Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stealing Innocents

I've often said that I don't know why I call myself a romance writer. Even when I write romance, it often tends to skew dark. And there's always been a little voice inside me that whispers, "But it could be darker." 

There's a definite relationship between sex and violence, and one I've always been interested in exploring. So a while ago I decided to do an experiment in self-publishing, and to write a few very dark stories, put them up for sale, and see how they went. I used a different pseudonym, because these stories were not stories I particularly wanted to attach to the Lisa Henry brand. I mean, presuming I have a brand. 

And what happened was this.

The stories went out, caused some modest waves in the dark little corner of m/m I often hang out in, and then, surprisingly, I got an email from one of my cowriters saying how much she'd liked them. I wrote back and admitted it was me. What happened next was the awesome team at Riptide offered me a contract to expand and re-edit the stories, and package them in an anthology. And so, I share with you: 

Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.

The stories included are Gamble Everything, Crazy, and Falling Angels

There's also a previously unpublished story written for the anthology, called First and Only, about a man who decides the perfect way to get revenge on his cheating wife is to seduce her barely-legal son. 

These stories are dark. There are no happy endings here, well, not unless you squint and tilt your head the right way. But for those of you who like to take the occasional trip to the dark side, I hope you enjoy them! 

Stealing Innocents is out from Riptide on January 11. You can preorder it here

Friday, November 13, 2015


Here's a free novella I wrote for the BDSM Group on Goodreads. Because how could I resist a wolf shifter story? 

In the shifter world, submission means something different than it does to humans.

Ezekiah Sadler is an omega who doesn’t want to be claimed. 

Parker Ellis is an alpha who needs to make the omega his. 

Ezekiah’s wolf might submit to the first alpha who claims him, but Ezekiah wants more than that. If Parker can see past old prejudices, he might find his omega is more than he expected, and exactly what he needs. 

You can download it here: 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why I have left the MMRG on Goodreads

It’s been an interesting few days for the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. Basically, people of color were hurt by the racism in a historical master/slave story that was written as part of the Don’t Read in the Closet event. A white master/black slave story set in the United States around the time of the civil war.
Hey, who remembers the uproar over the concentration camp “romance”? Frankly, if anyone couldn’t see that a master/slave story set during the American Civil War was a terrible idea, I’m not sure anyone can help them.

Here’s the thing. It is absolutely beyond question that the writer of the story did not mean to cause harm. Nobody is accusing her of that. Nevertheless, people were harmed by this story, because the effects of slavery are still felt today. Racism is a thing. Institutionalised racism is a thing. And so is privilege. And if you can’t see that people are still harmed every day in absolutely tangible ways by racism, then you need to check your privilege.

I’m a white Australian woman. When it comes to privilege, I win some and I lose some. But I always do try to be aware that because I’m white, I’m Western, and I’m middle-class, then there are a hell of a lot of prejudices out there that other people face, that I simply don’t. I recognise that I have privilege, and that sometimes I need to shut up and listen to what other people are saying, rather than dismissing their concerns as something that just doesn’t happen because it’s never happened to me.

For truly excellent reviews of the story in question, I suggest you read Emma Sea’s review, or Mmeguillotine’s review.

The issues with the story aside for now, let’s turn instead to the response from the M/M Romance Group. When people of color stated that they were harmed by this story, I would have thought that the response from a group that so fervently defends LGBTQ rights would have been different than what amounted to: If you don’t like it, leave.

Let’s just repeat that: People were harmed, and instead of the mods apologising for that harm, they threw out the old red herring about censorship, and told people that if they were unhappy in the group then they should go.

Firstly, smarter people than me have pointed out that rejecting a prompt or a story is not censorship. And secondly, telling already marginalised people who are complaining about being marginalised again in a group they thought was a safe place that they’re over-reacting, or they’re too sensitive, or they’re making a big deal out of nothing -- excuse me, that loud bang was the sound of my irony meter exploding.

