Monday, July 26, 2010

Voodoo Nights by Crymsyn Hart

Chapter One


Pricilla hoisted her bag over her shoulder, readjusting the weight. She’d been carrying it since the airport, and her hotel was only a few blocks away. She’d taken a cab from the airport, but the driver was an idiot and had dropped her off on the opposite end of the French Quarter. She enjoyed the music floating on the breeze while she strolled past different bars and restaurants. People were wobbling through the cobblestone streets with drinks in their hands and beads around their necks. Pricilla wanted to be just like them, a happy, tipsy tourist. The sightseers filled the Quarter even though it was months after Mardi Gras and one of the hottest months of the year. Sweat dripped off her face and stung her eyes. She eyed the daiquiris and other concoctions in the cups passersby had. Once she was settled, she was making a beeline to the nearest bar.

She glanced at her confirmation email again and recognized the address for the hotel before her. A cool blast of air caressed her when she walked into the lobby. She dropped her bag and rang the bell. Drumming her fingers on the marble countertop, she swept her gaze over the interior. A self-playing piano was in the corner. A couple of employees dusted or served drinks to those at the hotel bar. One man caught her eye. He was an older black man dressed in a yellow and green plaid suit. She gave him a nod and then turned back to the check-in counter. Even then, she could still feel his dark, piercing eyes boring into the back of her head.

“Can I help you?” a short, balding man with thick glasses asked. His nametag read Vincent.

“Yes. Checking in. Reservation for Pricilla Weaver.” She waited a moment for him to check the computer.

“I’m sorry, but we don’t have you listed.”

She rolled her eyes. This isn’t happening. She handed him her printed-out email. “Here’s my confirmation number and the amount I paid.”

“I’ll check again, ma’am.”

Pricilla closed her eyes and stretched. She listened to the piano for a moment, willing her tense muscles to relax. That’s what this vacation was for: recreation and forgetting. All I want is to forget. A few of the memories she struggled to suppress rushed forward. The flames consumed everything in their wake around her, and the heat of the blaze began to blister her skin once more. He was screaming in the bedroom.

“Ma’am.”

Pricilla jumped. She ran her hands over her arms, pulling the light sweater a little lower on her arms. The chilled air was getting to her now since coming in out of the humidity. “Yeah. Sorry. Did you find me?”

“I’m sorry, but we don’t show you in our system at all.”

“But I—”Wonderful. I should have stayed home. This vacation was a mistake in the first place. “Can I speak to your manager, please?” She read the distress in his eyes and figured he was waiting for her to start screaming at him

Once she didn’t raise hell, Vincent smiled. “Of course. One moment. Why don’t you have a seat while you wait?”

Great idea. She picked up her bag and dragged it across the marble floor before flopping down in a chair. She closed her eyes and waited for the manager, hoping her headache would go away of its own accord once she calmed down. Why is this happening now?

“Hello.”

She opened her eyes, and sitting across from her was the old man from the bar. She smiled weakly. “Hi.”

“Ms. Weaver?” She turned her attention to the new voice. The manager was a short, older woman with her hair in a tight knot shot through with gray. Her eyes were brown, but they held no sweetness in them. This woman was all business and nothing else.

“Yes.”

“I do apologize, but we had a glitch in our computer system a week ago. We lost several reservations. Yours was one of them. Now we’re double-booked and have no rooms available.”

“Seriously? Can’t you give me a closet or something?”

“No. We don’t have anything available. I’ve credited your account for you. Again, I apologize.” She turned and walked away, leaving Pricilla out of luck and without a bed to sleep in.

She ran her hand over her face. I can deal with this. There has to be something else. Anywhere in town. I’ll take anything. Her headache doubled in intensity. Gazing around the lobby, she saw that no one was paying her any attention. After everything she’d gone through to force herself to get away, now this. Her therapist said she needed to take a vacation to get her mind off her troubles. The few friends she had left all agreed she should go somewhere. Yeah, because they didn’t want to listen to me anymore. Well, I can’t sit here all night. Pricilla slung her pack over her shoulder and walked out of the hotel, back into the humidity of the day. Immediately, sweat broke out on her forehead again.

