Sexy Six Anniversary Short – The Icing on the Cake by Harry K. Malone

May 30, 2013

Mark tugged at his bowtie, wondering if he had tied it too tight.  He wasn’t sure he was able to breathe properly.  He moved in front of the giant mirror that leaned against the freshly painted wall of their bedroom.  He checked his hair, and though it didn’t need any additional styling, he smoothed it into place out of habit.  Then he tugged on the ends of the tie, not quite unraveling it but loosening it a little.  If he could just get some air, everything would be fine.

Despite the lack of oxygen, he looked good.  Damn good.  The Ralph Lauren Black Label was the right choice.  It was elegant and modern, perfect for Mark’s smart, all-American style.  He’d gone with a plain black tie and an understated white pocket square.  Nothing too loud for a day like this.  There were going to be pictures, after all, and they’d last forever.

Ross was wearing a Dolce and Gabbana jacket that was trimmed in velvet.  It would work on him, since the style they’d been cultivating for him was a little rougher, a little edgier than Mark’s.  But Mark had made certain their outfits would coordinate.  After all, everyone would be seeing them together.

The bowtie had somehow gotten tighter again.  Mark tugged furiously, and it came undone.  Gaping at his reflection in the mirror, he clutched it, wondering if it was a conspiracy.  Maybe the designer had made it out of especially slippery fabric.  Or maybe Mark was developing adult onset asthma.  Did such a thing exist?

As he gulped in a lungful of air, two hands slid around the smooth fabric of his jacket, and a solid body pressed into him from behind.  “You going without the tie?” Ross asked.  He nipped Mark’s earlobe.  “I like the look.”

“I told you not to see me until I said I was ready!” Mark protested, but Ross squeezed him tighter.  His hands began wandering farther south.

“Six months, Swoop,” Ross reminded them both.  “We’ve officially been together for six months.”

“Nine if you count from when we first started dating.”

“I thought we agreed to count from when we came out.”

Mark shrugged.  Either way, it had been several months, and his entire life had changed.  He was off the television series he’d starred in for four years, he had come out to the whole world, and he was standing in the bedroom of the brand new house he’d just bought with his boyfriend.

He undid the top button on his shirt, so he could get a little more air.  His neck looked a little red.

“Mm, even hotter,” Ross drawled.  He caught Mark’s eyes in the mirror.  “You okay?”

“Fine,” Mark lied.

Ross gave him a look that said he didn’t believe it.  It was one of the things Mark had first noticed about Ross, one of the reasons why he’d fallen in love with him.  Other people either bought his act or, at least, didn’t call him out on it.  But not Ross.  As much as Mark liked being challenged, that was another problem.  He plucked Ross’s hands off his waist and pushed them back to their owner.

“O-ka-ay,” Ross singsonged.  He turned to leave the room.

Mark thought he was off the hook.  He looked at his reflection once more.  Without the bow tie and with the shirt open, he did look hotter.  Yeah, that was the right look.  The bow tie had been way too stuffy and formal anyway.  This was better for summer.

Ross poked his head in the door.  “If it’s too soon, you should have just said something.  It’s way too late to cancel now.”

“I know.”

“And everyone will be disappointed if we don’t show up.”

“I know.”

“So get over it.  Ten minute warning.”

Mark scratched his neck.  His blunt fingernails left red streaks stretching toward his chin.  He cursed himself, adjusted the shirt collar to cover it, squirted on a little more Egoïste to cover his sweat smell, and steeled himself.  It had been six months, after all, and it was his idea in the first place.  And he loved Ross Lockhart with all his heart and soul.  He could do this.

* * * * *

On the way inside the room where the ceremony would take place, they passed the reception area.  The caterers were already covering tables with white linen cloths and arranging flowers on top.  One table near the door held the three-tiered cake that would be cut into after dinner.  When Mark saw it, his heart began racing again.

“I need some air.”  He hurried away from the cake, away from Ross, to the safety of the terrace.  A few yards down, two guys were smoking, but the breeze was carrying the smell in the opposite direction.  Mark leaned on the railing and took a few deep breaths.  A moment later, he felt a hand gently rubbing circles on his back, and he knew without opening his eyes it was Ross.

“You know, this was your idea,” Ross murmured.  It wasn’t accusatory.

“I know.”

“You’re the one who proposed to me.”

“I know.”

“So you want to tell me why you’re the one who’s freaking out right now?”

“It’s not you,” Mark assured him.  He turned to look at Ross, whose piercing blue eyes radiated with sympathy and understanding.  “You know that, right?  I love you.”

“I know,” Ross echoed, giving Mark his patented crooked smile.  He shifted to Mark’s left, and they both leaned against the railing – giving them a direct view through the French doors into the reception hall.  “It’s only been six months since your divorce was finalized.  I know it’s hard.  I shouldn’t have pushed you.”

Mark hadn’t made a single comparison to this day and his first wedding day, when a bride in white was at his side.  “I wasn’t even thinking about Alex,” he admitted.

“Oh, so it’s all me then?”  Ross shook his head.

“Hey, you’re the one who turned me down,” Mark reminded them both.

“I’m here, aren’t I?”

Mark didn’t know what to say in response, and they lapsed into silence.  The past year had been a whirlwind, the past six months even more so.  His swift courtship with Ross had completely upset his life, and now he was standing in a tuxedo, waiting for a wedding to start.

“Why did you propose?” Ross asked.  “I mean, I think I know why you did, but I want to know why you think you did.”

Mark ran a hand through his swoop of bangs and then smoothed them back into place.  He squinted as the sun peeked through the trees.  He’d left his Louis Vuitton sunglasses in the car, since he’d thought they’d be indoors all afternoon.

He didn’t have time to answer Ross’s question before Sam Ledbetter, a former cast mate, came through the French doors.  “Mark!” Sam called.  “I am so glad to see you.”

“Hey, Sam.”  He came forward into a hug.  “Sam, you remember Ross Lockhart.”

Sam shook Ross’s hand with a grin.  “Of course.  We met last year in New York, at the upfronts.  I feel like I know you better than that, though, since…”

Ross returned the smile easily.  “Since I’ve been all over the tabloids with Mark?” he guessed.  “Don’t tell me you read that stuff.”

Sam shook his head.  He didn’t, Mark knew.  Sam was a classy guy whose personal life was usually kept private and who wanted the same for his friends.  “Since Mark started going on and on about you,” Sam corrected.  “And since we sat near each other at the Golden Globes.”

“Oh, right,” Ross remembered.  Mark wondered if he was nervous, too.  It wasn’t like Ross to forget his first time attending an awards ceremony.

“So,” Sam said, “it’s the big day.”

“Yes, it is,” Mark agreed.

Sam let out a shaky breath.  “I can’t believe this is happening.”  He looked between Ross and Mark.  “I’m really getting married, aren’t I?”

Mark looked at Sam carefully.  He appeared nervous on the surface, but underneath was a kind of serenity and happiness Mark had never seen in him before.  Marrying Corey was going to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.

And marrying Ross would be the best thing that ever happened to Mark.  If Ross would agree to it.  There was no need to be afraid of being seen at Sam and Corey’s wedding, he realized.  People had already seen him and Ross together – in the tabloids, at the Golden Globes, at Mark’s birthday dinner in early March.  Maybe watching Sam and Corey get married would remind Mark of his own wedding to Alex, but maybe it would make him think about what a wedding between him and Ross might be like.  Either way, with Ross was at his side, holding his hand and offering him reassurances, there was nothing to fear.

“Yes, you are,” Mark told Sam.  “Isn’t it about time to get in there?  We should probably get our seats before the place fills up.”

“I’m sure someone is looking for me.”  Sam shrugged.  He squeezed Mark’s hand and patted Ross cordially on the shoulder.  “Wish me luck.”

“You won’t need it,” Mark predicted.  Once Sam was gone, he turned to Ross.  “That.”  He pointed toward the French doors.  “That is why I proposed.  That look on his face.”

“It’s only been six months.”

Suddenly Ross’s tender reassurance made a lot more sense.  Ross was scared, too.  Mark sometimes forgot that Ross had his own fears and insecurities, since Ross tended to let Mark be the basket case in their relationship.

“I didn’t – I don’t mean this to hurt your feelings, so bear with me here, okay?  But I didn’t think this was where my life was going to go.  I thought I’d always be alone, and maybe sometimes date, probably get laid a lot, but I didn’t expect that this would happen.”

“What’s ‘this’?” Mark asked.

“Falling in love with you.  Totally, madly, deeply.”  Ross was conveniently looking in a different direction when he said it.  “Wanting to have a whole life with you.  Not just some new house, but all the messy stuff – taxes and health directives and whose turn is it to wash the dirty socks.  I guess as much as I want all that, I’m scared of it, too.”

“You don’t have to be scared alone,” Mark promised him.

“I want this,” Ross pledged.  He gestured toward the French doors.  “I want that.”

“So let’s do it.  Maybe we’re not ready to get married, but we can still do the messy stuff.  We already have the house –”

“That you paid for.”

“And your name is on it.  We can register as domestic partners.”

Ross grinned.  “How is that different than getting married?”

Mark shrugged.  “We don’t have to cut a cake in front of people?”

“No top tier with two grooms?”

Apart from today’s little freak-out, Mark’s ease at accepting his newfound homosexuality had surprised even him, but a double groom cake topper was maybe a line too far.  Next he and Ross would be swapping clothes and feeding each other and calling each other “honey boo” in public.

“You know I want to marry you, don’t you?” Ross said.  “I’ve wanted to since we started dating.”

Mark leaned into Ross’s chest and let himself be embraced.  “It was back in July for me,” he confessed.  “I knew then.”

“When we were just roommates?  Before you knew how awesome I was at blow jobs?”

“The blowjobs are just the icing on the cake.”

Ross kissed Mark’s temple as the string quartet inside began to play.  “Do you need to get out of here, or are you up to a little more stifling romance?”

“What are you thinking?”

“Well, I’m not sure, but usually at these things, the bride tosses the bouquet.”  Ross raised his eyebrows lecherously.  “I can be a good catcher when I want to be.”

That was true.  He was a pretty good pitcher, too.

“There’s also dancing,” Ross said enticingly.

“We can’t dance together.”

“Why not?  There are, like, five other gay couples in there.  Sam invited you, and he knew you were bringing me.”

“Yeah, but…”  Mark’s chest grew tight again.  At this rate, he would never get to see his happily ever after with Ross because he’d be dead of a heart attack before he was thirty.

“Dance with me out here then?”  Ross didn’t wait for his answer.  He put one arm around Mark’s waist and took Mark’s hand in his own.  They shuffled along awkwardly to the strains of the music coming from inside.  “I should warn you that I’m terrible.  Nightclub playing Kelly Clarkson remixes, I can do.  But this fancy stuff…one time I had a football coach who made us all take lessons.  He said the footwork would help us on the field.  I looked like an elephant trying to walk the tightrope.”

“I suck at that club stuff, but this I can do,” Mark told him.  “Let me lead.”

“Don’t try to dip me.  I will kill you.”

Mark felt the subtle shift as Ross let his body become pliable.  Mark was in charge for this moment, the one making sure they didn’t look stupid and didn’t step on each other’s toes, and it occurred to him that their relationship was like this dance.  Ross took the lead when Mark panicked about the future, and Mark took over for the little day-to-day stuff Ross didn’t know how to do.  There was symmetry in that.  Or maybe symbiosis.

“Why, Mr. Lawler,” Ross teased, “you’re very talented.”

“I have a good partner.”  He made Ross spin under his arm and then reeled him in close.

“So do I.”  Ross held his gaze seriously.  “Domestic partnership now.  Marriage when it’s legal, and in the mean time it sure looks and feels like a marriage to me.  And no freaking out.  I don’t want to be seen with someone with a rash all over his neck.”

“How did you…?”

“Happy anniversary, Swoop.”

“Happy anniversary, Spike.”  Mark let the dance slip away as he folded Ross into a tight embrace.  He felt a little silly that he’d panicked at the idea of bringing Ross here.  Maybe he’d have to accept that he’d always have moments of panic over their relationship.  Maybe it was the result of thinking he was straight for his entire life.  But it didn’t mean he didn’t love Ross, and it didn’t mean his proposal hadn’t been genuine.  And wedding or not, the idea of the two of them together, helping each other out with their different strengths, leaning on each other when they were weak, in a real partnership – yeah, that he could do.   Forever.


Read more about Mark and Ross in The Hollywood Version.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Intimate Territory by Nicki Bennet & Ariel Tachna

May 29, 2013

Blaise Risner laughed as he led his lover and partner, Peter Keller, back into the hotel Peter had convinced him to splurge on during their stay on Regulus. They’d spent the day browsing the infamous pleasure bazaar, and Blaise couldn’t wait to get back to their rooms so they could put their new acquisitions to good use.

He pushed open the door, stepped inside, and froze. Instead of the simple but elegant decorations that had adorned the room that morning, he stood in a boudoir that seemed to be modeled on the fabled harem of the Orion emperors. The comfortable but utilitarian bed had been replaced by, or at least hidden beneath, a mound of plushly decadent body pillows. A gauzy veil draped from the ceiling around the bedding, seeming to serve little purpose in the climate-controlled suite but to provide the opportunity for glimpsing a lover’s naked body through its shimmering folds. Scented tapers provided the room’s only light as well as adding a heady, sensual fragrance. To one side of the bed stood a tray overflowing with delicacies to tempt the palate and a flask of deep ruby liquor beside two ornately etched goblets.

Blaise automatically took a step backward, intending to check the room number. He couldn’t imagine the door opening if they weren’t in the right suite, but he knew the room hadn’t looked like this when they left that morning. The movement took him directly into Peter’s embrace. Even in his puzzlement, the feeling of those strong arms going around him heated his blood, especially since it was already on a low simmer from all the discussions over the course of the day about the different toys and all the things Peter would do to him when they had time and privacy. “Peter?”

Nudging Blaise forward gave Peter the chance to rub his arousal against his lover’s firm backside, and Blaise’s puzzlement didn’t stop him from pressing against the hard shaft. Peter indulged himself in the contact for a moment before leaning forward to nip at the side of Blaise’s neck. “Unless you want to continue this here in the hallway, I suggest moving inside.”

Blaise stepped far enough into the room for the door to close behind them. He wasn’t necessarily opposed to a bit of exhibitionism, but he’d prefer to do it in a more controlled manner. “Not that I’m complaining, but what’s with the décor?”

“You don’t like it?’ Peter cocked an eyebrow before tossing their parcel of purchases onto the bed, where it was swallowed up in the sea of pillows. “Not that I object to sharing the captain’s bunk with you on the Stallion, but I thought you might appreciate a bit more comfort tonight.”

“I’ll never say no to comfort,” Blaise replied automatically as he turned to face Peter, “and it looks amazing in here, but why tonight? Or is this just for the hell of it?”

The appreciative gleam in his partner’s eyes convinced Peter that he’d definitely plan something like this just for the hell of it at some point in the future, but he managed what he hoped was a convincing scowl. “You don’t remember what tonight is? After I juggled our supply schedule to be sure we’d make it to Regulus in time? And made all these arrangements over the comm while you were asleep in order to surprise you?” He shook his head. “I’m surprised at you, Risner.”

Blaise racked his brain, trying to figure out what they could possibly be celebrating. “It’s not the anniversary of my arrest,” he said. “That passed while I was still trying to find you when you ran off to Petarus without me. It’s not your birthday or mine. It hasn’t been a year since we finally worked things out, so it can’t be that. I’m sorry, Peter. You obviously went to great lengths to put this together, and I really appreciate it, but I don’t know what we’re celebrating.” He was babbling and he knew it, but he hated disappointing Peter. He had no trouble angering him, seducing him, teasing him, playing any and every kind of game with him, sating him and being sated by him, but he folded like a house of cards at the first sign that he had not lived up to Peter’s expectations.

Dropping his feigned irritation, Peter drew Blaise closer, sliding his arms down until he could cup his pirate’s—or rather, privateer’s—delectable ass. “I didn’t appreciate what I had when you first showed up on the North Star,” he admitted. “I saw your obvious attractions, but nothing beyond that. It took a while for me get my head out of my ass long enough to recognize how much more there was to you, and how much you were starting to mean to me.” Before Blaise could speak, he covered the opened lips with his own, his tongue sweeping in to claim Blaise’s in a heated duel that left them both gulping for breath when he finally pulled away. “Not that I had any intention of letting you see that at the time.”

Blaise’s head was spinning from the kiss and from Peter’s hands on his ass. Peter had him well trained. At the first sign of his lover’s attentions, he went fully hard and ready for whatever Peter had in store for him next. He’d actually been surprised to get out of the room that morning without one toy or another inserted in or affixed to some part of his body. Maybe this was why. He cast his mind back over the previous year, trying to remember the nights leading up to him making the connection between the mysterious attacks on Confederation outposts and the Gavenelians who had held him captive and tortured him for six months. “The night you first asked me to stay,” he said after a moment. “The first time I felt like your lover and not just your fucktoy.” He rubbed against Peter’s hip, letting his lover feel his arousal and by extension his willingness for anything Peter had in mind. “Instead of bending me over the nearest flat surface, you took me to bed and made love to me. That’s what we’re celebrating, isn’t it?”

Peter’s grip tightened on Blaise’s ass, his cock already hard enough to tempt him to rip the clothes from that delectable body, throw him onto the pillows, and fuck him through them, just the way Blaise described it. But if he’d learned anything since his lover found him licking his wounds on Petarus, it was that there were times when talking really did need to take precedence over sex. He’d just have to talk quickly.

“On your birthday, when I offered you anything you wanted and you asked for just me, I started to hope we’d moved beyond my forcing you, though I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t simply a ploy to avoid having to endure any of the toys. But that night—this night—watching you sleep in my bed, I couldn’t deny it anymore. I might not have been sure what it meant to you, but I knew what it meant to me.”

“I was scared that night,” Blaise admitted. “I’d slipped up and called you by name because you’d stopped being Admiral Keller and had become Peter in my head, even if I couldn’t let you see it, but that night, you weren’t the sadistic bastard of an admiral, at least not once you started fucking me, and I let my guard slip. I don’t think I ever got it all the way back up. So this is our anniversary celebration?” He loosened his hold on Peter enough to look back over the exotic boudoir Peter had arranged to set up. “Shouldn’t you be taking me to bed then?”

“Still thinking you give the orders,” Peter grumbled, though no one hearing him would believe he was truly complaining. He moved forward, walking Blaise backward with a thigh between his legs, grinding their groins together with each step. He wanted to watch the silky netting around the bed whisper over Blaise’s honeyed skin, but his lover had entirely too many clothes on for that to happen. Just before they reached the gauzy veil, he stopped and took a step back, one hand settling on his hip and the other slipping into his pocket. “Strip,” he ordered in the tone his crew on the North Star had learned to dread.

For Blaise, though, that tone evoked none of the same foreboding. For him, it was a harbinger of things to come. Sometimes painful, but always powerfully arousing and ultimately mind-blowing things. Wearing the cocky grin that had earned him more than one punishment aboard the North Star, Blaise ran his hands up over his chest, making a show of undoing the buttons on his shirt one at a time, even though he could have pulled it over his head after the first two.

Peter widened his stance at the provocative striptease, though the shipsuit he wore was nowhere near as constraining as his Confederation uniform. His first glimpse of Blaise’s chest had the same effect, regardless. When Blaise let the fabric slide down his arms, baring the two rings adorning his dusky nipples—the one he’d pierced after he escaped from the Gavenelians, the other placed there by Peter himself—Peter started releasing his own fasteners, but he didn’t move any nearer. “The rest of it too,” he prodded when Blaise paused, eyeing him with what Peter no longer had any doubt was equal hunger.

Blaise dropped the shirt to the ground and popped the button on his trousers. When he was sure he had Peter’s attention, he shimmied out of them as well until he stood before his lover completely nude and utterly unabashed, his erection jutting out in front of him eagerly. “Your turn,” he drawled. “Can’t fuck me senseless if you’re still dressed.”

“Maybe I want to enjoy the view first,” Peter answered, though he shucked his own clothes quickly enough. After letting his gaze run the length of Blaise’s lean body—he might see it every day now, but it still never failed to impress—he took a step forward and ran a hand up the toned chest, pausing to tweak the nipple the bore his ring. Then he flattened his palm and gave Blaise a push backward. The fluttering curtain brushed over Blaise’s skin, the sight every bit as arousing as Peter had imagined it to be, before Blaise landed on the mounded pillows with a bit of a bounce.

“That was strange.” Blaise reached up to finger the sheer fabric with a puzzled look on his face. “It kind of tingled.”

Peter frowned at the small remote in his other hand. “The shopkeeper I bought it from didn’t mention that side effect. Is it painful?”

Blaise ran the palm of his hand over the cloth this time. “No, not painful. Tingly, like the way the lightning of Petarus leaves the air feeling charged when the storms come at night.” They had slipped out into the storms, one memorable night, making love beneath the pounding rain, bodies singing from the contact and from the electricity in the air. He looked up at Peter for a moment before reaching out for his lover with the cloth still in his hand. He pressed his palm to the unscarred side of Peter’s chest, letting the effect of the fabric add to his touch.

Shaking his head, Peter bounced the remote in his palm. Not that Blaise’s touch wasn’t potent enough on its own, but…. “It won’t work on me. It’s already taken a sensor scan of your bioreadings—that must have been the tingle you felt—and adapted itself to your metabolism.” He thumbed a control on the remote and cocked an eyebrow at Blaise, appraising the effect. The device was supposed to be painless, and while neither he nor Blaise was averse to an occasional nip of pain with their pleasure, it wasn’t a part of Peter’s plans for the night. He nudged the setting a fraction higher, his gaze never leaving Blaise’s face. “Enough to generate a mild stasis field.”

“New and inventive ways to tie me up?” Blaise teased. He didn’t try to fight the confinement. He never had other than for show, but tonight he didn’t even bother with that. “You could always just order me into whatever position you want me in, you know.”

“And since when have you ever followed orders?” Peter retorted, pausing a moment to appreciate the contrast of Blaise’s golden skin against the white pillows before moving close enough to trace the muscle of Blaise’s thigh with his fingertips. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he felt an echo of the tingle Blaise had mentioned quiver up his arm, and he dropped to one knee, caressing the other leg to judge if it caused the same effect.

Blaise was terrible at following orders, but only because he knew Peter loved it when he acted up. Even at his worst, he’d only done it when it hadn’t mattered. When it had been a matter of life or death, he’d listened and done what was expected of him. “Where’s the fun in blindly obeying every word that comes out of your mouth?” Blaise teased. He tried to move his leg, if only to spread his thighs farther apart in invitation, but the stasis field held, sending showers of electricity up his limbs whenever he tried to move or whenever Peter touched him, and all he could do was lie in place and wait upon Peter’s whim. The thought left him far more hot and bothered than it should have.

“That’s why I have to find toys like this,” Peter explained while running both hands up the insides of Blaise’s thighs. If the frisson of excitement that coursed through his nerves at the touch was anything like what Blaise was feeling, this would prove a sweet torment for both of them. The flutter of Blaise’s eyelids suggested the sensation was at least as strong for him too. “You’ll just have to lie there and take whatever I give you.” Leaning forward, he nipped at the woven ring that marked Blaise as his, sending sparks dancing along his synapses like the ionized dust in the Varian asteroid cloud. He closed his lips over the pierced nipple, a purr of pleasure rumbling from his throat at the jolt of awareness that flowed through them both.

“You realize,” Blaise gasped as he tried to arch into the touch and couldn’t, “that the more I try to move, the more I get that static electricity feeling. I’m never going to last.”

“You’ll last until I’m ready for you to come and not before,” Peter growled, and then set to work proving just how well he’d learned his lover’s sensitive spots—and his limits—during the months they’d been reunited. Each time Blaise’s groans and curses hinted he was close to losing control, Peter backed off, turning his attentions to a less susceptible spot and then pushing Blaise even higher, keeping him dancing on the knife-edge of release without letting him tip over. That the nerve-net’s augmentation was proving just as hazardous to his own self-control was the price he’d willingly pay to lavish his lover with this much pleasure.

Blaise would have given any number of things to be able to ignore Peter’s demands and simply jerk his cock until he came. He had come so close to release so many times already, but each time Peter had pulled him back and then pushed him higher. He tried to beg, but the stasis field’s effects had spread until he had trouble even making his mouth form words, not that Peter left it empty for long. Between his tongue and his cock, Blaise hadn’t been able to do more than gasp for breath in what felt like hours. His eyes rolled back in his head as Peter denied his orgasm yet again.

As much as Peter would have liked to prolong his attentions to every micron of Blaise’s skin, his own body was making its demands clear in the ache in his balls and the insistent throbbing of his cock. While he was well dampened between Blaise’s saliva and his own precome, he needed to slick Blaise as well, even if the preparation was cursory at best. He’d heard of a device that could be inserted to keep a lover lubricated, and made a mental note to look for one on their next supply run while he scrabbled among the pillows for the container of lube that was among the purchases they’d made that day.

“Now,” Blaise said as soon as Peter left his mouth unoccupied for more than a moment. “Fuck me now.” He couldn’t turn his head to see what Peter was doing, but he heard the squelch of lube and felt the cold touch of Peter’s hand between his thighs. “Forget that,” he groaned. “In me. Now, damn it.”

“I may listen to your orders aboard the Stallion, but I’m in charge here, as you seem to keep forgetting,” Peter countered, though since he punctuated his response by slamming into Blaise in a single hard thrust, he figured his lover didn’t have reason for complaint. Just to be sure, though, he captured Blaise’s mouth with his own, his tongue probing as deeply as his cock as he worked them both hard and fast.

Peter’s mouth muffled the scream that escaped Blaise at the sudden penetration, but it was exactly what he needed. He wanted to wrap his arms and legs around Peter as encouragement, but the fucking stasis field kept him from moving. He fought it, every suppressed twitch of his muscles sending another surge of electricity through him. Peter pounded into him perfectly, pegging his gland with every pass, and this time, he didn’t pull back when Blaise’s orgasm started to crest. With a second muffled scream, Blaise lost control, his climax spilling between them. Every spasm of his muscles triggered the stasis field, prolonging his pleasure until he was nearly insensate with it, and still it continued, Peter driving into him over and over and over and… fuck, it felt so good it hurt!

If his tongue wasn’t massaging Blaise’s tonsils, Peter would have gritted his teeth as he fought to hold back his climax and prolong Blaise’s. The convulsions of the tight sheath spasming around his shaft and the tingle the stasis field transmitted wherever his skin met Blaise’s proved his undoing, the sudden splash of Blaise’s release sending a flare of such ecstasy through the nerve-net that he nearly blacked out as his release seared through him like a plasma bolt. He barely had the presence of mind to thumb off the remote before he slumped against Blaise’s hot, sweaty body in complete satiation.

Blaise felt the stasis field disengage, but he still couldn’t move. Peter had left him completely boneless.

“So,” Peter drawled after regaining his breath, “should I have one of these installed in our cabin on the Stallion?”

“I don’t have to take your orders on the Stallion,” Blaise reminded him. A rather wicked thought occurred to him. “Unless you’d rather I use it on you….”

“Maybe next anniversary,” Peter murmured as he pulled his pirate into his arms.

Blaise grinned as he started to drift off to sleep. He had a year. He’d think of something to top this.


Read more about Blaise and Peter in Hot Cargo.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – The Last Day Of A Year by Andrew Gordon

May 29, 2013

Farrell jerked suddenly, splashing water in the process. He opened his eyes, certain he heard someone call him.

“Farrell?” This time he recognized Miceral’s voice.

“I’m just finishing taking a bath.”

“More like sleeping in the tub from where I stand.”

He twisted his body and saw Miceral smirking at him from the doorway. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to tell you fell a sleep.” Miceral retrieved the towel and held it out for his partner. “Rough day?”

Standing, Farrell felt his partner’s eyes on him. A year together and he still felt scrawny and unattractive. Not that Miceral ever said or did anything to suggest he felt that way. “Yes.”

Rubbing the soft cloth through his hair first, Farrell dried off and wrapped the towel around his waist. Leaning against the wall, Miceral continue to watch him wearing the same silly smile.

“Why’d you cover up so fast? I was enjoying the view.”

“Sure you were. Scrawny, pale and scarred—haven’t we been through this before—is not a view worth staring at.” He tried to inject as much humor as he could into his words. “Be honest, when it’s dark and we’re together, don’t you imagine something better? I mean something bigger, stronger, more like you?”

“Never.” Miceral leaned closer, kissing the side of Farrell’s neck. “I always see you and you know what that does to me.”

The kiss and Miceral’s word sent a wave of energy coursing through his body that focused on one area. Why did he even have these thoughts anymore? “If I didn’t know how much you loved me, I’d accuse you of lying.”

“Good.” He kissed Farrell again.

Before the tingle faded, Farrell felt a hand at his waist and the towel ripped away. “Hey!”

“Just getting a last look before we eat.” Miceral tossed the towel back and made for the door. “Get dressed, I had dinner sent up.”

“Dinner?” When did Miceral start ordering food sent up?

Poking his head back into the room, Miceral said, “Yes, dinner. You know, that meal we eat at the end of the day.”

Miceral disappeared and Farrell shook his head. Tying the towel around his waist, he cast a quick spell to keep it there. Using his fingers as a comb, he smoothed his unruly mane as best he could and left the chamber.

Free of the scent of soap, his nostrils detected a rich, slightly spicy aroma coming from their room. When he started to salivate, he swallowed and quick stepped into their room.

A deep bowl with mashed potatoes on top, rested in the center of the small table. He could smell the roast lamb he knew lay hidden inside. Plates, utensils, napkins and cups surrounded the tan ceramic dish, as if waiting for his arrival. Scanning the room for Miceral, Farrell almost called out when his partner emerged from Farrell’s closet. He held up a tunic and britches for Farrell’s approval.

Farrell nodded and held out his hand for the tunic. “How in Nendor did you arrange all this without me knowing? And why?”

After yanking the shirt over his head, Farrell peeled off his towel. Holding it out, it disappeared with a small flash when he let it drop.

“It wasn’t meant to be a surprise, at least not all set out like this. But you were asleep when I got home, so I had the staff fix the table.” Miceral pulled a chair back once Farrell finished putting on his pants. “As for why? Today marks one full year of knowing the most handsomest, wonderful, amazing—and dare I forget—mightiest wizard in all the world.”

Farrell rolled his eyes, but kept smiling. “Right, that’s why we’re celebrating tomorrow, remember?”

Scooping the bowl from the table, Miceral spooned a large portion of food onto Farrell’s plate. “Correct, but since we have plans for the day, I couldn’t do anything special for you tomorrow. I decided to celebrate the end of our first year today and the beginning of our new one tomorrow.”

Miceral broke a hunk of bread from the loaf and held it out across the table. “I know how much you like farmer’s pie, so I asked the cooks to make this for us.”

His grin threatened to make it impossible for Farrell to eat. “This is really sweet of you. Amazingly wonderful in fact.”

“Dig in, don’t let it get cold.”

Farrell speared a piece of lamb and a green bean before using the fork to scoop up some potatoes. One bite and he knew Miceral had done more than just ask the kitchen for food. “Who made this? It’s incredible.”

“Noticed the difference did you?” Winking, Miceral took a bite. “One of the cooks from Northhelm used to make this for me as a kid. I asked her to do it for me tonight as a favor.”

Rather than answer, Farrell shoveled more food into his mouth. The last time he remembered anyone making farmer’s pie this good, his mother ruled Yar-del and they’d had dinner in the palace together. The twinge of loss stayed with him, but Miceral’s presence dulled the pain a bit.

“So tell me.” Miceral’s voice cut his morose daydream short. “Why the bad day?”

“Do you want to kill the night’s festivities already?” Farrell laughed, but he knew telling Miceral wouldn’t ruin his mood. “Let’s just say Jursten is a dead man—and he knows it.”

“What’d he do?”

“Not what he did, what he didn’t do.” He took another bite and washed it down with half his water. “My bi-weekly attendance at the morning complaint session was this morning.”

Miceral nodded. “I know. I helped you get dressed.”

“And I’m sure I looked splendid with my face so red it nearly burst.” He chuckled remembering that Horgon looked almost the same. “Normally the sessions are boring, painful or annoying, but today topped all three. A merchant of from Respital complained that merchants from Endor were stealing business from their market and demanded reparations.”


The fork in his mouth, Farrell tried to speak, then stopped to swallow. “Exactly. As if being at war with Meglar wasn’t dire enough, they’re worried about merchant wars.”

“Farrell, trade is their livelihood. It is that important to them.”

“Agreed.” He drained his cup; then refilled it. “But their complaint was that the existent of Endor’s market hurt their business.”

Miceral chewed his bread and shook his head.

“To make matters worse, Respital’s fat, lazy, worthless, pile of pig turds of a king, Covis, agreed with his subjects and demanded Jursten repay his merchants.”

“How is that Jursten’s fault?”

“He should have declared war on Respital and cut off Covis’s fat head. Instead, he agreed with his merchants, declared impasse and sent the matter to me to decide.”

“That’s what he’s supposed to do, isn’t he?”

“Yes, but he’s also required to attend. Then again, his absence was meant as a sign of how utterly stupid he found the whole affair.”

“Sounds like you agreed with Jursten.”

“Of course I did.” He felt the anger rising inside him as he recalled the morning’s events. Taking a deep breath, he held it until some of his ire faded. “His failure to appear gave Covis the opening to argue Endor conceded the claim by not coming to argue in their defense. When that idiot made that statement, I lost my temper. I mean really lost it. I told him if he ever set foot in my council chamber again, I’d find the nearest clutch of Chamdon and deposit him the in middle with the command to rip him to pieces.”

“Wow, bet that went over well.”

“The crowd cheered my decision, until Horgon silenced them with a stare. Then your father lit into that fat dung heap. I thought Covis was going to cry.

“To cool me off, your father sent me to weapons.”

“How’d that go?”

“Worse.” Farrell tried not to laugh. He’d have to make things up to Master Baylec later.

“Worse? How?”

“I guess I was distracted still. After one too many stinging blows, I created an invisible, body-hugging, shield around myself. For a while, Baylec didn’t catch on, but when he did, he became irate. After lecturing me for a time, he called Master Thomas over to help yell at me. Being in the wonderful mood I was in, I told them both off.”


“Yeah, wow. I mean, I understand the concept of training, but I don’t see any point in letting him hurt me.”

Miceral shook his head. “The pain is supposed to motivate you to work harder to avoid future hits.”

His mouth full, Farrell had to chew before he could answer. “I think I understand the purpose of training, but it was clear I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the pain to make a difference.”

“Maybe you should have called off the session.”

“That’s what Baylec said. Now that I’ve cooled off, I somewhat agree, but at the time I was mad. I told him that as weapons master it was his responsibility to assess if I was well enough to train. That means mentally and physically. And that he should never again try to beat me into condition.”

“What did he say to that?”

“At first he and Thomas seethed, so I added that not only am I the prince of Haven, I’m also the one who has to fight Meglar. Hurting or maiming me is detrimental to both responsibilities.”

“Also a good point.”

“They seemed to think so too and then we all calmed down. Baylec apologized, I did too and then he and Thomas told me to leave their practice field until I was feeling better.”

“Told you, did they?”

“That part hasn’t changed and I don’t want it to. If I’m going to require they make an assessment of my fitness, I need to listen to them.”

“Why do I get the sense that isn’t it?”

“Because it’s not.” Farrell sighed. Just retelling the day made him tired again. “Next I tried riding with Nerti, but as soon as we set foot on Gharaha, I sensed something was wrong. One of the defensive spells was bleeding through.”

“What does that mean?”

“Breaking it down to its simplest terms, the spell had been laid improperly by Wesfazial. We designed all the spells to meld together so they have to be cast properly. Before I used the concealment spell, I was supposed check it. I guess I’ve been so preoccupied with Kel’s book this past month, I forgot. The two spells were slightly out of sync and the underlying spell was no longer hidden.”

He waited for Miceral to nod before he continued. “When I tried to ‘repair’ the problem, I almost started a cascade reaction that threatened to wipe out months or even years of work. Fortunately I stopped the break down before it got started, but I still need to go back and fix everything. That will take days of effort.

“After that Nerti told me to go take a bath and relax.”

Exhaling, he locked eyes with Miceral. Why did any of that matter right now? Staring at his partner, Farrell saw the concern in Miceral’s gaze. After the effort Miceral went through to make tonight special, Farrell couldn’t–wouldn’t–let his mood drag them down. Dipping a finger into the gravy and potatoes, he licked the tip. He made a pop when he removed it and smiled when the twinkle returned to Miceral’s eye.

“This.” He gestured toward the table, hoping not to sound too sappy. “Is exactly what I needed tonight. I feel much better already.”

Miceral wiggled his eyebrows and smiled. “Dinner was just the start. Wait until you see what’s next.”

He let Miceral pull him from his chair. “I like the sound of that.”


Read more about Miceral and Ferrell in The Last Grand Master.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Take Two by SJD Peterson

May 28, 2013

The opulent décor glimmered softly in the glow of two huge open fireplaces. A quintuplet of dazzling crystal chandeliers looming majestically overhead reflected the light, causing it to dance in the intimate two-tiered dining space. Swirling the dark purple wine around in his glass, Edward Boyd inhaled deeply, taking in aromas of blackberry, plum, licorice, and spice. Raising the glass to his lips, he took a small sip. Concentrated berry and pepper flavors with a silky feel danced across his tongue.

Ed lowered his glass, and a wave of déjà vu hit him so hard his breath caught and his hand shook, sloshing the wine. Ed set down his glass before the contents ended up staining the crisp white linen tablecloth. One year ago to the day, he’d been sitting at this same table in Acappella waiting for his husband to join him. Carrick had never shown up.


Read more about Edward and Carrick in Masters & Boyd.

The past year had been a challenge, extreme highs and painful lows. Acappella would now forever be special to Ed, even if it was the setting for one of those lows. One of the most painful he’d experienced since meeting his husband in fact. However, it was also the night when he and Carrick took the first steps toward discovering, or rather being reminded, of what was truly important. He and Carrick had been struggling to find balance in their busy lives. It took a lot of trial and error but they finally achieved it, even bought a haunted house together they were now remodeling. Ed’s career as an attorney and Carrick’s as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon were essential and part of who they were, testaments to their dedication to making and reaching goals they set out for themselves. But they also learned the jobs they loved were hollow and empty without being able to come home to the other at the end of the work day.

Strong hands landed on his shoulders seconds before soft lips brushed against Ed’s ear. “Waiting for someone?” Then those warm lips were kissing the side of his neck, causing him to shudder.

“He just arrived,” Ed said, his voice a little breathy.

Carrick took the chair across from Ed, a brilliant smile on his gorgeous face. Ed’s stomach clenched and his pulse instantly sped. Carrick had the ability to strip him of breath and voice with just a simple look. Add a touch and kiss and Ed was a trembling, needy, and so very lucky love-struck fool.

His husband was dressed in a dark blue Armani suit, blue jacquard monogrammed French-cuffed dress shirt, a gold and navy silk tie, and Carrick’s favorite gold and sapphire cufflinks. Ed’s arousal flared at the sight before him and mingled with pure giddiness as he recognized Carrick’s attire as exactly what Ed had laid out for his husband in anticipation of their anniversary dinner last year. Ed covered his mouth with the back of his hand to muffle the sound of his laughter.

One of Carrick’s brows went up slightly and he tilted his head. “I loved the shudder and the flush of your skin that my presence evoked, but I’m not so sure about the laughter.”

Ed bit his lip and shook his head, but he was sure the laughter and happiness was radiating out of his eyes when he said, “You look amazing in that suit.”

“This old thing?” Carrick asked, pulling at the lapels of his jacket. But the sly grin curling his lips told Ed he knew exactly what the suit meant, proof positive when Carrick added, “You always did have much better taste in fashion than I did.”

“I can’t believe you remembered,” Ed said honestly.

Carrick reached across the table and took Ed’s hand, entwining their fingers. “Of course I remember,” he murmured, his expression and tone of voice sincere. “I was a fool, Ed. From the moment I saw the heartbroken look on your face when you realized I’d forgotten our anniversary, I promised I’d never make you feel that way again. I’ve kept my promise. You are the most important thing in my world and I will never, ever be the cause of that look on your face.”

A lump formed in Ed’s throat as the emotions welled up in him, and he had to swallow hard before he could respond. “I love you” was the only thing he could squeeze out past his constricted throat.

Carrick brought Ed’s hand to his mouth. “I love you too.” He pressed a kiss to Ed’s knuckles.

They’d worked so hard together, through the failed date night attempts, the discovery of new kinks, Carrick’s graduation, as well as a job change and the purchase and restoration of their new house. Their lives were still extremely busy, but they started each morning with a kiss and ended each night wrapped in each other’s arms. They also never started a day nor ended it without saying I love you.

“Dr. Masters!” Gavino said enthusiastically. “So good to see you, sir. How are you?”

“Thank you, Gavino, I’m wonderful and you? How are your mom and dad?”

“Crazy as ever but I love them.” Gavino chuckled.

The lean, attractive young man with his black hair and matching eyes was the only child of Gavino Sr. and Rosa Acappella. He was friendly, always waited on them, and was as adorable as the bow tie around his neck.

“Can I get you a glass of wine, sir?” Gavino asked brightly.

“That would be lovely. I’ll have the same as my husband,” Carrick responded without taking his eyes from Ed.

“Right away,” Gavino said and discreetly left two menus on the table before moving away.

This wasn’t the first time Ed and Carrick had dined at Acappella’s in the last year. It was one of their favorite places and Gavino would never think Carrick rude for not giving him his full attention. In fact, Gavino Jr. had admitted to Ed in whispered tones that he hoped to find a husband as handsome and wonderful as Carrick. Ed couldn’t agree more. His husband was wonderful and handsome. He didn’t have the heart to tell the young man that Carrick was one of a kind, but he wished him the best. Ed had found a very rare and precious gem the day he’d been sitting on a bench outside St. Mary’s while his father was in surgery and looked up and met stunning hazel-green eyes.

Ed ran his thumb across Carrick’s finger as he spoke. “So you going to tell me what plans you have in store for us?”

It had been Carrick who’d made the reservations for tonight’s celebration. Other than that, Ed had no clue what his lover had in store for them; he’d tried to find out to no avail. Carrick could be a stubborn man when he wanted to be.

“We’re going to enjoy a romantic dinner together,” Carrick informed him. “Thank you, Gavino,” Carrick added as the young man set his wine down.

“You’re welcome, sir. Are you ready to order?” Gavino asked, picking up the untouched menus.

“Ed,” Carrick said, gesturing at him.

“I’ll have the fettuccini alfredo, please.”

“Wonderful choice, and for you, sir,” Gavino asked Carrick.

“I’ll have the same,” Carrick added.

“I’ll be right back with your salad and bread.” Gavino patted Ed on the shoulder before moving away.

“And after the romantic dinner?” Ed asked, picking up the conversation.

“It’s a sec—”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence,” Ed grumbled and pointed his fork at Carrick threateningly. “You know I hate secrets and surprises and I think I’ve been a pretty good sport for the last month. But, dammit, it’s our anniversary.” He glanced down at his watch. “In fact, it’s been our anniversary for seventeen hours.”

“Aww c’mon, babe, you’ll ruin the surprise,” Carrick said, completely ignoring the cutlery risk and casually swirling his wine around in his glass before taking a sip.

“Carrick,” Ed said warningly.

Carrick just smiled and took another sip of his wine then scootched his chair back just in time to avoid the kick Ed aimed at his shin. Ed sighed in resignation. He wasn’t going to get anything out of Carrick. “Stubborn bastard,” he grumbled under his breath.

“What was that?” Carrick asked, his eyes sparkling with mischief.

“Sweet bouquet,” Ed lied and raised his glass. “Happy anniversary.”

Carrick touched his glass to Ed’s. “Happy anniversary, babe. May this be just one of many very happy celebrations of our life together.”

“To many, many more.” The slight irritation rushed out of Ed and he smiled as he brought his glass to his lips. He still hated surprises and felt a little edgy not knowing what Carrick had in store for them, but he trusted that whatever his husband had planned, it would be a night or a week to remember.


“Can you tell me now?” Ed begged as soon as they were in the car and headed down the highway.

Carrick stole a glance at the pouting man and grinned. Carrick could point out he was whining but that would just get Ed all the more irritated. He had to give himself a lot of credit. Ed had used every trick in the book to get Carrick to reveal his secrets, but he’d stayed strong. Not an easy task when one’s gorgeous husband stooped to sexual teasing until Carrick thought he’d lose his goddamn mind.

When Carrick ignored the newest attempt, Ed huffed out a breath but the grin on his face and the fact that he was still holding Carrick’s hand, thumb rubbing along Carrick’s, ruined the attempt at anger. Carrick wasn’t being difficult or cruel. He’d ruined last year’s celebration of their marriage and he was bound and determined to make this year perfect.

“At least I’m not blindfolded this time,” Ed mused as he watched tentatively out the windshield.

“Dammit, I knew I forgot something,” Carrick teased. Actually, maybe he should have thought of it. The last time he’d blindfolded Ed had been an amazing moment. Not only had it led to the exploration of a new kink between them, one of dominate and submissive, but they also had an amazing painting of Ed on their bedroom wall as a reminder of just how incredible that day had been. “You weren’t complaining the last time I had you bound and blindfolded,” he reminded Ed.

“Mmmhmm” was Ed’s only response but his smile was wry. Carrick couldn’t hold back his laughter any longer, Ed joining in.

“Here we are,” Carrick said as he pulled into the parking lot of the Plaza.

“Ooh! Hot tubs and room service. I like.”

“I knew you would,” Carrick chuckled as he pulled into a parking spot and cut the engine.

Ed reached for the door handle and started to pull away but Carrick refused to release his hand. When Ed turned and looked at him with a confused expression, Carrick tugged him closer. The second their lips met, Ed no longer tried to get away; instead he wrapped his arm around Carrick’s neck and deepened the kiss. Ed pushed his tongue past Carrick’s lips, licking the back of his teeth and causing a tingling sensation to race down Carrick’s spine. He suddenly needed more. More skin against skin. Needed to have his husband beneath him. To be inside him.

Carrick growled into the kiss, jerked back, and threw open his door. “Let’s go,” he said hoarsely, his breaths coming in short huffs.

As Ed stepped out of the car, Carrick could have sworn he heard him say “Works every time” but when he asked, Ed responded, “Don’t we need luggage?”

“It’s already in the room,” Carrick said, coming around to the other side of the car and taking Ed’s hand in his once again to pull the smaller man along. Ed giggled, an honest-to-goodness giggle, and the happiness in that small sound made Carrick’s warmth spread through him. Damn, he need to get them to their room, naked, and wrapped in each other, pronto. Carrick hit the button on the key fob, locking the car without slowing his strides. He didn’t slow down until he stood outside their room, ran the key card, and pushed the door open.

Carrick had come to the Plaza before meeting Ed for dinner. Champagne was now chilling in a silver bucket, brightly wrapped gifts sat atop the dresser, candles were ready to be lit, the covers were pulled back on the bed, blinds were drawn, and body oil and lube sat within easy reach of the mattress. From the low whistle and hum of approval coming from Ed, it appeared Carrick had done well. His plan was to toast another year together, massage every inch of Ed’s body till he was pliable beneath Carrick, and then make slow love to him the rest of the night. However, after the hot kiss they shared in the car, Carrick’s body had other plans. More immediate ones.

Before Ed could make it too far into the room, Carrick grabbed him and pushed him against the closed door, his keys clanking on the floor as he pushed and pulled at Ed’s clothing. “Off,” he grunted huskily then covered Ed’s mouth and forced his tongue between Ed’s lips as he pushed Ed’s jacket off his shoulders then pulled his shirt out of the waistband of Ed’s slacks.

Carrick’s arousal kicked into overdrive and he was achingly hard. Carrick deepened the kiss, devouring Ed’s mouth as he tried to get Ed naked as quickly as possible. He made an annoyed sound in the back of his throat when the buttons on Ed’s dress shirt refused to cooperate, and he grabbed the material in both fists and yanked, sending buttons flying.

Ed pushed at Carrick’s shoulders, separating them just enough to speak against Carrick’s lips. “Let me do it,” he said, breathless.

Carrick growled again in frustration and forced himself to take a step back and take a couple of panting breaths. Ed smiled at him wryly as he slowly unbuttoned the one cuff of his shirt. His husband was baiting him. “Ed,” Carrick snarled in warning. Ed’s smile grew as he just as slowly unbuttoned the other cuff. “Screw it.” He grabbed Ed around the waist and picked the smaller man up off his feet and threw him over his shoulder.

“Hey,” Ed yelped in surprise and then began to laugh. The pleasant curl in Carrick’s belly at Ed’s sound of happiness fluttered again.

Carrick threw Ed on the bed, grabbed his belt and yanked it, and then pulled down his slacks before Ed even stopped bouncing on the mattress. Ed watched him, his blue eyes dark with lust as Carrick unfastened his own slacks and pushed them down his hips before snatching the lube from the bedside table. Carrick didn’t even bother with his jacket or shirt, just popped open the lid on the lube, squeezing some into the palm of his hand before tossing the tube over his shoulder. Carrick wrapped his fist around his cock, coating it liberally. Ed didn’t say another word, just continued to watch him longingly, his chest rising and falling rapidly as he kicked off his shoes and pulled his slacks the rest of the way off.

Carrick’s need was so powerful his head spun, and he grasped Ed’s leg, his skin warm and soft, the muscles flexing beneath Carrick’s fingertips as he pushed it up and back. “Damn, I need you,” Carrick groaned. He forced himself to be gentle as he ran his slick fingers teasingly along Ed’s crease.

“I’m all yours,” Ed got out between panted breaths and grasped his other thigh, opening himself to Carrick. “Please… Carrick. Need you so much.”

A primal sound escaped Carrick as he pressed himself against Ed’s ass before he leaned down, nearly bending Ed in half as he took his mouth in a hungry kiss. Ed’s entire body tightened briefly as Carrick thrust his hips hard and buried himself deep inside. Ed’s strangled cry of pleasure vibrated against Carrick’s tongue and lips, and he fed him back his own sounds as Ed’s body clamped down hard on him.

Carrick released his hold on Ed’s leg and encouraged his lover to wrap them both around him as Carrick set a hard and fast rhythm. Carrick shoved his shirt up as far as it would go, needing to feel skin on skin, and slid his hands under Ed’s arms, grasping his shoulders from behind and pulling their bodies as close together as he could.

There would be time for slow, sloppy kisses, sweet words of endearment and lovemaking; their whole lives in fact. But right then it was all about passion, desire, and need, something that hadn’t waned a fraction in the four years since meeting Ed. He loved his husband without bounds, his heart unquestioningly belonged to the sweet, gorgeous man who had blessed Carrick’s life the day he said, “I do. Carrick’s very soul was incomplete without him, but this…. This inflamed passion made their relationship not only one of love and friendship but one of pure physical delights. Ed was his everything.

“Carrick!” Ed cried out, his back arched. Ed mewled and cursed, his body trembling as he continued to moan and babble incoherently.

Carrick’s thrusts became erratic as he fought to keep his own orgasm that had begun to unfurl from exploding until he’d pulled Ed’s from him. “Come for me,” he hissed through gritted teeth.

Ed threw his head back, and a harsh shout echoed off the walls of the small room as he gave in to his orgasm.

It was futile to stay in control in the face of Ed’s pleasure-filled sounds and the look on his face. He froze, his body coiled tightly, and he came deep inside Ed with a loud roar of his own. Spent, Carrick collapsed and buried his face in the side of Ed’s neck, gasping for breath.

They lay there together, Ed’s hands clutching the back of Carrick’s jacket, legs spread and limp against the mattress. Carrick’s legs felt like jello, knees about to buckle, and he was breathing hard, heart pounding from the exertion, but damn he felt good.

“I love you,” he whispered against Ed’s damp skin. “Thank you for marrying me and standing beside me.”

“Nowhere I’d rather be than at your side…. Well except, maybe occasionally beneath you,” Ed chuckled. He hugged Carrick tight, brushing his soft lips against Carrick’s cheek. “And I love you, too.”

With a groan, Carrick pushed up on his hands and looked down into Ed’s sated eyes. “So how am I doing so far with the celebration?” he asked warmly. “Better than last year?”

Ed reached up and grabbed Carrick’s face in his hands and pulled his head down, his lips brushing against Carrick’s as he said, “Each year with you just keeps getting better and better.”

There were a hundred ways Carrick could respond, how he agreed wholeheartedly, but his throat constricted with emotion and he had to swallow hard. Then he didn’t need to say anything because Ed was kissing him again, sweet and tender, and he reveled in it. Ed was the best thing to happen to him and he’d never again make Ed regret marrying him. In Ed’s arms was where he planned to stay the rest of his life.

The End

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – A Super Reporter’s Work Is Never Done by Pearl Love

May 28, 2013

Closing my eyes to avoid the goo trying to drip into them, I flicked my hands up and down several times, succeeding only in spraying the exotic flowers around me with the ick.


“I told you to duck.” Victor had the gall to look sheepish.

I glared at him, taking irritated note of the pristine state of his green and white outfit, the red cape snapping behind him in the breeze. The lycra hugged his insanely hot body like a second skin, making it hard for me to stay pissed with him, which in turn only annoyed me more. A sudden gust of brisk wind blew over me, making me shiver in my goo-saturated state. Although Mount Otemanu was only 2500 feet at its summit, at this height the trade winds were uncomfortably chilly. Leave it to me to freeze in paradise.

“Just once I would like to be able to go on vacation without having to worry about being attacked by the creature of the week.” I flung a hand out toward the fallen carcass of the hideous creature that had dared interrupt our trip. “You know, like a normal freaking couple.”

Victor held out his arms and I stepped into them automatically, accustomed to his manner of offering me a lift. He raised a black eyebrow at me and glanced down at the ground receding rapidly beneath us. Okay, so he had a point. “Normal” was hardly the word for us, not when only one of us was human and the other was an all-powerful, god-like super being from outer space. And Mexico. Mustn’t forget Mexico.

The monster had attacked us while we were enjoying a dip in the unbelievably blue water surrounding the tiny spec of rock that was Bora Bora. I’d stared in disbelief at the giant, tentacled . . . thing that had risen from the depths, apparently thinking that we’d make an easy snack. I’d been on the hysterical verge of complaining that the tour agent had neglected to mention this little issue when Victor had transformed into El Magnifico before my eyes. He could have taken care of the beast with no trouble, but when it aimed one of his squid-like appendages at me, he’d whisked me off to the top of the ragged mountain top for safekeeping.

Who would have guessed that the damn thing could also fly?

Seeing that he had no choice but to fight it with me around, El Mag—my pet name for my favorite super hottie—had made short work of the creature, blasting it with his heat vision. The tentacled menace had surprised us, once again, by exploding like a worm under a magnifying glass on a sunny day.

“I’m sorry.” Victor held me close as he flew us away from the sight of the short-lived battle.

I wanted to be mad at him, not that it was his fault, of course. I would have blamed the monster, but since it was dead, Victor made a convenient target. As we rose higher over the volcano, what had seemed like a precipitously sloped jungle while I’d huddled amongst the trees, attempting not to get eaten, resolved itself into an impressive peak, shrouded in green. The volcanic rock had succumbed to the constant barrage of the elements, leaving behind a narrow, stark protrusion of rock that rose sharply from the lower sides of the tree-covered mountain. We rose higher, and even Mount Otemanu gradually faded into the scenery that was the extreme northern reach of the French Polynesian chain. The island was even more beautiful from our bird’s eye vantage, and I was almost willing to forgive Victor his trespasses for gifting me with this amazing view. Almost.

“I swear, I’m going to make you eat spinach every day for a week once we get home,” I grumbled.

A blush appeared just above the neckline of the outfit his adorable mother had made for him and spread upward to encompass his face. “I wouldn’t mind,” he murmured into my ear. I felt myself instantly get hard at the implication.

Spinach. His nemesis-with-benefits. The rules, now that we knew them, were simple. Intimate contact made Victor lose his powers, turning him into a normal, human weakling. Well, as weak as any well-built, six foot five hunk could be. The handicap had kept him from flying me to the moon—figuratively, of course—for years after he’d declared his undying love for me. We’d found a work around completely by chance when I’d tricked Victor into eating spinach, his least favorite food in the universe, right before New York City was almost leveled by belligerent aliens in a spaceship armed to the teeth. It turned out that spinach left him even weaker than making out. But once I’d convinced him to have “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” sex in the ruined shambles of my condo, we learned that post-spinach sex made him even stronger than he usually was. El Magnifico had saved the city and I’d ruined Victor for any other man. Win-win.

In fact, the reason we were in Bora Bora in the first place was to celebrate the one-year anniversary of that fortuitous discovery. And he’d had to go and ruin it by being all Mr. Super Hero while I was busy trying to get him out of his speedos for some skinny-dipping in the sun-kissed waters of the Pacific. Now, however, his misunderstanding of my intentions to torture him with the stringy, green vegetable threatened to relegate my pique to the farthest, most cobwebbed corner of my mind.

“Yeah, whatever,” I replied, mulishly trying to hold on to my crossness. As we neared the hotel, Victor called me on my bluff and started nibbling on the side of my slime-coated neck. The bastard. “Hold your horses. Let me at least take a shower first before I let you make this up to me.”

Despite what you may think, I wasn’t actually expecting sex. Although I wanted him every second of every day, we didn’t overindulge due to the risk. After all, we couldn’t always depend on having spinach on hand. Even the little peck he’d given me hadn’t left him unaffected. My stomach rose into my throat when we suddenly plummeted several dozen feet, his ability to fly disrupted by the playful kiss. I looked at him crossly, and he smiled back as though we weren’t in danger of dropping out of the sky just because he really liked giving me hickies.

We were staying at the Sofitel, which, like most of the island’s resorts, consisted of a collection of thatched-roofed huts that extended out over the water by means of connected walkways. Victor had booked the trip all by himself, and for such short notice, I was extremely impressed. Our boss, Terry Brown, the segment producer for the cable news network we worked for, had the same enthusiasm for approving time off as he would for the prospect of having his leg amputated without anesthetic. How my partner had managed to convince the blowhard to release us for an entire week, I’m not sure I really wanted to know. Then again, Terry had always liked Victor more than me.

The Sofitel was surrounded by the ubiquitous jungle that blanketed the island, so it was easy to hide as Victor brought us in for a landing. By means unknown, El Magnifico transformed back into his mild-mannered alter ego, Victor Ramirez, and after a short hike through the jungle, we were back at our assigned hut. Fortunately, our bungalow was at the far end of the row, a matter of cost and, ahem, privacy. We didn’t encounter a soul as we made our way along the walkway, which was a definite plus, considering I was still covered head to toe in exploded tentacle monster slime.

“Steve, are you really mad?”

Goddamnit. There he went with the chocolate-brown puppy eyes that never failed to make me cave to his every whim. I sighed as I slipped my shirt over my head and threw the disgusting thing out of the open window and into the waiting ocean below. “No. I’m just feeling nasty. And I’m hungry.” My shorts followed the shirt. The sandals I kept, seeing as how they had survived mostly unscathed and they were the Josef Seibels Victor had bought me for my birthday last year. Victor grinned, blinding me with the light of his TV-personality-white teeth.

“Good! Because we have reservations for dinner in a couple of hours.”

The hotel only had one restaurant, so, unless he was planning to trek to different one, he had to mean we were eating at the Latitude 16° like we had every day since we’d arrived. Still, the food was pretty good, and I’d discovered I liked ceviche more than I’d thought. But not covered in glop.

“Okay. Let me shower and we can hit the gift shop while we wait. Mama Carisa made me promise I’d bring her something nice back from our trip.” Seeing as my own parents had passed away when I was a teenager, I had fallen under the spell of Victor’s warm, loving guardians almost before I’d realized it.

Blessedly free of tainted clothing, I went into the bathroom, shutting the door only to prevent the steam from turning the living area/bedroom into a sauna, a real possibility despite the hard-working air conditioner. I’d been under the decently-pressured water for only a few minutes, singing at the top of my off-key lungs, when a shadow fell over the shower curtain. Stupid flashes of the “Psycho” theme song flitted through my head before I recognized the figure as Victor. I glanced at him—okay, ogled—as he joined me in the cramped space.

“I don’t think we’re both going to fit,” I said absently, far more interested in the sight of the water that streamed in rivulets over his olive-toned skinned. Whether by unknowable design or mysterious fate, Victor broadly resembled the Mexican immigrants he called madre and padre. His black hair quickly became plastered to his head beneath the spray, making him look like a mischievous seal as he smirked down at me. The heat of the water was nothing compared to his extraordinary body temperature, and I was very glad for the shower as it immediately whisked away the sweat I was almost certainly producing in copious amounts.

“We always fit,” he said reasonably. Besides, it was true. Whenever we did allow ourselves to indulge in the risky act of screwing like bunnies, we made it work no matter where we happened to be at the time. Why should this time be any exception? Victor reached for me, the alien radiator pulling me even closer to his “Magnifico” body, but a twinge of my rarely used conscience prompted me put up a hand between us to stop him.

“Whoa, wait a minute. Are you sure?” I stood firm as he peered down at me with an adorable blink at that ridiculous question. “I mean, what if there’s an emergency, like that squid thing?” Despite all my grumbling, I took his world-saving duties as seriously as he did. While I sincerely wanted him to fuck me into the wall, I wouldn’t enjoy it if I thought it could lead to some avoidable tragedy. Even with Victor’s support, it had taken me months to get the creepy, destructive aliens who’d tried to decimate Manhattan out of my nightmares. It was my carelessness that had led to the near tragedy, so I tended to be extra cautious these days.

Victor said nothing. He merely reached a long arm around the edge of the shower curtain and retrieved something that he soon pulled into view. In his hand was a plastic baggie half-full of what looked like dried spinach. I suddenly knew why he’d asked his mother for a food dehydrator this past Christmas. While I stared at him, he pulled out a handful and popped it into his mouth, managing just barely to keep from wincing at the taste. Victor really hated spinach, and for good reason, as it turned out.

“So, what, that’s like green Viagra, or something like that?”

“Something like that.”

I thought about it for a moment, admiring both Victor’s fortitude in eating what he’d once likened to “cigarette ashes licked out of a urinal at Penn Station” and his inventiveness. “I guess you’re sure. Well, okay then.”

It was a good thing we had two hours before dinner. After several bouts of wild sex in the shower, up against the bathroom door, on the raised, pillow-strewn platform in front of the picture window overlooking the ocean, and, at long last, the bed itself, I needed a nap. Victor, of course, super charged from the combination of spinach and amazing sex, decided to expend some energy by flying the circuit of Auckland, Port Moresby, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and the Galapagos Islands about forty times while I got some much needed rest. When he saw me standing out on our balcony as he flew overhead on his forty-first trip, he landed at my side. All he had to show for his journey was slightly tousled hair and a big, stupid grin that stretched across his gorgeous face. I blinked and resisted the urge to shield my eyes. I yawned widely, and his smile grew commiserate with my lingering exhaustion.

“Just for that, I’m going to make you pay for my gift to your mother,” I snapped. He knew I was kidding. No one loved a prolonged bout of monkey lovin’ more than me.

We made our way to the restaurant and nabbed a seat by the window. Latitude 16° featured what the tour agent had called “show cooking.” It involved lots of exaggerated gestures and tricks by the chefs, fire, and lastly, amazing food. We placed our orders, and I turned to gaze out at the darkening sky while Victor downed his fourth glass of water in as many minutes, a by-product of his enhanced metabolism. As it tends to do in the tropics, the sun was fading quickly, dipping towards the watery horizon in a blazing show of reds and oranges.

“I love you,” I whispered, knowing he would be able to hear me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him look at me over his raised glass. He lowered it and gazed at me besottedly. Smiling, I turned away from one stunning view toward an even more incredible one. He slid a hand across the table and entwined our fingers. Victor wasn’t one for PDAs, but in a more private setting such as this, he was quite the cuddly toucher.

“I love you, too, Steve,” he replied. His smile became subdued with ill-repressed emotion. “Here’s to many more years together.”

Touching my water glass to his, I felt my heart resonate to the tinkling chime as they met. Since it was dinner time, the wait staff had lit candles on each table, and his beautiful eyes shown in the flickering light. Soft lamps set into discrete recesses around the room glinted off of his midnight hair. The soft material of his Polo shirt caressed the rippling swell of his pecs as he reached out for my other hand, his thumbs drifting gently over the sensitive skin of my wrists. I hate being sappy, but honestly, this moment couldn’t have been any more perfect.

And then my fucking cell phone rang. Who in the Hell puts cell towers in paradise, I ask you?

Victor stared at me in shock as I yanked my phone from my pocket with a vicious tug. I knew who it was. There were only two people on the entire planet that had the clout to not only insist I take my cell with me on vacation to the middle of the goddamn ocean, but to actually make me answer it when it rang. And it wasn’t Mama Carisa. She’d threatened to dunk it in the toilet when she saw me packing it in my suitcase. I punched at the call accept button, trying my best to grind my teeth into powder.

“What do you want, Terry?” I growled. Victor groaned audibly and slumped until his long framed was half off of his chair.

“I want you and Ramirez to get your asses back to the States, that’s what. Senator Hickenloften got himself photographed with a prostitute down in his home state. Now he’s holed up in his house, refusing to comment on the matter. The vultures have already descended, and I’ll be damned it we miss out on the story because you two slackers wanted some R&R.”

Victor had, of course, heard everything, and his broad shoulders moved up and down in a resigned sigh as I rolled my eyes at Terry’s theatrics. “A female prostitute?” I asked. “How boring.” I moved to stop Victor as he started to call over our waiter to cancel our order, grabbing his hand before he could raise it. I hardly thought something so mundane as a senator getting caught with his pants down was worth interrupting our precious alone time. Hickenloften could have at least had the decency to have hired a barely legal boy hustler or something, for goodness sake. And he called himself a politician.

“We should go,” Victor whispered, always the loyal minion. I held up a finger.

“Terry, there’s no way we can get a flight out of here before the morning. We’ll be back as soon as we can.” I hung up and sent Victor a weary grin. “No rest for the wicked, I guess.”

“At least we had a nice . . . three days.” His expression fell when he realized that we’d only had half of the time we’d planned and that we had already prepaid for the entire week.

I chuckled. “Happy anniversary, love. Happy anniversary.”


Read more about Steve and Victor in That Which Doesn’t Kill You, part of the Men of Steel anthology.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Happy Anniversary, Baby by Tinnean

May 27, 2013

Before Quinton Mann, I’d mostly done one-night stands. It was easier, neater that way.

After Quinn, it was just him, and it was better, in spite of the fact that he was CIA and I was WBIS, because frankly, never the twain should have met.

But we did meet.

We were the last people anyone would have expected to wind up together.

Somehow, we did wind up together.


Quinn and I were never what you might call formally introduced.

Of course I’d known of the CIA spook for some years, and most likely he could have said the same of me, although at that time I was the senior special agent for the Washington Bureau of Intelligence and Security.

This thing between us started when he phoned my office to invite me to dinner at Raphael’s, the upscale Italian restaurant in DC. It was to celebrate my birthday, but it turned into so much more.

And now here we were, two years later….


I never said anything to Quinn, but I’d always considered May 29 our anniversary. Not of when we’d met, in that warehouse on the Patapsco River, or the first time he’d gone down on me, in the men’s room at Raphael’s on my birthday, or even the first time I’d fucked him, which was after he’d poured most of a bottle of champagne into me to celebrate my promotion to Deputy Director of Interior Affairs.

No, the twenty-ninth was the day I’d realized just how much the spook meant to me, because as soon as I’d learned Quinn had been kidnapped and was being held by Prinzip, a rogue antiterrorist organization based in France, I’d gone after him.

It could have cost me the job I’d worked at for fifteen years. Hell, it could have cost me my life. None of that had mattered. As clichéd as it sounded, without Quinn, life wouldn’t have been worth living. So I’d flown to Paris to get him, and I’d taken Prinzip apart in the process.

I’d never told Quinn. What would be the purpose? He was royalty in the intelligence community, and me? I was the guy who took care of the dirty jobs.

Quinn surprised me, though. He didn’t seem to mind the enjoyment I took in my work—after all, what could be more satisfying than taking out the idiots of this world? But in addition to that, it made no difference to him that I’d grown up on the wrong side of the tracks… that my father was out of my life before I’d entered kindergarten and my old lady was a lush.

So like I’d said, here we were… a couple.

But the thing was… he still lived in his town house and I lived in my condo.

We spent a lot of nights in my bed or in his—not as many as I’d have liked, but I was willing to take what I could get. And on those nights we were together and he’d fall asleep in my arms, I’d lie awake trying to come up with a—okay, so shoot me—a romantic way to ask him to move in with me.


I’d never asked how many square feet his town house was, but it had two stories. Two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms were on the second floor, while on the first were the living, dining, and music rooms, along with the kitchen and wine cellar.

My condo was about three thousand square feet, and some of that square footage was a super-sized pantry. If Quinn even mentioned the words “moving in,” I’d turn that pantry into a wine cellar in a New York City minute for him.

But he seemed happy in his town house, and how could I argue with that? I had fond memories of it myself, having broken into it back when we’d first started fucking with each other’s minds. I’d cuffed him to his bed, cut his pajamas off him, and gone down on him.

And why hadn’t I done that since? Not the blowing him—if we didn’t do that before we went to sleep, we’d do it before we got up for the day—but cuffing him to the bed. He’d enjoyed it a lot, which surprised the hell out of me at the time. He was known as the Ice Man throughout the intelligence community, after all.

Bunch of fucking idiots, not seeing the heat beneath the surface. He’d just needed to give up control to really burn.

Well, it was their loss; no way were any of them getting another chance at my lover.

And the next time he spent the night? I was breaking out the handcuffs.


It was May 29, the perfect day to ask Quinn to move in, and I planned to do it over that romantic dinner. I had two-inch-thick T-bone steaks and jumbo lobster tails in the fridge, along with a Chocolate Orgasm from Rosie’s Bakery up in Cambridge. After Quinn had sampled it our first Christmas together—and very nearly had an orgasm at his mother’s dinner table—I’d made sure we had it a few times a year.

I was also going to serve up a couple of Idaho potatoes, slathered with butter, sour cream, and chives, and a mixed salad with vinaigrette dressing.

Quinn came out of the study. Lately, he’d taken to locking himself in there for an hour or so whenever he came over. I had no idea what he was doing, although I could hear him tapping away at his laptop, and as much as I wanted to know, I respected his privacy.

He watched as I crawled around the far end of the living room, finally asking, “What are you doing?”

“Measuring.” I had a tape measure out and was noting feet and inches. I was pretty sure Quinn’s baby grand piano would fit in that spot, but I wanted to be certain.

“I can see that. What for?”

“Oh, I thought I’d have Matheson put in some built-ins,” I said breezily.

“Sounds like a good idea.”

Yeah? Looked like I’d really need to have Matheson do a little woodworking for me.

Quinn handed me a stack of papers.

“What’s this?”

“A manuscript. It’s something I’ve been working on in my spare time. I’m calling it Mind Fuck.”

Mind Fuck? “You’re going to be a writer in your spare time?”

He nodded and worried his lip.

“Okay, but why Challenger Deep?” That was the name under the title.

“I need to distance us…. Look, I’m going to drive to Great Falls and visit Mother and Gregor. I should be back in time for dinner. Maybe Raphael’s?”

I cleared my throat. “It’s Saturday.”

“There’s no law that says we can’t go two nights in a row.”

I just shrugged, although I was smugly pleased. He hadn’t seen what was waiting in the fridge.

“You can read this while I’m gone.”

“You’re awfully confident about the speed of my reading.”

“I’d simply like you to read the first few chapters.” If it was anyone other than Quinton Mann, I’d have sworn he was nervous. He grabbed up his keys and started to leave the room, but then he turned back and kissed me.

Before I could pull him against me and deepen the kiss, he strode to the front door, unlocked it in the latest sequence, and left.

Alone in the condo, I flipped through the pages before setting the manuscript down on the coffee table and going to the kitchen to take a bottle of Coke from the fridge—it was too early in the day for a Sam Adams. Then I went back into the living room, made myself comfortable, and began to read.

And read.

No wonder why he’d wanted to distance us from this. It was a fictionalized account of how we’d met and the mind games we’d played with each other.

And to say it was steamy was putting it mildly.

Three hours later, I turned over the last page, tidied the stack, and placed it on the coffee table. I reached for the bottle of Coke and swallowed, grimacing as I realized it had gone flat. “Shit.”

A sound had me looking up.

Quinn was standing in the long hallway that led from the front door. “You’re finished?”

“How long have you been there?” Dammit, I was losing my touch. I’d been so wrapped in the story I hadn’t heard the door open.

“About five minutes. What… what do you think about it?”

I scowled at him. “How come I got to be the woman?” I knew why the characters had to be straight—that was the way it was. Didn’t mean I liked it, but I understood it.

“When you write a book, you can make me the woman. What do you think of it?”

“Do you have an agent?”

“Uncle Bryan knows someone out in L.A. After reading the first chapter, she expressed interest. What do you think?” he asked a third time.

“I’m impressed.”


“Really. You did good.” He did fucking amazing!

“You didn’t think I had it in me, did you?”

He was going to have me in him. “Baby, I’m more proud of you than I can say.” I got to my feet, crossed to where he stood, and ran my palm up and down his biceps. “This will give us something else to celebrate.”

“What else are we celebrating?”

“Did I say something else? I meant something.”

“I… see.” He sounded disappointed, and that was the last thing I wanted.

“Okay, look, Quinn. I know we… uh… sort of exchanged… words, after that thing with Wexler.”

“Yes, we did.”

We’d been watching Hondo, and after John Wayne explained to Geraldine Page about the squaw-seeking ceremony ending with the single word that meant forever, I’d turned to Quinn and found myself saying, “Forever.” I hadn’t been sure how he would respond to that, but he’d stroked his thumb over my cheekbone and whispered the word against my lips.

“And….” Fuck it; time to man up. “I always considered today our anniversary.”

He stared into my eyes, and then tilted his head. “Paris?”


“I’d hoped….” He relaxed into me and curled an arm around my neck. “So did I.”

All right! I grabbed his wrist and tugged him after me toward the bedroom.

He pulled me to a halt. “Mark?”

“Get with the program, Mann. We’ve got a couple of hours before I need to start dinner—”

“No Raphael’s?”

“Not tonight. I have a T-bone in the fridge with your name on it.”


I grinned at him. “You’re going to need your strength. I always wanted to make love with a bestselling author.”

“Did you, now?” His eyes were bright.

“You bet. As long as you’re that bestselling author.”

“Yes? In that case, I have only one thing to say to you.” He cupped my cheek in his palm, drew my face to his, and kissed me. “Happy anniversary, baby.”


Read more about Mark and Quinn in the Spy vs. Spook series.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Misnomer by Posy Roberts

May 27, 2013

I was used to this, or at least I’d lied to myself long enough that I thought I was over the years and years of missed holidays and special occasions. Although most of my time was spent working in the clinic, I often covered shifts at the hospital for regular ER staff neurologists so they could spend time with their families on those “family” days. They had kids. I didn’t. They had spouses. I didn’t.

I just had a boyfriend. A partner. A lover. All paltry words that were such weak terms for what Thomas and I were to each other, but we’d consciously chosen to not use the word husband until we were legally married. In 2008, Thomas and I had made tentative plans to get married the following summer, but neither of us had actually proposed or done any of those rituals. When Prop 8 passed, going into effect the day after Election Day, our marriage plans were called off before they’d even had a chance to get off the ground. We wanted a marriage and made the decision to wait until Prop 8 had either been overturned or deemed unconstitutional, more out of protest than anything. Now we were just waiting for the Supreme Court to make up its mind. Thomas and I wanted to be married, but we wanted to be married in California since that’s where we had lived for well over a decade.

Thomas was my entire life, even after twenty-three years. Twenty-two if you went by his accounting, but I’d always been better at math. He playfully argued with me whenever I told people how long we’d been together. Even if we weren’t technically together when he went on tour with his band during the summer of 1990, I was at college in Seattle thinking of little else but him and classes. It was twenty-three years, dammit. Twenty-three pretty wonderful years.

Youth was no longer on our side after that long. My once-blond hair was now speckled with gray, and it was cropped so short that all the curl was long gone, unceremoniously swept away by some barber’s broom and dumped in a trash bin. Thomas was still as gorgeous as ever with his dark hair and rich green eyes that danced when he smiled. His skin was beautifully pale, but that gorgeous chest with the rosy-pink nipples that had turned me into an imbecile so many years ago was not quite as toned. And the slight roundedness added to his stomach was something I never thought I’d crave. I did though. I loved rubbing my cool palms over his warm belly—now covered in a sparse, downy blanket of dark hair—as I pulled him close to me in bed each night.

Except for this night. It was our twenty-third anniversary, and I was stuck covering Dr. Trillio’s emergency room shift so he could attend his daughter’s birthday party and help his wife wrangle all the little girls who were sleeping over. I went to the break room and poured myself a cup of coffee, taking a quick sip and working hard to stop myself from feeling resentful over something I willingly volunteered for.

Thomas was at home now, but he’d had a concert earlier that night. That’s why I’d volunteered. He’d probably gotten home sore and tired because the pieces the San Francisco Symphony was currently performing had him running around the percussion section like a madman. Kid’s half his age would’ve been exhausted by those antics, but he reveled in the challenge and wowed the audiences.

“Simon, I’m glad I found you.” It was Dr. Blankenship, the head of the neurology department, and he was dressed in scrubs. “I think I should relieve you.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“A little birdy told me it was your anniversary tonight.”

Ethel, the ER nurse who never seemed to forget a birthday, walked past the door and winked. I couldn’t help the smile that parted my lips as I looked back toward Dr. Blankenship.

“It is. Thank you.”

“Go home to your boyfriend.”

“I owe you one,” I said as I shook my boss’s hand and then forced myself to not sprint for the door. “Thanks, so much.”

I got home as fast as I could and slipped up the stairs toward the bedroom. Thomas was fast asleep, nude, of course. It was nearly one in the morning. The little head tilt I felt automatically happen was pathetic, but Thomas was always so beautiful when he slept that I couldn’t help it. I wanted to look at him. I was still content to just stare at this man after all our years together. They hadn’t all been good years—there were a few that had been complete shit—but we’d managed to stay together despite all that. We somehow came out squeaky clean on the other side. Squeaky clean and together.

Clothes effortlessly fell away as I closed in on the bed. I was glad because I’d been known to get tripped up on my underwear or to struggle to get out of a too-tight shirt because of my bum shoulder, especially when I was as anxious to be next to my naked man as I was then. None of that happened tonight, though. Instead, I was slipping between the cool sheets and feeling the warm skin of Thomas against my chest.

He rolled over and lazily opened his eyes, blinking haphazardly and then looking toward the blue haze of the alarm clock. “You’re home early,” he said as he turned back my way with a dozy smile.

“Blankenship relieved me so I could come home to be with you.”

“Mmm,” Thomas said as he turned to face me. “I’m glad you’re here. I wanted to ask you something.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Not now. Kiss me first.”

I didn’t really need to be asked twice. Kissing was still a favored activity, even if we no longer took the time to truly savor the moments like we should. Thomas’s lips were so soft as he opened to me, and he easily let me lick into his mouth so I could feel the texture of his mouth and taste his tongue: smooth and toothpaste-sweet. I loved that. No one felt quite like Thomas did, even if I went far back into my history.

“You’re fucking horny, aren’t you,” Thomas asked after I mindlessly ground my groin into Thomas’s hip.

Sighing, I tried to blow off the truth of his words, and I pulled my hips back to disguise my rapidly hardening cock. I really couldn’t hide anything from him after all these years. Thomas knew all my tricks. I wanted Thomas no matter what. I wanted to feel that familiar heat and tension surrounding my dick and—more importantly—I wanted to luxuriate in him.

“I’m fucking horny for you,” I finally admitted willingly with that little modifier added. A few more endearments started slipping past my lips, moving us away from the routine normalcy we now typically had in bed to something a little more intimate and romantic. “You make me feel like everything is right. I don’t care if we started off crazy ages ago and ended up boring as dirt with a hell of a lot of angst in between. I love you just the same. Fuck! I love you more for that; you know?”

I felt slick, warm lube around my cock, and Thomas’s strong hands guiding me right where I wanted to be. I slid in all warm, happy, and content as Thomas spread his legs wider for me.

“Love you more than I can say,” Thomas managed to slur out as I filled him. “More…. More…. Right there.”

I was tapping Thomas in just the right place to send him spiraling out of control in the hopes of hitting heaven before he came back down to land on earth. If only. If only I could make Thomas feel like he’d touched anything close to godlike while we fucked, I would be happy.

“I love you like there’s no tomorrow, do you know that?” I whispered right next to the soft skin of Thomas’s ear. What was with me today?

“You’ve loved me from the start, you obvious fuck. And I love you. Now stop talking and fuck my ass like you mean it.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle, and then focused my attention to my hips moving them in the slow, deep rhythm Thomas loved. I didn’t know why I was being such a sap. The whole anniversary thing did that, I guess. Anniversaries were when you made small things bigger than life and could be so syrupy sweet that your teeth ached, right?

Thomas’s arms enfolded me, and he pulled me closer. I felt safe there.

“I feel loved,” I whispered.

Thomas stilled my hips and looked me in the eye. “Stop trying to turn this into an anniversary sex moment and just be here with me, okay? This doesn’t need to be some big grand gesture. Not any more. You’ve already got me, and I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you already. And besides, I’ve never been one that needed to be romanced. You know that.”

I gave his smiling mouth a little peck and then nodded. “Okay, babe. Okay,” I said and then allowed my body to take what it wanted. That’s what Thomas wanted from the start, for me to just go on raw, physical need. That was evident from the way he was responding to me. Fingers gripped painfully on my ass as he pulled me deeper, and when he realized what he was doing, his hands slid to my head where, in the past, he would’ve grabbed onto curls. Now he gripped as much of the short hair as he could and tugged. I wanted to keep kissing him, but I had to pull away so I wasn’t breathing right at him. I buried my face in his neck instead and smelled that perfect scent of Thomas.

“I’m close,” Thomas said as his hand slid between their bodies, and then he started jacking himself. I looked down and watched as he tugged himself closer and closer. Before the first milky drop left the tip, I felt his ass tighten around my cock, so I knew not to look away. I loved watching him come. I loved to watch him let go and give all of himself away to me.

My orgasm was close, so I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on nothing but the feel of Thomas surrounding me. These sappy thoughts just wouldn’t leave me alone though.

I came with “I love you” on my lips. It wasn’t unusual, so Thomas didn’t tease me about it. He did tease me when I came back into the room with a towel to clean him up so he could go right back to sleep rather than getting in the shower.

“Pretty good for an old man,” Thomas said.

“You’re one to talk.”

“It’s been a good twenty-two years, hasn’t it?”



I dropped the towel in the laundry basket then climbed in beside him. I couldn’t help the “twenty-three” that slipped out.

Thomas sat up and crossed his legs, smiling at me with brightness in his eyes. He looked determined. I leaned up on an elbow to get closer to him in the hopes that he’d lean down and kiss me again.