I have written three stories for the DRitC event, and I have enjoyed doing it. But I have asked that this year my story Hellion be removed from the anthology. It will still be available on the M/M Romance Group site for anyone who wishes to read it. However, I have left the group and will not be writing for the event again. On a professional level, I do not wish to have my work publicly associated with the group whose response to this incident has been tone deaf at best, and racist at worst. On a personal level, I do not wish to be part of a group where others are made to feel unsafe, unwelcome, or unwanted.

And while I know I run the risk of being labelled a sycophant, as others have already been, I assure you that I can and do think for myself. And if anyone wants to label me a badly behaving author, as others have already been, because I believe in taking a stand in this matter, then if that’s easier to do than checking your own privilege, go for it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

4 Days To Go!

Darker Space is out on the 13th from Loose Id

(I am loving this cover by Mina Carter. Sadly, cover Brady wasn't available this time around, so we found a cover Cam instead!) 

You know what a new release means! It's time for a blog tour. For the chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, the tour will be making the following stops on the following awesome blogs:

Boy Meets Boy Reviews - October 13
Rainbow Gold Reviews - October 14
Boys In Our Books - October 14
MM Does MM - October 15
J.A. Rock’s blog - October 16
Love Bytes Reviews - October 17
Joyfully Jay - October 17

And for a special extra, and a chance to win an ebook copy of Darker Space, visit Crystal’s Many Reviewers on October 21!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

To editors: an incoherent ramble in your honour

There's a very famous author out there who makes a lot more money than me, who, also famously, doesn't use an editor. And, as someone who's brain is currently mush thanks to spending the last few hours straight editing Darker Space, I get it. I do. Editing hurts my brain. But the simple fact that I can't remember my own name right now does not mean that I will ever think that editors are unnecessary. 

Because, frankly, I'm not that egotistical and I hope I never will be. There is always something I miss. There is always something my awesome beta readers miss. And there will always, in anything I do, be some way I can improve. 

Case in point: Darker Space. This is probably the most polished manuscript I've ever sent into an editor. God knows it should have been. I stared at it for long enough. 

And there was not a single page that came back without an edit on it. Sometimes it was just a comma, and sometimes it was a missing word, and sometimes it was just a " know this doesn't make sense, right?" 

When you're writing a thing, and when you've been staring at it for what feels like your entire life, your brain does this thing where it sees what you think you wrote, even though it turns out what you wrote was total gibberish. But it's not just that stuff an editor will fix it. You editor will tell you when a plot point simply doesn't make sense, or when a character suddenly acts like a completely different person with a completely different motivation, or (thanks, Katriena!) when a character thinks back to a particularly traumatic scene that happened earlier on, and apparently forgets the other guy specifically wasn't wearing boots. That's the sort of clanger that I didn't spot, but you can bet every reader would have! 

So yes, in some respects I hate editing. It's slow work, and it's not usually very exciting AND I'VE READ THIS S MANY TIMES I WANT TO PRINT IT OUT AND BURN IT UNDER THE LIGHT OF THE FULL MOON, but it's necessary. An editor is the person who takes your sometimes incomprehensible word vomit (and by your, of course I mean mine) and actually shapes it into a book. 

Editors are geniuses. They know what comma splices are and everything, whereas I have to Google it every time. 

Editors are magicians. They know what I'm saying even when, half the time, I wasn't that sure. 

And, incredibly, editors are modest. Okay, so writers are the ones that put the words on the page, but editors are the ones that make sure those words are publishable, and reach readers. And guess what? They don't take any of the credit? It's not their names on the covers. And that's kind of awesome. 

So yeah, I hope that I will never become the sort of writer who thinks she doesn't need an editor. If that ever happens, please slap me. 

There are probably at least three typos and a million extraneous commas in this blog post. I will never not need an editor. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back from EuroPrideCon!

