Throwback Thursday | Once Around Seven

I was walking the dog along the river just a stone’s throw from our house and thought of Once Around Seven. It was published in July 2018, so not very old, but I thought I’d give it a post now anyway.

About the only thing you can do around here is to go down the river by canoe – I live in the middle of nowhere – so when I was trying to come up with something anyone who was visiting Nortown for the first time could do, canoeing seemed like a good idea.

When Oz is taking a dip, it’s autumn and not early March as the pictures below, but you get the idea. I also included a photo of my companion on the walk, our dog, who’s the inspiration behind Tristan’s dog Og.

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As Joshua looked out over the river again he thought something moved on a rock just a little bit above where the currents really sped up.

“Hey!”

The form moved again, and a moan travelled in the wind. Fuck. He’d hoped he’d imagined it. “Are you all right?” Stupid question.

“Splendid. Thanks for asking.”

Josh smiled. A man judging from the voice and probably not in danger of dying on him. “Well, then, are you planning on sleeping out there tonight or could I perhaps persuade you to join me up here where it’s a little dryer?”

The silence lasted too long for Joshua’s liking. “You still with me?” The man groaned, and Josh’s stomach knotted. Perhaps he was more hurt than he’d assumed. “Wait there. I’m coming to get you.”

He ran back to the branch he’d tripped over and grabbed it. It was long enough for him to test the ground before stepping into the stream. He hoped it wouldn’t be deeper than his waders. “You still with me?”

Poking with the stick, he tested the uneven ground and slipped first one then the other foot into the water. He held on to the grass on the riverbank for a few seconds while trying to determine if it was safe to let go. The current was strong, not enough to pull him down, but if he slipped…

Moving one foot, then the stick, then the other foot, and all the while the tug of the current intensified… The man on the rock was crawling towards him, still out of the water but seemingly prepared to take another dip.

“Wait for me, okay?” Joshua looked at him, blond hair clinging to his forehead and the closer he came the clearer he could hear his teeth chattering. “Oswald?”

The man narrowed his eyes, but the chatter of his teeth didn’t stop. “Great, of course, it’s someone who knows who I am.”

Joshua chuckled. “Sorry, man. May I ask, though, why the late-night swim?”

Oswald groaned, one foot slipping in the black river. “Late night? What time is it?”

“I’m guessing around seven.”

books2read.com/OnceAroundSeven *


Once Around SevenOswald Sattle has been sleeping in his Toyota Camry for the last two hundred and seventy-three days, the exact number of days since he discovered his fiancé cheating on him. Now, out of money and out of options, he’s on his way to Nortown. Aiden, an acquaintance from his past, has offered him a job opportunity he can’t turn down, no matter how much he’d like to.

Joshua Roth moved to Nortown four years ago and he has everything he needs—a job, friends, peace and quiet. He’s not looking for a boyfriend; no one even knows he’s gay, and he’d like it to stay that way. But a stranger in town has Joshua rethinking his decision.

Oswald looks like he wants to hide from the world, and Josh finds himself wanting to get him to smile, to feed him, and make everything better.

In a small town, where everyone knows everyone else’s business, reaching for what you want can feel like a risk. But some risks are worth taking.

Part of Seasons of Love Anthology


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

Throwback Thursday | He Melted Us

Okay, I have to write about He Melted Us today. It’s Thursday, and I said I’d do one Throwback Thursday post a month during 2019, and it’s three years ago today that it was published.

heart shaped pad lockYou might think that since it’s Valentine, I should write a post about some cute romance – He Melted Us is not cute, but I don’t know if I have any cute romances. You might be better judges than I when it comes to that, but I don’t see my stories as overly romantic.

He Melted Us is part of the Love Unlocked anthology from Beaten Track Publishing, and I remember when Debbie McGowan posted the call. I was at my Mum’s, sitting in her conservatory talking to my sister. I was done with a draft of another story and had switched manuscripts with one of my beta readers who also had one she wanted feedback on.

That story is still sitting here on my laptop with her beta notes attached. I abandoned it for He Melted Us and I never went back. I will, though! Any day now LOL (I’ve said that for two and a half years).

Anyway, on the 1st of June 2015, the padlocks on Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archeveche in Paris were removed. For years people had left locks as a symbol of their love on the bridges, and there were so many they feared the bridges would be destroyed.

The call for the anthology was that each story should be about one of the padlocks. Every lock on those bridges held a story, and we were to write a story that might have been.

So I sat there in the conservatory with my sister, and we tossed ideas around, one crazier than the other. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes, and then when I went home, I wrote the story.

It’s not sane, Delron is not reasonable, and neither Delron nor Phillipe master the skill of communication. But, in my defence, I’ve seldom laughed as much writing a story as I did this, and it might not come across in the actual text, but I’m selfish enough to say that I don’t care.

Phillipe paced the reception area in the police station. He couldn’t believe Delron had been picked up by the police. He never did anything illegal, never even drove too fast. It has to be a mistake, it just has to be. His Del didn’t do things that had him ending up in the police station.

“You can sit down, Mr. Lebeau. They will be out with him soon.”

Phillipe wanted to glare at the woman behind the glass as she smiled at him, but she hadn’t been anything but nice to him since he’d arrived, so he had no reason to.

He sank down on one of the sofas that had been in fashion about fifteen years ago and ran his hands over his stubble-short hair. What on Earth has Delron got himself into? He hoped it wasn’t drugs. It couldn’t be drugs, could it? Delron worked at the hospital, he’d been a nurse for years. If he was an addict, Phillipe would’ve noticed, wouldn’t he? But maybe he was selling? Maybe he stole drugs from the hospital and sold them on the black market or something. Does anyone ever really know their partner? Del had been acting a bit strange lately. What if that’s what he was doing yesterday, when he came home in the middle of the night? Phillipe was more and more certain it had been the front door and not the balcony door he’d heard.

At the sound of approaching footsteps, Phillipe got to his feet. Delron stood there, looking a bit sheepish as a police officer gave him a stern look. “I hope not to see you here again.”

The man’s voice sent a shiver down Phillipe’s spine, not because he sounded mean in any way, but there was authority in that voice.

“Bye.” Delron started towards the door without even looking at Phillipe.

“Del! What the fuck?”

Delron held the door open and waited for Phillipe to pass through it.

“Is it drugs?” He had to know. The more he thought about it, the more possible it seemed.

Drugs? Are you out of your mind? I broke into Hôtel de Ville.”

“You did what?” Phillipe wasn’t proud of the way his voice screeched, but he’d never thought Delron a burglar. It had never even crossed his mind that he might be.

“I was only looking for the mayor. Apparently, he’s been getting some hate mail lately, and they thought it was me, since I…sort of broke in to find him.” Phillipe prepared to yell at him, but before he could, Delron continued. “It’s no big deal. I convinced the police I wasn’t the one sending the mail, and that I didn’t mean the mayor any harm. So they let me go.” Delron shrugged and started walking towards their car, which Phillipe had carelessly parked in the disabled parking zone.

No big deal? Phillipe’s hands were shaking. How can this not be a big deal?

books2read.com/HeMeltedUs


He Melted UsAll Delron wants is to live his life with Phillipe, but when their love lock is stolen from Pont des Art, their relationship is in jeopardy. Without the lock holding them together, Delron is convinced they’ll crash and burn. The only way he can save their relationship is to find the stolen lock, and that is just what he plans to do, no matter what.

Phillipe loves Delron, he really does, but it’s driving him insane that Delron can’t see that a padlock is simply a piece of metal. The lock has nothing to do with them, not really. Up until the night the lock was stolen, their life was great, but Del’s crazy behaviour has Phillipe wondering if he has ever really known his boyfriend.

Delron’s search leads him through art-filled Paris, but will a symbol of love ever be enough to soothe the mistrust his quest has planted in Phillipe? Phillipe always thought he’d spend the rest of his life with Del, but who can live with anyone willing to break the law just to find a padlock when they can buy a new one in just about any shop?

A story from Love Unlocked – a collection of seven short stories and novellas – unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge.

books2read.com/LoveUnlocked *


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

Christmas is coming to Nortown

Have you started reading your holiday stories? I haven’t read any yet but looks what’s up for pre-order, yay!

Christmas has arrived to Nortown, and someone has to be Santa during a Christmas party at Jen’s café. That someone is no other than Zachary Fane from Once in May.

John isn’t thrilled. He might like to go Jen’s from some pre-opening-hours breakfast, but a café packed with people is not his idea of fun. But no matter how much he wished he could stay at home in his safe, peaceful home, he finds himself at Jen’s watching from afar as Zachary plays the part of Santa.

Luckily the party comes to an end, and one after another people are leaving until John and Santa are the only two remaining. Now, for some reason you are supposed to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you wish for, so John does just that…

Honey Baked (Nortown #5.5) will be published on November 30th, but it’s up for pre-order in some of the shops and will appear in others in just a couple of days.

books2read.com/HoneyBaked *


Honey Baked

All John wants is to stay at home in peace and quiet, but when the Santa booked for the town’s Christmas party at Jen’s cafe catches a fever, Zachary decides to take his place. It’s just for a few hours, John should be able to take part in the celebrations like any normal person, but instead, he finds himself hiding in the kitchen, eating loads of the delicious honey baked Brie cheese Jen has made.

Zachary loved the town’s Christmas party as a child, and he wants to spread some holiday cheer both to the kids in Nortown and to John. Being Santa is not as easy as he thought it would be, though. And how he’s gonna be able to lure John out of the kitchen and get him to sit on Santa’s lap, he doesn’t know.


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.