cover reveal · Guest · New Release

Cover Reveal: The Valet by Mel Gough

Hiya,

I love this cover and the book itself looks fabulous. 🥰I never can resist a spot of forbidden romance. Or white tie and tails, for which I blame Count Victor Grazinski…and, o’course…one Thin White Duke… 😻

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*****

A warm welcome to my guest, Mel Gough, with her new novel, The Valet. Out on December 1st.

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: The Valet

Author: Mel Gough

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design

Release Date: December 1, 2020

Genre/s: Historical M/M Romance

Trope/s: Forbidden love

Themes: Restoring trust

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Goodreads

When love does not dare speak its name, trusting is the hardest thing to learn.

Blurb

England, 1910 – Ted has a good situation as first footman at Montague Hall, the splendid Gloucestershire manor of the 6th Earl of Carran. But he has just made a mistake so serious it could cost him his position, and even land him in prison if the authorities found out.

As valet to the 9th Duke of Argyll, Richard’s London life is glamorous. But when he has his heart broken, he longs to get as far away from the city as possible. The pace at Montague Hall might be sedate, but its tranquillity is like a salve to his shattered soul. And unforeseen diversions are to be found even here. Like handsome, despondent first footmen.

The last thing Ted needs is a new temptation. But his Lordship’s new valet isn’t just gorgeous. Richard is also brave and kind – and he wants to make Ted happy, something Ted never dreamt would come to pass.

Trusting again is hard, and in a world that reviles their love happiness is hard-won. Can they hope to carve out a contented life against all odds?

Excerpt

Dorcas was just coming through the baize door, carrying a tray stacked high with serving bowls. Ted hurried to hold the door for her.

“Thank you.” She gave him a smile and quickly but gently deposited her load on a sideboard.

Ted was fond of the head housemaid. They got on well, and unlike many of the other servants, Ted trusted her. Dorcas was plain-spoken and a hard worker, and she didn’t tolerate the mean kind of teasing that some of the younger servants engaged in with impunity.

He went to open one of the tall cabinets where a couple of shelves were bare. “Here, I’ll do it.” He started stacking the bowls on the shelves, which were too high for Dorcas to reach without a footstool.

“Thank you.” Dorcas rubbed her arms. “Golly, those were heavy. Good thing Mrs Stokes didn’t see me. That would’ve been quite the hiding.”

“She would’ve had good reason.” Ted hefted the bowls. “Imagine if you had tripped with these!”

“Yes, but the stairs are steep and narrow, and it’s bad enough coming up once with that huge tray.” She watched as Ted opened a different cupboard and started counting bread plates. “Aren’t you done yet? You’ve been up here an age!”

Ted made a face. “You know what Mr Wymer is like. He won’t stand for a single spoon out of alignment. And Jimmy’s managed to wriggle out from under him, so I’m doing the dogsbody work.”

Dorcas clicked her tongue impatiently. “You have to stop letting him walk all over you, Ted.” She stood with her hands pressed into her sides, shaking her head. “Who’s the first footman, hmm? You or him?”

Ted kept his eyes on the plates. He might have confided many things in Dorcas, but the reason why he didn’t dare vex Jimmy was too shameful to share even with her. “You’re right, of course. But…you know what he’s like.”

“Oh Ted.” Dorcas sighed. “What are we to do with you?” She turned back towards the door to the back stairs, but then wheeled back around. “I nearly forgot! You were up here, and you wouldn’t have heard yet.” With a glance at the door to the dining room, which was half-open, she lowered her voice. “You won’t believe what happened. Mr Brown has handed in his notice. He just told us.”

Ted stared at her. “What do you mean?” He nodded towards the dining room. “But Mr Wymer didn’t say anything. He must be aware.”

“You know what Mr Wymer is like. Discreet to a fault.” Dorcas put on a serious face and lowered her voice. “An upstanding servant does not gossip, Theodore.”

Despite himself, Ted grinned. The imitation was spot on. Then he remembered the news and grew sombre again. “So Mr Brown’s gone.” After Dorcas, the Earl’s valet was Ted’s second favourite amongst the servants. They weren’t bosom friends – clearly, or Mr Brown would’ve confided his plans in him – but Ted valued the man’s support against Jimmy and Mrs Dankworth, who was the Countess’s lady’s maid and who liked to team up with Jimmy to make Ted’s life hell. Losing the valet would bring change to the balance downstairs, and that would not bode well for Ted. An unease settled in his gut.

Dorcas seemed not to notice. “He’s not gone yet, but he will be by the end of the week. The Earl agreed to let him go on short notice. You know he’s courting the daughter of that Cheltenham pub. Her father died a few days ago, and they need to move quickly so that the pub can stay open.”

“Mr Brown is going to be a pub landlord.” Ted was bemused by the idea. “You’d think that being valet for an Earl would beat that life any day.” He couldn’t imagine leaving service. The work at Montague Hall wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but the house was comfortable and the Peytons were fair employers. After what he’d left behind at home in Yorkshire, this house was paradise. But then he remembered the impossible situation he’d gotten himself into with Jimmy. Maybe starting over new somewhere wouldn’t be so bad.

Dorcas shrugged. “I guess love trumps all in the end.”

Ted didn’t know what to say to that. He knew that people like Dorcas believed this, but he also knew that for people like him, this was not likely to ever happen. He picked up the stack of plates. “I better take these through, before Mr Wymer sends out a search party.”

“Right you are.” Dorcas gave him a smile and a wave, and vanished through the baize door.

About the Author

Mel Gough loves writing about love – but with a twist. Nominated for the 2019 Selfies Awards, her bisexual romantic suspense novel He is Mine is a typical Mel Gough story. She needs her HEA fix, but on the way there will be thorns and fire, and sometimes brimstone. All right, that might be over the top, especially since her stories are firmly based in the real world – though not always in the here and now.

Born in Germany, exploring other realities has been Mel’s siren call since she was young. Books opened up a plethora of worlds, and soon gave her a strong love of the English language. After an MA in Anthropology, field work in the middle of nowhere seemed like one adventure too far, so Mel settled in London, which, to misquote Dr. Johnson, she will never tire of.

Mel loves to bend genres – her romances are gritty and dark, and sometimes there’s a dead body. She’s been told that her prose is beautiful yet disturbingly real. She’s curious about bygone times, and hopes to speculate about the future in one of her next books.

Author Links

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Reviews

The Duke & Dandy: Review

 

Thank you so much @ THE QUILLE AND LAMPE

The Duke & Dandy Highwayman Trilogy Review

❤🖤❤

This was a beautiful intro to an amazing Authoress! It’s bad enough that I’m a total sucker for historicals and erotica but when combined perfectly? Implosion! I loved this book so much that I spent a week dipping into it again and again (let’s not mention that I read it from beginning to end twice immediately) because I was slain. From the first page, it delivered well-written dialogue that sucked me in. From the moment out heroes met, there are sparks and fireworks sizzling through the air and my veins. I felt almost sorry for Mr. Highwayman because the Potent Prince is a law unto himself with his own gravitational pull and a mind like a titanium trap…

review cont…

TRIL1

Wafflish

Proof: I wrote a thing…

Hiya,  I hope you’re having a great weekend.

I spent last week attempting to format a pdf file for the paperback version of Duke & Dandy. It took me about six months to work out what Rainbow snippets entailed, so this was…um an experience. One preferable to my trip to Bristol; reached via Reading on the way, and Torquay on the way home. For US readers, this was akin to travelling from Tallahassee to Jacksonville via Orlando…with a teeny trip to Tampa on the way back. 

Anyhoo… after about seventy-twelve attempts…

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This is my proof copy…tis humongous. I chose the size they suggested, so I knew how big it was. In theory. Tis bigger than a bloomin’ bible. 😳 I can scarce believe it ‘exists’…in the tangible sense.

I have yet to press publish…mostly because it costs so much to buy. I did another round of edits to remove the double spacing in the dialogue, in a bid to bring the page count below 500. The proof was only $6, but I can’t lower the royalty, which damn near doubles the price. Pft.

Ah well, no matter, twas fun to do… and bestest of all? My mum now has a copy to flash to her technosaur friends who want to know when they’ll get to see the ‘proper book’.😋

 

 

 

 

Tour Tales

Trilogy Tour

Hiya,

I’ve pressed ‘publish’ so with a bit o’luck, it should go live tomorrow and I will be able to make it free from mon-fri.  I’ve booked a mini-tour with the wonderful gay book promotions and will be here, there ‘n’ everywhere with the very lovely people listed below. Thank you so much, in advance, for having me.

THE DUKE SCHEDULE

I’ve updated the cover a tad, to differentiate it from The Prince & The Prowler a mite more, while staying true to the heart of the story, as ’twere. The cravat pin appears in all three books, so it felt the perfect cover for the trilogy.

TRIL1

 

❤🖤❤

 

 

Uncategorized

The Duke & Dandy Trilogy

Hiya,

I’ve almost finished readying the Duke & Dandy Trilogy for release. ‘Twas written as a complete novel, but 100,000 words felt a tad daunting to attempt as a first foray into self-publishing. I simply wished to have some stories available for free & on KU, so releasing it as a trilogy seemed the best way to test the waters. Both in terms of familiarizing myself with Kindle Create & also offering a snippet of something that is…a mite Marmitey.

In the intervening months I have, many times, wondered if I should try to dilute my writing. I’m not sure ‘twould be possible, even if I wanted to. Every word I write echoes the way I think, so I’d need to rewire my brain first…a feat I’ve spent too long attempting in IRL to wish it upon my inner world, too.

covers - Edited

Anyhoo…The Duke & The Dandy Trilogy, which has been revised & re-edited, is on its way. This is version I’d hope people had in their hands when they began the book.

Gay Book Promotions have kindly agreed to host a three day tour for me. Chances are, I may drop dead before then, largely on accounts of deeming it a damned fine plan to send off copies for reviewers. I fear the worst; from the dodgy formatting of those PDF’s to the contents therein. The finished book will have italics and dialogue where they should be, I promise. 😳 As ’tis a tadalot late to worry about that—or indeed, my marbles—this may well be the last blog I’ll foist upon you…

 

TRIL1

Uncategorized

Incorrigible

Hiya,

Incorrigible by name… It mayhaps blew up Kindle Create yesterday. Just a tad. In a start-again-from-scratch sort o’way. On Ch 17 of 25. 😳🙄😳

amazon us 

amazon uk

Anyhoo…’tis up. At last…and I still have a plot, sort of, which is better yet. I’m not so sure the same can be said for Incorrigible, but, um…the trilogy is all done ‘n’ dusted. Bar the battle with KC to fandangle all three books into one. 😲 That’s sure to go well. Yup. No doubt about it. Tralala… 🙈🙉🙊

covers - Edited

incorrigible

 

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Uncategorized

The Incorrigible & The Count

Hiya,

I’m hoping that The Duke & The Dandy #3 will be ready by the end of the month. Or thereabouts. This is my self-published series – to keep me busy between MLR books – so I don’t go batpoop twiddling my thumbs.

When it’s ready, I’ll make it free for the 5 days I’m allowed. I do believe the first two have been out long ’nuff to qualify for another five-day-freebie. If they have, I’ll make those free at the same time, perchance peeps wish to read them first.