Hiya peeps! We have Helena Stone stopping by today with the new release in her Dublin Virtues series Equality, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! <3 ~Pixie~
Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?
Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.
Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?
When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?
“For fuck’s sake.”
The red brake lights on the back of the car in front of him flared brightly for the tenth time in less than a minute, making Lorcan curse, his words reverberating through the Nissan as he hit the steering wheel hard with the flat of his hand. He glanced at the clock on his dashboard display and realized he had more than enough time, but the thought didn’t settle his nerves or do anything to lessen his frustration with the stop-go traffic he found himself caught in.
Maybe it wasn’t the traffic jam so much as the uncertainty surrounding the day and his upcoming reunion with Eric. Lorcan wasn’t sure and couldn’t settle his thoughts long enough to figure it out. Being stuck in a barely moving line of cars didn’t help the tension building in his stomach.
He went over the details once more. If the plane arrived on schedule it would land in an hour. Getting from the plane to the arrivals hall would take Eric at least another half hour, which meant that even if Lorcan had to leave his car behind and walk from here, he’d still make it to the gate with time to spare.
The traffic in front of Lorcan started to move and he shifted his car into first gear before almost whooping out loud when he had to change into second. Fifty meters, one-hundred meters, third gear…fourth—much to Lorcan’s surprise, traffic continued to progress, and a few minutes later the exit sign for the airport came into view. The closer Lorcan found himself to his destination, the harder it was to control his nerves. He had no idea how this reunion was going to work out. Lorcan was looking forward to his reunion with Eric as much as he was dreading it. Excitement and apprehension alternated, throwing him from butterflies in his stomach to nervous cramps and back again now that the thousands of miles that had separated them were almost reduced to zero. In just about an hour they’d be face to face, and Lorcan had no idea what to expect, no frame of reference to work with.
His memories once more transported him back to the night he’d last seen Eric. Lorcan and Eric had been circling each other for almost two months by then, ever since their friends, Troy and Xander, had first met and had subsequently hooked up. The farewell party Xander had thrown for his best friend and housemate had drawn to an end and despite the fact that Eric was supposed to have been saying goodbye to all the friends who had gathered, he’d spent almost the whole evening with or close to Lorcan. Even when either of them had been talking to others they’d always been aware of where the other was and who he was talking to. It hadn’t been until the last guests had left, and Xander and Troy were cleaning up the mess, that Eric had literally cornered Lorcan at the front door.
Lorcan steered his car toward the entrance of the parking garage. The first floor was full, as was the second. By the time he reached the roof and found a spot, he knew he should have saved himself the hassle of checking the lower levels. At least it wasn’t raining. In fact, it was a very nice day for late March. After a long and mostly gray winter it was at last possible to believe spring would be brightening the world before too long. He rested his head against the support behind him and closed his eyes as the moment came back with such clarity he could almost feel and taste it.
He leaned into the door, handle pressing into his side, trapped by Eric’s bigger and taller body only inches from his. His heart thundered as his mouth went dry. The look of pure hunger in Eric’s eyes as he licked his lips stole his breath. When Eric bent forward and teased Lorcan’s lips with his tongue, a sensation of pure pleasure ran through his veins, leaving him weak and mesmerized.
Never before had a kiss affected him like this. Toe curling and boner evoking didn’t begin to describe it. They clung to each other like two men hanging onto a raft for dear life in the middle of an oceanic storm. The kiss went on, getting deeper, more heated and urgent with every passing second. He had no idea how long their lips had been locked together when Eric pulled back and pressed his forehead to Lorcan’s.
“Why did we wait until tonight?” Eric’s voice held all the regret Lorcan experienced and he had no answer.
The vividness of the memory sent shivers down Lorcan’s spine and had an immediate effect on his cock. Lorcan still didn’t understand what had possessed him to go home that evening, even if they had promised to stay in touch before he’d left.
He took the lift down to the arrivals hall as he reluctantly admitted to himself that he did know why he hadn’t stayed that night. Even then the strong attraction he felt for Eric had scared him. He’d thought three months might be long enough to lessen the pull, to bring him back to his normal level-headed self. He’d been wrong.
