Today I am so pleased to welcome N.R Walker to Joyfully Jay. N.R has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Imagines (Imago #2). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I spent the day walking along the esplanade enjoying the sunshine. It was weird for me to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt in the middle of winter, but it sure was a nice break from the Tasmanian winter we’d left behind. I spent the afternoon by the hotel pool, lazing on a lounge chair, reading, dozing, relaxing. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d spent a day doing this little.
It was glorious.
By the time I wandered to our room, I was warmed through like a stone in the sun, slightly sun-kissed, and my skin felt tight from the salt water from the pool. I was surprised to find Lawson there. “Oh, I hadn’t realised the time,” I said, kissing him soundly. It was almost five. The still-present sun fooled me into thinking it wasn’t that late. “Have I ever told you how glad I am that butterflies aren’t nocturnal?”
Lawson smiled and kissed me again. “You haven’t actually told me that, no.”
“Well, I am. It means you spend nights with me and not them.”
“Are you jealous of butterflies?”
He laughed. “How did you spend your day? You look like you spent the day in the sun.”
“I did. It was great. Winter in the tropics is just like our summer back home. I walked along the beach, ate fish and chips by the water, and spent the whole afternoon by the pool. Salt water and sunshine. It was lovely.” I took his hand and led him to the sofa. “Tell me everything you did today.”
“I met Piers Bonfils, director of the Cairns Butterfly Conservatory. He’s the man who emailed me, inviting me to come.”
“What’s he like?”
“He has contributed to the Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, so yes, he’s quite renowned. He was on the Committee of the Association of Lepidoptera in France before he came to Australia.”
Lawson sounded impressed, and I figured this guy’s resumé was something to be respected.
“What kind of team does he have?”
Lawson smiled and squeezed my hand. “Can we talk over dinner? I’ll tell you everything, but I’m starving. I didn’t eat lunch today.”
“Oh, of course. Room service or dinner out? Which would you prefer?”
“I’m sure we can find a café on the esplanade.”
“Perfect. Let me grab a quick shower, just to wash the salt water off me. I feel a bit sticky.”
Lawson’s right eyebrow flickered up as did the corner of his mouth. “Or you could leave it so I can taste it later.”
I laughed. “Or we could take a night swim together after dinner? Then afterwards you can taste me as much as you want.”
He gave me an insufferable sigh and a smirk. “If I must.”
A quick two-minute shower later and I came out of the cubicle to find Lawson at the vanity. He sprayed deodorant under his arms, then washed his face. “I’ll shower after our swim,” he said, slipping a clean shirt on.
“What? No bow tie?”
“No time. I’m starving. Hurry up and get dressed.”
I threw on the closest outfit I could find and pulled the door shut behind us. I knew Lawson well enough to know that he was grumpy if he didn’t eat. We got to the footpath and I pointed to the quickest route to the esplanade. “This way.”
We found a little café on the waterfront. Lawson ordered the grilled chicken salad and then proceeded to eat most of the fries off my plate. I laughed at him. “Want half my burger too?”
He sat back and patted his belly. “Not now.”
“So tell me, what’s up with the Ulysses butterfly, and why did the gorgeous Lawson Gale need to cross the country for it? I mean, I do understand you are the best lepidopterist there is, but…”
He ignored my compliment. “The Ulysses isn’t breeding successfully.”
I thought about that for a moment. “So you came all this way to put them in the mood?”
He chuckled. “Kind of. Well, they are breeding, but it’s not viable.”
“Did you try serenading them? Dinner first? No wait, tell them all they’re serial killers and dazzle them with your intelligence. Totally worked for me.”
Lawson laughed. “It did. However, I don’t think butterflies and you have that much in common.”
I feigned offence. “I’ll have you know, I give the best butterfly kisses.”
He hummed, and happiness seemed to radiate from him. “You certainly do.”
“So, if I were a butterfly, what breed would I be?”
“Hmm.” Lawson tilted his head and considered this. “You’re more of a dragonfly. The Calopteryx virgo to be exact. Strikingly beautiful.”
I smiled at that. “But you’re a butterfly?”
“You are,” I confirmed. “So why can’t I be the same as you?”
“Do you need to be the same as me?”
“Yes. How can we be compatible if we’re not?”
He gave me a fond smile. “Fair enough. If you were a butterfly, you’d be a White Dragontail.”
His eyes never left mine. “Well, again, incomparable beauty, transparent wings, and they usually copulate for hours at a time.”
I barked out a laugh. “Is that right?”
“Absolutely.” He had that playful, amused spark in his eyes. “You said, rather adamantly, that I would be a butterfly.”
“Yes. It’s true. Now, I’m not up to date on their copulation habits, but metaphorically speaking, you come across as an unassuming, shy guy, but you really do have wings. You just don’t show them to many people.”
He looked at me like he couldn’t tear his eyes away. He swallowed hard.
I gave him a smile. “When you were explaining to me what imago was, I kept thinking it was just like you. You’d shown me your true self, and Lawson, it was a remarkable sight.”
His nostrils flared, his eyes were dark with lust, and he swallowed again. “Jack, you need to take me back to our room. Now.”
I looked around for our waitress and put my hand up to get her attention. “Bill, please.”
Jack Brighton and Lawson Gale have been together for six months and are very much in love. Lawson’s work ensuring the survival of the Tillman Copper is demanding as ever, and Jack’s work with the regeneration of the bushfire-ravaged national park is just as hectic.
When Jack suggests they take a short trip, Lawson agrees. But then he is offered a two-week research position in tropical Queensland to help determine why the Ulysses butterfly is on the decline. Figuring they could combine work and pleasure, Jack and Lawson go on their first vacation together.
Working alongside renowned professor Piers Bonfils isn’t easy. But personal and professional differences aside, Lawson is offered a more permanent role in Queensland. Torn between his new life in Tasmania with Jack and a dying species of butterfly he feels compelled to save, Lawson has to decide where his fate lies.
But fate changes the rules. On a research expedition into the depths of the rainforest, suddenly it’s not only the butterflies’ existence that hangs in the balance
A butterfly’s life cycle never changes. From larvae to imago, their course is plotted by design. Jack and Lawson need to determine where they stand, if they live through it. Because the only thing more incredible than one imago is two.
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
N.R. has brought along a tour wide giveaway. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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Welcome, N.R., and thanks for sharing the excerpt from Imagines. I definitely wish to read more. Congratulations on this newest release, and best wishes with your current writing project.
I am horribly excited to get my copy!!