Winter’s Knight by H.J. Raine & Kelly Wyre

Lucian shoved aside prickly hedge branches and walked into a small clearing. A large oak stood on the far side, and the topiary blocked the breeze on three sides and opened onto a view of the golf course. A stone bench stood between the tree and Lucian, and Shea sat hunched forward on it, the amber light of a cigarette glowing between bare fingers.


Approaching carefully so he didn’t slip on the slick pavers, Lucian counted the handful of stars above the halogen glow of the lights over the fifteenth hole. He blew fog in a long sigh and sat next to Shea, who said nothing. Lucian shivered, the chill of the bench seeping through to numb ass and legs. He inched closer to Shea, who glanced at Lucian with the same unfamiliar, unreadable mask Lucian’d seen Shea don at Leaf.


“Thought you quit,” Lucian whispered, not wanting to disturb the peace with real volume. He plucked the cig from Shea’s grasp and sucked a sweet, deep drag of nicotine nirvana.


“Never knew you’d started,” Shea said, bemusement replacing the empty expression.


Smoke swirled, and Lucian crossed his legs toward Shea. Their shoulders brushed, and Lucian thrilled at how this casual touch out of a million others was different. “One does all sorts of things in the name of self-management.”


“Yup.” Shea stole the cigarette back, thick fingers brushing Lucian’s slender ones, and the coal glowed bright before he slumped, running one hand through his hair. “All kindsa things. Rubbin’ worry stones, chewin’ on pencil stubs, rerollin’ fag ends, drinkin’ tequila by the case, heck… studyin’ applied mathematics and game theory, somethin’ big enough to make my brain beg for mercy.”


Lucian nodded in the seconds it took to follow all the examples and find Shea’s train of thought. There were usually several running on tracks that didn’t necessarily converge. “Find anything that worked to keep you in line?” he asked.


“Buryin’ the thought six feet deep and runnin’ over the grave site with a John Deere 6D, but you… it’s… oh Lord.” Shea took another drag and ground the stub out under his heel. “You were nice to me in there. It’s fuckin’ frightenin’.”


“I hope it’s not such a change,” Lucian muttered, still deciphering Shea Speak. He didn’t dare hope that Shea’s nebulous references to needing distraction from something impossible that Shea wanted had anything to do with him. Lucian’s ego liked the idea, but his better sense and experience scoffed. After all, what in the world could Lucian provide that no one else could for Shea?


And he denied the calm voice in the back of his mind that pointed out that if Shea was Lucian’s reason for living, the reverse wasn’t entirely impossible. It also said something about the fact that if Lucian had kept his feelings to himself for years, the only other person alive who might be as skilled at doing that would be Shea. Lucian wished Shea hadn’t stubbed out the cigarette.


“You whispering to me is a helluva change,” Shea drawled. “Especially when we used to shout insults across the Debate Team floor, or get by Mr. Miller’s club restrictions with a low mutter of name calling while playing speed chess, or, I still remember the time we were in that fuckin’ City-wide Spelling Bee.” Lucian chuckled, and Shea joined in. “The looks during the final round when we had to screw up twice to be called out. We went eight rounds with all the other kids’ parents wantin’ to kill us both, and, God, how they screamed when you decided you weren’t going for State after you won. I’ll remember how to spell ‘promiscuous’ and ‘sacrilegious’ to the end of my days.”


Lucian laughed outright. “As will I.” His hand moved in slow motion, stroked the rough nap of Shea’s jacket sleeve. “As will I,” he repeated, so quietly that there was barely a tendril of breath as evidence.


Shea shivered. “You like this…” He shook his head in disbelief. “I’ve seen you pull this act with so many others, shining every lumen of your attention on them so that they catch fire for you and only you. It’s like watching a cold winter star gleaming bright, and everyone gathering to the miracle.”


Lucian didn’t answer, unsure of what to say or what any of this meant or if the meaning mattered as much as the saying. Shea didn’t sound beleaguered like he often did when recounting their childhood rivalries, and he didn’t sound accusatory like he usually did when talking about Lucian’s conquests. Irritated, exasperated, maybe a hint of jealous — those were all normal emotions in the course of this kind of conversation.


Instead, Shea sounded small, confused, maybe lost. Like a man who woke up from a dream in a stranger’s bed and was both terrified and thrilled to be there. Lucian wanted the good and none of the bad, and with his heart thudding in his chest, he shifted until he was pressed against Shea, thigh to shoulder. “Keep speaking like this, and I’m going to start thinking the idea of you and me isn’t new to you, either, sweet Shea.”


“And if you keep saying that damned nickname without the condescension, I’ll…” Shea swallowed.


“Let me touch you more than I am, perhaps?” Lucian asked in his lowest, silkiest voice. His cock stirred, and desire drowned most of his higher brain functions. Lucian leaned until he could smell Shea’s aftershave. “I can be slow for you.” Lucian paused. “I could be many things for you that I’m normally not.” The click of Shea’s throat was audible. “So maybe you’ll let me start with your hair?”


“M-my hair?” Shea stammered.


Lucian recognized the effort for equilibrium and enjoyed that Shea had to try and find it. “Yes. I’d love to know what it feels like.”


“Oh. I keep forgetting to cut it, and the boys give me shit about that, but…” Shea tilted toward Lucian. “Sure? Go ahead.”


“Thank you,” Lucian said and stood so fast that Shea started to tip and righted himself.




Lucian nudged Shea’s knees wider and stepped between them, his waist level with Shea’s head. When Shea started to draw away, Lucian chose that moment to slide all ten fingers from Shea’s cheeks to temples and into thick curls. Shea gasped, broad chest arching and eyes widening.




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Kelly Wyre & H.J. Raine- The New Deal

At the time of this post, the links were not active to the book. No cover available at this time.


Rough denim rubbed against Maxwell Clark’s lips, and he mouthed the hardening cock he could feel beneath the fabric. Clark kept his hands behind his back at his lover’s instruction, grip digging into the flesh above his elbows. Fingers raked through Clark’s hair and tightened in warning. The professor didn’t actually say stop, however, and Clark dragged teeth along the thick line straining the front of Daniel Germain’s jeans.

Buttons popped and clattered to the floor as Daniel ripped open his dress shirt. “Damnit, Clark, when I asked you to wait for me on your knees, this isn’t quite what I had in mind.”

Clark chuckled, and Daniel groaned as Clark dug deeper, the jeans growing damp. Daniel tugged again at Clark’s hair, twisting just the way Clark liked. “Though I do love your sense of initiative,” Daniel murmured, and he let go of Clark to rip apart his cuffs.

“Just keeping myself occupied in full service capacity, Sir,” Clark said around a smile, while Daniel impatiently shrugged out of confining work clothes. Clark had lost his shirt, shoes, and socks on the way up the stairs after the dinner that had led to a brief negotiation of the games that would serve as a damned fine dessert. He expected his pants would follow in short order, and impatience swirled beneath the knowledge of protocols to observe and procedures to follow. Daniel didn’t like to wander too far from the outlined beating path.

Still, it didn’t hurt to hurry some of the details along, and Daniel wasn’t exactly complaining. Clark caught the tongue of Daniel’s belt between his teeth and yanked it to the side to undo it. Warm hands fell to Clark’s shoulders, and Daniel’s legs spread for balance. “You do have a talented mouth, love,” Daniel said. “Finish and then stand for me.”




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Kelly Wyre & H.J. Raine-Excerpt: Shot in the Dark

Situated conspicuously under a spotlight in almost the dead center of the room was a man in a floor-length dark duster and a hat. A black cowboy hat, in fact, with silver banding that caught the light. Ellis whistled to himself in astonishment and admiration, and dodged his way across the busy floor.


