Monday, 14 April 2014

Vide Cor Meum

Dear London, have I told you lately how much I love you? Granted I have ignored you for my four walls (not by choice I promise) but last week, you gave me Michelin starred food. That tasted incredible. And didn't look fancy for the sake of looking like fancy. And I didn't have to recall my school etiquette classes to remember what fork to use. Maybe drinking wine the same price as my shoes was a bit over the top, but goddammit, this is a free country and I will drink like Doctor Lecter told me to.

Speaking of Dr. Lecter, is everyone watching Hannibal? Despite all the imaginative murders and the increasingly impressive food creations - there's even a blog right here:

I am deeply under the hypnotic, Danish spell of Mads Mikkelson's Hannibal Lecter. Whether it's his manners, his suits, the flick of his neatly trimmed hair, that pout and I am a sucker for a pout, his sharp intelligence and wit or truthfully, his cleanliness, I don't know but I am lost to him. He defies the school of thought (ignorance in my book) that to be cultured means to be less of a man. And how he is cultured. He knows music, art, food, drink and he'd kill you as much as spare you a glance. It may also have a lot to do with his discipline and how well that would translate into the bedroom. Do I need help? Yes, he's chopping people up and serving them. But... he can tie meat like a butcher! Can you imagine if he applied that skill to tying a woman to a bed... Okay, I need to stop before I give myself an aneurysm. So fair warning, if any of this seems familiar in later on stories, this is why. Blame TV. My susceptibility to a dangerous but polite man and the Danes. Totally their fault.

By the way, the picture is of a Dorset Crab Lasagne with pea shoots. I left nothing in the bowl.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Cinderella Man

As promised, Kissing the Canvas is now on Amazon! Enjoy! And in case you haven't quite been persuaded to allow a blunt Russian to challenge your Italian allegiances, have a read:

Kissing the Canvas on Amazon

Russian boxer, Pasha Markovitch, has everything in his corner, looks, potential for Olympic greatness, and speed of powerful fists professionals only dream of. There’s just one small issue. If he can’t find a solution to his current visa situation, he’ll be out of the UK and ducking and weaving with government standard silver bracelets on his wrists. The pressures of his father’s greed and the anxiety of a past that continues to knock him down, steadily wear on him until chance leads him to green fingered, sarcastic mouthed, Liliana Asare who offers the light of a reprieve. Coming to an arrangement of mutual exchange, they both get what they want. Pasha gets to stay in the country and Liliana gets the financing for her florist shop. The whole scenario is perfect enough to list. Woman willing to marry him so he doesn’t end up deported and she doesn’t end up losing her livelihood? Check. Avaricious father satisfied? Check. Falling in love with his fake wife? Wait, that’s not on the list…
Note: This is simply a romance and not a guide as to how to stay in the UK with a marriage of convenience. The law on that changed in July 2012, but at the time of writing, this is absolutely correct. So if it happens that the Home Office Minister reads this story, it’s just fiction. As changeable as your job…

Ten jabs per arm and he was now feeling the strain in his muscles. It was less than before when he reached two hundred, but he felt the itch of someone watching him. Pasha held the bag still, catching his breath. “Lukasz. What do you want?”
His brother crumpled the bag of crisps in his hand and threw it over his shoulder, leaping down from the pile of mats stacked in the corner of the exercise room of the gym. “Let’s talk about Lily.”
Pasha gritted his teeth, and rather than answer, he turned back to the bag and continued his repetitions.
“What for?”
“You’ve never been so secretive,” Lukasz said then corrected himself immediately, “Alright, but as your dearest sibling, I’d like to know something about the girl who’s locked you down. Tits like a championship belt?”
Pasha turned and slammed a gloved fist squarely in between Lukasz’s eyebrows. Not at all expecting such a response, Lukasz’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he toppled over, kissing the canvas. It was an old boxing term for being knocked out. Pasha returned to the punching bag, jiggling on the spot until the tension disappeared from his frame and he was able to continue his practice until Lukasz regained consciousness. A brief flash of guilt told him that he should really stop punching his brother unconscious but he’d stop doing it when his brother wasn’t a complete idiot. “What happened?”
“You were talking about tits and you passed out,” Pasha explained calmly. He held the bag still as his brother got to his feet.
“That doesn’t sound right. You were going to tell me about my shiny new sister-in-law to be.”
Better to get this over with now. “She’s half Russian, her father’s an idiot, her mother’s bitter, her brother is apparently alright, but treating the whole thing like a joke.”
“Good. That’s her family. What about her?”
“She has ambitions. She wants to start her own business but can’t do it in the middle of an economic crisis where banks have no give. She’s very smart. And she’s decent.”
Lukasz grinned. “Oh yeah? What about when she’s naked.” Pasha fought for calm. “No.” His answer was a mistake.
Lukasz interest piqued. “Oh I see. She hasn’t let you inside the gates of heaven.”
“I am not talking about my sex life. It’s not your concern.”
Lukasz grinned. “That sounds like a man unfulfilled. May I helpfully suggest the following? Maxwell. Alcohol. Candles. No woman can resist that combination. You should really test drive before you buy. Check for defects.” He shouldn’t do it, and Lily had sent him the text stating that it was for emergencies only and if she found out he had used it for anything else, he would lose not only his manhood but his head. Despite nearly being a foot taller than his wife to be, he believed that she would tear him a new arsehole if she had a hint of a waiver from his promise. But this, definitely counted as an emergency. His brother would need to be on side.
“Come on.” Pasha sighed, heading towards the changing rooms. He threw his gloves onto the benches and opened his locker, removing his mobile. With a short, sharp scroll through his messages he handed his phone to his brother. “See? No defects.” It was a picture of Lily in a bra that had less material than it was probably worth, taking a picture of her reflection in a full length mirror. What about this one? She had written underneath it. The glossy black layers of the bra gave a little more richness to her creamy coffee skin. Lukasz was still looking, a gleam of appreciation in his eyes.
“Hmm, not bad little bro. A little on the round side.” Pasha stilled. What was that? Was that an insult? To Lily? “Are you calling my fiancée fat?” he asked delicately.
Lukasz heard the warning in his voice and started, “Fuck, don’t hit me again.”
“Just because you can’t play her rib cage like a musical instrument does not mean she is fat. She’s…” So crazy sexy in this photo I nearly drove to her flat and fucked her raw? 
“Fine as she is.” Lukasz handed the phone back to him. “You must be in love to say all that bull crap and mean it.” Pasha’s grip tightened on the phone. “Get out.” His brother’s green eyes gleamed.
“Aren’t you going to ask me to be best man?”
Pasha swore so violently in Russian that Lukasz was a cloud of dust running from the changing room.
Short sighted fool, he thought furiously. Lily’s cheekbones were more angled than most of the women splashed across magazines. So her stomach and thighs were a little soft? Who wanted to sleep on the floor when you could rest on a mattress? She was more than fine as she was. He looked down at the picture again and wondered why the newly christened ‘numpty’ Steven, the recipient of such visual Viagra, had simply given Lily away. It didn’t matter, it was Pasha’s gain. In having a British wife, he corrected himself hastily. A fake one at that. Because if Lily was his real fiancée, he’d have seen that underwear in all its shaded glory, peeled it from her, maybe with his teeth, or just left it on her, the bra pushed under her breasts, and the panties hooked to the side while he fucked her slowly and deeply, so that the next time she even thought about that underwear, her pussy would echo how it trembled with orgasms. He turned the phone off sharply and locked it up. He needed a shower. At least to make his cock calm down. There was no point in getting even remotely excited. Lily was off limits. She was not going to be his real wife. And she would not be showing him what colour underwear she had on any time soon.

Monday, 31 March 2014


Oh god, look at that view! I miss it. I miss sunshine! All that and the Knights have somewhat deserted me. Actually, they've gone off with Hank to have a moaning session about me not giving them enough time and attention. They're so mean to me! They know there's swathes of their stories I can't write without being in Italy. That's not happening for a few months at least. Family is keeping me in London for the time being and the longer I'm not able to travel, the itchier I get about certain scenes.
In an attempt to encourage a bit of chat from the lads, I'll tell you who's ahead. Durante, Massimo's brother. And that's only because he's just no where near as nuts as Beppe. Uncontrollable... No, don't tell me I'm being unfair to you. I've set out some serious stuff for you and it's like you're not hungry. You stay in that corner until I go to Venice. Bad Giuseppe!
As I was... Providing a tidbit of Durante's story to tide you all over until the finished product is about.

Just to set the tone, these are the stats for the DaCanaveze who prides himself on his hard work, hard hands and hard body.

Title: The Shepherd (you've got an idea as why he's the Shepherd, vis a vis a nineteen year old with a way with knives...)

Age: 44

Height: 6 foot 2 inches

Weight: 215 lbs

Build: moulded by working with the earth

Eyes: dark liquid blue, just like the Grotto Azzura...

Hair: salt and pepper

Skin Tone: rich gold, all that working in the Italian sun

Origins: Naples, Italy

Weapon of choice: a scythe. What? He's practically a farmer.

And may I introduce to you, Signor Durante DaCanaveze...

Unedited and copyright of Billy London who will be so unutterably annoyed if this ends up in someone else's crap...

