Tuesday 28 February 2017

The End of my Patience - Early Download Available

And so it begins.

As from today my new book, Patience, is available exclusively on the Pride Publishing website. If you prefer to buy your books from one of the other online retailers I’m afraid you’ll have to wait another four weeks. For those who can’t contain their excitement and don’t want to wait for this first title in the Dublin Virtues Trilogy, I’ve left a buy link at the bottom of this post.

Patience also received it first review and rating today; five nipple-rings no less J Hop on over to the Bike Book Reviews site if you’re curious what Rebecca B Mattocks had to say and don’t forget to enter the giveaway while you’re there: review.

The Pride Publishing website gives you the opportunity to read an excerpt from the first chapter of Patience, introducing Xander, one of the main characters. Because I don’t want Troy, his counterpart, to feel left out, I’ll share the start of chapter two below.


Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?

While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.

Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlor afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.

When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.


When Troy Moriarty woke up at half past six in the morning it took him a moment before he realized where he was. He turned over toward the streak of light entering his room through the narrow gap between the curtain and the windowsill. Every morning over the past three months had been the same. Somehow, he still hadn’t wrapped his head around the fact that he lived here, in the rooms he’d never intended to be anything except possible expansion areas for his business.
He turned over again and stretched. He might as well get up and start the day. Now that he was awake and once again obsessing about the recent past, chances of getting an extra hour of sleep were slim to none.
As the water from the showerhead finished the process of waking him up, Troy cast his mind back to everything that had happened over the past year for what had to be the umpteenth time. Less than a year ago it had all looked so promising, he mused as he massaged shampoo into his hair. He’d been working in a large and popular tattoo parlor in the center of Dublin but had become more restless by the day. The policies of the place had increasingly eaten away at his love for the job. His creativity had been stifled there and he hadn’t been the only one who had felt that way. The memory was as vivid in his mind as if it had happened a week ago. That day he’d been having lunch with Shane, another artist working in the same shop. Shane had spent almost the full hour of their break complaining because their boss had once again vetoed a tattoo he’d designed.

‘I’ve had enough of this fucking shit,’ Shane grumbled. ‘I want to do my own stuff, not just the pictures in the books or the images Himself comes up with.’
Troy nodded. Designing tattoos wasn’t his strong point. He was far better at the actual applying of them, but he recognized Shane’s frustration all too well. Himself, also known as their boss, was constantly looking over everybody’s shoulder. Giving advice where none was needed, making corrections and suggestions where nothing was wrong. ‘What can we do about it? There’s no guarantee another parlor wouldn’t have the same policies and that’s even if they’d take us on. You know how close and incestuous our professional world is. If we leave this job, they might not hire us elsewhere. We’d end up with a reputation as troublemakers.’
‘Right.’ Shane seemed encouraged rather than disappointed by Troy’s words. ‘That’s why we should start for ourselves. Between your skills with the iron and my drawings, we should have no trouble turning a place of our own into a success.’

At the time, Troy had laughed and refused to take the idea seriously, but a few weeks later, they’d been drawing up plans, making calculations, and before Troy realized exactly what he was doing, they’d resigned from their jobs. Stupid infatuation.
He closed his eyes and allowed the water to fall on his head and wash down his body while he wondered whether Shane had always been a dick and he’d just missed the signs, or if the fact that he’d been attracted to Shane had clouded his judgment. One thing he was sure of, though. From now on he’d never allow somebody else to rush him into a decision and he wouldn’t be quick to trust or depend on others again, either. There were only two people in the world he would trust from now on—himself and his best friend, Lorcan.
Troy stepped out of the shower, dried himself and threw on some clothes. A long-sleeved T-shirt covered most of the art on his left arm and shoulder. It didn’t make sense for a tattoo artist to hide his own tats but the shop got cold during the day and the heating just wasn’t up to the job. Yet another thing to worry about considering it was only late October now. He had no idea what he’d do if Ireland experienced a bad winter.
As he sat down on the edge of his bed to tie his laces, Troy reflected he should have known something was wrong when Shane had asked him to go and sign the lease on this place on his own. Shane had made a plausible enough excuse at the time, and Troy hadn’t been worried when his supposed business partner said he’d add his signature at a later date. More fool me. Troy could forgive himself for that first oversight. He’d always tried to see the best in people. It just hadn’t been in his nature to be suspicious about people’s motives. I won’t be falling into that trap again. He was far more upset that he’d still refused to see the warning signs when Shane had also left it to him to buy the equipment and furnishings they needed.
Troy stared at the kettle as it heated the water for his first cup of coffee. These thoughts were by now as much part of his morning routine as the shower and caffeine.
Two days before their tattoo parlor was to open, Shane had dropped his bombshell.

