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BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY! How the Other Half Lives by Clare London

 
 
Length: 20,000 words
 
 
 
Blurb
 

Compulsively neat freak meets chaotic slob: can their living space survive the conflict?

Martin Harrison keeps himself to himself and his Central London flat as neat as a new pin. Maybe he should loosen up and enjoy more of a social life, but in his mind, that’s tantamount to opening the floodgates to emotional chaos. He agrees, however, to join the flat-sitting scheme in his building and look after another tenant’s flat in exchange for a similar watch over his when he’s travelling for his work.

A floor away in the same building, Russ McNeely is happy with his life as a freelance cook and a self-confessed domestic slob. He also joins the flat-sitting scheme, both to be neighbourly and to help keep his flat in order, as Russ also travels for his work.

For a while, the very dissimilar men never meet. Martin is horrified at the mess at Russ’s flat, while Russ finds Martin’s minimalist style creepy. But in a spirit of generosity, each of them starts to help the other out by rearranging things in their own inimitable way.

Until the day a hiccup in the schedule brings them face-to-face at last.

 
Excerpt
 

There’s no way I think Ethan’s amusement is justified, no way at all. I suppose I imagined he would share my righteous horror at the experience I’ve just been through. No… suffered is the appropriate word.
“Holy crap in a handbasket, Martin, if you could only see the expression on your face! Was it really that bad?” He laughs, rather too loudly and too long for my liking. “Come on, we’re living in a sophisticated city, in a hub of the civilised world, not some kind of ghetto. These are very smart flats, and the tenants have to pass some kind of credit check before moving in. Your upstairs flat-sit can’t have been the hellhole you so graphically describe.”
“It was.” I’m still shuddering at the mere memory. “Initially I thought the place had been burgled. I’ve never seen such a mess in my life. Everything jumbled together. Nothing labelled, stacked properly, or cleared away.” Ethan’s still laughing at me, and I don’t approve of his levity. “There were dirty plates, Ethan. Lots of them, and not just in the sink! I found an umbrella in the bathroom, a car maintenance kit in the kitchen, and some correspondence pinned to the wall in the lobby with a fork. Like a…. Like a spear.” It remained the most aggressive vision. “There was dust on the top of every door frame, and a very disturbing colour scheme on the walls of the living room. I had a headache after my first evening visit.”
“So, what do you have to do? Do you have to live there while the owner’s away?”
Thankfully, I catch that glint of mischief back in his eye. “Very amusing, I’m sure. No, I only have to check in on a daily basis. Make sure that the alarm is set, turn off lights that have been left on—every single one, Ethan!—and collect up the post. Sensible things like that.”
“Post?”
From the sly look on Ethan’s face, I suspect he’s still provoking me. “What about it?”
“I believe you can tell a lot by a person’s post.”
“I believe so too,” I reply dryly. “But if that’s the case, I’m not much the wiser, having waded through a mass of free flyers and invitations to various gourmet events. The owner appears to be in the catering trade, or has ambitions to be. Unless they’re a professional gamer—there were several magazines with lurid covers of impossibly cantilevered animated women, or surly assassins dressed in camouflage, with guns larger than their own torsos.”
“How the other half lives,” murmurs my so-called friend, unable to hide his grin. “You sorted through it for the owner, then?”
“Well, of course I did.” I can feel a slight flush on my cheeks. “Among other things. The owner obviously needs help, and I… had a spare hour. For example, I put the car kit and the umbrella back in the hall, and took a large pile of bedding from the living room to the dresser in the bedroom. Then back in the living room, I sorted a total mess of CDs into alphabetical order.”
I’m slightly disturbed that I sound like someone’s domestic help, but I’m also secretly impressed with how efficient I’d been in the allotted time. “Oh, and there was a hideous smell in the bathroom. I was going to alert the caretaker of the building, but upon investigation, I found a filthy bottle of stagnant liquid in the linen cupboard by the boiler. I disposed of that, of course.”
“Of course,” Ethan murmurs.
“I did find washing-up the crockery particularly challenging. The tenant appears to cook extensively and uses some very eccentric, exotically flavoured ingredients. If left to dry on the china, they stain—that’s all I’ll say about it.” I finally acknowledge Ethan’s amusement at my expense. “You’re the one who told me to show some neighbourliness.”
“So, you found out who owns this flat?”
“Um. Well, barely.” One would think Ethan assumed some ulterior motive in me, like common curiosity or something equally alien to my calm self-sufficiency. “A person called McNeely, initial R. Apart from that, I have no information. The owner never turned up for the introductory meeting. The management committee provided the key and the details, including the signed agreement to my access.” I shift, inexplicably uncomfortable for a moment. “I’m not sure all of this meets your criteria of making new friends and influencing people, so perhaps I should just let it drop.”
Ethan raises an eyebrow sceptically. I think we’ve either been friends for too long, or else his empathy is improving.
“Okay.” I sigh heavily and a little petulantly. “I’ll persist with it. Actually, I had some ideas for a shoe storage rack in the hallway and more efficient shelving in the kitchen. He might be interested in that, as I’ve never seen so many ill-assorted utensils scattered all over the counter. And I did think a formal message board for him would be an excellent idea.”
“He? Him?” Ethan’s eyelids flicker and his mouth tightens, as if he’s trying hard to keep his expression neutral. Maybe my empathy is improving too.
“I saw his flat, remember? I saw the post. And—” I’m racked with another shudder. “—I saw the piles of unfolded laundry. It’s a male tenant. Please don’t ask me to elaborate.”
“Underwear?” Ethan is relentless. “I believe you can tell a lot by a person’s—”
I glare at him and he bites back the rest of the sentence. “I can assure you, I didn’t stay any longer than necessary. I was going to play some of the CDs that had been left out of their cases, just to check whether they were still serviceable, but I couldn’t get the equipment to work.”
Ethan frowns. “It was broken?”
“No, no.” I’m impatient with him now, and although I like his company, I’m hoping he’ll go soon. There’s something disturbing my thoughts, and I need to wipe the whole flat-sitting episode from my mind. I need to settle back in my own place, on my own, with my things around me. I need… peace. “The place was the most appalling jumble, Ethan. I just couldn’t find the remote control. Then when I was about to lock up and leave, I found it under the—”
Now it’s my turn to bite off my unfortunate words, but it’s too late. Ethan’s all but pounced on me.
“Where, Martin? Where did you find it?”
“Under the laundry,” The flush is all over my neck now. “If you must know, it was under a pile of boxer shorts illustrated with a character called Super Mario.”

