Two officers, one ship, one common enemy.
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of Nelson's navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to the exposure of their relationship—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When sudden danger strikes—from the English rather than the French—where should a man turn?
“I remember the Trojan well, Tom.” Alexander’s voice was hardly above a murmur. “The midshipmen were all particularly ugly.”
“Oh, you clown, it was at Port Mahon—don’t you recall the little inn where you played whist? You should remember, given how much you won.” Tom snorted and shared the last of the wine between their glasses. “A young man came and chatted to me. Do you recollect at all?”
“I can remember that the run of the cards was unusual that night.” Alexander frowned as if that was all he could bring to mind.
Tom grinned. “I don’t believe you. You can, no doubt, recollect the detail of every trump you played that night but you don’t recall the fact that your lover was being seduced before your eyes.”
Alexander looked sheepish—not an expression he often adopted. “Unfair! I wasn’t aware that your virtue was under threat. If I had been, the man in question would have felt the edge of my sword.”
“Would he? Really?” Tom chuckled at the ridiculous thought of Alexander calling a man out for attempting to seduce his fellow officer.
“Now you mention it, I do recall a rather striking looking young man.”
“I thought you couldn’t have failed to notice him. He reminded me of you when we first met—all gangling awkwardness and puzzled innocence. At least until he made his proposal.”
“What did he say to you?”
“I could not possibly repeat it. Not even here in private. But it was completely indecent and very anatomically detailed.” Tom snorted. “In return I made an anatomically exact suggestion as to what he could do with his idea.”
“And you say this has happened frequently?”
“Well, only if you count as frequent one admiral as well as the chap at Mahon. Now, are we to make use of that bed or not, sir?”
Alexander drained his glass. “And so to bed, my lord and master. I am entirely at your command.”
“At my command? Are we to play admiral and flag lieutenant again?”
“We’ve not played that since I was made captain.” Alexander leaned forward, tugging at Tom’s less than immaculate stock. “I’ll have to upbraid you for the slackness of uniform.”
“You’re not allowed to. I’m the admiral, remember?” Tom pulled his captain closer, for a kiss. “You’ll do what you’re told. This jacket of yours, for instance. It needs a good brushing. Take it off.”
“Aye aye, sir.” Alexander eased the offending item from his shoulders.
“And that shirt needs the attention of your steward. We’ll have that off, too.”
“If you insist.” Alexander was clearly trying hard to keep a straight face.
“And no undershirt!” Tom feigned shock as his lover’s chest appeared, bared before him. “Your sister would be appalled, as she spent so long sewing you that flannel one.”
“You forget, I have no sister.”
“Sir,” Tom grinned. “You forget I have no sister, sir.”
“Sir,” Alexander repeated, looking remarkably gormless. “I apologise for my lack of a female sibling. I shall endeavour to do better in future.”
“It would be as well for you to do better in your duty there,” Tom nodded towards the bed.
What is the working title of your book?
Angel in the Window. The books starts with a reference to somebody’s resemblance to a stained glass angel and quickly you find out how un-angelic he can be. (There’s an angel in the window at our church which fascinates me, which is where I think the title and at least part of the idea came from.)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Probably, in the first place, the huge number of Age of Sail books I’ve read over the years. And the Age of Sails films I’ve watched/artefacts I’ve purchased/sailors I’ve ogled over. It seemed natural that one day I’d write something set in that era (although it's inevitably vicarious on the actual sailing and battle details because I get sick on the Isle of Wight ferry...)
What genre does your book fall under?
Historical M/M romance, with a bit of humour and a dollop of suspense. Our heroes are under threat from a slimy rat of a traitor.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Alexander: Someone a bit smouldering, like Dan Stevens (whom I’ve liked since ‘The Line of Beauty’, way before Downton).
Tom: Chris Robshaw, if he was an actor rather than a rugby player.
Actually, thinking rugby, which you may have noticed I sometimes do, Alexander could be almost any of the French team. They smoulder well. Sad how many of my characters look like rugby players in my bonce...
What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
When a traitor walks your deck, who'll be the one to clear him off it?
Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
Neither. It’s out from my old pals MLR on December 21st.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Um, there’s a question. I’d written the first draft of the story ages ago and had it in my WIP file, so it just needed taking out and sprucing up when I saw the MLR call for seasonal stories. That was a matter of a week or so.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.
Ooh, that’s a tricky one. Maybe the Lee Rowan or Alex Beecroft Age of sail books, if that’s not putting myself in too exalted a company.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Tom Pullings, Spotted Dick Richardson and the other adorable junior officers from the O’Brian books. And maybe, just maybe, Archie Kennedy from the Hornblower TV series. *happy sighs*
What else about your book might interest the reader?
There are some secondary characters along the lines of the ones who lurk in the St. Bride’s books. Loud mothers, adorable young lads (midshipmen this time, rather than dunderheads), and a villain who makes Owens look positively charming!
My taggees, who'll be blogging on 12th December, are: Lucie Wheeler, kayberrisford, stevie_carroll and Barry Brennessel.