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Archive for the ‘New Release’ Category

This one is a bit edgy for me because it’s my first proper try at a contemporary story so I tried to write something I knew about – life in a small town – with a profession I knew a bit about – working in a small cash-strapped museum.

It was sheer self indulgence to make the love interest a heavy plant operator because I do love the big machines. In the archaeological world those huge scary things can be used with considerable finesse. They are also appealing on their own account – all that power!

It’s also an edgy release day because the book is supposed to be the first of a series set in the fictional town of Pemberland which, if it existed, would be just off the A465 and alongside the River Monnow about where Ewyas Harold is now.

So, a big new project that’ll keep me going for a good few years, I should think. Book 2, Close Shave, is about half written!


Available today from Manifold Press

THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS

Blurb:

“The bones of our fathers cannot lie.”

Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.

Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?

Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.

Buy Links:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073JM29TD/
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073JM29TD/
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-bones-of-our-fathers
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/733184

Now available – a cracking action adventure from Lisa Worrall.

Looking For Jesse

Blurb:

Life is full of decisions and it’s the split-second ones that change your world forever.

Nick Shepherd made such a decision on the day his son, Jesse, was taken from a Christmas market in Naperville. The woman looked normal and had a son of her own, and he was only going to be a minute. But that minute was all she needed. His son was gone.

A year later, the task force is being downsized and they are no closer to finding Jesse than they were the day he disappeared. At his wits end, Nick is given a number and a name by the lead on the case.

Ex-detective Frank Ford has issues, several of them. Two steps shy of a full-blown alcoholic, all he wants is to bury himself in the bottle. He’s doing a pretty good job of it, too, when Nick Shepherd asks for his help. Does Ford want to help? No. Is Ford going to help? Hell no. Until four words resonated deep within him.

“She took my son!”

Excerpt:

Tapping the woman in front of them on the shoulder, Nick made an executive decision.
“Excuse me,” he said as she turned around. “My son left his mitten at the seating area over there but I don’t want him to miss his turn. Would you mind watching him for a minute while I run over and find it?”
The woman’s kindly brown eyes took in Jesse’s tear-soaked face and the length of the line then smiled. “Of course,” she replied. “But be quick, I think they’re rushing the kids through so they get in as many as they can before closing.”
“Like there’s fire coming out of my as—sorry, butt—sorry.” Nick stumbled over the words but she only laughed and waved her hand.
“Go!”
“Thanks,” Nick said gratefully and quickly hugged Jesse to him. “I’ll be right back, buddy, okay? You just stand here with this nice lady and I’ll be so quick you won’t even notice I’ve gone.”
Jesse looked at him warily but the woman smiled and said, “He’ll be fine with me and Marcus, won’t you?” Jesse gave a hesitant nod and Nick hit the ground running.
The mitten Gods must have been smiling down on him because he found it under the table where they’d been sitting almost immediately. He heaved a huge sigh of relief and dashed back to Santa’s Grotto, mitten held high like a victory torch so Jesse could see.
Nick made good on his promise, he was back in just over a minute, if a little out of breath. Promising himself he’d tell Daisy to stop bringing in donuts to work, he headed to the front of the line. He smiled as he slowed his approach, not wanting to slip on the frozen ground. Nick was surprised to see Jesse still held the woman’s hand. Although Jesse was an affectionate kid, he was also very cautious and took a while to warm up to new people. A hand tightened around Nick’s heart. It had been a long time since Jesse had felt a motherly touch. Even when they’d sat on the couch watching TV, Jesse’s hand had always been curled around Anna’s.
“I got it, dude!” Nick said jubilantly, putting his hand on Jesse’s shoulder. “It was right whe—”
The words caught in his throat as the boy turned and so did the woman holding his hand. “Hey!” she yelled, pulling the boy toward her.
“I’m sorry.” Nick held up his hands. “I thought you were… my….” He spun on his heel, his gaze flitting all around him. “Jesse!” His name echoed on the cold evening air. “Jesse! My son? Where’s my son?” Nick grabbed the woman’s forearm and her eyes widened in horror. “My son!” he repeated. What was wrong with her? Why was she looking at him like that?
“Hey, man, take it easy.” That came from a big, bald man a couple of spaces down the line.
Nick ignored him and shook the terrified woman. “My son, he was here. Right here. Where is he? You must have seen him!”
“Sir, is there a problem?”
Nick looked at the woman dressed in a short-skirted elf costume and the burly security guard behind her. He dropped the frightened woman’s arm and ran shaking hands through his hair. “My son,” he said again. Why was no one listening to him? “He was right here! Where is he?” He turned back to the dark-haired woman who now clasped her son to her tightly. “You saw him. You must have. He was with the other woman and the boy. I just went to find his… his mitten.” Nick waved it pathetically, the woolen mitten still clutched firmly in his fingers. “I found… it.”
“The little blond boy?” the elf asked.
“Yes!” Nick tried not to scream but panic, raw and heavy bubbled deep within him. He tried to push it down, but he could taste it in the back of his throat. “He was here. Right here. I was only gone—”
“She left.”
“She left?” Nick shook his head. “What do you mean she left? Where. Is. My. Son?”
The elf turned her concerned gaze on the security guard, who stepped forward and put a firm hand on Nick’s shoulder. Spots dotted Nick’s peripheral vision as his brain tried to force him to accept what she was saying.
“Sh-she said there was an emergency. That they had to go.”
“Go?”
“I-I thought you were together,” she stuttered. “Oh, my God. I didn’t know. I thought you were toge—”
“Where is my son?” Nick knew what the answer was going to be, but he had to hear it. “Where is my son!”
“Sh-she took him.”

