New Release: Double Scoop by Clare London

BT_Banner

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.

BuyLinks

Amazon

All Romance eBooks

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

AuthorBio

AuthorPic

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 ::

RafflecopterGiveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

 

Sale: With A Kick Series

As a special New Year’s offer, Clare and Sue Brown are offering ALL the With A Kick titles at 50% discount during the month of January.

A Twist and Two Balls (WAK#1)
Buylinks here
Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn’t got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren’t supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he’s finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he’s late for an important audition, hasn’t got enough money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.
Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary – With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.
But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy’s career needed – both for his job and his heart.

Hissed as a Newt (WAK#2)
Buylinks here
 “All guys do emotional just in different ways. I eat ice-cream, you get drunk in the gutter…”
A drunk clown rolling around in the gutter is not what David Wright expects to find as he walks to With A Kick, his favourite ice-cream shop. David has had a lousy day. A literary agent has crushed his dreams and all he wants is the consolation of alcoholic ice-cream. He’s about to walk away when he realises the clown has been dumped by his boyfriend. On a whim, David takes the clown into With A Kick before he gets arrested. Underneath the smeared make-up, he meets Stan, who has just found his boyfriend and best friend getting more than friendly. Over ice-cream, David and Stan discuss their problems and discover maybe they can help each other

Slap and Tickle (WAK#3)

 

Bryan Harrison is a successful accountant and a man who admires order and self-discipline. It’s a startling break from his routine when he literally bumps into Phiz Bussman outside With A Kick. Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour are in complete contrast to Bryan’s, and appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need.

Bryan has been helping With A Kick with its financial difficulties, and is finding it difficult to balance his professional persona with friendship with the owners. But then he’s always found it tricky to expose his more vulnerable feelings. His cool facade hides loneliness: he believes he’ll never find a lover who accepts and welcomes his secret desire.

Whereas Phiz is all about exposure: he’s defined by his cheerful but clumsy liveliness, his open-hearted emotions, and his physical needs. Despite that, he’s lonely as well. He craves someone who will help him bring purpose and focus into his life, and admits freely he needs a firm hand – in every way.

If they can both accept a friendship that’s destined for more, Bryan may be just the man to provide it.
Bells and Balls (WAK#4)
 
Rob Barker had plans for his weekend and they didn’t involve struggling through the pre-Christmas crowds with the five-year-old niece he barely knows. Left with no choice, he grudgingly takes Pearl to see the sights of London but, instead of following the list his sister-in-law gives him, Rob takes her to With A Kick, an ice-cream shop with a difference. 
 
His plan is foiled when he discovers With A Kick is closed for a private children’s party, but the owners kindly let Pearl join in. Rob’s mood improves considerably as he watches Father Christmas hand out presents. Not only is Santa a hot red-head under the beard, he is also one of his rugby team-mates, Mick, a man Rob has always lusted after. After Mick confesses a mutual interest, he agrees to meet Rob at With A Kick’s evening party—where there are definitely no kids – or girls – allowed. 
 
Pluck and Play (WAK#5)
 
Everyone knows Curtis Wilson around the Soho business scene: a hard-working, budding young entrepreneur, who can get you supplies of whatever you need, and always with a joke and a laugh. Only Curtis knows that’s a purely public persona. Secretly, he’s still licking his wounds after being beaten up by his ex-lover, and he’s not about to let his guard down again.
 
Handsome Riley Richmond was born to be a cowboy, on his father’s side at least. But after his parents’ deaths, he finds himself stranded this side of the Atlantic, an anachronism in the bustling capital, and without financial capital. His consolation is his music, albeit he’s not a very successful busker and he loses his only decent piano gig after standing up for Curtis against a homophobic bully.
 
After that, they keep meeting, partly by accident, partly by Riley’s design. He’s smitten, and doesn’t mind letting Curtis know. Their music brings them together – Riley’s guitar playing and Curtis’ sharp, sexy poetry are a powerful combination. But Curtis still has some unfinished business with his ex-lover that he’s struggling to handle on his own. Riley intends to be the man Curtis calls on for help, whether he likes it or not. He’ll do whatever it takes to show Curtis that people can still be trusted to be honest and caring – even if it means walking them both into danger.
 
