About ktgilbertromance

K.T. Gilbert is a busy mum to two gorgeous kids and an effective sounding board for her slightly workaholic partner. She loves good food – both cooking it and eating it, action movies, chocolate and wine, but most of all she loves to read romance. She is currently working on her first contemporary romance.

O’Shea’s #8 – Into Dust (m/m)

I am writing a series of flash fiction pieces set in O’Shea’s Pub. See Romantic Flash Fiction Anyone? for more information. Here’s the eighth one. Older brother’s best friend trope (male / male). It’s a little longer than the others. I hope you enjoy it.

osheas-edited

Each step Sam had taken from home to O’Shea’s had dredged up every idiotic, stupid thing he’d ever done in front of Nate Jackson. Why, oh why, he thought, as he stomped his way down the street, couldn’t he have just declined the invite for this birthday get together tonight?

Nate was his brother’s best friend, he would’ve gotten over it. Maybe.

Nate would more than likely bring his latest boy and he’d be wide eyed and stunning like all the rest, and Sam would end up sitting there, smiling and resorting to quietly plotting gruesome deaths for the latest characters he was writing.

It didn’t help that there was a little masochistic voice in the back of his head saying, “It doesn’t matter that he remembers your spotty phase, or that time you accidentally mooned him when the elastic went on your trunks… and he saw your pride in tatters when Josh Hardy dumped you just before Valentine’s Day in 2005. You’re going to see him for the first time in six months. That’s all that matters. Seeing Nate.”

Six months. They’d never gone that long without seeing each other before. But after the last time he’d just had enough.

He couldn’t deal with seeing him and not being able to… God! What did he want? To call Nate his? To know he had the right to touch him – to go home with him – wake up with him?

They’d talked and laughed over a few pints of beer; the banter had been amazing. For the first time in forever they’d both been single and in the same city at the same time, he’d thought, he’d really thought that it might be their chance.

Then a couple of his friends turned up from work and one of them was a jacked blonde who blatantly had his knowing eyes set on Nate. Sam had felt such a heavy wave of weariness wash over him. Looking back he realised it had taken him under and swept all the fight out of him.

He’d given up. He wasn’t proud of that and it triggered the uncomfortable thought that maybe he’d given up too many times over the years.

Now, Sam wondered if that wave had washed all the good memories away, leaving him with only the embarrassing moments catalogued in his brain. They ran on a loop as he made his way into O’Shea’s and apparently there was no way to hit STOP.

With pale cheeks already flushed from the cool Spring wind, they immediately started to heat up from the rush of warmth in the Irish pub. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was going to be beyond excruciating.

He needed beer and lots of it – maybe even tequila.

Dragging himself to the bar, he tugged off his grey beanie, finger combed his short black hair into some semblance of respectability and shoved it into his coat pocket, purposefully not looking around. He needed a minute to gather himself and find his smile.

A chaotic mixture of emotions swarmed through him, anger at missed opportunities, devastation each time he’d watched Nate with another man, joy for all the laughter and good times they’d shared. Hell, he’d probably still be stuck in a closet somewhere if it weren’t for Nate.

His clenched fist pressed against the cold ache in his chest. He needed some tequila fire – stat – and he needed to get over this shit and move on. Some budding form of what felt like resolve started to straighten his spine.

Enough was enough. Maybe tonight could be the start of a new phase, a cleansing of all the emotions that held him back?

Ben, O’Shea’s bartender headed over with a smile.

“S’up, Ben.”

“What can I get for you?”

“Tequila me!”

Ben’s dark eyebrows shot up. “What’s got you riled up?”

“I’m about to put myself through hell. I need some help.” He slapped his hand on the bar. “Lay it on me.”

“Make that two,” demanded a low voice behind him.

Sam closed his eyes and winced. Struggling to swallow in his dry throat, he tried unsuccessfully to look nonchalant as he turned to greet the man who was spurring him toward tequila.

