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Book Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway:
At Lodgings In Lyme
By Jackie North


Oliver & Jack, Book 2

An orphan and his street thief companion flee London’s now-dangerous streets and the threat of the hangman’s noose. This is the love story of Oliver Twist and The Artful Dodger.

After Oliver commits murder to protect Jack, they head south to Lyme Regis. Along the way, Jack becomes ill, and Oliver is forced to gut fish to pay the doctor’s bills.

Oliver tries to balance his desire for respectability with his growing love for Jack, while Jack balks against the conventions of society and wants to ply his trade.

In spite of their personal struggles, and in the face of dire circumstances, they discover the depth of their love for each other—but can their love survive?

A gay, m/m Victorian-era romance with grumpy/sunshine, hurt/comfort, opposites attract, emotional scars, and pure, sweet love. A little sweet, a little steamy, with a guaranteed HEA.

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This is from early on in the story. The two main characters, Jack and Oliver, have only recently left London and don’t have any money for either a night at an inn or a pair of seats on a coach headed west. Jack intends to steal, and all Oliver can do is watch. (From Jack’s point of view.)


Jack felt the weight of his jacket cuffs on his wrists, the rain on his cheekbones. It didn’t matter the rain, nor the fact that the back of his shoulders felt as though they’d been slammed with an iron bar, for he had his sights on a score: a rich old gentleman, the best kind of mark, puffed up on his own importance, and distracted by the difficulties of getting to his destination.

This was made even better by the fact that, in spite of his disapproval, Nolly had picked the mark out, just for Jack. The theft would be easy; Jack would be able to deal with Nolly once he’d presented him with a good hot supper and something sweet besides.

It was too bad if Nolly didn’t like the task at hand, for how else were they to eat, to get shelter? Besides the fact that Jack refused to sleep under a hedgerow, did Nolly truly imagine that they’d be taken in by some kind soul who would not question from whence they came, or why?

Glancing over his shoulder, Jack looked at Nolly, at those blue eyes round and scared as he followed Jack, and that mouth clamped tight over whatever timorous warnings of dire consequences that were surely running rampant just beneath the surface.

Nolly was licking his lips and clutching his books, as if he was afraid that Jack might want to trade them for something far more useful. Didn’t he know Jack would never do such a thing? Those books were Nolly’s heart, and Jack would never break that. Though it might be useful if Nolly didn’t look quite so nervous.

“Hey,” said Jack. “This will only take a moment, right? I’m on my game, you’ll see.”

He was proud of what he could do, and Nolly would be more pleased with him, he was sure, once this was over, so he was going to make it quick. He was going to do a grand job, one that Fagin would have been proud of.

Besides, he was picking the richest gent in the yard, in spite of there being easier marks, like the pair of gentlemen who had their heads together in a conversation that Jack suspected was not altogether legal, but that left them without a single shred of defense from Jack’s agile hands. Or the lady in the blue cape, with ermine at the collar; she was holding her little white dog in her hands and was paying a great deal less attention to the beaded reticule hanging from her gloved wrist. She would have been a much easier take, indeed, but the gentleman in the bottle-green coat it was, as per Nolly’s request.

“Excuse me, mister,” said Jack in a grand way, going right up to the gentleman in question. Being an obvious idiot in the ways of the world was the truest of distractions. “Is this the coach to Exeter?”

Jack stopped so short that Nolly walked into him, causing Jack to bump into the gentleman, as planned.

“Watch what you’re doing there,” said the gentleman’s manservant loudly, though he moved not a muscle to settle his master.

“I beg your pardon,” said the gentleman, “but no.” He tugged on his lapels to set himself to rights, then Jack’s hand was a blur, a flash of white against the green and, all of a sudden, Jack had turned to Nolly and thumped him in the chest.

“How many times have I told you to get your head out of the clouds?” Jack asked this as loudly as possible so that even the tavern boy lounging in the doorway of the inn could hear him. “Ain’t it enough that you keep bumpin’ me with those damn books?”

Nolly jumped back, as if startled at the clarity of Jack’s voice, the loudness of the words fairly bouncing against the dripping balustrade. Doing it as perfectly as if he’d been trained to it for years, though he never had. One of Nolly’s background didn’t bump into strange men willingly, nor ask questions in loud voices, especially not in public places. Nolly’s mouth was open because he’d seen what Jack had done; the shock on his face was natural and convincing.

Jack turned back to the gentleman. “Beg your pardon, mister, but can you tell me if this is the coach to Exeter?”

“No indeed, as I believe I’ve already told you,” said the gentleman in formal tones. “It goes to the south, to Plymouth.”

“That’s not the one,” said Jack, shaking his head, the rain dripping from the brim of the hat onto his face. He turned back to Nolly, allowing himself a bit of a grin, because couldn’t a fellow be proud of himself once in a while?

“Come on, Nolly,” said Jack now. “We’ll get the right one in the mornin’. Good afternoon, mister.”

Jack tipped his hat and, ignoring the smirk of the manservant, walked them back across the yard. His hand remained firmly on Nolly’s arm, as if Nolly was indeed the culprit responsible for the brief, unwanted collision and needed guidance.

As Nolly let himself be led, Jack patted his chest, assuring himself that the wallet was now securely tucked inside Nolly’s jacket. To continue the pretense, Jack tipped his head toward Nolly’s, as if continuing to scold him for the accident.

When they were once again beneath the balustrade of the inn, Jack stood close to Nolly and pulled out the wallet from his jacket. It was worn but had a new clasp and was thick with money.

Hefting it, Jack smiled as he watched Nolly’s eyes widen even further. The fact that Jack had not, in all the years he’d been away, lost any of the skill in his fingers that had made him Fagin’s best and brightest seemed to leave Nolly a tad breathless.

A moment later, the evening coach clattered into the yard, and six sweaty horses scrambled to a stop. The gentleman, along with his manservant, and the woman and her dog, nodded at the driver’s apologies for being late, and then all clambered aboard.

Before even a moment’s grace to water the horses, the coach shot off. It probably would be miles away before the gentleman thought to check his pockets. As the clatter faded and the slats of mud slipped back into their cobbled cracks, the yard of the coaching inn grew still and empty, leaving only Nolly and Jack.

Jack pulled out a handful of shillings and a single gold crown from the little change purse sewn inside the wallet, showing off a little as he looked up at Nolly. Jack smiled, feeling a flash of pleasure run through him, in spite of Nolly’s dour expression that displayed his dismay quite clearly.

“Well, I reckon you can select for us fried mutton or even beef an’ chicken roasted, if you’ve a mind to.” Jack held out the shillings and some pennies to Nolly, a gift of skin-warmed coin. “An’ you could get us tickets on the next coach to Lyme or anywhere near it. Then I’ve a mind for a dry bed to sleep in. Want to join me?”

Nolly took the coins, and folded his fingers over them without a word, as if stunned at how easy it had been. While he might be considering the difference between right and wrong, let alone how he’d let Jack use him as a plant, he was even more easily led to the main entry of the inn.

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of At Lodgings In Lyme, Jackie is giving away the winner’s choice of any ebook from her backlist. Two winners will be chosen.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!

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Read where it all began with Book 1:
Fagin’s Boy


Oliver & Jack, Book 1

In 1846 London, respectable young men do not fall for street thieves. This is the love story of Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger.

Oliver Twist has one desire: to own a bookshop and live a simple, middle-class life, far away from his workhouse-shadowed past. One thing stands in his way: Jack Dawkins–The Artful Dodger–who’s just returned to London and is looking for Fagin’s old gang.

Jack’s visits cause Oliver nothing but trouble, but he finds himself drawn, time and again, to their shared past, Jack’s unguarded honesty, and those bright, green eyes.

Oliver craves respectability, which he won’t find with a forbidden love. Can Jack convince Oliver that having one doesn’t mean losing the other?

A gay, m/m Victorian-era romance with grumpy/sunshine, hurt/comfort, opposites attract, emotional scars, and pure, sweet love. A little sweet, a little steamy, with a guaranteed HEA.

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About the Author:

Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.

As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she is now putting stories to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)

She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.

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