Friday 24 May 2019

Flashback to Equality

Almost exactly four years ago, Ireland voted in favour of marriage equality during a referendum, making us the first and so far only country to introduce this right through a popular vote. As you can probably imagine, I was very invested in both the campaign leading up to the referendum and in the eventual result. I remember working in the library the day the votes were being counted and spending most of my time staring at my twitter account as the results from the various counties were announced.

Counting the votes always takes at least a day in Ireland and I was home again by the time the national result was officially announced. Although by that stage it had been clear for some time that the YES-vote had won the day, I still released a huge sigh of relief (and shed more than a few tears) when the official declaration was made.

The referendum and the months leading up to it made such an impression on me that I had to put it in a book. The result was Equality, the second book in my Dublin Virtues trilogy which was released on the first anniversary of the referendum. To this day it ranks very high on my list of favourites. 

In the following scene we are getting close to March 22nd, the day the referendum is to take place, and Lorcan and Eric have joined the Yes campaign in Lorcan’s hometown, where he’s expected to make a speech.


After over an hour of listening to all the reasons people should vote No, Eric wanted to scream. They were the same claims he heard on radio and television every day, and they didn’t get any less ridiculous just because people kept repeating them.

“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve now heard the arguments from those who oppose the suggestion made in the referendum. For the sake of objectivity, we decided it’s only fair to also invite someone from the Yes campaign to state their case.” The man on stage nodded at Lorcan, who appeared to stiffen more, if such a thing were possible, before getting up and slowly approaching the speaking platform. Eric’s heartbeat increased as he worried about the man he loved, and he said a silent prayer to the God he didn’t believe in, for the words to flow and the audience not to be too hostile. He held his breath as he waited for Lorcan to start.

“Thank you for allowing me to say a few words.”

Eric released the air he’d been holding as he stared at his boyfriend—if that was still true—and recognized the nervous tension on his face. Lorcan moved his head as if he wanted to memorize the faces of everybody in the hall for future reference and yet, Eric was sure he didn’t see anybody.

“I realize this isn’t a comfortable subject for most of you. Trust me, it isn’t easy for me, either. It never was.” Lorcan paused, as if he wasn’t sure how to go on, and for a moment Eric was convinced he was about to step away from the microphone and sit down again. Eric imagined he could hear Lorcan’s deep sigh before he continued. “You’re being asked to vote in favor of something you’ve always been told is wrong. Most of you are certain people like me are an abomination in the eyes of God.”

Eric saw several people nod in agreement.

“But don’t you feel that thinking along those lines amounts to accusing God of making countless mistakes? God, we’ve been told, is almighty. God is infallible. If that is true, then why are gay children being born every day? Because believe me when I say that none of us woke up one morning and decided to be gay out of spite, or out of some deep-rooted desire to be different. Far from it. When I first realized I was attracted to men, I hated myself. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. All I desired was to be the same as everybody else—to fit in. And I don’t. I can’t begin to explain how much it hurts when you’re being treated as different, less than others, just because you were born a certain way.”

Lorcan paused again and Eric braced himself, convinced someone in the audience would start heckling any moment, but silence reigned supreme. Eric didn’t think it would have been his approach, but maybe honest and vulnerable was the way to win over the crowd.

“We’re not asking for special treatment. All we want is to be treated the same way as you. This vote isn’t about whether or not you understand or approve of homosexuality. It has nothing to do with raising and adopting children. All a Yes vote would ensure is that we will be a little bit less separate from the rest of society. We just want to be equal. Nothing is going to change for you. Your marriages will still be as good or as bad as they are right now—your weddings still as lavish or as simple as you want them to be. Voting Yes won’t cost you anything and will give so very much.”

Lorcan looked up and his gaze sought Eric’s before he bowed his head and took a small step backward.

“But what about the children!” an angry voice shouted from somewhere in the back of the hall.

Eric turned to see who had spoken but was too late. When he focused on Lorcan again the man had gone through a transformation. The hesitation was gone, and no sign of shyness or awkwardness remained as Lorcan all but glared at the crowd.

