About House of Cards
Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.
Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.
Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.
Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/house-of-cards
House of Cards Exclusive Excerpt
He left Calum and Fen to it and returned to his own station. The half-finished sketch he needed for his first appointment greeted him, reminding him that despite what he preached to his studio crew, he was woefully underprepared for the day ahead. Rectifying that required his full attention, and the next time he glanced up, Calum was well into his own work, covering whatever ink Fen had on her chest.
Calum’s gaze was intense, his tongue caught between his teeth. Brix liked to talk as he etched ink onto his clients. Not Calum. He had a gentle touch with his needle, but his concentration was absolute. No small talk for Fen, not that she looked like she wanted it. Poor girl was in her own world.
Curiosity burned Brix’s soul. Calum specialised in dot work, but his trademark intricate style wouldn’t work here, whatever Fen needed covering. Cover-ups needed dark ink, and lots of it, which made it tricky to create a piece that actually meant something.
Still, he’d run out of time to obsess over Calum for now. The studio door opened and the biker dude who was to be Brix’s canvas for the day arrived. The back piece was large and complex, and kept Brix busy for a couple of hours. Fen was long gone by the time he took a breather, and Calum nowhere to be seen either.
Brix abandoned the biker dude under the guise of making a cuppa and went to the backroom staff used as a break room. He half expected to find it empty, but Calum was at the table, engrossed in something on the studio’s iPad. “Watcha doing?”
Calum jumped. “Fuck. Oh, it’s you.”
“Expecting someone else?”
“You jumped like a cat with a cucumber.”
Calum stared blankly. Clearly he hadn’t seen the YouTube videos of cats shrieking at vegetables. “What are you up to? Anything fun?”
“I’m trying to get a new phone, but I can’t seem to get a contract.”
Calum shrugged in a way Brix had come to realise meant he was going to give a half answer. “Credit history must be fucked.”
“Why would it be fucked?”
Calum got up and went to the sink, rinsing out his tea mug. “I borrowed a lot of money a few years ago. I got behind with the repayments pretty much straightaway, nothing major, but I haven’t done much to repair the damage since.”
“And your old phone was in your ex’s name.” That made sense. Inactivity on a bad credit file was almost as bad as fucking up in the first place. “Which means you’ve been invisible for a while, eh?”
“Yup. The bank only gave me an overdraft on my old cash account because I’ve had it since I was twelve.”
Brix hadn’t known banks existed when he’d been that age. Too busy pinching crates of mackerel and wondering why the younger fishermen were so entrancing as they hauled their catch ashore. “So what are you going to do?”
“Dunno. It’s not like I even need a fucking phone. Who would I call?”
“Whoever you called with the phone you had before you came here.”
Calum laughed humourlessly, and Brix felt like he was missing something totally fucking obvious. Then he recalled his own spell in the wilderness when he’d returned to Porthkennack, how his phone had found its way to the bottom of the cliffs, and it had been weeks before he’d seen fit to replace it.
“What about a SIM-only deal? I’ve got an old iPhone at home you could borrow, and paying the bill might help your credit score.”
“You’ve done enough for me. I can’t borrow anything else from you.”
“Buy it from me, then. I was gonna sell it to Jory for fifty quid.”
“Fifty quid? For an iPhone? Piss off, mate.”
“You think I’d lie to you?”
“Seriously?” Brix frowned. “It’s a phone, Cal. And I’m not a fucking liar.”
“I know, it’s just—”
There was a long pause before Calum finally turned around.
“I’m sorry, okay?” He stuck his hand in his back pocket and pulled out a few notes. “I’m not used to anyone who’s not my mother genuinely giving a shit about me.”
“I give a shit.”
“I know, and I’m sorry I’m being a twat about it.”
Brix wanted to ask if being a twat about it included neither of them mentioning the drunken kiss that kept coming back to him at inappropriate moments, but for reasons he didn’t quite understand, he couldn’t. Instead, he took Calum’s money and left him to it.
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur's Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack
About Garrett Leigh
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett's debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.
Cover art enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
To celebrate the release of House of Cards, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!