A View From Above: Lakeland Keeps on Inspiring

I was reminded again how important that view of the overall picture can be when a good friend sent me a link to a breath-taking photo of the Lake District taken from the International Space Station, and I was deeply moved by such a view of a place I love, of a place that inspired and figured strongly, into each of the three Lakeland Heatwave novels, Demon Interrupted and the Medusa Consortium, almost as if it were another character in its own right.

 

The lake District image taken from the International space Station behbysjcaaayk3t-large

 

The photo was tweeted by Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield from on board the International Space Station, orbiting roughly 200 miles above the earth, moving at over 17,000 miles per hour.

How could such a ‘snapshot’ of one of my very favourite places not get me thinking about writers and the way we view our stories. I’ve always been an advocate of what I like to call snapshot writing. Snapshot writing is giving the reader snippets of detail, of experience, of a fleshed-out moment so full, so rich that the reader can feel it, taste it, revel in it. A snapshot can say so much about an event, often way more than words can. So for me one of the most powerful tools in my writing tool box is to create a snapshot with words, to write a moment so vividly that readers are instantly transported to the place and time. Commander Hadfield’s amazing snapshot from space has done just that for me.

Imagine my delight when I realised that I could not only see the whole of the Lakeland Witches stories and the Medusa Consortium stories in that snapshot, but I could see all the snapshots, all the intricately woven stories of my own adventures on the fells, of my own explorations and uncoverings of Lakeland one footstep at a time.

castlerigg_Stone_Circle1How could I not wonder what Alfred Wainwrightwould have thought if he could see his beloved Lakeland in such a view from above? His incredibly detailed drawings and descriptions of the Lakeland Fells are among the most accurate, most lovely, most poetic ever recorded. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in the Twa Dogs Inn in Keswick, the night before climbing a fell I’d never walked before, drinking Cumberland Ale while reading through Wainwright’s notes and studying the maps and drawings from his Pictorial Guides of the Lakeland Fells. The beauty in the minute detail of his work is now reflected in a stunning overview from space. How could anyone not be moved by that?

More than just the love of Lakeland, which I could go on and on about, and frequently do, is the sense of place such a snapshot from space gives. (I’ve added links with lots of pictures to show you the up-close-and personal of what you can see from a distance from the ISS photo. Enjoy!) I can look at that shot and see Ullswater and Derwent Water. I can see snow-capped Helvellyn and Skafell Pike, the highest peak in England. I can see the Borrowdale Valley, the Newlands HorseshoeHonister Pass – all the places my characters in the Lakeland trilogy frequent – all the places I’ve frequented, and I couldn’t not share it. So if you look closely at the picture, the highest snow-covered point in the lower Landscapesright — that’s Helvellyn. Its iconic Striding Edge put me to the test in one of the most adrenaline-laced, exquisite walks I’ve ever done in the Lake District.

And if you look to the left and slightly lower, at the last snow-covered range in the picture, that high point is Scafell Pike, the highest point in England and another walk I’m proud to say I’ve had the pleasure of doing.

But now, if you look in between those two ranges and slightly north, settled, almost centred, in between the two is a dark spot, roughly oval in shape with jagged edges. That’s Derwent Water with Keswick on the northeast shore invisible to the naked eye from so far above. To the south of the lake, where the fells begin again, is the Borrowdale Valley. And slightly to the left, you can just make out the irregular U-shape of the Newland’s Horseshoe, all of the above frequented by my characters in the Lakeland trilogy, frequented by me. The Newland’s Horseshoe is the place where both Marie Warren and I first ‘got lost’ in the mist. The Borrowdale Valley and the Newlands Horseshoe are the places that inspired the trilogy, the places where heather clings to steep cliffs, where deserted slate quarries make for slippery descents, where the views are breath-taking and where it can all disappear into the mist in a heartbeat.

I’m so glad it was clear the day Commander Hadfield took this picture. I can’t stop looking at it. I love the fact that I’m somehow connected to that place and all the stories it evokes – not just mine, but everyone else’s – all those poets and walkers and writers and photographers and artists – past, present and yet to come — who have found Lakeland as powerful and as moving as I have. I’m connected to all of them, and by that connection, to all of those who read the writings and look at the works of art inspired by that tiny, rugged piece of land that’s just as exquisite when seen from 200 miles above as it is when explored slowly, painstakingly, one footstep at a time.

Surely there is no other place in this whole world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when they are away from it.

Alfred Wainwright

 

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Don’t Miss any of my Demon Interrupted Blog Tour and Giveaway which starts tomorrow with stops at these fabulous blogs: 

 

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Explore your kinkiest BDSM fantasies with Dirty Doms – Pre-order Now!

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Dirty Doms Box Set

Ten of your favorite NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon best-selling authors have delved into the world of BDSM Kink. Explore your darkest desires, and deepest secrets under the expert care of a sexy Alpha Dom.
(Capture) Fantasy Surrender by: Lori King

(Corporal Punishment) The Beauty and the Badass by: Lucy Felthouse

(Orgasm Control) Secrets & Lies by: Serena Akeroyd

(Impact Play) Sizzle by: McKinlay Thomson

(Pet Play) Club Menage: Fifi by: Tara Crescent

(Bondage) Binding Her To Him by: TL Reeve

(Fire Play) Kaise by: Jade Belfry

(Daddy Dom) Professor Knows Best by: Juliet Braddock

(Sensory Deprivation) Deprived by: Jordan Ashley

(Medical Play) Electric by: C.P. Mandara
Spice up your night and indulge your kinks…

*****

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*****

Fantasy Surrender

By: Lori King

Rachel Morgan lives every woman’s fantasy with her four cowboy husbands. Each man exemplifies something she’s always wanted in a man, and they treat her like a queen. As they approach their five year wedding anniversary, the guys have asked her what she’d like to do to celebrate, but she’s nervous about telling them the truth. It’s insane to want to be chased again, right?

This is a capture fantasy and explores a man hunting down his woman and ravishing her.

www.LoriKingBooks.com

https://www.Facebook.com/lorikingbooks

*****

The Beauty and the Badass

By: Lucy Felthouse

From the moment Alexei Miles sets eyes on the kickboxing instructor at his new gym, he’s enthralled. She’s strong and sexy, and he senses something in her that speaks to his deepest desires. Bored of meaningless one-night stands, Alexei vows to find out more about the beautiful badass. He hopes his senses are correct—that her desires will match his own, and that his period of unsatisfying sexual encounters is over.

Zoe Harrison notices the new guy as soon as he walks into the gym—difficult not to, really, given he’s a six-feet-plus gorgeous Viking. As well as being attractive, he awakens something deep inside that she’d almost forgotten about. Men that can handle Zoe’s busy lifestyle are few and far between. Add to that her very specific sexual appetites and it’s little wonder she’s been single for so long. Is the Viking about to change all that?

This story explores corporal punishment in a BDSM setting.

www.LucyFelthouse.co.uk

http://facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter

*****

Secrets & Lies

By: Serena Akeroyd

Meg’s love life was missing a spark until she discovered her need to be dominated. When her fiancé shared the same kink, she thought all her birthdays had come at once, and then she came to learn their relationship was one big fat lie.

Gabe has loved Meg for years, watching her from afar, and always wishing he’d been the one to date her first and not his brother. When he has the chance to have Meg in his bed—even better, tied to it—it’s an opportunity he can’t refuse.

With disastrous consequences.

Can Gabe make Meg realize she’s the one woman he’s always wanted? But once secrets and lies have wormed their way into a relationship, is it impossible to establish the firm base of trust needed between lovers, and more importantly, between sub and Sir…?

This story features orgasm control in a BDSM setting.

www.SerenaAkeroyd.com

http://facebook.com/SerenaAkeroyd

*****

Sizzle

By: McKinlay Thomson

Elisa is a shy, quiet, bookish woman with one huge problem. She has a crush on the hot Dom living next door and he doesn’t even know she exists.

Alex knows his curvy little neighbor watches him over the fence. He would like nothing more than to bang on her door, drag her back to his place, and show her he has just the right toys to keep them both satisfied well into the night.

When Alex and Elisa finally come together could a threat from his past derail their budding romance or will their desire continue to sizzle.

This story includes impact play in a BDSM setting.

http://mckinlaythomson.blogspot.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/McKinlay-Thomson-219992518182076/

*****

Club Ménage: Fifi

By: Tara Crescent

Something’s wrong at Club Ménage…

After escaping an abusive relationship with her dominant, Fiona Clarke swore off submission for life. But when the private investigator is hired to solve a case of blackmail at the secretive Club Ménage, she finds that she hasn’t managed to leave her past behind.

Adrian Lockart and Brody Payne protected Fiona from her dominant, until the day they disappeared from her life without a trace. When they reunite at Club Ménage, can they convince Fiona to trust them again, and can they protect her from the danger that surrounds them on all sides?

This story explores pet play in a BDSM setting. No actual animals are involved.

www.TaraCrescent.com

http://facebook.com/tara.crescent

*****

Binding Her To Him

(Dupree Investigations)

By: TL Reeve

Kennedy Le Roche, is on a mission.

A new drug has hit the streets of Reserve, Louisiana, and it is claiming victims at an alarming pace. The only clue she has is a BDSM Club on the outskirts of town. As a submissive, she’ll go undercover to ferret out who’s distributing the drug. But, there’s a catch.

Phoenix Dupree, is a police consultant by day and a Dominant by night.

When the police chief shares a case of utmost importance with him, he takes it. What he isn’t expecting is the identity of his submissive for the night, Kennedy Le Roche.

Feelings long since dormant resurface. Can Kennedy and Phoenix work together or will old wound prove to be too deep?

