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for the love of luke

by David C Dawson

For the Love of Luke - David Dawson
Editions:Kindle - Second edition: $ 1.99
ISBN: 978-1-9162573-2-0
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 288
Paperback - Second edition: $ 9.99
ISBN: 978-1-9162573-2-0
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 244
ePub - Second edition: $ 1.99
ISBN: 978-1-9162573-2-0
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 288

A handsome naked man. Unconscious, on a bathroom floor.

He’s lost his memory, and someone’s out to kill him.

Who is the mysterious Luke?

British TV anchor and journalist Rupert Pendley-Evans doesn’t do long term relationships.
Nor does he do waifs and strays.

But Luke is different. Luke is a talented American artist with a dark secret in his life.

When Rupert discovers Luke he’s first intrigued, and before he can stop himself, he’s in love.

The aristocratic Rupert is an ambitious TV reporter with a nose for a story and a talent for uncovering the truth.

As he falls deeper in love with Luke, he discovers the reason for Luke’s amnesia.

And the explanation puts them both in mortal danger.

This book is on:
  • 3 To Be Read lists
  • 2 Read lists

“Evening, Mother,” Rupert called as he entered the large scullery off the main kitchen. “I’ve come to give you a hand with supper.”
Lady Cynthia Pendley-Evans peered around the open kitchen door into the scullery. She had a pair of reading glasses perched on the end of her nose.
“No you haven’t,” she said. “You’re here because Luke told you we should have a little talk.”
She turned from the doorway and stood with her back to him at the large wooden table in the middle of the kitchen. “Although, now you’re here,” she said, without turning around, “you can scrub some potatoes for me. I’m making a potato salad to go with the gammon.”
Rupert could not remember the last time he had seen his mother cook. It was a pleasant surprise to see her in the kitchen. He unhooked a large pot from above the stove and carried it to the sink to fill with water.
“Don’t keep me in suspense,” he said. “What do you want to talk about?


“Oh, darling, you are funny,” said his mother. “I want to make sure you’re going to carry on seeing Luke, of course.”
Rupert set the pan of water on the stove with a clatter and lit the gas. He turned and leaned against the worktop with his arms folded. “I have no idea. Does it bother you?”
Lady Pendley-Evans put down the large knife she was using to slice tomatoes and looked at him over her glasses.
“Stop being so defensive, darling,” she said. “I asked a perfectly simple question. He’s a charming young man. Your father and I would be very happy to see you two together—”
“Father would?” asked Rupert. “I can’t believe that for a second.”
“And why the devil not?” said a voice from the hallway. Rupert’s father appeared at the kitchen door, a bottle of gin in his hand.
“Ready for a snifter, old girl?” he asked Lady Pendley-Evans. He looked across to Rupert. “What are you drinking, my boy? Gin?”
“I’ll have a gin and tonic, thank you, Father,” replied Rupert. “Can I help with them?”
“No, no,” replied Lord Pendley-Evans. “You stay with your mother. And tell her why you think I’m such an old fart.”
“I didn’t say that,” protested Rupert.
“No, darling,” said his mother. “But we know that’s what you think of the pair of us.”
“Well,” said Rupert, “I have some reason to.” He pulled a bag of small earth-encrusted potatoes from the cupboard and tipped them into the sink. He began scrubbing fiercely with a brush to remove the soil. “You’ve made it very clear for years that neither of you approve of me being gay.”
“Don’t take it out on the potatoes,” said his mother. “They’ll have no skins left if you carry on like that.” She picked up her knife and resumed slicing the tomatoes. “And you’re being grossly unfair. Of course, we were rather shocked when you sprang it on us. But that’s fourteen years ago. Please bless us with a little intelligence to have thought about it since then.”
Rupert set down his scrubbing brush and turned to look at his mother. “Then why haven’t you said anything before?”
“The subject never arose,” replied Lady Pendley-Evans. “Whenever I’ve asked you about your life in London, you’ve told me very little. I learn more from the Daily Mail about your night life than I do from you.”
Rupert laughed. “No wonder you don’t approve of me, if you believe what you read in that rag.”
“Darling,” said his mother, “it’s not that I don’t approve of you—”
“Well, maybe a little,” interrupted his father. He entered the kitchen and set down a tray of drinks on the table.
“Don’t interrupt, Clarence dear,” said Lady Pendley-Evans. “It’s not helpful.” She turned back to Rupert. “I’m worried about you, Rupert darling. You go to all those dangerous places with your work. We see you on the television in Yemen or Iraq or somewhere equally terrifying. The next moment we read about you in the newspapers, flitting from one nightclub to another. Then once in a blue moon you come back here and spend the whole time being grumpy.”
She took the drink her husband offered her, and tasted it. “Heaven.”
Lady Pendley-Evans took off her glasses and looked at Rupert. “I just want to know when you’re going to settle down and be happy.”
“And we’d like to think,” added his father, “that this young chap might be the one to do it.”
Rupert could scarcely believe his ears. He accepted the tall glass his father handed him and drank from it. He was grateful Lord Pendley-Evans had been generous with the gin.
“When did you change your mind about me being gay?” asked Rupert. “Because I know damn well you hated ‘having a poofter for a son,’ as you so charmingly put it.”
“Yes, well,” said his father. He coughed loudly. “I suppose I’ve had a few years to think about everything—”
“It helped a lot when Roger told you he had a boyfriend,” added Lady Pendley-Evans.
“Roger?” said Rupert with incredulity. “Your school friend who was in the Guards? You never told me.”
“Well, you never asked.”
“Why on earth would I ask you if Roger was gay?”
“I thought maybe you chaps had a sixth sense about these things,” said his father. “Because I certainly didn’t. Mind you, he seems very settled with Jeremy. So it’s all for the best.”
“And their wedding this spring was absolutely heavenly,” said Lady Pendley-Evans. “All those beautiful young men in uniform. I simply swooned.”
Rupert turned to his mother. “All right. How do you explain me away at All Saints Church these days? Are you still telling them I’m waiting for the right girl to come along?”
“Oh, don’t be so silly.” Lady Pendley-Evans put her glasses back on and resumed preparing the salad. “Reverend Whittaker left years ago. The Reverend Kenneth might be a little progressive for your father’s tastes, but I find him charming. And it’s so convenient that his partner is the organist and choirmaster.”
Rupert nearly dropped his glass. “The vicar of All Saints is gay?”
“I’m sure I’ve told you,” said his mother. But Rupert was certain she had not. “He’s so charming. And he’s marvelous with the flower committee. Anyway. You haven’t answered my question. Is Luke the one?”
Rupert was speechless. Partly because of everything he had just learned from his parents. But mainly because he was unsure of the answer to his mother’s question.
“I really don’t know, Mother,” he said at last. “We’ve known each other for such a short time—”
“That’s got nothing to do with it,” interrupted his father. “I knew with your mother the moment I laid eyes on her. As soon as I asked her to dance, she was the girl for me.”
“And I knew I wasn’t going to get any better than your father,” said Lady Pendley-Evans. “He was quite a catch that season. Luke seems to be a lovely young man. And he’s very smitten with you. Are you smitten with him?”
Rupert set down his glass and leaned back against the sink. He thought back over the last few days. He had never felt so happy in his life.
“I suppose I am,” he said. “But Luke’s got a lot of problems in his life.”
Lady Pendley-Evans crossed the kitchen to where Rupert stood. She put her arms around his waist and reached up to kiss him on his cheek. “My darling boy. We all have heaps of problems. Life’s like that. But they’re so much easier to face when you’re with someone who loves you. I think he could be very good for you.”
“Hey, hey,” said Rupert. But he could not help smiling. “Aren’t you rushing ahead just a bit? Let me take things at my pace. It’s been a very eventful week.”
“Of course, darling.” She patted his chest and looked up at him. Her face wore the same expression he remembered when she came into the nursery to say good night when he was a boy. “And when the time comes, Reverend Kenneth will be very happy to offer his blessing on you both.”
“Mother,” said Rupert. “Just….” He put his arms around her waist and hugged her. “Hold your horses, eh?” Rupert dropped his arms and wiped his eyes. “But thank you.”
He turned to his father. “Both of you. I wasn’t expecting to hear any of this tonight. And as for the vicar of All Saints—”
He was interrupted by a loud thumping on the front door.
“Who the devil’s that?” asked Lord Pendley-Evans. He put down his drink as the banging on the front door sounded again. “All right, all right, I’m coming as fast as I can.” He stomped off to the hallway, followed by Rupert.
Standing on the doorstep was Christian. He looked past Lord Pendley-Evans to Rupert. “Thank God I’ve found you. Where’s Luke?”
“What on earth are you doing here?” asked Rupert. “I brought Luke here to get him away from London. Just like you said. What’s happened?”
“It’s Pa,” replied Christian. “I think he’s tracked him down. He wants to kill him.”

Reviews:Natalie on Goodreads wrote:

I really enjoyed this entertaining suspense from a new-to-me author, featuring a BBC journalist and a mysterious American artist. Rupert finds his upstairs neighbor injured, after overflowing water collapses his bedroom ceiling. In the aftermath, Luke offers his spare room while Rupert’s apartment undergoes repairs. Luke explains his amnesia but Rupert can’t see how that accounts for his odd behavior and reactions to specific stimulus. Rupert’s job has him investigating a number of recent suicides of young men using the same methods and sharing similar characteristics. The mystery around Luke deepens further when Rupert is accosted on the street and warned to stay away from him. There is enough divulged in the narrative to make a solid guess as to how these events connect but the who and why are slower to unfold.

I liked the characters individually, although Luke was difficult to fully comprehend, since amnesia precluded any background, until later in the book when the third person perspective switches from Rupert to Luke. It’s just a few chapters but was very effective in fleshing him out more fully, making him even more empathetic. The romance and relationship development felt a bit awkward, although some was caused by Luke’s issues and seemed too rushed for declarations of love. Note for the heat seekers; there are few sex scenes, mostly fade to...grey, I guess? Only the start of a couple scenes are shown with just one complete later in the narrative. Secondary players like Sandra, Rupert’s brash but caring photo editor and his parents were all perfect foils to Rupert’s occasionally pretentious mannerisms. I can’t say I liked him much at times but he displayed consistent characterization. The author’s descriptions and depictions of different areas in and around London were immersive.

The mystery wasn’t the most puzzling plot I’ve ever read and seemed almost preposterous in one sense yet was still based on chilling facts about extreme homophobia. There was nothing graphic or gruesome, which I appreciated. Tension and conflict ramp up the anticipation and suspense before the resolution, leading to a decidedly happy ending. British mysteries were some of my earliest reading and this took me back to those enjoyable times. I will sample more of Mr. Dawson’s work as this book was a very satisfactory escape and an intriguing whodunnit.

Tosha on Gay Book Reviews wrote:

I was surprisingly shocked at just how much I enjoyed this book. It was an incredible read with so much mystery. I felt really bad for one of the main characters. Not having a memory of your past cannot be easy and when the memory comes back… well let’s just say some things may be better forgotten.

Rupert is journalist. He follows the stories and tries to get to the truth of things. He is also gay and boy has the other news industries had a field day with his love life. Rupert is fine with that though because he is not looking to settle down and even though most of the news reported of his love life is not true, he has no problem with the stories.

When Rupert returns home after being gone to do a story he finds his ceiling is flooded because of the upstairs neighbor. When Rupert goes to check on them he finds Luke unconscious on the ground in his bathroom. And man oh man is Rupert attracted to what he sees even though Luke may not be at his best. After helping Luke, Luke returns the favor by letting Rupert stay with him while his place is being fixed.

This is how Rupert and Luke start to get to know one another. Or at least as best as Luke could anyway. The more time these two men spend together the closer they become. While this is going on Rupert catches a story that is not what it seems. There are inconsistencies and Rupert knows there is more to the story. Also Rupert is trying to help Luke find out whatever he can about his past as well. What Rupert did not expect is the news story and Luke’s past are both closely related.

