Thursday 31 January 2013

Review Celebration - Laurey Buckland

A Girl's Guide to Fairy Tales
Laurey Buckland

For daydreamer Maddie, obsessive compulsive Clare, over dramatic Isobel and happy-go-lucky Sophie, life is more a world of tragic than magic. For Maddie it’s a constant battle against the monotony of a job she hates while her heart aches to be somewhere else, for Clare it’s a perpetual struggle to vanquish her teenage insecurities and to see herself for the woman she really is, for Isobel it’s a refusal to reveal her true self for fear it’s not what everyone imagined her to be and for Sophie it’s a willingness to believe in a rumour that threatens to poison her perfect relationship.

But with the love and support of their friends and a little bit of luck, the girls soon realise that happy ever afters are not just reserved for fairy tale fiction – as long as they start believing in them.

Review by Elizabeth Wright on behalf of - 5*

Laurey Buckland has created something that is really addictive here. The concept is simple, four friends struggling with their own issues yet always there for each other, without question. You might be thinking `another Sex and the City', but this is actually even more enjoyable. Each character has so much depth you never question what you are reading is fiction. Each of the four girls is very different from the other, but you can't help but connect with something in all of them.

The narrative is bubbly and there is something very believable about Maddie, Sophie, Issie and Clare's troubles and the way that they unfold. The truth throughout is simply to be true to yourself, whether that means revealing the real you and letting go of the façade, accepting that your dream can become a reality, or just listening to your friends because sometimes they really do know better than you.
This is a perfect New Year read, a time when everyone concentrates on how to make their lives live up to their dreams, or would be an excellent gift for someone down in the dumps.

Twitter: @LaureyBuckland

Wednesday 30 January 2013


To celebrate the lovely readers who enjoy romance, here is a celebration of romance reviews. Over the next few days several authors of the British Romance Fiction loop will be posting their reviews gathered from readers. Please come and see.

Someone wants Alyce Hythe dead… 

Shunned from London society for being the daughter of England’s most notorious spy, Alyce Hythe desires only to clear her father’s name. For years, she has been hidden away from all prying eyes, given a new identity and told to forget who she was. But strange things have been happening causing old rumors to once more be whispered. Long has Lord Julian Casvelyn lived with guilt brought on when his brother was murdered by England’s most infamous traitor. But one eventful night has changed everything Lord Julian believed about his brother’s death. Never did he suspect the woman he has just saved from certain harm is the daughter of that man. Now Julian is caught in midst of a conspiracy and desire for that woman. Thrown together by fate, the two search for answers long denied them and along the way discover a love that can free them both.

SEDUCTIVE SECRETS is a FREE ebook. I hope everyone can take the time to enjoy it. I would like to share a few reviews with you. Thanks so much! Have a lovely day!

CTRR Award- 
I positively enjoyed Seductive Secrets. Colleen Connally spins a tale that scoops up the reader and transports them into action, romance and intrigue. There is so much more that makes this story spectacular. It is filled with deception, treachery, romance, intense drama, and detailed characters that pull in the reader from the beginning until the end. The secondary players add great finesse to the storyline. I have to admit it was completely hard to put this book down. Ms. Connally creates an enthralling read that surrounds with anticipation that continues to build, leaving this reader spellbound. - Cherokee

Best Historical Romance I've Read in Ages
Lace and Lavender
Its been a while since I've settled into a historical romance this good. Between the gripping mystery surrounding the scandal of Alyce Hythe's name and her passionate romance with Julian Casvelyn, Seductive Secrets had me hooked. Unpredictable catastrophe and suspicion followed Alyce throughout the novel, at every new page there seemed to be a new development to the scandal surrounding her and I absolutely loved it! Unlike so many other novels I was refreshed by the fact that Seductive Secrets was not predictable; I had no idea where the story was going to go next, every clue to the mystery was a surprise! As to the romance surrounding Alice Hythe and Julian Casvelyn... well lets just sa,y it was very steamy... in a good way. Overall I would definitley recommend Seductive Secrets to anyone who likes a novel where romance and scandalous mystery have a starring role.

Lady Atlantis
This is definitely a must read! I truly enjoyed the story and characters, the perfect mix of romance, mystery, suspense, action and the historical background descriptions. Once you get to know the characters you will be engrossed until the end of the story. I am looking forward to more books from the author, as well as the rest of this series.


Mystery, intrigue, supernatural, love this book has it all!

Nice length. Very interesting storyline. Found all the forbidden love really added to the mystery. Glad the auther didn't hide any of the unsavory secrets of Londons backrooms.. I wish Lissa could have gotten out of her situation before her attorney died, but at least she was left a rich widow. A few times I had to reread pages to clearify some of the information on the traitor, but it all worked in the end. Glad to know there are angels out there looking out for people we love.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Sexy Nurses in Yorkshire! by Lily Harlem

What is it about nurses that men find so sexy? Is it because they cross into personal space as part of their daily routine when performing intimate procedures? Maybe it's the hat, or the possibility of lace-topped stockings beneath their uniforms. It could be guys just want a bed bath!

Whatever the reasons Mr Harlem had to cope with the real thing for years. Before I picked up a pen, or rather opened a laptop and started writing, I worked as a trauma nurse in London, England.

University College Hospital

The work was adrenaline-inducing, the long shifts exhausting and the never ending stream of patients have proven to be an endless well of characters for me to draw on in recent years. And that includes my latest release Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, out now at Mischief, Harper Collins. 


When scalpels are set down, the ward lights turned off and the patients asleep, there is always time for mischief …

I guess you could call me a jack-of-all-trades nurse. I find work satisfaction in whichever department the hospital needs me most, as long as it’s through the darkest hours. Needless to say I’ve seen it all over the years, been there and done that, what’s left to shock me isn’t worth knowing. But it’s so often the quieter nighttime where the real high jinx abound.

Yes, the nocturnal life is the one for me. With a weakness for sexy guys wearing white coats and dangling stethoscopes, my fantasies are often realised and I’m adept at finding relief from the hospital grind in shadowy corners and cozy linen cupboards.

Of course my dedication to patient comfort is paramount. What kind of nurse would I be if it wasn’t? But when one act of extreme, albeit highly inappropriate, kindness forced me to become the hospital director’s snitch, the length I went to in order to keep my job satisfied my desires and found me the love that had always evaded me. A love that made me push even my not-so-professional boundaries to the extreme.

                                   * * * * *

I have to say this book was enormous fun to write and I realised, as I wrote, how much I missed my nursing days - not that I'm about to jump back into it, I don't miss it that much! But what really tugged my heartstrings was realising how much I missed being part of a team - working and playing with a group of women (mainly) who all know each other well, have a Carpe Diem attitude (you get that in trauma) and a terribly wicked sense of humour! 

Nurses have this wonderful way of supporting each other and it's very rare to come across a lazy nurse (well it was in a London A&E anyway) and that was what gelled everyone. When the going got tough the tough got going, if you couldn't cope, then you didn't hang around. Things could get pretty high octane, the pace was fast, things happened most people never witness or are part of, again that cements a team, the shared experience of the highs and the lows. The hospital social club was were debriefs happened over a few alcoholic beverages!

Naturally there are always a whole pile of real-life love stories going on, between doctors and nurses (obviously) nurses and patients, patients and doctors, cleaners and consultants - I kid you not - radiographers and secretaries, porters (the biggest players in my opinion - lol) and well, anyone!! Whatever combination works seemed to occur, and in fact I met Mr Harlem at work!

The night duties could be gruelling and not my favourite shifts at all - my body just doesn't cope without sleep - but when I sat down to write Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, it was this blanket of night, the privacy from the prying eyes of the day that meant I could really let Sharon run riot. She doesn't mean too, well maybe a little bit, but things just seem to happen to her  and before she knows it she's in deeper than she thought, not just with the studly Javier but also sweet Carl and the witch they call Iceberg!

Sharon has a higher libido than most, she also has a history of a broken heart, and when a patient - a gorgeous fireman with burnt hands needs a hand with er, something, she can't resist helping him out, it's her caring nature you see, even if it is above and beyond her job description! Oh, yes, this book was fun, some of the things in it are drawn from real experiences but most are made up. Mmm, I suppose you want me to tell you which are real, well you'll just have to read it and see if you can guess :-)

Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse is set in a busy Yorkshire hospital during the winter months.  The weather is wild and blustery and the nights long and cold. I spent a lot of my childhood in Yorkshire so it was easy to remember the cheek-biting chill and the way the wind howls around the corners of buildings. I also like the remoteness of the area when you leave the small towns and start walking. I do let Sharon out of the hospital in the story, she heads to Skipton for a date, a wonderful little place full of cosy pubs and shops selling woollen sweaters and tasty treats for hikers.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. If you fancy immersing yourself in Sharon's naughty world buy links and an excerpt can be found on the Mischief webpage

Lily x

Wednesday 23 January 2013

New book from Jen Black

Melanie, Dowager Duchess of Yaxley, escapes from an abusive son-in-law to become a housekeeper in a remote Northumbrian village. The Master of the house, Jarrow, is a widower with a delightful daughter, but few funds. Jarrow has his scars, but he also has a secret life that unnerves Melanie when she discovers what it is that occupies his nights. This historical romance with its great sense of time and setting, leads the reader through the clash of the scarred personalities, troubles with excise men to a resolution which surprises them both.

Available only from Kindle: here

“Fascinating and beautifully created characters, plenty of secrets, and a compelling love story between a hero and a heroine that tugs at your heart strings, makes this a must read.”

Excerpt 1

‘Circumstances change, sir. A new master appeared, with staff of his own.’ In a way, that was true. Her step-son, the new duke, had summoned his lawyer friends and cheated her out of the dower house and everything else to which she had been entitled.

