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alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 08:34 AM
I have the feeling that today is an author spotlight on me. In which case, I will post about my new book, and about Morris Dancing, and possibly about my other hobby of historical reenactment. Maybe about some old books as well.

As it's my birthday today, in the hobbit tradition of giving other people presents on my birthday, I will also be picking a commenter at random to receive a copy of my brand new summer holiday romance, Shining in the Sun DiscoDancingCarrots

hollie
June 23rd, 2010, 10:01 AM
smilies/bigbirthday.

Alex i have Shining in the sun on my wish list I'll try and get back to play later but i am going to watch the England match with my boys :peepwall:

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 10:05 AM
smilies/bigbirthday.

Alex i have Shining in the sun on my wish list I'll try and get back to play later but i am going to watch the England match with my boys :peepwall:

Thank you! LOL! And yes, I think I chose entirely the wrong day for this. How dare England play their big match today and take all the glory off me? ;)

klmc37
June 23rd, 2010, 10:44 AM
http://i818.photobucket.com/albums/zz110/tevako_g/Happy%20Birthday/06828b67.jpg

Hope you are having a great B-day!!!!!

AnnaRose
June 23rd, 2010, 10:50 AM
smilies/birthdaycake Happy B-day Alex; my birthday's not far from yours either, less than a week away! Definitely tell more about your book and hobby - what kind of historical reenactment do you do/where does it take place?

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 10:57 AM
I think I'll start by opening with Morris Dancing. This is a youtube vid of my morris side, the Ely and Littleport Riot. We're in the Borders tradition rather than the Cotswold tradition, and we look a bit like this. (I'm the one in the yellow waistcoat.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRPa1x-lo_U&feature=PlayList&p=AD74F9C0E23E4390&playnext_from=PL&index=4

s7anna
June 23rd, 2010, 12:36 PM
Happy Birthday Alex! I hope you have an awesome time on this special day of yours. :-)

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 12:50 PM
http://i818.photobucket.com/albums/zz110/tevako_g/Happy%20Birthday/06828b67.jpg

Hope you are having a great B-day!!!!!

Thank you! Yes, I'm afraid I'm having such a busy birthday that I shouldn't have thought of doing this on the day too. I thought it would be the usual quiet day in, but my daughter insisted on dragging me out to go shopping :)

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 12:53 PM
smilies/birthdaycake Happy B-day Alex; my birthday's not far from yours either, less than a week away! Definitely tell more about your book and hobby - what kind of historical reenactment do you do/where does it take place?

Thanks AnnaRose!

I do two different eras in terms of historical reenacting. I've been a Saxon with Regia Anglorum (http://www.regia.org/) for 21 years now, and more recently I've taken up 18th Century reenacting with the Mannered Mob (http://www.manneredmob.com/), so I'm having to make all new clothes for all the family. 18th Century clothes are far more ambitious and tailored than 10th Century ones!

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 12:55 PM
Happy Birthday Alex! I hope you have an awesome time on this special day of yours. :-)

Thanks Anna! It's certainly been a hectic day, with a man coming round to fix the car, and my daughter being off school and insisting I had to go out. Not quite what I was expecting!

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 01:01 PM
This is where our two heroes meet for the first time, and Alec comes up with the worst pick-up line in recorded history ;)

:duh:

In a line of multicoloured encampments, bright plastic windbreaks fluttered with a sound like sails in the breeze, and bathers struggled into or out of their costumes, performing the dance of seven veils with a towel. Beyond the children being buried up to their necks in sand lay a damp, tawny-coloured expanse on which the energetic were playing beach volleyball or flying kites.

Behind that, the sea, turquoise where it washed the beach, deepened rapidly to indigo blue. In the shallow foam, more of the endless variety of people were paddling and trying not to jostle. Children and their parents waded out to catch the waves, then launched themselves belly down on their bodyboards onto the shore.

Further out, the aristocracy of the beach, the surfers, rode the waves like swans. Once he had begun to watch them, he could not wrench his eyes away. The sun had lowered now from the noon and shone behind their heads, making them sharp black silhouettes limned with light.

One man had edged his way to the very front of his board and stood with his arms outstretched like the Spirit of Ecstasy on the bonnet of a Rolls Royce.

Alec only noticed that he had stopped eating when the fish fell off his fork onto his knee. Even then he brushed it away without looking down, heart in his mouth. Surely that wasn’t possible? Why didn’t the board tip up, hit its rider in the head and dump him into the waves? He watched with awe and fear, his spirit straining out towards the man, willing everything to go well.

But the surfer had no need of Alec’s help. He had tipped his head back, laughing with joy. Something about that silhouette caught at Alec’s chest with a painful thrill. The curve of the man’s arms against the shining sky was numinous. His body defined perfection, from his bare feet, braced slender legs, the arch of his spine, the turn of his throat, to the streaming scarf of his long hair in shadow. Alec had sat here expecting tawdry delights, not expecting to see a god come up from the sea. His heart leapt into his throat as if he was terrified.

Some other force lowered his fork onto his plate; he forgot where his hand was, caught up in the vision. The surfer, his surfer, had now, slowly and gracefully returned to the centre of his board and skimmed over the creaming froth at the edge of the sea. He was coming to earth! Lightly stepping into the foam, he pulled his board up, tucking it beneath his arm.

Alec held his breath, sure that the inhuman grace would not survive on land, sure the swan would come down from flight and reveal its ducklike feet. But no.

The spray of the sea had taken on a golden hue in the afternoon sunshine, and still the surfer was nothing more than a silhouette, tall and lean, faintly shining as the wetsuit reflected the sun. Squinting against the glare, Alec made out a shaggy head of hair, the dark strokes of long clean limbs. God! The man even walked like a flame.

He came closer. Colour slid across the edges of his silhouette. He was walking out of the haze like an ascended being materializing out of light. Don’t…don’t let him be… Don’t let him be what? What was Alec afraid of? That the man would turn out to be ugly? Or worse, that he would become ordinary, like a mirage disappearing into the sand at the very instant that he was about to plunge his blistered, parched mouth into the water?

A last moment before the eye could fully register the details and then his surfer took another step, walking out of legend and into the everyday light. It was the shaggy hair that caught Alec’s attention first, strawberry blond as eighteen-carat gold, tangled in wind- and salt-soaked curls around an open, smiling bronzed face. Alec breathed in deep. God! Oh God. For here was summer and holidays and freedom embodied in one lithe package, still glistening a little from the sea and striding up the hill towards him like all his dreams come true.

Of course, the man was not coming to him. Of course he wasn’t, he was going into the café to buy himself a drink or to meet his friends. Any moment now and he would walk away, without the faintest idea that he had shaken Alec’s careful world apart. He would go inside and meet his equally svelte, bikini-clad girlfriend and all the sun would be gone from the summer. He must not be allowed. Once, just for once in his life, Alec had to grasp and hold the chance for happiness instead of cravenly watching it pass.

So close now, Alec could read the make on his wetsuit, see the individual grains of sand that dusted the black material, the drops of water trembling on the points of his hair. Now or never. But Alec couldn’t, couldn’t. Could he?

