The winner of Lily Harlem's trio of books is...Mary Jo! Yay, Mary Jo. Lily will be in touch shortly. Congrats. All the rest of you were entered into the grand prize draw. Boy is that thing getting full!
We're down to the last few days of guests and then the big reveal day where I draw a winner. Today's guest is SA Meade, another new author to me. She's very kind with a wicked sense of humor and oh, she just happens to write hot m/m fiction. What's not to like? Nothing!
SA's giving away a copy of Tournament of Shadows. *Please remember to leave your email address with your comment so if your name is drawn you can win. If we can't contact you, you can't win. Which is...*sniffle*...sad. So leave that addy!
Nine Years in Publishing and still hard at it.
I don’t know how Sommer does it. Well, yes I do. She gets her head down and gets on with pouring words onto the screen at a rate that I am openly envious of. Plus, what she writes is fabulous. I feel very honoured to be a small part of this mega birthday bash.
My contribution is just an extract from my latest release, an historical m/m called ‘Tournament of Shadows’, which is set in 19th century Central Asia and Russia. It was great fun to write and a bear to research.
In this scene, Gabriel meets Valentin for the first time.
I hurried back to my cot, while my pursuer spoke to the innkeeper about food and haggling over a price for his stay. I noted, with a smile, that I had received a better tariff. Back at my cot, I retrieved my battered copy of the Koran from my pack, opened it at a random page and pretended to read, my finger trailing along the ornate script.
The bed beside mine creaked, feet shuffled in the dirt. A tired sigh heralded the arrival of the other, my pursuer. I lost myself in the masquerade and murmured the words beneath my moving finger.
“‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend saying, ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised ‘We have been your friends in the life of this world and are so in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have all that your soul’s desire, and therein you shall have all for which you ask. An entertainment from the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’”
I turned to the next page and lowered my head, moving my lips, whispering the words.
“Hayirli kech” His Uzbek was nearly perfect.
“Hayirli kech.” I glanced up at the new arrival, keen to see what he looked like, this shadow of mine. It was almost impossible to ignore the sudden quickening of my pulse, the moisture that cooled my palms and stilled my fingers from their wandering across the page.
He was tall, as tall as I was. He travelled under no pretence, dressed in a foreigner’s clothes, dusty and worn. There was no possible way he could pass for a local in any event, with auburn hair that caught snatches of fire in the flickering lamplight. He regarded me with stormy grey eyes. A smile of some sort tugged at one corner of his mouth.
I returned the smile, hoping it was the naïve smile of a simple scholar, one who was absorbed by his study of his Koran.
He nodded, then spoke once more. “Sizning ismingiz nima? Mening ismim Valentin Yakolev.”
“Mening ismim Rashid.”
He held out his hand in greeting. I reached across and accepted it, resigned to the loss of what little privacy I had. He wrapped his hand around mine, squeezing, proclaiming some kind of dominance. I tried to ignore the sudden blind flutter of my stomach, the kind one experiences when they see someone long absent from their life, that spark of recognition.
I squeezed back and took a stealthy, deep breath, trying to recover from that strange shock. His hand fell away, fingers trailing across my damp palm. Another quirk of the lips. He murmured something I didn’t quite catch and sank onto his cot. I took the gesture as one of dismissal and returned to my feigned perusal of the Koran. All the while, everything in me raced and churned and rolled. After a while, his breaths lengthened and slowed. I stole a glance and found him sleeping, hands resting on his stomach, long pale fingers linked together like a simple puzzle. They did not look like the hands of a killer.
I hoped that he wasn’t.