MASTERS OF CANE: The Debut

Being lazy, I’ll let one blog intro the newest Gaslight Mystery to another blog. Later this week, I’ll dress it up for company. Find the cover and links on the Man in Romance blog, by following the bread crumbs below…and thanks for your interest!

The Man in Romance

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The next novel in The Gaslight Mysteries series finally arrives. The links are ready. I’ve advertised a Friday release, but what the hey. Early is good!

I started this one immediately after I wrote THIN AS SMOKE, a year ago, and then it got pushed aside by two other novels and four novellas. But Michael is a patient sort of bloke, in spite of  what Simon seems to think. I actually wrote the bulk of it in last November’s NaNoWriMo, the same writing impetus that produced Heart to Hart, Thin asSmoke, and Nevada Highlander.

skinny samBecause it’s set the day following TAS action, Dashiell is still sitting with his bottle of whiskey at the gentlemen’s club, waiting to be taken dockside.  It just seemed natural that he’d stick around for a while, so here he  is, fedora and all. (The image is just a tease, from a…

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Something Hard, from Masters of Cane

 

Here’s a short continuation of what I started last week. Soon I’ll post the debut date and link to the newest Gaslight Mystery.

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Chapter 2: Something Hard

Simon had awakened surprised and was still astonished.

His heart was rattling like a toy drum, his throat was dry, his hands were shaking as he tried to unlock the door to his flat.

Of course he expected Michael to try to lure him back into the privy, or to touch him somewhere as they stood briefly in the gaslit hallway. He even wanted the slick intrusion into his ear, the husky promise of the man’s voice. No, not merely wanted those sensations. Craved them.

What flabbergasted him—now, and every moment since waking up this morning—was his own eager collaboration. He had always ducked and fled from the randy roustabout, one for whom the word “subtlety” had seemed to be some form of undecipherable ancient tongue.

Why now, after a full year, had he thrown aside the sham of disliking Michael’s frank interest?

He’d rushed through his daily toilet and bath, hoping to find the brawny, good looking Irishman outside the privy door. And as badly as he’d wanted to stroke his heavy penis until the pressure eased, he’d merely washed it gingerly until he was sure it would be acceptable to his flat-mate’s questing mouth—if, indeed, Michael began to look for the obvious.

fireplace:roomSimon’s fingers finally found the keyhole, and he opened the door to number 3-C, the large Victorian-era flat he shared with Michael McCree. His eyes took in every detail of the room immediately, noting the small change wrought by his flat-mate.

The room was spacious, with a high domed ceiling where his own shadow played, caught by the flickering gaslight. His eyes swept the marble fireplace whose mantel boasted his antique clock … his father’s handsome liquor cabinet next to it with stained-glass panels … a huge impressionist-style painting of the hills of Cambridge … the old wingback chair and the slick leather divan three meters away, both hand-me-downs from his father … the thick oriental rug whose reds and golds shimmered like mysterious gems.

This was the environment where he felt both safe and in peril. The place where he could come to find privacy and forbidden pleasure too.

The canes. The ivory-handled fighting sticks. He’d mounted them near the fireplace a few years ago, and yesterday he’d taken them down as a veiled message to his flat-mate. Carefully laying them next to each other, he’d propped them against his roomer’s door. Michael had to take them away to get inside. Where had he put them?

Simon saw them in his next glance, lying absolutely perpendicular on the heavy mahogany dining table. Uncrossed, open, the way he wanted Michael to see them also—an invitation to be his stick-fighting partner. Even though the street-wise Michael relied mainly on his blunt fists, Simon thought no self-respecting Irishman should be without a rudimentary knowledge of cudgels in some form. And Michael was showing him he understood and agreed.

Lately his blustery room-mate had begun to show promise … a shade of delicacy, moments rife with actual nuance. It had taken Simon almost a year to teach the fellow, and the man’s sexual energies were now being channeled in a way that deeply excited him.

cane in handStanding at the table, he ran his fingers down the length of the canes. Their high polish and adamantine smoothness called to him, reminded him of the fighting master who’d awarded him these beauties. He felt almost an electric spark, letting the meat of one palm settle on the hard surface before lifting his hand again, loathe to disturb their static potential yet longing to release that promise once more, with a new partner.

As he crossed the large sitting room to his bedchamber, Simon reflected that he had not truly taught Michael. His business partner and companion—face it, Simon, your lover—had learned because he’d found every way conceivable to say “I want you.” And maybe Michael’s unspoken words told him something even deeper. His partner’s off-and-on subtlety was just a small part of a secret daily message Simon knew he was whispering sometimes soft, sometimes with a rasping insistence.

Once he entered his large bedchamber, Simon was again taken aback. The soiled linens were no longer crumpled on his bed but balled up on the floor next to an old lumpy chair. Fresh folded sheets were sitting on the too-plump seat, no doubt waiting for the damp mattress to air-dry in the slight breeze wafting from the window.

lit bedroom copy

Normally he would firmly close the door. He’d strip the robe and don clean underwear, then find some suitable summer-weight suit to wear the rest of the day. But today he walked directly to his large four-poster bed and sat heavily at its foot, his mind snagged by the fighting sticks, the clean sheets, the memory of a wet movement in his ear and his own eager tongue on Michael’s full lower lip. Flicking, then fleeing. But absolutely honest and direct, like Michael’s own.

His phallus began to swell, and for once he did not try to will “it” away. The erection. The hardness. My stiff cock.

Michael had taught him how to give his body to another person. He’d also showed him how to blurt out his needs in words of one syllable.

He’d gone from being a hermit with a bad attitude to a willing lover, all in the space of just one year. If he were to be honest with himself, Simon knew the “willing lover” part was somewhat scarce most of the time. Simon shook his head, still reeling from the change in himself—not in a year, but in just a few days. Hell and damn, in the space of a few hours.

Something important, some alchemists’s magic, had turned him from straw to flesh. He needed time to take stock of this new Simon Hart…

A familiar lilt, the deep humor-laced tones of a sensuous man, penetrated his thoughts.

“Simon, lad. Let’s make this damned bed, or let it make us.”

towel:blondHe looked up and saw his flat-mate in a towel that was way too thin to disguise the man beneath. Looking from there into Michael’s brindled eyes, tawny as a cat, he found himself suddenly smiling.

“Make us what, McCree?”

The interloper leaned over him, the tented cloth only inches from his chin.

“Make us crazy again.”

Almost by rote, Simon slid away from the heat of Michael and managed to stand not quite touching him. But not exactly running away. And again out of habit, he pushed his lower lip into its usual cynical droop.

“I heard no knock on the door.”

“Sure an’ ’twere a knock, lad. Something hard knocking against this bloody towel.”

And then Michael kissed him. A slow, wet kiss that started on his surly lower lip and moved inside, while his bear-paw hands gentled his cheeks and chin then moved to cup his buttocks.

Simon felt his phallus become a bed post.

~oOo~

mofC figures only=pizap.com14526098981981Missed the excerpt from Chapter 1? It’s here:

https://caitlinfire.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/masters-of-cane-coming-soon/

Have you started Erin O’Quinn’s acclaimed Gaslight Mysteries? Find them on my Amazon and ARe/Omni Lit pages.

#gay #romcom #mysteries
Amazon USA http://goo.gl/N3cZ16
OmniLit https://goo.gl/xcDY3L

❤️HEART TO HEART ❤️

👥SPARRING WITH SHADOWS 👥

☠️TO THE BONE ☠️

🔫THIN AS SMOKE 🔫

Art of the cane fighters is by Alex A. Akira, writer/artist/illustrator. If you need covers, banners, box set art, etc., you’ll find his service here:  alexaakira.org

 

MASTERS OF CANE: Coming Soon

cane in hand

 

There is something evil afoot in the growing city of Dun Linden, Ireland (1924) where private dicks Michael McCree and Simon Hart have a PI agency. No one has hired them this time, as they find their neighbors and their own tiny spy network in grave danger from a group of thieves who would rather slit a throat than pick an honest pocket; and an old nemesis who has a score to settle with both of them.

When the peril grows too grave for two men to handle, they call on a few trusted friends and some unusual weaponry to help in a case where they are outnumbered—but never outwitted.

The always-edgy partnership of the two investigators also undergoes some twists and turns—of fate and canes alike.

Here is beginning of my new novel MASTERS OF CANE, to be released soon. SPOILER ALERT: This novel is set immediately following  its prequel THIN AS SMOKE.

~oOo~

Chapter 1: A Whole New Dawn

’Tis not possible. And yet, here I am. In Simon’s bed. With me prick lying all along his crack.

Michael hardly dared breathe, lest the man slumbering in his arms should stir, waken, and bolt from the room. He could control the air he took in slowly, sipping it like fine wine before allowing it to leave his deep gut and then his lungs … letting it escape without disturbing a dust mote, nor even a fine tendril of dark hair on the nape of this man’s neck.

But he could not control his boisterous cock.

The intuitive part of his finely tuned lover’s brain told him Simon had deeply needed to be here. He’d asked his flat-mate to lay him in this Victorian monstrosity of a bed. And at one point —Michael didn’t dare try to remember the details, for fear his cock would jolt his bedmate from sleep—some time during the night, Simon had begged him: Suck my ass. Then fuck me.

Raw, urgent. Words of one syllable.

And afterward, they’d slept cocooned like this, belly to back, waiting for a new dawn.

The rational part of his analytic mind reminded Michael his business partner would no doubt reject last night altogether, as though they’d never kissed. As though his tongue had not awakened the secret love tunnel in Simon’s ear, and then inside his very ass. As though their thunderous climax had been only a madman’s dream.

But until his bed mate woke, Michael could still claim his prize. And so the brawny Irishman lay cursing the brick he’d laid into Simon’s soft buttocks, letting his smile move slightly between his shoulder blades.

file000118153910.tiff lampThe high-ceilinged chamber was lit by a sole gas lamp on the bedside table. Michael lay watching the burning wick cast shadows on the far wall and across the window casement. Outside the open second-story window he heard the rousing of feathers as the pigeon colony prepared for sunrise.

The claw-footed bathtub in the flat’s tiny privy would be theirs—singly, of course—for precious few minutes. The stringent landlady Mrs. McGregor seemed to stand over them with a pocket-watch while each tenant used his allotted quarter-hour each morning. Simon’s turn was first, five sharp, followed by his own.

Michael sighed, a hitch in the steady flow of his breath, pondering the implacable rules of Mrs. McGregor’s universe. It must be close to five now. Time for this dream to end.

If he was lucky, the camaraderie he and Simon had shared last night would linger in a quirk of the man’s sulky lip or a certain glint in his impossibly turquoise eyes. After one year of up-and-down, in-and-out, he was used to starting over again every goddamn bloody day with the man he’d chosen as his own.pigeons flip

And yet … and yet something different about their gossamer relationship, a kind of awakening, had begun a few days ago with the arrival of Samuel Dashiell Hammett. Forced to work apart in their investigations, he and Simon had lost each other for more than a day. His partner had been in peril of death, while he, Michael, had blundered about trying to find and help the man he desperately needed. Might as well face it—the man he loved, to the deepest core of his soul.

clothing=retro pantsThe presence of the skinny, brooding Hammett had somehow been the catalyst which changed everything. Working again with his former partner Sam, then remembering their old covert op work in America—both had landed crashing blows to his brain. ’Tis time to understand what the sodding hell friendship is, what love really is.

And Sam had changed Simon too, in a way. He suspected his partner had felt some kind of jealousy for the slender, secretive agent who called himself “Dashiell” to Simon, yet only “Sam” to his old friend Mike. And maybe that possessiveness had begun to change their elusive love life.

He recalled Simon’s masterful handling of the crooks who’d held him captive. His complicated lover had talents Michael had just begun to discover—or he’d finally decided to reveal. And maybe, just maybe, Simon was beginning to accept his midnight cravings in the harsh light of full day.

Aye, if only the last thirty-some hours, and especially last night, had truly signaled a new beginning…

His truant thought about midnight cravings awakened his half-dozing prick. Now, instead of lying in Simon’s butt crack, it had begun to hammer at the gates, demanding entrance.

Simon’s breathing changed, and he moved, fluid as water, in Michael’s arms. Still pretending sleep, his mouth sought Michael’s tongue before suckling, soft and slow.

beard kiss“Mee-sha-el.” The sleep-roughened word spoken straight into his mouth was an electric surge to his entire body. Simon was not fleeing from him.

Fucking impossible.

“Love.” He let Simon’s mouth work its magic, cupping then stroking the man’s raspy cheeks, allowing his cock to bloom fully against his bed-mate’s iron groin.

“It’s almost five of the morning.” Simon pulled away a little, looked at his own bare legs and exposed loins, and actually smiled.

Michael, still thunderstruck, eyed Simon’s erection, risen like a sea stack jutting from its dark ocean of pubic hair. “Aye, lad. May Mrs. McGregor be buried in pigeon shit.” He bent to taste the cowled penis whose marbled veins his eyes could trace even in the lamplight.

man:towelSimon sat up all the way and fluidly swung his legs over the side of the bed. His clipped accent bore not a trace of the lust-torn syllables Michael had heard last night. “And yet, how could we function without her clockwork ruling of our bodily needs? I will see you in fifteen minutes.”

Simon stood and walked to the lumpy chair next to the bed. His buttocks, rounded yet defined by hard muscle, moved and shifted in the gaslight. Before Michael could react, he slid his discarded silken robe over his slender muscled frame and seized a bath towel from a bureau drawer before leaving the bedroom door, and Michael’s mouth, gaping open.

 

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You can read the opening of chapter 2, Something Hard, here:

https://caitlinfire.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/something-hard-from-masters-of-cane/https://caitlinfire.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/something-hard-from-masters-of-cane/

I will post updates as the release draws nearer. Thanks for your interest!

 

The Gaslight Mysteries
Heart to Hart http://amzn.to/12gBwlL
Sparring with Shadows http://amzn.to/14QXtqW
To the Bone http://amzn.to/1bEXep2
Thin as Smoke http://amzn.to/17gOVCi

 

Later Reviews

March 9, 2015

Recently, I’ve been blessed with several reviews for the Gaslight Mysteries. The writers are top-notch, and I would tell you the same thing even if they didn’t jump up and down and rave over my stuff. A few of them sneak to the edge of 5.0 and back away a bit. Hey, that’s all the more reason to love the honesty and the fairness. I have not yet got a snarky review, in spite of almost 50 on Amazon alone. So I’m gratified!

I’ll begin with a series of four reviews, a spotlight by the same writer, “Susan” of Joyfully Jay. The links follow.

med_HeartToHart.jpg 194x300Heart to Hart (Gaslight Mystery 1) Rating: 5 stars

Michael McCree works as a newspaper man. One day he meets Simon Hart, a grieving man who has come to place an obituary for his murdered business partner. It turns out Simon is a private investigator, and his dead friend was also his straight flat-mate—and the object of Simon’s unrequited love.

Michael sees something precious in Simon right away, and proceeds to first become Simon’s new roomer, then his new business partner, and finally his lover. Together, thanks to Michael’s insistent approach, they set out to find the murderer.

Michael makes his plans for Simon apparent from the start. Simon resists but, much to his own surprise, not particularly hard. But Michael, despite his jovial nature, has his own secrets that might jeopardize them both.

This absolutely captivating story, with steampunk elements without being steampunk but gaslight, takes place in a fictional 1920s town in Ireland with a culture, language, and traditions of its own. Each finely crafted and rich detail of this world-building artwork lures you in until you feel as though you’re actually there, in Dun Linden. This is a case of complete immersion into a skillfully created world. From little guttersnipes to snobbish uppity-muppities, every character encountered and every street walked on, they all breathe life into this alternate fantasy world of gaslight and murder mysteries.

The best part of this story is the friendship and camaraderie between Michael and Simon. No two men could be more different, yet they share common traits that begin to form the basis of their relationship. Michael appears as a charming, laidback rogue with a heart of gold, but he keeps many secrets buried beneath this happy-go-lucky facade. Simon, on the other hand, seems sullen, quiet, and reserved, but when his temper flares, all bets are off. And inside, his heart is capable of great gentleness and kindness.

The erotic tension between these two runs along the length of the story, so potent it practically leaps off the pages. Michael is a fountain of sexual experiences; Simon is a virgin who desired a straight man and is now lost as to what to do next. As the two begin their sensual tango, Michael is ready, willing, and able to give Simon everything, from pleasure and comfort, to brilliant insight and strength in every sense of the word. In his confusion, uncertainty and regret, Simon takes what Michael gives, always with remorse after, slowly starting to see a world of delight ahead of him as his heart thaws and his body sparks to life. To top this off, their mutual respect and admiration also grows, giving them something to fight for.

As far as murder mysteries go, this one is right up there, foul and sinister and, oh, so cruel. At first Simon sees the case as a last duty to his fallen comrade, but soon, as their investigation takes flight, it becomes a necessity. Their continued survival depends on it, as they’re thrown up against a criminal mastermind.

Another great thing about this story is the sex. Or more specifically, the sensuality that permeates each and every aspect of this tale. Michael is a sensual animal, and he’s determined to win Simon’s heart, body, and soul. For him, there is no doubt to who is his soul mate. His seduction of Simon is delicious and smoldering. Their scenes are fraught with sweet and gentle sensuality, and yet also rougher claiming as Michael temps Simon to admit who and what he is, which is a gay man.

Simply put, this tale is pure pleasure from start to finish. My head is filled with endless gushing praises and flattering comments. Highly recommended to all lovers of M/M erotic romance.

sparringwithshadows333x500Sparring with Shadows (Gaslight Mystery 2) Rating: 5 stars

Simon Hart awakens after his first night of pure, unadulterated sex. He’s come face-to-face with his sexual desires, but now he needs to accept or reject this part of his character. Michael McCree is comfortable in his own skin, but Simon doubts whether he could ever be so carefree when it comes to his appetites. Yet he can’t resist Michael, who is so sure that he and Simon are meant to be, in and out of bed. Simon is confused and conflicted.

It doesn’t help his introspection any that their enemy, Chanda the Brown Man, has escaped from police custody. Simon and Michael set out to bring their foe back to justice. But as they travel through the seedy underbelly of Dun Linden, from a roaring twenties rough-and-tumble gay bar to the sewer tunnels beneath the town, they begin to realize Chanda might just be too dangerous for them to handle on their own.
The first book in the series was a whodunit murder mystery. This one, however, has less mystery and more action, danger, and interpersonal altercations. As their relationship has taken a turn toward deeper intimacy, Simon is hot and cold, either jumping on Michael’s bones or morosely turning down his affections. His mood swings, though, never repel Michael, who has sworn to be Simon’s all, from a protector to friend and beloved. Both men are strong, smart, and super-sexy, so they are in many ways a match made in heaven.

Chanda, their foe, is a tough adversary, a cunning man with an inner drive to match his evil genius. The threat he poses arises from violent death and from torture and rape, as his deep-seated perverse nature is slowly revealed to the reader. The best part of this aspect of the story, however, is the way Chanda is humanized and given a personality of his own, something to explain his motivations and justify his actions. In fact, his role in the events of the first book are shown in a completely different light. In essence, he becomes a worthy adversary to match wits against our heroic duo.