Looking For Jesse

Buy Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Author Bio:

Lisa in her own words:

I live in Leigh on Sea, a small seaside town just outside London on the coast of Essex, about ten minutes from Southend, which boasts the longest pier in the world. I live with my husband and two ever-growing children, who I let think are the boss of me; along with two dogs who actually are.

As the wonderful Beatrix Potter said, “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a new story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” I know exactly what she means.

Website: http://lworrall.blogspot.com/

Facebook: Lisa Worrall Author

Twitter: Lisa_Worrall

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What’s Up, Pussycat?

Release date: July 7, 2017
Length: 24,300 words
Cover Design: Simon Searle

 

Blurb
Finley Harrington despairs of ever being able to move on after the death of Andrew, the love of his life. When he spots an advertisement for auditions for Cats, the last musical Andrew performed in, Finley acts on the spur of the moment and calls for an appointment to audition.
Much to Fin’s surprise, he gets the part he hopes for, but during his struggles with stage-fright, and the teasing of a fellow actor, Karl Rogers, he wonders if he’s made a huge mistake. But Karl’s irritating persona hides a different person inside, and when Fin gets to know him, he develops a surprising attraction to him.
Could Karl be the person to help Fin move on from the past, or is he destined to remain alone?

Free Download Links

Amazon UKAmazon USSmashwordsBarnes & NobleKobo

Excerpt:

The members of the cast began arriving half an hour later when the three of us were warming up, and my impression of the first man through the door was one of shock. I’d seen Karl Rogers who played Rum Tum Tugger from a distance a few times when I attended the shows in Leicester, but never without his cat costume. He was tall—at least six feet—and his shock of peroxide hair and startling green eyes drew everyone’s attention. His lycra leggings emphasized a large package, and a bright orange cropped T-shirt and matching ballet shoes completed his outfit. He charged into the room like a whirlwind.

“So! Who do we have here?” he shouted, looming over Annette and me, where we stood stretching our hamstrings. “You look weirdly familiar.” He jabbed a finger in my direction, before turning his attention to Annette. “What a pretty kitty. What’s your name, then, darling?” He pronounced the endearment “dahling” and I cringed. I hoped the rest of the cast weren’t like Karl. I’d met a couple of them, but I preferred to keep my distance and monopolize Andrew when the shows were over.

“Annette,” the girl said. “And that’s Finley. The other guy is James.”

Karl spun around to look at James, gave him a cursory nod, then turned back to me. He took a step closer, forcing me to look up.

“Cute!” Karl exclaimed. “Cat got your tongue?” He proceeded to shriek with laughter at his lame joke, and my face heated under the scrutiny.

“I’ve not had the chance to get a word in,” I blurted, and immediately cringed. My voice tended to sound more refined when I was irritated. I couldn’t help my parents or the school I’d gone to, but for the past few years I’d done my best to shake off the accent and sound more like everyone else. I knew Karl would say something, even before he opened his mouth again.

“Ooh, someone swallowed a silver spoon, didn’t they? Wait. Finley? Finley Harrington? Golly, I’m surprised Mummy and Daddy let their little boy do something as lower class as performing on the stage. Shouldn’t you be a lawyer or a doctor or something?” Karl spoke in an exaggerated tone, and my face burned.

“Wow, someone loves himself.” James moved to my side and cocked an eyebrow at Karl.

“I have a sense of humor. You should try it some time.” Karl laughed, and James scowled at him. The boisterous dancer ignored him, and draped an arm around Annette’s shoulders. “You never told me your name, Kitty.”

“Yes, I did. It’s Annette.”

 

Author Bio

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/louiselyons013
Blog: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com
Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

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And just to put a cherry on it, here’s the brand new and utterly charming release from Lillian Francis.

Just Hanging Out

 

Only 99p

 

The Blurb

“Come and honour the Oak King.”

The countdown to the company solstice picnic is one of Shawn’s favourite times of the year. The scents of sage, mint, basil, sunflower, and lavender fill the air as the workshop mixes up the final batch of Litha, their solstice soap. It’s celebration time! This year, Shawn has an extra spring in his step, and it’s all for the new buyer, Tim. Shawn’s fine having a crush on the gorgeous new straight guy. Until he isn’t.

As the clock ticks down to Picnic-Day, Shawn’s confidence and Tim’s sexuality become mired in doubt and second guesses. It’s a minefield of embarrassed glances and missed opportunities. Seems like they’ll never get together…

To cap it all, Shawn’s drawn Tim in the secret solstice gifting. What to get for the quiet man who turns Shawn’s legs to jelly and has the best underwear hanging from the washing line in his garden? And will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?

Word count: ~16700

Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press

Buy Links:

// Payhip // Smashwords // Amazon UK // Amazon Universal // Amazon US //

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here.

 

About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter @LillianFrancis_

Facebook

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads

Sign up for my newsletter

Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com

 

Excerpt

“Come on, everyone. Time to honour the Oak King.” Miriam stood in the centre of the office and jiggled a deep wooden bowl, exquisitely carved with the face of the Green Man. “Come and pick your giftee.”

Yes, I did say Oak King. Miriam’s a new-age hippie, whose 100% natural soap has taken her from cooking the stuff up in her kitchen and selling it from a stall at various markets, to a thriving shop and workshop with a staff of twenty plus. We’ve branched out into candles in the last few years, but it’s the soap, especially the seasonal range, that brings in the punters. Oh, and she’s a Pagan. Hence, the honouring the Oak King statement.

Don’t worry. There’s no sacrifice involved. We have a massive picnic on the Downs on Midsummer’s Eve, drink too much local ale, and the Oak King—normally Ali from Packaging, in a headdress made of antlers and a myriad of leaves, flowers, and herbs—hands out our jokey gifts. Then we settle in to watch the sunset and bid the Oak King farewell for another six months. In other words, it’s a chance to eat well, drink better, and have a laugh, all the while showing appreciation for an amazing boss and honouring her beliefs, even if we’re a mix of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists. Dunno why the atheists can’t have their own capital letter. Me, I’m probably an agnostic with Taoist leanings.

“You too, Shawn,” Miriam called over to me. “Stop hogging the copier and grab a name.”

I glanced at my watch and then flicked my gaze surreptitiously out the window. Still time. If I was quick, and Miriam didn’t choose that moment to chat, I could be back at my station without missing a moment of the action. Shaking a leg, and my impressively pert behind, I slipped in between two of the admin clerks and plucked a slip of paper from the pot. Without bothering to even glimpse at the name written on it, I stuffed the folded slip into the front pocket of my jeans and returned to the photocopier. One more glance at the time—8:52—and I pressed the button to start my items printing.

There were enough pages in this print run to keep me at the copier for a good few minutes. I saved up all but the most urgent for these five minutes just before nine. It was a routine I’d been keeping for the last few months. As the copier warmed up after a night of inaction, with the gentle whirr of reanimated machinery, I took a moment to enjoy the view from the window. The azure blue of the sky contrasted with the white blossom on the tree just on the edge of the company’s land at the rear entrance. Beyond, a neat row of cottages caught the eye and drew the gaze of anyone who had time to stop and watch.

As I appreciated the view, a door of one of the cottages opened and a tall, broad man stepped out onto the path that led down a well-kempt front garden to the road. Yeah, I know that kempt means well cared for, so the well is redundant. I work in communications and I’ve a Desmond in English Lit and Environmental Science. That’s lower second class honours for those of you not in the know. Not bad for a lad from Saath London. Of course, four years at Canterbury, another four living in this small Sussex town, coupled with some conscious effort, have more or less knocked that accent out of me.

Less about me, back to another thing that was kempt and well put together. The object of my voyeuristic tendencies stepped through his gate and out onto the pavement then turned in my direction. A happy sigh escaped me as the early morning sun caught his wavy hair just right; fiery copper reflected back to me in reds and gold. His eyes were green, and flecked with amber. Not that I could see his irises from this distance—I could barely make out the strong features that made up his ruggedly handsome face. And the freckles that gave him an oddly incongruous boyish look were filled in from memory at this point. I sighed again, far too dramatically for my own liking.

Rather than concentrate on the parts of him that required my imagination, I studied the visual feast in front of me. Now he’d cleared the obstruction of his neighbour’s privet, I had an uninterrupted view, where I could drink my fill without the risk of getting caught.

Chinos—the russet pair today—encased long legs, and heavily muscled thighs bunched beneath the material with every determined stride that brought him a step closer. Finally, the man disappeared below my sight line. The photocopier whirled to a stop, spitting out the last few pages of my weekly comms report and a stack of sample leaflets for Miriam’s perusal. I had about five minutes to school my features and get back to my desk, or get caught tongue-tied. Again.