‘Troy, bud. You won’t believe the opportunity I’ve been given.’ Excitement made Shane’s eyes shine.
‘What happened? Well, don’t keep me hanging.’ It had been hard not to get swept up in Shane’s obvious elation.
‘I’ve been chatting with this artist in Florida for months.’ Shane grinned widely as the first flicker of unease erupted in Troy’s stomach.
‘He’s so fucking cool, man. Anyway, a while ago I showed him a few of my designs and he loved them.’ Shane grinned. ‘Fucking deadly, man. He even used one of them.’
‘Nice one. Good for you.’ Troy hesitated before asking the question he already suspected he didn’t want to hear the answer to. ‘So, why are you telling me now? Will you be doing more designs for this man? Is it going to interfere with Pins & Needles?’

Anger coursed through Troy’s veins, as if only an hour had passed since the conversation rather than several months. While he poured boiled water on top of the granules in his cup and stirred, he could almost see Shane’s guilt-free expression as he’d explained he wouldn’t be working with Troy at all, never mind be a partner in their business, because he’d accepted a job offer from the artist in Florida.
He sipped his coffee while listening to the news on the radio and putting some bread in the toaster. Inevitably, Troy’s thoughts returned to Shane. None of it would have hurt as much as it did if he hadn’t been attracted to Shane. Looking back, Troy realized Shane might well have used that against him. Casual flirtations without ever acting on them had kept Troy fascinated and focused on what might be, rather than the reality. He hated himself for the hope he’d harbored that going into business with Shane might lead to a further mingling of their lives.
Resignation and a dull anger—nothing like the hot fury he’d experienced until recently—coursed through him as he buttered his toast. He still wasn’t sure when exactly Shane had started thinking about moving to America. Had Troy and the new parlor only been a back-up plan? Troy hadn’t asked. It wouldn’t have made a difference either way. The result was the same, whether Shane had planned it that way or not—Troy found himself struggling to run Pins & Needles on his own.

Book information

Length: 170 pages / 62945 words
ISBN: 978-1-78651-536-0
Buy link: Pride
Pre-order links: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N

Monday 27 February 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Darby


Well, that’s a coincidence.

Whatever he’d expected to see when he walked into a tattoo parlour, it hadn’t been two men engaged in a deep and, if appearances were anything to go by, passionate kiss. Momentarily torn between leaving again and making his presence known, Kyle shuffled his feet.

The man with his back to Kyle broke the kiss and glanced over his shoulder, a shocked expression crossing his face as soon as he spotted him.

“Shit. I’m sorry. We sorta forgot where we were I guess. What can I do for you?” The slight blush on the man’s face made him more, rather than less, attractive.

“I wonder if you’ve time to set a tattoo for me.”

“Sure, what do you have in mind?” The man stepped away from his kissing partner.

“I’ve got the design I want right here.” Kyle pulled his wallet and extracted a piece of paper featuring a dragon, peeking at it before handing it over.

That’s Darby, isn’t it? It took the man, all of two seconds to recognise the creature. “I loved that game when I was younger.”

“So did we,” Kyle said. “Darby the Dragon™ comes with lots of very special memories for me.” He hated that he couldn’t keep the sad tone out of his voice.

The man studied him for a moment then led him to a chair. “Sit down and relax. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”

Kyle did as told. The headrest felt comfortable and he closed his eyes, fighting the images clamouring for his attention, determined to break him.

When something pressed against his collarbone he returned to his surroundings only to look away and turn his head as soon as the tattooist started his gun and proceeded the work.

“What’s your best memory about playing the game?”

The question took Kyle by surprise. He didn’t look at the man as he answered. “Playing it with my twin brother.” He couldn’t help himself, the words tumbled from his lips. “We used to do everything together until two weeks ago.” A tear escaped from his still closed eyes.

If the artist noticed his display of emotion, Kyle was unaware of it. The tattoo gun continued its assault on his skin, every painful prick welcomed and treasured.

“What happened two weeks ago?” the man asked. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, of course.” His voice was soft, almost hypnotic.

“He came out to our parents.” Kyle swallowed hard. “They gave him fifteen minutes to pack his bags. I was in work when it happened. When I came home he was gone.”

He opened his eyes and turned to face Troy. “I want that dragon rainbow coloured.”

“You came to the right parlour then.” The tattooist smiled kindly. “Is this a show of support for your brother?”

“They haven’t asked me the question.” Kyle said. “I guess it’s a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ situation.” Pain and anger stabbed at him with much more force than the tattoo gun ever could. “I guess it won’t be much longer before they’ll realize they’ve lost both their sons.”


522 words

I have to admit to being somewhat sneaky this week. Tomorrow my new book Patience will become available for early download on the Pride Publishing website. One of the main characters in that story happens to own a tattoo parlour in Dublin. While the setting and characters in my flash are not related to those in Patience, I had to take advantage of this minor promo opportunity. I do hope you’ll forgive me and that you’ve enjoyed the story.

Other stories based on either this or a related image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Facebook group

Monday 20 February 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Horse Power

Horse Power

I slowly exhale as the truck drives away. I’m still not sure how I kept my cool. If I never find myself in the company of four angry men carrying rifles and guns again, it will be too soon. Anger flushes through me as I recall how they systematically searched my house, the stables, and finally the grounds, sure in the knowledge there was nothing I could do to stop them. Four of them against one of me. Still, they left empty handed. The last laugh is on me.

