Welcome to our first week of celebrations for the amazing
In our first post, we will look at the three primary books from the Mixed Messages series (with the in-between books to come next week), plus Lily's favorite things. There's also a chance to win one of her books.
First up, Rule Breaker
Is it really wrong to want to murder your boss?
Dylan has worked for Gabe for two years. Two long years of sarcastic comments. Two long years of insults, and having to redo the coffee pot four times in the mornings to meet his exacting standards.
Not surprisingly he has devoted a lot of time to increasingly inventive ways to murder Gabe. From stabbing him with a cake fork, to garrotting him with his expensive tie, Dylan has thought of everything.
However, a chance encounter opens his eyes to the attraction that has always lain between them, concealed by the layers of antipathy. There are only two problems - Gabe is still a bastard, and he makes wedding planners look like hardened pessimists.
But what happens when Dylan starts to see the real Gabe? What happens when he starts to fall in love with the warm, wary man that he sees glimpses of as the days pass?
Because Gabe is still the same commitment shy, cold man that he’s always been, or is he? Has Dylan had the same effect on Gabe, and has his solid gold rule of no commitment finally been broken? With his heart taken Dylan desperately needs to know, but will he get hurt trying to find the answers?
Gabe sleeps for the rest of the afternoon, so I do some more work, and then stretch out on the sofa to read on my Kindle. At about five o’clock I ring Jude and grandly instruct him to bring me some clothes and a takeaway, as I’m starving. He’s reluctant to do so until I tell him where I am, and then he can’t agree quickly enough.
I watch out of the window for him, so he doesn’t ring the doorbell and wake Gabe. When I see him sauntering up the road, I quickly open the door and gesture him in.
“This feels quite clandestine,” he remarks, smirking as he squeezes past me. “Almost like we’re spies.”
“You’d never go unremarked in that getup,” I say, gesturing at his tight, royal-blue chinos.
“I’ll have you know my little corporate whore, that this is a very fashionable colour.”
“Only if you work at CBeebies.”
“You’re just jealous because you could never pull these off.”
I look dubiously at how tight they are. “I sincerely doubt that you can pull them off unless you’ve got a chisel.”
He snorts. “Oh, fucking lovely. I schlepp your shit all over London, and even stop off for Chinese, and you still can’t stop insulting me.”
“No, I can’t, and you only did all those things to see Gabe’s house.”
“Yeah you might be right,” he murmurs, following me down the corridor, his eyes everywhere. “Jesus, this is gorgeous. Why can’t we find somewhere like this?”
“Because I am a lowly assistant, and you are a model, and together we still don’t make what a partner of Gabe’s status makes.”
“Life’s not fair,” he huffs, and then spies the booze. “Oh, bingo!”
“No,” I whisper sharply, snatching a bottle of vodka off him. “You are not getting blitzed in Gabe’s house.”
“Why are you whispering?” He snorts. “Is it because he hasn’t realised yet that you’ve rather creepily moved in, while he’s too sick to notice?”
“I have not moved in, and Gabe’s ill.”
“Oh, it’s Gabe now, is it? Not Shithead Boss Man, like normal?”
“Oh, shut up.”
Then we both jump about a foot in the air when a deep voice drawls from the door. “Shithead Boss Man, eh? You know, Dylan, I really lucked out in the assistant department. The other partners in the firm have ended up with someone awful, who soothes them, is at their beck and call and agrees with them all the time. I got one who is sarcastic, argumentative, scruffy, rarely where he should be, and calls me Shithead Boss Man rather than Sir.”
Jude laughs at him, before reaching out and swiping one of the prawns from my carton of sweet and sour. “He’d call you Sir if you spanked him.”
“For fuck’s sake,” I sigh, burrowing my face in my hands, and then raising it in surprise as Gabe bursts into laughter.
“I’ll have to bear that in mind for his next appraisal,” he chokes out, before succumbing to a massive coughing fit which racks his body.
“For fuck’s sake,” I snap. “Why are you out of bed?”
He gradually gets control of his breathing, as I run him a glass of water. “Because I needed to walk around. I’ve never slept so much in my life.”
“Well, you needed it. That’s why I put you to bed.”
Jude snorts. “This is like a regular Saturday night, listening to Dylan having this conversation. Only the recipient is usually a tad more eager.”
“Jude, shut up,” I hiss, and when Gabe looks at me with one eyebrow raised I shake my head. “He’s lying.” I hand him his water and reach out, laying the back of my hand over his forehead. “Jesus, Gabe, you’re burning up. Let me call the doctor.”
He leans into my touch for a second, then steps back shaking his head. “I just need to get over it. I’ll have another of those shitty, yellow things that you made earlier.”
“You mean Lemsip?” I say patiently.
“Yes, that’s the one, but it might be improved by adding whisky.”
“Only if we wanted to add accidental overdose of drugs and alcohol to severe virus on your hospital admission sheet,” I snipe, turning away to put the kettle on. “I’ll make you a virgin Lemsip and then you can go back to bed.”
For a second I’m sure that he’s going to argue, but then he sighs and nods. He settles heavily down onto a bar stool, and accepts with a thankful smile the throw that I snag from a chair when I see him shivering. Pulling it around him he looks at Jude who is busily eating my Chinese. “So, you must be Jude?”
Jude nods. “You’ve heard of me then?”
A wry smile crosses his face. “How could I fail to have heard of you? I’m treated daily to the other side of your conversations with Dylan. I like to start my morning with a strong coffee and listening to the retelling of both of your exploits from the night before. It’s better than ‘The Archers’.”
“Oh God,” I groan, as Jude laughs. “I didn’t realise you were listening. I’m sorry, I’ll try to keep it down.”
He smirks. “I notice you didn’t say that you’d stop. I like that.” He pauses and looks hard at me. “I like it anyway. It’s interesting and occasionally humorous.” He pauses. “And sometimes quite pitiful.”
Jude laughs. “That’d be him, not me.”
I hand Gabe his Lemsip. “There. Drink that. Do you need anything else?” He shakes his head slowly. “Okay then, go back to bed.” When he doesn’t move, I make shooing motions. “Say goodbye to Jude. He’s just going and won’t ever come back.”
“Oh no, do feel free to stay,” he says to Jude. “Dylan’s been so kind and stayed here, forcing himself on me, completely beyond my wishes or instructions. It would be nice for him if he had company in his home invasion.”
Jude bursts into laughter, and nods. “I’ll stay for a bit. Thanks, Gabe.”
He nods, and then looks at me where I’m still making shooing motions. “Dylan, I am neither a dog, nor a farmyard animal, so it is beyond my comprehension why you are making those gestures at me.”
“You’re certainly not trained at all,” I say briskly, and walk behind him as he moves towards the stairs.
“Why are you doing that?” he asks hoarsely.
“In case you fall backwards.”
“Well, stop it. It’s making me uneasy. Go and sit with your friend.”
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Book 2 in the series, Deal Maker
Sometimes your mouth makes deals that your heart can’t honour.
Jude is a highly successful model, but a very reluctant one. His life is full of casual hook-ups with pretty men in glamorous locations, but it’s still empty. However, circumstances decreed a long time ago that this was his path, so he’s resolutely stayed on it and accepted his fate with good grace. He made a deal with himself and his hook-ups. Get in, get out and no ties with anyone.
However, an accident at home one night leads to him making a new deal and accepting the offer of help from an unlikely source. It leads to an unexpected summer of falling in love with a larger than life man and his child.
But by the end of the summer his reasons for not staying are still valid. Will he turn away? Can he?
Asa is a talented actor who has spent time away from the scene to look after his son. But now he’s back, and the last thing he needs are complications from the gorgeous man who is staying with him. Scarred from too many betrayals, he has no intention of forming a lasting tie with anyone. However, he can’t resist the beautiful man with secrets, and to his horror he develops feelings.
But a deal’s a deal and they said it was just for the summer. What can Asa do with a man who has forever in his eyes and goodbye on his lips?
He pokes one long finger at the pile of letters I typed earlier. “What are these?”
“Replies to your letters,” I say brightly. “I thought it only best that you acknowledge receipt of the items. They are your fans,” I say piously. “They deserve recognition.”
He looks dubiously at the brightly coloured objects, before saying recognition, dubiously. Then he gives a firm nod. “You’re right.”
“I am?” I’m not even faking the surprise on my face at the moment.
“Yes,” he nods. “I shouldn’t ignore letters like these, no matter how deeply perverted some of them are.”
I roll my eyes. “Deeply.” I pause. “I kept the toys, as you see. None of this pile appear to have been used.” I look him up and down vaguely. “Just in case you’re caught short.”
Caught short he mouths, and then shakes himself like a big dog. He looks at me challengingly. “Well, let’s see what you’ve got.”
I lean back in my chair, occupying myself by looking along the shelves while he pulls the first reply towards him. I have time to spot four more books I want to read before I see him stiffen out of the corner of my eye, and I smile inwardly.
“What in the ever-loving fuck is this?” he mutters, then drags another letter towards him, and then another, until he has paper spread everywhere and a death threatening stare levelled at me.
I make myself smile sunnily. “Everything okay?”
He stares at me, something working behind his eyes. “I don’t know, Jude. These are very -” He hesitates, “unusual replies. Let’s see if I can find the ones that really caught my attention.” He pulls one towards him and reads aloud. “Dear Sir. Thank you so much for your kind letter and the attached cock ring. Unfortunately, I will be unable to wear the said item as the hole is far too big for my tiny penis. If you wish to purchase anything like this again, it may be worth asking the distributor whether they do sex aids in much smaller sizes. I am attaching a signed photograph, and send it with my best wishes.” He looks up. “It’s signed yours sincerely, which -” He trails off, obviously speechless.
Inside, I’m hugging myself with glee. Outwardly, I look confused and a little impatient.
Looking at me, he shakes his head and pulls another one towards him. “And then there’s this one. Dear Sir. I found your description of what you wanted to do to my body highly erotic, but also a little distressing. Please don’t worry that your words upset me. No, it is more to do with the fact that I suffer from premature ejaculation, and would be unable to get through your laundry list of activities without embarrassing myself within the first two minutes.” His voice trembles on this part, then firms as he carries on reading. “I beg you to look elsewhere for more virile men than me, and wish you luck in your endeavours. I am attaching a signed photograph, and send it with my best wishes.”
I have a giant laugh threatening to come out, but I manfully suppress it as he drags another letter over. “Finally, we have your lovely letter to this lady. Dear Madam. How very kind of you to enclose a prostate massager. Unfortunately, I will be unable to use it because my mistress, aka mummy, will not allow it, and my gimp suit doesn’t allow a great deal of unrestricted movement, anyway. I am attaching a signed photograph, and send it with my best wishes.”
He throws them down on the desk, and I look at him, smiling winsomely. “She really did sound like a nice lady, and she managed to spell your name properly which a lot of people didn’t.”
There’s a short, stunned silence, and then to my amazement, he throws his head back and starts to laugh. It’s a big booming laugh, rich and wonderful, and I gape at him as it carries on, until finally it peters out and he’s left rubbing tears from his eyes and chuckling.
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And book 3, Risk Taker
Being in love with your best friend is hard.
Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the Hook-Up King of London seems more like a curse than a blessing these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were fifteen, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. After all, he has no chance with Ivo - or does he?
Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly twenty years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged.
Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change—Ivo hurt and needing assistance, and Henry more than willing to provide it—the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization, and a decision. Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both?
From the bestselling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been - if only they knew it.
The bell in the shop rings as the door opens, and I smile as I feel his presence behind me.
“Is there a particular reason, Henry, why I am standing in an art supply shop rather than sitting in a perfectly good restaurant eating lunch?”
I shift the basket over my arm and turn to face one of my best friends. “Gabe, you really should be a bit more highbrow. Otherwise, you’ll never keep that pretty totty you’ve got.”
His perfect-looking face scrunches up in disgust. “Totty. What an utterly disgusting word.”
“I know,” I say cheerfully, turning back to the shelf I was perusing and chucking in another tube of Rose Gold oil paint.
“Makes you sound like your father,” he says snippily, and I nudge him.
“Now that’s petty. Anyway, I’m nothing like him. I have all my own teeth, and my complexion is milky-white perfection, if I do say so myself.”
He snorts. “Apart from those freckles.”
I shake my head and touch a finger to my face and my bête noire, the multitude of freckles that span my nose. “I wish that cream I got off the internet at uni had worked,” I say forlornly, and he laughs loudly, making it echo around the shop.
“I did so enjoy the way your face turned that shade of green. Made you look like Grotbags from The Rod Hull and Emu Show.” He reaches over and grabs a tube of paint. “It was this shade precisely. Hmm, Pistachio Green.” He chucks it into my basket, and I patiently remove it and put it back on the shelf.
I toss a couple of tubes of Prussian Blue into the basket while he leans casually against the shelf looking like the perfect picture of a lawyer in his dark grey, hand-tailored suit.
“Why are we here, Henry? Because if you’re thinking of giving up the law and becoming an artist, I really will have to stage an intervention.”
I laugh. “I think I’d make a very good artist.”
“Piss artist, more likely,” he says, poking my arm with one long finger. “So, if we’re not shopping for what would be the shortest career in art history, who are we shopping for?” His gaze sharpens, and I mentally groan because aside from Ivo there is no one who knows me better. “Hmm. Would we be shopping for a six foot four blond photographer who a certain red-headed lawyer has had the hots for, for years?”
“That’s such a non-Gabe expression,” I sneer. “Has Dylan been influencing you?”
He looks startled and shakes his head. “Those fucking phrases of his and Jude’s. They’re messing up my vocabulary. Yesterday one of the senior partners asked me if I was okay and I said I was cool. He went out and asked his assistant to tell maintenance that the building heating needed to be turned up.”
I laugh helplessly, and he gives me a rueful grin. “Don’t distract me, Henry. Is Ivo back?” I nod slowly and his expression darkens. “Is he okay?”
I shrug, picking up a brush and studying it intently so I don’t have to look at him. “Not really. He’s got a hole from a fucking bullet in his side, and broken ribs and bruises all over him from being near a car bomb when it went off.”
“What?” he says instantly. “Is he okay?” Gabe has always had a complicated relationship with Ivo. He loves being with him, and they can talk for hours, but he hates the effect that he unknowingly has on my life.
“He’s fine. Silas checked him over.”
He checks with his hand out to grab the brush from me. “Henry, isn’t Silas a vet?”
I shrug. “He was very good at biology at school.”
“I was good at it too. You don’t see me turning up at St Bart’s Hospital and performing a few appendectomies during my lunch hour though, do you?”
“The only biology you were any good at was the male anatomy kind,” I say tartly, and chuck the brush in the basket.
He smiles. “That I was. I’m a very learned man in that area.”
I snort. “You’re practically PhD material.”
I move over to the sketchbooks, and he follows me like a very well-groomed bloodhound. “So, how long is he staying here this time?”
“Indefinitely.” I push a large sketchbook into his hands for him to hold. “Pete’s benched him.”
“Jesus,” he mutters. “How bad is he?”
“Bad enough that Pete’s making him see someone to talk to.”
“A therapist, you mean, or just someone at the bus stop?”
I smile. “No, a therapist. Sorry. We always used that sort of language in our family. My mother used euphemisms about everything. She used to announce her visits to the gynaecologist by saying she was seeing someone about her problems with the down belows. Made her sound a bit like a cruise ship that had been beached.”
He laughs and then pauses and stares at me. “So, if he’s in one place for a bit and you’re always in that same place …”
I roll my eyes. “So boring and predictable.”
He carries on relentlessly. “Will you try anything?”
I shoot him a glare, and he folds his arms and looks impervious. He should do. He is. “No, of course not.”
“Why? You’re in love with him, Henry.” I glare at him, and he shrugs. “You always have been. You’re like a ginger swan. You seem to mate for life.”
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Lily's Favorite Things
* Food – sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice. I have the same thing every time. I’m obviously a deeply predictable person.
* Drink – tea. I drink copious amounts of it.
* Music – I have too many favourites to list one song, but I’m an eighties girl. I was fairly convinced that Michael Hutchence was going to turn up in Derby and marry me if I just thought about it hard enough. When that never happened, I turned my daydreams to John Taylor from Duran Duran and then Jon Bon Jovi (post haircut) It’s probably a good job I stuck to rock stars and not world domination.
* Movie – Barefoot in the Park. I love the snark and sarcasm and humour, and Robert Redford was easy on the eyes at that age.
* Book – too many to name one as an adult. As a child it was The Hobbit. I was fascinated by his home and always oddly disappointed by the fact that he had to leave it to go on an adventure. If I’d been Bilbo I’d have still been sitting in my pantry.
* Candy – Thornton’s Rum Truffles. I can eat a whole bag in one sitting. It sounds like I view that as an accomplishment. I do!
* Place to go – Fowey in Cornwall. It’s my happy place.
* Place to vacation – C’an Picafort in Majorca. My husband and I go to a small hotel near the beach there when we want some peace.
* Place to blow £100 – Waterstones.
* Accessory – My hair straighteners. If I don’t have them I look like I’m auditioning for a part in Dallas.
About Lily Morton:
Lily writes contemporary romance novels and specialises in hot love stories with a good dose of humour.
Lily lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she bought her first Kindle.
She has spent her life with her head full of daydreams and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else could she get to spend her time with hot, funny men!
She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations – chocolate Baileys! Her lifetime’s ambition is to have a bath in peace without being shouted by one of her family.
Thanks for celebrating this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of the Mixed Messages series, five little-known facts about Lily, and another chance to win one of her books.
Until then, happy reading!