Guest · Release Blitz

Release Blitz – Nell Iris

I interrupt this story to bring you a far more festive read from the wonderful Nell Iris:




Red Popcorn Strings & Gumball Rings











Publisher: JMS Books







Young couple Ellis and Casey’s Christmas is set to be a lean one. Struggling financially, they’re only able to manage the most basic needs for their holiday celebration. They can’t afford luxuries like a turkey. Or decorations. Or presents. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma, and Ellis’ estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon line thrown outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Because what more do you need to have a Merry Christmas than enthusiasm, ingenuity, and someone to love?




Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


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Beast of Bodmin Moor 13

Hiya, we’re at 33,000 words or thereabouts now, so I’ve added a #beast tag to each post, perchance that’s helpful along the way. Thank you, as always, for reading🥰





The Beast of Bodmin Moor







“Jake…”  flitted free, filling the chasm when their mouths smushed apart.

Jake hmm’ed a rumble of acknowledgment that shimmered down Phin’s spine in a shiver of heat. Chased by a scatter of kisses, smudged across his jaw, towards his ear…neck…where Jake fastened to drag the blood to the surface and Phin’s knees floorwards. They could scarce hold him up. The only part left utterly unbuttery with bliss was twitching fit to bust in his pants, aching for the fiery friction of Jake’s touch.

“Phin, I shouldn’t be here…” Jake’s groan ghosted across Phin’s skin, but he didn’t move a muscle, even to raise his head.

Why shouldn’t he be here? Is he married? Is that why he’d left in such a hurry? Had he remembered his wife would be cross if he stayed out too late? He doesn’t wear a ring, though…but then, lots of men don’t…

“I’m glad you are.” Phin told him, rather than clobber Jake with questions. Somehow sure he wouldn’t want to hear them and, even if he did, it seemed a lot likely that Phin would hate the answers. He didn’t want to spoil it. Even if this was all he could have, all he could ever hope for, he wanted it. A bit of Jack was better than lots of someone else.

Phin didn’t want anyone else. It was too late.

He was already besieged by the skittery thrill that blinkered him when spellbound by a new passion. He’d be minding his own business, absorbed in his trove of treasures, content as can be. Then slam, Phin found himself coshed by an all consuming kaleidoscope of colour that carried him off on a rainbow ride of discovery.  A hypermission to secure all he could find to nourish his need to know more. To drench every sense with its essence and fill his happy place with more of its magic. It had happened forever, Phin recognised it as readily as his own reflection.

This, was more than that. Much more…p’raps too much more, having met Jack just yesterday. Quite how that could be made to matter a jot, Phin knew not. He loved things or hated them, instantly. If he didn’t care a toot about something, then he never would. He couldn’t make himself be interested, nor could he force himself enjoy a boring book or love a sour-as-a-sucked-lemon relative. That was just daft. Like asking Phin to try and wear orange. 

It would be best not to tell Mr. Neil about this new and (too) much improved fixation, or Phin would find himself forgetting a refresher course of Cognitive Behavioral fix-its pronto. It was supposed to teach him how to Not Do Stuff Too Much. Phin was living proof of its towering powers of persuasion.

He was pondering all this while watching Jack have a fight with his leather jacket. It seemed to want to remain shrink-wrapped to his body despite his best efforts to yank it off. Phin had never expected to find himself sympathizing with the wishes of a coat, but couldn’t help hoping it didn’t win its battle. The scuffle had started about a snatched off breath after Jake wrenched himself free with a grit-strewn groan.

“Sorry…” his heroic victor muttered (eventually), tossing it aside. 

“Are you sorry about the kissing, or sorry the kissing stopped?” Phin wondered. Out loud.

“Um, both probably.”

“I’m sorry you’re sorry about the kissing,” Phin stifled a sad sigh while cramming his host hat on (inside) his head. “Would you like a drink, instead?”

“Please…” Jake nodded, shoving his thumbs into the front pockets of his jeans. If only they came off next…or his t-shirt. Preferably both. Phin poured another tumbler of brandy and handed it to him. “Thank you,” Jake remembered to say after draining the glass with one Adam’s apple-bobbing glug.

“I thought I’d never see you again,” Phin admitted. “Was I wrong, or did you change your mind?”

“No, you were right. I-I’m no good…for you,” Jake insisted.

“Pfft…I’m very fed up of the fact that not-good-for-me things are always the fun stuffs. The ones I want most,” Phin grumbled.

“You’re a liability waiting to happen to yourself, you know that, right?” Jack sighed a chuckle about a sharp-shooting eyebrow before ambushing Phin with a query he sure hadn’t seen coming. “Speaking of…what did you do to your arm?” 

Phin glanced at his wound, then blinked. Twice. The crusty gash was…well, it wasn’t a crusty gash. It was…a ragged purple slash across his forearm.

“Oh. I…um, did an accident. S’okay though…it looks lots better already.”

“Hmm…” Jake sniffed, regarding him with squinty eyes.

“Oh, Jake!” Phin piped up, hoping to distract him. “I saw Foxy on the moors tonight, so I didn’t dream him up. I don’t think he is a fox, I didn’t last time really, but he’s not a wolf either…maybe a coyote, or a jackal?”

“In Cornwall?” Jake’s left eyebrow shot skywards again.

“We already have a black panther, so why not?”

“Why not indeed,” Jake grinned, shaking his head a smidge. “Weren’t you afraid he might hurt you?”

“Pah…no. Not at all, I told you, he’s friendly,” Phin shrugged, with a smile. “He sat down beside me and let me stroke him. It was cosy.”

“See? You’re a walking liability. D’you plan on swimming with sharks next?”

“That’s dolphins, you daftie. I’d love to do that. Jack…? Why are you no good?” Phin paused, then added, “For me? That’s how it sounded, as if you meant I’m no good full stop. Are you married, or a murderer?”

“If I’d got married, I would probably have both covered by now,” Jack snorted. “But no, not yet.”

“Not yet married or not yet a murderer?” 

“Either. Both.” Jake’s shrug suggested that Phin had asked if he wanted chunky monkey or chocolate ice cream. 

“D’you plan to?” he couldn’t resist asking.

“Which one?” Jake’s lips twitched with a smirk.

“Either, both.” Phin parried.

“I-I…can’t rule either out.”

“I know…” Phin sighed, barely above a breath. And promptly found himself bludgeoned by a blaze of blue. Blimey. 

“D’you have a death wish?” Jake’s voice was a low, lethal lash of sound. A ‘fearsome’ one.  It sure made Phin’s toes curl, but they weren’t scared.

“Nope, not really…although I think I could have an accident,” he had to admit.

“Phin. Your dissembling is an art form.” Jake informed him with another squinty stare.

“Thank you,” he beamed.

Jake just did the head shaking thing again. People often did that, funnily ’nuff, just before sighing, ‘Oh, Phin…’  Never with such a finger-tingling tumble of hair, though. “I should probably go…let you get to bed.” 

“Oh.” Phin couldn’t keep the disappointment from his voice. It landed with a dull thud on the rug.

“I just thought… well, it’s late and I turned up unannounced. Again.” 

“I don’t mind. I won’t go to sleep unless I take my tablets, and I haven’t had them yet.” Then, quicksmart, before Phin could think worse of it, he added; “You can stay here, if you like, I’ll kip on the sofa seat.” 

“I…Phin, I really should g—” Jack broke off with a sharp breath that made his eyes scrunch up as he doubled over, clutching his stomach. “FUCK!”

“What is it…? Jack!?” Phin was afraid now. Afraid and fretting, scratchy and scared. “What’s wrong?” 

His golden skin had gone ashen grey, agony etched upon his face. “S…sss’kay,” Jake ground out through gritted teeth. An outright lie. “I’m ok—shiiit, okay…okay! F’fucksakes!” he snarled. It didn’t seem to be at Phin, but there was no one else to snarl at.

“What can I do? D’you want…water, brandy, a lie down?”

“I-it’s just cramp. I’ll be fine in a minute. No doubt,” he growled. Then: “Phin, is the offer still open…?”

“To stay here?” he asked, unable to think of another offer he might have made. He tried not to sound too hopeful, eager, despite the happy dance antics of his heart. Jake was suffering. Despite his insistence on being ‘fine’ in a mo.

“Yeah. I’m not going to throw you out of your bed though.” Jack declared, making a manful attempt to straighten up. There were beads of sweat glistening on his brow. Phin longed to lick them off.

“I’m not listening. You do look a little better, is it easing off now?”

“Yeah…” he sighed. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to be sorry, you haven’t done anything. Sadly. Bummer…sorry, I meant to say the last part inside my head, but it…escaped.”

“Phin, please don’t think, it’s not that I don’t…want. I do. Too much.” Jake did his most heartfelt groan yet as he raked a hand through his hair. Phin’s fingers started itching. Not with scratchiness. In the sort of way that had ‘who scoffed all the cookies’ consequences.

“I’m…terrified I might hurt you.”

“Knowing you don’t want me hurts more, methinks,” Phin asserted, despite the dearth of comparative data. Barely a blink later, his back crashed against the door, a wall of hard heat pinning him to it in a body slam of bliss. As far from pain as it was possible to imagine when his lips were assaulted with kisses too lethal to survive unscathed.






When he arrived, Jake had felt somewhat sure of one thing: it would be, if not easier— then less impossible—to hold it together. Having already proved that he could while holding Phin hostage in his arms. Hell, he’d even survived a blowjob without exploding in a frenzy of fur. A miracle that made it seem safe to assume he could handle the merest brush of lips without combusting.

Jake was wrong. Very. Deadly wrong.

The devastating need was worse now. Worse still? Jack was doing a damn fine impression of a domestic cat curled on a hearth rug, as calm as can be. Content (for now) that he’d got his own way and was still here, within hearing distance of his jackal whisperer’s dulcet tones.

How was Jake supposed to suppress his own excesses in the presence of Phin? It was a challenge on a par with staying sober in a Speakeasy. In nineteen-twenties New York.

He’d launched himself through Phin’s doorway like a man possessed; unprepared for the extravagance of ivory that greeted him. A sight so incendiary that Jake neglected to steel himself against the impact of the most immoderate of all gazes, wide(r) with surprise. He had a better chance of surviving the stare of a double-barrelled shotgun with his faculties intact.

Jake had barely begun when he was forced to stop. Before he could not. He had but buried his nose in the curve of Phin’s neck to breathe him in. The resulting surge of bloodlust suggested Jake might find himself feasting on it before recalling exactly whose quivering pulse his teeth had sunk into. The heat boiling his blood was so intense, he felt about an inhalation away from bursting into flames. So, he dragged himself free and attempted to disentangle himself from a jacket dead-set on being welded to his body. He couldn’t even get the bloody zip down, beset as he was with about fifty fingers and fumbling thumbs.

Jake had never had a hope in hell. He was outnumbered. Everything he said to try and warn Phin off, or at least make him wary, was brushed aside by the most disarming airiness on Earth. A disregard for danger so intrinsic, Jake feared that shifting on the spot might leave his inimitable Phin unruffled. In much the way he’d mused the fact he might be hosting a homicidal maniac. 

If Jake didn’t shift himself sharpish, Phin damn well would be. No one else present (in person or proxy) would do bugger all to ensure he stayed safe. 

Jake had scarce stammered so much as “I…Phin, I really should—” before his guts spasmed so violently he had no idea how he remained on his feet, albeit doubled-over in pain. Far more severe than having Jack burst from his body (strangely akin to the agony and ecstasy of being topped for the first time, many moons ago). Only an extreme masochist—one capable of considering limb amputation a form of foreplay—could have gleaned a glimmer of pleasure from the torture enacted on Jake’s entrails. Being gutted with a medieval flail may have felt similar. Or gored by a wild boar. Jack was not budging. Apparently. Furthermore, he didn’t give a flying fuck in which form he curled up with Phin tonight. They were staying, whether they moulted on the bed or not.

Thus it was, that Phin procured an overwrought overnight guest.

“I’m…terrified I might hurt you,” Jake owned. A last ditch attempt to reiterate the truth without telling it.

“Knowing you don’t want me hurts more, methinks.”

If there was a response that could have defused the dropping of that bomb, Jake sure as semtex had no recourse to it. Phin’s words were the verbal equivalent of a detonation device.


He found himself plastered to Phin before he could blink. Long arms trapped him tighter as lips stole the breath from his body. That was how it felt, despite all facts to the contrary. Plump lips parted on a cinnamon sugar sigh that went straight to Jake’s head. Opium kisses…headier than heroin. A tangle of tongues that fed, fuelled, an addiction Jack could neither control nor conquer. 

When Phin slid his hands up the back of Jake’s t-shirt and starfished them across his skin, it was all he could do to drag his lips away for long enough to yank it over his head. The clash of chests was incendiary, too intoxicating to care that he was a layer of cloth closer to losing his mind. The groan that grated in Jake’s throat scarce qualified as human when Phin’s mouth crashed down on his own. 

Need so pure, potent, it was a speedball of scent, taste, touch. Seeping from Phin’s pores; stronger, richer than the brandy on his breath. Infinite in the drowning depths of those eyes, black with desire, lids lust heavy. The scorch of skin on skin all-but obliterated the tension tethering Phin’s…customary instincts. Jake’s incorrigible innocent, so tentative at first, flared to full steam ahead with rocket-fuel finesse more flammable than kerosene. Thus emboldened, Phin clamped one hand to the curve of Jake’s arse and unleashed the fingertips of the other as if he were speed reading braille. 

“Phin…” Jake groaned, allowing his head to fall back, baring his throat in a way that made Jack tenser than his hackles could take lying down.

Jake’s lids flared wide with shock. It was the first time his own desire had over-ridden Jack’s since they’d scented Phin on the wind. To the jackal, it signified submission. A low growl crawled the arc of Jake’s throat about a snatched-off breath before he found himself straddling a saucer-eyed Phin, now splayed upon the tabletop.

Midnight eyes sought, conquered his own, as a slow, secret smile spread across Phin’s angel face. The satisfied twitch of those lips was hot-wired to Jake’s crippled cock—a lure too tempting to withstand—even if he’d wanted to, and of course, he did not. Damn good job too; Jake would’ve been done for when wiry arms ensnared his neck. Tugging him into a kiss that was darker, deeper now, loaded with deny us if you dare.  

Jack. F’fucksakes. I need your insertions like a hole in my bloody head.

Where, oh where, to start on that sentence…

When Jake mustered the will to tear free, it was to trail his tongue down the ivory column of Phin’s neck. Aching to taste, touch, every excessive inch of skin, share every beat of his heart, keep it safe always. It was an agony too cruel, the guilt of endangering it most.

“Jack, please…” 

“Tell me…what you want…” 

“More…” Phin pleaded, eyes huge, imploring. Impossible to resist.

“More…?” Jake couldn’t help himself, he had to hear the pearl of perfect nonsense it prompted. 

“I…everything, I want you. All of you.”

Oh hell…

You asked for it. Just sayin…



Beast of Bodmin Moor 12

The Beast of Bodmin Moor 









Now shurrup, and let me luxuriate in peace. Then I’ll sit through season two of Sherlock, later, if you like. Unless…there’s something else you’d rather do, o’course. Like say…apologise most profusely for being such an utter—

Okay! Christ…you’re relentless. What makes you think Phin will even open the door? Let alone allow me to apologise?

He’s not you?

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Aside from the fact Phin is not a fuck-wit? If he wants to see you he’ll open the door, if he does not, he will not. Simple. No point scoring…playing it cool…making you suffer because you deserve to. He’ll just follow his instincts, so y’won’t be judged and found wantingwhich is fortunateseeing as you’re a tosspot an’ all…

Let’s suppose you’re right for a mo. On which planet is apologising a perfectly good reason for popping ’round someone’s campervan at two a.m.?

I dunno, perhaps, say…a planet where the fact someone’s borrowed your bathrobe is a matter of more immediate import than the fact you’ve never clapped eyes on them in your life? The very same stranger you’ve woken to find squatting in your van, watching you sleep like a stalker perv?

Good point.

I thought so. You’ll owe me for this, just so y’know… I’m really quite comfy and Phin doesn’t seem in any rush to leave. So. Sausages. For breakfast. 

What happened to the compromise on malnourishment matters?

I’m prepared to renegotiate later. But, the minute I leave this moor, the sausages are on the table. It’s not my fault if you mess it up, so I’m not starving and suffering your consequences. Fair’s fair.

Oookay…you win. 

I haven’t won anything worth anything yet…so. In the words of the divine Dame Ru: Don’t. Fuck. It. Up…  


Thank me later if we get our don’t-deserves. Right…time we were off, I reckon.

The jackal lifted his head, cocking it slightly, as if listening to whispers on the wind.

“What is it, Foxy?”  Phin asked, instantly alert, hyper-present, despite all appearances to the contrary seconds before. Jack huffed a heartfelt sigh in response, then clambered to his feet and swiped a lick along a moon pale cheek. 

“You’re off, now? Oh, okay then,” With a brave attempt at a ‘considerate’ smile, Phin lifted a hand to scratch at Jack’s ear. His scent was tinged with sadness, but those starry eyes were serene with understanding. “See ya, Foxy…”

With a second slurp goodbye, Jack turned tail and shot off into the night.


Less than five minutes later, Jake leapt over the garden fence, grabbed a pair of pants from the shed and pulled them on before letting himself into his cottage. He could get dressed, have a swift drink and arrive at the campervan in fifteen minutes flat, which should be about perfect. Time enough for Phin to get back and make a cuppa before so much as thinking about bed. 

Was this wise? Of course not.

It was inevitable.

Jake dragged on a pair of black jeans and a white t-shirt, then fiddled with his hair, which looked not-at-all-artfully windswept. It would look a helluva lot more so on arrival, so quite why he bothered, he knew not.

The whisky was a necessity; Jake’s nerve-endings were all but shot-to-shit. Thus, in a much better state than the rest of him. His lust levels were radioactive. The scotch took the edge off the tension fizzing through his veins, but didn’t do a damn thing to crank Jake’s brain into gear. What the hell should he say? If Phin deigned to open the door, of course. It was pointless to ponder what might happen, when that was dependent on Phin. 

What Jake should allow himself to do (or not) after darkening Phin’s doorway was more to the point…but having less than a one-third stake in subsequent matters meant it was a moot one at best.

He just wanted to be near Phin. An ache so visceral it felt as if it was devouring Jake from the inside out. Hold him close…luxuriate in the extravagant expanse of his skin. Feel Phin’s fingertips skimming flesh, not fur. Touch him in return.

They had not hurt Phin earlier, which was a miracle too terrifying to contemplate. Miracles being extraordinary, inexplicable, beyond the bounds of expectation. By definition. A lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice probability of recurrence. 

It was doomed to disaster. Destined. To it? Or destined, full stop?  The word had inserted itself into Jake’s consciousness with the same involuntary clarity as Jack’s ‘voice’. The jackal hadn’t put it there; Jake hadn’t thought it into fruition. It had just…presented itself. Right…well, that sounded rational. Not. Jake had, quite possibly, gone quietly insane. He had hoped that might feel a bit more…

Melodramatic? Shakespearean? Magnificent? Gothic? Glorious? 

F’fucksakes, must you be so bloody—

Right? Honest? Stop moaning and save your vainglorious aspirations for Phin. Do something dashing; arrive with a rose clenched between your butt cheeks, sweep him off his feet, prostate yourself at them…do something, anything. Just quit cussing and fix it, fuckwit.   


Ten minutes later, Jake was pacing on the verge, listening to Phin’s movements within the van, trying to gauge whether he was about to turn in, make a meal, maybe watch something…read…  He’d just poured a most pungent glass of brandy and was now rustling around in the mini fridge.

What am I waiting for? Jake was never going to be ready. He could pace about until next Christmas and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to his state of readiness. Jake might combust but he sure as hell wouldn’t feel less uncertainnor any more sureof having any right to be here.

A two a.m. visitor was worrying in itself, even if you knew who the fuck had deemed it a cunning plan in the first place. He couldn’t rely on the element of surprise, nor hope that simple curiosity might persuade Phin to respond. It wouldn’t be fair.

Jake tapped, twice. Rat-tat. “Phin?”  There…at least he knew who’d knocked. Whether that would make Phin more, or less, likely to answer was impossible to predict. 

Phin’s “Jack?” sounded as if he believed he’d heard a non-existent noise in the night.

“Yeah…um… I’ve come visiting?” Jake quite possibly unleashed a rising inflection.

“Oh, okay. I thought I’d…I” 

“It’s customary to open the door ’round about now, if you’re going to…” Jake noted, unable to stand still for a second longer without seeing Phin’s face. Breathing him in.

“Oh, sorry, I forgot.”

“Did you…‘forget to remember’ or really forget?” 

“Ja…ke, don’t be daft.” Phin chuckled, as if Jake had mooted the most demented notion that had ever rifled his eardrums.

The door swung open. Fuck. Jake sucked in a sharp breath. He had not prepared for the possibility that Phin might be clad in naught but tight, black pants. If  Jake had stood there for a whole heartbeat, he may have noticed their red waistband. He did not. He’d sprung forwards before registering that he intended to, let alone pondered the wisdom of it. Jake was pure instinct; just a blur of leather and legs that launched himself at Phin. The heady scent of cinnamon spice was a sledgehammer of heaven when he buried his nose in the curve of Phin’s neck after clasping his nape. Jake inhaled; long, slow, deep, as if suffocation had been but one breath without him away. 

“Phin…I…” His arms were wrapped around Phin’s waist, lips fastened at this throat and Jake hadn’t decided to do either.

If the cinnamon had soured, or Phin frozen, en route? Jake would have stopped dead, that much he knew.  Neither had happened…Phin’s willowy frame all-but sighed against him, engulfing Jake in the warmth of apple strudel and brandy butter; the scent of all his Christmasses come at once.

“Jack…you’re here. I thought…” Halting words, breathless with wonder.So much more than Jake deserved. As was Phin. Who, for some inconceivable reason, seemed to want Jake. Here, now, at least. ‘Now’ was all that could be allowed to matter in the world.

“I’m sorry, so sorry” Jake’s apology was garroted by a groan when the tip of Phin’s tongue slipped out to moisten lips too incendiary to resist. Too irresistible to renounce. Ever. Their mouths melded in a cherry brandy kiss as potent as absinthe. Infinitely more lethal. 











Jack was here? Really here…? Had he forgotten something yesterday? Surely not—he hadn’t brought anything with him to forget—having not had so much as a pocket about his person. He hadn’t even snaffled the robe to return, Jake had abandoned that as summarily as Phin. It had been left on the bonnet for him to find. Rain had rendered it as soggy as the dishrag Phin felt far too much like, when he woke up and saw it there.

“Yeah…um… I’ve come visiting?”

Phin had been so certain he would never see Jack again. He’d been so eager to go, he hadn’t even said goodbye, which was the po-lite thing to do when taking your leave at the end of a visit.

“It’s customary to open the door ’round about now.” Oops.

Phin had zoned out, again. Jack, the cheeky devil, had the brass neck to ask if he’d done forgetting on purpose. How rude. He would never do such a thing, that would be inconsiderate. There may have been a teeny white lie in there, somewhere.

When Phin did tug the door open, he sure as strewth hadn’t been prepared for the sight that greeted him. Jake had already been in the van when he’d woken that morn, so Phin had nary a wild ‘n’ windswept, lust ‘n’ leather clad Jake in his mental stash of images. Would that have made a jot of difference? It didn’t seem possible that a sight so breath- snatching could be diminished by familiarity. Phin had been eating the same food every day for a decade and his taste buds still tingled as if they’d been treated to a rare delicacy for the very first time. 

Most folk thought that was weird. He was supposed to get ‘sick’ of his favourite foodstuffs along the way. Most of them had children. And pets. Nope. Phin had not. He was too po-lite. Unlike certain variety is the spice of life types and their promiscuous proclivities. 

 Phin had been a bit befuddled and bleary-eyed when he woke to discover himself being visited. Jack may have been the most beautiful man Phin had ever seen butby the time he could see straight enough to absorb that factJake had been sitting there for a wee while, sporting Phin’s snaffled robe.

That was a helluva lot different to finding Jack standing in his doorway wearing jeans so tight it looked as if he’d painted his legs black. Glinting in the light that glanced off the silversharp zips ‘n’ studs of his gleaming leather jacket. Phin may have stood there for quite some time, too bedazzled to blink. Much to his relief, he promptly found himself encompassed by arms so strong, tight, they snatched away the air he’d sucked in. Phin  felt about fit to swoon, but couldn’t tell if that was down to the squishing itself, or the fact he was being squished by the most luscious man alive. 

Tendrils of toffee ‘n’ honey hair were tickling Phin’s skin, plush lips scorching his neck; Jack was a hurricane of heady heat and smelled like fresh air and danger. His breath tasted of whisky and want. 

The strangest thing of all was that he made Phin feel…safe, and yet, he oozed raw power and scarcely constrained strength. Jake oozed a lot of things. They all banjaxed Phin’s brain and boiled the blood in his veins.

“Jake…you’re here…I thought…”

“I’m sorry, so sorry—” Jake forgot finish his sentence. Then Phin’s brain turned to mush and his bones to butter. It was some time after being kissed senseless that Phin remembered he should have worried about doing it wrong or too much. Or doing anything at all, ever again, except kissing Jake.

All he could think was Mmmore. A word that summed matters up with a literal and onomatopoeic economy that left the rest of Phin’s faculties free to feel. A fact they celebrated more excessively than ever before. It seemed hyperpossible that Phin was about to be sexed to death. He couldn’t have felt more chuffed about that if he’d tried. Mmmore...much more. Phin wasn’t sure what he wanted, he just knew he wanted it. Very much. Too much. Jack didn’t seem to mind, so Phin forgot to fret about that too.

Jake only had two hands when he’d arrived, but he seemed to have far more than that now. It felt as if they were everywhere, all at once. Inside and out. Jake was all heavy heat, but not heavy enough…Phin needed more. Need not want. A need as necessary as his next breath. There was a knot in the pit of Phin’s belly that needed tugging tighter. None of that made any sense whatsoever, but that’s how it felt.

The cool contrast of leather and feverish flesh was as lush as ice cream served with hot fudge sauce. The deranging drizzle of Jake’s fingers sizzled across his skin, setting Phin’s senses aflame…a too-much intensity of touch that was nowhere near enough. Never, ever enough…




Beast of Bodmin Moor 11


Hiya 🥰 Here’s Phin’s part with a bit of Jack ‘n’ Jake beneath it…


The Beast of Bodmin Moor 11








Phin nibbled on the end of his pen, staring at the spidery scrawl strewn across the page. Fractured phrases scattered without forethought and far less sense… Plush-lipped, lush-hipped grace…his incomparable face, a toffee tumble of hair, lusty-lidded stare… Paraiba tourmaline…aquamarine dream…topaz azure…nonpareil allure…Too Much at stake… JackJa/keJake.

Wasted wafflings of what might-have-been, had Phin not wanted too much. Or—at leastest of all leasts—not admitted it aloud. Lips like a leaky portaloo. It had felt as if the scratchy might flay the flesh off his bones when Jack fled. How Phin wished it would finally be done with him…but knew he was more likely to be suffocated by the solitude that kept him safe. If only there was a way to syphon off some too muchness, without turning him into the walking dead. Before Phin wound up too dead to be classified a corpse: Immodice mortem. 

When he’d woken, bleary and beleaguered after his fitful nap, Phin felt as if Jake’s touch was imprinted on his flesh and he was an over-tuned string instrument. Strung too tight, sticky with sweat. Smeared in dried blood, his shrink-wrapped skin feverish with sense memory. Phin had even pressed wondering fingertips to his lips, where the imprint of Jake’s mouth still lingered. A sensation that whisked away the floodgates and unleashed a torrent of stuff Phin had nowhere safe to stash; no tried and tested ‘coping strategies’ in place. And even if he had any, there was just too much to sort and Phin felt too messy to make sense of himself. Let alone the tangle of tongues, trickling across skin…the moist heat of Jake’s magical mouth, engulfed in unimaginable bliss…and oh, the taste of him. The husky musk of Jake’s scent, his lush tumble of hair when he’d thrown his head back. The gravel-strewn growl of Phin’s very own name, thrilling through his veins. 

Jake had gone. For good. It felt as far from good as Phin could imagine. 

Left…without a word. Left Phin with? The echo of his own worth ringing in his ears. So whywhywhy come here? 

Here, where it began? It was all a tad twisted, like staring into a murky puddle that mirrored his shame back at him. That was one way of looking at it, Phin supposed, but he hadn’t come to stare at himself. He just…couldn’t help but hope to see his foxy friend. Even if he had hallucinated those eyes of jet blue flame; a flicker of light in the darkness Phin loved. Warming him through as he sat there, shivering his nuts off. 

The memory of Foxy’s face emerging from the shadows was so vivid, Phin actually heard the same soft whimper from the night before. A sound so true it had triggered the fall he hadn’t forgotten to remember, Phin just couldn’t. At all. The only recallable moment was the briefest blaze of blue. None of that mattered when he could recollect every scintillating second of the consequences that ensued, after waking in his van. 

His only remembrance of the fall itself was hearing a whine so unexpected, it had distracted him too much to do concentrating. As clumsy as ever, he’d lost his footing on the tumble of rocks and smacked his head on a stone. He must have conked out for a bit—that much Phin knew—because he’d briefly come around and seen his foxy friend. But then, nothing, until he’d woken in his van. He must have scraped himself up, at some point, then staggered about ’til Jack found him and brought him back. That was the only chain of events made any sense; Jake’s only option other than leaving Phin where he found him. Phin hadn’t got his phone and Jake hadn’t even got pockets; neither of them could’ve called a cab that couldn’t collect them from the middle of the moors. 

“Foxy…?” It was a bit daft calling him that, Phin had to confess. ‘Fox’ meant nothing to him—even if he was one—which he wasn’t. The image of Foxy in his mind’s eye was not a jot orange enough. Phin sure as carrot sick colours hadn’t misremembered that. He’d been shades of creamy caramel and grey, with black flecky bits. P’raps Phin should whistle and say something warm and welcoming instead, that might work.

“Here, boy…” He kept his voice as low, soft, unthreatening as he could, but heard nary a whimper—nor even a low growl of warning—in response. Typical…he’d now segued from rustling up hallucinations to imagining noises to torment himself with, too. Phin huffed a sigh so heartfelt it ruffled the pages of his journal. Abruptly done with suffering the consequences of his hapless hopes for the second time in swift succession, Phin— snapped his head up when a scrabbly scuffle shattered the silence. Foxy?

A furry flurry came hurtling from the shadows and took a flying leap over the rocky rubble. A sight too spectacular to wonder if he was about to find himself with a faceful of teeth and claws. As it turned out, that would have been a waste of wondering, so Phin was glad he hadn’t bothered when Foxy skittered to a stone ‘n’ spittle spraying halt, a few feet away. Phin almost split his kiss-chapped lips, so wide was his grin—but it wasn’t a patch on Foxy’s—which came complete with a dangling tongue so long, he won, paws down. He stood, panting puffy clouds of breath, his eyes so blue and glinty-bright they seemed spotlit from within. 

Phin should consider telling Mr. Neil that he might need his meds upping. Unless he forgot. The urge to stroke Foxy was so strong, it would have been wise to sit on his hands, which was perhaps why Phin didn’t bother. 

Maybe if he just held out his hand, then Foxy could choose? He might not want a stinky human to touch him and Phin could scarce blame him for that. Fearful of frightening him away, Phin raised his arm until his fingers hovered a few inches beneath the tip of Foxy’s tongue. Much to his inner happy dance of delight, Foxy started snuffing them, making small huffy noises when his cool, wet nose smudged Phin’s skin.

“Good boy…hello…” he crooned, hoping it sounded friendly to Foxy, who snuffled a smidge more, then flicked Phin a little lick that skimmed his fingertips.

Perhaps it had been to test Phin’s reaction, because that first, tentative touch of tongue was succeeded by a full-on slosh of Foxy slobber across the back of his hand. It was warm and wet and meant the world to Phin, who was honoured that Foxy even trusted him enough to come close, let alone gift him with a lick. A nudge of nose seemed to suggest that his newfound friend wanted access to Phin’s palm, so he turned the hand over. It was the left one, not his mangled right, so Foxy wouldn’t have to suffer the scabs, which would feel disgusting. After slurping a swipe across his upturned palm, Foxy abruptly lost interest in it and shoved his nose into the cuff of Phin’s trench coat instead. It was barely a huff of hot breath later that Foxy yanked his head back to (this bit may have been a hallucination) narrow his eyes at Phin. It sure looked that way when the space between his tufty eyebrows scrunched up while peering down his snoot. After a staring Phin out ’til he seemed satisfied, Foxy shoved his nose back into the cuff and…pushed, as if he wanted to bare the wrist. There didn’t seem any reason to disoblige him, so Phin hitched the sleeve up a tad. One sniff later, he found himself levelled with an expression so considering it was akin to his mum’s when weighing up whether he’d had a proper mishap or been up to mischief. 

The sleeve was a direct tunnel to Phin’s armpit, which possibly didn’t smell very fresh in a week-old sweaty sock sort of way, so he didn’t blame Foxy one bit. His sense of smell possibly thought it had been clobbered by a niff more noxious than the carcasses he might just litter the moors with. Someone sure did, Phin had seen one for himself.  The stinky pits theory stopped making sense when Foxy stalked behind Phin and snagged the elbow of his coat with sharp teeth and started tugging on the sleeve. 

“What is it, Foxy?” he wondered, a bit bemused. In response, Foxy shot him a knowing look, then returned to Phin’s cuff and crammed his nose into it again. One snuff later, off he went, to repeat his tug-o-war with the elbow of the trench.

Phin had no idea why he had such a bee in his bonnet—that was an idiom, Foxy was not wearing one of those—which did suggest that Phin’s sanity was still salvageable. An excellent thing indeed when the very existence of the bonnet might be deemed a tad too much…even before Phin started wondering whether Foxy had come as Granny from Little Red Riding Hood. 

The upshot of all this was that Foxy seemed to want access to Phin’s arm, which was the part that mattered, his reasons were his own business. Oouch…Phin had forgotten about the gash his jumper promptly grazed with wire wool aplomb when he shoved the sleeve to the crook of his elbow. 

Uh oh. Foxy snorted a sound uncannily akin to a horse’s harrumph. Had this not been accompanied by an imperious squint, Phin might have suspected the wound was a stench too far after suffering the stinky armpit. Said squint ‘n’ stare made Foxy’s next move all the more oddsome. Rather than back off in disgust, he swiped a stinging sluice across the ugly slash. Moonlight was not its best look, it must be admitted; blood blackened and scabby on blanched to bone skin.

The sting was fleeting, it had no sooner sparked to life than faded to a silken warmth when Foxy swept it another lingering lick. It was the strangest sensation; as soothing as the stroke of velvet, as comforting as fleece  (the only two fabrics Phin could wear without being besieged by scratchy). He watched, fascinated, as Foxy kept lapping, as if convinced it could be erased…or washed away with saliva. 

When he seemed satisfied with a job well done, Foxy snuffed a huff, then switched his focus to Phin’s face. A gaze every bit as amazing as it was beautiful; Phin had remembered right. It was a bright, blazing blue—deeper, darker than they’d seemed yesterday—pupils blown so huge they engulfed most of his iris. Phin scrunched his eyes tight shut in a bid to blot out another blue; every bit as crystal clear as Foxy’s, dark with a desire it was hard to believe he’d inspired, even for a second in a man so…unsurpassable.

Foxy—quite why Phin was still calling him this when he was clearly not a fox—was a mystery. It seemed that everyone he met required at least two names, which was playing havoc with his head. He’d lost his thread of thought again now…it was all going to hell in a hurricane jet. Ah, Foxy…that was it. He was too wolfish to be a fox. Too lean, slinky-looking for a wolf. He was honey-hued, dappled with grey that darkened to black along his back. His face was not rusty-coloured at all, it was creamy gold, white and speckled silver. Some sort of wild dog? Coyote? Jackal? No matter which of those his foxy friend might be, he now seemed…sad. Staring up at Phin with sorrow laden pools of baleful blue. 

“Don’t be upset…” Phin told him, pulling his sleeve back down over the wound, which had started to tingle strangely in the wind. “I’m okay…”

With a snuff that would have sounded like a snort of disbelief, had Foxy been human, he rested the underside of his jaw on Phin’s bent knee. The warm weight was comforting in itself, even more so if it meant Foxy was not…miffed. Okay…that did sound nuts, bolts and barking bonkers. It still felt that way though.

“May I stroke you?” Phin dared to ask.

His foxy friend’s lids drifted down, shrouding the blue…in a sinking into a bubble bath sort of way. Or… The flash of memory was brilliance itself—blinding—of Jack’s eyelids; gliding shut when Phin first trailed tentative fingertips down his chest. It hadn’t meant nothen. 

Phin raised his right hand to Foxy’s head and started a smooth stroke. He didn’t seem to mind and it was impossible to resist, so Phin started to fondle his tufty ears. A deep rumble sounded in Foxy’s throat; like a cat’s purr but much, much darker.

One moment he seemed serenity itself, the next, in a too-swift-to-stop-him dart forwards, Foxy shoved his nose into Phin’s crotch. Then snuffed out a scalding breath that scorched straight through his pants. Strewth. 

“Foxy!” he gasped. Crikey, um…that was a bit embarrassing. And most unseemly in the extreme. Phin’s cock had been coshed by way too many surprises of late. He should p’raps ask Mr. Neil for some bromide before matters got out of hand.

For twenty-two years, not a soul had shown the slightest interest in the contents of Phin’s undercrackers, and now, all of a sudden, everyman-and-his-dog were shoving their snoots down there. Foxy just lolled-a-laugh—at Phin—he was sure of it. Utterly unrepentant, as the unseemly scoundrel returned his chin to Phin’s knee.

“Bad boy. No snuffing, it’s rude, you have to mind your manners in company,” Phin told him. A maxim he’d been told he mustn’t forget too many times to remember.

“D’you have a lady friend, Foxy?” he wondered aloud, running his palm down the silky fur of his neck. “To cuddle up with, and keep you warm at night? That was a daft question, wasn’t it…you probably wouldn’t be here, if you did. I’m not very good at minding my manners either, so don’t worry, that makes two of us.”

Foxy huffed, hunkering down to lie beside him. Then fidgeted a bit closer when Phin straightened his legs to continue stroking. He’d scarce started when Foxy raised his head to rest it across Phin’s lap. It felt comforting, cosy. Perhaps he should get a dog. He would far rather have Foxy, but he was wild and free and living his own life. Putting a collar on him would be unconscionable, even if he’d permit such a travesty. 

Phin would never dream of trying to steal his freedom away. It would be cruel, selfish, even if—when—Foxy felt far too much like the best friend he’d never had.





Jack & Jake




Jake was dumbfounded. What the fuck?

The last two years had been spent locked in brutal, bloody battle with Jack. In the most futile effort to keep some sort of grip on the jackal, and his own sanity. This had felt much like a dog owner’s attempts to cling to the collar of a runaway rottweiler as it took off after a cat.

Now here was the mangy miscreant: lying serenely beside the jackal whisperer, sighing happy huffs of contentment. This, while being petted by Phin and having his ears…fondled, for chrissakes.

Jake now found himself in the discomfiting position of pacing like a caged animal as Jack (quite literally) pleased himself. How the hell can I be jealous of him, when he is me? 

Finally caught up, have you? Or just admitted what was as obvious as the nose on my face?

Speaking of which…What. The. Effing. Fuck?

Oh, c’mon…you’re not fooling yourself for a minute. Y’know you wanted to… a Gent. Not a crotch-pouncing pervert.

That first bit sounds familiar, oddly enough. You’re right, though, you should stick to being a sleep-stalking perv…it’s much more your three cups of tea. Stop nagging. You’re just jealous, you admitted as much yourself. Besides which, I don’t recall cutting your nose off to spite your face. Just sayin’. Now shurrup, I’m busy. Luxuriating.

So…? What if he had scaled new levels of ludicrous? He couldn’t help it—Jake just was—jealous. A bit. Being forced to sit back as Jack basked in Phin’s attention was infuriating. Yes, Jake was here too. Yes, he could see, taste, hear, see…and bloody smell. Feel Phin’s fingers in his fur. But. It was still driving Jake demented. It was also adding a whole new set of worries to his far-too lengthy list of Phin fears:

  1. He was still freaking out about the fact Jack might have infected Phin yesterday.
  2. Jack had just topped up his saliva donation. This might tip the balance if Phin hadn’t received a sufficient dose of jackal-juice last night.
  3. Jake had committed the unforgivable sin of giving Phin the brush off, immediately in the aftermath of his first sexual encounter. Despite the fact he’d never wanted someone so much in his goddamn life. Ever.
  4. He’d done this because he was terrified he might maim Phin in a very real sense.
  5. Jack had just shoved his nose precisely where Jake had vowed it could never venture again.
  6. Jake gone without for two years because Jack had made it quite clear that blood lust took priority over minor matters such as murder.
  7. The very same Jack that had now lapped lavishly at the most delectable blood on earth. Twice. Without so much as a nip. Bastard.

This, was the seven circles of shapeshifter hell. Dante had no fucking idea. Worst of all, Jake was suffering all this because he had tried to Do The Honorable Thing. And achieved bugger all. Unassailable truth that never a good deed goes unpunished.

Phin was a liability more lethal than the jackal. What the hell had he done to himself? He could have hit a sodding artery with whatever he’d used to butcher that arm. It sure as shit hadn’t been inflicted by a blade. It wasn’t a clean enough cut; too ragged, too wide, too naive

Jake could distinctly recall thinking that he couldn’t let Phin out on his own, then chided himself for over-reacting. Pfft. He’d clearly underestimated Phin, who couldn’t be left alone full stop without endangering himself. He was patently every bit as efficient at ‘accidents’ as ‘forgetting’.

Back to tonight…how the hell was Jake supposed to handle this? There wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it; the consequences of trying to prise Jack from Phin were too horrifying to contemplate. Do I truly want to?

He was undeniably jealous, but Jake was still here with Phin, by proxy. Jack might claim that he’d brought them back together, but that wasn’t much consolation when Jake had abandoned Phin because of said mangy mutt.

Some might be inclined to argue that Jake would never have met Phin in the first place, had they not fancied a run on the moors. Jake was steadfastly ignoring said smart-arse opinion.

The next hour was the most exquisite torture Jake had ever endured. Lying beside Phin, aching for all he could never have, yearning for that tender touch on skin, not fur. This, while knowing damn well that safe sex and the jackal couldn’t coexist on the same planet, let alone in the same bed.

Have you considered for one moment that Phin is not a rabbit? Nor some random woman or bloke you picked up in the pub?

You say that now…but how the hell can I trust you? One whiff of rabbit and there’s sod all I can do to stop you feasting your fill. I cannot risk him. I will not.

Was your mouth too full to claim that earlier? Just asking for a friend…

Fuck off.

That ball’s in your court, and well you know it. Or would, if you weren’t dead set on being a self-loathing wanker, o’course…

No. Hell no. Jake should never have allowed earlier to happen. And yet…he hadn’t felt as if he might lose it for even one moment. But what about the bloody table legs? What if they’d been Phin’s? Or his arms…neck? Jake hadn’t been able to control his grip mid-blow job, how the hell was he supposed to trust himself while buried in Phin’s body? Oh gawd.

You could at least try trusting yourself. Coward. Is that what this is really about? You’re terrified, admit it. Scaredy cat. You’re just worried he’ll work out what a tosspot you are and dump your ass. 

It’s you I don’t trust, dogbreath. What if I started fearing for Phin’s safety? Felt I was losing it—couldn’t rein it in—and needed to slam the brakes on? For his sake. Would that even be possible? Or would you snatch the decision out of my hands? Erupt in a fury of fur; as you have a hundred times beforewhen I wouldn’t fall in with your latest whim? 

Whims? Those were missions of vital import, I’ll have you know. Jackal business. I can’t sit and watch you fingering your strings, and Sherlock-on-a-loop, forever. He makes my mouth water, for starters. And main course, please. Phin is not a whim, you pillock. He is…everything. So, suck that up. You may as well, we haven’t got any choice in the matter. One whiff and it was all over. He owns your ass. 

Oh, so, it’s mine now? Make up your mind.

Mine-yours-ours-whatever. ‘Yours’ had a certain…ring to it. Too sassy to resist.

You are ev-il. Monstrous, you know that, right?

I’m sex starved and sausage deprived. That’s not good for my constitution.

Neither are sausages.

If you cannot deduce the compromise in said state of malnourishmentparticularly after all that staring at the Cumberbuttthen I give up on you, quite frankly…  

Now shurrup, and let me luxuriate in peace. Then I’ll sit through season two of Sherlock, later, if you like. Unless…there’s something else you’d rather do, o’course…



Beast of Bodmin Moor 10

Happy Weekend 🥰 Thank you so much for your support for their story ❤️ Phin’s chapter is a mite maudlin so I’ve included Jake’s chapter too.


Trigger warning: 

Phin’s part contains self-harm which doesn’t endanger him, but I should hate it to trouble you. It can be ignored entirely (or read down to the stars *** and skip to Jake’s) without losing the plot. Suffice to say, Phin returns to the moors that evening. 





The Beast of Bodmin Moor





Phin tugged his jeans on and ruffled his flattened hair, then stooped to peer at his face in the cloudy mirror. Not that it mattered…Jack had seen more than enough of it already. How he must wish he hadn’t lost his clothes, then he p’raps wouldn’t have happened upon Phin in the first place. Let alone stuck around ’til he woke up and it was too light for a starkers strollabout. It still wasn’t dark enough, so Jack was stuck with him until Phin drove him home. If only, he hadn’t admitted that he wouldn’t mind Jake ‘in anywhere’. That had been unseemly, extremely. And presumptive.

I-I…don’t think…I can’t, it’s not sa—”  

Phin wasn’t sure what any of that meant…but knew it meant nothing he wanted to hear. It was just a clatter of words that screamed; ‘back off, it was just a bloody blow job.’ Phin had a sneaky suspicion that Jake’s word salad sentence boiled down to: ‘I’m just not that into you‘. That’s what people really meant when they used a lot of words to dump your ass without suffering uncomfy consequences, wasn’t it?

Phin had attempted the pretend-it-doesn’t-matter-a-bit thing. That’s how you acted considerate about being dumped: No probs. I’m fine, it’s all fine. Fine, fine fine. 

Fine (adj): Fuck awful.

Adding a c’est la vie shrug ‘n’ smile so people didn’t feel bad for making you feel bad was the icing on the considerate cake. Phin had tried. It was tricky to say how it had turned out when he hadn’t been able to focus past the fact he’d needed Jake to go. Leave Phin alone so he could do concentrating on clawing back a bit of comfiness.

His whole self had felt like a silent shriek. So Phin had shut down, to hold it inside. He hadn’t wanted Jake to see. He’d seen far too much already. Much too much too-muchness. But Phin had somehow forgot himself in the face of Jake. All the things that made it extremely important to ward the world away and its dagger-shooting-glare-of-shame with it.

Jake didn’t respond to the offer of a lift home, which made Phin even more scratchy. He just sort of wavered about instead, as if wondering whether to pat Phin’s head or flee before the fallout. The latter would have been Jake’s best bet. Phin had to hold it all in, until he’d gone. It was doable, Phin had done it a trillion times before. It was p’raps akin to being eaten alive by maggots… far preferable to the Glare. 

The bathroom mirror wasn’t about to offer up any words of wisdom any time soon, so Phin checked that it was sporting the correct-expression-for-the-occasion: his feeling fine face.  A last glance at his cuffs assured him that his jumper seams were not on the outside, safely away from Phin’s skin (screaming loon-on-the-loose). That was a daft thing to do, it must be admitted, but he was too scratchy to tell without looking.

After doing a deep breath, which was supposed to help somehow—it did not—Phin pushed the loo door open. The utter silence that greeted him should have been blissful. It was not. The empty van was a void into which Phin’s stupid, hopeful heart plummeted. Jake had gone. Phin had never felt so alone, which was weird, when that should have been a wonderful thing. ‘Alone’ wasn’t like this, though. Alone was pottering about, as cosy as can be, but thiscoshed him with an emotion so strange, he wasn’t sure what it was. Only ‘loss’ seemed similar, but that was a different sort of sadness. This sort was sucking the air out of his lungs. Suffocating him.

Phin shoved the loo door shut with his back and slumped against it, scrunching his eyes tight shut. Then slid downwards, until he was curled as small as he could make himself and pressed his forehead to his bent knees. He never knew how long he stayed put, listening to what loneliness felt like. Long enough that his bum went numb.

How Phin wished his mind would follow suit, but not even his bedtime tablets could perform that miracle. Maybe take those and try to go to sleep? He’d forgotten about them last night, so it wouldn’t count as snaffling an extra dose. Phin wasn’t tired, but he rarely was. Hence the need for the knockout drops, because staying awake for a week was ‘bad for him’.  Going to bed was the bane of his life. Boring beyond belief (that might be a catchy turn of phrase but Phin sure as strewth-I’m-bloody-bored, believed it). He hated being still and doing nothing to dispel the scratchy. But this nothingness was much worse; he’d rather claw his own skin off than feel it.

Phin knew he was being daft. He hadn’t lost Jack, who hadn’t been his to lose. Not even a friend, let alone a…lover? Boyfriend? Jake couldn’t even be classed as a one night stand; that would be an upgrade in the ranks of brief encounters. Theirs had been thong-sized. Aptly enough, when it was as vividly scored into Phin’s memory as cheese-wire through Cheddar. 

It had been too good to be true. Full stop. Dreams never had a real life Phin to sabotage them. The sudden slash of self-loathing that scythed through his system blitzed Phin’s brain with scarlet bile. Sosooostupid. Their tea cups sat, as serene as can be, on the counter top, mocking him. A surge to his feet and swift sweep of an arm sent them crashing to the floor in a spatter of tea spray like dirty rain. Every bit as grubbynot good enoughas he’d always known himself to be. Wired all wrong, for all to see, as if Not Like You was tattooed on Phin’s forehead in fancy font. The gnawing need to smash everything in sight was scalding; a scorch so intense that a bit of spontaneous combustion should have saved Phin the satisfaction. 

* * *

All the hopes Phin should never have permitted shelf space, shattered. For the briefest, brightest of moments, there they’d glistened, unfathomably within reach. Destroyed in one hapless instant, as surely as the porcelain shards scattered underfoot. A glint of light glanced off a fragment shaped like a shark’s tooth, ensnaring Phin’s gaze. He bent to pluck it off the floor, a jagged remnant of its former self. He would keep it, he knew; a single treasure salvaged from the day his foxy friend came to stay, for a while, at least. ‘A while’ worth all the teacups in China. 

Phin closed his hand around it and held tight, lest he lose it, then slid back down the door. Until he unfurled his fingers to examine his prize, he hadn’t felt the icy burn that promptly blazed a trail up his arm. His fingers were too numb to take any notice. He couldn’t feel them, just the searing sting scored across all four, where their ‘bend here’ line used to be.

Bummer, the ivory shark’s tooth was now smeared scarlet, t’boot. Phin’s palm felt squelchy with stickiness.  Nowhere else hurt, though. He didn’t even feel scratchy. His head was a bit whizzy, which felt preferable to having a hatchet buried in it.  The burn itself felt…cleansing, which made sense in the funeral pyre scheme of things. The blood was dripping down Phin’s forearm now, decorating it like ruby trickles of melted candle wax down a wine bottle. The screeching soreness was wearing off, which was a bit rubbish; it had helped to have that single pulse of pain to focus on.

The scratchy was coming back too, clawing at Phin’s arms and legs. A fire-ants-scurrying- under-his-skin sensation so intense he should be able to see them. It was driving him demented. One swift slash across his inner forearm, where the creepy-crawling was worst, might expunge a few. Thousand. Oops, that turned out a tad wider than expected. The shark’s tooth was p’raps thicker than a blade. Ah well. Its scorch seemed to warm him through as it radiated from the gash, gathering force, rather than subsiding. His brain felt as numb as his bum and fingers now, which was a plus, but he felt a bit squiffy, which was not. Phin hadn’t had a jot to drink. He definitely didn’t want to wake up two days running with a hangover after nary a hot toddy to make it seem worthwhile. P’raps he should take his tablets, then go and have a lie down. He was a bit dizzy, as if he’d been spinning on the spot to make the world go whizzy.

Phin swallowed his pills with a slurp of water from the tap, then held his upturned arm under the flow. Drying blood felt as if your skin was shrinking, which was never a fun thought to trigger. Particularly before bed…which was where Phin should comport himself, before his nook took on the look of a…rook’s nest. Or was it a crow’s?  The lookout bucket at the top of a ship’s mast to scan the horizon for scurvy dogs. That would do—it didn’t rhyme though—so the rook would just have to snaffle it. Like a cuckoo. Oops…he had an aviary already.  

His head was getting a bit out of hand. Flopping down before he fell over would be a cunning plan indeed, Phin decided. He felt almost euphoric with relief  when he snuggled under the duvet and dragged it over his head. Phin loved the dark—far more than any particular season—night was his favourite time of day. It made him feel safe. Even the bittersweet tang of tears felt comforting in his cosy cave under the covers…


Urgh… When Phin peered above the duvet he really wished he hadn’t. Ouch. His head hurt…and his eyes were sore. And his arm. Fingers. His toes seemed okay, which was not to be sniffed at when they tended to bear the brunt of mishaps. Phin needed a pee something chronic, so he’d have to drag his arse out of bed. Dammit. He also needed to buy loo roll, he remembered—which he had not—yesterday. That meant people. Double dammit. He didn’t want to see anyone at all, beset as he was by a stroppy ‘if I can’t see Jack, I don’t want to see anyone ever again, so there’, sort of mood.

Phin squinted down at the angry slash on his arm, which was a bit puffy ‘n’ purple. It wasn’t bleeding any more, but the duvet looked as if it had been tie-dyed in rusty water. After blowing out a huge huff, Phin threw back the covers and scrambled around to lower himself to the floor. Pee ‘n’ tea. Then what? Quite why he asked himself this, when he knew damn well that he’d be off to the moors later, Phin knew not. It wasn’t as if he had the luxury of choice. That was fruitloop delusion more excessive than conjuring up furry friends with eyes that gleamed aquamarine.




Jake & Jack



It was with utmost gratitude that Jake grabbed his jacket off it’s hook. His shift had seemed endless. He’d twitched his way through it, antsy and distracted by an internal pacing too relentless to ignore. The slivers of patience Jake could lay claim to had been whittled away to naught and his now nerves were frazzled to fuck.

After fleeing from the camper van Jake had let Jack have his head—literally—it had been a relief to hand the reins over. Take a back seat, become a mere passenger to his instincts; let Jack indulge in pure and simple pleasures, guilt-free and glad to be alive. Gone was the gut-wrenching grief of what-might-have-been, the gnawing knowledge that Jake had hurt the least-deserving lover he never had. 

Flinging himself into the wind, Jack flew with the fur ruffling breeze, without a care in the world. Except for catching a whiff of rabbit before the heavens opened. Nevertheless, Jake was glad when it started hammering down a few hours later, which lessened their chances of being spotted on the way home. The winding lanes were either flanked by trees or bordered by high hedgerows, safe from streetlights and random passers by. His cottage backed onto woods, which made the risk of being observed minimal. There was a spare door key secreted in the rockery and Jake kept an emergency stash of clothes in the shed, for such unforeseen incidents. One naked stroll was quite enough for the foreseeable.

Jake had not spent the time before his shift sulking. No, not at all. He’d been practicing his guitar, having a shower and tidying up. Useful things. Keeping himself busy until he went to work.

He had managed four hours without biting anyone’s head off, just about, and now… freedom beckoned. It was nearing half-eleven and the moon was high in the sky, casting it’s ghostly glow over their labyrinth lanes home. The night was young and the jackal was eager to be unleashed upon it. Much to the mutts chagrin, Jake had laid down the law. No midnight excursions, we can’t risk heading to the moors. Not tonight.

Jake found himself flat out a few seconds later, clutching his guts, wracked with pain. Clawed by phantom paws with a glee so rabid he should be quarantined.

You and whose army this time?

They appeared to be moorward bound whether Jake liked it or not…and unless he fancied spending the rest of his life four-footed and furry, he had no choice whatsoever. Thus, Jake headed home and had a quick cuppa before stripping down to his boxers and heading to the shed. After stashing some clean sweatpants and t-shirts in there, he leaped barefoot over the garden fence and sprinted off into the night. Once safely in the woods, Jake let go, indulging the jackal in some pant-shredding humanity-shedding en route. The night air was calm; clear after the early evening downpour. It was a bit chilly, but not too cold to while away an hour or so amidst the ruins of a tumbledown engine house…

Would Phin even be there, or was the camper van long gone? He may have packed up his shattered pride and fled the memory of the bastard who’d stolen his innocence. Jack was convinced this was cobblers. Jake just knew that’s exactly what he would have done, had their roles been reversed.

Jack’s instincts were, as ever, faultless. The camper van sat serenely on the verge, the soft glow of a nightlight seeping through its drawn curtains. Not a sound came from within, so Jake allowed himself to hope that Phin had, indeed, headed off to his favoured spot.

If Jack could grin with glee? There was no doubt he’d be doing just that. His tongue was lolling from his open mouth, looking dafter than seemed feasible, as he stood scenting the air with eager anticipation. Off he set at a sudden run, skimming sure-footed over stone, rock and clumps of scrubby grass. Phin’s scent, a sparkling thread of promise, luring them with magnetic force. Stronger, richer, now; more mulled wine than cinnamon sugar. More…insistent.

When Jack reached his spying spot behind a crumble-down wall, he hunkered down on the moss with a happy huff of contentment. Phin was sitting exactly where he belonged, facing the engine house ruins with a notebook on his lap. They watched as he scribbled a few words, sometimes a few lines, between bouts of chewing the end of his pen and gazing around as if he were waiting for a tardy friend.

This made them both a bit fretful; no-one had joined Phin before, nor had it seemed they might. Jack craned his head around, scanning the horizon in every direction, but there wasn’t a soul to be seen or scented. The skittish twitches of his skin and ears refused to relent; there was too much at stake. Jack would not, could not, share Phin. He was theirs.

With an unhappy huff of unease, he let his head flop onto his front paws. The small whine that sounded in his throat was involuntary; impossible to quash even if he’d known it was was about to exhibit itself. Phin snapped his head up with an alertness that suggested he’d heard a rifle crack. The pen fell unheeded from his fingers.

“Foxy…?” was a soft expulsion of breath.


Did Phin mean Jake, or the friendly ‘fox’ he’d ‘dreamed’ last night? Rosebud lips pursed around a low whistle and then—in warm, coaxing tones—called out:

“Here, boy…”

‘Here, boy?’ Well fuck. Now there was an invitation Jake had never thought to hear this lifetime.  Jack’s butt was twitching, his fur quivering in anticipation. Nooooo!

How the jackal managed to suppress a spring so imminent, Jake knew not, but sure as hell knew they were fucked, seconds later. This, when Phin’s shoulders drooped with a disappointment almost as dreadful as the wilted scent of sorrow that spoiled his own.

Jack was off like a shot, bounding over the rubble.

As bidden… he pointed out before Jake could muster a limp protest. He summoned us; he wants us, we want him, simple. 

Summoned?  F’fucksakes. Does he have a death wish, or is Phin so certain you mean him no harm?

There was no trace of uncertainty on Phin’s face, nor fearful souring of his scent. He didn’t even flinch when a furry missile came flying through the air, aimed his way. Instead? A huge beam of joy put the starlight to shame when Jack skittered to a stop a few feet from Phin’s right thigh. Tongue lolling out in a goofy grin. 

A most undignified one. Indecent, in fact.

Jack didn’t give a stuff. Particularly when Phin extend his fingers towards him, stilling them several inches from his nose. When Jack stretched forwards to snuffle them, Phin’s chuckle was so charming, he could scarce restrain from swiping the hand a lick. 

“Good boy…hello…” His endearment was a melted chocolate murmur…Jack wanted to lick that too.

Good boy!? For chrissakes. He’ll be off to buy you a collar and lead tomorrow.

Soft limit, or hard? Suit yourself, I’m in.

Jack couldn’t resist tasting those fingertips for a second longer. They were being wafted under his nose like the tastiest of treats. It would be rude to rebuff them. Very rude. And Jack was a gent. 

A whaaat-the-fuck? 

Oh, do pipe down at the back. 

Which is exactly how it feels, dogbreath. Stuck in the backseat of a car, watching a mate cop off with your not-so secret crush.

Mate, huh? I’m touched. Well, buckle up and sit tight, buddy, it’s my turn. You had yours. Then—if I recall rightly—gave him the brush off and buggered off without so much as a word of farewell. Thus, it seems a leetle bit likely that you’re in the dog house, remember? You’ll find it located at one of the Poles, or thereabouts, I reckon. Laters… 











Beast of Bodmin Moor 9



The Beast of Bodmin Moor





“That’s not a bad thing, by the way. I’d very much fancy being deflowered by a breeches-ripper. Oops…I shouldn’t have fessed up, should I? Was it unseemly?”




Jake was damned if he could fathom an answer to that. How the hell was Phin still alive? It was a bloody good job he’d remained a virgin if that was his fantasy night out. A dream date with a breeches-ripper. F’fucksakes.

Lightweight. I’m in. Jack the Ripper at your service, sir… 

If Phin belonged to him (Jake ignored the horrific warmth that thrilled through his body at this, most forbidden of thoughts), he’d never let him out alone. Ever. And possibly insist on cuffing Phin to his own wrist when they ventured out together. Oh, Christ.



“Are you okay? You just did a big groan. A ‘despairing’ one, rather than indigestion induced. Don’t fib, I would recognize that sound even if my ears fell off.”

“There’s no need to fib. I did—but it was self-directed—you didn’t cause it. So, next time you hear it, assume the same and you won’t be wrong. But yeah, I’m fine. Except I really should get my arse into gear and get out of your hair, before you’re sick to the back teeth of me.”

“I want to do a despairing groan now, directed your way. You made yourself sound like nits. I don’t want those, it would drive me demented. I’m too scratchy already. I don’t mind you ‘in my hair’…and you can assume the same in anywhere else. So you needn’t worry, or wonder.” Phin shrugged, as if he’d admitted something of no consequence whatsoever. Rather than offered himself up as a virgin sacrifice to slaughter.

You’re such a melodrama queen. You should watch more French porn and less schlock horror, it’ll do wonders for my constitution. Killjoy.

Jake did not deign to respond.

The only dignity you’ll glean from that, is in defeat, and y’know it. Whatever you’re about to spout now is deluded in the extreme...and thus, doomed to defeat. Amateur.

“Phin… ” Crap. No matter how he phrased this, it was going to reek of a rebuff—

Odd that.

”I-I…don’t think…” Jake tripped over his treasonous tongue, tried again. “I can’t, it’s not sa—” 

“S’okay! Sorry…I didn’t exp—” Phin broke off in a flurry of unruly limbs, scuffling backwards in an effort to clear the table top before nutting the damn thing when he staggered to his feet. “Agghfck!”

“Y’okay?” Jake winced, springing up to…stand there uselessly, unsure whether Phin would allow—let alone welcome—touch. The offer of comfort from the one who’d inflicted the hurt.

Phin was a ‘mishap’ waiting to happen left to his own devices. The last thing he deserved was added insult to injury. The thought of Phin driving was too dreadful to contemplate, so Jake didn’t. Mostly because he had far more immediate horrors to focus on, such as… the fact he’d fucked everything up. Had made Phin feel unwanted—maybe worse—unwantable, having blatantly sensed a brush off on the way. Mortifying in itself. Brutal; after offering far more than he could afford Jake to crave. Or covet with every fibre of their being, furry or otherwise.

Way to maim him for life, fuckwit. Fix it.

“Phin, I didn’t mean…please don’t think—” 

“S’okay. You don’t have to do white lies, or say ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. I’m not…slow.” Phin sighed, pressing the heel of his palm to his forehead and kneading, hard. Too hard, after all it had suffered of late. His words had been soft, lilting with acceptance. Aching with self-awareness. The shame that scythed through Jake’s system was scalding. 

“I know you’re not…far from it. I wasn’t trying to fob you off, it’s just, I never expec—I-I can’t risk… ” Jake’s pathetic attempt to form an entire sentence stuttered to a pitiful halt. He couldn’t make this right without telling truths so far-fetched it would make matters worse. Even more insulting. Quite a feat after being rejected in the immediate aftermath of blowing someone’s mind. For the first time. 

