sunday spotlightEveryone knows about Knights, right? You know, King Arthur and all that lot. But did you know that not all knights were good guys? Not all of them were bastions of honor and chivalry. Some of them were Dark Knights, driven by the darker emotions – rage, lust, and a thirst for power. They didn’t all disappear in the Middle Ages either. Some of them have survived right up until the modern era, continuing their battles over and over again.

Ashe Barker’s new novel, Gideon, tells the story of one of those knights.

gideon-200Gideon Maybury enjoys a life of wealth and privilege, not to mention the advantages his position offers him in his career as a merchant banker and in his less public life as a high-class, skilled, and very well-paid assassin for Her Majesty’s government. When his brother dies unexpectedly, he becomes the Duke of Westmoreland.

Michael Mathison has hated Gideon since they were at university together. He’s convinced Gideon had a hand in the death of Michael’s college lover, Christopher, and that he had something to do with the death of his own brother. So he gets a job as Gideon’s driver, enabling him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the elder Maybury sibling. At first, his suspicions seem to be confirmed, but clues come to light that suggest all is not as it appears at Maybury Hall.

As the mystery deepens, so does the attraction between the two implacable enemies. Each has reasons not to trust the other, but neither is averse to a bit of kinky play. Gideon and Michael end up owing each other their lives, and it results in consequences neither could have imagined.

Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights, but they are not always seen. Some of them do what must be done—getting their hands dirty when no one else is willing. Assassins and antiheroes who work from the shadows, they are called the Black Knights. From the time of the society’s creation in the 1100s, these men are cursed to repeat their lives of bloodshed. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man that waits inside and break the cycle. The question is whether or not the knight will kill his true love before he figures it out.

Excerpt

Outside the church, Gideon, supported by Lydia, did the rounds of polite handshakes and murmured thank-yous to acknowledge the ranks of assembled great and good who had made the trip to see his brother off in style. For those who wished to continue the gathering, a restaurant in the bustling tourist village had been hired for the day with instructions to feed and water all who chose to remain together for a couple more hours in Richard’s name. Gideon just wanted to get back to the peace and solitude of the Hall. For once he appreciated the quiet dignity of the Maybury estate.

He made his excuses as soon as he decently could and slid into the backseat of the waiting limousine where Lydia had already taken refuge. He reached for her hand and squeezed it.

“Soon be over. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine. Or I will be.” She looked up at him. Her usually immaculate makeup had been wrecked by the extremes of the day. Her large hazel eyes were ringed in dark smudges, and her lip gloss had dulled as she had gnawed on her mouth during the interminable succession of prayers, hymns, and eulogies. “I just need to get home.”

“Not long now. We don’t need to stay long at the chapel.”

“I know. I’ll go back later on my own, when everything quietens down.”

“Of course. Just take all the time you need. You know I’ll be there for you, if you need anything.” Gideon’s solicitousness surprised even him, but he shrugged it away. It was personal, and he genuinely liked Lydia.

“Thank you. And I won’t be in your way for long. I just need to find somewhere else to live, and then I’ll be gone.”

“What? Why?” It had not occurred to Gideon that she might not remain at Maybury Hall. In truth he had given no thought at all to Lydia’s future as a widow. “I thought you loved it at the Hall.”

“I do, but it’s your home now.”

“Bollocks. I’m not going to live there. The place is yours for as long as you want it.”

She shook her head, and the beautifully coiffed waves barely moved under her black pillbox hat and half veil. “Don’t be ridiculous, Gid. I might thank you for a dowager apartment in one of the underused wings, I dare say, but the Hall is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Westmoreland, and that’s you now.”

“It might be me, but there’ll be no duchess. We both know that. I see no reason why you shouldn’t just carry on as you are.”

“You’ll need to marry, like it or not. You’re the duke now, and you have to produce an heir. That’s how we do things.”

“We?”

“People like us.”

Gideon gave an impatient snort. “Do I look to you as though I give a fuck about dynastic immortality?” He cast a wry glance at her. “Are you quite sure you’re not pregnant? That would be more convenient.”

“No. I’m not.”

“Could you not just—”

“Gid, shut up. You are despicable.”

“Did I say otherwise? Seriously. I won’t be marrying and producing a legitimate heir, you and I both know that. So unless you want Maybury to go to some distant cousin, I suggest you get busy and solve the problem. I’ll back you up and legitimize any sprog you manage to produce—girl or boy—but please, nothing too outlandish. It’d be nice if the next duke at least resembled me.”

“I can’t believe you. Richard’s hardly cold, and already you’d have me screwing around. I’m not a broodmare, you know.”

He shrugged. “No rush. Take your time. Come to think of it, I’m sure I recall seeing a turkey baster in the kitchen. Maybe we could…? Unless you want me to check out the cousins, that is.”

“Heartless bastard.”

“I’m practical, that’s all. And only thinking of you. You could call it an annuity for your old age.”

As the car glided gracefully through the huge gates that led from the Priory, the hairs on the back of Gideon’s neck prickled. He knew better than to ignore his instincts. Indeed he would have been dead long before but for his innate ability to sense danger. He was being watched, and he knew with unerring clarity that whoever observed him from the shadows had hostile intent. Gideon swiveled in the seat to look back over his shoulder, but saw no one.

He faced front again and tension crackled from every pore. Something was wrong. For the first time he could recall, he sensed events unfolding over which he had no control.

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About Ashe

I’ve been an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres. I still love reading, the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research. I tend to draw on my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky character, any of these can spark a story idea.

I live in the North of England, on the edge of the Brontë moors. When not writing – which is not very often these days – my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, tortoises. And a very grumpy cockatiel.

I have around thirty titles on general release with publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, and I have several more in the pipeline. I write M/f, M/M, and occasionally ring the changes with a little M/M/f.  All my books feature BDSM. I write explicit stories, always hot, but they offer far more than just sizzling sex. I like to read about complex characters, and compelling plots, so that’s what I write too.  I have a pile of story ideas still to work through, and keep thinking of new ones at the most unlikely moments, so you can expect to see a lot more from me.

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