Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing
In our final post, we'll look at two more of Nicky's books and ask her a bunch of questions. There's also one more chance to win one of her books.
First up, Until The End Of Time
Being a gay man in 1827, was not only frowned upon in England, but punishable by death.
Magistrate Simon Stockley would know. He’d convicted men in his courtroom and sentenced them himself. Every time, it left a vile taste in his mouth because Simon was no different than the men whose lives he claimed. Overcompensating for his secret, fearing discovery, Simon walked the straight and narrow with everything he did.
Being overly cautious with life was second nature to him. The consequences of being discovered were among his worst fears. Sadly, this was his life and he accepted it.
Until one cold day in October when James Hansen was led into his courtroom. Blinded by the fire in James’ eyes and the energy seething from his core, Simon’s entire life was thrown upside down. One cursory glance at the criminal and nothing would ever be the same again.
James’ crimes were severe and his punishment was death. However, there was something about him that Simon couldn’t put his finger on. Despite all sensibility, Simon couldn’t let him go. Maybe some things were worth the risk. Maybe rules were meant to be broken. Secrets were wonderful… until someone found out the truth.
For all my life, I would never forget the day I first looked into that man’s eyes. It was like staring upon heaven itself on a clear summer day, and I would swear to you on my parents’ graves, the angels sang to me just then.
The air sucked out of my lungs, and for a short period of time, I may not have breathed at all. It explained the overcoming sensation of lightheadedness I experienced. Simultaneously, my senses seemed to amplify yet die off altogether. The only way I could explain it was, it was as though we were the only two beings in all the universe at that moment.
Like watching a stage play at the theatre, my vision darkened around me, leaving him the only illuminated person in my sights. His anger, a blaze of blue flames burning in his eyes, directed itself entirely at me. His hair was the color of straw, bleached out and lightened by the sun. It fell in his face in an unruly manner, reflecting his disposition to a tee.
Fixed on the man being brought into my courtroom, unable to tear my gaze from his face, I memorized every part of him. The way his lips pulled back against his teeth as he sneered. His curved cheekbones and jawline, firm and manly against his honey-colored skin. His eyebrows, a distinctly darker shade of blond than his hair, turned down at a sharp angle, making his face stern. In all his anger, he was the embodiment of perfection.
It may have only been a fraction of a second that I’d slipped up, but my stumble was there nonetheless, and I berated myself while I fought to regain my composure. Without my knowledge or my permission, my throat went dry while I gaped at the stranger being half-dragged through the courtroom.
I clamped my jaw with a firmness that threatened teeth cracking and turned my gaze to the surface of the bench in front of me. My ears rang as my thoughts swam. All the order and planning of the proceedings shifted inside my brain, and I momentarily forgot myself.
My tea, sitting cold beside me, became my sole focus as I tried to realign my thoughts. I retrieved and sipped at it regardless of its temperature, giving myself more time for self-analysis and reproach.
“Your honor,” Snapping me from my thoughts, I raised my head back to the man who had been brought forth, “I beg you to hear my plea before you make a decision. Please, I simply…”
Without so much as a word from me, the man fell silent. His outburst reminded me where I was and what I was doing. Years ago, I perfected the appropriate look of authority which could silence an entire room without my ever having to speak. I used that look, and Mr. Hansen seemed to realize his mistake.
Four witnesses left him without a plea to be had. His crime was a closed case, and my job was only to administer his sentence. No time would be wasted on discussions.
As I was about to proceed, the air in the room changed once again, becoming charged with static electricity that seemed to light a spark under Mr. Hansen. He decided he had nothing to lose in arguing with me.
“Is this what you call justice?” He pulled against the constables and spat his fury at the bench. “A group of people can come together and rally against any man, saying anything they wish and it is taken as truth in the courts? Look at me, you judgmental arse. Look at me!”
I didn’t even realize my gaze had fallen back to my papers, only I wasn’t seeing them. The truth was, I was trying to wipe away the hurt and pain being directed at me through the man’s eyes. A look, which I of all people understood.
“Nobody ever wishes to hear my side because I have already been deemed guilty. What of George? Where is his justice? You people turn a blind eye to your own. Since when did murder mean so little?”
His words clouded my mind, and I knew if I didn’t stop his ramblings soon I would be seen as incompetent and incapable of commanding order.
I raised my hand for silence, and in response, the constables at his sides wrenched his arms back, bringing a halt to his next argument.
Burying my own trepidation, I encouraged myself to meet his gaze once again. He was unable to hide his own, and I could see him trembling as he realized my next words marked his finality.
