GENRE: Gay Historical Paranormal Young Adult Romance
LENGTH: 75,978 words
As the vain and self-absorbed poets continue their campaign of destruction in Dryden Abbey, Garrick finds himself struggling in the classroom, with increasingly distracted pupils eroding all of his hard work and reducing him to using all things dead and decaying in order to keep Desmond and Lavinia’s minds on their lessons.
Meanwhile, with Phillip Priestley’s unexpected appearance, Desmond’s world unravels as infatuation, lust, confusion, and revulsion drive him into wilder mood swings. Mr. Sherbourne’s coldly distant yet attractive presence in Dryden Abbey further complicates things, prompting Desmond to do something he never thought he’d ever do: reach out to unlikely allies for help.
In the midst of the wild goings on around them, Garrick and Desmond will realize that the chasm separating them as distinct species will not only teach them important lessons of understanding and acceptance, but also forge a stronger bond of friendship than they expected.
Garrick walked at an idle pace, occasionally looking up from his book to observe his pupils, who were currently lost in their lessons. It was a miracle, to say the very least.
For that day’s activities, Garrick had proposed Lavinia and Desmond examine plant life that was common in churchyards, and for the day’s excursion, he’d taken them to St. Lucy’s. When he’d suggested it earlier that day, the two visibly lit up, their energy returning. They’d appeared in the library with slumped shoulders and slightly dragging steps, after all, and after Garrick’s announcement, they nearly dragged him out of Dryden Abbey and if they could, would’ve turned themselves into bats and carried him off to St. Lucy’s.
Now brother and sister were in the churchyard, climbing yew trees or falling on hands and knees and peering into the weeds or through shrubbery.
“Lord, Mr. Mortimer,” Desmond said as he sat on one of the branches of a yew tree, “I think churchyard trees are the luckiest trees to be planted.”
“And why’s that?”
The boy’s grin brightened. “Because their roots are absorbing all those organic things that come from mortal bodies buried here. Don’t you see? That grave over there…” Desmond pointed at the nearest gravestone. “I’m sure the poor wretch buried in it has long been tree meal.”
Garrick stared at him, unable to think of anything to say, but Desmond didn’t seem to be aware of it as he continued to prattle on about, literally, mortal food.
“So -- I’d imagine that the trees growing in churchyards are a great deal healthier than trees that you see anywhere else. That’s quite the diet, don’t you think?” He paused, a momentary frown darkening his features. Then he pressed a hand against his stomach. “All that talk of food has got me hungry. May we have tea when we go back, sir?”
“I’m rather put off the idea of sustenance at the moment, Master Desmond, but I see no reason why you and Miss Hathaway can’t enjoy some,” Garrick said, his own stomach turning.
Desmond nodded, looking unnaturally cheerful, as he leaped down from the tree and ran off to explore another part of the churchyard. “This is a brilliant lesson, Mr. Mortimer!” he cried, his words echoing a little. “I wish we did this from the first day you demanded our presence in the schoolroom like condemned prisoners on their way to the gallows! And we don’t have to write anything down!”
Desmond vanished around the corner, but he kept calling out. “Oh, here’s a tree that looks unusually fat! How many corpses has it absorbed in its trunk, I wonder?” He followed that with a loud cheer. No doubt he was about to clamber up its branches or fall on his knees to peer carefully at the tree’s roots, determined to find traces of human remains in its physical make up. “If I were to cut off a branch, Mr. Mortimer, do you think I’ll find blood in it?”
“I should hope not, for God’s sake!” Garrick called back, now completely nauseated. “And do keep your voice down, Master Desmond! This is a graveyard! Have a little respect for the dead!”
“Pfft! They’re dead! Why would they care if they can’t hear us? Look at this root!”
“Oh, this is hopeless,” Garrick muttered, sighing and grimacing. He remained at the spot where his pupil had left him, waiting for the nausea to go away. Eventually it did, and he went back to reading his book, grateful for the diversion that could only be had from Latin text.
This book was published on August 30, 2015.