A Right To Know by Jude Tresswell #kindleunlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: A Right To Know

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: August 2021

Genres: M/M crime/mystery and relationships

Tropes: Love conquers all; unexpected visitor; false identity

Themes: Fear of rejection; data protection v. the right to know; compromise. 

Trigger Warning: parental suicide

Heat Rating:  2 flames

Length:  57 300 words

It is book 7 in the County Durham Quad series, but can be read as a standalone story. Background information is worked in to help readers with the protagonists’ history. 

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

“A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?”

Blurb

“A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?”

Abandonment, trust, suspicion and compromise—integral parts of a mystery that involves industrial espionage, sperm donation and coming to terms with oneself and the truth.

Sperm donors know that now, under UK law, offspring who reach eighteen have the right to learn a donor’s identity and last known address, but Phil Roberts donated before the law was changed. He is shocked and dismayed to learn that he has a son called Lewis who intends to visit. Phil’s husband, Raith, is furious—and very scared. 

What does Lewis Lennon really want? The man he has always called ‘dad’ is dead. Was his death suicide or was he murdered? Lewis wants Phil to find out. So, Phil, Raith, Mike and Ross, the County Durham Quad, plus their special friend, Nick, are embroiled in another investigation, but, as always, their relationships come under scrutiny too.

Excerpt 

Phil sat at the big kitchen table. His beard, neatly trimmed as always, failed to hide the lack of colour in his face. He looked shocked. He was holding a letter. 

   “You alright, Phil?” Mike was puzzled and concerned. “Bad news?”

   “Not ‘bad’ exactly. Unexpected. Very.” He sighed. “I’ve an eighteen-year-old son. Sperm donation.” 

   Raith, Phil’s husband, dropped the glass of juice he was drinking. It rolled off the table and smashed as it hit the floor.

   “A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?” Raith snatched the letter from Phil’s hands. “I can’t read this fucking stuff; it’s in joined-up. Why didn’t he type it?”

   “He probably felt that this was more personal,” Mike suggested, retrieving the letter from the floor where Raith had slung it in disgust and shaking it free of orange juice.

   “It’s fucking personal alright. You always said they couldn’t identify you, Phil. What the fuck’s gone wrong?”

   “It looks as though we might find out,” said Ross, the fourth member of the quad. He was reading the letter over Mike’s shoulder. “He intends to visit. I think we need to talk.” 

***

   Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who shared a home in Tunhead, a tiny hamlet in the Durham hills. Tunhead derived its name from Tun Beck, a little stream that flowed into the larger River Wear. Tun Beck lent its name to BOTWAC too—the Beck on the Wear Arts Centre. Ross managed BOTWAC, Raith provided paintings and ceramics and Mike carried out the maintenance. Phil was the only one whose work was separate. He was a surgeon at Warbridge Hospital, an hour’s drive away and, in a sense, his medical background was the cause of the morning’s shock announcement. The four of them talked about the news that evening.

   “You knew I’d donated sperm, Raith.” Phil had always made it clear that when he was a medical student, like many others on his course, he had donated both for research and for procreation. 

   “I know that, but you’d always done it anonymously. You said so, and you never did it after they changed the law.”

   Raith was referring to a change that occurred in 2005 regarding data held at UK fertility clinics. At licenced clinics, that is. Prior to the change, offspring conceived by sperm or egg donation could learn some information about their donor when they reached sixteen, but what was released was very general. If donors wished to remain anonymous, they could do so. From 2005, though, anonymity was lifted. Sixteen was still the age of release of the ‘non-identifiable information’, but at eighteen, offspring conceived by donation had the right to be told their donor’s name and date of birth and, also, their donor’s last known address. 

   “I didn’t donate after two thousand and five. I think I’d know if I did.”

   “Sperm can be frozen though, can’t it, Phil? Perhaps it was used after the change was implemented.”

   “Only for another year or so, Ross, and under the old anonymity rules. There was a transitional period but, after that, sperm could only be used in exceptional circumstances. To create a sibling, for example. I remember being contacted about it. I had the option of… going public, if you like, but I chose not to do so. I didn’t want…I didn’t want a child, well, not one that I’d feel some responsibility for. I suppose, if I’m honest, I did want to pass on my genes, have that sense of immortality—I knew it was unlikely that I’d ever father a child with a woman. I just wanted to… be helpful, I suppose. I gave a brief self-description at the time, but the details would apply to thousands of people: eyes, hair, height, weight, ethnicity. Even if you narrowed the count with ‘student medic’ and my year of birth, you’d still be talking hundreds. I was careful not to leave traces.”

   “How thoughtful of you!”

   “That’s not helpful, Raith.”

   Ross chastised gently but, tonight, too harshly for Raith.

   “Helpful! It’s not help Phil needs—it’s a fucking vasectomy, but he’s eighteen years too late. I’m going up.” 

   No hugs, no kisses—the little goodnight habits that told the men that they were loved and cared for and cared about. Just “I’m going up” and heavy footsteps on the stairs.

About the Author 

Jude Tresswell lives in south-east England but was born and raised in the north, and that’s where her heart is. She is ace, and has been married to the same man for many years. She feels that she understands compromise. She supports Liverpool FC, listens to a lot of blues music and loves to write dialogue.

Author Links 

Blog/Website  |   YouTube 

Giveaway 

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Book Blast – Fast, Free and Flying by Jude Tresswell #KindleUnlimited

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Fast, Free and Flying (County Durham Quad, #6)

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self-published (KDP)

Release Date: December 9, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary gay mystery

Trope/s: Ace/non-ace relationships

Themes:  Compromise; guilt; revenge

Heat Rating:  1 flame

Length: 63 000 words

The mystery story stands alone. Helpful, but not essential, to have read a previous title due to character development.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

Suspects of one crime. Victims of another.

Blurb

Drones lie at the heart of this mystery facing Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who live in North-East England.

A spate of art-related burglaries and a series of horrific kidnaps have occurred. The freedom of the quad, and that of Nick, their special friend, is threatened by involvement in both cases. They are suspected of one and Mike is a victim of the other. The officer in charge is the quad’s old enemy, the homophobic Chief Inspector Fortune. Should the quad set aside their distrust and tell him what they know?

Meanwhile, Nick has issues of his own to consider. Compromises are needed, but how many? 

This is the sixth tale in the County Durham Quad series. Background is included to aid new readers.

Excerpt

From Chapter 1

(The whole chapter, read by the author with aerial footage of the setting, is available on YouTube. Link below) 

A new sound had been added to the rustic ones that normally formed the backdrop to life in the Durham hills. Instead of the bleating of sheep, there was a whirring—and it came from the sky. The quad’s new video channel was up and running, and Raith, plus drone, was filming everything and everyone. He was, as he liked to put it, “Doing the rounds.”

   “Doin’ my head in,” was how it seemed to Mike and, right then, there was a danger of that actually happening. Mike was responsible for nearly all the quad’s maintenance work. He was sitting astride a rooftop, replacing the flashing on one of Tunhead’s chimneys. Tunhead was the little hamlet where the quad lived. It was the seat of BOTWAC, the Beck On The Wear Arts Centre, and the video channel was designed, in part, to promote the artisans’ wares.

   “Watch what you’re doin’ with that bloody thing!” Mike yelled from his perch.

   “It’s alright, Mike. I’m in full control,” Raith yelled back.

   “Not from where I am, you’re not! I thought you weren’t supposed to fly it over buildin’s!”

   Raith made the drone whizz round in a circle and shouted, “Well Tunhead doesn’t really count as buildings, does it? I mean, twelve tiny houses, my studio and a disused church. It’s hardly buildings.”

   “It felt like buildin’s when Ross and I were refurbishin’ it all, and it felt like buildin’s three years ago when I knocked the walls through to next door just to give you leg room.”

   “That’s building, Mike, not buildings.”

   Sometimes, there was no answer to Raith’s logic. Mike swore softly, sighed and decided to wait until tea-time, when all the men would be home together. They’d discuss Raith and his drone then. First things first. He continued repairing the chimney.

***

   In Tees, Tyne and Wear Constabulary’s new Tyneside police station, another drone-related conversation had caused heated words that day. The woman making a complaint was angry.

   “Look,” she said to the officer on the front counter, “this is the third time it’s happened in a fortnight. I ignored the first invasion of my privacy. The second time the blesséd thing was hovering overhead, I telephoned. I was told that someone would contact me. Nobody’s done so, and this morning it happened again. I want something doing. I feel I can’t go into my own garden and I’m bothered that whoever’s doing this is spying on me and my children. It’s horrible and it shouldn’t be allowed.”

   The woman had good reason to feel harassed. She lived in what had once been the lodge of a large country estate. That is, she occupied the house that lay at one end of a long, tree-lined drive. The drive led, through parkland with trees and an ornamental lake, to a substantial eighteenth century property. On three occasions recently, the peace of the surroundings had been broken by the whirring of a drone. More importantly, she felt intimidated by the drone’s presence. As she said, she felt she was being spied on. Surely that was a crime?

   It was, the official told her. At least two different offences connected with drone misuse might be invoked on the woman’s behalf, but, in a case like hers, invoking them was problematic. Even if an incident should happen again and a patrol car could reach her while the drone was still visible and airborne, there was little that officers could do. Firstly, they would need to locate and identify the flyer. If they felt that a harassment offence had been committed, they could instruct the flyer to land the drone. However, there was no power of seizure and, indeed, no power to even view the footage unless there was suspected terrorist activity—unlikely in this case. The woman had to be content with an apology and a promise that an officer would definitely come and visit her. In fact, a detective called a few days later, but not specifically because of her case. By then, the big country house had been burgled, and thousands of pounds of silver, porcelain and artwork had been stolen.

About the Author 

Jude Tresswell lives in south-east England but was born and raised in the north, and that’s where her heart is. She is ace, and has been married to the same man for many years. She feels that she understands compromise. She supports Liverpool FC, listens to a lot of blues music and loves to write dialogue.

Blog/Website

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

New Release – A Share In A Secret by Jude Tresswell #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: A Share in a Secret

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self-published on Amazon KDP

Release Date: April 18, 2020

Genre/s: LGBTQ crime and mystery

Trope/s: Sexual/asexual relationship; gay polyamorous relationship

Themes:  Compromise, trust, honesty

Heat Rating: 2 flames   

Length: 63 000 words/ 227 pages 

It can be read as a standalone, although it is Book 5 of the County Durham Quad series.

Background information is included for new readers.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

 

Sooner or later, secrets will out…

Blurb

Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil are a gay, polyamorous quad who live in County Durham, North-East England. Mike’s nephews visit, and launch the quad into a tale involving inclusivity and investment scams, false arrest, and a desperate attempt to keep a dangerous secret hidden.

Meanwhile, Nick Seabrooke is now living and working in the village. Can the quad navigate the complexities of a sexual-asexual relationship? They would risk their safety for each other. Are they willing to do so for Nick?

This is the fifth County Durham Quad story. As always, background information is included for new readers.

 

Excerpt 

Here is the start of the story. It’s a typical exchange between the four men…

Late afternoon in ‘Cromarty’, a normally quiet home in Tunhead, County Durham. Phil and Mike were seated in the living room. Phil stopped typing the article he was preparing for a medical journal and looked in the direction of the kitchen. Mike stopped skyping his brother, looked up too and, not really expecting an answer, asked, “What the fuck’s he up to now?”

   The ‘he’ was Raith, Phil’s husband. Raith was a successful artist and ceramicist, but he sounded like someone intent on demolition not on creation.

   “I thought all our kitchen units were the easy-glide, silently-closing variety,” Phil commented as another cupboard drawer slammed shut.

   “They are, but the manufacturers hadn’t met Raith, had they? Nuthin’s Raith-proof, is it?”

   The banging stopped and voices took their place. Ross, Mike’s civil partner, had come into the kitchen from the garden. He walked through to the living room and met Mike’s and Phil’s enquiring eyes.

   “He’s made a chart. He was looking for something to stick it up with,” Ross explained.

   “Stick it up? It sounded like he was hammerin’ it up,” said Mike. 

   “A chart?”

   “Yes. He’s fixing it on the wall now. It’ll either amuse you or horrify you. I’m not sure which. Possibly both. He wants us to discuss it before Nick comes round for his tea.”

   “I thought we were involving Nick in all our discussions,” Phil remarked.

   “Yes, but not this one. You’ll see why in a minute. Come on.”

   Mike, Ross, Raith, Phil—and Nick. By their own definitions the first four men were four sorts of poly. Polydomestic: they shared the household duties. Polypecuniary: they shared their incomes too. Polydemocratic: they had equal say in decisions and tossed a coin if the vote was evenly split. And fourthly, they were polyamorous: they loved each other deeply, although Ross only had sex with Mike. Nick was Tunhead’s most recent inhabitant. He shared most of his meals and much of his spare time with the quad, but although he now lived in the village, he didn’t live in Cromarty. There were reasons for the need for a little separation. Hence Raith’s chart. Nick might be romantically and emotionally attracted to men or, rather, to one man—Mike—but he wasn’t attracted to anybody sexually. In fact, he was revolted by the thought of an intimately physical relationship.

   Ross stood aside and ceremoniously waved Mike and Phil through to the kitchen. In place of the whiteboard that, ten minutes earlier, had indicated the week’s household duties list, there was a large sheet of cartridge paper divided into two vertical columns. The left hand column comprised extremely realistic drawings. The other, narrower one was partially filled in. It contained some ticks and some crosses.

   “Are you plannin’ expandin’ into illustratin’ porn?” asked Mike as he studied the drawings.  “That’s you, Phil! Bloody hell. That’s me!” he added, and pointed to a portrayal of two men indulging in frottage.

   “Yes, I’ve already put a cross by that one,” Raith said. “I knew Nick wouldn’t like it.”

   “Looks like you two liked it though,” Ross commented as, curious, he took a close look.

   “So this is… what, exactly? And I’m not talkin’ about the drawin’s themselves. I can see what they are.”  

   “Well,” said Raith, “I thought it would save us a lot of future problems if we sorted out what we were allowed and not allowed to do when Nick’s in our home instead of in his place.”

   “And you figured that a bloody big explicit poster starin’ at him over his tea was the best way to do it?”

 

INSTAGRAM

 

About the Author 

I’m married, I’ve grown-up children, I’m asexual (although a different sort of ace from Nick) and I do enjoy writing stories that aren’t constrained by hetero-norms.

The plots are always stimulated by something on the news – in this instance, the homophobic reaction of some people and groups to the UK government’s decision to introduce lessons on inclusivity into the school curriculum.

I enjoy writing light dialogue as well as dealing with serious issues, though, and I hope that some of the quad’s interchanges will make readers smile. 

I talked about myself and my books on Brad Shreve’s Gay Mystery Podcast (an episode entitled Four Times As Much Mystery) in April, 2020. (Link below) 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Amazon Author Page for all works  |

YouTube link to audio version of the short asexual/ sexual story Scar Ghyll Levels – available on Amazon Kindle.

(Audio version contains 200 photos of scenery)

Four Times As Much Mystery with Jude Tresswell (Ep. 028) on the Gay Mystery Podcast 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

Book Blast – Body Parts and Mind Games by Jude Tresswell #KindleUnlimited

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Body Parts and Mind Games (County Durham Quad Book 4)

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self published

Release Date: November 4, 2019

Genre/s: Crime, LGBTQ

Trope/s: Sexual/asexual relationship; polyamorous relationship

Themes: Navigating ace/non-ace relationship; loyalty

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 60 000 words/ 228 pages

It can be read alone, although it is 4th in the County Durham Quad series. Background information is provided for new readers.

Add on Goodreads

 

A crime to solve, a lover to save, and an ace-happy ending?

Blurb

Organ trafficking, types of attraction and far-right nationalism are ingredients in this tale about Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, a gay polyamorous quad who live in North-East England.

Phil is a surgeon in Warbridge Hospital. A patient’s organs are harvested illegally. Are Phil’s colleagues involved?

Detective Nick Seabrooke returns to Warbridge to ask Phil to aid the investigation. Agreeing endangers the quad in more ways than one. How will Nick, who is asexual, react to meeting the quad again? How will they react to him?

This is the fourth story in the County Durham Quad series. Background information is included for new readers.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

From Chapter 2

“I hoped I’d never see him again.” Words that were being echoed three hundred miles away in London. Nick Seabrooke stood at the window of his flat and stared across rooftops to the dome of St Paul’s. He re-read Phil’s message. It was terse and to the point: Considered what you said. Will do it. Feel free to set a meeting up. Was it the answer he’d wanted? Yes, from one point of view. No, definitely not, from another.