Durante had never felt as uneasy in a car as he was watching Emmanuella negotiate the roads of Lucca. The farm was a good distance from the town - any town - by choice. The isolation perfected a farmer’s focus and allowed him to expand the vineyards after the first year of business. While he internally groaned at the winery tours, he admitted that it brought in a substantial income in the tourist season. His lifestyle was apparently ‘the dream’ but it was hard work in reality. Very hard work. Whilst his social skills were refined to the level of Renaissance art, Durante would happily avoid all of humanity if he possibly could do. Except for Ella, of course.
In the confines of his car, he could smell the delicate scent of roses on her skin. How she worked in a restaurant and managed to smell just like his mother’s garden, he had no idea. It had to be some sort of magic, like how her off key singing was just sweet rather than nails along a chalk board. His MP3 player was going through the James Brown back catalogue. He loved soul music and Mr Brown was the undisputed king. Shame about his domestics though.
“I got the feeling!” Ella bellowed tunelessly, “baby, baby, bay-beh!”
She swerved suddenly into the farm’s driveway and the wheels were surrounded by clouds of dust as she came to a screeching halt beside the villa. “Home Sweet Home!”
“Thank you Jesus,” he muttered, getting out of the car on shaking legs. His whole life had flashed before his eyes in those forty minutes. Where she’d shaved off the required five, was attributable to whether he still had movement in his fingers, clenching to the door with both hands was little more than survival of the fittest.
“Oi, I’m a good driver!” she protested, getting out as well.
“Emmanuella, you were driving on the wrong side of the road.”
“Again? Oh, shit. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You were trying to reach that top note in Man’s World,” he reminded her, fumbling for his keys.
“Ah. James Brown ain’t wrong in that one. Are we going in?”
Maybe not. Then it would be all too easy to conjure her alluring frame in any place in his home. He shouldn’t go down that road. Not with Ella, definitely not when she was still grieving. She hadn’t mentioned anything about children. Thirteen years was a long time to be married, but not all marriages bore fruit. Plus if anything should dissuade him, it was the likelihood that once tourist season was over, she would be gone too. People always leave.
Ella hustled him inside. “Tell me you have something stronger than paracetamol for your hangover.”
Durante’s frown deepened. “It’s not a hangover.”
“Nationalities of the married couple,” she demanded.
Damnation. “Italian. Ghanaian.”
Ella shook her head in disgust. “It’s a hangover. I don’t know who you’re trying to fool.” She brushed past him. “Kitchen? About ten minutes in this direction.”
“It’s not that big,” he protested.
“Says the Queen about Sandringham,” she snorted. “I’ve got these prescription tablets from Barcelona. Spanish drugs are epic.”
Durante’s jaw tightened. “Really?”
“I’ve had more hangovers in the last three months than you’ve had hot dinners. Why don’t you have a cup of tea?”
They reached the kitchen and Ella started opening cabinets. The throbbing pain in his head, allowed him to do little more than let her. No one was this comfortable in his home, not even his older brother, Massimo who still asked permission to make his own drinks. “Ooh, you’ve got tea leaves!”
“If you...”
Ella shot him a filthy look. “I’m British. I know how to make tea. Tea, is our business.” He watched her turn on the kettle, find a tea strainer and pot. She gave him a glass of water from his fridge and moved around his kitchen as if she’d lived there with him for years. His dismissed any thought that would put her firmly in his home on a permanent basis as she allowed the tea to brew. With milk warmed on the hob, she presented him with a cup. “Et voila.”
She dug into the front pocket of her long skirt and pressed two pills from their blisters. “Take two. It’ll help. You’ll be knocked out in about two minutes so you’ll need to show me where my room is.”
He downed the pills with the water then took the cup of tea from her. With one sip, he gave a sigh of relief. It was perfect. Ella simply watched him with an almost maternal look of satisfaction on her face. He felt relaxed now. At ease. “I’ll show you to your room,” he said, once he’d finished the whole cup.
“Er, by the way,” Ella asked, following him up the stairs. “When did you last have a drink? I mean a proper, grown up, alcoholic, percentage guaranteed to set a house on fire drink?”
“I had a Bloody Mary with the wedding party this afternoon.”
Actually his new niece, Gina made him have three. “One for you, one for me and one for your homie aka your great nephew or niece.”
“Why are you asking?” he said as they reached the top of the second staircase. He turned and saw her wincing. “What?”
“Bit of a problem.”
“If my Spanish is correct and it always is with prescription information, you shouldn’t have alcohol twenty four hours before taking those.”
Fuck. “I see.”
“But if you had only one Bloody Mary, it can’t be that bad.”
“Not really,” he said, and realised his tongue felt too big for his mouth. He opened the door to the guest bedroom. “This is you.”
“Oh goodie. Just like I thought. Massive. Although, when was the last time it was used?”
Dust was streaming in the electric light. “My cleaner changes the sheets once a week. Everything should be more than clean.”
“In this place? It’s a bit Downton Abbey wasteful, isn’t it?”
He turned to the corridor. “Here. Towels, extra sheets, extra pillows. Everything is washed once a week, clean or used. Everything. Would you disobey me?”
Ella tilted her head to the side, her onyx eyes narrowing ever so slightly. “Depends on what you ask.”

Now the corridor felt small. He was half worried that somewhere in London, Ella had run into Giuseppe Nardiello and he’d given her the drugs. If so, Durante was more than in a lot of trouble. He was fucked. Dear God, the very idea...
“Are you okay?” Ella asked, noting that he hadn’t replied to her provocative statement.
“Fine,” he said, slurring the word. “The shower is en suite to your room. You can make calls from your room, the phone is connected.”
“All my numbers are on my...” She scrambled through her bag. “Crap. I left my phone in your car. Let me get it. I’ll come straight back. Rufus calls me every morning,” she added to herself. Even as he slid to the floor, he thought, who the fuck is Rufus? Once he reached the steady solidity of the tiled floor, he felt much better. Good air near the floor. Cool tiles. Heavenly. Less head swimming down here too. Ella came back, her bag slung across her body, the strap dividing her breasts. “How many Bloody Marys did you really have?”
“Let’s get you to bed.” Ella bent down and tried to heave him from the floor. It felt wonderful, her fragrance blossoming around him as she jerked him into movement.
“Durante, get up for a second.” The command in her voice was to be followed at all costs and slowly he forced his limbs into obedience and stood. With an arm around Ella’s shoulders he found the other at her waist, his fingertips brushing over the bumps of stretch marks over her generous hips - the tale of a woman. He bent towards them, following a need to feel them under his mouth.
“Upright!” Ella snapped. His head bumped against her breasts as he straightened. It was the most sexualised contact he’d had with a woman in a long time and this was by far the most sexually charged. If only he wasn’t going to pass out. What they could be together...
He landed bottom first on his bed with a flop. Ella untangled his arm from her neck then went on her knees to remove his shoes and socks. “If you want to get undressed properly, I’m sure, drugs or no, you’ll find a way to do it.”
She stood up and touched three fingers to his shoulder. He keeled over on his side. With a whoosh, his feet were in the air and he was tucked beneath the sheets. Ella touched a hand to his forehead and smiled. “There we are. All ready. Hangover Begone.”

Her face was so close to his, she could see the beauty spot above the corner of her mouth was a perfect circle. He curled a warm, dry hand around the back of her neck, feeling the soft down of baby hair curling at the base, and pulled her into a kiss. Mouth to mouth. Sigh to sigh. Dream personified. She tasted like a sweetened lemon cake. “Thank you,” he murmured. Before he knew it, Ella’s lips were a distant memory and sleep welcomed him home.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Russian Roulette

Happy Saturday! I've got a release party happening on the TRS website right here:

Join in for the chance to win a copy of the book! Good luck!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Punching in a Dream

Music to fall in love with your fake spouse to! The songs range from what I was listening to at the start of the writing process to the songs that pulled me through a surprisingly painless edit. This is the first story where I had the cover first and wrote a story to match exactly what is going on in the picture. Not sure I'll ever do that again! So, for you, this is the soundtrack to Lily and Pasha's story...
  1. Arcade Fire - We Used To Wait
  2. Bastille - Pompeii Kat Krazy Remix
  3. Charlotte OC - Colour My Heart
  4. Laura Mvula - Green Garden
  5. Nicki Minaj - Superbass
  6. Lana Del Rey - Brite Lites
  7. The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law
  8. Disclosure ft Eliza Doolittle - You & Me
  9. Florence + The Machine - Only If For A Night
  10. Chris Malinchak - So Good to Me
  11. Jennifer Lopez ft Pitbull - Dance Again
  12. Sia - Kill and Run
  13. Kanye West - Bound 2
  14. Kasabian - Shoot the Runner
  15. Adele - Rolling in the Deep
  16. Jessie Ware - Wildest Moments
  17. Janelle Monae - Tightrope (No Big Verse)
  18. Interpol - The Specialist 
  19. Bloc Party - SRXT
  20. Rudimental ft John Newman- Feel the Love

Friday, 14 March 2014

Green Hill

St. Patrick's Day rages on all weekend, even if it is on Monday! But I will be at The Romance Studio with giveaways in celebration of the green hills of Ireland. The best comments on the blog will be selected to receive a copy of my latest releases. Feel lucky!