On Christmas Eve, Dylan, the man of James Pell-Charnley’s dreams, is on the point of walking out. Then they hear the faint strains of a waltz in the library of the empty abbey. The music is said to be heard only by those truly in love and it gives James the courage to tell Dylan the story.
In December 1841, Lord Hugo Pell-Charnley is in a terrible mess. The youngest son of the late Marquis, youngest brother of the incumbent, never felt to fit. When his life comes crashing down, and his life and his family are threatened, he is forced to face his elder brother and confess his deepest secret. When he arrives at Winsford Abbey he finds he must also confront the shame from his past in the form of Lyndon Cross. The boy he’d loved but betrayed in school.
As they clear the ghosts from the past, they dance in each other’s arms in the library to the soft strains of the waltz, but long buried secrets threaten to destroy their happiness.
Two hundred years later, can those dances long forgotten give James and Dylan the courage to hold on to love?
A knock on the door froze him. Who in God’s name would be wanting entry to the damned library at this hour?
Before he could respond, it opened, and Lyndon Cross stepped over the threshold and closed the door behind him.
Hugo had no idea what to say. He just stared. Mouth quite probably hanging open.
“I hope you don’t mind me following you,” Cross said. His voice should have been like a chorus of angels given the way he looked, but it was deep, quiet, and had a warm, raspy quality to it that brushed against Hugo’s skin. It always had. Even as a boy it had power, but as a man it wrapped its way all around him.
“Not at all.”
Cross walked towards him, and Hugo had to fight to remain in place and not bolt for the door.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
Hugo frowned. “Beg pardon?”
“I wasn’t sure if you’d want to speak to me.”
“Ah, why wouldn’t I?” Hugo was genuinely bewildered for a moment, but then Cross raised an eyebrow; tilted his head.
No…no…no… He isn’t going to mention it…surely to God? It was something that Hugo had expunged from memory.
“Do you remember my last day?”
Hugo nodded; eyes wide. He is. Dear, sweet God, he is going to mention it.
Hugo felt as though someone was squeezing him all over, making it hard to think or breathe, as he recalled that last day vividly to memory.
He’d heard that Lyndon was leaving the school, from the gossip that periodically rippled through the school. It was as though someone had ripped his heart from his chest. He’d followed him through the building, completely unable to speak to him, tell him how desperate he felt. At the end, he’d hidden in the grand hall and watched Lyndon walk across it to meet his parents waiting in the carriage on the drive. No-one else was about. It was his last chance to say something, but the words stuck in his throat.
Lyndon, by some strange twist, paused by the door, looked around, and spotted him lurking by the grandfather clock. He’d hesitated, whilst Hugo’s heart hung suspended in his chest, and then he’d run to him. Run back into the hall. He’d thrown his arms around Hugo, held him tight for a moment, then kissed him on the cheek. He’d been about to run back when Hugo grabbed him. Actually grabbed him and kissed him full on the mouth.
In his dreams, Hugo liked to think Lyndon had returned the kiss, in a closed mouthed, inexpert way, with his arms tight about him. In reality, he wasn’t too sure. Lyndon had stared for a moment, then run back to his parents.
That had been ten years ago, and now, the first boy he’d kissed stood before him. Hugo wasn’t sure if he’d come to exact retribution and expose him. Well, if he was here to do that, he’d need to get in line.
My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!
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