“Yes! The children. Let’s talk about them. Like I said, this referendum isn’t about whether or not a gay couple should be able to adopt a child. Children are already being raised by same-sex couples and legislation to facilitate that is separate from the marriage issue. But, if you are so worried about the children and their feelings, how can you possibly stand by while people proclaim, day after day, that the only way a child should be raised is by a heterosexual couple? How do you imagine that makes children who are now growing up with gay parents, or are being brought up by single parents, feel? Do you seriously believe it’s a good idea to tell all those children they’re just not good enough? Because that’s what you’re doing. Just as you’re telling every child who is questioning their sexuality right now, and trying to come to terms with the fact that they don’t fit what society has decided is the norm, that they’re inferior. Don’t tell me you’re worried about the children if you’re prepared to hurt so many of them just to win your argument. Don’t be a hypocrite. This has nothing to do with the children and everything to do with your prejudices.”

Hesitant clapping started on Eric’s right and within moments others joined in. Eric’s heart swelled as he watched Lorcan fully relax for the first time in four days. He had no doubt Lorcan knew as well as he did that he wouldn’t have convinced everyone. But, by the sound of it, he’d managed to make at least a few people think.



Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?
Lorcan Barrett has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and now can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.
Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and had always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?
When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together, until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a Yes vote cost them their relationship, or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?

Monday 20 May 2019

Flashback to Strangers in the Night

Happy Monday, my friends. Are you ready for another flashback?

This one is from Strangers in the Night which is in fact the very first MM story I ever wrote as well as the only time I had a writing partner. We had so much fun figuring out how to write a story together, and fell in love with our characters during the process. I'm still sorry that Jaycee Edward, my co-writer for this book, isn't writing anymore.

If the excerpt below leaves you curious, you can find the book here: Strangers in the Night:

