Friday, November 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton ~ Exclusive #Excerpt #Giveaway

Exclusive Excerpt: Gabe’s first sight of Mack

By Eli Easton

Happy almost-December! I’m looking forward to a good six weeks of Christmas books and movies. How about you? ?? I can hardly believe this is my fifth year releasing a Christmas novella. I hope you’ll give it a read and that it brings a little sparkle to your holiday season.

The protagonists in “Desperately Seeking Santa” are Gabe, a journalism student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Mack “the Mountain” McDonall, a 6’10”, 285-pound star college wrestler. Gabe first sees Mack (and drools over him) when he attends a wrestling match with his friend, Jordan. Jordan sets Gabe and Mack up, but it doesn’t go too well at first, thanks to Gabe’s callous-sounding remarks about how he intends to “out” a mystery Santa who performs at a local charity dinner. Of course, eventually Gabe convinces Mack that he’s not a Scrooge and deserves a chance.

I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt from the book here. This is the first time Gabe sees Mack. In the scene, Mack is fully in his element at a wrestling match. Let’s take a look at this unusual guy through Gabe’s eyes…

EXCERPT – Introducing Mack “the Mountain” McDonall

Owen walked over to the team bench below us and dropped to the seat just as the announcer came on again. “And, finally, the only undefeated wrestler in Badger history, weighing in at a massive 285, and ranked number one in the Big Ten, it’s Mack ‘the Mmmmmmountain’ McDonall!”

The crowd noise had died down after Owen, but now it ratcheted back up to maximum decibels. I barely heard it. Because… fuuuuck. What the hell was I seeing? Into the arena jogged the biggest guy I’d ever laid eyes on. Not just big, the man was huge. He had to duck his head to come in through the double doors from the hallway. He slapped hands with the coach as he went by, and the coach looked like an insignificant twig.

Tall? He had to be close to seven foot, like one of those pro basketball players. Big all over? Dios, yes. His thighs looked like pillars, with thick slabs of muscle veeing over his knees. His shoulders were massive, his biceps and forearms sculpted, and his pecs and six-pack stood out clearly under the thin fabric of his red singlet. The guy was not just big, he was ripped.

Naturally, my eyes drifted to a certain area. Hey, it’s not every day you see a male specimen like this one. I was curious. He appeared to be wearing compression shorts under his singlet. Even so, there was a considerable lumpiness in that region that said the guy was proportional everywhere.

Jordan reached over with two fingers and gently brought my jaw up to close my mouth.

“Homina,” I said.

Jordan snorted. “Pretty sure that’s not a word. Wanna try again, Socrates?”

I ignored him, caught up as the crowd began to chant, “Mountain! Mountain! Mountain!”

Mountain? Indeed. The massive land formation in question raised his arms. He did a slow circle to the crowd, flexing his ginormous biceps and baring his teeth. It was like a scene from Mad Max, where the super-scary villain comes into the death-match arena. I swear to God.

When the Mountain turned toward us, I got a good look at his face. His short curly brown hair stuck out around a black head guard. His face was tough and a bit plain, like you’d expect a boxer to have. Heavy jaw. Clean shaven. Flattish nose. It was a strong face, a super masculine face, not unattractive but sort of hard and off-putting. Then his eyes swept over us and paused briefly on Jordan. His look softened for a moment with recognition, and, Dios, my knees went a little weak.

Also? Having him look in our direction made my stomach squoosh in anxiety, as if I was in the crosshairs of a predator.

Or something like that.

The announcer started explaining the rules, and the wrestler called “the Mountain” loped over to the team bench. He plopped down to sit next to Owen, who looked very small by comparison. I swear I felt the bleachers shudder when he dropped.

Jordan waved a hand in front of my face.

I blinked and looked at him. “Who the hell is that?” My voice sounded awed.

“Oh look, it can talk,” Jordan said wryly.

I elbowed him. “Come on. Dish.”

“That’s Mack. He’s crazy big, huh?”

“That’s not a man, that’s a zip code,” I breathed. A really, really intimidating, yet fascinating zip code.

“He’s not really like that.”

“Huh?” I shook my head and gave Jordan my attention.

“Mack. He acts like a Neanderthal for the fans, but in person, he’s sort of quiet and serious.”

That seemed unlikely to me. “How do you know?”

Jordan gave me an incredulous look. “Um… because he’s on Owen’s team? They’re not besties or anything, but Owen usually rooms with him on away matches. He prefers Mack because he’s not up late goofing off. He takes wrestling as seriously as Owen does.”


The clock headed toward 9:00 p.m. and things picked up. The last few wrestlers were of a better caliber, even I could tell. And then… then they called Mack “the Mountain” McDonall. Weight class 285.

His weight had slipped by me when he’d been introduced the first time, I’d been so dazzled by the sight of him. But two hundred eight-five mother-fucking pounds. Holy Godzilla. He was literally twice the man I was!

The Mountain got up and walked to the center floor, shaking out his muscles and rotating his neck. I could not stop staring. Even his butt was huge, and not fat either. Just… massive meatiness. The guy he was wrestling got up from the Maryland team’s bench. He was big too, though not in the same way as Mack. The Maryland wrestler looked like a football player. He was at least a foot shorter and thick all around with a big neck and a definite gut.

