✨ Guest Post ✨
Thank you so much, lovely Addison, for having me as a guest on your blog today. I’m Ellie, and I write MM Historical Romance novellas. The Misfit, the fifth story in my Regency Twelve Letters series is now on release, so I’m popping in to chat about my new story.
The Misfit is a spin-off from my main series that explores the romances of three established couples during the course of Twelve Letters, Queer Relations, Coming of Age and Gentlemen’s Agreement. Luc, my MC in The Misfit, makes a brief appearance in Gentlemen’s Agreement, rescued from a sticky situation by my main cast before returning in his own story.
My ensemble cast of Jo Everett, Daniel Walters, Ben Harding, Edward Stephens, Percy Havilland and Nathan Brooks belongs to London’s rarified West End. Ben lives on the main route of Piccadilly, a well-known residential area for unmarried, well-heeled gentlemen. Slightly to the north of Piccadilly, Daniel and Jo have just moved into the apartment above a tailor’s shop on Tottenham Court Road, a newly fashionable retail area. Nathan lives in a mansion off still-fashionable Leicester Square and Percy has recently moved from his luxury Mayfair bachelor pad to semi-rural little Chelsea to provide a home for his teenage sisters.
I do love a map, and an online version of the Mogg 1806 pocket map is the perfect way to navigate the streets of Regency London with my characters. In The Misfit, Luc is a professional musician, and his love interest Harry is an actor. This gave me the perfect opportunity to explore a different part of London and to contrast the rarified West End with the racier district of Covent Garden, the party area of the city, filled with theatres, taverns, coffee houses and brothels.
I thoroughly enjoyed following Luc around the vast expanse of the newly rebuilt Drury Lane Theatre, trying to find cheap and semi-respectable lodgings close to Covent Garden Piazza or eking out a glass of daffy or gin at The Bedford Arms or The Shakespeare Tavern while rubbing shoulders with his musical and theatrical friends, including Harry. Although a stone’s throw away from wealthy St. James’, Covent Garden is full of hustle and bustle with street traders, performers and courtesans grubbing for a living. This industry includes Harry and Luc as they ambitiously pursue their chosen artistic careers.
Luc is unfamiliar with the luxury of the West End, so it was interesting to see him removed from his accustomed habitat. He gradually adjusts and becomes more at ease with the group of gentlemen meeting each week for supper at the Golden Lion in St. James’.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the contrasts between the London areas of work and leisure as Luc grows to trust the West End ensemble and Luc and Harry’s love story unfolds.
The Misfit by Ellie Thomas
GENRE: Gay Historical Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novella / 26,843 Words / 103 Pages
RATING: 4 Stars
At the start of 1816, Luc Gerrard is summoned home to rural Essex from his sanctuary in the West Indies due to a dangerous downturn in his mother’s health. When she recovers, Luc is determined to pick up his musical employment in London’s theatres, concert halls and ballrooms.
He receives support and even friendship from a surprising source, the circle of gentlemen who spirited him away from certain arrest due to his connection with his former lover and Napoleonic plotter, James Beaufort.
Luc juggles his pride and finances while attempting to gain an orchestral position at Drury Lane Theatre for the upcoming spring Season. Bittersweet memories are revived when he inevitably meets his longtime companion and sometime lover, Harry Kent. However, charming, easy-going casual Harry seems changed by Luc’s absence.
Can Luc re-establish his interrupted career with a little help from his new friends? And might he and Harry find a lasting connection?
He embraced that unique combination of stale scent, smoking stage lights, linseed oil, and fresh-cut wood that indelibly signified the theatre, together with the continual bustle. In the daytime, the building was the domain of actors, musicians, stagehands, scenery builders, and seamstresses, amongst many other essential roles. By nightfall, the backstage workers melted into invisibility. Then the audience dominated as they spilled into the splendid auditorium by their thousands on a good night, braying from the pit or glittering with jewels from the tiered boxes surrounding the stage.
From the wings, Luc had a view of the space below the stage that housed the orchestra. A group of men assembled aimlessly, taking the opportunity to joke and banter. At their centre stood Mr. Henry Kent, an up-and-coming actor known as Harry to his many friends. At twenty-three, a few months younger than Luc, slightly broader and shorter, he was vital and magnetic, any stray beams of daylight glinting on his thick red-blond hair, the rich colour of a fox’s pelt in this darkened space.
Harry reached the punch line of his jest, causing his companions to roar with laughter. His jaunty pose showed off his high cheekbones, mobile smiling mouth, and a glint of sharp white teeth. Luc thought, as always, that Harry was the life and soul of the party, his easygoing demeanour belying the force of his theatrical ambitions. It was no secret that far from being city-born, Harry grew up on the Kent coast.
He’d exchanged the family surname of Smith for the title of his home county as a loftier stage name. But late at night, when in his cups, Harry divulged to Luc his youthful dread of being co-opted into the family oyster business back in Whitstable. This unbearable fate prompted his getaway to London and inclusion into the lowest ranks of the theatre company.
Harry was good fun, great drinking company, and an even better fuck. Luc should know from many nights spent in his bed when they both happened to be in the same part of town and at a loose end.
During Luc’s second season in the orchestra at Drury Lane, the newly inducted Harry had caught his eye. Given the return of interest and Harry’s charisma, Luc was tempted to be smitten with the dashing young actor. Harry was appreciative of Luc’s appearance in turn, undressing him like a present and savouring the secrets of Luc’s body as a rare treat. But even as they tumbled for the first time, Harry made his intentions clear.
“Let’s stay as friends who have a bit of fun together, eh, Frenchie?” He’d suggested with a confiding smile that took any sting from his words. “There’s enough dramatics and hysterics to be encountered treading the boards to wish for any more in between the sheets. If you’re content, I reckon this will suit us both.”
Luc had to admit that Harry had been proved correct. They were barely twenty and yet to establish a place in the performance pecking order. Neither of them had the leisure to embark on a romantic relationship, even if Luc felt so inclined.
Their intermittent casual liaison was frequently interrupted by Harry pursuing a promising patron or even a patroness at a pinch. He engaged all his considerable charm, transferring his sexual attentions to step up the next rung of the ladder to fame and fortune. Once that goal was achieved, and the sponsor had drifted on to fresh pastures, Harry cheerfully took up with Luc again. They both accepted the hard-fought scramble of theatre life, and Luc never doubted Harry’s genuine friendship, even when temporarily preoccupied with demanding patrons.
It wasn’t as though Luc lacked offers of consolation. Despite Luc’s opinion of himself as too gawky, intense, and beaky, it seemed that others shared Harry’s glowing opinion of Luc’s particular brand of striking dark looks.
Coming across free and easy Harry in the exuberant flesh was unexpectedly bittersweet, reminding Luc of simpler, happier times before Beaufort had swept into his life, bearing him almost to the brink of utter disaster.
Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.
Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.