It was just after seven thirty in the evening when James finally pulled his car into the car park of the Caledonian Hotel. The sunshine that brightened the afternoon had been replaced by strong winds blowing in from the North Sea. Rain whipped the sides of his car as he sat, staring up at the hotel’s imposing façade.
He was early, as he knew he would be. His nerves were now flying in his stomach, his breath catching in his throat. His good mood remained intact, but his hands had started shaking when he turned north across the Forth Road Bridge, and he couldn’t seem to make them stop.
He clenched his phone tightly as he searched through his messages, finding nothing new waiting for him. The last one he received had been a voicemail from Mark telling him he was about to get on a plane. James had just begun his four-hour journey from Glasgow to the hotel and hadn’t been able to answer the call. Letting it ring through to voicemail had hurt.
With his breathing finally under control, James opened the driver’s side sun visor and looked into the mirror. He had been so desperate to get on the road that going home to change hadn’t occurred to him. His grey work suit appeared drab; his black tie and shirt were dull and unimaginative. Stubble, that hadn’t been there twelve hours before, decorated his chin. He ran a hand through his hair and shook it out of its work-appropriate style. Mark preferred it messy.
He took off his tie and opened the top few buttons of his shirt. Rolling it up carefully, he put the tie into his briefcase along with his mobile phone. Taking one final deep breath, James prepared to get out of the car. He froze with his hand on the door. He was still wearing his wedding ring. He slipped it off with practiced experience and popped it into his briefcase, too. Then, he swung himself from the car, deposited his briefcase in the boot and removed a black, leather overnight bag instead. Locking his car, he made his way into the hotel. He gave a false surname at reception and accepted the key to his room.
Those are the opening paragraphs of A Secret Love, a short story that was published last summer by Evernight Publishing. They have certainly proved controversial, with some readers outright refusing to look at the book because of the suggestion of cheating.
For me A Secret Love is about two things. Don’t laugh when I tell your those things are.
2 – Secrets
Bet you didn’t see that coming, eh?
James and Mark have been in a relationship for a long time, but due to circumstances beyond their control, they rarely get the opportunity to be together. That’s about to change though. They just have to make it through six more months and then years of secrecy and hiding, meeting up in hotels and sneaking nights together whenever and wherever they can will all be in the past. They will be together, which is all they want.
They meet for a weekend in the remote Caledonian Hotel, where passions normally painfully contained threaten to boil over and they find themselves running the risk of blowing their cover and possibly shattering the dreams they have of a future together.
So, A Secret Love, is about two men in love who are on the verge of finally abandoning the lives they have been living so they can be together. And, it’s about secrets, because their relationship has to stay hidden – perhaps not for the reasons you might initially think – and the story looks at the impact this level of secrecy has on the characters.
Also, I think A Secret Love taps into a fantasy I imagine a lot of romance and erotic fiction readers share, whether they would ever say so aloud or not.
Driving away from home, to spend a weekend with your lover in a place no one will know your face. Two nights, two days of being the person that for the rest of the week, month, year, you have to keep hidden behind business suits or school runs or whatever ‘normal’ is for you.
For one weekend, you get to love and be loved, you get to taste the life you wish you were living, you get to experience your fantasy and, come Sunday afternoon, you leave again. You go back to what you know, either willingly or – in the case of James and Mark –reluctantly but, most importantly, with your secret intact. No damage done to your reputation. No harm. No foul.
A Secret Love is not the story of James and Mark’s fantasy. For them, hotels and stolen weekends are a hated necessity, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy their time together. There are fine wines and expensive dinners, long walks on secluded beaches and the completely inappropriate use of elevators, coffee tables, jacuzzis and cars. In short it’s a hot, sexy MM erotic romance that I think my readers will enjoy very much, and at it’s heart is a secret. A good secret. And no, of course I’m not going to tell you what it is!
Between now and the 13th of October, A Secret Love is reduced by 50% on Evernight Publishing’s website. That means it’s only $1.49 for the next two days! All formats are available. Discount applied at checkout.
Grab yourself a copy and find out what it is that makes James and Mark need to hide AND find out if they escape their weekend with their secret and their future dreams intact.