Hi everybody, I’m Crystel, and I’m here today to celebrate the release of my World of Love novella GLACIER GOLD. Thanks for having me!
I’m going to talk about a phenomenon that occurs in my story and, sadly, sometimes in real life too: ill-fated flirting.
GLACIER GOLD tells the story of Justin and Andi, and *spoiler alert* they are going to come together in the end (and in an X-rated way too;)). But their road to happiness is a bumpy one. These two couldn’t be more different: Andi, the reserved Austrian snowboard instructor, hasn’t come out yet, while for bubbly Justin from LA, who wears his heart on his sleeve, there’s nothing more natural than to hook up with a guy when he likes his looks. Andi likes Justin too; Justin is reading those heated glances just right. But each time Justin tries to flirt a little, he seems to be saying the wrong thing…
Stepping from one foot onto the other, I wait for him in front of the door with the sign saying Herren. As a matter of fact, I’d really like to take a leak myself, but the urinal is obviously not how this works.
Trying to keep my calm, I focus on the fat scented candle glowing away inside its glass cover on the floor by the bathroom door. It exudes a strong cinnamon aroma. After a few minutes, I start to feel slightly nauseous.
Man, the guy is taking like forever in there! I won’t be able to hold it in much longer if he doesn’t speed up a bit—
With a bang, the door opens and Andi steps through. I jump and almost wet myself for seriously wrong reasons, then quickly step forward and say, “Hi!”
His eyes meet mine, opening wide, and for a couple of long moments I look into that strange, luminous blue.
I forget to breathe. I forget where we are and what I’m here for. He’s holding my gaze, and it’s like I’m losing myself in his eyes, it’s like he’s taking me along on a trip into eternity. But then something gives. His lids start to flutter, his gaze slips. It lingers on the expanse of glittering green spandex that is my chest for another moment or two. He’s breathing hard, biting his lip. Then he turns away from me, presenting me with his gorgeous profile and a vivid, blotchy blush on his neck and cheek.
My brain kicks back into gear. He just eye-fucked my soul or something, and I have to man up now. I have to seize the moment and do what I came to do. He gave me a compliment down in the Glacier Cave, and it’s time to return it.
Grateful I’m prepared, I say my next line.
He doesn’t say thanks or anything or even turn back to me. All he does is utter a kind of choking cough that could mean just about anything. Then he walks off. He simply walks off, down the hallway, tugging at his lederhosen like he needs to make sure they’re covering his butt.
And that’s it.
I know he got my meaning. Hell, how many ways are there to read “I really love your lederhosen”?
And it’s not like the guy doesn’t know any English. He talked completely fluently about eggs at breakfast this morning when Carl wanted all the dirty details about the options on offer. I was pretty impressed about that conversation, actually. It might have been about shit like the specifics of an omelet as opposed to scrambled eggs, but it left no doubt about the fact that Andi speaks English as if it were his mother tongue.
I myself don’t know any foreign languages. All I ever managed was a D in Spanish back in high school.
Hell, how could I not want to get Andi into bed?
Clever, great body, can play the piano. Plus he’s a half god on the snowboard.
And he does have the most beautiful profile—
Have you ever had trouble finding the right words trying to engage a love interest in conversation?
Have you ever had a severe crush on somebody who gave you mixed signals so you didn’t know what the heck was going on?
I’ve been living in a relationship for quite a while now, but I still remember what it was like to fall in love with somebody with confusing reactions. Trying to flirt can be beyond stressful, especially when you’re head over heels in love! But it’s all the more fun to put a character through these trials…
Andi has sent me so many mixed signals I’ve started to doubt my memory. But there’s nothing mixed about that look he just gave me. He knows I noticed, and his lids have started to flutter, but it seems he still can’t make himself turn away.
With my pulse at two hundred or something, I pop out my earbuds and run a hand through my hair, giving him what I hope is an inviting yet nonthreatening smile.
On no account must I give him a reason to run off on me again.
He quickly looks away, continuing to wipe down the counter, or pretending to do so.
His hair has fallen into his face, but even in the candlelight, I can see he has turned a delightful shade of scarlet.
Right. Do something, Justin.
“Andi?” I call out. “May I have a drink? A hot chocolate? Please?”
I’ve learned my lesson. If you order drinks for strategic purposes, don’t go for caffeinated.
Andi clears his throat.
“Of course. Sir.”
He busies himself with preparing a mug of hot chocolate, clattering the dishes, shuffling through cupboards.
Feeling nervous like a bride at the altar, I wait for the moment when he’ll come over.
When he finally does, edging past a chair blocking his way, I’m struck again by his elegant way of moving. I so have a thing for his strong, slim hips. And they are right at my eye level when he places the mug on the coffee table in front of me.
He’s simply serving me a drink, and I know he’s as strung up as I am, or probably more so, but even now there’s that special air of controlled power about him that makes his boarding stand out like it does. It gives me a weird feeling to be sitting there with him towering over me. It makes me acutely aware of the fact I’m shorter than him, and I don’t know why, but I really like that.
Surreptitiously I inhale the fragrance of outdoorsy freshness surrounding him. Oh man, I could get high on just that scent of his.
I almost forget to say thank you. He doesn’t answer when I do, he just gives a nod and retreats, much too quickly.
But he doesn’t leave the room. Instead, he moves over to the fireplace to sweep ashes into a copper bucket, then starts building an intricate structure out of new logs inside the fireplace.
This is my chance to talk to him. I’ve got to say something, now. Something witty and casual—
“Why didn’t you talk to me last night?” I blurt out to his back. “What did I do wrong?
Check out Glacier Gold today!
Up in the Alps, a single night can change your life.
Struggling college student and self-taught graphic artist Justin Bennet isn’t the most self-confident guy, but he knows he’s good at two things: snowboarding and sex. Why does Andi, the hot instructor at the Tyrolean ski resort, pretend Justin doesn’t exist?
Justin becomes all but obsessed with the idea of scoring with the young Austrian. Because for all the man’s reserve, he made it quite obvious he likes Justin—at least from the neck down.
When Justin books a private heliboarding trip with Andi as his guide, he thinks he’s one step away from striking gold.
But then the forces of nature take over, trapping the men in a snowstorm, and things get real. What was supposed to be about some freeriding fun and inviting a closeted guy to start exploring his options suddenly becomes about survival—and the hidden truths of the soul.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
The first man Crystel fell in love with was Beauty’s Beast. Next came Robin Hood, then Mr. Darcy. Two decades of married life later, she still loves fictional men—especially when there are two of them who are meant to be! She likes it best when she can create their plights and fights herself, and she can always be counted on to throw in some sizzling hotness and a lot of feels. Here’s her author promise: no fade-outs when things get steamy or emotional, and an ending that will leave you smiling.
Crystel is a lawyer by training, a lover of pastry, and a believer in Happy Ever Afters. Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, and a North Sea girl at heart, she lives in the beautiful Austrian Alps with her husband and four kids.
PS She loves reader mail!