Author Name: Lynn Lorenz
Book Names: The Mercenary’s Tale, Jackson’s Pride, Baymore’s Heir, His Duke’s Gift
Series: In The Company of Men
Books: One through Five
Release Date: September 2015 – December 2015
The Mercenary’s Tale – Drake is a mercenary for hire. He values little other than his sword and his skill. Fighting his attraction to the young men he trains, he refuses to take any on. When Ansel walks into his life, Drake breaks all his rules.
But life for mercenaries is hard, brutal and deadly.
Can Drake take a chance on finding the love he’s denied himself for so long?
Can he have a second chance?
Jackson’s Pride – Jackson has been called to attend his father, Lord Baymore. The man has never claimed Jackson as his son and Jackson believes this might be his father’s intent. He’s left the Duke of Marden’s employ to discover his destiny—to remain a nameless bastard or to claim his father’s name.
When Jackson stumbles across a man, stripped, beaten, and left in a field to die a slow death, Jackson rescues the man. After all, he’s guilty of the same thing—wanting a man.
Will Holcombe gambled and lost. His meeting with a young, willing man went horribly wrong, and now he must pay for it with his life.
Until a man walks up to him in a frozen field and cuts him down.
Jackson is like no one Will has ever met before—a man strong enough to stand with him, perhaps forever.
But Jackson’s on a mission. Will his pride blind him to what his life could be if he chose Will and not his father?
Or will his pride lead him to a fate worse than death?
Baymore’s Heir – Duke Jackson of Baymore finally has all he’s ever wanted—his name, a title, and the man he loves by his side. Lord Will Holcombe couldn’t be happier. He’s Jackson’s lover, best friend, and manages all of Jackson’s affairs. For two years, their life together, although deadly if anyone knew of their forbidden love, has been perfect.
Until Jackson the day when decides the one thing he needs is an heir.
And the one person to find him a wife is Will.
Silent Lodge – Drake and Logan are worried about their friend and captain of the guard, Peter. After the death in childbirth of Peter’s wife, he’s a changed man. Unfocused, lonely, and devastated, Peter needs a new challenge, instead of going through the motions of living.
Logan sends Peter on a mission – to discover Duke Weathersby’s plans for invasion. Logan’s father has a small hunting lodge near the border of their lands, and it has a caretaker. Peter sets off alone, to make camp at the lodge and do some scouting.
But what he finds at the lodge just may be his future. Arvel is a fascinating young man. Red haired, deaf and mute from a fever as a child, he’s been living in the lodge and caring for it for years. It’s a safe haven for him. But he’s not alone. He has a protector, Gareth.
When Gareth, Arvel and Peter are together, sparks fly. Arvel belongs to Gareth, but he wants Peter too. Can Peter join their small family? And if he does, will he always be the third to their couple?
His Duke’s Gift – In this Yuletide story, Duke Logan is preparing the keep for the holiday. Twelve nights of feasting and gift giving to those in his favor. Gifts must be made or bought. Once mercenary Drake struggles to think of just the right gift for his love and liege, and for their sons.
Something isn’t right. A stranger has arrived at the keep and Logan refuses to let Drake into his bedroom at night. Angry and frustrated, Drake fears Logan has lost his love for the mercenary.
When the Twelfth night arrives, and Drake has received no gift, he begins to think he might need to take his son and leave what has become his home.
Pages or Words: Varies by book
Categories: Historical, M/M Romance
Lynn Lorenz: In this series, I incorporated mental illness, namely depression, into two of my main characters. Both Lord Will Holcomb and his father Walter, the Duke of Holcomb, suffer from this disease. In Jackson’s Pride, we meet the father and learn he is blind. His eyes are milky white and unseeing, so we know it’s probably cataracts. What would be a simple operation today, back in those times, meant permanent blindness.
In order to live his life, Walter knows the position of all the furniture, how many steps to the stairs, and then to his room. He also suffers from depression and to fight it, often sits in the sun in the bailey, even in the fall and on sunny days in the winter.
Will also suffers from depression. We see him fall into a depression in Jackson’s Pride, when Jackson leaves him. He lays in bed, refuses to eat, and his family, his brother Wallace and his wife, try to rouse him. The only way they can get him moving is to have him go over the family’s books, something that is Will’s job to do. He throws himself into it, and then, in a near manic state, he takes off to rescue Jackson, on nothing more than a growing feeling of doom.
