The ride of your life could be your last.
Garth’s summer job running the ghost train at the local amusement park is supposed to be a stress-free way to earn some much-needed cash. His Goth looks are a bonus as far as his boss is concerned. The sunshine is a stark contrast to the macabre, spooky scenes inside the ride, but when one of the corpses proves to be more realistic than it should be, shadows are cast on the summer.
Clem sees potential in the moody fairground assistant with spiky hair and pretty blue eyes. He can’t wait to explore Garth’s submissive nature. But Clem isn’t quite what he seems and he might be all that stands between Garth and a violent death. Earning Garth’s trust won’t be easy in a world where secrets can mean survival.
Even the brightest places have shadows.
Stevie is sweet and shy—the only hint of an independent spirit comes from his lilac hair. For years he’s harboured a crush on his best friend, Adam, who is everything Stevie isn’t. The problem? When it comes to love, Adam is a bit slow on the uptake.
On top of that, Stevie fears the escaped killer known as Harlequin is targeting his friends, and clings to his role managing the merry-go-round for some semblance of normality. But someone is watching from shadows even the summer sun can’t penetrate.
Realising that life can be all too short, Adam takes steps to ensure that Stevie will be his. All his protective instincts kick in when Stevie attracts some unwanted—and very dangerous—attention, but he can’t take care of him alone. The group of friends needs to band together because the bright lights and whirling horses of the merry-go-round won’t be enough to keep Stevie alive. Some killers are far too good at hiding in plain sight.
Life can slide out of control when you least expect it.
Of his group of friends, Zach is the only one yet to find his kinky-ever-after. The contract killer, Harlequin, is still on the loose, Zach’s dad is ill, a result of the stress caused by knowing the family amusement park is being used as an exchange point by drug runners, and Zach is faced with problems much tougher than the mathematical equations he’s used to.
Daniel Raynott has had his eye on Zach for some time. Now that Zach is no longer in his class at the university, he can act on his instincts and give Zach the guidance he desperately needs. As a Dom, Daniel demands obedience. As a man, he falls hard for Zach’s vulnerable innocence.
A boring summer has a lot of appeal, but Zach has about as much control over events as he does a trip down the helter skelter. He finds himself in danger more than once. Will Daniel be able to protect him or will the holiday season culminate in tragedy?
Reader advisory: Merry-Go-Round contains a brief scene of sexual assault.
General Release Date: 28th July 2020
“Four teas, my lovelies. Food’ll be out in a minute.” Mo, proprietor of the eponymous Mo’s Café, deposited her tray on the edge of the table before setting a steaming mug in front of each of her four customers. “You boys back for the summer then?”
“Why else would we be here taking in the delights of your homage to seventies décor, Mo?” Garth accompanied his words with a sweep of his hand, displaying black-painted nails. He got a clip around the ear for his trouble.
“Cheeky boy.” Mo grinned. “It’s good to see you. You all look the same—except you, sweetie.” She ruffled Stevie’s candy-floss hair. “This was blue last year, but the lilac suits you.”
Stevie blushed to the roots of his mop and started to play with the salt cellar. Zach squeezed his shoulder.
“It’ll go well with the products on your stall, Stevie.”
Stevie gazed at him, his silver-gray eyes huge. “I’m not working at the candy-floss concession this year, Zach. I’m going to be running the carousel.” He sounded proud.
“Wow! That’s quite a promotion. The carousel’s a prime spot and so much fun. Dad’s put me back on the helter-skelter, which I think is his way of telling me I need more exercise, and Garth is on the ghost train as usual.”
Garth grinned. “Where else would he put me?” He flicked an imaginary piece of lint from the shoulder of his black leather jacket. “I fit right in.”
“What is it they call all that black?” Mo asked. “Gouda, gaudy… No, neither of those sounds right. Ghastly?”
“He’s a Goth, Mo,” Zach explained, raising his voice to be heard above his friends’ laughter. Mo wandered back to the counter, muttering about weird fashion sense and clothing better suited to funerals.