He’d hardly believed what he’d heard the previous Monday. Nick was a detective with the NCA, the agency responsible for criminal investigations that went beyond national borders. Money-laundering involving forgery was his normal remit. He’d met the quad when Raith had been chief suspect in a case and he had been a sergeant. Now he was an inspector. So, he’d answered the chief superintendent’s call, expecting to be briefed about a fraud or a forgery. Instead, he was told about organ trafficking. But although trade in body parts was a crime that cut across borders, it seemed well outside his area of expertise. He’d tried to tell the chief so. Yes, the chief knew that, but whoever had requested Nick’s involvement knew that he had liaised, successfully, with Tees, Tyne and Wear Constabulary the year before and, more importantly, knew that he’d worked closely with a surgeon at the hospital at the centre of the enquiry.

“This doctor, Philip Roberts,” the chief had said, “would he be involved in something like this?”

“I very much doubt it, sir,” Nick had answered promptly. “I think he’d feel that it was beneath his ability and beneath his dignity. He’s totally focused on his own niche. He developed this graphene-based colorectal repair procedure almost single-handedly. He pioneered the research. He carries out most of the ops. I can’t see him whipping out a kidney or cornea when no one’s looking. And he’s conscientious. The ethics would bother him.”

“Money?”

“More than he needs and, I’d say, not particularly materialistic.”

“Then contact him,” he’d been told. “See if he’ll work with you on this. We need a medic inside that hospital. Eyes and ears and a way for you to get in and use yours. You stayed at his house, didn’t you, when you were up there last year?”

“No, sir. I stayed with one of the artisans. In Tunhead though. All the houses are owned by Roberts and the men he lives with. They rent them out to arts and crafts personnel. They call the venture BOTWAC—the Beck on the Wear Arts Centre.”

“BOTWAC?”

“Yes.”

“Interesting sense of humour. Well, see if you can stay there again. It’ll give you some safe opportunities to talk with this doctor without being overheard, and he can teach you all you need to know about proctology.”

Nick knew the meaning of ‘proctology’, but he was focusing on ‘safe’. Safe for whom? The chief misinterpreted his concerned look and his silence, and began to explain proctology.

“Yes, I know, sir,” he said, interrupting, and then he’d been politely dismissed, and tomorrow he’d have to phone Phil. Shit!

So that was what he’d done—phoned Phil, and now he had Phil’s answer.

He closed Messages and, almost reluctantly, opened Gallery. Should he scroll to it—the photo that he’d taken in Raith’s studio that last time he had met the quad? The photo of a portrait of Mike. He hadn’t looked at it for months. …………

………….. Mike had fascinated him, but he realised that he’d rarely even thought of County Durham, or Tunhead—or Mike—for weeks. He was over his crush or whatever it was. So it hadn’t been love. Couldn’t have been love. So, really, he should be able to bin the photo. It shouldn’t be a problem, should it? There was no good reason to keep it, was there? But, although he could resist opening the file, he couldn’t bring himself to press Delete. Couldn’t bring himself to execute that oh-so-final break-with-everything action. So, what did his reluctance, his cowardice, mean? Well, soon he’d have more than a photo in front of him. He’d have flesh and blood. It wouldn’t be so easy to avoid looking at the real thing. He wouldn’t be able to press a key and—abracadabra—delete Mike.

He was probably needlessly worrying. Professional concerns would dominate and there wouldn’t be time to give ex-inspector Michael Angells more than a quick hello and a passing thought. And, being the sensible man that he was, Nick picked up the folder marked Warbridge and re-read the chief’s background information.

 

About the Author

I’m married, I’ve grown-up children, I’m asexual (although a different sort of ace from Nick) and I do enjoy writing stories that aren’t constrained by hetero-norms.

The plots are always stimulated by something on the news – in this instance, reading that, in 2020, organ donation will become the default position where I live and, also, reading that enforced organ harvesting is carried out in some countries. I enjoy writing funny dialogue as well as dealing with serious issues, though, and I hope that some of the quad’s interchanges will make readers smile. And regarding the extract, I didn’t know the meaning of ‘proctology’ when I saw the word in a review of Book 3! (The term ‘colorectal’ is more common in the UK.) I couldn’t resist including a reference to it.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website | Amazon Author Page for all works

YouTube link to audio version of the short asexual/ sexual story Scar Ghyll Levels – available on Amazon Kindle.

(Audio version contains 200 photos of scenery)

https://youtu.be/M6xSuQ9utWg

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Release Blitz – Ace in the Picture by Jude Tresswell

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ace in the Picture

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Rowanvale Books

Cover Artist: Billie Hastie

Genre/s: contemporary M/M/M/M, crime/mystery

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 63 000 words/ 251 pages (paperback format)

It can be read as a standalone, but is also the third book featuring the County Durham quad

Release Date: March 31, 2019

Add on Goodreads  

 

Buy Links   

Rowanvale Books

Amazon US  

Amazon UK

Waterstones (UK) 

Barnes and Noble

 

 An art fraud, a polyamorous suspect, an asexual detective…

Blurb

Polyamory and asexuality meet in this third tale about a north-east England quad.

The police suspect Raith Balan of faking a painting. So do money-launderers who sink profits into art. Mike, Ross and Phil, the three men in Raith’s life, must prove his innocence. They’re hampered by their certainty that a member of the Fraud Squad is corrupt.

The senior investigating officer is Detective Sergeant Nick Seabrooke. He knows he is asexual, but is he aromantic too? As Raith’s lovers struggle to keep Raith safe and find the fraudster, the sergeant struggles to understand why the quad is often in his thoughts.

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Raith stood in the kitchen in front of the calendar. His gaze shifted from the naked figure depicted on ‘October’ to the highlighted ‘Thursday 12th’ and back again. He pressed a fingertip to his lips, transferred a kiss to the mid-point of the figure’s shoulder blades and ran his finger down the spine—Mike Angells’ spine.

The real-life Mike walked into the room and filled the kettle.

“What are you admirin’?” he asked. “The model or the artist?”

Raith was the artist. “The artist,” he replied. “He’s classy. The model’s okay, I suppose.”

“Cheeky!” Mike admonished.

Changing the subject, Raith asked, “You know what day it is in two days’ time, don’t you?”

“In two days? Well, let’s see… difficult one… It must be Thursday. Aye, that’s right. It was Monday yesterday, so—”

“Stop teasing me! Do you think he’s forgotten?”

‘He’ was Phil Roberts, the man Raith had married 364 days earlier.

“Don’t be daft. Of course not. You know Phil. His middle name’s ‘No fuss’.”

“That’s two names.”

“And that’s two cups of coffee. One for you. One for me,” said Mike, handing over a mug.

“None for me?” asked a third man who, yawning, had entered the kitchen. He hugged the two men already there.

“Sorry, Ross,” Mike apologised. “I didn’t make you one. I thought you were still asleep.”

“No. Just dozy,” said Ross sleepily. “I heard Phil’s car. Is it an emergency, Raith?”

“Not exactly,” Raith replied. “He went in early to cover for a colleague.”  

Phil had helped to pioneer a form of rectal surgery that used nanocarbon patches to reconstruct torn tissue. He was a respected consultant at the hospital an hour’s drive away in Warbridge, County Durham.

“I’d better get sorted and get out myself,” said Ross. He was, amongst other things, a gallery proprietor in Gateshead, and his journey to work took longer than Phil’s. He yawned again.

“Are you feelin’ okay?” asked Mike, alert to Ross’s tone of voice. “It’s not like you to sound so unenthusiastic about work.” In fact, it wasn’t like Ross to sound unenthusiastic about anything. He was always lively—he personified keenness.

“I’m dead tired cos I didn’t sleep well. I had a strange text late on. You were already asleep. I don’t think you heard the phone buzz. Strange. Unsettling.”

“Oh?”

“How do you mean?” asked Raith. “We’re not going to get involved with more criminal activities, are we? I had enough of crime fighting last time!”

Even though Mike was no longer a detective with the Tees, Tyne and Wear Constabulary, the four of them were involved in a surprising amount of crime fighting. ‘Last time’ had involved an illegal immigrant, and the tensions that had arisen had threatened the survival of the quad.

