Welcome to our third week of celebrating the amazing
Today's post is all about the Finding Home series, with excerpts, and a personal story Lily has chosen to share. There's also, all the way at the bottom, another chance to win.
First up, Oz
What happens when temporary becomes forever?
Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He's also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they're from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he's finally home?
From bestselling author, Lily Morton, comes a romantic comedy about two very different men and one very dilapidated house.
He sits back down and ruffles my CV rather dramatically. “So, Oz, I see that you have a first class degree in Fine Art and History of Art.” I nod encouragingly and he strokes the side of his face contemplatively. “And can you say that you’ve used this in a productive manner?”
I shrug and smile earnestly. “It’s allowed me to work on Bernie’s Antique stall on Camden Market.” I lean forward in the manner of someone imparting great knowledge. “So many people trying to fence shit these days. Always trying to pass off total tut for Titian.” I smile and sit back. “My name wasn’t Milo or Hilary and I didn’t go to Eton or Roedean. Not many opportunities in the Fine Art arena for me.”
He looks down at my CV. “And is it on that stall that you pursue what you say in here is your goal of preserving and defending the property of the aristocracy?” There’s a tremor of laughter running through his voice.
“No. That’s just a hobby.”
He coughs and sits back, enjoyment of this showing clearly in his face. “And you’re working where now?”
“Foxton, Brown and Associates,” I say calmly. “Or at least I was until a few days ago.”
“Oh, you’ve left?”
I nod happily. “I had a slight difference of opinion with my boss.”
“I said he shouldn’t shag my replacement in our bed. He disagreed.”
The pale young man chokes on the water he’s just sipped, and Niall looks even more entertained. “That’s unusual, Oz.” Silence falls for a beat before he stirs. “Should I ask what your job description was, or would that be inappropriate?”
“Not at all,” I say, waving my hand in a very cavalier manner. “Let’s see. I organised his diary, booked his travel arrangements, made his coffee, and had sex with him whenever he wanted.” I lean forward. “Mainly when he wanted, I’m afraid. I’m too much of a people pleaser. It’s a problem.”
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Book 2 in the series, Milo
Once upon a time a brave knight rescued a young man. Unfortunately, he then spent the next few years bossing the young man around and treating him like a child.
Milo has been burying himself at Chi an Mor, hiding from the wreckage of his once promising career and running from a bad relationship that destroyed what little confidence he had. Niall, his big brother’s best friend, has been there for him that entire time. An arrogant and funny man, Niall couldn’t be any more different from the shy and occasionally stuttering Milo, which has never stopped Milo from crushing wildly on the man who saved him.
However, just as Milo makes the decision to move on from his hopeless crush, he and Niall are thrown into close contact, and for the first time ever Niall seems to be returning his interest. But it can never work. How can it when Milo always needs rescuing?
From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to write his own happily ever after.
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Book 3, Gideon
Gideon Ramsay is so far in the closet he should be a talking faun.
A talented, mercurial, and often selfish man, Gideon has everything he should want in life. Fame, money, acting awards – he has it all. Everything but honesty. At the advice of his agent, Gideon has concealed his sexuality for years. But it’s starting to get harder to hide, and his increasingly wild behaviour is threatening to destroy his career.
Then he’s laid low by a serious illness and into his life comes Eli Jones. Eli is everything that Gideon can’t understand. He’s sunny tempered, friendly, and optimistic. Even worse, he’s unaffected by grumpiness and sarcasm, which forms ninety percent of Gideon’s body weight. And now Gideon is trapped with him without any recourse to the drugs and alcohol that have previously eased his way through awkward situations.
However, as Gideon gets to know the other man, he finds himself wildly attracted to his lazy smiles and warm, scruffy charm that seem to fill a hole inside Gideon that’s been empty for a long time. Will he give in to this incomprehensible attraction when it could mean the end of everything that he’s worked for?
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While these books could individually be read as standalones, they should not be read out of order, as they are consecutive in their respective timelines.
One of the questions I get asked most is how much I plan my books. The answer is not much. I’m not a planner in life. I’m like a very amiable cork that bobs along, and this extends to my writing. There’s a reason why you rarely see me announce my plans and that’s because I don’t normally have them. The only organised thing I do is to always have a notepad in my bag which is full of jottings about places and feelings.
