Two men, opposites in every way, have somehow found each other. The attraction between blond detective Thomas Fitzgerald and the sable-haired “Professor Burns” is instant and all-consuming.
Even cops and scholars take a holiday. When they bridge the physical distance between themselves and finally spend time together on Burns' own turf, Thomas finds that his mysterious “poet” is a shadow behind another shadow.
There’s something about Burns’ past that hangs on him like a shroud. Always a cop, Thomas cannot help looking past his lover’s charms, delving into the heart of him. What he finds is chilling.
A tight-lipped Irish cop and an enigmatic Scot come together in a place of sorrow and hidden passion. Can a “red, red rose” from a poet named Burns solve the unknowable mystery of love itself?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: New Dawn Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Alpha Character, Antihero, Bodyguard/Guardian Angel, Criminals & Outlaws, Healing Power of Sex, Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Rescue
Word Count: 24264
Setting: Edinburgh, Scotland
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
From Chapter 5, "Hope and Lust"
The pounding in his throat and ears must be his own heart. Thomas knew that, yet he held his breath like an adolescent. He was frightened, and excited, and fully aroused. Four meters from him, as though emerging from the mists of time, stood his mystery man Burns.
They were together for the first time in months. It might as well have been years. He felt a little disoriented. And absolutely speechless.
Burns seemed exactly the way he’d last seen him: resplendent in a satiny gray vest and tie, a flawless black linen jacket and matching trousers, black wingtip shoes. The only difference lay twisted through the lapel of his jacket—not one, but two red rose buds entwined. His raven-wing hair flowed around his dark-bristled jaws, and even from this distance Thomas could see the severe turbulence in his stormy eyes.READ MORE
Burns began to move toward him, across an expanse of distant seas and untraveled continents. And then the slender man began to fall.
In a split second, Thomas leapt forward and caught his lover. Had the man tripped? Or was he sick?
He held Burns close to his chest and began to intone a soothing mumble into his ear, reassuring him, letting him know he need never worry again, ever.
He had no idea what he said. He wanted to say, I’m here for you, love. Always. I’ll never leave you again.
He closed his eyes, struggling to regain his composure, a sense of time and place.
And when he opened his eyes, Burns was standing in his embrace, looking at him with those smoldering sable flashes chasing across gray skies.
“Och, lad. Are you all right?”
“Of course. I-I’m bloody glad to see you.”
Burns spoke directly into his wanting mouth. “Thomas Fitzgerald, it’s been far too fucking long.”
Their tongues slid together, and Thomas found himself eating, biting, sucking as though his lover’s mouth was his last refuge, his only haven in a world of strangers. Burns’ stubbled cheeks, the warmth and aroma of him, the way his entire slight frame seemed to melt into his own muscle mass… Thomas was drunk already on hope and lust.
At last Burns pulled away. Putting both hands on his shoulders, he smiled.
“But I’m a rude host. Give me your jacket. Let me pour you a whiskey. I want to hear what you’ve been doing since we parted.”
“Burns, is everything—do you feel well?”
“Now that you’re here.” Burns cocked his head and raised one brow. “Why do you ask?”
Thomas could have sworn the man had stumbled, that even now he seemed a little unsteady.
He changed the subject and tried to smile. “Ah…whiskey sounds about right for luncheon, um, I mean for starters.”
He watched the long dimples dance from his lover’s cheeks to the sides of his mouth. “You need to eat. While I myself could feast on you the rest of the day and never be hungry again. Come, sit.”
Until that moment when Burns broke from their embrace, his every sense had homed in on the man who’d somehow become half of every breath he took. Usually sensitive to any strange place he found himself, Thomas shrugged off the hoodie, handed it to Burns, and looked around for the first time.
He was in a room both long and narrow, one that conformed to the unusual dimensions of the old building where Burns lived. Light poured in from a triple-canted bay window, revealing a room with high ceilings, wallpapered in a rich melon-and-leaf design, whose white friezes and ceiling made it seem much larger than it was.