I always tell myself that when I get back from a con, I'll write all about it. And then I don't, because I get home and all I want to do is sleep for several weeks. So by the time I get around to it, I've generally forgotten everything I was going to mention. But here's what I have to say about EuroPrideCon: 

It was so much fun! 

The panels were interesting and informative, and the hotel was nice, but the best thing, as always, was meeting people. I'm basically an introvert, but it's amazing how fast all those social insecurities fall away when you're actually in a room full of people who are into the same things that you are! And it's just wonderful to meet people who you have only otherwise met online. It's like you know you're friends, you just have no idea what the other person looks like! 

I think the most fun panel was the one about co-writing, which JA Rock and I shared with LA Witt and Aleksandr Voinov. It started off politely enough, and then denigrated into a discussion about wine being the cure for writer's block, and I think that Lori threatened to steal JA away from me. Fine. You know what? Aleks and I will be perfectly happy without you both! 

Then, after the convention, JA and I repaired our relationship by heading to Salzburg, Vienna, Prague and Berlin. And also Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which I totally recommend to anyone brave enough to try and spell it. So, so beautiful! 

So now, to make you jealous (if only of my brilliant photography skills) here are some pics of some random dirty things we saw in Europe: 

Wank Mountain. The happiest place in the world. 

Creepy puppet hands - you're welcome! 

Even Coke is more permissive in Europe. 

If you can't make it to Wank Mountain... 

An awesomely intricate cock ring! 

So, thanks Europe! And, day job and budget permitting, I hope to see you again next year! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Tyler Knoll's Just For Fun, with AB Gayle

Today I'd like to welcome to the blog, as part of Tyler Knoll's Just For Fun tour, Tyler's alter ego, the fantastic AB Gayle. I strapped AB into the hot seat, well, the comfy chair, and interrogated her mercilessly. Well, asked her some questions in a polite, calm manner. 

Check out the excerpt as well, and see below for how to win awesome prizes! 

AB: Hi Lisa, thanks for having me!

1. Tyler is not your usual hero. He’s full of snark, and not looking for love, and totally unapologetic about hooking up, which is very refreshing. Where did the inspiration for Tyler come from?

I adore lovable clueless narrators. One of the best examples is Marshall Thornton's "Perils of Praline." Often humor in stories revolves around the secondary characters --their idiosyncracies and weirdness-- while the narrator is often the "straight man." There are numerous examples of very successful books using this format, but sometimes this can border on the cruel. We laugh at them and from afar. I wanted my hero to be the source of amusement. But not intentionally. Just as Peter Palmetiere (Praline) is the good-hearted but much put-upon character in Marshall's book.

It's not easy writing someone like this. They have to be funny but not pathetic or cruel. A very fine line indeed.

2. Tyler Knoll has an interesting genesis story. Can you tell us anything more about it?

Back in early 2013, I was a member of a Goodreads group that had a thread entitled: "What I really hate in m/m romance stories." This was full of different pet peeves people have, such as: "I hate it when in the middle of sex they start to speak in staccato... Need. You....Want. Now"... and "winking holes."

Like all good threads in social media, the topic drifted on and on, going down various detours, but the list grew longer and longer. Some people wanted more of some things eg licking. Less of other things. Challenges were thrown around to write something incorporating all the pet hates and likes.

So I churned out a short story almost overnight. It was full of snark (some of which has been toned down for public consumption), cliches and general tongue in cheek references to both gay porn and the MM romance genre.

This was pure seat of the pants writing. No brain involved. Foreign territory for me as I'm usually a plotter. But the words just flowed out.

It possibly helped that I'd recently been reading a lot of gay porn. There was lots of shagging going on, gagging for it, ten inch dicks and (unfortunately) a few homophones eg feinting for fainting and dyslexic typos eg bugle for bulge. These books represent the opposite end of the spectrum from what is popular in the MMromance world. But I re-read them now and again as an antidote, purely because they are so raw, brutal and basic.