There was a tap on her shoulder. “Excuse me.” She spun around to discover the old man from the lobby.

She tried to force a smile, but her mouth wasn’t obeying. “Yes.”

“I know a place where you can stay. It’s a small bed and breakfast in the Garden District. It’s secluded so you could relax. It’s not that far from here. Real cozy.” He spoke with a slight French accent as he offered her a genuine smile.

There was something about him she couldn’t put her finger on. He was slightly out of place, but then again, it might have been the heavy plaid wool suit in the middle of the hot day. The manager said there wasn’t anywhere else to go. Maybe he’s the start of my luck changing. She needed that, a fresh start and a sigh of relief to drive the nightmares away. Why not? “Lead the way.”

He slapped his knee. “I’m Martin.” He stretched out his hand. She shook it and walked behind him for several blocks until they came to a streetcar stop. They were lucky. The streetcar was just pulling up to the stop. She got on and watched the streets go by.

“Have you ever been to New Orleans?” Martin asked.

She found the lilt to his voice comforting. “No. First time.”

“Well, you’re goin’ to love it here. She’s a place of hauntin’ beauty and wonder. Anythin’ can happen here. You just have to have an open mind.”

Pricilla laughed. “Sounds like my kinda town. I need something to happen to me.”

He didn’t respond but stood up. She followed, noticing they got off at the Washington Avenue stop. She glanced at her map so she would know where to get back on when she ventured out later. Martin led her down a couple of narrow streets. Some of the houses had tarps over them. Some had cars sitting before them. They stopped before a small house buried behind several trees. In the back she saw a large wall and a gate that led into a graveyard. The lot next to them was empty where a house once stood. Great, if I need to stir the dead all I have to do is look out the window. The small bed and breakfast sign was hidden under overgrown branches. The front porch had a swing on it with a young woman reading a book and sipping iced tea. Pricilla licked her lips.

“Adella, I’ve brought someone to stay.”

The woman had lightly tanned skin and dark blue eyes. Her black hair hung down her back in ringlets. She wore a white dress and gazed at Pricilla over her book. The surprise showed in her eyes, but not on her face. “Papa, haunting hotels again? I thought I told you not to bring any more guests home that didn’t want to be here.”

“I have to do somethin’ with my time.”

“I’m so sorry. He means well,” Adella addressed her.

“Oh, no! He’s fine. Trust me, I need the room-I mean, if it’s not a bother.”

Adella gestured her inside. “No, no. Not at all, but you must not feel obliged. You must only stay here of your own free will. You have to forgive the place. We don’t get too many guests these days. Please come inside.”

Pricilla crossed the threshold and was hit with a blast of cool air. Her whole being relaxed. The house was filled with the sweet aroma of oranges, lavender, and a light musty smell that didn’t bother her. In the entryway was a large fireplace that had once been used for cooking. Above the fireplace, pictures that were several generations old stood on the mantel, but she didn’t see any recent photos. All the floorboards were warped and creaked when she walked over them, but the place was homey. Adella went before her. The ceilings were low and the staircase was narrow. Each step was uneven, so she had to pay attention so she didn’t fall. They stopped at the third floor where she saw two doors. One was open and the other was closed.

“I’m sorry, but this is the only room that we have available now. We’re expecting another guest later tonight who will be your neighbor. I hope that it meets your needs. There’s a bathroom through there and a small sitting room. Breakfast is at seven and dinner at six. There are snacks in the kitchen, so help yourself.”

Pricilla took in the room. The layout was familiar, in that she didn’t feel like it was a hotel room. It looked comfortable and she could easily see herself curling up on the bed to fall asleep. When staying in most hotels, it took her a while to doze off because she wasn’t used to the surroundings. “This is great. Thank you. Umm… how much a night? I originally had plans to stay for a couple of weeks.”

Adella waved her off. “The time is no matter. It’s good to have the company, really, besides Martin. We’ll settle payment when you’re ready to leave. You have a trustworthy face.”

“Well, thanks.”

Her hostess dug into a pocket of her dress. “This is the key to your room, and the other is for the side door. I lock the front one at eight sharp. Relax and have a good time. You’re in New Orleans now. Everything you think has become a dream, and the dream reality.”

Pricilla took the key and Adella closed the door. She set her pack down on the chair by the door and surveyed the room. The air conditioning was going full blast and the room was remarkably cold for being on the third floor. Exploring, she discovered a small door that led into a closet. Inside, there was a robe hanging from a wire hanger and a single light. The back of the closet was nothing more than a pretty, flowered splash of wallpaper. She closed the door and wandered into the sitting room. It was tiny but welcoming, with a sofa and a desk with a chair right by the window that caught the afternoon light. She pulled back the lace curtains and peered at the sight below. It was the cemetery. The graveyard appeared to be old with aboveground tombs. A rusted old gate led from the backyard into the graveyard. Odd. She shook her head and went to explore the bathroom. There was a claw foot tub, a small sink and the commode. On the shelf by the tub were a vanity set and a bag of potpourri with some bath salts. She lifted the sachet to her nose and inhaled the scent of cloves and cinnamon, but there was something else she couldn’t quite place that had a citrus tang to it. She smiled and glanced in the mirror.

Her shoulder-length, chocolate brown hair was lank from the humidity. The dark circles under her green eyes told of the nights she fought off sleep. The doctor had prescribed her sleeping pills, but she only took them when she had to. With sleep, the dreams always came back. The drugs locked her mind in nightmares for hours on end. The horrible images from the fire, along with the stench of burning flesh. Even worse were the screams and the blame. The guilt plagued her even while she was awake. How was it that she had lived? She should have been in the fire, not Christopher. Thinking about it brought tears to her eyes. I can’t do this now. I promised myself I’d get over this. I can’t keep letting it drag me down. Doc said that the grief and the guilt would fade with time. But even after two years, it still hasn’t. She glanced in the mirror again, and staring back at her was a red and black twisted mass of tissue. Her hair was gone, and smoke rose from her flesh. Strings of muscles covered half of her face so she could see bone underneath. Her clothes were melted onto her body. The misshapen visage smiled wider and then lunged at her from the mirror. Pricilla jumped back and nearly fell into the tub. When she blinked, the reflection was her own again. I’m losing it. Maybe I need to take a sleeping pill and get some sleep.

She sighed and left the bathroom, still shaking from the hallucination. That was all she needed. It was bad enough the horrific visions haunted her dreams, but to have them manifest in real life was another thing. Walking into the bedroom, she decided that since it was so late in the day, she would try to unwind. The day had dragged on, and even though it had started off awful, it had ended well. She hoped tomorrow would be better.

Lemon Kisses Yaoi Anthology by Augusta Li

Seth looked around blearily, trying to see past the crush of drunken, partying scientists. But, his friend was nowhere to be seen. In the two minutes Seth had been gone, Kevin managed to completely disappear.


Oh hell, truth was he was probably off boinking his date, Rachel, in the photo copy room, looking to start a New Year’s Eve tradition. Last year, it had been Tina in the supply closet. Kevin wasn’t in the closet this year, though; Seth had already checked.

Wait a minute. Wasn’t that Rachel over there by the water cooler? Yeah, it was. She had her tongue down Jeff Davidson’s throat.

Hmmm. Well then, maybe Kevin was making a move on that new girl he had the hots for. What was her name again? Chantel, Shandra, Malibu Barbie? Kevin had been panting after the girl for weeks—apparently he had a thing for pillowy silicone and a spray-on tan—and since Rachel seemed to be, umm, occupied, it wasn’t beyond the realm that he’d chased Barbie down. Because Kevin was a whore. A great big one.

A hand snaked out of the cubicle on Seth’s left—at floor level—and grabbed his ankle.

“Gah!” Seth instinctively lunged backwards, dumping half a pint of beer down his chest in the process.

Kevin grinned up at him, all alcohol-induced charm. He was lying on the carpet in the cramped grey cubicle, his legs stretched out under Mary-Beth Wilson’s desk. Seth knew it was Mary-Beth’s desk because of all the teddy bears. The woman had a serious furry fetish. Right now, her fluffy menagerie looked down with benign indifference on the stunningly drunk, stunningly beautiful, dark-haired young man sprawled below them.

Seth’s cock twitched and swelled, same as always, whenever he got within a few feet of Kevin. This despite the depressing fact that Kevin Bishop was the most dedicated skirt-chasing, pussy loving, heterosexual Seth had ever met.

So why exactly had Seth fallen head over heels for the guy? Because he was stupid. Really. God knew he’d asked himself that exact question a thousand times and stupidity was the only answer that made any sense.

But hope springs eternal…and all that crap.

“See now,” Kevin said. His words slurred together just the tiniest amount. “If you were a chick that wet t-shirt would look really hot on you.”

Seth tried to pluck the wet cotton away from his chest but as soon as he let the soaked fabric go it immediately slapped back into a second skin. His small brown nipples stood out like connect-the-dots under the now transparent cloth. “You’re such a dick, Kev,” he muttered, lowering himself to sit cross-legged beside his horizontal friend.

“Leave my dick out of this, queero.” Kevin chuckled as he struggled into a semi-reclined position. His shoulders ended up against the cubicle wall. His feet ended up snarled in the wires under Mary-Beth’s desk. Kevin kicked a few times, knocking a set of speakers down and sending her keyboard flying, but failed to untangle himself. With a shrug, he reached for one of the cups in Seth’s hands: the full one.

Seth yanked it away, sloshing more foamy liquid onto the floor, and shoved the nearly empty cup at his friend. “You made me spill it, so you get this one.”

“Asshole!” Kevin said, mock-outraged. “It’s not my fault you’re such a spaz.” He swallowed the single gulp of amber liquid, crumpled the cup, and tossed it over the cubicle’s wall. Somebody cursed on the other side of the partition and Kevin and Seth hunched down lower, sniggering.

“Leave my asshole out of this, faggot,” Seth whispered, still laughing. Hey, he was allowed to say faggot ‘cause he was one. Them’s the rules.

“I wouldn’t go near your asshole with someone else’s dick, gay rod.”

Seth rolled his eyes, secretly pleased. Next, Kevin would pull him into a headlock, or throw a punch, and Seth would get to run his hands all over his friend’s muscular body while he pretended to try and get away.

Sure enough, Kevin aimed a blow at Seth’s shoulder. When Seth attempted to duck it, he found himself pulled half underneath Kevin’s body, getting rabbit punched in the kidneys. Kevin’s spicy male scent enveloped him and Seth closed his eyes, breathing it in, while half-heartedly trying to buck the taller, stronger man off. Visions of the two of them naked in this exact same position swam through Seth’s mind. His cock sproinged fully erect like a broken spring ripping its way through the fabric of a cheap mattress.

“Speaking of someone else’s dick…” Seth gasped, a distraction definitely being in order. “Seems like your date is more interested in Jeff Davidson’s dick than yours.”

“Yeah?” Kevin fell across Seth’s lap in order to stick his head out of the cubicle and have a look around, presumably for Rachel and Jeff. Seth leaned out, too, trying to shift his crotch away from Kevin’s stomach without being too obvious about it. “What a skank!” Kevin said, not really sounding too bothered by the whole affair.

“And will you, sir, be playing the role of the pot or the kettle today?” Seth asked. Without waiting for a reply, he gave Kevin a shove. “Get the hell off me, you weigh a ton.”

