A dead prostitute. A mysterious meeting. And a
retiring cop set on righting past wrongs…
Kyoto mafia don Nao Murata is enjoying a quiet reign. Now that his boyfriend,
Aki Hisona, has a clean bill of health, they can finally have some much-needed intimate time.
If only a persistent detective wasn’t about to throw a wrench in those plans.
Aki’s ready to fully consummate their relationship, but Nao doesn’t appreciate
his scandalous flirting in the office. Being left alone to deal with one of Nao’s top men, Aki
ends up learning about a secret that puts a crack in Nao’s control.
Amidst worries about whether they’re as compatible between the sheets as
they are on the streets, Nao and Aki are forced to work with the police to cement Nao’s
reign. As the secret begins to unravel, they’re pulled deeper into a treacherous game of cat
Now it’s no longer just their love life they have to fight for…
Prelude to Decay is the seventh book of The Yakuza Path thriller series. If you enjoy gripping
suspense, authentic Japanese traditions, and a healthy dose of gay drama, then you’ll
devour Amy Tasukada’s latest instalment.
About the Author
author Amy Tasukada writes thrilling times of crime, love, and gore. Readers who crave
diverse characters, unique settings, and edge-of-your-seat action will devour her Yakuza Path series. Readers who seek less blood and more love will swoon over the Yakuza Path Romance and Would it Be Okay
to Love You? Series. Amy is an atheist, queer
author who enjoys drinking tea, Japanese street fashion and visual kei music. Her calico cat,
O’Hara, is never far from her side. Amy lives in North Texas, but is always planning her next
trip to Japan.
Cold cases, hot leads, a
psychic psychopath, a copycat killer, cursed objects, the trial of the century—and wedding
Cold cases, hot leads, a psychic psychopath, a copycat killer,
cursed objects, the trial of the century—and wedding plans.
Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and sexy homicide
detective Vic D’Amato met hunting a supernatural serial killer. Since then, Simon has
become a police consultant on cases involving the paranormal, and Vic has gotten over his
doubts about Simon’s abilities being real. Along the way, they fell in love and got engaged.
But it seems like the danger never ends.
Now, the first case Simon and Vic worked together comes
back to haunt them as the killer goes to court and all hell breaks loose. The killer has a crazy
fan setting curses on key players in the upcoming trial. Ghosts from an old cold case suggest
that someone got away with murder. And a supernatural creature attracted to fear and
death is using the Grand Strand as its feeding ground. Simon and Vic feel like they’re waging
a war on all fronts, but with the stakes so high, there can be No Surrender!
About the Author
Morgan Brice is the romance
pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male
paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the
happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author
hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more
explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in
her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan
isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more
in these series, plus new series coming soon!
In search of a story, he
found murder and romance.
Author Christian Costner is researching material for one of
his dark thrillers and Nyemouth seems like the perfect setting for his next book. The small
seaside town has witnessed plenty of trouble over the years, and Christian thinks it will
provide him with the inspiration he needs.
He hires local tour guide and fisherman Harry Renner to
help him explore the coastline for a couple of days. Harry is knowledgeable and mature
beyond his twenty-eight years. Handsome too, though Christian thinks Harry is far too young
As the weather worsens, Harry cuts short their first sight-
seeing trip. Heading back to shore they spot a figure in distress in the water. A difficult
rescue is made far worse when they discover the casualty has a knife wound to his abdomen
and dies before they reach the safety of the harbour.
United by the trauma, Christian and Harry find comfort in
each other, but when another murder comes to light, they find themselves at the heart of a
dangerous mystery and the target of a killer more ruthless than they could ever
Harry went to the bar. He didn’t know the bartender so
didn’t have to face another barrage of questions about Niko’s death. “Two of whatever these
were,” he said, holding up the empty tumblers. “Make them doubles.”
He glanced over his shoulder as he waited. Christian gazed
into the fire, looking lost in his thoughts. What was it about him? Just this morning Harry
had dismissed him as being far too old, but the more time he spent with him and talked to
him, Christian’s appeal grew stronger. He can’t
be that old, anyway, he reasoned. Ten, maybe
eleven years older than he was. It wasn’t like fancying someone his dad’s age.
Of course, Harry knew what really drove this new attraction
He’d learned from his time in the lifeboat how sex and
death went hand in hand. He had taken part in three failed rescues when he was a member
of the crew and afterwards he had always wanted sex. It wasn’t unusual. He’d even read an
article about it—how sex helped people to feel alive after a clash with mortality.
Is that what this is? Do I only fancy him because we
didn’t save Niko?
As he carried the drinks back to the fire, Harry realised just
how much he did want Christian. They had been through a gruelling experience. What better
comfort could there be than each other’s bodies? He didn’t want to go back to his flat on his
own and wondered whether Christian felt the same about his lonely hotel room.
Fuck it. One more drink and I’ll ask him. The worst he
can say is no.
Christian lifted his gaze from the flames when he returned.
Their eyes connected and, just for a second, a hint of a smile. “Thanks,” he said, accepting
“Is this your favourite tipple? Whisky?” he asked, sitting
“Sometimes. It depends on my mood. But at the end of the
night, when I want to unwind, it’s the best. I always bring a bottle with me when I’m working
away—for a nightcap.”
Their eyes locked again, and Harry wondered if there had
been a hint of an invitation in the last remark. Or
is it just wishful thinking?
He had never been good at reading signals.
“What’s your hotel like?” he asked in a rush. “I’ve had a
drink at the bar in Quay House, but I’ve never been upstairs.”
Christian’s brow furrowed in confusion.
Oh shit. I’ve judged this all wrong.
Then he smiled. “It’s nice. I’ve got a good-sized room that
overlooks the harbour. Actually, it’s pretty great.” He sipped. “You’re welcome to come up, if
you’d like to look around. I could also give you that nightcap.”
Harry’s pulse quickened, and a stiffness developed in his
groin. “I’d love to.”
This morning he’d been so dismissive about Christian
because of his age, and now there was nothing he wanted more than to spend the night in
his protective embrace.
About the Author
Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, North
Point and the Anthem Trilogy. His love of page
turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie
Collins book and confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.
Thom has lived in the North
East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County
Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-
busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many
titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new
recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but in 2013 he
realized cruising is the best way to see the world.
Check out his website for news updates and a free ebook, The Night.
Fear not those who are innocent, for I shall cause you no
harm. I seek out only those who have yet to pay for their sins. Fear me if you have no
remorse, for I am the Reaper, and I will ensure that you reap what you have
The serial killer known as The Reaper is loose on the streets
of Norfolk. Its victims have two things in common: They have each hurt a child but served
little to no time in jail for it and none of them regret their actions.
Detective Mel Tanner is close to retirement when she is
assigned to investigate a murder that leads her in a hunt for the serial killer known as The
Reaper. As a seasoned homicide detective of fifteen years, she now finds herself jaded and
unfeeling to the atrocities that she has had to witness every day.
When rookie Detective Nat Petrov lands her dream
assignment, to work with the best Detective in Norfolk, she is thrown headfirst into The
Reaper’s perverse sense of justice. The Detectives race against the clock as body after body
turns up with the signature Grim Reaper tarot card, each life ended in a way specifically
designed for the individual victim. Will the detectives be able to catch a twisted serial killer
before time runs out or will The Reaper exact revenge in a way more personal than anyone
could have ever fathomed?
Michael watched with a sense of foreboding as the masked
figure in the black cloak stood looking down at the various items on the table, fear of the
unknown beginning to take hold of him. A thousand thoughts and images ran through his
mind as he tried to work out the reason for why he was there on that table, but as hard as
he tried, he couldn’t come up with a single explanation for his circumstances. He tried to
figure out who his captor might be, but the only name he could come up with was the Grim
Reaper, because that’s what his captor looked like. The Reaper came back and held a card in
front of his face with its left hand. It was a three-by-five-inch tarot card, and on it was a
picture of the Grim Reaper. Michael felt the color drain from his face. The Reaper pulled the
card away and with its right hand, held up a laminated newspaper clipping for him to read. Michael Fitzpatrick received a six-month
sentence for the beating death of his then-girlfriend’s six-year-old son. Questions on the
mishandling of evidence dropping the charges from murder to child abuse.