Jake stood, utterly inept, willing Phin to…even look at him. Those inimitable eyes were staring into the far-off distance, unreachable. Cherub lips upturned in a small smile that shrieked ‘quiet courage’. It was impossible to say how, but something had shifted; shuttered Phin off, as if an inner portcullis had come crashing down. His entire frame, every excessive inch, seemed to have shrunk inwards, warding Jake away. Worse—worst of all—was Phin’s cloaking of unnatural calm. Akin to that eerie stilling of air before a storm breaks.

“It’s okay…” he repeated, into the ether. “I’ll just… put some clothes on and drive you home.”  Phin hadn’t quite crammed his fingers in his ears and started humming, but it was a close run thing.

Phin wanted Jake gone. And who could blame him? Jake least of all. Home was the last place he wanted to go, but he sure as hell couldn’t stay. Inside, wherever the jackal resided, he could feel Jack’s fretful pacing. The frustration seething beneath the surface of Jake’s skin wasn’t his own. Sort of. It felt physical…a force in itself. A restless, clawing sensation that surged alongside his sudden spike in temperature. Boiling the blood in Jake’s veins as his pores wept sweat. He had to leave. Flee. Fast.

Phin bent to scoop up his scattered clothes, scrunching them into an absent-minded snarl of fabric that belied his unnerving equanimity. Then turned and wandered into the loo without a word, shutting himself inside.

Now. Thought and deed, done in the blink of an eye. Jake snatched the door open and shot outside, tugging it shut behind him. He stood, scanning the expanse of scrubby grass and granitic rubble, isolated in indifferent majesty. As barren as it was bleak to those oblivious to its beauty. Nowhere to hide. Everywhere to run. There was no trace of human scent as far as Jack could smell or see, aside from the most alluring of them all.The autumnal afternoon was overcast; the sky as grey as the ancient rock at his feet. Ominous clumps of cloud hovered in low clusters, hugging the horizon, heavy with the odour of oncoming rain. 

The camper van at his back concealed Jake from the road that edged the moor; all before him belonged to it. The borrowed robe was flapping in the wind, still hanging open, so he shrugged it off his shoulders and tossed it onto the bonnet where Phin should spot it before driving off. He daren’t risk the only other option. Threading a window wiper through a belt loop to stop it blowing away was about the best he could do. He might be an utter bastard, but Jake wasn’t about to bugger off with the bathrobe he’d borrowed, t’boot. 

He ran, ran like the wind whispering through his hair, grateful for its cool caress on overheated skin. Bare soles skimming scrubby grass and mossy tufts, feathery underfoot as Jake picked up speed. Fast…faster still, until he was but a blur in the distance. Then he let go.

The alien sense of rightness flooded every fibre of Jake’s being when the silent shimmer thrilled through his veins; aflame with a power as primal as the fire trembling down his spine. Unfurling from his very core, it rippled through his body in a fluent stretch that twanged every sinew to screaming point. Joints popping alongside the gut-wrenching grate of bone grinding bone as tendons tore and muscles strained at sheaths. Those final shudders; rolling down his back to spill through reformed flesh as fur flowed over his subterranean self. Excruciating pain, the euphoria of freedom. An agony and ecstasy that echoed the ache in their heart.





📷 Alan Hopkins

Beast of Bodmin Moor 8


The Beast of Bodmin Moor








Phin gazed at the treasure trove he’d unveiled, utterly transfixed. Jack was…perfection. As if he’d stepped straight from Phin’s dreamscape and into his camper van as he’d slept. 

It was still tricky to believe he was a real, breathing person, rather than a hallucination Phin had cooked up after a few too many tipples. He was partial to a spot of brandy at bedtime; it made him feel warmer inside when the world seemed cold ‘n’ cruel and his tablets couldn’t stave off the scratchy.

Phin watched Ja—ke’s chest rise and fall with a wonderment that intensified, rather than subsided, the longer his eyes lingered. The yearning to stroke sun-kissed skin, to trace taut muscle and the tempting trail of hair leading down…down…was overwhelming. Phin tried to swallow what felt like a sticklebrick lodged in his throat and sucked in a sharp breath.  So hard. So…impossibly here.

It was most odd to feel as if fate had outdone him on the too much front. Phin must still be asleep, surely? Unless he’d woken in an alternate universe; a realm where you dreamed your heart’s darkest desires into being…and got to unwrap the riches that materialized on your camper van carpet.

Phin watched the slow trickle of his fingers across honey-glazed skin. It seemed to skitter in their wake, as if the ridges on his fingertips were playing it like a harp. It all got a bit blurry after that; one minute Phin was still stroking, the next he’d sort of swooped and stuck his tongue in Jake’s belly button. Not content with that, it started having a bit of a swirl around.

“Fuck!” Jack almost jakeknifed in shock. Oops, it might have been po-lite to warn him first. He didn’t seem to mind too much, nor did his groan, as he sank back against the floor. A respite too soon, perhaps. Phin was strung too tight to care for consequence, so he dove in headfirst. This tended to be his best bet when antsy, otherwise he just flapped around in a hyperfit of the fidgets for…ever. 

Resisting temptation was risky; that never went well on less enticing occasions. So Phin pounced to swipe a lavish lick along Jake’s length; a taste sensation so potent his head went all swimmy. It would have felt quite fitting if he’d swooned like a Regency miss when coshed by the most sumptuous of all scents. It was the olfactory equivalent of having a grand piano land on his head after being lobbed from a window. Quite why someone might do this remained a mystery, but it was forever happening in movies, so it must be ‘a thing’.  It was actually a hip-butt—rather than a Steinway—that accosted Phin, when up they snapped with the gusto of a Glasgow kiss.

Jake smelled as luscious as Phin’s second, more lingering sluice along feverish flesh. He’d never been hungry enough to make his mouth water this much. He’d need to be starving t’death. Or rabid. Phin still feared doing it too much, so he figured that he should start at the top and work his way down. That would work; Jake could shove him off if Phin got greedy.

He could go slow though. Slower than most folk thought reasonable when savouring things he enjoyed. As often as possible—which wasn’t excessive—when he wanted them all the time. See, he could be Mr. Moderate himself, if he must. Quite who he was, Phin knew not, so he might’ve made him up. He was supposed to be glad he could suffer such stingy rations, to avoid unseemly consequences. Such as…having to shuffle around on his knees attached to Jake like a limpet. That wouldn’t go down well (with folk who weren’t Phin). Particularly in public.

A rumbly purr of pleasure rifled Phin’s ears, which seemed to suggest he wasn’t doing anything amiss. Jack hadn’t shoved him off. Yet. He was still gripping the silver leg-posts of the table—white-knuckle-tight, too—as if he suspected Phin might suck him up like a hungry hoover unless he held on for dear life. He didn’t appear too appalled by the prospect, though…so, Phin hoped, almost as hard as Jake, that he wouldn’t put a stop to proceedings, anytime soon. Or at all, ever.

A flick of his tongue across the tip of Jake’s cock almost cost Phin an eye, such was the jolt of foxy hips. Ah well, he’d waited forever for this moment; swapping an eyeball seemed a fair ’nuff trade off. Okay, so…Phin had read (in his sister’s Cosmo comic) that he should go about this as if feasting on a luxury lolly. That part should be easy enough, he could savour one of those thoroughly enough to last half an hour. 

Phin took a deep breath, inhaling husky musk, heaven in itself, before wrapping just his lips around the head of Jack’s cock. Ooh…thisss. The bliss was too loud to hear over, so Phin had no idea if he was making a racket. Nor Jake, for that matter. He seemed a smidge… squirmy, despite his efforts to stay still, which did bode well. It also suggested that Jake might need matters moving on a mite, before he went demented. Contrary to Cosmo’s opinion, who possibly didn’t have cocks to call their own. Nor knuckles that looked fit to burst through blanched to bone skin. 

Phin picked up the pace. A fact that reaped rich rewards; he would have been dead—not deaf—had he been oblivious to Jack’s reaction. Phin could feel it. Feel it in his very bones, like a vibration. Somewhat akin to standing next to huge amps and sensing the tremble of sound through his body. As if his very self resonated in response to Jake playing his tune. 

Okay…he must never mention that, Phin decided. It being a flight of fancy that seemed a smidge hyper-responsive, even to him, so it must be stratospheric. Jake would flee as if the hounds of hell were hot on his heels. Keeping schtum was a consequence Phin was more than happy to suck up (as ’twere) for this secret glimpse of untold pleasure.

Phin relished every second of it. All of it… every flicker of his own tongue, the husky musk filling his head, the silken slide of velvet heat. Honey-honed skin; all taut sinew and lean muscle, tensed as if to spring. The most magnificent sight that had e’er graced his eyeballs. 

“Phin…” The agonized rasp of his name summoned Phin from his reverent reveries. Had he hurt Jake, done something wrong? How he wished he knew how to get this right for Jake. Not knowing—the fear of failing him—far outweighed all reason.

“Did I do it wrong?”

“Fuck…no. Don’t…don’t stop…”

“I never want to,” Phin assured him, resuming his serendipitous ministrations.

“Ggnnrrr…” Jack threw his head back with a grapple-hook growl that snagged Phin’s guts. He was glorious; hair fanned in a lustrous halo, like a golden god. Mesmerizing. Phin did his utmost to do concentrating and respond to every twitch—counter-twitch to restrain it—every rumble of pleasure and sigh of sound that flitted free. Meanwhile, hypnotic hips were hell-bent on snapping up despite Jake’s efforts to keep them in check, so Phin had to do focusing and follow their lead, lest he have a mishap. It was a lot to take in. He would need plenty of practise. 

“Phhiin…fuck…stop!”  Jake howled when his whole self had a spasm at once. He’ll make his mind up in a minute. A thought so diverting, Phin quite forgot to do listening. Never, had he been more chuffed he’d carried on regardless. If there had ever been a more majestic sight than Jack mid-orgasm, Phin had never been gifted it.

It was a hyper-feast fit for a king. Bestowed on Phin. All for Phin. So he guzzled him down with nary a care for excessiveness. Jake didn’t seem to mind. Never had Phin seen someone come so…utterly undone.

Earlier, when he’d woken, Phin had determined that his new foxy friend was the most tightly wound man on the planet. Armour-clad in titanium and a snaffled robe, as his true self seethed beneath the surface. The blissful abandonment Phin now beheld couldn’t have contrasted more starkly with the stranger he’d met. It was tricky to align the two in his head, so heaven knows how Jack managed it.

Phin dragged his mouth back, relishing every second, lest this be the last time he’d ever find himself so fortunate. With utmost reluctance, Phin unfurled his fingers, unsure what to do now. What was he supposed to do? Phin flicked his gaze upwards and watched as Jake’s eyelids fluttered apart. He blinked, p’raps to refocus; the blue was as hazy as a sun-scorched sky.

“Phin…” His voice was as thick as clotted cream, but darker, as if laced with brandy.



When Jake extended his arm, Phin’s insides did a flip-flop—a bit like that lurch on a hump-backed bridge—except higher up. After rearranging his unwieldy legs, he shuffled up beside Jake and found himself tucked into an armpit before he’d quite got his bearings. He was a bit crumpled, but he’d rather have cramp than be anywhere else. Being crippled seemed a small price to pay for such privilege.

“Y’okay?” Ja—ke rumbled in gruffly tones.

“I’m very okay.” Phin’s voice sounded like a smile.

“Y’sure…? I didn’t mean—I warned you to stop.”

“I didn’t want to stop. Are you cross?”

Cross? Fuck no,” Jake chuckled. “As far from cross as I ever get, but I didn’t want you to…feel obliged.”

“I don’t oft do things I don’t want to. I might pretend I will, but then I…forget.” Phin admitted.

“I had noticed…” he muttered. He still didn’t sound miffed though.


Exactly. I guess I should be thankful you haven’t fixed on Foxy.”

“I did like Foxy, but Jack is more…dashing.”

“Dashing?” he spluttered.

“Yes! You are! In a scoundrelly way…like a pirate, or a devilish hero in a Gothic novel.”

“Oh gawd!” Jack’s chest juddered with his throaty chuckle. It was like lying against a happy tractor.

“That’s not a bad thing, by the way. I’d very much fancy being deflowered by a breeches-ripper. Oops…I shouldn’t have fessed up, should I? Was it unseemly?”

“Ah…I—” That’s as far as Jack got before yukking it up again. Slurpy shenanigans had a startling effect on Jake’s disposition, it must be said. 

Perhaps not out loud, though.




Beast of Bodmin Moor 7

Happy Monday. 🥰Here’s the next chapter, I’m sorry it took a wee while….




The Beast of Bodmin Moor







‘I like your laugh, it makes you smile inside…’


Jake couldn’t actually remember the last time he’d laughed out loud. He sure as hell couldn’t recall having smiled inside. He was quite certain of one thing though; never had someone expressed a wish to blow him with such incomparable charm before. Christ.

“Might you let me make some racket, maybe?” 

As if granting Phin ‘permission’ would bestow a bloody kindness on him…when in fact, there was nothing on Earth Jake wanted more. 


Not listening.

Liar. Pants on fire.

Bugger off.

Now that…was nearer the truth. Just sayin’.

To top it off, as if all Jake’s Christmases—and two years of orgasms—weren’t about to come at once? 

The bad puns are coming thick ‘n’ fast now…

Pot. Kettle. ‘Just sayin’…

Phin’s very next words after being given the go ahead: 

‘Now!?’ Gaped as one might when handed the keys to a Ferrari and permission to take it out for a spin. ’Or is that too soon? Waiting isn’t my best thing…’ 

It wasn’t Jake’s either… and it sure as shit (after sausages) wasn’t Jack’s.

You’re like a dog with a bloody bone, y’know that, right? Or a nagging old woman. A stingy-with-the-tasty-tidbits one. 



Phin remembered his brief glimpse of Jack before slipping back into unconsciousness. Fuck. Jake was taking way too many risks. He was being stupid. Cretinous. He’d spent the last two years skulking in the shadows and being so bloody careful to safeguard his secrets.  Watching his every step lest he respond too swiftly, move too fast, react in any way whatsoever to intimacies he should never have heard above the hubbub of chat at the bar. All while being an unwilling eavesdropper on the low buzz of conversation, as clear as crystal, from the far side of the pub… even on his busiest shifts. 

Mentally weighing what he should be able to lift, without arousing suspicion; of steroid abuse, at the very least. Jake was hardly The goddamn Rock. Or indeed, that Momoa bloke punters kept likening him to. Until they were tanked up…when he morphed into ‘Momoa’s Mini-Me’. Strangely easy to shrug aside with a smirk. While feeding their nuts to the mutt after one twist of Jake’s fist. In his mind’s eye. Of course.

This frustrating as fuck list of limitations was akin to being blinkered, cuffed, manacled and muzzled every minute of the day. Alongside a shot of cement in each ear. ‘Muting his senses’ was but somewhere to start: Speed, stamina, strength, agility, acuity of thought. Healing. A hunger as relentless as the limits placed upon it. As insatiable as the thrill of the hunt. 

Two years spent shackled by self-restraint so ruthless it had driven Jake damn near demented. Hard-won steel-trap tenacity brought to its knees—literally—by one whiff of Phin on the wind. He’d as good as collared Jack at first scent. 

Jake hadn’t been far behind…having had no choice in the matter. Every single night since he’d ridden shotgun to a stalker with Pe Le Pew eyes and Deadpool’s disposition. Wylie Coyote couldn’t hold an Acme candle to Jack.

One whimper later, Jack had almost finished Phin off, licked him back to the land of the living, and been seen. A baton Jake had taken it unto himself pick up before embarking on a starkers stroll across a moonlit moor. Cradling an unconscious creature of unknown origin with legs far more excessive than his inimitable self. 


Oh Christ…at least that was preferable to Foxy. Foxy. For fucksake’s.

I might be insulted if the bushy-arsed bastards didn’t have such good rep for silky seduction skills. 

Silky? You? 

Yup…moi. Jaques Chacal at his service. Paramour par excellence…and I don’t stink of skunk. 

Yup…quite the catch. Aside from being a sausage junkie with severe digestive issues. Oh, and the drooling…dogbreath…fur…four legs… 

I give bloody good tongue.

‘Just sayin’ I suppose?

Why bother stating the bloody blah-de-blah? Sorted with one slurp. So suck that up, smug-mush. 




Jake suspected that he might just remain Jack for the foreseeable: as long it suited Phin to ‘forget to remember’. The scamp could probably reel off every item ever entered on his list of things to remember to take no notice of whatsoever. The one he’d begun when bored of staring at the mobile above his crib after a splendid day drawing on the walls and smearing mashed banana on the dog. 

“Um…where should I…?” Phin puttered to a halt, head cocked to one side. Like a pup in a pet shop window, hypnotising you with hope.

Oh hell...Jake should at least make some attempt to backtrack. Give Phin time to…what? Remain resolute? Was it even possible to persuade Phin to change his mind when dead set on something? It seemed one helluva surefire way to watch puppy dog eyes turn pitt-bull. 

The whiff of stubborn as scorched jam wasn’t a dead giveaway, then? I sure-as-sausage wouldn’t bet one on the poor sod who started that blanket wrestling match. 


“Where would you want to…er, do it, if given the choice?” Jake was, apparently, fool enough to wonder.

“Oh…um, that would be tricky. I only have one ‘where’ to choose from—so I don’t suppose it counts as choice—I would like you to lie down.”

Oh fuck. Jake sucked in a sharp breath, clamping his eyes closed, which made matters worse; the mental image transposed itself on the back of his lids. Would that be a…safer set up?  Who was Jake trying to…fox? He could spring to his feet from flat on the floor as fast as he could from a crouch. Perhaps if Jake lay with his head and shoulders tucked under the table, then gripped the two metal poles supporting the end not fixed to the wall? Maybe wrap his arms around them to nestle one in the crook of each elbow? Something to hold onto…rather than inadvertently scalp Phin, or worse, break his bloody neck. This was a very bad idea. Jake very much feared he was about to do it, regardless.

“No problem, but first…” The alarm that flared in Phin’s eyes was a flicker of candle compared to the spike of panic that shot his heart rate through the roof. Jake bent his head to press his lips to its pounding pulse; imbibing the scent of cinnamon spice. The vibrations trembling on the tip of his tongue didn’t slow, but did become less skittery as Jake smudged his mouth toward the gentle curve of Phin’s jaw. What had he feared having to suffer first? A lecture? A cautionary tale as tedious as it was pointless?  Phin turned his face, smearing Jake’s lips closer to his own, which parted in anticipation. Of a kiss that tasted of…everything Jack wanted from this world. A thought that would have been dizzying, had the melding of their mouths not beat it to the punch.

“Jack…” Phin soon gasped, snatching at a breath. “Please…”

It was all Jake could do to comport himself at a plausible speed to the table. All but dragged there, by the scruff of his neck like a recalcitrant pup. 

Think yourself lucky you didn’t find yourself furry. Interloper. 

Clever dick you might be, but c’mon…you’ve got to admit that I’m the man for this job. Loser of the ‘my canines are bigger than yours’ competition, that’s me.

Get on with it then, teenie weenie teeth.

Not biting. So shove your size-queen slurs up your furry foreskin.

This bout of bickering had filled the time it took Jake to lie flat on his back on the floor; head and shoulders inserted between the chrome bars that served as table legs.

“That’s perfect…Jack?”


“May I…undo the belt of the robe?”

Christ. Spread like a picnic on a fleece blanket. A thought Jake kept to themselves, nodding instead as he blew out a loong breath. 

Phin had no sooner dropped to his haunches than clasped Jake’s ankles with hands that felt blissfully cool to feverish flesh. A shiver shot up his legs when they were tugged apart, scorching along his spine when Phin sank to his knees in the gap he’d made between his own. Oh gawd. Jake gripped the bars and held on. For humankind, or something such. Phin slid his fingers behind the robe belt and began to pull, letting it slip loose, as if he were savouring the unwrapping of a gift. The very air in the van seemed to still. Jake could scarce breathe. He point-blank refused to blink.

When the belt finally slithered free, Phin hooked a thumb beneath each edge of the fleece and parted them like a pair of bloody curtains. This, while devouring Jake with huge pools of starlit darkness that scalded his skin as cupid lips curved in a secret smile. 

And you’ve deemed us dangerous? He’s lethal. 

His lashes pull that off on their bloody own. Jake groaned and gripped the bars. 

“Hmmm…” A soft sigh fluttered across exposed flesh. Strewth. Jake gritted his teeth so hard it might once have shattered them. Oh help…staying supine was going to kill him. Which might be for the best, all things considered.

Phin began to trail tentative fingertips from the base of Jake’s throat…down the centre of chest, skimming along skin that tremoured as if it had been tasered. Jake tightened his fists. His fingers promptly imprinted themselves in the chrome. Crap…the bars are buckling. Jake tried to focus on relaxing his grip; how the hell am I supposed to explain that? Phin swooped, and plunged the tip of his tongue into Jake’s belly button. 

“Fuck!” The sudden shock of wet warmth, swirling in its indent, made Jake’s hips spasm as his neck snapped back. The metal poles winced.


“A..there’s no…need-” Jake groaned, forcing his tendons to relent. An increment.

Phin began to trickle his tongue down the trail of dynamite leading south. Jake damn near combusted. He had no idea how he remained in his own skin, having lost it under far less incendiary circumstances. The torturous tickle stopped dead. His shuddering exhalation was abrupted by a sudden sluice of scalding heat along his cock from hilt to tip. Jake’s spine jolted about three feet off the floor, as a thousand volts surged through his system.

“Did that feel okay?” His voice was soft, uncertain.

“Gnh-I…ah…yess… ” Jake managed, from Mars or thereabouts. A reply that promptly inspired a second—far more lingering—sweep of flattened tongue along his length. Quite possibly akin to dropping a hairdryer in the bath. 

“Hmm… ” This, as Phin curled his fingers beneath Jake’s cock to lift it clear of his body. Before wrapping his lips around its head as if it was a bloody Magnum. The suckling that ensued was the most excruciatingly erotic experience of Jake’s life. His head was going to explode. The only question was, which one first… 

Two years without so much as a helping hand, let alone mouth. Two hours of enduring the Mount Etna of all erections. Topped off by a dual desire so excessive Phin was better equipped to survive it sane than Jake. Whose nemesis was apparently on a mission to explore every millimetre he encountered. With the Captain Cook of all tongues. This as those anime eyes damn near devoured Jake as Phin’s mouth did. Oh…good grief…

‘I’m worried that I’ll do it too much.’

‘I don’t think that’s possible, unless…you bit down’

Jake’s powers of perception had, of course, never encountered Phin. Too much? It was much too much. A feat indisputably down to Phin himself. Who was too much. Too much of everything Jake had ever wanted from this world. 

Odd that… 

His boneless body felt strangely weightless and yet, very, very heavy; a molten mass of muscle, sinew and flesh. A sensation that did, at least, loosen Jake’s death grip on the chrome bars before they resembled a modern art exhibit.

As if Jake wasn’t deranged enough, least mind-boggling of all? Phin’s very scent had become the most vital component of the air.  Jake’s entire self was alive with it, resonating in response. He felt like a sodding snare drum, tuned to its essence.  

That nugget of nonsense was Jake’s last gasp from the land of lunacy before a blitzkrieg of bliss reduced his brain to rubble and razed all reason to dust. They were done for. Ruined.

Oh, do keep up. We were done ‘n’ dusted from that first whiff on the wind…








Beast of Bodmin Moor 6


The Beast of Bodmin Moor







“Shall I cook some bacon while I make our cuppas…?” Phin asked, remembering that he hadn’t remembered to do either. “Or do you want me to drive you home now?” 

“Are you hinting that you’d like me to go?” Jack’s lips twitched with one of his twinkly smirks.

“No. I don’t think I’m very good at doing hinting. If I wanted you to leave, I would have said: ‘You’ve been here a long time, do you want to go home now?’”

“Good to know…” Jack’s grin was every bit as glinty as light glancing off glass. “I doubt that could be considered a hint in anyone’s book. I don’t need to go, put it that way, but I don’t want to overstay my welcome, which can’t really be called a welcome, when I wasn’t invited. At all.”

“I’m glad you came anyway,” Phin told him. At which point, Jack’s throat made the strangest sound, like a rusty gate hinge. “Oh, you must be starving, sorry…and I still haven’t put my pants on.” At the mention of the missing bacon, those blues blazed with the sort of hunger that could ‘eat a horse’. Phin would rather drop dead but that was beside the point,  which was; putting some pants on and feeding Jack. It was impossible to do concentrating in his presence; Phin’s marbles were too scattered to count, let alone sort. Pants. “D’you mind having it microwaved, it will be quicker?”

“I don’t mind how it’s cooked, I could eat it raw, to be honest.” Jack…did not fibWeirdo.

“Eww, that’s just wrong. Like orange. Sadly, raw sausage is far too right…that’s just fiendish. I shouldn’t scoff it or I’ll get tapeworms.”  

“Tapeworms…oh gawd” Jack spluttered a snort that segued into a coughing fit o’the chuckles.

“You’re a very noisy guest…it’s going to seem very quiet when you’ve gone,” Phin noted. Aloud. Oops. “I don’t mind the racket, though,” he added, quick as a fox jumping over a lazy log—not a brown one—honeyed grey, he decided. Which meant he forgot to do concentrating on seemliness. “I like your snorts ‘n’ splutters and slurpy sounds. Even your grumbly guts.” A snippet of info that prompted yet more yukking it up. Jack really was oddsome—but in a good way—not a Jaws music sort of way.

“I don’t slurp!” Snorted he.

“You did!” Phin insisted. As fact. 

“I haven’t had so much as a sip of tea, let alone a slurp.” After indulging in a sniff of affront, Jack added, “That was hinting, by the way.”

“Sorry, I keep meaning to make it, and put my pants onum, that’s when you slur—” Oh nooo. Phin’s face felt as if it had burst into flames, burning scarlet bright. And his ears.

Oh… I, er…occupational hazard?” The flushing thing seemed to be infectious, but Jack still managed to rustle up a (rather rosy) quip. Unless he hadn’t…and Phin just had jobs on the brain. 

“You were very thoro-ooh I shouldn’t have said that, should I?” Phin wasn’t sure if his ‘eek’ emoji expression—or the least welcome compliment ever—set Jack off again, but he was still hooting away when Phin asked: “Was it shocking unseemly?”

“Unseemly? Oh fuck…I think it’s safe to say it’s far less seemly to invite yourself to someone’s campervan and embark on an obscene racket, ten minutes after saying hello.”

“You didn’t…you said ‘Are you okay’?” Phin informed him.

“How remiss of me,” Jack attempted a solemn expression. It was rubbish, his lips kept twitching. Nooo, still no pants. “It’s probably a good job I don’t go visiting—” Jack forgot to finish his sentence when Phin shot off to the sink as if his (no) pants were on fire. The van would be next if matters progressed apace.  

“Was that hinting?” he tossed over his shoulder while busying himself with cups and teabags and sugar and not facing Jack at all.


“Were you doing hinting? Telling me that you won’t be visiting again, in a kind way?”

“No. It was self-deprecation. Like an eye-roll at myself.” Jack explained, sending the blue skywards in illustration. A shade every bit as gorgeous as the gleam of sunlight through stained glass.

“Oh, okay. I’m glad.” Phin was beaming to himself as he (finally) poured the boiled water onto their tea bags and Jack’s sugar mountain. “Um…could you pass me some pants from the second shelf in the cupboard?” he asked, rather than turn around. At all. 

“Sure…sorry, about the last pair. It was barely a breath later that Jack’s blowtorched Phin’s nape. Oh gawd, I’ll be stuck facing the sink forever. “Do you want me to visit again? Despite the din?” Jack’s velvet voice shivered across Phin’s skin in a crackle of static. “Turn around…” His murmur was as soft as the lips ghosting the curve of Phin’s neckup, up, towards his ear. Every single hair on his body went as quivery as his knees. 


“Phin… I’d be disappointed if you weren’t.” Was a wicked whisper of breath. Scorching his earlobe.

Hard. Jack meant hard. A flicker of tongue almost sent Phin’s head shooting through the roof. 

“You would?” he sort of gulped. 

“Yes…” Jack enclosed the back of Phin’s hand (clutching the counter top) with his own, and slowly, so slowly, drew it downwards…behind. A pause. Was Jack giving him time to tug free? Phin was frozen in flames. That’s how it felt. Then. His palm docked on a stonking ridge of hard heat. Granite encased in soft fleece. “That. Has been like that since…you opened your eyes.”

All that time?” Phin gasped, agog. Crikey, he would have combusted by now.  “Jack, can I ask you a question?” he managed, despite the fact his very own hand was still there.

“Should I be worried?” His voice sounded like sexy velcro. It might be best not to mention that. 

“I’m not sure…” Phin frowned, he was too fizzy to think. “I don’t know what makes you worried. It’s not a tricky one,” he assured Jack. Who really didn’t feel worried. Strewth. “Just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.” 


“Might you let me make some racket, maybe?” Phin wondered. Oops. Jack’s breath snatched off, alongside his strangest sound yet. “S’okay, I don’t mind if…I mean, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”

“No…you didn’t—” Jack broke off when a new noise made a bid for freedom; the grind of gears after being stuck in the garage all winter. “I…Yes.”

“Yes I can?” 

“Yeess. You can.”

Yes!?  Phin was so chuffed he almost clenched his fists…but it would have been very hard to have that mishap. Yesss. It was too-good-to-be-true. Too anything was not good. He musn’t get too wound up. Yet.

“Now!? Or is that too soon? Waiting isn’t my best thing,” It was best to mention that, Phin decided. In a before-being-banned-from-the-zoo sort of way. He fretted that things wouldn’t happen if they didn’t happen now.

“Yes…I mean, no, it’s not too soon.” Jack slammed his eyes shut and…gargled some more grit. 

Where? How? Kneeling? Sitting down, standing up? Phin’s system let rip a hyperdrive adrenaline rush of anxious. An excessive one. Too much. Can you do this too much? Too fast? Frantic? Lavish? Loud?


“I don’t know why I used ‘Jack’ earlier,” he groaned, rolling his eyes at himself again. “I rarely do…I’ve been called Jake for as long as I can remember…”

“You were a tad…distracted. I like both, Jake suits you too, it’s more…rakish. Less solid, not as safe as Jack.” Ja…ke looked a smidge staggered. Why? Ahh. “‘Til you add Sparrow, o’course.” Phin grinned, having solved that and finally happened upon an exception that proves the rule and made some sort of sense. “At least they sound similar, I’m glad you didn’t tell me it was Herbert all of a sudden. I’ll try to do remembering and not make a muddle, but ‘Jack’ might be stubborn. I did manage earlier though, or you’d still be Foxy.”

Foxy?!” Ja—ck let rip another splutter.

“Oops, sorry. It came from a dream I had last night, about a fox. Well, sort of…his colouring was amiss and his eyes were as blue as yours. Which is weird, because only huskies have blue eyes. Anyhoo, when I woke up and I saw yours, I thought they were his for a mo.”

“I…was it a nice dream or a…nightmare?” Jack looked fretful, which was daft, when Phin was fine. Far finer than fine.

“Oh, it was brilliant. Most of mine are…dreadful. Full of dread, chilling. They make me want to claw my skin off rather than suffer it but I don’t want to talk about that anymore,” Phin said-all-in-a-rush; which still made him sound like a loon, but for less long. “Last night I wasn’t scared at all. I thought Foxy was…a friend.”

“A friend.” Jack smiled, sort of sadly. It wasn’t upside down though, it just felt that way. 

“I wanted to ask… I’m worried that I’ll do it too much.” Phin swivelled his eyes downwards so that Jack—Jake—might get his drift, as it were. 

“I don’t think that’s possible, unless…you bit down.”

“I’m not going to bite, I promise. No raw sausage scoffing mishaps.”

“I…There’s really no answer to that.” Jack clamped his lips shut, shoulders quaking as he tried to stifle his latest fit of the splutters.

Ja—ke laughed as if it was the last thing he might ever do. With his entire selfand yet, he never seemed to be laughing at Phin. Or picking him apart to find fault. Jake had never sneered, nor even shot Phin that look; the gut curdling, steel jaw trap one. The dagger-shooting glare of shame. That’s why Phin preferred being on his own; he was safe from eyes. It was a relief. A huge, whole self sigh of relief.

So why wasn’t his skin all scratchy yet, or his head screeching for silence? It was all most odd. Phin was starting to suspect that his own ‘Jack’ might just be too many exceptions that prove the rule to count… 





Beast of Bodmin Moor 5

Hiya,  what began as re-edit has somehow become a rewrite based upon the bare bones of a skeleton. I’m sorry they’re taking a wee while longer, but it seems there’s much I want to amend/add to a story written four years ago.  Thank you so much for reading and every kind word wafted my way. ❤️ 🥰 ❤️


The Beast of Bodmin Moor



eed6d29f-f58a-47b5-ac5b-5b39946974f5  a - Edited





When Phin sighed into the arms Jake wrapped around him, he felt fragile, breakable, despite being about half a foot taller. The ability to crush every bone in his body made that a no brainer, but his very Phinness counted more than logic suggested it should.

“Are you alright?” Jake asked.

“Yeah, I-I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say thank you.” Phin’s dark brows crumpled in the centre, confusion writ large upon his face…which was adorable.

“Thank you? There’s nothing to thank me for. Quite the contrary…I should apologize.” 

“Apologize?” Amended to bold print bewilderment.

“For…well, I didn’t even ask if it was okayI er, just jumped you.” Jake cringed.

“I would be very okay with being jumped a lot, you needn’t say sorry,” Phin declared. A statement of fact, rather than reassurance. Would he recognize a platitude if it paraded about naked with a name badge?

“You sure?” Jake couldn’t help but chuckle. 

“O’course I am. I said it,” The twinkle in those midnight eyes implied that asking if Phin ‘was sure’—ever again—was a sure fire symptom of lunacy. Said>inscribed in stone>sorted. Much to his chagrin, Jake couldn’t help fishing for more…he was human. Sometimes.

“You might want to be more specific in future…” he advised, suppressing a grin. “Your ‘lot’ could differ a helluva lot from his.”

“‘I wouldn’t be okay with his lots at all, whatever it was,” Phin’s eyebrows vanished into his tufty fringe. 

Jake’s would have followed suit, had Phin’s inflection not made it clear that ‘his’ very existence was the irrelevance, rather than his wishes. “Will you tell me your lots, so I can do concentrating on not being excessive?” 

As fishing expeditions went, Jake had landed a whopper. Phin’s issue with ‘his’ clearly had bugger all to do with the bloke’s gender. He hadn’t even registered the assumption Jake had made, let alone called it into question. It was a neither ‘her’ nor ‘their’ non issue.

A whopper? ‘Jack’ had blown a bloody blue whale. With an excessive appetite. 

Well, there’s always steroids? Spinach? I’m game if you are… Mr Smugmutt snickered. Jake couldn’t help himself; a splutter made a bid for freedom before could stop it.

“I like your laugh, it makes you smile inside. I’m glad I got to see it…I know it will soon be gone.” Sorrow clouded his starry gaze, deadening it to darkness. “You haven’t defined your ‘lot’ yet…” Phin reminded him.

“It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon,” Jake acknowledged. Prompted by an impatient prodding. Ow. “As to my lot? I very much doubt I’d mind if you ‘forget to do concentrating’ on less.”

“Less, what?”

“Less anything. Less excessive, less exactly as you are. Less you, full stop.” Less like a ride on a runaway magic carpet… Jake never wanted to get off.

I reckon he’d have liked the last bit best. I did. 

The ‘ride’ part sounded suspect.

It didn’t ‘sound’ anything. Sadly.

Sordid, in particular. I was being a gent.

I’ve heard it all now. Who are you and what have you done with Jake the rake?

Ha. Ha.

Haha, my arse. You’d whipped his kecks off before I got so much as a sniff of sausage.


“I suspect you’ll regret saying that  soon.” Phin wrinkled his nose. As if it had come under assault of sausage consequences.

Ooh, that was a low blow. Bitch.


“I somehow suspect I won’t.” Jake admitted. 

“I think you’re a bit bonkers,” Phin noted, with a small nod. Serenity itself. “A big bit,” he amended.

“I think you’re the sanest person I’ve met for many a moon,” Jake winked.

“You must hang out with very peculiar peeps.” Phin’s expression was priceless.

“Mostly myself, when I’m not at work, so…” 

When Jake tailed off on a wry grin, Phin asked “Do you like your job?” Rather than the ubiquitous ‘what do you do?’

“Yeah…it’s alright. I just do a few shifts in the Albion pub. It keeps me out of trouble…” until it’s dark enough. 

“The one with the splendid paint job?” Phin grinned. It was pink. Pink panther pink. As lurid as a lycra leotard. The grin was less lurid but far brighter. 

“That’s certainly one word for it…” Jake deadpanned.

“Pink. That would be another,” Phin beamed. A very dull, dreary pink, in retrospect. He was radiance personified.

“Cruel.” Jake offered. “When you’ve got a hangover.” 

“Ouch. Is it safe once you’re inside? I didn’t go in, I just drove past in my van.”

“Yeah…I love walking in before opening time on an early shift. There’s a special stillness…a quality of light. What little there is glances off the glass and mirrors, sharper off stainless steel…burnished off brass, but doesn’t really disturb the dimness. Low ceilings, I guess. Anyhow…” Jake shrugged, a bit abashed by his own rambling. “The hours suit me and we have live music, so I’m able to play pretty regularly. Purely for pleasure, I’m not chasing any dreams. It…suits me here.”  

Phin’s dark, watchful gaze seemed to absorb—rather than ‘look’—so intent was his focus. What does he see? Not so much in less-or-more terms than…other people. But…in a way that resonates…as different woods do. 

Those eyes sure as hell couldn’t see a twenty-five year old rockstar-that-never-was, tending bar at a (pink) pub in the back of beyond.

“You play there, really?” As if on cue, they switched to high beam bright. Spot lit from within. “Can I come and watch?”

How am I supposed to say no to that face? Even to protect him?

I hope that was a rhetorical question. If not, fuck knows. If all else fails…keep my fluids up? 

An emergency stash of saliva, that’s your solution? You could at least try to sound less…satisfied. If only for decency’s sake.

Why bother…it’s not as if you’re buying that bridge you’re hell-bent on selling you.

Selling ME? 

Yes…You. Me. Us. Whatever…   


…Was the silent ‘tralala’ necessary?

If it was silent, how did you hear it?

In my head.

Not out loud, then. Like say…now? 

Shut up.

Chance would be a fine thing… Just sayin.



The Albion Pub, Liskeard.