I set out to write a fairy tale romance that conjured all the fairy tale themes without being a parody. I wanted it to be a serious MM romance with a touch of magic. The result is SINDERS AND ASH. (Remember to comment on any of my posts to be entered to win your choice of my Balls to the Wall Books). : )
Excerpt: Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain; MM Contemporary Fantasy
Work hard, stay anonymous and don’t expect much. That’s resort housekeeper Mark Sintorella’s philosophy of life. After being kicked out of his family home at sixteen for being gay, Mark knows what it takes to survive. But how is he going to stay anonymous when he wants to be recognized as a great fashion designer? And how can he control his expectations when he’s desperately attracted to Ashton Armitage, the son of the fifth richest man in America? If Ash doesn’t find a woman to marry he’s going to lose his inheritance, but he can’t seem to resist the beautiful kid who cleans fireplaces while hiding behind a black cap and heavy glasses. And then this crazy elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, has Mark running around looking like a fashion model wearing gorgeous women’s clothes. The clock strikes twelve and the wedding follows the ball. Two beautiful princesses line up for attention. But one isn’t interested and one isn’t a woman. Who will be the bride? Will the shoe fit? Only his fairy godmother knows for sure.
Pennymaker turned and looked at Mark. “What are you working on?”
“Excuse me? I, uh, have to clean some fireplaces this morning. You know they keep the rooms cool just so they can use them? Makes work for me.”
“That’s not what I mean, of course.” He turned back to the rack, pushed some jeans aside. “Aha!” His hand shot through the garments to the dress form. He made an opening in the clothes and stepped through to stand beside the red dress. “Perfect. Just beautiful. What a talent.”
The little man beamed at him. “You have exceptional design skills.”
God, it was hard to not be flattered. “Thank you, sir.” But how had the man known to look for the dress? Who told him?
Pennymaker walked over to the chair and sat. Creak. Hopefully the tiny man wouldn’t strain the old wood too much. “I would like to show that dress to some people.”
“Let’s say some potential investors.”
No. He couldn’t get excited. “Uh, really, sir? You’re in the clothing business?”
“I’m in many businesses, my boy.”
Okay, try not to be suspicious. “How did you know I was a clothing designer?”
The little man waved a hand. “That lovely T-shirt, of course.”
“No one told you?”
“Who would tell me?”
Had him there.
Pennymaker stepped back and surveyed the dress. “Now, who is your model?”
What? Mark cocked his head.
“Who did you set the dress form to?”
“Oh, uh, myself. I, uh, don’t have anyone else. I’m pretty slim so it works.”
“Perfect. Perfect. When do you have to be at work?”
This conversation was crazy. “In about an hour. This is my morning off. Unless they need me, of course.”
“Good. Put on the dress.”
“We’re going for a little walk through the hotel. You’ll be my…niece. Go on, go on.” He made a shooing gesture with his hands.
Mark shook his head. “Sir, I know I fit the dress to me but that’s because I don’t have anyone else. I’m not a transvestite.”
“Never said you were, dear boy. But these people I want to have see the dress will be much more amenable to taking your designs seriously if they think of the idea themselves rather than my telling them. That’s how we all are, now isn’t it? So I want them to see the clothes. We don’t have another model and we don’t want anyone else in on our secret.”
Secret? “What if someone recognizes me?”
Pennymaker cocked his head. “That is very unlikely. You do a good job making yourself plain and unmemorable with your cap and glasses.”
Mark felt the blush. Shoot. The man had him dead to rights.
“Besides, people see what they expect and they certainly don’t expect to see Mark Sintorella in a dress. Now, put it on.”
Mark stepped behind the rack of clothing. He stripped to his boxer briefs and stopped. What the hell was he doing? He could jeopardize his job for this crazy-assed little guy with his hair-brained scheme.
The voice came from the other side of the clothes. “Do you have it on?”
“Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you sure about this? I really need the money I get from working here.”
“Tut tut, my boy. Hurry. I want to make one tour around the lobby and public rooms before you start your shift. Times a’wastin’. ”
Mark pulled the dress over his head and let it fall into place. The skirt was just full enough to swing when he walked so no one would notice his cock under it. “Uh, I don’t have any boobs.”
“Let me see.”
“See what? What I haven’t got?” He stepped out.
Pennymaker looked at him studiously. “Gorgeous. You don’t have breasts but then neither do some women to speak of. I’m more concerned about the hairy legs. Go shave, quickly.”
“What? Sir, I don’t think so…”
“This won’t be your only modeling assignment I suspect so think of it as a long-term investment. Consider that brilliant young model who walks the catwalks in both male and female shows. You’re at least his equal in beauty.”
“No buts. This is your future. Now go!”