Clark had his back to Ellis and was shaking hands with a man in a waistcoat and slacks. “Yeah, I know, I know,” Clark was saying, turning. “Meeting somebody.”


“Lucky kid,” the man remarked. Clark laughed, caught sight of Ellis, and his expression changed into predatory recognition. Beneath the long coat, Clark wore a pair of black pants with a dull sheen that were so snug they left absolutely nothing to the imagination. They were tucked into combat boots that came up to mid-calf. He wore a chain belt with a huge silver buckle, and his upper torso was bare except for a black harness with flat silver studs that criss-crossed his sternum.


“Enjoy,” the man said, and Clark clapped him on the shoulder before strolling to Ellis in long strides.


Ellis considered falling on his knees right then and there. “Sarge,” he said, instead, and couldn’t help but compare Clark’s splendor to his own camo pants, dress boots, and t-shirt. “I…. wow…”


“Was just thinking the same thing,” Clark replied, eying Ellis from face to feet and back again. He tipped the brim of his hat with a boyish grin. “Howdy?”


Ellis smiled, instantly put at ease by Clark, even in these surroundings. “Hey. Yeah. You do that right.” Ellis sighed happily. “And look better’n I’d ever dreamed with that harness thing.” He reached out and hesitated just before touching one black leather strap.


“Thank you.” Clark caught Ellis’ hand, squeezed it, and lowered it without letting go. “Still up for this?”


Ellis met Clark’s eyes. “Yes, Sarge. Want it bad.”




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Kelly Wyre & H.J. Raine bring us: Excerpt: Hearts Under Fire

Gay? Clark blinked. Of course Clark was gay. The bartender went still for a moment — a leftover from training that taught him that moving when confused or startled could get one killed. He replayed the conversation, forced the bullshit bits about his eye and the past away from his thoughts, and finally caught up to the rumor business.

Under normal circumstances, Clark thought he might be more upset that somebody got him off his game — even for a split second or two. But some weird additional heat was mixing in with the desire to get this man alone in a dark room and learn what his skin tasted like.

“Oh? Do you?” Clark said as he leaned back in and brushed his thumb over the back Daniel’s right hand. “I’ve acquired a taste for it myself.”

“Have you, now?” Daniel asked. He caught the wandering hand with his left and tried to turn it over. The lightness of Clark’s skin against the darkness of Daniel’s hand fascinated Clark, and want stirred in Clark’s bloodstream and groin like some grinning cat poised over a cornered mouse. Clark hummed and pressed his thumb into Daniel’s palm for a light squeeze with a hint of very short nail. Clark relented and let the other man move his hand as he liked.

“I guess I’ve had a taste for it ever since I remember,” Daniel said. He spread Clark’s fingers on the bar and traced the life and health lines as if divining things from Clark’s skin. “That is part of my trepidation over the wedding. They’ve never physically beaten me up about it, just tried to get me to date more girls.”

Clark found it was harder than it had any right to be for him to follow Daniel’s words instead of the trails of fire igniting on Clark’s skin. Mentally, he chastised himself for getting so worked up. Then he chastised himself for chastising himself over feeling something good.

Truly, it was one long game of punch-for-punch in Clark’s head sometimes.

“‘More girls?'” Clark repeated, refusing to look away from Daniel’s face. He relaxed his arm and hand with effort. “Implying there were girls to season your taste early on?”

“Mmhm,” Daniel hummed, brushing his thumbnail against the Mound of Mars under Clark’s thumb. “Beauty is still beauty, as are intelligence and courage. Though I admit that my aunt was just beside herself when I was dating a girl who was graduating summa cum laude.”

“I’m sure,” Clark agreed, grateful for the new information to distract him from the urge to full-body flinch from the casual touches. Calculating, he rolled his fingers and stroked the underside of Daniel’s wrist. “I’m sure they’ll all be glad to see you. Sounds like the kind of family that wants you to be happy above all else.” Touch, drag, press of fingertip, and Clark’s heart beat faster.

Daniel squeezed Clark’s hand and released him. “I don’t know about happy, but they’re always there when I need them. That’s a good thing.”

Clark watched Daniel grab the beer and empty it with one last, long pull. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, struggling with an internal wrestling match that started when Daniel let go of him. He instantly regretted the loss of contact and chided himself for it. It wasn’t sudden, so Clark didn’t think he’d offended. But something was off.

“Having that kind of support is rarely a bad thing,” Clark commented, trying to sort through the Daniel-flavored consternation.

“Indeed,” Daniel said, finishing the sandwich. The furrow was back between Daniel’s brows, and Clark shook his head, bemused, before reaching to cover Daniel’s entire hand with his own.

Giving an affectionate squeeze, Clark leaned closer, playful again. “You’re thinking hard enough to make my head hurt.”

Daniel blinked and then laughed, the smile reaching the corners of his eyes. The effect took Clark’s breath away.




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Torquere Author: H.J. Raine

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, H.J. Raine, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’m a ex-electrical and computer engineer, I’ve also done technical marketing, creating specifications from customer negotiations. I retired five years ago at age 43. I am bi-sexual and have a partner and a child now, and am very content.

What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?

The first book Kelly and I got published was Hearts Under Fire and it took us three weeks to write it the first time, but then took us another four months to edit it into good enough shape for Torquere to accept it.

When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?

I started in 1989, for soc.motss and the old Usenet bondage groups. Part of the reason was because I had a lot of gay male friends that liked what I wrote back then, and it was cool to find out that they wanted romances, too. Stories about finding someone to love and be loved by was so universal, and it didn’t hurt to have hot sex as well, but they weren’t finding stuff in their genre that they liked. So I just wrote in my spare time back then. My career took off, and I stopped writing, and I picked it up again in 2008, under the guise of fanfiction to begin with, but then Kelly recruited me and we started playing around and figured out we had a book.

How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?

I guess… this go around, it took three years in a way for me to get up enough courage to submit something for publication. It was easier with Kelly as a partner, but it took that long to think I was good enough to submit something. We’ve now written and published the two books, there’s another book we’ve written together that we’ll be submitting later this year. And three books in the plotting/planning stages that we’ll get to as our lives permit, and which came from one “book” that both of us have realized just wouldn’t work as written. I have one book in the works of my own, but it’s not entirely written, yet.

If I count one novel-length fanfiction, then that would be five books I’ve written from start to end.

Do you write full time?

Part time, really, as I’m a parent, too, and that’s a lot of work. A lot of good, joyful, fulfilling work, but it takes time from the writing.

Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?

I’ve always written. I have journals from when I was six… just barely able to create letters, and I was writing stories. I have an online journal that spans back to the mid-80’s, and I had a following from that of several hundred readers even before blogging was a word. So in a way I suspect writing had always chosen me. I just had to balance priorities until I had the time to pay it enough attention.

On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?

My home partner gets up at 7 to get the child going and makes the lunch and gets things going. I get up around 7:30 to walk with them to the bus stop and greet the neighbors and other kids. Then we walk back home after the child is off. I then sit down, and usually get online, on headsets with Kelly, and we talk about the plan for the day and get going. The tasks vary, but usually we write until about 1 or 2pm Mountain time, and then go off to do something physical to offset the computer time. My partner and I then get the child at about 4, do homework, dinner, and evening time together, and after the child’s in bed, I often work on something or talk with Kelly and we work on something together.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Both, now. With Kelly we edit as we go. I prefer doing a first draft completely and then going back to revise, unless I get stuck due to a plot point or characterization gone wrong. I usually figure out I did something wrong when I feel ANGRY about the writing, and if I go back and fix it, everything smooths itself out. I find that it’s much easier to keep going if I fix a major plot flaw.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I like having compass headings for a plot. Usually the major points are laid down and the freedom comes in figuring out how to get “there”. Every scene has to have a point, a solid transition for the character and where the whole plot is headed; but the precise imagery, symbols, actions, or setting is something that happens while we write it.

What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?

I try to minimize my research beforehand. Research is one of my pitfalls, in that I can get so immersed in the research that I lose why I’m doing it, and just revel in the mounds of information I’m getting. It’s one of my delay tactics to say, “Oh, I’ll start this AFTER I understand this mountain of stuff…” So I try, now, to delay the research until I have something specific that I know I don’t know and want to know better. Like in “Swing Shift”, I suddenly realized I had no idea as to the exact sorts of hours people on a swing shift or night shift actually had, so when I needed to know when Anthony or Ed’s shifts were over, I did the research then. I think the real gift is knowing what I don’t know, and then I look into it.

How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?

Strictly speaking, none of my characters would exist without me. So they’re all a manifestation of me, my blind spots, my tendencies, my views of the world. I try, however, to make them each themselves. None of the characters in the books has been an actual engineer, yet, and certainly no one has been someone on a Director’s Staff trying to manage projects with hundreds of engineers involved. *laughs* It would make for a boring romance, really, as there would be no time. But I’ll admit that I borrow mannerisms from friends, family, and myself, here and there. I take details from my life to fill in the gaps, usually.

Kelly and I do a full on character sheet to start, usually with major elements of history, their physical characteristics, and some of their characterizations. We start with that, and usually write some sort of sex scene between the two major characters as a way of discovering them in motion. Every human being approaches sex differently, with different hangups, different likes, dislikes, experiences, and communication styles. In the intimacy of the bedroom, everyone is stripped down in more than one sense, emotionally as well as physically, and down to their most primitive means of decision making. We do our best to discover each individual characters’ ways and means towards life through those little experiments. Few of those are publishable, but the exploration makes us both happier with who it is we have.

I think the line is the definition of the character. Who are they? What makes them up? If there’s something that can be borrowed from my life to make them more solid in the ways they interact, then they get it.

How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?

Now it takes Kelly and I about two months from the moment we actually start putting words down for a book and when we finish the last editing pass. This isn’t counting everywhere from two weeks to two years of thinking or talking about plot bones and characters while we’re contemplating a book. We revise as we go, especially when something isn’t “going right” or one of us gets frustrated with the book, it’s usually a sign that we did something wrong, so we have to fix that before we can keep going.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

Yes. Usually it’s because I’m too wrung out from other things to be able to put two words together anymore. I rest. Take it easy for a while, go into what I call “input mode” and start reading other things that I want to read. There’s usually a pile from when we’re working so hard. I also paint, and it’s nice to go completely nonverbal for a while. Or if there’s a deadline involved and I have to write anyway, I will go for a walk around the neighborhood, and when I come back I just put one word after the other, and get through it that way.

When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?

“Romance is for everyone.” I hope they get hope from it and an understanding that even when it’s rough or tough or seems impossible, that working out a good relationship with another human being is always doable. That’s the core of it. Other things I’d consider icing would be someone learning a bit more about BDSM that was afraid of it, or “courage is going ahead and doing it even if you are afraid”, or “your ethics and choices matter”.

Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?

1. Editors are there to make the writing more itself, to sharpen the words and the story until they do exactly what they’re supposed to do. They’re the best ally you can get.
2. Understand why you want to publish before you do, so you know when it’s done if you did what you really wanted to do with the work and time and effort you put into your book. And there are so many options now on publishing that it’s important to understand the business of it before you take your manuscript somewhere.
3. Write some every day, even when you don’t feel like it. A little progress every day is the only way to get to the end of the book.

Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?

Usually it’s near the beginning, as a book has to have a purpose, a goal at the start, or else I never know when I’m done. I can’t get “there” unless I know where “there” is, so I usually have a title to start.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

I have a horrible time laughing at other people or their misfortunes. I am, however, good with absurdity and where the boundaries go sideways, and I laugh in joy at courage rewarded. I love puns, riddles, Monty Python, One Piece, Robin Williams, Ku-fu Panda, Jackie Chan, and Terry Pratchett.

