I have taken the step of reclassifying the access level for this title as MATURE. This is in the light of debate elsewhere. I am, of course, hampered by the fact that a heart-wrenching tale of love and ultimate betrayal isn't on my storefront any longer, but I believe that it is only right of me to have responded to the debate in an adult and mature way. And you can, of course, still obtain the book from Lulu, so all is not lost!

One of the biggest influences in the lives of mere mortals like me has to do with sex. It has to be the case because without a sex drive that overwhelms just about everything else there's a strong chance that women would rise up en masse, shake their heads and stomp off into another life because the pain of childbirth was greater than their need for rumpy pumpy, and that men would mutter philosophically before going off to invent yet another variation of football.

So we're stuck with sex, and if we're living a monastic sort of life (like me, no partner and shuddering at the prospect of what any sensible woman would say if she saw the shape of my life) then thoughts of what we might just be missing dominate our more lonely hours. But like everything to do with humanity it can be diverted away from what nature evolved it for (or God if you have that kind of belief-system clogging up your brain), and consequently there are a rich variety of so-called deviations to the old theme.

I didn't invent any of them but I incorporate some in my work. In particular (and you might say because I'm a bloke) I depend on the odd lesbian to enhance my plot

The reason's quite logical if you spend a moment thinking about it rather than tut-tutting because I dared use the "l" word. I couldn't describe male homosexual love from the perspective of my hero to save my life, so I don't try to. But I know a reasonable amount about my personal feelings for ladies. I can remember the wild testosterone-fuelled days of my youth, all right, so I use those memories when I have two women forming a relationship with each other. And in a way I understand them. I can see exactly what one female might see in another because I see it.

You'll find more about the origins of the main character right here

What follows is an extract from A Fall From Grace which is about a relationship between two young women, and the possible reasons for it, and consequences of it. IT IS NOT AN EROTIC NOVEL, BUT IT CONTAINS SOME SCENES THAT ARE EROTIC. Right. Enough said. Read on!!

(The extract that follows is from a pre-Lulu version because I was too stupid to keep a rtf file when it was converted to pdf, so it may vary in small ways from the published version.)



She had only just started the walk and was barely out of sight of the big house when Matilda ran up to her. Her heart gave the slightest of lurches when she saw her, a sort of thrill of anticipation she couldn’t truly understand. Miss Matilda was an odd one, thought Josie, and maybe that was it. She had left school recently, when she had reached her seventeenth birthday, and these days she sported an even more boyish haircut than she had before. Josie didn’t think it suited her at all, and neither did the trousers and masculine waistcoat she liked to wear, as if dresses and skirts weren’t good enough for her. Sometimes it was hard to know whether it was a boy or a girl coming towards you when it was Miss Matilda in the distance. It could be quite confusing until she got close enough for you to see just how pretty she was, that is. And she was pretty with glowing skin and eyes that were the tiniest bit further apart than they might be. Yes, those eyes were pretty, surely, pretty enough for her not to need daft clothes in order to attract attention. And her hair, or what was left of it, shone like ravens’ feathers in the autumn sunlight.

“Can I come with you?” she gasped, out of breath. Josie smiled and nodded even though she felt awkward and really wanted to be on her own, and the two young women sauntered between the trees, going further and further from the house and towards the woods, enjoying the serenity and quiet of a world that, unknown to them, was on the brink of one of the bloodiest wars in human history.

“I’m glad you came to live in,” said Matilda, smiling.

“So am I, miss,” replied Josie, kicking a drift of ochre leaves.

“What made you change your mind?”

“Oh, nothing much.”

“Here, let’s sit on this seat, Josie. Then we can talk.”

“Okay, miss, if that’s what you want.”

The seat was under an old oak tree, a giant of a thing and by the look of it old as time itself. Matilda’s father had put the bench there when her mother had been pregnant with her. Mrs Whiteman had been one for walks through the woods away from the more ordered gardens that surrounded their house and this seat commanded a fine view of the countryside, and even though the nearest outcrop of the village was little more than a few hundred yards away it was completely hidden by a rise in the ground and a thick belt of trees. They felt as if they were all alone in a world where others might tread at their peril. It was a wonderfully private place, though only weeks earlier two drunks had gone that way and tried to waylay Josie. She shivered when the memory touched her mind, and Matilda noticed.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Those men. It was just down there, miss,” muttered Josie.

“Don’t call me miss, at least not when there’s just the two of us, Josie. My name’s Mattie. At least, that’s what I prefer to be called.”

“Mattie. I’ll call you Mattie then, mi … Mattie!”

“I like to hear you say my name, Josie,” smiled Mattie.

“It’s a nice name,” replied Josie.

“Those men: mummy told me about it. Such creatures should be horse-whipped, I think!”

“They should.”

“Is that why you moved in with us? So that you don’t have to risk the walk home?”

“No … no, not really mi … Mattie.”

“Then why did you?”

“I don’t like t’ say. It’s sort o’ private.”

“Oh. I don’t mean to pry, Josie.”

“I know.”

“So you don’t have to tell me, though I do know how to keep a secret, you know.”

“Yes, Mi – Mattie.”

“Is it boyfriend trouble? You poor thing!”

“No, Mattie, I ain’t got a boyfriend. I ain’t ever had one!”

“Never, Josie?”

“I s’pose I don’t want one. Boys, young men, they always seem so … so rough!”

“They do, don’t they?”

“So I reckon I’m okay as I am f’ the while.”

“And you won’t tell me why you changed your mind? I really can keep a secret, you know!”

“Okay, then. It were … it were my Ma mi-Mattie.”

“Your -er – Ma?”

“Yep. She din’t understand.”

“Understand what, Josie dear?”

“The men. The drunks. She sort o’ blamed me for it.”

“She did what? But didn’t mummy explain to her?”

“Oh yes, she said it all very well, jus’ like it ‘appened. But Ma’s a bit … odd. She’s got this notion about men, that they’re all evil an’ filthy an’ things. She don’t ‘alf go on about it – you should ‘ear ‘er! An’ she reckoned as the Good Lord’d ‘ave me marked down as a sinner, an’ the only thing that’d save me was a dose of her rotten stick.”

“What, Josie?”

“I thought … I thought she was goin’ t’ kill me, Matilda. So I left ‘ome. I shouldn’t ‘ave told y’. I’m sorry.”

“You were right to tell me! You mean she … she actually hit you?”

Josie nodded. “That’s Ma all over,” she said, quietly. “An’ remember, don’ say owt, will y’?”

“Of course I won’t! Oh, my poor dear sweet Josie! How awful!”

“Sometimes I think she’s a bit mad, Mattie. But I’m all right now. I feel safe here.”

“But those dreadful drunks were frightening enough, surely. And then having to go home and face worse … your mother must be a very evil woman!”

“No! No, don’t say that, Matilda. You don’ know ‘er. Mind you, if you did you’d prob’ly say the same? Let me explain. She can be odd all right, but that don’t make ‘er truly bad.”

“But why, Josie darling?”

“I don’ know, Mattie. It’s summat in ‘er. She does the wrong things for the wrong reasons, which is crazy, I know. An’ she hates men, Mattie. Boys an’ men an’ even tom cats! You should hear ‘er talkin’ ‘bout men an’ their filthy ways. It’s as if she believes there ain’t a good man or boy anywhere in the whole universe.”

“I’m not so keen on them myself, dearest Josie. I mean, not personally, though I can see that some of them are positively sweet. But what about your father? He’s alright, isn’t he?”

“I’ve hardly seen ‘im, Mattie.”

“I think I’d be miserable if I never saw daddy,” murmured the older girl.

“Well, I ain’t seen ‘im for ages an’ then when I do it’s not more than a few hours in a year, an’ it’s been like that for as long as I c’n remember. I think Ma made ‘is life so mis’rable ‘e left ‘ome and only keeps contact in order to see me when he recalls that I exist. Then it’s only a small bag o’ presents an’ goodbye till th’ next time, lass! I can’t understand why they got t’gether in the first place, an’ even got married. If you knew Ma you’d know it don’t make sense!”

“I wouldn’t be able to bear that, sweetest. Daddy’s awfully good to me, not at all like some other men you hear about.”

“Anyway, I’m here now, Mattie, livin’ under your roof. An’ if y’ like we can spend as much of m’ time off as y’ like talkin’ an’ things.”

“We will, Josie, we will!”

“Not that I’ve done a deal worth talkin’ about!”

“And we can walk out on your days off, or if it’s raining we can go to my room and find things to do….”

“I’m happy now, Mattie.”

“And so am I, sweet one. And when you’re working we can talk, too, can’t we? Mummy won’t mind!”

“If that’s alright, Mattie.”

“Oh, Josie! You were always special to me, you know.”

“Me? I was? When?” Josie looked shocked, and she was, surprised that Mattie had even noticed her before.

“When you girls came from the school in Upper Beddington on games afternoons and joined us for hockey and rounders I couldn’t take my eyes off you! Just you, not all the other girls! You sort of fascinated me because you’re so damned pretty! I … I promised to myself that one day I’d give you a name all of my own, just for me to call you sort of secretly.”

“Mi … Mattie, you did? What would y’ve called, me, then?”

“In my mind I called you something … you must understand I didn’t know your real name and I wanted to call you something when I thought about you … it’s a secret, Josie … but in my mind I called you Lesbi,” murmured Mattie, suddenly blushing. “It’s a name that means everything I want you to be to me, Josie.”

“Lesbi? I’ve never heard o’ that before!”

“I have, when I think of you. My Lesbi, that’s who you are: my Lesbi. But now you’re living here I’d better not. Mummy might hear, and then she might think she understands more than she should.” Mattie suddenly looked unsure of herself, as if she was making a huge confession, something that came from her heart and had been given sound and substance in the light of a day she’d never dared hope would come. To Josie it was no more than a new arrangement of syllables that had no meaning beyond the sound it made, and she was puzzled by the nervousness of her new friend.

“It’s a strange name, Mattie, an’ one I’ve never ‘eard before,” she ventured.

“Well, you fascinated me, like I said,” muttered Mattie, lamely.

“I did?”

“I shouldn’t be saying this, should I? Please don’t tell mummy or anyone … I wouldn’t like them to think … to get the wrong idea about me. And I don’t mean any harm, not at all, nothing like that.”

“Of course I won’t, Mat.”

“I used to see you as … as a sort of working-class goddess, Jose. I would stare and stare at you, and hope you’d notice me, but you never did. Wasn’t that … odd of me?”

Josie smiled at the other young woman. “Goddess? Me? You’re jokin’! Look at m’ hands!” she said, holding her fingers towards Mattie so that she could see they were already getting work-worn.

“You poor darling! I’ll get mummy to do something about it, gloves or something!”

“But y’ can see there’s nowt special about me, Mattie, so y’ jokin’ if you say there is!”

Matilda shook her head violently. “No! No! I’m not. It was the way you ran and stood and jumped and everything. And your clothes, your gymslip and stuff, the way you wore it … I thought you looked so … so … so special.”

“Well, y’ know me now an’ know there’s nowt special about me!”

“But there is, Josie Larkin! There is! It’s shines in your eyes like diamonds … you’re so very, very sweet. I’m sorry, forgive me. I shouldn’t go on like this.”

“For what? Sayin’ nice things about me?”

“For telling the truth.”

“It’s all right, Mattie. If that’s the truth … it’s embarrassin’ – but okay!”

“Josie, dear heart, Josie. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea … I’m not … there’s nothing wrong with me … but would you mind awfully if I … if I … I’m sorry!”

And Matilda leaned her head towards Josie and kissed her on the lips, gently, tenderly, briefly, and then shyly withdrew, her face flushed, her eyes apparently no longer able to look Josie in the face.

Josie could almost feel the other’s heart racing next to her, could almost taste the bitterness of her shame as she sat there, head bowed, suddenly wretched at her own weakness. But over it all she was suddenly aware of a host of butterflies flitting around in her own stomach as if they’d found a flower garden in there and were intent on glorying in it. It was a totally new experience, one only remotely and feebly related to anticipation of things like childhood Christmases or approaching birthdays when she’d laid in bed at night as a child, and dreamed and hoped for magic.

“That was nice, Mattie,” she whispered, needing to soothe Mattie’s obvious embarrassment.

Matilda looked up, her eyes brightening by the instant. “You mean that?” she almost yelped.

Josie nodded. And it was her turn to look down at the ground in front of the bench seat. The butterflies were still there, presenting her with powerful sensations she’d never felt before, and somehow they rose up through her body and reached her mind and in their fluttering way managed to bathe it with a kind of invisible light that both warmed her and filled her with something so new it almost frightened her.

“Oh my darling … oh my sweet one … I felt so wretched … I need you more than I need myself,” gabbled Mattie. “You can’t know what it’s been like before you came to live in, watching you at work, then going your lonely way, needing deep inside me to follow you wherever you went but knowing it would be wrong, and watching you because I couldn’t stop myself, wanting you to be in my room with me … and then this afternoon, here in the woods on this seat … you … you reciprocated!”

Josie didn’t know what reciprocated meant, but that didn’t matter. The warmth and excitement in the other as she babbled at her gave her a kind of strength, one that a lifetime in the hands of a cruel and bitter mother had almost wiped out. And the little, kiss – well it had been unexpected, not entirely pleasant but then not at all unpleasant either, a great deal better and more holy than the least of her mother’s dictates on the twin subjects of men and filth. It was nothing to be so nervous about. People kissed, didn’t they? Lovers on the Green of an evening when the pubs were closing and night wrapped its black cloak about them and they wanted to steal a last few moments from a fading day before they were forced to go their separate ways, parents on the heads of their children as they curled up at night to sleep and dream, all sorts of people … husbands and wives, grandmothers and grandfathers … folks. A kiss was a kiss was a kiss, and Josie couldn’t see anything wrong with Mattie wanting to kiss her even if it did sound strange when her mind put it into words.

“It’s okay, Mattie!” she said, smiling. “It ain’t wrong, at least it don’t feel wrong.”

“Oh, darling! I’m not like that really, you know. I don’t make a habit of kissing other girls. Really I don’t. Mostly, I don’t even notice them. It’s you … I think you’re special, my sweet one. I … I just can’t help it!”

Josie looked at the other young woman and shook her head.

“There’s no need t’ keep apologising, Mattie,” she said. “I think it’s good t’ kiss someone – anyone, I suppose, if y’ like them. It don’t show hatred or cruelty, does it? Mebbe if more people spent more time kissin’ there’d be less wrong wi’ the world. Mebbe if someone kissed Mr ‘Itler in Germany ‘e might be less threatenin’.”

“You’re one big surprise, sweetheart!” squealed Matilda, “And the mental picture I get of people kissing that dreadful Adolph Hitler and his weird little moustache is one I’ll carry with me in my head to the grave!”

Josie giggled. “It is hard to imagine, in’t it?” she asked.

“My love, move closer to me. I … I want to feel the warmth of you next to me, to smell the sweetness of your heavenly breath….”

“Hey, we ‘ad onion soup not s’ long ago, y’ know!”

“It doesn’t matter what you’ve eaten, darling. Here … let me, please….”

Josie felt the other’s lips on hers for a second time, this time for considerably longer. She relaxed, though. There was no harm in the affection being showed to her by an excited Mattie, she knew that, just as she was deeply aware that it came from an honest heart. In the end, when Matilda showed no sign of drawing the kiss to an end, Josie pulled away.

