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Posts Tagged ‘first meeting of characters’

What’s the spark that started the fire?

flame on whte

This is the second in a series, my retrospective on how Erin O’Quinn’s men first met.

“The Gaslight Mysteries” is a five-novel series starring a hard-fisted, hard-drinking Irishman named Michael McCree; and a surly, angry PI named Simon Hart. The tag line for this best-selling series is  “Gay Retro with a Twist.”

These two men, unlikely mates, take five novels to “come together,” in every way. The series is full of fun, cat-and-mouse sexual tension, and “retro” atmosphere.

heart fingerprints

When Michael Meets Simon… Heart to Hart
May 1, Beltane, 1923. From ch 1, Michael’s pov, “A New Dawn”

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.

simon suit copy

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

He grinned and shifted a wooden match between his teeth. “’Tis help ye need, now?”

Under a fine woolen greatcoat, invitingly open, the man was wearing an impeccably smooth silk brocade jacket, with a neck scarf to reflect the unusual blue of his eyes.

“Yes.” His voice was as clipped and rude as his mouth. “You may place this obituary in the newspaper. And you may insert an advert as well.”

I may, may I? Maybe I’ll insert something else, lad. To himself, Michael mimicked the other’s tone of voice. He knew the man had been educated at a few up-yer-arse schools, probably Eton, then Cambridge. He barely moved his mouth when he articulated every syllable. Here was a man who wouldn’t know a back-alley expression if it slid up his bunghole.

heart fingerprints

But Simon’s impression of that first meeting, as one would expect from a closeted man, is a world apart.

When Simon meets Michael…Thin as Smoke
(May 1, Beltane, 1924: a year later. From Simon’s pov, ch 2, “A New Client”

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.

Simon 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.

fedora crop

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 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.

flame on whte

GL full covers

The series has its own Kindle Series page.

THE GASLIGHT MYSTERIES 5 novels

http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm

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