Monday, 2 June 2014

The Runaway

If you haven't read it yet, why not?



Ciarrai is running away from a past that’s still breathing down his neck. Jack has no past, his memory wiped in the accident that killed his parents. They meet and their lives move forward like stones skimming the surface of the water, dipping into memories that want to surface and those that want to lie buried forever.

Together, they struggle to come to terms with what happened in the past and where they want to go in the future, but can Jack cope with a man who likes to dress in leather mini-skirts and silk kimonos? Can Ciarrai trust Jack with the secrets of his past; secrets he can’t escape, secrets that are snapping at his heels?

When those secrets catch up, forcing Ciarrai back to the life he’d left, a life that was slowly draining his life away, he and Jack’s love is both threatened and tested by forces from without and within.”


Sometimes, Jack wondered if the whole falling in love thing was a product of the head injury, part of the not remembering. Maybe he’d forgotten what falling in love was supposed to be like. Maybe he had forgotten what kissing and holding and staring into beautiful eyes should feel like. Maybe it was because there were no girls and Ciarrai was so pretty and soft and… real. Maybe it was a lot of things but whatever it was, he knew it was wrong.
If Ciarrai had been a girl, would it have been so different? Would he have made a move? Said something? He didn’t think so. Ciarrai was so different, so—beyond him. There was something about him that made him…different. Special. Jack was fascinated, captivated, but he knew Ciarrai would never feel the same about someone like him, someone so…frightened and empty and…shut down. He wasn’t sure what love should be but he had a good idea what it couldn’t be.
Yet, still he came. He couldn’t stay away, and Ciarrai was always happy to see him. He was always welcoming, always ready with a smile and a hug and a happy bounce, even when he’d been sad before. Maybe it was just because he was so lonely, anyone would do. Maybe…. Jack sighed. His head was hurting from all the maybes. There were so many of them in his life. Aunt Jane had brought him here to get away from the maybes, from the pressure. He was supposed to just let things happen and not to think too much about it, but how could he think about anything else?
He didn’t remember his parents or the accident. That, at least, was a blessing. He didn’t think he could cope with that, not yet. As much as he wanted to remember, he didn’t want to remember that. It would help if he could remember himself, though.
The bright light grew closer and he heard singing floating from the open window. Ciarrai sang well. Ciarrai did everything well. He was precise and deft and fluid and, seemingly, fearless.
No one answered when he knocked on the door, even when he knocked harder and harder. He knew the door would be open but he was afraid to simply walk in. What if Ciarrai were naked or something? Now that was an image that could burn itself into someone’s mind. Shaking, he turned the handle and allowed the door to swing gently open.
“Ciarrai,” he called softly, “Ciarrai are you there?”
What a stupid thing to say. Of course he was there. Hadn’t he just heard him singing? Actually, he could still hear him, and he could also hear the soft notes of some kind of music player. Ciarrai often did that, turned down the music so he could sing over it. He didn’t like to sing loudly. That beautiful voice wasn’t made for loud sounds.
“Ciarrai?” There was no reply. He hadn’t really expected there to be, because Ciarrai got completely caught up with the music and he wouldn’t have heard if a herd of elephants stampeded through the house. The smell drifting through the hall suggested he was in the kitchen and if he were cooking, he would be doubly absorbed.
Closing the door behind him, Jack allowed himself to be drawn to the kitchen by his nose. When he opened the door the smell hit him full in the face and it was amazing. Ciarrai was a good cook but he didn’t generally spend much time on it, preferring to throw something together from the freezer and the tins in the cupboard. Tonight, it smelled as if he was making something spicy, curry maybe. Curries were one of the few things Ciarrai liked to cook from scratch. They always tasted so good.
However, as soon as he set eyes on Ciarrai he completely forgot about cooking. For a few moments he forgot about breathing.
Usually, Ciarrai dressed casually in jeans and t-shirt, with trainers. Sometimes he wore pyjamas around the house when he wasn’t expecting anyone to come. They were black. What he was wearing today wasn’t black. It wasn’t….
It was a multi-coloured silk kimono. Delicate flowers wound their way along slender branches and cherry blossoms fell like rain. The silk sighed and swayed as he moved, sliding over the curves of his body in a way that made Jack feel tight. He’d caught up part of his hair and secured it with a silver clip at the back of his head, while the rest fell in golden waves, swishing when he turned his head. Jack bit his lip.
Ciarrai seemed taller, somehow, and it took a few minutes for Jack to realise he was wearing feathered, black, high heeled slippers. Fucking shit.
“Ciarrai?” he croaked and Ciarrai turned with a smile. His eyes were smoky dark, outlined with eyeliner, the lashes unnaturally long. But it wasn’t his eyes that drew Jack’s attention. It wasn’t even his flawlessly powdered and rouged cheeks. It was his cherry red lips, curling slightly in a sweet smile, twisting his stomach and begging to be kissed. What the fuck?
“Hey, Jack,” Ciarrai said lightly, as if there was nothing wrong. “I was making curry. Do you want some?”
Jack couldn’t find his voice. Neither could he take his eyes away from those lips, which were smiling broadly now.
“I think maybe you could do with a drink.”
Jack nodded dumbly and Ciarrai drifted over to the wine rack. A bottle was already open on the counter.  He took out another glass and filled it, returning to hand it to Jack. He wasn’t walking but gliding, the silk swaying and whispering sibilantly.
With an effort, Jack raised his eyes from the cherry lips to the smoky eyes and swallowed hard. “What?” he croaked. “What…?”
“What…?” Ciarrai asked with a grin. Jack shook his head, his mouth dropping open at the husky purr in Ciarrai’s voice. Then Ciarrai dropped the blatant flirtation and smiled a more natural smile, handing Jack the wine. As he took it, he noticed the long, red, lacquered nails. “I’m sorry,” Ciarrai said, laughing. “I’m being cruel. I just couldn’t help it. Your face was a picture.”
“But why?”
“Why what? Why am I cooking curry in a silk kimono?” Jack shrugged and Ciarrai continued. “Why not? I didn’t think anyone was going to see me.”
“Do you…? Do you often…?”
“Wear a kimono? No, not often. Only when I’m feeling….” Ciarrai trailed off. A dreamy smile touched his lips as he stared into the distance, with a faraway look in his eyes. “When I want to feel cool silk on my skin.”
“No. I meant…. I um…meant….”
For a moment, Ciarrai looked puzzled, then he grinned. “Oh right,” he said. “You mean dressing like a woman?”
“Yeah, that would be it,” Jack said, recovering a little and taking a large swig out of his glass. He choked and Ciarrai laughed again.
“Why not? Like I said, I like the feel of silk. I like wearing high heels. I like the way I look with makeup on. I like the way I look in short skirts and suspenders. It makes me feel sexy.” For a moment his face fell. “Not that there’s anyone to feel sexy for anymore.” He shrugged. “Not that there ever was. It just makes me feel good, for me.”
“So um…um…. Do you…? Are you…? You’re not…not…?”
“Not what?” He giggled. “A woman?”
“Er…no; no I’m not. I could prove it if you like.” A wicked gleam lit Ciarrai’s sparkling blue eyes and the look on his face made Jack think of a mouse between the paws of a cat. It was almost predatory.
“No…no that’s fine. I…believe you,” Jack said, shrinking back and almost falling off the stool. Ciarrai laughed.
“So, do you like it?” he asked, twirling and making the silken hair and silk kimono float around him. The heels clacked on the tiles.
Jack swallowed, hard. “I…guess….”
Ciarrai stopped and smiled a gentler smile. “You don’t mind do you? I mean, does it make you feel uncomfortable?” He looked uncertain, and Jack’s heart leaped.
“No…well yea, but not in the way you think.”
“Oh. Okay.”
Ciarrai turned back to the stove and Jack drank most of the glass of wine.
“So are you…?” he asked after a long silence, during which Ciarrai had started to hum. “Are you…?”
“Am I what?” Ciarrai asked, ladling curry onto plates, next to the mounds of rice.
“If you…. If you like to…um…um…dress as woman, does that mean…? Does it mean you’re…?”
Ciarrai looked up and shrugged. “I don’t think it means anything, except that I am what I am, and I’m not afraid to show it.”
“I know but….”
Ciarrai tilted his head to one side and gave him a calculating look. Then he shrugged again. “Am I a transvestite? I guess—part time. Am I gay? Absolutely. Am I embarrassed or ashamed? Absolutely not. I guess I’m just,” he paused, “me.” Shrugging again he picked up the plates and set them on the table. “Come on. Let’s eat before it gets cold.”
Jack found it difficult to eat. It wasn’t that the food wasn’t good, it was. It was that he simply couldn’t take his eyes off Ciarrai. His red lips wrapped around the fork and, occasionally, a pink tongue darted out to lick sauce off them. The long white fingers, with their shiny red tips, caressed the cutlery, or wrapped around the stem of the wine glass. The long lashes fluttered, the silky hair swished and a delicate, flowery perfume, switched his hormones into overdrive. He was overwhelmed. He simply had no idea what to think, what to say, what to feel.
This was Ciarrai, his friend, and yet…and yet it wasn’t. This person was some kind of magical creature, some fey witch, come to steal away his senses, his mind. He ached to reach out and touch him. Any part of him. Anything….
Ciarrai had always been androgynous, and there’d been many times when Jack had been confused by it; confused about the way he felt about it. There had been occasions when Ciarrai had worn eyeliner, when his feminine side had been close to the surface, and Jack could almost have believed….  But this…this was….
“Are you alright?”
“Alright?” Jack repeated, numbly.
“You’re not eating much and you look pale.”
“I…. It’s…. It’s just….”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I forget.”
“Forget what?”
“Forget not everyone thinks and feels like I do. I’ve kind of given up trying to work out what everyone else expects so I kind of…. Now that I’m here, alone, I guess I’ve just…let myself be me. I forget there’s anything wrong with it.”
“Wrong? Hell no. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…. I can’t….” He swallowed hard again and looked up to find Ciarrai smiling, with such a strange look in his eyes.
“Are you in love with me, Jack?” he asked, and Jack all but fainted.