THE SOFA was too damn short. And too damn narrow. That’s what a man got for being a Good Samaritan: a long, sleepless night. Callum sighed and pulled the blanket closer around him as he listened to the sounds coming from the bed.
Slade had looked exhausted, tossing and turning only a few times before drifting off to sleep. The jagged scar on the young man’s thigh confirmed Callum’s suspicions. He’d seen Slade rubbing that leg and favoring it when he walked. He was certain it was a war wound. The other scars, though…. Some fading, some angry red. They littered his arms and thighs, and—what intrigued Callum the most—they were straight. Self-inflicted.
As he pondered the possible reasons behind the scars, a change in the boy’s breathing caught his attention. Low moans and murmurs, words Callum couldn’t quite make out, filled the room, growing ever louder.
Slade’s restless movements morphed into violent thrashing. A gut-wrenching scream broke from his chest, startling Callum from his musings.
Jesus. The lad was having one hell of a nightmare. He couldn’t just lie here and listen.
It was only a few steps from the sofa to the bed. Slade was completely wrapped up in the bedclothes. In the faint light from the smoldering fire, Callum could see sweat shining on the boy’s face.
Please… please… and Zach? He couldn’t make out the other words. The pain in Slade’s voice and the few words Callum could distinguish were heartbreaking. Callum sat on the edge of the bed and shook the boy’s shoulder. Slade continued to toss and tangle himself further in the covers.
He flailed as if he were frantic to reach something… or someone. Callum shook him, harder this time.
“Wake up, lad. You’re dreaming.”
“Talk to me, Zach!” Slade shouted, still fully immersed in his nightmare.
The tossing and flailing increased, bringing Slade precariously close to throwing himself off the bed. Callum grasped Slade by both shoulders and shook, hard. Slade continued to jerk. This was more than just a simple nightmare. Lying across Slade’s body, Callum grabbed his wrists, pinning them above his head, and rendered him immobile. Slade’s eyes flew open, and he instantly calmed.
“Interesting,” Callum mumbled without thinking. “You’re safe,” he said aloud to Slade, maintaining his hold on the boy’s wrists.
Slade stared into Callum’s eyes, unblinking. The boy had completely relaxed beneath him. He seemed more than content to stay as he was— pinned under Callum.
“What were you dreaming about, lad?” Callum kept his voice soft.
For the first time since he’d woken up, Slade looked away. “Can’t remember.”
“Don’t lie to me.” Callum allowed some authority to creep into his voice and was only half-surprised to see the boy instantly react to it.
“Deployment. A bomb.”
Despite the severity of the situation, Callum couldn’t suppress the thrill running through him. It took so little to make this lad react. He needed to be told what to do. Callum suspected it wasn’t the only thing the boy needed.
“Look at me, lad. Tell me what happened.”
Slade complied, bravely meeting Callum’s gaze. “We were trying to flush out insurgents.” He swallowed. “There was an explosion. My friend…. Zach….” Slade turned his head.
“Eyes on me.” The naked pain in Slade’s eyes when he obeyed cut right through Callum. The sudden impulse to pull the young man to his chest and hold him close unsettled Callum. That wasn’t what Slade needed right now. Instead, Callum sat up, lifting himself off Slade’s chest but retaining the firm hold on his wrists. He had no intention of letting go anytime soon.
“Tell me what happened,” he repeated.
A single tear slid down Slade’s cheek. “I was near the end of the line when we entered the building. I knew something was wrong.” A second tear escaped the brimming blue eyes. “I was going to warn them, tell them to go back, when….” The boy’s voice faded as his tears started to flow. “The flash, the noise, and then this unnatural quiet. Zach…. At first I couldn’t see him. And then….”
Sudden anger flashed through the tears. “You want to know what happened? He was shredded by that bomb. There was blood everywhere. I couldn’t reach him. My leg….” As quick as the anger had flared, it disappeared again. “He died before I could drag myself over to him. He died alone. He died because I was too slow… with my warning.”
“You can’t blame yourself, lad. Things like that happen in war. You know that. Everyone in combat loses someone close to them. I take it Zach was the first friend you lost?”
Slade’s eyes slid closed, but his tears continued to fall. He shook his head. “No.”
Callum cocked his head. “What is it, then? Why does his death haunt you more than any of the others?”
“He was… special.”
“Okay….” Callum drew the word out as he nodded thoughtfully. He selfishly wanted to ask what “special” meant, but this wasn’t the time. “Thank you for telling me.”
He released the boy’s wrists and wiped the tears from his face. “If I leave you alone, will you sleep?”
Callum saw something in Slade’s eyes, something that looked a lot like hope. “I don’t know.” It was barely a whisper.
It wasn’t a difficult decision. In fact, it wasn’t a decision at all. “Move over, then. Tonight, at least, you won’t be alone and you will sleep.” Callum had no idea if it was possible to make someone sleep peacefully simply by ordering them to, but for the lad’s sake, he hoped it would work.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Flashback to Lessons in Love

Good evening my friends,

I hope you're enjoying my weekly teasers because there are still a few to come.

This week it is the turn of Lessons in Love, the second story featuring Mitch and Cian.

Mitch has turned eighteen since he met Cian in A Miracle in the Library, and has travelled to Dublin to spend the long St. Patrick's Day weekend with Cian...on their own...without parental supervision.

Unsurprisingly, this means our two young lovers take their relationship beyond the kisses they've so far enjoyed. But with Cian not being a whole lot more experienced than Mitch, there's a fair amount of worry and second-guessing involved.


Lessons in Love buy link:


When he’d run out of reasons to be in the bathroom, Cian slowly made his way back to his room, taking a deep breath before opening the door, only to release it on a loud puff.

Obviously, Mitch didn’t share his concerns, considering he’d found his way into the bed and under the covers with only his head and shoulders—his naked shoulders—visible. The light mounted on the wall behind the bed spread a soft glow over his mop of black hair.

A quick glance around the room showed Cian the pile of clothes Mitch had left on the floor under the curtained window. As far as he could tell, the collection did not include any underwear.
Without looking at Mitch but fully aware of his gaze locked on his body, Cian made quick work of stripping and adding his jeans and top to Mitch’s clothes.

The first thing he noticed when he slipped underneath the covers was that for once they weren’t chilly. Mitch’s body heat had created a nice warm nest for him to crawl into. The second thing was Mitch’s naked thigh pressing against his. He shifted, breaking the contact between them before it could freak Mitch out.

