I’d like to share an exclusive excerpt from Wight Mischief with you today. This is from an early chapter, soon after Marcus and Will’s awkward first (official) meeting:
Marcus cursed under his breath as he stood on the beach, feeling like a complete idiot. If Will had had the slightest scrap of interest in Marcus, he’d have rung him. Or texted him, even, if he couldn’t get privacy for a phone call with that bloody parasite hanging off him all the time. He wouldn’t just go along to the beach at sunset on the off chance, Marcus told himself angrily, his flip-flops slipping on the shingle as he turned to head back to the staircase. He’d been there over an hour, feeling more and more pathetic as each minute ticked past. It had been a farfetched idea, and proof, if any were needed, that Marcus was a desperate, sad loser, an object of derision to anyone he embarrassed himself by trying to pick up….
Spinning, Marcus felt his foot turn over on the stones. Pain jolted through his ankle, and he sat down heavily on the shingle. “Fuck!” God, was he destined to spend his entire life making an arse of himself in front of this man?
“Sorry! I didn’t mean to frighten you.” Will was at his side in an instant, crouching down unnervingly close.
Marcus flinched back, snapping out, “I wasn’t frightened!” The irony wasn’t lost on him.
“You scared the shit out of me the other night,” Will surprised him by saying. “I thought you were a ghost. I felt a right idiot afterwards. Want me to help you up?”
“I—no. Yes.” Marcus’s ankle was hurting like hell, but he could hardly spend all night on the beach.
“Right! Put your arm round my shoulder, then.” Will’s tone was matter-of-fact and vaguely bracing, like the sort of voice people on the telly always used when dealing with the elderly. “No—you’ll need to be on my left. So I can hear you, I mean.”
A firm, muscular arm snaked around Marcus’s waist, and he drew in a sharp breath.
“Are you all right? I didn’t hurt you, did I?” Will sounded worried.
“I’m fine, I—ow!” Apparently Marcus’s left ankle had lost all load-bearing capability. Will’s arm around him had started to engender interesting sensations, but the pain rather overpowered all that. “How the hell am I going to get back to the house?”
“’S all right, I’ll take you,” Will told him cheerfully.
“Are you always so bloody capable in a crisis?” Marcus snapped, the pain making him irritable. A moment later, he could have bitten out his tongue. Why did he always have to lash out like that?
Will didn’t seem annoyed, though. “Oh, usually, yes. Sorry.” He said it with an apologetic grimace.
“It’s not actually something to be embarrassed about,” Marcus muttered.
“Baz reckons it’s a lack of imagination.”
“Baz can keep his stupid, obnoxious opinions to himself!” Marcus stumbled slightly as Will stopped dead.
“You know, I could just leave you here,” he said.
Marcus cursed mentally in three languages. He hadn’t meant to upset Will. “Are you and Baz an item, then?”
“I—” Will was silent a moment. “Look, it’s complicated, all right? I mean, Baz and me, we’re not exactly—but we’ve known each other forever, you know?”
Marcus did know. Not from personal experience—but he did know. He just would rather not have known, that was all.
Will’s arm tightened around him. Which Marcus might have enjoyed, had it not appeared to be strictly for reasons of practicality. “Come on. Let’s get you home.” Will paused for a moment. “Um. The tunnel’s the shortest way by a long chalk—um, you know what I mean—but it’s going to be a bit hard going. Would you rather go the long way round, via the campsite?”
Marcus tensed. “The tunnel.”
It was a bloody nightmare. Getting up to the tunnel was bad enough—there was the railing to hold on to—but hopping up a thirty-foot staircase was exhausting. He’d had to take off his flip-flops and carry them, and the metal steps were hard and unyielding on his bare foot. Marcus would have liked to have taken the last flight by sitting down and shuffling up on his arse, but it would just have been too bloody humiliating. It was bad enough when Will offered to carry him, like he was some fainting damsel.
“Just let me have a rest, here,” he said, his voice thankfully just short of pleading, when they reached the top.
Will eased him down, and they sat on the platform looking out over the inky sea. All traces of sunlight had disappeared, and the gibbous moon was low over the water, casting its pale luster over the view.
Giveaway: I’m offering a prize of a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate to one lucky commenter on the tour, who will be randomly chosen on Friday 15th June. Good luck!
A ghost of a chance at love.
Personal trainer Will Golding has been looking forward to a getaway with his best friend, Baz, a journalist researching a book on ghosts. But on the first day of their camping trip on the Isle of Wight, Will takes a walk on a secluded beach and spies a beautiful young man skinny-dipping by moonlight. Ethereally pale, he’s too perfect to be real—or is he?
Lonely author Marcus Devereux is just as entranced by the tall athlete he encounters on the beach, but he’s spent the years since his parents’ violent death building a wall around his heart, and the thought of letting Will scale it is terrifying. Marcus’s albinism gives him his otherworldly appearance and leaves him reluctant to go out in daylight, his reclusiveness encouraged by his guardian—who warns him to stay away from Will and Baz.
The attraction between Will and Marcus can’t be denied—but neither can the danger of the secrets haunting Marcus’s past, as one “accident” after another strikes Will and Baz. If they don’t watch their step, they could end up added to the island’s ghostly population.
Available in ebook and paperback from Dreamspinner Press
Wight Mischief was previously published by Samhain, but has been completely re-edited and given a lovely new cover for this second edition by Dreamspinner Press.
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.
She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at: https://jlmerrow.com/, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow