Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mike and the Spring Awakening by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Young Micah “Mike” Cordett’s privileged life explodes when he is caught naked with a schoolmate. Running away from disgrace, he blunders into a trap in a seamy part of London and endures months of abuse before escaping. But with the help of the Andrews family, he’s begun to climb out of his fear. Yet, when a reminder of his happier past erupts into his life in the form of Lucas Spring, Mike’s not certain he’s ready to face the remnants of the charmed life he’d once enjoyed. He’s certainly not ready for love.

Lucas Spring pined for Mike from afar when they were in school. This shadow of the confident boy he once knew shocks him, and Lucas vows to do anything he can to help restore the person he’d so admired. With patience and determination, he hopes to ease Mike’s fears and perhaps even win his love.

But when a violent figure from Mike’s past looms into his present, will the tender shoots of a new beginning be crushed?

WARNING: Contains themes of sexual abuse that may trigger some readers. 

I knew when we were introduced to Mike in Will and the Valentine Saint that his story was going to hold secrets that could break your heart.  When Lucas Spring comes looking for his school year crush and finds a man who has not had an easy journey, their lives converge and a new path is formed.  Watching them travel this new path gives the reader hope even when they appear at odds with each other.  Another great read by the writing duo of Devon & Dee, the Victorian Holiday Hearts series may not be as explosive as some of their work simply because they fall on the shorter side of the length spectrum but they don't fall short on the plotline punch scale.


They settled on the tarp to paint the set pieces. Back to back because the damned daffodils were so big, Lucas couldn’t sit next to Mike. Lucas dipped the brush into yellow paint and finished a petal. He already had paint on his hands. His valet, who disliked doing anything more than brushing his suits, would be a wreck at the sight of so much dirt as it was. Lucas was covered with dust and cobwebs. Paint would kill his man.

Lucas wiped his hands on the plain wood of a flower leaf and rose to his feet. Mike, still crouched, looked up at him, and the sudden flash of fear in his eyes made Lucas back away. “I’m just taking off my jacket,” he explained. “And my waistcoat too, I think.”

Mike put down his brush and stood. “A good notion.” He went to Lucas. “Allow me to help you? My fingers are still clean.” He eased Lucas’s jacket from his shoulders and then moved to his front to unbutton his waistcoat.

Lucas tried not to notice how close they were to each other or the way Mike’s chest quickly rose and fell as he worked the buttons. He was used to his valet performing these tasks, Lucas reminded himself.
“Mike.” He whispered the word.

“Hmm.” Mike’s fingers trembled. He slid the waistcoat off too, his fingers grazing Lucas’s arm, and Lucas swore he could feel that touch, even through the linen of his shirt.

He would try for a jovial tone, something light, though his heart pounded and his breath skittered. “You’re very good at this.”

“I help the actors dress and undress. During performances,” Mike said. His voice sounded husky. He deposited the coat and waistcoat on a tree stump next to the gate out to the stage entrance.

He returned to his flower again, without a word, dropping to a crouch and picking up his paintbrush.

“Does it bother you? To undress the actors?” Lucas said.

Mike seemed to watch his hands do the methodical dip and stroke, dip and stroke, as if it were someone else controlling the movements. “Usually, no. I don’t mind doing the work at all. But you’re different. When I’m near you, I feel a touch of fear.”

Lucas’s stomach turned over. He wished he’d taken off his own damned jacket.

“But there’s also something else.”

“Never mind the fear. That second bit of something else sounds good,” Lucas began, but he stopped. Mike’s shoulders were shaking. Damnation. “Mike?”

“It was gone, taken away from me, and now it’s coming back.” A tear dripped down his nose. Lucas wanted nothing more than to go to him and pull him close, but he knew better.

“Heavens, I do hope the ‘it’ you speak of means attraction,” Lucas drawled. “Forgive me if I’m presumptuous.”

Mike sniffed and wiped his nose on his shirt sleeve like a young boy. He twisted and looked at Lucas. His eyes were damp, but his mouth was twisted into a wry grin. “You’re doing it once more, forcing me to feel amused when I’m miserable.”

“That’s good, yes?”

“I hope so. God, I hope I’m wrong. I don’t want to hate physical contact, Lucas, but I’m afraid I will for years.”

Lucas’s vision went hazy and red as anger filled him. He wanted to kill whoever had done this to Mike. At the very least, he wanted to howl with rage. But Mike had said the Andrews’s chatter soothed him, and the stiff upper lip was their heritage. Lucas would give him both and hope it helped. He picked up the yellow brush and got back to work.

“Talk is all very well, but there is only one way to find out, you know, and that’s to try touching a person you might possibly find appealing. That person should know he must not respond badly—or perhaps not respond at all. That’s entirely your choice.” He spoke briskly. “And if anything about your own touch or his presence alarms you, then you stop. And try again whenever you choose.”

Lucas put down the yellow brush and picked up the red to fill in the center of the cheerful flower. A daisy, perhaps. “It should not be a great surprise to know that once again I volunteer myself to you. Outside or inside, in private, clothed, naked, I’ll do whatever you wish, whenever you wish it. Send word at two in the morning, and I’ll drag myself to the spot immediately.”

Author Bios:
Bonnie Dee
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.

Summer Devon
Summer Devon is the pen name writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, her books are always romance.

You can visit her facebook page, where there's a sign up form for a newsletter (she'll only send out newsletters when there's a new Summer Devon or Kate Rothwell release and she will never ever sell your name to anyone).

Bonnie Dee

Summer Devon

KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

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