Only the assassin sent to kill him can free him from the mirror.
When King Lucius is imprisoned in a magic mirror by an evil wizard, he is forced to watch as his life is destroyed and his kingdom brought to the brink of ruin. Trapped in his own reflection, he only has the freedom to move and talk when the wizard sleeps.
With his subjects under the dark spell of the wizard, Lucius is forced to rely on the most unlikely of heroes if he hopes to get his life back.
Harry comes from a long line of assassins and prides himself on being one of the best in the kingdom, but when he is hired to kill King Lucius he discovers that all is not as it seems in the Kingdom of Cinders.
Harry agrees to help Lucius in return for a full pardon for his crimes, but to complete his quest he may have to give up everything, including his freedom and the king he has come to love.
King Lucius sat in the chair in his bedchamber, reading the book he’d started the previous year. He was making slow progress since all the text was a mirror image of the writing he had grown up with.
On the other side of the barrier, his body slept. The evil wizard who had taken over his life four years ago had finished his dastardly deeds for the day, freeing Lucius to wander through the world of mirrors, instead of being stuck reflecting the actions of the wizard.
It was a frustrating existence and one he was eager to escape from.
Unfortunately, he could see no way out of his miserable prison.
A noise from the bedchamber in the real world tore his attention away from his book, and he set it aside. It wasn’t the wizard who had stirred. That was the one thing he knew for sure. He was always the first to know when the wizard woke to start the day.
Creeping towards the barrier, Lucius peered out into the darkened room. The only light came from the candle on the bedside table, the counterpart of which Lucius had been using to read by.
A movement near the balcony caught his eye. Someone was stealing into his chambers, and considering they had decided not to enter by the door, he had to assume they had mischief on their agenda.
Lucius waited in silence, observing the intruder as he stumbled about in the dark. He was lucky the wizard was such a heavy sleeper. Had Lucius been in his own body, the uninvited guest’s bumbling around the bedchamber would have woken him for sure.
Stifling his amusement and keeping as still as possible, Lucius watched as the intruder tiptoed closer to the bed. He clearly hadn’t spotted the living reflection in the dressing table mirror, but few people did. In the dark hours of the night most people chalked it up to imagination, or having mixed up the portraits and mirrors adorning the walls.
The flash of metal in the candlelight doused his amusement in an instant. This was no thief. This was an assassin.
“Stop!” Lucius ordered. He tried not to raise his voice too loud, lest the wizard woke.
The assassin ducked and rolled under the bed in a move that Lucius couldn’t help admiring.
“You can’t stay there all night,” Lucius said. “You might as well come out before he wakes up.”
“Who said that?” the intruder whispered from under the bed.
“I did,” Lucius replied. “Are you going to come out from under there, or are the contents of the chamber pot that interesting?”
“Who are you?”
Lucius sighed heavily. “I’m King Lucius the fourth, and you won’t be delivering the killing blow to me this night.”
The assassin crawled out from under the bed. He stood up and looked at the sleeping figure. “Are you awake?” he asked.
Lucius rolled his eyes. “Behind you.”
Finally the dagger-wielding idiot turned and saw who had spoken. “What magic is this?” he whispered.
“The blackest kind,” Lucius replied. “Would you mind going through the door behind you and following the corridor to the left?”
“So we can talk properly without him waking up,” Lucius explained. “You seem to be quite a resourceful chap, and I think maybe you can help me with a little problem I have.”
“What sort of problem?”
Suddenly, voices shouted from outside in the castle grounds. “Intruder! Call out the guards!”
“Dammit,” Lucius swore.
A grunt and snort from the bed caused the assassin to startle and Lucius sensed the king was about to wake. “Hide in the closet,” he said, pointing to another door.
The assassin didn’t argue with him this time. He ran for cover, only just sliding the door closed when the wizard sat up, awake.
Lucius, trapped in the mirror, lost control of his body the moment the wizard rose. He was a reflection once more, albeit a conscious one.
About the Author
L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams. Most of all, she believes in love.
When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.
After 260 years apart, can their love survive the on-coming supernatural onslaught?