Kevin rolled onto his back and smiled. It was a very sly smile. “Like you care how heavy I am,” he said, a smirk in his tone. “Like you wouldn’t be screaming for me to get on you, if you thought I might actually do it.”

Seth gulped. Lord save him from gorgeous straight guys who drank way too much for their own good. And Kevin must be really plastered. He didn’t normally let their banter go this far.

“Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, buddy.” Seth was unsurprised at the hoarseness of his voice. “I bet I could make you scream right along with me.”

Kevin opened his mouth—then closed it. His tongue slicked along his bottom lip as he studied Seth, his expression inscrutable. “I need another beer,” he finally said. “Some clumsy moron spilled my last one all over himself.”

With equal feelings of relief and regret, Seth stepped back from the cliff as well. “It’s your turn to get the drinks anyway, jack-off.” He knew his color was high, could feel the heat in his cheeks. His pulse drummed a heavy bass beat.

Kevin’s gaze dropped to Seth’s throat where the tell-tale thrum had to be clearly visible. That hot pink tongue again, sliding wet over Kevin’s suckable bottom lip. Jesus, did the guy know how sexy that was?

“Right then.” Kevin gave his head a shake. “I’m off.” He headed out of the cubicle on his hands and knees, humming the “Mission Impossible” theme as he crawled his way towards the booze table.

Seth pulled his head back when he realized he was staring at his friend’s hypnotically swaying ass. “Idiot!” he whispered to himself. He leaned back against the tweed wall, brought his knees up to rest his elbows on, and thwacked his skull against the hard, thin partition. Once. Twice.

He had to get a grip! Sure Kevin was drunk, but he’d never be that drunk. Kevin had made it perfectly clear when they’d first started becoming friends that he didn’t have any interest in expanding his sexuality to include men. He’d said that as long as Seth was on board with that, they’d be golden.

If only he wasn’t so—perfect—from his sexily tousled brown hair to his full, beautiful lips and strong, cleft chin, right on down to his long, lean, flawlessly sculpted, absolutely perfect body. Plus, Kevin always got Seth’s sarcasm, even when no one else did. And they both liked hokey sci-fi movies. And then there was the way Kevin got so damned excited when talking about the untapped bio-energy in ocean waves. His deep aquamarine eyes would sparkle and his big, long fingered hands would wave around like sea anemones.

Everything.

It was everything. Everything about Kevin Bishop was perfect—except for that teeny-tiny ‘straight as a ruler’ problem. Surely overcomable, given the right—

“Scootch over.”

Seth looked up to see Kevin looming over him, a bottle of clear liquid in each hand. “I thought you were getting beer,” he said, as he made room for Kevin to sit beside him.

“Yeah, well, I ran into a bit of a problem with that.” Kevin slid down the wall, ending up so close to Seth that his dress shirt pressed against Seth’s beer-drenched torso. “Jeez, Seth,” he said with a grimace, trying unsuccessfully to blot the wet spot off. “Why don’t you just take the shirt off already? No one’s going to notice; they’re all three sheets to the wind out there.”

“And in here,” Seth noted.

Kevin stuck his tongue out at him.

Actually, the wet cotton was sticky and uncomfortable, so why not indeed?

“What problem did you run into getting beer?” Seth asked, his words muffled in soggy fabric. There was no answer. He lifted the shirt completely over his head to find Kevin’s gaze glued to his stomach. Or, no, what he was most likely looking at was Seth’s hard-on, which hadn’t subsided at all and was now ludicrously apparent without the shirt to hide it. Shit. Seth jerked his knee up, blocking Kevin’s view.

“Uhh—” Kevin looked away and pushed a bottle into Seth’s hand. He broke the red seal on the other. “Oh, yeah. Well, see I was heading over to the keg, but then Rachel—” He laughed and took two long swallows of what had turned out to be vodka. “The crazy bitch asked me if I wanted to have a threesome with her and Jeff!” Another incredulous laugh. Another big swallow.

Seth looked down at the bottle in his own hand. “You got me peppermint schnapps?” he asked. That wasn’t what he’d meant to say at all, but really, peppermint schnapps?

