Gutter Roses

A Radical Proposals Short Story

by Jude Lucens

Gutter Roses - Jude Lucens - Radical Proposals
Part of the Radical Proposals series:
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 0.99
Pages: 20

London, 1898

Streetwalker Cath plies her trade behind respectable houses in Victorian London, alongside close friend and fellow streetwalker, Ben.

When an ugly encounter puts them on the wrong side of the law, she and Ben must choose between risking their hearts— or their lives.

Cover Artists:
Pairings: M-F
Heat Level: 1
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Polyamorous
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Interracial Relationship
Word Count: 3700
Setting: London
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters

London, August 1898

Gaslight and loud voices spilled from the the busy pub into the street, along with the dog-shit stink of cheap tobacco. Cath stood at the corner of the building, far enough from door and windows that the light wouldn’t blind her, but near enough that any bloke who come out would notice her. She glanced down and opened another button on her blouse. Not that her tits was small, but there weren’t enough there to show a curve above the fabric.

“Size ain’t everything,” Ben said.

Cath laughed. “That what you tell all your fellows, is it?”

Small and gorgeous, Ben leaned against this wall alongside her almost every night. It’d got so any night he wasn’t there seemed a bit flat. He grinned. “Just the ones that need to hear it.”

“Cheeky bugger. Maybe you need to hear it.”

“Nah. Get enough repeat customers that I ain’t worried.”


Ben’s rolled-up shirtsleeves and tight, slightly shabby waistcoat drew attention to his muscular body. White light glaring from the electric lamppost nearby made some bits of him too bright and set other bits in long black shadow. Might’ve made another fellow look like something from a Punch and Judy, but Ben looked all right. More’n all right. Cath gazed at his warm brown skin and short, tight curls, and lingered over his full lips. “Bet you bloody do.”

His mouth tugged up on one side. “You ain’t half bad yourself.”

She wasn’t, but lamplight did no favours for her short, narrow body, and, even in daylight, straight blonde hair and blue eyes didn’t exactly stand out around here. There was enough like her that nobody needed to seek her out.

“Hoy. One for you, I reckon.”

She followed Ben’s gaze to a tall, broad bloke coming their way along Gower Street. Tidy dressed—good clothes, but not swanky—and a bit unsteady on his pins. “If it is, he’ll have to be satisfied with my hand.” There was a few other people in the street, but he was looking at her direct, and no mistake.

Ben shot her a quick glance. “Ain’t that time of month is it? Couple of weeks, yet.”

“Eh. Just sore. First-timer earlier: didn’t have the heart to make him slow down and then I just wanted it over.”

“Silly cow,” Ben said indulgently, still watching for customers. He was smiling warmly; not at her, but definitely about her.

“Daft bugger.” Her heart squeezed and warmed in a way it probly didn’t ought to, for a friend.

Reviews:Pam Faste on Goodreads wrote:

Oh, this is lovely! Gritty, tender & human, with an unexpectedly sweet finish.

M/F short with queer characters, historical, late Victorian era setting.

About the Author

Jude writes historical romances about marginalised people affiliating and building family in the face of restrictive, often punitive, social norms. Her debut novel, Behind These Doors, is a Lambda Literary Awards finalist for Bisexual Fiction.

She's a bi, demi, polyamorous, pagan WoC as well as a spoonie and a full-time carer. However, she doesn't claim to speak for any other person in those communities.

For several years, she was a 1st Century Roman and Early Mediaeval re-enactor. Her primary focus was combat and target archery, and her secondary, living history and craft demonstrations—mostly fletching and ring-mail making—as well as explaining period clothing, weaponry, armour and basic combat techniques. She has hung up her bow and cedarwood arrows, and now makes silver and bronze jewellery instead.

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