He wished he could have practiced for this night, that there was a scenario he could follow. He knew he should just open his mouth and talk to Mitch, find out what, if any, concerns he had. But he couldn’t for the life of him figure out how to phrase the question without it sounding as if he was asking Mitch how far he was willing to go.

He stiffened when Mitch’s leg connected with his again, but decided to ignore it. With the bed being as small as it was, contact would be unavoidable, and making an issue out of every time it happened would only make the situation worse, not better.

The mattress dipped as Mitch turned. When he placed a hand on Cian’s exposed neck, his breathing hitched.

“Is this okay?” Mitch’s question indicated that Cian’s discomfort hadn’t escaped him.

Cian turned on his side and faced Mitch, shocked to find his boyfriend’s face only inches from his. “Yes, if it’s okay for you, it’s okay for me.”

A small smile played on Mitch’s lips. “You realize I have no idea what I’m doing, right?”

Cian returned the smile, grateful that Mitch had found the courage he lacked. “I haven’t got much more of an idea, to be honest.”

Mitch gazed at him, his brown eyes even darker in the dim light. “Well,” he said, “I know we’re both okay with this.” He drew closer and pressed his lips against Cian’s.

The connection, the soft glide of Mitch’s tongue across his lips, was all Cian needed to chase away his worries. Mitch was right. They both knew how to do this…very well. They’d figure the rest of it out as they went, together. Then those thoughts faded too as he deepened the kiss and lost himself in the smell, taste, and feel of Mitch.

When he could think again, Cian noticed they had somehow ended up pressed together, most of their upper bodies touching too. As a result, there was no way he could fail to notice Mitch’s stiff cock pressing against his thigh, mere inches away from his own equally hard dick.

As their kisses got ever more heated and demanding, Mitch moved against Cian’s body, obviously seeking more pleasure. As tempting as it was to touch Mitch’s dick, Cian resisted and limited himself to stroking his boyfriend’s shoulder and chest. His heart sang when Mitch copied his caresses, while Cian’s cock went from hard to bordering on uncomfortable.

It wasn’t long before the combination of Mitch’s touch, kisses, and still covered dick rubbing against his leg became too much, and Cian lowered his free hand and squeezed his own cock. A slight shift in the bed told him Mitch had copied this action too.

Lust took over, pushing any and all concerns Cian had harbored into the back of his mind. He pushed the duvet to the end of the bed and freed his straining penis from his suddenly very tight boxer briefs, stroking himself slowly without ever pulling out of their endless kiss.

Hmmmm. Mitch hummed against Cian’s lips as they both tugged at their dicks.

“Wanna see.” As much as he hated ending their lip-lock, Cian couldn’t resist his longing to see Mitch in all his naked glory. Without interrupting his wank, he raised himself up a little and allowed his gaze to travel across Mitch’s naked body. Christ, but he’s gorgeous.

His body, stretched out on the bed, was lean but not skinny. The muscles in his legs and arms were easily visible without being clearly defined. As for his cock…. Cian swallowed hard as his gaze locked on the long, erect, and “heavier than he would have expected” dick and Mitch’s hand gliding over it, pushing the skin up and down while soft, needy sounds fell from his lips.

Cian wasn’t sure why this felt much more intimate than the few hand and blow jobs he’d given and received in the past. All he knew was that the combination of watching Mitch as he pleasured himself and his own hand on his ready-to-explode dick drove him to his climax with shocking speed.

He raised his chin and shifted his focus to Mitch’s face. His lips were parted, his cheeks flushed, and his gaze was firmly fixed on Cian’s hand as he stroked and squeezed his erection.
“So good,” Mitch rasped, his breath escaping him in sharp, short bursts. Then he stiffened, and Cian lowered his gaze just in time to see cum erupting from his cock.

It was all Cian needed to push him over the edge too. His orgasm roared through his body, forcing his eyes shut as he surrendered to the previously unknown pleasure of coming together with someone he cared for.


Please check back next week for a new excerpt.