This latest Gaslight Mystery is rife with humor and suppressed sexual drive, as a changed Simon finds his randy partner just out of reach—an ironic reversal of their usual “pursuit of the very private eye.” Following is the offiicial blurb for the novel:
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.
This article appeared earlier, in the “pages” section of the blog. I’m reprinting it here, for those who might like to begin the odyssey…or, having read the others, would like to see what happens “the day after the night before” (Thin as Smoke).
Here are the opening words of MASTERS OF CANE. Spoiler alert: This novel is set immediately following its prequel THIN AS SMOKE, and this preview may give away parts of the ending.
From 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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
“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.
“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.
Simon 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.
[chapter to be continued, in the novel]
The cover I designed is here. It holds a subtle secret, for those who compare it to all the others. If you figure it out, you just might smile and one-click the novel.
The Gaslight Mysteries
New Kindle Series page: