Love Bytes is excited to be aible to host the exclusive cover reveal on Clare London, her new upcoming Dreamspinner Press Release “A Good Neighbour”, a London Lads Story.
Valerie Tibbs’ evocative and romantic theme for this series of London stories is continued in this cover, with the added bonus of the two main characters and their obvious attraction. This is the third title in the series of novellas I’m publishing with Dreamspinner Press throughout 2017, all under the banner “London Lads”. A set of individual contemporary romances set in and about London, involving confusion, tension, passion, miscommunication, heart searching, and some humour – but always love. I can’t wait to see the whole line of covers unfold over the months ahead, and share them with you!
Today A Good Neighbour goes on pre-order. It’s a romantic contemporary story, with an HEA, yet the main couple have to face some tough decisions as they come from very different places – logistically and emotionally. And all of it under the loving yet meddlesome scrutiny of Dylan’s feisty Great-Aunts! I hope you enjoy this post, the cover reveal, and my celebratory Giveaway today.
Artist: Valerie Tibbs
A secret affair can’t go on forever.
Dylan Philips admits it himself: he’s a relentlessly single man in a small suburban town, both proud of and resigned to being a good teacher and a devoted nephew to his mischievous Great-Aunts. When the Aunts take a hand in matchmaking him with Josie Whitman, the girl who lives along the street, Dylan doesn’t tell them what kind of soulmate he’s really looking for—and the fact that he’s already found the man in question. It’s not Josie who’s travelling from London every month to her town property, but her journalist brother Neal. And Dylan meets up with Neal whenever he can. But decisions must be made for their future. Dylan is risk-averse to everything from overseas travel to coming out, whereas Neal embraces adventure – and now he wants to take Dylan with him. Horrified that his chance at love will move even farther out of his reach, Dylan realizes it’s time for him to own up to what kind of man he really is. He needs to find courage and compromise. And who knows whether the Great-Aunts will be a help or a hindrance with that?
Note: this book was previously published at Amber Quill Press, and has been re-edited for this version.
The door opened abruptly. For a few seconds, I just stared. My heart was hammering, fierce as anything. But the smile that greeted me was broad and mischievous and full of a welcoming love for life. It was also very familiar. Dark, strong features. With a mental nod to the Aunts, I stepped inside. My sight began to adjust to the change, the hallway furniture throwing elongated shadows across the pale, waning sunlight, and then the front door slammed behind me as if cutting me off from the life outside…
And I was plunged into another one.
I never had a chance to speak. The bouquet was snatched from my hands and flung onto the low table by the door. I was pushed back against the wall and a hard, flat chest pressed against mine, hot breath panting in my ear, broad hands reaching to push my jacket off my shoulders. Strong hands. Impatient.
“Fuck.” The voice was harsh and masculine. A man’s face brushed against mine, the jawline rough with a half-day’s stubble, the eyes gazing hungrily at me. “You’re early! I thought we said tomorrow.”
I laughed aloud, partly from protest, partly from the sheer joy of the touch. He was a few inches taller than I was, his body stocky, his shoulders broad. As he opened his arms to wrap them around me, the faded fabric of his shirt stretched tight across his chest, accentuating the sinewy planes of his torso.
“The Aunts insisted I come over today. I didn’t know when you were planning to arrive. If you were. Look, I can go…”
“Don’t you fucking dare!” he snapped, but his eyes were dancing with pleasure, not anger. The hallway smelled of furniture polish and the lingering aroma of warm toast. Up close, I could also smell strong coffee on his breath, but then he always drank too much of it, a symptom of his commitment to ridiculously long hours of writing and traveling. His face nuzzled into my neck, his skin warm, his thick curls uncombed and brushing his shoulders, just the way I liked it. I ran my fingers into it, tangling tightly, tugging back his head. Hard, just the way he liked it.
“Neal.” I groaned. His neck was taut, the Adam’s apple flexing as he swallowed. My lips tingled with the need to kiss it—to kiss him. “Thank God you’re here.”
He shook himself free of my grip, though I’d never intended it to hold him back. “Idiot. Of course I’m here.” He laughed raggedly, perhaps still impatient with me. He was panting slightly and couldn’t seem to keep his hands off me, grabbing, stroking, tugging at the soft fabric of my single decent shirt. A button slipped open and his fingers slid in against my bare skin, catching one of the swollen nubs of my nipples underneath and twisting it. It was painful—it was impossibly exciting. “Every damned month, right?” His voice was low and hoarse, even though we couldn’t be overheard. “If it’s humanly possible—wherever the hell I am—I’ll get here. I don’t want to miss it. Miss this. You know I don’t.”
That wasn’t entirely true. I hoped and I prayed—but I never really knew. And, God help me, I certainly never expected. But did I want to discuss that now? My fingers clumsy with excitement, I helped him open the remaining buttons of my shirt and I shrugged out of it. He took a shaky step back, one of his hands still gripping my wrist. His wild gaze sent goose bumps across my flesh. When he licked his lips, my whole skin shivered with anticipation.
“Dylan.” His eyes widened with eagerness. “Look at you. Christ.”
I started to laugh from nervousness and I swallowed it quickly. “You’re the idiot. I’m not… Well, I haven’t been to the gym much this month, you know…”
He laughed and let go of me. I watched him peel his shirt up over his head, my gaze fixed on the tensing muscles of his stomach. He was well toned for a man whose job was usually associated with long hours at a computer screen. The broad shoulders ran into a slender, wiry body. Plenty of strength there, I knew, the result of his hectic lifestyle and his personal enthusiasm in following a story physically as well as literally, taking him to all parts of the world. Dammit, he didn’t need a budget gym membership like some of us.
“Dylan,” he whispered. He was smiling, watching me watching him. He lifted a hand to his chest, teasing at one of his nipples, and I heard him suck in a short, fierce breath. I shuddered, instinct taking control of me. Dark hairs dusted across the skin of his pecs, then ran in a trail all the way down the center of his torso to his navel. And below. The skin was slightly tanned but there was a stretch of pale skin just showing under the waistband of his sweats. Long legs and strong feet, bare feet. I knew there’d be nothing else on under the sweats, and I was suddenly breathless.
Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.
She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:
Website: http://www.clarelondon.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Blog: www.clarelondon.com/blog Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/ Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClareLondon/posts
A Good Neighbour is based on the contrast between city and suburban life – and how the men can find a compromise to be together. And Dylan has to contend with his mischievous Great-Aunts as well!
I’m not admitting the Great Aunts are based on anyone I know in real life, but I suspect we’ve all come across relatives who are a bit too meddlesome, although they always want the best for you. Do you know any examples? I’m offering a $10 Amazon giftcard for one lucky commenter who shares with us their most cheeky story – though please be respectful!