Nice & Snow (WAK#6)
Buylinks here
 
An amusing, romantic and magical Christmas short story featuring Nuri and Eddy from A Twist and Two Balls
Nuri’s expecting a quiet Christmas, driving his cab, doing some studying, enjoying good food and drink – and devoting some serious loving to boyfriend Eduardo. Occasionally he misses his homeland of Turkey, but he’s content to share the London celebrations with Eddy.
But what with Eddy’s distress over his new role at the local comedy club, interference in their love life from Nuri’s irrepressible brothers, a disturbing number of costumed Santas on the street, the dangerous slush on the roads, and then the portly, bearded man dressed in red, in need of an urgent cab ride…
It doesn’t look like things will be that quiet after all!
~~
 
And it’s also to announce the upcoming release of DOUBLE SCOOP, the next title to be released in February by the fabulous Clare London.
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 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? Or should he give up completely?
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!

Christmas Cheer: Giveaway for Nice and Snow by Clare London

UK Gay Romance is offering 31 days of Christmas Cheer.

Leave a comment here to enter the draw for a copy of Clare London’s Nice and Snow and the draw will be picked 11th December at 9am GMT.

Nice and Snow by Clare London

Buylinks: Amazon | All Romance | Smashwords

Blurb: Nuri’s expecting a quiet Christmas, driving his cab, doing some studying, enjoying good food and drink – and devoting some serious loving to boyfriend Eduardo. Occasionally he misses his homeland of Turkey, but he’s content to share the London celebrations with Eddy.

But what with Eddy’s distress over his new role at the local comedy club, interference in their love life from Nuri’s irrepressible brothers, a disturbing number of costumed Santas on the street, the dangerous slush on the roads, and then the portly, bearded man dressed in red, in need of an urgent cab ride…

It doesn’t look like things will be that quiet after all!

Review: Okay, I admit I’m biased, biased, biased, since I am the other writer in the With A Kick series. But I’ve loved Nuri and Eddy with a passion since I first saw them take life in A Twist and Two Balls and this Christmas story just brings on the fuzzy warm things. You want happiness and cheer with your Turkey? Read Nice and SnowSue Brown

Excerpt: 

Nuri reached out and brushed a flake off Eddy’s forehead. It looked like snow had already started to fall. Behind them, the light from the street lamps was blurred around the edges in the surrounding mist.

“When I was much younger,” Eddy said, “like in the story I recalled, both mother and father were at home for most of the year. They had local theatre gigs, and mother was singing at the Palladium.” Eddy smiled, apparently without a trace of sadness for other Christmases since. “I remember that Christmas very fondly, actually.”

“And you received your theatre?”

“The play one? Yes. It was marvellous! The backdrops were only cardboard, of course. But the puppets had many happy months in my own productions.” He flushed as if embarrassed he’d found such pleasure in a simple toy, but Nuri had only ever had simple toys, and he knew only too well what uncomplicated, genuine joy could be found in them, especially if you had good company.

“You were your own Steven Spielberg. Maybe one day you will make a movie!”

Eddy laughed out loud, scaring a dozy sparrow from the bare tree in next door’s front garden. “I doubt it, but you never know.” He peered at Nuri, a look of puzzled wonder on his face. “What is it about you, love? You make me feel I could do all these things.”

Nuri bent and kissed him, at the same time as turning the key in the lock. They stumbled, slightly breathless, into the warmer hallway. “So you will do the With A Kick party?” Nuri kissed him again, just for the hell of it, as Eddy fumbled again with his individual front door. “They need you, Eduardo. They want you.”

“Oh hell, of course I will.” Eddy chuckled. “But don’t expect it to restore my belief in Father Christmas. I lost that for good when I found flakes of tobacco from my father’s distinctive cigarettes on the Santa sack that year.”

Nuri chuckled with him. No time to mourn Eddy’s lost Christmases, or even to plan the ones they would have together in future. They were both firmly planted in the present. Their present.

“About those other talents?” he murmured into Eddy’s ear. He slid his tongue along the outer edge, then trailed it down Eddy’s neck, just where he knew Eddy was most sensitive. Adem was right: Eddy did wriggle a lot. But it was the kind of wriggle that got him closer to Nuri; that snuggled him up against Nuri’s side as if they should fit together as one. The kind of wriggle that allowed him to run a hand down between them and cup Nuri’s groin with bold possessiveness.