Also around that time, I was deep into the editing and upcoming release of "Leather+Lace", so editing and the whole writing process mashed together with this MMromance vs gay porn debate gicing birth to Tyler Knoll. Even the name is a joke that came to me one day - a certain character in "Slashed " who shall remain nameless "gets it."

I sent the first episode off to one of my betas who laughed, said go for it, so I published a very raw version on Smashwords for free under Tyler's name.

The reaction was varied. But the responses kicked off what was to become a very reader reactive process. For example, after it was published, one reviewer made the comment: "There's meta and there's META.... And this is just too much meta for me."

I had never come across the term before, so I looked it up, fell over laughing and decided I had to continue the story with the VR from TURD. And for those who fear I've strayed into crappy territory, the initials stand for the Virtual Representative of The Universal Reading Department. Meta personified!

Once this character arrived on the scene, the story spun off into an entirely new direction. While "Snared" had been inspired by porn, a lot of slave fiction and BDSM books were being released (including mine). I also wanted to poke fun at the Big Misunderstanding. (Not only the one Tyler had with Word) but between him and Gareth Evans (an inside joke for us Aussies).

Like the rest of the stories, a "What If..." sprung into mind. What if Tyler thought he was in for a big BDSM scene, but the truth was quite different.

"Shredded" was fun to write. But again not easy. I knew what was going on, but it had to be plausible enough for the reader. The result had readers scratching their heads even more. Very few stuck with the series long enough to discover what Gareth Evans wanted Tyler for, but by then I didn't care. I was off playing in paranormal land, or at least Tyler thinks he's drifted into shifter, sucker and shredded territory, but he's at death's door so who can tell?

Once I finished "Slashed", I was in a quandary. Could I publish it and charge money? Would I be sued? I'd definitely drifted into some weird shit, and there might be consequences. As it turned out, most of the people who betaed the final product hadn't read the series I was alluding to, so the jokes fell flat. Still, they are there for the fans. I like to think of them as Easter Eggs. The series is riddled with them. Some are homages, some are digs, some are just nods of recognition. So, if you read them and wonder "Is this referring to such and such." The answer is probably, "Yes."

As for "Screwed," I felt the series had to come full circle. While some may see the stories as poking fun at the MMgenre, I see them as having a dig at different aspects, but that doesn't mean I disrepect or dislike the genre. Love, romance and monogamy and dreams of a happy ever after are very real. What bugs me is the narrow parameters writers in the genre are sometimes expected to follow. A couple of beta readers expressed disappointment that there aren't as many jokes in this final instalment. There aren't meant to be. In fact, I took a few out. And in the Epilogue, I added a serious statement that sums up, for me, the whole concept of what is needed for a true HEA. It's not the GRPFATAAHDSS (aka gold rings, picket fences and two and a half dogs statistically speaking) as Tyler says to the VR from TURD when he brings up monogamy: "it’s more important to want whatever is best for the other person. To listen to them. Respect them. And to do that, we need to know what makes each other happy and what makes us sad.” So "Screwed" was all about communication.

3. When I write a story, I always end up with a favourite character. Sometimes it not the MC. Who is your favourite character in Just For Fun?

Without a doubt, Tyler. Once I found the model whose photos we use on the cover and in the brilliant video/trailer that Lily Velden of Wayard Ink Publishing made, no one else would do. In those photos he has that same lovable goofiness that encapsulates all that Tyler is. I do think covers are important. One of my betas found it very dificult to read the raw text as there was no blurb, no cover to go by. In fact that's the typical response I get. Readers complain that by the time they work out the character's "voice" the story has come to an end. But, hey I used that as a plot point in the second book.

4. What do we have to look forward to from Tyler in the future?

Unfortunately nothing. Mind you, ever since I finished, I thought of so many other avenues that could have been explored eg Tyler bemoaning the fact he doesn't need a Street Team to get his book seen, he needs a Highway Army!