His stomach dropped. “I did my time for that,” he said, his
voice shaking with dread. Out of nowhere, his captor’s fist came swinging down hitting him
square on his nose. The sound of his nose breaking resonated loudly in his ears. Instantly his
eyes began to water, and blood began flowing down his throat. He tried to turn his head so
he could spit the coppery-tasting substance from his mouth, but the Reaper held him still,
forcing Michael to swallow the thick fluid. The Reaper slowly shook its head from side to
side. Fear of repercussions should he move kept him still and motionless even when his
captor went back to the table again.
When the Reaper returned, he was shown another news
article. This one detailing all fifty-three injuries the boy had sustained by him during a
drunken rage. While he read the article, tears spilled from Michael’s eyes in earnest as he
finally realized that he wasn’t going to get out of this room alive. Again, his captor went to
the table, returned the news article, and came back to look down at him with its unblinking
gaze. It held the Grim Reaper’s card up to him again, only this time it showed him the
message that had been written on the back of the card. Swallowing several times to clear
the blood from throat, Michael read it out loud, “Fear not those who are innocent, for I shall
cause you no harm. I seek out only those who have yet to pay for their sins. Fear me if you
have no remorse, for I am the Reaper, and I will ensure that you reap what you have sewn.”
Michael looked from the card to the Reaper, tears flowing down his cheeks as he begged for
his life. “Please, no. I did my time for that. I would never have hurt him if I hadn’t been
drunk. It wasn’t my fault. She knows how I am when I get drunk. She should have kept him
quiet and away from me.”
The Reaper placed the card on Michael’s chest and shook
its head. With its other hand, the Reaper slowly lifted up a ball-peen hammer, holding it in
front of Michael’s face so he could see it, the intention clear.
“Please, no. I’m sorry,” Michael sobbed, frantically pulling
against his bindings as panic began to take over.
The Reaper slowly turned and walked around the table until
it was standing next to Michael’s right knee. As the hammer was steadily raised over its
head, the Reaper looked down into Michael’s eyes.
He didn’t feel the wetness pooling around him as his
bladder released nor the pain of the restraints as they cut into his already raw and bleeding
skin. The only thing he felt was pure unadulterated terror. “No, please! You don’t
The Reaper tilted its head, the hammer still hovering high in
the air over Michael’s knee and placed one black-gloved finger to its mouth. Shhh. It said as the hammer came down hard, shattering his kneecap.
Born in New England, Rae
Scott spent her childhood hiking, fishing, and enjoying the outdoor life inherent to the area.
This love of adventure led her to travel the world in a quest to discover new and exciting
things, feeding her thirst for knowledge and creativity that she now draws on for her books.
In between her travels, she can be found on her porch in Virginia with her family coming up
with new ideas as to where their next adventure will take them.
“I swear to God it was Willoughby. My brother stood not
two feet away from me, called me Lina to my face, and pulled Harley into his arms, saying he
was sorry, sobbing, and calling him his boy.”
An apparition in Sydney’s fruit and vegetable market leaves
the mother of one of Clyde’s best friends believing that her brother, hanged for murder
twenty-four years beforehand, has somehow risen from the grave and confronted
She is adamant that the visitation was real and visits Clyde
asking him to investigate the mass murder her brother was supposed to have committed.
She believes he was either set up or was covering for someone else’s crime.
Could this vision have been a folie à deux, a delusional
vision shared by both mother and son? As Clyde investigates, clues lead him to one of
Australia’s most famous silent screen actors, a man who, together with his murdered father,
becomes intrinsically linked to the mass murder, known as The Killing at Candal
Wheels within wheels, lies, extortion, and coverups lead
Clyde to a bloody confrontation on a deserted beach in the tropics. This time, it’s not only
his own life at risk but also that of one of his most valued and closest friends.
I was in my “puzzle room” when I heard Harry’s cooee from
the front door.
I called it a puzzle room because that’s the phrase we’d
used during the war to describe a safe place where we could discuss plans, devise strategies,
and toss ideas around. Mine was my bathroom, lying on my back in the bath with the lights
out and the shower falling onto my legs, the only illumination from the flickering blue light
of the gas geyser. After eating dinner, I’d listened to Mama Lena’s Arrivederci Roma
radio programme then had got stuck into some research on Elwood Pearson.
