QSFer Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM historical romance out:
It’s April of 1816 in Another England.
And Jeremy—a whore from the Dock—is living in a guest bedroom at the London home of the (in)famous Iron Marquess, with over fifteen days missing from his life.
For someone who remembers everything from his third birthday on, it’s unnerving not to know. Fine, fourteen days for the coma and the infection delirium. But those first thirty-six hours. Do they explain how he got hurt, how he got to Ireton House, and why his lordship’s mountain-sized valet is taking care of him? Or why his ironness looks at him with nothing iron at all in his eyes?
Jeremy and the Iron Marquess both have dark secrets. Forced engagements, an inheritance, a scheme to clap Jeremy in Bedlam, the revelation of the missing hours, a problem with plumage, some numbered accounts, and a long sea voyage, all seem to mean there’s no way out of the snares surrounding them. Or is the old saying true: where there’s a waltz, there’s a way?
All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.
Eric is giving away two backlist eBooks (ePub or mobi) to one luck winner. Enter via Rafflecopter:
no way out
From Chapter 2. Aftermath of the Beginning
6 April 1816
Ireton House, London
I settled the Iron Marquess once more in place, and rose.
Harris gestured at my disarray of hair and face and sweat and blood-stained clothes. “Your clothes,” he said.
“Your point?” I replied.
He conceded my victory with a nod. Harris controlled what I wore and when to a large extent, ensuring the Iron Marquess was at all times, on all occasions, at the forefront of fashion, although not going so far as to set it. But the decisions were not always his. I wondered if he had some little book where he kept track of the times he was overridden. I wondered if he ever perused it for a pattern, though I would never tell him there was none. More often than not, when I chose to override his choices it was simply for the enjoyment.
My descent to the parlor was faster than going up. I had vermin I could at last remove from my home, and as William said about a difficult deed, “‘twere well it were done quickly.” Thomas was expressionless as he handed me the key.
I unlocked the parlor door, entered a room gone stuffy and heated with bodies and tempers, closed it behind me. Locked it. Then I stood there, with stance and iron stare making it clear I was not going to set them free yet. They stared back, and I waited. And waited.
Lusty Letty fidgeted when I looked her way and turned her head. Her father sweated. The vicar was as far from the door as possible, using the others as a barricade. Richard and his mother were side by side, stony-faced, stone still. Hunter was closest to the door, perhaps to bear the brunt of some imagined assault. He also kept flicking his eyes over my shoulder, as if he expected this door to also explode inward, with events in the library repeating themselves, resulting in more dishevelment and humiliation for him.
The baron was the expected apoplectic red, his whirl towards the opening door a sure sign he had been moving about and mouthing his views to all who had no choice but to listen. He stood still, saying no more than the rest.
Not a single inquiry about the wellbeing of the heir, the beloved fiancé, the brother who stood in the way of an inheritance, the victim of torture, the little lost lamb still to be returned home to be shorn.
An Everest of granite beset by a pecking raven would be worn to dust before I initiated this conversation.
It did not take quite as long before the baron exploded.
A surprisingly careful explosion.
I had underestimated him. I would not to do so again.
Forgetful of the lesson of asses and you and me, I had accepted him at face value; a “value” comprised of wealth, arrogance without enough substance to warrant it, and vulgarity, all boiled together, and covered with a thick sauce of greed.
I should have recognized the odor of voraciousness which exudes from men like him. I have met his like often enough amongst the Ton, in my business endeavors. And though the presence of the vicious little vicar, and Hunter should have alerted me, the well-told tale of the loss of a precious son, the agony of years of separation, the fiancée who mourned the disappearance, the brother who had lost a brother, distracted me. A tale feeding my own arrogance, my own pride at being able to protect Jeremy...Brendan!...from having to return to the dangers of the Dock, and being able to return him to his, if not perfect, at least still his, home.
So given what I now knew, why the charade?
I listened with a quarter of an ear, perhaps less...enough so I would know when it was either my turn to speak, at the end of the tirade, or when it had reached a point at which I should interrupt.
It was made up of a well-done mixture of various “how dare,” “no right,” “I am,” “my son,” “my right,” “unwarranted,” “high-handed,” “my duty,” “I demand,” “take him” phrases, swirled about with appropriate connecting thoughts and semi-thoughts, all served up with sufficient heat to warm Buckingham Palace for a fortnight without a single fire lit. He even went so far as to spray spittle about from time to time, though I was uncertain whether this was deliberate, or merely an unfortunate by-product.
As he wound down, no reason to interrupt having appeared, I wondered whether his audience was so well trained the members would burst into “spontaneous” applause upon his peroration.
While they either stared fixedly at him, or darted looks between us to ascertain, perhaps, my reaction to the performance—none was visible—there was no applause at its end. His troop of performing dogs was not so well-trained after all.
When I was quite sure he was finished, I allowed the ensuing silence to go on longer than, in all politeness, it should have. I was not feeling even a remote degree of politeness.
I gave him the reply he deserved. “No.”
Eric is a Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “His first sea voyage was with Noah.” He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. Most of his writing is in those (MM) genres.
The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series: The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué(Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture(Victorian), with no way out(Regency) coming out a month after Of Princes.
Two more fairy tales are in progress: 3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar(Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats(of the gruff variety).
Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)
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