Hi everyone! Today I am very excited to welcome Lynn Lorenz to the blog. Lynn is here to talk to us more about her new release, Coliseum Square. She has also brought a great excerpt and a copy to give away. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
In this Gothic gay romance set in the 1880’s in New Orleans, Mark has run away from his past hoping to build a new future. On Coliseum Square, at the stately
DuCote mansion, he finds the most handsome man he’s ever met – Royal DuCote. But something isn’t right in the great house. Ever since the death of Royal’s beautiful wife,
their young son refuses to speak or even touch his father. Mark must tutor this haunted child, but the closer he gets to young Luc, the more Mark fears the worse possible
reason for Luc’s muteness…that the boy may have witnessed a murder.
I frowned and left, closing my door and heading down the stairs. Below, the boy held onto the banister, sliding his hand along, creeping his way down. I stepped on a loose tread and the squeak gave me away.
He gasped and looked up at me, his eyes filled with dread. Was he seeing her fall? These stairs were the only way down and the poor child had to retrace those steps so many times each day. My heart ached for him.
I didn’t know what to do, so I raised my arm like an elephant’s trunk and trumpeted. Luc smiled, so faint and quick I nearly missed it, yet it was there.
I winked at him and stomped down the stairs, as if I were a great beast plodding my way toward him.
He bolted and ran down the stairs, only to leap over the last step, grab the final newel post and swing on it to propel his body over the spot where she must have been lying.
He landed, bent over, hands on his knees, huffing more than a child should for such meager activity. I hurried down the stairs.
“Luc, are you all right?” I reached him and put my hand on his back.
He nodded and straightened, sloughing off my touch.
“Let’s go in. Pierre will fuss if we’re late. Last one there is a rotten egg.” He took the dare, not running, but at a fast stride, and I followed, making sure to let him win the impromptu race, but only just. I was fast on his heels, caught up in the chase.
There was much life in this boy. It needed to be discovered and freed.
Inside the doorway, Luc stopped, and I bumped into him, making him stagger. I caught his arm before he fell.
“Luc!” DuCote called out from his chair at the head of the table. “What is this?” He glanced up at me. “Explain.”
“Well, you see, I was an elephant, and Luc was a big game hunter on safari. I’d chased him through the jungle, and we wound up here.” I grinned, holding my arms out to indicate the dining room.
Luc cast his gaze to the floor, as if waiting to be scolded.
I stared at DuCote, willing him not to make a fuss. He glanced from me to his son and back again. He raised one eyebrow and steepled his fingers as he leaned on his elbows.
“A rogue elephant, you say? Remarkable. Where is your gun, sir hunter?” DuCote addressed his boy.
Luc glanced up at his father. He bit his lip, then raised his arms to pretend he held a rifle. He swung around to face me and before I could move, he whispered, “Bang!”
I did the only thing I could do…I fell over, arms thrown out, and landed in a heap on the floor. With a sad bellow, I raised my arm as my trunk a final time.
“You got me.” I sat up, brushed off my jacket and looked at DuCote.
DuCote sat upright in his chair, his hands gripping the table’s edge, staring at his son.
His son had spoken. One word, a sound really, but it was a word nonetheless.
Luc lowered his arms, blinked, and then dashed from the room.
“Luc!” I called after him, as I scrambled to my feet.
“Leave him,” DuCote ordered.
“But he spoke!” I pointed to the doorway where the child had vanished.
“Please. Leave him.” DuCote closed his eyes for a moment, as if in pain, then opened them. “Give him a moment.” It looked to me as if DuCote needed the moment more than the child.
I nodded. “You’re right. Perhaps he’ll return if we don’t make a big fuss.”
“Exactly.” DuCote poured a glass of wine and then poured one for me, as if celebrating. It seemed as if we certainly had much to celebrate, but did we? To my mind, not until Luc truly spoke.
Pierre entered from the kitchen. “Where is Master Luc? Shall I go for him?”
“No. Leave him, Pierre. He’ll be down, and if not, you can bring him a tray in his room later.” DuCote let Pierre serve us and then motioned him to leave.
DuCote and I sat at the table. Together. My heart beat like a bass drum and I was positive he could hear it in the quiet of the room. I had no idea what to say.
“An elephant?” DuCote stared at me, his lips twitching.
“Well, he was playing in his room with his circus animals. We started talking…well, I started talking, and he seemed to like the elephant.” I shrugged. “I’m afraid I chased him down the stairs.”
DuCote’s expression darkened. “The stairs?” His voice deepened, and I winced at the anger in his tone.
“I didn’t think. He looked up at me, so haunted.”
“You fool!” DuCote slammed his fist down on the table and the glasses and china rattled.
“I meant only to help, to make him feel better. Forgive me.”
DuCote threw his napkin on his plate and pushed back his chair. With a withering stare at me, he strode from the room.
I exhaled. My appetite fled and I slumped in my chair, running my hands through my hair. I’d be dismissed, no doubt. All I’d worked so hard for, gone before I’d even settled in.
Where would I go now?
Without a reference, a new position would be unlikely. Would DuCote give me back my papers? Could I just take them from his desk? They were mine, after all.
I folded my napkin and placed it at the side of my plate. I rose, tugged on my jacket to straighten it, and stiffened my spine. I had to go to him, ask for my references back, and return upstairs to pack.
I went to the library. The door stood half open. I knocked, then stepped inside without waiting for him to bid me enter.
“Sir?” I approached the great desk where he sat, papers strewn across it as if he’d thrown them.
He gazed up at me, tight-lipped, stern and unforgiving. Waited for me to speak.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like my papers back, sir.” I stood straight, refusing to hunker in front of him like a whipped cur. It had been an honest mistake and not done from malice.
“Your papers?” He frowned.
If he didn’t return them, I would be in most desperate straits.
I cleared my throat. “Yes, sir. My references. I’ll need them to get another position.”
He placed both hands flat on the desk and pushed up until he towered over it. “Why would you need another position? Are you leaving?”
“I-I-I thought…” I didn’t understand. Was he playing with me, teasing me like a boy with a bone teases a dog? I had never thought him so cruel.
He came from around the desk in two long strides and stood at my side. I looked up at him, into those dark eyes, and time stopped. What passed between us melted me, as if my bones could no longer support me, and I wanted to fall into his arms.
Hunger burned in his heated gaze, and he focused it on my mouth. I felt the burn of it on my lips and longed for the fire of his kiss. The touch of his elegant, graceful hands on my body, bare flesh meeting bare flesh. My rod stiffened, aching, coming to life after so long dormant.
I swayed toward him. He reached for me.
Pierre coughed. “Sir. Shall I bring Master Luc his dinner?”
DuCote swallowed and turned away. “No, Pierre. I’ll bring it myself.”
He started to leave, then stopped. “Mark, you’re not leaving. My boy spoke.” The catch in his voice stabbed my heart.
“No. I’m not leaving.” I’d stay as long as he wanted me here. Forever, if he asked it of me.
He gave me a nod and left.
I exhaled and closed my eyes. If I were clever, I’d pack and leave now, before temptation got the better of me. Before I did something I’d regret the rest of my life. Because what I wanted would get me either hard labor or the hangman’s noose.
- Amber Allure
Lynn Lorenz lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.
Lynn is offering up a copy of Coliseum Square to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest closes on Wednesday, September 25th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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