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Scorched Edges

Tales from The Edge

by L M Somerton

Love forged in fire is unassailable.

Fireman Salter Beauman, Beau to his friends, has had his eye on cute Marty Standish ever since he helped rescue Marty and his boss from the bombed out rubble of Temple Church. An analyst for the security services, Marty is cute, geeky and submissive through and through—even if he doesn’t know it yet.

With a serial fire starter making inroads into Beau’s life expectancy, he decides that there is no time to waste and introduces Marty to the D/s lifestyle. Marty responds with wide eyes, an insatiable desire to learn and the ability to turn Beau on with nothing more than a wiggle of his slim hips.

But Beau has a second, far more malevolent admirer. ‘See me dance’ is the message left at a series of increasingly dangerous fires. Beau and Marty must work together to catch a psychotic arsonist before their love goes up in flames. Literally.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene that includes sexual abuse.

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Excerpt:

“We have ourselves a firebug, Beau, and he or she seems intent on destroying every derelict building south of the fucking river.” Commander Norm Archer kicked the leg of his battered desk as he passed. A new dent joined several already present, creating a pattern on the abused wood. Steel toe capped boots came in handy at times of stress. Archer threw himself into his chair and slumped forward to stick his elbows on the desk and rest his head in his hands.

Salter Beauman took an ‘at ease’ stance automatically. Eight years in the marines had fixed the position into his body’s memory and he couldn’t help himself. He stood, legs shoulder-width apart, hands clasped loosely behind his back, and maintained eye contact with his boss. His cranky, soot-streaked, exhausted boss.

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“He picks his targets well,” Beau said. “This one isn’t stupid or careless, he only torches places where he can prepare thoroughly without much risk of anyone seeing him.” Beau had little doubt that the arsonist was a man—the vast majority were. He’d eat his boots if the bug turned out to be a woman. “So what’s his motivation?”

“Who the fuck knows?” Archer scrubbed his hands through what remained of his filthy hair. Normally silver, it was currently ash gray. “Could be your average fruit loop with too much time on his hands or he could be trying to get someone’s attention. It might be the fires are the only things that get a rise out of his dick. Fuck. Should have taken early fucking retirement when it was offered.”

Beau chuckled. “They’ll take you out of here in a box, boss, we all know that. Sooner or later this guy is going to make a mistake, they all do eventually, you know that. He’ll get complacent, then he’ll get careless.”

“No doubt,” Archer agreed. “The only question is how much this idiot is going to escalate before the boys in blue are able to arrest his ass and toss it into a nice, fireproof cell.”

Beau grunted. That had them all worried. Every fire put the entire crew in danger, but those started by a criminal who delighted in making things burn were far more risky. “He’s already getting more ambitious. Allotment sheds first then that derelict fish-packing place, this time a house. The property might have been boarded up and empty but it was in a terrace and there were plenty of people around. A residential area. Jesus, if we hadn’t arrived as quickly as we did, it could have been much worse. As it is, two families are going to be living in temporary accommodation for a while, until their homes are cleaned up. You know how long smoke damage takes to deal with.”

“I do. Fucking carbon sticks like glue to every available surface. You’re second in command. You’re closer to the men than I am. How are they dealing with this?” Archer asked.

“Well, we’ve assumed that we had a serial bug on our hands for a while now. The old hands are angry but professional. The newbies are scared and trying not to show it. Every shout that comes in they half expect to be another nasty one and that puts them on edge. Being off for the next forty-eight hours will help. Fatigue makes everything seem worse than it is.” Beau rolled his neck and listened to the cracking joints.

“You’re a little haggard yourself, Beau. Are you worrying about the same thing I am?”

Beau frowned at the cryptic comment but nodded. “All the shouts that can be attributed to the firebug have been during our watch.”

“Could be a coincidence,” Archer said, tapping his pen on the desk.

“And I might meet a nice girl, settle down, produce a couple of kids and adopt a mutt from Battersea.”

