New Release Spotlight: May Wedding by Ellie Thomas

Thanks so much, Nell, for having me as your guest again! I’m Ellie and I write MM Historical Romance novellas. I’m popping in today to chat about my new story May Wedding, released on May 6th and currently in the 20% off new release sale at JMS Books until May 12th.

May Wedding is the sixth book in my Regency romp Twelve Letters series about a small group of men who have become established couples during the series. Book 5, The Misfit, was a spin-off introducing a new couple Luc and Harry. But in May Wedding, we’re back to the usual suspects of my ensemble cast of Jo Everett, Daniel Walters, Ben Harding, Edward Stephens, Nathan Brooks and Percy Havilland.

The main points of view are from Jo Everett and everyone’s favourite Regency himbo, Percy Havilland. I have to say that I find these two such a joy to write about. Easy-going, sweet-natured Jo seems to live in my head and is one of those characters I know instinctively inside out. I can tell how he’ll react in almost any situation.

Percy, on the other hand, simply has to be the centre of attention, and he frequently barges into my mind to take centre stage. I’m at the point where I just roll my eyes and go with the flow, and wonder where Nathan gets his reserves of patience.

In this story, Percy is micro-managing the grand society wedding of his darling sister. Percy as Bridezilla was too tempting to resist. In Regency times, participants tended to wear their best clothes for weddings rather than a specific wedding dress or suit. But that’s not good enough for Percy. Naturally, he oversees his sister’s wedding gown and has a little something made up for himself by Daniel, the ensemble’s resident tailor.

While organising the wedding, Percy is at his most Percy-esque. Much of this frantic activity is to conceal his anxiety at losing one of his sisters from under his roof and protection. It’s poor Nathan, as usual, who gets the brunt of his nerves.

Percy is always such fun to contrast with Jo. In book 1 of the series Twelve Letters, these two were briefly an unlikely couple. Jo was infatuated with Percy’s blond beauty while Percy took outrageous advantage of Jo’s good nature. Three years later, they are settled with much more suitable partners and are solidly good friends, especially as Percy has gradually learned to appreciate other people.

As a wedding guest, Jo is wistful that he can’t enjoy a similar ceremony with his beloved. With Daniel’s input, they find a way. Naturally, with all that recent wedding planning under his belt, Percy is roped in to help.

Although willing to lend a hand, neither Percy nor his partner Nathan comprehends Jo and Daniel’s need to have their special celebration. After all, even now, not every couple chooses that option. So it was lovely to put those human nuances in my wedding story.


Some of the gentlemen who meet weekly for supper at The Golden Lion in London’s St. James’ are preoccupied with the prospect of matrimony.

The Honourable Percy Havilland is at full organisational pelt for his sister’s triumphant society marriage, ably backed by his friends. His frequent stress-induced outbursts are endured by his ever-patient lover, Nathan.

Percy has mixed feelings about the upcoming nuptials, the sorrow at losing one of his precious sisters balanced by the opportunity of exhibiting his exquisite good taste to make this the wedding of the Season.

His friend Jo Everett reacts differently to the wedding, desiring an equivalent opportunity to mark his enduring love for Daniel Walters.

Will Percy manage to survive the wedding without falling out irreparably with Nathan? And might Jo and Daniel discover they have the support of their close circle to celebrate their own special day?

Book links

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read :: Goodreads :: Bookbub


Nathan, more than anyone, comprehended how much Percy agonised over relinquishing his sister. Partly because Percy no longer practiced caution with Nathan where his feelings were concerned. But also because his lover bore the brunt of Percy’s feverish exertions for the wedding.

Percy recalled when they were in Nathan’s private sitting room in his great house off Leicester Square, during a rare hour together before Percy returned to Little Chelsea to accompany his sisters to an evening’s revels. Nathan sat in his favourite Chesterfield armchair while Percy paced before him in a manner that Nathan remarked reminded him of a caged tiger. 

When holding forth at great length on selecting the exact shade of soft pink for the bridesmaids’ dresses, Percy started to argue with Nathan, despite the gentleman’s indifference to whether the ladies should wear muslin or sackcloth.

