Giveaway: A Valet’s Duty from H. Lewis-Foster

H Lewis-Foster has a passion for period drama. She’s offering a copy of her story, A Valet’s Duty if you leave a comment with your favourite period drama – book, film or TV?’ The giveaway closes on 3rd December at midday GMT.


It doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was here talking about my cricket novel Burning Ashes, and now here I am again for the release of my Edwardian romance A Valet’s Duty.

As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a fan of Downton Abbey, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would write a story set at that time. I’ve always enjoyed books and dramas set at the start of the twentieth century. I loved Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte in the television adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. The wistful, rose-tinted picture of Oxford’s dreaming spires melted my sulky teenage heart, and the unspoken love between the two main characters no doubt ignited my passion for gay romance.

I adored the similarly idyllic Merchant Ivory films, too, with Maurice being a particular favourite. I also have a soft spot for the slightly darker, more melancholy Another Country, starring the fabulous Rupert Everett (and a young Colin Firth, of course).

I loved the wonderfully lyrical books these dramas were based on, too. I recently read Wendy Moffat’s fascinating biography of Maurice author, EM Forster. While he led an active, if secretive, life as a gay man, I found it unbearably sad that he apparently gave up writing fiction at an early age because he dared not write openly about love between men. I count myself so lucky that I grew up at a time when I could read and watch beautiful stories of gay love, and am now able to write them too.

So I wanted to bring both the elegance of the Edwardian era and the hidden nature of gay love at that time to A Valet’s Duty. The main character of the story is Henry, the eponymous valet, who moves to Taverslow, the Earl of Wayshaw’s Somerset home. He leaves behind a life in London, where he has an enjoyable if clandestine sex life with domestic staff from other grand houses. Out in the countryside, Henry finds himself in the midst of a sexual drought, as does Rafe, his employer’s younger brother, who is visiting from his villa in Italy.

Their relationship quickly progresses from professional to sexual, but right from the start, Henry finds Rafe to be far more than simply his social superior. There’s a warmth and sincerity to Rafe which Henry hasn’t seen in other gentlemen, and that is where his problems begin. When the line between employer and servant blurs, emotional drama is bound to ensue.

I hope you enjoy meeting Henry and Rafe, and maybe it might just fill the gap if you’re missing Downton Abbey!

A Valet’s Duty by H. Lewis-Foster


At the turn of the twentieth century, Henry Simpkins is a valet at Taverslow, the Earl of Wayshaw’s Somerset home. When the Earl’s younger brother, Rafe, arrives from his villa in Italy, Henry is given the task of caring for his mischievous dogs, Pepe and Paolo. As part of his valet’s duties, he also goes to Rafe’s room each night to tidy away his clothes.

One night, Rafe tentatively asks Henry if he would go beyond his valet’s duty to relieve his sexual tensions. Henry enjoys their increasingly intimate encounters, but he’s soon disturbed to find he feels more for Rafe than mere physical attraction. Henry faces a difficult decision. Can he bear to remain in the same house as Rafe if his affections are not returned?


Henry followed Fenton through the house, its walls festooned with paintings and gilt-framed mirrors. He recalled his previous place of employment, which couldn’t have been more different. Wareham Mews had been the London abode of the Berringtons, whose family wealth had been acquired in the publishing industry. They were pleasant enough and terribly modern—they’d installed electricity in every room—but Henry didn’t share their taste in interior design. They’d taken a liking for a Mr Mackintosh from Glasgow, and while his finely carved chairs were undoubtedly stylish, they looked bloody uncomfortable.

Even so, Henry couldn’t deny he’d had some fun at Wareham Mews. The Berringtons threw fabulous parties, where women dared to bare their ankles and sometimes a lot more, as they danced to the latest American music. They even hired a ragtime band one night. When Henry had finally been dismissed, he found some entertainment of his own with the valet of one of the visiting guests. He’d thanked heaven for the relatively small staff of a London residence, as it meant he had a room of his own tucked away in a tiny roof turret. As the music continued several

floors below—the party lasted into the early hours—Henry took full advantage. The bed springs had squeaked like they were about to give way and his companion cried out in such ecstasy when he came, Henry was afraid there would soon be a knock on the door to find out what was he was up to.

It had been one hell of a night, but shortly after Henry heard the Earl of Wayshaw required a new valet for his Somerset home. Henry loved living in London with all

its madness and bustle, and his friends working in houses only a stone’s throw away, but Henry was rapidly approaching the age of thirty. He needed to move to a larger, more established house if he wanted to advance his career.

And so Henry found himself standing in Taverslow’s drawing room, with its ornate ceiling and sumptuous crimson furniture. Noticing a low rumbling sound, he looked around to trace its source. Two pairs of glimmering brown eyes stared up at him.