 
Author Bio
 

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon

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EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Chase the Ace by Clare London

Chase The Ace (London Lads #1) – Clare London

 
Length: 27,000 words
 
 
Blurb

Newly single in his late twenties, and bored with his life in a London insurance company, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. Excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from a schooldays sports club, he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.

Dan’s first mistake is chatting online to the wrong man—Nick Carson isn’t one of the boys, but his brother. Nick isn’t offended and offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.

For Dan, the reunions with the “Gang of Four” range from startling and heartening to disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought long hidden. Dan begins to suspect he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.

 
Excerpt

~~Daniel and Nick visit a club in Brighton, searching out the first old friend on Daniel’s list~~

We found ourselves in a narrow corridor running behind the stage and the bar, where two small rooms served as dressing areas. The young man who’d acted as receptionist was in the doorway of one of them, swigging from a can of drink and dressed in a tight, sparkling green Lycra vest and denim shorts. He turned to stare at me.

“Looking for Gerry?” he asked with a grin.

Behind him, the show’s announcer chuckled—he was sitting inside the room on a chair in front of a large mirror, now dressed only in the matching sparkly shorts. The two men were both of slight build, with similar pale good looks. All I could do was wonder if they shared outfits, taking turns to wear the top and then the bottom, until laundry day.

“I’m looking for Dina,” I said, raising an eyebrow.

Alice used to tell me I could look very forbidding, but the young man just laughed and nodded to the next room.

Dina sat in front of a similar mirror with a large cosmetic bag open on the counter in front of her. She’d taken off the huge wig and eyelashes but was still in costume, and she turned her chair to greet us as we entered.

“Hello, Daniel,” Gerry said. He was smiling, though his eyes showed some nervousness. “I saw you in the audience. Long time no see.”

His voice was lower than on stage, his natural hair a shaggy, dark mess, but he was still a long way from the schoolboy I’d known. He’d taken off the heels as well. It looked incongruous: his large, masculine feet showing under the feathered hem of the sparkling frock, the nail polish on his toes that coordinated perfectly with his fingers.

“You remember me?”

Gerry chuckled. “You’re memorable, honey. Not that you ever believed it.” He glanced at Nick and winked.

“Do I call you Gerry, or do you prefer Dina?”

He laughed, and in that moment I was reminded of the joker at summer school, the easy-going extrovert. “Call me what you like, honey. I love Dina, and I love Gerry too.”

“Are you a transsexual now?” I asked, from nothing but curiosity.

Nick’s hand tightened on my arm. “Dan, that’s pretty rude.”

“It’s okay,” Gerry said in his rich drawl. “I’ll talk about anything, you know.”

“We gathered that much from this evening’s show,” I said wryly.

Gerry laughed again. “I always liked you, Danny Boy. You were bright, but you weren’t an arsehole. No, I’m not female, and I’m not sure yet if that’s what I want. For the time being, I’m happy being both of me, whenever and whichever I choose.”

“And the diva is a star,” Nick said with a smile. “It was a great show.”

Gerry flushed with pleasure that could almost be called coy, if I hadn’t recalled how he spiked the cola in the club fridge one lunchtime with vodka he’d stolen from his mother, or the time he offered to wash the tennis kit and turned it all baby pink, or the time he smuggled in a family bucket of fried chicken and sold it piece by slimy piece to the younger kids under cover of the table tennis tournament.

He was watching me, smoothly plucked eyebrows raised. “Remembering the good old days, Danny?”

I laughed then. I realised how buzzed the atmosphere was, how light-headed I felt, and not just because of the wine. “Your costume is magnificent. You always did like playing with the dolls’ clothes. Remember that time we tried to re-enact Chariots of Fire with Sindy dolls?”

Gerry rolled his eyes. “I twisted one of the legs in its socket, taking it through the finish tape. And the homoerotic subtext? Well! That scene snapped the other leg right off, as I remember.”

