The road has brought him home.
Running from a broken heart and the hangman’s noose he followed the road across Europe; searching for happiness in a pretty girl’s smile, the turn of a card and the depths of a brandy glass. Instead, he became a womaniser, and then a thief living behind a charmer’s mask until, finally, the road ensnared him in insanity and murder.
It is 1708, the Age of The Enlightenment, and, in the shadow of the nearly completed St Paul’s Cathedral, Caleb Cade has returned to London a broken man; incapable of love and terrified of the grave, his only friend the half imagined ghost of his dead brother.
The road has now brought him home for there is nowhere left to run and his only hope of redemption is to find the man he might have been.
Haunted by his own ghosts and demons, he relives the events of his childhood that led to the death of the only friend he had ever known, and the fear that The King of the Winter is forever peering through the window, all cold of heart and sly of eye, waiting to take him down to damnation.
But whist one journey ends and another begins. He is befriended by a fellow libertine, Louis Defane, a strange man around which strange things seem to happen. A man with an insatiable appetite for all the pleasures of life, a man who can seemingly bend people’s will to his own, a man with sparkling blue January eyes and snow white hair.
A man who might not be a man at all…
Monsters live behind all manner of masks.
Dr Rothery and his friends are probably insane, but Caleb has agreed to help them in their search for the vampiric essence so he can stay close to the Doctor’s wild and intoxicating daughter. That is what he tries to tell himself anyway.
Could the vampiric essence free him from the grave and allow him to find love? Or is that just the ghost of Louis Defane living in his blood, whispering madness in his mind?
When Rothery and his colleagues capture a vampire alive, Caleb travels with them to Captain Lazziard’s remote manor house where there will be no prying eyes to watch them work. As they apply their curiosity to the creature they chain in the cellar, Caleb is increasingly unsure who the real monsters are.
When people begin to die Caleb must decide where his loyalties lie; but are his perceptions being manipulated by the ghost in his blood, his own selfish desires for immortality or the fact that the creature Rothery is experimenting on happens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever seen…
Can a man ever truly change his tune?
Caleb Cade; itinerant womaniser, thief, coward and sharper of hearts has found unexpected friendship in the strange Huguenot libertine Louis Defane and the lonely spinster Harriet Brindley as he struggles to find the man he might have been amongst the sprawling, violent, colourful, riotous mess of eighteenth century London.
As the memories of his younger self continue to unfold, his journey of re-discovery is about to take an unexpected turn, as Defane opens the door to a world he never knew existed A world were all things might be possible, a world that might free him from his childhood phantoms and perhaps allow him to find the love he craves.
When his friend Defane is revealed to be a monster even more broken by love than he is, Caleb finds himself inexorably drawn into a world of mad men where his own lust and desires are as likely to damn him as the monsters they hunt, while the ghosts of his past still have the power to step into the present.
All roads end...
Caleb Cade, liar, thief, womaniser and sharper of hearts has fled into the night many times before, but always alone and never pursued by monsters, both vampire and human.
Now he must care for the wounded Morlaine and nurse her back to health whilst keeping them safe from a world that would see them both dead. Their only protection the anonymity of the road and the wits of a man well practised in disappearing from sight.
Caleb knows his salvation rests in his love for a woman who does not appear to be capable of the emotion. Her love could bring him redemption while her rejection could finally destroy him. But just how do you make a monster love you?
Where the road leads Caleb will follow, on a journey that will take him back to his past and deliver him to his future; a journey which will teach him that there is a high price to pay for the love of monsters.
Small Town, Dark Heart…
… a long ways from anywhere, on a road going to nowhere, sits a town surrounded by a sea of grass and vast, turbulent skies. It’s a peaceable, prosperous little place in a world that is slowly falling apart, a town where all kinds of people find themselves washed up.
Molly McCrea thinks the husband she never loved was murdered and now there are plans for her. Amos the gunslinger has spent thirteen years searching for a man he knows he’ll never find. Preacher Stone is dying, but does the little black bottle that takes the pain away offer something even worse than death? Sam Shenan wants to retire, grow pumpkins and watch the clouds sail by, but 30 years ago he sold his friend for a gold star and a deal is a deal. Guy Furnedge married his wife for her money, but he didn’t bargain on her becoming a tormented, bitter alcoholic and now he wants his due. John X Smith sells guns and steals hearts, but is he the only one who knows that the monsters are real? Mr Wizzle sleeps out on the grass hoping to see angels, but finds an old friend he’s never met instead. Cece Jones arrives bone dry in a rainstorm and sings haunting songs that nobody knows.
All will be drawn into the web weaved through the lives of the town's inhabitants by its urbane and mysterious Mayor; a man prepared to make a deal for your heart's desire and, maybe, for your very soul…
Welcome to Hawker’s Drift, a town where nothing is quite as it seems…
“After the sun goes down the pleasures here are darker. A man takes his wifey and kiddies to the Day Carnival an keeps em entertained, but he’ll creep back here under the moon for his own pleasures... we got just about anything a heart might desire. A girl, a boy, a nip, a smoke, a sniff, a snort, a turned card, a rolled dice... However a man cares to burn his money, we got a fire stoked and ready for him…”
At the same time, on the same day, every year, the wagon’s of Thomas Rum’s travelling carney roll into Hawker’s Drift and the town celebrates the 4th of July. But beyond the games and rides, the carousels and candy apple stalls, the bunco booths and fortune-tellers, the jugglers and clowns there is another show that only comes to life at night.
The sequel to The Burden of Souls takes the inhabitants of Hawker’s Drift on a dark ride as the Mayor continues to manipulate their souls for his own mysterious purposes. And as Amos the Gunslinger is drawn into the heart of the Dark Carnival he’ll glimpse the secrets behind the town of Hawker’s Drift as well as his own terrible demons.
The four novels in the Dark Romance series, In the Absence of Light, a story of love, loss, vampires and the black hearts of men, are currently available as kindle downloads from the Amazon site. Please click on the appropriate links below if you would like to purchase one. My new novels, The Burden of Souls and Dark Carnival are available in both download and paperback editions. For news of future publications please check out my Ramblings page. To read exctracts from my books, why not pull up a chair for a little Fireside Tale and if you would like to see some reviews, go to my Kind Words page.
An illicit romantic getaway.
A remote cottage.
A deserted beach.
A vanished lover.
A house that can’t be escaped.
A place that can’t possibly exist.
A love that will cost everything.
The remote and secluded seaside cottage was the perfect location for a romantic break, especially for a married man having an affair. But when Jack Orford’s beautiful young lover disappears he finds the The House of Shells is impossible to leave and the beach is not as deserted as it first appeared…
Trapped, stalked and alone, all of Jack’s worlds are about to be turned upside down.
Every step we take in the world is along a path that we cannot see...
Amongst the monsters of the Dark Carnival Amos has stumbled across one of his wife’s killers and has followed him into the great, dark night to at last find his vengeance. Amelia has been snatched from her bed, and Molly, believing Giselle, the strange carney fortune-teller, has spirited her away, desperately looks for help from the few friends she has in town. Ash returns from the Dark Carnival convinced by Mr Wizzle that Preacher Stone didn’t attack his daughter Emily and desperate to find out who was really responsible, while his wife, Kate, is increasingly ensnared by the insane Deputy Blane and his sadistic games. Cece has fallen head over heels for the love-struck Sye, but is the little voice whispering in her mind really her own? Guy sits at home burning every candle he owns to keep the darkness at bay, terrified that even the grave has proved no barrier to his wife’s madness, while both John X Smith and Sam Shenan must confront pasts haunted by lost loves.
As their paths merge, they slowly begin to unravel the town’s secrets, inexorably bringing them into confrontation with the Mayor, while, out across the long slow miles to the east, a darkness is approaching that will endanger both the good and evil of Hawker’s Drift alike...