Will he find them before it’s too late?
Jamie struggles with an illness no doctor can diagnose; one that keeps him from living a productive life. Until he meets a witch who promises him a cure for a price. But when his target says he knew him in a past life, Jamie is conflicted.
260 years after they lost their soul mate, Riley struggles to hold his imbalanced relationship with Ben together. He grows more powerful even as his reasons for living shrink. His immortality came at a steep price, but when Jamie shows up out of nowhere, he may have to pay it to keep him.
Ben knows Riley loves him, but Jamie was the glue that held them together. Without him, life is unbearable even for an immortal Vampire. Until Jamie shows up one day, the same but different and he realizes they will have to fight to keep him.
Can Jamie, Riley and Ben survive the new threat to their lives? Will Jamie survive the supernatural?
Against All Odds is the second book in the Eternal Soulmates Series; a sexy saga of stories about vampires, witches, werewolves and the humans unfortunate enough to cross their path. If you enjoy steamy, emotional and action-packed romantic adventures, this story is a must-have for you.
Ben saw Riley’s office in his sightline as the elevator doors open. But the exhaustion that came with the Blood Ritual already took hold and he felt almost too tired to walk the tiny distance to the man he loved. Preparations for Festival Week didn’t help. He felt like he hadn’t seen Riley in a week, even though it couldn’t have been that long.
He pushed past Thom who may or may not have offered a greeting, only sighing in relief as soon as he found Riley’s comfortable couch. Riley was on the phone. The conversation was high energy, Riley yelling at whoever it is that was on the other end. Festival Week brought out the worst in everyone, even Riley.
Ben closed his eyes, letting his man’s voice soothe him. He didn’t look up when he heard Riley hung up the phone. He didn’t need to say or do anything; being close to Riley was all he needed. And when everything became too heavy to bear, he would come here when he knew Riley was alone, just to sit here and feel his protection, his love.
This week would be tough for all Vampires. Born-Vampires like his brothers would have it the hardest, their bodies growing weaker the longer they denied themselves the life-giving blood they needed. Made-Vampires like him lasted a little longer on the blood-bags, but eventually, they needed fresh blood from the vein.
This was the whole purpose of Festival Week. Humans saw it as the party of the century, limited tickets making it even more attractive. But to Vampires it was a once-a-year opportunity to get the fresh blood they needed to survive. Some were lucky enough to find a human soul mate who continued to provide the much needed nourishment. But Festival Week continued to become a necessity. It was also a lot of fun, when someone else was planning it.
Riley moved from his desk to the couch and Ben sighed when the familiar hand through his hair. His eyes remained closed, even as he turned his body towards his soul mate, “I’m so tired.” He hadn’t meant it for it to sound so whinny.
Riley kept the perfect pressure on his skull, rubbing with enough pressure to make his headache go away, “Of course you are. Festival Week sucks.”
Ben opened his eyes, “But you don’t look tired.”
Riley smiled before pulling Ben closer, “I run on magic and I have an endless supply.” He nodded towards the door, “Can’t say the same for poor Thom out there.”
“Send the guy home. He’s always here.”
Riley looked at his watch, “He should leave in a few minutes. How’s Bello Locus?”
Ben snuggled into his arms, “if you’re asking if we’re ready, I think so. But Adam keeps saying we don’t have enough alcohol.”
“He’s the expert.”
“There’s just so much to do. The stage guys at the ground had a mishap and they must work through the night to get it ready.”
Riley nudged him to look at him, “How are you doing?”
“I wish I didn’t have to take blood from a stranger. But other than that…”
Riley avoided talking about the subject and Ben couldn’t blame him. The Blood ritual was a very erotic affair, and no one wanted to see their man unable to control their urges in the arms of another. If only they could find Jamie.
They’d first come up with Festival Week two decades after Bastian had tried to usurp the Vampire throne in 1957; partly for the revenue the Festival brought to the island and also for the Vampires survival. Every year, the party grew bigger than the last, attracting more humans. But to Ben and Riley, this was just something else they had to do without Jamie.
“Are mother and Grandma coming?” Ben asked to keep himself and Riley from thinking of Jamie more than was healthy.
“She said they would try to make it by the last day. But Edie will be here.”
Riley’s hand was back in his hair and although he was exhausted, Ben was aroused by the proximity. When Riley pulled on his hair, he turned to him to find the same aroused look in his lover’s eyes.
Riley ran a finger over his lips, “Do you know what I thought the first time I saw you?” The finger passed across his lips, dipping inside his mouth as soon it was open.
“You hated me?” They’d had this conversation so many times over the years, and Ben loved where it was going.
Riley chuckled, his own heavy breaths betraying the state of his arousal, “I thought, you were the most beautiful person I had ever seen.” He pulled his finger out of Ben’s mouth, “But I was standing next to the most beautiful person in the world.” He placed a single kiss to Ben’s lips, “You confused me. I wanted you so much.”
Ben tried to chase his lips, moaning when Riley kissed his neck instead. He tilted his head, giving Riley room to continue his pleasurable assault, “So, you hated me?”
Riley’s hand reached under his shirt, pulling it away from his already heated body as he tried to reach for Ben’s sensitive nipples, “I had never wanted someone the way I wanted you, not even Jamie. I still want you so much.”
Riley captured his lips in an overpowering kiss before Ben could confess his own overwhelming need. Ben straddled his lap as the delicious kiss invaded all his senses. Riley’s hands grabbed his ass and pulled him even closer to his already aroused cock. Ben wanted to be naked, but he wanted this kiss, the tight embrace more than he needed Riley’s cock. That changed when Riley pulled on his belt, undoing his pants all in one move without breaking the kiss. He pushed pants and underwear out of the way and grabbed his bare ass, pulling him even closer.
Ben moaned into Riley’s mouth when his bare cock brushed against Riley’s clothed body. He wanted to be naked and when he started to undo his shirt, Riley relented long enough to allow him to undress.
He stood before Riley battling to get his clothes off, breathing hard. When his shoes, socks and pants were off, he noticed that Riley wasn’t too keen on getting naked. Instead, he leaned back on the couch, arms behind his head as he watched Ben undress.
Riley’s gaze moved up his body, making him shiver, “You are so beautiful.” When Ben attempted to move back on to his lap, Riley shook his head, “Touch yourself for me.”
About the Author
Growing up Elle was the girl sitting in a corner with her nose in a book. For as long as she could remember, she would journey to different destinations around the world with the characters she met in the many books she read. So when she turned fifteen, it was not surprising that she found herself ready to create her own world of characters. The Paranormal world was particularly intriguing, especially immortal vampires and the humans sharing their fascinating existence. Her first book was not published and got lost somewhere in the midst of her life. Her love of stories- literature, Movies, and TV, only intensified as she got older, becoming a major part of her life. Soon, she would find herself working as a freelance writer (a girl has to pay her bills) all the while sharing her life with voices in her head that screamed for an outlet. She saw an opportunity to give life to her characters when she stumbled on self-publishing and her first Paranormal romance series- The Eternal Flame Series was born. A tea addict, Elle also has a powerful love for Music and her ever-expanding Family. She is overjoyed to share her love for Romance with all her readers and grateful for their unending support.
Christmas. A Wedding. Family. It’s the Perfect Storm…
For Rory Kincaid marrying Jack, the youngest son of the aristocratic De Lacy family, on Christmas Eve, is a dream come true. Handing over the wedding planning to Jack’s mother, the strong-willed Lady Diana, is turning out to be more of a nightmare.
As their big day approaches, the pressure’s on and the strain is beginning to show. Announcements in society magazines, a guest list that’s growing and growing, and fittings for the best bespoke tailoring in London, it’s all a far cry from Rory’s humble upbringing. Piece by piece, Rory and Jack’s dream of a simple winter wedding is fading fast.
Rory is Jack’s everything. Sweet, kind, and totally adorable, Rory is all Jack has ever wanted. And what Jack wants most of all is to give the man he loves the wedding day of his dreams — and that means taking a stand against the indomitable Diana.