I could hear Harry clunking around in the hallway. “I’m in
here!” I called out.
“I know!” he responded, then appeared in the doorway,
totally naked except for the black bow tie around his neck and wearing his socks and
“What happened to the master of the house looking for the
lazy footman?” I said, laughing because I could see he was more than three sheets to the
He climbed into the tub and sat between my legs, water
pouring over his head, grinning at me stupidly. “I changed it,” he said. “It’s master of the
house, pissed out of his skull, ravishing the naked footman in the bathtub.”
“Come here,” I said, and pulled his head down for a kiss.
“You’re not that drunk,” I added, my hand having found no evidence of brewer’s
“Shh!” he said, biting my chin. “Mark’s crashed in the spare
“Too many cocktails, both of us. We caught a taxi and he
helped me up the stairs.”
“So, no noise then?”
“Nup,” he said, then pulled my legs around his hips and let
forth a loud wolf-howl.
I laughed then pushed my wet washcloth between his
teeth, which he spat out then attacked my mouth with his own. I really hoped Mark had
closed his bedroom door. When Harry was in this sort of mood, he could make a lot of noise
… not that I was complaining.
About the Author
From the outback to the
After a thirty-year career as a
professional opera singer, performing as a soloist in opera houses and in concert halls all
over the world, I took up a position as lecturer in music in Australia in 1999, at the Central
Queensland Conservatorium of Music, which is now part of CQUniversity.
Brought up in Australia,
between the bush and the beaches of the Eastern suburbs, I retired in 2015 and now live in
the tropics, writing, gardening, and finally finding time to enjoy life and to re-establish a
connection with who I am after a very busy career on the stage and as an
Mac and Tony thought the hard part was over. They’re
together openly as a couple, sharing a home and building a life with their two kids. It’s what
they dreamed of. But daughter Anna struggles with the changes, Ben
is haunted by old secrets, Mac’s job in Homicide still demands too much of his time, and
Tony is caught in the middle. It’ll take everything these men can give to create a viable
balance between home and work. Especially when life refuses to give them a break.
(This is a lightly edited rerelease of the 2012 original
About the Author
I get asked about my name a
lot. It’s not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old
nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to
admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write
M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have
Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)
After decades of writing just
for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first
professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized
backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon
bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact.
A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.com/books/.
Good vs. evil, angels vs.
demons, and rednecks running wild across the Middle East. What could go
What happens when a hunky demon visits you and
commands you to break all ten commandments? Or when a handsome angel orders you to
do the opposite? And what if you’re Bobby Ray, and you’ve already broken nine of the ten,
and thou shalt not kill is a close brick away, and the demon has tacked on a cushy afterlife in
hell as a reward? Decisions, decisions. And poor Bobby Ray has never been good at one
decision, let alone multiple ones. Broke, divorced, and pretty darn miserable, does he do
what’s right or what’s easy?
In this darkly comical romantic adventure, Bobby Ray, with
the help of numerous friends and just as many enemies, one being his ex-husband, travels
from Georgia to Israel and ultimately across Egypt and the Gaza Strip in search of the one
clue that will hopefully save them all, and possibly the entire world. Will good win out over
evil, love over hate? Or will Bobby Ray ultimately break the universe?
Good vs. evil, angels vs. demons, and rednecks running wild
across the Middle East. What could go wrong?
As I stood over the sleeping man, brick in hand, heart
beating a rhythmic drum solo in my chest, a brilliant flash of white light punched me straight
in the face. “What the f –”
“Bobby Ray!” boomed the voice, seemingly from all
directions. “Though shalt not kill!”
“Well, not yet, anyway,” I replied. “Wait just another
minute.” I tried swatting the blinding light away, but, well, it was light, so swatting didn’t
seem to do the trick. “That thing got a switch?” I didn’t know who I was talking to. I guessed
this was all my subconscious, some sort of guilt trip I was laying on myself for killing my
neighbor Tom. Or trying to. But with my eyes watering something awful, I was having a bit of
a hard time of it. Maybe I shouldn’t have had the bourbon beforehand. Or finished the
bottle. And smoked a joint to calm my nerves. But see, I liked Tom. Right on up until I found
out that he was sleeping with my husband, I liked him. Or, okay, to be fair, my ex-husband,
“Bobby Ray!” again boomed the voice, the floor beneath
me suddenly rolling like a wave. “Though shalt not kill!”
Funnily enough, the voice didn’t sound like mine. I’d have
thought my subconscious would’ve sounded something like me, but nope, not even close.
Also, Tom wasn’t moving. And the voice was fucking loud, and the waving floor was still
waving, and the bed was waving right along with it, but Tom was still lying there snoring.
Ambien, I figured. Had to be. In any case, I set the brick down next to him and wiped my
eyes with my sleeve. Soon as I did that, the lights went out in Georgia — Georgia being where
we were at the time and not simply the lyrics to a catchy old song.
“What the f –” I repeated as my eyes focused on the
apparent source of the booming voice. “Shouldn’t have mixed the bourbon and the pot.” I
wiped at my peepers again. And again. Only, the angel floating in front of me with his
massive wings spread out and a sort of pale glow all around him wasn’t blinking away as I
had hoped. “I bet that pot was laced with something. Shouldn’t have bought it off that
stranger at the bar. That was my first mistake.”
The angel grinned. As grins went, this was one was quite,
well, angelic. Duh, I suppose. “It doesn’t even break the top one hundred mistakes you’ve
made, Bobby Ray.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, it hasn’t been a good year for me.”
Understatement. Of the gross variety.
The angel folded his wings and stepped a foot closer to me
as just his toes touched the ground. He was tall, almost seven feet, if I had to take a guess.
Handsome as all get out, too. Smooth as alabaster and naked as the day he was born.
Though I was guessing he hadn’t ever really been born, what with him being an angel and
all. Either that or I was hallucinating. Or I was dreaming. I was betting on one of those last
“It hasn’t been a good life, either, Bobby Ray.”
And still, I shrugged. Or maybe I hadn’t stopped from the
previous time. “I blame my parents for that.”
The angel shook his head. “Honor thy father and thy
mother, Bobby Ray.”
I snickered. “Have you met the Beauregards? Flies keep
their distance. Too shitty, even for them.” I glanced at the brick. I figured I could take this guy
if need be. He didn’t look like the fighting type. Flying, sure, but not fighting.
“The Lord said to honor thy father and thy mother, Bobby
Ray, and so honor you must.”
I sighed. Tom was still fast asleep. Probably dreaming of
Matty, my ex.
“Seems kind of a waste of time to honor the likes of them,”
I told the angel. “They wouldn’t even appreciate it. Don’t much like that I’m gay, but
honoring sounds sorts of pansy-ass. Their words, not mine.” And those were nice words in
comparison to their usual words.
The angel moved a step closer, a step closer still, tippy toes
dragging the floor. He was now standing directly in front of me — or maybe it was closer to
hovering, really — leaning down, in. I stared into eyes blue as the heavens. Go figure. It was,
in fact, a bit like looking into eternity itself. “Your parents sound delightful, but be that as it
I held up my hand. “I get it, I get it. Honor. Don’t kill. Blah,
blah, blah.” I squinted up at him. “You visit everyone who’s about to break a commandment?
Because I’d have thought we would’ve met a hell of a lot sooner than now.”
The angel straightened his back and moved an inch in
reserve. Up until that moment, he looked, I don’t know, sort of at peace. All angelic looking.
Like he didn’t have a care in the world. But just for a second, I could’ve sworn I saw a flinch
of pain. Maybe it was my choice of words. Or word. Hell, I mean.
“I –” he said, but suddenly got cut off.
No, there wasn’t a bright light again. I was glad for that. My
eyes were still watering from the first one. This time, there was a puff of foul-smelling
smoke, very fire and brimstone stinking. I mean, I guess. Not like I’d smelled brimstone
before. Not that I even knew what brimstone was. In any case, I coughed, rubbed at my nose
as the black cloud disappeared to reveal what I assumed was a demon. I mean, the guy was
red all over and had horns protruding a good foot from his temples, so demon was probably
a good guess, as guesses went. Plus, I already had an angel, so a demon seemed logical. As
much as anything did right about then, I mean.
