Blokes in Love (new free read)

October 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Anthology, Free fiction, Promotion, Short story, Writing | 4 Comments
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I break my accidental blog hiatus to say that I’ve updated my book pages with some changes. First of all, my novella Rust Red: Galvanized, which is a sequel to my free read Eyes Wide Shut, has now gone out of print. So if you wanted to grab it, you’re out of luck, I’m afraid. At least until I decide what I’m going to do with it.

Second of all, the first M/M meetup in Australia has come and gone. I flew over to Sydney to attend it, and had a fab time, which I will attempt to put into words sometime soon. To commemorate that event, an anthology with six stories from some of the attending authors has been produced. Called Blokes in Love, it’s available for free from Smashwords and All Romance ebooks. All the stories have a common thread, in that they’re all set in either Australia or New Zealand, to showcase life down under. As is fitting for a bunch of bods who love M/M and got together to celebrate being from the southern hemisphere!

Contributing authors were AB Gayle, NJ Nielsen, Jess Buffet, Pelaam, Susan Beck and me. My story is called “Cutting Out”, and it’s the story of Shane Cooper and Lachlan Moore, shearers who work the runs of New Zealand. Serena Yates of Rainbow Book Reviews – who came all the way from the UK to attend the Meet, how good is that? – has reviewed the anthology and loved it.

Of Cutting Out, she said:

…this story about two sheep shearers, one much older than the other, touched me deeply. Shane so desperately wants more than casual encounters with the much younger Lachie, and is devastated when Lachie rejects him. Shane’s situation had me up in arms, railing against the injustices of fate. That was until I got to see things from Lachie’s side, and his reasons for turning down Shane almost made me cry. Be ready for an intense emotional roller coaster as these two men battle their pride and their circumstances!

Below is an excerpt, for your reading pleasure. The lovely cover is courtesy of Jess Buffett, who went the extra mile and made all contributing authors individual covers, in addition to the anthology cover.

Individual cover_185

He’d half expected it, but his heart still jolted when he came face to face with Lachie, his shaggy black hair poking out from under the beanie he wore, his dark brown eyes fixed on Shane’s face.

Lachie offered Shane a tentative smile. “Morning, Coop.”

“Morning,” Shane said gruffly, his heart aching as he stared at Lachie for a few seconds longer before picking up his gear and stowing it in the trailer. When he turned around he didn’t look at Lachie again, directing his gaze somewhere in the vicinity of Lachie’s booted feet. “We’ll be leaving in a minute.”

Lachie said, “Okay…” and Shane stepped around him, heading towards the bus’s sliding door, which was now standing open. Don was there, chatting to the team, and the last-minute instructions he had for Shane were a welcome distraction. Being the first one in the van, Shane folded himself into a seat at the front, slouching down as Jade and Di took the driver and passenger seats and the others piled in behind Shane. Shane’s neck and shoulders loosened just a tiny bit as the new rouseabout—Pania—sat beside him, Lachie casting them a look Shane refused to believe was disappointed as he climbed in after her.

Shane slouched down a bit more as they set off and the others started chatting around him. He knew he wouldn’t be allowed to sit quietly and mind his own business straight away, so he wasn’t surprised when someone grabbed the back of his seat and shook it.

“Coop, did you watch the game over the weekend?” Maaka asked, his voice triumphant. “We thrashed the Wallabies good, didn’t we? We thrashed you good and proper!”

“Didn’t watch it,” Shane said, which wasn’t exactly true. He’d watched it, sitting in the corner of his local pub on his own, surrounded by Kiwis and trying not to let anyone hear him say anything like “six” or “fish and chips” while the Aussies were soundly thrashed by the All Blacks. He’d left at half-time, when all hope was lost. It didn’t matter too much; he’d get his own back when the cricket started, because the Black Caps were the shittiest cricket team in the world, and everyone knew it. He’d let his gang take their victories while they could.

Before Maaka could gloat any more, Pania turned to him. “You from Aussie, then?”

Shane had given up trying to get the Kiwis he knew to call Australia the right nickname—Oz—years ago. It was a losing battle. “Yep. South coast of New South Wales,” he said. “Been here about ten years.” Braced for the question they always asked, he wasn’t disappointed.

“What the hell did you come here for? Isn’t it always the other way around, us going there?”

Shane sighed internally. They never got it. “I’m a shearer,” he said, like he always did, because nobody ever seemed to realise that wasn’t an actual answer before he distracted them with another thing he always said. “I like New Zealand, it’s beautiful. You lot don’t appreciate what you’ve got here. You just focus on the bad things and forget about the good.”

That shut them up for a while, and when they’d all mulled that over and started talking again, the conversation turned from him to other, safer topics. Glancing over his shoulder to find Lachie watching him, he turned back around without acknowledging it. Slumping in his seat some more, Shane settled in to brood for the rest of the trip.

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