It was his definition of “Victorian,” in every sense of the word: old, quaint, replete with dark brown wood and over-stuffed furniture, brought to life by the ornate wallpaper and a deep-pile oriental rug. It seemed that half the walls were taken up with gold-framed pictures and woven tapestries.
Burns was standing at an antique liquor cabinet, its thick cut-glass panels beveled and inset with designs in tones of emerald and garnet.
“Find a comfortable place to sit, Thomas. You must be stiff from your journey.” Burns looked over his shoulder as he poured amber liquid into a crystal tumbler.
“Stiff. Ah, yes. I am that.” He felt himself blushing at his own words. Glancing around, he chose an elaborately-upholstered love seat and sat forward on its edge, his elbows resting on his knees, watching Burns pour whiskey into a twin tumbler.
Bloody hell. Why am I finding it hard to breathe?
Burns walked from the cabinet and stood in front of him. Thomas looked up, his eyes at crotch level, drinking in the outline of the man’s oversized cock which was riding high, like his own. It was damn hard to wrench his eyes away from the fly, up to Burns’ face. His host seemed vastly amused.
“Here, lad. A few fingers of Jameson, put in the right place, just for you. Do you mind if I sit beside you?”
Burns’ blatant erection and his words, damn tease that he was, made it even harder for Thomas to answer.
“Ah, yes. I mean—no. I do not mind. Damn it, Burns, just sit down. Please.”
Burns laughed, and the sound was enough to stir the tiny winged things flitting around in his gut. What was it about this singular man that could set the toughest cop back on his arse?COLLAPSE
"Bo" on Amazon wrote:
Every once in awhile, a book/series comes along, and the characters work their way into your head and your heart, and they grab hold and refuse to let go. Thomas Fitzgerald and Burns (just Burns, although Thomas refers to him has "His Bobbie Burns") are two of those characters. I honestly can't tell you now much I love these men, especially Thomas. Ms. O'Quinn made them perfect...absolutely perfect. I wish I could tell you exactly how much they have touched me. They take my breath away. Their powerful love for one another is so palpable and so...beautiful. I'm sure there are a lot of other words that can describe it, but I'm at a loss.
I don't want to give you any spoilers. "Red, Red Rose", and the previous novellas in the "Burns-Fitzgerald Mysteries" series are to be savored...slowly...so you can absorb every nuance. They're pure poetry, but they're also exciting, and oh, so sexy. Gay romance is my genre of choice, but I like my men to be of a certain type. I want them to be strong, smart, and masculine. I want them to love deeply even as they crash together, tongues and teeth gnashing, an erotic wrestling match of sorts, and I want to hear them whisper filthy, yet tender, words to each other. Thomas and Burns give me everything I want and much, much more.
All three books tell the tale of our men meeting, falling in love, learning about each other, and even solving a mystery or two. It may feel like everything happened quickly, and in a sense it did, but it wasn't a breakneck speed, and it felt very natural. Sometimes, you know you've met THE ONE, and they certainly are each other's ONE. Watching them fall for each other, long for each other, and then finally just BE together was a joy. Yes, there was angst and some obstacles, but it's a given that they belong together. They know this, and they make it work.
Perfect Ending--or Segue to More
If you have been wondering how Erin O'Quinn was going to twist you into more little knots with her tales of the very good Irishman-in-Scotland-detective Thomas Fitzgerald and the stoic, scholarly, and scintillating "Bobbie" Burns, you've got it on your plate right here.
In the previous novella, The Dundee Law, we got to know Thomas through the way Burns coaxed out all his devils and ghosts, but we were left with Burns still recalcitrant about his own. Almost by accident in this one, Thomas coaxes Burns into the same confessional approach--midst and surrounding episodes of over-the-top lustful behavior. The result is shockingly creative, and existentially perfect.
There is every indication that this is the end of the line for this series, a suspicion the author has basically said is probably in the cards. I would hope that if she were dealt a modest hand and needed to call for another trick, that the right card would turn up and we would have one more chance to fall in love with Thomas and Bobbie, if that's his real name!
Otherwise, you may actually shed a tear along the way because this author is so poetic in so many ways--this is perfect from opening to closing lines. Get it now!