A New Release from Roe Horvat

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It’s release day for the second installment of Roe Horvats “Those Other Books”.

Adam Only is another masterpiece in erotic perfection, and what started out as an exploration in writing erotica, because “I can”, has become a series and an automatic one-click for anyone who read the first “Other Book”.

Roe Horvat can’t write an unlikable character, and this is what I love about his stories more than anything. Even flawed, there’s something compelling about each character in all of his books. Adam Only does not disappoint on that front.

We met Adam and Christoffer in the first book, but they were already an established couple. This is the story of how they met, and it is pure delight from beginning to end. I love Adam, and I love Christoffer and hope we see more of them in future installments.

A great deal of erotica is all about sex and nothing else, but this story isn’t like that. There’s sex and there’s a lot of it, and it’s hot and steamy, but beyond that there’s a story, and heart and two souls finding a safe haven.

The warnings are there for a reason. This is an adult story, with adult content and if you don’t like disapproving looks as people read over your shoulder on your daily commute then don’t read this in public, anywhere. That said, it is about time adults had something to enjoy that was just for them, and Roe delivers that, big time.

For anyone interested in reading an excerpt before they decide to dive in, there is a link at the bottom of this post to a very not safe for work passage that Roe has kindly provided.

First of all, here is the lovely cover , blurb and the all important buy links.

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Blurb

On stage, Adam lets his passion drive him. All his secret desires, everything nasty, dirty, and beautiful flows freely through him, for once in harmony. His soul thrives when his body moves, but only on stage. Adam’s passionate nature makes him a great dancer…and a failure at life. He’s a lonely, emotional mess. Going home with a man far out of his reach is the last thing Adam should do. Christoffer represents everything Adam isn’t: strong, independent, educated, and rich. His kind eyes, at odds with his brutish form, make Adam’s knees and restraint buckle.

Once Christoffer sees Adam dancing, he’s lost. The young man is mesmerizing, otherworldly, and unpredictable. Whatever might happen between them, it will be transient, and Christoffer will most likely get hurt. The temptation is too great, however, and the sex explosive. He might as well enjoy every moment he’s given, even if it’s just one day, maybe two. If Christoffer treads carefully, Adam might stay until Monday.

Warning: Adam Only is a gay erotic love story. It contains explicit language and sexual scenes between two consenting men. For adult readers only.

Here are the buy links:

Amazon  Beaten Track

Reviews are what authors live on. Please do leave one here for Adam Only.

And here is the link to the excerpt if you need any more persuading. This will take you to Roe’s website.

NSFW Adam Only Excerpt

Do check out all the other amazing titles available from Beaten Track Publishing.

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A Frosty Tail

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Six months ago I published a story as part of the Rainbow Advent Calendar. It’s a story set in winter, but it has references to spring and summer. Basically, it’s a fairy tale, with everything you’d associate with a fairy tail: magic, mysterious strangers, daring rescues and of course, a happy ending. It also has something to say about the balance of our world and the equilibrium we have to keep in order for everything to work as it should. When that balance, or equilibrium is disturbed, for whatever reason, the consequences can be disastrous.

On the lead up to Euro Pride Con in Amsterdam at the end of June, I decided to put this story out on Amazon with the hope of getting some print versions to take with me. This may or may not happen, but at least it’s a bit more available now. The links are below but first here’s an excerpt and of course, the blurb and a look at the beautiful cover designed by Roe Horvat.

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Blurb

When professional gardener, Liam Walton, falls and hits his head on his way home from work, he is rescued by a mysterious young man with ice-blue eyes, white blond hair and very cold hands.

This story contains scenes of an adult nature involving physical intimacy between two men. There is also an awful lot of weather, a pretty white fox, a vicar that tells ghost stories and some very dangerous behaviour on a frozen lake (do not try this at home).

Excerpt:

Frosty Feet

Liam bid Father Jacob goodnight and left the vicarage to make his way home, cursing that he’d stayed so long, and had drank rather too much mulled wine.

As he stepped onto the track that took him back to his cottage, he felt his heartbeat quicken just a little, in anticipation of seeing the fox again, and in anxiety over what Father Jacob had told him.

Could the fox’s appearance be foretelling some unfortunate event? He hoped not. He wanted to see the fox again, but hoped whatever it was up to, that fortune telling wasn’t part of its plan.

He’d quickened his pace, wanting to get home, out of the cold, biting wind, but when he reached the darkest part of the track, where the trees formed their tunnel, he slowed down. It wouldn’t do to slip on the ice that had formed there. He’d managed to avoid slipping on the way down that morning, but that had been in daylight when he hadn’t had three mugs of mulled wine. Now all he had was a torch and a slightly fuzzy head.

Liam hadn’t realised just how oppressive this tunnel of trees was, and just how intimidating it could be until now, when his imagination was running away with him. Father Jacob’s stories did not help and he felt his heart pounding as he made his way beneath the dark branches.

The air had stilled as he’d entered the natural tunnel and every noise was enhanced and made more sinister by the dark silence. He felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck and an unpleasant shiver ran down his back.

For a moment he hesitated and considered turning and running back the way he’d come, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything. He might be made welcome for dinner in at least a dozen homes in the village, but he would still, at some point tonight, have to negotiate this dark track alone in order to get home. Better to do it now and get it over with.

With a determined roll of his shoulders he shone his torch straight ahead and began to walk. The torch beam caught movement at the far end of the tunnel and Liam gasped. Sitting in the middle of the track, bathed in moonlight, was the white fox. Liam froze, his breath making opaque clouds in the torch beam. The white fox made no attempt to move. It simply sat on its haunches and waited.

Was it waiting for Liam?

That was a ridiculous thought. Why would a wild creature wait for him on a country track? Father Jacob’s anxious warnings filled his head. No matter how hard he tried he could not get out of his mind the thought that this fox was here to warn him. Of what, though? “An accident, a bout of extreme weather, a loss”.  He gave a shudder, feeling the hairs rise on the back of his neck.

“Dammit,” Liam grumbled discontentedly. “Damn foxes and Father Jacob’s spooky tales have got me half scared to death.”

Somewhere behind him a twig snapped. He whirled around in fright, his heart pounding in his ears. Adrenaline fed his fight or flight reflex, making simple shadows look like dark, menacing horrors. He took a deep breath and calmed down. Liam was angry with himself. He’d walked this track in the dark many times before and never felt scared in the slightest. He listened to one supernatural tale from Father Jacob and he was quivering in his boots. Stupid!

And now the fox was gone, dammit. Probably scared off by Liam’s startled movements.

Grumbling to himself, he took a step forward and his boot slid on the surface of a solidly frozen puddle. Liam’s feet flew from beneath him and he fell backwards, his head hitting the ground with a resounding and sickening crack.

Liam’s vision blurred and blacked out and he saw stars. His ears rang and his entire body shuddered with shock and emerging pain. For longer than a moment he lay very still, unable to gauge just how badly he’d hit his head. The sickening crack still resounded in his ears and would probably haunt his nightmares as would the realisation that he had surely hurt himself quite badly.

Could this be the accident the fox had been predicting? If Father Jacob was to be believed, that is?

Liam considered his options, because staying where he was not one of them. No one used this track at night time except him. It was entirely likely no one would use it tomorrow during the day either. He’d freeze to death long before anyone found him. He couldn’t use his phone to call anyone, because there was no mobile signal. It was a notorious signal black spot all along this track and well past his cottage. He had a landline for that very reason. Not that a land line would do him any good if he didn’t start moving. Shouting for help wouldn’t do him any good either, there was no one nearby to hear him. He was going to have to move. He had to get to his cottage, even if he had to drag himself there on his hands and knees.

Bracing himself for pain and dizziness, Liam tried to sit. The pain that erupted in his head, followed by the nausea was enough to make him regret moving at all. He was beginning to think that freezing to death was perhaps a better option after all as he lay, sprawled on his back on the cold, hard ground.

He gingerly felt the back of his head and grimaced when his hand came away wet and sticky. He couldn’t see the colour, but he could see the dark stain on his fingertips and smell the slight tang of blood. He’d probably need stitches.

Once more he attempted to move. The ground tilted alarmingly and dizziness, followed by more nausea, forced him to lie back down, this time curled up on his side, just in case he did actually vomit, which was now a real possibility.

Finally he managed to force himself into a sitting position, with his head between his knees until another wave of nausea passed. He then attempted to get to his feet.

His legs felt weak and his head pounded. Dizziness threatened to topple him again and in desperation he reached out for something solid to hold onto, hoping he’d find a fence post, or a tree trunk. Instead he found an arm.

“Woah, there, big feller.” A cheerful, lilting male voice called, as a hand grabbed his and held it fast. The other arm snaked around Liam’s waist to stop him from falling. “I got you, don’t worry. Of course, I can’t guarantee we won’t go arse over tit anyway. I’m only just getting used to these legs myself.”

“W-what?” Liam asked in confusion, trying to focus on his rescuer.

“Legs.” The voice by his side repeated. “And feet, really? How do you cope with just two?”

“I-I don’t…..” Liam put a shaky hand to his head. It hurt when he spoke. He had no idea what the man was talking about, but because he had mentioned feet, and Liam didn’t feel confident enough to lift his head and look at the stranger’s face without vomiting, he looked down, trying to make sense of what he was seeing.

For a moment his vision blurred and he saw only flashes of white before his eyes finally focused and he did indeed see feet.

“Oh my god.” He gasped weakly. “You’re not wearing any shoes.”

His head began to spin in earnest and he blacked out.

And here are the links:

Amazon  Smashwords 

Tomorrow on my site I will be featuring Adam Only, the new release from Roe Horvat, who designed the cover for A Frosty Tail. Not only does he do kickass covers, he writes kickass books and Adam Only is a corker.

Meanwhile, anyone who wants to check out my other titles you can find all the info at Beaten Track Publishing

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Rainbow Snippet 05/05

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Hey guys, I’ve been out of action for a little while, sorting out the real life drama of losing my job and finding another one.

Things are settling now as I have a few interviews and offers of work. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to write. I have too many WIPs, but have decided to settle on this one, with the help of an enthusiastic beta reader. It does help to have fresh eyes to look at stuff.

Anyway, here’s my snippet. Title and blurb are yet to be confirmed. Read on afterwards to find out what else I’ve been up to.

Some people were lucky. Cas wasn’t. His luck had run out spectacularly, three days ago. He now had nowhere to go, except maybe, just maybe, there might be someone waiting for him here, in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere, because he’d answered an ad he’d seen on a scrap of newspaper that had blown into his face while he’d sat on a park bench eating cold fries.

There was no way he could know for sure if he’d even get the job. He’d received a reply to come for an interview, after which, his phone had run out of charge and his laptop battery had died.

He’d boarded the bus from LA, twenty-four hours before, with no way of finding out if there’d be someone to meet him at the other end.

Five buses and a thousand miles later, with his stomach so empty it had forgotten what full felt like, Cas was beginning to wonder if he’d made the biggest mistake of his life.

I started up a Patreon. I don’t really know how I feel about it, but after being made suddenly unemployed, I refused to stay “unemployed” by stating in my CV that I am a writer, because I am. Hopefully some lovely people out there might contribute a few pennies to help me out.

Here’s the link if anyone’s interested. Dawn’s Patreon

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Click here to find out what others are sharing this week and give them some love.

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A New Release From Kasia Bacon

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Kasia Bacon’s new release, set in her amazing Order Universe, is set to go live on 26th April.

This latest offering is called Don’t Fight the Spark. Here’s the gorgeous cover followed by the blurb:

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As the Light Festival draws near, the Něssyrians craft paper lanterns, awaiting the most important holiday of the year.

The Lyliňg Fighting House, too, prepares for celebration—by laying fresh sand onto the arena and setting up a match against their top pit fighter, the unrivaled Yüuzuki Ōren.

His last match. One he can’t win.

With the odds more than stacked against him, the gorgeous Barbarian is as good as dead. Unless his lover, healer Ĥaiatto Ẽkana, proves himself every bit as determined as he is clever and finds a way to protect the man he’d stop at nothing to save.

You can get your sticky fingers on a copy of Don’t Fight the Spark from the following websites:

Amazon, Amazon UK, Kobo, B&N, Apple

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite just a little bit more.

They brought him to me bloodied and beaten to a pulp three days before the Night of Lights.

Being battered black and blue after a fight came with the territory for an ih’mohrô, even one as good as Yüuzuki Ōren. Not once in the past, however, had he ended up unresponsive in my treatment room. My stomach plummeted at the sight of two guards hauling him between them like a sack of coal. Was the dread that had haunted my dreams about to transpire?

Careful not to unmask my fear, I schooled my features. “Here.” I ushered the men to the exam table, erected in the middle of my study for easy access.

I did my best not to wince when Yüu’s limp body landed on top of the linen-dressed surface with a dull thump.

I got to him in two leaps and busied myself with arranging him in a recovery position. Placing two fingers on the inside of his wrist, I took his pulse. It felt thready and rapid, but it was there. I observed his chest rising and falling in shallow but regular breaths. Having seen no evidence of a collapsed lung or any blockage in his airways, I sighed with relief.