He stood up. “Stop!” His mouth dried out as the surfer’s dark, dark green eyes looked into his, startled and curious. Suddenly he felt an absolute fool. He was inviting a good kicking, at least. But damn it, a man couldn’t always be afraid.

“Don’t go past. Please. Sit down and drink with me. If you go past… If you go past, I think I’ll die.”





Darren took a step back, snapped out of his post-wave high. What the…? He’d heard some chat-up lines in his time but that won points for being the most desperate. As he rocked back, leaning on his board, Krissy gave him a head toss of exasperation and led the others inside. He could hear them laughing all the way to the bar.

“Are you buying?” he asked, testing the water.

The guy had still not sat down, was leaning forward over his table, all Hugh Grant floppy hair, starched designer shirt and pleading. He gave a slight wince, as though he’d been all primed up to duck a punch, and fell over his lolling tongue to say, “Oh yes. Yes, of course. Anything.”

“Champagne?”

“If you like.” Not a flicker of calculation in the blue slate eyes, only a kind of awe, like someone witnessing the second coming of Christ. Darren tilted his head to one side to see if that would make the expression look more like lust. It didn’t.

The air crackled about him with the intensity of that stare. What the hell? Had he caught himself another weirdo? Did he have some kind of “normal blokes need not apply” invisible sign above his head?

“I’m not sure it’s the sort of place where you can get champagne though.” The stranger dropped his eyes, gave one of those sweet, self-depreciating smiles all the rich boys must get taught at finishing school. What the hell was a man like him doing, anyway, having to pull rough trade off the beach when surely all he had to do was crook a finger and every strapping lad in his Eton rugby team would be on their knees in gratitude in seconds?

This is the point where you run away. Yeah?

“No, it’s not. I’ll have a beer.” Darren didn’t trouble with “thanks”. They both knew the sort of thank-you acceptable in this game.

“Really? You will?”

Darren watched the blush smoulder slowly from the man’s white open collar to the roots of his glossy coffee-brown hair, gobsmacked and annoyed with himself for saying yes. Annoyed with the stranger too, for giving him another chance to say no. C’mon now, get it out. “No, actually I won’t…” and walk away. C’mon now, Darren, you promised yourself.

On the other hand, the guy wasn’t a bad-looking trick. In fact he was gorgeous, his face all well-bred angles and perfect skin. When he looked down, as he was now, the blush turned brown eyelashes to bronze. They made soft little glinting fans over film-star cheekbones, gave him an inward, dreaming look as if he were up on a billboard, contemplating the scent of Eternity (bottled by Calvin Klein). If he was a harmless rich loony, it couldn’t hurt to take his money and give him what he wanted, could it? How many mental cases like Max could there be in the world, anyway?

“Really I will, but you’ll have to be quick or I’ll change my mind.”

“Don’t go anywhere. Please. Please.”

As he watched the man walk away—back straighter than a fire poker, bare feet frisking across dirty red tiles—Darren grounded his board and sank onto the bench. He pushed his fingers into the drying tangles of his hair, and as he did so, Krissy, bottled water and choc-ice in hand, slithered out from the crowd and propped a knee beside him.

“So you told him to get lost, didn’t you?”

She unzipped and peeled her arms out of her wetsuit, letting the top droop like a deflated twin about her waist. Sand and water droplets gleamed on her dark skin and scattered in the neat cornrows of her hair like diamonds. She caught him hesitating and cuffed him on the side of the head. “Didn’t you?”

He pulled at the Velcro at his throat, fierce summer sunshine and shame roasting him together. “It’s only a beer.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake!”

“Krissy, I…” Darren rubbed a hand over the back of his neck to conceal his frown, scarcely conscious of hitching forward over the phantom throb of long-healed ribs. He was remembering his Nan lying broken at the bottom of the stairs, grubby hospital corridors, the old lady soldier-brave, talking away to the nurse, her skin gone blue as whey. Thinking of wheelchair lifts, replacement hips. Rehab for Kyle. Something to shut Dad up, if only for a second. “I need the money.”

“Not this much.” She placed her hand over his, a capable, almost motherly hand. “Not enough to risk another Max.”

“Yes, this much.” At the name his body tightened up, muscles locking solid. Pavlov’s dogs—I hear his name, I get ready to be hurt.

“I can get you a job at the office. They’re always looking for someone to do filing, make tea.”

If Darren looked up, he could see the stranger at the bar, nervously counting out change. Apricot-coloured afternoon sunlight drenched the man’s hair, made it look edible as treacle toffee. The white slacks had an old-fashioned charm, discreetly suggesting the curve of a nice arse without going so far as to flaunt it. Something about the posture, the poise of that carefully laundered back implied a private gym, an athletics coach or two, who made the man’s body their personal work of art.

He had a nice smile. Diffident, almost frightened. His teeth were crooked and slightly stained.

Despair slammed into Darren like a wave, sucking him down, slamming him, limp and helpless, against the lightless rock and ooze of seabed. I stack shelves all year long, Krissy. This is my month, my one month of freedom. You don’t understand. “I don’t want a job.”

“I can help you. I don’t have much spare cash yet, but—”

And now she thought he had no pride either. “I don’t sponge off my friends.”

“It isn’t like I don’t owe you.”

He shook his head, trying to work the perfectly clear explanation in his mind out into words. I give them value for their money. I pay my way with the assets I’ve got. I don’t need your charity. Or your guilt. “But you don’t. That was a present, right? Just forget it.”

The stranger had stopped, arrested on the way back to the table by the sight of the two of them. Glasses and beer bottles shook in his fingers, chiming. He looked stabbed to the heart, and Darren knew he couldn’t get up now and leave. It would be like kicking Bambi just after his mother’s death.

Max hadn’t trembled, hadn’t looked at him like he was the driver of the chariot of the sun. Max had smiled that “I’m going to eat you up” smile and beckoned.

“Besides, it’s only a drink,” he said again. “I’m thirsty.”

“Prat.” Krissy shoved him hard in the head, leaving him with a roaring sensation in one ear, and opened her choc-ice. The top fell onto the bench beside him with a splat and lay there like the droppings of an enormous albatross. She made a sound of disgust and stalked away, throwing a glance spiked with poison at the trick, who returned her the flinch of a smile.

“Am I interrupting?” The man was like a ghost, soft voiced, all in white, such a lack of presence it was hard to remember he was there at all. Darren wondered, if you walked round him at the right angle, would he disappear altogether?

“Krissy,” he said. “She’s a good friend of mine. Surfing buddy.” And then, because his instincts had been all wrong about Max too, “I’ve a bunch of friends here. We look out for each other.”

“That’s good.” The man sat like a schoolboy, tucking himself neatly into the bench beside his upturned leather shoes and folded blazer. “All I seem to have is family, and they… But you don’t want to hear about all that. I’m Alec, by the way.”

“Ryan.” Darren concentrated on pouring his beer.

Condensation on the glass. Beads of sweet water reflected the sky. The beer was the colour of four o’clock sunshine and tasted of hops, bracing and tannin-sharp. Even with his eyes closed he could feel Alec’s gaze on his mouth, like the stroke of soft fur across his lips.

He put the glass down, opened his eyes. Alec recoiled, dropped his gaze to his shoes. He was, charmingly enough, drinking straight from the bottle, and it gave him a behind-the-bike-sheds air of schoolyard guilt, as though he’d been caught smoking by a teacher. “I don’t know what to say,” he confessed to the tabletop.