In Baymore’s Heir, the worse has happened to Will. His father has caught Will and Jackson in an unguarded moment, realizes their “unnatural” relationship and throws them both out of his keep.
In this excerpt, Wallace warns Jackson about Will’s illness. In Jackson’s Pride, Wallace told Jackson of Will’s attempts to kill himself by flinging himself off the battlements.
Jackson paced the length of the hall, his boot steps sounding on the stones. Duke Holcombe had banished Will—that was the worst of it. He’d said nothing of exposing them or disowning Will. Will still had his title, and thank God, no breath of blame had fallen on Wallace or Lady Ellen.
But his Will? Jackson stood outside Will’s door, his hand raised to knock. He bit his lip, working the problem in his head, but there was no way out of this. Will wouldn’t give him up and return to Holcombe. If Jackson thought everyone would be happy with that solution, he’d insist Will stay. But neither he nor Will could survive that.
Jackson lowered his hand. Will could wait. Jackson needed to talk to Wallace. He had to be warned.
Turning away, Jackson strode down the hall to the other wing of the castle, to the rooms of Lord and Lady Holcombe. As he passed the stair, he paused, leaned down, and surveyed the great hall. The guests had all gone, the servants were cleaning, and the torches and candles had burned low.
Jackson went to Wallace’s chambers and rapped on the door. A few moments later, Wallace appeared, still dressed, but bootless.
“Jackson? What brings you here?” Wallace frowned.
“I must speak to you. Now. It cannot wait.”
“Of course.” Wallace stepped aside and Jackson entered. The room was a study, with a desk, chairs, and table set before the hearth.
There was no point in wasting time telling the story or in planning what he would say, so Jackson just let the words tumble out. “Your father has found us out. He came upon us. Will was drunk, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. He looked at me with those blue eyes, and I forgot myself and kissed him in the hall. Your father heard us.”
“Oh God.” Wallace sat heavily in a chair and ran his hands through his hair. “He knows?”
“Of me and Will. Aye. Of you and your lady’s part? No. I told your father it started at Baymore. That I seduced Will.” Jackson stood a little taller.
Wallace stared at Jackson, his eyes raking over the big man. “I thank you for that lie. I know it came at great personal cost to you.”
“I have no wish to hurt anyone here at Holcombe, Wallace.” Jackson swallowed. “You are Will’s family, and as I am sworn to him, I am sworn to you all, though some may not want or care for it.”
Wallace stood, stepped to Jackson, threw his arms around him, and held him in a tight grip. Jackson stiffened, then relaxed, and put his arms around Wallace to return the embrace. “And I to you, Jackson. I’ve never seen my brother happier. Never. He glows with his love for you, and I believe in your love for him.” Then he let Jackson go.
“Your father has sent Will away. Back to Baymore. We leave in the morn.” He went to the door. “Please give Lady Ellen our farewell.”
“Jackson. Before you go. About Will.”
“Watch him. If he slips into malady or melancholy, you must take care. I fear for his life.” Wallace’s concern was echoed in his blue eyes, so similar to the pair Jackson loved.
“I will watch for it, rest assured.” He nodded.
“Fair well, Jackson. Tell Will I love him. Nothing will ever change that. I can’t offer hope for our father’s forgiveness, but I’ll set myself to that goal. Trust me.”
“I do, and I pray one day, Will and his father will be reconciled.”
With that Jackson left and returned to Will’s room.
“Will. Open the door.”
There was no sound. Jackson lifted the latch and pushed the door open. Will sat on a chair near the hearth staring into the fire. His bags lay open, clothes strewn about them as if he’d begun to pack and then given up.
“Let the servants do that in the morn.” Jackson went to Will and kneeled beside him. He put his hand over Will’s hand. “Come to bed, my lord. You need your rest. It will be a long ride back to Baymore, and we must start out early.”
“Like thieves running away in the night.” Will nodded and rose. “At least we aren’t running from the noose.”
Jackson took him by the arm and led him to the bed. After undressing him, and putting him between the covers, Jackson sat in the chair to wait until Will fell asleep.
For a very long time, Will lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, his hands limp at his sides. At last, he rolled over and closed his eyes. Jackson waited another hour until Will’s breathing became regular and steady, then he left to the stables to order their horses ready in the morn.
That done, he returned to Will’s room, pulled off his boots, and crawled onto the bed next to Will. They spent the rest of the night, Will in restless sleep, and Jackson in deep contemplation.
As they return to Baymore, Jackson worries about Will’s mental state…
Will rode silently beside his lover at the front of the small band of men. They had made good time, trotting their horses down the better part of the road home. When at last they came to the lower lands, and the road turned muddy with the many small streams that crossed it they slowed their horses to a plod.
“It will be good to see Baymore again,” Jackson said. Will glanced at him and could not help a broad smile from spreading across his face. The big man had always brought him happiness, even during those dark days when they’d first met—Will had lay broken and ill on a rickety cot as Jackson tended him. At the time, Will had wanted nothing more than for Jackson to stay with him forever.
Those dreams had come true. He had Jackson. Jackson’s dreams had come true. He had Baymore and a title. Will sighed. This turn of events with his father, though bad, wasn’t as terrible as it could have been, and for that small mercy, he was grateful.
Grateful for the man who rode beside him. Will looked about him, judging where they were on their journey. Until that point, he’d ridden along, unaware of the road or their progress, just his body’s rocking in the saddle and his horse beneath him. By the countryside around them, he could tell they had crossed into Baymore lands and would be home by dark.
Grateful for Baymore’s holdings. A fine castle, several good villages, and rich, abundant fields. People who had been quick to forget Hugh and Morris’s ill treatment, and to embrace their new duke.
Will straightened in the saddle as a single determined thought made its home in his mind and settled there.
As long as he had Jackson, he was the most fortunate man to take breath. With Jackson’s love and steadying presence, Will had all he’d ever wished for and that was enough. As long as Jackson rode beside him, let Will stand at his right side, Will could live without his father’s good will and love.
“Aye. I long for the comfort of my own bed.” Will flicked his gaze to Jackson’s and smiled.
“Do you?” Jackson’s brow rose.
“Oh aye. A warm bed, a good meal. Not that I didn’t enjoy Lady Ellen’s pastries,” Will was quick to add. “But there is something about the cooking in your own home.”
“I know what you mean, my lord. For the last few miles, I have been thinking about that venison stew our cook makes. The one with the small tender onions and sweet carrots.” Jackson rubbed his belly and licked his lips. “And you? What do you crave?”
“Only one thing, Your Grace.”
“And that is?” Jackson cocked a single eyebrow.
“Your Grace,” Will drawled as he stared straight ahead.
Jackson felt the heat rise in his face, and a matching heat filled his loins. Part of him was eased by this banter from Will, but Jackson still watched his lover, wary for any signs of the dreaded melancholy that sometimes overtook him. When that happened, Will would sit for hours, silent and brooding. He would do nothing but stare at the fire burning in the hearth, or he’d stand at the top of the walls, gazing off into the distance as if waiting for something or someone who never arrived.
It was even worse those rare times when Will took to his bed and refused to rise. Will’s bouts seemed to worsen during the dark gray days of winter, when there was little to entertain them, and the ice and snow locked them inside the keep. But now, in the spring, Will’s spirits soared like a falcon on the wind, and he was glorious. Truly a creature of outstanding beauty and grace.
And Will was all Jackson’s. To have at his right side, to take in his arms and in his bed, to love as he’d never loved anyone in his life.
“Once we arrive, filling your desire will be my only task,” Jackson said under his breath so only his lover could hear.
“I will hold you to that, Your Grace.” Will gave him a nod and a quick wink.
Jackson groaned as his cock swelled in his breeches, trapped, and for now, unrelieved of its ache.
Even back then, people had some inkling of mental illness. Perhaps not enough to know the technical names we give it, but enough to know it’s signs. I can’t imagine having such an illness as depression and having to live with it in those circumstances. It’s both Will and Jackson’s love and patience, and that of Will’s family, that helps them survive just the everyday.
And I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your blog!
VP: I love a good historical romance, so I can’t wait to get started!
Meet the author:
Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and best-selling author of over 30 gay romances. She lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1496392.Lynn_Lorenz
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods
Tour Dates & Stops:
19-Nov: Molly Lolly
Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of any book from any of Lynn’s series