“And Mark was whimpering we’d get caught, you know how tough the girls could be with him—”

“And Alec sneering how fucking stupid the dolls looked in string vests and shorts made of chopped-up dishcloth—”

We were roaring with laughter by now.

“Do you remember …?” I paused, but I’d gone too far now to stop. “Do you remember that game of chase the ace?”

Gerry stopped laughing, abruptly and startlingly. “Honey, you’re not still worrying about that, are you? After all these years?”

I flushed, and I could feel Nick’s curious eyes on me. “It’s stayed in my mind. I just wondered if it was still in yours.”

“Bloody good punch-up that day,” Gerry said, with glee that owed more to a sixteen-year-old’s boasting than an adult cabaret singer’s set.

“I just wanted to know ….”

“Of course you did,” Gerry said. “Close your eyes, honey.” His voice was suddenly stronger and much deeper. He stood, towering over me even without his heels on. “You hear me?”

Shivering, I did. God knows what Nick thought was happening. He must have worried we had some weird ritual going on, worried what kind of lunatic he’d given a lift to. Then Gerry grasped my chin, tilted my head, and kissed me.

I didn’t open my eyes; I just surrendered to it. His lipstick was sweet and slick and his lips firm. The end of his tongue brushed my mouth, but he didn’t push in, just licked briefly at my lower lip. Nick stifled a gasp, and Gerry chuckled in the back of his throat.

Then our lips drifted apart.

“Well, honey?” Gerry murmured.

I opened my eyes and smiled. “That was nice.”

Gerry raised his eyebrows again. “I’m damned by faint praise.”

“You know what I mean. It was great, but it wasn’t ….”

Gerry nodded. “I know. Even at sixteen I had a kiss you’d have remembered.” He glanced over at Nick. “And your cute man is looking daggers at me, so he needs to be in on the story, right?”

I said, “He’s not m—”

“I’m not h—” Nick said at the same time.

Gerry ignored us both. “Whatever. Fun, fascination, or fuck, you both look good on it.” He turned back to the mirror and sat again. “Now I have to get ready for my second set. You’ll stay for that?”

 

Giveaway

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Author Bio

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon

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RELEASE BLITZ: Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London

Clare London – Romancing The Wrong Twin

Author: Clare London
 
Release Date: November 1 2016
 
Length: 59,000 words
 
 
Blurb
 
How tangled can a romantic web get?When gruff mountaineer Dominic Hartington-George seeks sponsorship for his latest expedition, his London PA insists on a more media-friendly profile—like dating celebrity supermodel Zeb Z.

Zeb can’t make the date, so he asks his identical twin, Aidan, to stand in for just one evening. Aidan, a struggling playwright, shuns the limelight to the extent people don’t even know Zeb has a sibling, but he reluctantly agrees.

When the deception has to continue beyond the first date, Aidan fights to keep up the pretense. Dominic likes his sassy, intelligent companion, and Aidan starts falling for the forthright explorer. But how long can Aidan’s conscience cope as confusion abounds? Will coming clean as “the other twin” destroy the trust they’ve built?

 
Excerpt
 

The pretty young woman who met Aidan at the door smiled warmly. “I’m Tanya, Mr. Hartington-George’s personal assistant. I’m pleased to meet you, Mr. Z. I’m quite a fan.”
“Zeb,” Aidan said, hoping he hadn’t hesitated for too long. “Please just call me Zeb. And… yes. Thanks.”
“Come on through.” She gestured him into the hallway. “You’re on time.”
Aidan wondered why she sounded surprised at that. He repitched his natural voice a little higher to Zeb’s teasing tone and smiled brightly in return. “Of course.”
A sneaked look in the hallway mirror had him rolling his eyes. Mission accomplished, Zeb! He barely recognized himself. Usually he was most comfortable in a sweatshirt and jeans, but now he was dressed in what Zeb Z would wear on a daily basis: a pair of skintight, distressed-denim jeans with inexplicable splits across the knees; high-top boots in soft purple leather that screamed expensive yet were surprisingly comfortable; and two lightweight T-shirts under an off-the-shoulder, electric blue sweater. Admittedly the blue brought out the color of his eyes—no one ever said Zeb didn’t have a well-developed sense of personal style—but the rest of it made him look like an overaged member of a boy band.
A younger man darted out from what must have been the living room, clutching a leather jacket to his chest as if in protection. He saw Aidan, glanced at Tanya with widening eyes, then back at Aidan. Then he thrust out his hand and said perfectly cheerily, “I’m Eric. He threatens to kill me on a daily basis.”
Aidan just shook hands and nodded. He had no idea what to say to that, or even what it meant.
Tanya frowned at Eric. “Whatever. We’re just going. The car will come for you at seven. In the meantime, if you’d like a drink?”
But Eric took her arm and guided her toward the front door. “They can cope with that themselves, Tanya. Come on.”
And Aidan was left on his own in the hallway.
He took a deep breath to center himself. The house wasn’t huge, but it was in a very fashionable area of Ladbroke Grove and far more luxurious than his own small flat. That said, there wasn’t much furniture and the decoration wasn’t modern. The hallway walls were painted in plain, cool colors. No pictures hung on the walls, and there was only a single bureau and hat stand, albeit in quality wood. Eric had left the living room door ajar behind him, and Aidan took a quick peek inside before announcing himself. From what he could see, again the walls were plain and the furniture sparse. It was as if the owner was in the process of moving out—or had never really settled in.
A male figure paused in front of the half-open door. He was distracted by something on the other side of the room, so Aidan got a first secret glimpse of the man he’d been told so much about.
H-G.
He was much more handsome in real life than on TV, though in most of the documentaries, H-G was wrapped up in furry parkas or oilskins with his face more than half-hidden with a scarf and balaclava. Today he was wearing a very smart pair of dark trousers, a startlingly white dress shirt—which had to be brand-new to still have that sheen—and a well-cut suit jacket that settled comfortably across an impressive set of shoulders. H-G’s hair was a fabulous thatch of dark curls, and he had a dark beard and mustache to match. Guiltily Aidan recalled Zeb’s mischievous nickname: Hairy Guy. But that conjured up a Wild Man of Borneo kind of image, and H-G was far from that. The hair was naturally unruly but had been styled to a level just off his shoulders, and the beard was well trimmed.
Aidan had never been attracted to hairy bears, not that he’d ever had much of a choice. As Zeb had gleefully pointed out more than once, Aidan seemed to attract needy and spiteful wankers who got off on bleeding him dry of any compassion and care. Oh, and his money too.
Okay. Self-pity over, right now. I’m not Loser Aidan now. I’m the charismatic and disgustingly fascinating Zeb Z.
For the first time in this bizarre performance, Aidan felt the tickle of mischief. This just might be fun after all. He pushed the door fully open, walked into the room, and cleared his throat.
H-G turned slowly around to face Aidan fully. His gaze ranged over Aidan’s body, and his eyes widened. “Well. They didn’t lie.”
“Who didn’t? What about?”
H-G raised his eyebrows. “Well, firstly, they said you were a bit feisty.”
Feisty? Aidan hadn’t heard that word outside of romance-novel blurbs.
“And you wouldn’t be fazed by… you know.”
“No, I don’t know. By what?” Aidan bit his lip to stop a laugh escaping.
“My celebrity.”
Jesus. Zeb was right. The man was one big blob of arrogance. “No,” Aidan said coolly. “I’m not.”
“That’s from working in the business, I suppose.”
“Business?” Oh, right, he was meant to be Zeb. “Yes, of course. When you’ve seen so many guys without the spray tan and makeup,” he gabbled without thinking first, “you soon realize they’ve got the same equipment under it all.”
H-G blinked twice, hard. And then he laughed—a loud, bold sound, echoing warmly in the bleak room.
Aidan wanted to laugh with him, but maintained his cool stare. “What’s so funny?” Had he blown it already? He hadn’t even left the house with the man yet.
“They didn’t tell me you were witty, Zeb. I may call you Zeb?”
Why? “Oh yes, right. Of course.”
Dom’s language was quaintly old-fashioned, but Aidan found it rather charming, especially after the theatrical bickering of the Dreamweavers and his brother’s exuberant and affected chatter.
“And secondly?” Aidan prompted.
“I’m sorry?” H-G frowned at him.
God, what a scowl he has. “You said they didn’t lie, and then you gave the first reason.”
H-G raised his eyebrows. “You have a good memory.”
Yes, he does have lovely eyes. “Yes, I do. Especially when I’m listening.”
H-G’s mouth twisted as if he were trying not to smirk. “Secondly, they didn’t lie about your looks, and that you were even better-looking in real life. I concur. You’re bloody gorgeous.”

 
Author Bio


Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.


She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters. 


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home. 

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BLOG TOUR: Sweet Summer Sweat by Clare London

Sweet Summer Sweat – Clare London

Author: Clare London
 
Release Date: September 20 2016
 
Publisher: Jocular Press
 
Length: 74,000 words
 
Buy Links: 
 
Blurb
 
When you find a place where lust and sex rule life, and your every desire can be fulfilled, why would you ever want to leave?
Young runaway Scot and his boyfriend Jerry escape their deadbeat homes and families, hoping to leave prejudice behind them and travel to a new life in Las Vegas. Unprepared and naive, they’re lost almost at once, and shelter at a run-down, deserted motel in the middle of the scorching hot Nevada desert. A place with secrets, run by staff both gorgeous and uninhibited, and driven by a mysterious sexual connection Scot’s never even dared to dream.
All but drugged by the lazy heat and the hedonism around him, Scot watches as Jerry is seduced away and realizes their relationship was nothing more than shared lust. Restless, Scot knows he wants true love and real understanding. Could he find it with the mysterious and elusive owner of the motel, Connor Maxwell? Connor seems to think so, every time he appears and pursues Scot for his own. But where does Connor come from? It seems the passion calls him into being at its own whim.
Eventually, what binds Connor and his friends to the motel may be too strong for Scot to break through. Scot has ambitions to travel, to make something of his life – but is his only option to embrace life at the motel in his true lover’s arms?
Or will that love be strong enough to release them both…
Author Bio


Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and
writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home,
she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning
novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes
variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both
theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male
romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys
both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three
stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where
she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
E-mail: clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk
Blog: www.clarelondon.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClareLondon/posts