A flash of colour caught my eye as I turned away from the view and I spun back to the window expecting to see the swoop of ring-necked parakeets. The birds were becoming a more common sight in local gardens these days. Maybe the green bastards thought I was homesick and followed me from London.

Instead of the expected flap of wings, my gaze found the source of the flashes of colour: a washing line strung in the back garden of one of the cottages. Clothes hung from the line, fluttering in the gentle breeze of a pleasant June morning. Not just any clothes, though.

Nope, a whole line full of bright, skimpy, tight underwear. Underwear that I’d seen advertised in Attitude that very morning as I read on my bus journey to work. And by seen, I meant studied. Intently. Double-page spread. Three all but naked guys getting handsy with each other and appearing to love every minute of it. Hell, I’d even stuffed in my headphones, thanked any deity who wanted to listen that I was sitting in the back, and watched the ‘making of’ video. Those models were having fun, no doubt about it.

Get A Grip. Flamboyant, colourful, crotch-cupping, butt-caressing underpants. With a marketing campaign that focused on the gay man. Ask a straight guy about GAG and 95% wouldn’t know what you were talking about.

Not only that, but the garden the washing line was located belonged to—

“Morning, Shawn. Printing again?”

Now I was close enough to see the green of his eyes. The deep rumble that came from his broad chest caressed the vowel sound in my name and threatened to turn my legs to jelly.

Stupid! Answer him. All I could do was echo the greeting, anything else was beyond me, the sight of those pants hanging in a neat rainbow of colour seared on to my brain. “Morning, Tim.”

Tim faltered as though expecting there would be more forthcoming, but I had nothing. Nothing workplace appropriate, anyway. Asking your colleague to model his undies for you was probably frowned upon, even for a liberal employer like InScents, and Tim was still comparatively new and seemed kinda shy for a big guy. I wouldn’t say we were friends yet but I hoped we were getting there. So I kept my mouth shut.

The moment stretched on but it could have lasted no more than a second or two, then Tim carried on past, heading for his desk. I thought I’d detected a dusky flush of rose under his freckles but I was easily distracted and couldn’t quell the urge to watch the tight pull of Tim’s chinos as he walked away from me.

Not an unfamiliar feeling any time Tim walked in front of me.

But now I couldn’t stop myself from imaging his muscular arse cheeks enclosed in a pair of GAGs.

* * * * *

 

 

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Out today!! The second in the Village Love series. I read this when it was under construction and it really rocks!

Here’s the blurb:

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.

Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

Buy Links

Amazon US // Amazon UK // Kobo // Payhip // Smashwords

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My guest today isn’t just a blinkin’ good author but also a dear friend and mentor, a fellow UK Meet Committee member, a stalwart of the writing community and an all round good egg.

Charlie is here today to celebrate her brand new release – In the Spotlight. a bundle of two stories about men who tread the boards.

Charlie, what inspired you to write these stories?

My love of sport and the theatre. In the case of All That Jazz, I was once going to a rugby match at London Irish and I saw two blokes having a row in the club car park. My mind went into overdrive and by the time I’d considered all the possibilities why they’d been arguing, I had the makings of a character. At a similar time, the all-male productions at the Globe made me wonder if an all male Chicago would be a goer – so when these two ideas conflated I had the germ of a story. (Any more detail would give it away.)

If Music Be came from another mixing of ideas. I love Will Shakespeare’s work, especially Twelfth Night; the sexual politics and gender bending in that play are mind boggling. It’s something I’ve explored before and no doubt will do again. When hubby got given a Military Wives CD, it made me wonder about military husbands and – again – these two seemingly disparate things came together to make a tale.

Have you tackled the theatre in other stories?

Oh, yes. The Cambridge Fellows found themselves embroiled with an all male production of “The Scottish Play” and “Awfully Glad” concerns a WWI officer who appears in a concert party dressed as a woman (do I detect a theme here?) I guess it’s a matter of writing about what I enjoy watching or reading about!

“The Roosters”, an army concert party started in 1917 with the donation of a 100 drachma note by a Surrey wicket keeper and continued to perform for over 30 years

There’s something comfortably camp about the behavior of theatrical types, including the straight ones. They certainly seem happy touching each other when being interviewed on the television. Any thoughts?

Plenty! Cultures develop around professions and settings, so the language and interactions in the theatre will be different to those in accountancy. I’m sure the fact that actors spend a lot of time pretending to be someone else in an artificial setting must have an influence, too. Perhaps it loosens the inhibitions or something.

