Rainbow Snippets: A Tricky Situation

I meant to post this yesterday, but thoroughly got carried away with writing my WIP, so that’s as good an excuse as any! As we’re getting close to Halloween, I thought I’d choose a snippet from A Tricky Situation, last year’s Halloween story written for JMS Books’ Trick or Treat submission call.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post a few lines from one of their stories on their blog and then link back to the group post on Facebook. I always enjoy joining in with Rainbow Snippets, especially to read and comment on everyone else’s choice of snippet.

The story ties in with this year’s Trick or Treat story, A Trick of the Light. They are both set in the same city of Bristol, England (plus a street in the same area and even the same house!) and share a character, Kit Holloway, who appears as a young man in the 18th-century setting of A Tricky Situation and as a ghost in the 1950s in A Trick of the Light!

In this snippet taken from the start of the story, Kit is on a drunken night out near the docks with his high-spending, fast-living aristocratic friends who his father encourages him to mix with when he gets mugged by a gang of ruffians. He manages to escape and while fleeing, he hides in a narrow alleyway as they give chase…

While engrossed in his earnest prayer to repent from a life heading to debauchery, the shock of a hand closing on his wrist nearly made him cry out. Its pair was placed firmly across his mouth. Is this another trick? In his terrified state of mind, he convinced himself the unseen figure lurking in the shadows of the lane was a demon ready to drag him down to the depths.

Instead of the prick of a pitchfork, he heard a whisper. “Don’t make a sound.”

Rainbow Snippets: Another Chance for Love

As my post-WW1 novella, Another Chance for Love is one of four titles in the QueeRomanceInk giveaway pack for October I thought it was timely to include a snippet from that story. To access all four books for free, just sign up for the QueeRomanceInk email list.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post a few lines from one of their stories on their blog and then link back to the group post on Facebook. I always enjoy joining in with Rainbow Snippets, especially to read and comment on everyone else’s choice of snippet.

At the start of Another Chance for Love, my main character Adam Merryweather may have survived his injuries sustained during the war, but due to miscommunication, he has lost touch with the love of his life, Alf. In this snippet, during a conversation with his cousin and confidante, Cat, Adam is mulling over the mess he has made of that situation, especially the fact that due to the machinations of his upwardly mobile mother, he allowed himself to be entangled in a brief socially acceptable wartime engagement.

He had written four or five letters since Alf’s disastrous visit to him in hospital, not that he had been coherent enough to register his presence. That was the occasion when Alf found out that Adam was engaged to be married, just by some casual reference from a nurse. Cat was already at Adam’s bedside when this happened and had raced after Alf, trying to explain the situation as it was in reality. But Alf had abruptly left the building and Adam’s life.

Once Adam had revived sufficiently and Cat had broken the news about the unfortunate turn of events, he had written to Alf at Christmas and then again at Easter, carefully phrasing his letter in the terms of any army pal, rather than something more intimate, in case the letters got into the wrong hands.

He knew his phrasing was awkward and stilted, asking after Alf’s and his parents’ health. He couldn’t say what was in his heart, “I’m a bloody idiot, I should have told you at the very start. Please forgive me. I love you.”

Free story at QueeRomance Ink!

My second-ever published MM Historical Romance, Another Chance for Love is included as one of the four free books in the Queer Romance Ink giveaway pack for the month of October. All you need to do is to sign up for the QRI email list to access these free reads. Yes, it really is that easy!

Former British Army Lieutenant Adam Merryweather has survived the Western Front of WW1 and has slowly recovered from his injuries. But can he heal from a broken heart?

Torn between family duty and personal happiness, he sacrificed his love for Alf and has never ceased to regret that in the two years since.

Adam is slowly putting his empty life back together, working for the family firm in the city centre of Bristol and trying to stop his mother’s meddling to find him the perfect socially acceptable bride. When he happens to meet Alf out of the blue, Adam is determined to try again. But convincing Alf may be too much to hope for.

Can a chance meeting bring them back together? Or has Adam lost his chance of love forever?