A grim smile touched the corners of Lord Jarrow’s mouth. ‘Well, at least your mistress was prepared to give you good references. These are excellent.’

‘Thank you, sir. I hoped they would serve.’

His eyes narrowed, and Melanie’s stomach clenched in response. Her tone had been a little too pert. Lord, it was so difficult to strike the right balance. Dipping her head, she surveyed her clasped hands and waited to see what direction he would take. Be subservient, she told herself. Think subservience, and you will practice it. If you do well, you will be his housekeeper, and have the security of a roof over your head.

‘Gavington is perhaps not what you expected,’ he said slowly, sitting forward with his forearms on his desk. ‘The house is virtually closed. I keep few staff, only those necessary for the comfort of myself and my daughter. I do not welcome visitors. Now you have seen how isolated we are, do you still wish to be considered for the post?’

‘Of course, sir.’


Jolted, she met his quizzical glance. ‘Why, sir?’

‘It is a simple question, Miss Grey. Why do you, a young and attractive woman, wish to disappear into the countryside when you have had command of a house such as Rockford?’ He looked down at her reference ‘Why, there must have been forty staff there when I visited Middlesex three years ago. Here, we have less than six.’

Dear God, he’d been to Rockford House! Three years ago? She blinked, frantically searching her memory. Had he been a guest at dinner? No, she would have remembered him. But if he’d paid a call on the duke in the estate office at the far end of the west wing, she might never have seen him. That must be what had happened. Thank goodness he showed no sign of remembering her.

Excerpt 2

Melanie woke with a jerk, gasping and sweating. Flinging the covers aside, she padded to the window and pressed her forehead against the cold glass. Oh, God, would she never be free of these dreams? Still they plagued her, months after the man had died. Gripping the metal handle, she flung open the window, braced both forearms on the sill and leaned out into the warm summer morning. Closing her eyes, she hauled in deep breaths of sweet scented air, and listened to the birdsong.

Gradually the terrors of the dream faded. Her heartbeat slowed, and the moisture cooled on her skin. She opened her eyes and looked about her, delighting in the chirrup of a hungry blackbird. From her window she looked down on the same rose garden she had observed the day she arrived. Fields and woods lay beyond its enclosing walls, and the green-brown curve of the moors. If she looked to the left, she could see the hens clucking happily in the kitchen yard, and there was Edith, sprinkling grain and scraps—

She swung round and glared at the clock on the mantel. Twenty minutes to eight o’clock. She rushed to the fireplace, seized the clock and held it to her ear, hoping to find it had stopped yesterday evening, but the seconds ticked on in relentless fashion. She was late, intolerably late—the Master would be up and about and there would be no clean shirt awaiting him.

Melanie rushed through an abbreviated toilet and fled downstairs. How would he respond if she failed to have a clean shirt ready for him?

The kitchen clock proclaimed five minutes to eight o’clock. Running into the laundry and drying rooms, she ran back upstairs with three neatly folded shirts balanced across her palms. Breathing hard, she slowed her pace as she approached his dressing room door. Turning the handle cautiously, she tiptoed inside. Both the curtain and the door to the bedroom were still closed but she was aware he would very likely be awake in the adjoining room.

The masculine smell of tobacco and cologne hit her nose, and triggered memories from her dreams. The desperate urge to sneeze sent her back out into the corridor, where she jammed her wrist beneath her nose until the urge disappeared. Inhaling cautiously, she returned to the small room. All was quiet. Opening the door of the armoire, she swiftly laid two of the shirts on the empty shelf.

‘Late, I see, Miss Grey.’ Amused, lazy tolerance coloured his voice.

Startled, she spun around and banged her elbow on the porcelain ewer that stood on the small dresser. ‘Oh!’

Springing forward, Lord Jarrow caught the ewer before it hit the floor. He straightened, replaced it on the stand and looked at her more carefully.

‘Miss Grey?’

 Available only from Kindle: here

Wednesday 16 January 2013

New Release: Loose Ends by Lucy Felthouse

Loose Ends is actually a re-release. I got the rights back from its original publisher, and it has been re-edited, given a new cover and released as part of Resplendence Publishing's Erotic Gems line.

It is an erotic romance tale set in Britain, and is all about reunions and second chances. The characters were friends at University and were always attracted to one another, but never had the opportunity to do anything about it. Now, at their reunion party, they meet again and the spark is still there - and now there's nothing stopping them acting on their feelings for one another. But will they?

This is a sweet and yet sexy short tale - so if you enjoy erotic romances with a reunion theme, check out Loose Ends.

Happy Reading!

When Jonathan and Lauren met at University, it should have been the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and Jonathan became ‘the one that got away.’ Years later, at a University reunion, Jonathan shows up unexpectedly throwing Lauren into turmoil. The pair start talking, and soon all the old feelings come back. But will this time be different, or will their mutual affection continue to be unrequited?

