Hiya… I was asked to make a moodboard for LGBTQIA+ Historical Romance’s 2019 Moodboard Project. I’d never made one before, but I had a bash:
A free-for-5-days copy of said trilogy seemed a splendid match for my fancy pants efforts:
Um…moodboardery is a bit addictive… 😳
Without further ado…
The Beast of Bodmin Moor
He would recognize those footsteps entering the Albion on a busy Friday night, Jake realised, listening to Phin make his way to the alcove. Nevertheless, it was not the tufty top of his head that appeared at the edge of the bed, it was a hand wafting a wet white cloth.
A flag of surrender; grimly ironic, when only one occupant of this van was succumbing to the wishes of the other two…and his own, of course. Jake still found himself chuckling as he plucked the cloth from Phin’s fingers to swipe across his chest. Deducing that one scent was distinguishable from the other elicited a ‘no shit, Sherlock’ from the subs bench.
You’ll find yourself substituted as sharpish as your cutting ‘wit’, if you don’t watch it. You’re on borrowed time, as it is. Mine.
You seriously expect me to believe you’d prefer to be out prowling the moors?
I’d need your head looking at, if I did. I’m not dogged in denial.
Why the hell were you so insistent on staying? It makes no bloody sense. None whatsoever. You’re prepared to risk his life? Really?
No…which should suffice as answer to the rest of your rantings.
I don’t trust you.
You never did.
That, makes less sense than sausages for supper.
Nothing wreaked upon Jake in the last two years suggested that Jack could, or would, put Phin’s safety before his instincts. A fact that left Jake tightrope walking between the jackal and his whisperer—with Phin’s life on the line—rather than his own. About all Jake could do, was hope. Vehemently. Hope for what though? Neither one would give in, Jack had made that quite clear…and Phin was as dogmatic as the jackal. Worse still, their unholy trio all wanted exactly the same thing. Jake was buggered if he did and buggered if he didn’t…despite neither miscreant being dead-set on that particular outcome.
Two tumblers of brandy were next to appear at the alcove opening.
“Thanks,” Jake retrieved them and retreated deeper into their nook so that Phin could climb in without upending the lot with an unwieldy limb.
“Hiya…” The top of Phin’s head and eyes peered over the edge of the mattress like an anime-style Chad, no doubt emblazoned with the legend: “Wot no Fuck?”
Much to Jake’s amusement, Phin did succeed in wrangling his excessive self into the alcove without knocking their drinks flying. Fortuitous in itself, when it didn’t seem likely that Jake might lie back and allow them to wind up lying in a lake of brandy. Snatching two glasses out of mid air—before they spilled—might strike even Phin as somewhat extraordinary. Once settled safely on his side, Jake handed Phin his tumbler and mirrored his position, which left them facing one another, heads propped on bent elbows.
“Will you still be here when I wake up?” Phin asked, in a voice as soft as it was hesitant.
“I hadn’t intended to leave. Why d’you ask?”
“I wasn’t being greedy, I promise. I just…like to know stuff…so I don’t get scratchy.” Phin cast his eyes downwards, stealing his gaze away.
“Asking someone if they’re about to bugger off while you’re asleep doesn’t count as gluttony,” Jake assured him.
“I’m glad. I just didn’t want you to think I was doing hinting…” Phin was staring into his brandy as if all the secrets of the universe swirled in its depths. Was he avoiding Jake’s gaze, for fear of seeing censure there? Or safeguarding his own?
“Most people are greedy…they just don’t admit it aloud. Quite the contrary, they do their damnedest to conceal their avarice…” Jake murmured, “Self-restraint is the toughest subterfuge…more folk cheat than you’re crediting them with, Phin. Almost everyone lives a lie, in one form or another.”
“Why?” Phin’s nose wrinkle suggested an assault by a malodorous stench.
“Either to fit in…or play the role they aspire to, I guess.”
“That’s a bit daft…like borrowing uncomfy clothes, or swanning about in a swanky suit. I would feel scratchy enough to tear my skin off.”
“Or hack away at it…” Jake sighed, glancing at the gash that might never have been. All that lingered was a score line, now pillow-crease pink.
“That doesn’t work…only if I’m miffy with myself.” Phin corrected him, with an honesty few were prepared to turn upon themselves.
I doubt he has a choice, dipshit. Do keep up.
“But you’re not greedy…except p’raps for bacon and brandy. So… you either fibbed when said you wanted me. You’re cheating…or you have superhuman self-restraint.”
Superhuman. Strewth…excuse me while I fall off my legs laughing.
Ha.Ha. I can’t even argue, you snarky git.
If it makes you feel better, we do ship super/human. I am super…and you’re sort of h—
Yes—Thank you for the breakdown. Not. I am familiar with the lingo.
Colour me stunned…I never noticed the thirty-seven Johnlock fics you inhaled last month. By the way, if you ship our names…you get Ja/ke or Ja/ck. Odd that.
“Even if you fibbed, I still wish you were greedy enough to do forgetting hyper-restraint. That works out about as well as starving t’death…or sticking a cork up your bum.” Phin managed to opine this with an expression so sage, it made prequel Yoda appear foolish. The corker? Was added after a nanoseconds pause for reflection. “Not in a fun way.”
“Oh, I am, that’s what worries me…” Jake muttered, half to himself.
“I don’t believe you…no, that’s not quite right. My guts seem to believe you…but my head doesn’t.”
“Wanting something and taking it aren’t mutually exclusive,” Jake sighed. “I want a lot of things I can’t have.”
“But you can have me, so I’m not one of them,” Phin shrugged.
“If only. It’s not that easy…”
”Why? I clearly am. You said you’re not married…and you are not-a-jot impotent. I-I just…” Phin trailed off, rolling his eyes roofwards, as if an alternate reason might be spray-painted up there. “I’ve already done choosing, so it doesn’t matter what you say. I can’t do unchoosing afterwards. And that’s that. I’ve gone giddy now, shall we go to sleep?”
“Sure…beats slamming my head against a brick wall.”
“I think that’s supposed to sound like a metaphor…but…it isn’t. D’you do that very often?”
“Only when I’m pissed off with myself,” Jake admitted. He couldn’t bring himself to tell him any more lies tonight.
“I think you’re more dangerous to yourself than you are to me…” Twin pools of molten brown all-but bore holes in Jake’s soul.
“I just…really don’t want to prove you wrong.” He dipped his head and his hair fell forwards obligingly. Concealing the treacherous sting of Jake’s eyes.
“I wasn’t wrong about Foxy. You were worried he would hurt me, too…but then, animals like me better than people, so…” An impish grin brought all such observations to an abrupt close. For which, Jake thanked his unlucky stars. Profusely. “I’ll go and turn the lamp off, ‘kay?”
“‘Kay,” he croaked.
I hope you’re bloody satisfied.
Jack just regarded him with an unblinking stare…and the blatant belief that only one occupant of the bed was making a fuck awful mess of everything.
The light flicked off, then Jake watched Phin clamber up to join him; a lavish streak of ivory gleaming in darkness that wasn’t dark at all…unless Jake closed his eyes. Phin crawled beneath the duvet and lay on his side, facing inwards; arms bent, hands tucked beneath his chin. He didn’t reach out, nor brush Jake accidentally—or otherwise—which felt more bruising than being jabbed with a lethal joint. It was unbearable. Those lustrous eyes were scrunched so tight, it seemed that keeping them shut took more effort than holding them open at five a.m.
Jake found himself reaching out…to brush aside a few tufty strands of fringe. Apparently. Phin’s lids popped apart, revealing big brown orbs that defied their own darkness. As glossy as liquid glass. The apple-strudel scent of hope that flooded Jake’s senses was impossible to defy. He leaned in…until his nose nudged Phin’s, then paused, waiting. It had to be his choice after being rebuffed. A whisper of brandy-warm breath bathed Jake’s face as Phin lifted his chin, just a touch. Enough, to grant Jake access to cherry-ripe lips. Their mouths melted together and for an endless moment neither moved, nor spoke. Even the air seemed to still.
The jackal sat silent sentry.
Despite knowing damn well how ludicrous it was, Jake still felt as if his entire life had led to this… sultry shimmer of quietude as dawn hovered on the horizon. He could neither describe nor define it, just knew that it was. Nothing whatsoever happened. Yet everything did. Only the dual thud of their heartbeats bore witness to Jake’s epiphany.
The jackal just sniffed, a snort of sound which bore a startling resemblance to… do keep up, shit for brains.