Like in the first book, the Irish town of Dun Linden in the roaring twenties is painted with vivid local colors and the occasional detailed descriptions. The focal point here is Paddy’s, an unsavory tavern for the undesirable elements of society, complete with safe meeting places for omi-palones, or homosexuals, and crowned by the Looker’s Lattie, a dark theater where rapt audiences can observe unspeakable acts of sexual degradation and how rough-traders ravage their victims through violent sex and rape. Naturally as a plot twist, soon Simon is threatened with this terrible fate.

In the end, though, this is very much Simon’s journey toward self-discovery. Losing his virginity was his first step. Now he has to decide if he has the strength of will to take another step into the unknown. For a gay man finding his role in the world, this theme perfectly reflects modern day struggles, and how little has changed. Simon can’t decide if he’s destined to be alone, if he can carve out a little sexual niche for an occasional tumble in the sack, or if he is, as Michael says, an omi-palone and that he should embrace his true being. Not an easy decision to make in any time period. In opposition to Simon, Michael is steadfast and confident, not once wavering in the certainty of who he is. This contrast works nicely to show well they fit together.

From tight-paced action to morbid mysteries, from acts of pure perversion to acts of pure love, this tale has got it all. Highly recommended to all lovers of M/M erotic romance, even if alternate historical worlds aren’t your thing.

tothebone333x500 copyTo the Bone (Gaslight Mystery 3) Rating: 4.75 Stars

A new case is brought to private investigators Simon Hart and Michael McCree. A bunch of valuable paintings, plus an exceedingly valuable piece of artwork, have been stolen. What at first seems like a simple case of tracking down the culprits to their lair and recovering the items, soon the case evolves into a hunt for a city-wide criminal ring. To make matters worse, a mysterious man named Moshe sticks his nose into the case and in Michael and Simon’s personal relationship. Ditching him isn’t easy and he’s driving a wedge between them.
Simon is starting to accept his nature as a gay man, an omi-palone, and his relationship with Michael has taken a huge leap forward. Their multitude of sensual and sexual encounters form their most honest and basic method of communication, where neither can hide who they truly are at heart. Simon is still uptight and reserved, but he’s learning to relax and even take the initiative during sex. Michael is infinitely patient, accepting what Simon offers, never demanding more than the other man is comfortable giving. He’s such a dream man, patient and loving, honorable and roguish too.

Yet the two have little time each other as the new case preoccupies their time and attention. Their old foe, Chanda, makes a reappearance. As usual, he continues to be an intriguing personality, deep and complex, not easily reduced to a mere super villain. I wish his role had been greater, as he’s a fascinating adversary.

Instead we get Moshe, the weakest link in the story. Others may regard him differently, but I detested him. Perhaps that was a result of his meddling into my favorite literary pairing, Simon and Michael. Perhaps he was designed to appear as an unsympathetic character, as a man to hate, to stand in opposition to Simon and Michael, to show the ever-changing status of Simon and Michael’s relationship, and whether or not it can endure hardships and interested third parties.
As usual with O’Quinn, she shines in characterization, dialogue, and world-building. The writing is lyrically, breathtakingly descriptive, close to the skin and to the senses. Every single scene exudes heat, passion, intelligence, and action. The pace is swift, the plot has skillful intricacies slow to reveal themselves, and the erotic scenes are packed full of denied, yet undeniable passion. The town of Dun Linden is a living, breathing entity with a rich cultural heritage of its own, plus a dark, dangerous underbelly ripe with crimes and deviants.

And best of all, Michael and Simon are probably the most fully fleshed out characters I’ve ever come across, and they continue to surprise me with their realistic depth and their raw, passionate loving. The fact that we are given more new aspects about them with each new book shows how multi-faceted and realistic they are, how they continue to evolve as individuals and as a couple. As usual, I’m hungry and greedy for more.

I cannot recommend this first-rate series more. This sets the bar extremely high when it comes to splendid M/M erotic romance. All readers deserve to take a gander into the intriguing world of the Gaslight Mysteries, and I personally can’t wait for more sensual mysteries, with Simon and Michael at the heart of the intrigue.

resized 8x120ThinAsSmokeThin as Smoke (Gaslight Mystery 4) Ratng: 4.75 Stars

Michael McCree and Simon Hart continue as partners in the private investigation business. Their newest case puts them on the trail of missing boat engines. Along comes Samuel Dashiell Hammett, a Pinkerton agent, who shares a complicated past with Michael. Hammett has his own case to solve concerning bootleggers, and since he doesn’t know Dun Linden, he recruits Michael and Simon to aid him. But when their cases suddenly collide, all their lives are in danger—as is Michael and Simon’s tenuous relationship.