***Warning: this story contains two gorgeous men, a mountain of mince pies and cupcakes, a punk rocker Christmas fairy called Bunty, and a snowy Christmas Wedding.***
“Where are we going? The Tube station’s that way.” Rory nodded in the direction they were coming from.
“We’re not going home, or not just yet.”
“Oh? I thought we were going to decorate our living room, drink lots of advocaat, and then get naked on the rug.”
Jack threw back his head and laughed. “That sounds like a plan, but there’s something I want to do first.”
“You mean something is more important than naked advocaat?”
Jack just smiled in response. There wasn’t a lot that was more important than naked advocaat, but what they were about to do next just about topped it.
The tiny street would be so easy to miss in the messy and higgledy-piggledy maze that was the City of London.
Jack pressed his fingertips to Rory’s lips and gazed into Rory’s questioning, confused eyes.
“Just go with me on this, okay?”
Jack pushed the door open, and he and Rory stepped into another time.
The shop was crammed with tall and narrow display cabinets, all of them holding a treasure of watches. Behind the counter, in a corner and almost hidden, sat a small, round, bald-headed man. A pair of glasses perched on the end of his nose, and another was wedged on the top of his head as he worked on the mechanism of a pocket watch, using what looked like a set of toy tools.
“Mr. De Lacy.” The man put aside his work, stood up and extended his hand to Jack.
“Mr. Hogarth. Let me introduce Rory Kincaid, my fiancé.”
Jack moved aside to allow Rory to shake Mr. Hogarth’s hand. Jack smiled; in a moment everything would be revealed.
“Let me bring your order.” Mr. Hogarth disappeared into a back room.
“Jack, I don’t understand. What’s going on?”
Before Jack could answer, Mr. Hogarth returned bearing a small black box, which he handed over to Jack.
“Please.” Mr. Hogarth gestured to a small table and a couple of chairs on the other side of the shop, in the only space not taken up with display cabinets, before he returned to his place once more behind the counter and took up his work as though he were alone.
“I want you to have this,” Jack said, opening the box as soon as he and Rory were seated.
“What?” Rory gaped at the watch, displayed on a pad of black velvet. “But we agreed a strict ten-pound budget, just something silly this year. I haven’t—”
“No, it’s not a Christmas present.”
“Then what—? I don’t understand.”
Jack took the watch out of the box. Like his own, it was plain and unadorned. The black Roman numerals were stark against the white face; the casing was gold, deep and burnished.
“When I was twenty-one, my father presented me with a watch from this shop. He did the same for George,” Jack said, referring to his elder brother. “My father also had a watch on his twenty-first birthday, as did my grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather. The De Lacy men have had watches in one form or another from Hogarth’s since the late eighteenth century. All those watches came from here, from this very shop.” Jack glanced toward the counter, but Mr. Hogarth had gone and was now nowhere to be seen.
“This isn’t a Christmas present, Ro. This is something every De Lacy man receives. And I wanted you to have one, too, because that’s what you’re on the point of becoming: a De Lacy man.” Jack’s lips lifted in a wry smile. “I didn’t know you when you turned twenty-one, although I wish I did. I’m just making up for lost time. On Christmas Eve, you’re going to take my name. I want you to be wearing this watch when you do.”
“Jack, I–I don’t know what to say.”
“Then don’t say anything. Just accept it, along with the words I had engraved.”
Jack held the watch out. All his focus was on his fiancé, reading for the first time the words engraved not only on the watch but on Jack’s heart.
Love, always and forever.
Four simple words which said everything Jack held deep inside about the man he’d found huddled on his doorstep just two Christmases before.
About the Author
I love all kinds of MM romance and gay fiction, but I especially like contemporary stories. Born and raised in London, the city is part of my DNA so I like to set many of my stories in and around present-day London, providing the perfect, metropolitan backdrop to the main action. I write at home, in the gym, in cafés —in fact I write any place I can find a good coffee!
Mac’s life isn’t perfect, but he likes it the way it is: safe and predictable.
Mac works in a struggling pole dancing club at night, and a gym during the day. He’s tired and cash strapped, but content, until a confident twink walks into the club and turns his life upside down. It’s hard to resist when Russel asks him to be his fake boyfriend for one night, in return for double his normal take-home pay.
One date turns into more, as Mac helps Russel get an exclusive that will secure him the job he’s always wanted. But the rich playboy who holds Russel’s career in his hands isn’t going to give him the scoop so easily.
As Mac and Russel spend more time together, the lines between fake and real begin to get blurred, but can their relationship become strong enough to be unbreakable in the face of adversity?
Unbreakable is a fake boyfriend MM romance, with a buff pole dancer who swears like a trooper, a twink who likes to take charge, some spanking, light bondage, and a happy ever after. It’s a prequel story to Broken, but can be read as a standalone romance.
“I’ve been invited to a very exclusive party on Saturday, but it’s couples only. And, horror of horrors, I can’t find a date.”
Mac laughed loudly. “So you thought you’d ask me?”
Russel shrugged in an attempt to appear nonplussed. “Why not? You’re sexy and we’d make a hot couple.” He flicked his gaze up and down Mac’s body. “You do have some nice clothes, don’t you?” When Mac’s eyes widened, he shook his head. “Never mind. I can take you shopping.”
Mac put his hands on his hips, shaking his head. “You can’t be serious?”
“Handsome, I’m deadly serious.”
“Let me get this straight: you want me—a total stranger—to be your date for some posh party?”
Russel nodded. “That about sums it up.” He wagged his finger. “Except you need to pretend to be my boyfriend. Like I said, it’s couples only.”
Mac stared at him, jaw slack and eyes wide.
“I’ll pay you.”
Mac jerked his chin up a little. “Huh.”
“Whatever you’d earn here on a Saturday night, I’ll double it.”
“You know I could just give you some bullshit figure, right?”
Russel nodded. “I’m aware.”
Mac scratched his chin. “You’re nuts and your time’s pretty much up.”
Russel took thirty pounds out of his pocket, stood, and put it in the money jar on Mac’s behalf. “Now I’ve got three more minutes.” He sat down again. “So, are you going to pretend to be my boyfriend on Saturday night, or are you going to make me beg?”
“You really are serious, aren’t you?”
Mac threw his hands up. “What the hell. Why not? It could be a laugh.”
About the Author
Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.
Love is supposed to be easy. You are supposed to find your person and fall in love, and then you hold each other and kiss and live happily ever after.
Well, Erik has ended up in the wrong bloody love story. He is stuck in the one full of angst and worries and confusion and pain. Lots of pain.
Oskar Høiland hides from life. It just makes things easier that way, not having to face all the fears and drama of living. He especially hides from other people, because Oskar has grown up fearing the snide remarks and the quick glances that strip him of the tiny scraps of confidence he still has left. He is just going to keep existing. Work hard to complete his medical degree and perhaps watch a few more series on Netflix in peace and quiet over Christmas.
Erik Nøst Hansen should be an almost fully-fledged adult. He should be able to sort out the mess that festers in his head and stop lying. It’s just hard. And it’s bloody terrifying to even acknowledge the thoughts that swirl around in his head at night when he can’t sleep. He also needs to figure out how to talk to the boy downstairs. The one with the golden curls and the crooked smile. The boy who is completely monopolising Erik’s messed-up heart.
A story of falling in love and being brave. A Christmas tale with a difference, set in the university dorms of central Oslo, where lies are uncovered, snowflakes are falling all over the place, and beds are made to lie in. There is a slightly unconventional family. A mess of animal onesies. Too much food and a very Merry Christmas.
Oskar’s first instinct is to flee. Run. Hide somewhere until the thing in his bed has disappeared. He blinks. Shakes his head in disbelief and looks again.
Nope. He’s still there. There is still a very-much-fast-asleep person in his bed, his breathing soft against Oskar’s pillow, and that ridiculous pink bandana is sliding down over his eyes.
He moves carefully to get a closer look, then recoils back as he remembers. No clothes! He is stark naked in his own room, like a normal person would be. It’s just, this dude is there. Right there. On his bed.
Yes, he had left his door unlocked, but then that doesn’t mean any random person can just come in and decide to sleep in his bed? Does it? Especially when the random person is flat-out drunk. Oskar can smell the alcohol now, his body recoiling at the fumes escaping along with little bubbles of spit at the corner of the dude’s mouth. Beer-scented mouthfuls of air with every breath. Every little snore.
He doesn’t know how he didn’t realise someone was here before. I mean, the dude is not exactly quiet, snuffling and snoring and smacking his lips together in his sleep.
Oskar’s eardrums are still ringing from having his earphones on the highest volume, and the beats from upstairs are still going strong, but still, he should have noticed. How the fuck didn’t he notice?
There are a pair of threadbare joggers on the floor, which he pulls on, and the t-shirt on the floor looks clean enough, so he pulls it over his damp hair and tiptoes further up along the side of his bed to get a closer look.
It’s definitely one of the guys from upstairs. The tall pretty one. The one with all the girlfriends. The one with the reputation.
Yes, Oskar listens. He might not speak much to the other students, but his hearing is good—well, it was until today, and he will sue if his hearing is damaged from this bloody party, starting with suing the pants off this dude that has crashed Oskar’s planned Netflix marathon—and he pays attention to the stories. The tall tales of weekend shenanigans. The obvious boasting and lies. And the things that might actually be true.
Like the whispers doing the rounds about this guy. The tall one with the messy dark-brown hair and full lips. Kisses like he means it. Great lay apparently. Can get any girl he wants. That’s what he has heard. Hangs around with the dark-haired guy with the black floppy fringe, and that lanky boy with the frizzy hair. Well, he probably hangs around with everyone. Always smiling and never alone. Never sitting on his own in the cafeteria like Oskar, hiding in the corner with his headphones on.
No, this dude is always the centre of attention. Surrounded by people clinging to his every word. Laughing at his jokes. Staring adoringly at him as he throws his head back in laughter.
Except this dude is now here. And Oskar hasn’t got a clue what to do.
He could go get Freddie, he supposes, and they could probably manhandle the dude out of the room. Dump him on the sofa for the night. He is quite sure the girls would approve, and in the morning, he would wake up and find this guy on the sofa making all the girls laugh, having charmed them into making him coffee and buttering his toast and spoon feeding him their secret imported stash of Swedish Treo hangover fizz, whilst placing tiny morsels of hot buttered toast on his tongue.
He pushes that scene out of his head with a sigh. The boy is his problem. He is in Oskar’s bed. And if he doesn’t get him out of here, things will be shit awkward in the morning, he is sure of that.
“Dude,” he whispers, and nudges the guy’s shoulder before he can stop himself. He should think this through, make some kind of plan. Maybe wake him up gently so he doesn’t scare the shit out of the poor guy, waking up and realising he has crashed in Oskar’s bed, instead of wherever he thought he was crashing.
He probably took a wrong turn, thinking this was Madeleine’s room. Or Ingvild’s. Or one of the other girls. Maybe he thought he could get lucky by just throwing himself in some lucky girl’s bed. Just like that. Oskar wonders if people do that, just full-on go for it and shamelessly offer themselves like that.
Oskar shudders at the thought. It’s a mistake whatever it is, and Oskar won’t let him get away with this. Not tonight. Not now. He doesn’t need the grief, or the inevitable shaming in the morning when this dude tells all his friends that the nerd downstairs tried to get him in the sack. Lies and raw laughter trying to make light of a situation that he knows will end badly, with Oskar being the butt of every joke. The one the girls will gossip about and point their fingers at. The one that came on to one of the beautiful people. One of their people. Where Oskar just doesn’t belong.
Because the boy is beautiful, even Oskar can see that. Soft long dark hair framing his face, freckles decorating his pale skin and those lips. Even his fucking profile is perfect, his straight nose burrowing into Oskar’s pillow.
“Dude, come on! Wake up.” Oskar shakes his shoulder this time, but the guy is dead. Dead to the world. Not a hint of pretending to wake up. He just snores and burrows further into the pillow.
