A Stella Review: Renaissance (Village Love #2) by Lillian Francis

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.


Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

Renaissance by Lillian Francis was a pure joy to read. I was waiting for Raleigh and Smudge’s story since I first met them in the previous book in the Village Love series. I am very happy the author quickly fulfilled my wish. I loved this new release so much.

This is an “opposites attract” story, Raleigh is the perfect and so beloved librarian of Sloppy Bottom, Smudge is the strange owner of a print shop, full of tattoos, piercings and colorful hair. When these two world will be brought together, something special will happen. I loved them because I love my characters to be damaged like we all are, it makes them real, although I could have saved Raleigh from the deep pain of his past.

The relationship was slow at start and developed, Raleigh and Smudge are really together just at the very end of the novel, plus there is no sex scenes and it was perfect. Imo it shouldn’t have been different and I want to thank the author for the respect she showed to Raleigh with this choice.

The writing was so engaging, it made the reading easy to follow and I particularly enjoyed it in the descriptive scenes. With her style Lillian brought me to Sloppy Bottom and its people and it was a great place.

In Renaissance I found Rick and Mal from Resonance and Resistance, I saw how happy they still were together, how their relationship has grown and become more solid. And then I met some characters I so want and hope the author will give them their own HEA, like Adam and Trevor and Jason and PuondingTorque. I’m so curious to see what she can come up with.

I feel to highly recommend Renaissance by Lillian Francis, one of the best book I read in 2017.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh follows the style of the covers of the series and I quite like it since it’s different.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 298 pages

Published April 1st 2017 by Finally Love Press

ASIN B06XZX5MMJ

Edition Language English

Village Love series

Resonance #0,5

Resistance #1

Renaissance #2

Review Tour: Lillian Francis’ Renaissance (Village Love #2) (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2osfjWz

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nNiuWc

Village Love Series
Resonance (Village Love) – Currently FREE! Smashwords | Payhip
Resistance (Village Love #1) – On Sale for 99c/99p Amazon US | Amazon UK | Payhip

Cover: Garrett Leigh

Length: 72,000 words

Blurb

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.

Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

 



April 6 – Books Laid Bare Boys, Love Bytes, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
April 8 – Dog-Eared Daydreams
April 12 – Hearts on Fire Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, Sarandipity, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, MM Good Book Reviews

Excerpt

“No, no, no! Don’t you dare. Not again.” Smudge tightened his grip on the books in his hand and hastened his pace.

Surely, he wouldn’t? But Smudge knew the exact moment Raleigh clocked him. The way his head shifted between all points of his escape. To Smudge. The door of the mobile library bus. The pull-down steps, currently occupied by Mrs Danridge, one of the frailer members of the Slopy Bottom community. She was Smudge’s only hope that he would make it to the village green car park where the bus was parked.

With the length of the main road of Slopy Bottom stretching before him like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz, Smudge broke into a jog. The plastic covers of the library books slipped in his sweaty clutches and he slowed to tighten his grasp. He should have put the bloody things in a bag. The last thing he wanted was his choice of reading matter to be scattered across the tarmac of Bridge Street.

Satisfied he wasn’t going to lose his latest round of catnip reads, he raised his gaze and refocused on his target. Mrs Danridge had reached the bottom of the stairs—with a helping hand from Raleigh no doubt.

Talk of the devil. That tousled-haired alleged angel of the village looked straight at Smudge, his gaze dropping to the hand that held the books Smudge needed to return, and then leapt back up the steps.

Smudge paused long enough to take a breath and shout, “Don’t you dare leave, Raleigh Fortier.” Then he put on a new burst of speed even as the steps disappeared from view.

The engine of the old bus roared to life and by the time he’d covered the last four hundred metres, the mobile library had disappeared in a shower of gravel leaving nothing but a cloud of dust.

“Don’t expect me to pay late charges on these,” Smudge shouted after the bus. “I should report your skinny arse. You four-eyed, curly-mopped, fuckwad.” He kicked a larger stone in the direction the bus had disappeared and watched it skitter across the now empty car park.

He turned toward the sound of disapproving tsking and shrugged apologetically at Mrs Danridge. “The library was supposed to be here for another hour.” He attempted to explain his irate behaviour to the pensioner. It sounded lame.

“I’m sure Raleigh had his reasons for closing early.”

Yeah, he hates me. And the feeling is more than mutual.

