If you follow me on Facebook (or Twitter, or MeWe) you may have noticed that I released my new book, Double Dutch Courage, two days ago.
Unlike my previous full-length novels, this book was self-published, which turned out to be both a terrifying and exhilarating experience. And, for the first time I’ve set my story in Amsterdam, the city where I was born and raised. Exciting times indeed. J
Below you’ll find all you might want to know about Double Dutch Courage as well as a new, never before shared, excerpt.
Word count: 63k approx
Cover images: Dan Skinner & Stephen Cassidy
Cover design: Stephen Cassidy
Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.
Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.
The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?
Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?
Lucas checked how late it was for the sixth time in the space of twenty minutes. He hated waiting. He detested it more now than he’d ever done before. The next hour, day, week — he’d no idea how long it would take — would decide his immediate future. Everything was up in the air. All he knew for sure was that his life was no longer in his own hands. Some stranger was about to arrive and, depending on what that man decided, Lucas’s existence could change beyond recognition. If it wasn’t for the horrific reality of it he could have been persuaded it was some cruel April Fool’s Day stunt.
He picked up his mobile again and cursed when he saw no more than four minutes had passed since the last time he’d done so. He pushed his phone into his pocket, hoping that keeping it out of sight would make it easier to stop checking the screen every few minutes. He needed to keep busy. It would be at least another hour before his visitor would arrive. Except that he couldn’t think of the man — Ronan Collins — in those terms, of course. As soon as the Irishman walked through the door, Lucas would be reduced to the status of a, more than likely, unwanted guest.
He went to the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee. No! I’m not a visitor here either. Paul named me in his will, he gave me part of his business. This Ronan will need my cooperation almost as much as I’ll depend on him.
Carrying the coffee with him, he made his way to his bright and spacious studio. He stopped on the threshold and studied the room in detail for the first time since he’d furnished it almost three years ago.
This is mine! Everything from the clean lines, to the white walls, and the bright splashes of color had been his idea, his design and his execution. Paul had allowed him to get on with it, not putting any restrictions or expectations on him.
‘You do exactly what you want, lad. These will be your rooms and if you bring clients to your studio it should show them what your style is, give them an idea of what to expect if they work with you.’ A lump formed in his throat and he lowered himself into his comfy chair. He missed Paul, and the big hole in his life didn’t appear to be shrinking. Three weeks had passed since the cremation and he hadn’t even come close to getting used to the idea that the man who’d been so much more than his mentor for the past three years was no longer around.
Blowing on his still too-hot-to-drink coffee, he surrendered to the memories surging through his mind. He’d been so lucky. He’d met Paul when he was in his last year of college. Paul had been a guest lecturer and had given a month’s worth of lessons. Even now, almost four years later, Lucas couldn’t believe that Paul had been so impressed with his ideas that he’d offered him not only a job but also a place to stay once he’d discovered Lucas’s predicament. Lucas had moved in and started working two weeks after he’d received his diploma.
He stared at the mug in his hands as the loneliness that had been his constant companion ever since Paul died, tried to engulf him again. The house wasn’t the same without Paul in it. It was too big for him on his own. At least once a day he’d find himself halfway up the stairs before remembering that nobody awaited him in the rooms at the top. No more shared coffee breaks, no more discussions of designs and clients, no more…
He forced himself to not get trapped in that particular vortex of painful thoughts again. It hurt too much. There were moments he feared he would drown in the loneliness, when he had to talk out loud to himself to break the silence surrounding him. He missed Paul. He hadn’t realized how used to his company he’d become until he was no longer around. Forty-nine was too young for anyone to die. Lucas still had so much to learn, so many unanswered questions, and now he’d never know.
I can’t believe he never told me he had a son.
“Trust me, with writing like this you won’t want to miss a phenomenal story!” – OJ He Say
“One of the things I really liked about this book was its setting. Amsterdam and the Netherlands become almost a character in the book. I loved reading about the cultural items throughout the book: the travel, the food, the holidays, etc. It was like I was actually there touring the country with Ronan and Lucas. I've read a lot of books set in other countries that could be anywhere. Ms. Stone made the location a part of her book!” – Eric McDermott
“I enjoyed this smooth-moving story of discovery, redemption, and restoration so much I hardly know where to begin. […] Romance novels are usually so predictable. Everyone seems to follow the same script to attract and titillate the reader. This is where Ms. Stone steps away from the pack. Her characters are delightfully unpredictable. The surprises are artfully dispersed throughout the story, using charm, humor, and emotion in such a way as to enhance your reading pleasure.” – Sharon
“This was such a lovely story. Sweet, fun, and charming. Low on sex, but high on feelings. […]This book is for everyone who loves a well-written story with great characters, who loves a laugh and sweetness without being sappy.” - Tanja