I hurry back to coral, a grin spreading across my face as I see the horses grouped together around a collection of hay bales, arranged to form a square on the frozen ground. I can’t remember ever seeing them huddled together so closely. They’re not usually this tolerant of each other either, but for once there’s no pushing and shoving or snarling at one another.

It was them who got agitated and thus warned us when the car approached, buying us the time needed to put down the hay. I didn’t believe our hasty construction would provide enough protection from inquisitive eyes, but with my beauties creating a solid wall of horse, Roger had been invisible.

Like the Red Sea they part as I approach. I step over a bale and look down.

“It’s safe, you can get up now.”

“Are you sure?” Roger looks up at me but makes no move to raise himself from the ground. He must be freezing. He’s been lying here for forty-five minutes at least.

“Yes. You can stop worrying. They were disgusted when they left. Apparently they’d been very sure they’d find you here and had no idea where to take their search next. I’d be surprised if we see them again.”

“They’ll kill me when they find me.”

It breaks my heart that he doesn’t sound angry or even afraid. All I hear in his voice is resignation, as if his fate has been sealed. And I’m not sure what to say.

“The horses….” There’s wonder in his voice. “They were so close. And they never touched the hay. They leant over the barrier and put their noses as close to me as they could without touching me. As if they knew I was cold. As if they wanted to keep me warm.”

I look at my horses, studying them one by one. I can neither remember nor imagine a life without them. I’ve always felt connected to them. Until now I didn’t realise the bond is mutual. And suddenly I know exactly which words to use. I cup his head with my hands and rest my forehead against his.

“You’re not alone.” I press my lips against his for a fleeting moment. “We’ll….” I gesture towards the herd before taking hold of Roger again. “We’ll always have your back, surround and protect you. Always!”

“But….” He falters. “They’ve got guns.”

“No buts. You’re safe here. We’ve got horse power.”


497 words this week, and compared to the past few weeks, a relatively bright story. I do hope you enjoyed it. Others flashes inspired by this story can be found on the Monday Flash Fics page. Please join us there.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Patience, Dublin Virtues #1 - Available for Pre-Order


And so it begins….

From today you can pre-order Patience, the first book in the Dublin Virtues Trilogy, from the Pride Publishing Website.

From February 28th the book will be available for early download from Pride Publishing and on March 28th it will go live with all other retailers.

If you follow the link to the Pride Publishing site you can read the first chapter of Patience.

I’m very excited and do hope you’ll end up loving Xander and Troy as much as I do.

The blurb

Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?

While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.

Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlor afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.

When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.

Pre-order links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | Amazon UK

Monday 13 February 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Going Back

Going back

The shivers running down his spine had nothing to do with the frost in the air or the snow on the ground. Roger forced himself to put one foot in front of the other. He only had to get to the end of this path and he’d reach his destination.

“I’ve nothing to be afraid of.” He whispered the words to himself under his breath, too afraid that saying them out loud would bring forth the ghouls his imagination conjured up with ever more convincing clarity.

His fear would be funny if it didn’t feel so real. It didn’t matter that he knew his mind had gone haywire; calling forth monsters lurking behind trees, and nightmarish creatures about to emerge from the mists.

“You’re being stupid.” This time he said the words out loud, immediately regretting his impulse when the words appeared to echo around him, bouncing off a force he couldn’t see.

Six months ago it had been so different. On that bright, sunlit day this path had been welcoming and safe. Peter had held his hand as they walked past the benches, all of them occupied by happy couples enjoying the warm sunshine and each other.

“Are you nervous?” Peter had asked.

“A bit.” Roger had refrained from sharing his real state of mind.

“It will be alright.” Peter had smiled at him. “I know I’ve made him sound like a bully, but he is my father. I have to believe he wants me to be happy, and that means accepting that you are now my life.

At the end of the path, once they’d left the benches behind them, Roger had seen the imposing, somewhat Gothic, mansion for the first time. Their visit with Peter’s father had been uncomfortable but okay, or so Roger had thought at the time. Three weeks later Peter had disappeared without a trace or a word.


Was he imagining things or did he really hear his name carried on the still air surrounding him?

When he’d received the email from Peter yesterday, Roger had gone through a range of emotions. Pure relief that his lover was still alive was soon replaced by anger at the months of silence, only to turn to confusion when the message ended with an invitation to visit the mansion again.

He came to the last bench and sat down, torn between the urge to flee and the need to find out what was going on.


His doubts vanished. He did hear his name, even if he didn’t know where the sound came from or who—he shuddered—or what was making it.

He fisted his hands and closed his eyes forcing himself to calm down. He’d count to ten and then he’d finish his journey and get the answers he needed.

Ten. Nine. Eight.

He thought he heard a branch snap behind him but refused to be distracted.

Three. Two.

Something was pulled over his head. Roger opened his eyes to complete darkness before inhaling deeply and… losing consciousness before he could release the scream on his lips.


515 words. Wow. I can’t remember the last time I managed to stay this close to our (unofficial) limit of 500 words.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure exactly what is going on in this story. But it should be fun investigating that further some day soon. 😊

More stories based on the same image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Group