OUt now!

Archaeology, ghosts, and a sweet m/m romance in brand new book 'Trench Warfare'.

fictional appetisers

Cheers!

Welcome to a page featuring some of my previously published short and ultra-short stories, available to read absolutely free!

The page is updated every now and again, but for now it features a short bittersweet story about a vampire; an ultra-short flash inspired by a Cumbrian legend; and a modern take on the Three Little Pigs.

If you enjoyed these tasters, why not check out the rest of my books and short stories? You might find something you like!

This Life Sucks

A heartbreaking vampire story inspired by a real-life incident*, originally published by Pill Hill Press.


I don't want to be a vampire any more.

Charles removed his teeth from his latest victim's neck. A smear of blood trickled down the young woman's throat and he licked it up, more from habit than genuine desire. He released her heavy, lifeless body to fall into the gutter where it lay like a tangled puppet, the head resting in a puddle of oily ooze. He sighed. It was such a shame; such a waste of a pretty young life. She'd laughed at him when he offered to buy her a drink, pursed her sugar-pink lips and blown a coquettish cloud of smoke in his face. Now she would never laugh again.

He wrapped his cape around him like fog enfolding a statue and turned a hunched shoulder on the world. This would be his last night in this form. No more biting, no more sucking, no more taking of innocent lives. No more lurking in the shadows and hiding from the sun; from now on he would be a creature of the light. Tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, he would greet each new dawn, watch the pigeons and listen to the shouts of happy children.

He left the dark alley with its heaped, stinking litter and a thousand names of hopeless youth scribbled on its walls. Suddenly the filth was preferable to feeding, the stench of garbage more alluring than the iron tang of blood. It was time to go home. The coffin lay in the centre of the cellar floor, lid enticingly open, the silk-lined depths calling to him of sleep. But he ignored the call, and the faint lightening of the sky. Hauling the coffin and lid upstairs he propped them in the yard, next to the trash cans he'd never had call to use. Now the men who came with their vast roaring dragon would take it away, and feed it into their pet's ever-open, rubbish-eating maw.

Day was breaking. Soon the first red arc would surge over the soot-blackened chimneys and saw-tooth roofs, bringing the crush of a summer's heat to the day. He could feel it already in his bones, the way they burned from within, and in the sizzle on the back of his neck. If he flew he would just have time to take his last look at the sun.

An hour later the garbage men scratched their heads over the empty coffin resting against the fence. And in the centre of town people stood open-mouthed, staring at the brand new statue of a man in a cape that had appeared as if by magic in the middle of the square. Pigeons flapped and settled on its head and toddlers chased each other, shrieking, around its feet. In the rigid face, stony lips curved into a smile.


*The coffin next to the dustbins, if you hadn't guessed! If you liked this story, you might want to check out my gay vampire romance Echoes of Blood, which is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

The Summons

A tiny story of exactly 75 words, based on an old Cumbrian legend, which featured at Paragraph Planet.

The church bells chime across the valley, summoning the villagers to Sunday prayers. But the church lies in ruins deep beneath the inky waters, drowned by the reservoir many years ago.

In The Bull the locals shake their heads. "There'll be a death in the village tonight. Always the way when you hear the bells."

But the pub lies in ruins deep beneath the inky waters, drowned by the reservoir many years ago...

Huff and Puff

This modern take on the Three Little Pigs was originally published in Mslexia.

Jeremy built a house of wattle and daub because it was green and wouldn't harm the environment. He moved his extended family in, bought a goat and grew his own veg, and was blissfully happy until a freak tornado blew the whole house away.

John built a timber-framed, thatched cottage because he was a fan of all things 'olde worlde'. He filled it with priceless paintings and antiques and was blissfully happy until a freak thunderstorm flooded the village and washed the whole house away.

Jack built his house of bricks, with a solid slate roof. "I don't care how much it rains or blows," he said. "This house isn't going anywhere." He watched the storms through the double-glazed windows and rubbed his hands in front of the modern gas fire, and was blissfully happy... until the market crashed and the bank foreclosed on the house.

My books

Drop in for a full list of my current books, together with a selection of the short stories I've had published in anthologies and magazines over the years.

Books

Featured book

A dark m/m romance featuring vampires, New Romantics, and an entire missing Roman legion! Nominated for a Goodreads M/M Romance readers choice award 2020.

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