The blood caking his body—part dried, part fresh—prevented me from fully determining the damage.

I ordered the men to step back and allow me room to work. The next moment, I snatched my emergency kit from the side cabinet and prepared a basin of fresh water, dampening a soft muslin washcloth in it. Having settled Yüu onto his back with speed and care, I proceeded to clean the skin of the wounded man.

Not just any man, but the one I loved.

The scanty outfit of a pit-fighter, consisting of a simple loincloth, allowed me to get on with my task right away, taking stock of his injuries as the sweeping movements of my hands uncovered more and more scrapes, cuts and contusions.

Yüu was as tough as they came. The toughest. I would know, having treated him and other prized combatants of the Lyliňg Fighting House for over three years. If his body shut down, going into shock from blood loss and pain, both must’ve been significant.

Order

About the Author

A linguist and an avid reader with a particular fondness for fantasy and paranormal genres, KASIA BACON lives in London with her husband. When not tearing her hair out over a translating project, she writes stories about the shenanigans of emotionally constipated assassins and sexy Elves. Otherwise, she can be found shaking her loins at a Zumba class, binging on anime or admiring throwing knives on Pinterest. A lover of MMA and Muay Thai, she also enjoys nature and the great outdoors. She dreams of becoming independently wealthy, leaving the city and moving into her wooden mini-manor—located in the heart of stunning forests resembling those of the Elven Country depicted in her tales.

Find Kasia online:

Website, Amazon, BookBub, TwitterFacebook

Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, E-mail

For excerpts, free stories and updates about new projects, sign up for Kasia’s newsletter.

Good luck with your release, Kasia

 

World Book Day

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Happy World Book Day.

In the UK, World Book Day is celebrated in many primary schools with a fancy dress day. Children all over the country will be going to school on 7th March, dressed as their favourite story book character, or, in some cases, whatever costume fits the child because there wasn’t the time to make or the money to buy something specific.

My children are now in secondary school, and fancy dress days do not often happen. Whilst my daughter and all her teenage friends are quite happy to attend every Comic Con they can, dressed as their favourite anime characters (daughter: “it’s called cosplay, mum, not fancy dress, duh!”), going to school dressed up is definitely no longer cool.

I love that we have World Book Day. I feel very privileged to be able to celebrate this day as a reader as well as a writer. I still find it a little difficult to believe that last part.

I think it’s great that this day is promoted and celebrated in schools. Promoting reading is never a bad thing.

In our house, World Book Day would often go like this:

“Mum, Dad, tomorrow is World Book Day. I want to go as [insert literary character here].”

We would then proceed to search our wardrobes, junk boxes and craft drawers and make a costume from what we had. I wouldn’t say we are hoarders, exactly, but we do have two attic rooms that our friends have named “The Rooms of Requirement”.

This same conversation might also take place with a number of our friends. I will often get frantic messages on Facebook from someone asking: “My child wants to dress up as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Do you have something they could wear?”

Our Rooms of Requirement regularly provide items for costumes for children and adults alike, for any number of celebrations, World Book Day included. None of these have been specifically bought costumes. They are acquired, recycled, charity shop whatnots; adjusted, accessorized and adapted to fit whatever character the person wants to be.

(And yes, we did have the necessary clothing and accessories to dress up a child as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Lord Voldemort, Pippy Longstocking, The Good Witch of the North, Frodo Baggins. You name it, we’ve done it).

As long as I have friends who ask, I will continue to provide this service. My Rooms of Requirement are always open.

Many parents do not have the time, nor the ability to make a costume, so there is the convenience of buying something. In some ways, World Book Day is becoming a bit commercialized, unfortunately, it is becoming so for the wrong reasons. Some of these costumes cost quite a bit, compared to, say, a book.

In the light of what has been happening online recently in the book world, where many pirating sites have been shut down for offering books for free without the author’s or the publisher’s permission and with plenty of people supporting these sites, because they think all books should be available for nothing, I find it difficult to accept that some people would defend their taking a free download of a book that should be paid for, but will quite happily pay through the nose for a costume of a character that could be from that same book.

What I’m trying to say is, World Book Day is about books, not costumes. The clue is in the title. There would not be any books if it wasn’t for the authors. Authors cannot keep writing if everyone decides that they should be able to get those books for free.

I love dressing up, and I love books, but please don’t spend a fortune on a costume, especially on this particular day, when you could be spending some of that money on books. Dressing up is fun. Pretending to be a favourite character for a day is exciting, but buying books supports the author that might have created that character, and you never actually grow out of a book the way you can grow out of a costume.

It isn’t World Costume Day, it’s World Book Day, so please consider spending some of that money on something to read. You never know, you might meet a new favourite character.

Celebrate World Book Day by buying a book. Share the fact that you bought that book and then review it, because that’s like giving a Mother’s Day card to the person that gave life to the book you’ve just enjoyed.

Thank You, Ana

To celebrate World Book Day, Beaten Track Publishing have a site-wide sale. All titles are available at 20% off, including mine.

I’d especially like to draw attention to the growing list of Children and Young Adult fiction from some amazing Beaten Track authors.

Click these links: Children’s Fiction, Young Adult Fiction.

To get your 20% discount at the checkout, quote the code: WBD19

This is valid until 10th March.

World Book Day

 

 

 

Rainbow Snippets 02/16

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Beaten Track Publishing did a thing. A Valentine’s thing, just for fun. We each had to pick an ABBA song and use it as inspiration for a short story, poem or prose.

My short story involves Sol and Lucien from my story “Locked in the Moment”. The ABBA song I chose was “I’ve Been Waiting for You”.

I’m sharing six lines from that short story for my snippet this weekend. If you would like to read the entire thing, the link is at the bottom, along with a link to all the other Beaten Track authors’ contributions. There is also a free ebook compiling all the Valentine’s pieces in one place, available from Smashwords. Again, the link is at the bottom of this post.

First here’s my snippet.

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The blurb:

Sol is impatient waiting for Lucien while he talks to the neighbours. Lucien is angry he’s being so impatient. They both have their reasons for being unhappy.

I’ve Been Waiting for You is a short, fluffy story in the Locked in the Moment universe, with Sol the Troll and Lucien the Fairy. May contain spoilers and some choice language because trolls swear, a lot. This story definitely contains fluff.

The story, as with the original, is told from Sol’s point of view and begins with him complaining about how he just can’t seem to get on with his and Lucien’s new nieghbours. (warning: some bad language. I did say trolls swear).

“You’ve tried to get me to interact with the local villagers before with mixed results. I made a kid cry just by smilin’ at them. I know I don’t smile that often, but in human form I’m not that fucking scary, am I?” I gave up after the third baby cried and I saw the horrified look on their parents’ faces. “Why the hell would they want to speak to a grumpy old troll like me?”

“They don’t know you’re a troll, Sol. They don’t even know I’m a fairy.”

“Yeah, but they like you, Lucien. Everyone likes you. They speak to you for hours, while I wait off to one side, coolin’ my heels. Do you think I like watchin’ you flirt an’…”

Lucien stops chopping the salad and turns, waving the knife under my nose.

“Firstly…” He stops when he realises he’s waving the knife close enough for the pointy end to make me go cross-eyed. He puts it down on the bench behind him with a huff and then continues, “…I do not flirt. With anyone. Except you, not that you would ever notice.”

“When did you flirt wiv me? What did I miss?” I ask. Dammit, I missed it? I like it when he gets all flirty.

The full short story is available here A Valentine’s Day Short Story , or you can download it free from Smashwords here.

To find all the other ABBA inspired stories from Beaten Track authors, click here.

To download the free ebook, click here.

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

To find out what others are posting on their blogs this week, click here.

 

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A Valentine’s Day Short Story

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Throughout today authors from Beaten Track Publishing will be sharing flash fiction, short stories, poems and prose, taking their inspiration from ABBA songs. The link to the rest of the stories etc. can be found at the bottom of this post.

I’m very excited to share a short story with you featuring my characters Sol and Lucien from “Locked in the Moment”. Not only are they an appropriate couple to share some Valentine fluff with you, it is also Locked in the Moment’s 3rd book birthday. Three years since my story was published as part of the Love Unlocked Anthology. How time flies.

My inspiration for this short story is taken from the ABBA song “I’ve Been Waiting for You” and I totally stole the title because I can.

The Blurb:

Sol is impatient, waiting for Lucien while he talks to the neighbours. Lucien is angry he’s being so impatient. They both have their reasons for being unhappy.

“I’ve Been Waiting for You” is a short, fluffy story in the Locked in the Moment universe, with Sol the Troll and Lucien the Fairy. May contain spoilers and some choice language because trolls swear, a lot. This story definitely contains fluff.