“He’s a good boy and a cherished and loved member of this village. I’m sure he’ll waive the charges if you explain.” She smiled, but it was tight lipped and nothing like the sunshine that she would have bestowed on Raleigh. Gauges, tats, and a purple faux hawk with green streaks would do that. Or maybe she believed the rumour that he was growing marijuana in the workshop behind his print shop. “And I don’t know who you think you plan to report him to. The mobile library is a local service and has always been run by the church. Certainly in my lifetime. I suppose you could speak to the vicar, but as Raleigh is his organist and you barely set foot in church…” She seemed to remember her Christian sentiments, but she still pursed her lips as though sucking on a lemon. “I can vouch you were here at the right time, I suppose.”

Don’t put yourself out, lady. Putting those feelings into words wouldn’t help his cause. Neither would reporting Raleigh, because, as she rightly pointed out, curly-headed organist versus multi-coloured faux-hawked atheist, the odds were stacked against him.

“I guess so.” It wasn’t just about the money, though. He’d hoped to pick up the next book in the series he’d been reading. He’d requested the book as soon as he knew the release date and it was a popular enough series that Raleigh couldn’t refuse to purchase the book for the library. Not that he’d ever turned down one of Smudge’s requests. Apparently if the people of Slopy Bottom and the surrounding villages wanted to read a book, Raleigh did his damndest to get it for them. “Thank you. I’m sure you’re right and Raleigh had his reasons.”

The words stuck in his throat but he could hardly protest that Raleigh was the spawn of the devil and that this wasn’t the first time he’d driven off and left Smudge standing in the street like a fool. Nobody would believe him. Not of Raleigh.

“I’m heading to the church to discuss the flower arrangements for Sunday’s service. I could take your books and leave them at the vicarage with a note, if you can’t get here at the weekend or on Tuesday,” Mrs Danridge offered, already working the zip open on her shopping trolley.

Tuesday. The day Raleigh did story time on the green with the preschoolers if the weather was nice. The long-range forecast predicted traditional August sunshine for the next fortnight and he’d probably be doing something with the older kids as well since the schools were breaking up this week for the summer.

“No. That’s fine. I’ll catch him Tuesday.” By the sodding neck if Raleigh tried to pull that stunt again. Except he couldn’t strangle the local librarian, not with an audience of under-fives hanging on Raleigh’s every word. “Thank you for the kind offer, though.”

Not that he’d take it up in a month of Sundays. Heaven forbid the village busybodies should get a look at his reading matter. The thought was barely formed when he felt plastic slip from his grip. He flailed for the escaping paperback, and ended up just juggling the remaining five in his hands, as the sixth landed on the ground with a thwack and a spray of dust. A swarthy Arab Prince, bare-chested and bronzed, manhandled a veiled maiden in a desert backdrop. Sins of the Seven Veils. Could have been worse. The latest in the Highland Wolfman series was still in his increasingly sweaty clutches. Well, not the latest; the latest was somewhere on that bloody bus. His cheeks burning, Smudge scooped up the book from the dirt and pivoted away from Mrs Danridge with mumbled words of farewell.

Coffee or back to the print shop? He’d told Pete, his apprentice, he’d be about an hour—he liked a leisurely flick through the titles. Even when he picked his six books, he stayed, studying the artwork on the lurid covers. The library soothed him—even with Raleigh’s presence—and he didn’t want Pete to think he’d hurried back because he didn’t trust the lad.

Across the road, the dual scents of caffeine and sweet baked goods emanated from Latte Nights and Earl E Mornings assaulting his senses and making his mouth water. Maybe Adam had made brownies.

Coffee it was then.

  
About the Series 

Renaissance is book 2 in my series, Village Love. Village Love is set in the fictional Sussex village of Slopy Bottom. I’ll let Rick (from Resistance) tell you how Slopy Bottom got its name.

“It’s one p, Slopy Bottom. The village has been there centuries. Local historians think it started life as Slope Bottom since the oldest houses are on the low slope at the bottom of a hill. The rest of the village spread out into the valley as the years went by but the name stuck. At one point the village was all but owned by a French lord, which could account for the mispronunciation, and it appears to have been Slopy Bottom ever since.”

Who’s this Rick you mention? I notice he’s in the blurb for book two, as well. 

