On Friday, Spanish Heat was released. I was unable to announce this at the time because, rather fittingly, I was on a plane flying back from a fortnight-long holiday in Spain. So, I’m announcing it now.
Spanish Heat was originally published by the now-defunct Silver Publishing as Business or Pleasure. When the rights reverted back to me, I was delighted to be able to find a home for my story with Totally Bound Publishing.
I’ve always had a real soft spot for this story. The action follows Jack Capmbell, a young man who takes a job housesitting on the Costa del Sol to get away from events back home for a while. Clark Thomas is his new employer, and he has just one weekend to show Jack the ropes. Naturally, over the course of that one weekend things don’t go entirely according to plan.
I think part of why I loved this story so much comes down to the location. I have family in Spain and I love going to visit them. I do so as often as I can. Aside from the weather – which is glorious compared to the average Scottish offerings I deal with – there really are some beautiful pockets of Andalusia that you would be mad not to see. Little white-washed hilltop villages, sweeping beaches, cliffs, mountains, markets selling the sort of fresh produce you can only dream about back home, and yes, the odd cheesy nightclub and dodgy bar… All of these places feature in Spanish Heat. It’s like a mini-adventure to Spain, but for the cost of a book, not an plane ticket!
Here’s a little extra info for anyone who might be interested.
Jack is looking for a new job and a fresh start, but he finds more than he expected waiting for him under the Spanish sun.
When Jack Campbell is unceremoniously dumped in favour of his high school best friend, he decides he needs a fresh start. He sees an advertisement in The Times. Clark Thomas is looking for a house sitter for his villa in Marbella. In a slightly inebriated state, Jack applies seeing this as the perfect chance to get away from his troubles at home in Glasgow, but when he lands in Spain, he finds a lot more than a just job opportunity waiting for him.
Clark has one weekend to show Jack the ropes before he leaves Spain and the memories of his own recent break-up behind for the next nine months. However, there’s just something about Jack. Instead of explaining the finer points of Jack’s contract, Clark finds himself introducing the young Glaswegian to some of his favourite Andalusian haunts, and he’s spending more time doing so than is necessary.
There must be something in the Spanish heat. All too soon Clark and Jack find themselves struggling to maintain the boundaries of their employer-employee relationship. Jack is behaving in ways he never has before, but knowing that what he’s doing is probably wrong doesn’t stop it from feeling right, and it might cause Jack a bigger problem when Monday morning comes around and it’s time for Clark to leave.
Clark was quiet on the journey up into the mountains, speaking only to give directions. There was no noticeable tension between them and Jack didn’t try to start a conversation. He supposed Clark might be feeling as nervous as he was about the risks of trashing the very nice, very new, very fast Audi on the ever-ascending mountain roads.
As they closed in on their destination, the drops were knuckle-whitening and the hairpin bends pelvis-shattering. Lorries and vans laden with lemons and olives hurtled down the mountain at speeds Jack had always thought were the preserve of racing drivers. His heart was in his mouth but he couldn’t deny it was exciting.
If Clark felt the same he didn’t show it, but he didn’t seem panicked either. He sat with his legs dropped open, forcing the denim of his jeans to pull tight across his crotch, and looked out of the window, never jumping to find an imaginary brake pedal on the few occasions Jack swerved to avoid a runaway lorry and nearly plowed them off the edge of a cliff in the attempt.
Jack had a suspicion Clark was checking him out, though—just sometimes. He felt his skin tingle as though someone were walking over his grave. If Clark was sneaking glances at him, he was too quick for Jack. Any time Jack dared take his eyes off the road long enough to catch him in the act, Clark’s eyes were firmly fixed on the road ahead.
The time Paulo had taken going over every minute detail of the gardens meant most of the afternoon heat had gone when they reached the village. Jack parked the car where Clark suggested and killed the engine. Looking around him, listening to his own heartbeat return to normal, he couldn’t help feeling that he had stepped into a different world.
They sat on the edge of a little, whitewashed village that appeared to have been indelicately placed atop the dusty peak. The collection of houses and work places climbed ever higher up the mountain, overlooked from the top by a small, blue-roofed church and hemmed in on all sides by the farms that provided the village with its livelihood.
Jack slowly got out from the car and turned in a full circle, drinking in as much detail as he could. The village looked like it had dropped straight out of the Andalusian fantasies Jack had been entertaining since he found out his haphazard response to Clark’s advertisement had been accepted. Before the nerves had kicked in and his usually very sober sense of propriety had a chance to tell him he was probably making a mistake, Jack had allowed himself more than a few daydreams about Spanish markets, jugs of sangria, long, drunken tapas lunches and tanned, Spanish Adonises sunbathing on the beach. As much as he had enjoyed the entertainments of the previous night, the winding dirt roads had transported him to the Spain of his fantasies.
He turned to look at Clark and couldn’t keep the smile off his face. Being there with him, even though they barely knew each other, seemed to make the whole experience sweeter. Jack decided to blame that feeling on Clark’s impressive command of the language, rather than on any misplaced romantic ideas.
Spanish Heat is available now from all good Ebook retailers, including;