Book Title: Handled: A dark gay romance
Author: Romilly King
Release Date: October 29, 2020
Genre: Dark M/M Romance
Themes: justice, retribution, and unsuitable love
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 175 pages
Trigger warning: violence, mentions of suicide, and torture.
It’s also a happy for now not a happy ever after
as there are two further books in the series.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
Serial killers think if it all goes south and they finally get caught that their swan song is a day in court, making the families relive the agony while they get off on that delicious pain, all over again.
Not happening. Not anymore. We’re not making celebrities out of monsters. We’re not giving them a stage to strut on.
Now they get an audience of two.
One to Handle the problem, one to Witness it.
I’m a Witness. I trained for six years to do my duty, to manage my contracted killer, and to watch justice be done.
I knew it would be hard, the first time, to watch the eye for an eye moment.
I expected to feel a lot of things – fear, disgust, guilt.
I didn’t expect to feel turned on.
And I didn’t expect my contracted killer to look quite so pretty with blood on his hands.
HANDLED is a dark gay romance with themes of justice, retribution, and unsuitable love. It is not for the faint of heart and contains graphic scenes intended for an adult audience.
I wake no less irritated than when I went to sleep. Frustration and arousal are rolling at a low level simmer in my brain and my body. I should have sought a release but I couldn’t make my mind up if I needed to hurt, or be hurt.
Normally I know exactly what I want.
Watching the kill turned me on, it always does, there was pain involved, and although I was fifteen feet away I could feel it, smell it, almost taste it as the wire of the garotte carved through the dirty skin of the neck.
It was the laziness of the killer that confused my arousal though. He was sloppy, his victim was random, there was no finesse anywhere, no evolution in technique, no learning or adapting.
The pain on the victims face had caused a jerk in my limbic system, my cock going half hard, my blood sluggishly stirring, but the lacklustre carry through from the killer snuffed my rising hormones.
I know I will be a lot harder when I kill him.
The pleasure will last a lot longer.
The best I can say about last night’s kill was that it was quick. Which was a blessing for the victim.
It was the second time I had seen this killer perform, and the previous operation had been no more inspiring than this one.
I roll out of bed, I have time for a shower before watching the congressional committee do their annual rehashing of old issues before failing to find a way out of their ethical conundrum.
It is essential viewing, it gives me insight into which way the wind is blowing on Capitol Hill with regard to my employment and more than that, my existence.
Chances are the wind will still be gusting in my direction. The public remains fascinated and frequently aroused by people like me, but reluctant to face the unpalatable truth that the human genome throws us up for a reason, and that reason is survival.
Apart from that it’s always amusing to watch the Director deliver this year’s version of his you can’t handle the truth monologue.
Under the warm water of the shower I feel again the urge to give into the sexual side of my issues but it’s not worth it. It won’t assuage the itch, and I still can’t decide, hurt me or hurt someone else.
Sometimes, when the disconnect is bad, I look down at my body and I am surprised, because it isn’t what I expect to see. I see smooth lean muscle and length when what I expect to see is skinny and short and dirty, with old blood on the backs of my legs, grime ground into too pale skin, and my ribs like a toast rack.
The curling arousal makes it worse. I need to kill or this vision of me becomes the more prevalent one, and that isn’t helpful, it takes the confidence away.
I don’t have bad memories per se, I just had my evolution forced, and so the real me, the me now, it sometimes regresses, and if I look in the mirror I see both of us, one standing inside the other. The grown Handler and the tortured child.
Once I get my new Witness and handle this killer it will be so much clearer, and then I can take my release with clarity and passion.
Rubbing my hair dry I walk naked into the bedroom and flick on the tv. The committee is coming to order, the Director adjusting his microphone smoothly on the desk in front of him – I honestly don’t know how he has the patience for this, but then we have different mentalities. His various assistants
are congregated behind him looking like a row of funeral directors, which is essentially what they are – all dark shiny graduates of the Witness program.
It would be nice if one of them was assigned to me, preferably one that I won’t want to kill within the first half hour, and then we can get the show back on the road and I can finally let the curling, aching need in me find its path to completion.
About the Author
Romilly is queer. Romilly wakes up every morning and decides which (witch) to be. Some days Romilly is an Imp, some days a Fairy, some days a Stoic, and some days a Gladiator. Romilly has a classical education, a filthy mouth and loves OTK spankings and strong Sirs who give love and punishment in equal measure.
Romilly is also very shy but makes every effort to engage with people from all walks of life and likes making friends and meeting fans on social media.
Q & A With Romilly King
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been a professional writer since 2009, prior to that I was a psychologist. This is my first year publishing fiction though – I use a pen name – my previous work has been literary essays and narrative non-fiction.
Are you in agreement that writing fan fiction is a great way to hone ones’ craft – why or why not?
I think we all start off in fan fiction of a sort, inspired by the worlds others have made. I’ve not written in the current iteration of fan fiction online but I remember as a child being obsessed with the universe Susan Cooper created in her Dark is Rising sequence and wanting to extend that universe – I remember trying to, badly, but those would have been the first scenes I ever wrote.
I’ve read fan fiction; back in 2008, when Doctor Who literally saved my life, I went through a phase where I was reading fan fiction all the time on a site called a teaspoon and an open mind. I know I published a few articles about it too.
I think now there are good and bad things about fan fiction. It does indeed help with the craft of writing, with getting to the end of something, and it is an important space for people to test how fragile their hearts are about feedback, but it’s a strange world and success there does not always translate into success in the publishing world. They are two very different markets.
What was your first published book?
With fiction my first was Paid to Kneel, Delphic Agency Book One, which came out in June this year.
Do you have a favorite character from one of your books? Why?
I love Richard from my first book because he is most like me (he’s boring!), he’s sensible and decent and essentially stoic but he’s got a kinky side (me again) that he discovers and is amazed but not traumatized by.
I also very much like writing Gray from my current series, Handled, he’s a psychopath (not like me) and he’s very different, and working my way through his mind is fascinating because he doesn’t understand feelings. His voice is really clear in my head right now because I’m working on the second book of the trilogy.
What is your favorite sub-genre to write?
I write a lot about BDSM because I’m in the scene and I have a lot to say about good and bad BDSM. I was listening to the audio book narration of my second book, Paid to take Control, the other day and it sounds like a damn instruction manual! Admittedly, a hot instruction manual, my narrator was exhausted by the end of several scenes, particularly one caning scene.
All my books so far have had an element of kink or power dynamic in them and I like that, it makes my boys interesting characters to explore.
Is there one genre you haven’t tried but you see yourself writing in the future?
I desperately want to write an omegaverse/shifter series. I have it all planned out and it’s tentatively scheduled for the middle of next year but it’s causing me problems because I can’t decide between first and third person narration. I’m not as interested in mpreg, but I’m really interested in hierarchies and so omegaverse is a great way to explore that and reflect it back on our society. And it’s sexy as all hell and primal.
What are your thoughts on erotica?
I love erotica. Okay, let me enlarge on that, I love character driven erotica with a kinky edge. I’m less interested in the whole meet shag leave unless that is what the character wants at that time and the author voice is good. I’m a sucker for voice.
Name your favorite authors and some of their stories you’ve enjoyed? What do you like about the writing?
I like Cara Dee a lot, her kink works are well researched and really interesting and Breathless, her last book, was so hot – twins, I mean, what’s not to like. She also really nails dialogue, so fluid and natural.
In erotica I love Travis Beaudoin, he’s got such a great voice and his characters just leap off the page – this guy will write the great American novel with a delicious element of smut, I know he will.
What book are you reading at the moment? It’s okay to give a fellow author a plug!
I just finished Travis Beaudoin’s latest novella, Break me Down, which was wonderfully sinister and dirty.
I’m also reading Marie Sexton’s Heretic Doms Book Three, Spare the Rod.
And I’m also working my way, in the wrong order, through Cara Dee’s Cammasia Cove books.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my dark gay romance trilogy – Handled was the first, the second book, Cleansed comes out at the end of the month, and then the third, Polished, should be out just before the New Year. The series is set in an alternative universe where capital punishment is carried out by contracted psychopaths called Handlers and overseen by Witnesses, who are there to observe justice being done. The books cover the complex relationship between Gray, an experienced and notoriously difficult Handler, and Nathan, his younger, less experienced Witness.
If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are you in their sex scenes?
I’m really descriptive. We build these things up between our characters, we boil them in sexual tension, I think we have got to give the payoff at the end. Also, to my way of thinking, you learn as much from how people fuck as by what they say. It all throws light on character and often it is the little things they do during a sex scene that explains them the most.
As a gay fiction or m/m romance author, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
I don’t know that it is becoming mainstream but I remain hopeful that it will in the near future. I know more people are reading it and enjoying it and finding their own reality reflected there and that is an awesome thing but I don’t know that “mainstream” has accepted this yet. In real life I have a literary agent, I’ve had one for years, and the books that I publish now would not find a home at a publishing house, and yet they make significant money, but more importantly people read them.
Where do you see m/m romance in the next 5 years?
I would like to see m/m romance books getting the opportunities that het romance books get. I’d like to see authors getting the opportunity to sell translation rights, movie rights, and be offered the kind of deals where marketing support is included. Genre books, and MM is classed as niche genre, have always been looked down on, whether it was pulp sci fi in the sixties, sword and sorcery in the seventies or romance in any decade, but people read them, and they love them, and they still learn things from them. The snobbery around the genre exasperates me!
I do think it’s going to take a few more break out books getting lucky for things to change significantly and for MM romance to be more than the odd Brokeback Mountain or Call me by your Name success everyone has heard of – any producers reading this, I can point you towards some excellent mm books online that would make fantastic and affordable Netflix series, small cast, limited locations, high steam and angst, message me!
What promotional method works best for you?
Passive seems to work well for me. I’m not great on social media because I keep forgetting to promo my stuff and just keep talking to people – I live in the middle of nowhere so I never have anyone to talk books with in real life. I keep meaning to set up mailing lists and newsletters but that feels like bugging people and I just don’t seem to get around to it – too engaged in the next book. I’ve had success with Facebook adverts on a limited budget but I don’t have massive amounts of money to throw into them. So, decent cover, solid blurb and write another book is my main marketing.
Name two male celebs that you’d like to see in a hot make out session?
Ahhh I don’t know any celebs!
Spends half an hour thinking…
I’m better with characters than real people…
If it was characters I would have said Cas and Dean from Supernatural but after last week’s Kill your Gays debacle they can bog right off. They don’t deserve smooches. Well Cas does. Dean, not so much. (Considers writing retcon version for purposes of this interview, realizes that’s fan fiction, gets tied in philosophical knots).
Wracks brains some more…
Okay…got it…David Tennant and John Barrowman because John would totally be into it and David seems flexible and they call him David Ten-inch so John would want proof of that.
Your favorite gay celeb?
I like Matt Bomer a lot, not just because he is so outrageously beautiful, but because he’s so hopeful about the LGBTQ world and where we are going, and he is also an extremely good actor.