All at Sea (short story)
Eighteen year old Londoner Josh feels all at sea, holidaying with his family on the Isle of Wight. He’d rather be living it up in Ibiza, dancing until all hours, and maybe finding out what it’s like to be with another man. What chance does he have of getting lucky with his newly-single mum and little sisters in tow?
Cambridge student Rupe is making the most of his summer job at the boating lake, charming customers with his good looks and theatrical manner. Life looks even sunnier when he meets the cute, inexperienced Josh and asks him out for a date on a boat. But there are dark clouds in Rupe’s life, and even love on an island isn’t always plain sailing.
Note: this short story first appeared in the Two Tickets to Paradise anthology.
Aim Higher (short story)
Thirteen year old Simone’s not having an easy time of it right now. Her parents have split up, everyone thinks she’s gone mad, and there’s a Greek god visible only to her who won’t stop trying to fix her up with boys. But when her father finally meets Eros—or Eric, as he prefers to be known—matters take a twist none of them were expecting!
Note: this story also appears in the I Do Two anthology
A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou
What’s the best gift a young, single man could receive for Christmas? Mohawked punk Liam wouldn’t have picked the hideous collection of homemade knitwear he’s presented with by his well-meaning mum and aunties. He’d much rather have the gorgeous older man he sees every day while busking at King’s Cross station. Liam’s been doing his best to seduce the guy with his saxophone playing—the trouble is, with the holidays coming up, he’s beginning to despair of his message getting through.
But with a little Christmas magic in the air, maybe those garish garments will be just the thing for attracting the attention of a silver fox…
This story is also available in the Winter Warmers anthology.
You can read a FREE mini-coda to this story here.
Sometimes you can’t see the silver lining for the clouds…
Abandoned as a baby and now working as a rent boy, Daniel finds it hard to let people get close to him. But nightclub bouncer Rob has a kind face and he’s helped Daniel out once already, so when he catches Daniel on a bad night, Daniel accepts his offer of money and goes home with him.
Even though it breaks his heart.
Letting Rob pay him for sex may have wrecked their friendship just when Daniel needs all the friends he can get. But there are more reasons than one why he hasn’t seen Rob since that night—and one in particular that makes building a relationship seem almost too much to hope for…
I absolutely love J.L. Merrow’s writing style. There is a casual feel to it, the story is just told without feeling made up…I definitely recommend this little gem – JustJen, The Blogger Girls
Note: a version of this short story first appeared in the Dreamspinner Sindustry anthology, now out of print, under the title Sunshine. The story has been fully revised and re-edited, and is around 10% longer than the previously published version.
There’s no such thing as a free ride. Aidan may be only twenty, but he’s already learned that the hard way. Hitch-hiking up from London to Glasgow to keep a promise, Aidan’s fully prepared to offer payment in kind for his lifts. He’s not expecting a good-looking older bloke to pick him up in a Mercedes—nor that he’ll find John such good company. After a few short hours together Aidan’s already starting to care what John thinks of him.
When slow traffic forces them to get a room for the night, Aidan’s not sure what to do. Putting out as a thank you to a stranger is one thing, but can he really go through with it with the first person he’s come to care for since he made that promise?
And what’s going to happen when they reach their destination?
(Approx. 5,000 words)
When single father Chris meets a Viking re-enactor on Lindisfarne, he thinks it’s the perfect recipe for a holiday fling—and nothing more. Ian, or Ulf, as he’s known when in character as a Viking berserker, is a dreadlocked nomad who never stays in one place for long.
Chris had a relationship with a free spirit like Ian before, and it didn’t end well for him or for his bright but troubled daughter Kelis. He’s determined not to risk the stability of her home environment for Ian, no matter how well she gets on with him—and no matter how much Chris is drawn to the man.
But Chris hasn’t reckoned with the Viking way of taking all you’re willing to give—and coming back for more.
Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the temple of geekdom itself, the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London, Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.
Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress Rhys, but lacking in confidence after a bad break-up, so he bluffs his way through the comic book jargon—then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.
Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception—and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with Fake Geek Guy.
Sometimes Cupid has his own agenda
Carpenter Peter takes his hyperactive ten-year-old nephew to play in the park with his home-made bow and arrows—but makes the mistake of closing his eyes for a minute. Alerted by a yell of pain, he’s mortified to find that Kevin has shot a tall, handsome stranger in the rear end. Especially when Kevin suggests Peter should kiss it better!
But cultured lawyer Edward doesn’t seem to mind. An embarrassing encounter leads to a hot date—but Peter’s guilty secret about Kevin’s father could undo all Cupid’s good work, and Edward’s flair for the dramatic isn’t exactly helping!
Learning to live—and love—again
Two years after the death of his lover at the hands of bigots, Kurt’s still not looking for another relationship, even though the big old house he bought with Raoul seems cold and empty these days. But there’s a perky kid at his gym who just won’t take no for an answer.
Matt can tell there’s more to Kurt than just a great set of pecs. He’s drawn to the big guy’s caring, protective attitude as much as to his muscles. But when push comes to shove, can Matt show Kurt he’s not just a big mouth in a small package?
Only half the man he used to be—but maybe that’s enough
The Taliban may have taken both Chris’s legs, but he came back from Afghanistan with his sense of humour and his lust for life firmly intact. The one thing that can shake his confidence is meeting Josh, the one-night stand from before his tour of duty he hasn’t been able to forget.
It turns out Josh hasn’t forgotten Chris, either. He spent the time they were apart fearing the worst every time a soldier was reported killed in action—and wishing Chris would use the number Josh gave him, and call.
Josh’s delight on seeing Chris again quickly turns to shock on seeing his injuries. With Chris such a changed man, can they still have a future?
IT guy Michael figures he’s in for an awkward evening when a client takes him to a girlie bar. When he gets talking to big, blond Kyle, it seems like it’s his lucky night after all. But they have a shared past Michael’s managed to forget and Kyle is hoping he won’t remember.
Kyle’s deeply ashamed of his weakness back in high school, when he stood by and watched as Michael became the victim of a gay-bashing — by new boy Kyle’s group of friends. He’s going to have his work cut out to persuade Michael to take a chance at trusting him now.
Leading his crew to win their oars might be easier if Dave didn’t have to hide his crush on Archie, the stroke rower – but as they prepare for their final race, Dave doesn’t suspect that Archie is in the same boat as him in more ways than one!
Available in ebook
Good Breeding – FREE!
Adopted as a baby, Giles Frobisher has grown up with every privilege. Encouraged by his best friend—and secret crush—Oz to seek out his birth mother, he’s appalled to discover she’s loud, lower-class, and insists on calling him Wayne!
Giles’ snobbier-than-thou, none-too-faithful boyfriend Hugh is equally horrified, and Oz, who’s always been secretive about his own family, starts acting very strangely.
It seems Giles is about to learn that good breeding has nothing to do with who your parents are!