The teetering stack of WiP on one corner of my desk has grown a little smaller this morning after I’ve signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for Leap of Faith, Joel & Kieran’s story. However many times I do this, and this is my fourth time around that particular mulberry bush, it never gets old. 🙂
It also never fails to leave me with my mind going down six tracks at once as I’m trying to decide which project to tackle next. It’s an affliction that’s best cured with a long walk and some time to think.
There are days when England feels really… well, English. Warm, damp and incredibly tranquil. Nothing and nobody seemed to be around this morning and when I stopped the music, my footfalls were the only sound. No cars, no machinery, not even a sheep. I could have been alone out there.
I left off the music once I realised it was that kind of a morning, and just let my mind wander off where it wanted to go. Shopping lists, my work to-do list, a Gareth-focussed novella to complement the Jack-focussed one I’ve just finished, some bits of fantasy plot and – finally – Joel & Kieran’s story.
It’s nice to know that, after sitting unfinished on my WiP stack for over three years, Joel & Kieran will finally get their book. Their story didn’t start as friends-to-lovers, but it turned that way as it grew, and now I’m even playing with the idea of a sequel. First, though, I’ll get a little time to celebrate and focus on the day job. And if you’d like, you can find out under the image why Joel & Kieran’s book is nicknamed The Book of Explosions.
A taster from Leap of Faith, Joel & Kieran’s story
“BACK! Everyone stand back or I’ll shoot him right here!”
They passed the entrance to the marina when a hoarse cry ripped through the air. It raised the hair on Kieran’s neck and the heartrending scream that followed almost stopped his breath. Then his training kicked in and he raced toward the sounds, dodging people and lampposts on autopilot.
The marina had almost doubled in size during the four years Kieran had been in Lissand. It now attracted all manner of working and leisure boats, and on this sunny afternoon, was almost as busy as the pier had been. And the screams were attracting a crowd.
A young woman stood by a slipway, arms out toward a small boy held in a man’s firm grip.
“Shane! Let him go, Luke, please!”
“Stay back or I’ll kill him!”
Kieran skidded to a stop as soon as he had the gunman in sight, Smith & Wesson already in his hand.
Footsteps thudded behind him. Joel.
“No clear shot. Boy’s in the way.”
The man dragged the struggling boy up a gangway toward a moored yacht. He had the boy’s back pressed to his legs, the gun aimed at the boy’s temple.
“Call the police and look after the mother,” Joel told him. “I’ll get on the boat.”
Kieran didn’t like the arrangement. He hated it when he wasn’t close enough to watch Joel’s back, but there wasn’t time to argue. As long as the man used the boy as a shield, guns were not an option. But then again, Joel had never needed a gun to be lethal. Like a ghost he slipped away, blended into the crowd until he reached the stern of the moored yacht.
Kieran had a glimpse of his partner reaching for a mooring line.
Then Joel was gone.
Time blurred as Kieran did what needed to be done. He called for backup. Called the authorities and identified himself as a member of FireWorks Security. He even kept the crowd at bay.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Rigby and Hartnett come sweeping in on the heels of the police.
“Can’t leave you two the fuck alone.”
“You said it,” Kieran responded absently, one eye on the yacht. “Looks like a domestic that’s gotten out of hand.” He indicated the teary-eyed woman in jeans and an unseasonably short crop top, who was being comforted by one of the uniforms. All things considered, she was holding up well. “The boy’s Shane Bicknall, aged six. That’s his mother. And the guy who threatened to kill him is his father, Luke Bicknall.”
“On the boat.”
Kieran listened out for sounds of a fight, for shouts, maybe gunshots. He wasn’t expecting an explosion. One moment, the yacht was there, then the whole side of the marina was on fire.