Jordan leaned in. “Two eighty-five is the highest weight class in college wrestling. These are the big boys!”

“No shit,” I muttered.

The two wrestlers arranged themselves in the center of the red circle, staring at each other from about two feet apart. Intimidation wafted off them like a miasma. The Maryland guy put in a mouth guard and rubbed one fist with the open palm of his other hand, as if polishing off the head of a hammer. Mack clenched and unclenched his fists. He ground his feet on the floor like he was trying to screw them in place. Like: No way are you gonna move me, bitch! A thrill of tension went up my spine, and I grabbed Jordan’s thigh and squeezed.

“Ow,” Jordan complained.

And then, before I was ready, if I’m honest, the whistle blew and they were on each other. At first, they plowed into each other’s chests, thighs straining, arms wrapping around anything they could grab. The Maryland guy was considerably shorter but aggressive. They looked like two steam locomotives running into each other on the tracks, each one trying to push the other out of the way. Irresistible force meets unstoppable object.

I couldn’t even imagine how much strength it would take to hold against the Mountain, but for a moment, the Maryland guy did.

His face showed the strain, though, turning red. Maybe trying to hasten things along, he grabbed the Mountain’s waist, digging in with his fingers, his biceps bulging as he tried to twist. But the Mountain never moved. He let the guy try for a few humiliating seconds. Then Mack reached over the Maryland guy’s back with those big hands, grabbed the guy’s hips and lifted his feet off the ground.

Lifted him. Off. The ground. By reaching over his back and pulling up.

Damn. That was… how could he lift at that angle? And the guy was so heavy too. But somehow, The Mountain did, his biceps straining, mouth grimacing.

In a heartbeat, there was a flip and a wham! The Maryland guy was on the mat on his back with Mack on top of him. Maryland struggled, moving this way and that, rocking his body to keep his shoulders up. He wrapped a calf around the back of one of Mack’s knees and it looked like he was trying frantically to scoot out from under him.

But Mack pressed that massive chest down over the guy’s head, and pinned one of his arms, not letting him move an inch. Dios. It looked like he’d suffocate the Maryland dude!

I squeezed Jordan’s thigh harder. He punched me in the arm. I ignored him.

It wasn’t the sight of Mack dominating the other wrestler that was so exciting. I’ve always been a super independent, mouthy guy. I don’t like being told what to do and can’t imagine enjoying being shoved around. In your dreams, bravucón. No, that wasn’t it. But seeing the strength of Mack, seeing that massive body work so smoothly and gracefully and powerfully like that, the sheer size of him….

Homina. Homina.

The ref dropped to his belly to peer under Mack’s body. He looked for what felt like a long time, but was probably only a few seconds, while Mack dug in his feet. Then the ref blew his whistle and slapped the mat. It was over. The whole thing had probably taken under a minute, but it had been the most exciting minute of my life. My heart was going loco.

The crowd went mad, cheering and whooping. Someone started a chant: Mountain. Mountain. Mountain. Mack rose off the poor, squashed Maryland wrestler with a light hop and offered his hand to help his opponent up. The guy accepted and was pulled to his feet.

Jordan poked me in the ribs, hard. I released my death grip on his thigh. “Sorry,” I said sheepishly.

He gave me a stern glower. “Next time, I’ll bring a pillow for you to grab. If I’m going to get bruised thighs, I’d prefer to have fun while doing it.”

I heard his complaint, but my blood was still pumping too high to pay much attention. I jumped up and chanted “Mountain!” with the crowd, continuing until I was practically the last one standing. Finally, I dropped to the seat and gave Jordan a wide-eyed look.

He cracked a smile. “So Mr. I-Hate-Sports has gotten smacked by the wrestling fairy.”

“No.” I snorted. Hardly. Right. Like I really cared about wrestling.

But I couldn’t stop staring at the Mountain as the ref held up his arm. He did the whole slap his chest and bare his teeth thing. But then a genuinely pleased smile flickered across his face. I blinked. Like in that moment when he’d spotted Jordan, that softer look was as incongruous on him as pink bows were in a wolverine’s mane. But… sort of nice?

Then he did a few more angry fist pumps for the crowd before going back and dropping onto the bench. This time, I anticipated the slight shudder of the bleachers when he sat down and it gave me a thrill.

“He’s undefeated,” Jordan said.

“Huh?” I was still watching as Mack took a long drink of water from a bottle, those massive shoulders flexing.

Jordan flicked my ear with his middle finger.

“Ow!” I glared at him, rubbed the spot. “That hurt, cabrón!”

“I think you need an oil change in there. Your gears keep getting stuck.” Jordan sniggered. “Lube on Aisle 10!”

I rolled my eyes. “I’ve never seen anything like that. I mean, not in real life.”

Have a very merry Christmas and enjoy “Desperately Seeking Santa”.

Eli Easton

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 50,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Reese Dante


Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?

November 22 - Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
November 24 - Diverse Reader
November 27 - The Novel Approach
November 29 - Alpha Book Club

Author Bio

Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

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