Giveaway: I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of 2013 Rainbow Award winning romantic comedy Slam! (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!
I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 7th April, GMT. Good luck! :D
Today I’m here with an exclusive excerpt from my latest release, Relief Valve:
Relief Valve (The Plumber's Mate) by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (March 25, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Relief Valve (The Plumber's Mate)
If you dig up the past, be prepared to get dirty.
The Plumber’s Mate, Book 2
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom’s dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn’t helped Tom’s uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry.
But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom’s head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiancé Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers’ circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister?
Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead—and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom’s sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back...
After an early night that didn’t involve a whole lot of sleep, we had a lazy, shagged-out Sunday morning on the sofa with the papers. Well, I did anyway. Phil had been slouched at the other end of the sofa, Merlin on his lap, making eyes at his phone for the last ten minutes. I had a strong suspicion he was doing some work.
“I want you to go along and take a look at this lot,” he said just as I was about to tell him he might as well stop pretending and get his bloody laptop out. “Says here they meet on Monday nights.”
I folded the sports pages to keep my place for later. There’s a lot to get through on a Sunday. “What lot?”
“The Lea Valley Literati.” He held out his phone and flashed the screen at me. Seeing as the website he was looking at apparently didn’t have a mobile version, all I could read was “ley Lite,” which sounded like something lay readers cut their teeth on when they were just starting out.
“Oh, them.” Morgan Everton’s crew. “Oi, why’s it got to be me? I don’t know the first bloody thing about writing.” Or private investigating, to tell the truth, although I had got a bit of an introduction to the art since Phil had unexpectedly popped back into my life in Brock’s Hollow.
“Doesn’t matter. Look, I knew someone who used to go along to one of these circles.”
Not, “I had a mate who” or “someone I used to work with.” Which didn’t necessarily mean it was the mysterious Mark, obviously.
But I knew what my money was on.
“Anyway,” Phil was saying, “he said it was just a bunch of old women sitting around drinking tea and writing stories about their cats.” He stroked Merlin’s head and got a toothy yawn for his trouble.
“So you’d be a natural. Wow them with a few reminiscences about your Auntie Lol, tell them how Arthur once maimed a burglar, that sort of stuff.”
“In his dreams, maybe.” I cast a glance around for the cat in question and spotted him fast asleep on a chair, tail twitching. Maybe he was dreaming about maiming small furry animals. “Anyway, I don’t think this lot are like that. I can’t see Morgan Everton writing stories about cats, can you? And he’s the wrong sex.”
“Like you’d get anything out of him anyway. It’s the rest of them you need to talk to.” His eyes narrowed. “Just give them a bit of the Paretski charm. You’ll have them eating out of your hand.”
I flashed him a flirty smile. “I can think of someone else I’d rather have eating out of my hand. Or, you know, other places.”
“Killjoy. Anyway, I still don’t see why you can’t do it.”
“You’ve got the connection with Everton. I haven’t.”
I leaned my head back on the sofa and stared up at the ceiling. “We talked for five minutes. I wouldn’t call that a bloody connection.”
“You don’t have to have sucked his dick to have a connection.”
“Great, make me lose my appetite, why don’t you?” I had moussaka in the oven for a late Sunday lunch. I’d be well pissed off if he put me off eating that, after all the faffing around with the sauce.
“Anyway, if I go, it’ll be a whole different ball game. He’ll know—they’ll all know—I’m there to ask questions about Cherry. If you go, they’ll be more willing to buy into the idea you might actually be serious about writing.”
“Yeah, maybe. Until they actually ask me to, you know, write something.”
“You don’t go to these things to write. You go there to talk crap about writing.” He smirked. “So like I said, you’ll be a natural.”
“What, at talking crap? Love you too, you bastard.” There was a catch in my chest as I realised a split second too late that this was the first time I’d said it. That either of us had, come to that.
About J.L. Merrow: JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow
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