More info, excerpt and buy links:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and 2013, and Best Women's Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: 

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Guest blog: Kristal Baird - 'PI Honeytrap'

Hi,  I’m thrilled to be welcomed over to your fantastic blog today. I’m delighted to share the news of my hot new release PI HONEYTRAP with all your great visitors.

Hayley examines the dark secrets of men’s hearts, but
doesn’t look too closely at her own.

But first of all, here’s a little bit about me - Kristal Baird - BIO:

I write sexy romance. I laugh a lot. I sometimes do both at the same time!

I’ve had an eclectic mix of jobs which include working for a vet and an orthopaedic surgeon (I never got mixed up but I did sometimes want to pat cute humans!). I’ve driven a four ton truck for a touring theatre company and worked as an au pair for a French alpine ski-ing instructor… (I’m making that one a new novel so look out for it). I taught English to adults in Italy (and got that job because I was the only applicant who could speak French to the French School Principle who spoke no English – and you think you’re confused!)

I’ve lived in several different countries as far apart as Australia and Scotland and tend to make myself right at home. I even adopt the local slang and have kept twinges of several accents to this day.
I get most of my exercise letting dogs out and cats in and catering to their every whim. I’m a soft touch, like that. One day I’m going to walk El Camino de Santiago in one go. And get on the New York Times Best Seller List – wonder which I’ll do first?

I also wrote PA Exposé, my debut full-length sexy romance.

Now here’s a peek at my latest release:   P I HONEYTRAP


Hayley doesn’t trust men. She thinks most of them are only good for one thing. And she gets plenty of that honey-trapping cheating husbands or satisfying her own needs with local gym owner, Reuben.

And woe-betide him if he even tries to get emotionally close to her. Because tough girl Hayley is running. From her past. From herself.

Will Reuben ever understand this girl? Will Hayley ever accept exactly who she is and what she needs from a man? Will she learn to trust again?


[Hayley interviews a potential client who thinks her husband is cheating on her, but she's daydreaming about last night...]

‘Go on.’ Hayley settled back in her chair. She could listen and drift away at the same time.

She drifted straight back to the gym where she’d retreated late last night, to pound a little tension out of her body. Her private arrangement with the owner allowed her to use the place long after his other customers had gone home …

‘Still running, Hayley?’

Hayley knew that Reuben had been standing behind her in the doorway between his office and the main gym hall watching her for some time. She was observant about things like that. And about his choice of words. Perhaps it was time to cancel the arrangement?

‘Still running, Reuben. Are you wanting to lock up or something?’ She kept pounding the treadmill. The angle was at full elevation and it was hard work to keep going at that speed. She didn’t want to break her stride.

‘I did that an hour since. It’s just you and me.’

She knew that tone. He moved closer but the stare was the same. It meant only one thing, and Hayley didn’t mind how she pounded the tension out of her tonight. Particularly with Reuben.

‘I’m kind of busy right now.’ Hayley liked to tease him; to keep things light between them.

He walked over to her machine. ‘Then let me help you with your workload.’ Reuben punched the controls and the incline began to slowly reduce.

Hayley adjusted her body’s forward drive and stared at him as he started to ease the pace she was running too. She’d been on the machine for nearly an hour. That was the reason she suddenly noticed her pulse rate was so high, her heart pounding. The only reason. Sweat dripped off her skin, which glowed with heat. Even between her thighs.

‘I’m a bit of a mess,’ she claimed. She was jogging steadily now, coming down gradually from her peak.

‘I like my women hot, sweaty, and out of breath.’ The tight lift at one side of his mouth told Hayley he liked his own jokes and he was hot too. For her.

She checked out the bulge in his sweats and cocked an eyebrow. Ready to rumble. ‘You’re a lucky guy, then. You’ve got a machine that does most of the work for you, getting them in that condition.’

‘Look around you. I’ve got quite a few.’ Reuben’s eyes were fixed solidly on hers. ‘Machines. Not women.’

Hayley didn’t need to look around to know what was there. Since she’d opened her private investigation office two doors down from Reuben’s Gym, she’d worked out on most of the equipment – with and without Reuben. With was a different kind of workout. And, whatever he said, there were women too. She’d seen their eyes follow Reuben about. But she wasn’t intending to make that her business. This was strictly casual.

‘Machinery? Kind of makes your job a bit too easy. What’s left for you to do?’ Hayley was off the machine and twisting the top off the bottle of water that Reuben had handed her. She tipped her head back and downed the lot in one go, needing the rehydration if she was to keep working out. Making out. And she’d already made up her mind that, tonight, she would be.

Hayley wondered if she liked coming here more for the machine workout or for the other kind of exercise she got at Reuben’s place, and if Reuben wondered too.
He stepped in closer. His body was all muscle. He didn’t just own a gym, he used it on a regular basis. In her line of work, Hayley really appreciated a fit guy. She honeytrapped plenty for her clients, and most were creeps. But Reuben wasn’t work. He was all playtime.

‘I step in for the rub-down.’ He took the empty bottle from her and flipped it across to the bin.

‘Good shot.’

Reuben’s grin told her he wanted to show her another kind of slam dunk. ‘My talents are many.’

They sure were. God, he looked sexy when he smiled. Hot body with all the defined tendons and sinews of an athlete. Great features. The complete package. It was Hayley’s turn for her mouth to twist up into a smile of appreciation. Looking sexy in a white vest and sweatpants was only the start of Reuben’s endowments.

He placed his hands on her forearms and ran them up to her shoulders. She was hot before, but now she began the slow rise to combustion as his firm fingers kneaded the tight muscles at her shoulders and ran up the length of her neck into her hairline.

Hayley reached back and pulled out the elastic that was holding her dark hair back into a tight ponytail. Reuben pushed his fingers through its length, curving around the shape of her skull beneath. She moaned softly.

‘You like that?’

She nodded, eyes half closed.

‘I can do better,’ he promised. He gathered the fabric at the hem of her T-shirt, having given her the expression that she recognised as asking her consent, and peeled it off her damp body. She let him.

The air-conditioning hit her hot, sticky skin and sent shivers dancing across it. Reuben grasped her wrist and towed her behind him towards the massage room. There was an urgency about his movements that told her he’d waited long enough; that he wanted to get her to a place where she would let him fuck her as soon as possible. The guy was hurting.

That’s why she came back to Reuben’s. He worked hard to turn things his way, but it was always her choice in the end. With the hard, muscular size of him, no matter how fit she was he could have her pinned beneath him in seconds flat. But she always knew a simple no would end matters there and then. The guy had self-control.

Unlike some of the jerks she worked with. She’d been involved in some pretty nasty encounters to get the evidence her clients needed. To prove their husbands and boyfriends were cheating, lying scum who would chase any pretty woman who looked their way, irrespective of the fact they were supposedly committed.

She could feel her tension mounting again. Reuben could probably feel it too. He threw a warm, fluffy towel on the massage bench and pressed Hayley face down towards it. She twisted her hair again into a loose knot and fixed it on top of her head.

‘I’m going to unhook your sports bra, Hayley. Is that OK?’

‘Mmm.’ It was only the beginning. The tingle in her nipples told her that tonight she was going all the way. But it wouldn’t hurt to let him wonder.

Reuben unclipped the garment with a practised hand that made Hayley smile. They had an understanding. No ties. Just a little R and R whenever they wanted it; needed it. She liked it that way.

She liked what Reuben was doing to her now too. Her nose told her he had poured warm coconut oil into the palms of his hands, which he slicked across the entire surface of her back. He started palm-circling in small movements, slowly up to her neck on one side of her spine and down to the top of her sweatpants. She could feel the tightness in her muscles soften as he worked.

Time disappeared. Perhaps she drifted off to sleep beneath Reuben’s expert hands as he went through his magic routine; lifting, knuckling, twisting. It was those sexy little thumb strokes that eventually brought her back to consciousness.

Or his gravelly voice.

‘I want to give you a full-body massage, Hayley.’ The gruff tone told her the massage was doing as much for him as it was for her. God, she liked this guy.

He was asking her permission again, to take it up a notch. No point pretending. ‘I want that too.’ 

They both knew he had been given approval for more than just a rubdown.

Reuben’s fingertips hooked in her waistband and he tugged her sweatpants down over her hips. She heard him moan softly as she raised her hips off the bench to accommodate him. She smiled at the silence as he discovered she wasn’t wearing panties. What was the point under sweatpants? At the gym. With Reuben.

A little more oil swirled between his hands and Reuben’s strong fingers flowed from the arch of her spine, over the rise of her lower back to the firm mounds of her buttocks and down her thighs, not stopping until they reached her lower calves. Without ceasing, they returned on their journey to her bottom again.

Her legs felt long, strong, and lean under his actions. Reuben always made her feel good about herself. So good. She parted her legs minutely.

His fingers hooked softly beneath her hip bone and he alternately pulled and pushed the heel of his hand across the muscle of her buttock, working the tight flesh loose and warm. He walked around to the other side, drawing his hand across her body, keeping contact as he went, and repeated the firm movements on the other side.

Despite the relaxing slide of his hand across her oily flesh, Hayley sensed a moment when the contact between them changed. She grew taut and tense. She felt Reuben harden too, somehow. This was it. His hand lay over the cleft of her bottom. His oily fingers dipping lower and lower between her legs. She relaxed them further apart to ease his way.

Thank you for reading. I really hope you enjoyed it. It’s a full-length novel, so there’s plenty more PI HONEYTRAP


Author contact details: 
Thank you for having me over to visit here. I hope you’ll come and visit me soon, too. And bring all your lovely friends!
Kristal x

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Guest Blog: Rose Anderson - 'Loving Leonardo'

Bound by limits dictated by society, Art Historian Nicolas Halstead lived a guarded life until a tempest in the form of Elenora Schwaab blew into his world. At first Nicolas can’t decide if the audacious American is simply mad or plotting blackmail for not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she offers him a marriage proposal.

After Ellie tells him of a previously unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci, a book of erotic love poems and sketches dedicated to the artist’s long-time lover Salai, Nicolas joins her in a race to save the book from destruction. Along the way they encounter Historian Luca Franco and discover a comfortable compatibility that comes to redefine their long-held notions of love.
The trio embarks on an adventure of sensual discovery, intrigue, and danger.  Little do they know Leonardo da Vinci’s book is far more than meets the eye.

Nicolas has an encounter aboard ship and Ellie wants details.

I’d just returned when Ellie entered our stateroom and informed me she wanted to take that bath she’d missed earlier. I watched her gather this and that and close the door behind her. That I experienced a sudden wash of guilt over my romp with the fair Dutchman came as a surprise. I didn’t like that feeling, nor did I care for it overlaying my angst associated with my newly-realized sexual nature. Pulling the cord, I waited for the steward.
The man arrived several minutes later. “How may I help you, sir?”
“Please send ‘round a decanter of brandy and two glasses if you would.”
“Yes sir, I’ll get that straightaway.”
I used the time to dress for bed. I had only the dressing gown as I usually slept in the nude, but decided for our first shared bed, it was better to be clothed. We’d been together round the clock for three days but this was our official first night. Thankfully, we had a lifetime to become accustomed to one another. And this was a good thing. My nerves were strung taut. I hoped the brandy might help.
By the time she entered the sitting room smelling of jasmine, I was pouring her a brandy and having myself a third. I’d always enjoyed the scent of jasmine.
For the first time I took notice of the little things about her, things that I’d found pleasant enough as we traveled but now found strikingly beautiful. Ellie had delicately arched eyebrows and her pink bottom lip was fuller than the top. Unpinned, her riot of cinnamon curls fell like a cloud to the small of her back and damp ringlets framed her fresh-washed face. I’d only seen her hair up in pins these past few days. I had no idea she possessed a lovely mane that would bring about the desire to bury my fingers in the mass. Art historian I, she reminded me of William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s Venus. She smiled prettily and that Venus transformed into Renoir’s Little Irene so completely, it made me blink. I’d found her high-styled and attractive that day she breezed into my home. I found her no less than a work of art now. Port and brandy loosening my tongue, I told her so.
She smiled and it lit her eyes. It wasn’t quite the bold smile she treated me to in my townhome, but it had that quality I found so appealing. In what could only be described as having the minds of two men inside my head, I felt my cock thicken, the sensation instantly squelched by that returning rush of guilt. We had to talk, and god help me, I didn’t know where to begin. I handed her the glass, took another for myself, and swept my hand to the settee. “Come sit with me, Ellie.”
She sipped her brandy and sat beside me. She said, “We don’t have to revisit our conversation, you know. We can talk of other things.”
I nodded. I had other things on my mind at the moment. So we chatted about the meal, the dinner company, the voyage in general. Then, she suddenly thrust at me a point of no return. “He was quite handsome, don’t you think?”
I blinked. “Who?”
“Our dinner companion, Jerone Some-such. I don’t remember his last name — you know, the Dutch brother to the sister sitting with us tonight?”
My heart started to pound. “Pleasant enough. Why do you ask?” Draining my snifter in one overlarge sip that nearly choked me, I let the alcohol flame run like a burning fuse down my gullet.
Eyeing me sharply, she smiled that knowing smile of hers; a smile that caused me to feel a heavy presence between my legs. It was everything I could do to keep my robe from rising like P.T. Barnum’s circus tent.
I couldn’t help but feel she led the conversation when she said offhandedly, “I assume there will be men in your life. I might be wrong, yet I’m certain the man is attracted to you.”
Refilling my glass for the fifth time, I reached for hers as an afterthought. “You bring up a point I wish to discuss.”
Realization dawning in her wise ocean-blue eyes, she drained her brandy in one astounding swallow. Those same eyes watering, she handed me her glass. I saw the dawning transformation a split second before she burst into a delighted squeal. “You didn’t!
I opened my mouth to speak and absolutely nothing came forth. I couldn’t think of what to say for myself. My silence condemned me.
“You did!
Ellie’s eyes were bright and her color high, either from spirits or the request forming in her mind. “Will you tell me about it?”
Her assertiveness appealed to me, no question about it. However, I wasn’t sure this was a topic one had with a wife. “I don’t think… ”
Fiddlesticks. If my own husband can’t talk to me about his lovemaking, then who can?”
My quickly-downed libations were affecting me. I didn’t know what words to use, where to begin, or even what to say. But that didn’t stop her interrogation.
“I’m assuming the two of you had some sort of encounter… ”
Seeing the blushing excitement before me, my heart fluttered unexpectedly. My Yank was desperate to know the act. The thought she’d want me to describe it left a heavy presence between my legs. In for a penny, in for a pound, I asked, “And what would your feelings be if I had?”
My eyes searched the whole of her for clues as to what she was thinking in that moment. My god, she was a lovely thing. Free of her blousy clothing, she also had small pert breasts in the gossamer folds of her dressing gown. Her nipples were hard. Wondering why, I reached for the decanter.