“Simon, how about we stop fighting about how long we’ve been together and start counting all over again?”

I pulled a face and asked, “What? What do you mean?”

“Will you marry me?”

I stared at him in disbelief. We had a plan; this wasn’t it. We’d talked about the plan for years, so this was highly unusual for Thomas to bring up. He could read the naked confusion on my face, and he palmed my neck to settle me.

“We’re Washington boys. Washington passed it. Let’s go home and get married in Port Townsend in a quaint little B&B or maybe even on the rocky beach at the Sound. Please, Simon. Please marry me and make me your husband?”

I sat up and pulled him to my chest. “Of course. Yes, I’ll marry you. You know that. I want you to be my husband so badly.”

“Me too.”

Then Thomas pulled out a little box from under his pillow and opened it to reveal a plain, silver ring, slipping it on my finger. Apparently this had been planned, and it probably would’ve been a hell of a lot more romantic if my hard on hadn’t started poking him the second I’d gotten into bed. I chuckled.


“I think I sorta spoiled your proposal, didn’t I?”

Thomas shook his head. “Nah. You said yes. That’s all that matters.”


“Now we get to counting all over again, fiancé.”


Fiancé. That was a word that felt great in my mouth as I made my announcement at work on Monday. I knew husband would feel even better.

Finally, a word that felt right.


Read more about Simon and Thomas in Fall Into You.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – No More by Grace Duncan

May 26, 2013

“Do you think he knows?” Cyrus asked as he ran the towel over Teman’s hair.

Teman shook his head, earning himself a grunt. “Oops. No, I don’t.”

“Why stay back tonight, then?” Cyrus asked.

Teman sighed. “Lord Atherol has been increasingly annoying of late. There are a number of other nobles that sit nearby that have been making things difficult on Bathasar. Asking him the same questions over and over—things he’s already addressed at court—but they refuse to accept.”

Cyrus hmphed. “That would be miserable.”

“Yes,” Teman said, sighing as the towel was tossed aside and Cyrus picked up a hairbrush. “In fact, he’s still with the advisors now, trying to work out a few things so they’ll leave him alone.”

“Well, then, all the more reason to do this right. Do you have anything in particular in mind?” Cyrus asked.

“There are a few things we’ll use. But the red velvet robe is the most important. It was the one he had for me that same night last year. Wow,” Teman said, sucking in a breath. “It’s really been a year, hasn’t it?” He glanced over his shoulder at Cyrus, who nodded and smiled.

“Yes,” Cyrus continued to run the brush through Teman’s hair, and Teman’s eyes slid closed as he enjoyed the sensations. “I do believe your hair has a year’s worth of length added to it. Have you cut it at all?”

“No,” Teman whispered, opening his eyes. “Bathasar likes it long, so…” He shrugged.

“I like Nadir’s hair long, too. He likes it pulled, and it certainly makes it easier to grab if it’s long.”

Teman chuckled. “Bathasar pulls mine, too.” He sighed and glanced at the window, noting how low the sun was. “We should hurry. He’ll be back soon.”

“Of course.” Cyrus crossed the room to open one of the cabinets. “I think this,” he said, turning around and holding up a jeweled ring meant for Teman’s cock. It was one of Bathasar’s favorites.

Teman grinned. “Perfect.”

* * *

“Thank you for helping me get ready,” Teman said, hugging his friend.

Cyrus smiled. “Of course. Have a good evening.”

“Oh, I will.” He watched Cyrus hurry out of the room, and then he took a seat in the chair next to the fire and picked up his book. He’d never be able to concentrate on it, no matter how interesting it was, but he didn’t need to. It was just a distraction technique, anyway. He settled in to wait.

It didn’t take long. The servants brought their dinner through the room and out to the balcony, and he kept himself in his chair, focusing on his book, to stay out of the way. Then they were gone, and only a few minutes later, he heard the door. He worked hard not to look up, to keep his eyes on his book. He heard a chuckle, and a moment later, Bathasar’s lips were on his temple. “Hello, my love. I missed you.”

Teman’s smile spread into a grin. “It wasn’t that long,” he said with a soft laugh of his own. He set the book aside and turned his face up to meet Bathasar’s lips for a real kiss. His eyes slid closed and he let a soft moan go, knowing how much Bathasar loved his sounds. One hand came up to thread through Bathasar’s long, black hair as the kiss deepened.

When they finally broke apart, Teman had trouble breathing.

“What prompted that?” Bathasar murmured.

“Just… wanted to.”

Bathasar grinned. “I’ll never turn it down. Is the food ready?”

Teman nodded. “Yes, they just brought it a few minutes ago.”

“Good. Shall we?” He asked, holding a hand out.

Teman took it, stood, and moved around the chair. They kept their hands clasped as they stepped through the door and approached the table. Teman was careful with his robe to keep his surprises hidden as he sat on a cushion, but had a surprise of his own when he got a good look at the low table.

But before he could react, Bathasar sat down behind him and put both arms around him, brushing his ear with a light kiss. “Do you remember what today is, love?”

Teman looked up and blinked. “Yes, I… I didn’t think you did.”

Bathasar smiled. “Of course, I do. I couldn’t forget this night for anything. It was the night you became mine.”

Teman turned part way on his cushion and lifted both hands to cup Bathasar’s face. “The best night of my life.” He paused to frown. “Well, maybe. I… I was still so unsure, then.”

Bathasar reached up to brush a thumb over his cheek. “That is true. But we are here now. I think everyone who loves goes through similar trials.”

Teman’s frown deepened. “But I hurt you.”

Bathasar actually smiled. “Love… I understood, at least as much as was possible.”

Teman shook his head, and Bathasar’s eye widened, undoubtedly at the sheen in them. “I… never, I mean…” Teman fought with himself and the emotions stunned with the suddenness of them. “I… but…. No. I regret so much of what I did. If I… If I’d just…”

“Just what?” Bathasar shook his head. “If you hadn’t, you would still be wondering, now, a year later.”

Teman looked down, staring at a satin tie on Bathasar’s tunic. It blurred and he blinked to clear his eyesight. Would he? Would he still be wondering? He wanted to think he would have let go, that he would have accepted it, long before now.

But he wasn’t so sure. He cleared his throat and blinked his eyes again, turning to look out over the city. The stars were bright in the night sky, the sun having finally fallen below the horizon. The moon was behind the palace somewhere, not in his line of sight. But he wasn’t seeing that sky. He was remembering another one, on a night not so long ago when he was alone, and the uncertainty of what he’d been doing then. That memory finally crystallized his current thoughts. “You’re right. I would have. Even now, as much as I love you, I wouldn’t be completely sure. I just… I wish I hadn’t had to hurt you to figure it out.”

Bathasar didn’t speak for a long moment. He simply tightened his arms around Teman. Soft kisses feathered over Teman’s temple and cheek before he finally spoke. “I think we’re stronger for it. We are much more secure in our feelings now, and if things happen in the near future as we think they might, we’re going to need to remember it.”

Bathasar’s arms tightened as Teman’s tears threatened to overflow again. Teman was having trouble breathing all of a sudden as the thought of losing this man, the one who had become his world, intruded. He buried his face in Bathasar’s neck, inhaling the scent he’d come to know so well as he fought with his fears and emotions. No, he wouldn’t lose this man. He’d just have to be good enough, strong enough, fast enough, just… enough. And if he wasn’t… he’d find someone who was. They’d been through enough. Put each other through enough.

He took a deep breath and shifted onto his knees, turning fully toward Bathasar. He put his hands up cupped Bathasar’s face again, and leaned in to capture his lover’s lips. He brushed them lightly with his own, teasing, just barely touching. He kept that up despite the moves Bathasar tried to make to take over the kiss. Finally, he gave in enough to nip at each lip, then nibble softly for as long as he could before Bathasar did take over, crushing their mouths together.

Their tongues touched and the kiss exploded into heat. Bathasar’s hands slid up Teman’s back, one threaded through Teman’s brown hair, fisting and pulling until his head was tilted back. Bathasar dove in and bit at his neck, dragging a loud groan from him, and then nipped a line along skin until the sensitive spot where neck meets shoulder was between Bathasar’s teeth.

Teman was yanked in until he was straddling Bathasar’s lap and he bucked, needing to grind, needing friction, his cock demanding attention thanks to the bites and hair pulling. One of his hands tangled in Bathasar’s hair, the other braced himself on a shoulder, and he tried to rock more, but then Bathasar’s arm was back around his waist and holding him still. Which only succeeded in making him want and need even more. Bathasar’s name came out on a long, low moan that was answered with a soft growl.

Bathasar pulled his mouth off of Teman’s skin and looked up, releasing Teman’s hair. They both panted hard to recover some form of normal breathing, thought that seemed impossible with the need rioting through Teman’s body.

“A year,” Bathasar said, still scrambling for air. “A year we’ve been together, and you can still almost turn me into an animal from a single kiss.” He flashed a smile that spread into a grin when Teman returned it.

“I wouldn’t have you any other way,” Teman managed, leaning forward and keeping this kiss soft and light. “We should eat before it gets too cold.”

“Yes,” Bathasar agreed. “See what I’ve had prepared?”

After another soft kiss, Teman turned around to settle in on the cushion again, but Bathasar simply pulled until his seat was a lap instead. He chuckled and turned his attention to the food. “Ohh!” The exclamation was soft, but happy. All the same foods he’d loved so much the year before: the lamb he’d nearly moaned over, the roasted vegetables, the couscous, and the wine. “How did you remember?” He asked, glancing over his shoulder.

“I had never in my life enjoyed watching someone eat the way I’d watched you that night. You took such pleasure in everything, each bite of food. I don’t think I will ever get the images of you eating out of my mind.” He shifted enough to reach out and put some of the lamb on a plate. “You might also notice the other bowls,” he said, pointing.

Teman’s eyes widened. “Oh my! Honey and sweet cream.” Images filled his head, memories as sharp and clear as if they were a painting or tapestry. Of the honey and cream covering him, of Bathasar’s tongue cleaning it off, of his cock coated in it and licked oh so slowly clean. Back in the present, his cock twitched hard at the thoughts. “Does this mean…”

“Yes, you’re not having dessert, my love. You are dessert.” Bathasar grinned, and Teman’s smile matched it.

“Then you might appreciate this, too,” he said, his fingers flying along the row of buttons on his robe, to show the tiny gold rings around his nipples, the larger, thick, jeweled one around his sac and hard length, and the thinner glans ring below his cock tip.

“Oh yes, that will go very nicely with dessert, indeed,” he said, kissing Teman again. “Well, then, we should get busy, hmm? We have an eventful evening ahead of us.”

“Mmm. Yes, we do.” Teman paused to touch Bathasar’s cheek one more time. “Thank you. I’m glad we’re here. I’m sorry I hurt you, but I think… I know it was the right thing. This year, this night, couldn’t be better.”

Bathasar set down the lamb he’d picked up and brushed the backs of his fingers over Teman’s cheek. “It is,” he agreed, nodding. “No more regrets. No more thoughts about it. No more worries about it. There are too many others to think about.”

Teman shook his head. “No more,” he agreed and smiled, knowing it was true.


Read more about Teman and Cyrus in Choices.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Heart, Home and Hearth by Elizabeth Noble

May 26, 2013

It was a cool, clear night. The type of evening Nick Ruger liked best. He stretched and breathed in the sweet scent of lilacs and grass mixed with the faint aroma of horses in the field. This was always Nick’s favorite part of the day. It was when he and his mate, Todd, would spend some time, just the two of them, sitting outside in one of the big, wooden lounge chairs Todd had built so many years ago. He’d made it special for the two of them. There was a wooden cup holder and basket securely attached to each arm. Perfect for holding Nick’s observing journal or books as well as whatever they were drinking at the time.

The Rugers had lived in this house, and on this farm, in Yellowknife, for a decade. The property had been left to them by the doctor who had built it; he wanted this place, built with his wife, to go to a family who would love it as much as they had. In that ten years Todd and Nick had built a deck on the back, expanded the gardens around the house and added to the barn to accommodate Nick’s four-legged patients when needed. The rest of the farm land they leased to one of the neighboring farmers.

No matter what was happening in their lives, or what direction things took, Todd and Nick Ruger had each other and their home.

Nick stuck his hands into the pockets of his dark green pullover sweatshirt. It wasn’t the same one Todd had given him their first night together, but it looked and felt just like it. This one was probably the fourth or fifth one Todd had bought for Nick.

The horses were feeling frisky this evening, chasing each other around the pasture. Every now and then one of them kicked out their hind legs and bucked for a few paces. Even the moderately warmer weather after the harsh, cold, longer than normal winter they’d recently endured was enough to lift spirits of man and animal alike.

He liked watching their horses, and caring for them. Todd built things; he worked with wood and made sure their home was always in the best shape. Nick liked caring for the grounds. The gardens as well as pastures were tended by Nick. As with everything else they were the perfect complement to one another. Nick always got a warm, comforting feeling from those thoughts.

“You going to stand there staring at the horses all night? Are they doing something naughty?” Todd peered over Nick’s shoulder, at the same time nudged Nick’s elbow.

Todd held a large, topless egg shaped mug in each hand. One was offered to Nick.

Nick smile and inhaled deeply. “Thanks.”

Todd had introduced Nick to coffee, and always made a damn fine brew. Todd hooked one foot around the leg of the nearest lounge and dragged it closer to them. He settled on the lounge, pushing back until he rested against the back. Todd held his mug of coffee with one hand and waved at Nick to join him with the other.

Nick sat on the edge of the lounge and carefully inched back until he was nestled against Todd’s side, leaning into his strength and warmth. Watching for the long ripples of light stretching from the horizon upward to fill the sky. The cool colors in greens and blues mixed with the sprinkling of stars and swirled across the night sky.

“I love watching the lights,” Todd said between sips of coffee. “They always amaze me. We could hardly see them from New Colorado.”

“Solar flares.”


Nick pointed to the sky. “The lights, they’re caused when particles are pushed out from the Sun by solar flares and—” One of Todd’s fingers finding the space between two of Nick’s ribs and rubbing back and forth fast, stopped Nick’s words. He sucked in a sharp breath and swallowed a yelp.

