🌟 Please join me in welcoming author H. Lewis-Foster to Stories That Make You Smile! H. is here today celebrating the release of her fabulous new book, Strokes on a Canvas. She’s kindly brought one of her characters along to play with us today. Read on for a bit of insight into Evan! 🌟
Strokes on a Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster
Love and art escaping the past in 1920s London.
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Cherith Vaughan
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Length: Novella / 29,060 words / 114 pages
Heat Rating: 3-4 flames
Pairing / Genre(s) / Keyword(s): M/M Historical Romance, Friends to Lovers, Overcoming the Past
It is a standalone book.
London, 1924. Evan Calver is enjoying a quiet pint, when he notices a man smiling at him across the bar. While the Rose and Crown isn’t that kind of pub, Evan thinks his luck might be in, and he narrowly escapes humiliation when he realises the man is smiling at a friend. Eavesdropping on their conversation, Evan discovers the man is named Milo Halstead and served as an army captain during the war.
When they meet again by chance in the British Museum, artist Milo asks Evan if he would sit for a portrait. Evan is amazed that an upper-class artist wants to paint the son of a miner, and he’s just as surprised when their acquaintance blossoms into friendship. When he discovers that Milo is a man like himself, he hopes that friendship might become more. But as Evan and Milo grow ever closer, can they escape the fears of the past to find their future happiness?
On the opposite side of the cabinet, a man was gazing intently at the Athenian amphora. Evan doubted he was having the same thoughts as himself as he scrutinized the naked athletes, but he seemed transfixed by its sporting design. The dark-haired man was wearing a brown pinstripe suit, the kind seen in newspaper photographs of famous actors and royalty, which Evan could never hope to afford. The stranger looked born to wear his stylish attire, his confident posture showing the suit’s fine cut to full advantage. Then he raised his eyes, and Evan saw the man was not a total stranger. His hair was smooth with Brilliantine, and he wasn’t wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, but he was unmistakably Captain Milo Halstead.
Evan was about to make a hasty exit when he realized the former soldier was smiling at him through the glass. He may have looked smarter than he had last night, but his smile was still as warm and kind as a Nightingale Nurse’s. Evan didn’t imagine the captain remembered him, but he smiled back, thinking it would be impolite not to, then turned to walk away. To his surprise, Evan’s action was mirrored on the other side of the cabinet as Captain Halstead moved in the same direction. He was still looking at Evan, still smiling, and as they both reached the end of the cabinet, Evan wondered what would happen next. Would words be exchanged? And what would those words be? If Milo remembered him from last night and he wasn’t the genial man he seemed, they might hint at blackmail or violence.
Evan was tempted to put his head down and make a run for it, but he didn’t want to attract the attention of the museum guards. He took a breath and stepped forward, only to find Milo standing in his way.
“Excuse me. Could I get past?”
“Of course, but…” Milo’s smile was uncertain now, but he didn’t move from Evan’s path. “It was you I saw in the Rose and Crown last night, wasn’t it?”
Evan lowered his eyes and weighed up his options. He could admit he was at the pub and ask to know what business of Milo’s it was. Or he could deny being anywhere near the place, or even knowing of its existence. The latter seemed the most sensible choice, avoiding all confrontation, but when he looked up and saw Milo’s blue eyes sparkling cheerfully back at him, Evan was overwhelmed by a longing to spend a few seconds more in his company.
With no idea of Milo’s intentions, Evan answered, “That’s right. I saw you there too.”
☆ Character Interview ☆
What is your name and how old are you?
My name is Evan Calver and I’m 22 years old.
What character trait do you like most in yourself?
I like to think I’m a loyal friend. My best mate, Sandy, has been brilliant since I moved down to London. He doesn’t mind that I like blokes, or when I go on about Milo, and I hope I’m a good friend to him in return.
What is your greatest weakness?
I suppose my greatest weakness is a physical one. My lungs aren’t too good when there’s smoke or fog about. In fact, I can hardly breathe, which makes living in London a challenge sometimes, but it’s worth it to spend time with Milo.
What is your favorite food/drink?
It’s not very exciting, but I love a nice bit of bread and cheese. My landlady, Mrs. Grindley, is a terrible cook, so when she goes out and we have to fend for ourselves, a cheese sandwich with a spoonful of pickle is my idea of heaven.
What are your hobbies?
This might sound a bit strange when I’m living in London, but I love gardening. I used to help my gran on her allotment back in Derbyshire, and it was great to be in the fresh air, feeling the soil under my fingers. But for now, a walk in Hyde Park with Milo is fine by me.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of being brave enough to move down to London on my own. I’m so grateful to my old boss for recommending me to his brother-in-law Mr. Bailey for a job. London’s such an exciting place, with so many things to do, places to go and people to meet.
What are your favorite activities?
I love going to the pictures. I’ll watch anything – comedies, adventures, romances – especially if Rudolph Valentino’s in them. I can’t wait till we get proper talking films, so I can hear what the actors sounds like.
Do you have physical traits that stand out?
The thing most people remember me for is my red hair. It’s the same colour as my dad’s and just as uncontrollable!
How would you describe your childhood?
Compared to Milo’s, I suppose my childhood was pretty tough. My dad’s a miner, as was I for a while, and the only education I got was at the village school. But Mum and Dad are good people who wanted the best for me, and I’m very thankful they let me come to London to start a new life.
Meet the Author
H. has worked with books for a number of years, and is delighted to finally find herself on the author’s side of the bookshelf. She enjoys writing historical romances, and contemporary stories too, and while her characters travel all over the world, they always have a touch of British humour.
H. has lived in various parts of the UK and currently lives in the north of England, where she’s enjoying city life as much as the beautiful countryside. In her spare time, H. loves going to the cinema and theatre, and her very eclectic tastes range from quirky comedy to ballet and Shakespeare, and pretty much everything in between.