Giveaway: Boy Meets Boy Meets Boy by JL Merrow and Josephine Myles

BMBMBBoy Meets Boy Meets Boy

A Mad About the Brit Boys anthology by JL Merrow and Josephine Myles

Release date: 15th March 2016

Buy link: Amazon

Word Count: 15,000

Price: $0.99/£0.99/€0.99

Cover art: Lou Harper

Other titles in the series:

Mad About the Boys

Boys Who Go Bump in the Night

Help, My Boyfriend’s an Alien!

Truly, Madly, Boys (coming May 2016)

Giveaway: Jo and Jamie are gifting one lucky commenter with a book from each of their backlists.

photo credit: Three Investigators (CC) via photopin (license)

Anthology blurb:

Good men come in threes!

Three’s definitely not a crowd in this trio of contemporary erotic male/male/male ménages with a very British flavour from gay romance favourites Josephine Myles and JL Merrow.

Let your fantasies run wild as you take in the fit bodies down at the gym, or enjoy a very special birthday present from a loving partner. And even a trip to the dentist can be enjoyable with the right sort of distraction!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

Anthology introduction by Josephine Myles (taken from the ebook):

I do love a good threesome.

Err, a fictional one, that is. Because there is such a thing as too much information, and I don’t know about you, but I sometimes I prefer not to know what people get up to behind closed doors.

Okay, so that’s a lie. I’m a writer and we’re notoriously nosy people. I’ve always been one for peeping into people’s houses—winter evenings are perfect for this, especially in December as most folk like to keep the curtains open to show off their Christmas trees. However, I’ve only once been rewarded by spying a couple shagging, and I suspect they were exhibitionists anyway as they were doing it by a busy pub.

But I digress; this is less about my voyeuristic tendencies and more about my love of a fictional ménage. Just what is it that appeals about a good threesome? Okay, so there’s all the smutty possibilities that suddenly become apparent when you add in a few extra limbs, appendages and places to shove said appendages—but it’s not all about the sex. To be honest, writing ménage sex scenes tends to give me a headache what with having to make it clear to the reader who is doing what to whom, and it’s especially complicated when all three participants are the same gender.

What makes a threesome really interesting to me as a writer is thinking through all the emotional entanglements—ones that can be brought to the surface even by a seemingly casual encounter, such as the one in my story for this anthology. Indeed, I so enjoyed the process of writing this story that I ventured into writing a full length ménage romance, which allowed me to explore the dynamics of a three-way relationship in more depth.

While Jamie has never written a novel length ménage romance, I’ve always loved reading her m/m/m shorts. Incidentally, two of the stories here were first published in an anthology of threesome shorts from Dreamspinner Press back in 2010, and that was our first ever joint anthology credit. I still remember how privileged I felt to have a story in the same anthology as her! And although we’ve had many joint anthology projects since, she’s still a writer I’m thrilled to team up with, honest guvnor (I have to put that in or Jamie will punish me! [Jamie: This is true])

We might not write many short stories these days, but we haven’t run out of old ones to republish just yet, so keep your eyes peeled for at least one more Mad About the Brit Boys anthology.

Happy reading,

Jo x

Josephine Myles, February 2016

Individual story blurbs:

Kit Bag by JL Merrow

Working late at the gym one night, Kit’s delighted when two of his fantasies made flesh come in for a workout. The guys he’s dubbed Black Muscle Vest and Grey Sweats are tall, gorgeous and insanely built, and Kit can hardly take his eyes off their glistening, pumped-up muscles.

But he’s not the only one who’s been dreaming of a little hot and sweaty man-on-man-on-man action. Harry and Sven are only too happy to make Kit’s fantasy a reality in the changing room—and Kit’s going to get a workout of his own he’ll never forget!

Unwrapped: The Birthday Gift by Josephine Myles

All Dave wants for his birthday is a threesome, and his devoted boyfriend Mark is keen to oblige. Enter Pedro, the mysterious stranger they pick up from the pub. Taking him home with them promises a scorching encounter… if only Dave can deal with his nerves first!

Getting a Filling by JL Merrow

Ivo’s terrified of going to the dentist, even with his lover, Colin, there for moral support. But when the dentist turns out to be gorgeous—and gay—fear turns to flirtation. The next time Ivo ends up in the dentist’s chair it’s a lot more fun, as the support Colin and Ted give him is very immoral indeed.

Author bios

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and now has over ten novels and novellas under her belt. Her novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the ebook creation process to someone else. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and a soon-to-be toddler.

Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.author

Twitter: @JosephineMyles

Excerpt from Getting a Filling by JL Merrow

“You,” Colin said decisively, prodding Ivo painfully in the ribs, “are the world’s biggest wuss.”

Ivo glared at his lover. “Excuse me? I think you’ll find, actually, I’m being extremely brave here. I’m not trembling in fright at home, pretending it’s all going to go away. Oh, no. I’m here. Standing tall—”

“Sitting on a comfy chair, actually.”

“—and facing up to my fears. I think you’ll find that’s the very definition of bravery.”

Colin made an annoying sort of tsk sound with his tongue. “And I think you’ll find that most grown men in your situation would not call this anything even remotely like bravery. Especially seeing as you dragged me along to hold your hand. You’re not marching into battle, Ivo. You’re not about to have experimental brain surgery. You’re not even going bloody bungee jumping. You’re at the dentist’s! For a check-up. How terrifying can it be?”

Ivo was wounded. “I had a bad experience at the dentist’s when I was little, I’ll have you know. It scarred me for life.” He shuddered at the memory. “You never saw the dentist I used to have to go to. His surgery was in a big old house like the one in the Amityville horror films.”

“A perfectly ordinary terraced house in the High Street, no doubt.”

“Well, it looked scary enough when I was a kid. All Masonic patterned tiles and Gothic windows. And the dentist was an absolute ringer for Vincent Price. It was bloody terrifying, seeing him looming over you with a drill.”

“Well, it should have taught you not to eat so many sweeties, then, shouldn’t it?” Colin said with the smug air of one blessed with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude to sugar and naturally strong teeth. “If it wasn’t for your chocolate addiction, we wouldn’t even be here. I’ve never had to have a filling in my life.”

“Which is why there’s nothing intrinsically manly about you being so bloody blasé about trips to the dentist. You’ve never had reason to be scared.” A shiver ran through Ivo’s frame. “All the times I had gas at the dentist’s, feeling that horrible taste in my mouth and wondering if I’d ever wake up…”

“You can’t feel a taste, Ivo,” Colin put in dismissively, picking up a battered copy of Reader’s Digest apparently for the sole purpose of dropping it again with a shudder.

“Maybe I’m synaesthetic,” Ivo muttered sulkily. “Just because you haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean it isn’t a perfectly valid—”

“Would you like to come in now, Mr Eccles?” The nurse smiled around the waiting room door. Ivo felt a sudden flash of loathing for her, with her starched white uniform and her perfect nails and her friendly manner. He took a deep breath. No. The nurse was not the enemy.

Merely a collaborator. Ivo wondered what she’d look like with that artfully highlighted hair shorn off and a badge of shame hung around her neck reading Dentist Lover.

“Mr Eccles?”

Scrambling to his feet, Ivo squared his shoulders. He might be heading towards unimaginable terror and suffering, but by God he’d show some good old-fashioned British backbone. Unfortunately, his voice didn’t seem to be playing along. It came out in a bit of a squeak. “You’re coming with me, right, Colin?”

Colin sighed. “If I have to.”

As Ivo walked into the surgery, the smell hit him. A mix of antiseptic and that horrid pink stuff they made you rinse your mouth out with after they’d finished their sadistic little round of torture. And a faint whiff of mint. Uniquely dentist, it transported Ivo back to his childhood and his mother’s harassed voice, promising him a whole box of Smarties if he’d only, please, just try to be good at the dentist’s this time.

“Ivo, you’re hurting my hand,” Colin hissed in his ear. Ivo let go hurriedly.

And then he looked at the dentist, and all his anxiety seemed to drain away. Right along with most of the blood in the upper portions of his body. It seemed to be heading south so fast Ivo was vaguely surprised he didn’t keel straight over on the floor, leaving just his dick standing up and waving enthusiastically. The dentist was absolutely bloody gorgeous. Well, what could be seen of him was, at any rate. Green eyes twinkled above his surgical mask, and dark, almost black curls poked out from under his cap. The whole effect was Pan, gone middle-class professional. Ivo found himself wondering if there might be two tiny horns nestling in those curls under the cap. And as for the rest of him… His tight white tunic (and how come Ivo had never realised just how sexy a tunic could be?) seemed to strain to contain his muscular chest, and his trousers clung lovingly to rock-hard thighs.

Ivo heard Colin’s sharp intake of breath and knew his lover was just as affected by the sight as he was. It was one of the many reasons he felt so lucky having Colin; they had very similar tastes in men.

“Ah, Mr Eccles? If you’d like to take a seat.” The dentist waved politely at the chair, which looked more like a couch in its present semi-reclined state. Really, you could get up to all sorts of things in a chair like that.

“Ivo,” Ivo told him as he moved forward, drawn by the lure of that mellow voice. “Please, call me Ivo.”

Christmas Cheer: Giveaway Not Every Time by Alexa Milne

Leave a comment here to enter the draw for a copy of Alexa’s Christmas story. The giveaway will close on 26th December 2015 at 9am, GMT.

Christmas Angels

My mother introduced me to the film, It’s a wonderful Life before I reached double figures and I still love it. The story of George Bailey, an ordinary man who does more good than he realises, is so life affirming. George is helped by Clarence, the angel, who earns his wings by the end of the film. More recently, I’ve become a fan of another angel, Castiel, from Supernatural, who discovered what it was like to be human, and, maybe, depending on your point of view, what it’s like to fall in love.

I have two angels that alternate every year to put on my tree. They are not exactly the usual sort. This year is Taz’s turn.

angel 2 angel1

In my story, Not Every Time, Jack thinks of Raz as his guardian angel because he saved his life on the first day they met, and they’ve been best friends ever since. But will Jack ever realise the love he’s been looking for is right in front of him, and is there more to Raz?

For now, the reader can decide, but there will be a sequel from Jack’s point of view next year.

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Blurb: What would you give up for love?

Raziel Slade and Jack Hastings have been best friends since Raz saved Jack’s life twelve years ago. Jack has spent years searching for the perfect woman with the help of his wingman, Raz, the man he thinks of as his guardian angel. At a company Christmas party, the world Jack thought he knew turns on its axis, and feelings he didn’t know he had punch him right between the eyes. Can Jack learn to see his friend in an entirely different way?

Openly gay, Raz loves his best friend and has given up more than Jack will ever know to be with him, but he’s never dared to tell Jack how he truly feels, or to reveal his true identity. For twelve years, he has waited in the wings.

Now, with Jack’s sudden epiphany, can these two best friends work out if they have a future together?

Buylinks: Pride Publishing | Amazon

Alexa MilneAuthor Bio

Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.

Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.

She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

 

Christmas Cheer: Finding Myles by Lisa Worrall

Today’s Christmas Cheer is Finding Myles by Lisa Worrall. Leave a comment here to enter the draw to win an ebook copy. The draw will be picked on 15th December at 9am, GMT.
FindingMyles

Finding Myles by Lisa Worrall

Buylinks: Amazon | All Romance

Blurb: A horrifying accident on their way to their wedding sends Ed and Myles’s life into a tailspin. Then Myles disappears, leaving Ed with instructions to move on and find someone else. But Ed has other ideas about what’s best for him and begins an arduous search to find his love.

Two days before Christmas, he finally has a concrete lead and his search is over. But can Ed convince Myles that the best thing for both of them is to be together?

Excerpt:

Prologue
February

The hospital parking lot was chaos, but Ed managed to squeeze his car into a tiny space. He also resisted the urge to give the finger to the guy in the Mercedes currently making assertions about Ed’s parentage. Ed turned off the engine and opened the door. Maybe if the guy had had a few less cheeseburgers for lunch, he would’ve been able to take advantage of the space, too. Although being skinny had been the bane of Ed’s life since he hit puberty, sometimes it wasn’t a bad thing. Not needing a lot of room to get out of the car in a confined space being a case in point. He effortlessly slid out of the vehicle and then pressed the button on the key-fob to activate the auto-locking.
Ed checked his watch as he strode toward the main building, and smiled. He’d made surprisingly good time considering the traffic, which was good, because Myles hated it when he was late. But punctuality had been a trait Myles possessed before the accident. It wasn’t one of the less endearing peccadilloes he’d developed in the three months since they’d been broad-sided by a drunk driver—on their wedding day.
His feet knew the route. They should, he’d been making it twice a day, every day since he’d been released from the hospital’s care a few days after the accident. He paused at the bank of elevators and pressed the call button, shifting his weight restlessly from one foot to the other while he waited. When the doors opened, he stepped inside and punched the number for the floor where Myles’s private room was located. His parents came from ‘old’ New York money and were more than happy to make sure everyone knew it. The doors closed slowly and a disembodied voice indicated they were going up. Ed sighed at the information, as he usually did, and leaned against the handrail running around the faux granite walls. He knew the voice was to assist people with special needs, but the monotone grated on his nerves. Whatever they were paying the speaker, it clearly wasn’t enough.
Ed hoped Myles’s spirits were as good today as when he’d visited yesterday. His mood swings had been of catastrophic proportions since the accident. The doctors had warned them that this may happen, but Ed had to admit seeing Myles behave so out of character had been difficult, to say the least. Myles was a gentle soul. It had been one of the things that had attracted Ed in the first place. Well, that and the shaggy mop of blond hair, mischievous blue eyes, and wide smile. Ed’s gut tightened. He only wished he could convince Myles that even now, when Ed looked at him, nothing had changed. His mind unwillingly led him to the accident. What he could remember anyway.
The day had started exactly how the best day of their lives should start, feeling as though they were floating along in a huge bubble of excitement. Ed, perpetual pessimist, had been waiting for something to go wrong—but Myles had talked him down off the ledge every time. He’d refused to allow anything, even Ed’s paranoia, to mar their day. Every time Ed had opened his mouth to voice a concern, Myles had simply stolen the words with a kiss and Ed’s racing heart had quieted once more.
Ed had wanted separate cars to begin with, but Myles had insisted they travel together to the hotel where the wedding was being held. He’d said he didn’t want there to be more than a breath between them that day. If they were starting out on life’s biggest journey together, then they should be exactly that—together. Ed had acquiesced rather quickly. How could he not after that declaration? In fact, if he recalled correctly, he’d jumped on Myles like a man possessed and proved you could actually suck a man’s brains out through his dick and leave him a confused, gibbering wreck.
The town car had only been a couple of streets from the wedding venue when they were hit. Their driver took the brunt of the impact and was killed instantly when the car flipped over a couple of times and landed on its side. Ed couldn’t remember much of what happened, but apparently Myles had thrown himself on top of Ed and protected him as much as he could. The fire department had gotten Ed out pretty fast, but when they’d gone back for Myles, the engine was on fire. The one thing that had been imprinted on Ed’s brain that day was the sight of Myles’s arm and hair alight, and the sound of his screams when the firefighter extinguished the flames.
“Is this your floor, man?”
Ed was jolted from his reverie by a gruff voice and he looked up at the scruffy teen holding the door open. “I’m sorry?” He had been so lost in his own thoughts he hadn’t even noticed the young man get on.
“Is this your floor?”
“Yes,” Ed said, quickly gathering his wits and stepping off the elevator. “Thanks. Must’ve been miles away.”
“I get that,” the teen replied soberly and gave Ed a nod when the elevator doors slid closed.
Ed hummed to himself as he strode down the hall, his sneakers squeaking on the highly buffed hospital floor. He waved at the nurse behind the desk and she smiled in return. Not that he recognized her, but they’d changed so often over the last three months it was a wonder he’d not gotten whiplash. His stomach fluttered a little as he neared Myles’s room. He shook his head slowly. Was it stupid that, even after all this time, the thought of seeing Myles gave him butterflies? Ed pushed open the door, his greeting already half way out of his mouth.
“Hey, ba—” The words stilled on his tongue.
The room was empty. The bed had been stripped.
Myles was gone.

 

 

Christmas Cheer: Giveaway of Magic & Mistletoe by Annabelle Jacobs

Day 4 of Christmas Cheer is Magic & Mistletoe by the lovely Annabelle Jacobs.

Leave a comment here to enter the draw to win an ebook copy of Mistletoe & Magic. Draw will picked at 14th December at 9am, GMT.

Buylinks: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Christmas is Harry’s favourite time of the year, but it looks like he’ll be spending it alone. When it comes to the men he fancies, his luck is non-existent. Harry’s nerves always get the better of him—especially when he tries to talk to Andrew, the hot guy downstairs.

Everything changes when Harry meets a mysterious girl in the woods who professes to be a witch. He dismisses her claims, but when odd things start happening to him, he has to reconsider.

Andrew was attracted to Harry from the start, but their awkward encounters put him off. All goes well until Harry opens his mouth—and ruins it with his stupidity and silly comments. When Harry suddenly becomes more relaxed and they have a proper conversation, Andrew realises his first impression was wrong. As the days count down to December 25, they get swept up in the Christmas spirit and their relationship moves faster than either expected.

A little winter magic might have been the push they needed, but Harry worries that when it wears off, he’ll no longer be the man Andrew wants.

 

Christmas Cheer: Giveaway of What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

Day 3 of Christmas Cheer on UK Gay Romance and we have What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway for What Happens at Christmas. To be drawn on 13th December at 9am GMT.

Buylinks: Amazon

 Blurb: When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

Excerpt:

Justin’s phone chimed with a text, interrupting Sean’s train of thought.

Justin picked up his phone to read the message. “Ugh.” He put the phone back down without typing a reply and ran his hands through his hair.

“What’s up?”

Justin sighed. “It’s our work Christmas party next weekend. I’ve already got a ticket, and nearly everyone in the office goes, but it’s for partners as well. One of my co-workers, Jess, is bugging me to come, but I can’t face it. I bet Andy’s going to bring his new boyfriend. I know he’s a shit and I shouldn’t let him get to me, but the thought of him parading around with my replacement, and me being there on my own, isn’t very appealing.”

“Is it too late to find someone to take?”

“No, they don’t need final numbers till Monday.”

“Well, then. Take someone else and flirt like crazy in front of him. Show him you can do better and that you’ve already moved on.”

“But I’m not ready to date. It’s only been two weeks, and I’m still at the feeling-sorry-for-myself stage.”

“I’ll go with you,” Sean offered. “I could be your date. We could pretend we’ve got together and are a couple now.”

“Yeah?” Justin looked thoughtful. “Are you sure?”

Duh. It would hardly be much of a sacrifice to flirt with Justin all night. It would actually be a relief not to have to hide the way he felt for a change.

“Sure,” Sean replied. “I think I can manage to fake that I’m arse-over-tit infatuated with you. As long as it’s only for a few hours.”

“Gee, thanks.” Justin rolled his eyes. “You really know how to make an already-wounded ego feel better. But if you’re up for it, we should totally do it. Andy was always jealous of you before you went away. He saw you as competition because we lived together and were so close. I’d love to see his face when I walk in with you on my arm. I think he’ll hate it even if he’s moved on.”

“Okay.” Sean rubbed his hands together, excited at the prospect of getting to piss off Andy. “Let’s do it! Text your friend Jess back and tell her you’re in—with a hot date.”


Christmas Cheer: He’s Behind You by Rebecca Cohen

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He’s Behind You by Rebecca Cohen

The second of our Christmas cheer. Leave a comment to win a copy of He’s Behind You. The draw will be on 12th December at 9am GMT

Buylink: Dreamspinner | All Romance | Amazon

Blurb: A Treading the Boards Novella

It’s panto season for the Sarky Players, an amateur dramatics society based in Greenwich, South London. With the traditional Christmas play around the corner, it’s time to get ready for more larger than life performances—on and off stage.

While Craig Rosen is happy with his quiet life playing Warhammer and working in a university lab, a new colleague thinks he needs more excitement and drags Craig along to an audition for the Christmas pantomime, Aladdin.

Corporate lawyer Jason Carter accepted he’s gay a little later in life than most, but now divorced and in his late thirties, he’s ready to embrace who he really is. He can’t believe his luck when he runs into Craig at the audition and the cute younger man agrees to help him navigate his new life. There’s no doubting the attraction between Craig and Jason, but with Craig’s insecurities and Jason still finding his way, they’ll need to make sure they don’t veer off script.

Treading the Boards Series

Overly Dramatic

Summer Season

 Bio and Links:

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710

DSP author page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_462

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Cohen/e/B007UEFIXS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Excerpt:

Chapter One

THE LAB door banged open. Craig flinched and failed to maintain a grip on the bottle of buffer he was holding. He swore loudly as it hit the floor, smashed, and sent glass flying everywhere.

“Oh shit. Sorry, Craig,” said Stuart, the new postdoc who’d burst into the lab. “I’ll help you clear it up.”

Craig grabbed a roll of blue paper towels. “There’s a dustpan and brush under the sink.”

Stuart trotted off, and Craig removed his samples from the benchtop centrifuge and returned them to the fridge. The accident sorted his dilemma of whether he’d run one more gel before the weekend.

Stuart collected up the glass, and Craig mopped up the liquid. “Make sure you use the right bin or Kevin will kill you,” Craig said.

“Kevin?”

“Our research assistant. He’s on holiday this week, but you’ll meet him Monday, and trust me, you don’t want to risk Kevin’s ire by slightly disturbing his extraordinarily complicated system.”

Stuart threw away the last of the glass. “You ready? You’re still coming out, right?”

“Yeah, give me a minute to sort out my bench, and I’m good to go.”

Craig wiped down his bench and tidied away his pipettes, liking to leave everything just right to put him in the best frame of mind on Monday morning.

He’d originally hoped to use his experiment as an excuse not to go to the impromptu evening out Stuart had suggested, but now he had no reason or inclination to remain at work. Friday night in Central London was something he usually avoided, preferring to wind down from the week by playing one of the online games he followed or going somewhere a little farther out of the city center, somewhere the clientele were less likely to be of the rich-suited-knob variety.

