Brigham’s Recommendations – “Double Dutch Courage” by Helena Stone

Double Dutch Courage (1563x2500px)

 

Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?

Blurb

Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.

Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.

The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?

Excerpt:

Ronan seemed to search Lucas’s face for something, then lowered his gaze until Lucas was convinced he was staring at his lips. He mused that the sunshine had to be getting to him as the afternoon took on a dreamlike quality. Ronan licked his lips, the tip of his tongue tempting Lucas, teasing him. When Ronan leant forward Lucas wondered what was happening, whether he was imagining things. Surely Ronan wasn’t about to —

The soft press of Ronan’s lips against his elicited a sigh from Lucas. He would have been embarrassed about his reaction if he hadn’t been lost in the moment. It was the second time Ronan had taken him by surprise in this manner, except on this occasion he didn’t appear to have any intention of pulling back.

With so many reasons why this was the worst idea ever, it didn’t make any sense that the overriding thought running through his mind was more.

He cupped Ronan’s neck, keeping the pressure light, barely there. Ronan reacted as if Lucas had used force and pressed his lips firmer against his, parting them in the process.

Lucas was helpless against the onslaught. It had taken him days to stop obsessing about Ronan’s mouth after that quick, shy kiss a week earlier. There would be no coming back from this. He had no doubt he would end up hurt. Even as he had the thought, Lucas parted his own lips, slipped his tongue through the gap and tentatively caressed Ronan’s mouth.

“Oh.” Ronan’s soft exclamation meant his lips parted farther and Lucas took advantage. Fuck being sensible. Fuck worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or six months from today. He was here, now, and the tongue hesitantly exploring his was nothing like what he’d expected and everything he wanted it to be.

The kiss transported him back to his teenage years, to the first boy he’d ever kissed. Clumsy and with clashing teeth, it had been as awkward as it had been exciting. Pretty much as it was now, except this time it didn’t make sense.

He pulled back until the tips of their noses were the only parts of them still touching. Ronan’s lashes fluttered before he opened his eyes. They widened and he lowered his gaze.

“That bad, eh?” Ronan directed his words at the grass beneath their knees.

“Not bad.” Lucas tried to figure out what to say. Not sure what he was reacting to, he didn’t know which words to use either, so the truth would have to do. “It just brought back a memory of something I hadn’t thought about in ages.”

“Oh?”

Ronan still wouldn’t look at him and Lucas didn’t like it. He lifted Ronan’s chin with his index finger. “It reminded me of when I was fourteen and me and Hans, my best friend back then, decided to find out what the big deal about kissing was.”

“It was like your first kiss?” Ronan still tried to avoid meeting Lucas’s gaze.

“Yes.” Lucas smiled. He couldn’t believe Hans had slipped his mind. They’d done a lot of exploring together before Hans decided he was interested in girls after all. He got so lost in his reminiscence he almost missed the words Ronan muttered.

“Makes sense.”

It hit Lucas like a ton of bricks. Here was yet another reason why getting involved with Ronan was the worst idea ever. If he was right, he would be Ronan’s first in everything. The thought that Ronan’s inexperience might include kissing hadn’t crossed his mind until this moment. He wasn’t sure he could make that journey with Ronan without getting emotionally involved. He had to know for sure.

“I’m your first?”

The combination of shame and defeat Lucas read in Ronan’s expression tore at him. He didn’t need an answer. He also didn’t need to think about what to do next. Yes, he would end up getting hurt, but he’d deal with it. It wouldn’t be the first time or, in all likelihood, the last. He could be Ronan’s first and make it a good, a memorable, experience.

“I want to be your second, too.” He didn’t wait and pressed his lips back against Ronan’s before he could respond.

 

 

Kopstootje Meme

 

Review: 

I’ll be the first to admit, I am totally biased when it comes to Helena Stone’s books. We’re friends. I was staying at her home in Ireland when I beta read “Double Dutch Courage”. But biased or not, it’s a wonderful story.

“Double Dutch Courage” follows Ronan Collins from Dublin to Amsterdam as he learns about an inheritance left to him by his absent father, Paul, and begins to take the first steps toward being open about his attraction to men. Lucas Brant, Paul’s business partner and flatmate, helps guide Ronan along that path.