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I’ve Been Waiting for You

“Where the hell have you been, Hairy? I’ve been coolin’ my heels fer bloody ages waiting for ya.”

Lucien doesn’t have to answer because I know where he’s been: talking to bloody humans on our bridge. I was watching. They flock here in droves and he talks to all of them. He just walks up and starts a conversation while I stand off to one side and scowl at them until they go away. Who the hell do they think they are, standin’ on our bridge and taking up Lucien’s time? Time he could be spending with me, because, well, time’s precious, ain’t it?

We’re like chalk and cheese, me and him. Three years we’ve been together, and every day I wonder what the hell he’s doin’ with me; why the hell he stays.

“And good morning to you, my wonderfully grumpy troll. So sorry you have been made to wait.” Lucien glances at his wrist, as if he’s going to find a watch there. He doesn’t wear a sodding watch, he’s a bloody fairy.  He can make time, if he wants to, with a flick of his fingers. “Oh, a full thirty minutes, you have waited.” He rolls his gorgeous eyes. “Such a hardship.”

Lucien brushes past me without even meeting my eye. Usually he greets me with a kiss. In fact, every morning since that day we found our love-lock moment, he’s greeted me with a kiss and a fluffy speech about how wonderful it is that we found each other, that we’re together and have a home in such a lovely setting, so peaceful and private and all ours.

It’d be fucking idyllic if it wasn’t for all the bloody humans, invading our space, taking up our time when I want Lucien all to myself. At least they don’t hang their bloody love-locks here. They still trip-trap over the bridge when it’s least convenient.

Today, Lucien does not greet me with a kiss, nor even a brush of his delicate fingertips. He just walks past me without so much as a glance. I think I might’ve done something wrong.

I follow in his wake, running to catch up with him because, despite being about two feet taller than him in our human forms, he walks bloody fast when he’s angry. I don’t see this side of him very often, but when I do, it’s like he’s all full of fire and sparks, and I love it. Makes me want to laugh—tiny little thing like him lit up like a firework—except, I’ve seen what he can do. He is a fairy, after all, and when he’s all fired up like this, sometimes you just have to stay out of his way.

Today, though, I’ve done or said something to upset him and I don’t like upsetting him. I want to fix it, but first, I need him to tell me what it is.

“Alrigh’, Hairy, out wiv it,” I say, a little breathlessly, when I eventually catch up with him at our front door. It’s not that far from our bridge to the little mill house where we’ve been living for the last three years, but trolls weren’t built for running.

“Out with what?” he asks, trying to sound his usual bright and cheerful self as he stands with his back to me and his hand on the door latch. His knuckles are white with tension, and I can hear the unhappiness in his tone. I don’t like this one little bit.

He’s always happy, my fairy. What’s happened to make him unhappy? And what’s more important, what can I do to make it all better?

“What’ve I done?” I ask. “Is it somethin’ I’ve said? You know you’re gonna have to tell me. I’m a thick-skinned troll. I’ll never work it out in a month o’ Sundays.”

“This time, you don’t get an explanation.” Lucien pushes on the latch and walks inside without looking back.

For a few moments I’m stunned into immobility. What the hell is goin’ on? How can I make things better if he won’t talk to me?

When I finally walk through the door, Lucien is in the kitchen preparing lunch. Well, I say preparing lunch; it looks more like he’s murdering a lettuce with a very large, sharp knife. I imagine he’s pretending the lettuce is me. He’s also muttering angrily to himself in French. I fight the urge to laugh again. He’s got such a sunny disposition. Muttering angrily doesn’t suit him at all.

“Il est impossible, ce farfadet.” He chops viciously at the lettuce to emphasise each word. “Je suis très fâché avec lui. Il a attendu trente minutes? J’ai attendu toute une vie.”

After three years of living with Lucien, I have picked up a few words of French. I don’t need to translate everything he’s said. I can guess from the context—and his dark mood and the fact he’s committing side-salad-slaughter—that he’s mad at me and thinks I’m impossible. That’s nothing new. I am impossible. What’s he on about after that, though? Attendu? What does that mean? Wait? What’s he been waiting for? When was he waiting? I was waiting an age for him to finish making out with the bloody neighbours.

The knife slams down hard on the bench, making me jump. When am I ever going to remember that he can read my thoughts as if I’ve spoken out loud?

“I was not making out with them, Sol. I was being nice. You should try it sometime.”

“Oh, yeah?” I snort. “Because that’s something I’ve been practising for the last two thousand years, bein’ nice. It’s like second nature to me.”

Lucien clicks his tongue.

“You can be nice when you want to be.”

There’s even a hint of affection in his tone, except he’s picked up the knife again and is now assassinating a couple of defenceless tomatoes.

“What would I even say to them, eh?” I ask. “You’ve tried to get me to interact with the local villagers before with mixed results. I made a kid cry just by smilin’ at them. I know I don’t smile that often, but in human form I’m not that fucking scary, am I?” I gave up after the third baby cried and I saw the horrified look on their parents’ faces. “Why the hell would they want to speak to a grumpy old troll like me?”

“They don’t know you’re a troll, Sol. They don’t even know I’m a fairy.”

“Yeah, but they like you. Everyone likes you. They speak to you for hours, while I wait off to one side, coolin’ my heels. Do you think I like watchin’ you flirt an’…”

Lucien stops chopping and turns, waving the knife under my nose.

“Firstly…” He stops when he realises he’s waving the knife close enough for the pointy end to make me go cross-eyed. He puts it down on the bench behind him with a huff and then continues, “…I do not flirt. With anyone. Except you, not that you would ever notice.”

“When did you flirt wiv me? What did I miss?” I ask. Dammit, I missed it? I like it when he gets all flirty.

“And secondly,” he continues, his lips twitching because he’s picked up my thoughts again and I can tell he’s finding it difficult to stay angry with me, “waiting thirty minutes while I forge good relationships with our neighbours is nothing compared to—.” He stops, snapping his mouth shut.

He turns away with a frustrated huff through his nose and picks up the knife to commit grievous bodily harm on some poor unsuspecting spring onions.

I frown. What did he just stop himself from saying? I could try and pick the thoughts out of his head, but I’ll bet all the fairy dust in his glittery little pockets that he’ll stop me from seeing anything he doesn’t want me to.

“You’d be right.” He huffs, without turning around.

I see his shoulders slump ever so slightly, and his tone isn’t nearly so angry as it was. In fact, I think some of those radishes he’s now decapitating might even survive.

“Oh Sol.” He sighs, dropping the knife and turning to fling himself into my arms. “I’m so sorry. I should not have been so angry with you.”

I don’t even hesitate before I wrap him up in a furry, troll hug. He’s even tinier when I’m in my troll form and he’s gone fairy, but I never make the mistake of thinking he’s fragile—not until now when I realise my fur is wet with his tears.

“Oh my god, Lucien. What the hell is wrong? Tell me, please. I hate arguin’ wiv ya, sweetheart. I know I said something to upset you, but I don’t know what.”

“It’s nothing, just me being silly, mon amour.”

He pulls away and looks up at me. We both change back to our human forms because it’s difficult to make eye contact with him with an overhanging monobrow. It gets a bit crowded in this kitchen when it’s full of troll, plus my fur gets in the food and he gets a crick in his neck looking up at me.

I reach out and caress his cheek with smooth, brown, clawless fingers. He closes his eyes and leans against my hand, linking his delicate fingers with mine before turning his head to kiss my palm.

I gasp as his lips brush my skin. He’s so…beautiful, and he’s smiling, but the tears clinging to his long eyelashes make his eyes look sad.

“It’s not nothin’ though, is it?” I ask as I wipe away two tears that are tracing lines down his face. “I want to fix this, Lu, but I don’t know how.”

“There is nothing to fix, Sol,” he assures me.

“Well, forgive me for thinkin’ otherwise,” I snap, then shake my head as his eyes widen. “Sorry, but you’re cryin’ and I made that happen, and now I have to fix it.”

For a moment, I see defiance in Lucien’s eyes, and his chin lifts, as if he’s going to refuse to tell me. He’s stubborn like that sometimes. However, his chin lowers and he looks away with a sigh.

I think again about what he was muttering before. Despite living with Lucien for three years, my French is still abysmal. He said something about waiting. Finally my brain translates it.

“He’s impossible, that troll. I am so angry with him. He waited thirty minutes? I waited an entire lifetime.”

 Oh my god. I hate myself. I look down and meet his gaze. I can see by his expression he knows that I know.

“I waited for you,” he whispers so softly I can barely hear him. “For three hundred years, yet you get impatient waiting for thirty minutes.”

“I know,” I whisper back. He’s never going to forgive me, but I need to apologise anyway, or I’ll never forgive myself. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t’ve been so angry.”

“No, you should not.” He narrows his eyes before his expression brightens and he reaches up to pat my cheek.

“I’m such an arse, Lucien. How do you put up wiv’ me?”

“Because I love you, you great furry oaf.” He smiles and suddenly everything is all right. “Of course I forgive you.” He smirks, his expression playful. “You said you wouldn’t be able to work it out by yourself. I’m so proud of you.”

“Shut it!” I huff, grabbing his ribs and making him gasp and giggle.

Suddenly, we’re kissing, rolling about on the floor, giggling and breathless, fingers tangled in hair and his legs wrapped around my hips.

He turns me so I’m lying on my back. My hand is halfway inside his floral pattern shirt as he straddles my waist when everything he said finally sinks in. I know he loves me, and I love him, with all my stone heart, but he loves me with a heart that’s the size of a fucking planet and it blows me away.

“Sol?” he whispers, touching my face in concern.

“I know I’m impossible to live wiv, Lucien.” I lower my eyes, unable to meet his gaze as I lay out my faults before him. “I’m a bloody nightmare most of the time. My fur gets everywhere. I’m grumpy as hell, usually in the morning, and sometimes mornings last all day. I get stupid jealous when you’re talkin’ to other people and I know I shouldn’t even worry, because you’ve always had eyes only for me. I don’t want you to stop being the lovely, friendly, fluffy, glittery fairy that you are, because that’s the person I fell in love with, when I didn’t even know I needed anyone. I spent two thousand years on my own, Lucien, but I didn’t realise it was such a prison until you released me. I unlocked all those love-locks on my bridge that day, but you unlocked my heart. I don’t even know how you did it, it just happened. Sometimes, when I see you with other people, smilin’ and makin’ them smile, I wonder what the hell you’re doin’ with a grumpy old sod like me.”

“You know why I am with you.” Lucien reaches down to caress my cheek, running his thumb along my bottom lip and making it tingle. “We were meant to be together. I knew this, even before I had set eyes on you. I knew this every day I watched over your bridge and waited. I knew, even when everyone else told me it was making me sick, and every time I woke up in my own bed because I’d fallen asleep at my post and someone had carried me home. I would still go back the next day to watch and wait.”

Such devotion, before he even met me, and I had no idea.

“I could hibernate again,” I tell him, watching his face for any signs that this is not what he wants to hear. “Not soon, not for years, but I will sometime in the future. What will you do then?”

His expression doesn’t change. He’s still smiling, his eyes tender, his fingers caressing my jaw.

“I will wait, Sol. I will watch over you and wait.”

“But what if you get sick again?” I can’t let that happen. “Maybe I should just stop hibernating.”

“I could never ask you to do that, just like you do not wish me to stop being nice to everyone we meet. It is your nature, Sol. If you do not hibernate, you will get sick.”

“But if I do, you will.”

“I won’t, not this time.” He sounds so certain, but I need to know more.

“How can you be so sure?”

“Last time, you did not know. You woke up to find that I’d been watching over you, but while you were in hibernation, you had no idea why I was there. This time, when you wake up, you will know I’ve been waiting for you.”

He leans in to kiss me, pressing his lips to mine. I respond instantly as my brain mulls over what he’s said. He loves me, and I love him, and that’s all that matters. And then there isn’t time for thinking.

“What if I hibernate for another three hundred years?” I ask when we finally come up for air.

“Then that is how long I will wait,” he assures me, his head resting on my chest, his delicate fingers playing with the curls of thick hair he finds there. “I would wait a thousand lifetimes for you, Sol.”

His confession takes my breath away, and I wrap my arms around him, holding him tight.

“I won’t ever complain about waiting for you, not ever again. I promise,” I whisper. “I love you, Lucien.”

“And I love you, Sol.” He sighs happily. “Now, maybe we should eat that salad I just murdered before it goes all limp and soggy.”

“Ooer, Hairy. It’s nasty when your salad goes limp.”

“Sol, really.”

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I hope you enjoyed this. Now for the links.

To find all of the other awesome stories, poems etc from the rest of the Beaten Track Team, click here. There is a free ebook to download with everyone’s contributions in one place. Oh look, another anthology from Beaten Track Publishing. We’re just unstoppable. Find it on Smashwords. Also, if you would like to download a copy of my story to keep for later it is available from Smashwords. Click here

If you enjoyed meeting the characters in this short story, please do consider buying the original book to find out how Sol and Lucien found their “love-lock” moment. Locked in the Moment is available from Beaten Track Publishing, Amazon and Smashwords. The Love Unlocked Anthology is available here.

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