Impromptu by Carole Cummings
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical Romance, GLBT
Length: 32 pages
Ailin knew there was something wrong
with Garreth the moment he arrived with a storm trailing
behind him. The man who’d just walked through the front door
wasn’t Ailin's normally bright and brash Garreth, as if he’d
been ensorcelled into someone darker and maybe even a little
dangerous. But while Ailin finds the difference concerning,
he’s also finding it surprisingly, shockingly erotic.
Carole Cummings drops us straight into the middle of Garreth's temper—the man is in a mood. He's been tried beyond patience; his only route to his usual good humor is through his lover, Ailin. "Impromptu" gives us a look at the inevitable, though it could hardly have been planned.
I love an established couple story where each lover discovers something about his lover and possibly about himself. Ailin knows Garreth well – he can predict what set Garreth off and learns what will soothe him. Garreth knows Ailin will go along with it – and wow, it is hot.
This isn't PWP, though much of the word count goes to the very steamy sex. Tiny details paint a full picture of a world where indoor plumbing and central heating have no part, where agriculture is a common livelihood and mass-manufactured goods are unusual. A sentence here and a sentence there show us a dutiful son struggling to keep his feckless father in check. And we see a gorgeously-written slice of a mature relationship where one lover can bring his troubles to the other and gain comfort.
This could easily become a part of a larger work, but I'd just have to bookmark that chapter for standalone peeks.