It was on the tip of Darren’s tongue to reply, “You don’t do this much, do you?” but that could be interpreted as disrespectful, and disrespect got you… He stiffened at the memory, rubbed one wrist and then the other.

“Are you all right?” Alec reached over, his cool fingers making stripes of sensation where they lay across Darren’s wrist. The skin was healed, but the pattern of hot, cold, hot sent a fizz of terror through him nevertheless.

“Not really. This was a bad idea.” He struggled out from the bench-and-table combo, grabbed his board. “Listen, mate, um, thanks for the drink but…”

Alec scrambled to his side, rangy as a greyhound, vibrating with regret and concern. “Maybe we could go for a walk?”

“What for?” Darren tried not to hug the fibreglass for comfort, ashamed of himself for being scared of this wet paper bag of a man but unable to stop.

“All these people make me nervous too.” The smile looked genuine enough. The look of awe warmed into something human, sympathetic, as Alec gave a small jerk of the head that might have stood in for a wry laugh. “I come here for the sea. Out there, where it’s clean.” He pointed at the great hump-backed glistening roll of the ocean.

Out, beyond where the toddlers shrieked, a lost balloon went sailing, red as poppies, into cloudless blue sky. An amber haze above the waves looked sweet as peach juice. Oh God, he could be there. He could be out there, on his own, nothing but him and the board, sun on his back and the moon tugging him forward on the crest of a wave. Flying, flying and never falling, at one with the sea.

“Yeah. Me too.” So what d’you need me for? If we’d both rather be out there? But he waited while Alec gathered up his shoes and socks, tie and blazer, something holding him in place—fellow feeling, or stupidity.

“I’ve never… I’ve never tried it. Surfboarding I mean. It must be wonderful.”

Darren laughed and looked up properly for the first time. Really looked at the man opposite him. Kind eyes. Indoor skin, already pink across the nose, a kind of high-stepping, gazelle-like grace. That faint sense that he wasn’t the only one terrified here. What the hell, it could hardly be worse than last year.

“You want to try? I can show you.”

Alec beamed as if he’d been offered the Holy Grail. This was no finishing-school smile. Too wide for his face, it stretched the skin of his cheeks into furrows, displaying the unexpected glint of a gold filling. “Oh yes please.”

“We’ll have to go shopping first. You can’t go in the water in that.” Even as he said it, the picture of Alec in dripping-wet white linen suggested itself, that modest drapery clinging to the curves and planes of him, gone half-transparent and tugging at prick and nipples. Dark nipples or pink? It was hard to tell with that mid-brown hair—could be either.

Darren walked away from the tables, up into the sparse grass of the first dune, stood looking down at the rainbow of holiday makers, the withdrawing water, wet sand like hammered silver above it. His hair tapped his cheek, stiffened with salt, and the nuclear reactor of the sun made his skin itch with heat beneath the black armour of his wetsuit. Riding the moment, his fast-beating heart steadying, he breathed in the heat haze—this could be okay—and unzipped.

Alec’s soft intake of breath faded into the hiss of the breeze, but he had on that look of religious ecstasy again. Darren made a strip show of peeling back the thick neoprene and watched to see if the expression would change. Alec’s indigo eyes rounded, flicked shyly across the length of his torso, and fixed in desperation on his necklace of wooden beads. He found himself almost insulted. It deserved something more. A compliment. A touch. Hell, he’d settle for a leer. But if Alec wasn’t going to react at all, what the hell was this about?

yadkny
June 23rd, 2010, 01:40 PM
:welcome2: Alex,

/smilies/birthday.gi My birthday was yesterday.

BTW - Great excerpt!

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 01:45 PM
Yay! I have a new review today! It says "I definitely recommend this as a good read for people who like a story with a focus on the feelings and relationship as it grows, and subtle, non-clichéd characterisations." And many other nice things :)

http://threedollarbillreviews.com/2010/06/23/shining-in-the-sun-by-alex-beecroft/

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 01:45 PM
:welcome2: Alex,

/smilies/birthday.gi My birthday was yesterday.

BTW - Great excerpt!

Thanks, Yadkny! And happy birthday to you for yesterday :) It's a good time of the year for it!

brandyzbooks
June 23rd, 2010, 03:12 PM
What kind of Historical Reenactment do you do???

AnnaRose
June 23rd, 2010, 03:35 PM
Thanks AnnaRose!

I do two different eras in terms of historical reenacting. I've been a Saxon with Regia Anglorum (http://www.regia.org/) for 21 years now, and more recently I've taken up 18th Century reenacting with the Mannered Mob (http://www.manneredmob.com/), so I'm having to make all new clothes for all the family. 18th Century clothes are far more ambitious and tailored than 10th Century ones!

Wow - that sounds really cool - I can imagine the kind of clothes you need for 18th century, but not so familar with 10th century - could you tell me what a traditional ladies outfit would be then?

Also, you have to make them!? Isn't there a costume box for actors or something - that's a lot of work (I say this because I can't even sew a button, even though when I was younger my mum paid for sewing lessons and everything!)

hollie
June 23rd, 2010, 04:58 PM
Thank you! LOL! And yes, I think I chose entirely the wrong day for this. How dare England play their big match today and take all the glory off me? ;)


They won can you believe it? the way they have been playing they are actually in to the last 16 what are the chances of us making the final.

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 05:31 PM
What kind of Historical Reenactment do you do???

I do Anglo Saxon with Regia Anglorum, and mid 18th Century with the Mannered Mob.

This is the Saxon long hall I've been building as part of Regia:

http://wychurst.regia.org/index.html

except that it looks better than that now because we've recently lime-washed the walls.

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 05:44 PM
Wow - that sounds really cool - I can imagine the kind of clothes you need for 18th century, but not so familar with 10th century - could you tell me what a traditional ladies outfit would be then?

Also, you have to make them!? Isn't there a costume box for actors or something - that's a lot of work

A Saxon lady's outfit would consist of a kirtle or underdress, which is a basic floor length A shaped dress with long, tight sleeves which - if extended - would cover the hands. These are worn ruched around the wrist. This is usually made of linen. Then a similarly shaped woollen dress on top, but with wider and shorter sleeves. On your head you'd wear a cap and on top of that a wimple to keep your hair entirely covered.

There's a good walk through of the elements of the dress here:
http://family.webshots.com/photo/1327612146068722989sxcRvh

And yes, I've made all the clothes for my family, both Saxon and 18th Century. Here we are in borrowed 18th Century kit, because I can't immediately lay my hands on pictures of the kit I have made.

http://alexbeecroftblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/reenactment-again-different-century/

I started out with relatively simple peasant clothes and am working my way up to frock coats and robes a l'Anglais :)

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 05:48 PM
They won can you believe it? the way they have been playing they are actually in to the last 16 what are the chances of us making the final.

I'm hoping that they've just been pacing themselves and not really trying hard until now, so that they will up their game in the next round. Otherwise, as you say, they're out ;)

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 05:56 PM
Footfalls gently whispered across sandy soil and grass. He was turning when Ryan’s arms slipped about him. His shoulder collided with the yellow skeletal fish on the front of Ryan’s T-shirt, which gave him a quizzical look.

