Taking Stock is a 35,415 word gay romance set mostly in rural England. It’s set on Webber’s Farm, which I first wrote about in Inheritance of Shadows. Inheritance is set in 1919 and is part of my spooky paranormal universe. I based the farm on somewhere I used to know as a child on the Quantock Hills in Somerset and didn’t want to leave after Inheritance. Taking Stock is the result. Although it’s set in the same universe as my other books and some of the same background characters are there, there’s nothing paranormal or suspenseful.
Instead it’s a gentle story about two people who are hurt and angry and tired, who find their way toward each other and help each other heal.
Initially Laurie was going to have a similar chronic condition to me … I have fibromyalgia and seizures … but then just before I actually sat down to get the words out of my head and on to the page, my mama had a very severe stroke. She is in her eighties and has been more or less working her seven acre smallholding singlehandedly for years. Her frustration and anger at her situation translated directly into Laurie as I was writing. So he’s a combination of both my own feelings about my lack of agency through my disability, and hers.
It was a very emotive story for me to write and I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a little deleted scene for you!
“What do you mean, I can’t go home?” Laurie was almost crying with frustration. “I can go home if I like!”
Sally glared at him. “And how are you going to get up and down the stairs? Or even down the hall to the bathroom?” she said. “And wash when you get there? And turn over properly in bed? And what happens if you actually fall out of bed in the night and can’t get up? And come to that, who’s going to take you home, you idiot? You can’t drive!”
He glared back. “I thought that you might!”
“No! Not me!” her glaring was so much better than his.
He pushed against the pillows, but because he was unable to brace properly with his weak leg, he couldn’t make himself sit up any further. She stood up and hauled him forward with competent strength, shoving more pillows behind him to support his bad arm and shoulder. Damn her.
When she sat back down, he lowered his gaze to his lap. His hand lay across his legs, curled and useless. He imagined moving his fingers and he felt it happening in his head. But in his lap, they lay dead and still, obvious betrayers of his helplessness.
“Laurie …” Her voice was kind. “You need to stay in here for a bit and let them help you. They say at least some of the use of your arm and your leg should come back quite quickly, specially if you work at it. And then we can get you back home.”
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