 

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GUEST POST: Double Scoop by Clare London

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AboutTheBook

DoubleScoopFSTITLE: Double Scoop

SERIES: With a Kick #8

AUTHOR: Clare London

PUBLISHER: Jocular Press

COVER ARTIST: Lou Harper

LENGTH: 45,000 words

RELEASE DATE: April 07, 2016

BLURB: A sudden disaster strikes everyone’s favourite ice cream shop, With A Kick. Not only does it threaten the livelihood of its owner, Patrick, but also his loyal assistant Lee. The last thing in the world Patrick would ever want to do is hurt Lee, either physically or emotionally. Why would he? He’s been falling in love with Lee since the day Lee invited himself into the shop’s business and Patrick’s life. But familiar and deeply-held insecurities hold Patrick back – he’s too gruff for Lee, too old, and his labour-of-love business is never going to make him rich.

Lee is weary of trying to make Patrick see how much he admires and cares for him. To Lee, it’s a very straightforward situation. Patrick is sexy, Patrick is smart, Patrick needs Lee’s help – and Lee needs Patrick in his life as more than a boss. All the characteristics Patrick finds inhibiting, Lee finds attractive. However, if Patrick’s apparently never going to make a move on Lee, how long should Lee wait to make his own move? Maybe Patrick thinks Lee is too clingy, too immature. Maybe Lee should give up his romantic hopes completely. If, that is, he can bear to do it.

The disaster at the shop brings them a whole new opportunity to work – and love – together to make a go of things. They’ve both got to look at each other in a whole new way. With the help of all their With A Kick friends, this could be make or break for the reluctant couple!

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Happy Ever After… at last?

The With A Kick series is 8 books down… and hopefully still counting! It’s a joy to write about the wide variety of characters who live and work around the Soho area of London. And there’s always more inspiration for me and Sue Brown to find love and life stories to write about.

But the guys in Double Scoop seem to have been waiting a long time for their story! Patrick and Lee have been working at the shop since it opened. In fact, although it’s Patrick’s name on the lease, and he lives above the shop, Lee was the one to persuade him to go into business in the first place. We learn a little more about how they met in this book. Patrick readily admits he fancied Lee from the start – and Lee seemed to be equally attracted to Patrick in return.

And they’ve been working together ever since. In the same shop, most days of the week, throughout the working day and often on into the evenings, when they have meals and movie nights together. So… what’s been the delay in them getting together?

It’s a topic I often return to in my books – the characters’ own misgivings. Who hasn’t felt nervous in a new relationship? That they should be on their best behaviour? That the other person won’t like you if they know you, warts and all? Patrick is one of the worst offenders at this. He’s had a rocky dating history, and is conscious of approaching forty. He doesn’t think he’s particularly charming or smooth-talking, and he’s far from rich. So why on earth would a young, lively, hot guy like Lee be interested in him?

Personally, I think people should be alert to any opportunities, and trust themselves to believe in good fortune when it comes their way. What do *you* think?

Excerpt

 

Patrick liked this time of morning in London. It was still too cold in February to do without a jacket and scarf, but otherwise he savoured the onset of spring and the pale, bright sun that glistened off the pavements. He took deep, regular breaths, measuring a circular route around Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, pacing himself slower than he would have done when he was younger. It allowed him to take proper note of life happening around him. His friends preferred to travel to St James Park or Green Park, and run around a greener space, but Patrick lived and belonged here in Soho, and never sought anywhere else. He absorbed the exotic mixture of a new day’s aroma: diesel taxi fumes, the crinkled pages of old books, grocery store spices, lingering pub beer, and fried food being cooked at the fast food venues already awake and serving breakfast. He wasn’t a man to wax lyrical at the best of times, but he loved London with a passion.

Sufficiently exercised and with his appetite now fully awake and clamouring for coffee and food, he cut through the streets towards home. Turning the final corner, he slowed to a brisk walk, then stopped. He leaned on a street lamp, regaining his breath and easing his muscles. The front window of With A Kick was already in view with its stylish red paintwork and matching awning. Patrick took a moment longer just to stand and look at it. Every day was the same: the feelings of pride and excitement just as strong. Only a few years ago, he’d been a teacher, aiming for Assistant Head, and planning out the twenty-odd years to early retirement. Good grief. What a boring life in comparison to now!

He laughed wryly to himself. Amazing how ambition could be kickstarted by the end of a lacklustre romance and a previously secure job slipping away. Eighteen months ago, he’d been saddened but not surprised by his boyfriend Rafe moving on—they’d been drifting more out than into each other’s life for months. He’d also seen the writing on the wall about his school having to make redundancies. It had still surprised him how willingly he accepted his when it was offered. He’d always thought of himself as a man who planned and relied on a steady routine, yet in the space of a couple of months, he found himself single again, out of work and slightly depressed from the culture shock. It was as if the whole bloody world had crashed, as opposed to… what? ‘An opportunity for new adventures and new challenges’, his late dad would have said. His dad had always been a glass-half-full man. Patrick remembered him fondly.

Then things had slowly but steadily fallen into place for him. Now he was an entrepreneur of sorts and, look, his latest ice cream creations were displayed in the window of his own shop, on one of Lee’s brightly coloured posters!