“Jake..?” Phin whispered, their lips but a breath apart. “Can we do spooning? I think I’d like that. A lot.”
“Sure,” he chuckled. “Are you turning over, or me?”
“You, please. Um, that will fit better.”
“The real reason, please?”
“What makes you think I fibbed!?” Phin gasped. Innocence personified.
“Instinct. What mischief are you up to?”
“I’m not! Hmph. I just…if you were pressed back there my brain would explode. Oh…and your bum is luscious.”
“Luscious. Oh gawd,” Jake groaned.
“Yup…it’s a lush tush. I don’t have any more reasons, so stop fishing and turn over. I have no nefarious plans afoot…” The latter was intoned with lofty aplomb. Utterly incorrigible.
“That, I suspect, would be a first. Okaaay,” Jake huffed. After dropping a kiss on the end of Phin’s nose, he turned to face the wall, grinning to himself when an arm was curved across his waist. After shuffling closer ’til their skin fused, Phin curled around Jake’s back, tucking bony knees into the crook of his own. The hip wriggle that followed almost finished him off. Jake froze—with an entirety that suggested lock down—as if the cock nestled in his butt crack had triggered a security system. A rumble Jake was not responsible for vibrated in his throat.
“Hmm…I love that noise,” Phin murmured into his hair. “G’night Jack, I’m glad you stayed. Too much methinks.”
“As am I…g’night.” Jake conked out almost the moment he closed his eyes.
For all the world as if someone, somewhere, finally thought he’d suffered enough.
Phin sighed, snuggling deeper into his pillow, listening to Jack’s snuffly breaths as he slept. He had gone out like a light, so he must have been pooped.
While his own head was all whizzy, it wasn’t in a tired way, despite taking his tablets. There was just too much stuff stomping about in there. Not least the fact that snoozing through the spooning, rather than savouring it, was too sacrilegious to contemplate.
Jack seemed softened by sleep, stripped of his insistence on being mad, bad, ‘n’ dangerous to Phinkind. Yet sometimes—Phin had been doing concentrating—he saw glints of something sharp buried beneath his hypercontrol…biting into soft flesh with wince-worthy cruelty. Perhaps that explained why he was so careful, controlled; guarding every movement, lest it gouged deeper and betrayed his pain. As silver-sharp as a blade, it felt a lot like loathing to Phin. A smidge akin to his own scratchy…but different. Harsher, meaner, spiteful…but not in the outward way Jake claimed. It was self-directed. He was as dangerous as he feared. To himself.
Of course, Jake could hurt him, Phin wasn’t that daft. If he lashed out in rage, then Jake could probably finish him off with naught but a blaze of blue, but Phin wasn’t scared of Jake, who could only kill him. Phin had to live with himself.
It had forever felt as if he saw stuff he wasn’t supposed to…staring at it inside out. Or Phin was. One or the other, maybe both. Feelings sat on the surface, rather than hidden safely away. He didn’t mind, mostly, but it was tricky to focus on stuff people wanted him to. If he couldn’t, it made them miffy—they thought he wouldn’t—and got affronted.
Well…that was a lot of thoughts thunked…and Phin was still none the wiser. This is why he didn’t like going to bed. If his brain wasn’t busy it got bored and embarked on a bit of merry mayhem. Before Phin knew it, it had scarpered with the scraps of sensibility he could call his own; about the only thing he didn’t have too much of to start with.
It was very hard keeping his mitts to himself too. He did have an arm wrapped around Jack, but its hand couldn’t go a-wandering as it wanted to. A temptation akin to chewing tin foil with fillings. It was getting lighter outside. Dawn was coming to steal away the darkness.
It was with a serendipitous sigh that Phin let his eyes flutter shut.
“Mmmm…” This, was The Best Dream Ever. Phin would go to bed more often if this lay in wait for him, rather than a snake-pit of too much stuff he’d rather not be ambushed by. Warm wet wondrous...a slip slide of lustrous…slurping.
Phin’s eyelids flared wide. Jack. Was here. There. He blinked. Twice. Nope, Jack was still…down there.
“Jaack…” He didn’t answer, which wasn’t surprising, all things considered. Phin seemed to be half-lying on his back, with one arm stretched across the bed, the other resting on the sheet, beside his bum. His torso was twisted, with the top leg flung akimbo…like a dog having his tummy tickled. Most unseemly…and more than a mite flagrant. The whereabouts of Jack being every bit as blatant. Plush lips were sending shivery quivers of bliss here, there ‘n’ everywhere; a lush glide of hot, moist, heaven.
Phin was never going to manage making-it-last, after such a rude awakening. He’d barely got his breath back, then lost it again before the ball-bubbling bliss shot sparks up his spine and blitzed his brain with a dizzying rush of rhapsody (he’d always wanted to think that word, so he did, no one was listening). Bismillah! And Good Gawd, oh blimey… Jack swallowed him down with great greedy gulps, as if feasting on breakfast fit for a king.
“Hmmmm…” A happy hum sounded in Phin’s throat as he patted about for a silky tumble of hair.
“Morning…” Gleaming lips twerked up in a rakish grin. The second sexiest view Phin had ever been treated to upon waking.
“G’morning. Thank you…” That p’raps drizzled from his lips like dribble.
“Oh, I’m not done yet…” The blue blazed topaz fire when Jake clasped Phin’s wrist and gave it a sharp tug. His breath left the building—again—when he found himself flipped onto his front, face down in the pillows, before he could blink. When Phin craned his head around, it was just in time to see Jack snap his ankles apart…and crawl into the space he’d made in the middle.
“Wha—” That was as far as Phin got, cos the snaffler grasped the corner of his pillow and snatched it away. “Ooof.” That was a mite muffled on accounts of having a faceful of sheet.
An arm burrowed under his belly and up it went, before landing on the purloined pillow. All o’this took less time to gasp than what the bejeezus, so it was tricky to keep his bearings. Phin hadn’t recovered from his rackety start to the day yet. That had been too boggling to do concentrating on top of. Phin may well have tried a tad harder if he’d realised that doing concentrating ever again might prove pointless.
So there Phin was, sunny-side up, with nary a breakfast in sight. Just sheet. A thought obliterated by the very next deed of Mr. mad bad ‘n’ dangerous to Phin’s last marble. Jack bent low…and swiped his tongue betwixt his butt cheeks.
“Guess again,” Jack chuckled, then swooped to swirl his tongue at the dip of Phin’s coccyx; the most ticklesome spine-tingling torture he’d ever endured.
“Jaackk!” Phin was left grappling at fistfuls of sheet, cheeks clenched tight, as Jack set siege to his senses with an excess of excruciating. Bliss. “Stooop! Pleeaaaaah!”
“Oh, okay then…” Jack raised his head, then clasped Phin’s hips and tugged them up. This, before butting the backs of his thighs to prop him onto his knees. Nothing in Phin’s whole life had ever prepared him for the next part. Not even slurpy rackets.
Jack trailed lazy fingertips along his thighs…curving around to clasp their tops, then swooped to sluice a long, luxurious lick…in the valley of Phin’s darkest dreams. His head nearly blew off. He perhaps shrieked so loud it was a wonder the windows didn’t shatter, which might have been unseemly. Had he not already been lying face down on the bed with his butt waving in the air. Being slurped from behind. Or possibly having his behind slurped.
Jack, had barely begun.
The next few minutes and forever felt as if he had a firework fizzing in his head…and bum. A megalodon one—like the ones let off over the Thames—not a piddly one that fizzles a bit in your back garden. A huge fuck-off firework of brain blitzing hyper-too-muchness.
The way it felt physically, was a surface shriek of exquisite sensation…but the tsunami tongue swirling beneath? Was the darkness itself, secret, sacred, sublime.
Phin had known what an orgasm felt like before he met Jack, so he’d sort of been prepared…but only a bit. It had felt a helluva lot different with Jake doing the deedy. Phin had tried to imagine how it might feel to have sex and…sort of fiddled about a bit. But he’d never ever dreamed this might happen, let alone wondered what it felt like. Phin didn’t live in bum bliss paradiso. He lived in a camper van in Cornwall.
Thus, he had never envisioned waking up one morn to find himself served a tongue where the sun don’t shine. It sure left a morning cuppa in the shade. That noted… Phin had never met a robe snaffler on the moors, dead-set on stealing his sanity, either. He was starting to have a sneaky suspicion that Jake had looted a very lot more…