Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Brass Rags by JL Merrow

Brass Rags
In early twentieth century England, a good valet can be damned hard to come by -- at least, when one’s requirements are quite so specific as Lord Algernon Huffingham’s. Algy likes a man with a firm hand. Preferably work-calloused, and applied with vigour to Algy’s aristocratic buttocks. He’s beginning to despair of ever finding a man who can give him what he needs and still respect him in the morning.

Disgraced footman Robert likes a roll in the hay as much as the next man. Preferably with the next man. But he’s more accustomed to following orders than issuing them -- and some of his lordship’s requirements are a bit more extreme than he’s used to! Robert may be easy on the eye and flexible in his morals, but will he be able to rise to Algy’s challenge?

**This story first appeared in the Men of the Manor anthology.**

Brass Rags is a cleverly and fun written short story that fed my historical kink fix.  I don't normally go for short stories but this one was too tempting to ignore.  If you are looking for a quick read that will quench your kink thirst, I highly suggest giving Brass Rags a go.  I loved how the characters made me think of PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster.  Don't get me wrong, Algy is no Bertie Wooster and Robert is most definitely not Jeeves, but the writing left me with fond memories of two of my most beloved characters.


Men of the Manor: Erotic Encounters between Upstairs Lords and Downstairs Lads
The country estate, masters and servants, mystery and intrigue, sex and money. All go hand in hand in these turn-of-the-century tales of what goes on behind the manor’s closed doors. Does the master lure the butler to the phonograph room for a romp behind the sofa, or does the stable boy have a tryst with the footman while the lord longingly watches on? Does the aristocrat drop his foppish manners when the butler helps him undress? And do the classes exchange more than pleasantries when the lamps are dimmed and the ladies retire for the evening?

Rob Rosen has gathered the hottest stories of romance and sex between wealthy aristocrats and the hard-working estate staff, all with a pre-World War I backdrop, including the fashion and art and the latest inventions of the day. War is years way, the estates are huge and sprawling, the fashionably elite have too much time on their hands, while the toiling underclass are always on the lookout for a means to a brighter future — no matter whose bed they end up in. Think Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, but with enough sex to make the town vicar blush.

Buggered, Algy thought sadly to himself some time later, was the one thing he was not. He kicked moodily at a dandelion -- or possibly a rhododendron; horticulture had never been his forté -- as he strolled through the rather lovely grounds of Blithering Coombe, Cedric’s father’s estate. It was a damned shame it hadn’t worked out with Hibbert. In many ways, he’d been the ideal servant: discreet, reliable and a stevedore in the sack.

Where on God’s green earth was Algy going to find another man like that?

As so often when his thoughts turned to potential lovers, Algy found his feet had turned towards the stables. There were so many interesting things to be found there -- whips, bridles, assorted arcane items of leather and brass, their purpose lost in the mists of time. Algy adjusted himself hastily in his trousers. Oh, he’d spent many a happy hour in his father’s stables, his face in the hay and his arse in the air, his nostrils filled with the sweet aroma of horse shit while his favourite groom beat him black and blue. Once the man had even put a saddle on him and ridden him around the yard, Algy fondly recalled.

It hadn’t lasted, of course. Father had banned him from going within fifty yards of the stables back at Fetheram Hoo, claiming the horses were starting to suffer from neglect. Still, Algy thought, brightening a little, Sir William, Cedric’s father, had put in place no such prohibition. And a little nostalgic visit would do no one any harm.

Smiling happily, Algy quickened his pace until he reached his destination, whereupon he darted a quick glance around, then slipped inside -- and almost walked straight into a pair of firm, hairy buttocks, which tensed and flexed as Algy watched them. Attached to the buttocks, Algy could see a fine pair of shapely, muscular legs, round the ankles of which pooled livery trousers. It was one of the footmen, he surmised. The rest of the man was in keeping with the general theme: a broad, well-sculpted back; sturdy neck; and dark hair, the natural unruliness of which had entirely failed to be restrained by its coating of brilliantine.

Algy’s mouth was suddenly as dry as the fresh hay piled by the door.

Author Bio:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.

JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.


Brass Rags

Men of the Manor
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