Her hand on my arm stopped me. Inserting the glass stopper in the bottle, she set it and snifters aside. “Nicolas, we’ve only recently met. And while I grow fonder of you by the day I’m not feeling jealousy, if that’s your concern. I do understand that you have needs that must be seen to. Homosexuality exists in the natural world, therefore is a natural chapter in the book of life. Don’t you agree?”
I nodded. In my inebriation, she might have said Father Christmas was a hedgehog who took tea with the Queen and I would have agreed.
I watched her absently twirl a cinnamon curl around her finger as if she saw what had occurred between the Dutchman and me. Her next words should have surprised me, but they didn’t. “I find the idea of my husband having male lovers a fascinating concept. And besides, how else will I learn about you if you don’t tell me?” Dropping her curl, she laid her hand on my knee. Her touch was warm through the brocade of my dressing gown. I could see the sincerity in her pale eyes when she added, “Please Nicolas, trust me with this aspect of your life. You’re safe with me.”
After three days of non-stop companionship I found myself thoroughly loving how her sharp mind rationalized things. What’s more, an assurance of safety struck a chord in me. I felt myself relaxing, or perhaps this was the work of the liquor. The latter proofed when I heard my own words come out in a slur, “What would you like to know, my dear?”
That gamine smile widened and seeing it, my cock started to thrum to my heartbeat again.
“All of it, of course. I’ve never had a man in my bed, but the mechanics of man and woman are down well enough in my mind. Though try as I might, I can’t fathom how two men come together.”
Bold-as-brass, I said to myself. My Yank was consumed with questions and responsible for a rather stiff cock to boot. I felt a sticky dribble soaking into my robe front. What an astounding notion my attraction was.
Covering her hand with my own, and taking her at her word, I explained my encounter in the young man’s cabin.
Her brows went together as she worked a maiden’s piecemeal imaginings into information. “Wouldn’t he choke? I mean it’s rather large, isn’t it?” Her eyes went to my crotch while my heart pounded loud enough for me to hear. The fabric of the big top began to rise as the center pole lifted. Sure enough the small hand slipped from under mine in a tentative climb. Pausing, she met my eyes. “May I see?”
I couldn’t fully comprehend my case of anxiety. In many ways, I too, was as untried as she. I might have had my male lover since the age of seventeen, but I’d never shared an intimate exchange with a woman before this moment. It wasn’t the lesson in futility I’d always assumed such a chance meeting would be either. I eyed the decanter again but decided I’d had more than enough and was likely sound asleep and dreaming the encounter anyway. Untying the sash, I experienced a peculiar disconnect between my sotted brain and the quavering hands at the ends of my arms. Swallowing nervously, I folded back the sides of my robe and exposed myself to her.
“That’s amazing.” She looked from my cock to my face as if expecting me to concur. Clearly deliberating how to proceed, she worried her bottom lip as questions filled her mind. “It is fully engorged, isn’t it? I mean, you’re much larger now than when you finished your bath.” Her eyes met mine. “Are you thinking of him now?”
Damn me if her unabashed words didn’t fill the last inch. Seeing that, she drew a sharp breath. The strange thing is, I wasn’t thinking of the Dutchman in the least. Noticing the unconscious flexing of her fingers in a tentative itch to feel my length, I heard a voice come out of my mouth. My drunken brain could scarcely credit it was I who suggested, “Touch me if you’d like.”
Though her reaction to my words rivaled finding the lucky bean in her Twelfth Night cake, her reach was at once hesitant yet curiously eager. Her fingertips found me first. They traced the knots of veins just under my skin.
“Oh, you’re much warmer than I imagined, and unbelievably firm. I never imagined that, nor did I think I’d be able to feel your pulse down here.”
My breath caught as small soft fingers closed around me then eased my foreskin down until the crown of my cock lay fully exposed. She released it and my sheaf resumed its natural position. Like a child with a new wind-up toy or a scientist on the verge of discovery, she tested my flesh again. Over and over she plied me until her comfort in touching me grew. I imagined her picturing the Dutchman and me; and I half expected her to try to swallow me like he had. The heady thought brought about a shiver that raced through me from head to toe.
Apparently she hadn’t missed the sexual tremor that seized me. Her exploration halted, those eyes met mine but her hand stayed put. Somewhere in my haze I recalled I’d found them pretty just that morning, but good god they were lovely. For the first time I noticed her irises had dark olive green rings around the blue and small gold flecks in a corona around the black center.
Holding her gaze, I covered her little hand with my own and slowly stroked the length with her. To my surprised delight her slight grip tightened on its own. For all the sensation was different, I enjoyed this soft intimate caress as much as I enjoyed Thomas’ rough and firm hand.
She moistened her lips with her tongue and her left knee began to swing to and fro with tensile energy. Even in my inebriated state I recognized these small gestures as those normally reserved for when her focus was piqued by some thought. Whatever that mind of hers was thinking, it was evident my wife very much liked this imagery of hers. Her next words broke my trance, “I find myself envious.”
The slow soft stroking and my over-indulgence of spirits were muddying the waters of my comprehension of the moment. I could only imagine what that detail-hungry mind was thinking, for I was having trouble following the thought. My voice sounded dull to my ears when all I could do was repeat her.
Her next words had a breathy quality. “Yes, envious. I imagine what having a blade like this might feel when sinking into the heat of a lover’s body.”
For a moment it felt as though my heart had stopped, and I forced a breath to be sure it was still engaged. I’d once seen the marble statue of the androgynous Hermaphroditus: the bisexual offspring of Aphrodite and Hermes, sleeping in the Louvre. Lost in the erotic thought of her having a cock along with the rest of her fair attributes, the breathtaking notion enhanced by her softly stroking hand, I closed my eyes and immersed myself in the fantasy. What glorious imagery it was.

