Karen Stivali’s Moments of Time Finale is Here (excerpt and giveaway)

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The last installment of Karen Stivaliís Moments in Time series, Moment of Clarity, has just been released. At the same time, the paperback Moments in Time that contains all three novellas in the series has also been published!

Title: Moment of Clarity
Author: Karen Stivali
Length: novella
Genre: gay romance, contemporary, new adult, college.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Synopsis

Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.

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As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collinís brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collinís relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brotherís custody battle and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture.

In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.

Excerpt:

Between classes, my work at Gino’s, Tanner’s shifts at the bookstore, and commuting back and forth to Sean’s house, Tanner and I were busier than we’d ever been. I always knew it was more convenient to live on campus, but I had no idea what a hassle it was to make the added drive daily. By the time we got to Sean’s, had dinner, spent time with the girls, and did some studying, we were exhausted.

I hadn’t touched Tanner for yet another week, and I didn’t think I’d last the day without changing that. Tanner must have felt the same. I’d seen the looks he’d been throwing me, particularly the night before while we were watching a movie together, but I wasn’t about to do anything with Sean and the kids in the house. I didn’t care that the doors locked. It didn’t feel right. And I didn’t trust either of us to be quiet enough. Especially since it had been so long.

Sean handed me the last dirty dish to load into the dishwasher while Tanner put the juice and milk in the fridge.

“I’m gonna run to the grocery store while the kids are at preschool. Any requests?” Sean asked, grabbing his wallet off the counter and shoving it in his pocket.

“If you get a can of crushed tomatoes and some spaghetti, I’ll cook.”

“Thanks. The kids loved that the other night. Anything else?”

I tried to think but couldn’t. All that registered in my brain was that Sean was going out. Tanner and I would be alone in the house. My cock was totally onboard with this thought and already looking for an escape plan from my pants.

“I think that’ll do it. Tanner, you need anything?”

Tanner looked up from wiping off the kitchen tables. His pupils were huge. I knew that look. I loved that look. He was thinking the same thing I was. My cock twitched in anticipation.

“I’m good,” Tanner said, tossing the rag on the counter.

“Okay, then.” Sean headed for the door. “It’s my turn to drive carpool home, so I’ll probably take the kids to Mickey D’s for happy meals. Lock up if you both leave, okay?”

“Sure.” My heart raced as I watched Sean trot down the back porch steps. I held my breath, listening as the car door slammed, the engine revved, and the tires crunched down the gravel driveway.

I turned to look at Tanner, but before I could even focus my eyes, he was on me. Hands on either side of my face, body pressed up against mine, lips prying mine open, tongue—oh, God, I’d missed that tongue—swirling in circles with mine.

Groaning, I grabbed his ass and tugged him closer. I needed to feel as much of him as possible. All of him. Immediately, if not sooner.

Buy Links

Moments in Time ñ Series Paperback

Contains books 1, 2, and 3 ñ Moment of Impact, Moment of Truth, and Moment of Clarity.

DsP: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6284

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Havenít read books 1 and 2? Then hurry up as Moment of Impact and Moment of Truth will be on sale for 99 cents for a limited time (May 5 -18).

Moment of Impact

Outside Collin Fitzpatrickís dorm room is a dangerous place. Beyond his door the students of his small, conservative college think heís straight, as does his Catholic family whoíd disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, heís safe with his incredibly sexy roommate Tanner DíAmico. Their room makes a perfect place to hide away and fall in love. The moment they cross the line from roommates to lovers, Collin becomes caught between their heavenly passionate encounters and the hellish reality that someone might find out and destroy everything. Tannerís not used to being so confined, and wants to show the world how much he loves Collin. But Collinís not sure heís ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

Buy Moment of Impact

Moment of Truth

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, heís living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being ìoutî takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

Buy Moment of Truth

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6066
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TWO2XH8/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TWO2XH8/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00TWO2XH8/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-momentoftruth-1751880-149.html
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moment-of-truth-karen-stivali/1121262738?ean=2940151483421

Want more? Moment of Silence and Moment of Fate, featuring secondary characters in Collin and Tannerís story, will be released in late 2015 and early 2016.

About the author

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. Sheís also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. Her lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, itís guaranteed that Karenís novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sexóall the best things in life.

When Karen isnít writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so donít hesitate to contact/follow/like her at:

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Get Out of This World withThe Luxorian Fugitive by Mann – Ramblings Eyes on Books Tour and Contest

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Title: The Luxorian Fugitive
Series: Ship Logs of the Santa Claus (Book 1)
Length: Novel
Genre: gay romance, science fiction, M/M romance
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

Sergeant Liam Jacks is the security chief of transport vessel, The Santa Claus. He travels the planetary cluster with Marc Danverse, his best friend and captain, seeking to escape his tortured past and find some peace of mind.

Having been through a civil war together, Danverse and Liam are close. Maybe too closeÖ.

All that changes when mysterious stranger, Hadrian Jamison, an escaped Adonirati, books passage to Alpha Centauri. Can he be trusted? Can the stories of his past be believed?

The Luxorian Fugitive by Mann Ramblings

As Liamís fascination with Hadrian grows, jealousy threatens to tear apart his friendship with Danverse.

When Hadrianís owner shows up, Liam is forced to go against orders in order to launch a rescue mission to save him.

The ensuing conflict may be more than any of them expected.

Excerpt

A sadness crept into Liam’s features as he shifted his face away from Danverse. He was feeling sane again, but an incredible shame came along with the method.

“I’m fine,” he said. Liam was a strong man, but being in the presence of the man who had seen him at his weakest, at his most unguarded, unsettled him. It wasn’t the first session with his best friend, but this time had been more severe than any in the past. The force of his climax was devastating and mind-numbing; he had never come so hard before. The need for the pain and submission to release the rending guilt made Liam feel soiled. Not because he liked it so much, but because he couldn’t be in love with the man who could bring that out in him.

Danverse had, on more than one occasion, been witness to the demons Liam harbored; his ability to help was one thing that drew Liam to him. Their sessions beat down the guilt and terrors, but it wasn’t right. It wasn’t romance that brought them together. They used each other to find something they couldn’t find anywhere else, and they both knew it. Liam needed more than that even if he sometimes felt he didn’t deserve it. They would always be connected in some fashion, but life mates? No. In the end that wasn’t possible.

The captain’s firm hand wrapped around Liam’s biceps, pivoting him and forcing his attention.

“Did I take you too far?” Danverse’s focused blue eyes bore into Liam.

“No.”

“Liam. Talk to me. I know I pushed you hard last night, but it’s how I read it.” The words were quiet, meant only for Liam.

“I know, Marc. You didn’t do anything wrong. But it’s still too fresh.” Liam turned his head away and raised his outstretched hand. “Give me a little space. I’ll be all right. I just need to clear my head a bit. Don’t worry. I’ll be back in plenty of time for cargo changeover.”

With a gentle pull, Liam released himself from Danverse’s hand. It didn’t take much; the captain didn’t resist. Liam put some distance between them as he flagged a transport. He chanced a glance over his shoulder as Danverse stood unmoving, his demeanor deflating. Liam turned away when he couldn’t look anymore at the pleading stare in his best friend’s eyes.

Buy Links

Book Trailer

Giveaway

Prizes: 1 x $20 WIP Gift Card and 1 x ebook The Luxorian Fugitive.  Must be 18 years of age or older to  enter.  Prizes and links provided by the author and Eyes on Books Tours.

 

MannRamblingspic-225x300About the Author

Like many gay men, when Mann Ramblings grew up, there werenít any heroes he could relate to. The world held him back while he tried futilely to hide the real person inside. So much has changed since those hollow days. He finally found his voice, the voice that says itís all right to revel in the so-called inappropriate joys, laughs, and loves that storm inside a manís head. It took a long time to find that courage and now that itís here, he plans to use it well.

While spending years more focused on visual arts, he never let go of his innate passion for storytellingóhe wanted to write and draw comic books when he grew up. Once he discovered M/M fiction, a whole new world opened with new possibilities. Why couldnít you have fantastic and dynamic tales with an M/M cast? He started reading the online tales of authors like, Night Tempest, Rob Colton, and Alicia Nordwell, which only fueled within him the need to create. Eventually he found GayAuthors.org, and with a little coercive nudge from Night Tempest, started sharing his tales with an unexpected level of positive response. That experience and support gave him the courage to cross his fingers and aim for the world of M/M publishing.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mann Ramblings continues to type away, wishing it was practical to use a noisy, old fashioned keyboard that clacks with each strike, if only to annoy his loving partner and spoiled miniature dachshund.

Email: mannramblings@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mannramblings

Twitter: @mannramblings

Book Spotlight: Young at Heart by Kay Ellis (author interview and giveaway included)

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Kay Ellis has a new release for all to check out!  It’s Young At Heart, a M/M contemporary romance.  As part of the release celebration, we have a giveaway contest for all to enter.  Check out all the book and author details below and enter to  win!

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Title: Young at Heart by Kay Ellis
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
M/M Contemporary Romance novella

Now a Q & A with Kay  Ellis….

Q.I love the title, the song comes immediately into mind.  Do you listen to music as you write?

I think I had the title before the song came out so they copied me! I don’t tend to have music on while I write. More likely the television. I’m amazed at my ability to keep track of programs while barely glancing toward the tv!

Q.Ff so, what did you listen to as you wrote Young at Heart?

If I had been listening to music it would have been Adam Lambert, Garth Brooks, Bon Jovi or John Barrowman. Eclectic mix but they’re my regular choice of listening in the car.

Q.Were you a prolific reader as a child?

Most definitely. My mum says she doesn’t remember me learning to read. I just could. I remember going back to school after the summer holidays when I was in my early teens. The English teacher told the class to put up their hands if they had read one book in the holidays. Then two, three, four… She stopped at seven and asked me why I hadn’t put my hand up at all. I told her she hadn’t got to my number yet. For the record, it was thirteen!

Q.What childhood authors or/books made the greatest impact on you as a writer?

I think I probably always read above my age group so I don’t recall a particular childrens’ author I liked. I loved Louisa Alcott and The Little Women series though. I was a bit of a tomboy like Jo.

Q.What or who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I hate to say it but I read Fifty Shades of Grey, and although I have always written stories from an early age, it was that book that gave me the confidence to write what I wanted to write and not be embarrassed or ashamed of writing sex scenes. A television programme ran a competition to find a new ‘racey’ author and I thought “I can do that.” I finished in the top three which gave me a bit of belief in myself and my writing.

Q There is a large age difference between the men in the relationship and that can be tricky to write.  Why include that element into your story?

My answer to that has to be – they are what they are! It’s hard to explain but usually my characters come in to my head fully formed before I ever get a word on the page.

Q.What was the inspiration behind making them generations apart in age and status?

Truth be told, Young At Heart started out as a relationship between a older woman and a younger man. It was basically flipping the whole rich man, innocent young woman which every one else seemed to be writing. I was told by a publisher my work was more sorted to a niche market and as I had just had a short story accepted by a m/m publisher I decided that must be my ‘niche’ and I changed the older character to a man.

Q. I know from past blogs and conversations, that readers (and some authors) have problems with switching a het romance over to a M/M romance without that being the original pairing to begin with. How do you respond to that?

I don’t have an issue with making the switch from HET to M/M. People are people. Gay, straight, black, white – we are all faced with the same problems. And it wasn’t simply that I went through and changed she to he, I changed some parts that didn’t work in the same way between two men. And Devon was one of my first gay characters from years ago. I never wrote his story but he was always a rich, older man in a relationship with someone much younger. I also think matching Jesse with Devon made Jesse a stronger character.

Q.  What’s next for Kay Ellis?

What’s next is whatever is finished first! I can have half a dozen different works in progress at anyone time and I always write which ever characters are shouting loudest in my head at the time. But the main two at the moment are the third book in my Evolin series and a kind of post-apocalyse tale of a mercenary sent out to kill a man who he ends up falling for once he finds him.

