Rite of Summer
Book 1 of Treading the Boards.
See press kit for Book 2, She Whom I Love, here. She Whom I Love is a 2015 Bisexual Book Awards Finalist for the categories of Romance and Erotic Fiction.
Just the Facts, Ma’am:
- Erotic Romance / LBGT Romance (M/M) / Historical
- From Samhain Publishing, June 2, 2015
- 97,982 words / 304 pages
- Available in paperback (ISBN: 9781619229587) and ebook (ISBN: 9781619227224)
- An Amazon best-seller and an ARe Best Seller!
Sell Me On It:
Tagline: There are terrors worse than stage fright — like falling in love.
Logline: Musicians Stephen and Evander are partners on and off the stage. But one summer, and one man, will change everything Stephen thought he knew.
Back Cover Blurb:
Violinist Stephen Ashbrook is passionate about three things—his music, the excitement of life in London, and his lover, Evander Cade. It’s too bad that Evander only loves himself. A house party at their patron’s beautiful country estate seems like a chance for Stephen to remember who he is, when he’s not trying to live up to someone else’s harsh expectations.
Joshua Beaufort, a painter whose works are very much in demand among the right sort of people, has no expectations about this party at all. Until, that is, he finds out who else is on the guest list. Joshua swore off love long ago, but has been infatuated with Stephen since seeing his brilliant performance at Vauxhall. Now he has the chance to meet the object of his lust face to face—and more.
But changing an open relationship to a triad is a lot more complicated than it seems, and while Evander’s trying to climb the social ladder, Stephen’s trying to climb Joshua. When the dust settles, only two will remain standing…when they’re not flat on their backs.
Product Warnings: Contents under pressure. Contains three men, two beds, one erotic piercing, and the hottest six weeks of summer the nineteenth century has ever seen.
Other People Like It Too:
“What’s super special about this is the historical grounding, though. All the MCs are artists, not aristos, and the Georgian gay underworld is really well delineated. I don’t think I’ve seen the Vere Street Coterie mentioned in a romance before now, and the consequences of that ghastly (offpage) event are brilliantly worked through. Really solid read from an exciting new to me author.” – KJ Charles, Rainbow Award winning author of ‘The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal’
“If you like historical erotica, you’ll gobble this story up and hunger for more.” – SuperKam
“This very spicy tale gives an intriguing look at a frighteningly unbending society with distressingly fatal consequences for those who don’t comply” – The Reading Addict
“A potboiler, adventure, mystery, history lesson and a superb love story. One of the best of its genre.” – Goodreads reviewer Bo
“A sumptuous historical romance that’s equally rich in detail and man-on-man action.” – BookGannet
“Beautifully written historical romance, encompassing all the traditions, manners, speech patterns and rules of the time.” – Archaeolibrarian
“[T]hey were all complex human beings delicately navigating a complicated situation… Bowery also has the ability to treat her characters with a light touch without trivialising them and I really appreciated the touches of humour… Overall, I am so glad I decided to step outside my comfort zone and read “Rite of Summer” and I can’t wait for the second book in the series.” – Rose A
“Truly a great read as well as ridiculously sexy” – NickF
How About Some Visuals:
Edited promo cover with pull quotes:
Some Excerpts to Whet the Appetite:
- Evander and Stephen receive an invitation to the Earl of Coventry’s house party, and Stephen is reluctant to go. Evander convinces him.
“It is a massive house, you know,” Evander began as though delivering a confidence. “With galleries and gardens that extend for miles. Coventry described it to me once. We will have hours of uninterrupted leisure.”
He dug his foot down further and pressed it, firm and strong, against the front of Stephen’s trousers. “We’ll kiss and we’ll swive,” Evander sang, putting lyrics to the tune he had been humming before, his eyes alight and his smile infectiously lascivious. He was utterly ridiculous, and delightful, and Stephen could not help but laugh as his body began to respond to Evander’s excitement. “Behind we will drive, and we will contrive, new ways for lechery,” Evander finished his bawdy chorus by tangling one hand in Stephen’s hair and using it to pull his head back. Stephen’s breath caught with the spike of desire, his throat exposed to the press of Evander’s lips.
“Alright!” Stephen laughed breathlessly. “I’ve agreed already, I need no bribe to convince me further.”
