Title Heart of Ash
Author Kathy Otten
Genre M/M Historical Romance
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
In the skies over France during the Great War, the life expectancy of a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps is measured in days. Captain Elliot "Ash" Bainbridge is certain he'll be the next pilot sent spinning to earth in a ball of fire. Not because the Germans will shoot him down, but because God will punish him for daring to love another man. When Ash met Lieutenant Harry March, their attraction was instant. But Harry hates Ash's fatalistic attitude. He believes in capturing the moment. Can Ash set aside his fear of death and take a chance on love? Or should he try to keep his heart safe from hurt forever?
The tip of the cigarette glowed red as March inhaled. Then he stepped back as he blew out a stream of smoke, the odor overpowering that last trace of the sandalwood Elliot loved.
He tipped the shrinking match into the bowl of his pipe, drawing the mellow, smoky flavors into the back of his throat. He raised his chin to squarely meet March’s intense gaze. The hazel color wasn’t discernible in this light, but in the sun his eyes sparkled with green, then softened with brown in the shade.
Sharp pain seared Elliot’s fingers. His arm jerked back, and he gave his hand a quick shake, extinguishing the tiny flame. He tossed down the match, and with the toe of his boot, twisted the lucifer deep into the ground.
“Was it the fire?” Though March spoke in little more than a whisper, the intensity of his words carried in the damp air. “That why you froze? Bloody hell, two Albatros dropped from the clouds right on your tail. If I hadn’t been there—”
Elliot focused on the scuffed toe of his boot as he continued to twist his foot back and forth against the match.
“I apologize.” He straightened, drew deep on his pipe, and slowly exhaled through his nose. “Rude of me not to say thank you.”
March brought his cigarette to his lips. A moment later he exhaled. “And are you?”
“Am I what?”
Elliot took a few steps forward, away from his machine. He turned.
March hadn’t moved. He flicked his cigarette. “Because I don’t think you are.”
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Kathy Otten is the published author of multiple historical romance novels, novellas, and short stories. She is a Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star winner and a Utah/Salt Lake RWA Hearts of the West finalist. Heart of Ash is her fourth short story. She is currently working on her next full-length historical romance novel. She is a regular presenter at area events and online workshops. She lives in the rolling farmland of western New York where she can often be found walking her dog through the woods and fields. She has been married for thirty-four years and is the mother of three grown children and has one grandson.
Kathy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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