Today, I went for a walk. I know that doesn’t sound very exciting. Opening with ‘today, I juggled fire’ or ‘skied backwards down Ben Nevis without clothes on’ would probably have done more to grab your attention. If I tell you that it was so cold I could see my breath, and raining so heavily I was immediately soaked to the bone, you might be more impressed. Or you might wonder what on earth possessed me to go outside when my front garden was doing a good impression of being washed out to sea.
Well, I went for a walk because I have a lot of projects I’m currently trying to finish, and I’m not really succeeding in completing any of them. I also only have two weeks in the UK before I fly to Hong Kong – don’t feel sorry for me, it’s a holiday and I’m desperately looking forward to it, but I am very conscious that time is not on my side. Unfortunately, today’s little jaunt to try to get my head in order didn’t do much with helping me work through my backlog of manuscripts.
You see, not far from where I’m currently staying is a long stretch of woodland with a stream running through the middle. I’ve been meaning to set a story there for ages, but I’ve never got around to it and today, rather than thinking through all the things I have to finish, I started plotting that story instead.
That’s what I do. All the scenes in my novels, novellas and short stories take place in locations I know well. Some of you might already know that, as a Scottish author, I like to use Scotland as a backdrop in most of my books, but I also feature places I’ve travelled to. My new novel, Port In A Storm, is a good example of that because my characters – particularly Jake – don’t stay still for long.
Port is the first novel I’ve had published that, while featuring Scottish characters and the odd location in Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews, also features adventures in ‘foreign’ climes including Africa and Venice, Italy. Those scenes were fun to write, not just because I got to revisit some of my past travels, but also because I like to think my readers will enjoy a spot of armchair sightseeing along with their MM erotic romance.
Other stories in the pipeline are set to take place in France, and Spain – where I set a previous short story, Spanish Heat – but thanks to today’s little jaunt it looks like you might have to wait for those.
First, I might be offering you a story that opens with a character going for a walk in the pissing down rain, being stared at strangely by more suitably-attired dog walkers before sliding in the mud, tripping over a tree root and going arse over elbow into a duck pond.
Not that the last bit happened, of course. Everything I write is pure fiction…
Port In A Storm
Port In A Storm is a MM erotic novel, written by Douglas Black, and published by Loose Id Publishing in October 2014.
Alex is stuck in a rut. He’s facing a big decision about his future, namely, what to do with it and so far he hasn’t managed to come up with an answer.
Until he meets Jake.
Jake blows through Alex’s world like a hurricane and Alex falls hard and fast for the perpetual traveller with a penchant for secrets and a perfect smile. Jake wants Alex, but life isn’t as simple as that.
Jake never settles in one place for long and already their long-distance relationship is driving a wedge between Alex and his family. With no compromises on offer, Alex’s decision about his future becomes a decision about Jake.
For Alex, the idea of losing Jake doesn’t bear thinking about, but choosing him looks like it will mean throwing away everything Alex knows, including his relationship with his parents. And so, Alex finds himself with another question to answer.
How much would you be willing to give up, to be happy?
Alex coughed to bring them both back into the room and asked for two twenty-five for the magically appearing muffin. Amy must have passed it across while Alex had been busy making a performance out of pouring a cup of water. His traveler was still smiling that obscenely sexy smile as he held his bag in place with one hand and flipped open his wallet with the other.
Canadian and Australian dollars spilled out across the counter, followed by a handful of coins and a further fluttering of strange, brightly colored bills that even Alex, who had worked in an international airport for three years, couldn’t identify. A smattering of euros came next as the man rummaged with a single hand to extract an appropriate currency. Alex watched in amusement until a single Nuevo Sol coin slid out and started rolling toward him. Then Alex raised his hands and put a stop to the proceedings.
Those brown eyes met his once more, but the smoldering sex look was gone, replaced with one of genuine bafflement. “I swear I have some dollars in here, mate. Just give me a second.”
“Sterling,” Alex corrected.
The man looked between his wallet and Alex as if trying to fit together the pieces of a particularly complex jigsaw puzzle. Alex decided to help him out.
“Pounds sterling, for the muffin.”
After some further long seconds of staring, Alex saw the pieces finally fall into place.
“Shit, mate. Of course. Back in bonnie Scotland.” He laughed a deep, throaty laugh that stoked the fire deep in Alex’s stomach. “Thank fuck those pilots know where I’m supposed to be going.”
The man went back to fumbling in his wallet, and Alex couldn’t help but stare at those long, nimble fingers. Against his wishes, his mind threw out images of them on his skin.
“Oh, bugger this. I’ll have to stick it on a card.” The man produced two American Express cards. One red. One black. The black one looked solid. It definitely wasn’t made of plastic.
Alex had so many questions, so many things he wanted to know about this stranger, but he had to remind himself that no matter how his body was reacting to the man before him, he was still at work.
“You take Amex or…?”
Alex shook his head.
“You don’t take Amex in an airport?” The man looked with ill-disguised longing at the blueberry muffin and the rapidly cooling water.
“No, no. We do, but it’s okay. The muffin’s on the house. Here, let me help you.”
“Oh, cheers, mate. That’s really good of you.”
The man picked up the muffin and took a huge bite as Alex began to assemble the money into separate piles according to country. He counted out five different, neat piles of notes and was about to start on the coins when the man reached out and swept everything back into his wallet, crumpling the notes and wedging in the coins until he had to shoogle it up and down to get it to fold shut again. Alex cringed.
“Looks like you get about a bit.” He cringed again when those words tumbled out uncensored from his lips.
Alex had no real idea why he made the comment. He just knew that he didn’t want the man to leave. His body seemed to have decided that it wanted what it saw in front of it, and Alex’s brain currently didn’t seem to be capable of finding the breaks.
“I meant the currencies…” Alex gestured to the wallet, not wanting to be misconstrued while mentally kicking himself, but the man just raised one eyebrow and smirked at him.
“Quite a bit. Not as much as I’d like to, though.” He looked Alex over once more, winked, and took another bite of muffin before lazily tugging up his jeans. He tipped his shoulders forward and bent over slightly as if checking they were where he wanted them. He looked at Alex again, his body open, like he was presenting it for inspection. Alex didn’t need to think twice before deciding that body would pass any inspection thrown at it, with flying colors.
An even longer excerpt is available on the publisher’s website, here - http://www.loose-id.com/port-in-a-storm.html
Douglas Black was born and raised in bonnie Scotland. An archaeologist by trade, Douglas started writing MM erotica - as a means of avoiding starvation at university - before returning to the genre in 2012.
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