I’m Dr. Henry Young.
I know you’re expecting Elliot, and I assure you, he is here. He’s somewhat shy with new folks, so I do apologize. I’ve asked Elliot what he would like to discuss with you lovely folks and apparently it’s his teddy bear. I suppose I should tell you a little about him before we get to Mr. Teddy.
Elliot is six years old and my son. I adopted him last year after Johnnie and I came across him in… um, well, a certain large station in Central London. I’m afraid the mere mention of the place quite upsets him, so I’ll leave it at that. It’s a rather tragic tale, but suffice it to say after the events of that afternoon, I found myself in a somewhat attached state.
When Elliot clung to me, his sobs breaking my heart, I knew I couldn’t give him up. He had no family to speak of, and the thought of him alone and frightened in an orphanage was more than I could bear. It’s been a challenge, to say the least, but Elliot has come a long way in the last year or so. My heart swells when I hear him call me daddy. He’s also grown quite attached to Johnnie. Initially, he insisted Johnnie be his mummy, but after some explanation as to why that couldn’t be so, Elliot grew quite determined to have Johnnie be his daddy also. At times I wonder who’s more stubborn, Elliot or Johnnie? Forgive me, I’m receiving a most dire pout at the moment. He’s a very perceptive little chap. Let’s move onto the teddy bear shall we?
As you can imagine, Elliot was quite frightened when we brought him home. He would cling desperately to me, fearing that if I were to put him down even for a moment that it meant I was going to abandon him. For some time, I had to have him with me wherever I went, including the infirmary while I tended to patients. Over time, his confidence began to grow due to our weekly sessions, but he was still too frightened to be on his own. Then one morning, I woke up to find him gone. I was beside myself. I ran down the corridor calling for him when I heard Johnnie’s voice. I edged up to his bedroom and found Elliot curled up in Johnnie’s lap hugging a teddy bear, an expression of awe and wonder on his cherub face. It brought tears to my eyes.
You see, this isn’t any ordinary teddy bear. It was a gift from Jacky to Johnnie back when they had first met, when Johnnie had been but a frightened boy at the end of his rope, pretending to be a fierce soldier. That teddy bear had sat by his bedside every year since then through all the difficult times, and now he was giving it to Elliot, telling him it would remain by his side, keeping him company. I admit at that moment, I fell in love with Johnnie all over again. I knew what that teddy bear meant to him. I only wonder if he knew what the gesture meant to me.
Well, Elliot hasn’t let his furry friend out of his sight since. It’s his most treasured possession, and thanks to Mr. Teddy, Elliot found the courage to sleep in his own room. The two are known to cause mischief with the rest of the boys at the manor. The rest of the chaps who run the manor were quite stunned to discover what Johnnie had done, but none of us dared say a word. Johnnie doesn’t do well with compliments and he especially doesn’t like to be made a fuss over. Don’t let his gruff exterior fool you. He is very much a wonderful man, even if at times he needs to be reminded. Oh, I beg your pardon. Elliot would like me to mention that Mr. Teddy enjoys boiled leaf water. That’s what Johnnie likes to call tea. Yes, the two can be quite a handful, but I consider myself a very lucky man to have these two mischief-makers in my life. Do join us on our next stop where you’ll get to meet our latest arrivals, Connor Grey and his brother Edmund. It’s been a pleasure.
Eight years after leaving the deserts of Africa and the French Foreign Legion behind, Jonathan Wolfe has settled into life at Hawthorne Manor in the English countryside. Johnnie helps his adopted family run the manor and provide a safe, loving home for a new generation of “brats”: boys mistreated and discarded for their homosexuality—something all too familiar to Johnnie.
Although no longer an unruly youngster, Johnnie is as stubborn, foul-mouthed, and troublesome as ever. His recent rash behavior becomes a concern for those closest to him, especially Dr. Henry Young, the only man ever to capture Johnnie’s heart. Instead of soothing him, their closeness brings Johnnie’s insecurities from an unsettling past to the surface, and leads to an explosive situation that threatens to tear them apart. Then Henry’s past catches up to them….
Excerpts are in the form of a serial.
Read Part 10 over at Hearts on Fire here.
“Good afternoon, ladies.” Henry removed his hat and gave a gentlemanly bow.
“Dr. Young, what a pleasure. Oh, and Johnnie, how lovely—Good gracious, lad, what’s happened to you? You didn’t let that nasty Glen drive your car again did you?”
My hand went to my jaw, which I hadn’t realized was suffering from a scrape or two. I must have looked like a right ruffian. “I’m going to be needing some of your fabulous goodies, Mrs. Henley.”
“You know nothing can bribe Mr. Irving, not even my cakes.” The robust gray-haired woman in flowery apron shook her head with a chuckle as she began refilling the glass displays. It was safe to say our reputations preceded us. I’d been using her exquisite confectionary to bribe and coax my fellow Hawthorne Manor residents for going on six years now.
I edged up to the wooden counter to lean on it while I twirled my hat and gave her a wink. “That’s true, but I only need to bribe Mr. Valentine and Mr. Irving won’t ring my neck.”
“You’re too smart for your own good.”
Mrs. Henley’s eldest daughter rolled her eyes. “If he were clever, he’d stop running about with that wanker Glen.”
“Margaret! Honestly.” Mrs. Henley turned to me with an apologetic smile. “She’s got a point, my dear. You shouldn’t be mixed up with the likes of him. You’re a good lad, Johnnie. You should find yourself a nice lass and settle down.”
Popping my hat back on my head, I casually walked behind the counter to where she stood arranging the chocolate-frosted fairy cakes ever so lovingly. “If I found myself a nice lass,” I said as I nabbed a cake, “I’d have to stop pilfering your baked goods.”
“Oh, you cheeky devil! Get out!” She laughed and swatted me playfully. With some fancy footwork, I dashed back around the counter and ended up behind Henry. “Margaret, get a basket ready for this little scoundrel before Anabel comes out here and ends up breaking any more dishes on account of him.”
Anabel was Mrs. Henley’s youngest daughter. She was eighteen years old and for some screwy reason had a crush on me. Every time she saw me, she ended up dropping something. Poor girl. Even if I were so inclined, she could do a lot better than me. While Mrs. Henley and Margaret were busy getting a basket of confectionary treats ready for us to take away, I turned to Henry and touched the frosted fairy cake to his lips, charmed by his surprised expression. At least until his eyes got that familiar lustful look in them.
Part 12 continued on Nov 19th over at Joyfully Jay.
Available in ebook and print from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4362
Comment prompt: Did you have a favorite toy or object as a child?
About the Author:
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
Twitter: @charliecochet | http://www.twitter.com/charliecochet
1st Prize: $15 Amazon gift card + Impetuous Afflictions signed swag pack + signed 8×10 art print.
2nd & 3rd Prize: Impetuous Afflictions swag pack + signed 8×10 art print.
Just leave a comment on any of the blog posts along the tour, along with a contact email address. **If you would still like to enter the contest but don’t wish to leave your email address in the comment, you can also enter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners will be chosen at random and posted on Charlie’s blog at http://www.charliecochet.com/blog on Monday, December 2nd. Winners will then be notified via email.
Sunday, December 1st at midnight, Eastern Time.
11/9 – Welcome to Hawthorne Manor [Excerpt 1] – The Novel Approach
11/11 – Billiard Room Brouhaha [Excerpt 2] – Author Sue Brown
11/12 – A Trip to the Town of Aylesbury [Excerpt 3] – Author Kim Fielding
11/13 – Time for Tea [Excerpt 4] – Author Lex Chase
11/14 – Stopping for a Pint [Excerpt 5] – Author Andrew Q. Gordon
11/15 – Visiting the Furry Hat Man [Excerpt 6] – Author Eden Winters
11/18 – Meet Gideon Brooks [Excerpt 7] – Author Michael Rupured
11/19 – Meet Rori Curti [Excerpt 8]s – Author Shira Anthony
11/20 – Meet Aubrey Jepson [Excerpt 9] – Attention is Arbitrary
11/21 – Meet Oliver Darling [Excerpt 10] – Hearts on Fire
11/22 – Meet Elliot Young [Excerpt 11] – Author Elin Gregory
11/25 – Meet Connor & Edmund Grey [Excerpt 12]- Joyfully Jay
11/26 – The Devilish Duo [Finale] – Mrs. Condit & Friends