Mind you, that relaxed physicality can be seen in my beloved rugby, too. One of the factors must be the close contact on the pitch (hands and heads go places in scrums and rucks that they don’t go in other sports). But it isn’t just during the game – the lads are very tactile when celebrating a try, or after the match. I also see tweets from them along the lines of, “In bed with my pal x, watching TOWIE”. They’re clearly sharing a bed in the way Morecambe and Wise platonically shared a bed, as has been customary through time, but you can’t imagine a footballer making that sort of tweet, for fear of snide comments. I wonder if it’s because rugby players have nothing to prove in terms of their masculinity? After all, the world’s top rugby referee is “out” and nobody bats an eyelid.

What are you working on at the moment?

Something rather different and a bit daft, about which I’m giving no more details as I don’t want anyone else to nick the idea. J

Can we have an excerpt?

Of course! Here’s a bit from All That Jazz:

“Are you looking for someone?” An incongruously quiet voice sounded beside him.

Hardly the most original chat up line. Francis eyed the stranger warily. He’d got past the point of being impressed by smooth lotharios sporting smarmy clichés although this bloke didn’t seem like one of them. If Francis had been a betting man he’d have put twenty quid on the remark being genuine and heartfelt.

“Not really.” Francis used his huskiest tones, ones belying the clothes he wore, tones intended to impress. Whoever or whatever the bloke with the clichéd lines was, he had a stunning smile to accompany them. And an honest fresh face—as complete a contrast to Rhys fucking don’t trust him as far as you can throw him Mannering as you could get.

“Sorry, you just looked a bit lost.” The stranger turned face on, his smile now shy and losing some of its lustre.

“Maybe I am. Not sure I know anyone here.” Francis couldn’t believe he was uttering the words, and in such a bashful manner. He was used to being the confident, pushy one in these sort of joints. Or at least he’d been good at acting that part once Mannering had gone. He’d had to learn to make the running, determined not to let that poncy sod ruin any more of his life than he already had done. So why was he now admitting to some beddable bloke that he was anything less than Mr. Confidence? Especially tonight when a beddable bloke and a bottle of beer were top of his shopping list.

“You do look a bit out of place.”  Another devastating smile. Why the fuck did beddable bloke make you feel like you’d never been in a bloody gay bar before?  “It’s not your average pub, this place. Most of the team hang out here and it’s coloured the atmosphere.”

