Excerpt: The Caretaker


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“Frederick?”

Freddie paused at his full name—no one other than his angry dads called him anything other than Freddie. He paused by the front door to see Taine had caught up to him. “Yes?”

“Thank you, Frederick, for coming out to help us poor sods out.”

He had to clear his throat to respond. The man’s deep voice saying his name caused his stomach to flip and his lower region to rise in interest. He smiled through it. “I’m always happy to help.”

They stood awkwardly. Neither knew what to say. A loud thud was their only warning before a stumbling Scottie slammed into the back of Taine, which sent him into Freddie like a row of dominos tumbling to the floor.

Freddie groaned under the mass of muscle. He cringed inwardly when it dawned on him that Taine would now be able to feel his earlier piqued interest. “Could you get off me?”

“Want me to help you get off?” Taine’s murmured comment sent a shiver down his spine. “I wouldn’t mind.”

“No, I want you to help me get up before my ribs decide to cave in completely,” Freddie replied tartly, if a bit unsteadily. “What do they feed you rugby types?”

“He’s calling you fat, Tens,” Scottie teased from somewhere above them. Freddie couldn’t see him through the bulk of the man crushing him to the floor. “Up you two get, or I’ll start making assumptions that’ll have me blushing.”

The weight of Taine lifted off him, and a hand reached down to yank him up to his feet. Freddie frowned at Scottie, who hadn’t quite removed his fingers yet. The tall, muscled, blond man had an edge to him that was worrying.

Scottie.” Taine shoved his friend down the hall away from them. “Go see Caddock.”

“Aye aye, Tens.”

“He’s—something.” Freddie chose to stick with his fathers’ advice to not be rude when it wasn’t necessary. He glanced up to find Taine’s intense gaze focused on him. “I should get going. My dads will wonder what happened.”

“Your dads?”

“My family is a modern one.” Freddie had no intention of explaining his family to a man he’d only recently gotten to know. “Was there anything else?”

Taine cocked his head to the side as if assessing Freddie. He slowly smiled—a wide, dangerous sort of grin, rather akin to a predator who had just caught his prey. “Can I have your number?”

Pardon?

Not the question I thought was coming.

“Why?” Freddie shook his head at himself. Do I care why an incredibly attractive man wants my number? He internally shrugged before holding his hand out. No, no I don’t care why. “Give your phone over—I’ll add it for you.”

The bemused expression on Taine’s face made the tingling in his spine at the brush of their fingers worth it. Freddie quickly entered his mobile number under the name Nurse Bunny. He imagined the man would have to go to great lengths to explain it to anyone who saw it.

“Enjoy your weekend with the lads.” Freddie started towards the door, tossing the phone over his shoulder. “Don’t get too drunk. I’m not making another emergency visit to cure hangovers.”

Review: The Caretaker

Five stars from Pyper451 on Amazon:

The Sin Bin has been a wonderful series so far. Freddie showed up in The Wanderer and I’m so glad we got his story. “Fredrick” and Taine have excellent chemistry, add in the rest of the crew and you can’t go wrong. I’m definitely ready for the next book!!!”

The Toxic Productivity Trap

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In the midst of the current state of crisis and upheaval, we’re all mostly at home in self-isolation. Or, we should be. And I keep seeing all these ‘ways to stay active and productive’ videos and blog posts.

On the one hand, I do think finding a new routine is essential, particularly for those not used to working from home.

As someone who has worked from home for years, it’s important to keep yourself motivated. And it can be infinitely more difficult when you’re not in an office.

But.

But.

But, I think productivity at times like this can be a dangerous and unhealthy trap.

We put our health to one side. We base too much of our self-worth into what we accomplish. And then, we seem to fall into a cycle of work, work, work, and not much else.

In a global crisis, maybe the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves–and each other.

Maybe the most ‘productive’ thing I can do is read a good book or play one of my favourite video games.

There’s nothing wrong with accomplishing.

Crossing items of your to-do list can become a bit of an addiction. But we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up for relaxing either. Doing nothing can be the healthiest part of your routine.

So, maybe while we’re all busy being productive. We should pencil time into our do to do nothing at all. Relax. Read a book. Binge-watch a new TV show. Something fun.

 

 

A brief excerpt from After the Scrum

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~ A brief excerpt from After the Scrum ~

“No, Sherlock, stop it. You uncivilized mongrel!” Francis Keen, interior decorator extraordinaire, tripped over his own feet and his dog’s leash.  He landed in a heap on the walk outside his home. “Damnation, you obstinate creature, heel. Do you even know what the word means?”

“Having trouble, love?”

“No, Gran.” Francis straightened himself up, running his fingers through his now thoroughly mussed-up mass of light brown hair.  He ignored his beloved grandmother’s tittering giggles while attempting to glare balefully at his Shetland sheepdog, Sherlock, his beloved and the bane of his existence. “Have a good day, Gran.”

“Try to stay on your feet, love.” She waved at him with another laugh then headed up the walk to their shared home.

Oh, the humiliation.

He’d gotten a smaller dog to go with his own more slender frame.  He didn’t fancy being dragged off by a monster of a mutt.  Sherlock didn’t appear to understand his purpose in life.  Even for a smaller dog, he managed to yank his owner off his feet quite frequently.

The sheltie served other purposes, besides companion and best friend.  Francis simply didn’t advertise what Sherlock’s training actually entailed.  He didn’t want the sympathetic stares.

“One morning, Sherlock, just one would be nice.  I’d give you the largest beef bone in the world if you could allow me to preserve my dignity once.” Francis fumbled with the keys to his only prized possession—a turquoise Fiat 500 from the seventies that had been painstakingly and lovingly refurbished. He patted the dashboard reverently once he’d situated himself and his insane canine. “Well, Watson, time to take the world by storm.  Are you ready?”

 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2fYVvHa
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nzCI5Z
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2rZW89E
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2GAqClD

Book Review: After the Scrum

76062-after_scrum_frontcover “This is one of the books I keep coming back to. It’s an easy story with just enough tension to have a plot, humor and fun banter. After a hard day or sloughing through one of those emotional angsty reads, this is one of those books that sets my world to rights again.” 4 stars on Amazon

What am I reading?

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My goal for 2020 was to read at least a book a week. I did brilliantly in January. And then didn’t read a thing in February. Ahh well. I’m going to try to catch up since I’m in between WIPs.

So, here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

1. Lavender Blue by Laura Childs – I have mixed feelings about this one but overall I enjoyed it.

2. Thicker than Water by Becca Seymour – Adored this. 5 stars!

3. Follow My Lead by Louisa Masters – Also adored this one.

4. Julia Chase’s Kitty Couture series for a second time. Such a fun cozy series.

5. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda