"A Round for everyone on me. It's a healthy boy. Touch and go, but both are doing fine."

The young man at the pub bar in Little Stoke, a pocket village northwest of Exeter, Devon, raised his glass of ale and everyone cheered him-or the declaration of the free refill. A few came over and pounded the not-much-more-than-a lad on the back, congratulating him on the good news.

All was mirth in the pub, not only because of the free round, nor for happiness for this newly minted father not more than eight months invested in the tight little smallholding farm area, having come up from the wilds of Cornwall. Much of the laughter was from the general knowing that Mary Finch's baby wasn't his, but Tim Kennel's, who was holding court at one of the large tables of rowdies near the big window onto the street and celebrating with the best of them for what he had avoided.

As quickly as they had converged on him to pat him with one hand and to hold out their mugs for the free refill, the roughly dressed and mannered men in the pub at the conclusion of a hard working day drifted away from the well-formed young man with tussled blond curls; a face more pretty than handsome, as finely and sensitively chiseled as it was; and with bedroom eyes and full, sensuous lips. Six months was not enough to make him one of theirs-not by a long shot. He would remain what he had arrived in Devon as-the second son of a small farm holder in the wilds of Cornwall, bought for an appearances-sake white wash job with the promise of a smallholding farmer's claim in the rolling hills between Little Stoke and Higher Stoke.

James Hardesty looked up, almost glassy eyed at the rapidity with which an empty circle opened up around him in a crowded, smoky room of boisterous laughter and glad handing. This immediate withdrawal of camaraderie came with the exception of the table almost in the shadows at the far wall, where, his eyes following Jamie's every movement, sat the lord of what passed for a manor in Little Stokes.

Catching Jamie's eye, Thomas Owencraft, the village's major landholder, gestured with his hand, and looking for a connection, any connection, Jamie walked over to the table and took the proffered chair next to Thomas.

"Let me congratulate you on fatherhood, James Hardesty," Thomas said, as Jamie sat down at the table. The young man glowed a bit at the local high landowner knowing his name. "Sit and let me stand you one. You be drinking Black Jack if my eyes didn't deceive me."

"Yes, thanks, but I haven't finished the one I have."

"Well, you will, I'm sure, by the time Old Peter hobbles over here with another, and this is no occasion to be dry," Thomas said, raising Jamie's glass and signaling to the barman for another like it. "I wouldn't be neighborly if I didn't stand a new father a drink. Your first, is it?"

"I did have an ale before this."

"No, lad, I mean the first child." Owencraft laughed companionably as if the young man had made a purposeful joke-and successfully so.

Jamie nodded his head in the affirmative, blushing at his mistake.

"Ah, and a son. Both a comfort and a blessing in the long run, but a vexing burden now and again between. I must confess that I regret Edith and I never having had a child."

"Thank you," was all Jamie could think of saying. Having come into the pub for the company in a time that should be a celebration-an instant family and a promise of his own small farm if he kept to that family. It was more than he could have expected back in Cornwall, where, on top of being a second son in a land-poor family certain discomforting conditions had been building up so he was pleased for what he thought of as an escape.

"Ah, the Black Jack has arrived," Thomas said, with a little laugh. "Drink up the one you have lad so that you can tuck into the other."

"I really shouldn't drink too many of these," Jamie said. "I must confess that I can get lightheaded from the hard ale and lose myself." Nonetheless, he downed the last of his second glass of Black Jack so that Old Peter could take the empty away and pulled the fresh glass toward him.

"Tonight doesn't count on that; tonight is for celebrating," Thomas responded. "It's only once that a man celebrates the birth of a first son."

Jamie frowned at this. How well he knew the greater celebration that was had for a first son over a second.

Owencraft reached over and patted Jamie on the back and then squeezed his shoulder. "Uh, sorry," he said, as Jamie flinched at the touch. "Didn't mean to press. Some can be really sensitive. Some suffer from pain, although you're much too young for the arthritis, or, as some say, some are sensitive to the turn-on zones." He gave Jamie a wink.

"Turn-on zones?"

"Yes, what they call erogenous zones in fancier terms. We all have them, they say." But then he backed off a bit. "A bit too easily into the cups, you confess? I must confess that I shouldn't even be here tonight. Edith thinks I'm at a town counsel planning meeting. But I need to stop in here now and again-just to survive Edith-and to have my smokes. Edith thinks I've given them up, but I confess that I haven't been able to, not completely. Yet another deadly sin to confess. But we all have our sins to confess, do we not, James? Thank god she's gone to London to shop for the weekend. Your Mary birthed at home, on your farm, did she?"

"No. There were complications. She's at Doctor Granger's infirmary-with the baby-for a few days."

"Is she now?" A pause and then, "I also have to confess that I don't like ale all that much. I'm a wine man, myself. But I can hardly order that in this pub, can I? I like to mix with the working man now and again, but it wouldn't do for the lord of the manor to take on airs in this kind of pub, now would it? That's what they call me around the village-the lord of the manor-and don't I know they don't always keep a straight face when they say it?"

Jamie hadn't thought about this pub being a working man's pub, but as he looked around, he could see that that was what it was. Well, he was a working man now himself-hardly making do. Still not being accepted as one of them here, though. "Ah, I see what you mean. I really should be comfortable here then, but . . ." here he paused, as Thomas had signaled Old Peter again and another Black Jack appeared at Jamie's elbow ". . . I don't fit in here as yet. These men are making do. I must confess that if it wasn't for Mary's father adding to our take, I couldn't even be raising up to the working man level around here. The farm is so small and there is so much I have to learn about making a living off the land."

"So, you might be interested in some extra work here and there, are you saying? Like maybe with some light jobs around the manor house now and again for a bit extra? For a bit of give and take?"

"Yes, that would be very good of you," Jamie answered, taking a deep swig of his forth mug of Black Jack.

"I could be quite good for you," Thomas said in a distant voice. "It's hard to make friends in an isolated, close-knit village such as we have here. Especially if you're a bit different. With my position in the village, I'll always be a bit different, I confess. Do you feel a bit different, James?"

"Yes, a bit, I too confess."

"Still a man needs friends, doesn't he, James? I could be a good friend to you. the different people should hold together, don't you think?" A hand went to Jamie's knee and squeezed gently. Jamie jerked and looked up into Thomas' eyes with a somewhat glassy gaze.

"Oh, sorry, Is that one of those zones for you? I confess I have one myself. On my inner thighs. Have you none to confess? We all do."

"Uh, a hand on my lower belly can do it," Jamie answered, somewhat reluctantly.

"Yes, that's the right of it that I heard."

Jamie's head lifted up. He gave Thomas a look that seemed to convey that something had been said that was both significant and surprising, but that, after more than three glasses of Black Jack ale, he couldn't quite put his finger on.

Thomas became more explicit. "I confess too, James, that I became curious about you when you moved here-just appeared. And I checked with some friends down in Cornwall. As I said, we different people need to stick together."

"Oh." Jamie couldn't think of much else to say. He still wasn't fully catching on.

"But look at you, sitting in front of an empty glass. What sort of friend lets that happen for another friend." He was signaling to Old Peter.

"No, really, I've had more than enough. But thanks."

Another full mug of Black Jack hit the table top, and Old Peter scooped up the empty. Jamie nervously reached for the full glass, which was only half full when it came away from his lips. His hand was shaking. He sensed that he was missing something in the conversation-something important. Thomas moved his hand up from where it had been gripping Jamie's knee to Jamie's waist, where he gently pulled Jamie's T-shirt from the waistband of the young man's jeans and laid his palm on Jamie's lower belly. With a whimper and a sigh, Jamie noticeably relaxed his body into his chair and let his arms go limp beside him.

"I have an even darker confession to make, James," Thomas whispered. "I'm what they call bisexual. I fuck men as easily as I fuck women. Don't you have an equally dark confession to make, as well?"

"A dark confession? I've sold my soul for a few measly acres of farmland and a rundown stone cottage and barn," Jamie murmured. "The baby isn't even mine. It wouldn't be."

"Yes, lad, I know. Yes, I know it wouldn't be yours."

"You're going to fuck me, aren't you?" Jamie asked, his voice calm, matter of fact, and resigned, finally having caught up to the conversation, although his words were slurred and the gaze he turned to Thomas unfocused.

"It's time to leave the pub," Thomas said as he stood up from the table. "But you're in no condition to drive. I'll drive you. It's time we got you into bed."