“The team?” Francis cast a quick glance around. The rainbow flag over the door might well have been false colours, given the butch, well built appearance of the bar’s clientele. It looked more like your average suburban local than a haunt of the spenders of the pink pound. Perhaps the flag had actually been flying over the Brasserie next door and he’d missed it in his foul temper? No, the looks and nudges he’d had were genuine enough, and he wasn’t so dragged up that he could really be mistaken for a bird.

~~~~~~

In the Spotlight

Blurb:

All That Jazz
Francis Yardley may be the high kicking star of an all-male version of Chicago, but bitter, and on the booze after the breakdown of a relationship, he thinks that the chance for true love has passed him by. A handsome, shy rugby player called Tommy seems to be the answer to his problems, but Tommy doesn’t like the lipstick and lace. Can they find a way forward and is there still a chance for happiness “nowadays”?

If Music Be
Rick Cowley finds himself taking up am-dram once more, thinking it’ll help him get over the death of his partner. He’d never anticipated it would mean an encounter with an old flame and the sort of emotional complications the Bard would have revelled in. Still, old Will had the right word for every situation, didn’t he?

Link: Amazon UK Amazon US

Bio and links: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes.  Romances, mysteries, sometimes historical and occasionally hysterical. Rumours that she has written about weresloths are true.

Charlie’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, and regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

You can reach Charlie at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com (maybe to sign up for her newsletter?) or catch her on Facebook, twitter, goodreads, her website or her blog.

 

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Artwork by Meredith Russell

Artwork by Meredith Russell

I read this book at beta level and I’m SO glad to see it back on the shelves again. With engaging MCs, an exciting and unusual setting and some fantastic secondary characters, both human and animal, it’s a great treat and highly recommended.

Blurb

Realising their love will be a hard fought battle. Keeping hold of it might just kill them.

 An unexpected job offer finds zoologist Eric Phillips transported from the elephant house at a zoo just outside London to the wildlife reserves in the South African bushveld. Being able to work with his own herd of elephants, and analysing their behaviour, more than makes up for the remote nature of the research station. The one bright spot on the horizon, quite literally if the sun hits it at the right angle, is the silver freight plane that brings his supplies and half an hour in the company of Tyaan, the gorgeous but taciturn pilot.

With wide open spaces and clear skies, Tyaan Bouwer is never be happier than when he’s flying over the bushveld, the landscape beneath him a changing vista of colour and texture. It’s that view and the freedom to be able to climb in his plane and fly that’s kept him in the small town where he was born and raised. South Africa might be a rainbow nation but in the northern regions where neighbouring countries are far from liberal minded, prejudices and hatred bleed across the borders. Tyaan’s not in the closet, not really. Get him to the city and with his strong, silent routine he can pull a guy without even trying. He’s fine with that as long as they don’t press him into trying to see them again. It’s not like he wants a relationship. And just maybe when he gets home he’s hovering in the doorway of that closet, but he’s never met anyone worth taking the risk for.

The day he’s sent to Limpopo to collect Eric that all changes. He tries to bury the feelings of want that Eric conjures in him, but he can’t resist the bonds of friendship that forms between them.

As a zoologist Eric likes to think that he’s adept at anticipating how a creature will react in any given situation, and they don’t come any more beautiful and skittish than Tyaan. Despite Tyaan’s jittery behaviour Eric has a theory they could be good together but when things go catastrophically wrong it appears their relationship will remain a theory unproven.

Second Edition

Publisher: Finally Love Press

Released: January 2017

Buy Links

Universal Amazon link: myBook.to/TheoryUnproven_LF // Payhip // Smashwords // Kobo // B&N

About the author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hobnobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/ // Twitter @LillianFrancis_

Facebook // Facebook Author Page

Goodreads // Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com

 

Excerpt

Stepping out of the taxi on unsteady legs, Eric leaned against the side of the vehicle and rested his arms on the roof. The smell of burning rubber and brake discs enveloped the vehicle, searing the inside of his nostrils. He’d hoped the next leg of his journey would be in a better-cared-for vehicle than the taxi had been. This close up, the plane looked… well, old would be the best word to describe it.

As he studied the outer skin of the fuselage for missing rivets and any other manner of unseen defects, a pair of dusty leather boots appeared on the cargo ramp. The measured stride they belonged to was solid and confident, and in no time at all, a man appeared. Tall and tanned, he stooped slightly to avoid any contact with the body of the aircraft, and then grabbing a clipboard from atop a box, he hunkered down in the midst of the crates.

As Eric watched, the man studied the labels and then made a mark on the paperwork attached to the clipboard. Blond hair peeked out from under his hat, fanning out on the collar of his shirt. At no point did he acknowledge the existence of the car, even though he couldn’t have failed to have heard its arrival.

Irrationally annoyed by the well-built blond and his off-putting manner, Eric pushed himself off the car and sauntered round to the other side of the vehicle, closer to the man who was busying himself with his work and ignoring Eric.

His shadow fell across the crates and the bowed head of the— Could this be the pilot? Eric could see no other people near the aircraft. The blond raised his head, a frown pulling the skin tight between his eyebrows.