Lee.

That was another thing that never changed: the small lurch of excitement in his gut when he thought of his friend and assistant in With A Kick. Patrick sighed, not at the overall thought of Lee—and Lee’s youth, and good looks, and energy, and cheeky jokes, and slim hips that he swayed outrageously when he was showing off in the shop, and that sexy, sexy grin… anyway, not all that, which Patrick had to admit never ceased to cheer him up every morning in the shop. No, the sigh was for the thoughts that inevitably followed. The ones that reminded him he hadn’t found much success with romance, that he was much older than Lee, much less good looking in a very bear-y type of way, much more tired of life, and with a grin that he couldn’t ever remember anyone saying was sexy

Good God. Enough self-pity for the morning! Lee had plenty of attention from other guys, he didn’t need his nearly-forty year old boss coming onto him as well like some besotted, horny teenager. Besides, Patrick had his commitment to the business to keep him busy, and that was no hardship now that they were starting to make proper money. Yes, when he thought of With A Kick, he did think of “they”. Lee and he were together in running the shop, at least.

“Patrick! Good morning.”

Patrick turned and recognised Mr Amsel from the German café across the way, waving at him. Next to the elderly shopkeeper, a wiry young man straightened up from where he’d been crouching beside a pile of boxes. He was also smiling. Patrick waved back at them both. The community spirit among his fellow traders was one of the best things in his life nowadays. The young man, Curtis, was a regular supplier and odd-job man for all of the businesses around here, and Patrick made a mental note to chat to him about replacement tablecloths. Lee had suggested a funkier design, to match a range of ice cream flavours based on musical styles that Patrick was working on at the moment. And if anyone could get something new and unusual for the shop at a good price, it’d be Curtis. Patrick wasn’t in the mood for negotiation before his morning coffee, but he was sure Curtis would call into With A Kick later on for a mug of tea and a ‘Pluck and Play’, his favourite ice. He’d talk to him then.

He glanced back down the road, where the With A Kick shop-front light had just flickered on. Lee must be in early today. Patrick thought he’d declared it was his turn to open up, but he had to admit the thought of Lee bustling around inside the shop had Patrick happily quickening his step.

An alleyway ran down the side of the shop to the kitchen exit, and by the time he reached it, he’d decided they should talk to Curtis about getting some new shot glasses too. Bookings for adults-only, night time parties at With A Kick were really taking off. Out of the corner of his eye, he registered the kitchen light snapping on as well, and the thought of a hot, strong cup of coffee warmed his thoughts. Maybe Mr A would like to quote Patrick for some hot party snacks as well—

The sudden boom took his breath away: a burst of deep, throaty noise, gusting the air past Patrick’s head like the kick back from a jet. A mini tornado, belching without warning from the kitchen door, and bursting up the alleyway and onto the street.

Rubbish bags, stacked against With A Kick’s outside wall, tumbled and rolled as if tossed by giant hands. Loose packaging swirled up in a murky maelstrom, spinning and spiralling into the sky. A pavement display clattered to the ground across the road, and a passing bicycle swerved sharply in front of Patrick with a screech of brakes. A dog started barking furiously.

Patrick had been thrown backwards into the street, and staggered, trying to keep his balance. Someone behind him screamed; he watched the shocked cyclist’s mouth make the shape of “What the fuck was that?” His eyes stung; his hearing was muffled. A youngster began to wail loudly. Stunned for those few seconds, Patrick was unable to move, unable to think clearly. Voices reached him, but all the words were garbled.

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AuthorBio

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Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

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TourSchedule

April 11: Because Two Men Are Better Than One :: UK Gay Romance

April 12: RJ Scott :: Diverse Reader

April 13: Rainbow Book Reviews

April 14: MM Good Book Reviews :: Drops of Ink

April 15: Sue Brown :: Loving Without Limits

April 18: Joyfully Jay

April 19: Alpha Book Club :: Hearts on Fire

April 20: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings :: Bayou Book Junkie :: Love Bytes Reviews

April 21: The Purple Rose Tea House :: Nautical Star Books :: MM Book Escape

April 22: Rick R. Reed :: TTC Books and More :: The Novel Approach

 

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Author interviews & Summer Promotion at Wilde City Press

Our friends are Wilde City Press are having a Summer promotion. Yes, I know it’s winter here in Oz where I am but who cares, it’s still 25% off!

wcp_4julysale_fbk

Help Wilde City Press celebrate the start of summer and July 4th. Enjoy 25% of your entire cart from Wednesday July 3rd through Sunday July 7th with the coupon code: WildeFreedom.

Summer is all about fun, adventure and making great holiday memories. What do the Wilde City authors get up to? Find out when they were asked about some of their favorite summer traditions … past, present, and future.

So what did Shae Connor, Hank Edwards, Geoffrey Knight, Lloyd Meeker, Clare London, Eric Arvin, Patrick Darcy, Anne Brooke, J.P. Barnaby and Ethan Stone have to say?

What is your favorite July 4th / Independence Day memory or tradition?

Shae Connor

My favorite July 4th tradition is putting the watermelon in the pool.

See, my extensive extended family mostly lives in and around a small Georgia town, and the main gathering place for as long as I can remember has been the house of one of my grandmother’s sisters. (Both my grandmother and her sister are gone now, but some things just don’t change.)