The kiss that must have been intended for the crown of his head
landed on his temple. It might have been the clapper and he the bell, the
way he rang with it. A sweet shock vibrated through every particle of
him, echoed in his chest and trembled into silence at his finger ends.
“Ah!” he said, thought whiting out in sensation as Ryan shifted
behind him to align himself better, chest to Alec’s back. Alec’s buttocks
nestled into the curve of Ryan’s groin. He could feel the press of his own
thin linen slacks and Ryan’s numerous pockets and zips, keys and
change and the hot, smooth bulge of his swelling prick.

“’Sokay,” Ryan murmured into the nape of his neck, breath stirring
the little hairs there, making him shiver all over. “You don’t have to do
that.” His hands burrowed under the blazer’s rough wool, stroking over
Alec’s stomach. Splaying out wide, they pulled Alec gently but inexorably
back against him. There must be electricity in the palms of them, the
fingertips poured out gentle sparks of need into each millimetre of skin
over which they slid. Ryan touched his lips and then his tongue to the
back of Alec’s neck, and harbour path, sea and sundial swam into steel
before him as his eyes unfocussed and slid shut. “You don’t have to do
anything.”

Oh God. Alec’s life unravelled under Ryan’s hands. His own cock
stiffened, needy and demanding, and Ryan’s hand slid slowly down his
belly to cup it, heat welling through his palm. The firm slow press filled
Alec’s backbone and belly with writhing prickly pleasure. Summer was
here, beating on his back, boiling in his veins and balls.

All at once, he thought of his father, his share portfolio. Whist
foursomes, wedding plans, his mother’s tears and hopes for
grandchildren rose up to blot out the sun. He thought he stiffened with
realization, but instead found himself pushing into the hard encircling
fingers.

“The car! Oh, God, I…oh…I never called back for the car. And they’ll
be…” A kiss just beneath his ear, the laving press of Ryan’s tongue down
the side of his neck and the words skittered away. He groped for them as
if they could shield him from this—oh—this glory. “Shut. They’ll be shut
now.”

“You can stay with me.”

He thought his heart stopped, then started up again different,
stronger, the wisps of his old life smoking away from it. He could do this,
perhaps? The summer was his month, Ryan’s month. They could both
escape together. “I…”

How did you say it? I’ve never done anything but look before. Can you
be gay if you’ve only ever looked? Can you…? Am I…?

He arched his back. His arse felt as hot and tight as his prick,
wanting, needing to be touched. Ryan’s spare hand undid the buttons of
his shirt and slipped inside, found his nipple and rolled it between
thumb and forefinger. The sweet hot lance of pleasure made his knees
weaken, his mouth fill with the taste of copper.

A horn blared into the night, shocking as a face full of water. The
windows of the great white motorhome with which they shared the car
park wound down, and an elderly head with a military-looking
moustache bristled at them. “Ahem! Do that somewhere private, can’t
you? We’ve got children in here.”

As the window glided through its stately motorized raise, Alec caught
the private “bloody queers” that followed, and a kind of firework of joy
exploded beneath his breastbone. He should be embarrassed. He should
be. But he was not.

Ryan gave him one last squeeze before flipping the man the finger in
a friendly sort of way. “You okay?”

“I’m… Actually I’m amazing.”

The laughter eased something tight in Ryan’s face, made him look
again as he had when they’d wrestled in the spray. It clicked with Alec
suddenly that he must have been offering himself then too, and that was
worrying. Why would he do that, so early on, long before either of them
knew what the other was like?

Ryan took his hand and dragged him back towards the van. He
fiddled with the key, unlatching the back doors with a metallic thud and
crunch. Alec looked at the darkness within—suggestions of duvet cover
crumpled on a foam mattress. The suspicion that Ryan might be forcing
himself to do what he thought was expected of him, what he thought Alec
wanted, made him splutter and die inside like the Morgan. “You don’t
have to do this, you know. Today has been the most wonderful day of my
life. It’s only that…I like being with you. I don’t need anything more.”

Ryan’s back stiffened and stilled. His hand froze on the bolt of the
door. His eyes pinched closed again, and Alec caught the movement of
his free hand towards his wrist. He settled his own fingers there instead
and felt the shock of the touch shudder through the other man like the
trembling of a struck gong.
“I need to.” Ryan looked down at the encircling fingers. His amber
curls concealed his eyes. The ends of his mouth rose jerkily out of their
emoticon downturn. “I need to…Alec.”

Ryan peeled each finger away individually, then raised Alec’s hand to
his lips and kissed the palm, pressing his face into its curve and
nuzzling. Absurdly touched, Alec pushed his other hand into Ryan’s hair,
rubbed soothing circles over his scalp.

The tangled hair smelled like the sea. Alec lowered his nose to it and
breathed in deep. The gold of the afternoon, captured in the curls, flowed
into him. Colours on the edge of his vision sharpened, and his lips
tingled as the salt-stiffened elf-locks brushed against them.

Ryan licked the centre of his cradling hand and he yelped, the jolt of
erotic lightning making him straighten up and bang his head on the top
of the van. When Ryan laughed, he was glad he’d done it, accidental or
not.

Letting himself be pushed into the cavelike dimness of the camper
van’s body, Alec squirmed onto the thin foam mattress inside, got his feet
in and leaned forward to unlace his shoes. The van dipped beneath
Ryan’s weight as he too sat, pulled up his feet and swung the metal back
door closed.

And then they were alone together in the dark.

Polyester sheets under both his supporting hands, Alec leaned
against the plywood cupboard behind the driver’s seat and swallowed
hard. Was this the moment when Jekyll turned into Hyde? When all
Ryan’s pinched and sullen aggression—the foul language and the
repressed violence he’d shown on the phone—got turned against Alec?

What was he doing, putting himself in the power of a man he didn’t
know, like this? Was this the point at which he disappeared, his dead
body turning up beneath the pier a month later, when the police had
tracked his credit cards to wherever it was Ryan normally lived? Maybe
his mother was right to think he should not be allowed out without a
responsible adult to take care of him.

A rattling shake in the corner, and then he heard the tearing noise
and gunpowder-sulphur smell of a match. He gasped a breath that
plucked like hooks at his lungs, remembering that his inhaler was locked
in the glove box of the car, inaccessible in Perranporth town. Then the
match caught, and the flare of honey-gold light flickered over the cup of
Ryan’s hands, spilled out and up to gild his full lips and glow through
hair the colour of the centre of the flame.

Ryan touched the match to a cheap candle, set upright on a saucer
crusted with wax, and the doubled light threw soft umber shadows into
the corners of the van, revealing a stack of dog-eared library books
bookmarked with car-park tickets. Damp towels. Dirty washing in a bowl
below the single gas ring. The dragon-neck shadow of a teapot on the
curved white metal wall. A rolled-up duvet and a pillow warm beneath
Alec’s right knee.

A little smile graced Ryan’s face now, and in the candlelight, he might
have been a lost angel, luminous and resigned, trapped in a caravan on a
council estate, in a faded T-shirt and flip-flops. The tug and fish-hook
pull at Alec’s chest eased and a new kind of fear filled its place. It was so
silent he could still hear the sea. Am I really going to do this? I have no
idea whether this is a good idea or not. What if it’s a terrible, terrible
mistake?

“Let me take those for you.” Ryan removed the shoes from where
they’d been strategically balanced in Alec’s lap, laid them in the corner
by the door where his wet shoes stood on a grate above a tray of sandy
water. Ryan’s voice was brown and gold as the light, a woodwind
baritone that seemed too deep, too resonant, to come from so lean a
frame. It filled the cramped and squalid space with mystery, and Alec,
vibrating in harmony, forgot doubts and thoughts together, remembered
only that he was glad to be here.

“And your jacket.” Ryan crawled slowly over on hands and knees to
Alec’s side. Lionlike, thought Alec, with that tawny hair loose on
shoulders that flexed with muscle and movement. I’m going to let him eat
me up. I think I want him to. The thought scalded up his face in a blush
that made the itchy woollen collar of his blazer prickle intolerably against
his neck. He angled his head to let Ryan sweep cool fingers beneath the
material and ease the heavy garment so that it slid in a tide of rough
warmth down his arms.

“You want a drink?” Ryan turned his back as he folded up the blazer
carefully, stroking the nap of the pockets. Opening a cupboard he stowed
it inside, his arms and head disappearing for a moment behind the door.
Then he stuffed one hand into his pocket and with the other brought out
a bottle of gin to flourish. The inch of liquid in the bottom sloshed
against the glass in protest.

“I don’t…” Now the blush had passed, Alec was conscious of night’s
chill seeping through the thin metal walls. The candle flickered and he
thought his breath filled the shade with steam. That might have been an
illusion, but certainly his thin shirt did nothing to keep him warm. His
nipples tightened with the cold. Ryan looked down at the outline through
the fabric and licked his lips. Alec’s heartbeat jerked and sped. “Ah,
actually…maybe I will.”

yadkny
June 23rd, 2010, 06:06 PM
WOW... just WOW!

That excerpt was really good applause.gif

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 06:19 PM
WOW... just WOW!

That excerpt was really good applause.gif

Hee! Thank you! This is very much what I like to hear :D

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 06:21 PM
It's getting a little late, so I'm going to do a rapid fire posting of excerpts, and then I will come back in the morning to pick the winner of the prize.

