Bare Ankles

WARNING: Some sexual references

In which Josef gets excited about rum and Lot delivers a burn.

Nine Shillings and Victorian Mistress are also available on Wattpad.

Bare Ankles

London – 1844

‘You would’ve won,’ Bran said, drying my hair with more gentleness than Mrs Stapleton insisted on for polishing ornaments.

‘Or died trying.’ I turned and got onto my knees between his. ‘No-one is taking my family from me. Ever.’ I kissed him, my hands in his hair and his around my waist.

I tapped his knee and he sat back so I could climb onto his lap. I kissed down his neck, my fangs pinched and he hissed, sliding his hand up my leg under my nightdress.

Josef threw open the door and walked in. ‘What a night.’ He dropped down on the couch. ‘He needs practice but points for enthusiasm.’

Bran sighed and took his hand from up my nightdress. ‘You need a regular partner. How will you ever be satisfied if you don’t get used to each other?’

‘The last time I had a regular partner he set fire to my one of my antique Persian rugs,’ Josef said and wafted a hand.

‘Because you didn’t clarify that “regular partner” didn’t mean monogamous,’ Bran observed and nuzzled my nose, I caressed his face.

‘Ugh,’ Josef said. ‘Smug marrieds.’

‘Says the man who wants the wife treatment.’ I shifted to sit sideways with my legs over the arm of the chair.

‘I take it back, you’re just smug,’ Josef muttered. ‘And what have you been doing to get those bruises? Something interesting, I hope.’

I told him about the Werewolf Dom putting me to the test to see if I would protect Edward. Naturally I didn’t leave out the bit where she had to yield because I wouldn’t stay down.

‘Isabel is exceptionally strong but you’re exceptionally determined. Even match, perhaps,’ Josef said, rubbing his beard. ‘She’s very protective of her pack but a werewolf Dom going that far is new.’

‘How many vampires adopt werewolves?’ I asked.

‘We’re not exactly a familial species,’ Josef replied, watching my bare feet flex.

‘Having met Richard’s progeny I never would’ve guessed.’ I kissed Bran’s jaw. ‘She reckons I’m in charge. I thought this was a democracy.’

‘Yes.’ Josef tilted his head to the side. ‘Bran and I democratically decided to do what you tell us.’

Bran nodded. ‘Very true.’

I chuckled and shook my head.

‘Two victories calls for alcohol.’ Josef crossed to the drinks cabinet where we’d locked Bran’s alcohol supply out of reach of tiny hands. ‘There’s nothing like a good orgasm to blow away the cobwebs.’

Bran and I stared at his back.

‘You didn’t tell you had rum.’ Josef pulled a bottle from the back of the cabinet. ‘Is this left from our pirate days?’

I looked at Bran. ‘You were a pirate?’

Bran blushed. ‘Briefly.’

Josef pointed at Bran with the bottle. ‘That man there could shoot a man on the opposing ship in the middle of a sea battle with a flint-lock.’ Josef put the bottle to his heart. ‘It was the second most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life.’

Bran turned a deeper shade of red.

I gave Josef a look. ‘I’m not going to ask what the first was.’

‘Your ankles,’ he said. ‘I want to kiss them.’

I pointed one foot. ‘My ankles?’

‘The way the shapely muscle of your calf curves into the delicate perfection.’ He drew the curve in the air with his finger.

I raised my leg so I could pretend to look more closely. ‘Hm. Looks like an ankle to me. What do you think, Bran?’

Eyes on my face Bran slid his hand up the back of my leg. Josef took a gulp of rum. I bent my leg. Bran held my gaze a moment longer then kissed my ankle.

‘It’s a beautiful ankle,’ he said and kissed me deeply.

‘I hate you,’ Josef said and offered me the bottle. ‘Have some rum, straight from the bottle like a proper pirate.’

I took the bottle. ‘You’re obviously thinking about pirates.’ I put the bottle to my lips but didn’t drink.

They both watched, not breathing.

I grinned, tipped back my head and took a gulp. It burnt all the way down. I coughed, wiped my mouth on the back of my hand and offered the bottle to Bran. ‘That’s disgusting.’

Bran took a swig and pulled a face then passed the bottle back to Josef.

‘Cheapness fermented by age,’ Josef said and saluted with the bottle. ‘To the old days.’ He glugged it like ambrosia.

‘Old days without me?’ I asked.

Josef threw himself down on the couch. ‘Old days where I can imagine you dressed as pirate with a cutlass and pistol come to board me.’

‘Shivers your timbers does it?’ I asked.

Josef lay his head against the back of the couch. ‘Never have my timbers been so shivered.’

Bran and I laughed.

I caressed my hand down Bran’s chest. ‘There’s only one man getting his timbers shivered round here.’ My hand stopped before things got interesting and I whispered, ‘You’re going to have to tell me about your adventures, my pretty pirate.’ I kissed him softly, brushed his hair behind his ear and whispered, ‘Or do you think I should shiver his timber?’

Josef sat up. Bran frowned at me.

‘Would you be comfortable if I gave Josef a kiss?’ I said.

He looked at Josef then back at me. ‘I don’t think I’ll know until you try it.’ He unwrapped his arms from me. ‘I’m not going to stop you.’

I got off Bran’s lap, straddled Josef’s, and set his bottle on the floor. Josef licked him lips. I suppressed a laughed and took my time exploring his mouth. His lips were rum and cinnamon magic. His kiss assured. His timbers were definitely shivering.

I pushed him back against the couch. He moved to kiss me. I held him down.

‘Weren’t you done?’ I got off him. ‘Guess you’ll be shivering your own timbers,’ I sat on Bran’s lap and kissed him, hands all over.

Bran kissed me back with a fervour that put Josef’s assurance to shame.

‘Oh, you’re wicked.’ Josef laughed. ‘I love you.’

At the sound of tiny footsteps edging down the stairs we all looked at the door; Edward was getting very good at knowing where we were when he wanted us.

He came in holding Rawr under one arm and dragging his red blanket behind him. ‘Can’t sleep.’ He rubbed his eyes, in case we weren’t convinced.

Josef won the race, picked up Edward’s blanket, and wrapped it around him. ‘Let’s make you a snuggly sausage roll. You want a cuddle with Dada, don’t you?’ Josef was never more beautiful than when he smiled at our son.

Edward nodded.

Josef scooped him up and rocked him. ‘See? Somebody loves me.’

‘Muma is bestest. She makes bestest coco,’ Edward murmured sleepily. ‘Extra milky.’ He rubbed his face on Josef’s shoulder. ‘An’ frothy.’ Edward yawned. ‘An’ little bit ninnamon.’

‘Everyone loves cinnamon,’ Josef whispered and kissed Edward’s temple.

‘Canna have some?’ Edward mumbled.

‘Of course…’ But Edward was already asleep.

Read more episodes of Nine Shillings or read Lot’s first adventure Victorian Mistress on the Weekly Serial page.


Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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