Review of Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

Borrowed from the Secret Intelligence Service cipher department to assist Briers Allerdale – a field agent returning to 1920s London with news of a dangerous anarchist plot – Miles Siward moves into a ‘couples only’ boarding house, posing as Allerdale’s ‘wife’. Miles relishes the opportunity to allow his alter ego, Millie, to spread her wings but if Miles wants the other agent’s respect he can never betray how much he enjoys being Millie nor how attractive he finds Allerdale.

Pursuing a ruthless enemy who wants to throw Europe back into the horrors of the Great War, Briers and Miles are helped and hindered by nosy landladies, water board officials, suave gentlemen representing foreign powers and their own increasing attraction to each other.

Will they catch their quarry? Will they find love? Could they hope for both?

The clock is ticking.

Review: A huge ***** from me.

I am new to Elin Gregory’s writing, but I heard great things about Eleventh Hour, and after a particularly fractious day, I treated myself to the book. I was not disappointed. I have a particular fondness for tales set in the first half of the twentieth century, and Elin’s expert touch drew me into the pre-war non-technological world. There is something much more exciting about an era where it was people rather than gadgets that did the legwork, and coded messages have to be left in unexpected places.

Briers and Miles are joy to read, particularly as they get to know each other. Elin handled Miles to Millie in a way I didn’t expect. I’m used to stories where the ‘wife’ stomps around unhappy at having to play a woman. This was different, and such a pleasure in the way Briers reacts to Miles’ night-time revelation, and then takes time to court him.

Much of the book is based in a boarding house, and I loved the way Elin describes the relationships between the couples, and especially Miles posing as a woman. There is a particularly delicate scene between Millie and one of the other wives under the guise of hemming a skirt.

I’m not going to give it away , but Eleventh Hour was a good old-fashioned romp of a plot. This book is a joy to read and if you like stories about spooks and old-fashioned thrillers in a London setting, with a large dose of romance, I highly recommend this book.

Highly recommended.

~~

A suggested similar book I’ve enjoyed.

London, the 1930s: With the cooperation of a top-ranking scientist and his son, Tom Langton and Robert Darnley are sent in as bait for a gang that uses blackmail to steal industrial secrets at a time when Hitler’s rise to power in Germany threatens Europe. The two men are friends, but they each have secrets of their own – and both are well aware that homosexuality is against the law. Living in close quarters, having to portray an illegal relationship, adds unexpected tensions to an already dangerous situation.

New Release: Double Scoop by Clare London

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AboutTheBook

DoubleScoopFSTITLE: Double Scoop

SERIES: With a Kick #8

AUTHOR: Clare London

PUBLISHER: Jocular Press

COVER ARTIST: Lou Harper

LENGTH: 45,000 words

RELEASE DATE: April 07, 2016

BLURB: A sudden disaster strikes everyone’s favourite ice cream shop, With A Kick. Not only does it threaten the livelihood of its owner, Patrick, but also his loyal assistant Lee. The last thing in the world Patrick would ever want to do is hurt Lee, either physically or emotionally. Why would he? He’s been falling in love with Lee since the day Lee invited himself into the shop’s business and Patrick’s life. But familiar and deeply-held insecurities hold Patrick back – he’s too gruff for Lee, too old, and his labour-of-love business is never going to make him rich.

Lee is weary of trying to make Patrick see how much he admires and cares for him. To Lee, it’s a very straightforward situation. Patrick is sexy, Patrick is smart, Patrick needs Lee’s help – and Lee needs Patrick in his life as more than a boss. All the characteristics Patrick finds inhibiting, Lee finds attractive. However, if Patrick’s apparently never going to make a move on Lee, how long should Lee wait to make his own move? Maybe Patrick thinks Lee is too clingy, too immature. Maybe Lee should give up his romantic hopes completely. If, that is, he can bear to do it.

The disaster at the shop brings them a whole new opportunity to work – and love – together to make a go of things. They’ve both got to look at each other in a whole new way. With the help of all their With A Kick friends, this could be make or break for the reluctant couple!

Excerpt

 

Patrick liked this time of morning in London. It was still too cold in February to do without a jacket and scarf, but otherwise he savoured the onset of spring and the pale, bright sun that glistened off the pavements. He took deep, regular breaths, measuring a circular route around Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, pacing himself slower than he would have done when he was younger. It allowed him to take proper note of life happening around him. His friends preferred to travel to St James Park or Green Park, and run around a greener space, but Patrick lived and belonged here in Soho, and never sought anywhere else. He absorbed the exotic mixture of a new day’s aroma: diesel taxi fumes, the crinkled pages of old books, grocery store spices, lingering pub beer, and fried food being cooked at the fast food venues already awake and serving breakfast. He wasn’t a man to wax lyrical at the best of times, but he loved London with a passion.

Sufficiently exercised and with his appetite now fully awake and clamouring for coffee and food, he cut through the streets towards home. Turning the final corner, he slowed to a brisk walk, then stopped. He leaned on a street lamp, regaining his breath and easing his muscles. The front window of With A Kick was already in view with its stylish red paintwork and matching awning. Patrick took a moment longer just to stand and look at it. Every day was the same: the feelings of pride and excitement just as strong. Only a few years ago, he’d been a teacher, aiming for Assistant Head, and planning out the twenty-odd years to early retirement. Good grief. What a boring life in comparison to now!

