I'm delighted to announce the publication of a new story. It's a shorter novella that I really enjoyed writing very much. It's my first historical and I loved doing the research. Voyageurs is part of Torquere's fun Spice It Up e-book series.
Jack Cavendish needs to get to his station at Fort Charlotte, a fur-trading outpost in Grand Portage, Upper Canada. The fort is only accessible by canoe, and there’s just one man willing to take him on the perilous, thousand-mile journey from Montreal this late in the summer. Young Christian Smith, the son of an Ojibwe mother and absent British father, needs the money to strike out on his own, so he agrees to take Jack deep into the wild.
As they travel endless lakes and rivers, at times having to carry the canoe over land, the arduous expedition takes its toll. Yet the attraction between Jack and Christian, two men from vastly different worlds, grows ever stronger. Locked in a battle against the wilderness and elements, how long can they fight their desire for each other?
How long indeed? Here's a peek.
There would be no fire that night, so they quickly ate a cold dinner. Jack couldn’t wait to reach Grand Portage and have proper meals again. When he returned from relieving himself in the woods, he saw that Christian had pulled the canoe farther up the riverbank. One end of the overturned canoe was perched on a low rock. Christian unrolled a large, oilskin tarp over it. He glanced over at Jack. “This will keep the rain off.”
Jack’s heart skipped a beat. “We’re sleeping under there? Both of us?”
Christian’s expression hardened. “I’m not sleeping out in the rain.”
“Oh, no! I wasn’t suggesting you should.” Jack felt so flustered and dim-witted. “It just looks... small.” He was always saying the wrong thing. The thought of sleeping next to Christian in such close quarters set his pulse racing. They’d slept under the stars until this point, with plenty of ground between them.
Christian grunted a response and disappeared into the forest. The rain had slackened a bit, but Jack was still eager to take cover. He crawled under the tarp and the canoe. Although the ground was sodden, it was a relief to be out of the elements.
A few minutes later, he heard Christian’s approach. Jack couldn’t see much under the shelter, and he tried to squeeze himself over to one side. Christian shimmied in beside him, and although Jack had been practicing a deep breathing technique he’d picked up in India, his body still reacted. Christian was mere inches away and it was as if Jack could feel the heat of Christian’s body.
Jack took a ragged breath. Christian’s voice was loud in their little shelter. “Are you ill?”
After clearing his throat, Jack replied, his voice shaky. “No, no. I’m fine. Thank you.”
Christian rolled over, his broad back so close to Jack. If Jack shifted only a tiny bit, his shoulder would press into Christian. He wondered if Christian would move away. Soon Christian snored lightly, and Jack reminded himself that he needed to rest. He was exhausted, and yet sleep refused to come. He listened to the rain on the tarp and Christian’s deep, steady breathing. He could reach out so easily...