“Heroes in Love.”
David C. Dawson
MM Mystery Romance
Can forbidden love stand the test of time?
Will its strength inspire lasting love in today’s generation?
There are not only heroes, but unlikely heroes, who are determined to see love win.
Billy’s life changes in a single day when he meets Daniel, who becomes the love of his life.
Billy’s aging client Chuck has a dark and sad secret to reveal. As Billy and Daniel fight to help Chuck reunite with the love of his past, their own fledgling relationship is threatened.
Who will remain the heroes in love?
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Daniel’s kitchen was filled with a jumble of antiquated cooking gadgets accumulated from different eras in the social history of domesticity. An ancient, blackened stove stood in the chimney alcove. Next to it, an oversized American retro blender perched precariously on a mottled red Formica work surface, alongside a vintage 1930s toaster. A Victorian clothes dryer hung from the high ceiling above an antique pine table. The walls were cluttered with framed pictures, mostly collections of actors smiling from bygone West End productions. Every surface seemed cluttered with either elaborate culinary equipment or music manuscripts.
Billy looked around him in awe. The house was narrow, but extended a long way back. There seemed to be so much space. “Can I ask a cheeky question?”
“You mean, how can I afford this?” replied Daniel. “I know. I’m very lucky. My grandfather left it for me when he died. This was where I ran to when I left my parents and came to London. Grandpa Bob was the world to me. He was my mum’s father, and the dad I never had.”
“It must be worth a fortune now.”
“Three bedroom terrace house in desirable Battersea?” Daniel turned to the worktop, and opened a cupboard in front of him. “I suppose it is. But it means more to me that this was Grandpa Bob’s home. Lots of the things I have here were actually his.”
He turned back to Billy.
“I said coffee, but would you prefer tea?”
Daniel crossed to the stove, picked up a large whistling kettle, and carried it to the sink.
“Have you got mint tea?” asked Billy.
“Ooh, there’s fancy,” replied Daniel as he filled the kettle. “Give me a second and I’ll gather some leaves from the garden. Peppermint or spearmint?”
“Now it’s my turn to say ‘ooh, there’s fancy,’” replied Billy. “I’ve got no idea, but probably peppermint.”
Daniel set the kettle down on the stove and lit the gas. He picked up a pair of scissors from the dresser, crossed to the backdoor, and undid two heavy bolts.
“Come and have a look at the outside space Maggie created for me,” he said.
Daniel swung open the door. Billy could see a hazy glow of twinkling lights beckon him into the mysterious space beyond the threshold. Leading away from the kitchen door he saw an avenue of sculpted shrubs, each festooned with tiny lanterns. The pathway seemed to be endless, disappearing into the far distance. On either side of the doorway were two Victorian lampposts. A flickering yellow light illuminated huge glass globes on top of the wrought iron posts.
Billy stepped across the threshold into the garden. The ground felt soft beneath his feet. He squatted down and gently brushed the palm of his hand over its mossy surface. His nostrils were filled with the scent of chamomile. Billy looked back over his shoulder. Daniel stood smiling in the doorway.
“This is how I keep sane in this city of madness.”
Billy stood and walked farther into the garden. After a few yards he came across a break in the avenue of shrubs. It revealed a small, half-walled patio lit by two more wrought iron lanterns. They spilled yellow flickering light onto two chairs and a neat, glass-topped table. Suspended on the walls around the patio were earthenware pots in which grew many different types of herbs.
Daniel appeared at Billy’s side with the scissors in his hand.
“I’ve come to get you your tea.”
Billy felt as if he had been transported into a film set. Every one of his five senses was overwhelmed by the magic of Daniel’s west London wonderland.
“It’s beautiful,” said Billy. “It’s so – tranquil. Surely this must have cost a fortune to build?”
Daniel bent down to the chamomile lawn.
“I’m afraid it’s mostly fake, but it’s very realistic.”
He walked across to the wall of herbs, and harvested a handful of mint leaves.
“I haven’t switched on the mist,” said Daniel. “The pump needs some fixing. If I did, the romance here would’ve been overpowering.”
Billy turned as Daniel stopped behind him. He held a handful of mint leaves to Billy’s nose, and Billy inhaled deeply.
“Peppermint,” said Daniel. “I hope I made the right choice.”
He lowered his arm, hooked it around Billy’s waist, and pulled him closer. He leaned forward and kissed Billy slowly on the mouth. Daniel’s lips parted as he said quietly:
He dropped his arm from Billy’s waist, reached into his front pocket, and pulled out the scissors.
“I wasn’t planning on giving myself a circumcision tonight.”
Daniel let the scissors and the handful of mint fall to the ground. He wrapped his arms around Billy, and pulled him close. Suddenly they were kissing, wildly, passionately. Daniel placed his hand on the back of Billy’s neck, holding the two men close as their tongues hungrily explored each other’s mouths. He wrapped his arm tight around Billy’s waist, and slipped his hand down to push their groins closer together.
Billy had never felt such immediate connection with a man before. Daniel was both passionate and tender. So many men he had met simply behaved like sexual animals. Encounters with them would start promisingly, but soon they would slip into clichéd actions copied from a badly made porn movie.
But Daniel was different. One moment he was kissing Billy with a passionate urgency. His raw aggression filled Billy with a sense of sexual danger. The next moment Daniel was gently sliding his tongue across Billy’s stubble, or tenderly kissing him on his forehead, on his eyes, or his nose.
Finally, Daniel slipped his hands onto Billy’s shoulders, and the two men stood with their foreheads touching. Their eyes locked on each other in an unblinking gaze.
“Do you still want that mint tea?”
“Maybe I’ll have a coffee after all,” said Billy. “I’d like to stay awake tonight.”
David C Dawson writes contemporary thrillers featuring gay men in love. He’s an award winning author, journalist and documentary maker.
His debut novel The Necessary Deaths won Bronze for Best Mystery & Suspense in the FAPA awards. The second in the series is The Deadly Lies. His third book For the Love of Luke came out in October 2018.
David lives in London, with his boyfriend and two cats. In his spare time, he tours Europe and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.
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HEROES IN LOVE – DAVID C DAWSON
Love in London
I think London is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Of course, I’m biased. I’ve loved and lost and loved again in London throughout my life. That’s why it’s the backdrop to my lovers in my latest book Heroes in Love. Here are some of the locations the book features. Visit them next time you’re here. I challenge you not to feel touched by their romance.
Soho is the gay capital of London. Well, just about. It used to be wonderfully Bohemian with a hint of danger. But it’s got increasingly expensive and chichi as I call it, as the people with money moved in. All the same, go for a good value dinner at Taro on Brewer Street (the inspiration for the restaurant Bento in Brewer in the story) and watch the lovers stare at each other dreamily over their meals. Or walk arm in arm down from Soho to Piccadilly Circus, and drop into the brasserie Zedel’s. Have a late night drink there in the café. You can imagine yourself in Paris, except the waiters are wonderfully attentive and polite.
The River Thames at night is far more romantic than the Seine in Paris, or the Arno in Florence in my opinion. Walk down The Strand, have dinner at the Savoy, and then walk down to Embankment tube station. There’s a footbridge over the Thames. As you get halfway across, stop, and look in wonder at the lights of London. The bizarrely Gothic Palace of Westminster, the ultra-modern concrete and steel of the City of London further down river, and the simply beautiful dome of Christopher Wren’s St Pauls. Every time my partner and I cross this bridge, we have to stop and kiss – even if it’s raining! It’s one of the most romantic spots in the whole of London.
The top deck of a London double-decker bus is supremely romantic. Make sure you sit in the very front seats, right over the head of the driver. You can imagine you’re being paraded around the streets of London like royalty. Wave regally at pedestrians below you, as your noble vehicle chunters past them. Lean back in each other’s arms, and enjoy your superior view of the beauty that is London. And fall in love all over again.