The man’s gaze settled on Eric briefly before flicking over to the taxi. When he returned to look over Eric once more, the skin of his forehead had smoothed out, but still the man didn’t smile. He nodded in acknowledgement, just once, short and curt, and then dipped his head back to his work and turned slightly away from Eric. With the stranger squatting in the dust, Eric towered above him, the position giving him the perfect view of broad shoulders and a solid frame that Eric couldn’t resist studying.

Abruptly, the man stood and cleared his throat. He dropped the clipboard onto a nearby box, throwing a curious glance in Eric’s direction, and then disappeared back up the ramp. Eric blinked, self-conscious at having been caught blatantly staring, and ruffled a hand through his short dark hair. His embarrassment wasn’t sufficient to keep him from trailing after the man, though, stopping just short of following him into the aircraft to stand near the ramp in the shade of the fuselage.

Preparing to ask the stranger his name, Eric opened his mouth to speak, when he was interrupted by a doleful bleat. Startled, he glanced over his shoulder, scanning the airfield expecting to find signs of a wayward sheep. The forlorn stuttering cry came again, and Eric whipped back round, suspiciously eyeing a crate that was securely strapped to the internal wall of the plane.

“Goat,” said the pilot—Eric had decided that’s what he was—as he came back down the ramp.

The deep timbre of that one word surprised Eric. It was rough and low, with an unfamiliar accent Eric’s subconscious demanded to hear more of. That wasn’t likely to happen, though, because the pilot was already surveying his cargo with his back to Eric. He bent to hoist a crate into his arms, leaving Eric to stare dry-mouthed at the enticing pull of khaki for several seconds. Then the pilot straightened and carried the crate into the plane.

Eric wondered if he should offer to help, but despite the ease with which the crate had been hefted into the air, Eric thought they would probably be too heavy and he didn’t want to make a fool of himself. Not in front of this man.

The blond wore the almost obligatory light khaki bush clothes similar to his own uniform The Foundation had provided. Eric hadn’t noticed a logo on his shirt, but he could hope. If this man worked for The Foundation, Eric could at least enjoy the view, since it was unlikely he was gay. He hadn’t even looked twice at Eric. Not that Eric considered himself drop-dead gorgeous or anything, but he was used to getting his fair share of interest back home in England.

Eric caught a glimpse of Akibo gesticulating wildly at the cab driver. His holdalls were piled at Akibo’s feet, Eric noticed thankfully. At least if the altercation didn’t go well and the cab driver took off, he wouldn’t abscond with Eric’s luggage.

The hollow echo of footfalls on the ramp drew Eric’s attention back to the pilot. Tiredness was pulling on Eric’s nerves, leaving him out of sorts, and the lack of conversation was doing nothing to ease his irritability.

Taking the bull by the horns, Eric graced the pilot with the brightest smile he could muster. “So, do you work for The Foundation too?”

“No.” The man’s stride didn’t even falter as he continued toward the next crate.

Not chatty, then. Downright rude, in fact.

The firm slap of a hand on his back caught him just off centre, almost pitching him forward, and Akibo’s fingers curled over his shoulder and squeezed.

“I see you’ve met Tyaan. Tyaan Bouwer. He’s the local freight pilot. He’ll run your supplies into the research station every week.”

It was almost as if the pilot finally saw Eric as anything other than an annoyance for the first time. Tyaan stepped toward him, straightening to his full height, and Eric resisted the urge to check out the breadth of his chest, instead raising his gaze the few inches’ difference in their height to meet Tyaan’s eyes head-on.

“Tyaan, this is Eric. Eric Philips. He’s the new researcher out at olifant velde.” Akibo turned back to Eric. “That’s the local name for your part of the reserve. It means elephant fields.”

Howzit.” Tyaan stuck out his hand. Eric extended his own automatically, and Tyaan pressed their palms together, enveloping Eric’s fingers in warmth. He gave Eric’s hand a short, sharp shake before releasing him from the firm grip. “The elephant man, hey?”

Eric smiled. “I know I’m no oil painting, but I hope I’m not that bad.”

Tyaan’s top-to-toe appraisal was so fleeting that Eric thought he’d imagined it. An expression skittered across the pilot’s face. Interest, curiosity—Eric wasn’t sure. It manifested itself as a bright spark in his eyes and the faint quirk of his lips, as if he were biting the inside of his cheek. The look vanished before Eric could really work out what it meant, but the amber-coloured eyes still seemed to hold a welcome within them.

“Tyaan’s a man of few words, but you won’t find a finer bush pilot. He’s reliable too. He’ll never leave you wanting.”

Wanting. Despite the pilot’s brusque manner, Eric wasn’t surprised he already wanted to press Tyaan up against the shiny metal body of his plane.

“I’m going up front,” Akibo said, blissfully unaware of the thoughts rampaging through Eric’s head. At least Eric hoped that was the case, since he followed that statement with “Coming, Eric?”

In his dreams, maybe.

“It’s hot enough to fry boerewors in there.” Tyaan shifted his attention away from Eric and addressed Akibo. “Leave the doors open. I’ll only be a few more minutes.”

Eric eyed the pile of sacks sitting in the dirt. More like half an hour. Tyaan’s shoulder and back muscles shifted beneath his shirt as he hefted a sack onto his shoulder and took another one in each hand. The tendons flexed and released in his bare forearms from where he grasped the corners of the sacks tightly.

“Eric?”

Realising he was being spoken to, Eric dragged his attention from the large vein that was running up from Tyaan’s wrist to elbow. “No, I’ll stay out here for a moment. Not used to the heat yet.”

Akibo nodded and, shifting his document bag to the other shoulder, headed toward the front of the plane, leaving Eric with the pilot and an awkward silence.

When Tyaan completed several trips into the plane and the silence had stretched on beyond what Eric could bear—although Tyaan didn’t appear bothered by it—Eric groped for something to say. He waited until Tyaan reached the top of the ramp, not wanting to startle him with his latest pile of precariously balanced sacks.

“It’s an unusual name.” Then Eric added as an afterthought, “Tyaan.”

Blithering idiot! As if the man didn’t know his own name.

