With friends like these . . .
An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.
Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?
Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.
David leaned on the balcony, gazing out over his boss Charles’s unimaginatively landscaped garden, its edges softened by the relentless drizzle that had made a washout of the firm’s annual garden party. He sighed. If the tops of the boxwood hedges had been clipped to resemble not bizarrely deformed peacocks and unappetising Turkey Twizzlers but instead the letters e, n, n, u, and i, they’d have summed up his mood to a redundant t.
He turned to glance tipsily at the man beside him—someone he’d never seen before, so it was probably safe to go for a touch of candour. “God, this party is dull. This house is dull. Life is dull, dull, dull.” He raised his champagne flute to knock back the contents, and pouted to find he’d already done so.
“Let me,” a deliciously cultured voice purred in his ear.
David blinked at the champagne bottle now hovering over his glass, courtesy of his unknown companion. “I thought we were on the cheap stuff?”
“Not if you happen to know where Charles keeps the decent bottles.” The stand-in sommelier tapped his nose in an impressive display of coordination, and David made an effort to focus on him. “I’m Xav, by the way.”
Xav—my xaviour, David’s inner damsel gushed—was tall and lean, with artfully floppy grey hair and a pair of roguish green eyes that twinkled with promise. There was insouciance in his very stance.
Suddenly David’s insides were fizzing, and it couldn’t entirely be attributed to the bubbly. “David,” he breathed. “But you can call me Davey. So how is it you know all of Charles’s most intimate secrets?”
Xav leaned closer. “I could tell you, David . . .”
“But then you’d have to eat me?” David finished for him in hope.
“Oh, I’m planning on doing that in any event,” Xav murmured. “But in fact it’s frightfully banal. Charles is my brother-in-law.”
David barely had time to reflect what a marvellous thing it was that siblings could be so completely unalike as Xav and Charles’s wife, Traute, before Xav continued, “Now, I think that’s enough chitchat, don’t you?”
David found himself seized and kissed to within an inch of his sanity. After that, matters soon came to, well, a head, and David was on his knees, willingly sucking down Xav’s sizeable manhood.
Then the curtains, which had at some point closed behind them, were flung open. There was a shrill cry of “Xavier!” followed by a hand which clapped David’s shoulder with bruising force and yanked him away from his task.
Oops. David twisted and came face-to-face with his employer, who was visibly quivering with ire.
Charles’s complexion, never precisely dewy, was now livid puce. “You disgusting little fairy. What the bloody hell do you think you’re playing at?”
David wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, but before he could speak, Xav, who’d zipped up with impressive and, dare one say it, practiced speed, was striding past him towards a tall, elegantly trousered woman who bore a marked resemblance to Charles’s wife.
“Marthe, darling, I’m so sorry. I think I may have had a little too much to drink. I don’t know how this can have happened . . .” Xav waved a graceful—and dismissive—hand in David’s direction.
Marthe’s lip curled as she looked down her stately nose at David, then softened as she turned back to Xav. “Poor darling. I’ll get you some coffee.”
David blinked at them.
Ah. Not the wife’s brother. The wife’s sister’s husband. Language, he felt rather strongly, really ought to be more precise about such things. He clambered to his feet. “Bit of a misunderstanding, there,” he started with a nervous laugh.
Charles looked like a stroke was an imminent possibility. “Get out of my house,” he said icily. “And don’t bother coming in to work on Monday. You’re fired. If I ever see you again, I’ll set the bloody dogs on you.”
David wove his unsteady way out of the room, to the accompaniment of shocked whispers, muttered censure, and Xav’s protestations of undying love to his spouse.
On the whole, he’d liked the party better when it had been dull.
To celebrate the release of Spun!, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author & Links:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.
She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.