What is the most frequently asked H.J. Raine question?

How do you work with someone else when writing a novel?

What are you working on now?

Joe and Asher, the next book in the New Amsterdam series and two more books in the New Amsterdam series plus the Clark and Daniel short story. A three-book series with completely different characters with Kelly in my SF world of the near-future, along with five in-progress short stories in that world. My own book in that world. *eyes all that* Uhm. Right.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?

Ignore anyone that says you can’t create until you’ve found yourself. You’ll find yourself in the creating. And I think that every time I write a story I learn more about myself and about what it is that makes me tick. Includes writing Shea and thinking that his pain and confusion over past Scenes gone wrong was just him, as a character, and suddenly unearthing some long-buried emotions from my past, real anger and hurt that I had to deal with in some other way.

When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?

I’m doing this! *laughs* I’ve hosted Torquere’s blogs, created blogs, opened a Facebook account, and done my best to connect with other authors. I’m writing, now and again, for Crystal’s Picture Thursdays, and will probably do more of that.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?

It is a lifestyle. Even when I’m not at the keyboard, I’m always thinking about the characters or their stories and how they might be better, or more solid, or more them. One of the things I consciously do is Get Out, away from the desk, live a little, to feed the writing. Everything from going out putt-putt golfing to skydiving to working construction in the Gulf, all seems to feed the ideas and experiences I can bring to readers.

What kind of books do you like to read?

I like ones that have resolved endings. Happy or sad, tragic or comic, they have to be complete. Be they mysteries, science fiction, war stories, romances, manga, science journals, young adult fiction, fantasy, action adventure, or any other genre. I’m not into despair, really.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

*laughs* I still think of myself as an engineer, really, and have a on-going consulting business more geared toward helping the computer-phobic to deal with their fears. I have also been making money at painting, fiber arts (mostly spinning and knitting), gardening, and mild construction work (finishing, roofing, etc).

Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?

Everywhere. A song on the elevator, a dream, a meeting with the “Safe Schools Coalition”, my child’s stories for the day, my partner’s musings on the world, and, of course, my co-author comes up with lovely sparkling new ideas every single day. The two of us, when we just talk about things, come up with a fountain of ideas and the hard part is figuring out which of them will work.

When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?

I love Torquere’s cover process, they send us this lovely long list of questions and we fill them all out and they come up with something, visually, that fits the information! The more we can give them the closer, I think, they can get to what we wanted. I’m amused that the only thing I ever felt was wrong with a cover was Daniel having a mustache on Hearts Under Fire… *laughs* His build, expression, and even body language was *perfect*… so it was such a minor thing.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Reading, gardening (mostly for food), fencing (both European and Kendo), spinning, knitting (especially color work and cables and lace and socks!), traveling, construction (usually rebuilding houses destroyed by the elements, but I love caulking and finishing work as well as, of all things, roof work), learning from the child, cooking, and I’m in the midst of the throes of preparing a bee hive.

I just did a skydiving tandem jump, and am still debating if I want to do it any more than I do river rafting (which I like, but do like once ever two or three years). I love doing a lot of things once in a while…

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

Winter’s Knight just came out on April 11th. We’ll be doing more short stories and novels soon. There’s a lovely short story where Daniel keeps his promise to Clark, the hard way, coming soon.

New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?

Just keep writing. I’ve now gone through more than a million and a half words, and it’s only getting better. Someone once asked Neil Gaiman if they should be writing 1000 or 2000 words a day or if 200 might be enough, and he said that Coraline took twelve years to write, which ended up being seven words a day. The other piece of advice is that there never is enough time: you have to make the time if you want to write.

What future projects do you have in the works?

We have three more books in the New Amsterdam series set up and ready to go. We have three books in a new series that we really want to get to, and there are plotlines for most of those.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

I’m most active on the livejournal, and it mirrors to Facebook pretty solidly.

Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?

Of course!

Hearts Under Fire
The New Deal
Winter’s Knight

Also, we really enjoy our extras & side stories:
Hearts Under Fire Extra
Winter’s Knight Extra
Side Story, The Proposal Part I
The Proposal Part II
Side Story, Deathwish

Winter’s Knight by Kelly Wyre, H.J. Raine

Title: Winter’s Knight
Author: Kelly Wyre, H.J. Raine
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 185
Characters: Lucian Gray, Sheldon (Shea) Ollivander
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, BDSM
Kisses: 5


As the son of the infamous New Amsterdam city mayor, Lucian learned at an early age that power is king, love is for the weak, and a real man never has a use for tears or mercy. The only source of light in Lucian’s formative years is Shea Ollivander, who gives Lucian the impetus to break free from his father’s rule and leave the city. Shea is never far from Lucian’s side, a friend and companion.

But after a lover dies despite Lucian’s best efforts, Lucian returns home with a new purpose: build an empire of resources and men to destroy the sources of darkness that steal lives and souls. Shea’s back in the city, too, and when three long years pass without contact, Lucian realizes he can’t live without telling the man he loves that Shea is Lucian’s only solace and reason for living.

When the inclusion of Shea in Lucian’s life leads to a horrifying discovery of pain and suffering at the hands of the very evil Lucian wishes to annihilate, the prince of the underground realm must set his sights on a path of bloody vengeance to save his newfound lover from certain destruction.


Wow! This is the second book I’ve read by this writing team and I have to confess, I’ve become addicted to this series and their storytelling abilities. Not only did Winter’s Knight grab my undivided attention from the first page, I was enthralled by Lucian and Shea’s story throughout the novel. I loved the sizzling chemistry between them and thoroughly enjoyed their story. Since I believe the blurb does an excellent job at describing the story itself, I’ve decided not to rehash it. Plus, there are some interesting twists in the story itself that I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll tread lightly with my review.

One of the reasons why I read romance is: I love to watch the relationship between the two main characters grow and thrive into something special. I admit, if there isn’t that special spark between the two heroes; I feel more than a little let down. This is not an issue with this book. Not only does Winter’s Knight have a well-written plot, it is a character driven novel that was extremely easy for me to get lost within these peoples’ lives. After a three year hiatus, Lucian and Shea reunite, and the deep attraction and intensity of emotions that radiated between the couple are clearly the driving force of this book. There was not one single moment that I didn’t believe in Lucian and Shea’s feelings or attraction for each other. Also, both men are very flawed and realistically written characters that I couldn’t help but love. In my opinion, they were two halves that made a perfect whole and I loved every moment they were in the book together.

Also, the sex scenes in this book were intense and beautifully written. Whew! The sex between them was so hot; I had to keep a big glass of ice water beside me to keep myself cooled down! Once again the intensity of emotion and attraction between the heroes was apparent with every touch with said and unsaid words between them. I loved watching Lucien and Shea’s relationship evolve both in and out of bedroom.

Between the amazing characters and the nail-biting storyline, Winter’s Knight is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. It’s earned a firm spot on my keeper shelf and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Although Winter’s Knight is the second book in the New Amsterdam series, it is written well enough to be read as a stand-alone book. But because this is a wonderful series with strong characters whose lives are intertwined together throughout both books, I do recommend that the books are read in series order. Since I believe both books in the series so far are fantastic reads, I know you won’t be sorry if you give them a try. I’m looking forward to reading more from these authors and will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. Highly Recommended!

Here are the New Amsterdam books in series order:

Hearts Under Fire

Winter’s Knight

Reviewed By: Gabbi


Torquere Author Interviews and Reviews

I’m very excited to announce that Top2Bottom will be spotlighting authors from Torquere Press beginning with Sean Michael on the 11th of June. We will have not only reviews of their chosen stories but interviews too! This is very exciting for us and I hope you’ll come daily to see the new author we will have under the hot lights.