Thin As Smoke is the fourth book in the Gaslight Mysteries series. While it can be read as a standalone (the cases are all different in each book), the recommended approach is to read these in sequence.

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of O’Quinn’s writing. She has a way of painting a picture with poetic descriptions that seem like she never uses the same word twice. I can’t help but be in awe of her talent. Her style of writing has a thick sensuous tension running throughout. Even if there’s no sex in a scene, the allusion is ever-present. In part, this is due to Michael and Simon, the heroes of these tales.

O’Quinn’s characterization is deep. Her men have a way of saying a lot by saying little, as the scene between Michael and Sam in the past, during a stakeout, attests. Michael and Simon have distinctly differing personalities. Where Michael is jovial and robust, a rogue in the truest sense, Simon clings to a polite facade, reserved and private. Yet both men are smart and strong, and their connection spans beyond the physical. But that sensual sphere they inhabit is so palpable and visceral it makes my heart beat faster until I’m almost out of breath. Simon holds much of himself secret while Michael wears his heart on his sleeve. Each time the two men come together, so much is left unsaid and undone that it tears my heart out of my chest.

Sam Dashiell Hammett is an intriguing addition to the side characters. In many ways, he is like smoke. Though he’s present almost throughout the book, I felt like I started to get him, and then the understanding slipped through my fingers. At the end, I wasn’t sure if I got a handle on him at all. And yet, his presence is unmistakeable. He might not dominate every scene he’s in, but one can’t forget he’s there. Especially since his past with Michael has an unfortunate habit of jumping to the foreground, in desperate need of a resolution.

Now, what is most notable in this tale is not the presence of Hammett, but the fact that the two cases separate Michael and Simon for a good chunk of the book. And yet it is their forced separation that shows how deep their commitment to each other is. They miss each other, and a profound sense of loss and longing affecting their job performance. It was sensual but in a new way. I’m ambivalent about whether or not that’s a good thing. Perhaps I’m simply being greedy after having spent so much time with these men already and knowing how perfect they are for each other. That’s why the distinct lack of sex scenes, which are some of the best aspects in this series, hit me like a freight train. I missed these sensual scenes because during those moments neither man could pretend to be something else and their truths were self-evident.

A fair warning in advance: In the beginning, there’s quite a bit of jumping between different timelines, the past and the present. It might be confusing to some. I wasn’t entirely sure if this was the best or only way these scenes could have been handled but they did reflect the present attitudes of Michael and Simon at Paddy’s, so I understood why they were handled so. Nonetheless, it’s undoubtedly best to read the book in one sitting to avoid feeling baffled or frustrated.

As far as mysteries go, there’s some delicious searching for clues and interviewing complex characters. Even the suspects and the bad guys have multifaceted portrayals. The puzzle is not exceedingly intricate (I figured it out about halfway through the book), but the manner with which the solution is given was fascinating indeed. This is not a whodunit sort of mystery, but more of a hard-boiled kind of chase in the rain.

A wonderful addition to the Gaslight Mysteries series, I recommend this to all lovers of sensual M/M romances, with a hoot and a thrill in their mystery dimension. Start from the first book, and like me, fall in love with Michael and Simon.

The first three reviews are all together on this link: http://joyfullyjay.com/2015/02/review-the-gaslight-mysteries-by-erin-oquinn-series-spotlight/ 

The last one was published about a week later, here:  http://joyfullyjay.com/2015/03/review-thin-as-smoke-by-erin-oquinn/

Thin as Smoke: Men on the Edge

Even though Thin as Smoke was released February 1, it’s just now reaching a wider audience on Amazon dot com, dot uk and other dots near you! Hang in there with me, and I’ll post the links after these short excerpts from the novel.

A gay pub somewhere in Ireland. The day is Beltane, Lover’s Day. May 1, 1924.

~oOo~

Those of you who’ve read the first three mysteries know Simon by now: closeted, uptight, surly. Angry at himself, at his flat-mate Michael, and perhaps at the world. And by now you know the somewhat complicated reasons for his attitude.

As the novel opens, Michael McCree is working up to a celebration—the day one year ago he first met the brooding, drop-dead-gorgeous PI Simon Hart. His memories go back to the handsome stranger standing in his newspaper’s anteroom, come to turn in an obituary notice and an advert for a new roomer…

michael 400 flipMichael closed his eyes and let an image dance on the inside of his lids. His own practiced fingers fitting slugs into the linotype, pushing in time with the rain pummeling the large front window of the New Dawn. A rumpled, unshaven man of about twenty-five whose eyes were uncharted stormy seas…almost as tall as he, broad of shoulder and stubbled of chin, dominating the newspaper’s outer office, not bothering to temper either his snotty tone or the surly twist of his lips.

He’d insisted on posting a funeral notice in that very day’s edition. And an advert for a flat-mate. Had this wild-eyed loony bumped off his roomer and now needed a paying substitute? Michael had decided on the spot this outrageously handsome, darkly tousled stranger needed two commodities right away—a sodding good lay and a flat-mate named Michael McCree.

