excerpt

The Handsome Prince coverThe Frog Prince by Josephine Myles

When diffident bookseller Simon Goodchild volunteers for the Henley Organic Allotment group, he’s only looking for a way to spend more time with its charismatic leader, Jasper Fitzroy. An evening helping frogs cross the road isn’t Simon’s idea of a hot date, but the horny amphibians bring the two men closer together…

***

The sky had cleared over the afternoon, the only reminders of the morning’s rain the ragged clouds scudding high overhead and the glistening droplets covering every leaf and stem, shining like jewels in the torchlight. We worked along our twenty metre stretch of the road, Lizzie holding the torch and bucket while I scooped up any frogs and toads that seemed to be headed in the right direction.

It wasn’t so bad with a spade’s length between my hands and the creatures, and after a while I started to get cocky, flipping them into the bucket with a flourish that they didn’t appreciate if the disgruntled croaks were anything to go by. When the mass of amphibians reached a critical level, we ferried them across the road and dumped them unceremoniously over the gate to the allotments, leaving them to find their own way to the pond.

Leaning on the gate and staring down at the heap of writhing frogs in the circle of torchlight, I felt a hand clap heavily onto my shoulder.

“Magnificent sight, isn’t it? All those horny males, just desperate to mate.” Jasper’s voice was low and intimate, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Lizzie was making off with the bucket and spade, grinning as she abandoned me. “The males wake from hibernation first, and get so excited that they’ll hump anything remotely frog-shaped. Even fish, sometimes.” I looked up in surprise. “Oh yes, what you’re witnessing down there is an all-male frog orgy.”

I gulped, glanced down at the pile of gay frogs, and back up into Jasper’s eyes. He winked at me, knelt, and for one delirious moment I imagined him mouthing me through my jeans, but then he thrust a hand through the gate and stood up with a pair of frogs in his hands. I shone the torch on them. Was it wrong to feel so turned on while watching a pair of male frogs humping?

“They develop these dark swellings on their forefingers to help them grip on to their mate.”

Jasper showed me the way the bottom frog’s fingers kept the top frog well and truly welded to him. I couldn’t help but notice the callouses on Jasper’s own hands, and before my mind could leap in and stop me I ran a fingertip over the one on his thumb. The thought of him gripping my hips with those roughened pads of skin made my cock leap to attention. I closed my eyes, swallowing, and when I opened them he was staring at me with a question in his gold-flecked eyes. The same colour as the frogs’ eyes, my dazed mind helpfully supplied.

I licked my lips, desperate to get some moisture back onto them so that I could form a sentence, although I had no idea what I would say. I had to say something though, or he was going to think I was well and truly inarticulate. “Is it true that you can lick toads to get high?”

I wanted to kick myself for asking such a moronic question. I didn’t want Jasper to think that I was some kind of hippie wannabe; not that he was likely to think that, given my sensible clothes and responsible occupation. That and the fact that I lived in Henley, a town so middle England that you could smell the waxed Mercedes and hampers full of strawberries, cream and champagne every fine summer’s day.

Jasper seemed interested, though, his eyes twinkling in the torchlight. “There are certain species of toad in the Americas that have psychoactive compounds in their venom, but you would have to milk their venom glands to get enough of the stuff. The licking story is an urban legend, I’m afraid.” The pink tip of Jasper’s tongue flicked out, the gesture deliberate and downright dirty. I could imagine that tongue doing wicked things to me.

“Frogs have very long tongues.” Oh great, now I really sounded like a monosyllabic imbecile, wittering on about frogs, my voice thick with lust.

“So do some humans,” Jasper countered, and stuck his out to demonstrate, touching the tip of his nose with the glistening pink flesh. He raised his eyebrows in triumphant glee as I gasped.

“Wow!” I was beyond eloquence, all my finer words deserting me as my blood rushed south.

I dropped the torch. Jasper dropped the frogs. We were reaching blindly for each other when a light dazzled me.

“Hello there, chaps. Got us a bucketful of frogs here. I say, are we the first?”

“Not quite, Alan. I think Simon here’s beaten you to it. He’s a fast worker.”

Muttering curses, I picked up the torch and stumbled in the direction I’d seen Lizzie take, Jasper’s jovial response to our interrupter following me in the night air.