He laughed wryly to himself. Amazing how ambition could be kickstarted by the end of a lacklustre romance and a previously secure job slipping away. Eighteen months ago, he’d been saddened but not surprised by his boyfriend Rafe moving on—they’d been drifting more out than into each other’s life for months. He’d also seen the writing on the wall about his school having to make redundancies. It had still surprised him how willingly he accepted his when it was offered. He’d always thought of himself as a man who planned and relied on a steady routine, yet in the space of a couple of months, he found himself single again, out of work and slightly depressed from the culture shock. It was as if the whole bloody world had crashed, as opposed to… what? ‘An opportunity for new adventures and new challenges’, his late dad would have said. His dad had always been a glass-half-full man. Patrick remembered him fondly.

Then things had slowly but steadily fallen into place for him. Now he was an entrepreneur of sorts and, look, his latest ice cream creations were displayed in the window of his own shop, on one of Lee’s brightly coloured posters!

Lee.

That was another thing that never changed: the small lurch of excitement in his gut when he thought of his friend and assistant in With A Kick. Patrick sighed, not at the overall thought of Lee—and Lee’s youth, and good looks, and energy, and cheeky jokes, and slim hips that he swayed outrageously when he was showing off in the shop, and that sexy, sexy grin… anyway, not all that, which Patrick had to admit never ceased to cheer him up every morning in the shop. No, the sigh was for the thoughts that inevitably followed. The ones that reminded him he hadn’t found much success with romance, that he was much older than Lee, much less good looking in a very bear-y type of way, much more tired of life, and with a grin that he couldn’t ever remember anyone saying was sexy

Good God. Enough self-pity for the morning! Lee had plenty of attention from other guys, he didn’t need his nearly-forty year old boss coming onto him as well like some besotted, horny teenager. Besides, Patrick had his commitment to the business to keep him busy, and that was no hardship now that they were starting to make proper money. Yes, when he thought of With A Kick, he did think of “they”. Lee and he were together in running the shop, at least.

“Patrick! Good morning.”

Patrick turned and recognised Mr Amsel from the German café across the way, waving at him. Next to the elderly shopkeeper, a wiry young man straightened up from where he’d been crouching beside a pile of boxes. He was also smiling. Patrick waved back at them both. The community spirit among his fellow traders was one of the best things in his life nowadays. The young man, Curtis, was a regular supplier and odd-job man for all of the businesses around here, and Patrick made a mental note to chat to him about replacement tablecloths. Lee had suggested a funkier design, to match a range of ice cream flavours based on musical styles that Patrick was working on at the moment. And if anyone could get something new and unusual for the shop at a good price, it’d be Curtis. Patrick wasn’t in the mood for negotiation before his morning coffee, but he was sure Curtis would call into With A Kick later on for a mug of tea and a ‘Pluck and Play’, his favourite ice. He’d talk to him then.

He glanced back down the road, where the With A Kick shop-front light had just flickered on. Lee must be in early today. Patrick thought he’d declared it was his turn to open up, but he had to admit the thought of Lee bustling around inside the shop had Patrick happily quickening his step.

An alleyway ran down the side of the shop to the kitchen exit, and by the time he reached it, he’d decided they should talk to Curtis about getting some new shot glasses too. Bookings for adults-only, night time parties at With A Kick were really taking off. Out of the corner of his eye, he registered the kitchen light snapping on as well, and the thought of a hot, strong cup of coffee warmed his thoughts. Maybe Mr A would like to quote Patrick for some hot party snacks as well—

The sudden boom took his breath away: a burst of deep, throaty noise, gusting the air past Patrick’s head like the kick back from a jet. A mini tornado, belching without warning from the kitchen door, and bursting up the alleyway and onto the street.

Rubbish bags, stacked against With A Kick’s outside wall, tumbled and rolled as if tossed by giant hands. Loose packaging swirled up in a murky maelstrom, spinning and spiralling into the sky. A pavement display clattered to the ground across the road, and a passing bicycle swerved sharply in front of Patrick with a screech of brakes. A dog started barking furiously.

Patrick had been thrown backwards into the street, and staggered, trying to keep his balance. Someone behind him screamed; he watched the shocked cyclist’s mouth make the shape of “What the fuck was that?” His eyes stung; his hearing was muffled. A youngster began to wail loudly. Stunned for those few seconds, Patrick was unable to move, unable to think clearly. Voices reached him, but all the words were garbled.

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AuthorBio

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Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

:: Website :: Facebook :: Facebook Group :: Twitter :: Google+ :: Goodreads :: Amazon Page ::

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Winner’s Prize: 5 e-copies of Double Scoop

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TourSchedule

April 11: Because Two Men Are Better Than One :: UK Gay Romance

April 12: RJ Scott :: Diverse Reader

April 13: Rainbow Book Reviews

April 14: MM Good Book Reviews :: Drops of Ink

April 15: Sue Brown :: Loving Without Limits

April 18: Joyfully Jay

April 19: Alpha Book Club :: Hearts on Fire

April 20: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings :: Bayou Book Junkie :: Love Bytes Reviews

April 21: The Purple Rose Tea House :: Nautical Star Books :: MM Book Escape

April 22: Rick R. Reed :: TTC Books and More :: The Novel Approach

 

Giveaway: Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy by JL Merrow and Josephine Myles

BMBMBBoy Meets Boy Meets Boy

A Mad About the Brit Boys anthology by JL Merrow and Josephine Myles

Release date: 15th March 2016

Buy link: Amazon

Word Count: 15,000

Price: $0.99/£0.99/€0.99

Cover art: Lou Harper

Other titles in the series:

Mad About the Boys

Boys Who Go Bump in the Night

Help, My Boyfriend’s an Alien!

Truly, Madly, Boys (coming May 2016)

Giveaway: Jo and Jamie are gifting one lucky commenter with a book from each of their backlists.

photo credit: Three Investigators (CC) via photopin (license)

Anthology blurb:

Good men come in threes!

Three’s definitely not a crowd in this trio of contemporary erotic male/male/male ménages with a very British flavour from gay romance favourites Josephine Myles and JL Merrow.

Let your fantasies run wild as you take in the fit bodies down at the gym, or enjoy a very special birthday present from a loving partner. And even a trip to the dentist can be enjoyable with the right sort of distraction!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

Anthology introduction by Josephine Myles (taken from the ebook):

I do love a good threesome.

Err, a fictional one, that is. Because there is such a thing as too much information, and I don’t know about you, but I sometimes I prefer not to know what people get up to behind closed doors.

Okay, so that’s a lie. I’m a writer and we’re notoriously nosy people. I’ve always been one for peeping into people’s houses—winter evenings are perfect for this, especially in December as most folk like to keep the curtains open to show off their Christmas trees. However, I’ve only once been rewarded by spying a couple shagging, and I suspect they were exhibitionists anyway as they were doing it by a busy pub.

But I digress; this is less about my voyeuristic tendencies and more about my love of a fictional ménage. Just what is it that appeals about a good threesome? Okay, so there’s all the smutty possibilities that suddenly become apparent when you add in a few extra limbs, appendages and places to shove said appendages—but it’s not all about the sex. To be honest, writing ménage sex scenes tends to give me a headache what with having to make it clear to the reader who is doing what to whom, and it’s especially complicated when all three participants are the same gender.

What makes a threesome really interesting to me as a writer is thinking through all the emotional entanglements—ones that can be brought to the surface even by a seemingly casual encounter, such as the one in my story for this anthology. Indeed, I so enjoyed the process of writing this story that I ventured into writing a full length ménage romance, which allowed me to explore the dynamics of a three-way relationship in more depth.

While Jamie has never written a novel length ménage romance, I’ve always loved reading her m/m/m shorts. Incidentally, two of the stories here were first published in an anthology of threesome shorts from Dreamspinner Press back in 2010, and that was our first ever joint anthology credit. I still remember how privileged I felt to have a story in the same anthology as her! And although we’ve had many joint anthology projects since, she’s still a writer I’m thrilled to team up with, honest guvnor (I have to put that in or Jamie will punish me! [Jamie: This is true])

We might not write many short stories these days, but we haven’t run out of old ones to republish just yet, so keep your eyes peeled for at least one more Mad About the Brit Boys anthology.

Happy reading,

Jo x

Josephine Myles, February 2016

Individual story blurbs:

Kit Bag by JL Merrow

Working late at the gym one night, Kit’s delighted when two of his fantasies made flesh come in for a workout. The guys he’s dubbed Black Muscle Vest and Grey Sweats are tall, gorgeous and insanely built, and Kit can hardly take his eyes off their glistening, pumped-up muscles.

But he’s not the only one who’s been dreaming of a little hot and sweaty man-on-man-on-man action. Harry and Sven are only too happy to make Kit’s fantasy a reality in the changing room—and Kit’s going to get a workout of his own he’ll never forget!

Unwrapped: The Birthday Gift by Josephine Myles

All Dave wants for his birthday is a threesome, and his devoted boyfriend Mark is keen to oblige. Enter Pedro, the mysterious stranger they pick up from the pub. Taking him home with them promises a scorching encounter… if only Dave can deal with his nerves first!

Getting a Filling by JL Merrow

Ivo’s terrified of going to the dentist, even with his lover, Colin, there for moral support. But when the dentist turns out to be gorgeous—and gay—fear turns to flirtation. The next time Ivo ends up in the dentist’s chair it’s a lot more fun, as the support Colin and Ted give him is very immoral indeed.

Author bios

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and now has over ten novels and novellas under her belt. Her novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the ebook creation process to someone else. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and a soon-to-be toddler.

Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.author

Twitter: @JosephineMyles

Excerpt from Getting a Filling by JL Merrow

“You,” Colin said decisively, prodding Ivo painfully in the ribs, “are the world’s biggest wuss.”

Ivo glared at his lover. “Excuse me? I think you’ll find, actually, I’m being extremely brave here. I’m not trembling in fright at home, pretending it’s all going to go away. Oh, no. I’m here. Standing tall—”

“Sitting on a comfy chair, actually.”

“—and facing up to my fears. I think you’ll find that’s the very definition of bravery.”

