Throwback Thursday | The Maddest of Men

Argh, another neglected series! In November it’ll be three years since The Maddest of Men was published. I actually wrote it for an open call where they asked for an MC who did bad things for a living but longed for something more…or something along those lines, I don’t really remember. It doesn’t matter, they didn’t want Grayham so he got a life on his own.

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi or post-apocalyptic stories, though I pick them up a lot more frequently than I used to. Some days I just long for a dark, gritty, post-apocalyptic book. The Maddest of Men isn’t dark and gritty, and yet it’s pretty dark.

Grayham can tell when someone is lying, he’s a living polygraph, and he’s never wrong. And, since he’s Cham Hovda’s – one of Carona’s drug lords – right-hand man, he gets to use his skill on a regular basis. And if someone refuses to answer his questions…a little torture goes a long way.

Creed is a retrieving agent. He’s hunting people with special abilities and he has a way of getting close to Grayham. Something is wrong, though. Grayham doesn’t have an implant – all the metas have implants – and Creed’s boss sent him on the mission alone. Alone.

Everyone getting close to Grayham dies and yet Creed has to get close, and he has to do it without backup.

I loved writing both The Maddest of Men and The Lords of Lettuce and I was supposed to have written Eight Fingers in the Game. I have a Scrivener file, I have it somewhat plotted, but that’s it. And it pisses me off that I haven’t written it. I love Carona and its drug lords, crazy opticians, and drug dealers.

I need to sort out my priorities – yes, I’m like Hermione in Harry Potter.

Metas were remnant victims of the wars, created to be super soldiers. No one had known until children started to pop up, some so traumatised by what they perceived in this world they couldn’t cope. It was a military program gone out of hand. Senses and bodily functions had been tampered with and enhanced. No one had believed it was something that would carry over to the next generation, but now three generations later, children were still born with metaphysical traits. How Creed would be able to bring one of them in against their will all on his own, he didn’t know.

He held his tray up to one of the beautiful women standing along the wall of the room. She, like everyone else here, was flawless. Their beauty always made him self-conscious. Why couldn’t the Bureau offer plastic surgery and enhancements like every other branch of society?

He clamped his lips together over his crooked teeth, totally ruining the smile he’d been aiming at her. They hadn’t even given him eye surgery. His fucked up eyes could be a danger in his line of work; he’d tried to make Howorth see it, but he didn’t listen. Not only was he half-blind but there was also the colour. Creed wondered how many here today would remember him because of the different colouring. And sure, even if he had surgery he would still need the lenses to read the results of the scanner, but really, no one, no one, was short-sighted in the modern world. He guessed he should feel lucky Howorth had given him eye correction lenses, but still.

“Are those vegetarian?” The woman pointed at a cucumber slice with some creamy stuff and a roll of smoked salmon.

“Erm…no.” Creed refrained from rolling his useless, short-sighted eyes. “There is salmon on it.” When she simply stared at him, he smiled again. “Fish.”

“I know what salmon is.” Creed swallowed a ‘why the fuck did you ask then’ and fought against the strain in his facial muscles. “What I meant was is there any meat in those.”

“Fish.” He continued to hold out the tray for her while she looked at the salmon rolls. Finally, she deemed fish edible and took one.

A glimpse of red hair weaving through the throng caught his eye. Instead of hurrying along, he stood still and observed as the mass made a path for whoever it was—Creed had a pretty good idea of who it had to be, but he didn’t want to get his hopes up.

Cham Hovda gave a small wave from where he sat on the lounge, his lips were tight, and he was paler than Creed had ever seen him. He hadn’t moved at all during the evening which made Creed believe the rumours of him being shot in the leg the week before were true. They hadn’t been able to find any medical records, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone from the underworld succeeded in staying out of the system—the inquisitor didn’t exist according to the system. Creed had spent a good week trying to dig up something, anything, and he hadn’t even managed to find a name.

Stepping a little closer to the woman, he tilted the tray ever so slightly. “One more perhaps?” He smiled and tried to be discreet in watching as the inquisitor bent down to whisper something in Hovda’s ear.

“Thank you. Could I get a glass of champagne too?”

Creed gritted his teeth. He was obviously not the champagne guy, and he was about to enlighten her when the inquisitor stepped away from the lounge. A few more steps and he would be right between Creed and the bar. “I’ll see what I can do, ma’am.”

He straightened his back and channelled his inner waiter. With an air of nonchalance, he neared the man. Milky white skin, bright red corkscrew curls Creed wanted to pull only to see them bounce back—an evil man shouldn’t look like that.

books2read.com/TheMaddestofMen


The Maddest of MenIs lying to a living polygraph really a good idea?

To prove his loyalty to Cham Hovda, one of the local drug lords, Grayham is willing to do anything—and he does. He helps Cham run his empire by finding out the truth by any possible means. It’s not as hard as it may seem, all he has to do is ask the right questions, and his internal polygraph will tell him if someone is lying or not. And when they lie—well he deals with that too. Life as an inquisitor can get quite lonely, not that Grayham plans on doing anything about it. It would kill him to have to off a lover.