Several other members of the lab stood chatting in the corridor as Craig and Stuart emerged. Craig zipped up his light jacket, looped his messenger bag across his chest, and awaited instructions. The lab often went out for drinks, but Trish, another of the experienced postdocs, had given up on trying to get Craig out on a regular basis. Unfortunately Stuart had been more insistent, and his gaydar was much better tuned than most.

“Where we going?”

“We thought Jerusalem,” Stuart said, herding their colleagues in the general direction of the exit.

“Which one’s that?”

“I’d think that working here you’d have known the local area better.”

Considering Craig had worked at the Medical Research Centre labs in Bloomsbury for over four years, Stuart had a point. “I studied in a different bit of London. But working for University College doesn’t make me want to rub shoulders with the undergrads during term time. Some of them don’t have an off switch.”

Stuart nudged him with his shoulder. “Well, aren’t you the gregarious one. Cheer up, Craig. It’s just a few beers. I’ve not asked for your firstborn or your Warhammer 40,000: Collector’s Edition Mini Rulebook.”

“Ha-bloody-ha. I’m perfectly happy, thank you.” Typical that Stuart was one of the cool geeks. He had picked up on Craig’s throwaway comments about Star Trek that had gone over everyone else’s head, and had already worked out Craig’s favorite places in Nerd-dom. “I just don’t know this bit of town.”

They headed down a set of steps to an underground bar called Jerusalem, which Craig supposed could’ve been a lot worse—it only vaguely reminded him of a bomb shelter. Stuart clapped him on the back. “My round.”

“No, let me. You won’t have been paid yet, and I know what it’s like to survive the gap between PhD and postdoc.”

Stuart shook his head. “No, I’m good. My partner’s not exactly short of cash, and he’s already at the bar.”

Craig looked at the bar. Stuart pointed out a blond guy, and Craig thought he was more than gorgeous, beautiful even. Stuart wasn’t exactly bad on the eye, and the two of them together would be striking. Craig blinked away the image of Stuart and his partner entwined. He really needed a boyfriend if his overactive imagination was providing him with flashes of his colleagues. “Oh, well, I’ll have a lager. Whatever’s on tap is fine.”

Trish grabbed Craig’s arm as Stuart went off to the bar. “We’ve got a table, but we’re short a seat. You’ll need to find a stool.”

She must have reapplied her perfume before leaving, because the strong waft that assaulted Craig made his eyes water. “Will do.”

Her ponytail swinging behind her, Trish dragged Katy, the newish PhD student, away with her to where the rest of the lab had bagged a table. Despite the bar being busy, Craig spotted a free stool a few tables away. A group of four had a spare seat, although they were using it as a bag stand. Craig pointed to it. “Would you mind if I took this?”

A young red-haired woman grabbed her bag and smiled. The guy sitting opposite her smirked, looked Craig up and down, and licked his lips. “Oh, for someone as adorable as you, I think we can allow it. It might cost you, though.”

“Si, stop teasing,” said the redhead with a sigh. “Sorry about him. One too many margaritas,” she said to Craig. “Please take it.”

Si winked at him, and Craig thought it best to avoid him for the rest of the evening. The guy had a cocky manner. He was attractive and knew it, with his shiny black hair and chiseled chin. The way he presented himself—designer suit and expensive haircut—made Craig think he wasn’t used to taking no for an answer. The sooner Craig legged it, the better.

“Thanks.”

Craig hurried away, but not before he heard the redhead say, “Si, can’t you behave for once? You don’t even know he’s gay.”

“Of course he is, Di. Geeky and gay. My favorite for a bit of fun—always so desperate.”

Craig tried not to let the words hurt, but it was hard to ignore the truth. He carried the stool over to the table, refusing to dwell on his pathetic love life. Even the geeks he’d dated had moved on to someone better, to guys who weren’t as socially awkward or boring as Craig, once the shine of his Warhammer status waned.

Stuart had arrived at the table with his boyfriend, who he introduced as Ryan, and Craig squeezed into the gap left between Trish and Stuart toward the end of the table.

Small talk was not one of his best skills, but he forced himself to make an effort. “So you’ve survived the first week. No plans to run screaming for the hills?”

“Can I reserve judgment until the end of the month? It’s taken most of the week to get access to the university computer systems and get my staff pass.”

“You’re doing well,” said Trish. “But you should double-check with Senate House that they’ve got your bank details right. They messed up mine, and I nearly couldn’t pay my rent that first month.”

Ryan laughed and nudged Stuart. “You’ll have to be extra nice to your landlord if that happens.”

“I told you I had a nonmonetary payment scheme worked out for emergencies, but you weren’t interested.” Stuart blew a raspberry at Ryan. “Apart from being rich, attractive, and normally a nice guy, I have no idea why I put up with you.”