Rick is the village gardener/handyman. His story of how he struggles to fit his sexuality and his London-born Pakistani boyfriend in to his life in his sleepy village home is told in Resistance (Village Love #1). Rick and Mal’s meet-cute is told in a short story, Resonance. As Resonance doesn’t take place in the village it has been assigned as Village Love 0.5.

Do I need to read the other books in the series to read this one? 

No. Each book deals with a separate couple. However, in such as small village people bump into each other all the time. So yes, characters will appear that the reader is introduced to in the previous books.

Will there be more books in the series?

Definitely. I’m gearing up to start work on Book 3, Trevor’s tale. I have very brief story lines, if they work out, for at least a Book 4, and maybe a Book 5. If you read a particular character that you like drop me a line and let me know, I’ve undoubtedly got a plan to pair him with someone!


About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter @LillianFrancis_
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Goodreads
Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctnySL

 Giveaway

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Release Blitz for Lillian Francis’ Renaissance (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2osfjWz

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nNiuWc

Village Love Series
Resonance (Village Love) – Currently FREE! Smashwords | Payhip
Resistance (Village Love #1) – On Sale for 99c/99p Amazon US | Amazon UK | Payhip

Cover: Garrett Leigh

Length: 72,000 words

Blurb

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.

Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

 



April 6 – Books Laid Bare Boys, Love Bytes, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
April 8 – Dog-Eared Daydreams
April 12 – Hearts on Fire Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, Sarandipity, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, MM Good Book Reviews

Excerpt

“No, no, no! Don’t you dare. Not again.” Smudge tightened his grip on the books in his hand and hastened his pace.

Surely, he wouldn’t? But Smudge knew the exact moment Raleigh clocked him. The way his head shifted between all points of his escape. To Smudge. The door of the mobile library bus. The pull-down steps, currently occupied by Mrs Danridge, one of the frailer members of the Slopy Bottom community. She was Smudge’s only hope that he would make it to the village green car park where the bus was parked.

With the length of the main road of Slopy Bottom stretching before him like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz, Smudge broke into a jog. The plastic covers of the library books slipped in his sweaty clutches and he slowed to tighten his grasp. He should have put the bloody things in a bag. The last thing he wanted was his choice of reading matter to be scattered across the tarmac of Bridge Street.

Satisfied he wasn’t going to lose his latest round of catnip reads, he raised his gaze and refocused on his target. Mrs Danridge had reached the bottom of the stairs—with a helping hand from Raleigh no doubt.

Talk of the devil. That tousled-haired alleged angel of the village looked straight at Smudge, his gaze dropping to the hand that held the books Smudge needed to return, and then leapt back up the steps.

Smudge paused long enough to take a breath and shout, “Don’t you dare leave, Raleigh Fortier.” Then he put on a new burst of speed even as the steps disappeared from view.

The engine of the old bus roared to life and by the time he’d covered the last four hundred metres, the mobile library had disappeared in a shower of gravel leaving nothing but a cloud of dust.

“Don’t expect me to pay late charges on these,” Smudge shouted after the bus. “I should report your skinny arse. You four-eyed, curly-mopped, fuckwad.” He kicked a larger stone in the direction the bus had disappeared and watched it skitter across the now empty car park.

He turned toward the sound of disapproving tsking and shrugged apologetically at Mrs Danridge. “The library was supposed to be here for another hour.” He attempted to explain his irate behaviour to the pensioner. It sounded lame.

“I’m sure Raleigh had his reasons for closing early.”

Yeah, he hates me. And the feeling is more than mutual.

“He’s a good boy and a cherished and loved member of this village. I’m sure he’ll waive the charges if you explain.” She smiled, but it was tight lipped and nothing like the sunshine that she would have bestowed on Raleigh. Gauges, tats, and a purple faux hawk with green streaks would do that. Or maybe she believed the rumour that he was growing marijuana in the workshop behind his print shop. “And I don’t know who you think you plan to report him to. The mobile library is a local service and has always been run by the church. Certainly in my lifetime. I suppose you could speak to the vicar, but as Raleigh is his organist and you barely set foot in church…” She seemed to remember her Christian sentiments, but she still pursed her lips as though sucking on a lemon. “I can vouch you were here at the right time, I suppose.”

Don’t put yourself out, lady. Putting those feelings into words wouldn’t help his cause. Neither would reporting Raleigh, because, as she rightly pointed out, curly-headed organist versus multi-coloured faux-hawked atheist, the odds were stacked against him.