Creed is a retrieving agent on a mission. He is to infiltrate one of Carona’s drug organisations to get to the inquisitor. Rumour states the man with the fiery red curls has supernatural powers; it also says anyone coming close to him disappears. Creed has no idea how he’s going to make it out alive or why his supervisor sent him in without backup. But, when an opening to work as a waiter at one of the drug lord’s parties presents itself Creed sets to work.

In a world where people compensate for the years of bombings and starvation with clinic bought physical perfection a man with crooked teeth and mismatching eyes stands out. Grayham notices the waiter watching him straight away. If he’s there to harm Cham, he’ll deal with it. Creed knows he must get his hands on the inquisitor so when he is invited to the man’s flat he agrees to come even though he knows it might be the last thing he’ll ever do.


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Throwback Thursday | Trapped

Today I’m gonna talk about Trapped.

Trapped is not my usual kind of book, part of that was deliberate, part of it just turned out that way. Back in 2017, I was talking to Debbie McGowan, I can’t really recall what was said, but together we decided the world needed more stories featuring 50+ characters – and it does, damn it!

One of the biggest reasons I’m writing gay characters is that I believe we need more diversity in our books. I most often write M/M and I know some will sneer at that, claiming it’s objectifying and not helping matters at all since it’s mostly straight women reading the genre – that’s one opinion and you’re entitled to have it. I believe in this day and age when politicians are trying to steal both women’s and LGBT rights away we need all the diversity we can get and if part of that is in the form of romance books then so be it.

Trapped isn’t a romance book, though. There is love, it’s about a married couple, but it doesn’t follow a romance arc. When I started writing it, I meant for it to be about a married couple in their fifties perhaps. It soon turned into a married couple at the end of their journey. They’ve been together for forty-five years and have now been separated because one of them is in a nursing home.

So, was it a smart story to write out of a marketing perspective – no. But, to me this story is important. This might come as a surprise to some, but gay people grow old too and they don’t stop loving their partners when they do.

“Stop looking at me!”

It took me a second too long to look away.

“I said stop looking at me! You think it’s all right for perverted old men to come here and ogle me?”

“No, of course not. I wasn’t ogling you.”

“I know what I saw.”

I sighed. The sting of the heron picking at my heart made me sink even lower. I shouldn’t have come, but there hadn’t been one day when I hadn’t. I couldn’t leave William here, but something was off with me today. If it all were to end now, I wouldn’t be sorry.

“You’re a handsome man.” I shrugged and hoped he’d drop the subject.

“I have a husband back home, and I do not intend to leave him. Ever.”

The words made me smile. I ignored the lump in my throat and tried to focus on the fact that he did love me. “He’s a lucky man.”

“He claims to be. Are you married?”

I met William’s gaze and nodded. “I am, and I love him.”

William’s lips thinned. “Then why are you here with me? You should be at home with him.”

“I would be if he was at home.”

“Where is he?”

Yeah, that’s the question, isn’t it? “He’s on a trip.”

William gasped. “He went on a trip without you? The bastard!”

“Yeah, no. He didn’t have a choice.”

“Oh, but still… It’s hard to be the one who’s left behind. When will he be back?”

I opened my mouth only to close it again. “He drops in now and then.”

“Yeah? Where is he now?”

I chuckled. “Somewhere down memory lane, I think.”

William reached out and squeezed my shoulder. “I’m sure he’ll be back soon, don’t worry about it.”

We sat in silence for a while. The morning show on the TV drew close to an end, and I started to long for a cup of coffee. I had no desire whatsoever to go to the cafeteria, though.

“Have you been married long?”

I glanced at William. He was watching me with a crease between his brows, clenching his jaws the way he did when he was thinking too hard.

“Forty-three years.”

He nodded, and the crease between his brows deepened. I held my breath, both fearing and hoping he would remember me.

“I’ve been married a long time, too…I think.” He rubbed his forehead, looking lost.

“Yeah? He’s a lucky man.” I patted his hand. It wasn’t often he allowed touch, but I figured since he’d squeezed my shoulder, a pat on the hand should be okay. He grabbed my hand and intertwined our fingers. My joints protested, but I didn’t care.

“I miss him.” William blinked more rapidly. “I miss him every second of every day.”

I swallowed to prevent my throat from closing up and cursed the way my eyes started to burn. “And he misses you.”

He nodded. “I think he does.” With his free hand, he rubbed his chest. “It feels like he does. It feels as if I should be somewhere else.”

I didn’t say anything. What was there to say?

The silence grew. A soap opera started on the TV, and we sat there, next to each other, and held hands. Rain began to fall outside, drops fighting for room on the glass of the window.

books2read.com/Trapped


TrappedCharlie Wilkins had everything he wanted – a husband, a daughter, a house that was his home. He still has his husband, but William has forgotten who he is. He still has his daughter, but the roles have switched, and she is now the one taking care of them.