They tumbled arm-in-arm to the bedroom, comfortably familiar with each other but still shivering with the excitement of their desire. Will it always be like this? Nuri wondered. Would they become complacent with each other; grow bored of each other’s company; lose this breathless, gasping, consuming craving for each other?

Eddy clicked on the side lamp and spun around, breaking Nuri’s train of thought. His lips reached clumsily but eagerly for Nuri’s, laughter shaking his body, his hand back on the mound of Nuri’s cock, swollen inside his jeans. No. Nuri knew he’d never feel any differently towards Eddy, any less.

Complacency? Boredom? It was never going to happen.

 

Clare London: Giveaway at Stumbling Over Chaos

freebies

 

 

 

LIMBO is on offer this week at Stumbling Over Chaos. Just leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a free copy. It’s open until FRIDAY APRIL 10.

One wet, freezing night, a beautiful angel and a monstrous demon seek each other’s secret company. Yoshiel and Labal would never be allowed to meet on normal terms, but they’re desperate: they’re both trapped in the human world, and have had a horrific penalty extracted from them by their masters. Only they know what they’ve done to deserve punishment, and only they can appreciate just how ironic and cruel that punishment is. Will they be left to suffer forever in this strange limbo state, or is it a test to see how they may learn from each other? Their forbidden meeting will either prove their undoing – or their release.  EroticaBuy Links: amazon.com / amazon.co.uk / all romance ebooks / smashwords / barnes & noble

Buy Links: amazon.com / amazon.co.uk / all romance ebooks / smashwords / barnes & noble

button-smashwords bnereader

BestsellerIcon100X100

With a Kick week: Slap and Tickle

WAK banner#5

Wednesday’s teaser (a little late), is all about Bryan and Phiz discovering who they are together.

SLAP AND TICKLE

http://clarelondon.com/books/series-with-a-kick/slap-and-tickle/

Amazon.com: Amazon.co.uk: ARe: Smashwords: Barnes & Noble

Bryan felt reassured again. “My boyfriend, Dan. My ex-boyfriend,” he added hastily. “I wanted to try…” He struggled to say more.

“You wanted to try things with him?”

Bryan nodded with relief. “What you said about fit…?”

“Yeah. There’s nothing bad or weird about sex games as long as both people want it.”

“Games?”

Phiz’s eyes softened and sparked at the same time, if that were even possible. He nodded. “And more. But start with that.”

Bryan had never thought about it as play. The idea of that spiked in his gut with a warm, greedy flavour. Dan had hated anything new: hated Bryan initiating anything.

“What did you want, Bryan?”

Bryan tried to answer, but his throat hurt. He felt hot and chilled at the same time. He remembered talking to Phiz about the spanking…thing. Had he said more after that, when Phiz was undressing him, cleaning him up, putting him to bed? The thought of that filled him with horror, yet he knew he’d come too far to retreat. He gazed at Phiz’s open, needy expression. The man seemed to know so much, but be just as vulnerable as Bryan.

“Why did you even come back with me?”

Phiz blinked hard. “You asked me to. You told me to.”

“That’s no reason, is it?”

“It was for me.” Phiz’s voice was almost a whisper. “I wanted to be told.”

Bryan knew how he’d spoken to Phiz in Leicester Square, pretending Phiz and he were together by intention. He’d been curt; almost rude. He couldn’t—wouldn’t?—believe Phiz was speaking the truth. “I was a bully. I barked at you.”

Phiz gazed up at him through those too-fair lashes. “Yes, you did bark, man. But you weren’t a bully.”

“What are you? Some kind of masochist?”

Phiz flushed very deeply. His voice was angry. “Fuck you. You lay a hand on me I don’t want, I’ll knock you flat.” He started to rise from the table.

Bryan caught his wrist. “Please. I’m sorry. Sit down.”

“Fuck.” Phiz pulled at the ends of his hair. He was still frowning but he sat again.