This is a bondage/restraint story and of lost love.

http://authortlreeve.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authorreeve.tl2/

*****

Kaise: A White Card Story

By: Jade Belfry

Will this cold attorney allow the flames of passion to melt her heart of stone? Kaise didn’t want love and certainly didn’t have time for sex. That is, until she loses a major case and her trusted assistant all on the same day. Feeling sorry for herself and fortified by drink, she dials a secret number given to her by a friend. Things heat up when the call connects and she reaches an ultra-exclusive team of sexual trainers that are about to show her everything she never knew that she’s been missing. Including perhaps the old flame she’s never forgotten.

This story features temperature play in a BDSM setting.

www.JadeBelfry.com

http://facebook.com/authorjadebelfry

*****

Professor Knows Best

By: Juliet Braddock

Professor Justin Langford is on a mission to teach his star student Sloane Bradford a few lessons in her deepest, dirtiest fantasies. However, the last thing he needs is another college girl.

After a miscommunication separates them, fate reunites the reluctant lovers.

From swing sets to sex shops, Justin challenges Sloane to embrace a life filled with sippy-cups and spankings. Sloane has much to learn if she’s still intent on being his prized pupil.

Will Justin manage to control her rising brat enough to transform Sloane into Daddy’s Little Girl?

This story contains elements of age play and Daddy-Daughter roleplay.

https://julietbraddock.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JulietBraddockAuthor/

*****

Deprived

By: Jordan Ashley

Heather Ross vowed after a decade of being controlled by her husband that she would never trust her heart with someone again. That is until her best friend moves in to help her through being a single mom. His gentle, playful nature made her remember what she always wanted in a man, waking desires she thought long buried deep in her soul.

Jack Stevens never imagined that moving in with Heather every fantasy and dream he’d concocted to get him through lonely nights would come true. The day Heather confessed her desire for him Jack swore he would use every tool in his arsenal learned as a Dom to help her trust him completely even with his own lingering skeletons.

Can Heather learn to trust Jack when she has been deprived of her true desires for too long?

Grab your tissues and learn to trust again with passionate sensory play.

www.authorjordanashley.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorjordanashley/

*****

Electric

By: C.P. Mandara

“I am going to break you. That’s the whole purpose of this exercise. From the moment the door inside that room closes, I am not going to be Mr. Nice Guy. I am going to do everything in my power to hear you scream, and I won’t stop until I hear you beg for mercy. Do you wish to proceed on that basis?”

Today my name is Lois Reeves. I have an appointment with dominant “James Leverett” this morning, because my next assignment requires that I be a “submissive” and I have no idea what that entails. I’m about to find out… by jumping in at the deep end.

This story features medical edge play and electricity play.

www.ChristinaMandara.wordpress.com

http://facebook.com/CPMandara

*****

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Pre-order your copy now—just 99c/99p: http://mybook.to/dirtydoms

(universal Amazon link—will take you to your home store)

Release date 28th June

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Thirty Days: The Complete Series by Bibi Paterson

Thirty Days: The Complete SeriesBook blurb:

Thirty Days: The Complete Series
(Thirty Days Have September, November, April & June)

Set in London and Brighton, Thirty Days is a fabulously provocative romance series that gives you a very steamy love affair between a hot guy and an unsure heroine, baked goods and some rather unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Shy and unassuming, Abigail James loves to bake. She dreams of opening her own dessert café but instead she spends her days working as a data analyst and sneaking in her cakes as the company’s ‘diet assassin’ on the side.

Taylor Hudson, the enigmatic owner of Hudson International, has been captivated by Abby’s innocence and quiet charm since the day she started working for the company. However, his history with women is marred by personal circumstances and he has vowed to stay away.

A chance meeting sees Abby’s world turned upside down when, drawn in by Taylor’s chocolate brown eyes and unexpected kindness, she starts on a journey of attraction that will see her heart and soul laid bare.

While their attraction is mutual, both Abby and Taylor have their own inner demons that they need to overcome if their relationship can move forward for them to find their own happily ever after.

Due to the nature of the content this book is intended for mature audiences.

Buy links:

Amazon               http://amzn.to/1ULsdZz
iBooks                  http://apple.co/1SwSncb
Nook                     http://bit.ly/1MvtnpJ
Smashwords     http://bit.ly/1TUhTO3

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Excerpt:

I look up and stare at myself in the bathroom mirror. With annoyance I rub my panda eyes, cursing that I had not thought to buy waterproof mascara. Typical, I think to myself. The one day I actually took some effort in getting ready for work, everything is undone by a five-minute downpour at the bus stop. I glance down at my watch and realise that if I don’t hurry, I am going to miss my opportunity to deliver my packages.

Swiping at my eyes with a tissue, I manage to repair most of the black streaks hurriedly. With that done, I pick up my bags and, glancing around, sneak out of Hudson International’s ladies’ toilets. Taking a deep breath and summoning as much stealth as I can muster, I hurry down the corridor towards the staff kitchen, grateful to find it empty. Glancing over my shoulder, I quickly unpack my packages onto the counter.

“So you are the diet assassin, then?” The voice startles me, and I almost drop the box that I am holding. I can feel the flush spread up my neck as I spin round to find myself staring into a pair of delicious dark chocolate brown eyes.

