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Burns Too Deep

by Erin O'Quinn

M/M Erotica wrapped in mystery.

Close-mouthed CID Detective Thomas Fitzgerald has just finished a harrowing case. He’s traveling the highway between Arbroath and Dundee, Scotland. Now all he wants to do is return to his flat, strip down and soak before catching a good night’s sleep. But a stranger on the side of the road changes everything.

The quiet Scot named Burns is a puzzle—a dark-haired, sensuous enigma whose harmless invitation to a drink he decides to accept.

Before the next twelve-hour phase of the moon has come and gone, the lives of both of them will change profoundly.

Both men are hoarding a secret, trying to escape. Can they stop running long enough to find each other?

This book is on:
  • 3 To Be Read lists
Publisher: New Dawn Press
Cover Artists:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Alpha Character, Bad Breakup, Criminals & Outlaws, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Most Mindblowing Sex Ever, Rescue, Second Chances
Word Count: 21991
Setting: Dundee, Scotland
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

From Chapter 5, "The Coming Storm"


In five minutes the familiar food- and whiskey-server stood at the door offering a smirk and a bargain-store carafe heavy with coffee. Burns had already disappeared into the small bathroom, promising he’d be back after a fast shower. Thomas took the container and handed him a few coins, then sat in a lumpy overstuffed chair six feet from a small, prim bed, drinking bitter coffee from a cheap stoneware mug.

He cursed his not-quite-sober state. And he cursed the blunt ache in his balls, trying to will his miscreant cock into a state of nonchalance. He listened to the sounds of running water and wondered when he’d muster the will to stand up and tell this man he had to leave.


Burns emerged from the bathroom with a dingy gray towel knotted around his hips. Thomas studiously kept his eyes on those of his companion, afraid that if he saw a lump below the man’s navel, his flimsy reserves would crash down like kindling sticks. He took another gulp of almost-tepid coffee.

“How’s the coffee, Thomas?”

“Fucking awful.”

Burns grinned. “And are you feeling more road-worthy?”

“In a while.”

“Do you have time for a fast shower? I’ve even left you some hot water.”

“I … ah, I think I’m already in hot water, Burns.”

The creases around the bristled mouth deepened. “You speak American. I love it.”

Thomas suddenly felt the itch of sweat under his balls and behind his neck. The idea of a hot shower became a kind of mission, a reward at the end of his long stay in Montrose and two days of fitful sleep. Somehow his own shower didn’t seem nearly so inviting as whatever lay behind the bathroom door in this second-rate stopover.

“I won’t be a minute.”

“Take your time, lad.”

And so he did. The shower stall was minuscule, but he was used to spare accommodations. He let the needles of hot water play up and down his knotted back and massage his scalp under the hopeless, tangled hair. With the remains of a sliver of soap, he lavished his entire body, especially the testicles, taut with arousal and verging on dull ache. He deeply fingered his own asshole, trying to spread the last remnants of the soapy residue as far inside as possible. By the time he stepped out, Thomas was fighting an erection that seemed far too heavy and too insistent to hide under the crummy towel he knotted around his hips.

It’s been a bloody long time. I don’t even know how to approach a man any more.

Looking down at the obvious bulge under the threadbare cloth, he felt his face burning and stripped off the towel, replacing it with his comfortable corduroys. He shrugged his shirt back on and carefully buttoned it almost to his Adam’s apple before declaring himself decent and walking back to confront Burns. Sitting on the only chair in the room, he deliberately slid his shoes back on, not wanting to look as though he was even slightly undressed.

Burns had arranged himself on the far side of the neatly-made bed, legs crossed at the ankles and fingers laced behind his head. “Bring mine when you’re ready.”

“Ready to what? Play valet?”

Burns looked over with mischief running rampant over his face. “Och, nae. Ready to sit here next to me. Be my drinking companion again. Will you?”

Thomas shook his head, still arguing with himself. This man was at least a stone lighter than he was, and several centimeters shorter. More narrow in the chest and arms, and definitely in the hips. And yet his demeanor was that of a natural dom. Thomas had never been a sub, and yet… There was something—a veiled promise in the eyes, a certain posture, the easy splay of his legs—something about this man suggested that he was used to getting his way in bed, and out.

“Thomas Fitzgerald.”

There it was again. The soft burr, the caress of each syllable of his name. Thomas squared his shoulders and seized the carafe along with his own depleted cup and the empty one. He walked to the bed and set the carafe and one cup on a small side table. He took his time pouring coffee for each of them. 

Gathering his will and his refilled cup, he walked to the other side of the bed and sat, somewhat gingerly, waiting for the other man to speak.

“Won’t you kick off your brogans, lad, and get more comfortable? I hate to be the only man here who seems to feel relaxed.”

“I-I’m fine.”

“Put down your cup and lie next to me. I need to tell you something.”

Thomas knew that the second he looked into Burns’ eyes, the game was up. He would not be able to resist the gathering storm. Already he felt rumbles of thunder coursing up the tunnel of his ass, and tiny sparks of lightning playing along his swollen cock.

“Really, Burns, I—”


Refusing to meet the man’s eyes, he set his half-filled cup on the floor, toed off his shoes, and swung his legs over. 

“All right.”

Then he lay back and regarded the plaster ceiling, allowing the vertebrae in his back to continue unkinking from the long hours he’d bunched them into a knot.

“This actually is a little … ah, it’s much better. I’m a bit more depleted than I thought.”

Still stretched out, propped on one elbow, Burns turned toward him. He was supporting his head with one hand, holding the coffee mug with the other. “This is the best I’ve felt in … hell, in years.”

Thomas, stunned, blurted out his astonishment. “Why is that, Burns?”

“Could be the crappy shower. Or the lumpy bed. Or maybe this bitter ambrosia in my cup. Let me give it some thought.”

Thomas couldn’t help a smile. “When you figure it out, share your secret.”

“I will, lad. And will you tell me how you feel right now?”

Thomas figured the man couldn’t help seeing the tented corduroys. The wide wale was a heavy material, but his prick was a lot heavier, and growing more headstrong by the moment. He willed his eyes to remain on the ceiling, knowing what Burns’ towel would reveal.

“Tired. But exhilarated. I feel like something in my life is changing.”

“Starting when?”

Somehow the cup was gone from Burns’ free hand, and his fingers were toying with his shirt button, opening the top one, moving to the next. He wondered whether the man’s fingertips could feel his chest jumping, his heart pounding as they moved from his collarbone to his navel.

“You know, Bobbie Burns.”

“Do I?” The fingers moved to the button on his cords.

“I—ah, God almighty, yes. I think you know.”

Reviews:"Greebo" on Amazon wrote:



This was amazing! This short read grabbed my heart, squeezed it, and made me feel so many emotions. At the risk of sounding cliché, I laughed and I cried, and I didn't want it to end.

A quick rundown here. "Burns Too Deep" is the story of Thomas Fitzgerald, a character from Ms. O'Quinn's "The Kilt Complex". He's a lonely cop on his way home after a particularly long day. While on the road, he's contacted by radio telling him that he needs to turn around to help a stranded motorist. Here we meet Burns...simply Burns. There is an instant chemistry that neither man can deny. There isn't much time to be had here, so they do get involved quickly. However, it's not overwhelming. In fact, it feels like a slow...forgive me for this...burn. They dance around one another, and it's just gorgeous. The writing is beautiful. Thomas and Burns are both so...maybe damaged is the word? They've been through a LOT, it's obvious they need each other to heal.

I'm not going to give anything else away. You just need to read it. The men, and the story, will stay with you long after you reach the end. As I mentioned, Thomas is a character from "The Kilt Complex". It's alright if you haven't read it. You won't be confused, although the two main characters are mentioned a time or two. This can definitely be read as a stand alone. HOWEVER...I'm going to tell you this. Listen to me very carefully. Get. The. Nevada. Highlander. Series. I mean this with my whole heart. It's just fantastic. Along with "Burns Too Deep", it tells the story of two very strong men who love each other so passionately, it feels as if you can reach out and touch it.