Lorcan found himself on the receiving end of quite a few bemused stares when he reached the arrivals hall, checked his watch and laughed out loud. Despite the traffic and torturous hunt for a parking space, he was still almost an hour early. Clearly his obsession with never being late had gotten the better of him yet again. Still, it was one thing less to worry about and, on the upside, the plane from Canada was still scheduled to arrive on time, so the wait wouldn’t be longer than it needed to be. Lorcan walked to the coffee counter, ordered himself a large Americano and tried to settle into one of the surprisingly comfortable seats. He allowed his thoughts to roam freely as he stared at the people moving back and forth around him.
To say he had been disappointed when Eric had told him he’d have to return to Canada for three months would’ve been a gross understatement. Long before that kiss, Lorcan had privately acknowledged there was a connection between him and Eric. Even the very first night they’d met for what should have been a purely business related chat, Lorcan had hoped they would find an opportunity to get to know each other better. Xander and Troy falling for each other and quickly settling into a relationship had taken care of that issue. What was more, from that first night, he’d been sure he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t deny the pull between them.
A frown formed on Lorcan’s forehead as he recalled how they’d never acted on that attraction. They’d been content to just enjoy each other’s company whenever the four of them had met up and when Eric had to be in Lorcan’s workplace to oversee the interior design job he’d been contracted to do by Lorcan’s boss. Back then, Lorcan had told himself Eric was simply keeping his professional and personal lives separate. The fact that they hadn’t kissed until after Eric had finished working for Lorcan’s boss, shortly before he had to leave for Canada, had seemed to confirm that impression. But maybe he’d been wrong. After all, he was nobody’s prize. With his short, spiky dark-brown hair and average features, he rarely warranted a second glance. Why somebody as sophisticated and handsome as Eric would be interested in him was beyond Lorcan—almost as big a shock as the fact that he occasionally found himself thinking about Eric in a long-term sort of way.
And yet… Lorcan relaxed as the memory surfaced again. It had been Eric who’d instigated the kiss. Eric had insisted they stay in touch while he was gone. Most calls between them had been initiated by Eric and it had been him who’d first introduced the idea of using Skype so they could see each other while they talked. Eric had obviously been delighted when Lorcan had offered to pick him up from the airport. On the other hand, Eric hadn’t accepted Lorcan’s invitation to stay with him until he could move into a place of his own.
Lorcan watched the area in front of the arrivals doors and smiled when a young woman started running before the sliding doors had a chance to close behind her again, straight into the arms of an attractive man. The couple held on to each other as if they’d been apart for years—and who knew? Maybe they had. No matter what happened next, the chances of Eric running toward Lorcan to collapse into his arms were slim to none. And that was probably just as well. Lorcan might have come to terms with the fact he was gay, even be comfortable with it most of the time, but it wasn’t something he wanted to broadcast to all and sundry. Especially since chances were the majority of people weren’t ready to appreciate such displays of affection. Sure, things were getting better almost by the day, and Lorcan wanted to believe that the upcoming marriage equality referendum would further improve the situation, but personal experience told him that many Irish people clung to their beliefs and preconceived ideas as if they were treasures to be guarded.
Suddenly restless, Lorcan drank the last sip of his now lukewarm coffee, got up and walked to the small bookshop. It was as good a place as any to kill time. He didn’t want to think about his parents and their attitude toward him, but as always, his thoughts had a mind of their own and attacked. Sure, his father had made it very clear they would never reject him, but he’d also told him they didn’t really want to meet any partner of his, should he find one.
‘What would the neighbors say, Father Brendan? How would we be able to hold our heads up while the whole town is talking about our son’s sinful lifestyle? And what about the grandkids? How would we answer their questions?’
Just remembering their words made Lorcan’s blood boil. His sister, Laura, had taken some of the sting out of the situation when she’d assured their parents that her kids knew better than to discriminate, but it hadn’t made a difference. His parents had refused to change their minds. The message had been clear. Lorcan could be exactly who he wanted to be, as long as he didn’t do it at home.
Dublin Virtues series!
Patience (Book #1)
Renewal (Book #3)
Early download buy now: Pride
Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.
The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.
Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.
Helena can be found in the following places: