A Tryst of Fate came from my Muse as an unexpected bonus. I'm a pantser and offered to contribute a novella to Noble Romance Publishing's Timeless Desire collection. I started writing A Tryst of Fate and the story took on a life of its own and grew into a full-length novel. I had just finished writing Lord & Master a historical M/M BDSM novel set in 1775 and had enjoyed 'living' in the Georgian era. My Muse gave me the idea to send an American from 2012 back in time to 1775 to meet the man of his dreams. Before I knew what was happening out popped Colt Daniels, a millionaire art dealer with a crush on a portrait of a lord. I made Colt the complete opposite of what was considered 'normal' in that time. Colt Daniels — six-five , built like a linebacker and gay. I had so much fun writing about his exploits in 1775. Of course, as usual my plots end up as tender love stories. The novella I finally wrote for the Timeless Desire Collection was a contemporary M/M BDSM Time to Live.
After inheriting a Georgian house in Berkley Square, London, Colt Daniels, millionaire art dealer, finds himself obsessed by a portrait of the home's former owner, Lord Alexander Swift.
During a conversation with author, Jake Williams, Colt discovers Lord Swift and his cousin had mysteriously disappeared from the cellar one evening, shortly after Alexander's illicit affair with the rogue, David Fitzhugh. Jake reveals Colt bears a remarkable resemblance to Fitzhugh.
Colt decides to investigate Alexander's strange disappearance and ventures into his cellar late one night to look for a secret passageway. When his flashlight fails, Colt finds himself transported back in time to 1775 and there he comes face to face with the man of his dreams— Lord Alexander Swift.
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Colt Daniels lifted his bidder's card. "Thirty thousand."
"The bid is thirty thousand pounds. Come now, ladies and gentlemen, this portrait of Lord Alexander Swift by Benjamin West is dated 1775 and is in extraordinarily fine condition." The auctioneer at Sotheby's surveyed the silent crowd with a critical gaze.
Taking a casual pose, Colt flicked his gaze to the opposing bidder. The man in the slick Italian business suit met his gaze with a slow smile. Colt lifted his chin and stared at the painting. From the moment he had laid eyes on the portrait of the handsome young man in the Sotheby's catalogue, he had wanted to buy the painting. Lord Alexander Swift's troubled gaze held a distant loneliness, as if reaching out to Colt across the centuries.
A strange twist of fate had brought him to London in the form of an inheritance on his thirtieth birthday… A distant relative had bequeathed him the townhouse once owned by Lord Swift in Berkeley Square. Over the past year, he had restored the house to its former glory and now he required this painting to complete the task. During the years Lord Swift had owned the property, the painting had hung at the top of the stairs, facing the front door. For some unexplained reason, Colt had a compelling desire to finish the house by restoring the painting to its original position, in time for the anniversary of Alexander's death on June fourth.
"Forty thousand." The man in the suit lifted his bidder's card.
Colt sighed. With his fortune to back him and the prestige of being the owner of some of the most famous galleries around the world, he rarely had people bid against him for very long. They should know better. If Colt Daniels wanted a painting, Colt Daniels would go to any price to secure a purchase. He cleared his throat. "Seventy thousand pounds." He shot the opposing bidder a cold stare.
After the usual pause, the hammer came down and Colt moved to the clerk to settle the account. "Have it shipped to 42 Berkeley Square, Mayfair." He turned and strolled back to the painting to gaze at Alexander.
Warmth pooled around Colt's heart. He reached out to touch the man's pale cheeks, tracing a finger over the long blond curls, tied back in a queue. The young man appeared to be about eighteen in the portrait, slight of build with delicate features, yet Colt's research revealed West had completed the portrait on Swift's twenty-fifth birthday, the day he had inherited great wealth and lands from his father. Colt rubbed his chin. One would think His Lordship should be overjoyed on such an occasion, and yet Alexander's blue gaze followed him with heart-wrenching sadness.
"West has captured the essence of his subject, don't you think?"
Colt turned to see Business Suit gazing at him with a friendly smile. "Essence?"
"My name is Jake Williams. You may have heard of me?" replied Business Suit in a cultured Boston accent.
"Can't say that I have, sorry."
"Ah—so you don't know about the letters." Jake Williams inclined his head toward the portrait. "The love letters between Alexander and the Honorable David Fitzhugh. In a time when the crime of sodomy held the death penalty, to write love letters to a man… my God, can you imagine the implications?"
Colt straightened his shoulders. "You have these letters?"
"I most certainly do! Copies of the original documents are in my book, The Gay Lords." Jake took a card from his jacket and gave it to Colt. "I know you're restoring Alexander's house; perhaps we could meet over lunch and I'll give you the details I didn't put into print."
In truth, Colt craved information about Alexander. Living in the young lord's house and seeing each room as if through Alexander's eyes, Swift had become his obsession. With a laugh, he met Jake's hazel eyes. "I'm free now."
"Great, how about having lunch at The Square? It's a great restaurant." Jake smiled. "We can walk from here."
"Sure." Colt followed him out of the foyer into the busy street and they turned in the direction of Bruton Street. "So how did you come by the letters?"
"I bought them, along with a few other sundry items, at an auction—in Boston, of all places!" Jake fell into step beside Colt. "At first I thought they were written by a woman until I researched the names. Most of them begin with 'my love' or 'my dearest', so until I took note of the addressee… well, what a bombshell."
"How did the letters end up in the States?"
"I believe, due to the anti-sodomite movement at the time, Fitzhugh took flight to America." Jake sighed. "Of course, there is no proof he fled England under suspicion of sodomy. Nothing I researched points to him having a gay lover during his life. I do know he joined the colonists in the War of Independence and died in Boston in 1790." He stopped outside a bookstore. "Look, I'll grab a copy of my book. You must see the portrait of David Fitzhugh."
Colt stared into the shop window, his gaze not focusing on any item. His mind reeled. Even in this enlightened world, homophobia caused misery and distrust. He reflected on his own youth. Sure, he had taken his share of beatings from the local thugs, but now at six-five and built like a linebacker, no one crossed him. On the contrary, the beatings and the snide remarks, had made him more resolute to succeed in everything he did. He respected love in all forms. Gay, straight—who the fuck cared as long as that wonderful connection happened between two consenting adults? He almost felt sorry for people who could not see love if it hit them smack in the face. So many refused to recognize or understand that the sweet love between two men, or women for that matter, held the same deep emotion as straight love. Anger welled from deep inside fueled by the oppression he knew Alexander would have endured during his life. Those twisted sons-of-bitches would not have understood how cruel they were to deny the freedom to express love without prejudice.
In Alexander's time, for a gentleman to touch a man's arm or cast a suggestive look could lead to prosecution for sodomy, a hanging offense. God knows, in those days they used the sodomy accusation to destroy many people's lives.
"You gotta see this." Jake thrust a book into Colt's hand. "Kinda spooky, don't you think?"
Colt gazed down at the glossy illustration. A trickle of ice slid down his spine. The portrait of the Honorable David Fitzhugh depicted a tall, muscular man with dark flowing hair—and the royal blue eyes that stared back at him were his own.
Buy link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/coming-soon-c-2/a-tryst-of-fate-ebook-p-744
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