Kevin glanced at it, apparently surprised as well. “Did I? Hey, sorry. I thought I’d grabbed gin. Here, you want some of this?”

“No. Whatever. It’s fine.” What Seth wanted was to hear more about this threesome. He twisted the cap off the schnapps and said, “So your answer was no then?”

“Damn right it was no! Fuck, like I’m just gonna go hop in the sack with Jeff Davidson. I don’t care if he is in MENSA, the guy’s an asshole.”

Seth shrugged and took a swig. Peppermint seared its way down his throat. “That asshole’s pretty damn hot,” he said, when he was done coughing. Jeff was hot, in an elegant blond James Bond kinda way. Of course, he had nothing on Mr. Tall, Dark and Sinful sitting beside him.

“Yeah, I guess Jeff’s kind of hot,” Kevin said, a dismissive shrug lifting his broad shoulders.

“Definitely hot,” Seth said. “Definitely.”

Kevin grimaced and slugged back more vodka. “But,” he said, swiping the back of his hand across his mouth, “my threesome fantasies don’t involve guys. So—” He nudged Seth’s shoulder and leaned in conspiratorially. “Besides, if I was gonna get it on with any man you know it would be you, my homosexual Asian friend.”

Seth’s throat made a dry click. “Is that so?” Damn. His voice had come out at least three octaves higher than normal. Way to play it cool. The grin Kevin gave him was decimating in its pants-removing power. No wonder girls threw themselves at him.

“Well, sure.” Kevin scrunched down until his long legs were once again under Mary-Beth’s desk. “I mean, I know you’ve got a thing for me.” His head came to rest against Seth’s shoulder, soft espresso curls tickling the sensitive skin of Seth’s chest. “It’s no big deal,” he went on. “Kind of flattering, really. So, yeah—if I was truly going to fuck a guy, why wouldn’t it be someone I already know and like?” He lifted his gorgeous aquamarine eyes up to Seth and winked. “Someone I know would show me the very best time he could—right?”

Seth tried to make his neck muscles un-tense long enough to nod, but before he could manage any sort of response Kevin started speaking again.

“Plus, you’re really cute. You know, for a guy. You’ve got those great slanty eyes and your hair’s so long and black and friggin’ shiny, and those cheekbones— Fuck man, you know what you look like?”

White speckled dots danced in Seth’s peripheral vision. It took him a second to realize why. He’d stopped breathing. Kevin thought he was cute? Seth gulped in air and opened his mouth to say— who knows what, but Kevin was still talking.

“You look just like one of those ‘pretty boys’ in the yaoi comics my little sister reads.” He skewered Seth with a cunning look. “So, then, I’ve gotta ask. Are you a seme or an uke?”

Holy shit! If Kevin knew what those words meant then it wasn’t just his sister reading the comics. Had he picked one up out of curiosity? Did it turn him on? God, how should Seth answer the question? Riba would be the truthful reply, but—

“Gah.” Kevin smacked Seth’s thigh. “Never mind. TMI. I’m drunk.”

A woman’s voice drifted to them over the music and general hubbub of partying. “Anyone seen Kevin?”

Seth hunkered down until his head was level with Kevin’s. Saved by Malibu Barbie. The cow. “Seems like Chantrel’s looking for you,” he said, trying not to sound put out about it. “Maybe she’ll be up for a threesome more to your liking. I hear Dianne from reception just broke off her engagement. You could ask her to join in.”

“Her name’s Shandra, dipshit. And really? Dianne’s single now? Good to know.” Kevin turned his head and Seth suddenly realized they were too close. Just a few inches apart. Much, much too close. He slid the rest of the way down until he was lying flat on the ground, even though the industrial grey carpet itched his bare back something awful. It was either that or make an ass out of himself by crawling into Kevin’s lap and kissing him senseless.