Instead of justifiably losing his temper with Percy in this wildly unreasonable mood, Nathan said, “Come here,” and patted his thighs encouragingly. After a brief hesitation, while formulating a heated debate between the virtues of a bright peach hue or a subtle shade of apricot, Percy rather sulkily sat on Nathan’s lap, holding himself stiffly. 

“That’s better,” Nathan said, pulling him close. All Percy’s nervous tension started to dissolve as he breathed in Nathan’s familiar Bay Rum cologne, listened to the steady rhythm of his breath, and felt the warmth and strength of his body that Percy relied on and frequently enjoyed. 

“Whatever you choose,” Nathan opined, “will be perfect, not only in tribute to your excellent taste but because of your insurmountable care.”

At this disarming statement, rather than bristling, Percy found himself weeping copiously on Nathan’s broad shoulder while his paramour patiently stroked his back and kissed his neck between reassuring endearments.

Needless to say, that had not been the only circumstance when Percy had relieved his raw nerves on Nathan. The degree of toleration Nathan exhibited on account of Percy’s mental and emotional strain in the run-up to the wedding had resulted in far fewer spats than was their habit.

On the odd stolen night in Nathan’s bed during the Season, Percy lay wrapped in his strong arms, momentarily soothed and protected from all his fears, demands, and struggles. He didn’t know how he would have survived the headlong months of Araminta’s betrothal without Nathan’s support and even managed to admit that once or twice.

With a rush of affection and gratitude, Percy raised a grin and his glass in a private toast. Nathan’s frown disappeared, replaced by an answering smile as he emulated the gesture. Percy presumed that when the last slice of cake was consumed, and they all gathered on the front steps of the house to wave off the bride and bridegroom, he would feel a discreet touch on his shoulder, or a hand briefly grasping his waist, Nathan’s way of showing solidarity.  

Naturally, after the splendid formality of the Seymours’ hospitality, Percy’s wider family and even a few friends might convene at Little Chelsea for a dish of tea or something stronger to discuss the joyous event. But after Simeon and Cordelia departed to collect Harriet and bestow a similar rehash of events with a new audience in Emma, Percy idly wondered if he could excuse himself for the afternoon and decamp to Leicester Square.

He had caught that brief heated flash of interest when Nathan first laid eyes on Percy in church, delectable in tight-fitting dove grey. It seemed only fair to allow Nathan to appreciate Percy’s new clothing behind closed doors and slowly remove every layer. After being such a faithful knight during the wedding campaign, tolerating the worst of Percy’s barbs and inconsistencies, Nathan deserved a leisurely reward. 

Also, losing himself in the intense, deliberate, and mind-numbing loving that only Nathan could give, Percy could glory in the achievement of the nuptials without dwelling too much on the lack of Araminta at home. 

Anticipating such a sweet release, Percy put his glass on the table and ran an elegant middle finger around the rim before dipping it in the fizzing liquid. As he raised the digit to his lips, he looked directly at Nathan, allowing the promise of a flash of tongue as he delicately sucked on his fingertip. 

Nathan adroitly responded to a remark from his near neighbour, only a faint flush of colour on his cheekbones betraying his response to Percy’s teasing. I’ll pay for that later, Percy thought with a pleasurable squirm.


Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Facebook reader group:
Twitter: @e_thomas_author


New Release Spotlight: Mated to the Fire Dragon by Holly Day

The lovely Holly Day is back on the blog today. It’s always great to have her here, but I’m happy she keeps her dog out of my blog space. You’ll understand when you read her post. Welcome, Holly! 😘

Hello, everyone! Thank you, lovely Nell, for allowing me back on the blog 🥰

If you haven’t seen me around before, I’m Holly Day, and I write MM romance stories for all the special little days out there. You know, all those days you wonder why they exist. They’re around to tickle my muse, that’s why.

What’s your take on wet socks? Did I hear anyone in favour of them? Nah, didn’t think so. I have a hard time believing many like to walk around in wet socks.

I hate walking around in wet socks, and I’m assuming some of you seldom have to deal with it, but I live with a slobbery dog. He doesn’t drool, you never see any slime hanging out of the corner of his mouth. It’s not that kind of slobber. It’s that when he drinks, he doesn’t swallow the last mouthful, and he doesn’t close his mouth when he walks away from the water bowl.