“These are your wards, Mr Simpkins.” There was no doubting the smirk on Fenton’s face this time. “Pepe and Paolo.”

“Pepe and Paolo?” Henry tried, in vain, not to laugh. “But they’re Yorkshire Terriers.”

“That they may be, but Mr Rafe spends a lot of time in Italy, hence the rather exotic names.” Fenton dropped two leather dog leads into Henry’s hand. “Just walk them,

feed them, and don’t let them run off, and everyone will be happy.”

A Valet’s Duty is available to buy at:

Author Bio

H. Lewis-Foster has worked with books, in one form or another, since leaving university. As a keen reader of gay fiction, she decided to try writing herself, and is now the proud author of several short stories and a debut novel.

H. has lived in various parts of the UK and has recently moved to the north of England, where she’s enjoying city life, especially the theatres and cinemas. She tries not to watch too much television, but is a big fan of Downton Abbey, and while she’s writing, she loves listening to Test Match Special (where they spend far more time talking about cakes than cricket!)




Welcome to L.M. Brown

One of the things I like to know is how our authors discovered the gay romance genre. Today it is the turn of L.M. Brown, who as well as sharing a rather awesome surname with me ;), also came via the fanfiction route.

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1.         How did you discover the MM/gay romance genre?

I honestly can’t recall when or how I discovered the MM/gay romance genre. 

It might have been when I picked up one of Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John Grey books, although those are more mystery than romance.  There were also some MM themes (as well as FF) in Jennifer Macaire’s Time for Alexander series. A great time travel romance series set in the time of Alexander the Great, for those who don’t know. 

The first actual MM romances I read were from Elora’s Cave.  I’d gone there to track down the books of an author I had read previously and lost track of what she was up to.  The author in question was Barbara Sheridan.  Amongst her books was a MM romance and I decided to give it a try.  I wouldn’t say this was the time I discovered the genre, since I already knew these books were out there, but it was the first time I brought an actual MM romance book to read.

After that I was on the hunt for more and have remained so ever since.

2.         What made you start writing in the genre?

Like many of my contemporaries I began writing MM/gay romances in the fan fiction arena.  I was already writing fan fiction of the fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi variety (Harry Potter, Tru Calling and a few other sci-fi shows) when I stumbled across the “slash” stories. I didn’t read or write any for quite a while, but when J.K. Rowling outed Dumbledore I decided to do a short story about him and Grindlewald.  Now, back when I had a bit more time on my hands I used to at least attempt to read and review a story by each of the people who came to read and review mine.  By putting a MM story out there I opened myself up to the floodgate of Remus/Sirius fans and when I started reading their stories ideas for my own came swiftly to the forefront of my mind.  I was hooked and wrote about them pretty much constantly. 

I was actually writing MM fan fiction long before I ever read any actual published MM romance novels.

Now, I had been writing original fiction before getting sucked into fan fiction, although not romances. My problem was I was never finishing any of my stories. Then one of the readers of my fan fiction pointed out something rather obvious – if I can write a 400,000 word story that is fan fiction, what the heck is stopping me from finishing an original story?  It was quite a good point and I turned my hand to my original stories once more, but this time concentrating on the romance genre.  After writing MM in fan fiction for so long it was only natural that I would continue to do so. 

3.         Where do you base your book(s)? (Doesn’t matter if it’s outside the UK)

My contemporary books are mostly set in England, though I have to say they are, for the most part, in fictional towns rather than specific locations.  My one attempt at writing a US set story (with US terminology) was a bit of a disaster so I don’t go there any more.

The rest of my stories that are not set in the US are set in entirely fictional locations including the distant future and on other planets.

4.         Tell me about your current/forthcoming novel.

My current novel is Between Good & Evil, the second book in my Heavenly Sins trilogy.  This book picks up where Between Heaven & Hell left off and continues the story of Tristan, Mac and Alastor as they try to extract themselves from the demonic bargain Tristan entered into at the end of book one.  There are lots of twists and turns including a rather nasty one right at the end.  When I was writing fan fiction I was sometimes called the queen of the evil cliff hangers – readers of Between Good & Evil will probably agree with them.

5.         What are you writing at the moment?

I am actually taking a bit of a break at the moment.  I should be writing the final Heavenly Sins book, but my motivation disappears with the sunshine.  You’d think with the storms of the last couple of days it would be back, but sadly not.

In addition, I recently finished my second sci-fi novel, My Boyfriend’s an Alien, which has just been contracted this last week with Total-E-Bound and should be released on Valentine’s Day next year. 

So now I am on break time, or being lazy if you prefer the honest truth. 