“They’re pretty lights and you don’t have to dissect everything. That habit could get a guy’s library privileges revoked and make his books vanish,” Todd teased.

At least Nick hoped he was teasing. “You wouldn’t.”

Todd set his mug in the holder and reached across Nick, sliding his arm around Nick’s waist. “Try me.”

Nick opened his mouth, but he never got the chance to speak. Todd twisted to the side, pulled Nick hard against him and pressed his mouth to Nick’s, his tongue slipping in and cutting off Nick’s words.

A minute later Nick had forgotten what he wanted to say. Todd broke their kiss then whispered a soft, “Shh.” He moved his arm from across Nick’s middle so he could catch Nick’s hand in his own.

Nick shifted a bit so he could watch Todd’s profile more easily. No matter how old they got or how many years went by, there would be things Nick would always remember. One such treasured memory was his first meeting with Todd, long ago and many miles away. That day was full of so many firsts, but the one foremost on Nick’s mind was Todd taking his hand and leading him away from the group they were to travel with and to privacy at the back of their wagon.

Todd was power, confidence and he seemed so sure of everything. All the things Nick wasn’t, but aspired to be. He’d so easily slid his hand over Nick’s. Todd’s fingers were warm and strong, using just the right amount of pressure to be loving and possessive at the same time.

Nick smiled every time he’d think of Todd’s fingers twining with his, curling ever so slightly until Nick had no hope of escape, not that he wanted to escape. Nick could feel every twitch and movement of the muscles of Todd’s arm, how’d he’d flex and tense ever so slightly as he stepped closer to Nick, fingers curling even more, grip tightening.

The day had been warm and slightly muggy, but goose-bumps rose on Nick’s skin and he’d shivered and smiled shyly. A tingle of excitement worked its way through Nick, as always it was a cozy, comforting tendril that was a constant in Nick’s life. Home for Nick wasn’t just where Todd was, for Nick Todd was his home.

~|~ ~|~ ~|~

“I could start a fire,” Todd offered.

“You already did.”

“Did I now?” Todd went for innocent, but knew Nick wasn’t buying it; the chuckle that rumbled through him was proof of that. Nick could read Todd more easily than he could any book.

Even though Nick was an inch or two taller, he had a particular talent for wedging himself under Todd’s shoulder and against his side. Ten years in this house and more years than that together hadn’t dampened Nick’s desire for physical contact in the least.

Todd lifted the hand that rested on Nick’s shoulder and stroked the top of Nick’s head. It was no secret Todd loved Nick’s hair. It was lustrous, with enough length to let Todd’s fingers get a good hold. There was enough curl to make Todd want to run his fingers though just to see the strands separate and spring back together. Some would twist around one another, but somehow it didn’t tangle. Even the color, a deep chocolate, Todd found soothing and sensual.

Nick didn’t do much to his hair other than wash it, sometimes get it cut, yet it was a part of him Todd was especially drawn to. More than the texture he loved, Todd also loved its scent. Fresh from being outdoors and uniquely Nick.

Like his personality, Nick’s hair was a mass of contradiction, literally and figuratively. There were bangs constantly over his face and being brushed back from his eyes, but they were never messy, and always graceful. It constantly seemed too long until it was cut then it seemed like it grew back longer and fuller than before. Just when Todd thought it couldn’t get better, it surprised him and was twice as wonderful. He moved his fingers in a lazy pattern through Nick’s hair and caressing his skin.

“We could take the horses out for a ride before bed,” Todd murmured.

“Hmmm, a ride sounds good.” Nick sat up and rolled so he was more on top of Todd than next to him and grinned. Todd had built these chairs for the two of them, they were sturdy and stable and the couple had done much more than lounging on them over the years.

The pleasant warmth in Todd’s belly and groin ignited completely. His cock went from a casual full feeling to hard in the span of a few breaths. The way the material between Nick’s legs strained made it obvious to Todd Nick was having the same reaction. Todd sat up and leaned forward, skimming Nick’s neck with his tongue, then teeth. At the same time he slipped his hands under Nick’s clothes. With his palms pressed to Nick’s skin, Todd pushed them up until his fingers brushed Nick’s tight nipples.

Nick groaned and shuddered. “It’s cold out here.”

“You’re getting soft. We used to spend months outdoors.” Todd rolled one of Nick’s nipples between thumb and forefinger and smiled when another quiver rippled through his mate.

“But now we have a big, warm bed and fireplace in our bedroom.” Nick sat straighter for a second then arched his back as Todd slid his hands back down Nick’s torso, dragging his clothes back into place as well.

Todd grabbed Nick’s waist and urged Nick to the side so they could both stand up. The instant Todd’s feet hit the ground he straightened and pulled Nick firmly against him. “I don’t think we’ll need that fireplace tonight.” He dropped one hand lower, massaging Nick’s buttocks.

Ten years in one spot hadn’t diminished anything, in fact what they had continued to grow daily. He kissed Nick, long and deep, feeling Nick’s heartbeat against his chest, beating in time with his own. Nick was the fire in Todd’s soul and the heart that kept him going.

Nick broke their kiss and embrace first, saying in a low voice, “We should go inside now, or you’ll have grass stains on your knees in about three more minutes.”

“Fair enough.” Todd took Nick’s hand in his own again and tugged him along toward the house, their home.

Just as they reached the door Nick’s grip tightened and he put the brakes on. Todd was forced to stop and turn to face him. Nick stepped close so he straddled one of Todd’s thighs, rocking against Todd and stealing another kiss while he mumbled, “Not getting soft.”

“Oh, hell no, you’re not.” Todd reached behind him and fumbled at the door handle, finally getting it open. They practically fell inside, separating just enough to make their way through their home and to their bed.


Read more about Todd and Nick in the Sentries series.

Sexy Six Anniversary Short – Happy Anniversary, Baby by T.A. Webb

May 26, 2013

June 2013

“I thought I’d find you here.”

I didn’t need to turn around. I’d felt Antonio come up behind me a few moments before, and was glad he’d stayed back. Fuck it, but he was so much better at reading me than I was with him.

The day was warm, a little overcast but not raining yet. Kind of fit my mood. Gray and shitty, but not totally a loss. And given what today was, I wasn’t surprised.

Eight years. I couldn’t believe it, but it had been eight years since the fucked up day I got the call from Crawford Long that Brian was in the emergency room. Then that long day from hell where I’d had to make the call to shut off the life support on my best friend and partner and let him go. Brian Jacobs was my lover and my husband, and a big piece of my heart went with him that horrible bitch of a day.

There were times I thought maybe I should have gone with him. Just lying down in the grave and having them cover me up with him would have been easier than having to breathe in pain like jagged glass. But somehow, I’d been luckier than a man ought to be. Antonio, my best friend—straight and a divorced father of one—somehow fell in love with me. And goddamn it if I didn’t fall for him too.

It took me a while, and we had our problems over the years like all couples do, and I wanted to kick his ass from here in Atlanta to California and back when he…well, that’s another story and not the one I wanted to think about today. Today was about remembering the anniversary of the day I lost my oldest friend, my lover and a truly good man.

Every year, on this day in June, I came out and spent time talking to him, remembering how much fun we had. Cursing him for cheating on me and then forgiving him again and telling him how very much I loved him and how I missed him every day.

“It’s okay, you know.” Antonio came and sat beside me on the bench. My dad had added a marble bench to sit under the large magnolia that shaded Brian’s gravesite. He’d already been here, the single white rose he left lying next to the other bouquets left by friends and family. It brought another fucking tear to my eye, and I drew in a shaky breath before I could answer him.

“I miss him.”

A big arm came around my shoulder and drew me in close. It was usually me who was giving comfort, being the strong one, and I wasn’t really good at showing that I needed to lean on anyone else. With everything we’d been through, I was getting better at it though. This man had seen me at my worse and was still with me, and had even married my stubborn fucking ass, so maybe, just maybe it would be okay this once.

“He was a good man, Mark. One of the best I’ve ever met. I can’t imagine how you feel, and seeing you hurt like this is fucking killing me. What can I do to make it better?”

I buried my head against his chest and breathed in his smell. He was so different from Brian, and I wondered how in the hell I’d managed to have two of the most amazing men in the world be mine. Antonio was all muscles, bluster and Italian charm. Tattooed and bigger than life, he had a smile and laugh that fucking made me melt.

Brian…he was lean and soft spoken. His strength was subtle, like an iron grip in a velvet glove. He and I were friends, then lovers. When I’d fucked up and started putting my job first, he’d needed more and I missed the clues and hints and he’d found what he needed from someone else. I’d tossed him out on his ass right at the same time my mom was slowly losing her battle with liver disease, and shut my heart down.

I never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Thank God—and I did, every fucking day—Brian was patient and loving and kind and waited for me to get my head out of my ass and forgive him and give us a second chance. Best. Decision. Ever.

Which made losing him so very much harder.

And then when I looked up one day, Antonio was there and I got another chance at love. Every day I woke up and wondered, what did I do to deserve the gods’ favor? I was nothing special, but I was blessed with love not once but twice. Two very good men. Two strong, special men. And it hit me then. They both loved with their whole hearts. When they made up their minds, they gave their all and fuck, was that humbling.

Pulling my head away from Antonio’s chest, but not before kissing right over his heart, I reached out a trembling hand and touched Brian’s headstone. The words I’d carved there were just as true eight years later—Son, uncle, husband, beloved friend. You will be missed always. “Think you can help me make a few calls?”

He kissed the back of my neck, the ghost of his lips against my skin so comforting I felt a tear escape before I could stop it. “For you, babe, anything.”


Dad’s house was always home. No matter where I lived over the years, I was never more at home than sitting in his and Mom’s family room, or around their dining room table. Tonight, I was amazed to see how many of my family showed up on such short notice.

The two seats at either end of the table were always Dad and Mom’s. He sat there, smiling at me and I swallowed against the lump in the throat to see that someone had wrapped the Christmas lights around Mom’s chair. The second holiday after her death, Brian and I couldn’t stand to see how empty the space was, so we decorated her seat and it became a family tradition. Now, there was a second seat, at the Cool Table, the overflow table where some of us sat instead of the main table, decorated with fairy lights. And at both places, a white rose.

Fuck. I loved these people.

And like I said, the turnout was amazing. Dad, Robbie and Jason, Patty and Ray, Sam—holy fuck!—Linda, Brenda, Robert and Jennifer, even Jeanine, Antonio’s ex-wife was there. The tables were piled with food and there were pictures of Brian around the room.

My family. As much as I butted heads and fought with some of them over religion and politics and gay marriage, they never ceased to amaze me.

Dad tapped a knife against his tea glass, and the conversations around all three tables wound down. “Well, looks like everyone’s here. And I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for coming over on a weeknight without us planning anything.” He looked around the tables, his gaze stopping on first Mom’s, then Brian’s, chair. “Family does that. And today, we’re going to start a new family tradition. Today, eight years ago, we lost one of our own, and it’s time we remembered.”

I looked around the room, seeing heads nodding through blurry eyes. I’d been carrying this in my heart and on my shoulders, by myself, all this time, and I was beginning to see that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t only me that missed and wanted to remember Brian.

“Brian was my son, just as much as anyone in this room is my child. And yes, that includes you, Robbie,” Dad said, looking to my newest brother. Robbie looked up from where he’d been staring at a spot on the table, his eyes shiny. Of all the people in the room, Robbie felt Brian’s loss almost as keenly as I did. He blamed himself still, no matter how many times I told him that Brian was dying anyway, because he’d been out looking for Robbie when he crashed the car that horrible fuck of a day. Jason pulled him in close, kissing the side of his head, and Patty reached over and grabbed his hand.

“When Brian died, I lost a son. Mark lost his husband. The kids lost an uncle. We all lost a good man, and it’s time we talked about it and let Mark know we remember. It doesn’t take anything away from his love with Antonio,” and we all laughed a little at the fuck no Antonio yelled, “and goddammit I miss him.”

Dad nodded and looked to his left and patted Sam’s hand. To my surprise, Sam started talking. “I have to admit, I wasn’t nice to Brian. I said mean things to him, and I’ll have to live with that the rest of my life. But Mark, he was a good man. Even I could see how happy he made you, and it was wrong of me to make you two feel that the love you had was somehow less than what me and Jean have. I’m sorry, little brother. He was a good man.”

I lost track of everything that was said after that. Everyone in the room took the time to remember something about Brian, and it felt like a gift. Like a weight I didn’t know I was carrying was lifted from my shoulders, and hands were holding me up.

It was finally my turn. Looking around, I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out at first. I closed my eyes, let my memories of Brian fill me and the words came.

“Everybody thinks eight years is such a long time. And that somehow when you lose a part of yourself, you heal or forget or move on. The truth is, it’s like a part of you stays right there in that moment of loss.” My eyes were still closed, but I felt Antonio’s hand close on mine, and Robbie and Patty and Dad right there with me. “Every day since I lost Brian it’s like a part of me was left behind and I’m happy, so very happy, but there’s this little bit of me that feels guilty since he’s not here to enjoy it or be with me. I wake up some mornings and the first thing I do is turn to say something to him and then I remember.”

He was there. In the room with us. Him and Mom, both. I knew it.

“The truth is, every day I lose him again. And every day I gain him back. That’s what love is. Putting your heart out there and hoping that someone catches it. I’m a lucky bastard,” and I heard a couple of chuckles and one or two intakes of breath, “because I have so many people, here and not here, who catch it every fucking day. Happy anniversary, love. I will never forget you. You are family and you are loved.”

“Amen.” When I opened my eyes, I was surrounded by all my brothers and sisters, and looking past them, I caught sight of a flicker, a twist of Brian-shaped light smiling at me. I knew he was okay, and that was enough. I had been loved, and I was loved. Softly, from somewhere in the pile of Jennings, came a sweet voice. “At last, my love has come along, my lonely days are over, and life is like a song…”

The End


Read more about Mark and Brian and Mark’s friendship with Antonio in Second Chances.