About the Author
Rob Rosen is the author of
the award-winning novels Sparkle:The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern
Fried, Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, Fate, Midlife Crisis,
Fierce, And God Belched, Mary, Queen of Scotch, Ted of the d’Urbervilles, Sort of Dead, and
Genie in a Vodka Bottle, and editor of the
anthologies Lust in Time, Men of the Manor,
Best Gay Erotica 2015, and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and
You’re tellin’ me that if this
shiter buys St Stephen’s, there’s a chance we won’t have access to the graveyard! Over my
The Refuge Bid is a gay mystery and relationships tale set in
fictional Tunhead, northeast England.
Is there a link between a woman who has been missing for
ten years and the people bidding to buy and redevelop Tunhead’s decommissioned church
and graveyard? Can the County Durham Quad and their special friend, Nick, find out and
stop the sale—one grave is special—and can they raise the cash to counter the bids with an
offer of their own? Success involves their drawing on Tunhead’s quarrying industry past and
on employing their very different skills but, also, they must acknowledge what it is that they
really want from their unusual liaison.
Trigger Warning: references to a teenager’s suicide
and to conversion therapy.
Check out the other books in the County Durham Quad series:
Mike Angells is an openly gay CID inspector based in North East England. There are three
men in his life: Raith Balan, Phil Roberts and Ross Whitburn. Mike is particularly close to
Anxiety, but mounting relief. Those were his feelings as he
stamped down the final clod of earth and smoothed the surface. Some stones and bricks
would lie around but who would pay attention to a scattering of those in a place like this?
You wouldn’t give them a second glance. So, he’d done it! Literally buried a problem and no
one would be any the wiser.
And nobody was until, years later, a group of men from
County Durham started digging up the past.
The Beck on the Wear Arts Centre, known for ease and for
effect as BOTWAC, and the brainchild of Ross Whitburn-Howe. Ross lay in bed and mentally
ticked off items linked to BOTWAC’s Easter re-opening. People could visit all year round if
they wished to, but the Centre’s location at the end of the lane that wound steeply up to
Tunhead in the Durham hills was an icy deterrent during winter. Come spring, though,
Tunhead shook off winter’s cold discomforts and looked and sounded full of life—even
where it harboured death, for Tunhead had a church with a graveyard.
It might be asked why a tiny village that had never been
home to more than a hundred people at any one time should boast a church, let alone a
graveyard. The church was a gift from the family who, two centuries past, had owned the
limestone quarry that led to Tunhead’s existence. The workers should have Sundays off,
provided they prayed and listened to sermons instead, and as the nearest church was a ten
mile walk from the row of terraced houses, it seemed sensible to offer an alternative on-site
as it were. So, called St Stephen’s after the patron saint of stone masons, the church was
used by the quarrymen, their families, the tenant farmers and farmhands who worked the
fields adjoining the lane and by the old landowners themselves. St Steve’s was still
consecrated although, now, disused. That didn’t mean that the graveyard had become a
dismal ruin. Like the rest of the village, it looked neat and tidy, spring flower-full and ready to
“Yes!” thought Ross. “Everything sorted. Publicity placed
with the tourist board, leaflets ready for distribution, programme of events arranged, social
media angles covered, and bookings already coming in for the workshops and for August’s
week-long pottery festival.”
The man who lay beside him stirred, opened and rubbed
two sleepy eyes and said, “Mornin’, Gorgeous.”
“Morning, Mike.” Ross smiled and returned the squeeze
that followed the greeting. He snuggled down to enjoy a few more minutes’ warmth in bed.
A hair dryer whirred into action from the bedroom across the landing.
“That Raith doin’ his hair? Better get a move on before he’s
down and nickin’ me breakfast sausages.” Mike got up, pulled on a pair of boxers and went
The ‘Raith’ was Raith Rodrigo Roberts-Balaño—known as
Raith Balan: sculptor of erotic art and wearer of exotic clothing. The ‘Roberts’ section of his
name was the surname of his husband, Phil, who in comparison with Raith was extremely
conventional, and a surgeon. Phil was breakfasting on yoghurt, fruit and wholemeal bread
when Mike entered the sunny kitchen.
“Mornin’ Phil.” A kiss on the cheek and a hug around the
shoulders. Returned with a grin and a “Morning.”
And so, Ross, Mike, Raith and Phil looked forward to March
with the optimism produced by mutual affection and the promise of spring.
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