“Hello, Nate, How’s it going?”

Barely able to meet his dark brown eyes, Sam couldn’t stop his gaze from taking in every beloved detail of Nate’s familiar face. The stubble on his strong jaw that outlined his full lips made Sam lick his own, he couldn’t help it.

The light dusting of freckles high on his cheek bones that he’d always wanted to trace with his tongue. His stomach lurched as he was reminded how completely out of reach Nate was. Turning back to the bar he took hold of the salt that Ben had set up for him, licked the inside of his wrist and tapped a bit onto his moist skin.

Nate coughed. “Give a guy some warning, would you?”

Frowning, he stopped his arm as it was halfway to his mouth and glanced over his shoulder again. “What?”

His big, warm hand took hold of Sam’s forearm. “I want to lick it off.”

He couldn’t have heard him right. A grating, awkward laugh slipped out of his mouth and he shrugged Nate’s hand off his arm; a strange mix of uncertainty and excitement shimmering over his skin.

“Get your own tequila, buddy.” He licked the salt, maybe, possibly a little slower than he would’ve done normally and tossed the tequila back, welcoming the familiar warmth through his body and into his empty stomach. Closing his eyes as the sourness of the lime exploded in his mouth, he wondered what the hell to do next.

“I’ve never wanted to be a slice of lime more in my life,” Nate said roughly.

“Pardon?!” Sam coughed out. “Are you drunk already?”

“Come on,” he demanded, taking Sam’s hand. “We need to talk.”

“We do? Nate! What is wrong with you?” He hissed as Nate dragged him through the crowd back to the door of O’Shea’s.

Outside the cold blast of air mixed strangely with the warmth still coursing through his body from the tequila. He felt outside of himself, like an observer to whatever drama was about to unfold. Nate’s warm, rough hand gripped his own and Sam didn’t understand why he had hold of him so tight, but it felt good so he left it there.

Allowing Nate to lead him around the corner into a narrow alley, Sam eventually felt the rough wall at his back as the hot wall of Nate’s body moved towards him. He tore his stare from Nate’s broad chest up to rich, brown eyes that were looking pretty heated.

Sam narrowed his eyes at him. “Why are you so pissed off with me?”

Nate narrowed his eyes back. “Why are you so damn blind?!”

His eyes widened in surprise. “What?”

Nate shoved his hand through his thick, unruly hair. “Why did you need that tequila?”

“I-”

“Why is it hell for you to come see me for my birthday?”

A stab of guilt. “Nate-”

“I haven’t seen you for six months, Sam. Six months. We’ve never gone that long without seeing each other.”

“I’ve been busy,” he answered sharply, and I didn’t want to know if you went home with the blonde, he thought bitterly. Pissed off with himself for even making that a possibility when he’d left so suddenly that night. The anger in Nate’s words vibrated like an arrow in Sam’s chest. He felt a knot of irritation start to form where the arrow pierced him and his defenses rose.

He took a breath in preparation.

“What do I have to do to get you to see me?”

Sam blinked and exhaled a gust of air as Nate’s soft words crashed through his brain. Too late he saw the hurt in his eyes and the tension around his beautiful mouth. What the hell was happening? What had he missed?

“Nate, I…” He shook his head, trying to figure out what this meant, but a lifetime of doubts and longing, unrequited feelings and humiliating attempts to get his attention were blocking his synapses.

“Shit!” Nate shoved his hands in his jean pockets and hunched his shoulders. “I thought… I thought this was the right time. Looks like I was wrong.”

He took his eyes away from Sam to stare at the wall behind him. Sam felt goose bumps spread over his skin and a painful jolt of panic made his heart thud as Nate began to turn away.

“Nate,” he whispered. Barely believing.

“Don’t worry about it, Sam, I… just forget I said anything, ok?”

Nate’s brittle smile hurt his heart as he began to move away from Sam, along with a burst of indignation.

