Russ & Esteban’s Guide to Hosting the Holidays
by Annabeth Albert
Hi! I’m so happy to be here today talking about MR. RIGHT NOW, my holiday romance release which is out now and also in KU. It’s a neighbors-to-lovers, fake boyfriend, opposites attract romance with all the flavors of a season I love so much. I love list posts where the characters get a chance to take over the spotlight, so I thought I’d bring you Russ and Esteban’s tips for how (not) to host the holidays!
- Plan ahead! Holiday breakups have a way of throwing off ALL your careful plans, so be sure you love the one you’re with ahead of time!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! That cute neighbor next door? Maybe he owns the pot you need AND might be just what YOU need too!
- Get inventive! Cocktails in juice glasses? Improvised Appetizers? Don’t be scared to try new things!
- Make extra! You never know when the perfect fake boyfriend will come along to be your new plus one.
- Decorate! Beige is not a holiday color scheme, my friends. Think color!
- Try new things! Foods, flavors, and traditions from other cultures can add something special to your holiday season.
- Find someone cute for cleanup duty! Be careful not to go falling for him though…
- Be sure to snuggle up afterwards to celebrate your successful gathering!
- Eggnog flavored first kisses are the best!
Want more Esteban and Russ? I hope you check out MR. RIGHT NOW! Thank you so much for having me stop by today!
About Mr. Right Now
He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?
When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.
For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.
And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.
Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!
Available at: Amazon
An Excerpt from Mr. Right Now
“Russ!” A very tall, very pregnant woman engulfed the big guy in a hug. But right as Esteban was about to slip away, she locked her gaze on him. “Oh! And this must be the new guy! We’re so delighted to meet you.”
“Yes, we’re so happy for Russ,” an older, elegant woman with cropped hair added.
Russ looked utterly miserable standing behind the women, expression stricken, like Esteban’s nephews after hearing one too many siguanaba monster stories.
Hell. Russ apparently hadn’t told them about the breakup. And now he had to come clean, which would undoubtedly cast a shadow over the gathering and make Russ’s predicament the center of attention. That had to be the last thing Russ wanted.
Esteban’s stomach churned unhappily in sympathy. If Esteban had figured out one thing about Russ in their time in the kitchen, it was that he was way more comfortable talking about others than himself. He wished there was some way to spare Russ the humiliation.
Wait. They don’t even know his name. Wasn’t that what Russ had said about his ex?
Esteban tried to catch Russ’s eyes. Should I pretend? Want me to?
He’d never had a blockbuster role, but Esteban wasn’t some scenery chewer either. He could still act, spare a nice guy a little awkwardness, and maybe ease his holiday burden. That earlier moment when Russ had talked about leaving the marines still lingered in Esteban’s brain. He understood all too well that change was hard. And Russ had surely been through enough of it.
Esteban’s unspoken question seemed to hang between them for an eternity. Russ’s nose wrinkled as his mouth twisted. Then he gave an almost imperceptible nod.
“Russ, aren’t you going to introduce us to your boyfriend?” the tall woman, who had to be Judy, prompted while her husband juggled both a pie and the toddler.
“This is…uh…” Russ looked like he’d rather be auditioning for a hemorrhoid cream ad rather than deal with his family. He was back to the dejected guy he’d been when Esteban had met up with him at the dumpster. And that just wouldn’t do.
“Esteban. Or you can just call me the boyfriend. I’m easy.” With a wink, he stuck out a hand for Judy. He could do this, could act the part, and remove that air of failure from Russ’s otherwise impressive self.
Russ’s jaw had fallen open wide enough to land a 747. “Yeah…”
Roll with it, Esteban tried to tell him with a quick smile his direction.
“And you’re charming. Rusty, you didn’t tell me he was charming.”
“I didn’t know.” The grateful wonder in Russ’s tone was enough to convince Esteban that this was worth a few hours of pro-bono acting.
“What do you mean you didn’t know? You big goof.” Judy lightly docked her brother’s shoulder. She then shook Esteban’s hand, and introduced, her husband, Bob, and his mother, Connie, and the toddler, Benny.
“Here, let me take the pie,” Esteban offered. “Russ, you can help with their coats?”
“Yeah.” Russ continued to sound delightfully befuddled. As Esteban passed with the pie, Russ lowered his voice and asked, “What did you get yourself into?”
“Nothing I can’t handle.” And as he took the pie to the kitchen, he could only hope he wasn’t lying.
About Annabeth Albert
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Mr. Right Now joins her many other critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series and stand-alone titles. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and particularly loves uncovering unique main characters. In her personal life, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.
As part of this blog tour, Annabeth is giving away a $5 Amazon Gift Card!! To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway unless otherwise stated but are still welcome anyway.
Don’t forget to check out Nikya’s review of Mr. Right Now to see what she thought of it!