It’s an alternate history England. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Charles II rewarded the lovers who saved his life at the Battle of Worcester by repealing not only the death penalty for sodomy, but the laws themselves. It’s now 1815, and our first hero, British blond and blue-eyed rake, Peregrine, Viscount Somerville, has two problems. First, he’s having glorious sex with our second hero, Rory, the brawny, red-headed, hairy Scottish rogue who’s Master of Strathairn. Second, he’s having glorious sex with our third hero, the languid and lethal roué, Michel, le vicomte de Vidal-Sansouci. And he’s given his word of honor he won’t tell Rory about Michel and vice versa.
Resolving the problems is going to take a duel, mysterious inheritances, a nefarious bishop, a scheming lord, ned-bangers, friends of Edward’s, loss, a love poem, sex on the Dock where anyone might be watching (and someone probably is), humor, a frolic by the sea, a portrait, and…oh, yes…great sex.
The original version was published for free by the MM Romance Group. The revised edition is accompanied by “Banging the Bishop Back,” a new short story involving the RRR guys. All royalties will be donated to a local LGBT organization.
If you’d like to win a free copy of anything Eric has written, including RRR and Banging the Bishop Back—your choice of mobi, epub, PDF—post a comment about a fairy tale you’d like to see in an MM version.
Eric is already working on Of Princes False and True (from Andrew Lang), 3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar, and The Truth About Them Damn Goats.
Even if you don’t win the give-away, if your suggestion inspires a story, you’ll get a free copy when it’s published.
Friday, 6 September 1816, Nearing midnight
Alderson House, London
I turned a little, and looked as others looked at the top of the staircase. At Ruaidhri Fearghas MacLean, Master of Strathairn.
Bloody hell. Bloody, bloody hell.
He stood there, looking out but not down at the crowd, in full regalia. Black jacket. Dark red waistcoat. Flawless cravat with a ruby stud. And the Strathairn kilt, all black and dark red, with accents of vivid, burnt gold. The sporran. The plaid across his left shoulder and down his back to above his knees. The well-displayed, hairy knees. The thick socks, with the edges rolled, and the sgian-dubh in its sheath, tucked inside the right sock. Rory keeps his dagger razor sharp on both edges. Shiny black shoes.
He only wore the regalia when he wanted to shock, or when he was angry, as if wearing it all made it easier to unleash his infamous Scots temper. He was expressionless, as he reached up and ran his right hand through his thick, wavy, far-more-bright-red than brown, shoulder-length hair, unbound in a middle-finger-up to fashion. I would have wagered a pony he was furious, but there was no one with whom I could make the bet, despite the propensity of the haut Ton to wager on such intriguing subjects as which raindrop would first reach the bottom of the window. Angry about what, I did not know. But I’ve managed to bring him out of these moods before. The kilt would also make it much easier to get what we both wanted, or he would not have shown up. Just a quick flip, bending all that bare, and…
Double bloody hell. The display between my legs moving in the direction of extreme visibility at the sound of Rory’s name, once again went into full retreat.
Dodsworth’s voice rang out again. This time with a flawless French accent.
“Je vous présente le très honorable, Michel Louis Arsenault, le vicomte de Vidal-Sansouci.”
Michel joined Rory, standing next to him, neither touching nor looking at each other.
But here at the same damned time?
Bloody, buggering hell!
My gaping was internal. For many of the rest of the Ton, this shattering of an established pattern was also more than sufficient to shatter the cultivated façades of cultured boredom, making their gapes all the more noticeable.
Christ, but they were beautiful together.
Together. I firmly quenched the occasional fantasy choosing now to rise up again. The one about being released from my oaths, and the togetherness at the top of the stairs not being two but three. Although in the fantasy the togetherness was in a much more secluded elsewhere. Except any possibility for togetherness died last December.
There was nothing about either stance or stare suggesting surprise. This arrival was not happenstance, but prepared. Which meant they talked. Surely…
While their talking was the only way this could have happened, they would never have talked about that night. Very well. Perhaps a little, but not a lot. Not in detail. Those details were too bloody personal for either or both to go blathering on.
The thought they might have, no matter how panic-inducing, was nothing more than an unpleasant, gut-churning phantasm, as realistic as any vision born of an opium pipe. But for safety’s sake, I offered up to the perhaps there, perhaps not, deity who perhaps governed possibilities, a quick prayer it was so, and would remain so forever. Amen.
Rory was, if not angry, upset. Michel was more difficult to read, but he was a book I read and re-read numerous times, and if he was not thoroughly memorized, he was close to it.
Michel was…languid, there at the top of the stairs. And when he is most languid, he is most lethal.
Unlike Rory, he did not dress a particular way when he was angry. He was always at the topmost point of elegant, without apparent effort at the peak to which everyone else aspired. Impeccable black tailcoat, black inexpressibles, white satin waistcoat embroidered with silver thread, blindingly white shirt and cravat tied in his own Sansouci design, with expensive (of course) lace on his cravat and at his cuffs. An ebony cane with a jewel-encrusted globe at the top. A style reminiscent of the excesses of our fathers and grandfathers before the turn of the century, which should have been, and for anyone else would have been, unfashionable here and now.
Except…Michel set his own style and be damned to the Ton, the Crown, the world. When you are an exceedingly handsome French vicomte, with an outrageous English fortune at your ready disposal, unlike the usual impoverished noble French émigré, far greater eccentricities than lace would be overlooked, and on occasion emulated.
He wore his favorite stickpin, a shimmering blue sapphire circled with diamonds in his cravat. A sapphire stud in his left ear. The blue of the stones matched the blue of his eyes, which even at this distance I could see were as cold and hard as the gems. His mane of straight, light brown hair was tied back. Thin Roman nose in a pale face. Full, definitely not sucking tonight, lips clamped tight to my discerning eye…how could I not be discerning, having experienced those lips often this last year and more, though not often enough. To less-experienced others, his lips were just firmly set in a non-smile.
But angry? Oh, yes. Very.
Rory’s anger should have been increasing by not one, but several orders of magnitude because of Michel’s cavalier breach of their unspoken agreement. It must have been an understanding arrived at without words, since to the best of the Ton’s knowledge, and my own, which was a degree of knowledge the Ton could never possess, there was not a word spoken between them for two days less than nine months. A span easy to calculate for me. By the terms of the agreement, Michel should have left. His staying should have resulted in something. Something other than posing to make the point about what they were not doing.
I was definitely not the only one wondering.
I definitely was the only one who worried.
Eric does not do well with third person writing, as his own writing mostly attests. Nevertheless, he’s giving it a go again here. Eric is a Midwesterner, and older than dirt. Or as Lady Glenhaven might say, “He’s old enough to have sailed with Noah.” In the real world he writes for a living, with some who would claim what he writes is really fiction. He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. That’s why, with some exceptions, most of his writing has been and probably will be in those genres.
The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series: The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué (Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture (Victorian novel), Banging the Bishop Back (Regency short story paired with RRR), and the forthcoming no way out (Regency novel) and The Serpent Mark (Regency novel).
For one brief and shining moment (on March 5, 2017), Eric’s fantasy novella, Tattooed Wolf and Painted Dragon, was No. 10 in Amazon’s gay fantasy Kindle sales. And it has a really nice five-star review.
Other things in progress are some MM fairy tales: Of Princes False and True (from an Andrew Lang fairy tale); 3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar (Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats (of the gruff variety).
Eric also hopes to finally get A Rollerblade Day, a book of mostly gay and fantasy poetry, released, along with the fairy tales, in the first half of 2017.
Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)