For his part, Simon remembers the day, rightly enough. But for him, the anniversary is not one to celebrate.
The story was a long one. And yet he could start a scant day ago. He’d awakened yesterday with the instant knowledge it was Beltane eve. An anniversary of sorts. A date his new partner had obliquely referred to several times as though it called for some kind of romantic celebration…their first meeting, in the newspaper shop.

bum:angstSimon still had a hard time piecing together those fevered days one year ago after he’d discovered the murdered body of his business partner. Try as he might, he could not remember even dressing on that long-ago morning, much less composing an obit notice and an advert for a new flat-mate. Had he perhaps slept in his suit and greatcoat? It was possible. What he did remember was the rain. After weeks of unnatural drought, the deluge seemed to be wreaking punishment on saint and sinner alike.

Has it really been one entire year?

He remembered taking his Bushmills bottle to bed each night for several days after he found Sargent sprawled across the surface of their old mahogany desk. He’d avoided both their PI office and the flat they’d shared, seeking the knotted bedding at his gentleman’s club where his old friend’s ghost was a little dimmer. He later remembered the cheeky fellow in the New Dawn anteroom because the bastard had extorted a prince’s ransom for his newspaper’s services and had the gall to pound on his door a few days later to extract even more.

For Simon, Beltane eve was the day he’d tried to soak the blood of his foxhole friend from a desk blotter. And Beltane was not the day he’d met Michael McCree. It was the day he’d set down another man’s death in indelible India ink.

~oOo~

And now, out of the haze of cigarette smoke and the sea of clustered dancers, steps a very thin man. A gaunt man, with shuttered eyes betraying both sickness and a world of emotional hurt. Dashiell Hammett has come to Dun Linden on a covert assignment, and he meets his old friend Michael after seven years.

man:smoke lg copyHammett’s astonished. Michael seems delighted. But Simon, refusing to admit how much he’s drawn to his handsome partner, is stricken by the sudden appearance of the man drawing Michael’s attention…

So the day Dashiell Hammett walks out of the smoke of Paddy’s gay pub, he walks into the lives of two deeply conflicted men.

One reviewer, Suzana Wylie, perceptively points out:

“Each is trapped inside the snare of his emotions, straining to find a means of escape, not from each other, but toward each other.”

Hamett’s mere presence sets in motion several events which threaten to end the edgy relationship of Michael McCree and Simon Hart.

smoke-thin 2-pizap.com14241904456613

Your amazon links:
Amazon dot com: http://amzn.to/17gOVCi

Amazon dot uk: http://bit.ly/1JqzYzb  will send you back to the dot com, because the publisher can no longer deal with the VAT conversion for UK readers.

Don’t forget, this is the latest of four mysteries. The others are:

HEART TO HART … SPARRING WITH SHADOWS … TO THE BONE

All are on my Amazon author pages:  http://amzn.to/1w8PVgI and the UK site:  http://bit.ly/1JqzYzb
And here at AReOmniLit: http://bit.ly/1vKA4fa
where you can select Mobipocket (.prc) to download to your Kindle.
They’re also here, on my pub site:  http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/223-Erin-O-Quinn.aspx

Coming out starts in the mind …

str backed

Yes, Simon has tried to hide his deep attraction to Michael for … let’s see, three books now. But his sensuous partner has permeated his life, in every way. Why is it Simon cannot look at a simple wooden chair without becoming aroused? What desire is he trying to tamp down? What hope lies so deep he cannot face it?

At last, in Thin as Smoke, the catalyst of Dashiell Hammett has forced jealous Simon to look at his stifled desires much more closely than ever before.

tie to chair crop

~oOo~

Simon missed the man already. He imagined him in that tiny car, knee-to-knee with Dashiell Hammett. Or worse. The picture of a flesh-and-blood Michael McCree took shape in front of his eyes as he regarded the large stiff-backed wooden chair. One year ago. A perilous adventure just completed. The sight of a man standing at that very chair, in between changing from kaffies to dress slacks…fedora and suspenders

Trembling with suffused excitement, as always after the conclusion of a harrowing case, he could not help glancing toward Michael’s backside. Unconscious of his gaze, the man had bent to put on a fresh pair of trousers. The sight turned his gut to jelly.

A firm ass covered with silken down. A set of drooping testicles cobwebbed with golden hair. Flat muscles rippling and beckoning in the gaslight.

“Do not turn around.” His own voice crackled in the large, silent room.

His partner, no doubt astonished, obeyed. Simon knelt behind him. His tongue flicked and flayed the soft flesh, and then found the yielding anus. While his fingers splayed the butt cheeks, he began to suck and probe.

b&w erotic

Simon wrenched his mind from the memory. Why now, dammit? I have work to do, and fast.

