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.

 

MofC collage correx=pizap.com14521147989862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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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

Thin as Smoke: Read it Now

For most folks, today is Super Bowl Sunday. For me, it’s launch day of Thin as Smoke, the fourth Gaslight Mystery.

If you’ve read any of the earlier mysteries, you know that Michael McCree and Simon Hart are two private eyes in 1920s Ireland; and that Michael began their relationship in the role of a covert op for an agency not-to-be-named here. No spoiler alerts from me!

Michael wormed his way into Simon’s flat after winning a fisticuffs wager. From that point, he worked his way into the surly man’s PI business, and from there into his four-poster bed. More out of than into, as a matter of fact.crop fisticuffs=pizap.com13997302866531

With each ensuing novel, the relationship between roustabout Michael and snotty, angry Simon  grows more tangled, more edgy, more sensual in its tacit promise of pursuit and climax.

The newest mystery opens May 1, 1924. It’s been exactly one year from the morning private investigator Simon stumbled into Michael’s newspaper office, rumpled and unshaven, bearing an obituary notice. For the darkly handsome PI, that day was a journey through ghastly memories of finding his former partner murdered. For the brash Irishman with a secret, the day brought into his life the man he wanted to be with the rest of his days …
~

Opening words of Heart to Hart, Gaslight Mystery 1:

528243_392549827537987_1338773719_n
Michael’s life began all over again on Monday. The rain that had been threatening for weeks finally banged Dun Linden with bare fists just as dawn broke, pummeling and pounding, leaving everyone a little off balance. Setting the banner line for the day’s newspaper edition, he’d looked up from the linotype into the most arresting pair of eyes he’d ever seen. They were soulful and tormented, of a color somewhere between teal and turquoise, like a rare metal seen once in a lifetime. Or an undiscovered ocean on the edge of a wet dream. He stared in spite of himself at the man behind the eyes.

He was tall—all of six feet, almost as tall as Michael. A black felt bowler hat covered his hair. But Michael knew it had to be as dark as the eyebrows and the growing shadow around his upper lip and chin. Had the man even slept last night? The mouth itself was sulky, arrogant, almost angry.

Michael’s cock set up a slow hammering beneath the stiff leather apron.

~

Segue to one year later: May 1, 1924.  Michael and Simon are now partners in a PI firm, and they have an off-and-on sleeping arrangement which Simon still, after twelve months, is finding difficult to accept. Long story.

As the new novel opens, the men are sitting in the gay pub Paddy’s waiting for an undercover tryst with an agent. Why there? Because that tavern is the unlikely headquarters of Michael’s secret employer.

Michael is already planning a celebration; Simon is dreading it.

Just as Simon is barely beginning to warm to Michael, something happens which will utterly change their relationship. A gaunt man appears at Michael’s elbow, murmuring into his ear.  And while Simon watches them dance on the crowded floor, his gut wrenches with all the agony a jealous man can feel.

In this excerpt, Simon gets a closer look at this new man who will prove to be closer to Michael than merely a dance partner in a homosexual tavern.

~

TAS dance-pizap.com14183387998281

He shuddered. Who is this creature, and why is my gut in knots looking at him?

Despite the cadaverous look of his face, this stranger was striking, even sensual. Simon had learned to appreciate and fear those men who guarded their secrets with their eyes. He thought briefly of the Brown Man, a former opponent. If he didn’t know damn well it was impossible, this man could be Chanda Gopala in one of a thousand disguises, come back to exact some perverted retribution.

The musicians were coaxing long minutes from the song. Simon had instantly learned the lyrics a few months ago from a scratchy table-model gramophone with a wind-up spring motor. Paddy’s often cranked it up when their players left to drink, or eat, or fornicate.

Some day he’ll come along,
The man I love
And he’ll be big and strong,
The man I love
And when he comes my way
I’ll do my best to make him stay.

 He wondered what the hollow-chested man was telling Michael, his mouth plastered in his ear …

~

So why in hell would Samuel Dashiell Hammett, the well-known writer of hard-boiled crime novels, be closeted in a gay tavern in Dun Linden, Ireland?

