Faith Ashlin: Holidaying in Britain and Giveaway

Faith Ashlin is one of my best friends. I’ve known her longer than publishing, longer than fanfiction. She is the reason I (Sue) am here, and I’m ecstatic to get her on the blog, especially promoting her new book, Knights and Butterscotch. Leave a comment here to win a copy of her new book. The giveaway will close 9am GMT, Wednesday, 25th September. GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!


Picture the scene: I was up in my elderly parent’s loft, looking for a suitcase among the spiders and Christmas decorations when I found a box of old photos. Without thinking I sat down in the dust and started to look through them. Well, you have to, don’t you?

They were all from our family holidays. There was I at 13, with a hideous haircut (I was aiming for trendy but ended up with a mullet) and tombstone teeth too big for my face, playing Swingball next to a caravan. Suddenly all the memories came flooding back. The caravan was in Kent and belonged to my aunt. We’d often go there and I’d lust – in my awkward and gawky way – after the boy, two caravans along. It was dilapidated and old, on a site with no facilities, and the toilet block was the other side of the field. There was one tiny shop that sold bread, milk and my favourite Fab lollies. But, somehow, those holidays felt magical. I’m sure the summers were warmer and lasted longer, even the sea was bluer.

We always went on holiday at least once a year and the whole family came along: aunts, uncles, cousins and grand parents. We never went abroad, we didn’t have the money, and we stayed in some really scabby holiday camps and caravans, but why go anywhere else when Britain was perfect?

Now I’d started on the photos I couldn’t stop. Further down was a picture of me at six dressed in my mum’s cardigan after I fell in a pond. Mum was cooking sausages on a tiny primus stove and we were all waving to the camera. We looked like a bunch of down and outs, but the sun was shining and it was beautiful. I think it was then that I fell in love with the British countryside in all its variations. That’s the great thing about Britain, there’s so much variety. The high cliffs at Dover, the splendour of the Yorkshire Moors, sandy beaches, stony ones, Snake Pass in the Peak District, the rolling hills of the South Downs.

Another photo showed an older me, burying my dad in the sand, somewhere in Devon. Okay, so we had our coats on in June, but it was a gorgeous beach with sand that went on for what seemed like miles.

Next came a photo of a very sulky teenage me. Oh I must have been murder to live with; I was far too cool to walk the cliff path in Dorset with the family! But even now, I can remember the view was stunning and the air clean, with a tang of the sea.

It got me thinking about holidays with my own children. We’ve often been abroad but there’s something special about the ones in Britain. We’ve visited steam trains, mines, theme parks, caves and castles. Yes, it rains a lot but that’s part of the fun. Don’t we all pack umbrellas and welly boots, as well sun cream and swimsuits for a holiday here?

We’ve eaten our soggy sandwiches in the car as the rain poured down the windows, walked over the moors when it was so cold my youngest said his head was going to fall off. But we’ve also spent hours in the sunshine, having fun with an old blow up boat on rivers I’ve forgotten the name of, sweltering as we plodded up a Welsh mountain or playing our version of non-stop cricket until it got too dark to see. That’s the UK for you and you have to love it.

Our holidays abroad were more glamorous and sophisticated and I thoroughly enjoyed them. But there’s something wonderful about exploring the UK. I’ve loved it all. Even in the rain.

Even the time I was asleep on the beach in Charmouth and my eldest (aged about six at the time) tried to show me the fossil he’d found embedded in a large stone by dropping it on my head. Yes, the trip to A&E was unexpected, but we found a really great shop selling crab lines on the way back!

Now my children are older they don’t come away with us as often. I’m hoping they will again when they have children of their own. But, in the meantime, I have more time to read and write about beautiful men falling in love. That can’t be a bad thing!

Knights and Butterscotch

A story of modern-day knights, paint-splattered artists and a lightning bolt of attraction that hits hard enough to make a knight think he’s going crazy. And then things get complicated.

The year is now, the place is somewhere like here but the feeling is very different. Matti Elkin is a modern-day knight and, while he may not have a horse or a suit of shining armour, he’s brave and true, has a sense of duty and honour a mile wide and a passionate belief in his king.

There’s a war on and the knights are fighting hard, but while on R&R Matti is hit hard with an overwhelming attraction for Jamie, a tall, handsome painter.

Jamie makes his head spin and his cock harden, and has him acting in ways that make him question his own sanity. But when the war takes an appalling turn, they are both thrown into a world of confusion that has them questioning everything they thought they knew.

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Matti pushed his hair back off his face and blew out a long slow breath. Enough—he’d had enough socialising for now. There was only so much wholesome happiness a man like him could take and he’d had his fill for the time being.

It was pretty damned awesome to see Maxim so happy he glowed as he looked at his bride-to-be. To see her looking back, eyes filled with promise for the future, filled with love and possibility. Matti just hoped—no, prayed—that they could have all they deserved. That events would turn out in the right way for them and that the future…but that was for another time. Now was for the simple love between two people. One that burned bright and would be fulfilled tomorrow at their wedding.

A wedding. It was an interesting thought at a time like this. But right now he’d had enough of small talk and playing nice. After the wedding, and its formal reception, his group would gather to celebrate in their own way. That would be more Matti’s thing, one where he could really relax.

Now he needed cool air and a glass of something very cold because it was damned hot in the banqueting suite. He stepped up to the bar and asked the bartender for water and ice, smiling when it was handed over quickly. Air, and the relief from being polite, were next on his agenda. He pushed his way between the groups of chatting people and made for the glass doors out onto the big balcony overlooking the city.

The noise stopped as soon as he closed the heavy door behind him and the respite was palpable. Space and peace, cool air on his face, they all drew him forward. Then there were the shimmering lights below. All those people living, loving, dying. They called out something to him that he couldn’t understand and wasn’t sure he was ready to hear. Or maybe it was all only in his head.

He was being daft again and there was nothing else for it but to laugh at himself. The world below didn’t need him, wasn’t asking anything of him. It didn’t even know he was there.

He rested both forearms on the ledge of the curved, stone balcony edge and looked down. Max was getting married. That was enough to make anyone smile. The amazing Isobel had finally decided it was time and they were making it formal and permanent. It kind of put everything in perspective.

“Anything interesting going on out there?” a voice asked from the darkness at his side.

“Oh.” Matti turned but couldn’t see the man’s face. “I didn’t know there was anyone out here.”

“Doesn’t matter. I just thought, as you were studying it so intently, there had to be something going on in the big wide world.”

“Nothing as far as I know. I only came out for a bit of peace and to look at the pretty lights.”

“Then I should let you have your peace.” The man took a step forward and Matti saw him properly for the first time. “I’ll go.”

“No,” Matti said, louder and with more feeling than he’d expected, intended. “I don’t want you to go.” Now that was just a plain stupid thing to say to a complete stranger. “I only… I…” He stopped, knowing how foolish he sounded, feeling his cheeks flare and the skin on his face tighten.

“Are you all right?” the man asked.

Matti took a step away as the stranger came closer, and now they were both in the light.

Tall, was Matti’s first thought. Very tall with wide shoulders and thick hair and the most startled look on his face Matti had seen outside a comic book. No, not startled. Shocked and a little dazed. “I think maybe I should be asking you if you’re okay,” he said. He wasn’t quite sure how he managed to get the words out in the right order, his mind was whizzing so fast. Tall and right-looking and something else he had no intention of thinking about.

He might not be thinking about it but his blood was pulsing under his skin—he’d swear he could feel it.

“I…” It was the man’s turn to stammer, but he didn’t take his eyes from Matti’s. “I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. A big truck. One that’s going very fast and landed right on my head.”

“Trucks don’t hit you on the head, they smack into you. Falling aeroplanes or meteors hit you on the head.”

“And you’d know this because?” The man smiled and Matti wasn’t sure if he was going to be sick for all the wrong reasons.

“’Cause a meteor just smacked me on the head?” Matti couldn’t look away or breathe properly. Yeah, breathing properly—deep and slow—that was a good idea. It might stop him talking stupid crap to a perfect stranger for a start. “That bitch hurt and now I feel like I have my skin on inside out.”

“I…” The man put out a hand, not quite touching Matti but looking like he wanted to. “This is…”

“Yeah, it is,” Matti agreed, knowing just what he meant.

“Is this weird?” the man asked, his face scrunching up like something was hurting but in a good way.

“Weirdest thing I’ve ever known.” There really wasn’t anywhere else Matti wanted to look, anyone else he wanted to look at. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to stop the crazy talk.

The man took a deep breath, holding it as he stared at Matti. Then he gave a curt nod, and held his hand out properly. “Jamie. I’m Jamie or my name’s Jamie or something.”

“You think your name’s Jamie?”

“No, pretty sure it’s Jamie. I’m Jamie, who are you?”

“Matti. My name’s Matti and…” He grasped Jamie’s hand and lost the ability to speak. Jamie’s hand sat so perfectly in his, it seemed to mould itself to his palm, skin flushing and fusing and tingling as their hands settled together. And when did he think such crap? He guessed it was better than saying it out loud.

He looked up, his breathing still not working right, and Jamie didn’t look much better than he felt. Jamie’s pupils had dilated to ridiculous proportions, his face was flushed and there was a sheen of sweat across his forehead. He was trying to say something but he didn’t seem to be having any more success at forming a coherent sentence than Matti.

“I…you…” Jamie said, clutching Matti’s hand tighter.

“Yeah,” Matti agreed again, nodding furiously, although he knew it made no sense.

For the longest moment they stood like that, at the edge of the balcony, palms pressed tight in what looked like a handshake that had become frozen in time, with the rest of the world forgotten. They were so still they could have been a photograph, a moment captured forever.


Who is Faith?

When Faith was clearing out her attic many years ago, she found a book she’d written as a ten-year-old. On rereading it she realised that it was the love story of two boys. Over the years her fascination with the image of beautiful young men, coiled together as they fell head over heels in love, became a passion for her.

Since that first innocent book—written in purple sparkly pen—she has written many stories, set in varied worlds, but always with two men finding their way to happiness.

Still nothing much has changed because now she can be found in a daydream, wandering around the supermarket, or sitting in a meeting at work still dreaming up stories.


Books by Faith





8 thoughts on “Faith Ashlin: Holidaying in Britain and Giveaway

  1. What I often notice on books are the fonts used for the title and author’s name. I have to say that how the title is arranged on this book and which fonts were chosen are gorgeous.

  2. When I was a child every summer we visited my Aunt who lived just outside Skegness and we went to the beach most days or visited relatives who lived in the surrounding area. Those were the best holidays it must of rained at some point but I could never remember it doing.

  3. I love the name of this book, just great! And a good excerpt too. We used to go to Butlins in Barry Island and Pwllheli (and yes, I googled the spelling!) when kids and my dad also has lots of awful 70’s fashion photos of us in Plymouth and up various welsh and scottish mountains! Last year at October half term we were at Lake Windermere 24degrees, eating ice cream! Next month, off to Scotland so taking jumpers!!

  4. You make me want to go to UK. I think it will be an interesting experience. But, when is the best time to go, when it’s not too cold or too hot? Is it possible?

    • Normally summer would be good but this year was very hot. I’d suggest May/June as a good time usually. Generally decent weather, warming up but not too much build up of heat yet. Also, depends on where you are going and what doing – but always be prepared for rain, we are an island after all!

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