If Rupert does not get down to the truth of things, it may not turn out the way Rupert or Luke expected and someone’s life may be in danger.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed Rupert and Luke getting to know one another and the closeness that the two ended up having. I also enjoyed the mystery of this book as well. This is definitely a book that I recommend to others.

Elaine White on Divine Magazine wrote:

Brilliant Romantic Suspense
Overall 4.0
POV: 3rd person, multi-POV
Would I read it again?: Yes!
Genre: MM, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Content Warning: homophobia, conversion therapy, torture, mental health, suicide, mention of MS

I happily admit that I asked to read/review this book based on the fact that it was written by David C. Dawson. Full stop. I'd read/reviewed The Delingpole Mysteries earlier this year and loved them, so it was no question that I'd enjoy this one too.

Right from the start, I got the feel of a long, slow suspense. It had that James Patterson “Murder Games” vibe, with a distinctive British flavour, and the promise of so much more to come. We jumped straight into the action, with Rupert returning home after a long day to find that his apartment had been flooded by the upstairs apartment. Going to investigate, he finds his new neighbour, hunky Luke, lying on the bathroom floor unconscious and naked. After seeing that he's taken care of, the pair allow their immediate attraction to draw them closer, with Luke offering Rupert his spare room, since his apartment's only bedroom was ruined by the flood.

Thus begins a steamy and intense romance between Rupert and Luke. At first, I wasn't sure how advisable it was. I wasn't sure if Luke had been attacked, if he'd genuinely slipped and fallen, or if the amnesia he confessed to would reveal a dark secret. Six months ago represented the beginning of the only life Luke could remember, leaving more than twenty years unaccounted for. That is a lot of potential history to uncover, with no knowledge of whether he had a boyfriend waiting for him, looking for him, or if he was straight/bi/demi and his attraction to Rupert was his first attraction to another man. At least, that was a possibility until things heated up in the bedroom and Luke seemed to be more than adept at proving otherwise.

I'll admit that the previous books I'd read by this author were full to the brim with fast-action and life-or-death scenes that I assumed this book would be the same. It's not and that's not a bad thing. For less than 200 pages, it gives a really amazing quality of storytelling, characterisation and plotting. The romance is, primarily, the dominating plot point, which makes sense since it's through their relationship that Rupert helps Luke rediscover his past. Without that bond, that building of trust, Luke would never have been able to untangle the shadows clouding his past, so the 70/30 split between romance and suspense, leaning in romance's favour, was logical. It did make the story drag a little, before the 30% mark when things kicked off for real, but during that time we got to know Rupert and Luke a little better, so it wasn't too bad. I loved the organic way that Rupert explored his past through their dinner date conversation, then the drop-the-bomb reveal of Luke's amnesia. A typical reporter, Rupert was suspicious and wanted to dig deeper.

When it came to secondary characters, I liked the snarky coroner, the bitchy boss, and the intrigue of Ty, the NCA best friend and his husband. I got a bit frustrated with fag-hag Sandra, who wasn't my cup of tea at all, but that's mostly down to personal taste.

Quite honestly, I'm in editing mode at the moment and, for an ARC, I was expecting at least half a dozen niggles to pop up. It happens to everyone in the ARC before the final pre-publication edits. I noticed two things. Two full stops missing in one paragraph. That was it. In the entire book. I can only applaud the author and whatever editor(s) worked on this book, because that is seriously immaculate condition for an ARC.

Overall, I enjoyed the slow building suspense, the trickle of revealed secrets and the hints that this was one big story waiting to be exposed. I liked the main characters, loved the chemistry between Rupert and Luke, and how Rupert's family situation developed, that Luke had finally found someone to trust and confide in. It was a great story, with great characters, and an intriguing plot. I'd read more, if there were further books with these characters.

Last, but not least, I absolutely love the impact of the cover/title and how it makes more sense, becomes sweeter and more perfect, once I'd finished the book. Both are a perfect representation of what this story is about, and the love that you'll find within the pages.

Favourite Quotes

“However equal the law now makes us, the reality is, outside the metropolitan areas, they still don't give a damn.”

Cheryl on Love Bytes wrote:

The book starts with an unusual occurrence—the ceiling of Rupert’s flat caves in due to the fact that the unconscious American in the flat upstairs had left water running.