“I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to upset you,” babbled Matilda.

“You din’t!”

“It’s just that … when I’m kissing you I just don’t want to ever stop!”

“I need to breathe, though, Mattie!”

“Some other time … can we … together, another time? I mean, would you mind?” asked Matilda, still babbling.

“I don’ mind, Mat. You’re nice t’ know.”

“Oh, darling Jose! Tonight? Will you come to my room tonight? I’ve got a big bed, quite enough room for the two of us! Then I’ll show you what a kiss really is, and if you really want to you can stay with me all night long!”

“What would Mrs Whiteman say?”

“She won’t know, Josie. She never comes to my room. Nobody does. It’s sort of understood that a girl’s got to have privacy.”

“And no-one would know?”

“Nobody! I promise!”

“All right. I sometimes get a bit lonely on my own, even though I’m usu’lly so tired I go straight t’ sleep.”

“And you don’t mind?”

“Mind what, Mattie?”

“There’s more than kissing, sweet one. I want to … I want to cuddle your sweet body. I do, I really do!”

“It’ll be our own game, Mattie, with you makin’ up the rules.”

Matilda giggled. “I like that! I really like that! Me making up the rules of our own heavenly game! Oh, sweet Jose! It’s like … it’s like a dream’s come true for me this afternoon!”

“A dream, Mattie?”

“Don’t laugh or anything, Jose, but for ages I’ve dreamed of kissing you like I just did. And other things. I’ve lain in bed praying that one day a fairy godmother would wave her magic wand for me, and I’d find you in my bed, closer than close to me, your skin touching mine in the night. I can’t help it, Jose, it’s just a part of me. I think I … I think I….”

“Y’ think y’ what, Mattie?”

“You won’t laugh, will you?”

“No. No. O’ course not!”

“I think I … I love you!”

“Love, Mattie? An’ me?”

“Yes. I think I do.”

“Y’ make me feel … important!”

“But you are, Josie Larkin! You are!”

“But t’ say that, t’ say love…”

“I know, Josie, I know….”

“It’s what a lass might say t’ her sweetheart….”

“To her sweetheart, Josie. Yes: yes, it is.”

“But I’m another girl, Mat….”

“I know, sweetness, and I love you.”

“Can you? I mean … can a girl love a girl?”

“My darling, if I love you then yes, yes, a girl can love another girl and feel so good about it she thinks she might be in Heaven!”

They sat quietly for a while, then. Josie couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t sound somehow forced, and Matilda sighed quietly to herself and smiled as if her own special world had been visited by royalty. She rested her head against Josie’s shoulder and smiled to herself.

“It’s why I dress like this,” she said suddenly. “I … I thought that if I looked like a boy then you might take more notice of me… Girls up in town dress like this, when they are … like me. It’s a kind of fashion that makes a statement about who a girl might be.”

“That don’t make any difference, Mattie,” replied Josie, “An’, t’ be honest, I reckon you’re a really pretty girl as well as makin’ a good lookin’ lad!”

“You think so?”

“Mattie, I ain’t thought about it before, but, well, a girl’s a very pretty thing when she’s sort of young, much prettier than a boy an’ I s’pose I like pretty things.”

“So if I wore frilly things you’d still like me, Josie, my love?”

“It’s not th’ clothes, but the girl in them,” assured Josie. “An’ t’ be honest I bet y’d look real cute in a frock wi’ frills an’ stuff, an’ wi’ hair sort of round your shoulders, all pretty-like! I’d like to see you like that, I really would.”

“You mean, like a girl, Jose?”

“Like a pretty girl,” smiled Josie.

“Oh, my sweet love!”

The last few days, thought Josie as they sat there together, silently, and Mattie reached for her hand and held it, the last few days had seen a monumental change in her fortunes. Instead of being a virtual prisoner at home and subject to a daily tirade about the evils of the flesh, she now lived in a big house where the family atmosphere was warm and loving, and what’s more someone had even kissed her. Not a young man, true, but maybe someone better than that. She had always felt a bit nervous about the prospect of a boy wanting to kiss her. There was always the chance that Ma might find out … and whether Ma found out or not, she didn’t really know about boys.

And now there was the prospect of a nocturnal adventure, one that she hadn’t sought or even dreamed might happen, not in all the dreams down all her years. But the very thought of it seemed to release those butterflies low in her body again, deeper than her stomach, butterflies that thrilled her with a new kind of anticipation as they fluttered here and there inside her.

“I’m going back now,” said Matilda suddenly. “I’ll go on my own, and you can follow in a few minutes if you like. That way mummy won’t wonder why I’m spending too much of my time with the maid.”

“Oh. All right.”

“It’s not that mummy’s a snob, or anything horrid like that. But if we’re going to be together… you know, be gorgeous to each other in secret … then it would be a bit silly to advertise our friendship too much, don’t you think?”

“I suppose you’re right, Mattie.”

“Oh, I am. So let me give your gorgeous lips one last kiss, and I’ll see you tonight at, let me see, ten o’clock: mummy and daddy are always in bed by then. And my room’s the first one you come to at the bottom of your stairs.”

“I know. I clean it, remember?”

“Of course! Just walk in, my love. Walk in. I’ll be dressed in something special just for you. You’ll see!”

Then they were kissing again, and this time Josie made herself respond, pushing gently towards the other girl, then putting one arm round her shoulders and gently pulling their bodies closer together. And as she did, and much to her enormous surprise, she felt the tips of Matilda’s fingers nervously working their way under her coat and towards her breasts, finding their way between two buttons on the front of her maid’s dress. Then she almost gasped in the middle of that kiss as a gentle finger reached its target and moved tenderly around, searching her quivering skin until it found a suddenly erect nipple, and then rubbed against it until she began to think the very tingling excitement would make her burst.

It was all getting to be too much too quickly for both of them, and Matilda extricated herself and hastily stood up, red-faced again, making to move away.

“Mattie,” said Josie.

“Yes?” There was nervousness there again, nervousness and fear that she might have gone too far with her searching fingers, that it might lead to rejection. Confident as life had taught her to seem, she was apparently more than afraid of losing a gift she’d only just found.

“That was nice, too,” whispered Josie, seeing the doubt that suddenly clouded Mattie’s face.

“Er – yes. Was it?”

Josie nodded, her eyes cast downwards, her own face hot with a sudden blush. She hadn’t known what she was going to say, whether to chastise the other girl for an unwanted intrusion, if it was unwanted, that is, or to accept it. In the end she supposed she had simply told the truth. The quivering fingers under her maid’s uniform had felt nice. They had shown her, suddenly and for the first time, why the good Lord had provided her with nipples.

And Matilda smiled at her, a warm and lovely smile, and then hurried off, not looking back. A few moments later Josie followed and emerged onto the path in a different place, as if she had spent the break walking under early autumn trees on her own.

Now you've sampled it you can download the full 500-odd pages or order the printed copy. To find out more go to just here.

In the light of a debate I think we ought to have regarding the content of material on this Wiki and because I believe in personal responsibility for that content I have looked at this page again, and satisfied myself that it is unlikely to cause any grief to youngsters should they chance upon it. In all honesty the nature of A Fall From Grace is unlikely to absorb the interest of an adolescent beyond the first few pages. In addition, the desciption on Lulu is also PG in nature (if there can be such a thing said about books). But as I have said elsewhere, the world we live on is not always a rosy place and things happen that we might want to keep away from our children for as long as possible, and parents should be warned that this particular book contains both scenes of a sexual nature and scenes of violence against a child.

Josie's mother in A Fall From Grace is a bit of a harridan. She's the sort of mother you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. To discover more about my excuses for creating such a monstrosity click here

And if you want to find out more about the advantages of downloading versus the printed book take a peek just here.