My kitchen deserves one of those Caution! Slippery! signs with a sliding stick figure.

So I’m either wearing slippers or I’m barefoot. I can stand wet feet if I have to, but I refuse to rush into the kitchen to get something only to realise (too late, always too late!) that he’s been there slobbering again. That feeling of the sock fabric soaking up the cold liquid. Do you feel it? *shudder*

If you’ve read this far, I applaud you 😆 and you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m babbling about wet socks. Well, you see. I’ve written a story called Mated to the Fire Dragon, and I wrote it to celebrate No Socks Day – see the connection. Crazy days to tickle the muse, wet socks equals no socks, and the dragons are just for fun LOL

In Mated to the Fire Dragon, we have Albus, who is a dragon shifter and has a bit of a foot problem. Whenever he gets nervous or agitated or startled or whatever, his claws pop out. This makes wearing socks and shoes a problem.

While this bit is a bit comical, I don’t want you to go into this story thinking it’s gonna be a story that makes you laugh. It has a few moments that might leave you smiling, but it’s overall a pretty serious story (when we’re not dealing with socks, of course.)

Zale has come to Edge to die. He doesn’t have much time left but wanted to see where the human realm ends before he passes. Seeing a dragon is a bonus, being given a miracle is beyond anything he ever could hope for.

It deals with illness and grief, but no one dies. There is a happy ending and some fluffy moments.

Mated to the Fire Dragon

Zale wanted to see a dragon. He never expected a miracle.

Zale Hagan is dying. He doesn’t have many days left, but he wants to see a dragon before he leaves the world behind. As a fisherman, he’s seen where land ends many times, but he wants to visit the town where the human realm ends and the dragon realm begins.

Albus the Abomination is a blacksmith on Dragon Row. As a white dragon, he has no status and does his best to keep out of the way of the other dragons living there. But one day Zale steps into his smithy, and everything inside Albus catches fire.

Albus can tell Zale is very ill, but he can’t let him die. Dragon mates don’t get sick, and they live for a long time. Albus tries his best to get one of the other dragons to mate with Zale, but when no one wants to, Albus is at a loss. He could breathe fire into him, but then Zale would have to live his entire life with a white dragon, and no one wants that, do they?

NOTE: Mated to the Fire Dragon takes place on the same street as The Book Dragon’s Lair but can be read as a standalone story.

Paranormal Gay Romance: 38,392 words

Buy links

JMS Books :: Amazon ::


Albus watched Zale from the doorway. Claws grew on his feet, but he ignored them. There had been no more customers. It was how it usually was. Sometimes he closed the shop and went into the smithy instead. Standing around waiting for someone to buy his non-sparkly products was a waste of time, but he was reluctant to move away from where he could watch Zale.

The way his face twisted in his sleep had fear gripping Albus’ soul. He shouldn’t care about a human. They were everywhere, overflowing the earth, one less wouldn’t make a difference, but Zale… He’d talked to Albus, had walked into the smithy because he was curious about what he was doing. No one ever cared about what Albus was doing.

Beads of sweat were forming on Zale’s skin like tiny uncut diamonds. Not healthy. Albus gritted his teeth. Who knew about human medicine? He wouldn’t ask the reverend. They had healers on this side of the realm. He’d heard talk about them. He wasn’t sure if he trusted them, though.

He flicked his tongue and ran it along the roof of his mouth to scent Zale properly. He was dying. The stabbing pain in his chest was silly. He shouldn’t care about a random human, but Zale was full of life, and yet it was quickly slipping away.

With a sigh, he headed for the door. There were humans on Dragon Row. He never talked to them, and they never talked to him, but there were two working in The Book Dragon’s Lair, and they had a hatchling. He couldn’t go near Ryu the Ravenous. He might be scarred, but he was still a black dragon, and Albus was as far from a black dragon as you could come.

Nithe the Nefarious knew the humans. He could perhaps ask Nithe.

He went around to the back of the house and walked past the two houses between his and Nithe’s. No one walked back here. All the humans stuck to Dragon Row and didn’t venture outside the cobblestoned lane they deemed safe.

