Acts of Passion redux is now out there :)

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Acts of Passion (A Jack Cade/Michael di Santo Novel of Suspense)
Author: Sedonia Guillone
Genre: LGBT; Gay Romance; Mystery and Detective; Romantic Suspense
Length: Novel
eISBN: 978-1-937796-13-6
Price: 2.99 USD
Print: ISBN13: 978-1523246526|Price: 10.99 USD

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When a man is found in his apartment, appearing to have committed hara kiri with a samurai sword, Boston Homicide Detective Jack Cade suspects more is going on than what it appears. The department’s criminal profiler has left and a new guy is taking his place. At first, Cade is skeptical of Dr. Michael Di Santo. Di Santo seems so absent-minded and too neurotic to be effective. But he is brilliant and hot and Cade finds himself falling hard and fast, both in lust and in love. The attraction is mutual, although Michael’s past demons haunt him, keeping him from getting too close. Together, they begin to unravel Michael’s emotional knots even as they close in on a killer, another brilliant, wily person whose sights are now set on Michael.

Publisher’s note: This title was previously published at Ellora’s Cave. It now contains a previously deleted scene for reprint with Ai Press.

Excerpt:

Studying the front area of the building, he wandered down the flower box lined stone walk of the apartment building and turned to face it. Crime lab workers and patrol officers moved around on either side of the yellow crime tape, keeping the building cordoned off until Jack gave instructions to clear out and retain only the apartment as the crime scene.

Jack stepped aside to let someone go past him and bump! Smacked into something.

He turned. “Excuse me, I’m—” Or rather, he’d bumped into someone.

The man was adjusting the glasses Jack had apparently knocked off his face. “You’re in a crime scene,” Jack said.

“Yes, I know.” Almond-shaped brown eyes seemed to study Jack from behind round lenses. He looked Asian, yet sort of…not Asian at the same time. His dark brown hair was styled in a conventional way, parted on the side in short layers. The crumpled navy suit he wore, complete with diagonally striped tie against a light blue dress shirt made him appear as if his mother had dressed him for a spelling bee at school even though he was probably about Jack’s age. Forty.

Jack blinked. He was taking absolutely too long to find out who this man was. Then light dawned. Of course. “Dr. Di Santo?”

“Detective Cade?”

“That’s me. Hope I didn’t break your glasses.”

Di Santo touched them on each side as if to check. “No, they’re fine.”

Jack watched the man’s hands as he gingerly adjusted the frames. Nicely shaped fingers. Clean, trimmed nails. “Sorry I bumped you that way.”

“No problem.” Di Santo cleared his throat. “I hope I can be of help to you.”

Jack started. “Me too. This way.” He led Di Santo into the building and up to the apartment. “As I told you on the phone, I’m not so sure this was a suicide.” He let Di Santo precede him into the apartment and followed him, observing the way the slim man took in the surroundings on his way over to the victim.

Jack explained his suspicions and then let the man work. For what seemed a long time, Di Santo wandered about then stood in the center of the room, his gaze on the coffee table. His hand disappeared into his jacket pocket and pulled something out, which he popped into his mouth.

Jack watched him. Watched the man’s cheek bulge on the side while he sucked on whatever it was in his mouth, his gaze intent on the coffee table and victim. He then approached Jack and Jack heard the click of hard candy against the guy’s teeth. Finally Di Santo turned and knelt by the body.

Jack saw the professor’s eyes widen, especially on the hilt of the knife. “What is it?”

Di Santo seemed to ignore his question, staring at the knife. “Were his hands on the hilt of the knife or over his face when you found him?”

“Over his face.”

“Okay. Please open the robe so I can see the wound,” he said to Murphy.

Murphy did as he asked and Di Santo gazed for what seemed five straight minutes at the vicious cross-shaped cut in the centre of the wound.

“Jumonji giri,” he said, nearly in a whisper.

“What?” Jack looked between the knife wound and Di Santo.

The hot-yet-nerdy man was still staring down, seeming to ignore him. The candy in his mouth clicked several times against his teeth.

“Dr. Di Santo?”

Michael Di Santo looked up, his eyes seemingly far away yet intent at the same time. “What kind of movies did this man watch?”

Cover art: Louca Matheo
Jacket design: Les Byerley

Sneak peek at the third in my samurai trilogy


(photo of an onnegata (male kabuki actor in female role) from weheartit.com)

As some of you know I have been working on A Samurai for Aoki the third in my samurai trilogy. (Previous books: Flying Fish and Blind Love. If you’ve read them, then you’ve met the beautiful kabuki actor Aoki who longs to find the samurai who will be his true love. Aoki is a wonderful character, kind and sweet and a good friend to those in his life. But he has not had good fortune in finding the man of his dreams, in spite of how lovable he is and how willing to love.

