Something Hard, from Masters of Cane

 

Here’s a short continuation of what I started last week…

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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.

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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.

[to be continued]

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~oOo~

Missed 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 seies page:
http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm

❤HEART TO HEART ❤

👥SPARRING WITH SHADOWS 👥

☠TO THE BONE ☠

🔫THIN AS SMOKE 🔫

👨‍❤️‍👨 MASTERS OF CANE 👨‍❤️‍👨

The art on the opening banner by Alex A. Akira, writer/artist/illustrator. If you need covers, banners, box set art, etc., you’ll find his service here:  alexaakira.org

 

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MASTERS OF CANE: A Preview

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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.

~oOo~

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.

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.

“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.

[chapter to be continued, in the novel]

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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.

GL 5 logoThe Gaslight Mysteries
New Kindle Series page:

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Hammett, Gershwin, and O’Quinn

Dashiell Hammett, best known for his iconic novel The Maltese Falcon, struggled with tuberculosis most of his adult life. The portrait you’ll read of him in THIN AS SMOKE, however, is a creation of my frazzled brain and not a representation of the “real” Dashiell  Hammett, except insofar as a distinct personality emerges from reading his body of work.

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George Gershwin, beloved American composer of popular jazz and sophisticated orchestral pieces, was the son of Russian Jews. In Michael and Simon’s tavern, the music would have been heard on scratchy gramophones and even live, from the fingers and lips of jazz musicians for whom there were no international boundaries, only music.

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Both these fellows are imbedded in my romcom mystery THIN AS SMOKE, each in a different way.

Hammett, the famous writer of hard-boiled crime novels, was really a Pinkerton Agency op from 1915 until 1922. And Gershwin wrote the hugely famous “The Man I Love” in 1924,* the year my story takes place.

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Those of you who’ve read the first Gaslight Mystery, Heart to Hart, already know the Pinkerton’s link with Michael. Because of this association, I postulate that my character had met Hammett, whom he calls “Sam,” on U.S. soil in 1917, right before the writer-to-be joined the WWI effort.

Almost impoverished, with a wife and newborn child to support, the tubercular, chain-smoking Hammett was living in San Francisco in 1924. And here’s where Erin O’Quinn’s imagination substitutes fiction for reality. It’s true that Hammett had bitterly turned away from the detection agency two years before (because of their anti-union activities, which I don’t mention in the book).

But needing money, he agrees to one last assignment for Pinkerton’s; and that covert operation takes him to Dun Linden, Ireland, back to the man he’d known Stateside seven years earlier.

And Simon, battling his inner demons—in love with Michael but refusing to admit his gayness, guilt-ridden over his ambivalent feelings—Simon does not like Hammett’s appearance and his teaming up with his PI partner Michael. Not one little bit.

Ironically, the man who’s “thin as smoke” comes between the two private investigators in a way that’s “hard as a fist,” and that tension drives the inner action of the book. The outer action hinges on two sets of mysteries, and the PIs must split up to investigate both.

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Now let’s segue to a lovely song. “The Man I Love” is a Gershwin standard, usually sung by a female vocalist. But anyone who’s heard the lyrics knows it’s a tender yearning for love, no matter whether from a woman to a man…or one man to another.

The day Hammett shows up in their lives, he invites Michael to the dance floor in a gay tavern (in those days, a Molly House) in order to discuss a secret op. The music they closely dance to, ironically, is Gershwin’s song. Simon sits listening, fantasizing, anguished, while his secret love is in the arms of a dangerously handsome man.tmil green

You may choose not to believe this. But the video I present below was totally new to me until a few weeks ago, months after I wrote the dance-floor scene with the Gershwin song. Watch it, and you may weep for its understated declaration of pure love, one man for another. I cannot see it without fighting down a lump in my throat.

One of life’s strange coincidences.

The song winds its way throughout the book, coming back like a leitmotif, and reprises in the Epilogue. Hearing that song in some crevice of his mind, Simon finally understands what he must do.

And the very thin one, Hammett? His very presence becomes the catalyst for profound change in the life of both Michael and Simon, in ways you’ll have to read about to understand.

Please click the link (not the arrow) and watch/listen!

http://youtu.be/rcdgKtT-i-k

nyc chorus

If you haven’t yet read the Gaslight Mysteries, I urge you to read them in order—both to avoid any spoiler of a few interesting quirks and quiddities; and especially for the developing relationship between Michael McCree and Simon Hart.

All the mysteries are here:

http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm   

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*The music and lyrics were written in 1924 for inclusion in a Broadway musical but were later scrapped; and the song wasn’t heard as a single until 1927. So I’m pushing the boundaries a little for the sake of the story. So sue me …

Photos on this page from Yahoo! Images and from Wikipedia
Cover images of the Gaslight Mysteries by Erin O’Quinn (Bonita Franks)

Thin as Smoke: Men on the Edge

 

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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.

 

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The five mysteries are here, on the new Kindle Series page:

http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm 

All the way to the bone

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The time is 1923, and the place is a fantasy city in Ireland. 

Private eyes Michael McCree and Simon Hart have a case to solve: to find more than a score of stolen paintings, and especially one small valuable work of art worth more than all the others. But the case grows more complex the deeper they look into it. Soon Michael and Simon find themselves searching not just for a thief, but for a city-wide ring of criminals. And the closer they get to the paintings, the closer they find themselves to a killer.

Into this mix steps a man named Moshe—a pesky, secretive, nosy man who is nevertheless a brilliant investigator himself. He gives both the men fits, burrowing like a tick into their very private affairs, so close they have a hard time evading him.

Can the investigators solve a series of crimes and take care of the interfering Moshe, while driving their own intense relationship all the way to the bone?

One of the most intimate scenes in the novels comes in the middlish of this book, when Michael fears he has alienated Simon for once and for all. But incredibly, his flat mate silently joins him on his large four-poster bed…

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Simon’s voice held all the music of heaven, playing along his ear and down his backbone, on its way to the crack in his ass. The tongue began to trace the cleavage in his buttocks, and Michael began to shake like a goddamn kid, unable to bear the outright pleasure of his wet mouth.

Simon had never put more than a finger near his asshole. And even then, it had been the kind of almost shy insertion a man like Michael might not even feel, his rear so pummeled for so many years by fingers, even fists of rough trade lovers. But this licking of his butt crack, this lapping and browsing of his most sensitive skin… Oh, God, he rose to it, arcing his buttocks and pushing the rim of his hole closer to the beloved mouth boasting a slick, hot tongue.

It was a few seconds only of outright bliss, but Michael’s mind and body feasted on a deep delight he’d never known. Too soon, Simon moved away. Michael felt his lover’s tangled chest hair grazing the length of his back, then his lips seeking his ear.

A whisper, a murmur, words almost unspoken. He strained to hear them—

Come to think of it, this novel may break all previous records for Simon, in terms of showing his deeply buried passions. Maybe it’s the presence, and the threat, of that damned pesky Moshe who’s much too close to the bone.

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Well, the mystery in this book is too involved to give a wrap-up here. Perhaps you need to get the novel and find out—who the hell is Moshe, what’s his connection to Simon and to the Brown Man…and whodunnit?

On the Kindle Series page:

http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm

 

 

 

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I’m grateful to artist/designer/author Alex A. Akira for the art of the skull, and for much more! He has been my muse for many years.

 

 

Grow a set: The Gaslight Mysteries

~ Update May 1, 2018 ~

‘Tis Beltane. A day for lovers. The anniversary of the day Michael met Simon, May 1, 1923.

Let me say right away that the universe of these books, the Ireland city of Dun Linden, is wholly fabricated. In every bloody detail. And because it’s set in the mid-1920s, I have deliberately left out The Troubles … the years of horrendous confrontations between the Irish and the British, and between Irish fathers and sons. The series is meant to be a romcom, not a representation of grim history.

I’m re-designing this blog because I’ve re-written, re-formatted, and re-covered the novels. So they’re “reed” to death. This blog, I hope, will feature each novel in order, with   dates starting May 1, 2018.

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A couple of years ago, my attraction to all things Gaelic led me to imagine a man named Michael McCree—a roustabout Irishman, a lover of men and a drinker of whiskey, and yet one with some surprising depths and one huge secret. He makes a living out of being smarter than most, quicker, more athletic, and by-god more able to hold his liquor and swive more men.

A man like Michael is only as interesting as the man he sets his sights on. And that unlikely person is a surly, angry, altogether closeted and touch-me-not fellow named Simon Hart. Simon’s a Cambridge-educated private investigator whose partner has been murdered, and he meets Michael in a newspaper shop when turning in an obit notice.

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They meet. Fisticuffs fly. And before Simon knows what’s happened, he’s gained a new flat-mate, a new business partner, and a wanna-be lover. It’s the “wanna-be” that drives every novel, from first to latest.

Here’s a nutshell of the novels. The biggest surprise is how long it takes Michael and Simon to actually “come together,” in every way. Each book seems to tiptoe to the edge and by the next book, they must start all over again because of their complex personalities.

 

 

 

 

~oOo~

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When I wrote HEART TO HART, I had to keep in mind the future of the two 1920s Private Investigators. I don’t mean their careers, but their hearts.

In the first mystery, Michael McCree seduces a skittish Simon Hart, more uptight about his sexual self than the bluff Irishman can possibly guess, and far more sensitive than Michael has the experience to recognize. His slam-bam techniques work, up to a point.

But the man he finagles into being his flat-mate, the one who trusts him to be his new partner, is far too complex for Michael to bed and then take for granted.

These men’s story grows over the next four books. I need to add that each book is a stand-alone, but the developing relationship really cries out for a reader to start with the first one and continue from there.

This first mystery could well be called “The Case of the Crimson Feather” and introduces several characters who reappear in subsequent novels.

~

SPARRING WITH SHADOWS finds Simon anguished about the loss of his former business partner and the recent loss of his virginity to heavy-handed Michael.

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Merely calling him a “homosexual” causes Simon to fall apart in front of Michael’s eyes. The carefree McCree needs to change, and he needs to help Simon see past his angst. But can he? And is Simon capable of sparring with his private demons and seeing himself more truly?

There is a lot of action in this second novel, with the idea of “shadows” coming into play always.

~

In TO THE BONE, the men are visited by a ghost from Simon’s earlier life, a man named Moshe. Just as he is on the verge of reaching out to Michael, Simon finds himself withdrawing even more, avoiding not just the present but even his past.

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But something important begins to cement these men together. Call it Michael’s new-found awareness of Simon’s secret desires. Call it Simon’s slow acceptance of his own complicated sexual needs. No matter what the reason, these two PIs begin to explore matters both in and out of their two large beds. For them, it’s a work in progress. Apart from pooling their talents on PI cases, it also involves bed dowels, silken neckties, and a certain walking cane.

Like its prequel, this novel contains more than one mystery, and the threads come together rather provocatively. The book also contains some engaging private encounters, not the least of which occurs with verses from Omar Khayyám…

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~

In THIN AS SMOKE, a man from Michael’s past almost pulls the men apart for good.

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Dashiell Hammett was unknown to readers in 1924, although the fledgling author and former Pinkerton’s op had a few stories published (“The Continental Op” series). The beginnings of a fictional hard-boiled operative would eventually result in THE MALTESE FALCON. But for now, sent to Ireland to pin down Mafia bootleggers, he renews ties with his old friend Michael.

 

And Simon does not like this development. Not one bit. Hammett’s presence becomes a catalyst for change, in every way…

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This novel is more “shoot ’em up” than the others—but what can one expect when Dashiell Hamnmett is on the case?

