Sunday, 30 December 2018

Secret Men (Hunt&Cam4Ever #6) by Adira August

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available in KU


(As taken from Goodreads)

A Hunter Dane Investigation. 

Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead ... Powerful men determined to keep their secrets. Detective Lieutenant Hunter Dane, determined to know it all. 

"The farmhouse has been sealed up since the last murder. Almost twenty years. Doors and windows intact. No sign of entry, forced or otherwise," Hunter said. 

"But we're searching it, anyway?" Merisi peered across the dying orchard at the two-story, clapboard structure. 

“You ain’t gonna find it.” 

Merisi whirled around. In the railroad ditch, a boy on a bicycle eyed him boldly. His Black Ops 4 cap came down to his ears. He looked about ten years old. 

“You don’t think so?” Merisi jumped down beside the boy and held out his hand. “Detective Mike Merisi.” 

The boy took his hand. “I’m Bernard.” 

“Why won’t we find him?” 

“They live in mirrors. We can't get in, but they get out.” 

“They?” Merisi asked. 


Book 6 of the Hunt&Cam4Ever series. Cam's moved up the hall to his new office and new career. Hunt and his team struggle with two cases at once, chasing one suspect cloaked in wealth, and another in superstition. 

But Hunter is never without support: 

Hunt walked straight into his office where he slumped back on the edge of his desk. 

Cam followed. He shut the door before he kicked Hunt’s feet apart and moved in between his legs. Strong arms went around Hunt’s shoulders. 

“We're at work,” Hunter said, but he didn’t pull away. 

You’re at work. I’m visiting.” Cam rubbed his cheek against Hunter’s ear. 

Hunt’s arms went around Cam’s waist. “I’m still at work.” 

“You’re on a break.” Cam’s arms tightened and Hunter’s head dropped to his shoulder with a deep sigh. 

After a minute, Hunt stood, hugged Cam tightly and pushed him firmly away. “You suck at being a good influence.” 

Cam grinned. "You're welcome." 

The HUNT&CAM4EVER series follows Hunter Dane through his murder investigations and his continuing relationship with Camden Snow. A frank exploration of the D/s dynamic between two powerful men. Consensual. Adult. Intense.


“Did you forget what’s greater, stronger, than everything, Hunter Dane?
You are.”

I’ve been a fan of Hunter Dane and Camden Snow ever since I stumbled across On His Knees, about eighteen months ago, and my love for these two men, the developing relationship between them, and the mysteries they solve has only grown since that fateful day.

I’m not entirely sure what to say about Secret Men without it sounding like a literal repeat of what I wrote about the previous five books, but I’ll do my best.

For starters, this book gives us not one but two mysteries for Hunter and his team to deal with. Both cases are ugly, both are mystifying, and neither comes to a completely satisfactory conclusion. I don’t mean that there was anything wrong with the offered answers, or that the reader’s left with questions, quite the opposite. The crimes in this book are so realistic that any other resolution than we’re given in this story would be stretching the reader’s credibility too far. In fact, I’m glad the author didn’t opt for an unlikely and potentially legally dubious conclusion to these crimes; it added extra oomph to the story and made it all the more memorable.

Having said that, I’m not sure the book needed extra oomph. There isn’t a dull paragraph in this story. If we aren’t up to our neck in mysteries and horrific crimes, we are witnessing Cam and Hunter’s developing relationship. And, as in the past, it is a thing of beauty.

Their connection is complete now. Hunter is Cam’s…totally.

“Anything…anything…anything for you. […]
Anything for the one who took all decisions and responsibilities on himself, banishing uncertainty and solitude. Who never invited, but always took. Who never asked, but always impelled. Anything for the man to whom he surrendered in trust, who freed Hunter from himself.”

The scenes during which Cam demands and Hunt gives all of himself are glorious. Sure, they’re hot. But for me it goes far beyond heat-levels. The bond between them, Hunt’s need and Cam’s desire to fulfil that need are palpable and never cease to take my breath away. Because, let there be no doubt, Cam totally belongs to Hunt, too.

This book did read like ‘the end of an era’. The story-line centred on Cam and Hunt’s relationship reaches its arc in the final pages of this book in an ending as perfect as their building relationship has been from start to finish. This is the book after which you won’t have a single doubt that ‘Hunt & Cam’ are indeed ‘#4ever’. I had no complaints about the way the previous books in this series ended, but this conclusion places a crown on everything that came before, leaving the reader with that happy and warm feeling only a perfect romance can bring.

