M/M books with a pinch of history, a swirl of mystery, and a cupful of romance...
Mild mannered Derek is a perfectly ordinary bloke who cares for twelve beautiful racing pigeons in his spare time. He isn’t into kink. He definitely isn’t into feathers, in spite of the birds. So when a mysterious young man appears in his home claiming to be a pigeon, it’s all a bit much.
Avery is eccentric, but also kind, mischievous, and a dab hand with a feather. Derek finds himself falling madly in love, but when he discovers the truth about Avery it takes him to a very dark place. It’s up to a library book, his own innate decency, and Avery himself, to make things right again.
In which Derek's home is invaded by a mysterious young man who seems to have appeared out of thin air...
‟Bugger it.” He tried again, typing more slowly with half the number of fingers he’d used before. It made no difference. The ring code didn’t match to anything. Which meant one of two things. Either the pigeon didn’t exist or he’d memorised the number wrong. The first was unlikely given that he’d handled the pigeon. The second was entirely possible. He’d have to check it again. Turning, he froze, feeling his heart hitch and the blood leave his face and hurtle towards his feet. Sitting on one of the stools at the farmhouse table, cool as the proverbial cucumber and munching on a biscuit, was the prettiest young man he’d ever seen. He wore jeans and a T-shirt with a picture of some feathers and the words Pigeon for Life in blue. His hair was longish and greyish-fair, his nose was sharp, and he had two huge grey eyes that were fixed on Derek’s face with a mixture of mischief and lust.
Derek tore his gaze away. Pretty or not, the young man was clearly a crook, breaking and entering and stealing biscuits—and perhaps the silverware—without a second thought. He might even be an axe-murderer escaped from some secure unit in the area. He didn’t look much like an axe-murderer, mind you; he seemed too small and delicate for that. Then again, Crippen had only been average height and look at the damage he’d caused. He took a breath and tried to quieten his racing heart. And not ask himself too closely whether it was racing because he was scared, or for some other reason he didn’t want to think about. ‟Okay, who the hell are you and how did you get in here?”
The young man stared at him as though he was a fool. ‟Why, you brought me here,” he said at last, his voice as soft as a dove’s.
Oh brilliant—maybe not an axe-murderer but definitely a nutter, was Derek’s first thought. He hadn’t picked up a bloke in months and in any case he’d been too busy with the race today to go out on the prowl. No, the chap was clearly deranged, which was a pity because he was very easy on the eye. ‟Follow me in, did you? While my attention was distracted by that new bird?”
The young man smirked, although Derek couldn’t think why. His eyes strayed to the carrying case on the hearth; there hadn’t been so much as a cheep from it since he’d brought it indoors and he was fretting to check that the bird was all right. But not only was it not all right, it wasn’t even there. The case was open, and empty of all but straw, and a single long grey feather lay on the floor at its side. Derek began to have strange and inappropriate thoughts. It was almost as though... but no, that was ridiculous, and impossible to boot. The chap must have let it out. ‟What have you done with that bird? Did it escape when you broke in?”
‟Haven’t you guessed?” The young man’s grin became a grimace and he wriggled his shoulders, before setting his latest biscuit aside and reaching inside the collar of his shirt. He scratched for a minute before bringing out another feather, which he glared at and then cast aside. It floated down like gossamer on a summer breeze to join the other one on the floor.
Derek swallowed. Was this some kind of joke? He opened his mouth to ask, and left it open as the young man helped himself yet again from the packet on the table. Chocolate digestives, no less—Derek’s favourites, and the pack had been a treat for the end of the race. Now he’d be lucky if there was a single one left. ‟Do help yourself to the biscuits,” he said, trying not to scowl.
The sarcasm was lost on the young man, who finished his third and reached for a fourth. ‟Thank you. They make a nice change from grain. I mean, grain’s all very well most of the time but it’s so small and when your only tool is a beak it can get tiresome. Peck, peck, peck, one grain at a time. These are much nicer. My name’s Avery, by the way. Who are you?”
‟Derek.” For an odd split second he thought the stranger had said ‛aviary’. This was getting weirder by the minute. He’d left his phone on the counter when he first came in from the race, and he began to eye the distances and wonder which of them would reach it first. The axe-murderer thing still bothered him. You read such terrible things on Twitter these days.
‟Nice to meet you, Derek.” Avery held out his hand.
In the absence of anything else to do, and not wanting to seem rude, Derek stepped forwards and took it. At least it got him a few feet nearer to the phone. The hand felt perfectly normal—warm and soft and smooth, and rather nice lying acquiescent in his own. He cleared his throat. ‟Er, nice to meet you too. Although I still don’t really know who you are. Or why you’re here.’
‟Would it help if I told you?”
Derek noticed that Avery hadn’t taken back his hand, and wondered if it was terribly wrong that he was enjoying the contact so much. He scraped his throat again. ‟Er, yes, I think it would.”
‟That’s a shame, because I’m not going to.”
"...a fun story and one I hope you give a try." - Joyfully Jay reviews
Read the rest of the review here.
"...a beautiful, feel-good love story with the caution of trying to hold on too tightly to those we want." - Lisa on Goodreads
"I was charmed by this fairytale re-telling with its endearing North of England setting..." - Ellie Thomas, author of the Twelve Letters series
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While you're here, why not check out some of Fiona's other books, including paranormal romances
December Roses, Ghosts Galore and Trench Warfare, and vampire romance Echoes of Blood.
You can find details of them here: