We’re so pleased to welcome author Melanie Hansen today, with a guest post and exclusive tease from her new book Love and the Exorcism. Enjoy!
If you’re like me, Valentine’s Day might not be one of your favorite holidays. Maybe you’ve been with your significant other for a long time and nobody cares, or you’re single and nobody cares, or—like my character Suzanne in my new short story Love and the Exorcism—you’ve just gone through a painful breakup and you don’t want to care. No matter how we each feel about Valentine’s Day, it’s over, and we’ve all survived it another year…
Discount chocolate for the win!
If for some reason you find yourself on the outs with Valentine’s Day again next year, consider throwing an Anti-Valentine’s Day party like Suzanne did in my story. It was cathartic for her, and bonus, it brought my heroes, Tom and Mario, together!
Here is Suzanne’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Ex-orcism in all its glory, drink recipes and all.
If you’re a Valentine’s Day hater too, enjoy!
Suzanne’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party
First, send out some invites that will really get the point across.
When the big day finally arrives, decorate accordingly…
…and greet your guests with some theme music!
“I Will Survive”
“What’s Love Got to Do With It”
Have some treats out for everyone to nibble on…
While all this is going on, have a variety of the all-important alcoholic beverages available. Suzanne’s favorites, plus recipes, are below!
½ oz. Vodka
½ oz. Rum
½ oz. Tequila
½ oz. Gin
½ oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
2 oz. Lemon/Lime Soda
1 Maraschino cherry
1 Lemon slice
Pour all ingredients except soda in chilled glass filled with ice cubes. Top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and lemon slice.
Cupid’s Broken Arrow
3 oz. Mango Vodka (We used Three-O Mango Vodka)
½ oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Cranberry juice
Splash of Lime juice
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
As an ice breaker for shy guests, or just to have some fun, consider offering these party games and crafts while everyone is still somewhat sober:
Broken Heart Bingo – Before your guests arrive, create grids with boxes. Write a statement in each box. Some suggestions of statements you can use:
- “I have never received a dozen roses.”
- “I still own an old engagement ring.”
- “I’m still friends with my ex.”
- “I have had 2 different dates on the same Valentine’s Day.”
- “I’m still sleeping with my ex.”
- “I have never had a date on Valentine’s Day.”
- “I love Valentine’s Day.”
- “I think Valentine’s Day is a stupid holiday.”
Put the same phrases in a different order on each grid. As guests arrive, put each person’s name in a bag. Then tell everyone to wander around the party and find people to sign each square that holds true for the person signing. After everyone has quite a few signatures, start drawing names out of the bag. The first person to have 5 names in a row is the winner!
Bitter Arts & Crafts – Make sure that everyone coming to the party brings pictures of an ex. (If not everyone has pictures, I’m sure that some people have more than one picture, and will be willing to share). Invest in some permanent markers and create “art” on your ex with the markers. Give them titles like, “My Ex Without Me,” or “Without Makeup.” Another fun activity is to write out your ex’s full name, and create an acronym. For example:
Everyone can share their artwork with the rest of the guests! A prize should be awarded for the best work of art.
I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but I am a huge fan of happily ever afters, and I’m so glad that Valentine’s Day brought Tom and Mario to theirs.
Blurb: Tom Hannity is not boring, despite what his ex-boyfriend says. He loves his circle of family and friends and finds peace in the beauty of flower arranging. Still stinging from his recent breakup, Tom attends an Anti-Valentine’s Day “Ex-orcism,” hoping for some fun and forgetfulness.
Mario Tellez is tired of party boys, and he’s had his eye on Tom for a while. When they run into each other at the Ex-orcism, sparks fly, until an accidentally overheard conversation drives Tom to do something he normally doesn’t do.
What should have been a hot and fun night turns into Tom and Mario seeing each other at their absolute worst, although surprisingly, it brings out the best in them, too. Navigating around the toxic people in their lives isn’t easy, and after a small series of bumps in the road, they finally come around full circle… to Valentine’s Day and laying old demons to rest.
Excerpt: “I think I’ll take a shower,” Tom muttered, pushing up from the chaise, relieved he could stand more or less steadily.
Mario stood too, moving closer and resting his hands on Tom’s hips. “How about some company?” he asked in a low voice. “You know, in case you slip and fall.” He tugged Tom closer.
“No, I hate shower sex!” Tom exclaimed before he could stop himself. Mario’s eyes widened and Tom babbled, “It’s way too hard to stay lubed up under the water, and it’s always so damn awkward and painful, and—”
Mario threw his head back and shouted with laughter, tightening his hands on Tom’s hips to keep him from moving away in mortification. Mario’s brown eyes were sparkling as he looked down into Tom’s. “Okay, fair enough,” he murmured. “When I fuck you for the first time, it’ll be in your bed. That work?”
Heat blasted through Tom, and he moaned, bringing his hands up to clutch Mario’s broad shoulders. Mario wrapped his arms around Tom’s waist and began moving him backward into the condo, in the direction of the bathroom. There was a walk-in shower large enough for two and a set of double sinks. Tom grabbed his toothbrush and scrubbed his mouth out thoroughly, then leaned over the sink to wash his face.
When he stood and caught sight of himself in the mirror, he groaned in dismay. His thick blond hair was sticking up in some places and matted to his head with sweat in others. Dark circles under his hazel eyes made them appear sunken and hollow.
He looked like shit.
Mario leaned into the shower and started the water, holding his hand under it to gauge the temperature before stepping in with a soft moan of pleasure. Tom rested his hip against the sink and watched him for a minute, tracing his gaze over acres of skin and ridged muscles. Jake was more cut, he mused, but his body came from supplements and the gym; Mario was a hard-working man, and it showed.
Tom shucked his clothes and joined Mario in the shower, swallowing hard when he saw how enormously aroused Mario was. He was long, and thick, his cock so hard it was tapping his belly.
“I guess heroin chic and the smell of puke really turns you on,” Tom said, his tone dry, yelping a little as Mario gave his ass a reproving swat. “What? I look like I’ve been sleeping next to a dumpster.”
Mario filled his palm with Tom’s woodsy shampoo and rubbed his hands together, creating a thick lather.
“Turn around,” he rasped, and Tom did, fitting his back to Mario’s front. Mario carded his fingers through Tom’s hair, working the shampoo in, massaging Tom’s scalp with strong fingers and making him groan.
“Mmm,” Mario growled in return, snugging his erection into the crack of Tom’s ass. “I can’t wait to taste you.”
Tom grabbed his body wash and soaped himself thoroughly, being sure to get all his cracks and crevices, enjoying the way his skin tingled with arousal and his nipples pebbled with anticipation. When he was rinsed and clean, he turned to face Mario, sliding his arms around his neck and plastering himself against him.
“Kiss me,” he breathed, and Mario groaned, dipped his head, and took Tom’s mouth in a hot, wet kiss.
Tom’s legs were still a little weak and shaky, and all of a sudden renewed nausea welled up in his throat. He pulled away from Mario and leaned back against the shower wall.
“I’m sorry, Mario. I don’t think I can do this tonight,” he said. “I really fucked myself up.” He tensed a little, not sure what to expect, but Mario just turned off the water and reached for a bath sheet, then wrapped Tom up in it before grabbing one for himself.
“For some reason I’m not feeling all that great myself,” he murmured, and Tom noticed he did look a little pale.
“It has to be all the secondhand alcohol fumes you’re breathing,” Tom said ruefully as they headed into the bedroom. “I can feel it oozing out through my skin.”
Mario didn’t answer, already pulling the covers back on Tom’s bed. “Is it okay if I just crash here for a little while, Tom?”
Tom glanced at the bedside clock, wincing when he noticed that it was almost 3:00 a.m. Mario had been so good to him; no way would Tom just send him off in the middle of the night. He wouldn’t mind falling asleep next to Mario, anyway, and he was already planning how he’d wake him up… maybe a little blowjob torture? He’d been told before it was one of his singular talents, and he couldn’t wait to hear Mario beg.
By the time Tom dried off and used the bathroom, Mario was already sound asleep. Tom slipped in next to him, out cold himself as soon as his head touched the pillow.
About the Author: Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.