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 06:22 PM
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[I]<o>:p> </o>:p>
Blurb<o>:p></o>:p>
Love? Might as well ask for the moon. But a man can dream…
Despite his looks and ambition, Midshipman Joshua Andrews hides urges that, in his world, make him an abomination. Living in fear of exposure, unnecessary risk is something he studiously avoids. Once he sets eyes on the elegant picture of perfection that is Peter Kenyon, though, temptation lures him like the siren call of the sea.
Soon to be promoted to captain, Peter is the darling of the Bermuda garrison, with a string of successes behind him and a suitable bride lined up to share his future. He seems completely out of Joshua’s reach.
Then the two men are forced to serve on a long voyage under a sadistic commander with a mutinous crew. As the tension aboard the vessel heats up, their unexpected friendship intensifies into a passion neither man can rein in.
Intimacy like theirs can only exist in the shadow of the gallows. Both men are determined their “youthful curiosity” must die before it brings disaster down on them. Yet neither man can root it from his heart. Warriors both, they think nothing of risking their lives for their country. In the end they must decide whether love, too, is worth dying for.
Excerpt <o>:p></o>:p>
“I think I can brush the stains from the inside of my coat. But the shirt is ruined.” Kenyon twisted the linen as though he was wringing a neck. The pressure squeezed out a trickle of blood that dripped onto the clean floor of their cabin. “My best shirt only fit for handkerchiefs, God damn him!”<o>:p></o>:p>
Josh drew his gaze back to the dark mirror of his wine with a sense of pressing danger. The [I]Nimrod had never been a happy ship, but it seemed to him that some special malevolence lay on this voyage. He could feel himself surrendering to it, growing listless, reckless, and this last blow had left him reeling. He had not thought it was possible to hate <st1>:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Walker</st1:city></st1>:place> more, but this... it was unspeakable.<o>:p></o>:p>
He risked glancing up, meaning to say so, and caught Kenyon’s eyes. They were full of fire and fury, hotter by far than his words, and the look of implacable anger made Josh’s heart stall in delight. Such beautiful eyes! So fluid, so expressive, so very green in the gold of the lantern.<o>:p></o>:p>
Control yourself! He should certainly not be leaning forward, gape-mouthed and entranced. Kenyon might notice. He might notice and understand. Then...then it could be Josh, hanging by his neck from the yard arm, slowly choking to death.<o>:p></o>:p>
“The shirt is not the only thing in ruins.” Josh’s voice sounded unnaturally loud to himself. <st1>:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Walker</st1:city></st1>:place> had stepped over the line, and now he was just a little too angry to keep his mouth shut. “By God, sir, you might be his latest victim, but you are not his first—you’ve seen how he treats the men.<o>:p></o>:p>
“They cannot appease him,” Kenyon agreed and tried to lean down to mop the bloodstain away. His hiss of pain was soft and lay unacknowledged between them, for it was a mark of how far their friendship had come that he let himself flinch at all—a human weakness he would not have shown to another soul on board. “They run aboutfuriously to look active but achieve nothing. I believe he’s afraid of them. But the more he tries to grind them down, the more just cause he has to be afraid.”<o>:p></o>:p>
He’s afraid? Josh had never thought of it like that. He had imagined <st1>:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Walker</st1:city></st1>:place> merely loved the power. But if he was only a small, terrified man trying to protect himself from those he believed were stronger than him, did he then deserve pity? No, I think not.<o>:p></o>:p>
Kenyon shuffled gingerly forward to the edge of his cot and braced himself to slip off, so that he could kneel and clean the floor without bending. The movement took him from deep shadow into lamplight, baring his shirtless skin to Josh’s rapt gaze. Mother of God! Such arms he had, pale and strong, the yellow light pooling in their curves. His long neck and flanks and chest were sleek as cream and scarcely scarred. And his back, the elegant curve of spine brutally cut from waist to shoulders, swollen, bruised, and oozing blood.<o>:p></o>:p>
Josh made a noise, clapped his hands over his mouth to stifle it, and cursed his vivid imagination. It had chosen that moment to replay to him the scene of punishment on deck; the beautiful young man tied to the grating, the lash, Kenyon’s frown of pained concentration, the grunts of impact and the small, involuntary gasps of his breathing.<o>:p></o>:p>
I was appalled, I was! Oh Mary and Joseph! Why must I be such a monster?<o>:p></o>:p>
“Are you quite well?” Kenyon looked up with terrible innocence. Oblivious.<o>:p></o>:p>
“Just feel...a little sick.” Josh drained his wineglass, filled it up again and drank half down before he felt collected enough to go on. “It looks painful. For all love, sir, lie down. I’ll swab the floor.”<o>:p></o>:p>
The lieutenant retreated, easing himself down to lie on his stomach with his head propped on one arm. That was better, for now only his amused expression met the light, and even that was half-hidden behind the veil of his long, dark hair. “I made the mess; I should clean it,” he said. Josh’s mother had had a similar saying, and the familiarity of it was a balm after that rush of paralyzing lust. Affection was safer.<o>:p></o>:p>
“I know my place,” he said, smiling and had begun to relax over scouring the stain away, when the treacherous voice in his head added, On my knees for you. He choked again and scrambled back to his bottle. It was a difficult game he played with the wine—he needed it to knock himself out so that he neither lay awake listening to Kenyon breathing nor ran the risk of speaking out of his extraordinarily vivid dreams. But he paid in evenings of lowered inhibitions, the mortal dread of exposure, and lately a growing suicidal wish to confess all, to let the older man know what he really felt. Only the knowledge that it would be playing into <st1>:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Walker</st1:city></st1>:place>’s hands held him back, barely.<o>:p></o>:p>
“I wonder if you do.”<o>:p></o>:p>
“Beg pardon?”<o>:p></o>:p>
“Is it the drink?” Kenyon watched him with a measuring, alert gaze that —to Josh’s muzzy thoughts at least—seemed gentler than any he had used before. “You seem seaman-like and efficient to me, bright enough, able to charm or daunt the men at will, and well able to command. What keeps you from passing for lieutenant? You cannot want to be a midshipman all your life.”<o>:p></o>:p>
“On this ship? You, if anyone, should know what it’s like by now. I only wish I’d never been made acting lieutenant at all. It was that that made him notice me, and God knows how it’ll end.” He found the words pouring from him in a kind of ecstasy of relief. Years, it seemed, he had yearned for someone to say these things to, and to find that confidant in Kenyon was almost too good to be true. “I’m not totally without ambition. Were I out of his reach I’d qualify tomorrow, but that isn’t going to happen now, is it? So I wish I had damn well kept my head down and stayed unobserved and unimportant ’til I died.”<o>:p></o>:p>
Their shared anger and the honesty felt more intoxicating than the wine.<o>:p></o>:p>
“It is a far worse pain than the stripes to me,” said Kenyon softly into the private, swaying gloom, “to see so many excellent things go to waste. This is a beautiful ship, yet he makes her feel like a prison transport. In the right hands, this crew could be the equal of any in the fleet—and he treats them like dumb brutes, officers and men alike. And you... There are times I see a fine spirit in you, a fighting spirit. Then, of a sudden, it fails. Has he broken you, too? Is there nothing left that can be salvaged?”<o>:p></o>:p>
“Are you calling me excellent?” Anger Josh understood and could navigate, but praise made him stop short, disbelieving and a little anguished. In drink, the thought of being called “excellent” made him want to weep, though sober he might have appreciated its irony. You would not think so, sir, if you knew what I wanted to do to you; what I wanted you to do to me. <o>:p></o>:p>
“I am.” Kenyon looked at him with an open expression, almost nervously. There was a silence, and Josh’s heart beat against his throat like the wings of a bird. No one—starting with his mother—had ever thought him worth such praise. Even to God, whose loving kindness was supposedly infinite, Josh was nothing but an abomination to be wiped from the face of the earth with brimstone and fire. He was used to disdain, but he didn’t know what to do when faced with kindness. Taking in a harsh breath, he turned his face to the screen to conceal the threat of tears.<o>:p></o>:p>
Conscious that he had strayed too far on delicate territory, Kenyon hitched himself up to take another long drink of the several pints of rum which had been pressed on him in sympathy by the men and changed the subject. “I have been hoping to uphold the present regime at least long enough for us to reach our destination, but now I wonder. Could I call him out?” His face hardened again. “Summersgill practically suggested it. He’d back me if I chose to, I think.”<o>:p></o>:p>
“Challenge Captain Walker to a duel on his own quarterdeck?” Josh repeated, his spirit thrilling at this audacity.<o>:p></o>:p>
“On land it would wear well enough. The world understands that a gentleman cannot be expected to bear such an insult.”<o>:p></o>:p>
Did Josh really need to point out the hopelessness of this plan? The absolute authority of a naval captain that superseded any moral law? “But we’re not on land.”<o>:p></o>:p>
“No... No.” Kenyon tried to turn over onto his side, but clearly his injuries had begun to stiffen, the bruises to bloom and the cuts to tighten, because he gave a startled hiss and lay back down, frowning wearily at the floor. “Some other reason would have to be concocted, and then I should need to be convinced that every man on board would be prepared to swear to the lie.”<o>:p></o>:p>
This time the silence was one of enormity. Josh’s glass rang twice as he put it down, betraying the tremble in his hand. Swinging his legs over the edge of his cot, he let himself be seen, partly dressed and frightened as he was. “Isn’t that... mutiny?”<o>:p></o>:p>
Kenyon smiled. It was, perhaps, the sweetest expression Josh had ever seen on a man’s face, with its perfect mixture of vulnerability and amusement, resignation and entreaty. “If I place my life in your hands,” he said softly, “it is because I know it’s safe there.”<o>:p></o>:p>
If Josh had been fragile before, these words shattered him. For a moment he forgot how to breathe, how to think, as the storm overtook him, and he ran helpless before the swell of agony and denial. The words were out of his mouth before he had time to consider or regret. “You would not be so quick to trust me if you knew what I was.”<o>:p></o>:p>
“What you are?” The gaze became quizzical, still light-hearted on the surface, but colored with shades of compassion and concern beneath. “I don’t...I don’t know what you mean.”<o>:p></o>:p>
“If I place my life in your hands, will it be safe there?”<o>:p></o>:p>
“To the utmost of my strength.”<o>:p></o>:p>
Josh took a breath and tried to say it; “I...I..” His heart stuttered as wildly as his words, choking him. He looked at the wall, the floor, the lantern—they glared back, implacable, refusing to help. I will hang for mutiny or die at the hands of the crew. It made it easier to force himself out of the cot to crawl on hands and knees across the tiny space, the gulf which was all that separated him from that smile. If I’m going to be killed anyway...<o>:p></o>:p>
Reaching out, he pushed his fingers into the thick darkness of Kenyon’s hair, the sensation pounding over him, drowning him. Stroking the errant locks out of the lieutenant’s face, he leaned down and touched his lips to the corner of a mouth that had opened a little in surprise. Flushed skin and sweat, and Kenyon licked his lips—perhaps nervously—but at the tiny flickering touch Josh couldn’t help himself. Both hands twisted wrist deep into that glorious hair—soft, so soft—and he lifted the older man’s face to his own, claimed the mouth full on, plunging deep, luxuriating in the taste and the firmness and Peter, oh, Peter. Oh, God, Peter!<o>:p></o>:p>
Something breaking in his chest—his heart, probably—forced him away, forced him to huddle miserably in the middle of the deck with tears spilling onto his cheeks, waiting for the recoil, waiting to be punched and shunned. He didn’t fear death, for the lieutenant was a man of his word, but Josh was basely, burningly ashamed. And if he hates me... He wiped his eyes on his sleeves, looked up—best to know the worst at once—and was met by a look of plain astonishment, almost wonder. <o>:p></o>:p>
“Ah,” said Kenyon uncertainly.<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
~*~*~*~<o>:p></o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
Captain's Surrender is available in ebook from http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/captain-s-surrender
And should be out in print in August 2010.<o>:p></o>:p>