Colin made an annoying sort of tsk sound with his tongue. “And I think you’ll find that most grown men in your situation would not call this anything even remotely like bravery. Especially seeing as you dragged me along to hold your hand. You’re not marching into battle, Ivo. You’re not about to have experimental brain surgery. You’re not even going bloody bungee jumping. You’re at the dentist’s! For a check-up. How terrifying can it be?”

Ivo was wounded. “I had a bad experience at the dentist’s when I was little, I’ll have you know. It scarred me for life.” He shuddered at the memory. “You never saw the dentist I used to have to go to. His surgery was in a big old house like the one in the Amityville horror films.”

“A perfectly ordinary terraced house in the High Street, no doubt.”

“Well, it looked scary enough when I was a kid. All Masonic patterned tiles and Gothic windows. And the dentist was an absolute ringer for Vincent Price. It was bloody terrifying, seeing him looming over you with a drill.”

“Well, it should have taught you not to eat so many sweeties, then, shouldn’t it?” Colin said with the smug air of one blessed with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude to sugar and naturally strong teeth. “If it wasn’t for your chocolate addiction, we wouldn’t even be here. I’ve never had to have a filling in my life.”

“Which is why there’s nothing intrinsically manly about you being so bloody blasé about trips to the dentist. You’ve never had reason to be scared.” A shiver ran through Ivo’s frame. “All the times I had gas at the dentist’s, feeling that horrible taste in my mouth and wondering if I’d ever wake up…”

“You can’t feel a taste, Ivo,” Colin put in dismissively, picking up a battered copy of Reader’s Digest apparently for the sole purpose of dropping it again with a shudder.

“Maybe I’m synaesthetic,” Ivo muttered sulkily. “Just because you haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean it isn’t a perfectly valid—”

“Would you like to come in now, Mr Eccles?” The nurse smiled around the waiting room door. Ivo felt a sudden flash of loathing for her, with her starched white uniform and her perfect nails and her friendly manner. He took a deep breath. No. The nurse was not the enemy.

Merely a collaborator. Ivo wondered what she’d look like with that artfully highlighted hair shorn off and a badge of shame hung around her neck reading Dentist Lover.

“Mr Eccles?”

Scrambling to his feet, Ivo squared his shoulders. He might be heading towards unimaginable terror and suffering, but by God he’d show some good old-fashioned British backbone. Unfortunately, his voice didn’t seem to be playing along. It came out in a bit of a squeak. “You’re coming with me, right, Colin?”

Colin sighed. “If I have to.”

As Ivo walked into the surgery, the smell hit him. A mix of antiseptic and that horrid pink stuff they made you rinse your mouth out with after they’d finished their sadistic little round of torture. And a faint whiff of mint. Uniquely dentist, it transported Ivo back to his childhood and his mother’s harassed voice, promising him a whole box of Smarties if he’d only, please, just try to be good at the dentist’s this time.

“Ivo, you’re hurting my hand,” Colin hissed in his ear. Ivo let go hurriedly.

And then he looked at the dentist, and all his anxiety seemed to drain away. Right along with most of the blood in the upper portions of his body. It seemed to be heading south so fast Ivo was vaguely surprised he didn’t keel straight over on the floor, leaving just his dick standing up and waving enthusiastically. The dentist was absolutely bloody gorgeous. Well, what could be seen of him was, at any rate. Green eyes twinkled above his surgical mask, and dark, almost black curls poked out from under his cap. The whole effect was Pan, gone middle-class professional. Ivo found himself wondering if there might be two tiny horns nestling in those curls under the cap. And as for the rest of him… His tight white tunic (and how come Ivo had never realised just how sexy a tunic could be?) seemed to strain to contain his muscular chest, and his trousers clung lovingly to rock-hard thighs.

Ivo heard Colin’s sharp intake of breath and knew his lover was just as affected by the sight as he was. It was one of the many reasons he felt so lucky having Colin; they had very similar tastes in men.

“Ah, Mr Eccles? If you’d like to take a seat.” The dentist waved politely at the chair, which looked more like a couch in its present semi-reclined state. Really, you could get up to all sorts of things in a chair like that.

“Ivo,” Ivo told him as he moved forward, drawn by the lure of that mellow voice. “Please, call me Ivo.”

New Release: Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You by Lily G. Blunt

Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You

by

Lily G Blunt

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A male escort takes on an inexperienced client and breaks the first rule of rent boys: don’t get attached.

After updating his Rent Boy blog profile, well-endowed porn star Ty receives a text from a sexually inexperienced client. Andy, the client, asks Ty to provide him with the necessary know-how so should he ever get a date with the guy he’s attracted to, he’ll be fully prepared.

Little does Ty know that this hookup will lead to a friendship that will subsequently change his life.

 

This story has been previously published as The Perfect Size for You by Torquere Press in the Take It Like a Man anthology.
 
This second edition has been expanded and reedited.
 
Format: ebook and paperback
Language: English
Book Length: Short Story (12K)
Pages: 60
Genres: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic Romance
Heat Rating: Burning
Release Date: 9th March 2016
 
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The door opened, and a skinny geek with specs faced me. Thinking I had the wrong house, and worried that the boy’s father had made the appointment, I floundered. Now, that will be awkward. How’s he planning to get his kid out of the house?