And while visions danced behind closed my lids, the effects of nerve-dousing brandy and travel fatigue coalesced. My new wife gently examined every male detail that made our bodies differ, and damn me if I didn’t miss most of it. Done in by drink and her gentle touch, I went off to sleep in the arms of Morpheus.
I woke sometime in the night to discover myself half on the settee and under the spare coverlet from the bed. For a moment I didn’t know where I was. At last the details of the evening came in from the sides of my mind. I lifted the coverlet. That my cock was glued to my thigh was a mystery. I couldn’t remember past Ellie’s novice exploration of my privates.
One thing was certain however; the copious brandy to settle my nerves had kicked me right between the eyes as surely as a mule. I felt plain awful. Trying hard not to wake her, I quietly went to the commode where, hugging the throne so to speak, my body expelled the evening’s spirits as quickly as I’d taken them in. I poured myself a glass of water to rinse my mouth then hied myself back to the settee where I curled into a miserable ball and promptly fell back to sleep.
The next morning when I opened my bleary eyes, I felt a little better thanks to my midnight purge. Experience told me my queasy headache would last for several hours. In the outer room, an ungodly loud rap on the door was answered by the pleasant voice of my new wife. I heard her say, “Thank you. No, I’ll take it from here.”
A moment later she brought a wait cart into the sitting room. I greeted her groggily. There were covered dishes and carafes, but I could easily determine the menu by the savory scent of bacon and kippers, and sultry aroma of butter and cinnamon. My sour stomach told my nose to ignore it all.
She smiled. “I thought you’d prefer breakfast in here this morning.”
Needing to atone for my poor behavior, I offered, “I very much regret last night, Ellie. Please accept my ap—”
She cut me off, “We drank a rather lot last night, you and I. I must say I… ”
I listened to her dismiss the fact I’d acted like a dreadful sot by including herself in my solo drunkenness. That she’d seek to protect me from embarrassment by sharing the blame touched me deeply. I gave her an appreciative yet apologetic smile. “You’re kind. But it falls on my head, and believe me my head feels my remorse acutely.”
Laughing lightly, she handed me a dry biscuit. She tsk-tsked, “You poor thing. Here nibble this… slowly.”
She poured me a cup of coffee, adding cream and sugar lumps, presumably to her taste. “Coffee helps the morning-after head far better than tea. And this helps even more, believe me.” To my surprise, she splashed a tot of brandy in the cup. After my early-morning episode with the commode, I admit the sight of the decanter made my stomach lurch. I found myself wondering how she knew the hair of the dog remedy for a drunkard’s hangover. I asked her.
Laughing, she confided she’d “learned the hard way,” explaining vaguely that progressive Americans much enjoy their leisure, though they occasionally must pay the piper like everyone else. She also asked I please not mention that to my new father-in-law.
I gave a head-splitting laugh and promptly quelled it in an act of self-preservation. That sentient smile played over her lips, and once more the notion of familiarity came to me and then it was gone. Instead, I was reminded of a comment Mrs. Fletcher once made after catching her nephew and I kissing in the buttery. “It is wise to conceal that which cannot be disclosed, and disclose that which cannot be concealed. Now go find yourselves a private place to test the waters or tongues will wag, and Master Nicolas, you don’t want that, dear.”
Handing over the steaming cup, Ellie met my eye, “Trust me.”
Damn me if I didn’t.

Loving Leonardo on Amazon:

Rose Anderson – Love Waits in Unexpected Places