Rainbow Snippets: A Trick of the Light

As it’s still fresh in my mind, I thought I’d choose another snippet from my new release, A Trick of the Light, my Trick or Treat Halloween novella for JMS Books.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post a few lines from one of their stories on their blog and then link back to the group post on Facebook. I always enjoy joining in with Rainbow Snippets, especially to read and comment on everyone else’s choice of snippet.

I chose a spooky snippet last week from this 1950s story, so this time, I thought I’d concentrate on a more romantic few lines. At the start of A Trick of the Light, my main character Kenneth Taylor has returned home to Bristol after a stint in National Service and having argued with his father about his future ambitions, he is living in a grotty rented room. But life looks more hopeful when he meets Gino, the son of a local café owner and they begin a tentative flirtation. After their first date at a local cinema, they return to Kenneth’s room…

Although he was half-waiting for Gino’s move, it was a pleasurable shock to feel Gino’s hands on his hips, those soft lips he had imagined on his, finding the bare skin on the nape of his neck above his collar. Teacups forgotten, Kenneth turned in Gino’s arms, and they kissed. In the haven of Kenneth’s room, there was no rush, no urgency, and Gino seemed perfectly content to press his lips to Kenneth’s for moments on end.

After daydreaming since he had first laid eyes on Gino, the actuality was equally as thrilling, but also romantic. Nothing like those snatched encounters behind the barracks where darkness and haste were expedient, and the act was never mentioned again after the event.

At long last, Gino drew away, his dark eyes liquid, his full lips reddened. “I’ve been wanting to do that for weeks,” he confessed, and Kenneth felt the fragile defences around his heart dissolve.

Universal Book Link

#bookversary: A Tricky Situation

A Tricky Situation has been on my mind during October, not only because it was last year’s Trick or Treat story for JMS Books, but because my main character Kit features in this year’s Halloween story,  A Trick of the Light, in a guest ghost appearance!

I do enjoy writing coming-of-age stories where a character reaches a crisis point and comes out all the stronger for it, especially with the support of someone special, so Kit and Ned’s story was a pleasure to write.

Christopher Holloway lives a comfortable existence in 18th-century Bristol as the son of a wealthy merchant. Until, when on a night out with some aristocratic companions, he is set upon by thieves.

His grand friends don’t come to his rescue, but he is led to safety by a stranger, a working-class man of colour, Edmund Lowe. Although now physically safe, Kit’s sense of danger lingers due to his growing feelings for Edmund. Their mutual attraction forces Kit to question his previous values, causing an inner crisis as Halloween draws near.

Will Kit submit to the demands of family ties and social advancement? Or can he find the courage to follow his true path and choose Edmund?

Rainbow Snippets: A Trick of the Light

As it’s release weekend for my new story A Trick of the Light, I had to choose some lines from it for this week’s Rainbow Snippets!

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post a few lines from one of their stories on their blog and then link back to the group post on Facebook. I always enjoy joining in with Rainbow Snippets, especially to read and comment on everyone else’s choice of snippet.

A Trick of the Light was written for the JMS Books’ Halloween Trick or Treat submissions call and is currently in the 20% off pre-release/new release sale at JMS Books. The story is set in England in 1950s Bristol and ties in with last year’s 18th-century Bristol-set Halloween story, A Tricky Situation as my main character makes a cameo appearance as a ghost.

In A Trick of the Light, Kenneth Taylor has been thrown out of the family home by his dad for having his own life ambitions that go beyond working in the factory where his father is a supervisor. In this snippet, in his shabby rented room in bomb-damaged Kingsdown, Kenneth has been mulling over his options, none of which seem promising, as well as the dilemma of his increasing attraction to Gino, the son of a local café owner. Undecided and discouraged, Kenneth glances in the mirror and sees more than his own reflection, faced with a ghostly vision from a previous century…

He was wearing striped satin knee-length breeches topped by a rich orange coat fitted to the waist, the full skirts ending at mid-thigh, with lace ruffles at his neck and wrists. The finishing touches to the outfit were shiny buckled shoes on his feet, and even a short, powdered wig covering his natural hair. He looked as if he’d stepped out of a historical film or one of Kenneth’s school history books.

