Many moons ago - 2009 and 2011 respectively - I wrote two short-short stories for the late Torquere's Sip range, and the rights have long since returned to me. Recently I re-discovered them on my hard drive, and decided to do something with them. But what?
The answer was to write another short story featuring my two men that would detail the beginnings of their friends-to-lovers affair. Then I extensively rewrote the 2009 one, comprehensively tweaked the 2011 story, and combined them under the title, Love In Three Moves.
The first two stories are set in Canary Wharf, London, so I wanted to have the cover reflect that. I found the perfect photo on Pixabay - Canary Wharf at night.
Love in Three Moves - Three short stories chart a passionate love affair: yet true love so rarely runs smoothly.
It Takes Two
David Grainger and Ben Tremayne are perfect partners in business and friendship – and finally they give in to the temptation of taking that further. Their passionate love has been brewing for a long time, and everything about their new affair is wonderful - until it isn't.
Ben hasn’t seen his ex-lover David, for a year. He lives alone with his remorse for breaking up their affair, overwhelmed by his fear of commitment rather than his love for David. When, out of the blue, David asks him for a favour, Ben grudgingly agrees. The simple errand takes a complicated turn.
Once instrumental in reuniting Ben and David, their friend Barbara Curtis now needs the couple’s help with her own love-life. Despite being in Paris on their pre-honeymoon, Ben and David are caught up in the ensuing puzzle, involving a Paris art gallery, the works of Shakespeare, a devious crossword, a pair of precious earrings – and satisfaction for Barbara’s heart.
1st Move - It Takes Two
"It's me," David Grainger called as he opened the front door and walked into the large studio apartment. "Are you back? Babs has been nagging me again. Did you get the Stravinsky commis - ?" He stopped in his tracks. Yes, Ben was back from Geneva. The room looked like Selfridges at the end of a sale day. Cushions, bedcovers, pillows and odd items of clothing lay scattered over floor and furniture, and the warm air was heavy with an exotic, expensive perfume. But over all hung the scent of sex.
Who was it this time? David wondered, irritated. Roger, Melanie, or both? Not that he gave a damn who Ben took to his bed. No, he was peeved because he'd heard nothing from the man for several days. Phone calls and texts had all been ignored, and Barbara wasn't the only one pissed off about it. Important matters hung on the success of Ben's trip to Switzerland. Sometimes the man was an irresponsible pain in David's arse.
Fastidious as a cat, he picked his way across the room, nose wrinkling as the assorted aromas assaulted his nostrils, and David thanked whichever gods looked after dissolute idiots that the used condoms had ended up in the waste bin and not on the floor.
Ben, the other half of Grainger & Tremayne Antiques, enjoyed a varied love life. Ten years of friendship, five of which included a highly successful working partnership, meant they'd shared keys long ago and had free range of each other's homes in the same Canary Wharf up-market apartment block. It wouldn't be the first time David had strolled in at the wrong moment. He was bisexual himself, but his own exploits in the relationship arena were a lot less adventurous. Or numerous.
"Ben? Are you still alive?"
"No…" The voice came from the other side of the half open bathroom door. David grinned, despite his exasperation. As usual, he found it difficult to stay angry at his mercurial but charming friend.
"Don't tell me they've worn you out after, what, only two days?"
"And nights." The muted, sleepy grumble made it easy to imagine Ben's smirk. "And it's she, not they."
Snickering, David strolled to the bathroom and lounged against the doorframe. Pools slopped all over the tiled floor and Ben leant forward on the side of the bath, half-kneeling in the foaming water. He'd obviously been lunging for the towel on the heated rail when David had announced his arrival. Now he rested his head on his hands and slanted a sultry blue gaze over his shoulder. Despite his action-packed weekend, Ben still had the energy to flirt. It was a reflex action, David knew. Ben could no more stop doing it than he could stop breathing. So, as usual, David paid no attention, even though the warmth of desire throbbed in his groin. Once again the urge to take Ben up on his flirtatious invitations heated his blood. But it was only a meaningless physical response to Ben's overt sensuality. It didn't mean a thing.
~ * ~
Love In Three Moves - 1st edition 2017 Chris Quinton
It Takes Two - 1st edition 2017 Chris Quinton
Breaking Point - 1st edition 2009: 2nd edition 2017 Chris Quinton
Clue Game - 1st edition 2011: 2nd edition 2017 Chris Quinton
~ * ~