New Release – Rise of a Nobleman by Valentina C. Brin #giveaway

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Book Title: Rise of a Nobleman

Author: Valentina C. Brin

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow Design

Release Date: June 10, 2019

Genre/s: M/M historical, dark

Trope/s: Forbidden love, master and servant

Themes: Heartbreak of betrayal, hurt/comfort, possession, falling in love,

revenge, trust issues, murderer, ambition, sexual awakening, self-acceptance

Heat Rating:  4 flames  

Length: 113 800 words/352 pages

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Blurb

London, 1680. For the young Charles Rochester, Marquess of Bolton and heir to the Duke of Norfolk, desiring another man is unacceptable. His fierce attraction to the new scullery boy must be suffocated at all cost. But it’s not easy to silence your heart when the people who should understand you end up betraying you, and the only one loyal seems to be the one you’re desperately trying to avoid.

But Dorian Pratt knows he’s hopelessly lost the second he first lays eyes on his new master. As a lowly servant, he understands he can never have him, but he can’t stop his body—and heart—from reacting to the dark, handsome nobleman.

When dangerous secrets hidden within the walls of Norfolk Manor come to light, everything collapses. Charles has only one hope for hanging onto Dorian, but to make it work he must be prepared to sacrifice the most valuable gift God has bestowed upon him: his very humanity.

Sins will not be forgiven and there’s always a price to pay when blood is spilled.

Warning:  Due to some raw content of a violent nature which some may find upsetting, as well as the depiction of graphic sex between men, Rise of a Nobleman is recommended only for consenting adults.

 

Excerpt

“If there’s some problem, well, I can—”

“You’re the problem,” he interrupted, looking into those eyes as pure as spring water. Suddenly he found himself unable to hold back. The truth crashed through the barriers Charles had tried to reinforce, taking shape word by word. He spoke with a broken, ravaged voice, his heart on his sleeve for once. “Your presence makes me nervous. You turn me into something I’m not. If you only knew the way I think about you, you’d take off running and never stop instead of hovering around me, robbing me of peace.”

He pulled away from the table, reducing the already minimal distance between them, but the servant stumbled backed in alarm.

“My Lord…”

“May I touch you?”

Stunned, Dorian stared at him. He kept backing up until he bumped into an antique oakwood highboy. He barely suppressed an expletive, but Charles caught the unpronounced word on his lips—lips the boy was biting in an effort to hold back.

God, Charles wanted to bite those lips so badly.

“Say yes. Let me touch you,” he continued, taking advantage of the moment to approach the scullery boy. His enormous limpid eyes filled with panic, but the temptation flickering in them was stronger, making them fluid, honest. Brimming with desire.

A nod of agreement, lips parting as he released a sigh, and there was what Charles had been wanting—his complete surrender. Do what you want.

And he did.

He plunged his fingers into the boy’s thick hair. He took hold of it, running his fingers through it, then grabbed as much as he could in both hands and began slowly pulling to make Dorian look up at him.

He studied everything there was to see: his long lashes, the delicate curve of his nose, his irises behind half-closed lids that couldn’t help but look straight back at him. And those lips that were seemingly designed to drive him mad.

His fingers longed to touch them, but the courage wasn’t there. Instead, he started gradually, from a safe distance—he began stroking his forehead, slowly making his way down, tracing the curve of his cheek until he got to his jaw. He still didn’t have the audacity to actually touch those lips, but he sure as hell looked! His eyes were glued to that half-opened mouth, pink and impertinent, and that tongue hiding behind a row of even teeth.

“My Lord…”

“Quiet,” he mumbled, stomach in knots. “Don’t talk or you’ll spoil everything.”  

Mercifully he shut up. He stood there helpless in Charles’s hands as the marquess finally did what he’d been wanting to do ever since that unbearable longing had first reared its ugly head—he brushed his thumb against the boy’s lower lip, then the upper one.

Saliva moistened his fingertip and Charles wiped the excess away on the servant’s skin. But that was only the beginning. His index finger, so close to the target, slipped in between his parted teeth, sliding over his moist tongue, ending up in the torrid embrace of a scorching breath.

And still that wasn’t enough.

His middle and ring fingers slid into Dorian’s mouth. Charles pushed them as deep as he could, imagining he was plunging something entirely different in there.

Dorian accepted his fingers without resistance. Stress and the pain of his hair being pulled were evident on his face, but his eyes… Oh, heaven have mercy—the boy’s eyes were misty with a savage desire, like those of a starving man. Like a man willing and able to do anything.

“If you want me to kiss you, close your eyes,” Charles whispered, choking on the words.

 

 

About the Author

Valentina C. Brin is a self-published Italian author who lives in Padua with her partner and their four pudgy cats. She enjoys writing both MM and MF books, especially angsty ones. Powerful, dark, sexy stories are sort of her thing, and her psychology degree comes in handy for crafting twisted characters that never fail to surprise her many readers. Rise of a Nobleman is her debut novel and the first in her dark historical MM series.

 

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New Release – The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman Trilogy by Zakarrie Clarke #freeread #giveaway

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Book Title: The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman Trilogy

Author: Zakarrie Clarke

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: May 6, 2019

Genre/sHistorical M/M Romance (Regency), Comedy/Humour

Trope/s: Forbidden Love, Highwayman/Duke

ThemesDuty, Expectations of Society, Redemption Tale

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: approx. 100,000 words

It is a standalone story

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Blurb

‘The Most High, Noble and Potent Prince, His Grace Padraic, Duke of Waterford.’

After enduring the Ducal Grand Entrance, one might be forgiven for thinking that an evening could only improve. One would be wrong. Padraic was then duty bound to find an amiable miss to romance and dance attendance upon. In truth, the Duke was rather more partial to establishments that promised charms he would ne’er find in the arms of a Lady. Such dalliances did add a dash of decadence to his life of ducal drudgery, but time was tick-tocking and a blue-stocking bride must be wooed, and wed…

Raff of the Rookeries. The most afeared rake-hell to have haunted the highways since Darkin denied them the pleasure at the gallows…by stepping off the ladder before they could whip it from under his feet. Raff had fought his way up to rule the roost with instincts as razor-sharp as his dirk. His sword skills, fists, and wily wits had stood him in good stead, but none had proved as invaluable as the weapon he’d ne’er needed to tend. His fury. A rage every bit as lethal as arsenic—deadlier than brawn, brains, or bravado—Raphael had carried it like a toxic plague. Until, he became Raff of the Rookeries. Unleashed upon the underworld, it was the most formidable foe in London. Two men from two different worlds…a mere few miles apart. That is, until the fateful night when The Duke was halted in his tracks by a very Dandy Highwayman…

 

 

Excerpt

Mayhaps twenty minutes later, the air turned decidedly rank; a stench that came accompanied by random street sounds and the odd drunken shout. They were, beyond any shadow o’doubt, heading for some godforsaken part of town. A logical assumption, further embellished by the aroma of decaying cabbage and other, far less salubrious odors.

If the Devil himself intended to demoralize the poor, he could not find a means more agreeable to his plans, than the London slums.

“Nearly there, Yer Grace,” The scoundrel called over his shoulder as they slowed to a trot.

“Where is ‘there’?” Padraic dared to wonder.

“My humble abode. It’s where you’ll be staying awhile; leastways until someone coughs up for yer safe return.” The highwayman’s voice sounded harsher, colder while imparting this, as if his words were poisoned by the rancid air as they fell from his lips.

“Whereabouts are we?” Padraic asked, curious as to whether his rogue would answer.

“The Strand.”

It was as he’d expected. They were in the warren of narrow, filthy streets and alleyways in the densely populated slums. Home to one of London’s most notorious Rookeries. An utterly lawless labyrinth of squalid living, gin dens, bawdy houses, and brothels. Popular legend told of a traveller who had entered Portugal Street on his way to The Strand and never emerged. His ghost was, apparently, still searching for a way back to civilization. Padraic would just have to hope to fare rather better than he.

The Duke had e’er been horrified that people were forced to live this way, right under the refined noses of the ton. Poles apart, but virtually overlapping in proximity. Padraic had poured thousands into funding an orphanage and school for foundlings, when he came into his inheritance. He visited them oft, choosing the staff himself to ensure that no child was ill-treated, but there was only so much he could do. With all the will in the world, there wasn’t a great deal to be done, as long as those in power turned a blind eye to the suffering of others.

“Whoa…” When Demon clattered to a halt on the cobblestones, the Duke reluctantly relinquished his grip about his captor’s person. The scoundrel shifted in the saddle and with one sharp tug, the kerchief was gone, alongside a fair few strands of hair that were tangled into its knot. The Duke scarce felt the sting as his hungry gaze guzzled the sight it had been denied for the duration of the ride. ’Twas with a devilish wink that the highwayman threw a leg over the horse’s head, before lightly dismounting.

“Billy, m’lad!” He hailed a youth seated on the front steps of a large dilapidated townhouse, holding a lantern aloft. An endearing grin lit up his grimy face as he sprang to his feet.

“Yer all right, Raff?” he chirped, in very genuine cockney tones.

“Too right I am. We ’ave ourselves a guest m’friend. Yer Grace, this is Billy—he ain’t got another name—so I can’t tell yer that. Billy, this ’ere is His Grace, The Duke of Waterford, so yer better mind your p’s ’n’ q’s, like I taught yer.”

“Hello Billy, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Padriac greeted him.

“Lawks! I can’t fink why, Yer…Grace?” Billy glanced at the man he’d called Raff, seeking reassurance for his form of address, and received an approving nod.

“I can’t think why ’twould not be.” Padraic smiled. Billy looked puzzled for a moment—as if trying to make sense of something he’d patently understood—then just beamed instead and reached for Demon’s halter.

“See that he’s rubbed down and well-fed, won’t you, Billy? I need to get our guest settled in.”

“Righto. C’mon Demon, let’s be ’avin yer, there’s oats awaiting and some fresh hay.”

“After you, Yer Grace…” The rascal sketched a bow, waving his hand with a flourish as he bent extravagantly low, before straightening up to push open the front door. It was painted black; blistered, peeling and desperately in need of a fresh coat. A large, dimly lit hallway lay beyond it, with a wide staircase ascending on the left.

“Raff! I’d almost given up ’ope on ya. Thought you’d gone a-whoring,” announced a stocky, bow-legged man, with close-cropped hair and forearms like lamb shanks. His broad grin revealed several missing teeth, the remaining ones having seen better days. Several decades ago.

Despite having tugged his kerchief down when they entered, Padraic was still unable to drink his fill of Raff’s face, for much of it was cast into shadow and the rest, obscured by a tangled fall of hair.

“Not tonight Bluff, I was off procuring us a guest,” he smirked.

“Crikey, you’ve nabbed a right nob. Who the ’ell is he?”

“This ’ere’s The Duke of Waterford.” Raff declared, inclining his head with divine insolence.

“Lawks! A Duke? Couldn’t yer find a Prince ’anging about then?” Bluff gaped.

“’Fraid not, we’ll just ’ave to slum it…” Raff tutted, with a fulsome sigh.

“I hope yer don’t expect me t’curtsy. I ain’t got the legs for it.”

“You ain’t got the legs for owt except sitting on ’orseback,” Raff retorted, about a breath before his tone darkened to a deadly rasp. “Bluff. See to it that no one. But no one. Lays a finger on him.” He added nary a dire threat, nor had he raised his voice. Raff had, in fact, lowered it to a lethal lash of sound that sliced the air like a whip—but it was the glint of green he levelled at Bluff that made the man swallow visibly while nodding several times.

“Will do, Raff. He’ll fetch a pretty price, won’t he?”

“Too bloody right, he will. I’ll have to keep him up top with me—Duke he might be—but he ain’t above being too ripe and ready by ’alf.”

“A dark ’orse is he? I ain’t at all surprised, now you mention it. Beggin’ yer pardon, Yer Dukeness. Right, I’ll just wait for Billy an’ lock up then.”

“Thanks, Bluff. ’Night.”

“’Night Raff…’night yer Dukeness.” Bluff doffed an imaginary cap at Padraic, who inclined his head with ducal gravity, so as not to disappoint him. The amiable miscreant was chuckling away to himself as he took his leave of them, before disappearing through a door further down the hallway.

“Right then, Yer Grace, up yer go. Right to the top,” Raff instructed, gesturing towards the staircase with a regal sweep of his hand.

“Are you locking me in the attic?” Padraic asked, as he clasped the bannister.

“I am, indeed. Yer can’t get up to any mischief up there.”

The Duke thought it might be wise to hold his tongue and make his way upstairs, afore the scoundrel decided to shove him in the coal cellar instead. Padraic’s brain was abuzz with demon steeds, daft monikers, and bandy-legged blackguards. A boy with only one name and a heart of gold.

 

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 resurfaced 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 loves writing them.

 

 

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New Release – Strokes on a Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster

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Book Title: Strokes on a Canvas

Author: H. Lewis-Foster

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Cherith Vaughan

Genre/s: Historical M/M Romance

Heat Rating:  3-4 flames

Trope/s: Friends to lovers

Themes: Overcoming the past

Length: 29,060 words/114 pages

It is a standalone book.

 

Love and art escaping the past in 1920s London

Blurb

London, 1924. Evan Calver is enjoying a quiet pint, when he notices a man smiling at him across the bar. While the Rose and Crown isn’t that kind of pub, Evan thinks his luck might be in, and he narrowly escapes humiliation when he realises the man is smiling at a friend. Eavesdropping on their conversation, Evan discovers the man is named Milo Halstead and served as an army captain during the war.

When they meet again by chance in the British Museum, artist Milo asks Evan if he would sit for a portrait. Evan is amazed that an upper-class artist wants to paint the son of a miner, and he’s just as surprised when their acquaintance blossoms into friendship. When he discovers that Milo is a man like himself, he hopes that friendship might become more. But as Evan and Milo grow ever closer, can they escape the fears of the past to find their future happiness?

 

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Excerpt

On the opposite side of the cabinet, a man was gazing intently at the Athenian amphora. Evan doubted he was having the same thoughts as himself as he scrutinized the naked athletes, but he seemed transfixed by its sporting design. The dark-haired man was wearing a brown pinstripe suit, the kind seen in newspaper photographs of famous actors and royalty, which Evan could never hope to afford. The stranger looked born to wear his stylish attire, his confident posture showing the suit’s fine cut to full advantage. Then he raised his eyes, and Evan saw the man was not a total stranger. His hair was smooth with Brilliantine, and he wasn’t wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, but he was unmistakably Captain Milo Halstead.

Evan was about to make a hasty exit when he realized the former soldier was smiling at him through the glass. He may have looked smarter than he had last night, but his smile was still as warm and kind as a Nightingale Nurse’s. Evan didn’t imagine the captain remembered him, but he smiled back, thinking it would be impolite not to, then turned to walk away. To his surprise, Evan’s action was mirrored on the other side of the cabinet as Captain Halstead moved in the same direction. He was still looking at Evan, still smiling, and as they both reached the end of the cabinet, Evan wondered what would happen next. Would words be exchanged? And what would those words be? If Milo remembered him from last night and he wasn’t the genial man he seemed, they might hint at blackmail or violence.

Evan was tempted to put his head down and make a run for it, but he didn’t want to attract the attention of the museum guards. He took a breath and stepped forward, only to find Milo standing in his way.

“Excuse me. Could I get past?”

“Of course, but…” Milo’s smile was uncertain now, but he didn’t move from Evan’s path. “It was you I saw in the Rose and Crown last night, wasn’t it?”

Evan lowered his eyes and weighed up his options. He could admit he was at the pub and ask to know what business of Milo’s it was. Or he could deny being anywhere near the place, or even knowing of its existence. The latter seemed the most sensible choice, avoiding all confrontation, but when he looked up and saw Milo’s blue eyes sparkling cheerfully back at him, Evan was overwhelmed by a longing to spend a few seconds more in his company.

With no idea of Milo’s intentions, Evan answered, “That’s right. I saw you there too.”

 

About the Author

H. has worked with books for a number of years, and is delighted to finally find herself on the author’s side of the bookshelf. She enjoys writing historical romances, and contemporary stories too, and while her characters travel all over the world, they always have a touch of British humour.

H. has lived in various parts of the UK and currently lives in the north of England, where she’s enjoying city life as much as the beautiful countryside. In her spare time, H. loves going to the cinema and theatre, and her very eclectic tastes range from quirky comedy to ballet and Shakespeare, and pretty much everything in between.

 

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Book Blast – Pain and Promise by Lazlo Thorn

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Pain and Promise

Author: Lazlo Thorn

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist: Melody Pond

Genre/s: Gay Romance / Erotica / Historical

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 73 000 words/230 pages

It is a standalone book

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Blurb

June, 1981: The small town of Frentana on the Adriatic coast of Italy was the last place Bobby would have suspected that his titanic struggle with being gay would come to a head. But then he hadn’t reckoned on the town’s evil secret weapon – Dario, a Michaelangelo man with a missionary zeal for sex with men and the tightest trousers that Bobby had ever set eyes on. But then Bobby wasn’t the first Englishman in that bright land where the olive trees grew, to be dazzled and beguiled by a local boy. For there was another love story that had yet to be told. A hidden affair separated from Bobby and Dario by almost forty years. An inspiring tale of a great war time romance between two very special young men and one with which Bobby would become strangely linked.

 

Excerpt

August, 1969

Florence, Italy

As the short, strong stranger drew level with Bobby, this young man, still engaged in deep conversation with his friends, nonchalantly reached down and pulled at the front of his trousers, as if scratching an itch in his groin. For a split-second, time seemed to freeze, and Bobby became lost in a moment of furtive fascination as this Florentine beauty continued touching and prodding himself between his legs. Then, in complete disregard for the very public place in which they stood, he suggestively adjusted the contents of his trousers, in much the same way a shopper in a supermarket might casually rummage in a heavy bag of vegetables.

The encounter lasted only a few seconds, and then the young blood and his equally attractive gang of friends were gone, leaving Bobby strangely crushed at the thought that this beautiful creature hadn’t even noticed he was there. The clock on the tower above his head struck eight, and time started up again. When Bobby glanced back at his family, his father was pointing enthusiastically toward the corner of the square where, having finally spotted their destination, they went on to spend a very enjoyable evening at the restaurant, and he thought no more about it.

Bobby found coming home to England after such a great holiday in Italy quite depressing, particularly when he realised that school would resume the following week. So once again, he turned his attention to more mundane matters like his unfinished holiday homework, and all too quickly, the glittering streets of Italy seemed just a distant memory.

Until that day when he made his bitter discovery.

It was early evening, not long after returning home. Alone in his bedroom, he gazed out of the window at their back garden. The red summer roses were dying back, and the rain was drizzling down. Why the memory came to him then, he wasn’t sure. Perhaps he heard the clock in the hallway downstairs chime eight. But come it did and, for whatever reason, he suddenly remembered the attractive young men in the street outside the restaurant in Florence. In particular, the one with the very tight trousers and the bulging fly. The one who couldn’t have been less like a girl. And then the penny dropped. He had been admiring a man, and, he suddenly realised, it hadn’t been the first time. These days, he was often looking at men that way and in particular at the contents of their trousers. Furthermore, when he thought about it, he always had. The picture by his bed, the rugby players in the park and the rough cowboys on television, and, yes, he was marvelling at men because he liked the look of them and the way they made him feel when he captured them in his sights. He wanted them. He had gazed at those men in the street back in Italy the way other boys at school or indeed his brother Charlie talked about looking at girls. So, there in the bedroom that evening at the end of the summer, staring into the back garden through the window, Bobby finally made the connection. A moment forever fixed in time. There was a name for this. He was a homosexual.

About the Author

Lazlo Thorn published his first novel (The Signal Box) in 2018. In his work he explores themes about life, death, love and sexuality, set against the social mores and prevailing attitudes to gay sex at different times and in different places. Pain and Promise is his second novel and takes the reader to a small town on the Adriatic coast of Italy where two love stories, separated by almost forty years, become linked in an unexpected way. The author has lived and worked in various countries and travelled widely in Europe and beyond. Today, he lives in England with his husband, in a quiet seaside town on the south coast.

 

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Review Tour – 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.

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Blurb

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 – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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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.

 

 

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Book Blast – The Signal Box by Lazlo Thorn

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Signal Box

Author: Lazlo Thorn

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist: Lex Valentine

Genre/s: Gay Romance / Erotica with some BDSM themes

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length:  34,000 words / 75  pages

Release Date: April 5, 2018

It is a standalone book.

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“When you tie me like that, when I’m sure I can’t get free,

well it’s like everything becomes still.

I’m still. Everything is calm.”

Blurb

Autumn, 1913. Wiltshire, England. Davy Buckland, a boiler cleaner in the engine shed at the local railway station, was nineteen when he took a shine to the signalman at nearby Oakwood Junction. He didn’t know much about Nathaniel, but he recognised a man who could show him the ropes and how the isolated signal box in the Edwardian countryside where he worked, could provide the perfect hideaway for their clandestine games. By the time the Great War had started and these two ordinary men had become lovers, it wasn’t only the trains that were greased up and running on a good head of steam. But just how long could they keep this affair a secret? And what would the consequences be, if their unusual sexual liaison was ever discovered?

Buy Links

MLR Books

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

B&N 

Excerpt

He bounded up the steps enthusiastically and entered the signal box still dressed in the dirty overalls he’d worn while working on the engine that morning. By contrast Nathaniel Bixby, the signalman, looked clean and very smart in his dark black railway uniform, white shirt and company cap with the copper SWR badge. He was a tall, clean shaven man with hair the colour of a rusty firebox, handsome in an ordinary way. His uniform suggested broad shoulders and enhanced his capable bearing. His military background made him used to wearing a uniform well and his only concession to civilian life was a loosened tie. As Davy entered, he stood proudly by the rack of eight tall metal levers, some red, some yellow and some black, each the height of his chest, that dominated the area in front of the big window. He had a dirty rag draped over his shoulder. He looked at Davy then checked the time using the big pocket watch he kept in his waistcoat.

“You’re early,” he said.

“Sorry, Mr Bixby. I thought I’d come straight here,” Davy replied.

“So I can see,” Nathaniel said, studying the dirt all over Davy’s face and overalls. “Throw a log on the fire. The pot’s hot. Make yourself a cup of tea. Let me get the thirteen-twenty out of the way and then we’ll get started.”

Nathaniel dutifully returned to his job and using the old rag to improve his grip began pulling some of the levers to switch the points and set the signals, taking particular care to set the stop signal on the branch line to ensure a clear passage for the impending express that would shortly reach the junction.

Davy opened the small, black stove in the corner of the signal box, poked the embers and put another log in it from the nearby basket. Then he brewed a cup of tea in a stained tin mug. He observed as the older man deftly made light work of the heavy-duty engineering in his office. A couple of bells rang a rhythmic beat in code with a message from a neighbouring signal box along the line. Nathaniel responded in kind. With the rack set, he waited, leaning casually on one of the levers while looking up the line for signs of the express. Then right on cue and with a piercing whistle the train he had been preparing for came thundering round the bend, past the box and into the cutting. The windows rattled and the surrounding trees vanished in volcanic clouds of steam as the fire-breathing monster made off into the distance and once again the little clearing in the woods was quiet. Nathaniel returned the levers to their original settings and, as was his custom, hung the old rag over the one on the end. He turned to Davy.

“It’ll be quiet now for a bit,” he said with a grin.

Nathaniel took off his waistcoat and company cap, put them on a nearby chair next to the desk in the corner of the room and locked the door. Next, he rolled up his sleeves revealing the strong, hairy forearms that gave him the strength to make such light work of the heavy, clunky levers in the box.

Davy gulped down the rest of his tea while Nathaniel retrieved an old canvas rucksack from under the desk. He unfastened the bag and took out a short length of rope. Davy lay face down on the hard, wooden floor and—in a by now well-rehearsed routine—placed his hands behind his back where Nathaniel bound them. First his wrists and then his ankles. Then more rope, longer this time, firmly around his upper body and shoulders and finally that cruel ligature that drew his ankles right up to his wrists rendering Davy immobile and blissfully helpless. Davy watched as Nathaniel stood up and studied his handiwork for a moment. Then he replaced his waistcoat and cap before he silently returned to his post at the lever rack.

Lying motionless on the floor, Davy could feel the rough floorboard against his cheek. He glanced over to where Nathaniel was standing with his back to him, watching out of the window and vigilantly minding his station. From this angle, Davy could see the scratches in the heels of his well-worn black leather boots and the backs of his tall, strong legs. After a moment, Davy tested the ropes, but as usual Nathaniel had been very thorough, careful to put the knots out of the reach of his nimble fingers and to place the coils around his body where the contours of his own muscles blocked any prospect of easy slippage. He rolled. Now, he was facing the back of the box. Once again, he tried flexing his arms and legs, pushing against the ropes but if anything, the struggling only seemed to make everything feel even tighter, even more of a tangle. So, he wrestled with the restraints some more, relishing the sensation. He knew from experience that being tied up like this it would take him hours to get free. He was a prisoner, just the way he liked it.

About the Author 

Lazlo Thorn published his first novel (The Signal Box) in 2018. In his work he explores themes about life, death, love and sexuality, set against the social mores and prevailing attitudes to gay sex at different times and in different places.

His forthcoming novel (Pain and Promise), due for release shortly, takes the reader to a small town on the Adriatic coast of Italy where two love stories, separated by almost forty years, become linked in an unexpected way.

He has nursed an ambition to be a writer for a number of years, but has only recently been able to make sufficient space in his life to begin committing some of his ideas to paper. The author has lived and worked in various countries and travelled widely in Europe and beyond.

Today, he lives in England with his husband, in a quiet seaside town on the south coast.

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