With a deep breath, he walked through the small gap between Nithe’s house and the one next to his—Saxon the Sinful’s. Looking around to make sure no one was watching him, he hurried up the steps and into the pawnshop.


The dim lighting had Albus blinking to give his vision a chance to adjust. Nithe watched him from behind the counter, his eyes blue until Albus took a step closer, then they shifted to the amethyst the humans found so alluring. Claws appeared on Albus’ feet right before his eyes changed and his teeth grew sharper. He didn’t want any conflict, but few could stand the ugliness of a white dragon. And by partly shifting, he’d shown his ruby eyes, allowing Nithe to see his irises didn’t have any pigment to speak of. Abomination.

Albus looked away and blinked again to force his eyes back into their human shape.


Albus’ head whipped around on its own accord and shock reverberated through him. Nithe had spoken his name? And shortened it to only the first.

“Nithe.” He bowed his head in respect which had Nithe snorting.

“What are you doing here?”

Albus slowly filled his lungs with incense-laced air. The scent reminded him of home, and he wondered if Nithe had brought it from the dragon realm. “You know humans.”

Nithe put the pen he’d been holding on the counter and studied him. “I know Egil, Liz, and Ruby the Rapturous.”

A dragon name on a human? “The hatchling?” He bit his tongue as he realized he’d spoken out loud.

Nithe’s face split into a grin. “Yes, our hatchling.”

Our? This time Albus’ lips trapped whatever stupid questions he wanted to ask.

“I have a human—”

“You mated?” Then Nithe narrowed his eyes. “You haven’t shared your flame.”

Albus winced. He might have dreamed about sharing his flame, but he wouldn’t subject Zale to that level of degradation.

“No. I have a human in my home who’s sick. When Ruby the Rapturous gets sick, who do you go to for help?”

Nithe stood unmoving for several moments. “She… eh… doesn’t get sick.”

Humans got sick all the time. They were frail beings. “She’s human.”

“Yes, but… If you want to make a human healthy, you should share your breath with them. And if you don’t want to share your breath, then I think there are herbs. Liz took some a few months ago when she had a fever, but it took forever before it helped.”

Albus didn’t think Zale could wait for long. “Do you know what kind of herbs and where I could get them?”

Nithe walked into the room behind the counter, and soon Albus heard him talk to someone. He waited, growing more and more uncomfortable with each second passing. He didn’t want to ask for help. He didn’t want them to know Zale was in his home.

Nithe stepped out into the shop again. “Liz will come to your place in a few minutes. She’ll bring what you need.” His eyes shifted amethyst and a forked tongue slid out between sharp teeth. “Pay her.”

Albus nodded.

“She refuses to let us pay for her things, but she’s doing you a favor, so you can pay her without her throwing a fit.”

Albus didn’t know what he was talking about, and he wouldn’t ask. It was too much like an argument between mates or at least family members for him to get involved in. Instead, he thanked Nithe and hurried out of the pawnshop.

Fear of finding the house empty had him hurrying down Dragon Row instead of walking around to the back. Would Zale have left?

About Holly Day

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect with Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Newsletter :: TikTok


New Release Spotlight: Saved by the Bear by Holly Day

The lovely Holly Day is back on the blog today, celebrating the release of her newest book, and as always, it’s great to have her here. She also asks a very interesting question: would you want to know when you die and how? My short answer? No. 🙂

Welcome, Holly! ❤️

Hello, everyone! Thank you, lovely Nell, for allowing me back on the blog 🥰 Do you know what today is? Yes, I hear a muttered Thursday, and you’re right, but it’s also National Tell A Story Day. And I wrote Saved by the Bear to celebrate this day 🥳

Saved by the Bear is a short story, the shortest I’ve published this year, at about 60 pages. It’s about Frode, who inherits a book from his uncle. He thinks the book is a little creepy. It has Will Tell Your Story written on the cover, and it weirds Frode out.

Then when he takes the book home and opens it, all he sees are blank pages. He laughs at himself. It’s a diary and, of course, it will tell his story if he writes in it.

But then a sentence appears.

What would you do if a magic book was giving you a recap of your life from childhood up to today? Frode stays up all night, reading. The book is turning pages on its own, and there isn’t much left, so he keeps going. Only when they reach the present day, the book continues and shows him the future.