Craig couldn’t help but be envious. Stuart had mentioned they hadn’t been together long, but a whirlwind romance had escalated into more. They made a lovely couple, and Craig wished he had someone waiting for him at home after a long day in the lab.

Before he knew it, they were ready for the fourth round. Stuart and Ryan were great company, so for once Craig wasn’t itching to go home. Ryan had even somehow managed to convince him to come along to an open audition at the amateur dramatics group they belonged to. Once Ryan learned Craig lived in Deptford, only a couple of stops away on the Docklands Light Railway, he wouldn’t let Craig refuse. Maybe it would be good for him to have a social life outside his computer and gaming meetups. He got to his feet at the call for the next round. “My turn.”

“You need a hand?” asked Trish.

“Nah, I’ll get a tray.”

The queue for the bar was several people deep, and Craig checked his phone while waiting to be served. He had a few game notifications and an offer from his credit card company, but nothing of any consequence. At least reading his e-mail meant he didn’t accidently make eye contact with anyone.

Once he’d been served, he realized he didn’t have room for all the drinks on the tray and would have to come back for his pint.

“I’ll keep an eye on it for you,” offered the guy standing next to him, who, Craig realized too late, was Si from the table where he’d got his stool. Si grinned.

Craig had a sudden thought that he should be wearing a red riding hood. “Er, thanks.”

“My pleasure.” Si winked at him.

Craig scurried away with the tray of drinks, intending to come back to grab his pint and return to the table again as fast as possible.

The bar had cleared a bit by the time he went to retrieve his pint. He hoped Si would have collected his own drink and pissed off back to his friends, but no such luck.

“There you are. I was beginning to think you weren’t coming back.”

Craig reached out to pick up his pint, but Si took hold of his arm. “I hope you aren’t rushing off.”

“I need to get back to my friends.”

“I’m sure they can cope for a little while without you.”

Craig tried to shrug off Si’s hand. “I need to go.”

“Oh, come on, we can have a little fun. What do you say to me letting you suck my cock?”

“What?” He aimed for outraged, but it came out more like a deranged squawk.

“You’re gagging for it. I can smell the desperation. I bet you can’t even remember the last time you got laid. Here I am, offering you a simply wonderful opportunity.”

Craig could tell Si was the wrong side of sober, and he tried to dislodge Si’s hand. “Let go of me.”

“Feisty!” Si swayed a little and grabbed Craig’s arm harder.

“Look, Dick For Brains, the guy’s not interested, so fuck off to whatever sewer you crawled out of.” A hand reached from behind Craig and pulled Si’s hand away. “Piss off and leave him alone.”

Craig turned to see a man—at best guess, in his late thirties with dark brown hair and a square jaw. He was dashing in a knight-in-shining-armor way, although dressed in a suit with his shirt collar open, rather than chain mail. Craig supposed he should be incensed another man thought he needed rescuing, but he was far too relieved to be upset.

Si scowled. “Who the fuck are you?”

“Someone with a black belt in judo who doesn’t like arseholes picking on people in bars.”

Si snorted. “Fancy a piece yourself, I bet. You can have the dorky thing. No loss.”

Craig watched Si stagger off before turning back to his savior. “Thanks.”

“Sorry. I wouldn’t normally butt in, but you looked like you needed a bit of support.”

“I’m not very good with conflict.” Craig reached out and claimed his pint. “He’d have got bored eventually, most people do, but I’m glad you helped.”

“I’m pretty sure he’ll find a willing body if he can stay standing long enough. He’s lucky he didn’t try it on with someone who’d take offense.”

“I am a bit offended. Strange men don’t usually assume I’ll suck their cock on demand.”

“I didn’t mean that. I mean some guys wouldn’t like being hit on by another man. They’d have punched him into next week.”

Craig didn’t think he’d have the balls to hit someone, but it wasn’t Si’s sex that had been the issue. “Being hit on was a problem, not him being a guy.”

“You are gay, then?”

Craig thought it an odd question to ask someone you didn’t know. He took a sip of his pint before answering. “Yes….”

“Sorry, you must think me a complete twat. I’m new to all this.”

“All this?”

The man chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck, an impossibly endearing action that had Craig’s imagination running away with itself. “Yeah. Let’s say I’m late to the game and still figuring out the rules.”

“I’m not sure I know the rules any better. In fact, you could say I’m pretty rubbish at most games that aren’t coded in C++.”

“Eh?”

“That was a bit geeky. It’s computer code. Well, one of them, and of course it depends on the game and the platform.”

