Hiya peeps, we have Amy Rae Durrenson stopping by today with her upcoming release Spindrift, we have a brilliant guest post and a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Amy Rae Durrenson
When lonely artist Siôn Ruston retreats to the seaside village of Rosewick Bay, Yorkshire, to recover from a suicide attempt, he doesn’t expect to encounter any ghosts, let alone the one who appears in his bedroom every morning at dawn. He also doesn’t expect to meet his ghost’s gorgeous, flirty descendant working at the local museum… and the village pub, and as a lifeboat volunteer. But Mattie’s great-great-grandfather isn’t the only specter in Rosewick Bay, and as Siôn and Mattie investigate an ill-fated love affair from a bygone era, they begin a romance of their own, one that will hopefully escape the tragedy Mattie’s ancestor suffered.
But the ghosts aren’t the only ones with secrets, and the things Siôn and Mattie are keeping from each other threaten to tear them apart. And all the while, the dead are biding their time, because the curse of Rosewick Bay has never been broken. If the ghosts are seen on the streets, local tradition foretells a man will drown before the summer’s end.
The Attraction of Opposites
by Amy Rae Durrenson
I think all romance writers have their secret favourite relationship types—the ones we have to be careful not to slip into writing every time, but relax into gleefully whenever we do come back to them. Some love friends-to-lovers, others like star crossed lovers. Personally, I have a terrible weakness for a particular type of opposites attract. Give me one shy, serious, uncertain guy and one happy-go-lucky blithe spirit, and I’m up and running. I love watching trust build as the less confident lover learns to smile again and the light-hearted man realises how much he needs a steady partner to ground him.
It’s a delicate dance, that journey from initial attraction to mutual love and trust. When it’s going well, two very different lovers can complement each other. When it’s going badly, of course, those differences can make them desperately vulnerable to one another. I’m drawn to it by the way it both offers healing and demands that characters’ vulnerabilities be laid bare. It can be a very fragile balance, and it’s pretty much a given that things will go wrong at some point in the story.
With Spindrift, my new book, I decided to write about two men who really pushed at the tensions within this kind of romantic dynamic. Siôn is the loneliest character I’ve ever written. His depression and his loneliness have collided to near-fatal effect and he’s now come to the pretty little seaside village of Rosewick Bay to heal and try to piece his life back together. He knows he needs to reach out to other people more, but he can’t quite work out how to do it. Mattie, on the other hand, is a cheerful flirt who never met a stranger. He’s spending the summer after finishing his degree staying in the basement flat of Siôn’s holiday cottage, which his family own, and is working several jobs, as well as volunteering in the village museum and on the local lifeboat. He’s far more than Siôn can cope with, and yet he’s exactly what Siôn needs.
Of course, getting Siôn to recognise that was my first challenge. His confidence is in such tatters at the start of the book that all he can see when he looks at Mattie is all the ways in which falling for Mattie will break his heart and make him vulnerable again. And Mattie, for all his confidence, is hiding some secrets and vulnerabilities of his own.
And then there are the ghosts, because the cottage is haunted by Mattie’s great-great grandfather, who drowned in 1907. Unearthing the truth about him and his secret lover is what initially draws Siôn and Mattie together. Both men see themselves reflected in the tragic story from the past, in ways that put further pressure on their own fledgling relationship. At first, the ghost only appears in Siôn’s bedroom at dawn, and in the extract below, the two men are waiting up so that Mattie can see him for the first time.
Trudging after Mattie, he tried to decide if he should say something. Mattie obviously didn’t mean it. Siôn had known enough flirts in his uni days to have learned not to read too much into charming smiles and casual affection. Some people didn’t put much meaning into small gestures, and he was a little envious of them and their ability to throw goodwill out at the world so easily. It didn’t mean he was comfortable with it.
Mattie was kneeling in front of the tallboy, rummaging through the bottom drawer. He looked up as Siôn came in and said gleefully, “Mouse Trap!”
“Mouse Trap?” Siôn repeated. Then he worked it out. “The game?”
“Yeah. I think this is the one Granddad used to keep for us. I can’t believe it’s still here.”
“I never played it,” Siôn said. “One of my friends had one, but he lost some of the parts and it never worked again.”
Mattie laughed. “This wasn’t the first one we had. Tell you what—you make some coffee and I’ll get this set up, and you can finally have a go.”
“I’m too old to—”
“Nope,” Mattie said firmly. “Even if you were actually as old as you act, nobody is too old for board games. It’s a rule in our family, unfortunately, because my oldest nephew is a demon at Monopoly, and I always lose to him. Kid’s going to take over the world one day.”
“If there’s a Monopoly board in there, I wouldn’t mind a game of that.”
He’d thought it was a good compromise, but Mattie pursed his lips and tried to look stern. “No. I’ll make the coffee if you like, but we will play all the silliest games in this drawer.”
“Why?” Siôn said, drifting over to stand beside him. “Two grown men shouldn’t—”
“Because they’re fun,” Mattie said. He rolled to his feet, his smile fading as he reached out to touch Siôn’s cheek. “I liked hearing you laugh.”
Siôn blushed again and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. No. He couldn’t do this—couldn’t get drawn into something that would only make him doubt himself. Mattie was too flirtatious, too appealing, and Siôn was a broken, patched-together thing. He didn’t think he could take even a mild bit of heartbreak without shattering. Better not to risk it.
“Please don’t flirt with me,” he said stiffly.
Mattie’s hand fell away fast. “Oh?” he said, sounding hurt.
“It’s not you,” Siôn said hurriedly. “I just don’t—it makes me uncomfortable.”
“Then I’ll stop, of course,” Mattie said. He sounded so serious, so adult, that Siôn had to open his eyes to check it was the same person standing in front of him. Mattie was looking at him, all his laughter gone and his eyes worried.
“Siôn,” he said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I flirt with everyone.”
“I guessed that,” Siôn said, pushing his mouth into the shape of a smile. “I’m a sad old man, Mattie.”
Mattie rolled his eyes. “You’re not old.”
“I’m thirty, and I haven’t been in a relationship since I was twenty-two.”
“Well,” Mattie said, with a faint note of irritation, “firstly, you’re still a good ten years younger than the oldest guy I’ve ever slept with, and secondly, and more importantly, that’s bloody tragic, Siôn. What’s wrong with all the men in London?”
Siôn had nothing to say to that, though he opened his mouth silently a couple of times. Really?
Mattie’s irritation faded. “Shit, did it end badly? Is that why—”
“No,” Siôn said. “We were living in different cities and our lives were going in different directions, and it just….” He shrugged.
“And there were no one else?” Mattie said, sounding puzzled. Well, someone like him wouldn’t understand. He probably had beautiful boys lining up to throw themselves at his feet.
“It’s not so easy once you graduate, and I was busy. Working.” Siôn swallowed and said aloud the bitterest truth he’d learned as loneliness had wrapped around him. “It doesn’t happen for everyone, you know.”
“Happy ever after.”
“Siôn,” Mattie said. He sounded like someone had just kicked his puppy.
Amy has a terrible weakness for sarcastic dragons, shy boys with sweet smiles, and good pots of tea. She is yet to write a shy, tea-loving dragon, but she’s determined to get there one day (so far, all of her dragons are arrogant gits who prefer red wine). Amy is a quiet Brit with a degree in early English literature, which she blames for her somewhat medieval approach to spelling, and at various times has been fluent in Latin, Old English, Ancient Greek, and Old Icelandic, though these days she mostly uses this knowledge to bore her students. Amy started her first novel twenty-one years ago and has been scribbling away ever since. Despite these long years of experience, she has yet to master the arcane art of the semicolon.