Today I’d like to share an exclusive excerpt from book #3 in my Plumber’s Mate mysteries, Heat Trap:
The wrong secret could flush their love down the drain
It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.
Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.
With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.
The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.
Warning: Contains British slang, a very un-British heat wave, and a plumber with a psychic gift who may not be as British as he thinks he is.
Available in ebook and paperback: Samhain | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | ARe
Harry and Marianne turned up on my doorstep dead on ten o’clock Sunday morning, so it was just as well me and Phil had gone for mutual blowjobs and not a full-on shag.
Harry was in her usual summer gear of khaki cargo trousers and a man’s shirt worn loose over a tank top that would have been at home in an actual army tank—all that was missing was the dog tags. Marianne was all fresh and perky in a pair of denim cut-offs and a tight white T-shirt with The Devil’s Dyke scrawled across her boobs. The boobs I could take or leave, but the shirt covered up the My Little Unicorn tattoo on her shoulder, which was a definite bonus.
“Come on in,” I said, standing back so they could get past. It felt a bit weird having Harry in my space rather than me in hers. I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen her outside the pub, although I guessed she must leave it all the time, really. Well, at least once a week or so. Probably. “Phil’s in the living room.”
I ushered them in, and Phil stood up to shake hands. Him and Harry were much of a size, but I reckoned she probably had the firmer grip. Marianne’s handshake looked limp and came with added giggles, like she wasn’t used to all this grown-up stuff.
That made two of us. I hadn’t even thought of offering a handshake. Then again, I’d known Harry a lot longer than Phil had. Nah, shaking hands would just have been weird.
Phil invited them to make themselves at home on my sofa, which they did, Harry looming protectively over Marianne even when they were sitting down. Merlin stuck his furry nose into the room, took one look at Harry and made a strategic retreat. Arthur, being made of sterner stuff—not to mention, twice as much of it—padded in fearlessly and jumped onto Marianne’s lap. She winced.
I gave her bare legs a sympathetic look. “Claws? Just shove him off if he’s a bother.”
Marianne’s big blue eyes gazed up at me, only the faintest hint of pain in those innocent depths. “Oh no, he’s lovely, he is. I love cats.” Her West Country burr was warmer than the weather as she stroked Arthur with both hands at once. If it hadn’t been for the boobs, I’d have put her age at nearer ten today.
“Coffee?” I offered, to show I wasn’t totally useless at the old mine-host bit.
Harry nodded. “Black, two sugars for me.”
“Plenty of milk in mine, please. No sugar,” Marianne said.
“Sweet enough already, are you, love?” I teased, which made her giggle again.
Harry didn’t seem all that amused. Which could have fitted in with the lovechild theory, but…
“Do you think they’re…you know?” I whispered to Phil, who’d followed me into the kitchen and was frowning into the biscuit tin. “There’s another packet in the cupboard.”
“Right. And I don’t know, do I?”
“You’re the private investigator. I thought you could tell things about people. Body language and stuff.”
“Not stuck out here, I can’t. Just make the coffee, all right? And then maybe we’ll get to hear what it’s all about.” His tone was exasperated, but he gave my arse a squeeze on his way past with the biscuits.
It felt well weird, bringing out drinks for a pub landlady and a barmaid. I managed without spilling any of them, resisted the temptation to ask for four pound fifty, and we all sat down and sipped our coffee. Marianne carried on stroking Arthur with one hand. Nobody had a biscuit.
Phil broke the silence. “So what is it you think you might need my help with?”
Harry put down her mug on the coffee table, and Marianne shot her a wary glance. Arthur stuck out a paw, his claws showing just enough to remind her she was supposed to be stroking him.
“Marianne’s ex,” Harry growled. “Little shit by the name of Grant Carey.”
Giveaway: I’m offering a free ebook from my backlist (including Heat Trap) to a randomly chosen commenter on this post.
And there’s a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of book #2 in my Plumber’s Mate series, the EPIC award finalist Relief Valve, plus a pair of rainbow-coloured merino wool blend wrist-warmers, hand-knitted by the author, for one lucky commenter on the tour.
I’m happy to ship internationally, and the more blog posts you comment on, the more chances you get!
Please remember to leave an email addy in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win.
I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Wednesday 1st April, GMT (no joke!)
Good luck! :D
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 mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.
JL Merrow 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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