~oOo~

Your amazon link:
Amazon dot com: http://amzn.to/17gOVCi

Amazon dot uk: http://bit.ly/1JqzYzb will send you back to the dot com, because the publisher can no longer deal with the VAT conversion for UK readers.

Don’t forget, this is the latest of four mysteries. The others are:

HEART TO HART … SPARRING WITH SHADOWS … TO THE BONE

All are on my Amazon author pages: http://amzn.to/1w8PVgI

And here at AReOmniLit: http://bit.ly/1vKA4fa
where you can select Mobipocket (.prc) to download to your Kindle.
They’re also here, on my pub site:  http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2118-Thin-As-Smoke.aspx

Thin as Smoke: Smoldering Reviews!

Thin as Smoke has been out only a few days, and it has a few well-crafted reviews!

I count myself lucky. My writing seems to draw the kinds of readers and reviewers every author pines for—ones who can look into the soul of a story, understand the symbols and themes, explore the sometimes complex motivations of the characters.

resized 8x120ThinAsSmoke

Cover copyright 2015 by Trace Edward Zaber

One such reviewer is Suzana Wylie, author of M/M paranormal literature, poetry, flash fiction, and other work. She did not write this review of Thin as Smoke with any “mutual back-scratching” arrangement. In fact, she has no idea I’m even doing this! Her review is so penetrating that I reproduce it here in full.

Another reviewer, this one a sharp-eyed reader, is Fiona Rachel Warner. I freaking love her unvarnished sentiment, her way of approaching the book as a wide-eyed reader with no preconceptions. In a way, hers is the kind of review I most cherish, because it’s beautifully written and comes straight from the heart.

~oOo~

First, Suzana Wylie:

She does it every time. When I pick up a book by Erin O’Quinn, I know I’m going to enjoy it. That’s a foregone conclusion. With her Gaslight Mysteries series, it’s not simply enjoyment; it’s magic. One moment I’m sitting in my familiar surroundings opening a book; and before I’ve finished the first paragraph, space and time have contracted and I’m in Dun Linden, Ireland, in the early 1920’s.

Thin as Smoke is every bit as magical as the previous three books in the series. O’Quinn delivers both a mystery taut with danger and a love story, just as taut and just as dangerous. In many ways, this is the best of them, and I have loved each one.

pretend cropSimon Hart, reticent and reluctant to embrace his own sexuality, and boisterous, brash Michael McCree are partners in their firm of private investigators, and often as agents in Michael’s own covert activities. They are also sometime partners in the bedroom, though not nearly often enough to suit Michael. Each is trapped inside the snare of his emotions, straining to find a means of escape, not from each other, but toward each other.

brown thin oquinn-pizap.com14227980756811

Into this already tense situation comes a presence from Michael’s past, a former partner, one who holds a part of Michael close to his own tubercular chest, one who goes by the familiar name of Dashiell Hammett. Hammett and a private client are each in need—of Michael in one case, and Simon in the other. Rather than their accustomed work together, they must work separately to solve these cases. Separately, but not alone. The man Hammett is there, thin as smoke and yet hard as flint between them.

There is more than one way to step into danger; there is more than one way to damage a relationship, perhaps beyond repair. Though he stands between them, Hammett may hold the key to uniting Michael and Simon in deeper ways than ever before.
It’s a brave author who pulls a flesh-and-blood [historical] character into a work of fiction. Rarely have I seen such skillful weaving-in as O’Quinn does in Thin as Smoke. Very highly recommended. Five stars!

~oOo~

Next, Fiona Rachel Warner (UK reader):

“Quirky, original, different and stimulating—who could ask for more!”
Five stars …

I have been sent an arc of this fourth Gaslight Mystery and I have devoured it in two days such was my enthusiasm to find out more about Simon and Michael’s lives. And this in my opinion is the best of the 4 books. I liked the additional characters and the storyline was intriguing and exciting, but the developing relationship between these two men was the cause of much angst and wishful thinking and for me made it a real page turner.

Not going to ‘spoil’ it for any of you so no comments on the story; but suffice it to say that Erin O’Quinn should be extremely proud of this book. It was so well written and the style so magical and evocative of the time that it was a delight to read just for that. And it certainly wasn’t predictable… I genuinely enjoyed it. Quirky, original, different and stimulating – who could ask for more!

~oOo~

Just a reminder … Thin as Smoke is the fourth of the series. The art below shows the spirit of all these m/mysteries.

there are 4 GL-pizap.com14229073578682 copy

The books are all available on my Amber Quill Press author page… Coming soon to amazon dot com and dot uk. Note that Thin as Smoke is being offered at an introductory 35% discount for a limited time only.

http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/223-Erin-O-Quinn.aspx 

http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2118-Thin-As-Smoke.aspx 

You’ll find the trilogy also on my Amazon author page, complete with 45 five-star reviews:

http://amzn.to/1w8PVgI