Tag Archives: investigations

Blog Tour: A Right To Know by Jude Tresswell

A Right To Know | Jude Tresswell

County Durham Quad #7

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Release Date: July 31st, 2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 57,300

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Blurb

“A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?”

Abandonment, trust, suspicion and compromise—integral parts of a mystery that involves industrial espionage, sperm donation and coming to terms with oneself and the truth.

Sperm donors know that now, under UK law, offspring who reach eighteen have the right to learn a donor’s identity and last known address, but Phil Roberts donated before the law was changed. He is shocked and dismayed to learn that he has a son called Lewis who intends to visit. Phil’s husband, Raith, is furious—and very scared.

What does Lewis Lennon really want? The man he has always called ‘dad’ is dead. Was his death suicide or was he murdered? Lewis wants Phil to find out.

So, Phil, Raith, Mike and Ross, the County Durham Quad, plus their special friend, Nick, are embroiled in another investigation, but, as always, their relationships come under scrutiny too.

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Excerpt

Phil sat at the big kitchen table. His beard, neatly trimmed as always, failed to hide the lack of colour in his face. He looked shocked. He was holding a letter.

“You alright, Phil?” Mike was puzzled and concerned. “Bad news?”

“Not ‘bad’ exactly. Unexpected. Very.” He sighed. “I’ve an eighteen-year-old son. Sperm donation.”

Raith, Phil’s husband, dropped the glass of juice he was drinking. It rolled off the table and smashed as it hit the floor.

“A son! A child! How? Why? Fuck! Phil! You can’t have! And does this sperm-child want to see you?” Raith snatched the letter from Phil’s hands. “I can’t read this fucking stuff; it’s in joined-up. Why didn’t he type it?”

“He probably felt that this was more personal,” Mike suggested, retrieving the letter from the floor where Raith had slung it in disgust and shaking it free of orange juice.

“It’s fucking personal alright. You always said they couldn’t identify you, Phil. What the fuck’s gone wrong?”

“It looks as though we might find out,” said Ross, the fourth member of the quad. He was reading the letter over Mike’s shoulder. “He intends to visit. I think we need to talk.”

***

Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who shared a home in Tunhead, a tiny hamlet in the Durham hills. Tunhead derived its name from Tun Beck, a little stream that flowed into the larger River Wear. Tun Beck lent its name to BOTWAC too—the Beck on the Wear Arts Centre.

Ross managed BOTWAC, Raith provided paintings and ceramics and Mike carried out the maintenance. Phil was the only one whose work was separate. He was a surgeon at Warbridge Hospital, an hour’s drive away and, in a sense, his medical background was the cause of the morning’s shock announcement. The four of them talked about the news that evening.

“You knew I’d donated sperm, Raith.” Phil had always made it clear that when he was a medical student, like many others on his course, he had donated both for research and for procreation.

“I know that, but you’d always done it anonymously. You said so, and you never did it after they changed the law.”

Raith was referring to a change that occurred in 2005 regarding data held at UK fertility clinics. At licenced clinics, that is. Prior to the change, offspring conceived by sperm or egg donation could learn some information about their donor when they reached sixteen, but what was released was very general. If donors wished to remain anonymous, they could do so. From 2005, though, anonymity was lifted. Sixteen was still the age of release of the ‘non-identifiable information’, but at eighteen, offspring conceived by donation had the right to be told their donor’s name and date of birth and, also, their donor’s last known address.

“I didn’t donate after two thousand and five. I think I’d know if I did.”

“Sperm can be frozen though, can’t it, Phil? Perhaps it was used after the change was implemented.”

“Only for another year or so, Ross, and under the old anonymity rules. There was a transitional period but, after that, sperm could only be used in exceptional circumstances. To create a sibling, for example. I remember being contacted about it. I had the option of… going public, if you like, but I chose not to do so. I didn’t want…I didn’t want a child, well, not one that I’d feel some responsibility for. I suppose, if I’m honest, I did want to pass on my genes, have that sense of immortality—I knew it was unlikely that I’d ever father a child with a woman. I just wanted to… be helpful, I suppose. I gave a brief self-description at the time, but the details would apply to thousands of people: eyes, hair, height, weight, ethnicity. Even if you narrowed the count with ‘student medic’ and my year of birth, you’d still be talking hundreds. I was careful not to leave traces.”

“How thoughtful of you!”

“That’s not helpful, Raith.”

Ross chastised gently but, tonight, too harshly for Raith.

“Helpful! It’s not help Phil needs—it’s a fucking vasectomy, but he’s eighteen years too late. I’m going up.”

No hugs, no kisses—the little goodnight habits that told the men that they were loved and cared for and cared about. Just “I’m going up” and heavy footsteps on the stairs.

If my books were films…

The books are set in the hills and dales of north-east England, but who would be the actors walking over the wonderful scenery? Choosing is hard. I never visualize the Quad except in the vaguest of ways. That’s one of the reasons why the covers are always silhouettes.