Frostina – 5 stars

The story, like the fairy tale in the prologue is simply magic! 

Jack- A man who is struggling through his present, trying to dive into the lake to get at his sunken, lost past; only managing to skim the surface with the stones he throws into it and

Ciarrai- A man who is struggling to live in the present trying to stay on the surface, to get rid of his past, but only managing to sink all the stones he throws in no matter how much he tries otherwise.

Nephy put them together, discussing techniques, secrets, and their lives, and we manage to see the struggle both of them are trying to make their way through. Somehow they’re fighting the same demon: their past, just from two opposite ends. Each of them strong to the other, but self depreciating. 

Sunk in depression, Jack latches on to the phenomenon that is Ciarrai; slowly but steadily getting his life back on track. In return all he can hope is Ciarrai will be there if his past comes back to haunt him. 

Instead, its Ciarrai’s past that catches up with them, tears them apart and leaves us in anguish.

There is so much beauty in life: some of it meant to be experienced, some of it just to be admired, and some, just to be left untouched. The Runaway shows us how so many lives can easily be destroyed when we don't really categorise the forms of beauty properly. 

There is love, drama, silk, leather, angst and a healthy dose of manipulation in this remarkable novel that takes us for an unforgettable ride through the life of a remarkable man, the Runaway.
I wish I could have given it more than 5 stars, but... yeah! 
Kudos again Nephy! 

