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Excerpt Day: Transgressions by Erastes

Transgressions by Erastes
Release Date: Apr 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780762435739
ISBN (10): 0762435739
Publisher: Running Press
Publisher Link: http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/runningpress/book_detail.jsp?isbn=0762435739

Amazon Kindle: Transgressions

Amazon: Transgressions: An M/M Romance

Blurb: 1642, England: David Caverly’s strict father has brought home the quiet, puritanical Jonathan Graie to help his dreamer of a son work the family forge. With war brewing in Parliament, the demand for metal work increases as armies are raised. The fair David is drawn to his father’s new apprentice. And though his father treats them both as if they were brothers, David’s feelings toward the shy Jonathan develop as they hide their growing physical relationship. Until the fateful moment when local gossips force David’s father to banish him, to protect the family name. Freed, directionless, and whimsical, David is eager to experience the drama and excitement of war, and follows two soldiers headed for battle, but the reality is a harsh awakening for his free-spirited nature. Seizing the opportunity to desert, David heads to London to lead a secret life, unaware that Jonathan too has left the forge in search of him. Lost and lonely, the vulnerable Jonathan quickly falls in with the Witchfinders, a group of extremists who travel the country conducting public trials of women suspected of witchcraft. Jonathan is drawn to the charismatic Michael, finally embracing a cause for truth so wholeheartedly, he doesn’t recognize the danger—physical and emotional—that Michael represents. For the fanatic puritan is desperate to purge Jonathan of his memories of David in any manner possible....

Excerpt:

Towards Christmas David convinced Jonathan to come to the village with him for the Christmas market. Jacob had given them the Tuesday as a half-day, warning them both that they must work all the harder the day after.

"You must come," he wheedled, persuading Jonathan as easily as he ever did,"for I want to buy you something," Jacob made them attend church at noon and afterwards they slipped away, hiding in the churchyard, pressed up against the honey colored brick. They peered around the corner and waited, until finally Jacob urged the horse away from the church, with a shake of his grizzled head. Jonathan's guilt was smothered by David's hot mouth, but he pushed him away, disgusted that David would kiss him here, in daylight and worse still, against the very walls of the church.

"Hast thou no shame?" he muttered angrily, angrier with himself for an unbidden hardness in his breeches.

"Seemingly not," grinned David who towed Jonathan north towards the market square. Apart from church, Jonathan had not been to the village much and had not seen such a bustle of people since he'd left Nottingham behind him. It was bitingly cold, the wind blew the snow around in tiny whirlwinds and the crystals crunched underfoot as they approached the market. The colors and the activities of the square brought warmth and light to the gloomy morning. David moved among the crowd, obviously a favorite, smiling and greeting all he encountered, touching the brim of his hat to the older ladies and bowing deeply in mock respect for younger maids. His contemporaries swarmed around him, complaining of how little they saw of him. Jonathan trailed behind-enjoying the scents and sounds of the market but burning with jealousy seeing David perform for the village, being in such demand.

They sat at a provender's stall to watch some guisers perform the old favorite of St. George. David laughed uproariously at the Turkish Knight and the Doctor's comic antics. He turned to share a joke with Jonathan and the mirth on his face dropped away at Jonathan's serious expression. "Jon? What's wrong?"

Jonathan was so touched by David's worried face that he hid his unease at what he considered to be blasphemous entertainment and his jealousy of David's popularity and smiled, deflecting the question with one of his own. "Where's this thing thou wast to buy me?" He was rewarded by the sun rising in David's face and his friend leapt to his feet and tugged him back into the throng of the stalls. They moved together as one through the market. David's arm brushed against his, his hand grazing Jonathan's fingers almost imperceptibly. Jonathan's attention was caught by a woodturner's stall and appreciative of another's craft he stood and watched the man work for a while, admiring the beauty he wrought from seemingly rough pieces of wood; he lost track of time and when he turned back to the throng David had vanished.

He strode on into the market seeking David's distinctive brown hat and shining hair to no avail and after ten minutes of being jostled by people he did not know he decided he had had enough and decided to give it up and go home. As he turned to retrace his steps an unmistakable voice sounded somewhere not too far off.

It was David and his voice was raised. Jonathan could not hear the words spoken, but it seemed he was arguing with someone. Following the sound Jonathan pushed back into the throng, hoping that David was not in some sort of trouble. He pushed past three gentlemen having their knives sharpened, and spotted David behind the stalls sitting on a small trestle. He stopped dead and the blood drained from his face; Elizabeth Woodbine was sitting on David's lap. The maid was clutched to David's chest and he was stroking her hair and kissing the top of her head. He was see that David was speaking softly to her but Jonathan could not now catch his words. Bile rose in his mouth as his suspicions crystallized into truth. What could be more obvious than for David to marry his neighbor's daughter?

Their fathers will surely welcome it, he thought hopelessly. Whatever Jacob thought of the family; the land would become one and be a sizeable farm. It was a good match, for the girl at least. Hot, bitter tears came to his eyes and he dashed them away as he retreated back into the market square, hardly seeing where he was going. How could he stand it? For all his strength he felt his legs weaken and he leant a while against a stall, dizzied, until a goodwife asked him if she could offer him assistance, worried that he was unwell. He came to himself, thanking her for her attentions and straightened up, glancing back through the throng. Suddenly David appeared, his face angry and set. He hardly seemed to know where he was going and collided into Jonathan without seeming to know who he was.

"Forgive..." He began to apologize, but at the sight of Jonathan the dark expression vanished like a burst bubble and was replaced instantly with a truly happy smile. He was alone, and there was no sign of the Woodbine maid.

"Jon! I thought I had lost you." He grabbed his lover's arm firmly and tugged him toward a tanner's stall. Jonathan was numb, and hardly could trust himself to speak, allowing David to investigate the leatherwork utterly oblivious of the maelstrom of emotion tearing through the apprentice.

Finally Jonathan controlled his temper and spoke quietly and evenly. "Who wast thou talking to? I heard thee shouting and..."

"Me? No one." David was distracted by the leatherwork, but Jonathan was not to be put off, hating himself for wanting to hear the truth, but longing for David to be honest with him--for once.
 
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