“Oh, but you do,” Evander said, letting go of his hair and slinking his hand down to replace the press of his foot. “We shall make a game of it, defiling his house in as many ways and places as please us. Think of the thrill!” The man was insane, the suggestion as distractingly tempting as almost all of his ideas were. If one servant saw them, though, in the wrong place at the wrong time- Evander’s social climbing would end rather abruptly. As would their lives.
2. Stephen goes exploring in the Earl’s massive house, and comes across a gallery of paintings. But someone else is there as well.
The man in the portrait was not classically handsome. His mouth was too full and his hair too red for that, his jawline perhaps a little too soft. But his eyes crinkled at the corners with secret mirth, as though sharing a very private joke with the viewer, and those lush and generous lips curled up at one corner. He sat in a smock and his shirtsleeves, a palette on the table behind him. His head tilted very slightly to the side, like he was listening to some secret, lively song. His eyes caught and held Stephen, grey as stormclouds over the cliffs, a hint of blue that was the clear sky breaking through, and a knowing look that struck some chord deep within that Stephen could not immediately name.
Well, he wanted a great many things. But never before had a portrait been responsible for a curl of longing or desire twisting its way up from the center of his being, some vague and wistful sense of thwarted desire focused on that arresting stare.
I wonder if he would look at me that way in life.
I wonder who he is.
A faint scuff of feet behind was all that gave Stephen warning before someone spoke, and he managed neither to whip around in surprise, nor jump like a child caught where he shouldn’t be. “He’s not a particularly good-looking fellow, to deserve such lengthy scrutiny.”
The voice was an unfamiliar one, a warm rich tenor that verged on a deeper range, a faint northern accent coloring the tone.
“I suppose not,” Stephen replied, pausing to allow his heart to slow before he introduced himself. “If you value men solely based on looks. But there is more life in his expression than in all the other portraits put together. Either the sitter was a man of uncommon vivacity, or the painter was exceptionally fond of him.”
He turned and looked at the man standing behind him.
His hair was shorter now, and he was dressed for dinner, his cravat impeccably tied and tucked into a cream waistcoat. The man from the portrait stepped in to the gallery, framed by a shaft of light that fell across the floor from the hall. His eyes had not been exaggerated. They had been perhaps underplayed, and that grey-blue gaze regarded Stephen with a peculiar intensity. He was a little taller than Stephen, his frame of very pleasing proportions, and had a controlled energy to his walk that suggested strength lying beneath the layers of wool and linen.
“Or he was his own painter,” the newcomer said, his lip quirking up in that selfsame knowing smile, “and both irredeemably prone to vanity and in desperate need of an honest friend to check him in his fancy.”
3. Joshua, cousin to the Countess of Horlock, hates dinner parties. He comes back to his room and finds a friend already there.
Joshua lowered himself into the armchair in his room, and loosened his cravat with a peevish snap.
“That bad, was it?” Sophie asked from the chair opposite, her legs curled under her. She closed the book in her hands, tucking it into her lap. It said something that he wasn’t the least bit surprised by her presence, though by all rights he should have been appropriately scandalized. He could always tell her to leave, as though that would do any good. The girl was like a cat; she went where she pleased and did what she liked, and woe betide anyone but her employer who tried to force her otherwise.
“I had no idea,” Joshua said, checking first to be sure the door was most securely closed, “that her ladyship had such strong opinions about the idea of gas lighting.”
“Ooh, yes, did she get on about that again?” Sophie replied with a pleased grin. “’Those gas lines will be a blight on the city,’” she imitated bitingly. “’They’re an invitation to treachery and a first stage toward a new Gunpowder Plot,’ to hear her go on. And did you know,” she asked rhetorically, the light of mischief in her eyes, “that they’re sinful as well? Apparently Our Lord and Savior would prefer candlelight.”
“Lord save us from the march of progress,” Joshua sighed, and rubbed his forehead. Exhaustion nipped around the edges of his eyes, his shoulders aching. “You were quite right, by the way.” He glanced up at Sophie, not too tired to add to her amusement. “Lady Chalcroft’s got her eye set on Coventry for her eldest. The two of them would set on her rivals like a pair of wild dogs if they thought it would get her a hand-span closer to a coronet.”