✨ GUEST POST ✨
Thanks so much, Addison, for having me as your guest again! I’m Ellie, and I write MM Historical Romance novellas. I’m popping in today to chat about my new story Lucky John, written for JMS’s Books Lucky 13 anniversary celebration. Lucky John is currently in the 20% off new release sale at JMS Books until July 7th.
Lucky John is set in 17th-century England at a turbulent time for the nation. Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, is dead, and his son Richard’s short and unsuccessful rule has allowed the country to fall into anarchy. To forestall ensuing chaos, the Government proceeds with urgent negotiations with the exiled King Charles II to return to the throne and restore peace.
This is the cue for the entrance of my MC Owen Montgomery, a former Royalist soldier who, after spending some years abroad with the exiled royal court, has drifted into becoming a messenger for Parliament on King Charles’ behalf.
Owen is tough and cynical, used to the dangers of life on the road, looking out for himself with the sole companionship of his horse, Bess.
But when he comes across bullied tavern servant, “Lucky” John (so-called as he is anything but), Owen unexpectedly flies to his defence and takes him under his wing. Despite Owen’s misgivings at his charitable impulse and the fact that John is an inadvertent trouble magnet, the two men gradually reach an understanding, helped by John and Bess’ mutual adoration.
This particular moment in history appealed to my imagination, with England on the cusp of reaching a level of stability and the parallel of the emerging love story between my two MCs.
Owen finds peace and self-acceptance due to his growing feelings for John, and in turn, John finds a sense of consistency, affection and respect from Owen. Their chance meeting becomes the luck of a lifetime for them both.
by Ellie Thomas
GENRE: Gay Historical Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 17,387 Words / 70 Pages
RATING: 3 Flames
Owen Montgomery has been a landless drifter since the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Worcester nine years previously when he was seventeen. Since then, he has lingered abroad as an insignificant follower in the retinue of exiled King Charles.
In the spring of 1660, Owen travels across England as an envoy on behalf of the King. Despite this important diplomatic mission, Owen regards himself as little better than the highwaymen he encounters on the lawless roads.
During a brief stop at an obscure roadside inn, he encounters Lucky John, a bullied skivvy with a sweet nature who makes a lasting impression. When Owen impulsively rescues John from his unkind employer, he has no idea of the impact the lad will make on his lonely existence.
Will Owen reject this chance to open up and share his life? And can Owen be convinced that he deserves John’s love?
Owen heaped a pile of straw for his billet with his pack roll in place of a pillow. He was about to blow out the light, intending to wrap himself in his cloak to sleep, when he heard the patter of ill-shod feet coming across the cobbled yard.
John appeared at the stable door, clutching a few blankets. “I thought you and Bess might be cold overnight.” Owen was touched by the thoughtful gesture. The boy was a touch of sweetness in a harsh and cruel world. All the more remarkable when he was regarded as an object of mockery and derision by his employers and their patrons.
“Thank you,” Owen said as John designated the most worn blanket for Bess. Using his cloak as an under-blanket, Owen now had the luxury of spreading the rest of the blankets on top. Satisfied with his work, he sat on his makeshift bed to remove his high riding boots.
“Let me help you,” John said, sitting on his haunches on the stable floor. One boot slipped off easily, but the other was more stubborn. After several efforts, with one last tug, it came away abruptly. John fell backwards, laughing, with the boot in his hands. His laughter was infectious, making Owen grin. John’s innocent delight was disarming.
It was growing cold in the unheated stable. Owen removed his hat, coat, and belt, and keeping his precious messenger bag and small arms close by, he scrambled into the straw bed, expecting John to depart, taking the lamp with him.
Instead, the boy blew out the flame, shucked off his pattens, and attempted to get under the covers. “What in hell are you doing?” Owen snapped, sitting up and glaring at John in the darkness.
The boy was unrepentantly. “You have all my blankets. I didn’t think you’d mind sharing.”
Owen had survived war, skirmishes, and the machinations of great men. But he had never met anyone as disconcerting as this skinny slip of a lad.
“Very well,” he conceded, settling back down. But rather than keeping a careful distance, the boy snuggled up to him like a puppy. At first, Owen tolerated this simple need for warmth on a chilly spring night. He didn’t object to John’s tentative touch on his shirt-covered chest, but when one hand started to drift downwards towards the waistband of his breeches, Owen tensed.
“No,” he said, halting John’s progress firmly.
“I thought you might want to. You’ve been nice to me.”
“Not beyond common courtesy. You don’t have to repay me. Especially in that way. You haven’t even learned my name.”
“I know. But you seemed lonely and I wanted to comfort you. And I noticed you didn’t give our serving maids a second glance.”
Owen was startled by the lad’s unexpected perception. How could he have guessed? Even during their long exile together, his own brother hadn’t suspected his preferences, mainly because Owen had been careful to conceal his indifference to women. Excuses were easily arranged by indulging in a stupefying excess of liquor like the rest of the exiled court.
Over the years, there had been fleeting encounters, catching a man’s attention in whatever province or country he’d passed through. But there’d been at least some conversation to establish a mutual attraction, usually over a few glasses of wine or ale. John’s instant, correct assumption wrong-footed him.
“I like you and I thought you liked me. It’s not as though I haven’t been with men before,” John added helpfully. “And you are quite handsome, especially when you smile.”
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.