“Excuse me. I’m looking for Andy. Is he here?”

The boy flushed bright red and pushed up his black-framed glasses. “That’s me, I’m Andy Parker. You have the right address.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

“Okay, son! How old are you?” He didn’t look a day over fifteen.

His eyes widened, but his gaze didn’t leave mine. He bristled a little, rising to his full height. “I’m eighteen. Nineteen in three months. I can show you my ID, if you like.” He looked beyond my shoulder, then ushered me hastily inside.

I followed him to the kitchen. “I’m Tyrone, by the way.”

He hadn’t even asked my name. I could have been any weirdo coming into his home. I guessed he recognized me from my online photos or my porn videos. Whatever. It looked like he was expecting me anyway.

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Praise for The Perfect Size for You

Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“A big fan and this one did not disappoint! Totally adored it and can’t wait for her next book already!”
“I just love this writer… This storyline was well written and I loved each page. I wish it had gone on longer too damn short!”
“I really enjoyed this short story. I’m a sucker for rent boys/porn industry stories and this hit the spot wonderfully! I really loved Andy and Ty together.
The sexy times were sweet and then hot! I’m really anxious to get to this author’s other porn industry book!”
“A definite must read!”
“Lily’s writing flowed well for me. She combined a nice mix of sweet and hot but neither guy came across as needy or desperate.”
“It’s a good short story you can read while having a cuppa. I’ll definitely be reading more from Lily.”
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Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men’s feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page–there never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing!

Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon. She later published short stories with Torquere Press and Wayward Ink Publishing. Lily is excited about joining Pride Publishing for her latest release, The Handyman Can.

Lily is an avid supporter of GLBTQ rights and advocates equality for all. She was recently a steward for Pride in London. She lives in central England with her rather bemused husband and a ‘mad as a bag of frogs’ Shetland Sheepdog called Barney.

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Sign up for her newsletter HERE to keep in contact via email.

New Release: Forever Dusk by Lisa Worrall

Forever Dusk by Lisa Worrall

 Buylinks: Amazon | All Romance
There is nothing as strong as the bond between a sire and his vampire.
But what do you do when you find out your partner’s sire is also your own?
Jonah had been a vampire for over a hundred years when he met Sebastian, the owner of the vampire-themed nightclub in downtown LA. Twenty years later and Jonah and Sebastian are stronger than ever.
But when another’s jealousy brings their sire to the club, will their relationship be able to withstand the strength of their bond with Vincenzo, and their bond with each other?

Sue Brown’s Review:

I’m not a fan of vampires but I am a huge fan of Lisa Worrall, and I was more than willing to read another one of her stories.  If you like beautiful and descriptive prose with hot vampires then this is most definitely the book for you.
I loved the relationships between the men. They so are hot and sensual together, and as usual, Lisa writes wicked love scenes.
This is double the length it was before, although I think this book could be a gorgeous full-blown novel, but that is just a niggle.

Excerpt:

Prologue
Newley, West Virginia – 1860
Jonah was trying to coax his thick hair into some semblance of order when his brother Oscar burst into his bedroom. He damn near jumped clear out of his skin as the door bounced off the wall with the force of Oscar’s excitement.
“C’mon, Mona. We gotta go. Pa said if you don’t stop primpin’ we’re gonna leave without ya.”
“Don’t call me Mona,” Jonah grumbled at the use of the nickname his brothers had saddled him with as soon as he could walk. “You know I don’t like it.”
“Of course I do,” Oscar scoffed. “That’s the point, little brother.”
“Gee,” Jonah said sarcastically and pulled his cap on, tucking a few wayward curls underneath it. “How lucky am I? To have a brother of your caliber to look up to.”
“Considering there are three of us, I’d say you’re the luckiest sumbitch in town.” Oscar’s retort was quick and snappy, in line with his acerbic wit. “Now get your ass movin’, boy.”
Jonah tossed the comb at him and stormed past him. “And don’t call me boy, neither.”
Oscar chased him along the hall and Jonah narrowly missed knocking his little sister off her feet, only skirting around her at the last second, Oscar hot on his heels. He made it out of the front door and off the porch before Oscar barreled into him and sent him sprawling on the lawn.
“Get off my grass you ingrates!”
“Nice, Pa,” Oscar pushed Jonah off him and sat up, a grin curving his lips. “Is that any way to talk about the fruit of your loins?”
“You leave my loins out of this,” Angus Roberts snapped back. “And if you’re the fruit boy, from where I’m standing you must have been pretty low hanging.”
“Angus!”
Jonah shot Oscar a knowing look and tried not to smile at the warning tone in his mother’s voice as she admonished his father. They’d all been on the receiving end of that sharp tongue at one time or another.
“They started it, Maude,” Angus complained.
“Angus Roberts, I swear I’ll never know why I bothered to have all these children when I’ve got my hands full trying to raise you.” Maude ushered Jonah’s seven-year-old twin sisters down the porch steps and called out for his two older brothers. “Cooper! Raymond! Don’t make me start counting!”
“Why’s Ray takin’ so long, Mama?” Felicity, older than her twin, Charlotte, by two minutes, asked innocently.
“Well, Short Stop,” Jonah said before his Mama could respond. He scrambled to his feet and scooped her up into his arms. “I think it might have something to do with Mary-Anne Watkins.”
Felicity locked her fingers behind his neck and grinned at him. “Is Ray fixin’ to kiss her at the fair?”
“No I am not,” Raymond said haughtily as Cooper shoved past him. Raymond closed the front door behind them and glared at Jonah. “Don’t be fillin’ her head with nonsense, Mona,” he said as he strode down the path. “Now c’mon. We’re gonna be late.”
“We’ve been waiting on you for the last half hour. Why the God awful rush now?” Angus asked, holding out his arm to his wife.
“He promised Mary-Anne Watkins he’d meet her at the lemonade stand.” Oscar side-stepped Raymond’s swatting hand and hefted Charlotte onto his shoulders. He took off at a trot making horse noises for the little girl’s benefit and his parents smiled fondly after him.
“Can we do that, Jo-Jo? Can we, can we?” Felicity begged.
Jonah quickly obliged and, after making sure Felicity held on tightly, he headed after Oscar and Charlotte, leaving the others to follow behind at a more sedate pace. The girls laughed as he and Oscar carried them along on their backs. Their joy was Jonah’s favorite sound in the whole world.
The girls had been a surprise addition to the family. He’d been fourteen when they were born and, up until then, the youngest. His mama thought she’d reached the end of her time as far as babies were concerned, but when she started craving pickles dipped in mustard, it was obvious they needed to get the well-used crib down from the attic.
Jonah had fallen in love the moment he laid eyes on them; half an hour old and wailing up a storm, but he didn’t care. They’d taken a bit of getting used to but by the time they could crawl they had all four of their big brothers wrapped firmly around their tiny little fingers.
When they rounded the corner at the end of Main Street Jonah heard Felicity’s gasp in his ear and he grinned at the sound, her excitement infectious. Stalls and tents of all sizes dotted the usually somber green, strung with lights and laden with all manner of pies, cakes and jellies. Pens holding tiny lambs and mooing calves were surrounded by cooing children jostling each other to stroke soft noses. In a larger pen, three ponies were being led up and down with brightly colored ribbons plaited into their manes and a giggling child on each back.
Felicity wriggled to be let down and Jonah squatted so her feet touched the ground. She bounced up and down beside him and he heaved a sigh of relief as their parents walked toward them, with Cooper hot on their heels. His father smiled at his mother and dropped a kiss on her cheek. The love that still burned between them after all this time warmed Jonah’s soul. If, one day, he found even half of the happiness they’d shared, he knew he’d still be the happiest man on earth.
“Mama, Mama!” Charlotte practically vibrated with excitement her brown eyes alight as she tugged at their mother’s skirt. “They’ve got pony rides, Mama!”
“I see that, flapjack,” Maude replied, stroking Charlotte’s hair from her eyes.
“Can we, Mama? Can we?” Both girls spoke in perfect unison.
Their father laughed heartily and kissed his wife again as he pressed some money into her hand. “Well, darlin’, looks like your dance card is filled.” He nodded at Jonah and his brothers. “C’mon, boys. I think it’s about time we make a man out of your brother.” Cooper and Oscar threw their arms around Jonah’s neck and let out a few ribald comments. Comments that stilled immediately their mother cast her steely gaze at them. A gaze she then turned on their father.
“Only one, Angus Roberts. You hear?”
“Of course, Maude.” Jonah had to bite the inside of his cheek at the mock-affronted look on his father’s face. “As if I’d let him get pie-eyed on his first trip out. It cuts me deep that you would think that.”
“I don’t think, Angus Roberts, I know,” Maude replied with a raised eyebrow. “And if the four of you aren’t upright by the time we’re fixing to leave, I’ll have Sheriff Dobbs throw you in the drunk tank with old Cleetus. And don’t think I won’t.”
“Oh I don’t think, darlin’.” Jonah choked back a laugh as his father turned his mother’s words against her. “I know.”
Their father walked toward the beer tent and his brothers ushered Jonah after him. The grass crunched under foot and the laughter of children filled his ears as they followed their father. He knew in that moment he would remember this night for the rest of his life. The scents, the sounds, his brothers’ cheesy grins and the fond look his father gave him over his shoulder as he walked ahead. All of it; he would remember all of it—forever.
Inside the tent the air was thick with smoke. The heaviness of it stole Jonah’s breath and he raised his fist to his mouth to cover his sudden coughing fit. His brothers laughed as he looked from one to the other, his eyes watering.
“Don’t worry, Mona,” Cooper said good-naturedly. “Oscar’s first time in here he puked in the spittoon!”
“Shut up!” Oscar nudged Jonah towards the makeshift bar where their father was talking to Mr. McReady who lived in the big house on the corner of their street. Oscar indicated the array of jugs and bottles on the tables. “It’s time for drinkin’, not talkin’. What’re ya gonna try first, Jo? Bourbon? Whisky? Gin?”
“Don’t push him, boys,” Angus said, tipping a wink at Jonah. “Let him find his feet.”
Oscar and Cooper administered encouraging slaps to his back then headed across the tent to the beer barrels where some friends were waiting on them. Left to his own devices as his father engaged in a detailed conversation with Mr. McReady about the impending Mexican war, Jonah had no idea what to do next. Although he’d managed to catch his breath, the cloying thickness of smoke seemed to hang above them and it scratched at the back of his throat. If he was honest, right now he could do with a soda.
“It is, how you say, your first time?”
The voice was heavily accented and had an almost musical lilt that lifted the hairs on the back of Jonah’s neck. He shifted his feet and turned to look at the man beside him. If it wasn’t such a ridiculously romantic notion, Jonah would have sworn his heart actually skipped a beat when he looked into deep brown eyes surrounded by black lashes. He swallowed hard as the man’s gaze held his, pinning him as steadfastly as if he were one of the bugs Raymond collected in glass frames.
“Excuse me?” Jonah managed to mumble.
The man smiled; a soft and apologetic smile then held out his hand. “Forgive my manners. Let me introduce myself. I am Vincenzo Moretti, here on business from Sicily.”
Jonah stared at Vincenzo’s hand, unable to drag his gaze from the man’s long pale fingers and an image of those fingers curled around his cock blasted every thought from his mind. Vincenzo cleared his throat, breaking the awkward silence between them, forcing Jonah to meet his gaze. Something dark and knowing flashed in Vincenzo’s eyes as if he knew exactly what Jonah had been thinking, then it was gone.

New Release: Rag and Bone by KJ Charles

rag-and-boneBuylink: Samhain

It’s amazing what people throw away…

Crispin Tredarloe never meant to become a warlock. Freed from his treacherous master, he’s learning how to use his magical powers the right way. But it’s brutally hard work. Not everyone believes he’s a reformed character, and the strain is putting unbearable pressure on his secret relationship with waste-man Ned Hall.

Ned’s sick of magic. Sick of the trouble it brings, sick of its dangerous grip on Crispin and the miserable look it puts in his eyes, and sick of being afraid that a gentleman magician won’t want a street paper-seller forever—or even for much longer.

But something is stirring among London’s forgotten discards. An ancient evil is waking up and seeking its freedom. And when wild magic hits the rag-and-bottle shop where Ned lives, a panicked Crispin falls back onto bad habits. The embattled lovers must find a way to work together—or London could go up in flames.

This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.

Excerpt:

They got in hot mutton pies from the shop on Dyott Street that Ned supplied with waste. It was easier than going out to eat, and more discreet, considering everything they couldn’t talk about in public.

“So I have to see if this new teacher will be any good,” Crispin concluded his lengthy monologue. Ned had listened patiently, as he always did. “Or, if I’ll be any good, more like.”

“I don’t get it.” Ned brushed crumbs off his trousers. They were both sitting on stacks of waste, using the piles of manuscripts, letters, prospectuses, and forgotten legal documents as furniture because Ned had neither the space nor the funds for things like chairs. He had a bed, a gimcrack chest of drawers, incredible amounts of paper, and very little else, and he was the most contented man Crispin knew. “I’ve seen you do magic. We both know you can do magic.”

“I can. But…” Crispin had tried to explain this more than once. “Look, you’re a waste-man. You know how to buy waste, how much to pay, who to sell it to, how to turn a profit. Well, suppose I told you to get on the Stock Exchange and make a fortune? It’s all buying and selling, isn’t it? You know how to do that, so why couldn’t you do it with stocks and shares?” He gave Ned a hopeful look.

“I probably could,” Ned said. “If I learned the rules, and if they let my colour into the Exchange, which I wouldn’t bet on. I wasn’t born a waste-man, or even bred one. You learn things.”

Crispin sagged. Ned probably would make a marvellous stockbroker, if it came to that, because he was actually good at things. “Yes, well, I was born with my talents, or lack of them, and the way I was trained to use them isn’t allowed, and I’m no good at learning the new way. I simply can’t make my powers do what I want in the way people want me to. I mean, do you think you could ever learn to draw?”

“No,” Ned said without hesitation.

“You could take lessons. If you had dozens of lessons, I bet you’d be able to turn out a reasonable likeness, but—”

“Not like you.”

That was something Crispin could do. He’d sketched Ned half a dozen times, and himself in the mirror too, on request. Ned had that picture pinned to the wall of his tiny sleeping space. “No. I can take a pen and know how to put what I want on the paper. I can look at you and see how I’d shade your cheekbones in this light, how I’d draw your eyes.” It was the laugh that made Ned’s eyes, the little telltale crease there half the time even when he didn’t seem to be smiling. When Crispin shaded his work, seeking to make his pencil’s grey suggest the rich deep brown of Ned’s skin, he found himself drawing as though Ned’s eyes cast their own light.

Those eyes were on him, warm with amusement, and Crispin realised his fingers had adopted a writing position. He straightened his hand with a touch of self-consciousness. “But even if you tried and tried, it wouldn’t come naturally, or easily. You’d never be able to do what I can do like breathing.” Ned shrugged acknowledgement. “And now imagine you could draw beautifully if you did it a different way but you’re not allowed.”

Ned put an arm round his shoulders. His arms were glorious, thick with muscle, so Crispin had to incline his head to make room. He put up his own slim arm to take Ned’s hand.

“I hear you,” Ned said. “But you aren’t allowed. So it seems to me that you’ve got to do it how they want you to.”

“It’s not fair.” Crispin scuffed the paper dust on the floor, with his boot. “Just because a maniac used graphomancy to kill people—”

“You talking about your Mr. Marleigh, or the one who murdered a pack of peelers this winter?”

“The one this winter.”

Ned sighed. “Missing my point there, Freckles. Be honest, I don’t much like the sound of magic writing or the look of it either. I don’t want you doing stuff with your own blood, let alone someone else’s.” He tugged Crispin’s hand forward so they could both see the truncated little finger. “Don’t tell me anything that starts with chopping bits off yourself is a good idea.”

He sounded almost annoyed, and Crispin bit back an equally testy response. Ned didn’t know. He was a waste-man, he didn’t understand what it was like to have power. He didn’t even want it. Ned was a flit, possessing a tiny touch of magical talent. He was just about able to hear the sounds of the ether to which Crispin was deaf, but he had steadfastly refused any suggestion of training his meagre ability. Why would I hear more of that if I didn’t have to?

Crispin would have ki—would have done anything for the senses Ned didn’t even want.

“Well, it’s too late to change that,” he muttered, pulling his hand back. “And I’m trying.”

Ned squinted round at him. “That’s as much as anyone can ask. Look, drop it for now, eh? I know you want to get this sorted out, but it’s not the only thing in the world.”

He was well aware he’d been talking a lot about it, until the twilight had shaded to night, but the implied rebuke was still galling. “It’s the most important thing!” he retorted without thinking, and felt his stomach contract at the expression that crossed Ned’s face. “I didn’t mean— That is, it’s what I do, it’s the important bit of my day, not— Ned, I didn’t mean that.”

“Course not.” Ned let his head drop back against the wall. “You want to stay?”

“Yes,” Crispin said urgently. “I really do. I’ll stop. Oh God, I haven’t even asked about your day.”

“Same old, same old.” That proved Ned was offended: he never had a “same old” day. There was always a funny story, some observation or interaction turned into an anecdote, because Ned was interested in things, and people, and the world around him. He didn’t only think about himself.

Crispin couldn’t imagine why Ned put up with him.

He twisted to get his arms round Ned’s muscular torso. “Well, if it wasn’t a very interesting day, maybe I could make it more interesting?” he offered hopefully.

Ned let out a long breath. “Crispin…”

Oh, he couldn’t have made a mess of this as well, not this. Crispin turned properly, swinging a leg over so he was sitting on Ned’s lap, and took his face in his hands. “Please, Ned. I’m sorry. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you for days and now I’ve spoiled it. Can I start again?” He dropped kisses on Ned’s cheekbones, one side and the other. “I’d rather be here than anywhere else, and I’d rather be talking to you than anyone else, and I’d rather you were talking to me and I wasn’t talking at all because you make more sense than I do.” He moved his mouth to Ned’s jawline, over the rough slide of beard he’d grown through the winter and which Crispin had insisted he keep, down the side of his neck, and felt the paper dust slippery on his lips. “Please?”

Ned grunted, low in his throat, and his hands came up to Crispin’s ribcage, sliding over his back. Crispin wriggled closer, kissing his way up Ned’s throat and over his jaw until their lips met, and at last, for a little while, everything was all right again.

They ended up in Ned’s tiny sleeping space, which didn’t deserve the name of bedroom. It was a cubbyhole off the paper store, with a sacking curtain to keep the warmth of body heat in—Crispin still felt slightly embarrassed about the look Ned had given him back in the depths of winter when he’d complained the paper store didn’t have a fireplace—with a truckle bed barely wide enough for the two of them lying on their sides. But Ned kept it swept and aired as best he could with no window, and Mr. Voake didn’t notice comings and goings, or care if he did notice. It was a safe space for the two of them, a place where Crispin was himself. Not a practitioner, not a warlock, not a failure or a nancy or a molly or any of the other things he was outside. Just him and Ned, body to body, shivering under blankets that held the evening chill, warming each other up. Crispin couldn’t wait for summer, the hot, light evenings when they wouldn’t need covers and he could take his time looking at Ned’s compact, powerful frame, and the sloping shoulders that made his mouth go dry.

Then again, burrowing under the blankets together had its advantages. Crispin wriggled on top of Ned’s solidity, feeling his way by touch, exploring the wide chest with light hands. He hadn’t expected Ned to be hairy, somehow, the first time, had had a vague idea that men of colour were smooth-skinned, and been pleased to find himself wrong about that. He rubbed his cheek against Ned’s pelt, licking a nipple to attention, and felt Ned’s solid thighs shift under him.

“You’re all over, Freckles,” Ned whispered, a laugh in his voice, and Crispin knew he was forgiven.

“I’ll be all over you before long,” Crispin assured him, and then they were both giggling like schoolchildren at the ridiculous innuendo. Crispin took the opportunity to squirm down a bit, and Ned shifted around, and there they were, with his prick caught between Ned’s substantial thigh muscles and Ned’s pressed along Crispin’s belly, both of them rocking gently as Ned caught Crispin’s mouth with his own.

Crispin was willowy, effete, his manner screaming molly no matter how hard he tried to hide it; Ned was strong-muscled, a working man, a black man. Both of them were very used to what other men wanted of them. And it had turned out Ned was as tired of those expectations as Crispin.