Book Blast: At Lodgings in Lyme by Jackie North
At Lodgings in Lyme
(Oliver & Jack #2)
by Jackie North
Date Re-Released: May 24, 2022
About At Lodgings in Lyme
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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An Excerpt from Fagin's Boy
This is a scene early on in the story, where Oliver and Jack have stopped for the night. Oliver is worried that they are being followed, but more, he’s worried about Jack, who has a fever and some yet-undetermined illness. (From Oliver’s point of view.)
* * *
The room was somewhat less wild and insalubrious than the one at the Three Cripples. The ceiling creaked overhead, though Oliver didn’t imagine, didn’t want to imagine, that he heard roof rats scuttling about.
As it was, he felt the need to jump out of his skin and get out of bed and walk around the whole of the coaching inn to look for constables, and the skulking ghost of Cromwell. To see if Noah Claypole had indeed followed them, to perform his office of informant with his usual élan and style.
There were too many details he’d not attended to, too many shapes and outlines he’d not thought to be wary of. Something needed doing; with Jack’s ragged state, the bruises on his face, as well as Oliver’s own disheveled person, they could not have been taken for young gentlemen on a simple outing. That they’d not been arrested for vagrancy straight away was a small miracle; tomorrow might not bring the same luck.
For Jack, all of this must seem so easy compared with the worry of being caught as a thief, compared to the worry of being homeless, attempting to convince Oliver to shut up and go to sleep seemed to be his main desire. That Jack had followed him this far, had not turned back to London in despair of Oliver being sensible enough to keep his mind in the moment, well, that was worth something. Jack deserved more, for simply coming this far with Oliver, so Oliver would give him that.
Jack lay still now, next to him in the bed, in his arms. Where Oliver’s hands were tucked, he could feel the sweat under Jack’s arms, the rise and fall of Jack’s chest full of warmth and heartbeat and simmering fatigue. Oliver thought that, in spite of Jack’s protestations, he should have called for a doctor. Jack had said he only wanted to sleep. He might have said it for himself, for his own sake, but he meant it for Oliver’s as well.
Jack knew how to be on the road, to be on the run, to play hide and seek in plain sight. If he was worried about what Oliver had done, he didn’t express any squeamishness that Oliver had killed a man with his bare hands. Though the heft of that cleaver as it hit bone still rang a ghostly vibration through his hands, to Jack, it was nothing, a mere trifle.
If he was worried whether they would be discovered and arrested in the morning, he showed no sign of it. Whether he was still hungry or full of complaint at his own discomfort, he had barely spoken of it.
It was only the heat of his body that soaked into Oliver’s bones that gave him pause. Jack was almost too warm to be near, too warm to so easily fall asleep, but yet he had. Oliver felt the start of Jack’s body before it calmed; the deepness of his breathing told Oliver that Jack was indeed exhausted, that the fever of his body or no, Jack was fast asleep.
For a moment he wanted to awaken Jack, to ask him again whether it would be all right, but he stilled the thought even as he stilled his hand, still lightly clasped around Jack’s shirt collar. Had this been only a day or so ago, Oliver would not have hesitated to ask for soothing words, but Jack didn’t deserve to be woken merely to calm Oliver’s nighttime fears.
The world he’d been in, had come so far from, was much darker now, and shadows on the walls, the unease of thought now that the day had come to an end, were only the small steps of a child. He had more things to worry about than that.
Besides, after the day they’d had, he’d rather lock himself in a coal box than waken Jack. Jack had come with him from London, after all, something he’d sworn he’d never do. Oliver owed him a good night’s sleep, at least. So he tucked his chin, and burrowed beneath the blanket and thick sheet, let his eyes drift closed, and matched his breathing to Jack’s, his grasp on Jack’s collar never loosening.
About Jackie North
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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