Then again, it may not be the end because it would appear there’s a glimmer of possible hope for Cam.

“Will you still marry me if I’m not gonna get sick?”

It took me two days to write this review and now that I’ve finished it, I’m not at all happy about what I’ve written. This book was awesome. It captured my attention from the start and kept me captive until I’d reached the end. Both the mysteries and the continuing relationship between Hunt and Cam were enthralling without ever ignoring the fabulous cast of secondary characters. I will forever be grateful for the day I discovered Adira August and Hunt & Cam and can only hope she’ll continue to share their relationship with us in the future.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Illumined Shadows (Treble * The Lost Boys #3 by G.R. Lyons - Release Blitz

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 100,000 words approx.

Treble & The Lost Boys Series

Book #1 - Ice On Fire - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 - Heavens Aground - Amazon US | Amazon UK


When Victor Lucius was sixteen years old, a few cruel words out of his mouth led to a brutal tragedy, one that Vic has been trying to make up for ever since. Now, working as a missing persons expert, Vic tracks down and rescues people from abandonment or abuse, trying to alleviate the guilt constantly weighing him down.

His latest case—a boy who was kidnapped at the age of two and then held captive for nineteen years—is by far the darkest of his career. If there's any chance of Vic finally redeeming himself, helping this boy might be it.

But rescuing Colby from his basement prison is only the beginning, and brings a whole new struggle to Vic's life:


(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)

Author Bio

While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.

Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.


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Thursday, 27 December 2018

Come Back (The District Line #3) by C.F. White - Book Blitz

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 91,000 words approx.

The District Line Series

Book #1 - Kick Off - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 - Break Through - Amazon US | Amazon UK


The bigger you become, the harder you fall. 

Sebastian Saunders is a rising rock star. Jay Ruttman is a Premier League football player. Their year-long relationship is hot commodity. Hounded by the press and fans alike, the lovers struggle to keep their private lives private.

Flying high in the charts and having Jay by his side, Seb is finally living his dream. But Jay’s new, promising career is threatened when a horrific injury on the pitch has him side lined—not only in the game but also in his relationship with Seb.

Jay’s crippling self-destruction spirals out of control, tearing them apart. To move forward, both men must learn to leave their past behind—not so easy when it keeps coming back to haunt them.

Can their hard-fought relationship survive the ultimate test?

This is the concluding part to the District Line series where the full-time whistle could signal an end to their turbulent journey… or is it just the beginning?

About The Author

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.

Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.

She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.

Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride...

You can follow C F on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website.

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Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas Stories 2018

Over the past week or so I've been reading Christmas stories whenever I found myself with a few spare minutes. Below are my thoughts on the stories I read.

Cupcakes and Mistletoe by George Loveland

Declan was sure he had locked the front door to his bakery shop. When a handsome man begs Declan to make him a batch of cupcakes, he knows he can’t refuse.

Adorable, sweet, with a small dose of magic this is a charming Christmas story featuring characters (both main and secondary) I wouldn’t mind meeting again.

Made in Paris by Ana Newfolk

New York. Paris. A friendship across continents and ages.

In Paris, days before Christmas, and on the most important stage of their lives, Dorian and Jean-Paul stumble upon the many letters they exchanged over the years since they became penpals at the tender age of ten. 

Watch what happens when friendship turns into more. 

Distance, tragedy, and fear. 
Will anything get in the way of their love?

A sweet gay romance set in the most romantic city with a happy ever after from the author of Made in Portugal, Ana Newfolk.

Grab your copy and discover a love...made in Paris.

Made In Paris is a 10k word standalone gay romance short story with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

A most charming story portraying a relationship as it develops over twenty years as two boys, living on different continents, grow up and move from pen pals via friends to.… Well, if you want to know what their lives look like twenty years after the first letter you’ll just have to read this wonderful story, told in part through those letters they sent back and forth.

Baby, It’s Cold Inside by Brigham Vaughn

A trip to visit his boyfriend Nate’s parents during the holidays leaves Emerson a nervous wreck. Bad weather and an unfortunate mix-up leads to an awkward first introduction, and as things deteriorate from there, Emerson begins to doubt if their relationship will survive the stressful weekend. Can Emerson get everything back on track and impress the Collins family in time to have a Merry Christmas? 

Poor Emerson. He’s hopeful and full of good intentions as he is about to meet his boyfriend’s parents for the first time. Except nothing goes as he’d imagined it would and he fears he’s ruined his only chance to make a good first impression. The poor lad made me smile. He’s so young and his emotions are sooooo over the top. In fact, the whole story made me happy and I can honestly say I read it, from start to finish, with a constant smile tugging at my lips. And the epilogue turned that smile into a delighted grin. A wonderful, feel good, Christmas story.

First Footing by Clare London

Caleb and Owen's relationship thrives on conflict and banter, however deep their true feelings run. But are they really going to fall out over... a Christmas card?

Who knew receiving a Christmas card could have such exuberant consequences?

Sometimes having an argument can be as much fun and as hot as more standard foreplay. Caleb and Owen sure have arguing for the heat of it down to a find art. And the question about whose name should be mentioned first on a card addressed to both of them leads to all sorts of rather fabulous not to mention deliciously scorching verbal skirmishes and other, more physical shenanigans.

An original, highly entertaining and rather sexy Christmas short.

The Christmas Hitch (Mysterious Mixology) by Chris Ethan

All they want for Christmas is love.

Charlie is desperate for company this Christmas. With his family and friends away for the holidays, he’s accepted he might have to spend the last few days of the year on his own.

Adam hopes his friend will invite him to spend Christmas with him. When he does, however, he’s on the other side of the country.

What happens when a train is halted mid-journey and the two men are stuck in each other’s charming company?

The Christmas Hitch is a cozy gay romance with magical cocktails, mysterious bartenders and love at first sight and is approximately 15k words. 

Treat yourself to a sweet date with two strangers...

Two men at their wits end when it comes to life in general and love in particular find each other and happiness thanks to a delightful combination of coincidence and mysterious encounters with someone who may not be who or what he presents himself as.

An adorable story that will leave you with a huge smile on your face once you’ve reached the end (and on one or two crucial moments during the story too). Charlie and Adam are so obviously made for each other it’s hard not to cheer when they find each other during what might have been a disastrous delay in their journey, but turns out to be anything but. This is a comforting feel good read if ever I saw one.

A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness by Amy Lane

Witness the Angel Gabriel.

a.k.a. "Heaven's biggest prick"

Gabriel has been accused of the crime of hubris--and his sentence is to remember why angels protected humans in the first place. A permanent seat at Starbucks might be Gabriel's idea of hell, but it's there that he meets the irrepressible Jamie and wounded Ernie, and realizes that the human race might be worth saving after all.

It just needs a gentle shove of human kindness.

Okay, so strictly speaking this isn’t a Christmas story. Given that it features angels as the main characters and ends with the reader feeling happy and, may I say it, with their faith in human kindness refreshed, I’m inclined to gently shove this adorable, funny, and yet poignant short into this lineup anyway.

Gabriel in this story is probably best described as a grumpy old angel, convinced humankind is depraved and doomed. All it takes is twenty-four hours of observing Jamie and Ernie to restore his faith in humans and reduce his cynicism. A most wonderful, lighthearted yet poignant short.

When Harry Met Sully by Susan Mac Nicol

Sometimes, Christmas elves ARE real. And when Harry sees one he'd like to get to know better, you simply have to go with the Christmas flow.

This is a rather sweet and gently funny account of, as the title suggests, the moment Harry is introduced to Sully by Liz, his friend who is determined to end his solitary status.

This is the shortest of the Christmas stories I’ve recently read. It doesn’t come with a happily ever after. Heck, I’m not even sure it qualifies as a happy for now. But, it does leave you with a feeling of happy times to come, and in this case, that’s more than enough.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Teach Me to Touch You by Joshua Landon - Release Blitz

Book Title: Teach Me to Touch You (Novella 1 in the Teach Me Series)

Author: Joshua Landon

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: Gay Romance

Length: 27 000 words approx. /100 pages

Heat Rating: 3 flames 

Release Date: December 23, 2018 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


When Austin’s father deserts his young family, he leaves Austin and his sister to struggle with poverty and neglect at home and bullying at school. When Austin’s first girlfriend kisses him in high school, his PTSD flashback to childhood abuse scares his girlfriend away.

A Marine at eighteen, Austin returns home after four years with his PTSD aggravated by nightmares of war. He fears he’ll never have a sex life.

Daniel, a psychiatric technician with a speciality in PTSD, helps Austin readjust to civilian life. Over months of work together, trust grows between them along with an attraction they hide from each other, since Austin is straight and Daniel is gay.

A gifted healer, Daniel believes a sexual relationship between them could harm Austin, though Austin is anxious to learn to touch again. But when their visits are scheduled to end, both men must deeply examine their concerns and untangle their desires for the future.



I was seven when my dad left for work in the morning and never came back. My sister Julie was six.

It was a bad year, the first truly awful year. Not that the years before had been ideal, with my parents snapping at each other over each little affront, but at least they’d both been part of my life. And with either parent alone, I’d felt like a normal kid. It wasn’t entirely self-deceptive—it was all I knew.

But the day my dad pushed my mom against the wall, cocking back one huge fist to strike her, I ran to push myself between them.

“No, Dad, don’t!” I’d cried.

He’d looked at me, lowered his fist, and never spoke another word to me.

In the morning, he was gone.

At first, the dad-sized hole inside me seemed about to swallow me up. I was sure I’d die like the baby bird I’d found in the yard early that spring. I’d given it water and worms in a shoebox with crumpled toilet paper for warmth, but it wouldn’t eat or drink and grew steadily weaker. When it quit moving altogether, my mother stroked my hair, soothing me in a whisper.

“Its tiny heart quit beating, Tintin. Baby birds are too small to survive without their parents. But you gave it the best care you could. Its death isn’t your fault.”

I buried the bird in the back corner of our Mountlake Terrace yard without fanfare, digging its grave in the frozen ground with icy fingers that held a bent teaspoon. Despite my mother’s insistence that I wasn’t to blame, I knew the truth. I’d failed the bird just as I had failed my father.


Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win book 2 in the Teach Me series.

About the Author 

A fanboy of books, theater, and cinema and a supporter of the LGBT+ community, Joshua Landon lives in the greenbelt and park-filled community of Lynnwood, Washington not far from Seattle, Edmonds and Everett—a great location to experience the outdoors, music and the arts. He recently authored the three Teach Me novellas, a romance about two young men: a troubled Marine and a talented healer. They will become available for order through Amazon online in multiple countries, releasing between December 23, 2018 and February 2019.

When not writing, Landon enjoys building stage sets, bungee jumping, river rafting, and watching films from all eras. He shares his bookshelf-lined home with a middle-aged tomcat, and his back yard fills seasonally with wild rabbits.

Author Links: Instagram: Joshua Landon | Email 


Friday, 21 December 2018

The Man Inside Me by Sean Kerr - Review Tour

Book Title: The Man Inside Me

Author: Sean Kerr

Publisher: SGK Publications

Cover Artist: SGK Publications

Release Date 31st September 2018

Genre/s: MM Romance, MM Historical, MM Gothic Romance, MM Paranormal Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames 

Length: 202 Pages

It’s a standalone story.



Victorian London is a difficult place to be when you are gay, as Henry and Gabriel know all too well.

When they were young at Oxford University, Henry and Gabriel’s love burned hot and bright, and they thought to change the world together until a devastating tragedy ripped them apart.

Now, as youth fades away, Henry can no longer stand to see his own reflection in the mirror. All he sees is a sad, tired old man whose body has betrayed him. He craves the touch of another, to feel attractive and vital once more but his obsession with finding a cure for insanity has stolen his life away, and now his work has taken on a dark and sinister dimension. How far will he go to recapture the passion of his lost youth?

Gabriel fears that Henry is losing his mind, and when a brutal killer invades their lives, they are thrust into the dark depths of Victorian London in a fight for their very lives.

As their friendship is tested to its limits, Gabriel cannot help but wonder if there is still a chance for love. Can they move beyond the friendship that has spanned over thirty years and find the love that once made their hearts beat as one?

You may never be too old to find love, but will you be able to survive it?

Buy Links: Amazon US  | Amazon UK

- Available on Kindle Unlimited


“I see the man inside me, the other man, the better man. The more attractive man. He is so full of confidence, so full of life, so full of all the qualities that prevent me from finding such companionship, and I find more and more that I wish to be that man, the man inside me.
I will find the answer. Now that I seem him (…). For the man inside me is me, and I will find some way to set him free.”

So, I wrote a very long (some might say of novel proportions) review yesterday, and two minutes ago I deleted every single word. In my eagerness to convey how much I adored this story, how awe-inspiring the writing had been to me, I ended up writing a long piece of nonsensical gibberish.

Because, let there be no doubt, this is one fabulous book. The story, the characters, the historical setting, and the way it was written all took my breath away. The writing is almost lyrical, with well-chosen words placing the story in its time and the reader slap bang in the middle of that world.

And what a world it is, this London in Victorian times. Sean Kerr doesn’t give us a romanticized version of history. This is England in the second half of the nineteenth century in all its glory, but also in all its darkness, depravity, and narrow-mindedness. A world in which being gay went from being frowned upon to being a crime.

“The truth of the matter is, in order to survive and exist in a world of our choosing, we must become that which the world expects. Normal and sober, we must conform to society’s code of moral beliefs, though they may conflict with those that we know to be true to our hearts.”

But, this book is so much more than a history lesson. In fact, you may well recognize the story and the characters from a classic tale most of us are familiar with. Except that the author gives the old familiar a new and inspired twist, one that kept me enraptured from the first sentence to the last word. What starts off as an apparently angsty love-story slowly, and almost imperceptibly, transforms into a tale of darkness and horror of such proportions that it became almost impossible to hope for a positive, never mind happy, ending. And no, I’m not going to tell you whether or not you’ll find happiness at the end of this book, but I promise you’ll be on the edge of your seat while you’re reading to find out.

The various characters in this story tell their parts of it in alternating chapters, in what can probably be best described as monologues directed at the reader, and for me that was just about perfect in this book. It allowed me to get to know Henry and Gabriel (as well as one or two others) at such a deep level, and yet, as the book progresses we discover that all those characters lie to themselves, and in the process to their audience, which of course only makes the story more fascinating.

This is a multi-layered story with a multi-layered title. Who knew ‘the man inside me’ could refer to so many different meanings? The blurb only tells you part of what you’ll encounter on these pages, and the layers covering the deeper story are lifted slowly, almost imperceptibly, pulling the reader into a web of ever increasing darkness without them fully realizing it until they’re in the middle of the mayhem (or should that be Bedlam?).

I’m in serious danger of once again gushing my way to an unreadable and overly-long gush-fest, so I’m forcing myself to stop now and leave you with this final conclusion:

Funny, sad, terrifying, totally engrossing and stunningly beautiful, this is one extraordinary book telling a story that will stay with me for a long, long time and a very deserving addition to my list of extra-special reads.

About the Author

Hi everyone, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sean Kerr, and I am a 49-year-old gay man living in Cardiff, Wales with my husband of 28 years, Derek. We have two cats, Rita and Harry, and a host of tropical fish.

I worked on building sites for years, and I used the money earned from that to put myself through college, specialist paint techniques etc. I trained in fine art, and then I went out and painted murals on client’s walls, and created Roman Bathrooms and fantasy hand painted bedrooms, all the rage back in the late eighties and nineties. I then became an Interior Designer for a large DIY chain. For the past thirteen years I ran my own Interiors business, and while that is no longer in existence, I am now looking for my next challenge in life!

By night I am an Author, and I am very proud to be an author for Extasy Books. It took me some years to get to this point. I spent a very long time trying to get an agent because I thought it was the right thing to do, and after a heck of a lot of refusals, I nearly gave up. I came so close to hitting the delete button on Dead Camp 1 because I thought I did not stand a chance. At the very last moment, I decided to have a go at approaching a few publishers directly, and I sent the manuscript to six. Within two weeks, I had offers of publication from three! Let’s just say that there may have been tears lol. It was my chance, at last, to become a part of a world that I have always loved and admired from a distance, and it is one of the very best things to ever happened to me.

Dead Camp is the first series I ever wrote, and then there is my short novella called Hush Little Baby. Dead Camp is my take on the Vampire genre, an MM Paranormal Romance series that is set against a backdrop of World War 2. However, the series uses key moments from History to tell one enormous saga, and I have loved every single moment of writing it. There are five books in the Dead Camp series.

Hush is a pure horror story with more than a nod towards such classic programmes as The Twilight Zone and Tales of The Unexpected. The project happened just after I completed Dead Camp 3 and it is a story that I had to get out of my system. It’s definitely a different beast to my Vampire saga, and I hope it will make you go to bed with the lights on lol!

I recently ventured into the world of self-publishing, and as such, I have just released my first independent book series, The Last Child. The Last Child is a horror series that is in 3 parts dealing with the occult. It has a definite Dan Brown vibe in that I love conspiracy stories, so I have used religion and some intriguing legends as the backdrop to this contemporary supernatural thriller that tells the story of a female protagonist trying to protect her young student. Neither of them realises how their lives, and indeed their histories, are intertwined in the most horrific and tragic ways.