“Um, um,” I stutter, completely disorientated by the man standing in front of me.

“Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me,” he replies, helping himself to one of the chocolate cheesecake muffins that I had been placing on the countertop. He takes a bite and lets out a small sigh.

“No good?” I ask tentatively, my heart sinking. I had spent hours the previous evening getting the recipe exactly right, and I thought I had finally nailed it. But obviously not.

“No,” he replies, my heart sinking. “Too good,” he says with a grin. Unwittingly I find myself grinning back.

“Um, I’d better get these offloaded, then,” I reply. I quickly place the remaining few muffins on the counter, pack up my boxes and turn around expecting the mystery man to have taken his muffin and left. But no, he is still leaning nonchalantly against the door frame, grinning at me as he slowly eats the muffin.

“Sorry, have to dash,” I mutter, glancing at my watch. “Meeting in ten minutes.” I feel completely unnerved by this stranger who I have never seen in the office before. Almost grudgingly he lets me pass, loaded with my empty boxes. As I draw level with him, it feels as if time stands still. The hairs on my neck stand on end as I take in his citrusy smell, the dark eyes crinkling with humour and his lush, full lips that seem to be inviting me to kiss him. I swear I am about to swoon, and that is seriously not a good thing.

“So why do you do it?” he asks in a husky voice, as if he is affected as much by this chance meeting as I am.

I can feel the heat flaming my cheeks as I reply, “I love to bake.” I shrug my shoulders as if trying to shake off his gaze and swiftly push past him. I find myself hurrying down the corridor at almost a running pace, and I have to mentally give myself a nudge to slow down. It seems that luck is on my side, and I make it to my desk, where I quickly stow away my boxes in my drawers.

I breathe a sigh of relief as I turn on my computer but find my mind wandering back to the mystery man. I cannot understand why he has affected me so much. It is not even as if he said very much to me. Yet his presence seemed to speak volumes, and I have to admit to myself that at this moment I feel incredibly turned on. At the memory of his lips, I actually feel my heart quicken and my pelvis tighten. Banishing these thoughts, I turn to concentrate on my email, fearing that my tell-tale blush will give me away.

I lose myself in my inbox for several minutes, when I am suddenly brought back to reality by a tapping foot. “Come on, Abby, you are going to be late for the staff meeting, and I hear today’s muffins are to die for.”

Michelle Harrington-Black sends me an arch look, knowing full well who is responsible for today’s cakes, but as my confidante and best friend at Hudson, she has been sworn to secrecy.

Bibi PatersonAuthor Bio:

British author Bibi was born in South Africa and loves to tell saucy stories with a twist. Inspired from a young age, her love for literature started with Enid Blyton and her Secret Seven. Since then a voracious appetite for books has brought her a world full of heroes, love, murder, betrayal and the odd vampire thrown in for good cause. Bibi’s hobbies include consuming copious amounts of coffee and chocolate, building cardboard castles with her daughter and spending time with the laziest cat in the world.

http://www.bibipaterson.com
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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7212454.Bibi_Paterson

 

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LANDSCAPES Launch Day: Brimming with Firsts

Landscapes cover 12654238_1515192535449022_5292046566866535088_nI’m so excited! It’s launch day for my MM novella, Landscapes! If you’ve been keeping up with recent posts then you know that Alonso Darlington is none too happy about me re-launching the story of his private life. He figures it’s none of my business and, as a vampire, he likes to keep a very low profile. I figure if he hasn’t ripped my throat out yet, I just might be good to go and, honestly, I just couldn’t resist sharing his story. For those of you who have read my online serial, In The Flesh, you know that Alonso’s life is already seriously complicated. He’s a reluctantly willing member of Magda Gardener’s Consortium, and a relationship with a mortal on top of that dubious membership is one more complication he doesn’t need. BUT the heart wants what the heart wants no matter the price.

 

Most of you also know that Alonso and Reese’s story first appeared in the wonderful MM collection, Brit Boys on Boys. Not only was Landscapes my first foray into writing MM erotic romance, but it was my first ever vampire story, and definitely one of the most fun novellas I’ve ever written. Alonso would not be pleased at me saying that, but it’s true.

 

Landscapes is a novella of firsts in so many ways for me. I’m very excited to be re-launching it today as my very first foray into self-publishing. It’s also my chance to give you all another sneak peek at the dark and delicious world of The Medusa Consortium Series, of which In The Flesh is the first full-length novel, but only the beginning of Magda Gardener’s story and the story of the fabulous mismatched misfit members of her Collection. I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Landscapes. If you do, be sure to pick yourself up a copy for your reading chills and thrills.

 

 

Landscapes Blurb:

 

Vampire, Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life? And if Reese finds out the truth, will there be any relationship left to risk?

 

Landscapes Excerpt:

 

It wasn’t that Reese Chambers made my cock hard – though he did. It wasn’t that he was beautiful in a rugged, leather and stone sort of way – though he was. It was that Reese Chambers moved me in ways I had not been moved in a very long time, in ways that I, who never lacked just the right words to express myself, found my vocabulary inadequate to the task. Talia would call it an obsession, and maybe it was; from my first sight of him mantling his sketchpad like a bird of prey over a fresh kill, alone in the midst of the crowded pub, I could think of nothing else. It was my first night back on British soil. It is said that you can never go back home, and it had been a very long time for me. But the need to come home was in my blood like fever these past years, as were so many needs that never left me, but only sharpened with the passing of time.

Next to me, Talia droned on about suitable residences in Cumbria, about the leasing of a car and the making of necessary renovations. The Twa Dogs was busy for a Monday night with tourist season past, but being invisible was sometimes easier in a crowd.

***

‘Find out who he is.’ I nodded in Reese’s direction. Before Talia could protest, I continued. ‘I have a roof over my head, and I’ve fed. There’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow.’

Talia’s cheekbones flushed with the rush of blood, and heaven knew how beautiful she was in such a state, porcelain pale skin, midnight blue eyes and hair, which was so close to black that no one but I would have noticed all of the other colours in her silken tresses. She knew what it was I asked of her, and she knew the delicate line she tread on the rare occasion when I did ask. A tremor passed up her long, straight spine, and a bloom of tiny goose bumps textured her bare arms. It would not be painless, what I asked, and I knew she feared it as much as she longed for it. I could hear the thud thud of her pulse in the thin, silken skin of her throat as she swallowed the sudden dryness of fear. ‘What do you want to know?’

I leaned forward to rake the tip of my thumb against the pulse point in her temple. ‘Everything, Talia. I want to know all of it. And when you know, come directly to me. I don’t care what time it is when you return.’

*****

It was nearing dawn when Talia returned to our accommodations smelling of sex, as I knew she would if she were to castlerigg3obtain for me what I wanted. By then my blood burned in my veins, and my body felt too close to me, as though the flesh that I dwelt in suddenly conspired to crush me with its demands. And though I knew that Reese Chambers could not have refused her even if she had come to him as a toothless, foul-smelling hag, I hated her that he had poured himself into her body while I had been left with only my fantasies kindling my lust to an inferno.

Though my need was such that my flesh was fevered and my cock an insistent throb, until she returned, I held myself contained within skin that felt too thin. When she saw the state that I was in, she pulled the heavy drapes with an efficient tug, then with a nod of her head, motioned me to follow her down into the basement room that had been prepared for me. When she turned to me at the foot of the bed, before she could opened her kiss-bruised lips to speak, I took her mouth, starving for the first taste of him, the taste of his saliva, the taste of his blood, mixed with hers. She’d bitten him; he’d bitten her back. He was rough, and he liked to be treated rough, but he kept that to himself. He was embarrassed by it. His lips were slightly chapped from so much time in the sun and wind, and they’d slid against hers, suckling and stroking and pressing until her mouth opened to his. With ravenous laps of my tongue, I tasted him in her mouth, and she held back the moan of response, so I could hear the echoes of his groans, heavy with need he’d not satisfied in awhile, and I felt kinship in my own unsatisfied needs. Images of him flashed through my head. Christ, his eyes were green, dark green like the evergreen forests of the north, and he kept them open when he kissed her, taking her in with his eyes.

I shoved aside the silk of her low bodice exposing her breasts, breasts that his hands had cupped. My nipples peeked to sharp aching points at the feel of his calloused thumbs raking, pressing and releasing. I breathed in his scent on her breasts, burying my face in her cleavage, licking the taste of salty, slightly picante maleness, sniffing and tasting until I could stand it no more. In one violent jerk, I tore the dress all the way down and shoved it off her shoulders, away from the flesh he had licked and kissed and mounted. I cried out at the feel of him, weight on one elbow, knee spreading her thighs, fingers opening her heaviness, anxious to penetrate, anxious to relieve his need. And then, with Talia free of clothing, Reese Chambers’ essence filled the room. Talia’s panties were still wet with his semen mixed with her humid desire, and I tore them from her and forced her onto her stomach, onto her hands and knees, so that it was not her face I saw, but his that I imagined. With hands on her hips, I raised her bottom in the air and spread her still swollen, still slippery folds with fingers made awkward by my arousal, letting the scent of his hot bread and honey release intoxicate me. Then I buried my face in her snatch and, as I ate his lust from her, I knew him.

He was Cumbrian born and bred, and his accent was the soft lilting sound of the fells. He was a landscaper and a britboysonboys cover imagegardener by trade. His hands held the magic of the earth and his mind conceived ideas for beautiful outdoor spaces; those he liked best were patterned after Renaissance and medieval gardens. He was homesick and heartsick. He’d gone to Surrey to work with his father because the money was good. But his father had died recently and he had returned home to Cumbria. He didn’t care if he had to work in a pub or muck stables. He wanted to be home. He missed the people and he missed the fells. He missed the simpler, more honest rhythms of life. He was shy, even a bit reclusive. He read voraciously and widely, he liked astronomy and he was afraid of snakes, though it embarrassed him to admit it. He hadn’t had sex in a long time, and found it better to have a wank session than a meaningless encounter. The facts of him, the details of his life raced at me in a flood I consumed ravenously with each lap of my tongue.