Tyaan lowered the sack from his shoulder and placed it with the others. The pile outside the plane was already half the size it had been. Maybe the pilot had been right in his estimate. He pushed his hat back, swiped his arm across his brow and looked at Eric as if he’d just asked him whether he preferred to top or bottom.

“It’s Afrikaans.”

“Oh. So, do you speak Afrikaans?” A worrying thought started gnawing at Eric. “Do they speak it in the town?”

“Sure. I had to, my grandfather refused to speak English. Most people speak English with the odd word thrown in. You’ll get used to it.”

Tyaan returned to his sacks, the conversation obviously over. But Eric wasn’t ready to give up. He liked that gravel-edged sound that emanated from Tyaan’s lips. He could almost see the vibration beneath pale bristles on the pilot’s throat and itched to place his fingers there to feel the movement.

“I like your plane.” Eric cast his gaze over the large silver plane he was standing next to. “Looks like the one in that Indiana Jones movie. You know, the one where they fall out of the plane in the life raft. Temple of Doom, that’s the one…”

His voice trailed off as he became aware that Tyaan had stopped hefting sacks and was just staring, hands on his hips, his expression open and amused.

“It’s not that old. That movie was set in 1935. This is a de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou. They didn’t start making these until 1958…”

So that was how to get the reticent man talking, Eric realised as he allowed the low rumble to drift over him in a reassuring array of facts and figures. Get him on the subject of his plane. There was no question this aircraft was loved and well cared-for and Eric no longer had any qualms about climbing aboard.

“…but you don’t really want to know all that. I’m just boring you.”

“No.” I could listen to you talk all day long. “It’s fascinating.”

Evidently Tyaan had run out of words. He shrugged and turned his attention back to his cargo. “It’s old, but you’re safe in my hands. I promise you that.”

Eric didn’t doubt it; he just hoped one day he might get the chance to find out.

Reviews for Theory Unproven (first edition)

5 elephant review from Bike Book Reviews.

The opening line is a cracker in itself.

OH MY GOODNESS, I AM REALLY EXCITED FOR US TO BE HOSTING A BOOK BLAST FOR THIS EPIC, WONDERFUL, MASTERFULLY WRITTEN LITERARY ENTREE KNOWN AS ‘THEORY UNPROVEN’ BY LILLIAN FRANCIS! 

Okay, I’m blushing (and grinning, just a little bit) and we haven’t even got to the review yet. Right off the bat she hits on a point that I’m already concerned will deter readers… the length.

When I started this book and realized how many pages it had, I said to myself, “How in the world is this book gonna hold my interest for this long, it has to be a dang good one”, (but I needn’t have worried) let me assure you my friends, it is a dang good one and more!

And a few more choice quotes:

…a wonderful passionate story 

Get this book and get ready for passion, devotion, and yes suspense all rolled up in a nice package! 

Thank you Lillian, for making me realize it isn’t the length, long or short of a book, it is the heart of it that matters!

Read the review in full here.

Another 5 star review from MM Good Book Reviews.

The passion between Eric and Tyaan is both sweet and explosive. 

…the first half of the book is rather light hearted and relaxed before really going into the action.

There is a lot of sweetness to be had set in an amazing landscape with some pretty damn intelligent animals. In fact, a couple of the elephants are minor characters in their own right and thoroughly enjoyable.

Read the full review here.

Former reviewer Tina gave Theory Unproven 4.5 stars. Check out her review in full here at Leafmarks.

“Both characters are just wonderfully elaborated, and they have this freaking hot chemistry, despite all the things popping up to mess with them. Lillian Francis did a wonderful job of conveying the heart and soul of these two guys, and when the heat turns up, it gets damn hot! It’s either slow and romantic, rough and steamy, or smoking hot and passionate.”

“Lillian’s writing is powerful, gripping, emotional and captivating, she creates enticing characters and a sexy, emotionally charged story line.”

“I lived within the story, I felt the South African heat, smelled the elephants and tasted the dust on my tongue, I laughed, smiled and cursed with the guys. How they managed to overcome their challenges to form a deep and everlasting love and build such a strong relationship touched me deeply.”

“Highly recommended for those who share my love for the beautiful African continent… and want a well done, sweet, funny, suspenseful and delicious romance without too much angst.”

4.25 star review at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.

With a zoologist, Eric Phillips, as one half of the main couple, I loved the realistic way his life and work with the elephants was portrayed.  Dirty, all consuming, and soul satisfying…the readers understands through the many passages what it must be like to have that deep connection with another species. 

All good characters, all people the reader will want to spend time with.

Tyaan is a character that will draw conflicted feelings among the readers.  I thought his was a character grounded in the reality of the changing times in South Africa…Got it, you understand him even if you don’t like his actions, it makes him human.

While I was reading it, I was hooked on the elephants, Eric and Tyaan’s attraction for each other and strained journey towards a relationship.  

This is a long book yet most of the time I spent reading it flew by.  And I could easily book a flight back to this universe.  

…this story is so lush, so vibrant in feeling and scope that I am still so very much in love with Theory Unproven weeks later.

I recommend this story for all who love romance, foreign lands and a landscape of adventure where the search for love can be rough, affectionate, and hard won.  

Read the review in full here.

5 heart review from Hearts on Fire reviews

…the story was well paced, with great main characters and secondary characters…

The chemistry between the two main characters has a great build up, with compassion for Tyaan…, and hope for Eric that he won’t get his heart broken, since you love him pretty much from the start of the story!

If you like animals, you are going to love these two characters! (Jack and Ianto, the elephants)

I would recommend this book for romance lovers who really enjoy the development of the story as much as the romance and hot scenes…

Read the full review here.

 

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