~

MASTERS OF CANE

In a way, this caper is the most humorous of the set, as you may see from the collage below:

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The fifth mystery, MASTERS OF CANE features the turn-of-the-century fad (the 20th century, that is)…the craze known as “Bartitsu” or cane-fighting which has had a resurgence and is alive and well all over the U.K. and the U.S.

On the top of this blog, you’ll find “In the Raw,” the first two chapters of the novel—sexy and (for Simon) unusual—and an article about the “gay language” used in the series.

The “Lavender Language” or “underground gay language”  called Polari comes into play in this novel, as the men call on their stalwart team of back-alley boys who have not quite grasped  the finer points of  the King’s English. An old nemesis reappears to give Simon grief, and Sam Hammett joins the fray as a small army descends on Dun Linden’s center of criminal activity—the local cop headquarters!

And finally…finally! Simon lets down his  reserves long enough to give Michael an unforgettable display of canesmanship.

~oOo~

pair o pugs 300Throughout the books, Michael and Simon encounter and solve cases which “happen”—from murder to dog-napping—while they struggle with their own personal lives. I’ve found in writing these books that there is a lot of potential for humor, for irony, and for exploring the clues to bona fide mysteries.

Damn, I’m the luckiest author I know, to have conceived a pair of absolutely riveting and pleasing characters who’ve won a lot of dedicated followers.

And yes, I am fiddling with a sixth mystery. Simon is still giving Michael a hard time. With and without his cane.

~

 

Find the mysteries on my Amazon series page, and these other fine sites:

https://tinyurl.com/yap2ducr  

Queer Romance Ink http://bit.ly/2mnG1hL (links, reviews, etc.)

Sea to Sky http://bit.ly/2lJ72bd (epub or pdf links, excerpts)

Smashwords http://bit.ly/1s3cf1q (epub)
rainboavy=pizap.com14260942135611

Erin O’Quinn sprang from the high desert hills of Nevada, from a tiny town which no longer exists. A truant officer dragged her kicking and screaming to grade school, too late to attend kindergarten; and since that time her best education has come from the ground she’s walked and the people she’s met.

These M/Mysteries are contagious

April, 2018   Hi, everyone! You’ve reached the home page of Michael McCree and Simon Hart, otherwise known as Erin’s gaslight boys. This blog is being revised, and subsequent articles will appear weekly beginning May 1, 2018…exactly 95 years from the day when Michael met Simon…

~~Scroll down to see the articles in chrono order…or click a calendar date~~ 

Their sexcapades and investigations stretch over five novels so far:

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Heart to Hart sets up the improbable pairing of a roustabout named Michael McCree, a man with a huge secret … and a snotty, angry man named Simon Hart, whose good looks have drawn Michael into a murder mystery and a lot more on the emotional side of the ledger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sparring with Shadows continues the adventures of two unlikely private investigators, who look into affairs very private indeed. Their efforts take them from a gay bar to the sewers under a city in their quest for a priceless treasure, a master criminal, and an answer to Simon’s anguished question about himself.

 

 

 

 

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To the Bone introduces a character who worms his way between the two men, burrowing like a tick almost to the bone, while the investigators are on the trail of a thief and a murderer…not to mention a possible breakthrough in their always edgy relationship.

 

 

 

 

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Thin as Smoke: 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. 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

 

 

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Masters of Cane:  No one has hired them this time, as the private dicks 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. Even Simon is surprised to discover the true masters of cane in this novel of sex, crime, punishment—and sexual payback.

~oOo~

All five mysteries are together on a unique Kindle Series page, here:

~The Gaslight Mysteries

http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm

Keep this blog bookmarked (or click “follow”)  if you want to follow the sexy adventures of Michael and Simon…gay retro with a twist.

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A side note: I have recently designed all new covers, along with publishing the mysteries on my own press, New Dawn Press. Not coincidentally, the name of my press is also the name of Michael’s newspaper.

 

Logo design by Rebecca Poole, Dreams2Media.