As I ate Talia I felt the shape of his face, the curve of his chin, the rise and fall of his chest as he had done the same. I felt the soft tuft of bronze curls nestled between the hard rise of his pecs and the courser, deeper curls that caressed his testicles and his cock when it was at rest, but it hadn’t been at rest. How many times had he taken her? He was thick enough to fill her and the friction of him inside was delicious and maddening. The shape of him – I wanted to caress the shape of him, with my hands, with my mouth, and the taking of his essence from Talia was an act of ripping away something that should have been mine. As I bruised her arse with kneading fingers and, as I licked the last of his release from her, she managed a breathless moan. ‘Take the rest. God, Alonso, take the rest, and release me.’

 

Buy Landscapes Here:

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An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington: 3rd Entry

I first shared my little encounter with Alonso Darlington when the novella, Landscapes was published as a part of the wonderful m/m Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set. For those of you who’ve read my online serial, In The Flesh, Alonso is a familiar character, but his story starts long before In The Flesh. and Landscapes is his first public appearance and, one — as you’ll see from the tale I began to share with you two weeks ago, he isn’t overly happy about. I felt with the release of Landscapes as a stand-alone novella coming up very shortly, it might serve as a warning to all of you  who choose to delve into the private life of a vampire. I’m risking Alonso’s displeasure again by sharing the conclusion of this little encounter with the release of Landscapes, the novella, only days away on May 24.

 

Read and be warned

 

An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington: Entry 3

 

Landscapes The room was as silent as a tomb after Talia left. God, I didn’t want to think of that analogy, but there it was, popping up in my head, and me alone with the vampire I thought I’d created, but wasn’t at all sure I could trust. Ha! Me being Alonso’s maker! The humour was almost, but not quiet lost on me.

 

I could feel his gaze rather than see it. But then Alonso’s gaze was nearly as physical as his touch. When it moved over me, I felt as though every part of me had not only been touched, but completely left naked and exposed. I kept my eyes focused on my hands folded in my lap as though I were offering up a white-knuckled prayer. Maybe I was. I honestly don’t know. I do know that I was scared witless. I had absolutely no clue what was going on or what was the significance of the conversation that had passed between Talia and Alonso. I was still struggling to get my head round what had happened and the fact that something so brutal could have been arousing as well as terrifying.

 

After what seemed like ages, Alonso released a heavy breath and came around the desk. He leaned back on it looking down at me where I sat, still avoiding his gaze. ‘Are you a fan of mythology?’

 

His question startled me, and I looked up. ‘Yes, why?’

 

In a move so fast I missed it until I felt the electricity of his touch shoot down my spine, he knelt in front of me and took my face in his hands so that I couldn’t look away. ‘You often write … stories that involve mythology, witches, demons, things that can’t be easily explained.’

 

I struggled to catch my breath enough to reply. ‘I write all sorts of things. I have an active imagination, like you said.’

 

He made a sound at the back of his throat that was enough like a growl to make the hair on my neck rise. ‘Your active imagination conjures a lot of very dangerous people.’

 

My laugh sounded high pitched and thin, bouncing off the stone walls. ‘You make me sound like a witch or something.’

 

He didn’t smile. ‘Not a witch. Not exactly.’

 

I couldn’t hold back a shiver, but I caught myself quickly. ‘I write fiction. That’s all.’

 

He said nothing, only studied me until I closed my eyes to get away from his intense gaze. It was the warmth of his lips on mine that caused me to start, his electric touch playing over me like ripples on a pond. The room suddenly seemed tight, airless. I tried to get away from him, but he held me tight. ‘Perhaps she’ll allow you to believe that, but I doubt it.’

 

Before I could either panic or throw myself into his arms and offer up my neck, he stood and moved back behind the desk. ‘You’re free to go, K D. Talia will take you back to your room, and you have free run of the house for now.’ He gave a huff of a laugh. ‘There isn’t much you’ve not already seen, I suppose.’

 

He was right. It was an intuitive experience, finding my way around High View Manor. And it was uncanny that I should know the place so well, that it was the place I had created in my imagination for a story I’d written, and yet my creation was stone and wood all around me. I wandered the grounds when I felt claustrophobic inside the stone walls designed to keep a vampire safe from the northern sun – anemic in the winter and tireless in the summer. I wandered the grounds wrapped in the heavy jacket, which I found returned and hanging next to the wardrobe in my room, as if by magic.

 

S6300754I felt as though I’d fallen off the edge of the earth and ‘here be monsters.’ This was the Lake District! I loved the Lake District. My heart felt like it was home the first time I came here. But Lakeland is also a place full of magic and mystery. That the creations of my imagination should take shape in the reality of the waking world made me feel wrong-footed and not quite at home in my own skin. It was unsettling enough to see the world I had created in my head solid and stable all around me, but it was much more so to feel threatened by the flesh and blood people that until now I thought to be only characters in my imagination.

 

The sun was setting and I had just returned from a wander in Alonso’s garden, shivering from the cold wind that had gotten up some time in the afternoon, and had just been joined by gravy-thick mist. I heard voices in the day room, heard the mention of my name, and stopped short to listen.

 

‘If Talia didn’t put the story of our relationship in Ms. Grace’s head then who the hell did?’ I recognized Reese’s voice and stepped closer on tiptoes.

 

‘It’s better that you don’t know,’ came Alonso’s reply. ‘Our cat’s out of the bag, so to speak. That means she should have no further interest in us.’ Then he added as an afterthought. ‘Though I honestly don’t know why she would want our story shared. I’ve kept my distance from her, respected her boundaries, kept her secrets – what few I know of them. I’m no threat to her.’

 

‘You’re recently returned to Lakeland,’ Talia said. ‘Granted High View and the surrounding fells is all your land, and you keep a low profile, but you’re here, and she’ll want to know exactly why you’re here and what your plans are.’

 

‘If she’s told my story to the writer, then she already knows my motives and that I’m no threat to her.’

 

No threat to who? Who the hell was he talking about? I felt like little ant feet were crawling up my spine. Christ! If there were someone out there who Alonso feared, someone whose attention he wanted to avoid, what the hell would they want with me? I was scared enough of him. Whoever she was, I was pretty damned sure I wanted nothing do to with her. I was so lost in my thoughts that I nearly missed Alonso’s next statement with all its implications.

 

‘Anyone else who she brings to Ms Grace’s attention, well that’s not our problem, is it? And the less we know the better.’

 

Anyone she brings to my attention? They thought this she, whoever she was, had made me write Alonso’s story? I was beginning to get seriously creeped out.

 

‘She was in Vegas last spring, our dear Ms Grace. You know that, right?’ It was Talia’s voice I heard now, and I inched still closer to the open door holding my breath. ‘More jet-lagged than usual from what I understand. I wasn’t so concerned when she was there the year before. But last spring, Mr. Graves had … company.’

 

‘It’s not our concern, Talia.’ Alonso’s voice was tight and irritable. ‘Mr. Graves has nothing to do with us, and if the woman writes his story, if that’s why she was so jet lagged, then better Graves than us. And he can certainly take care of himself.’

 

‘That’s easy for you to say.’ Talia’s voice, though low and controlled, made gooseflesh prickle up my arm. ‘But Ms Grace is here in the Lakes often, and you’re not the only one who has secrets, Alonso.’

 

‘What do you want me to do, Talia? Hmm?’ If she’s chosen Ms Grace to write the stories then there’s nothing any of us can do about it, and though Graves might be angry, he won’t take her on, not directly anyway. There’s too much between them.’

 

‘Who’s she? Who the hell are you talking about?’ Reese asked, his voice raised in exasperation.

 

Alonso’s reply was curt, sharp edged with warning. ‘We’ll discuss this later, after our guest leaves.’

 

Between Maiden Moor and High Spy, where Marie loses her way.Talia spoke over a loud clearing of throat. ‘And just how long do you plan to keep our guest listening at the door, Alonso?’

 

Before I could turn to flee, Alonso was at my side and with speed matched only by grace, he slid an arm around me and guided me into the day room where I was suddenly the center of attention.

 

‘I’m sorry. I was just coming in and I heard my name and … well what you were saying was …’

 

‘Frightening?’ Talia came to my side and smoothed my wind-blown hair away from my face, and the feather touch of her fingers sent the feeling of champagne bubbles bursting all over my body. ‘You have good reason to be frightened, scribe.’ Before I could step away from her, she pulled me into her arms and kissed me.

 

From somewhere a long way off I could hear Alonso and Reese, voices raised in alarm, but after that everything happened so quickly, I can only guess at events. They came to me like scenes lit by a strobe light, fast, frantic, and disjointed. There was a woman. I can’t recall how she looked, and yet I know if I ever see her, I’ll know instantly that it was her. She was achingly beautiful and yet something about that beauty terrified me. I tried to run from her, through an overgrown garden, dark and wild and more alive than it should have been. And there were stones, all around me stones some sculpted, some grotesque, some worn away until I couldn’t tell if they were ever more than just the rock on the fells.

 

Then someone carrying a flaming torch walked inside me like I were the garden, ignoring all the places that I chose to share with the world and seeking out the darkness in me, the shame in me, the places I never visited myself, let alone invited company in for a look. I cried out, I screamed, I tried to chase the torch bearer away, but the more I tried, the more my darkness was illuminated.

 

And then I was falling down underground, at first into the ruins of a slate quarry, and then there were bright lights above me, but I walked in caves, through endless tunnels and caverns, and I walked among the dead, all the while knowing that the bright lights were above me and that above me people celebrated, people danced and drank and partied. Yet they were oblivious to the dead just below them, the dead I walked among as I followed the torchbearer through the darkness. I followed until we came to the edge of an abyss, and there, the torchbearer turned to me and spoke against my ear. ‘Write it. Write what I tell you.’ Then with the flat of her hand in the middle of my back, she gave a gentle push, and I fell over the edge.

 

I woke with a start, gasping for breath. I’m embarrassed to say that I might have actually been screaming. It was Reese who held me, and soothed me back into the waking world.

 

‘Goddamn it, Talia!’ Alonso was saying. ‘Why the hell did you do that?’

 

I was lying flat out on the leather sofa with Reese kneeling at my side. But Talia was kneeling next to him.

 

As I fought to sit up, Talia glided across the floor to Alonso, took his face in her hands and kissed him hard. He gasped as though she had gut-punched him, grabbed at her as though to keep from falling and then stopped trying as his legs gave and he dropped onto the love seat across from me where he sat breathing like he’d just ran a marathon.

 

Dale Head Pivotal location for Elemental FireTalia pulled herself up to her full height, squared her shoulders and spoke in a quiet voice. ‘Now you know. Now we all know. And there’s nothing we can do about it.’ Then she turned and walked out of the room.

 

‘Do about it? What did she just do? What did she see?’ Reese sounded as though he wasn’t all that far from the panic I felt it knowing that whatever had happened inside me, Talia had just conveyed to Alonso, and I was pretty sure they both understood it a helluva lot better than I did.

 

If Alonso wasn’t already dead, I’d have said he looked like death warmed over, and his gaze was locked on me as though I’d just sprouted horns and a tail. Then he pulled his cell phone from his jacket pocket still holding me in a cast-iron gaze. ‘Stephen, see that Ms Grace’s clothes are packed and the car is brought around for her. She’ll be leaving immediately. Oh, and see that the jet is prepped to fly her to Heathrow.’

 

It was full dark when Alonso walked me to the waiting SUV. Up until that time no one had spoken to me, though I had been well-fed, which was good because after whatever had happened to me in the day room, I was ravenous. The driver got out to take my bag and Alonso took my hands in his.

 

‘It isn’t over, K D.’ Before I could ask, he raised his hand to stop me. ‘I wish that I could tell you more, wish that I could help you, but I can’t. I know little more than to tell you that you need to be prepared because mine won’t be the last story you’ll be compelled to write.’ He shrugged. ‘I’m overstepping my boundaries by even telling you that, but perhaps she’ll forgive me. Perhaps not. Still you should be warned. You should be ready for what’ll be asked of you. At least as ready as it’s possible to be. I am sorry, K D. Truly I am.’ He kissed me on the cheek, then nodded to the driver.

 

I slept most of the way home, dreaming of things too disturbing and too erotic for me to share outright with you. Most of them involving Alonso and Talia, but during those dreams, I always knew that she was watching. There were moments when I could almost figure out who she was, but then like most dreams, what I struggled to hold on to vanished into mist before I woke up.

 

Once at home, I fell into my own bed without even undressing and slept a deep, dream-filled sleep, often feeling as though Alonso or Talia, sometimes both, were there in the bed with me, and always she watched just beyond the edge of my consciousness. I woke half-convinced that I’d dreamed the whole experience, but for the still-packed bag sitting on the floor in the hall. Even then, I thought perhaps I could have packed it in my sleep. Denial is a powerful thing. It was only after I’d gotten out of the shower and was drying myself that I noticed two tiny puncture wounds above my left breast. But even that I tried to justify as some sort of skin irritation or maybe an insect bite.

 

In the days that followed, I developed no aversion to sunlight, no desire to drink blood, no powerful urge to return to Alonso. Neither did Talia visit my dreams again. In the days that followed, I constantly questioned myself, tested myself, trying to discover exactly what it was about me that had changed. Something had, and yet I still can’t put my finger on what it was or why or how, but something is different.

 

Alonso’s parting conversation keeps coming back to me, and I wonder just what I aught to be prepared for, and who the hell she is. I keep trying to make sense out of whatever it was that happened between Talia and me, whatever it was that happened in my head, or in my imagination, or wherever it was. None of it makes any sense. But what I do feel is a sense of heightened expectation, as though something important, something that I need to do or know, is about to happen. But then again, perhaps it is nothing more than my overactive imagination exerting itself a little more than usual.

 

 

Addendum:

 

I now know who she is. I wouldn’t say that Magda Gardener has exactly become my friend. No one would say that about britboysonboys cover imageMagda Gardener, but I would say that as she guides me to the stories I’m compelled to tell – the story of Susan and Michael, the story of Mr. Graves and Samantha, she gives me little glimpses of herself – I don’t know if that is on purpose or inadvertent, but it doesn’t matter. What I have learned is that Alonso and Talia were right to fear her. Why I don’t know is why, in all the world, she chose me to write the stories of her Consortium. As those stories unfold, I’m not sure whether to be excited and flattered that I have been chosen, or to be terrified as each story reveals more of her own darkness. You, dear readers, will have to be the judge, and Alonso and Reese’s story is just the beginning.

 

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© 2016 K D Grace
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