Every year on the 4th of July, everyone who’s in town gathers at that house for a cookout. There’s a big grill out back, where the manly men types cook the meat. There’s also a pool, and every year, there’s a watermelon that goes in the pool. The kids play with it in the water most of the day, and then after everyone eats, the watermelon gets fished out, washed off, and sliced for everyone to dig in. The water in the pool chills it perfectly, not too cold like it would be from the fridge.

Now I want some pool-cooled watermelon!

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but it took me a long time to figure out that maybe I should start writing them down. I started out writing fanfic well over a decade ago, and in 2010, I moved into original fiction. (Though I do still get waylaid by a fanfiction plotbunny now and then.)

Shae is new to Wilde City. Look for Fringes, her Charlie Harding Presents erotic sci-fi short due out later this summer. Visit her at: shaeconnorwrites.com

Hank Edwards

Meet Josh Stanton, orphaned at a young age in the mid-1800s, he has always been considered an outcast in Belkin’s Pass. Now he’s grown into a quiet, well-educated young man full of secrets, the least of which is his love for his best friend, town deputy Dex Wells. But when the ancient vampire Balthazar begins feeding on the residents of Belkin’s Pass, Josh’s secrets prove to be the turning point in a battle for the souls of the townspeople—but at what personal cost? —- Cowboys & Vampires, available now at Wilde City Press.

Visit Hank at hankedwardsbooks.com

What is your favorite Summer memory or tradition?

Geoffrey Knight

My favourite Independence Day moment has to be when Will Smith socks that mean old alien in the chops after they have the dogfight in the canyon and he says something bad-ass like, “You aliens just wrecked my July 4 barbecue and now I’m gonna have me some E.T. burgers because you guys suck!” Oh … you mean a real Independence Day memory, not a scene from the movie! I guess I’ll answer the Best Summer Memory or Tradition question instead.

I don’t think I have one particular memory or tradition that stands out because I love everything about Summer. Being Australian, Summer means lots of public holidays: Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Australia all happen in the space of a month or so, so January pretty much means lots of delicious seafood and days at the beach and your skin feels dusty with sea-salt the whole time, which is a feeling I love. Now that I’ve moved to an island it’s even better; Sydney beaches can get really crowded but up here I can walk from one end of the beach to the other with my dogs and not see a soul. And yes, of course I go in for a skinny dip! 😉

“I want to see.” … “Nash, we’re in Egypt, in the ruins of an ancient city, standing in front of a secret door! Aren’t you curious?”
“Curiosity killed the – ” … “No, I’m not curious.”
The lie was unconvincing enough to give Ryan the confidence to sway him.
Sway him with a kiss. …
“Curious yet?”

You can read Nash’s answer in Cairo Curse, book two in the Vampire Lair series. Visit Geoff at www.geoffreyknightbooks.com

Lloyd Meeker

My favorite summer tradition is honoring the solstice. In one old tradition, Midsummer Night was the time to leave a small dish of brandy in the garden as a gift to the fairies, which I’ve always thought was charming. Inviting the goodwill of nature is always a sensible idea!

I mark the solstice by honoring extremes – the dark of winter in the southern hemisphere and the light of summer in the northern – and the inevitable swing of the one toward the other. It is the wisdom of the Tao, the dance of light and dark, each with the spark of the other in its core.

This idea may seem pretty dry, but try this little experiment: sit on a playground swing and build momentum. Make the point furthest back winter solstice, when movement forward begins, and make the point farthest forward summer solstice, when graceful retreat begins. Feel the delicious centrifugal force as you move, your weightlessness at both far points – and remember the earth, held in her arc by the sun.

Gay PI Russ Morgan doesn’t mind being fifty but hates being single. He’s made peace with being a psychic empath, and he’s managed to build a decent life since getting sober. As he uncovers obscene secrets shrouded in seeming righteousness, he might have to make peace with a sword of justice that cuts the innocent as deeply as the guilty. —- Enigma, coming soon to Wilde City Press.

Visit Lloyd at lloydmeeker.com

Clare London

I wish the UK had July 4 celebrations as well! This summer so far, we’ve had sleet, flood rains, gale force winds and then occasionally a sunny, hot day. I think this is the reason most of our sentimental celebrations take place in the latter half of the year. Or why the British talk constantly about the weather.

It seemed sunnier in The Old Days, when I was young(er). One happy memory is of an annual trip with friends to Henley-on-Thames, for a barbeque/picnic beside the river. This was the irresponsible time before kids and mortgages! We always arranged a game of rounders (like baseball, but not), competing with way more enthusiasm than skill, and helped along (or hindered?) by huge amounts of alcohol.

We still have photographic evidence of the fun. A gal sitting in her bikini, draining the last cupful of fruit punch from a litre-sized jug. A chap with his younger brother hauled over his shoulder, running towards the river to throw him in. Various self-inflicted rounders-bat injuries on sunburned shins. Clare, clutching river weeds to her chest because she lost her tube top when she dived in…

Oh those lazy, hazy afternoons of summer!

