The Angel in the Window, my first foray into age of sail is now available in e-book from MLR.
Two officers, one ship, one common enemy.
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of Nelson's navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to the exposure of their relationship—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When sudden danger strikes—from the English rather than the French—where should a man turn?
“I remember the Trojan well, Tom.” Alexander’s voice was hardly above a murmur. “The midshipmen were all particularly ugly.”
“Oh, you clown, it was at Port Mahon—don’t you recall the little inn where you played whist? You should remember, given how much you won.” Tom snorted and shared the last of the wine between their glasses. “A young man came and chatted to me. Do you recollect at all?”
“I can remember that the run of the cards was unusual that night.” Alexander frowned as if that was all he could bring to mind.
Tom grinned. “I don’t believe you. You can, no doubt, recollect the detail of every trump you played that night but you don’t recall the fact that your lover was being seduced before your eyes.”
Alexander looked sheepish—not an expression he often adopted. “Unfair! I wasn’t aware that your virtue was under threat. If I had been, the man in question would have felt the edge of my sword.”
“Would he? Really?” Tom chuckled at the ridiculous thought of Alexander calling a man out for attempting to seduce his fellow officer.
“Now you mention it, I do recall a rather striking looking young man.”
“I thought you couldn’t have failed to notice him. He reminded me of you when we first met—all gangling awkwardness and puzzled innocence. At least until he made his proposal.”
“What did he say to you?”
“I could not possibly repeat it. Not even here in private. But it was completely indecent and very anatomically detailed.” Tom snorted. “In return I made an anatomically exact suggestion as to what he could do with his idea.”
“And you say this has happened frequently?”
“Well, only if you count as frequent one admiral as well as the chap at Mahon. Now, are we to make use of that bed or not, sir?”
Alexander drained his glass. “And so to bed, my lord and master. I am entirely at your command.”
“At my command? Are we to play admiral and flag lieutenant again?”
“We’ve not played that since I was made captain.” Alexander leaned forward, tugging at Tom’s less than immaculate stock. “I’ll have to upbraid you for the slackness of uniform.”
“You’re not allowed to. I’m the admiral, remember?” Tom pulled his captain closer, for a kiss. “You’ll do what you’re told. This jacket of yours, for instance. It needs a good brushing. Take it off.”
“Aye aye, sir.” Alexander eased the offending item from his shoulders.
“And that shirt needs the attention of your steward. We’ll have that off, too.”
“If you insist.” Alexander was clearly trying hard to keep a straight face.
“And no undershirt!” Tom feigned shock as his lover’s chest appeared, bared before him. “Your sister would be appalled, as she spent so long sewing you that flannel one.”
“You forget, I have no sister.”
“Sir,” Tom grinned. “You forget I have no sister, sir.”
“Sir,” Alexander repeated, looking remarkably gormless. “I apologise for my lack of a female sibling. I shall endeavour to do better in future.”
“It would be as well for you to do better in your duty there,” Tom nodded towards the bed.