L.M. Brown lives in England, in a quaint little village that time doesn’t seem to have touched. No, wait a minute—that’s the retirement biography. Right now she is in England in a medium sized town that no one has ever heard of, so she won’t bore you with the details. Keeping her company are numerous sexy men. She just wishes that they weren’t all inside her head.

L.M. Brown loves hearing from readers so don’t be shy.


Where to find L.M. Brown

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Publisher Links

Silver Publishing


Between Good & Evil

Heavenly Sins, Book 2

Tristan, Machidiel and Alastor are bound together by love, but their lives are running far from smoothly thanks to Tristan’s demonic bargain with an incubus. Tristan has two choices, remain with the incubus as his trainee, or find a mortal to take his place. Neither choice is appealing.

The three lovers struggle to release Tristan from his bargain, only to find bigger problems on the horizon when a human caught up in the mess is taken prisoner by the Demon King himself, with repercussions that could tear their ménage apart forever.


Tristan pulled out of Alastor’s embrace and stretched his arms above his head. “Much as I’d love to stay in bed all day and listen to you two cooing at each other, we still have the problem of Cody to try and sort out.”

“I don’t coo,” Alastor muttered, as he pulled Tristan back onto the mattress. “And we can think in bed just as well as out of it.”

Tristan snorted with amusement. “That’s highly debatable. So, do you want to prove me wrong by telling me what orgasmic inspiration hit you while my cock was up your arse?”

Alastor wished he could. Unfortunately he was still at a loss as to how to put Cody back where he belonged.

“We’ll find a way,” Mac promised quietly. “Everything will be okay.”

“Will it?” Tristan snapped. “Only we seem to say that quite a lot and it never is. Look at me for the proof.”

Mac sat up and gestured for the others to do the same. He waited until they were all sitting up, none of them touching, before he spoke again. “Okay, let’s try to sort things out. Tristan, would you like to go first and get whatever you need to say off your chest?”

Tristan shrugged and studied the duvet cover.

“Alastor?” Mac prompted when several minutes had passed without Tristan saying anything.

“What do you want me to say?” Alastor asked impatiently.

Mac glared across the bed at him and Alastor shifted uncomfortably. “How about I start then?”

Alastor waved for him to continue while Tristan nodded in agreement.

“Things haven’t exactly gone as we thought when I suggested we start this relationship,” Mac began. “If I’d known what would happen, I would never have taken either of you to my bed. I’m sorry.”

Alastor reached out to take Mac’s hand. “I’m not.”

“Me neither,” Tristan agreed.

Mac snorted. “Liar. If it weren’t for me, you’d still be human.”

“I’d be dead,” Tristan corrected, as he took Mac’s other hand. “You said yourself, when it’s your time to die, there’s no way to avoid it. My days were numbered whether I’d met you or not. Lawrence was in my life long before you two. If I hadn’t met you and Alastor, I’d either be dead or an incubus like him, preying on mortals daily, and with a far higher body count to my name.”

Alastor pulled Mac’s hand up to his mouth and turned it so he could kiss the palm. “I have no regrets. I want the two of you so badly I can hardly bear to be apart from you.”

Mac leaned forward to kiss Alastor softly on the lips. “We both know your issues have nothing to do with regrets and everything to do with jealousy.”

Alastor ducked his head. “I don’t mean to be; I just can’t seem to help myself.”

Tristan rubbed Alastor’s arm soothingly. “You have no reason to be jealous. I love you, and if I ever had to choose between the two of you, it would be you.”

Alastor frowned. “Because I’m a demon like you.”

Tristan shook his head. “No. Because you’re you.”


Tristan slid closer and pulled him into his arms. “On the night Lawrence tempted me, he asked which of you I’d choose if I had to. I’ll tell you what I told him. You, Alastor.”

Mac chuckled. “Perhaps I should be the jealous one?”

Tristan smiled at Mac momentarily before his face shuttered closed. “Oh.” He pulled away from Alastor and his face flushed a delightful shade of pink. “I’m so stupid. It’s not me, is it? It’s my relationship with Mac you’re jealous of. You’ve been in love with him for centuries then I come along and—Fuck, how could I have been so arrogant?”

Alastor watched as Tristan scrambled off the bed and bolted for the bathroom. “Oh shit!”

Before he could move to follow Tristan, Mac stopped him with a firm grip on his arm. “Alastor, wait.”

Alastor turned back, not so much because of the way Mac held him, but because of the tone of his voice. “Don’t say it, Mac.”

Mac loosened his grasp slightly. “It needs saying. I love you and I love Tristan. But do not ever make me choose between you.”

“Because you’d choose him, wouldn’t you?” Alastor instinctively knew it was the truth without Mac saying the words.

“I’m not going to answer that,” Mac replied stonily.

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