A cozy mystery with a tongue-tied nerd of a history professor tempted by a gorgeous graduate student and millions of dollars if he can solve one of history’s greatest mysteries — who was Shakespeare really?
The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean
by Tara Lain
Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford-who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.
It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.
Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case-or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.
When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise…
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said, “I’m so sorry, Dr. Lewis. I just don’t have good sense sometimes. I never
should have put you in such a terrible position. I apologize from my soul.”
it is. I completely overstepped my bounds. I feel like I know you, and I acted
took a breath. “Y-you tried to make me f-feel comfortable.” He spoke slowly and
got most of the words out. He didn’t want Blaise to take the blame.
smiled softly. “Yes, I did.”
stepped closer. “Please don’t go until I’ve had a chance to tell you why I
He met her gaze, and his whole stomach clenched. No. No way. “I—I—”
let me tell you. You must know that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, is one of
the people most often named as the true author of the works of Shakespeare.”
looked up at Llewellyn. “He is? I thought it was, like, Marlowe or Bacon.”
no.” Anne waved a hand dismissively. “The Earl of Oxford has long been regarded
as the most likely candidate to have written both the sonnets and the plays.”
he’s one of the top candidates, if you believe such things.” The voice came
from the sidewalk beside his car, and Llewellyn looked up to see George
Stanley, Van Pelt, the Echevarrias, as well as the whole crew of dinner guests,
with one or two defections, gathering there.
If I drive away, maybe I could just go to
North Dakota and hide for the rest of my life? He swiped a hand over his face. Right, they love gay freaks there.
frowned. “Not one of them, the most
prominent among them, as I’m sure Dr. Lewis will agree.” He said nothing, and
she didn’t seem to care. She was on a roll. “It’s been a dream of my family to
investigate the earl’s position in this mystery for some time.”
I could run. Forget the car.
why I’ve sought out Dr. Lewis. He’s renowned throughout the world for
uncovering new evidence in some of the great questions of history.” Her voice
rang out like she was in a Shakespearean play herself. “That’s why I want him
to prove beyond a doubt that my ancestor, Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl
of Oxford, is the real author of the works of William Shakespeare.”
shook his head back and forth like a befuddled cow. “So many tr-tr-tried. C-can’t—”
raised her voice even more. “And I’m prepared to present the university with a
historical research grant of five million dollars in order to prove this claim.
One million to go to Dr. Lewis and the rest for dedication of the history
building to my ancestor, Edward de Vere.”
a second the whole street—the whole world—went silent.
Van Pelt’s voice rang out. “Well, that sounds like one of the most exciting and
worthwhile historical research undertakings I’ve ever heard.”
wasn’t enough. Maybe he should vomit.
Well, damn. He slowly released a breath and took
another as Blaise Arthur appeared in the kitchen doorway.
looked from Llewellyn’s face to his hand, just inches from grasping the handle
of a butcher knife. “Whoa. Hang on, Jim Bowie. Sorry to scare you. Your door
was standing open, and I was a little worried that you’d decided to run for
Alaska or hang yourself by one of Van Pelt’s neckties.”
laugh bubbled up from Llewellyn’s belly. That description so perfectly
described his options, he just kept chuckling until all three cats looked at
him like he was nuts. Marie relaxed her puffed-up fur seemingly one hair at a
time, flicked her tail, and returned to her chicken dinner.
he managed to stop laughing. “Uh, how d-did you know w-where I live?”
cocked his grin to the side. “I followed you, and I must say, I had to move
pretty fast to do it.”
What the hell? “W-why?”
told you. Suicide prevention.”
he disappointed in that answer? He spread his arms. “A-as you see.”
a cr-crazy cat lady.”
leaned against the door, arms crossed, one nicely muscled leg cocked over the
other, and a sexy-as-hell grin on his face. “Neither crazy nor a lady so far as
I can see.”
what do you want?”
a challenging question. Just accept my mother-of-compassion routine at face
value and offer me a drink.”
still frowned. “B-beer? Wine?”
would be great.”
loved craft beers and took two bottles of Red Headed Stranger from his cooler.
opened and poured them into pilsner glasses and handed one to Blaise, who
stared at the bottle. “Whoa, exotic.” He sipped. “Delicious.”
gestured to the hall and led Blaise back to the big living room with its high
ceilings, elaborate crown moldings, and polished oak floors. He sat in an easy
chair and indicated that Blaise should sit on the comfortable couch.
sipped and gazed around. “This is quite a house. How old is it?”
twenties or thirties.” Why was he chitchatting? What’s he doing here?
it a family home?”
Llewellyn frowned. “Uh, y-yes. E-everyone knows th-that.”
I read it, but I wanted to ask.” He grinned.
cats padded in, Marie making a straight shot to Llewellyn’s lap, where she
turned and stared at Blaise while washing her face and paws.
the formidable one.”
laughed. “Perfect. Marie, I’ll make it my personal objective to woo you to my
implied some long-term association.
took another big mouthful. “It looks like you have a nice life.” He set the
still partly full glass on the coffee table and stood. “I’m glad. Thanks so
much for the beer.” He walked toward the door. What the hell?
stood, getting a squawk from Marie. “W-why did you ask if I-I’m gay?”
glanced back over his shoulder. “Because I am.”
know.” Jesus, why did I say that?
I that obvious?” But he smiled.
shrugged. “No. So?”
Blaise laughed. “See you at work.”
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and more. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In addition to writing dozens and dozens of romance novels, Tara also owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. Together with her soulmate husband and her soulmate Dog, she recently realized a vision to live where there were a lot more trees and a lot fewer cars by moving to Ashland, Oregon. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.
You can find Tara at Lain