But the expression on his face was kind, even compassionate, as though he sympathised with Kenneth. Transfixed, Kenneth watched as the effigy slowly faded, leaving him alone in the darkness with the sound of dance music echoing from the floor above.

Rainbow Snippets: Another Chance for Love

This week I’m choosing a snippet from my second published MM Romance, Another Chance for Love, published by JMS Books for their Second Chances submission call.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post a few lines from one of their stories on their blog and then link back to the group post on Facebook. I always enjoy joining in with Rainbow Snippets, especially to read and comment on everyone else’s choice of snippet.

Another Chance for Love is set in Bristol in the early 1920s, and tells the story of Adam Merryweather, recovered physically from his injuries incurred during WW1 but brokenhearted at his estrangement from wartime lover, Alf. Then one day, he spots a familiar form in the street…

At first, he barely noticed the figure, but some instinct made him look again and register recognition. The uniform might be replaced with civvies but once seen properly, the resemblance was unmistakable. The average height, spare build, the way he held his head and that particular way of walking was distinctive.

On impulse, before he could stop himself he called his name. “Alf,” he called. And again, louder and with more urgency, he shouted, “Alf.” 

The man ahead hesitated then stopped and turned.

Coming Soon: A Trick of the Light

My new story, A Trick of the Light is now on pre-release! It will be released on October 1st and is currently included in the 20% off pre-release/new release sale at JMS Books until October 7th.

This is my story for JMS Books‘ Halloween Trick or Treat submission call. Like last year, I’ve picked Trick, and I also decided to set my story in the city of Bristol. But this time I have moved the historical setting to the 1950s – a bit of a change from my recent Regency stories! However, there is a link between my last year’s Halloween story, A Tricky Situation, as my main character Kit returns in a ghostly form to help a more modern young man with a similar life challenge…

Kenneth Taylor has bright plans for a future as an engineer. In the summer of 1957, as soon as he returns home to Bristol from two years of National Service in the Royal Signals, a furious row with his dad means he’s thrown out of the house, and his prospects are in jeopardy.

He finds lodgings in the hilltop, bomb-damaged suburb of Kingsdown, determined to be independent and juggling night school with his humdrum day job. He soon meets Gino, the good-looking son of a local café owner and is thrilled when the attraction proves to be mutual. As their romance blooms, Kenneth finds unexpected encouragement from an apparition in the mirror who inhabited the house in the late 18th century.

When the ghostly vision of Kit also appears to Kenneth in his dreams, it seems they have much in common when Kit reveals his dilemma at a similar age, concerning his growing attachment to a young man, Ned. Past and present intermingle as Kenneth faces parallel and difficult decisions. But can he trust Kit? Or is it all merely a trick of the light?

Rainbow Snippets: Held Close to My Heart

I’ve chosen a short extract from my June story, Held Close to My Heart for this week’s Rainbow Snippet.  This story was written for the Hugs or Kisses submission call for JMS Books.

Along with my other titles, it’s is included in the final weekend of the July sales. There’s 12% off at JMS Books and 50% off at Smashwords. Summer bargains!

As always, authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets are encouraged to post a few lines from one of their stories on their blog and then link back to the group post on Facebook. I always enjoy joining in with Rainbow Snippets, especially to read and comment on everyone else’s snippet.

This story is set in 17th century Oxfordshire and is narrated by Luke, a young man desperately in love with his childhood friend Jem. When Jem occasionally returns home from the decadent court of King Charles II in London, the pair pick up their friendship as occasional lovers, but Luke longs for so much more…

I merely grunted in response, not wanting to show a sour face, especially after the joy of our first coupling for many months. But Jem knew me too well, and his eyes danced with amusement as he regarded my expression. “My puritan,” he said fondly, as he kissed my forehead and then turned aside to collect his scattered clothes from the dirt floor.

I watched him as he dressed, efficiently covering his slender body with an old linen shirt and coarse breeches, as graceful as if he was in court dress. Jem stood and reached a hand down to help me up. “Come on, lazybones,” he said. “Get your clothes on, and I’ll race you to the river.”