“Ah, but unfortunately Shandra’s a spectacularly shitty lay,” Kevin said, shifting to face Seth more fully and propping his chin in his hand. “Tried her out last week. So—nah. I’ll pass. Anyhoo, I’m pretty comfy right here.” He tried to take another drink from the vodka bottle but the angle was awkward and he just ended up spilling a bunch down Seth’s arm. “Shit. Sorry,” he said, as he leaned forward and nonchalantly licked Seth’s bicep clean.

Seth’s heart paused mid-beat.

“What about you?” Kevin asked, his eyes twinkling. “Is a threesome one of your deep darks? ‘Course, it would have to be guy-on-guy—on-guy, I guess. A Seth sandwich.”

“I think the threesome is a pretty common fantasy,” Seth said, trying to sound as blasé as Kevin had. Kinda hard to do cool, though, when his dick was so hard it felt like it was trying to tear its way out of his underwear. All Kevin had to do was look down to see the effect he’d had.

Kevin nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. Okay then, what’s a not so common fantasy of yours?”

“Uhhh—” Seth was praying for God to strike him dead or, better yet, to give Kevin the sudden irresistible urge to jump Seth’s bones. Either/or, ‘cause he couldn’t take too much more of this.

“Shy?” Kevin smiled that sly, erotic smile again. “How ‘bout I go first?” He put his hand on Seth’s chest, his thumb right over Seth’s nipple. He didn’t seem to be aware of where his fingers were. But, he couldn’t really be that oblivious. Could he?

“I have this fantasy about being kidnapped—taken right off the street,” Kevin said. His thumb twitched. Seth bit his lips on a moan. “I wake up in a room I’ve never seen before and I’m chained up,” Kevin continued, paying no attention to the embarrassing sound Seth had been unable to stifle. “Then a Domme—you know what a Domme is right, Seth?”

“‘Course I do,” Seth muttered, wondering what the hell was going on. Was Kevin coming on to him or was this just a random drunken conversation?

“Of course you do,” Kevin mimicked, his eyes oddly dark. “Where was I? Oh, yeah. So then, in my fantasy, a beautiful Domme—dressed all in tight black leather—whips me and forces me to be her sex slave while a crowd of people watches.”

Another thumb movement, this one not so much a twitch as a stroke.

Seth’s back arched. Okay. Enough. He didn’t know what Kevin thought he was doing—hell, maybe he didn’t realize he was doing anything. But enough was enough. This had to stop right now, before he came in his pants like some lame high school kid.

Seth attempted to push Kevin’s hand away, but Kevin was stronger and wouldn’t be moved. “Sometimes, I imagine there’re two beautiful Dommes.” Kevin went on, patently ignoring Seth’s attempts to escape. “One will be fucking me with a big strap-on while the other whips my cock and balls raw.”

Kevin had progressed from stroking Seth’s nipple to pinching it. Seth moaned again, his eyes falling closed. The wicked bolts of pleasure arcing from his nipple to his cock—the image of Kevin being tied up, ass-fucked and whipped—Kevin’s fingers on his body—his husky, sexy voice whispering perversions in Seth’s ear—it was too damned much! Seth rode the razor’s edge of orgasm. His hips twitched, grinding his cock into Kevin’s hip.

Kevin didn’t pull away. “Do you ever imagine being whipped, Seth?” he whispered, so close that his lips brushed Seth’s neck.

Fuck you! Seth thought. He was so turned on he could scarcely breathe. He didn’t know what Kevin’s game was, but it was a game two could play. “I do like a whip sometimes,” Seth whispered back, “but mostly I prefer the paddle.” Kevin stilled, and made a weird choking noise somewhere between a laugh and a groan.

Ha! Score one for the gullible gay guy.

There was a long moment of silence. Seth opened his eyes to find Kevin right there. Vodka humidity bathed his lip as Kevin purred, “Really? And what else do you—”

Loud, excited voices rose around them. Funny, Seth had somehow managed to forget that they were at the VITP New Year’s party, huddled half underneath Mary-Beth Wilson’s desk.