alexbeecroft
June 23rd, 2010, 06:33 PM
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ALEX BEECROFT
<o:p> </o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Blurb
<o:p> </o:p>
For his first command, John Cavendish is given the elderly bomb
vessel HMS /Meteor/, and a crew as ugly as the ship. He’s determined to make a success of their first mission, and hopes the well-liked
lieutenant Alfie Donwell can pull the crew together before he has to
lead them into battle: stopping the slave trade off the coast of
Algiers.
<o:p> </o:p>
Alfie knows that with a single ship, however well manned, their
mission is futile, and their superiors back in England are
hoping to use their demise as an excuse for war with the Ottoman
Empire. But the darker secret he keeps is his growing attraction for
his commanding officer—a secret punishable by death.
<o:p> </o:p>
With the arrival of his former captain—and lover—on the scene, Alfie
is torn between the security of his past and the uncertain promise of a future with the straight-laced John.
<o:p> </o:p>
Against a backdrop of war, intrigue, piracy and personal betrayal, the high
seas will carry these men through dangerous waters from England to
Africa, from the Arctic to the West Indies, in search of a safe harbor.
<o:p> </o:p>
Excerpt
<o:p> </o:p>
Eighty pairs of eyes watched John as he came up the side and strode stiffly to the Meteor’s small quarterdeck. Taking off his hat, he turned to face his crew, noting the slack, bruised faces of men with scurvy, the nose-less, crusted features of those whom pox was slowly consuming from within. The Master was barely being held up by his mate, his linen drabbed with stains. The single midshipman picked his nose as he slouched by his division, then spat over the side. Only the enigmatic new lieutenant stood straight and alert, in newly laundered dress uniform, his wig powdered, his buttons gleaming and his pale brows arched a little in amusement as he watched John struggle with hat and paper in the increasing wind.
<o:p> </o:p>
John fumed inwardly at the slackness, the disrespect as well as the waste of lives. Opening Admiral Saunders’ letter he read it aloud in a firm, positive tone, reading himself in as captain, telling them whence his authority came and warning that he had the right to govern and punish as he saw fit. Some of his anger wound its way into his voice, making it snap like the cat, and the more alert members of the crew stood straighter by the end of it.
<o:p> </o:p>
Introductions. About to quiz the volunteer, his thoughts were instantly dashed when the huddle of warrant officers parted to reveal the modest black dress and white lace bonnet of an elderly lady. John bowed over the twigs of her fingers, reeling. ‘The Doctor’s wife, Mrs. Harper’, a voice informed him, and ‘charmed’ he said, mechanically. They’d sent a woman on board! In God’s holy name—knowing what they knew—they’d allowed not merely a woman, but a lady on board! The blood drained from his face, then returned, thundering and stinging in his ears. A victim. Are we to put up a plucky resistance and then be sunk, so that the outrage may provide an excuse for war? So that the First Lord may say ‘see, we don’t scruple to spare even our women in the pursuit of this menace?’ It was despicable.
<o:p> </o:p>
His head throbbed suddenly, pain winding up from his clenched teeth to lance through his temples into his eyes. Giving orders to set sail, to swab the decks, for the first watch to be set and the second to be fed, he waited until the life of the ship around him settled into its routine, then ducked into the captain’s cabin to think. But the ruin he found seemed to mock him. The French captain’s cot lay slashed on the floor, stern lockers and all his chests broken open and ransacked.
<o:p> </o:p>
“A right fucking pig’s ear they’ve made of this, sir,” the voice of his steward grated along his spine, making him straighten up, instinctively. Turning, he found Japheth Higgins looming behind him with John’s portmanteau propped against his hip and his sea-chest dragged by one handle from the other hand. An orange brute, Higgins had a tendency to appear out of random shadows, like the Borneo wild man.
<o:p> </o:p>
“I thought I told you to stay on the flag-ship, Higgins.”
<o:p> </o:p>
“You was having a little laugh, though, right sir? Cos you wouldn’t leave me behind, not was you Admiral of the White.” Higgins dropped the sea-chest by way of final punctuation and scratched his ginger sideburns with a tobacco-stained finger.
<o:p> </o:p>
John laughed around the queasiness in his throat. An unusual fairy godmother Higgins made, to be sure, but it was true. Assigned to him as a ‘sea-daddy’ in his first ship, set by the captain to teach the infant ‘young gentleman’ the ropes—and to make sure he was not too homesick, too lonely, or too much picked on—Higgins had been with him ever since. Now he couldn’t even say ‘I was trying to keep you safe, you fool,’ without spreading rumors he did not need the rest of the crew to hear.
<o:p> </o:p>
“Not a very good joke, I’m afraid,” he said instead. “I’m sorry Higgins. I’m glad you’re here. See what you can do to sort this mess out, would you? I’m going for the tour.”
<o:p> </o:p>
Choosing not to notice as he passed the Master retching into a bucket, John paced the length of the gun-deck from gunroom to hawse holes. Lighting the lantern he had taken from the midshipmen’s berth, he descended to the orlop, past the carpenter’s workroom, the bulkhead of the gunner’s stores and so back again to the cable tier. Trying to calm his mind, he strode out nervous and filled with a lightning of energy he had to out-walk before he could think.
<o:p> </o:p>
On the cable tier, absolute darkness pressed inwards around the circle of his light. Water trickled, glistening, down the Meteor’s flexing sides, the sound of it sweet in the silences between waves. A stench came from the hold, seeping up through the holes of the deck. Beneath the latticework of planks on which he stood, the ballast of gravel below stirred with a great hiss, like the tide rolling over a beach. Not all the anxiety in the world could prevent him from making a note to order the pumps set working at once.
<o:p> </o:p>
Around him, on either side, the anchor cables lay coiled, water dripping from them, seeping in an indoor rain through the gratings, to join the inner sea beneath his feet. Footsteps knocked on the deck above him but, down here, dark, quiet and solitude calmed him. Breathing in, he sighed, the spring of his anger easing enough to allow thought. It was too early to despair. Somehow, he would complete this mission and return as the hero Saunders described. Or at the least, he would complete the mission while keeping his crew alive, from the old lady to the youngest powder monkey. Here in this waiting space, this space between worlds, it was easier to believe.
<o:p> </o:p>
Straightening his back even further, an ache like a fist between his shoulderblades, he picked his way through the coils of hawser. They rose like cliffs on either side and, as he walked, his lantern light mingled with a growing brown gloom that spilled in from the doorway. There, in the narrow gap between John and the main companionway, stood the volunteer, Lt. Donwell, with his wig off and his bold eyes glimmering gold as John raised his lantern to look in them. Walking forward, John expected the man to yield, to step back and let him out. Mere inches separated them by the time it dawned on him that Donwell was not going to move. Heat and confusion striking through him, obliterating even the dread, he pulled himself back from a collision only just in time. The skirts of their coats brushed, sending a jolt of invasion through him from thigh to shoulders. What the devil!
<o:p> </o:p>
Time stopped. His mouth dried as a wave of prickly embarrassment swept over him, bringing guilt in its wake. Yet what had he done wrong? It was Donwell who should flinch, who should feel guilty, who should not be smiling so! John could not wrench his gaze away from Donwell’s face. Limned with gold, it was perfectly nondescript; round, pleasant, and completely lacking in self-conscious guilt. Donwell’s mouth quirked up at one side into a slow, charming smile. And his presence! It was extraordinary. It beat on John’s skin like strong sunshine. He fought the urge to close his eyes and bathe in it. His pulse picked up, waiting, waiting for something.
<o:p> </o:p>
Then returning sanity hit him in the face. He snapped, “Get out of my way! Don't you know who I am!”
<o:p> </o:p>
Donwell’s smile broadened. John thought he would salute, but he just passed a hand through the loose blond curls of his hair and stepped away. “I’d know you anywhere, sir.”
<o:p> </o:p>
“I’ll have a little more respect from you in future, Mister.”
<o:p> </o:p>
“You may have whatever you like.”
<o:p> </o:p>
Speech deserted John once more. Aware he should act now to regain the initiative he had no idea what to do. Instead he pushed past, feeling the dark gaze on the back of his neck like warm breath, and tried to tell himself that he made a dignified exit. But if the truth be told it was a flight, spooked as a partridge from the covert.
<o:p> </o:p>
~*~*~*~
<o:p> </o:p>
False Colors is available from Amazon here http://tinyurl.com/cwmy52
<o:p> </o:p>