I realized it was time for Aoki to find his Happy Ever After. And it will come in what is, for him, a most unexpected place. He just has a lesson to learn first that he had no idea he needed to learn. But isn’t this the story of our own lives? Which is what, to me, makes this story universal even though it is set in feudal Japan between a young samurai, Toho, (whom we also first meet as a boy in Blind Love but who is now grown into a handsome young man,) and an onnegata (male kabuki actor who played female roles). I hope you enjoy the snippet I’m posting here. Please bear with me the long time it is taking me to finish the story. Since I also am a publisher, I don’t have as much time to write.) From my work in progress, A Samurai For Aoki (unedited. Final version may differ):

Toho dreamed again about Aoki. It was the same dream he always had. Aoki’s beautiful face with its delicate features smiling down at him. Warmth sparkled in Aoki’s eyes, a gaze full of love and sweetness, dark liquid pools in which Toho felt enveloped, wrapped in safety and unending compassion. Aoki’s long hair curled and flowed, tresses that gleamed like liquid ebony with sunlight glinting off of it. Toho smiled up at him, as Aoki himself were the warm sun, bathing him while he slept. He could feel the teasing brush of Aoki’s hair on his cheeks. Aoki held out his arms, inviting a protective embrace. Aoki’s embrace had always made him feel as if he’d be all right.

Only this time the dream changed. Aoki’s smile faded. Distress filled his pale complexion. Lines ringed his eyes and deepened across his smooth forehead. His reaching arms flailed and he began to fade, as if made of mist. Toho gasped and reached out to him, grasping desperately. He got handfuls of Aoki’s kimono but Aoki slipped from his grasp. The more Toho reached, the more Aoki faded. Until he was gone…

Toho fought for breath. His chest heaved. What he’d thought were Aoki’s sleeves in his tight fists was, in reality, his own bedding. He sat up. Sweat made his kimono cling to his torso and odd tingles coursed over his skin and through his thigh and calf muscles. While the ghostly whispers of the nightmare ebbed away, he raked a shaky hand through his hair. With a long breath he lay back and stared up at the ceiling. The faintest light of dawn stole through the window slats. The brazier had burnt out during the night, allowing hints of the crisp autumn air to cool his sweaty skin.

On the other side of the brazier, his fathers stirred on their futons. He listened, hoping he hadn’t woken them. They worked hard and needed their rest. He’d have been happy to stay in the one of the dojo’s sleeping rooms with his father’s students but neither Hirata nor Sho would allow that. They were fiercely protective.

Toho took another deep breath. Usually he awoke from his dream feeling refreshed, calm and happy. Not today. Something was wrong. Aoki was in trouble. Toho felt it in his bones. Guilt flashed through him as it did several times each. He’d not yet kept his promise to Aoki to return to him. Both his fathers had made him promise to wait until the first day of his eighteenth year. Well, that day was drawing close, but if his nightmare had any truth in it, then he couldn’t wait until then. Aoki might be in trouble…

A shadow loomed over Toho. In the next breath, Sho was kneeling beside him. His father could move as silently as a cat or a ninja.

“Toho, are you unwell?” Sho, who’d been trained in the arts of acupuncture and herbal healing as well as massage, picked up Toho’s wrist. Immediately, Sho’s fingertips pressed into his pulses.

“I’m fine, Father. Just a bad dream.”

Sho nodded and continued his careful listening. When Toho was a child whose parents had been brutally slain before his very eyes, Sho was the one person in whom he’d been able to take refuge. He couldn’t expect Sho simply to give up his protective ways and let go simply because Toho was now a grown man. And yet, he had never quite gotten used to Sho’s razor-sharp perception. There was no keeping any secrets from his father. He listened another moment to Toho’s pulses and then set his hand down. “You dreamed about Aoki-san again?”

Toho sighed. “Yes. But this one was different. It wasn’t good. Something was—“

“Toho, are you all right?” Hirata came over and knelt beside Sho. His dark gaze fell on Toho. Hirata too, fussed over him too much sometimes, but after what Hirata had recently revealed to Toho about his own past, Toho could easily forgive him his over-protectiveness.

“Toho had a nightmare. About Aoki-san.”

Toho sat up. “In my dream nothing really happened but Aoki-san looked so troubled, so frightened. That’s never happened before. Maybe he needs me to go to him. I did promise I would return to him. And…” Toho hesitated before finishing. “I’ve missed him so badly.” When he looked up, both his fathers brows were furrowed, as if Sho and Hirata knew at once what he would say next. “Please, let me go to him. Let me keep my promise.”
Sho and Hirata were both silent. Toho felt their tension in the very air and his heart sped up. “We’ll go with you,” Sho said.

Toho felt a wave of shame, something he hadn’t expected. For some reason, he’d always assumed that when he returned to Aoki, he would do so as a proud samurai, not the damaged peasant boy he’d been when he and Aoki had parted. How could he do that with his two father, both accomplished swordsmen, surrounding him? “But, Father, how can I ever prove myself to you if you are always protecting me?”

Finally Sho cleared his throat. “You expected to make this journey alone? If it’s about keeping your promise to Aoki then what does it matter if we’re with you?”

“And since when would you need to prove yourself to either of us, Toho?” Hirata said. “You’re our precious son.”

Toho bowed his head again. The cool air in the room had dried his sweat and he pulled his kimono tighter, squaring his shoulders. “I want Aoki to…be proud of me.”

“I have no doubt Aoki would be proud of you if you showed yourself with us beside you,” Sho said. “Just to set eyes on you again and see what a fine young man you’ve grown to be would fill him with joy.”

Toho felt his back muscles clench. Both his fathers had proven their strength and merit as swordsmen and as human beings. Why did they insist on depriving him of his chance? “But Aoki adores samurai. Even as a child I noticed his preference, we spent so much time together.” Toho even remembered the little alcove at the entrance of Aoki’s home, across from the tokonoma, the altar that held the statue of the Buddha, where a weapons rack provided storage for the weapons of samurai who came to call on Aoki. Samurai loved kabuki actors, especially Aoki, who was exceptionally beautiful and graceful.

“Aoki loved you before you were ever a samurai,” Sho said, his voice tight. “Before Hirata ever adopted you, you were Aoki’s special boy.”

“Sho-chan,” Hirata said, his hand on his partner’s shoulder, “In all fairness to Toho, I do understand what he’s saying. I can understand how Toho would wish to prove himself. After such a prolonged absence, he’s worried that Aoki will hold him to a new standard.”

The furrow in Sho’s brow deepened. “And what indications has Aoki given in his letters of such a change in attitude? Every time he’s corresponded with us he sends only love and well wishes and hope we’ll all see each other again before too long.”

Toho looked down. He had no answer. Sho was right, of course. Aoki had never expressed anything to him except complete love and acceptance. It was himself who’d changed. As he grew older and his body became a man’s body, he’d noticed the change in his thinking and feeling. He was no longer that little boy Aoki had loved and helped to heal. That’s the person Aoki loved. The beautiful graceful man he looked up to as a motherly big sister had never met Toho the samurai.

“Toho.” Sho broke the silence. “Please, understand my position. No matter how old you are, how skilled you are, you’re my little boy. I’m not a samurai. I don’t think as a samurai. You don’t prove your worth as a human being by living the laws of Bushido.” Sho sighed, his brow deeply furrowed. “You’re asking me to let go. To let you go…to let you…grow up.”

His father’s words moved Toho to rise and go over to him. He knelt down by Sho who immediately covered Toho’s hands with his. “I’m sorry, Father.”

Sho pulled him into an embrace. The bond between them had formed the moment Sho had first come to treat Toho. In the wake of Toho’s parents’ murders, Toho had lain on a mat in his uncle’s tiny hut, staring up at the ceiling, paralyzed by the trauma of what he’d witnessed. Sho had been the first person he’d looked at, spoken to, trusted when he’d come back to life. He knew that Sho would keep him by his side the rest of their days if he could. When Sho finally ended the embrace he sighed again. “All right. But I expect you to post a message to me every few days, to let me know what’s happening and that you’re all right. Promise me.”

“I promise, Father. Thank you.”

New Release! Yay!!

I’m so pleased and happy to announce this new release with my friend and colleague D.H. Starr. He’s such an awesome M/M Romance author that I’m thrilled to have my work included in the same book as his with a theme that we both adore. Hope you’ll check it out! Warmly, Sedonia

Friends to Lovers
Authors: D.H. Starr; Sedonia Guillone
Genre: M/M; Anthology
eISBN: 9781937796174
MSRP: 7.99
You pay: 5.79

Cover art: Les Byerley

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What do an advertising executive, an Olympic skater and an 18th century samurai have in common? Each is in love with his best friend and knows he’s found his soul mate. But is Fate destined to give him his heart’s desire? A timeless theme explored in three sizzling M/M stories by two of today’s favorite authors, D.H. Starr and Sedonia Guillone.