Since then I've thought of a few more popular aspects that could have been addressed. Cock blocking and knotting for starters! Though I'm not sure whether those two terms could or should ever be used in the same paragraph! And mpreg! That didn't get a mention. Mermen! Tentacles!

If I'm really desperate, I could always do a spin off. I mentioned to hubbie that the stories covered just about every part of the genre except for the ever popular zombies and detectives. He suggested combining the two. So I checked on Goodreads, saw there was a dearth of those hence "Hardacre and Hindsmith" came into being -- the fictional series that made Tyler Knoll into a mega star. I figured a zombie PI and his lover, the mortician, would provide plenty of opportunity for jokes.

Thanks so much for joining us today. AB. And if you ever write that zombie PI with his mortician lover, I'd be all over it in a flash! And now, for your added enjoyment, AB interviews the star himself - Tyler Knoll!

Tyler:Hi, my name is Tyler Knoll, and I hope you read my latest release, "Just for Fun."
A.B.: Is that it? This nice blogger invited you along to help publicize your book, and all you've got is one sentence?
Tyler: ***Grumbles*** I hate having to do all this marketing, promotion shit. I've written the story, can't people just pick it up and read it?
A.B.: That's not how it works, honey. Nobody has ever heard of you before, why should they pick up your book when there are so many others out there to read?
Tyler: I don't know. Maybe because it's different? Isn't that what the marketers are always saying? They want something fresh and innovative?
AB: Well, sure, but I think some people might find your book a little too different. What did that first publishing company say in their rejection letter?
Tyler: Please don't remind me! "I didn't like it and I don't think it will sell."
AB: No, that was the beta reader, and they're not always right. I meant the other one.
Tyler: Oh you mean, "what you’re doing is clever and quirky, but I think it’s a little too left of centre for us...."
AB: That's the one. I know you were super disappointed at the time, but it's kind of a compliment. Remember, you were dead set about not writing a traditional MM romance.
Tyler: Yeah. I suppose so. Probably just as well they did reject it otherwise Wayward Ink Publishing would never have taken it on board, and they have been super supportive. They don't mind that it's a bit whacky.
AB: Way out.
Tyler: Weird you mean!
AB: ***Chuckles*** I must admit readers are never going to think about shredders again without giggling.
Tyler: Or call their kid Gareth.
AB: Speaking of Gareth, do you realize that even though you didn't mean to write an MMromance, that in the end you sort of have?
Tyler: Are you saying I sold out?
AB: Never! But you have to admit it's kind of ironic. But that's life isn't it? You find love when and where you least expect it.
Tyler: I certainly didn't plan to end up with the GRPFATAAHDSS. It just happened.
AB: That's the story of your life, though, isn't it? Stumbling into chaos. From one disaster to another.
Tyler: But at least I survived.
AB: You didn't just survive. You went forth and prospered!
Tyler: Hey! I suppose I did. Who woulda thunk? And none of my adventures would have happened if it hadn't been for that first Funtastic Friday. But if I say any more, I'll give away too much and spoil the fun. Maybe people should just read my story for themselves.
AB: See! That wasn't too hard.
Tyler: I suppose not. What do I do now?
AB: You thank the blogger for having you and offer to answer any questions that readers may have.
Tyler: What? Will someone actually read this? Wow!
AB: That's the general idea.
Tyler: Then I need to thank the blog host and the readers! You guys rock.

And here's an excerpt: 