I highly recommend you pick this one up!

"Bo" on Amazon wrote:

Brilliant and Scorching

After your jaw has dropped to your navel when you get to the last sentence of this brilliantly devised and scorchingly written novella, you will have one of two other reactions:

1) OMG how perfect!, or

2) When's the sequel?

Erin O'Quinn tucked a Police Scotland Irishman, of all things, one Thomas Fitzgerald, into two of the Nevada Highlander books and under demands from her fiercely loyal readers pluck him out, put him on the cover, and slipped him into a plot of his own.

In this case, Thomas is thrown into a serendipitous traffic mishap with a real Scot, a man named Burns, which has all the appearances of a bit of a nasty to-do, but in reality turns into an exciting, believable adventure and heart-thumping love story that you cannot get out of your head.

If you were not too inclined to take the "insta-love" part of this book seriously (O'Quinn's words), you would have to throw five or more stars at her simply because of her way with words. There are at least a dozen instances when you will simply look at her sentences and look up from your Kindle and wonder how in the world she found the lyrics to that beautiful line.

What crystalizes that feeling more is the savvy way she deals with the narrative--third person when she is telling it from Thomas' POV, and a brief one-page first-person from Burns (no first names, please, yet) that split you in half.

One of her shortest, and in turn, one of her best. Get it now.

Passionate Reads on Amazon wrote:

Spellbinding Beyond Belief

One word comes to mind when I think about my reaction to Erin O'Quinn's newly released novella, Burns Too Deep. SPELLBOUND. (adj.) "to be bound by, or as if bound by a spell; enchanted, entranced, or fascinated." It's an adjective I rarely use, generally reserved for only the best fiction in literature or film. But it fits this short book to a T.

Erin O'Quinn packs so much power into so few words; her passion for the places and the people she writes about leaps off the page. She has a remarkable talent for character development; she takes complex, deep characters and, using vivid imagery, descriptions and dialogue, delivers them straight to the reader's heart.

The remarkably strong, yet mysteriously fragile principal characters in this novella - Thomas Fitzgerald and "Burns" (no first name yet!) - are as intriguing and enigmatic as they are masculine and silent. I wasn't ready for the end. I even messaged Erin and begged for a no avail. All I can say is that there is one cliffhanger that will set your imagination on fire and make you beg for the sequel (currently in progress).

Find out for yourself. One-click the beginning of what promises to be an utterly captivating story right now.

Burns! Mysteries 1-4 are published in a money-saving box set; and Mysteries 5-6 are likewise a box set. The final mystery, being a full novel, is published separately (Come Again, My Love).

About the Author

Erin O'Quinn was born almost literally on the side of a mountain in Nevada and was hauled kicking and screaming into the nearest town, fifty miles away, to attend first grade. To this day, she claims to be kindergarten-deprived.

O'Quinn earned a few degrees from the University of So. California, but her real education began on the back docks of the Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal newspaper; on the good-old-boy car lots in Abilene, TX where she sold new Chryslers and used cars; and in a big-box store in Austin, TX where she alternately hauled pallets and ran a garden center.

You'll find a lot of action-adventure, and a character-centered, plot-centered group of seven series and a few stand-alones

Of 46 published works for adults, 33 (I think) are in the gay lit (M/M) genre. From the Noble Dimensions series (small town/contemporary) to Old World Ireland, Jacobite-era  and modern Scotland; and back to the retro world of Ireland in the Roaring 20s, she says, "My men, and my settings, are no-frills, no hearts and flowers. But I think a certain nobility and even spiritual element often creep in among the honest sexual feelings."

Any reviews you see are unsolicited, and are always welcome.

Settle back, enjoy what Erin O'Quinn calls "literotica with a flare for the unusual...thoughtful and with passions too big for their britches."