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by Lillian Francis

Barefoot - Lilian Francis
Editions:Kindle - Second edition: $ 1.99
Pages: 39

Finn’s rugby career was brought to a premature end by a crunching tackle, shattering his confidence and leaving him shy and insecure about his sexuality, despite his size. But understanding how it feels to lose courage in the face of a shaky future, he volunteers at a homeless shelter.


One night he gives up his shoes to a homeless man. Of course, that’s the night he finally gets an opportunity to talk to Sam, the cute twink he’s been crushing on. Shoeless, breathless, not at his best – it’s no wonder Sam mistakes Finn for another man down on his luck.

Previously published in the anthology ‘A Taste of Honey’


Even though most of the cashiers weren’t busy, I headed for the self-service tills. I preferred to ring up my own purchases rather than listen to the mindless chatter of the cashiers. It always seemed quicker. And anyway, the self-service tills had a direct line of sight to the cigarette kiosk.

See, there was method in my madness. I could stare to my heart’s content—well, send sneaky glances his way—without getting stink eye from the security guard who stood by the door.

Of course, that plan only worked when CuteGuyTM was actually working. It appeared this was where my luck ran out. Today two middle-aged ladies were laughing behind the counter. I’d seen them both before, but always working with CuteGuyTM, never together.

What if he had moved on? Another store, another job, another town? All before I’d summoned up the courage to talk to him?


So caught up in the sheer panic of my thoughts, I failed to notice the lack of a beep and barely even heard the woman’s robotic voice from out of the machine.

“Unexpected item in bagging area.”

“Unexpected item in bagging area.”


Grabbing the diced veggies that I had dropped into the bag without thinking, I tried to scan them for a second time. Still there was no comforting blip of acknowledgement.

“Having trouble there?”

I glanced over my shoulder, holding up the misbehaving vegetables to explain my problem, and damn near swallowed my tongue. CuteGuyTM. There was no mistaking him, even with his hair flat and darkened to a burnt umber by some type of product, making even the colourful tips almost impossible to distinguish. And with him being a good five or six inches shorter than me, I had the perfect view as he took the item from my hands and leant across me to the scanner. I should have moved away, given him room to work, but my feet were working about as well as my tongue.

“Nope,” CuteGuyTM said, putting so much inflection into the word that the p popped audibly. “Not going to scan. I’ve told them about this in the produce department. The labels get damp in the chiller cabinet and, with all the handling, the lines of the bar code start to wear off.”

As he spoke, CuteGuyTM edged his way in between me and the till, peering at the label. I shuffled back a few steps, both to give him room to work and to admire the view. His voice was deeper than I would have expected based on the high pitch of his laughter, which I’d heard on previous occasions drifting over from the kiosk.

CuteGuyTM keyed each number of the bar code individually, and the machine beeped its appreciation of a job well done.

“Thanks.” Six months ogling the guy, and that was the best I could come up with.

“It’s my job, but you’re…” CuteGuyTM glanced up at me and, in the space of a heartbeat, his voice seemed to drop another octave, “more than welcome.”

Honeyed amber eyes darted restlessly, taking in every part of me. I started to feel warm just from the heat of them.

“Maybe I should stay here until you’re done. Just to be sure the rest of your purchases go through okay.”


About the Author

Lillian Francis is an English writer who likes to dabble in many genres but always seems to return to the here and now.
Her name may imply a grand dame in pink chiffon and lace, but Lillian is more at home in jeans, Converse, and the sort of T-shirts that often need explaining to the populous at large but will get a fist bump at Comic-Con. Lillian is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hobnobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write. Luckily there is always room for romance no matter what plot bunny chooses to bite her, so never say never to either of those stories appearing.
Lillian lives in an imposing castle on a windswept desolate moor or in an elaborate shack on the edge of a beach somewhere, depending on her mood. And while she’d love for the heroes of her stories to either be chained up in the dungeon or wandering the shack serving drinks in nothing but skimpy barista aprons more often than not they are doing something far less erotic like running charity shops and shovelling elephant shit.
Drawn to the ocean, although not in a Reginald Perrin sort of way, she would love to own a camper van and to live by the sea.