Release Blitz ~ Flowers Under My Pillow by Nell Iris (Reviews + Excerpt + Giveaway)


Book Title: Flowers Under My Pillow

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: June 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope: Soul mates

Themes: Older characters (40+), instant connection, meet cute

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 17 477 words

It is a standalone story



Buy Links

JMS Books | Universal Link

Amazon US | Amazon UK


Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.



Smiling brown eyes. A dark beard. Dandelions. Sunny, happy dandelions.

For thirty years, Frode’s had the same dream. Every Midsummer’s Eve since he was a kid accompanying his sister to pick flowers to put under his pillow, he’s dreamed of the same man. A dream he never shares with anyone, that makes him wish for impossible things…like true love.

“It’s you.”

Then one Midsummer’s Eve, the man of Frode’s dreams stands before him in the flesh. Both men recognize each other despite never having met in real life. Both men are instantly drawn to each other and want to know more.

“Who are you, Viljar? Are you even real?”

Their questions are many but do the whys and the hows matter? Or should they allow the Midsummer magic that brought them together to lead the way into each other’s arms? Into each other’s hearts?

Traditional Swedish folklore tells you that if you pick seven kinds of flowers in silence and put them under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, you’ll dream of the man you’ll marry.


When I look around to take in my surroundings, I realize my feet have carried me to the cottage without me noticing, and something catches my attention on the lawn on the other side of the fence.

A closer look reveals a tripod with a big, professional-looking camera attached on top. And underneath it, a man lies on his back, surrounded by a starry sky of tiny white flowers growing low in the grass. I don’t want to disturb him and I’m just about to sneak away when he turns his head toward me.

Warm brown eyes, with crow’s feet radiating out from the corners, meet mine. But it’s his full beard, scattered with dandelions, that makes my heart tumble over itself in my chest.

Smiling eyes. A full beard. Dandelions.


My hand flies to my chest as I forget how to breathe.

It’s him.


The man’s eyes widen, then he springs to his feet, banging his knee into the tripod almost making it topple over, but his arm shoots out, his big hand landing on the camera, stopping it from crashing down onto the grass.

“It’s you,” he says, his voice a deep rumble emanating from the pit of his stomach, vibrating its way to me, settling in my core.

It’s you.

What does he mean? Does he recognize me, too?

“It’s you,” he says again as he takes a few hesitant steps in my direction. His eyes never leave my face.

“It’s you,” I echo, brows furrowed.

The improbability of it all, of my recurring dream materializing and standing in front of me, makes me take a step backward. He leaps forward, dislodging a couple of the dandelions from his beard by the sudden movement, and I watch them sail to the ground.

When I look up at him again, it’s as though I’m zooming out of my body and look at the two of us from a distance. Two men, separated by a white picket fence, staring at each other as though they’ve seen a ghost, as though they both think they must be hallucinating. His features are so familiar; I know every line radiating from the corner of his eyes, every strand of his beard. I know all the nuances of brown in his dark eyes; as though someone swirled chocolate into a deep well of coffee and then sprinkled some gold into the mix to make it irresistible. I know the sensitive setting of his mouth. I know the intense gaze.

It makes me dizzy, and I stumble but manage to keep myself upright. I take another wobbly step backward.

“Don’t go,” he says. “Please.” He stops but holds out his hand as though he wants to touch me to make sure I’m real.

The feeling is mutual. How is this even possible? How can the man I’ve dreamed about every Midsummer these last thirty years be right here a few steps from me? As though I’ve dreamed him into existence.

I drag my gaze away from his face and take in the rest of him. He’s tall and broad-shouldered, his biceps are straining the short sleeves of his button-down shirt. He’s got a rounded belly and meaty thighs filling out his faded jeans, and his big wide feet are bare in the grass.

Heat stirs between my hips. God, he’s not only the literal man of my dreams, but he’s hot as sin, too. When I force myself to look away from his body, our gazes meet.

“You recognize me, too,” he says, eyes pleading. “I can tell from your reaction.”

I dip my chin once. “I do.”

My heart flutters in my chest like the wings of a colibri. Another dandelion falls from his beard and my gaze follows it down as it lands softly on the ground.

My mind spins with questions and it’s making me dizzy again. How can the man from my dreams stand before me in the flesh? A living, breathing human being? A living breathing human being who recognizes me too?

When our eyes meet again, I read the same confusion in him.


~ * ~ Jos Review ~ * ~

5 Stars

Nell Iris writes beautiful, perfect short stories. She is the master of the genre, her stories manage to capture a love story in the shortest of forms. This is another beautiful addition to her catalogue.

This has an element of fantasy—can you dream about your future love? Frode carries a midsummer tradition of putting flowers under his pillow at the age of 10 and dreams of a man. He repeats the tradition and his dreams continue until, 30 years later, he goes for a walk on the midsummer eve that leads him to something unexpected.

This is a warm, beautiful, sweet story. There is such joy between the lead characters, such happiness when they meet. I loved this story and cannot recommend it strongly enough. A little slice of perfection.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement.***


~ * ~ Annies Review ~ * ~

4.5 Stars
I really enjoy well-written short stories and novellas and Flowers Under My Pillow is a prime example as to why. With a lovely nod to Swedish folklore, a dash of whimsy, and a resounding story about finding that special someone, this story was well-balanced and beautifully written, leaving me with a full and happy heart.

I loved how honest and accessible Frode and his quiet hope to find a soulmate was throughout Flowers Under My Pillow. The author does a fabulous job not only fleshing out Frode, Viljar, and some secondary characters, but also brings the beautiful forest scenery and magic of Midsummer’s Eve celebrations to life. These pieces, together, made for an enjoyable story full of hope, promise, and faith wrapping with a simple but sweet, love story.

For me, the mark of a good short or novella is wishing I had more time with the characters or in the book. While I wasn’t left unsatisfied with the resolution of Flowers Under My Pillow in the least, I definitely ended with a wistful desire to spend just a bit more time among the picturesque Swedish landscape. If you are in search of a simple but lovely story, with a magical setting, this is definitely worth the read.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***


~ * ~ Jamies Review ~ * ~

4.5 Stars

Swedish folklore says picking and placing 7 different flowers under your pillow on Midsummer’s Eve will bring dreams of your future husband. Flowers Under My Pillow by Nell Iris tells a story of great love 30 years in the making. Iris brings this beautiful tale of destined love to life in great detail.

This was such a sweet story to read at the beginning of summer. Frode and Viljar’s first meeting was so sweet and made my heart swell. They have such respect for the moments they share. Viljar is definitely book boyfriend material.

This is a quick and festive book to read with a great cup of coffee on a sunny afternoon. There is no angst and I found it to be a great palate cleanser after reading some heavier stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement. ***

~ * ~ Annas Review ~ * ~

4.5 Stars

Flowers Under My Pillow is the first book written by Nell Iris that I have ever read and I hope it’s not the last! I was intrigued from the beginning and was not disappointed as the story progressed. 

Frode has been placing flowers under his pillow every Midsummer’s Eve in hopes of catching a glimpse of his future husband in his dreams. And dream he does! What he doesn’t realize is that his dreams are closer than he thinks! 

This story was very short, only two chapters long, but the whole thing felt very dream-like to me. The descriptions are beautiful, the chemistry is fiery and the flowers don’t lie! The only thing I wish I had was more story! I think you’ll love this tale if you give it a try! 

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement. ***


About the Author

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.


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