“My dear Watson, how does one go about kissing a woman?”
Sherlock Holmes’ question leads to a lesson Watson never expected to teach. And feelings he never thought to explore. A single kiss alters Watson’s world while the announcement of Holmes’ upcoming marriage sets an odd fear in his heart.
Amidst the beauty of an English country party, the greatest detective the world has ever known searches for a traitor. Somewhere among the glittering nobility a sadist lurks, using blackmail to destroy lives and endanger a nation.
Only Sherlock Holmes can save an innocent man and bring the traitor to justice. It’s a search that could cement the greatest friendship of all time into something far deeper and stronger…if the hunt doesn’t end Watson’s life first.
Welcome to the first sneak peek of KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES, the latest offering from T.D. McKinney and myself, Terry Wylis.
We’re both avid Holmesians (or are Americans the Sherlockians? I get that confused), and the notion that the great detective and his intrepid colleague were perhaps more than friends has been around almost as long as the canon stories themselves. So we decided to see if we could pen a gay romance in the classic “Watson voice” that brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle such acclaim (whether ACD actually appreciated it or not). We think we’ve succeeded.
We hope you agree.
A watery sunbeam found a path through the dense leaves above us, settling about Holmes’ head and shoulders, haloing him in softest gilt. He faced me with the oddest mixture of wry amusement and chagrin. “My dear Watson, how does one go about kissing a woman?”
“You’re joking, old man. You don’t know how to give a woman a kiss?” I could not countenance such a thing. For all his misogyny, surely at some point in his life he’d had congress with a woman, at least enough to exchange a kiss.
“It’s hardly been an area of pressing study.”
I didn’t doubt the truth of that. Unless it aided his pursuit of deductive reasoning and criminal investigation, it held no interest for him. Still…
“Surely, at some point in your career, in your disguises among the lower elements if nothing else, you’ve been forced to…ahm…consort with a certain class of woman?” I hadn’t intended it as a question, but his raised brows rendered it such.
“I have always endeavored to avoid intimate dealings with prostitutes, Watson. Filth and disease hold no attraction for me whatsoever.” The term forbidding was the mildest I could think of to describe his tone and expression. Then both lightened and faint smile appeared. “In any case, one does not kiss whores, old man. It just isn’t done.”
I started to speak, rethought the advisability of it, and simply shook my head instead. A multitude of things kept life with Holmes of more than ordinary interest.
“Unlike you, dear friend, I am no charmer of the fair sex. I normally leave such matters firmly in your expert hands. Flower seller or duchess, they all find you of the greatest attraction. I’ve none of your considerable experience, though.” He sighed. “I need a teacher, Watson. And quickly, for I expect Winnie to corner me when I return to the house.”
So walking back rather than taking the carriage had other motives than just enjoying the day and the beautiful scenery. I could sympathize with Holmes; I would not wish to be a man under the glass of the woman he’d described. “Well, in the interest of rescuing you from banishment, I suppose I could give you a lesson.”
“A lesson?” Holmes’ rather contemplative expression gained a flash of smirk at the corners of his lips. “I had no idea you cared so very much for my happiness, though I had rather hoped you might. You’ve offered to make a great sacrifice, old man.”
“I’ve always cared about your happiness and your well-being. Heaven knows I’ve hounded you enough about those awful stimulants.” I laid a hand on his shoulder and steeled myself for what I must say. “It’s hardly a sacrifice to help you win the regard of the woman who’s captured your fancy at last.” I still couldn’t quite grasp that concept. Holmes, married. In love. No longer in need of my help or companionship. I pushed the unworthy thought away as best I could.
“Indeed.” His shoulders lifted and hunched in a swift motion under my hand. “You’ve ever stood my friend. But how, pray tell, you do you plan to teach me the fine art of kissing a woman when there are no women presently around and I have severe doubts that my intended would tolerate her lady’s maid—who seems to have a fondness for me as well—filling in.” The sun lit his eyes, sparkling on the surface, the deeper layers hidden. I wonder if anyone, even I who knew him so well, could ever plunge all their depths. Amusement reflected from their surface. “I’ve little doubt she’d toss us all in the courtyard fountain.”
I ignored the small cramp in my middle and focused on his request. “It’s quite simple, Holmes. We’ll have to use a substitute.” Surely it couldn’t be that hard to come up with some sort of idea. If the odd breathlessness would leave me, I’d no doubt I could. “Hmm…well. There are several smaller trees around here. You’ve a vast gift for seeing beyond what the rest of us do. Simply imagine the tree is your intended.” I managed to speak the last word over the growing knot in my stomach.
He stared at me for a long moment, then his left brow climbed. “A tree.” The brow slowly lowered. He sank onto the stone bench, hands clasped over the silver head of his cane, so he could glare up at me. “Really, Watson.”
“Well I can hardly suggest one of the neighborhood cows.” Of all his tones, the one insisting I was the village idiot always irritated me more than any other. In the present state of my nerves, it rankled even more. “And since I know you well enough not to even suggest a verbal description alone, what do you recommend, out here in the middle of nowhere?”
“Whatever it might be, I’m certain it would be more useful than that of a tree or a cow.” He drew himself very erect, his gaze out among the ferns. “I see that extended visits to the country are not salubrious to your thought processes. You should remain in town where the hubbub can stimulate your brain.” He cast me a look of utter disdain from low-lidded eyes. “A tree.”
“Fine.” Of all the maddening, annoying, obstinate men ever born! “You want a lesson, fine.” I rested one knee on the bench, caught him by the nape of the neck and crushed my mouth down onto his, my exasperation with him overcoming all else.