Luke (the unconscious American), and Rupert (a posh Englishman) become friends, and then lovers. Rupert is frustrated that Luke has very few memories of his past beyond a few months back. At first, apart from Luke’s aversion to televisions and smart phones, things go according to plan, but then someone warns Rupert that Luke’s life is at risk and after that things go to hell.

There are some rather disturbing scenes and if apparent suicide is triggering for you, don’t read the book.

Apart from those, the book is nicely paced and mainly quite domestic. It’s a sweet love story and both characters are likeable and well rounded.

There is nothing much to complain about, although some of the specifics about what happened to Luke feel like they’ve been fudged somewhat and I would have liked something more concrete to fully understand. That being said there’s nothing wrong with it the way it is.

The pace is good and the writing smooth. There were times when it lagged a little but, on the whole, nothing to complain about there.

If I were to sum up the book it would be nice. There are some great action scenes, but to be honest it was a little too tame for me. I’m not generally one for nice romances, and this one was very sweet with even the dark scenes tempered with gentle handling. I’m sure this will be very popular with most people but if you like to walk on the wild side this might be a bit too light.


Lena Grey on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:

When Rupert Pendley-Evans comes home to find that his bedroom ceiling has collapsed from water that has soaked through it, he's angry. He rushes upstairs to find a man naked on the bathroom floor. While comforting the man, Rupert has unfamiliar feelings of nurturing and concern for this stranger, feelings that are atypical for him. Rupert is, at best, a short-term lover with as little emotional involvement as possible. He does what he can for the stranger whose name is Luke, who seems to have fallen in the tub and hit his head, then calls for an ambulance.

Since Rupert’s apartment is ruined, Luke invites him to stay in his spare bedroom until the apartment celling can be repaired. Without a better option, Rupert agrees. Luke tells Rupert that he has no memory of his life before the last few months. The police finally recover his wallet along with his cell phone. Luke’s driver's license confirms Luke’s identity. Other than that, he has no idea about his past.

Almost before he realizes it, Rupert becomes emotionally invested in Luke, even though he doesn't understand it. Since Luke is gorgeous, and he is physically attracted to him. Since Luke is in a vulnerable position, Rupert doesn't want to do anything to make it worse for him, so he tries to stay on the friendship side of the relationship and fails miserably. Luke is wary of starting anything because of the uncertainly of his life. He confuses Rupert by coming on to him one minute then pushing him away another. Rupert is frustrated and confused, but tries to be understanding. Besides having amnesia, Luke displays quirks that worry Rupert – like not answering his phone and becoming terrified when he sees the display or anything else that looks like a screen. Most frustrating is that Luke freaks out when Rupert mentions certain things, but can't tell Rupert why. Rupert has noticed paintings on the walls and asks Luke about them. Luke admits he's the artist and offers to show Rupert his studio that's in his attic. When Rupert's phone rings, Luke shoots to his feet and runs down the stairs with no explanation. Rupert has had it. He goes into his office, determined to put Luke and any feelings he may have for the man behind him.

This a complicated mystery with lots of subplots that were often more confusing than helpful. I normally enjoy complex mysteries, but I had trouble sorting this one out. When Luke and Rupert finally get in bed, the sex is hot, but I still didn't feel like I knew either one of them well. The plot of the mystery is good and the supporting characters, particularly Rupert's coworker and friend, Sandra, were a hoot. Thanks, David, for an interesting mystery.

About the Author

David C Dawson writes contemporary thrillers featuring gay heroes in love. His debut novel The Necessary Deaths, was published in 2016 and has been described as “a real page turner”. It won Bronze for Best Mystery & Suspense in the FAPA awards. Rainbow Reviews said it was “an exciting read with complex characters".
The Necessary Deaths is the first instalment of The Delingpole Mysteries series. The second in the series is The Deadly Lies. The third instalment, The Foreign Affair, is due out in 2020.
David's third book is a mystery romance called For the Love of Luke.
His fourth book Heroes on Love will be out in January 2020.
David lives near Oxford in the UK, with his ageing Triumph motorbike and two cats.