Meet Freeman, a quiet man who’s not used to sharing his plans, his history, or his emotions. He’s returned to the city on business, a case that has nothing to do with the people he once left behind: his ex-wife, his male ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. He has no plans to engage with any of them again – until he meets Kit, the provocative young man who’s going to pull Freeman from the safety of his shell, whether he wants to or not. —- Freeman, coming soon to Wilde City Press.

Visit Clare at www.clarelondon.co.uk

Eric Arvin

I’m a big music slut any time of the year, but I especially love summer music or music that makes me think of summer. Every spring I make an awesome playlist for the warmer months. There be lots of frivolity and even some slower tunes in the mix. Here are a few from this year’s playlist:

Eric Arvin resides in the same sleepy Indiana river town where he grew up. He graduated from Hanover College with a Bachelors in History. He has lived, for brief periods, in Italy and Australia. He has survived brain surgery and his own loud-mouthed personal demons. Eric is the author of The Mingled destinies of Crocodiles and Men, and various other sundry and not-so-sundry writings. He intends to live the rest of his days with tongue in cheek and eyes set to roam.

Visit Eric at ericarvin.blogspot.com

Patrick Darcy

Without a doubt, on a cold summer night in Dublin, I dream of being naked on an Ibizan beach. Preferably Playa Es Cavallet, the gay nudist beach. It’s a bit of a trek; you have to get past the German and Dutch naturalist before getting to the promised land of sexy, naked homos. I see it now, hot muscled hunks, with tattoos and great big…….

The beach is all white sand lined with cool beach bars, and the sound of funky music fills the air. Such a great relaxed vibe and beautiful people cruising each other. To say it’s sexual would be an understatement.

Summer is all about being naked, however, there are occasional problems. As a weak and feeble man, I am constantly being shown up by my hardon. I want to be dignified and European. But I’m Irish, I see a hot naked guy and, well, my cock just has to show its appreciation. Total nude beach faux pas. Oh the shame of it! The only saving grace is that my buns are rather pert. So I spend most of the day laying on my front, peaking through my Roy Orbison shades at all the beach talent.

OK. now I’m horny!

Hi! I’m Patrick Darcy. Rugby player, Irishman and writer of full strength gay erotica. Follow me at patrickdarcybooks.com, as I comment on life in Dublin, hot men and all the things that make me tick. There are two big passions in my life: great sex and rugby. Quite often, these are combined! I love the thrill of competition, the power, the intensity, the brotherhood of rugby.

Oh, and I love being naked!

Anne Brooke

My favourite summer memory is my mother’s homemade lemonade. She only ever made it in summer as she said it was an outdoor drink and needed a big dose of sunshine to make the bubbles pop. Apparently winter would make the whole drink go grey and flat, and as I was young I believed her – and in a way I still do. Homemade lemonade only ever appeared about three or four times a year and only when we were very good and she was pleased with us. It wasn’t ever something she prepared for either but, in our family group, she would slip away quietly and after a while one or another of us would realise she was missing. From then on the excitement would mount and then – at last! – half an hour or so later she would reappear with a huge jug of lovely lemony-yellow bubbly drink and a selection of glasses. Drinking it meant you had enough sugar in your system to last you well into the next month, but it was like a blast of sunshine and citrus in the mouth, I can tell you. Sheer bliss!

The night I met Luke Milton, the last thing I was looking for was any kind of relationship …

“What the hell are you doing?” …
“Waiting for you …”
“You’ve not covered up your mark.” … “You must have taken some stick for it from the office.”
“Why should I cover it up? You gave it to me. That’s worth all the stick in the world.”

Read the rest of Luke and Alan’s interactions in The Beginning of Knowledge, available now at Wilde City Press. Visit Anne at www.annebrooke.com

If you could escape to anywhere in the world this summer, where would it be?

J.P. Barnaby

J. P. Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over a dozen books including the Little Boy Lost series, the Forbidden Room series, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.

J.P.’s new Rentboy series is coming to Wilde City press later this year. Visit J.P. at www.JPBarnaby.com

Ethan Stone

I would love to go on a cruise to somewhere warm but not too hot. I want a place with a beach, cool clear water and some hot cabana boys. The hot cabana boys are not just for eye candy, they’d be there for inspiration. The whole trip would be for inspiration since I’ve been having a hard time with writing lately. Being in a relaxing environment with pretty eye candy all around me could really help with my writing block. Additionally, it would benefit my health as well. If I were to lay shirtless in the sun, soaking up all that vitamin D, I’d have all the energy I need for anything that happened to come up. 🙂

Anyone wanting to contribute to the “Save Ethan’s Mental and Physical Health” Cruise feel free to use Paypal.

“Did you like what you saw out there?” …
“You’re a very … talented dancer.” …
“Anything else you liked?”
“You fishing for a compliment, Holt? You don’t seem the type to need your ego stroked.”
“Maybe it’s not my ego I want s…”

See if Jason Holt ever gets around to telling Quinn what he wants stroked, Past Tense available now at Wilde City Press. Visit Ethan at www.ethanjstone.com.

Check out some of my reviews of books published by Wilde City Press and also my review of J.P. Barnaby’s Little Boy Lost series.

Click HERE to see the full post at Wilde City Press and see some responses by other authors including Owen Keehnen, Pelaam, Charlie Harding and Ewan Creed.