“Hold on a minute!” He puffed out a frustrated breath when Nate stopped but didn’t turn to face him. “You can’t just spring this on me and expect me to instantly know what to say. When have I ever known what to say in mortifyingly awkward situations?”

Slowly, so slowly, Nate turned to him with his eyebrows raised. “Mortifyingly awkward? Gee thanks,” he said dryly.

Sam shrugged nonchalantly, but inside he was just starting to think about pumping his fist in celebration. “I need you to be a little clearer, Nate. I’m not admitting anything until you’ve stated plainly exactly what you want.”

He could give him that at least.

“So you’ve got things you want to admit then?” He asked, clearly stalling and looking a little hopeful.

Sam waved his hand dismissively. “Tell me what you want: slowly and clearly, please.”

Nate took a step closer, then another. “You want it slowly and clearly?”

“Yeah,” Sam said a little croakily. God he was just so… Ungh!

A gust of wind swirled down the alley, plastering Nate’s dark grey t-shirt across his torso and whipping his hair into disarray.

His hands came to rest on the wall either side of Sam’s head and he felt every last ounce of that resolve crumble into dust at his feet. He gave it an enthusiastic kick and scattered it in the wind.

“You’re sure you can handle another mortifyingly awkward moment?” Nate asked softly with a glint in his eyes.

Sam felt his whole body go pliant and loose, but managed to nod as Nate’s head lowered until his lips rested by Sam’s ear. His eyes closed as Nate’s warm breath caressed his skin. A long, sumptuous shiver stroking down his spine.

Finally, he said the words Sam had waited a lifetime to hear.

“You. I want you.”

 

 

A List For Those Who Love A Librarian In Their Romance

librarian

A while ago, I put out a quick request on Twitter for librarian heroes and heroines. My phone nearly exploded with comments and RTs! I love Romance Twitter – everyone is just so enthusiastic about sharing their love of books.

I got so many recs that I decided to make a list and share it. Some I already had, but over 25 came from Twitter. So if you’re in the mood for some sexy librarian action – this is the list for you.

I’ve already read several of these books since they were recommended to me, and they were all great. I particularly loved Anne Calhoun’s ‘The Seal’s Rebel Librarian’.

I hope you find something that you’re looking for…

Enjoy!

****

Don’t Stop Believing by Gwen Hayes (m/m)

Olivia Dade’s Lovestruck Librarians series:

Broken Resolutions

My Reckless Valentine

Mayday

Ready To Fall

Driven To Distraction

Hidden Hearts

Taking The Heat by Victoria Dahl

Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl

Fanning The Flames by Victoria Dahl

Hard Times by Cara McKenna (m/f)

Breathe by Kristen Ashley (m/f)

Taken with you by Shannon Stacey

Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss

Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy)

The Gift by Tiffany Reisz (can’t find the link for some reason).

Busted by Shiloh Walker

Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss series) by Nalini Singh

A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles (bookseller m/m)

Falling For Trouble by Sarah Title (Librarians in Love series)

Laws of Attraction by Sarah Title (Librarians in Love series)

The Undateable by Sarah Title (Librarians in Love series)

Jaded by Anne Calhoun

The Seal’s Rebel Librarian by Anne Calhoun

Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

In Too Deep by Portia da Costa

Addicted by Charlotte Stein

Junk by Josephine Myles (m/m)

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

Rocky Mountain Devil by Vivian Arend

Deceptions by Cynthia Eden

Royally Matched by Emma Chase

Mister Hockey: Hellions Angels by Lia Riley

 

Screw You, Inspirational Quotes!

 

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“I can’t even… just don’t ask, ok?”

 

I have decided that this whole writing thing is designed to break you and the only people who survive in this game are the ones who say, “Fuck you, world! I won’t be beaten.”

You’ve got to be up for a bit of a fight, or a good scrap as they say round where I’m from.

My social media is full of inspirational quotes. I read them and at the time I think, ‘yeah, that’s so true’ or ‘I really need to absorb that thought and remember it next time things don’t go well.’