At least he wasn’t mad at me. He kept giggling and shaking his head, muttering, “Tyler, Tyler, Tyler. What am I going to do?”
His broken glasses and the lens were sitting on the desk behind him. I picked them up. “Don’t worry. It’s easy. My screw fits into this little hole perfectly.”
He burst out laughing again.
I handed him his glasses and Dilbert put them back on. I heaved a sigh of relief. Now he wasn’t the sexy stranger who I knew would feature in my dreams for the next few evenings.
“Thanks,” he muttered. His hand shook slightly as he dragged a pack of Marlboro’s out of his pocket.
Dilbert had only recently started to smoke. Or maybe he’d been doing it forever, but I only just noticed. Since the introduction of the compulsory no smoking policy, employees had been bitching about having to stand on the footpath. Dilbert’s suggestion to management that an unused loading dock could be converted to a secluded landscaped area was surprisingly successful. They must look after their smokers back in Oz.
Personally, I didn’t care either way because I didn’t smoke, but Dilbert took advantage of the maximum permitted breaks and joined me in the courtyard about five times a day. Seeing I had to maintain the garden anyway, he suggested I do those chores while he lit up a fag. His use of the word had offended me at first, but he assured me that’s what they were called back home. Anyway, I noticed he never used the term again in my presence. I’d wondered if I should also persuade him to stop smoking, but then he wouldn’t have an excuse to visit me so often.
I enjoyed those short breaks. For some weird reason, we were never disturbed, although I heard later that there must be some problem with the door into the basement as someone had complained that they couldn’t get it open. It seemed fine when Dilbert and I checked, so they mustn’t have been pushing hard enough.
Dilbert’s hand was still shaking when he tried to flick the lighter. “Fuck!” he said.
“Erm….” Should I remind him that we were still inside? Technically, he was in a superior position in the company, but Mrs. Stringer had reassured me that while I was down here, I was in control. Or in charge. I wasn’t sure which word she used. Both gave me an unusual sensation of security. A space where I belonged. “Shouldn’t we?” I gestured toward the door leading from the underground car park to the outdoor smoking area.

Dilbert chuckled. “Sorry. Force of habit. I always light up after a screw.” 
To win awesome prizes, check this out: 
Prize: $20 WIP Gift Card and 1 ebook copy of Tyler Knoll’s Just for Fun

Here is the blurb and the buy links: 

Tyler Knoll was born one wild, stormy night in April 2013.
Of course, Tyler might tell you he was born twenty years earlier, but should we believe anything he says? That’s for you to decide.
In Tyler’s first adventure—like many a gay man before him—he was SNARED by gay porn, wallowing in tales of bigger, stronger, harder….
Then his fickle mind was seduced and SHREDDED by the prospect of BDSM and slavery.
When a Big Misunderstanding SLASHED at Tyler’s sanity, almost costing him his life, he turned to another genre for his salvation. But even this encounter proved potentially hazardous—not from freezing temperatures, but at the hands of irate fans.
Finally, tired and SCREWED by his all his trials and tribulations, he discovers—like many storybook heroes before him—that sometimes Mr. Right is closer than we think.

Everyone who bought SNARED gets a 20% discount at buying the Just for Fun composite from the WIP website! Check the website for details.

About the author
Unlike many authors, A.B. Gayle hasn’t been writing stories all her life. Instead she’s been living life.
Her travels have taken her from the fjords of Norway to the southern tip of New Zealand. In between, she’s worked in so many different towns she’s lost count. A.B. has shoveled shit in cow yards, mustered sheep, been polite to customers, traded insults with politicians. Sometimes she needs to be forgiven as she get confused as to who needs what where. 
Now living in Sydney, Australia, A.B. finally has time to allow her real life experiences to morph with her fertile imagination in order to create fiction that she hopes her readers will enjoy. 
A.B. values feedback on her writing, both negative and positive.

A.B. Gayle can be found at:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Will I see you in Munich?

Not long now until Euro Pride Con, which is in Munich on July 11 and 12. If you're going, I can't wait to meet you there. And if you're not, I'll bet you're jealous! 

It looks like a fun event, and I get to be on TWO panels. I'm on Other Worlds, which is all about world building, and also Teamwork, which is all about co-writing. JA Rock will be on that one with me, as well as Aleksandr Voinov and LA Witt. I'm sure JA and I won't be intimidated at all. At all. 

I'm also looking forward the fingerling over a bunch of writers I haven't met yet, and of course checking out Munich! 