My latest book, ‘The Man Inside Me’ is an MM Victorian Gothic Romance, and I think it is the favourite thing I have written so far. It deals with two men in their fifties trying to find love again, a subject that is very close to my heart as I approach that milestone. It is a very important book to me, and while it has some very ‘KERR’ twists and turns, it is, at its heart, a very romantic tale that deals with middle age. I am particularly proud of this book, and it is a very different spin on the MM genre.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to meeting you on social media.

Author Links: Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Full O'Festive Spirits by Zakarrie Clarke - Release Blitz

Book Title: Full O’Festive Spirits

Author: Zakarrie Clarke

Publisher: Self-published

Genre/s: Contemporary romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 40 000 words

Release Date: December 16, 2018

Author Page: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

- Available on Kindle Unlimited


Gabriel is staggered, upon overhearing two old dears declare that only 21 shopping days remain ’til Christmas. He hadn’t even noticed that December had dawned, far too busy being grim ‘n’ grumpy to be bothered. This, after losing his job—again—leaving him too fed-up of enforced thriftiness to differentiate days that did not. Let alone recall the date on the calen— A thought that sends Gabriel scuttling off the bus, in a belated bid to secure his favourite part of the festive season…an advent calendar. If they have any left. Upon clattering into the nearest shop, he finds himself coshed by the most splendid sight he e’er did see. A Christmas Feast for the eyeballs so sublime, it seemed—for a hectic heartbeat—that they’d all come at once. As the latter was a feat so improbable in said company, they definitely had not.

Dylan is much dismayed by the ramshackle litter of limbs and belongings that trips into the off-license, halfway through his shift. It being way too early for the drunk and determinedly irritating to come staggering in. In the wake of arriving too late to audition for a role he’d set his heart on, Dylan is no mood to deal with a human hatstand—doe-eyed and demented—intent upon purchasing a bloody advent calendar. On the third of December. For himself. Strewth. Could fate have possibly dumped a less welcome portent of festivities doomed to disaster on the doorstep?


Dylan’s trip down misery lane was rudely interrupted by the teeth-gritting jangle of the bell that heralded the entrance of each customer. Reason enough to want to bolt the bloody door to ensure that no one could set the damn thing off.

“Oh, bugger…”

Christ, no. It was way too early for the pissed-up and perennially irritating to start staggering in. Dylan glared at the ramshackle onslaught of limbs and belongings that clattered into the shop. This, with a godawful racket reminiscent of a one-man band, created by what appeared to be: one person, a single guitar, and some plastic bags. The latter were either full of saucepan lids, tambourines and stray cats…or, the customer could cause chaos in a broom cupboard. On his own. Neither of which boded well for the duration. He would no doubt browse for fifteen minutes, knock Dylan’s painstaking display of colour coordinated decorations off the shelf—then insist on arguing about fuck-all—before finally purchasing a cheap lighter, some Rizzla papers and a Snickers bar.

Dylan had, clearly, been working in an off-license far too long. This had been true about an hour into his first shift, despite the fifteen percent staff reduction that had clinched the deal in the first place. Dylan watched, incredulous, as the litter of limbs and baggage rearranged itself into something that resembled a human figure. Albeit, a far too...extravagant one. Then, he lifted his head.

How simple that sounded. The customer’s face had formerly been obscured by the brim of his hat; a battered black trilby, barely a shade darker than eyes as bottomless as they were huge. Framed by excessive eyelashes and skin so pale, he could have played Pierrot, sans make-up. A fact not helped by lips so wind-chapped, they looked kiss-bitten. Or, he’d earned enough to buy more than a packet of bloody Rizzla and a Snickers in the very recent past. If he hadn’t already blown it on his next fix. Get a grip. Who the hell would cart a guitar around with them, while out pulling punters?Punters, f'fucksakes?

“Hiya.” His little-boy-lost features lit up in a smile as startling as his voice; coming from a body comprised of far too many corners. Dylan had expected clipped cockney tones or a harsh estuary drawl. The ‘hiya’ had scarce classified as a word, it had been but a wisp of melody. This particular nugget of nonsense was followed by the belated awareness that Dylan was standing like a lemon, dumbstruck. Ensnared in the dark spotlight of a gaze akin to a steel-jaw trap…

About the Author 

After moving to London at eighteen and flitting about for far too long, Zakarrie settled, as blissy as can be, by the sea. ’Twas here that her castaway dreams re-surfaced and she began to write; stories that are, in truth, better at being her than she's ever been. Her one hope now is that someone, somewhere, will enjoy the misadventures of her miscreants as much as she adores writing them.

Author Links: Blog/Website | Twitter | Pinterest | QueeRomanceInk


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