“I guess so.” It wasn’t just about the money, though. He’d hoped to pick up the next book in the series he’d been reading. He’d requested the book as soon as he knew the release date and it was a popular enough series that Raleigh couldn’t refuse to purchase the book for the library. Not that he’d ever turned down one of Smudge’s requests. Apparently if the people of Slopy Bottom and the surrounding villages wanted to read a book, Raleigh did his damndest to get it for them. “Thank you. I’m sure you’re right and Raleigh had his reasons.”

The words stuck in his throat but he could hardly protest that Raleigh was the spawn of the devil and that this wasn’t the first time he’d driven off and left Smudge standing in the street like a fool. Nobody would believe him. Not of Raleigh.

“I’m heading to the church to discuss the flower arrangements for Sunday’s service. I could take your books and leave them at the vicarage with a note, if you can’t get here at the weekend or on Tuesday,” Mrs Danridge offered, already working the zip open on her shopping trolley.

Tuesday. The day Raleigh did story time on the green with the preschoolers if the weather was nice. The long-range forecast predicted traditional August sunshine for the next fortnight and he’d probably be doing something with the older kids as well since the schools were breaking up this week for the summer.

“No. That’s fine. I’ll catch him Tuesday.” By the sodding neck if Raleigh tried to pull that stunt again. Except he couldn’t strangle the local librarian, not with an audience of under-fives hanging on Raleigh’s every word. “Thank you for the kind offer, though.”

Not that he’d take it up in a month of Sundays. Heaven forbid the village busybodies should get a look at his reading matter. The thought was barely formed when he felt plastic slip from his grip. He flailed for the escaping paperback, and ended up just juggling the remaining five in his hands, as the sixth landed on the ground with a thwack and a spray of dust. A swarthy Arab Prince, bare-chested and bronzed, manhandled a veiled maiden in a desert backdrop. Sins of the Seven Veils. Could have been worse. The latest in the Highland Wolfman series was still in his increasingly sweaty clutches. Well, not the latest; the latest was somewhere on that bloody bus. His cheeks burning, Smudge scooped up the book from the dirt and pivoted away from Mrs Danridge with mumbled words of farewell.

Coffee or back to the print shop? He’d told Pete, his apprentice, he’d be about an hour—he liked a leisurely flick through the titles. Even when he picked his six books, he stayed, studying the artwork on the lurid covers. The library soothed him—even with Raleigh’s presence—and he didn’t want Pete to think he’d hurried back because he didn’t trust the lad.

Across the road, the dual scents of caffeine and sweet baked goods emanated from Latte Nights and Earl E Mornings assaulting his senses and making his mouth water. Maybe Adam had made brownies.

Coffee it was then.

  
About the Series 

Renaissance is book 2 in my series, Village Love. Village Love is set in the fictional Sussex village of Slopy Bottom. I’ll let Rick (from Resistance) tell you how Slopy Bottom got its name.

“It’s one p, Slopy Bottom. The village has been there centuries. Local historians think it started life as Slope Bottom since the oldest houses are on the low slope at the bottom of a hill. The rest of the village spread out into the valley as the years went by but the name stuck. At one point the village was all but owned by a French lord, which could account for the mispronunciation, and it appears to have been Slopy Bottom ever since.”

Who’s this Rick you mention? I notice he’s in the blurb for book two, as well. 

Rick is the village gardener/handyman. His story of how he struggles to fit his sexuality and his London-born Pakistani boyfriend in to his life in his sleepy village home is told in Resistance (Village Love #1). Rick and Mal’s meet-cute is told in a short story, Resonance. As Resonance doesn’t take place in the village it has been assigned as Village Love 0.5.

Do I need to read the other books in the series to read this one? 

No. Each book deals with a separate couple. However, in such as small village people bump into each other all the time. So yes, characters will appear that the reader is introduced to in the previous books.

Will there be more books in the series?

Definitely. I’m gearing up to start work on Book 3, Trevor’s tale. I have very brief story lines, if they work out, for at least a Book 4, and maybe a Book 5. If you read a particular character that you like drop me a line and let me know, I’ve undoubtedly got a plan to pair him with someone!


About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter @LillianFrancis_
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Goodreads
Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctnySL

 Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

A Stella Review: Resistance (Village Love #1) by Lillian Francis

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

resistanceHow long can you wait on a promise?

