Saturday, January 31, 2009

Beholding the Moon by Augusta Li and Eon de Beaumont

A glass of Dom Perignon was thrust into Lu’s hand, and the form of a beautiful Japanese man appeared in the window behind Lu’s own transparent, naked reflection. His skin looked like gold satin in the light that came from the glass lanterns hanging from the ceiling, each one reflected a dozen times against the dome of glass. His onyx hair, eyes, and fingernails stood in sharp contrast. Slightly shorter than Lu, the other man rested his chin on Lu’s shoulder and reached around him to clink the rims of their flutes together. His other hand rested on Lu’s opposite elbow. Lu could feel the smoothness of the other man’s chest against his back. He could feel the other man’s lips nibbling up the side of his neck, and the other man’s erection squashed against the base of his spine. Nothing broke the silence but the soft tinkle of the fountain at the center of the heated pool on the other side of the room. Quickly Lu drained his wine, still unable to believe he was here, still astonished at what he was considering.

“Taihen kekko deshita ka?” the man whispered, his breath vine-scented and balmy against Lu’s ear and cheek. Then, switching to Mandarin even though Lu understood Japanese, he repeated himself. “Very good, wasn’t it?”

Lu snorted. “This isn’t the first time I’ve tried it, Miyake.”

“No, of course not,” said the man called Miyake, taking the stems of both their drained vessels in his fingers and crouching to set them on the black marble floor. As he rose slowly, he grasped the outsides of Lu’s thighs and let his full lower lip drag across Lu’s skin from the back of his knee to his hip. Miyake’s mouth paused over Lu’s tailbone, his small, round chin wedged between Lu’s cheeks. A tremor rattled Lu’s spine, and gooseflesh dotted him. Suddenly lightheaded, he shut his eyes and pressed his palms against the gigantic window.

Miyake’s tongue traced a chill path up Lu’s back as he stood. His hands, much smaller and more delicate than Lu’s, rested over Lu’s knuckles as he sucked hard on Lu’s earlobe. His cock poked beneath Lu’s ass and between his legs, the head prodding against Lu’s scrotum. Blood flooded Lu’s penis, and his balls huddled close to his body. If anyone had been able to see into the glass citadel, they’d have taken in quite a show. But the apartment stood several stories higher than any of the buildings around it, and Lu knew no one would witness Miyake’s impassioned kisses or the way his body flushed and trembled beneath them. No one could ever know what Lu was about to do, if he went through with it. He could still say no.

Polished nails scratched up Lu’s forearms to his shoulders with a pleasant pressure, not hurting but leaving an exciting tingle on his skin. Then Miyake grasped his biceps firmly and spun him so that they faced one another. The other man smiled, his cheeks blooming with champagne and arousal. A long lock of azure-streaked hair hung to his chin on the right side. The rest stood in short spikes at the back of his head. He stepped forward, pinning Lu against the window and squashing their bodies together. The glass felt cold on Lu’s ass and back, but Miyake’s slender body was as hot as a stone on the riverbank in summer. Standing on his tiptoes, hands moving up to cradle Lu’s neck, Miyake pressed his lips against Lu’s. With expert patience he waited for Lu’s shock and tension to ebb, for his mouth to relax open and admit the other man’s tongue.

It did, almost without Lu’s conscious effort, and they kissed. Before he even realized what he’d done, Lu’s fingers closed around a waist as small and lithe as that of a young woman but covered with tantalizing male muscle. His tongue delved into Miyake’s mouth, enjoying the spicy, floral flavor it encountered there. The two men’s cocks, both erect and filmed with sweat, rubbed together, sandwiched between their flat bellies.

Lu felt himself leaking, and couldn’t believe he’d become so turned on by another man. Perhaps Miyake had bewitched him; it was well within the Japanese man’s abilities. Whatever the cause, Lu found himself more aroused than he could ever remember being. The skin of his cock stretched taut, and his balls felt ready to explode. But when Miyake took Lu’s cock and his own in his hand, smashing them together, Lu withdrew his mouth with a pop. He pushed against the other man’s chest, making him stagger a few steps back. Confusion, resentment, and unrelieved lust filled Lu as he watched Miyake mopping the saliva from his chin with his palm, grinning. He was so beautiful, and Lu hated him for it.

“Not that,” Lu snapped.

“All right. Then what?” Miyake asked, standing with an infuriating patience, his serene expression betrayed only by the redness of his cheeks and the bounce of his erection.

He was so small that Lu could almost imagine seizing Miyake, scooping him up in his arms, carrying him to the huge bed that stood on a marble platform twenty feet behind them, and tossing him belly-down on the black silk sheets. To look at him, Miyake appeared unlikely to be able to stop the larger man from doing anything he wanted.

But Lu knew better. He’d made a point of finding out all he could about Taro Miyake since he’d heard rumors of the Japanese man’s arrival in Shanghai. Most of his information was known to the rest of the world: Taro had been born at the turn of the century, to an English Baroness who could transform into mist and, rumor had it, a kami. With his mother’s wealth and cunning and innate magical ability from his sire, he’d built a criminal empire unlike any the world had ever seen. He was gorgeous and flamboyant, fond of the attention of the media. Worse yet, Taro seemed to feel his alleged half-divinity entitled him to do exactly as he pleased. His behavior was impetuous and often indecipherable. One hundred and seven years old, he looked barely out of school. The one thing Lu hadn’t discovered was a weakness, anything he could use to stop the stunning sorcerer from taking control of Shanghai’s underworld. Entire governments, sometimes working in teams of two or three, had failed to even capture Miyake.

So, when Taro had invited Lu to discuss the state of Shanghai’s illegal enterprises, Lu had seen no alternative but to agree. How the conversation had brought them to Taro’s jewel-like residence—his “Tower for Beholding the Moon,” he called it—to stand regarding each other, naked and swollen, panting with yearning, Lu had no idea.

“It’s fine if you just want to kiss,” Taro said, reaching cautiously for Lu’s hand.

“I—”

Lu wanted to say “I don’t,” but couldn’t muster the conviction. He wanted to kiss Taro again so badly, devour the soft swell of his lower lip, that the few feet between them felt likes miles. Common sense told Lu to put an end to this foolishness, settle the business at hand, but his heart and his body argued too loudly to be ignored. Instead, he allowed Taro to lead him to the bed and guide him to sit on its edge. As Taro stood between Lu’s open knees, gently stroking Lu’s layers of espresso hair, Lu wondered how one could desire and despise a person so profoundly at the same time. He resented Taro’s attempt to usurp control of his city, resented the power he’d displayed over Lu. He wondered how the matter would be settled, if it would need to come to violence.

The distraction of Taro’s willowy torso soon pushed the questions and doubts from his mind, and Lu grasped Taro and yanked him close. His mouth consumed the cords of muscle that stretched from Taro’s hipbone up his side. His slightest movement made them stretch and harden beneath Lu’s lips. Working his way across Taro’s chest, Lu paused to tap his tiny nipple with the tip of his tongue. The other man moaned softly and closed his fist around a section of Lu’s hair.

The hand tangled in his hair yanked Lu’s head backward, and he released Taro’s ribs to catch himself on his elbows. Light as a cloud, Taro fell forward and hovered a few inches above Lu’s body, supporting himself with one arm. His knees rested beside Lu’s waist, and his cock jabbed Lu in the diaphragm. Taro lowered Lu’s head, sat up so his thighs would hold him, thrust his hands under Lu’s armpits and slid Lu three feet up the bed with a strength he didn’t look capable of possessing. Legs no longer dangling, Lu quickly propped himself on his palms. Laying flat beneath Taro made him feel vulnerable, defenseless.