“Good god, all we do is apologise. I was out of order. I shouldn’t have said that to you. Not in that tone, anyway.” He didn’t mean it either: he didn’t mean to scorn or snap at Phiz. Phiz was living proof to Bryan of all the different people out there, and Bryan wanted to spend more time with him. But Phiz was just very disturbing. Unsettling.

Phiz laughed softly. “Yeah. Look at us.” They both did just that—met each other’s eyes again.

And suddenly Bryan knew it was more than wanting to spend time with Phiz. He wanted him. Wanted him. The ruffled student look. The sly/shy smile. The tension in his body, the fidgeting, the fizz. His humour; his vibrancy; his company. He wanted the honesty that was developing between them. The internet had taught Bryan an amazing lot about alternative lifestyles over the last few weeks. Maybe he was ready to find the sub-page titled “this is where Bryan fits in”.

“I wanted to be in charge,” he said, abruptly. “I wanted to tell Dan what to do. I’ve always wanted that with a man, in sex at least. Not that I wanted to push him into anything he didn’t like, but…and I wanted to slap him. Not to hurt him, you understand. Just to master him. And, yes, to…” Bryan was so hot now he thought he must be scarlet all over. “To spank him.”

Phiz sucked in his breath. “That’s—”

“Don’t, Phiz.” Bryan snapped. His head hurt again but this time he suspected it was from emotional overload rather than the hangover. “I feel bad enough.”

A small whimper escaped Phiz. “Oh. That.”

 

 

Giveaway: Clare London

I’m offering a free download of Freeman today to a lucky commenter on this blog and *also* to a commenter on the video reading. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! The giveaway will be picked on 27th November at 5pm, GMT.

 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 

“Look,” says Hubby with a wry smile. We’re snuggled on the sofa together, watching a movie. “It’s set in London.”

Is he psychic, you ask? A close friend of the producer? A devout follower of IMDB and/or the celebrity movie news websites? No. He’s just seen the double-decker red bus trundle past in the background LOL.

CL1

So many movies and pictures rely on triggers like that, don’t they? For London, we have the buses, the black taxis, the phone boxes (vanishing fast), the London Eye, Big Ben, TowerBridge … to be honest, we’re spoiled for choice of iconic scenes.

My recent release FREEMAN is set in London. When I first drafted it, I deliberately set it in AnyCity rather than a specific place. It was to add to the mystery of the story, the “Everyman” nature of Freeman himself. But when I re-released it earlier this year at Wilde City Press, I made it clearer that the city I used as its setting was London.

Excuse my bias towards London, but I’m living and working there, it’s the city I know best, and it fascinates me. But I’ve also written stories set in Brighton, Totnes in the south-west, Exeter, Scotland and various “alternative, no-name” cities around the British Isles.

And of course, other cities – as they say – are available! I’ve read and enjoyed many stories set in the United Kingdom that evoke marvellously the spirit of the place, its scenery, its history and the unique characteristics of its inhabitants.

Hubby and I also joke about movies set in the US, how it sometimes seems there are only 5 cities in existence – New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco – and they’ve been devastated by enough giant monsters / aliens / natural disasters / Decepticons to make us wonder how there’s anything left for any future features LOL. But again, in fiction, there’s the option of so many more places that can come alive in the reader’s imagination.

How do you feel about physical setting in the books you read? Do you skip over the scene-setting as background wallpaper, or does your reading act as a travel pass to exciting new places? Do you admire the author’s love for the place, or wonder just how much research they’ve done to get authenticity? How do you feel if a book features *your* place, or somewhere you know well – does it thrill or creep you out?