After his first night with Mal, Rick broke the habit of a lifetime and invited the sexy radiographer to spend the weekend in the sleepy English village he called home. Rick isn’t in denial but he’s afraid to reveal his sexuality in the close-knit community that has known him since he was a babe in arms.

The sex is amazing but equally Mal loves lazy days spent in the garden at Slopy Bottom, and every precious moment he spends with Rick. For Mal the village quickly becomes an oasis of peace, far from the noise and grime of life in London, a slice of tranquillity with Rick at the heart. But Mal has defied his family and his religion to be true to himself, and there is no way can he join Rick in his self-built closet, no matter how comfortable it is…

Rick is afraid revealing the true nature of his relationship with Mal will change the way his neighbours see him. He adores these people, this village, and he can’t face the thought of losing everything over who he chooses to sleep with. When the alternative is giving up a man who has slotted perfectly into his life—a man who he might just love—it’s no choice at all. But, knowing what has to be done isn’t always as easy as putting it into practice.

Resistance is the first book in a new series by Lillian Francis called Village Love. I recommend to read the short prequel Resonance, first, just to better enjoy the story of Mal and Rick and to see how they met in a MRI scan room.

I liked this book so much for many reasons. First of all I found in Lillian Francis, once a new to me author, an amazing talent and I soon put her among my favorite authors. I’m pretty sure I’m going to read more of her stories in my next future.

Rick and Mal and their relationship is exactly what I like to see in my books, it was sweet and sexy, but most of all was realistic, in the fear of being out of the closet, in the fear of lose someone cause you don’t want to close that closet you opened years ago. I saw the deep hope in a possible future made of uncertainties and at the same time full of the desire to be beside your love one even if you are miles away from him. I saw how much they tried, just like we do everyday in our real lives.

The bonus was the setting. I adore romance set in small villages like Slopy Bottom, the peace, the people, the nature and the sceneries Lillian was great at describing.

I can’t wait to know more about these boys and a couple more of guys I fell in love with while reading Resistance. I’m so happy to know (cause I’m stalking the author and I’m not sorry about it) there is so much coming soon.

I feel to recommend it especially if you’re looking for an angst-free, light and well written story.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh follows the style of the series covers, different and so welcomed.

Sales Link

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 150 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Finally Love Press
ASIN B01HBWHLZ6
Edition Language English

Village Love series

  • Resonance #0,5
  • Resistance #1

A Stella Review: Resonance (Village Love 0.5) by Lillian Francis

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

resonance-by-lillian-francisResonance: The quality in a sound. The power to evoke enduring emotions. Sometimes one can result in the other.

Rick Brandt would never have said he was claustrophobic; after all he’s been in plenty of enclosed spaces in his job as the village’s only handyman cum gardener. He even squeezed into a disused coal chute to rescue a trapped dog for an elderly resident. So why did opening his eyes in the MRI scanner induce a breath stealing freak-out that has him jabbing at the panic button.

Luckily, Mal, the radiographer running his scan has a pleasant voice and an excellent bedside manner that soothes Rick’s frayed nerves and rabbity heartbeat. Soon the resonance of his tone has gone beyond calming and Rick is lost in a fantasy of the man behind the voice. But things aren’t always what they seem and when Rick’s shocked surprise at the reality causes offence, the likelihood of him getting to experience Mal’s true bedside manner appears to be slipping away.

Resonance is the first story I read by Lillian Francis. It’s a short, just forty pages, but I soon liked the author style. I found myself captured and curious about Rick and the guy behind the voice who is helping Rick with a panic attack during a MRI scan on his shoulder.

The short was a beautifully surprise especially cause it is very detailed in the writing, an almost unique trait. Characters well delined, medical procedures well explained and an intrigued atmosphere. I truly felt myself in that room with Mal and Rick. It’s very rare to me to find good shorts around, Resonance was a winner.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is different and I like it.

Sales Links

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7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 43 pages
Published October 25th 2015 by Finally Love Press
ASIN B0176I231W
Edition Language English

Village Love series

  • Resonance #0,5
  • Resistance #1

A MelanieM Review: New Lease of Life by Lillian Francis

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

New Lease On LifePhillip used to laugh a lot, back when his friends called him Pip. However the good deed that left him hospitalized not only marred his body, it stripped him of his good humor too. Ever since, he has pushed his friends away and shut out the world. Donating his vintage clothing to a charity shop should have been the final act in a year-long campaign to sever the links with the man Pip used to be, but the stranger on his doorstep awakens feelings in Pip that he hasn’t experienced since the incident that left him angry at the world and reliant on the cold metal of the hideous hospital-issue crutch.