That said, I thought I’d let you in on how some of the pivotal scenes and characters in my books have come about almost by accident. I’ll do that with ‘Oz’. If you haven’t read the book don’t go any further as there will be spoilers.
The first thing I have to say is that I never intended to write ‘Oz’ when I did. At the time I had just come off writing the Mixed Messages series and my intention was to write a standalone book that was completely different from anything I’d done before. As such I needed to do some research in Cornwall and I recruited my husband who is the very best partner in crime a person could have. He loves taking these trips and is invaluable as he’s endlessly interested in people and places.
We travelled to Cornwall and it was the most wonderful trip. The heatwave was still on so every day was endless blue skies. We stayed in a farmhouse on the edge of Boscastle and criss-crossed across the county visiting all the places I needed for the new book. During this time my husband fell in love with Boscastle and decided he wanted to live there, and then on the next day I promptly did the same with Fowey.
It was in Fowey one night that my husband noticed two of the biggest dogs we’d ever seen. He’s an animal lover and one of those people who can always remember dog’s names but not their owners. He immediately stopped to talk to the couple who owned the dogs and found out that they were called Italian Spinones (the dogs, not the couple) I wasn’t listening at first but then the grumpy demeanour of the dogs caught my attention, as did my husband who announced that if we had one of them he’d call it Chewbacca. If you’ve read ‘Oz” I imagine that a bell is ringing for you now.
We decided halfway through the trip to take some time out from research and visit the Minack Theatre. If any of you are ever near Porthcurno you must have a look because it’s one of the most beautiful places in Cornwall. It’s an amphitheatre right on the cliffs overlooking Porthcurno Bay. When we were there we saw basking sharks. However, all the time we were sitting on the stone and grass seats my mind was whirring because it was the perfect place for a date. I looked around and the scene practically played in my mind, but it wasn’t anything to do with my planned project at all so I just wrote down my thoughts in my trusty notepad.
On the way back we got stuck in a traffic jam. This is a common occurrence around there where people the lanes are very narrow and filled with coaches and RVs. We sat for a while until my husband got bored with the stand-off that was developing. He got out of the car and within a few minutes everyone was laughing and moving their cars. Out came my notepad again.
Eventually, by the last day of the trip we’d visited everywhere I needed to and my notepad was bulging with ideas. We sat down for breakfast and while waiting for my husband to finish eating I idly picked up an old National Trust guide and on the spur of the moment suggested that we visit an Elizabethan manor house that was nearby. I knew I wanted to write Silas’s story at some point and that he owned a manor house, so I figured I’d get some bits for that while we were in Cornwall.
We travelled there that morning and I immediately fell in love with the place that was to become Chi an Mor in my books. It sits at the end of a narrow shady lane and is utterly beautiful. I find that some houses have lovely atmospheres from the beginning and this absolutely did, in that it felt serene and so welcoming. The first thing we saw as we parked was a sign announcing that the vet was treating sheep in the field next to the house and that gave me another random snip of an idea. If you’ve read ‘Oz’ you’ll know which scene that ended up in.
We walked around the house and the gardens and then found the kayles. This is a bit like the game of skittles and my husband insisted on playing. We were alone and laughing together at how rubbish we were and another ping went off in my head as to how this could be turned into a scene. Out came the notepad again, but I would just like to stress that neither of us played Strip Kayles the way that Oz and Silas did in the book.
Finally, we sat down in the knot garden in the hot sunshine and my husband told me to sit forward and look into the beds of lavender. I was astonished to see hundreds of industrious bees working unseen. Almost immediately in my head I had a picture of a small and feisty Londoner coming to this place, sitting in this spot, and finding his home.
It was at that point that I just gave in because I knew I needed to write that story straightaway. I wrote the first two chapters as soon as we got back to the farmhouse, and the first scene I wrote was that of Oz coming down from London and sitting in that garden. The rest of the book followed quickly, and it’s actually the easiest and most pleasurable book I’ve ever written.
I never did write the other book but my notes are still there. If you’re reading ‘Oz’ at the moment you now know that Chi an Mor with its lavender garden, bees and kayles does actually exist. It’s tucked away down some winding Cornish lanes. And somewhere in Fowey there are two Italian Spinones who have no idea that their fictional brother is enjoying Chi an Mor at the side of Oz.
About the author:
Lily Morton 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.
Thank you for celebrating this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Lily's books, our author interview, and one more chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!