“YO. MATE!” This guy is no mate of his. Nor will they ever be, mates or whatever, but Oskar is shouting now. Desperate. He needs to get to bed. He needs an hour of some mindless American sitcom to calm him down. He needs to sleep. Please.
He tries to pull the guy off the bed, grabbing the dude by the ankles only to realise the guy is still wearing shoes. Big clumsy boots with heels. Ridiculous. I mean who wears shit like that in the middle of winter? It’s not like December in Oslo is the place for something that wouldn’t look out of place in a Texas Rodeo.
“Fuck,” he grits between his teeth.
The sofa out in the main room is seriously uncomfortable. No one ever bothers to even sit on it, and even if he considers sleeping there, the bleach fumes would make him retch before long.
It’s not like he could go sleep in anyone else’s room. It’s just not the kind of thing he could do. Not his thing. Not that he is close enough to any of the others to warrant such a request.
He could sleep on his own floor, he supposes, except that the dude is lying on top of his duvet.
It takes a few good pulls, but finally the duvet gives way and the dude rolls over as Oskar drags the fabric from underneath his body. He almost bursts into laughter, because the dude is now on his back, mouth wide open and the bandana has slipped down covering his eyes and nose. He looks like a twat.
A drunk snoring twat in ridiculous boots.
Oskar is a medical student. Oskar fucking knows what can happen. He wouldn’t be a responsible human being if he didn’t ensure that his unwelcome roommate at least survives the night.
The boots come off his feet to reveal socks underneath. Ridiculous socks with little reindeers and Santas that make Oskar swallow another inappropriate giggle. This isn’t funny. This isn’t funny at all.
He rolls the bandana up over the dude’s fringe, carefully removing it before tossing it aside, and straddles his body to try to roll him into the recovery position. He has done it several times in training, but always with willing perfectly conscious subjects underneath him. Never a half-dead comatose man breathing alcohol fumes at him, making him retch in disgust.
It takes a few goes, and Oskar gets braver as the guy is definitely out for the count. He doesn’t wake up, even when Oskar knees him in the balls by mistake, trying to manhandle his shoulder over towards the mattress. But he is finally there, safely in position on his side with his hand supporting his chin, so any accidental vomiting won’t choke him to death and there is nothing restricting around his neck to hinder his breathing. His airway is open, and he is safe. In the middle of Oskar’s bed.
Oskar wants to cry. He wants to bury his face in his hands and howl. Scream out in frustration.
Instead, he covers the unconscious body in his warm duvet and switches off the light. Lets his own body slide in under the covers at the very edge of the bed, as far away as he can get. Oskar lies there, perched on the edge of the mattress, yet he can still feel the breath from the other man hitting the back of his neck. Soft puffs of air stroking the skin under his still-damp hair.
He shudders. It’s hours until he finally falls asleep. Restless and terrified of what he might find next to him in the morning.
About the Author
Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.
Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.
Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specialising in hand-drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram @om_hundre_ar_er_allting.
Also by Sophia Soames, with cover artwork by Miriam Latu
I promised myself many years ago that I would never set foot in London again. I promised. Adam promised. I said I wouldn’t. He said I would never have to. Yet here we are again, and life has become quite surreal. This is us, a good few years later, older and wiser with more baggage than the baggage belt at Heathrow. And now it is Christmas and Adam is working too much and I have far too much time to think about things that shouldn’t really matter. Or maybe they should? 717 miles Christmas Special is a short novella to follow on from 717 miles, the novel, and should not be read as a standalone.
Life on an offshore oil rig is grueling hard work. For Nika the hard work, isolation and discipline is ideal.
On the eve of flying back to the mainland for a two week break, disaster strikes, and Nika is thrown into darkness.
When he awakes in a strange world, with no memory of his past, he finds himself in the presence of monks, who offer to help, on one condition. Nika must deliver an urgent message to the king, and in return, the mysterious monks will help him recall his memories and find a way home.
Instead, Nika is sent on a long journey with his new friend Freyne, and the spoilt Princess Iryna, to fulfill a prophecy that will restore balance to the world.
Nika must adjust to more than just a new world; as his body undergoes a transformation he does not understand, he must also deal with being hunted, forbidden love, mancery, and gods he’s never heard of.
The sound of a gunshot pierced the night, followed by a loud scream. Nika cowered in the linen closet, trying not to make any noise. He could see shadows flickering in the light under the door, and could hear yelling.
“I’m asking you one last time, Monique. Where’s our money, bitch?” Someone demanded, and Nika heard a loud slap and a hiss.
“I told you, we don’t get paid until tomorrow,” Nika’s mother spat back.
“We’re going to need some collateral,” A man said angrily. “Let’s get her kid.”
“Nickolai!” She screeched, but Nika didn’t move.
He heard some heavy footsteps rush past the closet, followed by the sound of his bedroom door being forced open. He opened the closet door a crack, and could see the bad men in his bedroom, looking for him.
Nika dashed from the closet and ran past his mother as fast as his little legs could carry him. She sat slumped over the coffee table; white powder and needles were scattered amongst empty beer cans. Blood was oozing from the bullet wound in her shoulder.
Nika could hear the bad men shouting behind him. He pulled open the kitchen door and ran into the darkness, and found a place to hide.
There was more yelling, then the house went quiet. Nika watched as the bad men ran from the house, climbed into a car and sped off down the street. Thick black smoke started billowing from the house, and he felt the panic rising from his belly and into his chest. He didn’t know what to do, he felt like he was going to cry.
Nika heard the shatter of glass, and looked to see flames erupting from his bedroom window. He watched with dismay; although he had very few toys and possessions, they were all he had.
His eyes swept back to the door, as his mother staggered from the burning house and into the driveway. Nika took another nervous look around, before leaving his hiding place, and ran back towards her.
She sank to her knees, and Nika watched as she fell to the ground. Her skin was turning blue, and she started convulsing on the ground.
“Mother?” Nika asked, shaking her shoulder gently.
Nika felt sick; she was making gurgling noises, and he didn’t know how to help her. He knew that if his father came home at any time, Nika would be blamed and beaten half to death.
He could hear sirens in the distance, and soon a convoy of emergency vehicles sped up the road, coming to a stop at the burning house. His mother had gone still, and Nika found himself shaking her, but she wouldn’t wake.
Nika’s seven year old mind couldn’t comprehend what was going on. He felt no love towards his parents; his father constantly beat him, and his mother never made him stop. And yet Nika was afraid to lose them, he didn’t know who would look after him, or where he would go.
A lady in a uniform drew Nika away and wrapped him in a blanket, as firemen started to spray water on the house. He was confused and terrified. He tried not to cry, but the tears fell. The lady put out her arm, and Nika cowered, expecting to be beaten for crying like a girl.
“Hey, it’s ok little buddy, I’m not going to hurt you,” she said. “Is there anyone else still in the house?”
Nika shook his head, unable to speak.
“Come on, you can sit in the big ambulance, and I’m going to check that you’re ok. Is that alright with you?”
Nika nodded, and followed the nice ambulance lady. He took one last look at his mother, and could see policemen rolling out blue and white checkered tape around the house. The fire was almost out, and a man in a suit was walking towards her with a camera and toolbox.
She lay on the ground, not moving. Her limbs had spasmed into unnatural angles, and her face was blue, her eyes wide open with a terrifying expression etched into her gaunt face. Nika felt the image burn into his brain, and knew he would never forget that sight for as long as he lived.
About the Author
Amy-Alex Campbell has been an avid reader and writer from a very young age. At just nine years old, she was writing short stories and poetry at a high standard.
At the age of 17, she began world building and writing Death of Thy World. However, after writing a captivating prologue and first chapter, she felt that the story was going to be like any other novel – hero gets the princess and lives happily ever after.
Amy-Alex is anything but cliche, and shelved the project.
Seventeen years later, in April 2019, she revisited the work after reading a meme on social media that reignited her muse. Amy-Alex picked up the proverbial pen, and started writing.
On July 20, The Lowest Realm was completed. With new plot lines and title, the book received positive reviews from beta readers.
The Lowest Realm will be launched on November 9, 2019.