The thing I love most about conventions is the chance to hang out with like-minded people, whether they're writers or readers. For me, writing can very much be a solitary affair. I live in a regional city where the chance to discuss m/m romance doesn't exactly come along every day. Bless the internet, amiright? But even the internet can't match the feeling of getting into a room and finding it full of awesome people talking about the things I love to talk about too! The m/m community might only be a small one, but it's a great one, and I love it when I get to meet its other members face to face. 

I'm so excited! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


If you're a member of the MM Romance Group on Goodreads, then you should know all about the Don't Read in the Closet event. Each year, people send in prompts, and authors claim them, then write FREE stories to the prompt. This year I picked a regency prompt. BECAUSE I COULD!!!

And I had a blast! 

Here's a little teaser from Hellion

Alderton, Suffolk, 1817

Had Oliver Fitzwilliam ever been asked to give his considered opinion on the matter― and, unfortunately, he had not― he would have stated that the sooner the ton gave up the idea of a Season, the better. Not that Oliver was in any way a moralistic old bore. Quite the opposite, in fact. He loved the balls, parties, theatres, military reviews and masquerades that made up the frenzied London social calendar between late January and early July. He only hated the fact that, as with all good things, it had to come to an end, leaving the once-vibrant capital a veritable graveyard as everyone packed up and went home for the next six months.

Home, in Oliver’s case, was Waverley, a more than modest estate in Suffolk that was so damned bucolic it set his teeth on edge. Even the sounds of the birds twittering in the trees drove him slowly mad. It wasn’t that he hated the countryside― well, perhaps a little― it’s just that he was so dreadfully bored by it. It wouldn’t have been so bad if only he could have been left alone to perhaps read or draw, both of which he enjoyed, but he was a wealthy unmarried baronet, and the damned locals wouldn’t give him a moment’s peace.

There was one wittering on at him at that very moment, jowls jiggling as he talked animatedly about some upcoming ball at Major Clinton’s estate, and how everyone would be delighted if Oliver attended. Delighted.

Oliver smiled and nodded as the Reverend Mr Bletchley buzzed on and on and on, as tiresome as a bluebottle trapped against a windowpane.

“Well, of course I should love to attend,” he lied, pouring himself another brandy and holding the decanter up in question.

“Oh my goodness, I really oughtn’t,” the reverend said, but made no further protestation.

Oliver resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he poured him another drink, then looked up as a figure appeared briefly in the open library doorway. He was gone again, as fleeting as a shadow, but Oliver would know him anywhere.


Simon Cavendish.

The estate at Waverley had come with ten thousand acres of prime Suffolk farmland outside the village of Alderton, an income exceeding eight thousand pounds a year, the title of Baronet of Stockdale, and, regrettably, an unforeseen complication who went by the name of Simon Cavendish. 

Complication, perhaps, was an exaggeration.

There wasn’t terribly much that the boy could do to complicate Oliver’s life. His duties to the estate, and to the boy, generally involved reading the correspondence that his manager sent him each month, which, for the first few years at least, had included the increasingly damning reports from the boy’s schoolmasters.

Oliver had inherited the estate, and the boy, from a great-uncle. His uncle’s lack of direct heir had proved extremely beneficial for Oliver, but he hadn’t anticipated inheriting anything like Simon Cavendish.

Whether Oliver cared to admit it or not, the boy was another reason Oliver didn’t spend more time at Waverley. He was fifteen when Oliver had first made his acquaintance. He was nineteen now. In two years he would attain his majority, and, with a more than generous settlement bestowed upon him, would be out of Oliver’s hair for good. It wasn’t that he detested the boy; he was just somewhat confounded by him.

He had been confounded the first time he’d met him, and remained confounded to this day.


To check out the story, and see the NSFW picture that came with the prompt, here's the link on Goodreads. Enjoy! 

If you aren't a GR member, don't worry! In a few days I'll post the links to a downloadable version of Hellion.