Archer snorted. “Pigs might levitate. Maybe the next forty-eight hours will prove us wrong. If the next watch find spray-painted messages on the walls, we’re off the hook. If not, we have a serious problem. In the meantime go get cleaned up, find yourself a nice young man and get laid. It’ll do you good.”

“I might just do that, though I can’t guarantee he’ll be ‘nice’.” Beau checked his watch. “Nine o’clock. Shit. I don’t suppose I’m getting paid overtime for this, am I?”

Archer had a bout of mild hysteria, and Beau took that as his cue to leave the room. As he walked down the corridor toward the showers he could hear laughter and chatter coming from the recreation room. The night shift were settling in and a tempting aroma of cooking food permeated the air.

“Beef stew and dumplings.” Beau identified the meal under preparation. His stomach rumbled. “Dinner at the club, I think.” The smell made up his mind and he changed his plan for a quiet night in. In the locker room he stripped off his grimy kit and dumped it in the laundry crate. The big plastic bin was almost full, testifying to the fact that his watch had already passed through and the rest of the team were on their way home. Naked, Beau padded to his locker and grabbed his washbag. He stank of smoke and sweat and couldn’t wait to get the acrid stench out of his nostrils.

One of the things the fire service managed to get right was the shower facilities. Endless hot water and powerful water pressure were essential at the end of a long, dirty shift. Beau scrubbed away some of the stress of the day along with the grime. He shampooed his hair twice and let his head hang as mucky water sluiced down the drain. Jet-black strands hung in front of his face, a little longer than regulations strictly allowed. Tiredness washed over him and he pushed it away. His two days off couldn’t come soon enough.

Beau dressed quickly. He hadn’t planned to go to the club that night so didn’t have his leathers or even a dressy pair of trousers, but his jeans were clean and the pale blue button-down shirt he wore was smart enough. Carey Hoffman, the owner of The Underground, didn’t enforce a dress code, but very few members showed up in casual clothes. Beau only intended to go there to eat, so he wasn’t too concerned about fitting in. He pulled on his jacket, slammed his locker door decisively and left.

From the fire station it was a thirty-minute walk across Westminster Bridge, around the Houses of Parliament to The Underground. Beau took his time, enjoying the cool night air. He loved the relative calm of London by night as opposed to the noisy bustle of the day. There were still plenty of tourists around snapping pictures of the Thames and Westminster Abbey. Big Ben told him it was nine-thirty as he made his way into quieter streets and eventually to The Underground’s discreet entrance. The only indication that the building housed a club was the presence of a couple of impressively muscled men loitering on the pavement. Beau nodded to the bouncers, flashed his membership card and went inside.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:on Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance:

The discussion about spanking over breakfast was fascinating. I really enjoy BDSM based relationships, especially when there is affection and love involved. This story was different from the start because of Marty's attitude - his desire to accumulate data and analyze it, really intrigued me, giving an added level to the interaction between the two men.

There is a serious side to this story - the arsonist - a man who has a huge hard-on for Beau, which of course puts Marty in danger. The ending was fitting, at least in my opinion, for all concerned.

This was a totally enjoyable story. It was funny, quirky and has earned a firm place in my favorites file.

on Joyfully Reviewed:

Author L.M. Somerton knows exactly how to pen an erotic, gritty romance. Book six in the Tales from the Edge series showcases the high octane thriller Scorched Edges. The characters are intelligent, spirited, and needless to say smoking hot. Between danger and drama Scorched Edges has it all. This series consistently gives readers smoldering, sensual, and engaging stories to enjoy. Scorched Edges is another must read.


Winner of the 2016 Golden Flogger Award for LGBT BDSM Fiction.

About the Author

LM 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.

LM is winner of the National Leather Association’s Pauline Reage Award for best novel and the 2016 Golden Flogger Award for best BDSM novel in the LGBT category. She has received multiple Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards and won the Action and Adventure category of Divine Magazine’s Book Awards in 2015.


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