The Weekend | J.P. Walker

Book cover the weekend J.P. WalkerThe fourth story in the Love Unlocked anthology is The Weekend by J.P. Walker and it is a gem. In this tale, we get to meet Nat and Morgan, both in Paris for the weekend. It’s short and sweet, much like the weekend Nat and Morgan shares.

Book cover by Dee Aditya.


Blurb:

Nat’s been through a rough breakup and trust does not come easily. When she accompanies a group of friends to Paris for a hen weekend, she finds a connection she wasn’t looking for, in the form of beautiful, passionate Morgan. They quickly fall into a wonderful weekend fling and even engrave their initials into a lock and attach it to the most romantic bridge in the world, Love Lock Bridge.

But was that weekend fling all there was, or will news of the bridge being taken down lead to something more?

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Excerpt:

It’s funny how when you break up with someone, especially under awful circumstances, you realise how much was missing. When I’d first moved out of Katie’s, all I could remember were the good times but now, with Morgan, I couldn’t help but make comparisons. Those good times with Katie came nowhere near how incredible it had been to spend a day with the beautiful woman sitting across the table from me. If I’d been in any doubt before about how much I liked Morgan, I wasn’t any longer. I really did.

After dinner, we went for another stroll around Paris, appropriately dressed this time, with warm coats, and Morgan linked her arm with mine and rested her head on my shoulder. Every now and then, we stopped to look in awe at the beauty of the city around us—the buildings, the street names—Paris was quickly becoming my favourite destination, truly the most beautiful place I had ever been. Eventually, we found ourselves on the Pont des Arts bridge, surrounded by beautiful lights. I knew of the bridge, known as ‘Love Lock Bridge’, but didn’t really know of the tradition that went along with it.

We watched the lights shining from all the locks, and I felt my heart swell. Thousands of couples, all of their declarations of love and commitment…I felt overwhelmed in the presence of so much love. Without any warning at all, my eyes filled with tears. Morgan had wandered ahead, only a few steps, to look at the names on some of the locks, but she noticed my tears and within seconds was by my side and holding my hand. She looked at me questioningly.

“So beautiful,” I said and buried my face in her hair. My word, what a bloody soppy git I had become.

Morgan held me, rubbing soothing circles on my back, and I could hear the jangle of her bracelets. When we parted, she gave me an almost secret grin and reached into her pocket. I looked at her quizzically and then saw what she had in her hand: a small red padlock with a key still inside.

“It’s from my suitcase, I’d forgotten I’d shoved it in my pocket until we got here. Whaddaya say?” She winked.

I nodded and checked my pockets, to see if I had a Sharpie—I love doing crosswords on trains, don’t judge. I found one in my inside pocket. Yay!

“OK, what’s your last name?” I asked as I took the lid off with my teeth.

“Freeman.”

The pen fell out of my mouth as I gaped at her. Morgan Freeman? Seriously? Then she started laughing and swatted me on the shoulder.

“Just kidding, can you imagine? Ha! It’s Wilson,” she got out between laughs.

I shook my head at her antics. She was a riot.

“What’s yours?” she asked after I’d written ‘MW’ and ‘NB’ on the small lock and deposited my pen back in my pocket.

“Bliss,” I replied smiling.

“Really? Bliss? You’re…Nat Bliss?”

“Well…Natalie Emilia Bliss. But yeah…Bliss.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.” I was enjoying her reaction. Her eyes were shining bright, and puffs of vapour hung in the air as she breathed.

She brought her face close to mine and laid a soft, warm kiss on my mouth, immediately turning me on. I was quickly becoming addicted to her, and giving me a little fix like that left me silently begging for more. Chasing the dragon—I began to doubt if I would ever again find a high like Morgan Wilson.

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books2read.com/The-Weekend


Cover Love UnlockedLove Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas – unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge.

THE STORIES:
The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister
The Weekend by J P Walker
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

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.

 

Locked in the Moment | Dawn Sister

Book Cover Locked in the Moment Dawn SisterThe third story in the Love Unlocked anthology is Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister. This story is something out of the ordinary, it’s my first troll story (I think at least) but that’s not what makes this magical though it helps. It’s funny and sweet, a bit sad, and so worth reading.

Cover Art by Russell Dixon.


Blurb:

Due to a misunderstanding, the troll that lives underneath one of the most romantic bridges in Paris inadvertently unlocks every single padlock lovers have left there over the years. L’Authoritié de Fée Folklorique are up in arms. He has no idea what all the fuss is about. The noise was driving him mad. He just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.

A spell is cast, leaving the troll in a bit of a predicament. He is charged with the seemingly impossible task of fixing the locks before the spell can be reversed and he is allowed to return to his home. There are other complications, the least of which is the insistence and persistence of a fairy who is determined to help him against the wishes of his own people.

Now the troll has a dilemma. What is more important to him? The only home he has known for two thousand years, or a fairy he has just met?

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Excerpt:

Lucien’s hiding the fact that he looks like death warmed up with some sort of spell. It’s none of my business, except it did shock me. I don’t want this lock business to cause him any pain or make him ill.

I don’t have time to think about it—or about when I stopped being a selfish old troll and started thinking of someone else instead of myself.

Lucien has us all over the park in search of couples to mend. Despite the fact he looked exhausted for the split second his guard was down, he seems to be driven, like one of those new-fangled car contraptions that rumble over my bridge, day in, day out.

By the time midday approaches, we have fixed twenty-four locks. I don’t think that’s bad going. I do think it’s time for a rest, though.

I still can’t work out how he’s finding these locks, but I’m not going to knock it.

I continue to be completely and utterly underwhelmed by these ‘moments’ that are supposed to be so pivotal and crucial to sealing the bond between two humans in love.

So far, I have witnessed humans realising their undying love over laundry, wire mesh shopping baskets, a tatty old book, a crossword, a pair of worn-out shoes, a scarf, an umbrella and a squashed spider. It’s tedious. For goodness’ sake. I don’t know much about romance, but I’d like to think I’d have a bit more imagination. I’ve come to the conclusion that humans are quite boring.

We are currently sitting on a bench, people watching. Lucien shifts restlessly beside me, mostly because I’ve made him sit here. I might be tired after traipsing around this park fixing lost loves, but he must be exhausted. He’s never stopped.

He clicks his tongue in frustration at the forced rest.

“We ain’t shiftin’, Hairy, so you can stop all that shufflin’ around.” I lean back on the bench, folding my arms across my chest, just so he gets the message that I will not be changing my mind.

“But we need to move around, Sol. We should be in amongst the crowds to find broken couples.” He grumbles beside me, but he doesn’t try to get up.

“If we sit here long enough, the crowds will pass us. We can search just as well from this bench. I ain’t moving another inch. My feet are bloody killing me.” They’re not, but he doesn’t need to know that. He thinks it’s because I’m not used to walking around on human feet, and it was a good enough ruse to get him to sit. “I haven’t walked around this much since the Romans left a thousand years ago.”

He snorts and regards me with sparkling eyes. “Truly?” He sounds dubious, but I can also see wonder in his expression. “You have lived through so many ages, Sol. You must have a great many stories to tell.”

“Not really.” I stare off into the distance. “I slept through most of it, and when I was awake—when I wasn’t being chased around with pitchforks or persecuted by goats—I spent most of my time underneath, or in the vicinity of my bridge. This—” I wave my hands about me “—is the furthest I’ve been from my bridge…erm…ever, actually.”

“That is quite sad, Sol. Because of others’ ignorance, there is so much you have missed.” Lucien lays a hand on my arm, and I fight the urge to jump a mile, because it still sends shocks and tingles through my entire body every time he touches me. Sometimes, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to keep in physical contact all the time; then the sensations might be lessened.

I take his hand from my arm and hold it in my lap.

“I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything, Hairy. I’m not a very adventurous troll. In fact, bridge trolls as a species aren’t all that adventurous. We prefer to stay close to our bridges.”

His hand feels tiny in mine, and warm, and soft. I need to keep talking.

“What about fairies? I expect you get about a bit more because of the wings thing.” I point at his back and then inwardly groan, because it’s not like he doesn’t know where his bloody wings are.

Lucien shifts his shoulders a little but doesn’t answer. When I chance a sideways glance at him, he is staring down at his hand in mine. Slowly, he turns it, so our palms are facing. His fingers link through mine, and my breath catches in my throat. Maybe holding his hand wasn’t such a good idea, because now I have tingling shocks and I can’t breathe. I pull away, and Lucien gives a small huff, narrowing his eyes before gasping and turning his head to stare over to the other side of the park.

“There, over at that bench.” He points, and we are back in business, looking to fix our twenty-fifth lock.

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books2read.com/LockedInTheMoment


Cover Love UnlockedLove Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas – unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge.

THE STORIES:
The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister
The Weekend by J P Walker
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

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.

 

Writer’s Lock | Victoria Milne

Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne is the second story in the Love Unlocked anthology. Phil is in Paris to write a romance novel but the words aren’t coming to him. Laurent sees him and offers to show him Paris to help him find inspiration. I’ve never been to Paris but it felt like I was there while reading this story. It’s sweet, a little sad, but it left me smiling.

The lovely cover is made by Shayla Mist.


Blurb:

Spending a month in Paris to write his romance novel had seemed like the perfect plan, but one week in, Phil Pearson is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. With barely a word written, he’s fed up and ready to cut his trip short.

When Laurent Marceau sees Phil in his café, it sends him hurtling into the past, opening old wounds and reminding him of the love he lost. But, after watching the aspiring writer struggle for inspiration, he surprises himself by offering to show him Paris through the eyes of a true Parisian.

Finally bursting with ideas, Phil is delighted to put pen to paper, albeit badly at first. As the writer finds himself falling in love for the first time, Laurent knows he needs to decide quickly if he’s strong enough to return his affections, or whether it would be better for them both if he walked away. He knows he may not have a choice, once Phil finds out the truth.

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Excerpt:

Phil Pearson tilted his head, contemplating the blank pages of his notebook, and a dark lock of hair skimmed his eyes. Still nothing. Yet again, his mind was totally blank—an alarmingly familiar feeling. He squinted hard, blurring the faint, ruled lines into thick, grey barriers.

So much for coming to Paris for inspiration; he’d barely written a word in the six days since his arrival. Leaning back in the rickety, wooden chair, he slammed the notebook shut, sighed and gazed out of the café window at the tourists bustling past in the warm, evening sun.

He felt like such a fraud. How could he legitimately call himself a romance writer, when he was in the city of love and still struggling to write anything of significance? His fingers trembled as he smoothed condensation from his beer glass. His inexperience of love was certainly shining through. He had to prove he could do this, for his own sanity if nothing more. Surely, it shouldn’t be this hard.

Vous désirez…un café peut-etrê?

Phil peered blankly at the waiter, who smiled and repeated in English.

“Can I get you anything else?”

Phil shook his head, and the waiter took a step closer—a little too close, Phil noticed—as he glanced at his notebook.

“Ideas not flowing today?”

“Or any day, it feels like.”

The waiter indicated towards the empty chair opposite, and Phil shrugged his acquiescence, catching the delicate scent of the man’s aftershave as he took his seat. “You’re a writer?”

“Trying to be,” Phil said with waning conviction.

Studying him, the waiter pursed his full lips. “You cannot wait for inspiration to come to you like this. Sometimes you have to go out there and create it for yourself.”

Phil snorted a laugh. “You really think I’m going to take advice about inspiration from a waiter?”

His companion’s chair legs noisily scraped the tiled floor as he stood and gave Phil a long, hard stare. “Perhaps you should not be so quick to judge on appearances. Most things are not as they seem at first glance. You could learn a lot about inspiration from me, if you were not so arrogant.”

Phil stared at the man as he walked away, horrified with himself. He’d been so caught up with his own woes and torments that he’d unwittingly committed the one sin he despised most in others: not only to judge someone negatively but to do so with no thought as to whether it were true, or deserved, even.

The waiter was preparing coffee behind the bar, and Phil looked at him more closely. His shoulder-length, auburn hair was tied neatly into a ponytail, and he had the physique of a long-distance runner, or perhaps a cyclist. The sleeves of his crisp, black shirt were rolled to his elbows, and a wooden beaded necklace graced his throat. The more Phil watched the man’s practised movements, the more intrigued he became, and also more embarrassed.

Draining his beer and packing up his things, he stood and walked the short distance to the bar and placed the empty glass down with a thud.

“I’m sorry about before,” he said and slid twenty euros across the bar. The waiter glanced over his shoulder and made to open the cash register, but Phil shook his head and began to walk towards the exit. “Have a drink on me.”

“Wait!”

Phil spun to look at him and was studied with a guarded smile.

“How would you like to know Paris through the eyes of a true Parisian?”

Phil eyed him cautiously, and the waiter strolled over.

“This is not true Paris,” he scoffed and waved his hand at the tables of tourists. “You will never feel inspiration here. Allow me to show you Paris, the places we Parisians go. If you cannot write afterwards, I guarantee it was never meant to be your passion.”

Phil considered his offer for a moment. “Okay, you’re on.” He scraped a lock of hair from his eyes and held out his hand. “I’m Phil, by the way.”

“Philippe, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Laurent.” He leaned forward, ignoring Phil’s outstretched hand, and kissed him on both cheeks. “But we should start right away, and I know exactly where we’ll go. I’ll get my coat and tell Luc I’m leaving.”

Phil hovered by the doorway, wondering what exactly he’d agreed to. He’d just put what felt like his entire future in the hands of a complete stranger. To his surprise, instead of feeling apprehensive, he was excited to see where this journey would take him.

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books2read.com/WritersLock


Cover Love UnlockedLove Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas – unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge.

THE STORIES:
The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister
The Weekend by J P Walker
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

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.