Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Feeling You by Santino Hassell

October 22, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.



Stygian opened with their fastest song partially because their set was less than thirty minutes, but mostly because the crowd’s energy was so low that Watts seemed to think they could infuse it by force. You’d think people would be more amped on Halloween, but it wasn’t going to happen.

They were in a nowhere bar between Austin and Houston. A less exciting stop along the route than the gigantic Buc-ee’s gas station sprawled just up the road. It was a sad reality but one Kennedy had accepted since he was the one who’d allowed Watts to book the gigs for this tour while stoned.

But despite the disaster of the sound equipment and a sneery audience in half-assed costumes, they nailed the first couple of songs. Watts, in his Mad Max inspired outfit, crooned into the microphone while hanging on Quince, and Jeremy drummed to perfection. A stranger would think he’d been in the band for years rather than a couple of months, and Kennedy wouldn’t blame them. The kid belonged.

Jeremy was soft in places where the rest of them were hardened from old battle scars, but he was the puzzle piece they’d been missing for months. He played with a passion capable of giving Kennedy the shivers, and during each song his expression was so blissed out it probably resembled his come face. Eyes half shut, platinum blond hair clinging to his sweaty forehead, and lips parted. Jeremy didn’t need a costume—he was a fucking angel. It was hard to look away.

And each time he slammed his sticks against the drum kit and his biceps flexed, Kennedy didn’t look away. A couple of times, Jeremy caught him staring. The third time—when they were both very briefly still right before transitioning into the next song—Kennedy’s eyefuck game was so strong that Jeremy released a little laugh. Unsure. Nervous. Just like him.

Kennedy half-smiled and flashed a thumbs up. That, more than the ogling, sent a flush scorching over Jeremy’s fair skin. It was so easy to get a reaction out of him. Kennedy wondered if that extended to sex.

Jeremy’s eyes widened, and it was almost like he knew what Kennedy had been thinking. It was impossible of course, but—

“Quit flirtin’ and play, ya fuckin’ queers!”

Watts kept singing without missing a beat but he sauntered to the middle of the stage and grabbed his crotch before giving a suggestive hip cant. A collective grumble started in the center of the crowd and intensified after Watts adlibbed a lyric about wondering how many rednecks it takes to fill a Grindr dashboard.

Quince broke into hyena laughter but Kennedy wasn’t amused. The adrenaline burning up his spine felt a lot like the warning sign for an impending brawl, and Jeremy keyed into his tension.

He moved his lips in a silent question: Should we leave?

Kennedy shook his head. Just play.

And that’s when one of the motherfuckers nailed Jeremy in the head with a bottle.

There was barely a thought between the moments when Kennedy dropped his bass and dove into the crowd. He went blank and reemerged from the haze of fury in the middle of a melee. His fist connected with someone’s jaw but there were so many people swarming that he couldn’t tell if he was assaulting the right homophobe.

He knew the rest of the band had thrown themselves into the ruckus because of Watts’ exuberant whoops and Quince’s string of meme-like insults. A quick look confirmed Jeremy was holding his own.

When it was all said and done, the police cleared out the bar and they were kicked out with their instruments half packed. They celebrated surviving the gig, and the fight, by sharing two bottles of Jack Daniels. By midnight, Quince and Watts were screwing in the next room while Jeremy drunkenly crawled atop Kennedy’s prone form and straddled his lap.

“Why’d you get so mad?” Jeremy teetered forward before bearing down harder with his knees. “You went rage-blackout after that guy threw the bottle.”

“He could have hurt you.”

“It was plastic.”

“Doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t have touched you.”

Jeremy bit his lip and nodded seriously. “You’re confusing.”

Kennedy got grabby when he was drunk and then everything was a little bit more dangerous. Which is why he didn’t stop himself from putting his hands on Jeremy’s narrow hips, fingers just grazing the swell of his ass.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because sometimes I can feel how much you’re into me even though you act like you’re not.”

Kennedy peered at Jeremy from beneath his lashes. “What do you mean you can feel it?”

“I just…” Jeremy gestured too wide and nearly lost his balance. “Sometimes when we’re really close. Like this. Or when you’re looking at me, I can… feel what you’re feeling.”

“Could you feel me when we were on stage?” Kennedy’s fingers tightened. “Before that guy threw the bottle?”


“But then how—“

“That time I got a flash of what you were imagining. I… saw it.”

Kennedy’s heart sped and his skin prickled. “Does this happen a lot?”

“Nuh uh.” Jeremy shook his head, blond hair flying. “Mostly with you. Because you’re so—“

Kennedy silenced the sentence with a hand pressed over that wide mouth, and Jeremy dissolved into giggles. He collapsed on top of Kennedy, burrowed into his side, and was so drunk there was no way he’d remember this in the morning.

But the slim limbs wrapping around Kennedy and the soft mouth grazing his jaw acted as seals imprinting the moment into his brain. He’d always known there was something special about Jeremy—something other than his talent and pretty face. There had seemed to be so much more behind those haunting gray eyes, and now Kennedy knew the truth.

“Maybe don’t tell anyone else about this, okay kid?”

His answer was a low snore. Kennedy laughed quietly and pulled Jeremy closer.


Author Bio:

Santino Hassell says that while New York City is his heart, writing is his soul. He writes LGBTQ romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of NYC, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

SH headshot-circle


Find Santino:










2 Responses to “Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Feeling You by Santino Hassell”

  1. NDinSC says:

    Santino is such a talented writer. This preview makes me want to read Stygian even more. Love this!!

  2. Pam/Peejakers says:

    Awesome prequel :) And now for the book, yay!

Leave a Reply