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Devon Alexander is a wealthy successful businessman. The world is his oyster. In his work life he is decisive and in control.

His private life is another matter.

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There, he doesn’t know if he’s coming or going in his on-off relationship with Jesse Young, an unemployed aspiring model half his age.

Can Devon and Jesse overcome the obstacles and outside influences standing in their way? Can they leave behind their own fear and mistrust? Or will they be their own worst enemies?

Genre: LGBTQ, MM, romance, gay romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Devon pulled down his shirt and straightened his tie before bending to retrieve his underwear and trousers. Once dressed, he lifted his hands to his head, checking his hair. Vain, maybe, but he had an image to protect. All the while, he covertly watched Jesse tuck his rather impressive manhood into tight white boxer briefs and zip up the fly of his jeans. Jesse 
glanced up to catch Devon watching and a smug smile spread across his handsome face.

“Shit, did we even lock the door?” Devon asked suddenly, trying to remember if there had been time to turn the key in between Jesse walking into the office and them ending up sprawled half-naked across the desk. Emily, his personal assistant, was terribly efficient, but she was a shy, quiet girl and he hardly dared think what effect it would have on her if she saw 
Jesse in all his glory. “What if Emily had come in?”

“She wouldn’t have,” Jesse said confidently.

“Really? What makes you so sure?”

“I told her not to.”

Devon narrowed his eyes, not sure he liked the thought of Jesse giving orders to his staff. The last thing he needed was Jesse getting ideas above his station. Devon would be a laughingstock if his much-younger boyfriend started throwing his weight around like he was the one in charge.

“What did you say to her exactly?”

“I told her not to come in because I was going to fuck you hard over your desk,” Jesse replied with a smirk.
“I sincerely hope that’s meant to be a joke.”

Jesse looked at him, assessing his change of mood. There was a sudden gleam in Jesse’s velvet-brown eyes and Devon smothered a sigh, knowing he was about to be lied to. Such were the consequences of taking a man twenty years his junior as a lover. Jesse was Young in name and young in nature. Fortunately for both of them, his good looks and sexual prowess 
generally outweighed his immaturity.

“Of course it was a joke,” Jesse said, flashing his most disarming smile, the one that made women and quite a lot of men melt whenever they saw it. “You know I wouldn’t do anything like that, Dev.”

Dev. Nobody had ever called Devon that before Jesse. In the press and business life, he was Devon Alexander. To family and friends, plain old Devon. Only Jesse got away with calling him by the abbreviated form. Privately, he quite liked it when Jesse called him Dev, although recently he had come to realise the shortened version of his name was used most 
when Jesse either wanted something or was trying to wheedle his way into Devon’s good books after doing something wrong.

Sales Links:

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Giveaway

Prizes: 1 x $20 WIP Gift Card and 1 x ebook copy of Young at Heart.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by Eyes On Books Promotions.

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STRW Author Bio and Contacts

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Kay Ellis lives in rural Oxfordshire in the UK, where sheís mum to two beautiful daughters. From an early age, she has written stories, with a sole readership of one ñ her mum, Sylvia. In 2013, someone suggested Kay enter a competition on national television to find a new ëracey readsí author. Much to Kayís surprise, she made it to the final three, and although she didnít win, the high praise received for her work gave her the confidence to start submitting to publishers.

When not writing, Kay enjoys reading, eating out and the theatre.

Social links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kay.ellis.79274

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KayEllisAuthor

Journey Into the Darkness with Louise Lyons “in Darkest Peru” (author guest post and contest)

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Synopsis

Shy and geeky Rhys White, has recently been ditched by his boyfriend of five years. On top of that heís been made redundant from his job as a computer programmer.

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Tired of being boring and unadventurous, he throws caution to the winds and buys a plane ticket to Peru.

Rhysí adventure in Peru starts out well, but then disaster strikes. All of his belongings are stolen. Everything is goneópassport, wallet, phone, clothing, the lot.

Stranded in Cuzco, not too far from the famous Machu Picchu, Rhys tries to find someone to help him. He’s about to give up, when a sexy Brazilian named Rafael, comes to his rescueÖ

Buy links

Giveaway

Prizes:  $20 WIP Gift Card,$5 Amazon Gift Card,1 x eBook copy of In Darkest Peru and1 x eBook copy of Conflicted or†Second Bite of the Cherry (winnerís choice)

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Cherished childhood memories and my early writing attempts by Louisa Lyons

One of my best memories of being a small child, was something that I believe had a bearing on me becoming a writer. My grandmother (known as Nana) on my mother’s side lived about 5 miles from where I lived with my parents, and every weekend we went to spend the day with her. But at Christmas, my dad would fetch Nana and she’d stay with us for a few days, sleeping on the sofa.

As most children do, I’d get up early in the morning and creep into the lounge where Nana was sleeping, and she let me sit under the blanket near her feet while she told me fantasy stories. Usually they were about me, but with magical powers. Imagine a little girl who could grow wings when she wanted, and fly off with the birds, looking down at everything below and going to visit anyone she wanted?

Stories like this inspired me to make up some of my own, and by the time I reached 8 years old, I learned to use my mum’s old manual typewriter so I could put the stories on paper rather than keep them in my head.

From 5 years old onward, I had horse-riding lessons and every Sunday without fail, my dad would drive me to the riding school a few miles away from our house. I remember one bad winter where we had so much snow, Dad couldn’t get the car out of the drive, so rather than let me miss my riding lesson, he went to the local farm and borrowed their 4 wheel drive vehicle so he could get me to the riding school. No one else’s parents did that, so I had one-to-one riding fun that day, and I was able to choose which horse I wanted to ride. I learn to groom it, tack up and then got to ride as well that day. I think the session was way longer than the usual hour!

My horse-riding featured in my writing in the early stages, and the first stories I churned out on that old typewriter, were about little girls and ponies, and eventually teenage girls with horses.

I had a great love for animals, and still do, and I seem to remember writing not only about horses, but other creatures too. Aged about 12, I entered a writing competition in my English class and my story about a fox cub and her adventures in the wild, imaginatively titled “A Nature Hole of Survival” won the competition. I didn’t handle my 15 minutes of fame too well at the time, however. My English teacher called me up on stage in the drama hall to receive my prize, and I was so embarrassed I stood there laughing hysterically and was unable to say anything! Hopefully things have improved since then.

About the author

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the Church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered Fan Fiction in her late twenties.

Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing ìhobbyî more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social media links

Focusing In On: Memories of Forgotten Love by Cheryl Headford

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 Memories of Forgotten Love by Cheryl Headford
Publisher: Featherweight Press

Memories of Forgotten Love…

After waking from a coma, Noah discovers that memories are tricky things and sometimes blissful ignorance isn’t such a bad thing. 

Noah wakes from a coma with no memory of who he is. As his memories return they become stranger and more sinister at every turn. He begins to suspect the accident in which he was injured wasn’t an accident at all, and refuses to accept what everyone is saying that he threw himself off his balcony in a suicide attempt. It just doesn’t feel like something he would do. Struggling to come to terms with the shocking story he gradually uncovers, he’s helped by his friends. Yet, his best friend, Luke is acting strangely, leaving Noah to wonder just what exactly he isn’t telling him.

Buy links:   Amazon US   Amazon UK  Featherweight Press

Meet Cheryl Headford

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, hamster and two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art

Contact/Follow Chery at:

Blog: http://cherylheadford.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SevenPointStar
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nephylim.author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7376318.Cheryl_Headford

More About Memories of Forgotten Love…

Excerpt:MOFL Cover

I didn’t go back to my room. I went outside into the garden. I needed space. I needed time to think alone. I headed for my favourite place, a wooden bench under a rose arbour near a stone koi pond. I walked along a shady path between clipped hedges and turned the corner into my special place. There was someone there. My first reaction was extreme annoyance. This was MY place and I needed it. How dare someone be here? However, as I drew closer, I recognised the pale hair, brushing the surface of the pool as its owner leaned over to trail his fingers in the water.

Luke clearly didn’t hear me approach as he didn’t stir, and I was able to get right up close without him noticing. This gave me a chance to examine him closely. He was tall, although not quite as tall as me, and slender, although by no means skinny. His hair was too long, almost reaching his shoulders, and fell in unruly waves. He was wearing black jeans and a black shirt. He always wore black, as if trying to magnify the effect of his hair. I smiled. That was Luke, a man of contrasts.

The first time we’d met—well no, not the first time but the first time in this part of my life—I’d been skinnier than him; weak, wasted away. But since then I’d filled out a lot. I worked so very hard and my muscles were toned again. I was strong. I still walked with a pronounced limp and I still had a degree of weakness in my left hand and arm…and I still had to think carefully about what I wanted to say or I stammered and got things confused, but on the whole I was bigger and stronger than he was and he appeared…frail, slumped, dejected, defeated.

I experienced something almost maternal as I stood and looked down at him. He hadn’t been near me for ages. Why was he hiding out here? I felt an almost irresistible urge to touch him, to stroke his hair, to take him in my arms but that, of course, would have been wholly inappropriate. We had become close again, but not that close. He wouldn’t have appreciated it, I was sure of that.

While I was watching him, he sensed my presence and his head jerked up. He didn’t smile in greeting as he usually did, he just stared at me. He had been crying. His eyes went wide and they shone like pale sapphires set in a fine piece of jewellery. He seemed stunned. Of course, I had no way of knowing then what he saw in that moment. I sat down on the low stone wall over which he was leaning to trail a hand in the water. For a moment, my own shock and anger were forgotten.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He blinked and turned his face away, clearly embarrassed.

“Bollocks.”

We were both silent for a time. I watched Luke and Luke stared fixedly into the water. When had this wall grown up between us? “You haven’t been to see me for ages.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I needed time to think.”

“Think? Think about what?”

“About all the things you want from me—need from me—that I can’t give.”

“That sounds ominous. I don’t want anything from you, only truth and honesty.”

“And those are some of the things I can’t give you.”

“Are you sure?”

“I knew this would happen. That’s why I haven’t come. I couldn’t face you knowing you would be like this. You were always the same. You could never just let things lie.”

“I’m not going to apologise for that.”

“I wouldn’t ask you to. It’s one of the best things about you.”

The awkward silence fell again, and I didn’t know how to break it. I found that I was picking at the stone with a fingernail.

“Luke…what kind of person am I?”

He didn’t look up, just carried on staring at the water, making little circles with his finger.

“What?”

“Let’s face it…you’ve known me longer than I have. What kind of person am I?”

“I don’t know. I know what kind of person you were.”

“Then, what kind of person was I?”

“You were strong, stubborn, opinionated sometimes. You were gentle, and kind, and wise.

You were patient with a clumsy, impulsive, insensitive friend. You were a good man, a great friend, a…You were… amazing.”

“Was I a coward? Was I a quitter? Was I…was I…?”

He glanced up quickly. “No, no, you were never that. Never a coward. You were…you are the bravest person I know.”

“Then why…?” I found it hard to say because I found it so hard to accept, to believe. “Was I the kind of person who would jump off a balcony to kill myself?”

His eyes went wide, such colour as there was draining from his face. He seemed shocked,
scared. He licked his lips and swallowed hard. “How did you…?”

“New shrink. He didn’t know I didn’t know.”
“Oh.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Yeah, right. How was I going to bring up that subject? Oh by the way, Noah, did you know, did you realise that right after we had the worst row we’d ever had, right after I stormed off vowing never to see you again, you jumped out of your window and tried to kill yourself? Strangely enough, the opening never arose.”

Genre: Young Adult, Gay Romance, Mystery
Length: Novella (135 pages)

Contest:  The prizes are 2 5$ Amazon Gift Cards, 1 ecopy of Memories of Forgotten Love, and 1 ecopy of A Face in the Window. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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