The author deftly weaves in Ronan’s discovery of Amsterdam through the story and it plays such a large role in the book, it needed to be mentioned. It’s wonderful and vivid and makes me want to travel there (more than I already did)!

This is a quiet story. Ronan’s journey doesn’t have huge, wildly dramatic twists and turns, but the gently unfolding self-discovery is no less compelling. The attraction between them and the building relationship is skillfully done and you’re rooting for them as Ronan overcomes those final obstacles and moves forward into the kind of future he’s always dreamed of.

“Double Dutch Courage” has wonderful characters, a fantastic setting, and a sweet romance. What more could any reader want?

Buy Links:

Amazon

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Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

Over a year ago, my mom said, “I’d like to hike somewhere with you before I’m too old.”

I semi-jokingly replied, “You find the budget, I’ll find the time!” Cause let’s be realistic, broke writer here.

Tonight we get on a plane on fly to Dublin.

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The trip has changed a little in that time. The original plan was for the two of us to hike across the country from Dublin to the West coast. A stress fracture in my mom’s foot derailed that plan fairly quickly, and we decided it would be nicer if we didn’t leave my dad at home.

But we’re still going from Dublin to the West coast (albeit in a car, and along the coast). There will be shorter day hikes and lots of time to explore the countryside.

And after three weeks, they’ll drop me off at Helena Stone’s house and I’ll stay with her and her husband for another two and a half weeks.  There will be writing of course, and day trips into Dublin to see places I’ve heard her talk about but barely imagined I’d visit.

I have a date with a very cool Irish guy I’ve been talking to for a few months. Long story, but suffice it to say when you post on an Irish message board you’ll find the Irish are a VERY friendly bunch.

The whole thing will be a working vacation—because I definitely can’t just take five and a half weeks off from writing—but I am so excited it’s ridiculous. I’ll definitely be on social media less, but I WILL take a ton of pictures.

It’s still a little surreal. I’m not sure it’s really sunk in that I’ll be staying in Ireland for almost six weeks. But my packed suitcase says otherwise and in a little over twelve hours, I’ll be leaving Toronto airport and heading straight for Dublin.

The real question is, am I ever going to want to come home?

“A Brighter Palette” is Live!

Teaser Image

Summary:

Annie Slocum is a bisexual woman struggling to make a living as a freelance writer. Stuck in a rut, she feels bored with her career, her relationships—her life. A chance meeting with Siobhán at a gallery adds a bright spark to her dull life.

Siobhán Murray is a lesbian Irish painter living in Boston. She loves her career, loves her life, but she’s missing the one piece that will make her life complete—a partner. She falls hard for Annie and is delighted to realize Annie inspires her work. But a string of failed relationships has left her wary of bisexual women and wondering if she can trust that Annie won’t leave her.

When Siobhán’s past comes back to haunt them, they’ll have to decide if the new relationship is something that will burn bright and end quickly or if it’s meant to last.

Excerpt:

“God, that accent of yours.”

To her surprise, Siobhán flushed. “Impenetrable, isn’t it?”

“No, sexy,” Annie said. She leaned in to kiss Siobhán’s shoulder. “Very, very sexy.”

“You must have enjoyed yourself in Ireland then,” Siobhán murmured.

“I did.” Annie smiled, remembering the redheaded woman she’d shared a bed with for most of the semester.

Siobhán’s grin was salacious. “That sounds like a story I’d like to hear.”

“Really?” Annie asked with a laugh. “You want to hear about Brigid, the pretty redhead I dated? Or about the time her roommate almost caught us? I had my head between her legs when the poor girl walked in the room.”

“How naughty. I love that. You’re so cool and collected on the outside, Annie, but once we started talking, I could see the passionate side eager to get out.”

“I used to have a very passionate side,” Annie admitted. “Actually, what I told you about the redhead wasn’t the whole story. There’s a lot more to it.”

“I’m intrigued.” Siobhán propped her chin up on her hand.

“Well, Nora—her roommate—was definitely shocked. But she was less horrified than Brigid and I expected.” Annie felt her cheeks heat a little. “One night a week or so later, the three of us had a few drinks, and well, Nora confessed she was curious.”

Siobhán raised an eyebrow. “Curious about women?”

“Yes.”

“Go on then.”

Annie laughed. “Well, one thing led to another, and it wasn’t long before I was in bed with two women. And Brigid and I showed Nora just how good it could be.”

“Mmm, you little minx. And what did she think in the morning?”

“Oh, we’d thoroughly converted her to our ways,” Annie said with a laugh. “I don’t think she had another date with a guy for the rest of the semester.”

“And did she find her way into another threesome with you and Brigid?”

“A few times,” Annie admitted. “In fact, after my going-away party, I staggered back to their room and had one hell of a going-away after-party.” She grinned at Siobhán. “And then I felt like I was going to die on the flight home to Boston.”

“Worth it though?”

“Totally.” Annie sighed. “But after I got back to the U.S., I threw myself into school and work, and everything else fell by the wayside. I felt like I had to grow up and be serious. Focus on my career, find the right partner, make the smart choices. Until tonight, it had been a very long time since my passionate side had come out.”

“Why were you keeping her locked away?”

Annie rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling. “Fear, I suppose. After my last relationship went south, I just couldn’t work up the courage to try again.” She sighed. “So, my love life was boring, my job was boring, and I felt boring. Boring leads to more boring. I was just waiting for something to come along and wake me up.”

Siobhán sat up and straddled Annie, her dark hair falling like a curtain around them. “Well, here I am.”

She leaned down and kissed Annie, her mouth tasting of wine and chocolate now.

Here you are, Annie thought, and she wasn’t sure if it was nerves or excitement that coursed through her when she realized she had no idea if this was one night or the promise of something more.

Series and Number: Colors #1

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)

Word Count /or Page Number: 56,025

Formats/Price: eBook – $3.99/ Print – Coming Soon

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Barnes & Noble

First for Romance: Coming Soon

iTunes

Kobo

Payhip

Smashwords

Find On:

Goodreads

Queeromance

 

Upcoming Release – A Brighter Palette

Coming June 30, 2017 – A Brighter Palette

A little over two years ago, I wrote this flash fic.  I’ve been wanting to tell Annie and Siobhán’s story ever since.

I’ve been working hard on it this spring and I’m excited to announce that I will be releasing the first book in their series, “A Brighter Palette” on June 30.  The series will be the “Color” series. “A Brighter Palette” will include their first meeting in Boston at an art gallery and the beginning of their relationship. The second book, “The Greenest Isle” will follow their move to Ireland and their life there.

I don’t currently have any ideas for a third book, but that’s always a possibility! Sometimes the characters just demand more.

Without further ado, here’s the cover, blurb, and a teaser from the first book.

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Summary:

Annie Slocum is a bisexual woman struggling to make a living as a freelance writer. Stuck in a rut, she feels bored with her career, her relationships—her life. A chance meeting with Siobhán at a gallery adds a bright spark to her dull life.

Siobhán Murray is a lesbian Irish painter living in Boston. She loves her career, loves her life, but she’s missing the one piece that will make her life complete—a partner. She falls hard for Annie and is delighted to realize Annie inspires her work. But a string of failed relationships has left her wary of bisexual women and wondering if she can trust that Annie won’t leave her.

When Siobhán’s past comes back to haunt them, they’ll have to decide if the new relationship is something that will burn bright and end quickly or if it’s meant to last.

Excerpt:

Annie pressed her palms to her cheeks. “I got a little carried away.”

Siobhán straightened but didn’t slide away. “I enjoyed watching you get carried away. We’ll have to do that again when we aren’t in such a public place.”

Annie glanced around. Thankfully, they were toward the back of the nearly empty lounge and the backs of the booths had dividers. Unless a waitress had walked by, it was unlikely anyone had seen them.

“This is so unlike me,” Annie admitted.

Siobhán tilted her chin and gave Annie an appraising look. “Perhaps it’s just what you need.”

Annie’s embarrassment began to fade, and she offered Siobhán a small smile. “I certainly could use a bit more excitement in my life,” she admitted. “Although, that doesn’t necessarily include a public exhibition.”

“Public exhibition is optional,” Siobhán said, “but passion shouldn’t be.”


“A Brighter Palette” is available for Pre-Order on Amazon now!