Begins: 19 August 2013
Ends: 23 August 2013
The pot’s warming, the table’s laid with the best china—naturally—and we have a selection of scones and penny-cakes to help celebrate Kim Knox’s new release, AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE HOUSE OF DEATH.
Below you can read an excerpt from Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death, play the TwoChops crossword puzzle game and enter the Rafflecopter for the following prizes.
1. A gold bar brooch/pin from the Bank of England (Safecracking is the only other way to get one. Honest.)
2. Or a Gift Card from the Coffee time eBook Store.
Book one of Agamemnon Frost
Decorated artilleryman Edgar Mason was forced to find new work when the British Empire replaced its foot soldiers with monstrous machines. Now he waits on the Liverpool elite as a personal servant. He has just one rule: he won’t work for fashion-addled dandies.
Agamemnon Frost, however, is far from the foppish man-about-town he appears to be. He’s working to protect the Earth from an alien invasion being planned by a face-changing creature known as Pandarus. And on the night he plans to confront the aliens, he enlists Mason to assist him.
For a man to love a man is a serious crime in Victorian England. But when Mason meets Frost, his heart thunders and his blood catches fire. And when Pandarus drags the two men into the torture cellars beneath his house of death to brainwash them, Mason’s new passion may be all that stands between him and insanity.
The trilogy continues with Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships.
With Frost’s evening clothes and shoes chosen, Mason set out the bowls on the small washstand and opened the shaving kit. He arranged the chair beneath the levered pendant lamp, aware that Frost watched his every movement.
He’d been a footman before he joined the army, and taking up the work again, whilst tiresome, was still bred into his bones. He’d worked for a wealthy merchant in Grassendale Park. A fastidious man with a far too pretty daughter. A daughter who liked to corner Mason on the darkened stairwell and press her slender, white-silk-covered body against his. Penelope. The scent of her skin, the hint of jasmine and lavender, the escaping strand of her blond hair that fell across her pale cheek. It’d been bliss. She’d whisper that her father would never find out if he kissed her…
Mason paused, his fingers delaying on the smooth nap of a towel. He’d been so tempted by her. So tempted, he ran away and took the Queen’s shilling. And Penelope had been out of his thoughts for a long time. Frost had him dragging up every memory.
The light knock broke into his unease. The maid bobbed and handed over a copper pot of hot water. Her gaze strained to see beyond him, no doubt to catch a glimpse of Agamemnon Frost. He thanked her and closed and locked the door.
“Sir, I’m ready.”
Frost settled himself in the chair, the soft light of the gas lamp warming his skin to a golden colour. Mason arranged the towel to protect Frost’s clothes. “May I, sir?” He held up a warm, damp flannel, ready to wet the other man’s skin.
Frost’s gaze held him, that strange, hot golden brown, with its lure of bare skin, hot mouths—
Mason slammed a door shut on his thoughts and focused on the task at hand. Did the man want his throat cut because the one shaving him had his thoughts solely on his dick? He patted the damp flannel across the hard planes of Frost’s jaw, his chin, under his nose, Frost tilting his head to give access to this throat.
“Where will you go from here?”
Mason dipped the shaving brush in a little bowl of warm water and lathered up the white cake of soap. He concentrated. He couldn’t tell Frost to mind his own business. Though he was sorely tempted. “I hope one day to find a permanent situation with a military gentleman.”
He tilted Frost’s head, his fingers light against the heat of his skin. His heart was a solid stone in his chest, his blood on fire. Touching Frost shouldn’t inspire this reaction. Mason watched the lather-filled brush, watched it move in quick, precise strokes across Frost’s jaw, working the soap, softening the day’s bristle growth. And forced himself to believe that it wasn’t his own hand, wasn’t the temptation of Frost’s skin…
“My regular man couldn’t make it.”
Mason laid the brush across its rest. He fixed on his breathing, on keeping the rhythm of his heart slow and steady. In a way, he’d have preferred the dandy, the fashion plate, rather than this enigmatic man who pushed the forbidden into his thoughts. “I’m sorry to hear that, sir.”
“There was an aeolipile accident.”
Mason opened the razor, dipped the blade in the hot water and fixed it securely in his hand. “Sir?”
Frost pressed his lips together and the shining brown of his eyes momentarily faded. They grew dark. “There was nothing that could be done.”
“I’m sorry, sir.” He murmured the platitude when the question he wanted to ask was why had Frost hired another of the machines that had killed his valet and tore up the country to a dinner party? But then Agamemnon Frost was a part of the ruling class. They were always something…different.
Mason turned Frost’s chin and stretched the skin of his jaw. A steady hand started to remove the thick layer of lather below his sideburn. Frost closed his eyes, his breathing even and deep. And with that hot stare gone, Mason’s curiosity got the better of him. He turned the man’s face to start on his other cheek. “Have you visited Sir Randolph before?”
“No. The invitation was unexpected. Though timely.”