Right now, I just want to say to all those people who came up with those snappy little phrases that say so much, but give you absolutely no idea how to achieve them:

“Screw you!”

The hardest days are the days when you doubt what you’re writing (that’s my inspirational quote for you!)

When you believe in your story and how you’re telling it, rejection from outside sources is bearable, because this is a subjective game and you believe that someone out there will like what you write because it’s at least half decent, right? But on those darkest of dark days, when you don’t like your own words, it just feels like you’re typing them into a black hole and what’s the ever loving point in that?

Basically, the point of this rant is that I had a plan. That plan is no longer working for me, so I’m thinking about changing it. I’m also questioning the need to change it, because isn’t the point of having a plan, to stick to it?

Excuse me for a moment, while I just go and bang my head against a wall somewhere.

Ok, I’m back.

So…. it’s pretty clear that I’m having a crisis of confidence. I don’t know what the answers are at the moment. What I do know, is that I’m driving myself a little crazy vacillating between getting on with my planned writing project or changing course completely.

I’m giving myself today to weigh up the pros and cons, then a decision WILL be made.

Either way, I’m pretty sure I’m saying “Fuck you, world! I won’t be beaten.” (There’s another inspirational quote for you!)

Yey, me. *Half-hearted fist pump*

 

 

 

 

 

Book Signing Event with Bradford Author E. Rachael Hardcastle

I’m posting this in support of a local author, E. Rachael Hardcastle who has done amazing work with some Primary School pupils in Bradford. Here are the details:

MEET THE AUTHOR!(1)

In November 2016, local Bradford author E. Rachael Hardcastle visited Low Ash Primary School in Wrose, Shipley to deliver a creative writing workshop to their Year 6 pupils. At no charge to the school, E. Rachael Hardcastle ran several hours of idea-generating activities tailored to their topic of study, which resulted in the children writing short stories of their own.

thumb 2Later that month having received and compiled the children’s finished work, two independently published books titled ‘Children of War’ were published and delivered for the school’s library, creating over 50 young authors in less than eight weeks.

At the end of January 2017, E. Rachael Hardcastle returned to the school with further copies of ‘Children Of War’ for the children to take home. It wasn’t long before their story was picked up by a local television station, Made In Leeds, who interviewed E. Rachael Hardcastle and the children on The Lowdown Leeds show in February 2017.

To meet her local readers and aspiring writers, E. Rachael Hardcastle recently contacted Wrose Library, Wrose, Shipley to arrange a book signing event. She hopes to encourage the community to visit the library more often and to meet the hard-working volunteers there.

thumb 1The event will take place on July 1st 2017 between 1100-1430 hours to celebrate both Wrose Carnival and Bradford Literary Festival. E. Rachael Hardcastle will be taking along copies of her brand new high fantasy release ‘Finding Pandora’ and her post-apocalyptic novel ‘Aeon Infinitum: Run For Your Life’ to personalise and sign for her guests.

Entry to this events will be free of charge. For more information about E. Rachael Hardcastle, her books and her workshops, please visit www.erachaelhardcastle.com.

 

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Social Media:

www.facebook.com/ERHInspired

www.twitter.com/ERHardcastle

Library Website:

www.wroseparishcouncil.gov.uk/wrose-library.html

O’Shea’s #7 – Silver Fox

I am writing a series of flash fiction pieces set in O’Shea’s Pub. See Romantic Flash Fiction Anyone? for more information. Here’s the seventh one. May to December or older man / younger woman… I hope you enjoy it.

osheas-edited

A man. A tall man, with broad shoulders that currently shaped his expensive looking overcoat to perfection, was stood in front of her at the bar. A flash of silver and white caught and held her attention as he turned his head. The contrast between the silver and black hair was startling. She squinted a little trying to see better and found herself taking a slow step towards him.

Yes, now she could see other silver hairs shimmering through the thick black and oh Lord! His stubble was mainly silver and white, with a bit of dark grey shot through for good measure.

Wow. She’d never realised that was a thing for her, but from the way her eyes were glued to his head, she thought she’d better take a look at the silver-fox romances in the library on her break. She could even do a quick Twitter shout out to ask for some recommendations from her book buddies.

Biting her lip in excitement (the thought of new books did that to her), she stepped around him and gave the bartender a shy nod as he gestured that he’d be with her next.

Standing next to the Silver Fox, she made sure to give herself plenty of space but couldn’t help looking at his hand that rested on the dark mahogany of the bar.

Left hand. No ring. Also no tan line.

Ok, he was probably divorced because if he was married he’d wear one. He’d want everyone to know that he was taken. His skin was tanned and she could just make out some callouses on the thumb that he was tapping against the wood and a few scars across the back.

He probably sailed the world on his yacht and had beautiful women in each port.

“What can I get for you?”

Abruptly yanked back into the real world, instead of making up plot bunnies, Jackie quietly ordered a pint of Black Sheep and looked around for a place to sit. Her feet were aching like nobody’s business after working all day at the library. She kept hopping from one to the other, trying to take the weight off. Twenty-eight was too young for bunions, right?

It was busy in O’Shea’s tonight, she’d be lucky to get a booth. Checking the time, she rolled her eyes. Her sister was always late, so she’d brought her Kindle. She’d learned her lesson there years ago. All her introvert anxieties about being alone in public magically disappeared when she had her nose in a book.

“Busy in here tonight, hey?” a deep voice rumbled next to her.

Taking a quick peek up and to her right, she met a pair of deep, deep blue eyes spanned by a wealth of lines. She managed a small nod and some kind of sound that she hoped he’d take as affirmation.

The lines around his eyes deepened as he smiled gently. “There’s a stool here if you want a seat.” He nodded his head to the opposite side of him and she tore her eyes away from his to see the empty stool against the bar.

She really wanted that seat. “Do you mind?” she asked quietly.

“Not at all. Here,” he stepped back a little, protecting her from the jostling crowd, so she could sidestep to it.

Her eyes went a little wider when she brushed against the front of him. She coughed and got comfortable, tucking her throbbing feet onto the rest. She didn’t know where to look. God!

“Better?” he asked drawing her eyes back to him.

This time she thought she saw a twinkle in his eyes but quickly talked herself out of that one. She nodded instead. “Thank you, I really needed that.”

“Long day?” He angled towards her, taking a drink from his glass of Guinness.

She sighed. It looked like they were going to have a conversation. This never went well.

“Yes, and I was on my feet for most of it. So…”

“So… Why are you here and not at home taking a hot bath?”

She shrugged awkwardly, her mind blanked out. She had nothing.

Warm blue eyes roamed across her face. “Sorry, was that a little too personal?”

Rolling her shoulder, she rubbed her nose and tried not to blush. “Kind of, yeah.”

“I guess we should really share our names before I tell you off for not looking after yourself, huh?”

She snorted out a surprised laugh and tried to figure out the ratio of anxiety and excitement she was feeling. Amazingly, excitement seemed to be winning 60 / 40.

“Well, yeah, I suppose.”

“Ted,” he stuck out his hand.

Jackie looked at it for a few seconds before she slowly raised hers. She had to swallow pretty deeply when his big, warm hand engulfed her own. She’d had no idea that that little circle of skin in the middle of her palm was an erogenous zone.

Apparently, she’d had no idea about a lot of things.

She couldn’t take her eyes off their hands: his so tanned and big, hers pale and small.

She tried to remember the last time she’d chosen to touch a man, but her mind was too busy computing the different sensations of his skin and the light dusting of dark hairs on the back of his hand.

Her heart thudded hard but steadily, this was attraction, she was sure, she’d read about it enough, but a strange sense of calm also settled around her allowing her to think about raising her eyes to his. She needed to see what he was thinking.

Her eyes were struggling to move past his amazing chest when she suddenly realised that she’d been holding his hand for ages, just staring at it. God! He must think she was a total weirdo. She tried to jerk her hand away, but his tightened and held her firm. Her eyes flew to his.

“Tell me,” he murmured.

Jackie shook her head a little dazedly. “What?” she whispered unconsciously moving closer.

Her eyes danced over his face. She couldn’t get enough of looking at him. She felt her lips moving into a smile to mirror his.

“Everything,” he said.

****

Thanks for reading.

Kx

Musings About Writing The Second Book…

musings

So this is where I’m at….

I’ve written my first contemporary romance and I’m querying agents. This is the first stage of a very long process and I’ve had numerous rejections *keep it together, KT, keep it together*, one agent who has shown interest and requested my full manuscript.

While all this is going on, I’m supposed to be writing the second book in the proposed series. Easy enough, right?

Wrong!

I have been blocked – and I mean BLOCKED – on this whole process for weeks. It’s partly dealing with the rejections and the inevitable blows to my self-confidence, but it’s also about wanting to know that I’ve written the first one well enough to write another one.

This is not a helpful thought to be processing because unless I want to pay out six or seven hundred quid for an independent editor to look at my work (and I don’t!), then no one is going to tell me diddly squat about my first manuscript.

So, after tinkering with my planning and basically farting around on social media the other day, I read an article from The Observer about Kristen Ashley. If you don’t know who she is, she’s a really successful self-published romance author, with a back catalogue of fifty odd books.

Anyway, the main point that I took from this article is that she’d written TWENTY-FIVE books before she published anything.

TWENTY-FIVE!

She’d been writing for fifteen years, rejected by so many agents and publishers before she decided to self-publish. That is perseverance like I’ve rarely seen.

But also I think she must just love to write – something that my partner reminded me of during one of my angst-ridden episodes about this second book:

“Don’t forget that you’re supposed to be enjoying this. You love to write – remember that.”

So, I’m fighting my way through the self-imposed pressure that I’m under, trying to find my happy again. It doesn’t stop me wanting this really badly, and it doesn’t stop me worrying about this second book, but it does make me remember that nothing worth having comes easily.

 

 

 

 

Hacking A Limb Off – Otherwise Known As Editing.

editing21

*Stands up*

“Hi, my name is KT and I have a real problem deleting my words. Thanks.”

*Sits down*

A few days ago I read a tweet from one of my favourite authors, Melissa Blue, saying that she’d deleted a whole scene while editing a draft. I nearly had a panic attack on her behalf.

I have come to realise that I have a serious problem… deleting big chunks of my words. I will do almost ANYTHING to not have to do it. My thought process goes something like this:

‘I spent bloody ages writing that. Blood, sweat and tears, a ton of chocolate, pounds of nuts and every other thing I nibble on when I’m writing will not have been nibbled in vain, Goddammit! I am NOT deleting it. No way. No.’

The editing process for me is more about adding and tightening things up than getting rid of much. I write quite slowly, editing as I go, so I don’t ever come to edit a draft that is a disaster.

So far I haven’t deleted a whole scene, I have only added them. I’m girding my loins for that day, I tell you.

Obviously, this is not the best approach to editing. I’m working on it. Slowly but surely I’m realising that they’re not wasted words and it wasn’t wasted time. They’re training, practise, experience.

I have thousands of words stored on my computer from unfinished stories, early short stories and flash fiction that will probably never see the light of day. Every single word was practise; every paragraph was me finding my style and learning how to do this thing called writing a novel.

More importantly, every word brought me closer to my first big goal. Finishing!

Hopefully the more I write, the faster I’ll get. So I foresee more mistakes or changes in future editing sessions on this second manuscript. This will mean more deleting I’m sure, so deep breathing may be necessary, but I’ll get through it…

I hope!

Thanks for reading,

Kx