Erin – Four Stars

I wondered thru a lot of this book if Jack and Ci were going to make it. Sometimes they clicked perfectly well and then others I thought that they were way too far apart. I wanted to slap Ci's mom and brother and I wanted to hug Jack's aunt and then pout behind her back about what a pain in the ass she the nicest way of course. :)

If I had one wish it would be to be a fly on the wall while Ci tries to figure out how to live in the real world. I'm thinking that no matter how much he hates what he was he's really gonna miss a lot of the perks that came with living his old life. Good luck to Jack with that.

Melanie Adkins  Five Stars

Two men meet under less than perfect circumstances. Ciarri O'Donnell is running away from a life he has no control over. He feels as though he is dying. A secluded cabin is just the place to heal. Jack Horton is also at a secluded cabin nearby. He's trying to revive memories of his parents horrible death. Jack is also recovering from the accident of which he was a part. Both are scared of the memories and yet they want very much to be together. With the missing pieces, can they become the loving couple they both want to be? A twist of fate may aid these two in their quest to be just an ordinary couple who are very much in love. 

Beautiful, exciting and full of love, this love story will keep you right in your seat until you reach the end. What some would call an unconventional love story but it's tale is age old. I love that this book teaches acceptance, love and after dealing with the past, letting it go. This one is recommended for everyone. I found the writing to be fluid. The book has terrific characters who take you from laughter to tears and back again. This is one to put on the top of the TBR pile.

I did find an issue. The opening is a bit rambling and you'll wonder how it ties into the overall story. It does fit in the end though 

Manda – Five Stars

I'm the BIGGEST fan of Chiarrai <3 

Nephylim is known for her love of beautiful male characters, look at Silver from Enigma series... But in my mind Chiarrai is the most beautiful of them all. He is special to me for... let's just say for some very special reasons.

The start of the book is so sweet, so cute, so pure. It lulls you to love Chiarrai and his gentle way with his little brother. It also introduces us to the fairy tale that is a key to this story.

After the sweet start EVEYRYTHING goes to hell. Neph does what she does the best, she strips her character from his innocence and leaves him shuddering, breaking him to such small fractures that it is inconceivable to believe that he could rice again. Well... it is Neph's trademark to torture her boys... Sigh. But Chiarrai will rise again. HE will grow strong again with Jack on his side. Jack carries his own wounds, he too is broken. 

I love the gentleness and the love and the passion that this author pours into her characters. It is unique. If you are not afraid of going through some heavy emotions with a story, I recommend you read this book. It is such a beautiful read.

edit 14.9.12, I don't know why I call him Chiarrai, I have from the start :P from the very earliest moment I have met him... Lovechild has many names!

About The Author:

Born into a poor but loving mining family in the United Kingdom, Nephylim grew up in the beautiful and history rich South Wales Valleys, becoming the first in her family to attend university. As a lawyer practicing Family Law for several years, the profession allowed Nephylim to learn more about human nature at its worst and best moments, and develop empathy and a view of life not limited by social standing or background.

Tapping into the heritage of her people that throughout Earth's ages welcomed the wandering bard into the hearts of their villages as keepers of lore, Nephylim trained as a Druid and brings the richness of her Celtic past and spiritual training to enrich and elevate her writing. Since a child Nephylim has been fascinated with other worlds, which exist within and alongside her own and has reveled in creating worlds and characters for others to enjoy.

Despite lack of family support, Nephylim continued writing privately and eventually found the Gay Authors website. With the positive response and a warm welcome received, she found the confidence to pursue her passion to a greater degree. Feeling gay fiction was a woefully neglected corner of the market where readers were all too often presented with what amounted to erotica, Nephylim strives to write quality gay fiction where sex and sexuality is not the central premise. Instead, concentration is given to character and narrative development through storytelling that goes beyond the physical.

Nephylim still resides in Wales, UK, and enjoys writing, reading, art, and taking part in medieval reenactments.

Author Links:

Interviews with the author:


  1. Nice. I had not seen the trailer before :)

  2. First and last attempt so far. I really must have more fun with this