“In the year of our Lord, Fifteen Hundred and Thirty-Three, the Act of Buggery was signed by his majesty, King Henry VIII. This act declares that any unnatural sexual activity is a crime against God and will be punished accordingly.”
The words tasted vile in my mouth, and I swallowed down their hypocrisy as I continued. “Four witnesses have given statements claiming to have observed the direct act of sodomy between one, James William Hansen and one, George Charles Berkley who is since deceased. According to the written act, proof of penetrative sex is required for a full conviction. Having been interrogated separately, all four witnesses’ recounts of the event match undoubtedly and are, therefore, considered under the definition of proof.
“Mr. James Hansen, the court has reviewed your charges and find your pleas inadmissible. In the name of King William IV, I hereby declare you to be guilty of the Act of Buggery and sentence you to hang by your neck until you are dead. Your punishment shall be carried out on the twenty-third day of October in the year of our Lord, Eighteen-Hundred and Twenty-Seven. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”
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Second in our line-up, Trusting Tanner
Maybe tomorrow it will be better…
Zander Baker has spent years forcing a smile onto his face to make the world believe he is a happy man. In reality, it’s a façade for the battered person he truly is. Living a life imprisoned in an abusive relationship, Zander doesn’t know how to break free. Ordinary enjoyments are not within his reach. Not only has he lost all his friends, but over the last seven years, he’s lost himself as well.
Tanner Mathews has recently returned to the city and needs to start life all over again. New job, new friends and a new relationship are top of his list. When he meets his niece’s new preschool teacher he is drawn in by his good looks and shy personality. Sadly, Zander is involved with someone else. Settling for friendship, Tanner soon realizes there is a lot more to Zander than what he shows the world. As their friendship struggles to grow, and details about Zander’s life come to the surface, Tanner finds himself unexpectedly falling in love. His heart aches for Zander and all he wants to do is help the man break free.
Can Tanner help Zander reclaim his life?
Will his feelings for his friend interfere with his intentions?
What happens if it all goes wrong?
Will love conquer all in the end?
*TRIGGER WARNING* Domestic abuse
I watched him go at an accelerated pace, head down with a deep frown on his face. He looked downright miserable, and I felt like a grade A twat for saying what I did. I seriously didn’t know how to keep my mouth shut. Zander had enough bullshit without having me adding to it. I was being a terrible friend. Again. It bugged me to no end that he couldn’t see what that guy was doing to him. However, it bugged me even more that I seemed to have a constant need to point it out.
As the car pulled away with a squeal of tires, I let out a frustrated grumble from deep inside; one laced with all the suppressed anger I’d been building up for the last few months.
“Fuck I hate that douchebag,” I said to Angie who stood quietly at the closet doors, trying to be invisible. Sneaking a glance at Anna, I was glad to see she was oblivious to my temper and foul mouth as she continued with her puzzle. “What is Z doing with him?”
“I told you, I think he’s afraid to leave. He thinks he’s trapped.”
“That’s ridiculous. He needs to kick Paul to the curb is what he needs to do and move on with his life. Z’s such a great guy, and Paul treats him like shit. He deserves so much better than that.”
“He doesn’t know how to get out, Tanner. He’s afraid Paul won’t let him leave, that he’ll come after him. You’ve seen what the man’s capable of.”
“Then he needs to go to the police.”
“Why?” I threaded fingers through my hair in frustration. “You’ve seen the bruises and marks. He has every reason to report him. I just don’t get it. If he filed a restraining order, Paul couldn’t go near him, at least not without getting his ass arrested.”
“He knows. It’s more than that, Tanner.” Angie paused and pursed her lips.
“What then? What is it? Somebody please explain this to me because I’m seriously confused, and I don’t know how much more I can take.”
“I think he’s also afraid of being alone. He’s afraid of what’s on the other side after he walks away. You know how he grew up. All he wants is to be loved, and he thinks Paul is the best he can do.”
“Come on. That’s bullshit. Even being alone would be better than him.” I tossed my arm in the direction the vehicle had driven. “Besides he wouldn’t be alone. I’d be there to—” I clamped my mouth shut before I could say more, but Angie’s face softened as she watched me with sympathy. Glancing back out the window, I tried to ignore the fact that I was being studied like a term paper. After a long pause, Angie came up beside me and put her hand on my arm.
A hot flush burned my cheeks as I turned back to Angie, prepared to completely deny whatever she was thinking. I’d fought it for months, and there was no way I was letting an almost slip up expose my secret. “I don’t know what you’re talking about? Tell him what?”
“Christ, Tanner.” Angie turned me to face her. “You are so fucking in love with him. That’s why you’re so torn up and angry. Everyone knows it. Everyone sees it.”
Shit, am I that obvious?
“Except Zander. I’m pretty sure he’s oblivious, but only because he’s in denial too.”
“W-what do you mean?”
“Ugh…Men are so infuriating sometimes.”
“Angie, I don’t know—”
“Stop it, Tanner. Just stop. Why are you standing by watching him suffer? He needs you to help him break free of this…this...bullshit. He’s terrified. He’s been leaning on you for months. Begging you for help. Why do you think that is? He’s shared things with you he’s never shared with anyone. He trusts you. I don’t honestly think even he knows what’s happening between you two.”
“Nothing is happening between us, Angie. Nothing.” As much as I wanted it. As much as I dreamed about it. I’d kept it buried inside and not let it out. I’d respected our friendship. I hadn’t crossed lines. “I will not interfere with someone else’s relationship. I’m not that person. I did not set out to break them up. I—”
“Tanner. Stop.” My heart pounded at the possibility that I’d failed at keeping my feelings hidden and that I was exactly the person I didn’t want to be. “Tanner. Zander and Paul were a fucked-up mess long before you came into the picture. Seven years of fucked up. I know your intentions were good, but it didn’t stop you falling in love with him—and seeing as you didn’t deny it a second ago, I’m guessing I’m right.”
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1. What inspires you? What gets you writing?
I’m honestly inspired by the strangest thing. People watching is a big one, random lyrics from songs sometimes. I get ideas so randomly and unexpectedly, I always keep a notepad available so I can jot notes when they come to me. My brain is always active. Sometimes I get the best ideas when I’m supposed to be sleeping. They may not make sense in the morning, but sometimes they are the best idea in the world.
What gets me writing. Coffee. Lol. I am mostly self-motivated. I have writing blocks and I stick to them, but coffee is a must.
2. What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
HAHA!! Process?! Hmm… It’s ever-changing. I tend to start with a concrete idea. Plot direction, character backstories and then fly by the seat of my pants. Then, halfway through, I stall and need to properly plot my direction so I don’t get off course and ensure I tied it all together properly and don’t miss things. Sticky notes are everywhere, notebooks (physical and on my phone), sometimes on a random envelope if it’s all that is within reach when a thought strikes. I start every day with a read through and edit of the work I did the previous day. It helps me get back in the zone and ensure what I wrote was decent enough to keep.
3. Which character from your books is your favorite, and why?
Pick a favorite child?!?! OMG, where to begin. Who to pick? Umm… Okay, I’m gonna say Oryn from Love Me Whole because he had the most complex journey of all my characters. He required the most research and was the book I wanted to write the most. Plus, he is one of six people in one body. So with Oryn I get Cohen, Reed, Rain, Cove, and Theo.
4. Which character is your least favorite, and why?
I don’t want to play this game. This is the worst question ever. I’m gonna sulk and pitch a fit before I decide. Hmm… can I pick a side character? We can all agree the abusive boyfriend in Trusting Tanner is the WORST person alive so therefore the WORST character I’ve ever written. The end. I refuse to pick a main character.
5. If you could go back into one of your books and change one thing, what would that be? And why?
I might sneak back into my Edovia series and crank up the heat level a notch since it was my first series and I was a little shy when writing all the “under the sheets” scenes and tamed them down A LOT.
6. What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
I’m coming to an end with my Trials of Fear series. The fourth book is out this month, and I’m planning a fifth book to hopefully hit Amazon in May and then a final hurrah that will bind all of them together for those readers who took the entire journey. After this series ends, I have multiple standalone books I want to put out including a darker read that will deal with Stockholm Syndrome, a second chance romance that will deal heavily with PTSD, and another installment in my Touch of Taboo reads. (Which we won’t discuss here *shifty eyes*)
Thanks so much for playing!!
More about Nicky James:
Nicky James lives in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada and is a mother to a wonderful teenage boy and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband, who thankfully doesn't think she is crazy. Nicky has always had two profound dreams in life; to fall back hundreds of years in time and live in a simpler world, not bogged down by technology and to write novels. Since one of those dreams is impossible, she decided to make the other come alive on paper. Nicky writes mm romance novels of many varieties. She is a strong advocate for mental health and likes to advocate and spread awareness through her books.
Thank you for celebrating this fabulous author with us all month long. We hope you found a few more books for your TBR and learned some cool things about Nicky James.
Until next time, happy reading!