The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Monday, 23 March 2015

Take Me Away

Morocco was amazing! I wish I could go back now, but - so much other stuff to do this year. Cry face. But look! That's a swimming pool, in front of what looks like a replica of the Arc de Triumph in Paris. My brain could not comprehend! My brain after a half bottle of smooth Moroccan red wine couldn't, however, sober Billy would not have either.

I soaked it all in. Mainly food. And sunshine. Learned a lot about the Berber traditions and the origins of kohl (I have been ringing my eyes in the stuff every night since and regretting the effort it takes to get it off) and I saw the possibilities of romance everywhere. In the rose petals scattered over the pillows after housekeeping. The enormous meals made for sharing. The horses who drew carriages, trotting calmly beside some of the most reckless driving I have ever witnessed. The hammams and massages, and the argan oil I have smuggled in bulk back to the UK. Working out the Dirham to Pound conversion rate whilst trying on a ridiculous amount of kaftans and dining in some of the most incredible settings I've been privileged to see. To stand at the end of the road of my hotel to photograph the glorious Atlas mountains and feel in awe of the beauty of just a small part of the world, made me wish I hadn't left my laptop at home. But then again, I really needed to sleep especially after I had all the knots rolled out of my back and shoulders.

Not that I don't already know this, I really do need to travel more. I live in Europe. I have no excuse. Yo Denmark! When's your weather going to cheer up? You know I only do sun, right??

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Treat Me Like Fire

I'll admit, I'm finding it hard to concentrate. I'm cold, I'm eating far too much and you know, unapologetic racist behaviours interfering with my flow. In any case, I'm off to Morocco for a little sojourn and you know travel is good for my soul and Hank's blood pressure.

It's not Italian and it's not even Season of Love, but this is what I've been writing about and I'm more likely to finish this than anything else in the meantime.