I ‘hear’ my four men, but I rarely ‘see’ them. But, also, would someone known to me, perhaps through British television, be familiar to readers from elsewhere? Not sure, so I’ve chosen some actors that I know have appeared in productions that aren’t exclusively UK based. Three actors anyway – to play Mike and Phil and Raith. I’m stuck for an actor for Ross.

Mike Angells: ex- cop, resourceful and tough but emotionally needy and loyal to a fault, and a man with a local accent. I love the range of accents in England and I know that good actors can emulate them, but I’ve chosen a native northerner to play Mike: Sean Bean.

Well, the Sean Bean of maybe twenty years ago as he was in the series, Sharpe. Mike’s Bishop Auckland accent would be different from Sean Bean’s Sheffield one, but the two would share some features. Softness, roundedness, some of the vowel sounds… I could listen to Sean Bean talk all day and, writing this now, I’m wondering if, subconsciously, I modelled Mike on Richard Sharpe. Even down to the swearing!

Phil Roberts: surgeon, over-worked, cautious and worried. Welsh parents though he was born and raised in Newcastle (on Tyne – there are several UK Newcastles.) 

I’ll choose a proper Welshman: Tom Ellis. I know him from the comedy series, Miranda, but he plays a very different sort of character in the series, Lucifer. I think he’d do Phil beautifully. Exactly the right age (early forties) and, as far as I can imagine Phil facially, the right sort of narrow features. I do know that Phil has a neatly trimmed beard – just like Tom Ellis’ on his Wiki page. Tom would have to ditch the smiles, though: Phil is a (mostly) serious guy.

And so to Phil’s husband, Raith Rodrigo Roberts-Balaño aka Raith Balan. Artist, ceramicist, a one-off. Fool or genius? Who knows? He’d need to be played by someone who could run with his extremes.

I know who it would be: Eoin Macken. I think that, in the USA, he’s known for the series The Night Shift, but I know him from Merlin. His Sir Gwaine would hit just the right Raith-note. What’s more, Macken is, or was, a model. He’d know how to carry off Raith’s eccentric clothes and appearance.

In the new tale, Raith has threaded miniature bells all through his long, dark hair. I’m sure that Eoin Macken in Gwaine mode would look great as he tinkled his way over the Durham moors to paint the streams and waterfalls. So that’s three of the four, but who would play Ross?

Ross Whitburn-Howe: Mike’s civil partner. (England and Wales: civil partnerships. Not marriages, but with many protections of marriage e.g. regarding wills) Slightly built, curly hair, lively, brisk. Late thirties now, but still cute – very. Nobody cute enough springs to mind. I’m open to ideas. 

Thank you for the opportunity to chat – Jude

Re. the scenery, drone footage with extracts from the stories can be found on Jude’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKhPb-WpyW3fUXnqjvTnCqA

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Discover the entire series

Tales that track the exploits of Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who live and love in County Durham, North-East England. Together with, from Book three onward, their friend, Nick Seabrooke, the Quad solve crimes, are accused of crimes and, occasionally, commit crimes.

Their actions jeopardise their relationships. Sometimes, the biggest threat they face is staying together. Each tale comes with its own plot, and background is included to aid new readers. Feel free to jump in anywhere.

Available from Amazon

About The Author

I’m a long-married, asexual, cis-gender female who lives in southeast England. I’m from northern England though, and the north is the setting of all my stories. You can see the setting on my Youtube channel. This isn’t a #ownvoice tale, though there’s certainly some ace-rep in it.

Part of the motivation was my dismay at receiving, unasked for, the results of an ancestry test earlier this year. A different situation from Phil in the story, but I felt for him!

A TW: parental suicide. Again, it’s something I have experience of. I hope I have dealt with it sensitively.

Website | Goodreads

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Cover Reveal: Real Danger by Elle Keaton

Real Danger by Elle Keaton

West Coast Forensics #2

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Release Date: October 28th, 2021

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Blurb

How can one man be so incredibly frustrating but so sexy at the same time?

Ryder knows two things. Tragedy can strike at any moment so you have to hold tightly to the gifts life gives you. And, Shay is one of those gifts. To Ryder their fifteen-year age difference is nothing, Shay is the man he wants. Now he just needs an opportunity to plead his case with the sexy lawyer.

He gets his chance when Shay asks him to assist on a case involving a missing person, but the investigation quickly turns perilous. A stomach-churning rollercoaster ride of what the hell is going on, puts both men in danger—but from whom?

Will the two get their chance at love, or will a dangerous criminal snatch away their chance at happiness?

Real Danger, second in the West Coast Forensics series is a dual POV, age-gap, m/m romantic suspense following Shay and Ryder as they fight for their HEA.

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About the Author

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Elle Keaton writes contemporary gay romance and MM romantic suspense set in the Pacific Northwest. Elle’s books are known for their hot mm romance, complex characters, and unique sense of place. The men start out broken, and maybe they’re still banged up by the end, but they always find the other half of their hearts.

Elle published first in 2017, now she has over seventeen books available for you to read or listen to.

She loves cats and dogs, Star Wars and Star Trek, pineapple on pizza, and is known to start crossword puzzles with ballpoint pen.

Love always wins, thank you for supporting this indie author!

Social Media

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ElleKeatonWrites

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HighwayToElle/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/elle-keaton

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellekeatonauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PirateQueenRdz1

MeWe: https://mewe.com/profile/5ac2766f310a7853d4ce8ad4

Website: https://www.ellekeaton.com/

Amazon: https://amzn.to/ek-amazon-profile

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/ek-gr-profile

Giveaway

To celebrate Elle’s upcoming release, we’re giving away 2 advanced e-copies of Real Danger!

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Release Blitz: A Case for Christmas by JA Rock & Lisa Henry

A Case for Christmas | JA Rock & Lisa Henry

The Lords of Bucknall #2

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Release Date: July 13th, 2021

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Blurb

He loves no-one and never will.

Lord Christmas Gale is a genius and a misanthrope, and, quite to his disgust, adored by all of Society for his capacity to solve mysteries. When a man approaches him seeking help in locating a lost dog, Gale rebuffs him.

But what begins with a missing dog ends in murder and intrigue–two of Gale’s favourite things, if it weren’t for the orphan that comes attached to them. Oh, and Benjamin Chant.

He has sworn to never love again.

The Honourable Mr. Benjamin Chant isn’t sure how he got swept up in Gale’s mad investigation, but there’s something intriguing about the man–a vulnerability that most of the world doesn’t notice, but which captures Chant’s interest, and his sympathy, from their first meeting. After a disastrous love affair in the past, Chant has sworn to never give his heart away again. Especially to a man who does not want it.

But it isn’t just their hearts at stake.

When their investigation takes a dangerous turn and their lives are threatened, both Gale and Chant are forced into the realisation that perhaps two imperfect men might fit perfectly together–that is, if they can outwit the killer who is intent on seeing them both dead.

A Case for Christmas is the second book in the Lords of Bucknall Club series, where the Regency meets MM romance.

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Excerpt

Gale approached the nearest door. The molly had said Howe lived on the ground floor, first on the left. He rapped lightly on the door, and when there was no answer, he tried the knob. The door creaked open, a sliver of moonlight growing wider across the floorboards, casting shadow to the sides. He stepped inside, trying not to wince at the smell of mildew and unemptied chamber pots. The room was barely large enough to turn around in, and he unwittingly trod upon a straw mattress on the floor. He was now fully aware of what an idiotic idea this had been. All that would be accomplished here was that he or Chant would break an ankle. And yet as he brushed a hand over a rickety table, he felt crumbs not yet stale, and not yet carried away by vermin. The house was not empty.

“Elise,” he called softly. “Elise, come out, wherever you are hiding. We know you’re here.”

“I have no wish to offend,” Chant whispered. “But you sound rather like an axe-wielding madman indulging in a game of cat and mouse with his prey.”

“What would you have me say?” Gale asked, annoyed.

“If she’s here, she is probably very frightened. She does not know who we are or why we’ve come.”

“And you think she’ll be impressed if we announce our titles?”

It was too dark to see Chant roll his eyes, but Gale was certain that was what happened. “You said Howe told you she’d read the article about you? Let her know we’re on the case—”

“Do not call it a c—”

He was interrupted by… he was not quite sure what. One moment he was standing in the darkness, arguing with Chant, the next, he was lying on his side on the filthy floor, his head throbbing.

“Gale! Are you all right?” Chant cried out above him.

Blearily, he felt around on the floor until his hand closed upon a small but heavy bit of rock. Footsteps pattered toward the open front door. “Stop her,” Gale rasped.

“Elise!” Chant called out. “Elise, my name is Benjamin Chant. I’m here with Christmas Gale, the famous investigator—”

“Not an investigator.” Gale’s voice sounded as though he had swallowed chalk.

Chant ignored him. “He is here to help you find your missing dog.”

“I most certainly am not,” Gale objected, but the footsteps stopped. A moment later, a flimsy floorboard creaked, and a small face appeared above Gale, mostly shadow with a slip of silver across it from the moon.

“Christmas Gale?” piped a thin voice full of hope.

“Yes,” said Chant and knelt beside them both. “Christmas and I have come to help you, Elise.”

Gale pulled himself into a sitting position, trying not to groan.

“You’re really Lord Christmas?” the girl asked again.

“Joy to the world,” Gale muttered, rubbing the back of his head.

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About the Authors

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J.A. Rock is the author of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices.

J.A.’s books have received Lambda Literary, INDIEFAB, and EPIC Award nominations, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Novel Award. 24/7 was named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

https://jarockauthor.com

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Lisa Henry likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.

Social Media

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub | TwitterLisa Henry’s Hangout.

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A Husband for Hartwell, JA & Lisa are giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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