That’s what they were: a gay, polyamorous quad. They lived in Tunhead, a hamlet in Weardale in the Durham hills. Once, Tunhead had rung to the sound of workers’ hammers hitting stone. In a way it still did: Ross had turned it into an arts centre full of smiths, sculptors and potters who wanted to escape the North East’s towns.

“Well, we’re not, are we?” Raith repeated.

“No.”

“Good. Well, my creations won’t create themselves. I’d better get off, too.”

In Raith’s case, ‘getting off’ simply meant walking twenty yards to his studio, a converted storehouse.

“You sure he hasn’t forgotten?” he asked Mike again before he left.

“I’m sure.”

“Okay then.”

“What’s that about?” asked Ross after Raith was gone.

“He’s bothered that Phil’s forgotten their anniversary.”

“He hasn’t.”

“I know he hasn’t. He’s takin’ him off on a trip sumwhere—but you know Raith. He needs everythin’ crystal clear and written in capital letters. And sumtimes, so do I. What was this message about?”

Ross pulled a face and explained. When he’d done so, Mike could understand his concern.

“He wouldn’t be so stupid, Ross… Would he?”

“Not stupid, Mike, but he’s gullible. He doesn’t always think. I just don’t know.”

***

The message stayed in Ross’s mind during the forty-mile drive to the gallery and he couldn’t forget about it once he was there. Some of Raith’s paintings hung on the gallery walls. They were mainly of Weardale’s waterfalls. After heavy rain, the falls transformed from gentle trickles into rushing, gushing powerful forces of nature that the four men knew could kill. They’d seen them kill.

Raith loved to paint the waterfalls. From a distance, his torrents looked alive. The effect was linked to his use of colour. Raith was a tetrachromat; he could see a host of hues in what, to most people, was a single shade. He painted for himself, though, not for fame or money—he had plenty of both, due to his skill with clay not brushes. Several of his wares were on show at the gallery, most tagged ‘sold’ with a price that would feed and clothe all four men for a long, long time. His sensually erotic sculptures, modelled on Mike and Phil, were always in demand and beautifully, lovingly executed. But today, Ross gave Raith’s erotica a miss. He stared, instead, at the waterfalls.

What might induce Raith to produce a piece of work “with intent to deceive”, as the legal phrase was?

That was what the worrying message had suggested. That Raith’s were the hands and eyes behind a painting that the police were interested in. They thought it was a fake. For the umpteenth time, Ross asked himself why?

Raith didn’t need fame and he didn’t need fortune, but did he need the challenge of outwitting the experts? Of copying another artist’s work so accurately that no one would notice the difference?

Surely not. Momentarily, Ross’s dark mood lifted. The only challenge Raith was likely to rise to was the one of finding ways to spice up the quad’s evening meals. Two nights ago, he’d ‘accidentally’ stumbled near the saucepan with a teaspoon of chilli flakes in his hand.

“Oh, look! They’ve fallen in,” he’d said apologetically.

Ross smiled when he thought about it, but anxiety soon returned. Could Raith be feeling resentment? Sometimes, that was the driving force behind a fraud. Failed artists whose work had been refused once too often. Failed artists who took I’ll show them! literally.

No. All Raith’s resentments were little ones that quickly blew over—feeling nagged for not doing his turn on the house-keeping rota, being yelled at for leaving clay-covered dirty washing on top of the pile of clean laundry. Raith took umbrage easily, but he’d be smiling again within the hour. And anyway, he wasn’t a failed artist. He was a very successful one.

He was a strange mixture though. That complexity was part of his attraction. It was part of what made him Raith. His skill was undeniable, but his mental health was fragile— ‘bloody unhinged’ was how Mike would describe Raith in less charitable moments. He could be unpredictable. He could be very violent. He had another side, though, and it was what Mike and Phil and Ross adored about him. Canny, clued up, an ex-con hard as nails… but at the toss of a coin, as loving, as sweet and as trusting as anyone they had ever met. Mike was as loving, and often as sweet, but trusting? No. Mike was ex-CID. It wasn’t in his nature to be trusting.

Which was why Mike was already making phone calls.

About the Author 

I’m not Nick Seabrooke, the ace in the picture, but there are some firsthand truths peeping through the fiction. Like Nick, I’m ace and happy with it, but also, like Nick, I’m wavery on that ro/aro line–and that can cause some soul-searching. If the picture painted in the story is a very narrow one, it’s because I didn’t want to stray too far from what I know. The quad, however, are totally imaginary.

I blog at https://polyallsorts.wordpress.com . There are posts about asexuality, polyamory, beer, tattoos, book covers, and many other story-related items. There are photos of the Durham countryside, the setting of the stories, too.  I’m always happy to receive and respond to comments. Well, if they’re friendly ones!

 

Author Link

Blog/Website

 

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Book Blast – Polyamory on Trial by Jude Tresswell

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Polyamory on Trial

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self-published via Rowanvale Books

Cover Artist: Cerys Knighton

Release Date; August 31, 2018

Genre/s: M/M/M/M, crime and mystery

Heat Rating:  2 flames (Trigger Warning: references to rape)

Length: 63,000 words/ 236 pages

 It can be read alone. A third story will be published early 2019 so it is part of a series.

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Blurb

A bittersweet story with two interwoven themes: a crime and mystery involving trafficking and a look at the workings of a polyamorous relationship.

A young Syrian needing treatment at Warbridge Hospital is seen by Phil Roberts, one quarter of a gay polyamorous quad living in north east England. The men in the doctor’s life are ex-cop, Mike Angells, gallery proprietor, Ross Whitmore and ceramist and artist, Raith Balan.

Phil is troubled. Is his patient in the UK legally? Who has caused his injuries? Is trafficking involved? As the foursome struggle to find out, hampered by the fact that Mike is no longer a detective, cracks begin to appear in their relationship. Can four men be equals? Is their lifestyle viable? Meanwhile, there are cracks of a different sort to deal with—and the job of doing so seems to fall exclusively on Mike’s broad shoulders.

 

 

Buy Links

Rowandale Books

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Available as paperback, ePub, Mobi and PDF from Rowanvale Books and all usual distributors.

 

Excerpt

(Mike is talking about honesty, which, together with openness, love and passion, guide the quad’s approach to life.  His little ‘asides’ feature at the end of the chapters.)

You could say that there are the big honesties, and there are the little honesties as well. The little ones involve the practicalities of livin’ as a foursome. Four blokes together. Shoppin’ to get, meals to cook, washin’ to sort, the loo to clean, the garden to dig, the bills to pay… all the usual family practicalities. But in a poly, we’re equally in charge, equally responsible. Theoretically, that is. One of us seems to think that it’s beneath his dignity to use a mop and that cleanin’ the loo should be left to his minions. He cleans up after himself—I’d shove his bloody head down the toilet bowl if he didn’t—but the proper wash, the one with the detergent and the disinfectant? No way. So, sometimes, we just have to be very honest and tell him he’s a shiter, or rather, Ross and Phil tell him, and I try to look threatenin’. It’s hard, cos I often want to laugh. He comes up with such a load of bollocks for excuses! Then he sulks, or gets in a strop, because he feels we’re gettin’ at him, but we have to. It’s the thin end of the wedge otherwise. He’ll shirk everythin’ if we don’t get tough and lay down the law. That’s what I mean by the little honesties. If sumthin’s wrong, then we have to be upfront about it and say so, even if it causes bad feelin’ for a time.

But I think you probably meant the big honesties. Keepin’ secrets. That sort of thing. Obviously, by their very definition, I don’t know if the others are keepin’ secrets. And yes, I would keep sumthin’ secret if I thought that sharin’ it would place the other guys in danger. In fact, I have done that, and so has Ross. But, to me, that’s not dishonest. Personally, I would never tell the others a lie, a big lie, the kind that’d rock the boat. I might not tell the whole truth, but I would never tell an untruth, if that makes sense. I think our quad’d crumble if we weren’t honest with each other. If there isn’t trust… There has to be trust.

About the Author

I write about gay polyamorous men, but I’m a monogamous female. I’m also asexual. I have no problem imagining the lives of my four men, though, as long as there’s no me (or any other female) in the scene. The term for this dissociation is anegosexual, I think.

I have a lot of hobbies, which is just as well as I spend a lot of time with my imagination and I need to be metaphorically tied down to the real world. I dance, I sing, I play the guitar (the last two, badly), I love geology and I’m interested in languages, and, of course, I love to write.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

 

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