eBook Details


Pressure Head

By: JL Merrow | Other books by JL Merrow
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Sep 18, 2012
ISBN # 9781619212589
Word Count: 69,823
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Eligible Price: $5.50

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, HTML, Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub

Categories: Romance>LGBTQ>Gay Romance>Contemporary


Pressure Head by JL Merrow - Romance>LGBTQ>Gay eBook

Some secrets are better left hidden.

To most of the world, Tom Paretski is just a plumber with a cheeky attitude and a dodgy hip, souvenir of a schoolboy accident. The local police keep his number on file for a different reason—his sixth sense for finding hidden things.

When he’s called in to help locate the body of a missing woman up on Nomansland Common, he unexpectedly encounters someone who resurrects a host of complicated emotions. Phil Morrison, Tom’s old school crush, now a private investigator working the same case. And the former bully partly responsible for Tom’s injury.

The shocks keep coming. Phil is now openly gay, and shows unmistakable signs of interest. Tom’s attraction to the big, blond investigator hasn’t changed—in fact, he’s even more desirable all grown up. But is Phil’s interest genuine, or does he only want to use Tom’s talent?

As the pile of complicated evidence surrounding the woman’s murder grows higher, so does the heat between Tom and Phil. But opening himself to this degree exposes Tom’s heart in a way he’s not sure he’s ready for…while the murderer’s trigger finger is getting increasingly twitchy.

Warning: Contains a flirtatious plumber with hidden talents, a cashmere-clad private investigator with hidden depths, and an English village chock full of colourful characters with plenty to hide.
Reader Rating:   4.2 starstarstarstarstar (32 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   liplipliplip
Copyright © 2012 JL Merrow
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Dave took a deep breath. “Right. Melanie Porter. She’s a twenty-three-year-old estate agent, works down in the village. Boyfriend, as I said, a bit on the dodgy side. He’s got previous for drugs, petty crime—that sort of thing. Supposed to have settled down since he met the young lady—at least, he’s stayed out of trouble for nearly a year now. His story is she got a call Saturday night and told him she had to go out. They had a blazing row about it—we’ve got the neighbour’s corroboration for that—and she left, and he hasn’t seen her since. Or, depending which theory you subscribe to, he bludgeoned her to death and disposed of the body sometime in the early hours of Sunday morning.”

“So why do you think she’s here?” I nodded over at the trees.

“Anonymous tip-off. Said if we want to find Melanie, we’re to look around here.” He scratched his nose. Somebody really ought to buy him some nose-hair clippers for Christmas, I thought, distracted for a moment by the bushy growths that sprouted unchecked from his nostrils. “Be pretty convenient for him, if he did do it. They lived just over there, in a council flat.” Dave inclined his head towards the Dyke Hill estate, an unlovely but functional collection of houses and flats for the less-well-off of the village.

“Right, let’s get started, then,” I suggested. The longer I stayed out here, the worse my hip would ache. And I still had Mrs. L.’s blocked drain hanging over me, metaphorically speaking. “Have you got anything for me?”

It doesn’t always work, but sometimes a picture of the person I’m looking for will help. Dave handed me a snapshot, taken on a sunny day down by the river. Melanie Porter was a pretty girl, although she’d never make the cover of Vogue, or even Nuts. She had a roundish face, chestnut hair and large, blue eyes. Her smile was a little crooked, which gave her a sympathetic air.

Suddenly I didn’t want to find her. She looked like the sort of girl you hoped your brother would marry.

“There’s this too.” Dave handed me a carrier bag with a cardigan in it. “She was wearing it at work, the day she disappeared.”

“I’m not a bloody sniffer dog.” I took it anyway, in case it had some vibes for me. I pointedly didn’t sniff it. I didn’t feel any vibes, either. It was just a plain, slightly bobbly cardie.

“Oh, bloody hell—how did he find out about this?” I looked up from the photo to see Dave glaring at a tall, blond figure striding our way across the common. The new guy was big in a totally different way to Dave—his shoulders were broad, his legs were long and lean, and the bulk of his chest wasn’t all due to the bodywarmer he was wearing over a thick sweater. Well, it was a bit nippy up here, as I was finding to my cost. I gave my hip another rub.

There was something vaguely familiar about the bloke. “Who is he?”

“Private bloody investigator. Hired by our girl’s mum and dad. Private bloody pain in the bum, if you ask me. Ex-copper, couldn’t hack it, so left to go private.” He gave me a speculative look. “Course, you might get on all right with him. He’s one of your lot, not that you’d know it to look at him.”

“What, a plumber?” I asked innocently.

“Piss off. And he’s not a bloody psychic either. He’s queer, all right? And if I catch you two canoodling on police time, I’m taking pictures and bunging them on the Internet.”

“I’ll try and control my raging homo desires,” I said as dryly as I could. “I’ve managed to keep my hands off you all these years, haven’t I?” I added to wind him up.

Dave shuddered. I wasn’t offended. I was too busy fighting off a shudder myself. Dave’s a great bloke, and I love him dearly, but not like that. Dear God, never like that.

I had to admit I wouldn’t mind a bit of canoodling where the PI was concerned. Dave’s comment about his sexuality had piqued my interest, no doubt about it. As he approached, the sense of familiarity deepened, and I wondered if I’d seen him around somewhere. I was fairly sure we’d never hooked up or anything embarrassing like that. This guy was way out of my league—with a body like that, and a square-jawed, classically handsome face above it, he could take his pick, and he looked like he knew it too.

He nodded at Dave as he got up to where we were standing. “Southgate.”

Dave didn’t so much nod as curl his lip. “Morrison.”

And it hit me where I knew him from. It was all I could do not to stagger back, winded from the blow.

Morrison. Phil Morrison.

The last time I’d seen him, we’d still been at school. It wasn’t a time I looked back on with a nostalgic, rosy glow. My last name’s Paretski, a legacy of my great-grandma’s Polish stepdad, so naturally enough I was known for most of my school life as Parrotski. With the occasional Parrot-face or Polly thrown in for variety. I didn’t exactly like it, but I couldn’t say it really bothered me either. Although I did feel a bit envious of my older brother for having managed to get away with plain old Ski as a nickname.

Then Phil Morrison caught me looking at him in the changing room after PE—well, who wouldn’t look? He was the fittest lad in the school—tall, blond, athletic—and he came up with the bright idea of calling me Poofski.

It caught on instantly. Soon, hardly a day went by without a joke at my expense. Games lessons were the worst. “Don’t let Poofski follow you into the shower!” was a gag that never seemed to get old. My maths teacher, Mr. Collymore, even called me it once. I mean, I’m sure it was a genuine slip of the tongue, and he apologised afterwards, but they were laughing about that one in the classroom for days afterwards.

For all I know, they laughed about it in the staff room too.

And now he was here. Against all laws of probability or even human decency, apparently queer. And I was supposed to get used to it?

Morrison must have noticed my reaction, as he looked at me with his eyes narrowed. Suddenly, his face cleared, and a half smile flickered across his lips. “Parrotski,” he said with grim satisfaction.

Well, it could have been worse. And I was long over being intimidated by him. “That’s Paretski, if you don’t mind,” I snapped.

“You’ve changed a bit,” he said cryptically.

“So have you.” I tried to inject as much meaning as I could into those three words. I wanted him to know I knew his little secret. I wanted him to feel like the bloody hypocrite he was.

Zero reaction. Either it didn’t work, or more likely, he just didn’t give a monkey’s what I thought about him.

Dave huffed impatiently. “If you don’t mind me interrupting this touching reunion, we do have a body to look for. And Morrison? Unless you’re here to hand deliver a map drawn by the murderer, your services are not required. This is an official police investigation, not a bloody free-for-all.”

Morrison raised an eyebrow. “Oh? When did you join the force, Parrot—Paretski? Good thing for you they dropped the height restrictions.”

My jaw tensed. “I’m just here as a consultant.”

“Know a lot about hiding bodies, do you?” God, I’d forgotten just how much his snide tone got up my nose.

“Used to think about it all the time back in school,” I said pointedly.

“Girls!” Dave broke in with an exasperated shout.

We both whirled to look at him, probably with identical hangdog expressions. “Sorry, Dave,” I said, to establish myself firmly as the reasonable one. “Time to get started?”

“Too bloody right. Come on. And Morrison? If I find you trampling on the evidence, you’ll be cooling your heels in jail, understood? As soon as we find anything—if we find anything—the family will be informed.” Dave grabbed my elbow and more or less hustled me into the trees. We stopped once we were out of sight of the grassland. “Right—do your stuff.”

I sighed. “What, after all that?”

“Oh, come off it, Tom. Don’t play the prima donna with me, now. What was all that with you and Morrison, anyway? The short version, please. Young love gone bad?”

“Don’t let him hear you say that,” I warned. “Not unless you fancy pulling him in on a charge of assaulting an officer. We went to school together, that’s all. We weren’t exactly friends.”

I jumped as a hand like a bag full of sausages clapped me briefly on the shoulder. “School bully, was he? I know his type. All bluster and no bloody bollocks.”

Phil Morrison had bollocks, all right. I remembered that from the school showers. You might say I’d made something of a study of the subject. Didn’t think Dave would appreciate me mentioning it, though. I took a deep breath, and tried to clear my mind.

Phil Morrison’s bollocks kept creeping back in there, though. Sod it.
Reader Reviews (12)
Submitted By: Luce on May 15, 2016
Delightful romance mystery set in a small English village. It was also neat to see how the MCs got together at a regular pace rather than jump into things too quickly. Lots of humour and a tangled whodunit.
Submitted By: Whiteoak on Apr 30, 2016
Loved it!
Submitted By: namja on Mar 5, 2015
This one was a surprise - a good one. The characters are fun and interesting, and I definitely love the British atmosphere. I was at first only a bit half convinced by the relationship, and way more angry on Tom's behalf than he was himself, but I finished the book mostly convinced and wanting more, which is a really good sign. I loved Tom's voice, which helped a lot.
Submitted By: misspamela on Jan 4, 2015
3.5 stars, as it wasn't quite as strong as the first one for me. I love Tom, love the mysteries, love the loving descriptions of pubs, but there were some pacing issues. I still highly recommend the series!
Submitted By: Lenalove on Feb 2, 2013
It would be impossible to read this book and not fall in love with Tom. Such a lovely guy, I ached for him to find the right man, and whooped with joy when he did. Tom's POV is laugh-out-loud funny in places and utterly charming, and the murder/mystery that he gets dragged into drew me along to a very satisfying and unexpected conclusion. Loved this book! Sequel please?
Submitted By: tigermom1 on Jan 30, 2013
This is a M/M romance but it something most all of us can relate. Our hero is a plumber who was ridiculed in school for being gay and bullied into an accident that leaves him with pain and a limp. He helps the police "find things" which are mostly bodies. At the scene he meets one of the bullies and finds out he is a PI working the case for the dead girl's parents. This is a very British story but I liked him trying to save a friend from school who might wrongly be accused of murger.
Submitted By: bunny1 on Jan 22, 2013
I was looking forward to this book spanning two of my favorite genres. It does not live up to it's promise. There were several jumps in the plot that made little sense, and a definite lack of relationship developement between the two main characters. The narrative is in the first person, not my favorite perspective in a book. 2.5/5
Submitted By: vayld on Jan 20, 2013
I liked this book, but it isn't really a romance. It is, first and foremost, a mystery - everything else takes a backseat. The two main characters spend the first half of the book dancing around each other - Tom didn't even realize that Phil liked him until Phil asked him out for dinner at the very end of Chapter 13. Then they don't act on their attraction til chapter 17 (and there's only 21 chapters) Tom then spends a lot of the remaining time worrying if Phil likes him or is using him
Submitted By: denni on Jan 16, 2013
The 'charm' of British authors often escapes me, but JL Merrow makes me a believer again! Just enough 'Britishisms' to make reading interesting and not enough to spoil the story. So this book has everything; charm, mystery, a bit of romance, re-evaluating old relationships...and just enough 'Brit' to add a but of fun and amusement. IMO this author gets better with each book published, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Highly recommended!
Submitted By: auntieamie@hotmail.com on Jan 4, 2013
Funny and witty. The characters jump off the page. Will definatly be a book that can be read over and over
Submitted By: busynzmum on Jan 4, 2013
I really liked this book - I will keep and read again. The characters were real, I loved the location and it was a good murder mystery plot. If I had any complaint it would be that it ended quite suddenly; the characters issues weren't fully resolved.
Submitted By: youngromancelover on Dec 29, 2012
The story felt unfinshed bewteen the guys. A good story

Pressure Head

By: JL Merrow