Like Fire  © Billy London 

Blue and white lights blinkered from behind her lids. She wondered for a moment if she’d fallen asleep at a rave. The noises filtered into focus slowly. It hurt to open her eyes. It really hurt. Everywhere. Everything. As if each nerve ending, bruised, bled into one another until she existed only as a single cell of agony. Who is talking so much? Why are they shouting at me?
“Don’t worry lovey. Fire brigade is on the way.”
“But I didn’t cook anything,” she murmured. Ooh. It hurt to take a breath. She closed her eyes again and drifted off somewhere much more inviting than the pain festival going on in her body. Darkness. Bliss. Oh no. Noise again.
“Miss?” Someone touched a soft, padded finger to her face. “Miss?” No, because if she woke up, the pain would start again. “Hello, that’s good. Stay awake.” She blinked several times. The yellow of the speaker’s helmet stung her vision. “What’s your name?” He asked.
“I know a Taemar.”
“Hmm,” she muttered, clearing her throat and trying to focus her sight. “Biblical. My dad… He... Only ever picked up a bible… At his wedding. Added a letter when he found out what happened to Bible Tamar. Not good...”
The effort was too great. She made to close her eyes again but the soft material returned to her face. “Hey, hey, Taemar. Stay awake. Keep your eyes on me.”
And her energy drink substitute had very pretty eyes. Lashes like a girl with falsies on. “What?”
“You’ve had an accident. We can’t get you out right now. The doors are crushed in on both sides.”
“Does that mean I can sleep?”
“No, we’ve got to get you out and get you to hospital. We’re going to cut through them in a minute. My friends are doing the other side so they can get you out. This side is too close to your body and we’re worried we’ll cut you. Can you get your seatbelt?”
She frowned, lifting an arm that seemed boneless to jab weakly at the release. “Did I put a belt on?”
“You did, you clever girl. Can you undo it for me?”
Taemar had the most unfortunate flashback to an ex and his struggle with some bondage ropes. The release refused to spring the belt free. Obviously it was man made and as stubborn as buggery. A metal cutter roared into life and the man shouted above the noise, repeating his question. Sparks flew over the passenger seat of her car and she turned away from it. He lifted his helmet back a bit to edge his head inside the car. She could hear him better. “Who are you?” she asked.
“Superman. Marauding as your local friendly fireman. Jack. I’m Jack.” Oh god, she was going to die in her stupid car. Tears prickled at her eyes. “Look at me,” Jack’s voice demanded nothing less than total obedience. His eyes, a strange mix of amber and olive green, blazed confidence. “Do I look worried?” His face set, serious, but completely assured. Not a single doubt evidenced from the arch of his brows, or the turn of his lips. She shook her head slowly and carefully. “Then you’ve got nothing to worry about, all right?”
“Okay. Oh my god, I’m naked.”
Jack didn’t say anything and she looked to his face. His lips were tucked in and his eyes were wide with guile. “Hadn’t noticed.”
“There’s a green nipple tassel on my wheel. The other one is hanging off my tit. They looked nice.”
His eyes darted around the car. “Erm… Yes?”
“You asking or agreeing?”
“Stop that.” He blushed. Amongst the shadow on his angular face, a sunset rose blush bloomed on his hard looking cheeks. 
“You told me to stay awake. And talking is keeping me… up.”
“Not about breasts!”
“Why? I can’t look. Are they scarred?” She felt panic rising in her. Am I breast-disfigured? Please don’t say I am. I love my boobs. They’re the best thing about me.
Jack gave a heavy sigh. “They’re a little scratched from the glass but that’s all.”
“What? No lift, size, shape comment? Are you a eunuch?”
“For all that is sacred, I wish I was right now.”
She chuckled. Huge mistake. Laughter was not her friend or healer right now.
“Did that hurt?” Jack asked. Instead of the pressure on her ribs and back, she stared at Jack’s jaw line. It was edible. Something nice and firm to nibble on in the throes of passion. Good distraction, but not much she could do about it. Actually, sex got her into this mess. Or rather, the potential for it. De-tassled in a crushed car, all because she wanted to surprise Peter. How sad.
“Talk to me,” she begged. “Tell me something funny.”
“I have a terrible sense of humour.”
She sent him a look. “Everyone has a sense of humour. Everyone. Now, tell me something amusing. Chop chop.”
“When I went out on my first call, I… I knocked myself - in a faint.”
Taemar frowned. “That’s… that’s just sad.”
“Er… This neighbourhood cat…”
“Nope. Next.”
“Okay when I was younger, I had too much of a sweet tooth. My mum told me if I didn’t stop, my penis wouldn’t work properly. Haven’t touched sweets since.”
The laughter that burst from her lips swiftly followed such intense pain, bile rose in her throat. “Taemar, I’m so sorry, but we’re almost done. We’ll have you out in a jiffy.”
“Jiffy?” she repeated. “You’re an old soul, aren’t you?” She couldn’t stop herself. Tears ran unhindered down her face, dripping onto her skin.
“Don’t cry. Please don’t cry, you’re almost out.”
“I’m not crying. My eyes just leak a bit. With pity. For your sweet-affected peepee.”
The passenger seat door, the remains of her passenger seat door was lifted away. Jack disappeared from her side, but instantaneously loomed in on her left, snipping huge pliers through her seatbelt. Huge arms slid behind her back and underneath her thighs before he lifted her from the wreckage with ease. “There we are. You’re all right, Taemar.”
“Thank you.” She whimpered. “Best entertainment I’ve had all week.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Thinking Out Loud

So it seems my attempt at a poll on Facebook has failed - because I don't seem to understand how to obtain my results, and like a cat in a sun spot, I feel unmoved to start over or to change it. I can see from the number of views on this blog as to the more popular stories from the Season of Love of 2015, and I will take those hints (broadly made and definitively made) and write until I can writes no mores!

With that in mind, I've compiled a soundtrack to keep you all distracted until I can get some wordage down. Each story has it's own track and I think it all fits together perfectly...

Playlist for Season of Love Vol. 2

  1. Camera's Gaze You're the One that I Want by Lo-Fang
  2. The Non Rebound Hours by FKA Twigs
  3. Good Girl Trying Out Bad First Love by The Maccabees
  4. Dance To Date Start Over by Kimberly Anne
  5. Warming Up Make You Feel My Love by Adele
  6. Skye's Sabotage I Can't Give You Anything But Love by Smokey Robinson
  7. Something Old, Something New Pray For Love by Kwabs
  8. La Vita Loca Love by Dan Hyde
  9. Blessing In Plain Sight On Into The Night by Paul Thomas Saunders
  10. Treasured Treasure by Bruno Mars
  11. Chocolate Offers Grow by Rae Morris
  12. The Tease Every Little Word by MNEK
  13. Come Back To Me Come Back by Us The Duo
  14. Stars and Moon (I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You by UB40

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Apply Some Pressure

So there I was, sitting alone, half heartedly picking at a packet of mango pieces, feeling completely tapped out. Like my literary goodness had gone into those fourteen days of madness, and tidying up @Last for my forgiving readers (new and not so new) and I was a husk, the bad guy from The Last Crusade, that dust was my future. And then, I read through one of my WIPs. I perked up, quite egotistically enjoying the banter between the hero and heroine and their merry band of friends. I did indeed say out loud, "I wonder how it's going to end?"
Hot Muse Hank is inconsolable by my ridiculousness. In between "You're insane!" and "You should have finished this in your sleep!" and "He's a fireman, you utter doughnut! You love those like you love apple crumble!" I did come to realise that I do know how it ends and I wonder why I'm avoiding it like the plague. It's all round lovely. When things get difficult, I'm always tempted to throw a bit of paranormal at it. And yet, my day job reminds me that truth is so, so much stranger than anything I could conjure in my depraved little mind. My sudden reticence needs sorting out. I do believe my time in Morocco (two weeks to gooooooooo!) will indelibly release the bonds that chain me to mediocrity and just to get the hell on with it.
So Jack and Taemar? Let's get physical.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Loving Words...

The Season of Love has come to an end, but you can enjoy the stories all in one neat little package. Just head to Weyward Thoughts here: Season of Love Vol. 2 and download your free copy.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

At Last

Happy Valentine's Day!

To celebrate, I've re-released one of my favourite stories featuring Ryan the Deflowerer as he's been named (thanks Nikki Winter...) and Courtney the Deflowered.

And if you haven't read this one before, let me tempt you:

@Last on Amazon
@Last on ARe

From: Billy London
To: My Lovely Readers
Subject: Blurb
Date: 14 February 2015 

Courtney is the good girl waiting for childhood crush Christopher to realise she’s the one for him. Unfortunately for Courtney, her sweetheart is a tosser. Anyone with eyesight could tell her, if only she’d listen. Christopher jaunts off to South Africa to apparently teach English to underprivileged children, but who knows what he's up to? While he’s there, Courtney catches the eye of one Ryan Klark, another teacher who attempts to educate her on the folly of her love. Instead, Courtney is the one who teaches Ryan more than a few things, and the friendship they strike up through cheeky emails, phone calls and letters from Paris is deeper and stronger than anything Courtney has experienced before. Before she knows it, their lighthearted correspondence turns into something romantic, then rather dirty, then more necessary than air. When Ryan comes back to London, Courtney is ready to enjoy all the perks of being with a person who likes you back! Only they both forgot who Ryan was in South Africa with. It doesn't matter, because Ryan's perfect. Right?

From: Billy London
To: My Lovely Readers
Subject: Excerpt
Date: 14 February 2015 

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 23 February 2010
Re: Little Miss Observant

Thank you for the compliment! Brightened an otherwise pointless day. Ta ta for now.

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 23 February 2010
Re: Er…

Who are you? Did you mean to send that email to me?

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 24 February 2010
Re: Sherlock Holmes type explanation

Of course that was for you! I’m Ryan. Chris forwarded that email you sent to him with the picture of all the teachers at my school. I quote: “Who is that seriously gorgeous guy standing next to you? Is he single? Is he from England? Please say he is…” Embarrassed yet? Good. Don’t worry about balancing the tables. I’ve already seen a picture of you from Chris’ collection, and you aren’t too bad yourself. Actually, you’re pretty hot. Did you know Chris has got a picture of you in a bikini floating around?

I wouldn’t get too excited. It’s something to keep Melissa on her toes when she thinks that no one else could possibly be interested in him. Don’t grieve for him, Court. It won’t last. He can’t keep his hands off anything female around here. Sorry. Not helping, am I? But let’s be honest, I live with the guy and I know for a fact that he’s selfish, inconsiderate, tactless and vain. Fuck. Just got told to get out for smoking. I need to smoke when I write to you. I’ll tell you why in—

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 27 February 2010
Re: You and your weirdness

You’ll tell me... What? I’m guessing you got chucked out before you could finish the rest of that sentence? And wait, you need to smoke when you write to me? Forgive me for not finding that flattering. And if Chris is supposed to be your friend, it’s hardly fair that you’re slagging him off behind his back.

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 03 March 2010
Re: You and your touchiness

I spent time writing that email, so I thought you should have what I’d done if you couldn’t have it all. Reward-like. I don’t slag Chris off behind his back. I make sure I do it to his face. He laughs it off because who wouldn’t love worship and adore him? ‘Cept you. Even his girlfriend doesn’t. You must have had a crush on him for years to be still wearing those pink Specsavers. Yeah, I got that from your emails.

Now to the why I smoke when I write to you. No offence, but you take a lot of effort to entertain. A cigarette is a tension reliever to ensure I give you as much of the giggle as possible. Sometimes I have one after, like that post-coital puff. A reward for doing so damn well. Now for the love of God, what is happening in EastEnders? Who are all these new people? Where the hell have they come from? I don’t have time to read through any rubbish on Twitter, I want an honest Londoner’s opinion.

You’ll be mad with me for a while, but when you’ve had enough of the rage, do us a favour, yeah?
Take advice from an honest observer: he’s absolutely not worth your energy, Miss Phillips.

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 12 March 2010
Re: You

So what, writing to me is like sex? You are really disturbing. Have you had mental help? Although you sound like my best mates. They have been telling me repeatedly to find someone else. All right for them. They have guys softening the path they tread. I just have my mum’s foot spa. So Chris isn’t worth my energy, but why are you? And I still don’t know who you are, when you seem to know an awful lot about me. Again I am very, very, very scared.

From: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
To: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
Date: 13 March 2010
Re: Whatever you want to know

a)     Name: Ryan Edward Klark
b)     Age: 24, birthday 24th September
c)      Hair: brown, curly, my pulling point and hours of wasted time
d)     Eyes: green
e)     Height: six foot one
f)       Current city: Cape Town, South Africa. Home town: London.
g)     Distinguishing features: two tattoos (you want to know where, you’ll have to ask me later) and one scar beneath my eye after walking into the corner of Gran’s new dining table at two years of age.
h)    Place of Birth: rainy day at four in the morning outside the Ivy in the back of a taxi. Mother patently unimpressed by arrival.
i)       Mother’s name: Lydia
j)       Father’s name: Ryan (Yes, I’m junior.)
k)     First girlfriend: at five years old. She was a little brunette called Katie who married Thomas McKenzie the next week. It broke my little heart.
l)       Worst habit: smoking, and biting the skin around my thumb. Both disgusting. Trying to give up the former, latter I have been doing since table trauma. Sorry.
m)  Favourite Author: Bret Easton Ellis
n)    Favourite Music: Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah. If I add Barry Manilow will you judge me?
o)     Favourite TV Shows: South Park, The Inbetweeners, 24, True Blood.
p)     Favourite Film: God knows. Pick anything and I’ve probably enjoyed it.
q)     Favourite thing to do with a free hour: write to you, get mildly pissed and drive absolutely nowhere with good music, and take pictures. I love photography. It’s what I do when I’m not teaching.
r)      What am I missing? What else do you need to know? Are you going to email me ever? Or shall I expect further blanking for days on end?

Kiss kiss darling, bonsie bons, good day. Uh oh. New manager’s going to chuck me out for having a beer in here. You know what? I’m having a new laptop shipped over, so I’ll stop winding this cafĂ© up.

From: Courtney Phillips yapalot@g...
To: Ryan Klark rudejoker@h...
Date: 13 March 2010
Re: The Madness

Did your mum drop you as a baby? She must have done, as you are quite insane. Why are you drinking at four in the afternoon? Just because you look like you should be on stage with a bass guitar in skinny jeans doesn’t mean you should act like some rock diva. And that’s not your birthday. That’s mine. Well, two years later anyways.

You’ll be glad to know that I like nutters, as long as they don’t plan long and painful deaths for me.

Look, I’ll tell you what’s going on in EastEnders as long as you don’t do anything weird during my emails. You know exactly what I mean. And we don’t argue about what I feel for Chris. Deal?

Can't Help Falling In Love...

And here we are! Happy Valentine's Day! It's been a bit of a tall order to link all these fourteen stories, but t'has been done! Everyone knows someone who knows someone else and they are all heading for a crazy, beautiful and exciting ride. I'll be posting a link for the collection, packaged together and available to you for reading any time of the year. Romance isn't just for Valentine's Day, it's for all those other tricky days of the year as well!!

Stars and Moon © Billy London

Kamryn accepted the flower delivery with a gracious smile. If only they were for her. Linc was so thoughtful. Making sure Tallie knew she was loved before he even turned up. With a sigh, she put the flowers to the side in the kitchen, hid the key for Linc and decided to make herself some cheese on toast.
Tallie bounded down the stairs. “Afternoon!”
“Same to you,” Kamryn gave her an affectionate hug. “How are you doing today?”
Tallie gave a shrug that Kamryn knew hid a multitude of sadness. She missed the man she loved. “Not too bad. I’m going to take myself off to the bar for the longest shift in the world. Money’s money though, right?” She caught sight of the flowers. “Who are those for?”
“Me,” Kamryn answered swiftly.
“From who?” Tallie squealed.
“None of your beeswax,” Kamryn admonished. “Listen, don’t worry about today. If anything, come back here and we’ll have a meal together, and then maybe go see something happy and silly at the cinema.”
Tallie hugged her again, this time more tightly. “You’re gorgeous. I’ll see you later okay?”
Once Tallie left, Kamryn thought of food again. Once she’d eaten, she really should take herself off to the gym. Before she even turned on the grill, her phone rang. “Yellop?”
“Hi, Kamryn.”
Omg. Him. He called. He had actually called. Kamryn was the good time girl. Never the girlfriend. Certainly not the wife. This was a shock to her that HE called her. The man who knew what he was doing with his body to her own. In the billiards room of a supper party last month (probably the most pretentious she’d ever attended) Iver did something to her. It turned her legs to rubber, her bones to water and her mind to mashed potatoes. One of his friends walked in just as they were getting dressed and Kamryn shifted it. She didn’t hang around for an awkward breakfast, just got the first available cab to the train station. Most likely, he got her number from their mutual friend. 
“Are you busy?”
“No... I mean I have plans later...” Fuck. Way to make herself unavailable. 
“Would you mind breaking them?”
For potentially passing out from too many orgasms? Er... Yes! “Why?”
“I want to make up for our miscommunication.”
“And what was that?”
“I let you think I only wanted something temporary. That’s not at all true.”
“Well, what do you want?” She could barely talk her heart was in her mouth. 
“You. Alone. For good. Can you meet me?”
She didn’t hesitate. “I can.”
“That’s good. That’s really good to hear. Grab your passport.”
Hold on a minute. “Why...”
“You need one when you cross other countries' borders.”
Her stomach imploded in a combination of fear and excitement. “Do I get to know where I’m going?”
“Of course. As soon as you get your ticket.”
“What am I packing?” 
“Light clothes. But something to cover up in the evening, as it gets a bit chilly. Enough for five nights. Don’t worry I’ve spoken to your boss. She’s more than happy for you to have a break.” He paused a beat before saying. “I’ll make this worth your time. I promise.”
What could she say to that? “I guess I’ll see you.”