AnnaRose
June 23rd, 2010, 07:23 PM
A Saxon lady's outfit would consist of a kirtle or underdress, which is a basic floor length A shaped dress with long, tight sleeves which - if extended - would cover the hands. These are worn ruched around the wrist. This is usually made of linen. Then a similarly shaped woollen dress on top, but with wider and shorter sleeves. On your head you'd wear a cap and on top of that a wimple to keep your hair entirely covered.

There's a good walk through of the elements of the dress here:
http://family.webshots.com/photo/1327612146068722989sxcRvh

And yes, I've made all the clothes for my family, both Saxon and 18th Century. Here we are in borrowed 18th Century kit, because I can't immediately lay my hands on pictures of the kit I have made.

http://alexbeecroftblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/reenactment-again-different-century/

I started out with relatively simple peasant clothes and am working my way up to frock coats and robes a l'Anglais :)


Those are great pics - and great outfits! Helps me to envision what it would be like to participate in a reenactment. Looks like great fun!

Lee Rowan
June 23rd, 2010, 11:42 PM
Happy Birthday!!

Lee

Catherine Bybee
June 23rd, 2010, 11:58 PM
:hapbirth: :surprise: /smilies/birthday.gi

I won't ask you your age!

Catherine Bybee
June 24th, 2010, 12:00 AM
I LOVED THIS BOOK!


[quote=alexbeecroft;128069]<?xml:namespace prefix = o /><o:smarttagtype name="country-region" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="place" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="City" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><OBJECT id=ieooui classid=clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D></OBJECT><STYLE> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </STYLE><META content=Word.Document name=ProgId><META content="Microsoft Word 11" name=Generator><META content="Microsoft Word 11" name=Originator><LINK href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CMarnie%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmso html1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml" rel=File-List><STYLE> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} p.MsoPlainText, li.MsoPlainText, div.MsoPlainText {margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Courier New"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:595.3pt 841.9pt; margin:72.0pt 57.6pt 72.0pt 57.6pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </STYLE>FALSE COLORS
ALEX BEECROFT
<O:p> </O:p>
<O:p> </O:p>
<O:p> </O:p>
<O:p> </O:p>

brandyzbooks
June 24th, 2010, 12:07 AM
I do Anglo Saxon with Regia Anglorum, and mid 18th Century with the Mannered Mob.

This is the Saxon long hall I've been building as part of Regia:

http://wychurst.regia.org/index.html

except that it looks better than that now because we've recently lime-washed the walls.

I like the pic and site...

brandyzbooks
June 24th, 2010, 12:20 AM
thanks for the exerpt...

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 05:03 AM
Those are great pics - and great outfits! Helps me to envision what it would be like to participate in a reenactment. Looks like great fun!

Thanks! Yes, it is fun. We never pretend to actually be from the time, so we don't have to talk to people in funny dialects or anything, but it does help to know a bit about the period because people ask you all sorts of peculiar questions!

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 05:04 AM
Happy Birthday!!

Lee

Thanks, Lee! It was one of the recent best :)

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 05:06 AM
:hapbirth: :surprise: /smilies/birthday.gi

I won't ask you your age!

*G* I am a mere slip of a girl at age 45 :)

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 05:09 AM
I LOVED THIS BOOK!


[quote=alexbeecroft;128069]<o:smarttagtype name="country-region" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="place" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="City" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><object id="ieooui" classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D"></object><style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style><link href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CMarnie%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmso html1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml" rel="File-List"><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} p.MsoPlainText, li.MsoPlainText, div.MsoPlainText {margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Courier New"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:595.3pt 841.9pt; margin:72.0pt 57.6pt 72.0pt 57.6pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style>FALSE COLORS
ALEX BEECROFT
<o>:p> </o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>
<o>:p> </o>:p>

Thanks, Catherine! Well, I'm going to start on another historical for the same publisher as soon as I've finished the WIP I'm working on at the moment. So maybe by this time next year I'll have something similar out again :)

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 05:38 AM
I like the pic and site...

Thank you! I've been neglecting the reenacting now that I'm doing more writing, because it's pretty much a full time hobby and I don't have as much free time any more. But it was great when we were doing it as much as we could.

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 05:43 AM
For the give away of Shining in the Sun, the winning commenter is yadkny (http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/member.php?u=4764)

Yadkny, if you can email me on alex@alexbeecroft.com, I will send you the book by return of email :) Congratulations!

Robbibird3
June 24th, 2010, 01:02 PM
Alex,
Gee I'm sorry I missed the celebration of your Jubilee day and your birthday. I hope it was a smashing success, I was feeling under the weather as they say so I'm stopping by a day late.

Robin

yadkny
June 24th, 2010, 01:18 PM
YAY!!! I just sent you an email, Alex. I hope your having an awesome day!!!:smilingsun:



For the give away of Shining in the Sun, the winning commenter is yadkny (http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/member.php?u=4764)

Yadkny, if you can email me on alex@alexbeecroft.com, I will send you the book by return of email :) Congratulations!

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 01:43 PM
Alex,
Gee I'm sorry I missed the celebration of your Jubilee day and your birthday. I hope it was a smashing success, I was feeling under the weather as they say so I'm stopping by a day late.

Robin


Jubilee day? I know the Queen's going to be having her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 (60 years on the throne!) But it's not something I've thought of having. A birthday is enough :)

I'm sorry to hear that you weren't well yesterday. I hope you're feeling better today?

alexbeecroft
June 24th, 2010, 01:44 PM
YAY!!! I just sent you an email, Alex. I hope your having an awesome day!!!:smilingsun:

I've just sent one back with the book :) I hope you enjoy it! It's certainly appropriate weather for a summer holiday book :)

Natasha Blackthorne
September 4th, 2011, 07:04 PM
Hello Alex,

Nice to see you here. :)

alexbeecroft
September 6th, 2011, 04:43 AM
Thanks, Natasha! I'm unfortunately not very good with message boards - I somehow just can't get on with them, the same way I can't get on with Facebook - so I'm not here very much. Not as much as I should be. It's nice to see you too, though!