Rainbow Snippets: Gentlemen’s Agreement

This week, I’m continuing snippeting from my ongoing Regency romp Twelve Letters series, and it’s the turn of Gentlemen’s Agreement, the fourth novella in the series. The entire series, including the latest release May Wedding and all my other titles, are in the 45% off ebook Memorial Day weekend-long sale at JMS Books from May 26 – 29.

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.

Gentlemen’s Agreement continues the story of the lives and loves of the three couples in my Twelve Letters ensemble cast, Jo Everett and tailor Daniel Walters, Captain Ben Harding and Dr Edward Stephens and Regency himbo Percy Havilland and Nathan Brooks. I also threw in a Napoleonic spy plot just for fun!

Ben is asked by a former commanding officer to volunteer some society friends to help with surveillance in Mayfair’s ballrooms on some highly-placed figures who are suspected to be involved in the intrigue. In this snippet, Ben discusses the confidential matter with his best friend Jo.

“Colonel Graham said he’d be grateful for extra recruits at our discretion. Is there anyone trustworthy you can think of offhand?”

“Well,” Jo began. “There’s always Percy.”

Ben glared at Jo in disbelief. “Percy?” He remonstrated. “Unless he’s gazing at his reflection, I wouldn’t grant him any abilities of observation.”

“You’d be surprised at Percy’s powers of perception,” Jo said thoughtfully. “A year ago I would have said you had a fair point, but now he’s…”

As Jo paused to find the correct phrase, Ben could have easily supplied several examples including, become more bearable, less of a pointless popinjay, begun to notice other people exist. He was about to interject witheringly with his favourite, no longer a completely selfish arse, when Jo added, “…mellowed.”

Rainbow Snippets: Coming of Age

Following the release celebrations for May Wedding, the 6th story in my Regency romp Twelve Letters series, I’m returning to recap some Rainbow Snippets from the previous novellas in the series.

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.

This week, it’s the turn of book 3, Coming of Age, which features my regular ensemble cast of characters and charts the change for the better in Percy Havilland, the group’s Regency himbo.

This snippet is written from the point of view of regular Twelve Letters cast member Jo Everett and shows Percy at his most unrepentant! Jo, Percy and his lover Nathan are at a society ball in Mayfair. Jo observes how, after a disagreement between the couple earlier in the day, caused entirely by Percy, he manages to wrap Nathan around his little finger, in his own inimitable way.

Jo could not help but notice how, apparently artlessly, Percy orbited closer, casually selecting dance partners in ever-decreasing circles to Nathan’s proximity. Once they were within touching distance, instead of confrontation or apology, there was a teasing glance, just a flash of those glorious blue eyes directed at Nathan. The next occasion warranted a delicate half-smile revealing a hint of a dimple. 

Depending on the prowess of his current dance partner, Jo watched this progress with fascination as Nathan’s forbidding expression subtly softened at each circuit until Percy’s careful choreography drew them together. By the time Jo consumed a well-deserved glass of punch and discreetly mopped his brow with his handkerchief, the previously warring duo was standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Percy tilted his golden head winningly as he uttered a bon mot that made Nathan smile in genuine amusement, all annoyance forgotten.

Jo was unsure whether to be impressed or appalled at Percy’s scheming ways and his ability to manipulate the most clear-thinking and hard-headed fellow from a state of severe exasperation to pliable putty. 

Rainbow Snippets: May Wedding

For this week’s Rainbow Snippets, I thought I’d quote another few lines from my recent release, May Wedding, the 6th book in my Regency romp series, Twelve Letters, featuring an ensemble cast.

Along with the rest of the Twelve Letters series and all my other titles, May Wedding is in the 45% ebook Mother’s Day weekend sale at JMS Books until midnight on Sunday, May 14th.

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.

In last week’s snippet from May Wedding, we had a scene between established couple Percy and Nathan. This time, it’s the turn of another couple in my ensemble, Jo and Daniel. Jo is a gentleman (if not a very wealthy one) and Daniel is an upmarket tailor. At this period, very few men would openly flaunt their relationship so the difference in class between them is an additional challenge. It takes a lot of love and determination to get to where they are, sharing an apartment above a Tottenham Court Road tailor’s shop.

In this snippet, Jo is trying on his outfit in advance for Percy’s sister’s wedding with Daniel’s input.  I just thought these few lines summed up how much these two lovely men adore each other.

Jo had stood before their bedroom mirror, wrestling with the coat buttons. “If I carry on like this, I’m going to need a corset, like Prinny,” he announced flippantly, referring to the increasingly heavy Prince of Wales whose overstrained underpinnings often audibly creaked at public engagements.

Daniel, half a head shorter than Jo, stood at his shoulder with calm appraisal, unfazed by Jo’s predicament. “No one apart from your tailor would notice the gain of an extra inch or two. You look at least as handsome as ever.” Jo ceased tugging at his recalcitrant garment to look down into Daniel’s warm brown eyes, the colour of rich sherry wine. “Anyway,” Daniel continued with a winning smile. “How can I complain if there’s more of you to love?”

Rainbow Snippets: May Wedding

For the last couple of Rainbow Snippets, I’ve been snipping away from Twelve Letters and Queer Relations, the first two books in my Regency romp Twelve Letters series. As book 6 in the series, May Wedding is released today, I’ll break briefly off the chronology! I’ll resume with book 3, Coming of Age, in a fortnight.

May Wedding is available at Amazon and all other outlets and is currently in the 20% off new release sale at JMS Books until May 12th.

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.

May Wedding follows on from The Misfit, book 5 in the Twelve Letters series. The Misfit was about the second chance love affair of a new couple, Luc and Harry, but in May Wedding we return to our usual ensemble of couples for a wedding story.

This snippet, like last week’s, is from the point of view of reformed brat Regency brat Percy Havilland as he engineers the grand society wedding of one of his sisters. As one of my readers commented, Percy is the ultimate bridezilla, even if it isn’t his wedding!

In this snippet (a wee bit longer than six lines), Percy is attempting to have an argument with his ever-patient lover Nathan about the choice of bridesmaids’ dresses for his sisters Eustacia and Phoebe. As ever, Nathan has the knack of seeing through Percy’s outer behaviour to his inner emotions.

Nathan sat in his favourite Chesterfield armchair while Percy paced before him in a manner that Nathan remarked reminded him of a caged tiger.

When holding forth at great length on the challenge of selecting the exact shade of fruity pink for the bridesmaids’ dresses, Percy started to argue with Nathan, despite the gentleman’s indifference on whether the ladies should wear muslin or sackcloth.

Instead of justifiably losing his temper with Percy in this wildly unreasonable mood, Nathan said, “Come here,” and patted his thighs encouragingly. After a brief hesitation, while formulating a heated debate between the virtues of a bright peach hue or a subtle shade of apricot, Percy rather sulkily sat on Nathan’s lap, holding himself stiffly.

“That’s better,” Nathan said, pulling him close. All Percy’s edgy anxiety started to dissolve as he breathed in Nathan’s familiar Bay Rum cologne, listened to the steady rhythm of his breath, and felt the warmth and strength of his body that Percy relied on and frequently enjoyed.

“Whatever you choose,” Nathan opined, “will be perfect, not only in tribute to your excellent taste but because of your solicitude for Eustacia and Phoebe.”

At this disarming statement, rather than bristling, Percy found himself weeping copiously on Nathan’s broad shoulder while his paramour patiently stroked his back and kissed his neck between reassuring endearments.

Rainbow Snippets: Queer Relations

For this week’s Rainbow Snippets, in the run-up to the release of May Wedding on May 6th, book 6 in my Twelve Letters series, I’m continuing to pick snippets from the published stories in this series. May Wedding is currently in the 20% pre-release/new release sale at JMS Books. After picking a snippet from book 1, Twelve Letters, it’s now the turn of Queer Relations, the second novella in the series.

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.

Twelve Letters is a series with an ensemble cast set in Regency London, but Queer Relations is very much Percy Havilland’s story. We met Percy in Twelve Letters when he was briefly entangled with poor Jo, my main MC in that particular story. Percy appeared to be the ultimate Regency himbo, beautiful, spoiled, calculating and utterly selfish.

By the beginning of Queer Relations, with Jo having come to his senses and fallen in love with his tailor, Daniel Walters, Percy has transferred his mercenary affections to older wealthy man, Nathan Brooks, who is nobody’s fool.

However, following a disastrous family scandal, Percy is socially ostracised. He’s rescued by Jo and his best friend Ben Harding from a potentially humiliating situation at White’s Club to lie low in a changing room at the tailor’s shop in Bond Street where Daniel works until Nathan can take him to safety. In this snippet, Percy is uncertain how Nathan will respond to his changed circumstances…

The tailor slipped out discreetly, holding the curtain open for Nathan, whose build and personality dominated the small room. 

Percy cringed, expecting a scolding at least, or even to be dismissed permanently from his lover’s life, but when Nathan started to speak, his voice was rough with relief rather than anger or disgust.

“Thank heavens! I’ve been looking everywhere for you. By the time Everett found me, I was preparing to camp out at Mount Street until you returned. What with all the wild tales I’ve heard in the clubs, I was getting frantic.”

Percy found the courage to look up at Nathan, seeing genuine anxiety in those golden-brown eyes and etched on his familiar, craggy face. Percy opened his mouth to utter some phrases of explanation or apology and was utterly confounded to burst into a flood of tears.

Rainbow Snippets: Twelve Letters

In the run-up to my new release on May 6th, May Wedding, the sixth in my Twelve Letters series, I thought I’d post a Rainbow Snippet from Twelve Letters, the story that introduced my ensemble cast of London gentlemen, including Percy Havilland the Regency himbo. May Wedding is currently in the 20% off pre-release/new release sale at 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.

This snippet from Twelve Letters, book 1 in the series, involves my MC Jo Everett and one of the pivotal letters of the story title. In rushing off to prevent his best friend Ben Harding from fighting a duel, Jo has managed to confuse a letter to his current squeeze Percy with a note to his tailor, Daniel Walters.

Given Percy’s short attention span where lovers are concerned, Jo is keen to keep his interest. He’s rightly proud of devising a letter that’s as flattering as it is explicit. However, this snippet contains the moment when Jo realises that the missive has been sent to the wrong recipient…

With that short business completed, Jo turned to leave the shop when Walters said in a completely different tone, “One moment, Mr. Everett.” The urgency in the man’s voice made Jo pause and when he faced him again, Walters was holding out a piece of paper. There were two spots of high colour staining his cheekbones and his gaze was directed at a point beyond Jo’s left shoulder.

 “In all good faith, I ought to return this to you, sir, as I realize now that it was misdirected. Then you can pass it on to the, er, lady for whom it was intended.”

With a sense of dawning horror, Jo felt the blood drain from his face as he took the folded note. It felt surprisingly warm to the touch as if worn close to the skin. 

He looked at the address. Walters was perfectly correct. The tailor’s name was clearly inscribed, but given the frigid look of mortification on the man’s face, Jo could only guess the solicitations inside had absolutely nothing to do with buttons, apart from the undoing of them.

“Most obliged,” Jo managed to stammer before he fled from the premises.

Rainbow Snippets: London in the Rain

I have another Rainbow Snippet this week from London in the Rain. This 1930s-set story is now one year old and currently selected for a Wide MM Bookfunnel promo from April 1st – 16th.  This event has some fabulous stories from great authors and is very much worth a look.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post six or so 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.

London in the Rain is from the point of view of lonely insurance clerk Raymond Smith. When away from his desk, he seeks solace at Charlie’s a discreet gay bar for the occasional encounter with a stranger. One evening he meets David Carstairs, a suave translator for the Foreign Office who makes it clear he wants more than an anonymous fling.

In this snippet, after having dinner together, David asks Raymond back to his central London apartment for a drink. This Rainbow Snippet does go slightly beyond six lines, but I couldn’t resist a snippet from this scene that promises so much between these two characters.

“Some music?” David asked and moved across to the gramophone. Within moments, the room was filled with Fred Astaire’s light tones singing “Night and Day.”

“One of my favourites,” Raymond said. “From the film, The Gay Divorcee, isn’t it?”

“It is. A splendid film with wonderful dancing. Talking of which,” he paused and held out a hand towards Raymond with a cautious smile.

Raymond stood shyly. Once they were opposite one another, he noticed they were almost the same height, with David only a fraction taller.

“One last thing,” David said, and leaning towards Raymond, he carefully removed his spectacles, putting them in Raymond’s top pocket.