Garth shrugged. “She loves me.” He extracted a black lipstick from his jacket pocket then applied a fresh coat. “Last year she asked me if I’d been an extra in Interview with The Vampire. That film came out in 1994. I wasn’t even born!” He sniffed and examined his fingernails. “What about you, Adam? What’s Zach’s dad got you doing this year?”
Adam pushed his shoulders back and stuck his chest out. “Security. Same as before. He said I have to keep you three in line.” He raised his mug of tea in a toast. “Though he also admitted it was a hopeless task.”
Garth gave his friend the once over, admiring his well-muscled physique. Adam looked exactly like the county and England rugby player he was. He was a head taller than the rest of them at six foot four. Garth only made six feet because of his thick-soled biker boots. Stevie, the smallest of the group, had topped out at five foot six and Zach only a couple of inches more. Stand them in a line and they made a great slope.
“You have more chance of convincing Mo not to serve black pudding with her full English. Never gonna happen.” Zach clinked his mug against Adam’s. “But have at it. Stevie at least will enjoy you telling him what to do.”
Adam’s half-laugh told them that he would enjoy that just as much. Stevie’s pale cheeks pinked.
“Don’t tease me,” he muttered, not making eye contact. “You’re no different.”
Garth had the chance to contemplate Stevie’s words as Mo arrived to deposit four heaped plates in front of them. His arteries hardened as he examined the fragrant display of fried food. He inhaled the aroma before stabbing a sunshine-yellow egg yolk with his fork. “This summer, we’re going to find the men of our dreams. Pride week will ensure there’s plenty of choice. It’s just a shame that blokes don’t come labeled. It would save a lot of time and angsting if you could just check a tag that said Dommy top, loves Shibari or Spankable sub seeks firm hand. That kind of thing.” He loaded his fork with bacon.
“So what would our tags say, genius?” Adam asked.
Garth raised a sculpted eyebrow. “I think Zach is the man to answer that one.”
Apparently realizing he was under intense scrutiny from all three of his friends, Zach chewed, swallowed then took a swig of tea.
“Well, Stevie’s easy. Sweet, shy size queen seeks extra-large Dom for pain-free pleasure.”
Stevie shrugged. “He’s good.”
“What about me?” Garth asked.
“Emo brat pain slut, loves bondage, the stricter the better.”
Scowling, Garth stuck his tongue out. Zach was spot on.
“He got you too, Garth,” Stevie crowed. “Now it’s Adam’s turn.”
Zach chewed on a piece of thick sausage, looking as if he were thinking it might provide suitable inspiration. “Over-protective Dom needs sub to take care of. Love of chastity essential.”
Adam shoved a loaded fork into his mouth. He chewed and nodded in tandem. “Tag me now. I’m in.”
“So what would your label say, Zach? Do you know yourself as well as you think you know us?” Garth asked. “It’s one thing to describe your friends’ kinks but entirely another to admit your own out loud.”
“Zach only has eyes for one man,” Stevie said. “A certain tall, dark professor in the maths department.”
Garth and Adam murmured their agreement.
“Shame he’s not interested,” Zach said. “My tag will read unrequited lust a specialty.”
“Professor Raynott is gorgeous,” Stevie admitted. “But scary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile. Is he even gay?”
“He has a rainbow sticker in the back window of his Audi,” Zach said. “I live in hope.”
“Stalker!” Stevie waved a knife at him.
Zach shrugged. “My gaydar is non-existent. I wanted to know if I was barking up the wrong tree.”
“More like an over-enthusiastic puppy peeing on the trunk.” Adam snorted tea. Garth and Stevie fell about laughing.
“I’m glad you all find my love life, or lack of it, so amusing.” Zach chuckled. “Even if I don’t hook a duck with the hot professor’s number on it, the summer promises to be entertaining.”
“True,” Garth agreed. It wasn’t raining, Mo’s breakfast was scrummy and he had two months to earn some cash and have fun with his friends. If any of them got lucky in the love lottery, they would celebrate together. “Life is good.”
Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.
She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She's fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.