Sadly, there aren’t many pages left in the book, meaning there isn’t much left of Frode’s life.

I most often write paranormal stories. I love adding magic to the world, adding possible and impossible things. I want there to be shifters, vampires, psychics and magic users. I would’ve jumped into a world like that, but I don’t want to know how I die or when.

Had someone given me the choice to know, I’d most likely have turned down the offer. Unless there was a chance to change the outcome, then I might have wanted to know. I don’t know.

I’m not fatalistic. I think we have the power to change our lives. But at the same time, some things are out of our control. I watched my mother fade away in two months, and everyone tried to save her. If that’s my fate, then I don’t want to know. I want to live until I can’t anymore.

Frode isn’t really given the choice whether he’s to know or not. Sure, he could stop reading the moment he realised the book showed him the future, but then we wouldn’t have a story, would we? 😆

Saved by the Bear

Would knowing how you die change the way you live?

Frode Hall inherits a book that promises to tell his story, and it does. It starts with a recap of his childhood, leads him through his teens and into adult life. Then it turns a page and shows how he dies in a car crash the following day. Frode panics, but can he trust the book? It’s showing a huge Grizzly sneaking around the garden, and there are no bears in the garden, only Imre, his neighbor.

By not being in his car when the predicted car crash was to take place, he survives another day. But someone has learned he has the book, and it’s showing ninjas breaking into his apartment to get it. Unsure of what to do, Frode turns to Imre. Frode doesn’t know what to believe about his growling and talk of mates, but he trusts Imre to help him. They leave the city in a hurry, but will the book give them enough warning to keep them alive or will their journey end in a gruesome prophecy?

Paranormal Gay Romance: 14,970 words

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon ::


Frode was unable to sleep. His body was buzzing, his mind racing, and his hands aching with the need to open the book again. He must have imagined the whole thing. He’d been through a rough period, and today had been the drop to make the cup run over. He’d been frightened and alone, not on the run from his ex perhaps, but scared to talk to him again, and then an attorney had called and given him keys to a cabin.

A cabin. In the woods. Frode had lived in the city his entire life.

And the book… His mind had left his body and had been bouncing around the ceiling. How else would he have been able to perceive himself from above?

To prove he wasn’t insane, he flung off the cover, put his feet on the cold floor, and walked out of his bedroom with determined steps. The shiver going through him was because he’d left the warmth of his bed, nothing else.

He grabbed the box and reached inside. He didn’t scream when the swooping in his gut came and pulled him out of his body. He was still inside of his body, part of him, at least. Both his brain and his body worked. He put his forefinger to his nose to prove it, but he was seeing himself from above.

This time, it opened about one-fourth into the book instead of halfway. How weird. With a deep breath, he focused on the writing.

The book was giving him a recap of his life so far. One sentence melted into another as soon as he’d read the last word, and soon he didn’t see the words at all. His life played before him as if he was watching a movie.

Childhood memories soon turned into memories from his teens. His father turned uglier with each scene. He hadn’t in reality, but every time he belittled Frode or was mean to his mom, he turned more and more into an orc fit for a Tolkien movie.

Real minutes turned into hours, and by the time they’d reached the moment when Frode first met Dario, his eyes were sandy, and his jaw was about to be dislocated by all his yawning.

He pushed on, couldn’t stop when he was this close to the end. As if the book understood he didn’t want to watch how he’d gone from happy and confident to broken and scared during his time with Dario, it skimmed forward. It showed him when he’d first walked up to this building, but it wasn’t accurate.

“Wait. Go back.”

The book turned back a page which startled Frode. He hadn’t noticed they’d turned pages, but they were almost at the end of the book now, so they must have.

He read, or watched, or whatever the weird in-between was, himself walking up to the building. Around the corner of the house, out of fiction-Frode’s view, was a huge grizzly bear. Massive. He shook his head. There couldn’t have been a bear, not in the city, not a big one at least. Someone would have noticed.

The house was on the outskirts of town, and it only had two apartments—his on the upper floor, and Imre’s on the bottom—but people still walked by. Someone would’ve noticed a grizzly.

