New Year now LOL

I love writing about different days. I see a certain day in the calendar, and the wheels in my head start spinning. The stories don’t always turn out the way I plan, and sometimes I’m thinking that no one will understand how it can be written for this or that day. But there can be more than one theme in a story, can there not?

I mean I wrote There Will Be Aliens forExtraterrestrial Abduction Day, and it’s pretty much what that story is all about. But it’s not always like that.

Call Me Charles is a short story, 15k, and I wrote it to celebrate National Motorcycle Ride Day. It’s about Charles, who never has been on a motorcycle in his entire life and Hubert, who lives to ride his bike.

Charlie was the first thing that popped up in my head when I saw the day, and for a moment, I played with the idea of making Hubert belong to a motorcycle club, but in the end, he’s just down-to-earth Hubert who loves his bike LOL

While the story was written for National Motorcycle Ride Day, and Hubert’s leathers and motorcycle is important to the story, it’s not only about that. Did you know that October 13th is National Stop Bullying Day?

Charles didn’t have an easy time growing up, and even as adults, his so-called friends have an evil streak. He knows he shouldn’t spend time with them, but he has a hard time saying no. Hubert, on the other hand, is furious about the way Charles is treated. He tries to let Charles handle it his own way but can’t help but meddle a little.

It’s not a perfect fit for Stop Bullying Day since there isn’t any preventive work done in the story, and should I ever write a story for that day, preventive work would be a big part of it.

Excerpt

Charles stood in the shower for a long time. When he was done, he dried off and wrapped the towel around his middle. He didn’t want to leave the tiny bathroom. It was warm and steamy, outside it wouldn’t be.

With a deep breath, he opened the door.

“Ah, there you are.” Hubert, now wearing jeans and a T-shirt, pushed a stack of clothes at him. “They won’t fit, but better than nothing.”

Charles nodded and backed into the bathroom again. The stack consisted of sweats, a T-shirt, a hoodie, and thick woolen socks. He put them on first. His feet hadn’t recovered despite the shower.

Looking like a kid in too-big clothes, Charles went back out into the kitchen.

Hubert’s gaze turned soft when he saw him. “Something to eat?”

“I’m allergic to shellfish.”

“Oh… okay, something not shellfish, then?”

“Please.” His eyes burned again, but he ignored it. “I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”

Hubert frowned. “They didn’t feed you?”

Charles shrugged. “Took me to a sushi buffet, but I’m allergic to shellfish, and with a buffet… people use those tongs all over, and I don’t know what’s been close to what and so on. I didn’t dare eat anything.”

Hubert muttered something again.

“What?”

He cleared his throat. “You’ve known them for long? The morons?”

Charles smiled. “Yeah, since we were kids.”

“So they’d know you’re allergic to shellfish.”

He rubbed his neck. “If they’d paid attention, yeah.”

“But they don’t?”

“Pay attention to me, no.”

Hubert rummaged around in his fridge, brought out a package of eggs and grabbed some bread from the cupboard above. “You’re not allergic to eggs?”

“No, only shellfish.”

Hubert cut holes in the middle of the bread slices, heated a pan, placed the holey bread in it. Then he cracked an egg on the rim of the pan and poured it into the hole of the bread.

“And it’s your birthday? You’re turning… thirty?” He grimaced at the thirty, which had Charles grinning.

“No.”

“No? They said it was a birthday kidnapping.”

“Yeah, they forgot my birthday last year… and apparently this year too.”

Hubert watched him with narrowed eyes. “You’re thirty-one?”

Charles chuckled and rubbed his arms. He was shivering again. The shower had been lovely, but it was as if the cold had taken root inside of him.

Hubert walked into the living room and came back carrying a thick throw blanket that he wrapped around Charles’s shoulders.

“I’m turning thirty-two in two months… but I guess they forgot.”

“In December?”

Charles nodded. “December eleventh.”

Hubert glanced at the wall calendar he had on the refrigerator. “It’s a Saturday.”

“Is it?”

“Yes. Would you like to have dinner with me that day?”

Charles stared at him. “Sure, that would be lovely.”

“Great!” He grabbed a pen and wrote something on the calendar. “I’ll book us a table somewhere.”

Nerves fluttered in Charles’s belly. “Oh… erm…”

“I promise not to pick a shellfish place.” He picked up the spatula and turned the egg-in-a-hole sandwiches before grabbing two plates from a cupboard.

“I should call them.” Charles didn’t have his phone.

“You should call Lucile.”

Charles winced. “Shit.” He cradled his head. “I need that job, but Lucile made it clear. One mistake and I’m out. I was sure I was gonna lose the job even before Connor and the guys showed up.” He sent Hubert a pleading look. “I didn’t oversleep. Mrs. Oliver, my neighbor, had locked herself out and her grandchild was in the apartment. She was panicking. I had to help her.” Hubert nodded. “And since I was late in leaving my apartment, I missed the bus.”

“Tell her.”

Charles shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. She might have forgiven me for being late in the morning, but I abandoned the stand. I left it unlocked, cash in the register, and food on the counter. When Connor said he had it covered, I believed he had someone cover for me. Turns out he hadn’t. It wasn’t until I was on the paddleboard, he told me they hadn’t cleared kidnapping me with Lucile.” His ribcage was shrinking.

“You should still call her. And you’re right, she probably won’t keep you on, but you owe her an explanation.”

Charles nodded. He did owe her an explanation. Lucile scared him, but she was fair. She made her rules clear from the beginning, and Charles had broken them.

“Now, eat.”

Blurb

Charles Bowman was having a bad day even before his friends showed up to kidnap him for his birthday. He lost his nametag, missed the bus, and was late for his shift in the sandwich shop, but that isn’t the worst. The worst is he’s accidentally been poisoning Hubert, the owner of the candy shop across from the sandwich shop, with gluten despite Hubert ordering gluten-free sandwiches.

When Charles finds himself soaking wet on a deserted road in the chilling October night, the worst gets an entirely new meaning. But right as he’s about to give up, Hubert comes driving on his motorcycle. Being responsible for gluten poisoning aside, Charles has never been as glad to see his knight in black leather, but is going home with Hubert a good idea? Or will the worst get even worse?

Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,071 words

Buy for 20% off at JMS Books

About Holly

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect with Holly on social media:

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2 thoughts on “GUEST POST ~ Call Me Charles by Holly Day ~ #GuestPost #Excerpt

  1. OMG, the excerpt at my blog broke my heart and this wasn’t any better. I’m gonna write a fanfic version of this book where I make myself a part of the plot, find the morons and hit them on the head. Hard. 😁

    1. Right? OMG, (as the cliche goes….) with friends like those, you don’t need enemies. Give them a whack for me, too, while you’re at it! I’m sure Hubert will make it all worthwhile, though. 😁❤️

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