Ten!

Nine!

Kevin gave Seth’s nipple one more pinch and then moved his hand up to cup Seth’s jaw. His thumb traced Seth’s lower lip. “I guess it’s officially New Year’s, and poor me—my date’s off kissing someone else.”

Five!

Four!

“So, since I’m really drunk—” He shifted himself over Seth’s body, until one thigh rested between Seth’s legs and their chests were flush. His mouth hovered a bare millimeter over Seth’s own. “—and, for some strange reason, I’m finding you incredibly sexy right now. I think I’m going to have to usher in the New Year by kissing you, Seth. What do you say?”

One!

Kevin’s body pressed Seth into the floor, his thigh flexed against Seth’s cock. Coherent speech being impossible, Seth answered the only way he could. He grabbed the back of his friend’s head and shoved his tongue down his throat.

There was no hesitation on Kevin’s part. He angled his head and, like the pro he was, took that kiss right over. His tongue was strong. Confident. It surged into Seth’s mouth, wrestling for supremacy, until all Seth could do was open his mouth wider and let the man take what he wanted.

Kevin hauled Seth closer still, his leg grinding between Seth’s thighs as his fingers found Seth’s nipple again. The crescent of his nail bit deep into the tiny brown peak.

Seth moaned and ran frantic hands over Kevin’s broad shoulders, narrow hips and his tight, beautiful ass and, all the while, Kevin kissed him, plundered him, raped his mouth. It was, without a doubt, the best kiss of Seth’s entire life.

Then Kevin’s hand dropped lower, skimming the taut skin of Seth’s stomach. A single finger slipped under the waistband of Seth’s khaki’s, brushing, ever so lightly, across the crown of his swollen cockhead.

No, no, no. Oh, fuck—Yes! Seth screamed, his ecstatic cry lost in his friend’s mouth as he came in great jerking pulses of bliss.

When Seth stopped writhing, and hollering, Kevin drew away. His blue-green eyes were wide. His breath came in pants almost as frenzied as Seth’s. “Did you just come? Just from—”

Seth’s entire body blushed. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “I—”

“Christ, don’t be sorry.” Kevin smiled and dropped his head to Seth’s shoulder. “That was the sexiest fuckin’ thing I’ve ever seen.” His teeth sank briefly into Seth’s collar bone, making Seth squirm. “If I were into guys I’d be all over you, boy.” His tongue soothed the bite away. “You’re so damned responsive.” He licked his way up Seth’s neck to his ear. “I’ve never made someone come just by kissing them before,” he said, flicking his tongue inside. “It was amazing.”

Seth shuddered from the caress even as his heart sank. If I were into guys, Kevin had said. But, of course, Kevin wasn’t into guys. So, then, what the hell had just happened?

“It’s kind of too bad.” Kevin leaned up and away, his expression suddenly serious. “I mean, I’m really drunk and I know I won’t remember this tomorrow,” he said, sounding not very drunk at all. “And I’d like to remember making someone so hot that they exploded just from a minute or two of kissing, but—” He brushed a lock of blue-black hair back from Seth’s forehead, the gesture so intimate it brought tears to Seth’s eyes. “But, I know our friendship couldn’t survive this, so it’s actually better for me not to remember.” His finger skimmed down Seth’s cheekbone. “Don’t you agree?”

A single tear escaped to track down Seth’s cheek. Pathetic. He reached up to swipe it away but Kevin beat him to it.

“C’mon, babe, don’t cry. It is better to forget. Tell me you agree. I don’t want to lose you over this.”

“It’s better.” Seth turned his face away. “I guess.”

Kevin surprised him by grabbing his chin and turning it back. His lips were firm but gentle, the kiss almost chaste, right up until the moment his tongue swept inside and demanded everything Seth had to give. “Happy New Year’s, Seth,” Kevin whispered a few minutes—or maybe hours—later. He jumped to his feet with admirable agility. “I’ll see you Monday.”