Let us know! As they say, it’s all about Location, Location, Location.

~~~~Clare~~~~

FREEMAN BUY LINK  

EXCLUSIVE today: this link to an extract from FREEMAN, read aloud for your entertainment!

Freeman’s return to the city is quiet, without fuss. Another client: another case. He’ll source what they need and be on his way. But he’s been missed by more people than he thought: his ex-wife, his ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. And at least one of them wants him the hell gone again.

Freeman — private, controlled – just does his job. But when he strikes up an unusual friendship with the young runaway Kit, trouble comes looking for both men, ready to expose secrets that can destroy their fragile trust. Yet, for Kit, Freeman’s more than ready for the challenge.

Clare London

Writing … Man to Man

         

Book of the Day: Flying Colors by Clare London

Flying Colors

Dreamspinner

Amazon.co.uk

Blurb:

Red De Vere appears to have everything—good looks, a prestigious job, attention from the paparazzi, and a choice of lovers. But one day he takes an outrageous step too far at a formal embassy dinner, and the press turns on him. Shocked, he realizes it’s time to find something better in life than partying. He envies the love that his friends Miles and Zeke have, and when he dares to consider that possibility for himself, his hopes and desires rest in his quiet, serious friend Carter Davison.

Carter loved a man who cheated on him, then died violently, and he refuses to make himself vulnerable again. He knows Red is interested; Red has been supportive and admiring since they met. And Carter’s honest enough to admit he’s attracted to Red. But Carter can also think of nothing worse than being the lover of someone in the public eye. Playboy Red must stay an attractive friend, that’s all.

While Red yearns for something real, Carter has some sweet, sexy secrets that might surprise even Red. If Carter dares emerge from his shell, and Red pursues a more rewarding path, romance could spark. Then there’s no telling what might happen.

Excerpt:

RED DE VERE leaned against the wall inside the toilet cubicle and cursed aloud. With enthusiasm and deep feeling too. But it wasn’t as if anyone was going to hear him, was it? He was several corridors away from the Hilton’s function room where the official dinner was being held, and he’d made sure this particular gentlemen’s cloakroom was empty before shuffling inside. He’d also called in his current personal assistant to run interference. PA-Tim (as Red referred to him privately, to differentiate him from PA-Ben or PA-Che or PA-Kai, all of whom had worked for him in the past) had been dispatched to find a “Cleaning in Progress” sign, or to block the entrance to the toilets some other way, then to go searching for whatever else Red needed. Red glanced down at his tall, lean frame. His naked to the waist frame.

And what he needed was a clean set of clothes, wasn’t it?

His suit jacket, silk shirt, and tie lay in a sodden heap on the tiled floor. He nudged the pile with his boot and something squelched. Shit. Slowly, he toed off his boots, then bent and rolled off his socks. He’d always liked these boots, but he doubted the leather would survive such a misadventure. How the hell had the stuff reached all the way down to his feet? It’d be one of those mysteries of the universe, he supposed, like a dropped piece of toast always landing butter-side down. He wriggled his toes, profoundly grateful that the toilets were kept spotlessly clean. He didn’t relish padding about in the remnants of anyone else’s bad aim.

Enough of the toilet humor, Richard, his father would have said with a frown. How apt was that in this situation? Red couldn’t resist a private grin. Since the first teenage step of changing his name to Red, he’d taken nothing but pleasure in goading Alexander De Vere as much as he dared—and often beyond.

He glanced at his watch, glinting gold against his evenly tanned wrist. The room was warm enough, but a shiver of goose bumps ran across his bare shoulders. What the hell was PA-Tim doing? Shopping for the damned silkworms? All he had to do was talk to the hotel staff to help out. Or, to be more discreet, he could have taken a cab back to Red’s flat in Chelsea and picked up another suit there. It wasn’t far from Kensington. Red had hired and fired a good many PAs in his time, and none of them seemed quite up to the job. Maybe it was because Red never really specified what the job was: or maybe it was because no one in their right mind could keep up with him.

Red shifted awkwardly and sighed. The fabric of his bespoke trousers clung to his legs, clammy against his skin. It was no good; the rest of his clothes would have to come off as well. He started wriggling them down his thighs, the waistband of the briefs catching on his hip, the hems of his trouser legs tangling around his ankles. He banged his knee on the wall and narrowly avoided the coat hook on the back of the door gouging out his eye. More cursing, and more colorful this time. He could have waited by the urinals, of course, but it wasn’t every day he found himself stripped in a toilet—not these days, anyway—and he felt somehow safer inside the cubicle.

For God’s sake, what was he? A child?

