BLOG TOUR: Book of the Flower Garlands by Nikki Ali (Excerpt & Giveaway + Q&A with author)


Book Title: Book of the Flower Garlands (Archaeologists in Love 1)

Author and Publisher: Nikki Ali

Release Date: November 16, 2021

Genre: Erotic M/M romance

Tropes: Forbidden love, first times, age play 

Themes: Coming out, intimacy & vulnerability 

Length: 118 000 words / 347 pages

Heat Rating: 5 flames

It is not a standalone book. It is the first to be published in its series. 

It ends with a sort of “happily-for-now.”


Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

A steamy MM erotic romance of first times & lush settings. Will these unlikely lovers find a way?


Hassan Elsayed wants to find himself and follow his dreams–at fifty-four, he’s about two decades too late, but who’s counting, really? He’s left his hometown of Luxor, Egypt for Athens, Greece, and fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a writer.

Now, he’s hungry for love. The woman he’s loved for half his life has married someone else. When Hassan meets a beautiful nineteen-year-old boy one summer, their attraction and chemistry are instant, insistent, and impossible to ignore. But it’s his first time with another man, and Hassan is terrified to step into this new fire. Will he let himself be engulfed by the flames? Will he open his heart to this unlikely love he never saw coming?

Set in the lush, sun-drenched Mediterranean summer, to the backdrop of the ancient ruins of Athens, Book of the Flower Garlands weaves a warm, romantic story of sex, sensual pleasures, first loves and first times.


In the evening, Marco and I take a long, slow walk around Kolonaki as the sun is setting. My neighborhood is quiet, steep, cobblestoned. Some parts are narrow and rambling and old, some are lit up, gilt-edged, gleaming with signs for Prada and Gucci. There are trendy new restaurants and the older tavernas, like the one where I work. Young people are drinking cappuccinos at the coffee shops, tourists are taking endless photos of the sunset. I have tried to make this city home.

We decide to walk up Mount Lycabettus. It’s often part of our morning running route, but then it is an opportunity for hill work, not a site for its own enjoyment. Tonight we take a leisurely pace. Children from a family of German tourists scramble up the hill around us. We stop to admire the intricate patterns on the doors of the church on Lycabettus, delicate black tracery on glass, illuminated from within by warm golden light.

“These old churches almost make me wish I were Christian,” I tell Marco.

“I see what you mean,” he says softly, his eyes traveling over the shape of the church, the little white dome on top and the crowning cross.

On an impulse we decide to have dinner at the restaurant near the summit. “I’ve always wanted to eat here,” I say.

“Then let’s eat here,” Marco says, shrugging. He stops. “Let me treat you.” “Sweetheart. You don’t have to.”

“Let me. You’re always paying for stuff and cooking for me and taking care of me. Let me take you to just one dinner at a place you’ve always wanted to go.”

“Okay,” I say. I’d say my Arab ancestors were turning in their sandy desert graves, but surely those venerable old men have long since abandoned me. I am head over heels for a boy less than half my age.

Our breath is duly stolen by the view at our table, placed right at the edge of the mountain, beside a low stone wall. It’s twilight, and every moment the light flees, bleeding from the sky. That has its own bittersweet significance, but then, as the night grows blacker, the lights begin to glow to their fullest perfection. The neighborhoods are tiny handfuls of houses, each block outlined with veins of dark green summer trees. The lights are coming out like the stars we cannot see, like the lanterns the white-shirted waiters come out and set on each table. In the far distance we can see the softness of the sea, in the middle distance the magic radiance of the Parthenon sprawled on the acropolis.

“My God,” Marco says. “I will remember this view for the rest of my life.”

Q&A with Nikki Ali

The prized possession you value above all others…

My laptop! We’ve been through so very much together.

The book that holds everlasting resonance…

The Lover by Marguerite Duras made an enormous impact on me when I was a teenager.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity…

I’m a professional belly dancer! I love taking and teaching classes and Middle Eastern music and going to shows and just everything about this luscious, beautiful art form.

The event that altered the course of your life…

Deciding to get my PhD. It shaped and transformed me and gave me SO much that no one can ever take away from me.

Your early recollections of writing fiction…

I wrote my first novel when I was twelve. It was a fan fiction based on my favorite video game at the time! 😀

The way you would spend your fantasy twenty-four hours, with no travel restrictions…

I’d go straight to Chania, Crete, one of my favorite cities on earth. You can experience it in my novel, Book of the Flower Garlands!

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child…

Don’t wait to “get discovered.” Discover yourself. It’ll make all the difference.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

Do what you love. Commit to what you love! The rest is icing, and it will follow. Promise.

The character you enjoyed writing the most…

I love the protagonist of Book of the Flower Garlands, Hassan. On first glance, he seemed SO different from me. But the more I sank in to his psyche and let his adventure unfold, I realized all of the places where we are the same.

And the promo…

Book of the Flower Garlands is my first published gay romance. It’s a bit of a May/December romance, between Hassan, who is in his 50s, and Marco, who is 19. It takes place in Athens, Greece, where Hassan lives, and where Marco, a university student, is visiting for the summer. These two very different characters fall in love, but their challenge is how they will make their two worlds and lives and geographies align so they can have a future together. It’s a sweet romance, with a lot of tenderness and heart and first times, but it’s also VERY explicit and hot. 😉 Athens is one of my favorite cities in the world—all sun-drenched and full of art and myth and history—and is a beautiful setting for my first published novel.

About the Author

Nikki Ali creates high-quality erotica where love is for everyone, dreams come true, and sensuality is an integrated part of our life.

Nikki is also the editor-in-chief of Mistress M’s Community Publishing House (MMCPH), a new, boutique-style, full-service small publishing house founded on the principles that no matter what our hearts desire to create, there is an audience seeking it; that, by putting our work out into the world, our audience will find us; and that there IS space in the marketplace for the offerings of our hearts.

Connect with Nikki on Instagram @mistressmwriter.

Author Links

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