Happy birthday, Clare, and thank you for the opportunity to share your celebrations on your LJ.
My new book, Shadowboxing, has been released by Dreamspinner Press on the 20th of this month, so I'd like to share an excerpt from it with you. It's an historical, romance, action, drama m/m set during WW2...
Berlin, 1943. An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.
When Michel contacts the Allies, hoping they can work together, it isn’t long before the so-called “simple” mission becomes anything but. With both men realizing they can no longer ignore their growing feelings for each other, Kristopher and Michel must fight—not just for a chance of a future together, but for their very survival.
Kristopher laughed then stopped, surprised at his reaction. After all, wasn’t being provided for, as the price for at least attempting to live up to his father’s expectations, the very thing about his life that he’d resented? In a twisted way fate had provided him with the opportunity to move on from that and maybe become the very person he’d always yearned to be.
“First things first,” he muttered under his breath, reminding himself of the reason he was here. On the run for murder, theft, and God knew what else, and he was planning his future. He was definitely losing his mind.
His hands twisted the towel over and over while he attempted to calm himself. He took a few deep breaths. There was no point alarming Michel. He had enough to worry about. After returning the now-damp towel to its original hanging place, Kristopher drew himself up straight and walked back out into the main room.
Michel looked up from where he was sitting at the table; he seemed thoughtful. “Feeling better?” Was that concern in Michel’s eyes?
“As much as I’m going to be,” he answered, giving a small smile with his reply. Maybe Michel did really care? After all, everything that Kristopher had seen so far seemed to suggest that scenario. Or perhaps it was just wishful thinking? “Is my being here going to be a problem?”
“You’ve taken a great deal of risks to get this far.”A determined expression crossed Michel’s face, and he shook his head. “I am certain that the priorities of this mission will be changed to include your safe passage out of Germany.” He slid the case back under the bed and looked Kristopher up and down. “You need to change your clothing into something less conspicuous. The cut of your suit draws attention to you, and you want to be able to blend in rather than stand out.” He opened the wardrobe, pondering its contents for a moment. Finally he pulled out a pair of gray flannel trousers and a nondescript cotton shirt, holding them out in front of him as he obviously attempted to gauge the sizing. “These might fit you. Try them on, and let’s take a look.” Turning back to the wardrobe, Michel chose a dark-colored, woolen zip-up sweater to complete the ensemble. “It’s cold. You’ll need to keep warm.”
“Thank you.” Kristopher took the clothing from Michel and headed back into the bathroom, wanting some privacy in which to change. “See you in a minute.” He almost regretted that decision when it brought home just how small the bathroom was, but he managed to only hit his elbow on the side of the sink once. Re-entering the room, feeling quite pleased by his accomplishment and how well the clothes fit he… stopped.
Michel was standing by the bed, clad only in a pair of very form-fitting undershorts. The earlier assumption about his uniform hiding a well-developed physique was quite an understatement on Kristopher’s part. Michel was… extremely good-looking. In fact Kristopher would even go as far as to use the word gorgeous to describe him.
Blushing, Kristopher stammered his apologies and ran from the room, seeking refuge in the small bathroom he’d just vacated. He splashed himself with cold water. What the hell? One look at Michel…. Glancing down, Kristopher willed the bulge in his trousers to disappear. What was wrong with him? This was not the reaction he should be having in response to seeing another man in a state of undress.
His heart was thumping, his skin flushed.
No, he wasn’t going to allow himself to react like this. He couldn’t, not after putting all this behind him that last time. A small voice whispered to him, reminding him the only other time he’d felt desire such as this was in response to accidently walking in on another man in a similar state of undress. It had to be a coincidence. He wasn’t attracted to other men. He couldn’t be. It wasn’t natural. At least according to what he’d been taught. It was his belief that those teachings had to be right that had prompted him to back away from David in the hope that some distance between them would make it easier to ignore the situation. If he was going to burn in hell it was better he do it alone rather than drag someone he cared about down with him. Hurting David by cooling their friendship was supposed to be better in the long term for both of them.
Yet, he’d still felt an echo of that physical attraction for David the last time they’d met, although the emotions that had once accompanied it were very much mellowed.
That attraction, in hindsight, had at least been easier to hide. He’d never had a physical reaction to David to this degree. David had been, and still was, a good-looking man. Michel…. Kristopher licked his lips, his mouth dry.
Michel looked amazing. He was muscular, yet not overly so; a fine smattering of light brown, almost red hair dusted his chest.
These thoughts were not helping.
“Kristopher, are you all right in there?” Michel sounded concerned.
“Fine. I’m fine. I just needed to um… adjust something.” Kristopher hated lying, but he wasn’t about to admit the truth. He didn’t want to see the disgust he knew would be reflected in Michel’s eyes. There was no need for anyone to know. It wouldn’t happen again.
This had to be a side effect of the stress he was under. Getting out of Germany would be very dangerous. No wonder his body was reacting in ways it shouldn’t. After all, it wasn’t every day that he discovered everything he’d believed in was a lie and the ideals he’d spent his life working toward weren’t worth the paper they were written on.
Seeing David again had also brought back memories and the emotions of the time they’d spent together as friends.
Kristopher walked out of the bathroom, hoping he appeared much more nonchalant than he felt. “Sorry about that,” he mumbled, hoping he hadn’t made a total idiot of himself.
Thanks for reading :) You can find me on the net at my LiveJournal, on my page at the Coffeeunicorns site and on my author page at Dreamspinner Press.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand, sharing her home with her twin daughters, at least during the holidays, when one of them isn't away at university. Her son has left home and started his own family, although she claims she is too young to be a grandmother already. Her three cats are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching and has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and a librarian. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction club and plays piano for her local church and violin for a local orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.
From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).
FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:
Jan 16: Sasha L. Miller making magic happen.
Jan 17: H. B. Pattskyn shares a free short story.
Jan 17: Becky Black on what can really happen after publishing.
Jan 18: Blaine D. Arden on keeping it close to her heart.
Jan 18: Tam battles with IKEA - and wins!
Jan 19: Toni Anderson shares her love of romance novels.
Jan 19: Poppy Dennison introduces the Boxer Falls m/m serial, plus a PRIZE DRAW for the (in)famous GRL bracelet **OPEN TO JAN 31**
Jan 20: Erastes shows us life from a horse's-eye view.
Jan 21: Anna Martin shares a beautiful and provocative ballet.
Jan 21: Andrea Speed shares snippets from Diary of the Damned.
Jan 09: Lee Rowan shares her healthy resolution.
Jan 10: Rowena Sudbury and the beauty of a blue moon.
Jan 10: Sandra Lindsay and her WIP characters.
Jan 11: Shelley Munro and a tour of bedrooms through the ages.
Jan 11: Dany Sirene and her love of Goth characters.
Jan 12: Sarah Madison and her decision to stop competing.
Jan 13: Alix Bekins shares her love of kink.
Jan 14: Janis Susan May on writing one word at a time.
Jan 14: Charlie Cochrane watches movies with hankies at hand.
Jan 15: Megan Derr and the inspiration in fairytales.
Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory finds inspiration at every turn.
Check up on: Prior years fun HERE
and The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.
Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.
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