“Right.”

A wave of awkwardness swept through him as Craig realized he’d geeked out in front of a rather sexy older man. Still, the encounter would keep his right hand busy for a while, as long as he left before he could embarrass himself further. “I should get back to my friends.”

“Yeah, I’d better go myself. I needed a beer after the day I’ve had.”

“Least it’s the weekend.” Craig gave him a quirky little smile that was meant to say good-bye but probably made him look like a worried poodle. “Thanks again for your help.”

“Anytime.”

 

Christmas Cheer: Giveaway for Nice and Snow by Clare London

UK Gay Romance is offering 31 days of Christmas Cheer.

Leave a comment here to enter the draw for a copy of Clare London’s Nice and Snow and the draw will be picked 11th December at 9am GMT.

Nice and Snow by Clare London

Buylinks: Amazon | All Romance | Smashwords

Blurb: Nuri’s expecting a quiet Christmas, driving his cab, doing some studying, enjoying good food and drink – and devoting some serious loving to boyfriend Eduardo. Occasionally he misses his homeland of Turkey, but he’s content to share the London celebrations with Eddy.

But what with Eddy’s distress over his new role at the local comedy club, interference in their love life from Nuri’s irrepressible brothers, a disturbing number of costumed Santas on the street, the dangerous slush on the roads, and then the portly, bearded man dressed in red, in need of an urgent cab ride…

It doesn’t look like things will be that quiet after all!

Review: Okay, I admit I’m biased, biased, biased, since I am the other writer in the With A Kick series. But I’ve loved Nuri and Eddy with a passion since I first saw them take life in A Twist and Two Balls and this Christmas story just brings on the fuzzy warm things. You want happiness and cheer with your Turkey? Read Nice and SnowSue Brown

Excerpt: 

Nuri reached out and brushed a flake off Eddy’s forehead. It looked like snow had already started to fall. Behind them, the light from the street lamps was blurred around the edges in the surrounding mist.

“When I was much younger,” Eddy said, “like in the story I recalled, both mother and father were at home for most of the year. They had local theatre gigs, and mother was singing at the Palladium.” Eddy smiled, apparently without a trace of sadness for other Christmases since. “I remember that Christmas very fondly, actually.”

“And you received your theatre?”

“The play one? Yes. It was marvellous! The backdrops were only cardboard, of course. But the puppets had many happy months in my own productions.” He flushed as if embarrassed he’d found such pleasure in a simple toy, but Nuri had only ever had simple toys, and he knew only too well what uncomplicated, genuine joy could be found in them, especially if you had good company.

“You were your own Steven Spielberg. Maybe one day you will make a movie!”

Eddy laughed out loud, scaring a dozy sparrow from the bare tree in next door’s front garden. “I doubt it, but you never know.” He peered at Nuri, a look of puzzled wonder on his face. “What is it about you, love? You make me feel I could do all these things.”

Nuri bent and kissed him, at the same time as turning the key in the lock. They stumbled, slightly breathless, into the warmer hallway. “So you will do the With A Kick party?” Nuri kissed him again, just for the hell of it, as Eddy fumbled again with his individual front door. “They need you, Eduardo. They want you.”

“Oh hell, of course I will.” Eddy chuckled. “But don’t expect it to restore my belief in Father Christmas. I lost that for good when I found flakes of tobacco from my father’s distinctive cigarettes on the Santa sack that year.”

Nuri chuckled with him. No time to mourn Eddy’s lost Christmases, or even to plan the ones they would have together in future. They were both firmly planted in the present. Their present.

“About those other talents?” he murmured into Eddy’s ear. He slid his tongue along the outer edge, then trailed it down Eddy’s neck, just where he knew Eddy was most sensitive. Adem was right: Eddy did wriggle a lot. But it was the kind of wriggle that got him closer to Nuri; that snuggled him up against Nuri’s side as if they should fit together as one. The kind of wriggle that allowed him to run a hand down between them and cup Nuri’s groin with bold possessiveness.

They tumbled arm-in-arm to the bedroom, comfortably familiar with each other but still shivering with the excitement of their desire. Will it always be like this? Nuri wondered. Would they become complacent with each other; grow bored of each other’s company; lose this breathless, gasping, consuming craving for each other?

Eddy clicked on the side lamp and spun around, breaking Nuri’s train of thought. His lips reached clumsily but eagerly for Nuri’s, laughter shaking his body, his hand back on the mound of Nuri’s cock, swollen inside his jeans. No. Nuri knew he’d never feel any differently towards Eddy, any less.

Complacency? Boredom? It was never going to happen.