Colby forces his way into Pip’s life, picking at the scab of his past. Colby isn’t interested in Pip’s money or his expensive address. He has only one goal: to make Pip smile again. With every moment in Pip’s presence, Colby chips away at the walls Pip has built around himself. Pip knows it’s impossible to fight his attraction with Colby’s sunny disposition casting light into the darkness in his soul.

Once again, Lillian Francis has written a story and characters guaranteed to capture your heart.  From the moment you and Colby meet the broken Pip,  something about this damaged man will call out to you. So much so that, like Colby,  you’re pulled through that door and into the wreckage of Pip’s life.

As the second chime faded away, Colby heard an odd thudsqueakcurse, thudsqueakcurse, thudsqueakcurse that got progressively louder the longer he stood poised with his finger still hovering near the bell press. Dropping his hand back to his side, Colby leaned closer to the door, hoping to make out the individual sounds, but they were muffled by the thick wood.

“You only need to press the bell once,” said the angry young man whose face appeared in the gap as the door was opened. “I should get a plaque saying ‘Cripple lives here. Be patient.’” This last part appeared to be muttered more to himself before he returned his brusque attention back to Colby. “What d’you want?”

What follows is an angry, sad, sharp, concise little conversation that makes you want to know that young man banging about inside his place, a place you’ll find out that all but screams of happier times and abandonment.

And suddenly you want to make it better, you want Colby to make it better.  Later it becomes to help Pip make it better for himself.

What an amazing story which is all the more so because there isn’t a lot of drama or angst.  That has already happened.  This is about healing, the recovery.  And it happens in stages just as it should.

Phillip Longhampton had once been an astonishing man, a dandy as it were, well known for as the flamboyant Pip with his vintage impeccable dress, his clothes blog, his outgoing nature, all destroyed by one good deed gone horribly  wrong.  Now Phillip once more, he hides away with his disability,  having removed himself from his old life, clothes included.

Lillian Francis’ vivid descriptions and thorough research make both the old and present Pip come  alive for us.  We see him through the photographs Colby sees of his clothing, the care and quality as well as the deep affection in which Pip still hold his valued collection, whether he will admit it or not.  The portrait we gather together of the man is one we see a piece at a time.  First snarly and in pain, and then as more and more of his past is filled in, we see the man he was and is slowly becoming again.

As the character of Pip fills in, the one of Colby fleshes out as well  The reader gets to know both men as they get to know each other.  Its a lovely technique and it deepens this romance to one quite out of the ordinary.  Of course there is nothing ordinary about either of these two.  I could see the clothes but how I wish I could visit the shoppes as well.  And yes, I want that cane.

The relationship builds to the perfect climax, and although I could see it coming, it didn’t spoil the wonder and joy that I knew that scene would bring.  Really, so, so, marvelous.

Oh, and don’t miss out on that fun glossary at the beginning.  I had no idea what the traditional definition of a cockney was, I do now.  Bow Bells and Cheapside indeed.

This is a story to treasure and Lillian Francis an author to put on autobuy.  This is just so well written, its entertaining and just such a lovely romance. I so highly recommend them both.   Make it your New Year’s resolution to seek them both out and find out why!

Cover art Paul Richmond.  I never thought I would say this.  But this cover absolutely doesn’t work for the characters especially, how could anyone think they would represent Pip or Colby is beyond me.  When you read the book you’ll be shaking your head along with me.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published December 25th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634766913
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

 

 

 

A MelanieM Review: Lovers Entwined by Lillian Francis

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Lovers Entwined cover 2Ewan is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.

Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past…

Lovers Entwined by Lillian Francis is a moving, romantic story, one that I loved.  Based on the belief that true love has no boundaries, even that of time, it follows the deep love of Ewan/Owen and Trey/Tristan through centuries of tragedies until we find their latest reincarnations in Ewan, a leading genealogist, and surfer/playboy Trey, a groom whose future father in law is looking for reasons for his daughter to dump him.  Ewan has been hired to look into Trey’s family background for anything that could embarrass Trey’s fiance along with her father and his huge political aspirations.  But what Ewan finds soon starts to bind Trey and Ewan together, as odd facts, places and names trigger nightmares and recollections they should not be having.

As Trey spends more time with Ewan, it ignites the flashbacks to the other couples they once were and the tragedies that ended their lives but never their love for each other.  As each follow the other through death and time,  the names change only slightly as does the location and Francis connects them all in a manner that is logical and meaningful.  And heartbreaking.  Prepare to have the tissues close by when  each one meets their death once more. I was sobbing like mad several times in this story, even though I knew it was coming.  But the power of the descriptions and the emotional strength of those moments won through and I was lost.

There are some important, believable secondary characters too.  Trey’s grandfather, Pops, for one.  I adored him. And his nurse. Much harder to understand was Trey’s fiance who was more of a one-note character.  Her transformation from someone who Trey could love to the cold woman we met was never fully explained so she came off as just too one dimensional in a story with characters you believed in and a love that lasted through time.

Flashbacks can be a tricky thing, especially when going back not just one era but several.  But Francis handles each flashback and couple almost as a separate story, giving them the attention each is due.  She gives us a real connection to every reincarnation, and as that love is lost, all that affection and hope is transferred to the most recent couple…Ewan and Trey.

Lillian Francis is quickly becoming a “must read” for me.  I loved her “Theory Unproven“, and now her “Lovers Entwined”.  I highly recommend both of these stories and author Lillian Francis!

Cover art by Meredith Russell.  This cover really works.  It  establishes the characters of  Ewan and Trey as well as their counterparts of Owen and Tristan.  I loved it.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd edition
Published August 3rd 2015 by Smashwords Edition
(first published December 6th 2012)
ISBN139781310580345

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal Time for Lovers Entwined by Lillian Francis (cover reveal, exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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Lillian Francis reveals the beautiful cover art of her upcoming book titled LOVERS ENTWINED.
It releases on August 03, 2015.
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BLURB
Ewan Matthews is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey Capell is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.
Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.
Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past.
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PRESENTING
Cover Art by Meredith Russell
Lovers Entwined jpeg
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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT
They had reached the outer door and the old freestanding wooden coat rack that Ewan had picked up in a second-hand shop several months ago. It added an air of old-world charm and respectability to the premises, and fitted in perfectly with the rest of the old dark wood Ewan had surrounded himself with.Two coats hung side by side from the curling hooks. Ignoring his own black woollen coat, Ewan lifted the tan trench coat from the rack. He held it up and open, his hands waiting expectantly. There was the tiniest of pauses, the smallest frown, and then Trey turned and slipped his hands into the sleeves, allowing Ewan to slide the material up his arms, coming to rest at his shoulders.Most of the snow had melted away in the warmth of the office, leaving behind flecks of dirt on the quality material. Ewan picked off the worst of the muck and then brushed the flat of his hand over shoulders, settling the fabric so it moulded to muscles and tendons. He flattened the collar, letting his fingers drift under the hair that rested there to the very short hairs at the nape of Trey’s neck.

He had moved around to the front and was doing the same to the lapels when he finally caught himself.

What the hell am I doing?

What had possessed him to do such a thing?

Trey was watching him with an air of bemusement.

Stepping back abruptly, Ewan allowed his hands to fall to his sides.

“All part of the service.” He hoped he had covered his own surprise at the turn of events and that he hadn’t actually been caressing his client’s neck for an inappropriate amount of time. However long inappropriate could be considered to be!

“A very personal service,” Trey said, but there was no emergence of the leer that normally angered Ewan. He almost wished there had been.

Read more exclusive excerpts on –
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PRE-ORDER NOW
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lillian Francis. Author of gay romance. Happy Endings guaranteed. Eventually.
An avid reader, Lillian Francis was always determined she wanted to write, but a “proper” job and raising a family distracted her for over a decade. Over the years and thanks to the charms of the internet, Lillian realized she’d been writing at least one of her characters in the wrong gender. Ever since, she’s been happily letting her “boys” run her writing life.
Lillian now divides her time between family, a job and the numerous men in her head all clamouring for their stories to be told.
Lillian lives in an imposing castle on a wind-swept desolate moor or in an elaborate ‘shack’ on the edge of a beach somewhere depending on her mood, with the heroes of her stories either chained up in the dungeon or wandering the shack serving drinks in nothing but skimpy barista aprons.
In reality, she would love to own a camper van and to live by the sea.
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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY
Winner’s Prize: An eBook from Lillian Francis’ backlist!