When he heard a tapping sound outside in the corridor, he eased open the toilet door and stepped out on the luxurious—and much warmer—carpet. “Tim? Is that you?” Silence fell again. Of course, one of the things you could always rely on at these embassy events was the supremely civil and quiet behavior of the guests. That’s why it had been such a shock when the young woman had thrown up all over him. She’d looked so shocked and horrified, Red had just pulled the hem of his jacket over his lap and made quick excuses to go and freshen up. He wondered if anyone even noticed he’d gone, taking the smelly, unpleasantly textured evidence with him. Red hoped someone was looking after her too. Her skin had been too pale for the sickness to be just the effect of rich food or exorbitantly expensive wine; she’d looked drawn and ill.

Red glanced around at the elegantly wallpapered walls, the gilded light fittings, and the gilt taps. No expense spared, even in here. He caught sight of himself in the mirror over the sinks, and paused. Someone else looked drawn too, and not a million miles away. His blond hair had started the evening immaculately styled, as always, but now a couple of sweaty locks were stuck to his forehead. His cheeks were flushed from faster breathing than usual—not surprising, after this little drama—but that couldn’t hide the slightly hollow effect of too many late nights and excesses embraced. But he looked all right otherwise, didn’t he? A little self-consciously, he turned from side to side, peering at his body’s reflection within the mirror’s discreetly etched border. He was lean and well toned rather than muscled, because he never had the patience to spend much time in the gym. But he rode often, and played sports when he could find the opportunity. Presumably that was enough to keep him fit—and fit for anything, as well. His face might be pale but the skin was still good, reflecting the fact he had the money to live well. He was well known for his partying habits, and infamous in the gossip papers for his over-indulgence of food, drink, and the occasional mood enhancer. The tan on his upper body was natural, from skiing and time spent in the Caribbean. And if his gaze drifted lower… well. He’d never had any complaints with the lower half, either.

Dammit! He shook his head. Wasn’t appearance just an accident of birth in the end? He couldn’t help the fact he carried the genes of his handsome, aristocratic English father, blended with the exotic good looks of his Texan mother, even if he deliberately made the most of it. Did that make him a hypocrite? And why the hell was he indulging these thoughts right now?

His gaze was drawn back up to the frown line above his patrician nose. He was concerned about that young woman. Was she part of the embassy staff or a guest’s companion? He’d been so eager to get the mess out of the dining room swiftly, he hadn’t had the chance to check on her. His clean clothes needed to arrive bloody soon, and then he could get back to the dinner.

There was another tapping noise, this time at the door. “Tim?” Red padded on his bare feet over to the door and leaned an ear against it. For a second, he was overwhelmed with the desire to laugh. What must he look like? Naked, in a gentleman’s toilet so smart it was better than his own one at home, with surfaces so white and polished their reflection hurt his eyes, surrounded by the rich, pervasive aroma of vanilla-and-musk air freshener, and battling with the stench of red wine vomit all over his clothes. Leaning against the door like some eavesdropper….

And surreptitiously sniffing his skin for traces of that vomit.

God. Red straightened up quickly, shaking his head, even though there was no one to see it. He hoped PA-Tim had brought toiletries as well. Would the guy have the initiative to think of that? Red knew he’d need a quick wash down before he pulled on fresh clothes. He wondered if he’d missed any critical discussions over dinner—so many decisions were made over the beef Wellington rather than the board table. And there was probably no dessert left by now. He’d been promised baked Alaska and the best English cheese board in the city, and he damned well deserved them both.

“Red?”

Red frowned, leaning closer. That definitely sounded like PA-Tim—just the right blend of nervousness and devotion. He cracked open the door. There was Tim, over by the far wall, eyes wide, lips pursed. His fair, new-graduate-bland face was white to the gills, and he clutched a pile of laundry bags to his chest. His mouth opened as Red caught his eye, but Red couldn’t hear him—

Because any speech was drowned out by a sudden burst of voices, a whole group of them, different tones, different pitches, but all rising in volume and unmistakable urgency, swelling from a thrust of bodies clustered around the toilet door.

“Red! Red De Vere! Red, this way!”

Startled, Red relaxed his hold on the handle, and someone on the other side wrenched the door fully open. Red De Vere stood there, bare, transfixed, temporarily without even the nous to clap his hands over his genitals. The babble of noise couldn’t hide a ripple of crude, victorious laughter. And the corridor was immediately filled with the white light of snapping cameras.

That was the other thing you could always rely on at embassy events, of course—the paparazzi being out in force.