And how does this gaunt man with the hooded eyes forever change the lives of two PIs?

If you don’t already own the first three mysteries, isn’t it time you rushed over and bought them?

Heart to Hart: http://amzn.to/12gBwlL
Sparring with Shadows: http://amzn.to/14QXtqW
To the Bone: http://amzn.to/1bEXep2
The mysteries can also be found on my Amber Quill Press author page:
http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/223-Erin-O-Quinn.aspx

And now: Thin as Smoke cover reveal …

resized 8x120ThinAsSmokeCover copyright 2015 by Trace Edward Zaber, Amber Quill Press.

Now on Amazon:
http://amzn.to/17gOVCi

On ARe/OmniLit:

https://www.omnilit.com/product-thinassmoke-1741558-340.html
For your Kindle, choose Mobipocket .prc

Or on the publisher’s web page:
http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2118-Thin-As-Smoke.aspx

What’s up … and who dunnit?

smoky cover-pizap.com14223749906101 copy 3Out of the haze of cigarette smoke and a 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.

He’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.

In a way this latest Gaslight Mystery comes full circle: from the day a year past when Michael first met his partner, to the anniversary of that well remembered occasion. But with a deadly mystery to solve and a new investigator in the mix, the men can never go back to the same relationship.

Before the debut of THIN AS SMOKE in a few days, I offer one more excerpt. This novel recounts a search:  For clues to a mystery which began as mundane but has turned deadly. For the trail of a missing private dick whose mind is on his dick and on saving his own neck. For the motives of a very thin man who can play any part to perfection—so what part is he playing now in the lives of Michael and Simon?

Here, the PIs are making sure “Sam” (Dashiell) Hammett has at least a place to sleep. Private even if not too swank …

~oOo~

Simon quickly arranged dormitory space for Sam. A small room with a tiny bed, close to lavatory facilities, overlooked an area of hedges and trees. The scant space seemed almost peaceful to Michael, who himself needed little in order to find body comfort and a refuge for his soul.

Sam flashed a smile, brief but genuine, Michael thought.

“Perfect, Simon.”

Simon downplayed his obvious pleasure at the compliment. “I cannot guarantee utmost privacy from someone who may have an ear glued to the wall in the next room.”

“As long as that person keeps his dick in his drawers, I’m okay with it.”

Again, Michael and Simon both laughed. He saw Simon was amused at the man’s flippant attitude about his own sexuality and the possibility of being accosted by another male. He himself, even while chuckling, was puzzled by Sam’s change from close-fitting dance partner to huffy hetero. He can play any part to perfection. So which role is he playing now?

~oOo~

4 GL lined up 2-pizap.com14219502617254 copy

Find the first three Gaslight Mysteries on my Amazon author page:

http://amzn.to/1w8PVgI

And on my Amber Quill Press author page:

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

Thin as Smoke is currntly available at an introductory 35% discount here: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2118-Thin-As-Smoke.aspx

Coming soon to Amazon dot com and dot uk and other dots near you!

Free Short Story

February 6, 2015 from a September 2014 post:

Here is a short story… under 1K words… a kind of prologue to the four-novel “Gaslight Mysteries” stories. The last few paragraphs foreshadow Thin as Smoke, which arrived February 1. If you are curious about the necessarily brief character sketches, or by the hint of action to come, then consider owning the books. 

~Wings of Angels~

wings from behindThe approaching man stumbled a little, oblivious to Michael’s presence in the room, sunk as he was in an ancient leather couch, his face buried behind the Dun Linden, Ireland New Dawn. As usual, this late at night, the man was carrying a bottle of Bushmills fine whiskey and walking with the deliberate gait of a drunk toward this end of the smoking room, where the dormitory entrance stood.

Michael McCree had been stalking this sensual dish, this marvelous bit o’hard, for the last few days. He’d found out Simon Hart was a private investigator, yet obviously one who needed to get sober before he investigated anything at all except a lumpy bed behind those double doors at his gentleman’s club.

Michael’s eyes rested longingly on Simon’s ass-end, revealed in all its muscled splendor by the tight athletic trousers. Only when the door was firmly shut and his quarry probably passed out on the cot inside would Michael finally leave and seek a late supper at the pub.

He tossed the newspaper aside and sat forward, elbows on knees, thinking about the impossibly handsome Simon. On Monday, three days ago, he’d handed Michael an obituary notice. Michael was a fair-to-middling newspaper typesetter, and Simon was a stranger in mourning. Their hands never touched. A starchy piece of paper did not even change hands. The sulky man had looked at him briefly, with aqua eyes like deep tide pools, and then he’d laid the notice carefully on the linotype as if he could not bear to have anyone wrench it from his possession.

The sheet of paper had been carefully inscribed with the details of a memorial service and a funeral following. It had taken Michael only a heartbeat to understand that the dead man had been Simon’s friend. And perhaps much more. Yet he could not tame the sudden lurch of his prick under the heavy leather typesetter’s apron. This was a man he wanted in his dreams, in his arms, in his ravening mouth. His prick, he knew, would fit nicely in his ass when the time came.

This man Simon fit his qualifications perfectly. He would not be a threat to Michael’s hidden life, one he’d closely guarded for years. After a sufficient amount of Bushmills, he may very well take a liking to Michael’s silk neckpiece. And those eyes … he could drown in their promise of smoldering resistance and eventual surrender.

O’course, he thought, he’d allow the man his period of mourning. And then ’twould be time to introduce himself properly. As a fisticuff fighter seeking to win a wager. As a potential new flat-mate. And finally, he hoped, as a savage-and-gentle lover.

Michael prided himself on having the eye and the sharp senses of a kestrel. And yet, when he rose and left the sagging couch, he did not notice another man in the large room get up and take his place near the dormitory door. He, too, held the New Dawn, a newspaper he did not intend to read.

wings 420

The man called Moses watched Michael leave the club. His lower lip jutted out naturally, putting a kind of pout on the older man’s face. The expression in his very dark eyes was hidden by lowered lids and by shaggy brows that nevertheless told a prologue to danger.

I suspect this man who watches Simon has no hidden desire, except the desire to bed him. Not if I can help it.

His brows arched and flapped, a warning to anyone who would put this particular young man in peril. Especially the peril of a man entering another man, even in spirit.

Simon, oblivious to the wings of angels spread outside the tiny dorm room, let another bit of whiskey coat his mouth, then swallowed carefully.

“Funeral. Friday.” He set the bottle on the floor near the bed and lay back.

The first twenty-five years of his life had been hell. And yet, he thought, nothing like the next quarter century would be. In spite of the pain in his gut, he still would not cry. Because of it, he would not sleep.

angel wow

Twenty feet away, in another world, the pages of a newspaper rustled softly, like the rousing of feathers, like the whisper of rushes in the Nile. And somewhere outside, walking the four miles to the Silver Hind pub where Simon had a flat, a man stretched his arms and yawned, unconsciously imitating his archangel namesake, Michael.

Half a world distant, in a fog-shrouded city called San Francisco, another man sat smoking on an indifferent bed in a cheap hotel room. The bottle he held was prohibited by national law, and all the more desired because it was forbidden.

dark angel

Sam Dashiell Hammett thought about his life as an undercover agent. He briefly considered his rude scribblings about a plain dick, an anonymous operative. And suddenly, maybe because of the goddamn booze, he thought about a handsome young Irishman he’d known years before. One he was sure he’d never see again.

I left without saying goodbye. I had folded my wings over him, my only friend … and then released him to find my own hell in the trenches of a goddamn war.

Grinding out his smoldering butt, the tubercular man began to cough. And then, without even thinking about it, he pulled a pouch and thin paper packet from his shirt pocket and began to roll another cigarette.

 ~∞∞~
Here are the links to The Gaslight Mysteries. (Thin as Smoke coming soon to Amazon):
there are 4 GL-pizap.com14229073578682 copy
Heart to Hart: http://amzn.to/12gBwlL
Sparring with Shadows: http://amzn.to/14QXtqW
To the Bone: http://amzn.to/1bEXep2
Thin as Smoke on my Amber Quill Press author page:
http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/223-Erin-O-Quinn.aspx
Coming soon to Amazon dot com and dot uk.
~∞~