He rubbed his eyes, and when he focused on the book again, he’d entered the empty apartment. The book showed him smaller than he was in reality, which had him question its reliability again. A tiny Frode and a massive grizzly. It was two errors in less than a minute.

The book turned another page. There weren’t many pages left now which, he guessed, made sense since they’d almost reached present time, but it left him a little disappointed.

They jumped to the day Dario had come to visit. His face was twisted into an ugly sneer—it hadn’t been in reality. He’d been angry, but Frode didn’t blame him. Frode had left him without a word. Had packed a bag of clothes and left a note on the kitchen table saying he’d moved out and wouldn’t come back.

His breath hitched as black fog wafted around Dario like a cloak while he yelled at Frode. Then Imre’s door banged open, and he rushed up the stairs. He grew with each step he took, and when he was standing over Dario, he had massive fangs dripping with saliva.

Frode shivered. It hadn’t happened. Imre had come up the stairs. He hadn’t spoken or snarled, but he’d put himself between Frode and Dario. To Frode’s astonishment, Dario had quieted and walked toward the exit. Imre had followed him, and he did in the book too.

Frode didn’t think his troubles with Dario were over, but he forgot all about it as Dario and Imre stepped out of the building. The book turned the focus back on Frode.

“No, show the garden.”

To his amazement, the book did. Outside, Dario was walking to his sleek black Mercedes. The glow from the lamp post illuminated his face as if they were in a scary movie. The black smoke still flowed around him, reminding Frode of a cartoon villain, and his breath hitched as tiny ravens fluttered around Dario as he got into the car. Then Frode spotted the grizzly watching Dario from the shadows behind the hedge. Where had Imre gone? Maybe he’d turned around and gone into his apartment the moment Dario had left the building.

Yawning again, Frode made a mental note of checking for bear prints in the garden. Did it have a den nearby?

He put the book on the wobbly coffee table and went to get a glass of water. When he entered the living room again, the book was showing him at the attorney’s. She looked like the stepmother in Cinderella—the book had a flair for animated characters. She hadn’t looked like that in reality. A bit stiff, and he had the feeling she had been looking down at him, but he didn’t think she was stepmother-evil. He hoped she wasn’t. When the book showed the box with the book and the keys, it glowed. Frode took a calming breath, only to wince when the book showed him opening it earlier in the day.

Frode winced as he watched Imre’s door fly open and bounce against the wall as he ran up the stairs. He was huge again as he banged on Frode’s door. As Frode spoke, Imre shrank back into an almost normal size. He’d been huge when Frode opened the door, but not as big as the book showed him.

He stretched and watched the last few hours play out in rapid succession. Nothing interesting, and the book skimmed over them as if it was fast-forwarding on an old VCR player.

Then the air froze in Frode’s lungs.

The book showed the morning, the coming morning. Frode slammed a hand over the open page as he took a shuddering breath. It hadn’t happened yet. Fuck.

About Holly Day

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect with Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Newsletter :: TikTok


New Release Spotlight: The Misfit by Ellie Thomas

Thank you so much, lovely Nell, for having me as a guest on your blog today. I’m Ellie, and I write MM Historical Romance novellas. My new story, The Misfit, is the fifth instalment in my Twelve Letters series, so I’m here to chat about my latest Regency romp.

The other four books in the series so far are Twelve Letters, Queer Relations, Coming of Age and Getlemen’s Agreement which take place in the posh West End of London. Not all of my ensemble cast consists of wealthy gentlemen. For example, Daniel Walters, Jo Everett’s love interest, is a tailor in a fashionable outfitter with branches on exclusive Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.

London of the Regency era, although spreading fast, was so modestly sized you could easily walk from one end to the other. In my previous stories, my characters have ventured out on foot from Mayfair and St. James’ to more the modest districts of Soho and, of course, the pleasure-seeking hub of Covent Garden.

Luc, my MC in The Misfit, a spin-off of the main series, is a professional musician and his love interest Harry is an actor. In this way, I could dive into the colourful world of Covent Garden for this story. It helped that I was inspired by The People’s Piazza: A History of Covent Garden. This recently-aired BBC tv documentary had some fascinating insights into nearly 400 years of the district’s history.

Covent Garden, an exclusive outer suburb that began in the 1630s,  started to come into its own in the late 17th century when King Charles II granted a permit to build Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1661. Other theatres followed, and by the mid-18th century, Covent Garden was London’s cultural playground and thriving red-light district.

This was a colourful and dangerous place indeed, and by Luc’s time in the early 19th century, the outright lawlessness was curbed by the looming presence of Bow Street Magistrates Court just off the Piazza. I wanted to give a sense of the vibrancy through Luc’s eyes with the taverns, coffee houses and brothels, bagnios and molly houses that characterised the area.

The Secret History of Georgian London, by Dan Cruikshank, the architectural historian, is a wonderful guide around the livelier elements of Covent Garden, including the notorious Moll King’s coffee house as a “place for nightly revels and for company of all sorts.”

These vibrant surroundings have as much of a role to play as Luc and Harry’s working life at Drury Lane Theatre, and I enjoyed having their love story unfold in such a stimulating environment.


At the start of 1816, Luc Gerrard is summoned home to rural Essex from his sanctuary in the West Indies due to a dangerous downturn in his mother’s health. When she recovers, Luc is determined to pick up his musical employment in London’s theatres, concert halls and ballrooms.

He receives support and even friendship from a surprising source, the circle of gentlemen who spirited him away from certain arrest due to his connection with his former lover and Napoleonic plotter, James Beaufort.

Luc juggles his pride and finances while attempting to gain an orchestral position at Drury Lane Theatre for the upcoming spring Season. Bittersweet memories are revived when he inevitably meets his longtime companion and sometime lover, Harry Kent. However, charming, easy-going casual Harry seems changed by Luc’s absence.

Can Luc re-establish his interrupted career with a little help from his new friends? And might he and Harry find a lasting connection?

Book Links:

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He embraced that unique combination of stale scent, smoking stage lights, linseed oil, and fresh-cut wood that indelibly signified the theatre, together with the continual bustle. In the daytime, the building was the domain of actors, musicians, stagehands, scenery builders, and seamstresses, amongst many other essential roles. By nightfall, the backstage workers melted into invisibility. Then the audience dominated as they spilled into the splendid auditorium by their thousands on a good night, braying from the pit or glittering with jewels from the tiered boxes surrounding the stage.

From the wings, Luc had a view of the space below the stage that housed the orchestra. A group of men assembled aimlessly, taking the opportunity to joke and banter. At their centre stood Mr. Henry Kent, an up-and-coming actor known as Harry to his many friends. At twenty-three, a few months younger than Luc, slightly broader and shorter, he was vital and magnetic, any stray beams of daylight glinting on his thick red-blond hair, the rich colour of a fox’s pelt in this darkened space.

Harry reached the punch line of his jest, causing his companions to roar with laughter. His jaunty pose showed off his high cheekbones, mobile smiling mouth, and a glint of sharp white teeth. Luc thought, as always, that Harry was the life and soul of the party, his easygoing demeanour belying the force of his theatrical ambitions. It was no secret that far from being city-born, Harry grew up on the Kent coast.

He’d exchanged the family surname of Smith for the title of his home county as a loftier stage name. But late at night, when in his cups, Harry divulged to Luc his youthful dread of being co-opted into the family oyster business back in Whitstable. This unbearable fate prompted his getaway to London and inclusion into the lowest ranks of the theatre company.

Harry was good fun, great drinking company, and an even better fuck. Luc should know from many nights spent in his bed when they both happened to be in the same part of town and at a loose end.

During Luc’s second season in the orchestra at Drury Lane, the newly inducted Harry had caught his eye. Given the return of interest and Harry’s charisma, Luc was tempted to be smitten with the dashing young actor. Harry was appreciative of Luc’s appearance in turn, undressing him like a present and savouring the secrets of Luc’s body as a rare treat. But even as they tumbled for the first time, Harry made his intentions clear.

“Let’s stay as friends who have a bit of fun together, eh, Frenchie?” He’d suggested with a confiding smile that took any sting from his words. “There’s enough dramatics and hysterics to be encountered treading the boards to wish for any more in between the sheets. If you’re content, I reckon this will suit us both.”

Luc had to admit that Harry had been proved correct. They were barely twenty and yet to establish a place in the performance pecking order. Neither of them had the leisure to embark on a romantic relationship, even if Luc felt so inclined.

Their intermittent casual liaison was frequently interrupted by Harry pursuing a promising patron or even a patroness at a pinch. He engaged all his considerable charm, transferring his sexual attentions to step up the next rung of the ladder to fame and fortune. Once that goal was achieved, and the sponsor had drifted on to fresh pastures, Harry cheerfully took up with Luc again. They both accepted the hard-fought scramble of theatre life, and Luc never doubted Harry’s genuine friendship, even when temporarily preoccupied with demanding patrons.

It wasn’t as though Luc lacked offers of consolation. Despite Luc’s opinion of himself as too gawky, intense, and beaky, it seemed that others shared Harry’s glowing opinion of Luc’s particular brand of striking dark looks.

Coming across free and easy Harry in the exuberant flesh was unexpectedly bittersweet, reminding Luc of simpler, happier times before Beaufort had swept into his life, bearing him almost to the brink of utter disaster.


Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Twitter: @e_thomas_author


Free Book Alert: Taking Flight by A.L.Lester

A.L. Lester visits the blog today, bringing gifts in the form of a free book! Taking Flight is currently free over at Amazon, so make sure to clickety-click the link…but only after you’ve read the post. You don’t want to miss the gruesome details of the Welsh myth that inspired this story! 🙂

A Free Queer Celtic Myth. Resurrection Cauldron Not Included.

Taking Flight is one of my Celtic Myth collection of short stories/novellas and is free from 7th to 9th March. Thanks so much for letting me pop in and tell your readers all about it!

Taking Flight is drawn over a story from the Mabinogion, a book of Welsh folk tales. It’s about Brânwen, sister of King Brân of Wales. Her brother marries her off to Matholwch, King of Ireland, but the marriage goes bad, because Bran and Branwen’s half-brother Efnysien is angry that he wasn’t consulted about the wedding and cuts off all King Matholwch’s horses’ eyelids during the wedding feast as revenge. Just your average nightmare party guest.

The marriage goes ahead despite this; but once they are back in Ireland the disapproval of his people becomes too much and Matholwch banishes Brânwen to the kitchens where she is beaten daily by the butcher. She tames a starling and sends it with a message to her brother for help. He comes to rescue her with an army and there are various battles and unsuccessful negotiations and Efnysien turns up again making trouble by throwing Brânwen’s son into a fire but then bravely destroying a resurrection cauldron and killing some warriors hiding in flour bags to redeem himself. It’s one of those stories where everybody dies… Brânwen kills herself and Brân is killed in battle but his head keeps giving his seven remaining warriors good advice until they bury it at the Tower of London.

It’s all a bit gruesome, but I knew I wanted to write about the starling part of the story and make the bird in to a person. To begin with I was trying to hitch him up with Brân, but then I realised that it would be a better story if it centered around the Brânwen character, who is very much an object to be moved around in the original legend and is very much not so in my own version.

I’ve also cut out the child-murder, the horse-disfigurement, the battles and the resurrection cauldron. Sorry.

Branwyn’s grave is supposed to be at Llanddeusant on the Isle of Anglesey and the discovery of a high-status Bronze Age mound there is a possible root of the legend. Welsh folk stories were passed down orally for centuries before being written in the Mabinogion in the thirteenth century.

Taking Flight

Gwyn is trying to balance his business aims with his desire to leave the Kings of Ireland hotel. He honestly thought Mal knew he was trans before they hooked up. It takes a blow to the face in front of all the kitchen staff before he reaches his own personal line in the sand and leaves with the help of Darren. Could the delicate pull of attraction between them grow into something stronger?

If you’d like another free Celtic Myth short story, A Wing and a Prayer (3.500 words) is free when you join my newsletter. The other stories are all just over ten thousand words, which makes them long for a short story and short for a novella. ‘Novellette’ sounds like they should be about Victorian maidens though, and they’re not! They are all based on at least a seed of some sort of myth from the wild edges of Europe; Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man, our Celtic west. There are a lot of saint’s stories to pick from and tales that were probably passed down orally before writing was common. There are currently five stories that are all in KU and usually priced at $1.99.

About A. L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, some poultry. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

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