* * * *

What brought Jamie fully awake was the penetration of the cock in his passageway. He came too with a jolt, arched his head back, opened his mouth to emit a long groan, and scrabbled to dig his fingers into the biceps of the gaunt, but hard-bodied older man kneeling between his legs, his torso hunched over Jamie's prone body. The cock slid in entirely too easily. It wasn't the first time the man had been in him in recent hours, Jamie realized.

The room-his room; his bed; Mary slept in the other room, where the baby's crib had been set up-was bathed in full, natural light. The last he remembered it was dark. He'd been in a pub. Talking with Thomas Owencraft, the large landholder. It obviously was the morning after. How many times had the man fucked him during the night? For some reason Jamie wasn't surprised that he had. Why hadn't Mary caught them . . . oh, but that was right. Mary was in the doctor's infirmary. She'd had the baby. It had been a hard delivery. This . . . this was hard on his passageway. Hard. Pumping. The man was moving his cock in and out. Harder thrusts. Deeper. Jamie moaned and a mouth came down to cover his.

He should do something. Struggle or something. At least object. But the man was palming his lower belly. His other arm propped his torso up as he hovered over Jamie, Jamie's pelvis rolled up to the assault of the man's cock by a pillow under the small of Jamie's back, his legs spread and bent, feet on the surface of the sheets, moving his legs back and forth in synch with the rhythm of the pounding of the cock in his ass. His pelvis was moving with the thrusting cock. He wasn't resisting; he was responding to the fuck. It was giving him pleasure. He lived to have a man's cock inside him.

Again the thought that he should do something, react in some way to show that he didn't want this. But the hand on his belly, making him lay there docilely, taking the cock. Wanting it.

He wanted to be fucked. "Yes, yes, please. Yes, like that," he heard a disembodied voice murmuring. His voice.

Jamie sighed and ran his hands up Thomas' chest. Hard, wiry muscles. Taut nipples. A hand went down to one of the man's thin but hard-muscled, constricting and releasing, butt cheeks. The other hand went to Jamie's own erect cock, and he sighed again, Thomas' cock furiously pistoning his passageway now, and began to stroke himself.

"Yes, yes. YES! Fuckkk me!"

Thomas' muscles tightened, he grunted and groaned, his body jerked with a growled, "It's coming." He pulled out and stood up on the side of the bed, unrolled the condom, and tossed it onto the bed. It landed by Jamie's hip. He stood, hunched, beside Jamie's body and shuddering, stroking his cock hard, shot his load on Jamie's chest. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed and reached over for a packet of Benson & Hedges.

Jamie made like he was going to rise, muttering a "What-?" But Thomas stopped him, placing the hand not holding a lit cigarette on Jamie's lower belly, which caused the young man to lie back with a soft groan of surrender.

"No, stay there, on your back." Thomas muttered. "Finish yourself. I want to watch." He moved his hand to below Jamie's balls, inserted a finger in Jamie's ass, and searched for, found, and began rubbing Jamie's prostate gland. Jamie, panting heavily, stroked himself to an ejaculation, shooting off in a high arc up his belly.

"Nice, very nice," Thomas murmured.

"How long . . . how many times?" Jamie asked in a low, exhausted voice.

"All night. Three times," Thomas said, point to the three spent condoms scattered on the sheets beside Jamie's hip. "You were great. Really wanted it. A really good lay. We're going to be such friends."

Jamie groaned and threw his arm over his face, only now realizing he was suffering the effects of too many Black Jack ales the night before.

"Are you going to confess that you enjoyed it? That you needed and wanted it?" Thomas asked.

There was a slight pause, but the "Yes" came out in a strangled, unwilling voice.

"You going to let me fuck you anytime I want you?"


"Good. Go get cleaned up now. The sun's up too high for a farmer still to be abed. Shower and dress and I'll take you back to your truck at the pub."

Jamie shuddered. The truck was parked at the pub still. "Won't people-?"

"It's a small, gossipy village. No telling what people know and will say. I knew, didn't I? Fuck them."

Jamie threw an arm over his face again, trying to blot the world out. This was why he'd left Cornwall-it wasn't just because there was no position for him there. It was also because of the positions he allowed his body to be put in by other men. That he allowed them to put their cocks inside him. It was because he had wanted what men were doing to him. Just as now he wanted Owencraft to fuck him again-when he was fully aware of what was happening.

He needed to keep his mouth shut. This weakness of confessing would be the end to him. But it was built into him by his religion. Confess, do penance, be absolved, and the slate is clean. Rubbish. But it was what he had been told to believe, so he refused to lose faith that it would make everything good in the end.