To get him out of London and away from the inconvenience of a dead valet. Mason’s fingers tightened around the ebony handle and tang of the blade. He willed himself to lift the razor away from Frost’s throat. “That’s fortunate, sir.”
Frost opened an eye. Light gleamed and his lips twitched. “He was a valued member of my household.”
Mason kept his face impassive. Frost was goading him again. Was his life just one huge game, where he tried to play a man who had a razor to his throat? Was he so bored with the endless rounds of chatter and vice? “Should I continue?”
Frost tilted his head further back, offering himself. “By all means.”
Mason stretched the skin on his throat and pressed the blade over it. More quick and careful work cleared away the bristles and lather. He cleaned the blade a final time and damped down Frost’s skin with a warm, wet flannel.
Frost’s skin glowed wet under the light of the lamp, the carved perfection of his face more evident with the shadow of bristles gone. The need to taste him, to run his tongue over his lips, to see the surprise and heat burn in Frost’s gaze, gripped Mason. He’d never had such a lurch of want in his life. And certainly not so strongly for another man.
Frost’s face dried, Mason poured freshener onto his palm and rubbed them together. He pulled in a breath before he touched the smooth heat of the other man’s skin. Slowly, he teased and rubbed in the balm, enjoying the feel of Frost’s strong jaw, the strength in his neck, his smooth forehead and straight nose. Cream followed, the hints of sandalwood and vanilla making Mason’s heart beat hard.
The final task was Frost’s hair, the soft scent of coconut from the macassar oil clouding Mason’s thoughts. Setting the brush down, he left out a slow breath. It didn’t help. “Finished, sir.” The raw voice was hardly his own. He swallowed and stepped back, rubbing his hands together on a towel.
Frost stroked his jaw. “Nicely done.”
He stood and Mason took another step back. He cursed his stupidity. Frost’s games weren’t getting to him. “Would you like to dress now, sir?”
Frost turned so that he could slip the shaving jacket from his shoulders. “It’s time.”
He disappeared behind the dressing screen. Mason was thankful for it. Watching the man strip clothes from his body would’ve been a torment. He curled his fingers into his palms and welcomed the strain across his knuckles.
“My clothes, Mason.”
Mason scrubbed a hand across his face. He’d brave the cold the next day and find himself a hot and willing body. A female one. All breasts and rounded hips. He yanked his attention back as he accepted Frost’s clothes and handed him his evening dress. He was hanging the trousers in the trunk when Frost stepped out from behind the screen.
“I’ve changed my mind. The red patterned waistcoat, I think.” Frost opened a small box on the dressing table from amongst a selection of similar boxes. Inside was a pair of ruby cufflinks and an unneeded matching cravat pin. “These too.” His smile was sharp. “Shock them with new London fashions.”
Mason helped him to dress, trying to ignore the strong turn of his wrist as he threaded and fixed the cufflinks, the smooth warmth of his throat as he pinned Frost’s shirt collar into place. He didn’t react to anyone—man or woman—like this. With a need to taste skin, to lick a slow line along the edge of his jaw, feel the sudden indrawing of his breath and then to take his mouth. The swell of want he had for Frost surprised—and irritated—him.
“It’s necessary.” Frost tugged at his cuffs as Mason settled his evening jacket across his shoulders. He tucked his watch into his trouser pocket, the ornate fob gleaming against the perfectly pressed material. “You’ll wait on me tonight.” Frost took a step closer and Mason willed iron into his spine. “But I have to warn you, things here are not as they seem.”
Frost’s lips thinned and a hint of danger glinted in his eyes. Mason had seen that determination before, in an officer getting ready to go into battle.
“Listen to me very carefully, Mason.” Frost stood before him so that they were separated by mere inches. The seductive scents he himself had applied to the man’s body reached out to him, and Mason willed himself not to turn or look away. A game. Frost was relieving his upper class boredom by tormenting the staff.
“I am, sir.”
“Are you?” Frost closed the inches, until his mouth, so perfectly level with Mason’s own, was complete temptation. “Or are you thinking about this?” Frost’s lips brushed his, a slow glide that pulled Mason’s breath from him, made his hands ball into fists and his dick painfully hard. “Well?”
“Thinking such things would not be appropriate, sir.” He ground out every word as he fought not to take more than a simple kiss.
“No.” Frost wet his lips and Mason bit back a groan. Why was he having such a fierce reaction to a man he didn’t know? “It’s not. However, it is, as I said, necessary.”
Mason frowned. “Necessary?”
“I needed to be sure of you.” The hard glint was back in his gaze. “Because Martians have command of this house, and come midnight, we’re both in grave danger.”
End of Excerpt
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Those who finish the puzzle will be included in the drawing for the prize. Just let me know your score in Rafflecopter. You can also leave a comment on this post to be entered for the prize.
Good luck and thanks for having me 🙂
PRIZE UPDATE: Congrats to Mary who wins the gold bar brooch/pin from the Bank of England. Congrats to Toni who wins the gift certificate. Thanks everyone!
Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Entangled Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.