Ukuleles & Scrum by Helena Stone :: Release :: Guest Post ::
Title: Ukuleles & Scrum
Series: Mitch & Cain #4
Author: Helena Stone
Publisher: Self Published
Published: 18 October 2019
Length: 68 pages
Keywords : Romance, Ireland, Sports, Collage, Students,
Add To: Goodreads
Falling in love is easy. Building a life together takes more work.
Nine months after getting together, Mitch and Cian are studying in Dublin and sharing an apartment. For both, this is a dream come true and even boring household chores become fun when they do them side by side.
Tensions arise after Cian joins an inclusive rugby club and Mitch a ukulele orchestra. Insecurities, jealousy, and lack of relationship-experience soon lead to resentment, and each struggles to balance romance with their individual interests. After Cian and Mitch accept separate invitations to Halloween parties, hoping the other will accompany them, their doubts grow.
Will All Hallows’ Eve drive a wedge between them or could there be another miracle in the making?
Ukuleles and Scrums is the fourth novella in the Mitch & Cian series. While it could, possibly, be read as a stand-alone story, the reader will enjoy it more if they read A Miracle in the Library, Lessons in Love, and Pride of Place first.
Guest Post With Helena Stone.
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Josh. I’m delighted to share the release of Ukuleles & Scrums (Mitch & Cian #4) with you and your readers. These two young men have been on quite a journey, and this fourth part of their story is no exception. Please stay tuned for all you want to know about this book, an excerpt, and a giveaway. But first I’d like to tell you more about one aspect of the title: Ukuleles.
I’ve been writing for over six years now and all that time I’ve been a little jealous of writers who added playlists to their books. For reasons I don’t understand, I can’t write with music in the background (although spoken word doesn’t bother me at all—go figure) so with one exception, I never had songs to share with my readers.
Of course, when one of my main characters decided he was going to join a Ukulele band, it was no longer possible to avoid at least mentioning songs. And when Mitch, the character in question subsequently decides to use one of those songs as a combination of apology and declaration of love, well, I guess I ended up with something closely resembling a playlist.
I like Ukuleles. There’s something about their size and the sound they make that always makes me happy. In fact, I like them so much that I’ve made up my mind to learn how to play one in the not too distant future. I don’t think you’ll find me performing on YouTube anytime soon (if ever), but I have no doubt I’ll have great fun, on my own, in the privacy of my own home where nobody can hear how bad my singing voice is 😊
Below is a list of the songs Mitch and his band (I’m not revealing the name, you’ll have to read the book to discover that) play in this book. If you click on the title, it should take you to a YouTube video of the song performed on a Uke. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which of these Mitch might end up singing in public, but especially for Cian.
“So, I’ve got a bit of news.” Cian handed the plate he’d just washed to Mitch, who waited with a tea towel in hand.
Although he wouldn’t admit as much out loud, Mitch loved these domestic moments. His favorite was probably changing the sheets because that almost invariably led to them trying to get the new covers smudged almost as soon as they put them down, but any household task they performed together filled him with more joy than the simple job warranted. Which was one of the reasons they rarely used the dishwasher for the two plates and one or two pots they used most days.
“Okay?” Mitch placed the plate in the kitchen cabinet and glanced at Cian. The suppressed excitement in Cian’s voice intrigued him.
“I went and joined a rugby club this afternoon.”
“Yeah,” Cian continued, the elation in his voice growing more pronounced. “I missed it. But joining a new club after coming out”—he shrugged—“I just couldn’t do it.”
That made perfect sense to Mitch. Whenever one of his fellow students asked him about his partner, he found himself hesitating and assessing the person before revealing Cian’s name and gender. “So what changed?”
“I discovered there’s an inclusive rugby club here in Dublin. They’re called The Emerald Warriors, and this afternoon I joined.”
“Inclusive?” Mitch wasn’t sure what that meant. Inclusive of what?
Excitement shone from Cian’s eyes. “As in it’s a team that welcomes players who are gay, or trans, or otherwise queer.” He chuckled. “Even straight people are welcome.”
A gay rugby team. Mitch’s mind zoomed in on the word. He wasn’t at all surprised Cian wanted to play rugby again. He’d watched him compete when he was on the school team back in Castleforest. Cian had not only been good at it but also had always come across as thoroughly enjoying himself on the field. But a team made up of gay men… Mitch pushed the thought away, hoping the action would also take care of the discomfort cramping his stomach, and summoned up a smile.
“Sounds perfect,” he said. “You must be excited.”
Cian’s smile lit up his face. “You bet I am. I can’t wait to start playing again. I wonder where I put my old gear.” He pulled the plug, draining the water from the sink, and walked away.
Mitch placed the last pot back in the cabinet before he followed Cian, berating himself for not being more enthusiastic about Cian’s revelation. Cian’s delight was obvious, and Mitch felt like a dick because he wasn’t able to fully share in that. He wasn’t even sure where his reservations came from, except that the idea of his boyfriend in a scrum with men who might all be attracted to him—and Mitch had yet to meet a person who didn’t find Cian attractive—made his stomach squeeze. He didn’t look forward to spending less time together either. They’d fallen into a nice and comfortable routine since they’d both started classes, and this development was bound to mess that up.
The bedroom no longer resembled the neat place Mitch had left an hour earlier. Despite the confusing emotions keeping him on edge, Mitch couldn’t help smirking and shaking his head in mock despair at the two bags on top of their bed and a collection of shorts, shirts, and other, less easy to identify objects scattered across the floor.
“Can’t find what you’re looking for?” he asked, not trying to hide his amusement.
Cian glanced up at Mitch, inspected his surroundings, and had the grace to grimace and flush. “Sorry about that. I’ll fix it in a min.” He glared at the various items of clothing on the floor, then bent and picked something up. “Gottcha.”
“What’s that?” Mitch squinted at the item consisting more of connected bands of material than solid pieces. He thought he recognized it but didn’t want to hazard a guess and make a fool of himself.
“A jockstrap.” Cian slung one strap over his index finger and swung the piece of underwear around.
“Jockstrap, hey?” Excitement heated Mitch’s blood. “I can’t say I’ve ever seen one of those up close and personal.”
Cian glanced at him, his gaze intense. “I’ll be right back.”
Mitch watched, bemused, as Cian hurried into the bathroom. When Cian returned, moments later, Mitch’s bemusement turned into pure, hot lust when he noticed how well the jock’s pouch encased Cian’s package. “Nice.”
Cian turned on the spot, giving Mitch his first sight of Cian’s bare arse, framed by black straps.
“Very nice.” Mitch didn’t try to hide the heat in his voice. He approached Cian, who had come full circle and faced him again. Wrapping his arms around Cian’s middle, he grabbed both cheeks with his hands and squeezed. “Is there a rule saying you can only wear this when you’re on the field?”
Cian chuckled. “I guess you’re on board with the rugby idea, then?”
Thank you for reading this far. I hope you enjoyed my post and are now curious about Mitch & Cian and their love story. This much reading deserved a reward. 😊 So I’ll give a copy of the e-book of both A Miracle in the Library and Lessons in Love to one of the readers commenting on the UCULELES & SCRUM post over on MM Midnight Cafe’s Facebook Page Click here.
I’ll leave the giveaway open for a week. Please make sure to add contact details to your comment so that I can find you if you win.
Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.
The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.
Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.