Sexy Sailors coverRiver Rat by Josephine Myles

My mother said, I never should, play with the gypsies in the wood…

I couldn’t shake the old nursery rhyme as I walked along the towpath. I tried telling myself I wasn’t in the bloody wood, this was the canal running through the middle of Manchester, and I’d probably end up getting clobbered if I mentioned the word “gypsy” when talking to the bloke. Not that I thought there was anything wrong with gypsies. I had a major hard-on for them, truth be told, but somehow I didn’t reckon the redhead boater with the “fuck off” eyes was going to appreciate that label.

Even if he had called his boat River Rat.

His gaze had been dismissive the first time I clapped eyes on him, almost a fortnight ago. The sun had been making one of its rare appearances and he’d been shirtless, stripping down his engine on the towpath. I couldn’t help staring at the grease mark across his tanned abs, wondering what his skin would taste like if I licked around it. I’d panned up to his face and realized I’d been rumbled. The moisture decided to desert my mouth like a rat from a sinking ship, and I almost went arse over tit stumbling into a pothole in the path as I scurried away. I might have been as tall as the boater, but I was a weedy art student, not a fighter, and wouldn’t have stood a chance if he’d wanted to make something of it.

Of course, once I’d got back to my grotty shared house and locked myself in my room, I spent some quality time with my right hand, imagining what might have happened if he had decided to make something of it. This version involved sweaty naked wrestling, though, rather than the more realistic swift kick to the nuts and possible early watery grave. I conjured up the details I’d noticed in that brief glimpse of flesh: the brown nipples, the tufts of sweat-darkened ginger hair under his powerful arms, the rippling play of his muscles as he moved. I imagined being pinned down by him on the back deck of his narrowboat and taken without mercy. I came so fucking hard I swear I almost blacked out.

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