They ended the call and Kamryn squealed to herself spinning in a circle, like a puppy chasing its tail. Five nights. Right, let’s go. She picked out her biggest suitcase and threw in her best underwear, silky kaftans she’d bought during sales for holidays she hadn’t taken in years, maxi dresses and strapless bandage ones. Chiffon shirts and broderie shorts went in with sandals and wedges. Her doorbell rang just as she found her passport and tucked it between her teeth. Still in her pyjamas, Kamryn answered the door. 
“Good afternoon Ms Lenox. I’m here to take you to Gatwick.” He looked her up and down. “I can give you about twenty minutes but I don’t want you to miss your gate.”
“Of course.” She closed the door and had the fastest shower, throwing essentials into a handbag while she tugged on leggings and a jumper dress. Iver was insane. He had to be. More money than sense, which is what her parents always said about him, but since this was all for her to court her she couldn’t really complain. When she opened the door again the driver helped her with her case. The town car gave her the smoothest ride she’d ever taken to an airport. The driver took her case to British Airways Business Class travellers, where her ticket awaited. The assistant handed her an envelope. “Mr. D’Araines has included your hotel details as well.”
“Thank you,” Kamryn gushed. Opening the envelope, she found a credit card inside, stuck to a letter informing her that it had a ten thousand pound limit. And the ticket read, LGW to KGS. Kos. Greek island. Oh. Okay. Hold on. Hold on. Greek Island. Warm. Warner than London in any case. A boat ride from Turkey. A short distance to Istanbul thereafter. The man had GAME!
Armed with a PIN number Kamryn bought other essentials and a ginger beer to settle her nervous stomach. Sense told her to let someone know where she was being whisked to. She sent her mother a long involved text message. Deleted it and sent her an email instead. She sent the same email to her flat mate and to her sister. Bases all covered and a few bottles of Jo Malone in beautifully wrapped packages, Kamryn took another call from Iver. “I’ll see you in about three hours. Okay?”
“I am overwhelmed.”
“You shouldn’t be,” he said softly. “It’s nothing more than you deserve. Have a safe flight.”
On board she was treated to glasses of champagne, dinner on china with heavy cutlery. She tried distracting herself with her iPad and failed miserably. What was she doing? It was three hours and a flight too late for anyone else to talk sense into her. Fairy tales didn’t happen to her. Of course she’d doubt every single bit of it.
“Sorry,” she halted the air hostess. “Can I have another drink, please? Gin and tonic? Double?”
By the time the flight landed, she was a little bit tipsy and full to the brim with Dutch courage. When she collected her suitcase, she saw text messages from her mother and sister. None from her flat mate who was probably in the midst of her long-arse shift. Or doing her boyfriend. One of the two. Tallie’d certainly tell her to shut up and enjoy herself. Kamryn followed the other passengers to the arrivals lounge and saw Iver waiting for her, her name written on a large card.
“You are crazy,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief, as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her into an embrace that spoke volumes.
“A little,” he admitted. Without another word he beckoned for her case, and he took it from her hand, and caught her other in his own. He led her to another glossy looking town car, and tucked her carefully inside, while the driver put the case in the boot.
The car gently rolled off, the tinted windows shielding the beautiful scenery from her view. She gazed at him, her fingers warmly tangled with his. “You know a phone call would have worked just as well.”
He smiled, looking somewhere over her head. “Yes well. This way neither of us have a ream of excuses.”
“So what’s the plan?”
He leaned across her to lower her window. “Do you see that, in the distance?”
“That’s Turkey. We can stay here a few nights, and stay over there a few nights as well. We’ll take a boat, eat lots of seafood, I know that’s your thing. And smash plates, if you really want to.”
Kamryn had to take a breath. Was this really happening?
He seemed to sense her hesitation and offered. “You can book a flight back whenever you want. And you have your own room.” 
In the sharp sunlight, and the heat that stilled the air between them, Kamryn tightened her hold on his hand. “That’s very thoughtful, but am I going to need it?”

Iver lifted her knuckles to his lips. “I really hope not.”