Those golden eyes gazed into his. “As I hoped,” David murmured. “As clear, wide, and grey as a winter sky.” David drew closer to Raymond as if to gather him in his arms, even to capture his lips in a kiss while Fred Astaire crooned softly of romantic yearnings.

Rainbow Snippets: London in the Rain

This week I’ve chosen a few lines for Rainbow Snippets from my 1930s-set story London in the Rain which has its first anniversary this week. To celebrate, I’m taking part in a Wide MM Bookfunnel promo from April 1st – 16th with loads of other fabulous authors which is really worth checking out.

Along with all my other stories, London in the Rain is in the 40% off ebook Easter sale at JMS Books from Friday, April 7th through Monday, April 10th.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post six or so 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.

London in the Rain is about Raymond Smith, a pernickety clerk in his 30s who lives a double life. By day, he works in an office at Southampton Row and at night, he finds solace in Soho at Charlie’s, a discreet drinking club for men who like men.

Raymond is accustomed to meeting strangers for furtive anonymous encounters, but one night he comes across David, chaperoning a young relative and his university friends around London’s alternative nightlife, and everything changes…

Whoever their mentor was, he must be easing them in gradually since there were far more outrageous entertainments in the seamy streets nearby.

He was still smiling when their guide caught his attention. More than a decade older than the others, similar in age to Raymond, he was making calming gestures with his hands and raising his voice in a dignified way, like a schoolmaster charged with a crowd of over-ebullient boys on a particularly exciting field trip. Raymond had a vague impression of the Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks in the guise of an English gentleman, complete with a pencil moustache.

The man turned, catching Raymond’s expression, and with a resigned and rueful gesture raised both palms in resignation. Then, all of a sudden, he smiled. Raymond had to stop himself from gaping. With that slight change, those suave, untouchable movie star looks were transformed. In an instant, he appeared warm and approachable. The man was a stunner.

Rainbow Snippets: The Misfit

I’ve chosen a few lines from my newly released story The Misfit, for this week’s Rainbow Snippets. The Misfit is book 5 in my Twelve Letters series and a spin-off story from my established ensemble cast, telling musician Luc and actor Harry’s love story. My story is in the 20% new release sale at JMS Books until April 7th and is also available at Amazon and all other outlets.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post six or so 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.

In this snippet, Luc has his first proper reunion with Harry, his friend and sometime lover after returning to England after some months abroad. After an evening at a Covent Garden Tavern, Harry has returned with Luc to his room.

Harry leaned forward, and their lips met in a chaste salute until he slipped his tongue into Luc’s mouth. Harry tasted of juniper and desire. Luc felt a flare of heat, quite separate from the sting of almost neat spirit, a sensation all the more enticing for being a known quantity. With a teasing nip to Luc’s lower lip, Harry leaned back and started to unbutton his waistcoat.

“You’re looking good, Frenchie, better than ever.”

His gaze was avid, even intense, transforming Harry from the devil may care joker in the Shakespeare Tavern, laughing off everything with a merry flourish, to a man with serious intentions.

Rainbow Snippets: The Misfit

For this week’s Rainbow Snippets, I’m choosing a few lines from my upcoming story, The Misfit, released on April 1st. It’s the fifth novella in my Regency romp Twelve Letters series and a spin-off story. The Misfit is currently in the 20% off pre-release/new release sale at JMS Books.

Authors who take part in Rainbow Snippets each weekend are encouraged to post six or so 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.

Luc Gerrard first appeared as a minor supporting character in Gentlemen’s Agreement, the fourth story in the series, when my regular cast of characters rescued him from being unwittingly embroiled in a Napoleonic plot.

The Misfit is from Luc’s point of view and takes place after the events of Gentlemen’s Agreement when he’s starting the pick up the professional and personal pieces of his life, including his relationship with his former lover Harry. This snippet is their first encounter in the story.

“You’re back then,” came the flat declaration. Harry Kent stood in the shadows of the passageway, his expression unreadable in the gloom.

“So it seems.”

“Looking to stick around?”

“If I can.”

Harry gave a decisive nod to settle some private deliberation. Disconcerted by the strange seriousness of his friend and sometime lover, Luc joked, “Why? Do I need your permission to leave?”

“Mebbe so.”

Harry approached the lighter section of the corridor, his lanky stride almost a prowl. His face was unsmiling, and his body tensed for a confrontation.