"Please, could you . . . again?"

"Go take a shower," Thomas growled.

Jamie was in the shower stall, soaping himself up under the stream of water, when the stall door was opened and a naked Thomas slipped in behind him. Turning Jamie's trembling body to the facing the wall, Thomas came in close behind him. Jamie could feel the taller man's erection at the small of his back. One of Thomas' hands came around to palm Jamie's lower belly, his lips went to the hollow of Jamie's neck, and his other hand made a few swirls of soap suds on Jamie's back. With a sigh of surrender, Jamie raised his arms and locked the fingers of his hands behind Thomas' neck, arched his back, and jutted his buttocks back, presenting his hole for penetration as Thomas' crowned cock slid up into his passageway and began to move inside him.

* * * *

Thomas stopped on the path behind Jamie where the young man had stopped for a breath and reached around and palmed Jamie's lower belly underneath his athletic shirt. He pulled Jamie behind a tool shed in the deer park where the two were jogging and slammed Jamie's back against the rough shingles of the shed's siding. He grabbed a hank of hair on the back of Jamie's head and pulled the young man's head back, burying his face in the exposed throat, as his other hand pushed the shorts and jock straps of both of them down to their knees. With a groan, Jamie climbed Thomas' hip with one of his legs, reached down to grab Thomas' erect cock, and moved the bulb of it to his hole. He gave a little cry and jerked as Thomas thrust home.

Passing Mary Finch-she'd made no effort to take Jamie's last name-and the baby outside the village church, a few days later, Thomas raised his hat and, after dutifully admiring the baby, asked what brought Mary to the village.

"We're quilting prayer quilts in the church hall this afternoon. Quite a lot to do," she answered.

Racing to the farm in his Jaguar, Thomas found a shirtless Jaime pitchforking hay into the bed of his truck. With Jamie on his back on the tailgate of the truck, the ankles of his spread legs restrained in the leather loops at the top, back edge of the truck bed designed to hold the tailgate in place when it was up, and Jamie's jeans in a puddle on the ground, Thomas hunched over Jamie's body between his spread legs. One of Thomas' hands palmed Jamie's lower belly, making him completely docile for the fucking, Thomas pounded Jamie's ass to an ejaculation. Afterward he sat, next to Jamie spread body, smoking a cigarette, with two fingers pushed up Jamie's ass and rubbing the young man's prostate, as he watched Jamie stroke himself to his own completion.

Edith Owencraft on a weekend shopping spree in London and Mary Finch in Exeter for the weekend to show the baby off to her grandmother, Jamie lay on his belly, cross-ways on the double bed in one of the guest rooms at the manor house. His arms swung listlessly over the side of the bed, his eyes were latched on the two spent condoms already on the floor beside the bed, as Thomas held his hips tightly between his knees and rode his ass hard.

* * * *

"You look tired . . . and worried, James. Is there anything I can do to help you?"

They were shaking hands at the door to the church after the service. Jamie's eyes were on Mary, carrying the baby, as she moved out of earshot and toward the church's car park. He turned his face back to the Vicar. Vicar Michael was young for a vicar and robust. He was hardly what some would think of as a vicar-certainly not the people of Little Stokes. He'd only been in the position for a couple of years. It would be at least twenty years more before the villagers stopped referring to him as the "new vicar," and stopped pursing their lips when they said it, making it sound like he was only on temporary assignment and hadn't unpacked his bags yet. He wasn't sufficiently pious for them. He was more the rugby player type and could be seen at the pub, bending his elbow with a pipe and smoking, in the company of Thomas Owencraft. And he wasn't married, despite having been repeatedly invited for dinner at every home in the village and surrounding countryside housing an eligible woman under forty-five.

"I don't think there's anything I need help with, Vicar," Jamie said, aware that his hand was still in the vicar's and there was a bit of a backup of church leavers in the narthex. "We're doing well. It's just hard keeping up with a farm, no matter how small, when you are just starting out learning it all."

"Well, you know the power of confession and repentance," Vicar Michael said in that rich baritone voice of his-no one in the village was complaining about his sermons or his singing voice-as he gave Jamie a piercing look that made Jamie feel like the man could see right into his soul-and discern his dilemma. Yes, Jamie did see it as a dilemma.

"I think you need to come see me. Say this Tuesday, at three, in the rectory."

"I don't know. There really isn't . . ."

But an impatient Margaret Parsons was pressing him from in back for her turn to complain to Vicar Michael about the choice of altar flowers, so Jamie just nodded and moved on.

"Yes, I rather thought it was something like that," Vicar Michael said on Tuesday as they sat in his study. He had brought the tea in himself, saying that the housekeeper was in Exeter that day. "So, we're all alone, and whatever you have to unburden yourself of will only be known by us and God," he said as he poured the tea.

"It's just that it's what I left Cornwall for. And this seemed to be a good idea for settling down."

"It's not always best to deny one's nature, James, nor to run away from it."

"I don't know. That's not the advice I'd expected . . . what? Ohhh."

Jamie had stood and moved to the desk, to put his empty cup back on the tea tray. Vicar Michael had come up behind him, close. He'd pushed the tray to the side and moved a hand around Jamie's waist, to his belly, where he brushed the tail of Jamie's shirt up and laid a palm on Jamie's lower belly.

Jamie relaxed in the vicar's embrace. He might have sunk to the floor, if Michael had not been embracing him and holding him up.

"I know what you need. I can give you relief and a penance," Michael whispered breathily in Jamie's ear. "You are to kneel before me now, unzip my trousers, and suck my shaft. Can you do that? Do you want to do that, James? I have the hard body you need."

"Yes," Jamie whispered as he turned and sank to his knees in front of the beefy vicar.

He had known already. He had known when he was half way through confessing to the vicar, unburdening himself of his sin and of being captive to his base needs and desires. There had been a fire in the vicar's eyes, a way he had of licking his lips while Jamie spoke, his failure to condemn or counsel against anything, the obvious hard cock Jamie could see fighting to be freed from the vicar's trousers. The hard cock that Jamie would be freeing and moving his lips over.

There also was the feeling that the vicar had already heard his story-that he knew the full extent of the sins Jamie would confess.

As soon as Jamie had realized the vicar's desire, he also realized that it was what he wanted-that he'd had his eye on the vicar ever since he had surrendered to Thomas Owencraft and realized that the desire and the surrender had started all over again-that he hadn't escaped it by fleeing Cornwall. And as he realized that he wanted the vicar's cock churning inside him, his confessional became more detailed, more sordid in the specifics he related.

He was gratified-and relieved-to see that it had an effect on the vicar. He even made the move to pull his shirttail out of his waistband himself, to move his hand underneath, and to palm his own belly as he talked. It wasn't the same as another man doing it, but it was something. He was breathing heavier as his confessional came close to an end. The vicar was panting lightly too. And he was hard, noticeably hard.

"Now, I want you to bend over the desk and look out the window and watch the world go by while I take you on a tour of heaven. Do you want to go to heaven with me, James?"

"Yes, fuck me, please."

Michael raised Jamie to his feet, turned him and pushed gently between his shoulder blades as Jamie leaned forward over the desk, planting his fists in the leather of the desktop.

"I don't think . . . should we really . . ." he stammered, as if he were having second thoughts, but any objection he had was dashed when the vicar palmed his lower belly as he unbuckled Jamie's belt with the other hand and pushed Jamie's trousers and briefs down to the floor. The hand then went up to cup Jamie's chin and pull the back of Jamie's curly blond head into the hollow of his shoulder.

Jamie winced, widened his stance, and voluntarily rolled his pelvis up to the cock as he felt its bulb push into his entrance and then he lowered his head, set his arms, and began to pant and groan as the vicar moved his hands to grip Jamie's hips to hold him steady as he mined the young man's ass.

He watched the village butcher pedal slowly by on his bicycle and then noticed that, within a minute, the butcher pedaled back across the window from the other direction, his face turned toward the vicarage.

Two days later, as Jamie, shirtless, was using a hand scythe to cut four-foot tall stalks of grain in one of his small fields, the one farthest away from the cottage and barn, the butcher pedaled up on his bicycle.

As he got off the bike and Jamie watched him do so, the butcher said, in a low, hoarse voice, "I hear you take cock-and that you take it nice and easy, with nary an objection, if you are handled right."

He fucked Jamie doggy style in the middle of the field in an area where their thrashing bodies had mashed down the stalks of grain and you would have to be almost upon them to see them. As soon as the butcher had palmed Jamie's lower belly, the young man had gone complete docile, had widened the stance of his legs and had pleaded in a small voice for the man to be good to him-and to hurry to be inside him and to do his business-and then be gone. The butcher was eight thick, pounding inches good to him, and as long as the butcher kept his hand on Jamie's belly, the young man knelt there on all fours, docile and rock steady, appearing almost resigned and disinterested, while taking the rough ass pounding like a covered bitch in heat.

Jamie on all fours, briefs and jeans pulled down to around his knees, the thickset, solidly built butcher covering him from above and breathing heavily, fully clothed except for his hard shaft jutting out of his fly. Pounding, pounding.

It didn't matter to Jamie what cock was churning inside him, what man was covering him. It was all good for Jamie. Just like the way it had become in Cornwall. Men hearing about him from other men. Standing in line for it. Sometimes six or seven men in succession. Small English villages were the same across the country. He'd been a fool to think he could escape-more a fool for not accepting that he wanted it.

Afterward, Jamie lay on his back in the trampled stalks of grain, his face slathered with the butcher's cum, the butcher crouched beside him, three fingers of one hand crammed up Jamie's passage and pulsating, the palm of the other hand on Jamie's belly, as Jamie looked up into the man's eyes and stroked himself to an ejaculation.

"I'll be back, and you'll take me when I do," the butcher growled after Jamie had arced his cum up onto his belly.

"Yes," Jamie answered, not fighting it, not resenting it even. Knowing that it was a simple truth. If he remained here on this farm between Little Stoke and Higher Stoke, the butcher would be back. And others would come to. Just like in Cornwall.

The butcher obviously had known that the way to control Jamie was with the palm of a hand on his lower belly. And there had been only one other man with the technique of working Jamie's prostate with his fingers while watching him finish himself.

The next Tuesday at three, with the vicar's housekeeper in Exeter again, Jamie was on his back, lying cross-wise on a double bed in a guest room in the vicarage. Vicar Michael was crouched between his spread thighs at one side of the bed, cocking his ass. Thomas Owencraft was hunched over Jamie on the other side of the bed, where Jamie's head was thrown back over the side and Thomas, a hand resting gently on Jamie's lower belly, was slow-pumping his cock deep down Jamie's throat.

Friday night, the two took Jamie to a private men's pub in the suburbs of Exeter, where the two older men sat next to each other, at a table, drinking beer and watching a succession of men crouch between Jamie's raised and spread legs, his back on the top of a pool table, gang bang fucking him. The vicar and the lord of the manor discussed a ranking of the men moving between Jamie's legs, as other men gripped his ankles on their side, stretching his legs up and out, waiting their turn.

The two graded them on how firm and bulbous their buttocks were and how nicely the muscles expanded and contracted as they thrust at Jamie's ass.

Jamie said nothing on the way back to Little Stoke. There didn't seem to be anything to say-not even when the two men decided to share him again when they got back to the vicarage before taking him home, telling Mary that the small farmers meeting they all had attended at the vicarage had run very late.

* * * *

Thomas Owencraft waved the vicar over to his table in the Little Stoke pub as the man of God entered the bar.

As Vicar Michael settled at the table, he said, "So you've heard?"

"Of course. Nothing moves faster in Little Stoke than gossip about other people. Left in the middle of the night, I've heard."

"So I've heard as well. Couldn't take the responsibility of raising a family, I guess. Especially one that wasn't his own," Michael said.

"Just as well," Thomas said, with a sigh. "I confess that I was beginning to tire of him anyway. No fight in that young man. So docile, submissive. Not much of a challenge."

"I confess that, as well. And confession is good for the soul-but perhaps not all that wise in a small village like Little Stoke, as our young friend found out." The vicar's statement was accompanied by a small laugh. "Still . . ."

"Yes, he was, wasn't he?"

"Very. So what are we going to do for . . . what are you looking at?" The vicar turned his head to follow Owencraft's gaze. "Ah, the small Pakistani at the bar? Dark, willowy, pretty."

"Didn't we see him in the club near Exeter?"

"I have picked up vibes about him in various confessionals. I believe he's a carpenter over in Higher Stokes. And yes, I believe he's easy. I would think he has quite a lot to confess, and who better to take his confession than . . ."

But Thomas was already gesturing to the young Pakistani man at the bar, who now saw him, smiled, and started working his way to the table of the village vicar and he local lord of the manor.



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