There is only one thing Charlie wants, and that is to spend the rest of his days with William by his side. But William is living in a nursing home, and Charlie is living…somewhere. Ann says she will fix it; she’ll make sure they’ll get to live together again. Charlie hopes she will before William either escapes or figures out Charlie has left him in someone else’s care.


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Jaeger’s Lost and Found – A Soaked Vampire Kind of Story

*drum roll*

Thunder and rain at Jaeger's Lost & FoundToday’s the day when Archibald Jaeger and Gael Murray step out into the rain and leave the old book shop behind to face the world. It’s not an ordinary world they’re facing, no it’s a world where it never stops raining, a world where humans and non-humans are living in different districts.

Archie is a finder, though a rather crappy one. His best friend Edie is part nagi and therefore shunned by the non-human world. Together, Archie and Edie run Jaeger’s Lost and Found, and their latest client is a vampire doomed to die within a few days since he’s lost his connections.

I had a plan for 2019, and Jaeger’s Lost and Found wasn’t part of that plan, but I was browsing JMS Books‘ website and saw a call for stories about lost connections. It was a month left till the deadline and I figured I wouldn’t make it, but this idea of a man meant to find things popped up in my mind.

I talked it over with my writing pals, Al and Amy, saying I probably wouldn’t make, and it was no use in trying, and the idea probably wasn’t any good anyway.

I went to bed, and the next day I started writing. The minimum word limit was 12k so that was my goal – three weeks later my supposed 12k story had turned into a 28k story.

Writing this story was so much fun!

Archie stared; he didn’t care if Gael could see the shock on his face. No one wanted to get to know him. He ran a hand over his chest, nervously making sure his suit vest hadn’t creased.

“So fucking proper,” Gael growled, and it sent a tingle skidding over Archie’s skin. Inappropriate, he reminded himself. No tingles around clients, it was not how he operated.

“Oh no, do I have to stop?”

“What?”

“You have this look…is it a thing we have to get?” Gael slowed down, looking around.

Archie rubbed his chest again. “No, it’s fine, you can keep going.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth there was a tug inside of him, more than a tug, it insisted. “Sorry, yes, I think we have to turn.”

“What?” Gael pushed some hair from his face. “Turn? Where?”

“Erm…” Archie breathed through another pull. “Next exit to the right.”

Gael grinned. “We would have anyway.”

“We’re already in Aspal?” That went faster and wasn’t nearly as excruciating as Archie had imagined.

“No.” Gael flashed fangs much like Edie used to, but he only had a single set. When Edie did it was playful, to him at least, though he had no doubt others found it terrifying. Gael on the other hand… Archie tingled again.

“I need a snack.”

“Charming.”

“Oh, I can be Mr. Jaeger, I can be.”

Archie swallowed but shook off Gael’s words. “It’s a vampire thing, right?”

For a second surprise flickered in Gael’s eyes before he turned back to look at the mostly deserted road. Archie squinted past the rain and the windshield wipers to a sign indicating an exit.

“Ah, yeah, we can give people mental nudges, but most often we don’t need to, though. Most species instinctively want to please us.”

Archie forced himself not to show any emotion. Instinctively want to please—that wasn’t fair. Vampires already had many advantages compared to most species—they were fast, strong, and immortal. They could die, so not indestructible, but unless someone chopped their head off or cut off their mental connections, they’d live forever.

Gael turned off the freeway and toward what almost looked like a ghost town. Stratholm wasn’t a fancy district by any means, but Archie wouldn’t voluntarily go here. It was where the ghost hand wanted him to go, though.

“You don’t feel it?”

Archie blinked a couple of times, his eyes gritty from lack of sleep and his heart thundering at the thought of leaving the car. “Feel what?”

Gael frowned. “A pull, a desire to please me?”

Archie looked at him, his flawless skin, beautiful lips, and the dark eyes. He wouldn’t have minded seeing him panting and sweaty, eyes shining with lust—irrational thinking. Archie never got into bed with strangers, and few stayed long enough to get to know him.

JMS is having a 20% discount on Jaeger’s Lost and Found for its first week, so head on over there, or if you prefer to shop elsewhere you’ll find where it’s available here:

books2read.com/Jaegerslostandfound 


Jaeger's Lost & FoundJaeger’s Lost and Found is the only finder shop to be had on the whole of the west coast. The problem is, Archibald Jaeger, the last of the Jaeger line, seems to be defective. A result of too many generations of crossbreeding with humans. But Jaegers are finders, and there’s nothing to be done about it.

Gael Murray has lost his connections. A vampire can’t survive without the energy exchange he has with the members of his coven through mental links. And, as of this morning, they’ve all vanished. Gael will die if he doesn’t reinstate his connections through a blood exchange. And his only hope to find the other members of his coven is to hire a finder.

Even a terrible finder is better than none at all.

Together Gael and Archie set out to save Gael’s life, but what was an already difficult task becomes nearly insurmountable. And Archie, who can never find what he’s looking for, finds himself falling in love with a man he’ll be hard pressed to save.