It Was Always You (D.H. Starr) A drama club geek and a consummate jock—hardly a formula for friendship. Yet Caleb Richards and Kevin O’Brien have been best friends since high school. Kevin’s free spirited ways brought Caleb out of his shell, and Caleb introduced Kevin to a world outside of sports. When Kevin came out to Caleb as gay, all the things he’d thought were wrong about himself suddenly seemed right…except for his inability to say the four words that could open the door to his ultimate happiness: I love you, Kevin. Years later, when Caleb finally faced his fear and plans to finally tell Kevin, “It was always you,” he’s a bit too late: Kevin tells him he’s found someone. How will a friendship ever become more now?

Blind Love (Sedonia Guillone) After a harrowing seventeen-year separation, Hirata Morimasa leaves his home and secure future to search for his childhood friend, Sho. Blinded by illness when they were children, Sho was sent away, apprenticed to a blind masseur (an anma) to learn his trade, and then disappeared. Desperate to find the other half of his heart and soul, Hirata willingly sacrifices the prestige and security of his father’s dojo to find him. When an anma who looks exactly like Sho crosses his path in front of a gambling parlor one day, the man flatly denies he is Sho. Hirata knows better and is determined to get the truth…and to get back the friend he’d lost. However, even though Hirata knows in his bones this man is his soul mate, Sho has…changed…in ways Hirata could not have prepared for in his wildest imaginings, changes that could continue to keep them apart…forever.

Skating For Gold (D.H. Starr) Joined by sorrow, Olympic figure skating hopeful Devon Hayes met champion Lance Dawes at a time when both their worlds were falling apart. Devon lost his mother to cancer and Lance’s family rejected him for being gay. When Devon leaves for college, a door seems to close on any hopes for something more than friendship…until Fate provides a second chance. Devon returns home to train with Lance. As the Olympic trials draw closer and their love grows stronger, the tug-of-war between desire and ambition threatens to ruin everything. If they can’t discover what matters most, they might end up with nothing.

Excerpt:
Skating for Gold (D.H. Starr)

Chapter One

Lance Dawes watched Devon glide gracefully along the pond’s frozen surface. In all of the years he’d coached Devon, he’d never met a man more focused or driven. Devon’s concentration on the quadruple jump, the one move he’d failed to master, was laser sharp. Digging the pick of his skate into the ice, Devon pumped his powerful quads, generating speed. His body lifted, sailing through the air. Lance counted each spin. One, two, three, four. C’mon. Now the landing. Lance held his breath. Devon’s arms hugged his torso, his body blurring from the speed of his rotations as he drew closer to the ground until his skate touched the ice. A triumphant thrill shot through Lance, but the victory was short-lived. Devon’s ankle wobbled and he toppled over, landing heavily on the ice. Fuck! He’s gonna be pissed.

Lance skated over to Devon, extending his hand. Without accepting the help, Devon pushed himself into an upright position. Despite the sour expression on Devon’s face, heat radiated through Lance. Just three years earlier, the man sitting on the ice had been a boy of seventeen. A lost, scared kid who needed training, friendship and encouragement. Back then, their five-year age difference had placed them in two different worlds. Lance thought of Devon with affection, like a kid brother, but certainly not romantically.

But Devon wasn’t a kid anymore. At twenty, even hunched over and angry, he radiated masculine perfection. Each muscle ran smoothly into the next. Bulges and ripples gleamed off the sheen of his sweat-covered skin. The way his broad shoulders tapered into a narrow waist drew Lance’s eyes like a magnet. He had to forcibly break his gaze when it scanned over that rounded ass only to rest on a generous swell pressing at the front of Devon’s skating pants. His legs, tree-trunks of muscle, were proportionate to the rest of his body. He has a perfect skater’s body.

“Damnit. Why the fuck can’t I land the jump?” Seemingly oblivious to Lance’s attention, Devon placed his hands on the ground and pushed himself to his feet. “I thought I had it.” He skated until only a few feet separated them, and took the towel Lance held for him.

Lance draped a woolen jacket over Devon’s shoulders, his hands brushing across the tense muscles. Even accidental touches sent currents of pleasure straight to his groin. “No one’s getting the quadruple jump consistently yet.” Although true, his words wouldn’t matter to Devon. Aside from Devon’s physical flawlessness, he also held himself to the highest of standards. It was just another item on the lengthy list of things Lance found irresistible about the man.

“I don’t give a fuck about other skaters. I generated enough speed, got great height, and even completed all four rotations with enough time to prepare for my landing.” With a final dab at his forehead, Devon tossed the towel back to Lance. “So what’s wrong?”

“It’s your landing. You aren’t coming around enough with your foot. You need to make a full rotation with your blade or your balance will be off and you won’t land with stability.”
Devon squared his body, standing at his full six-foot-two height as he faced Lance. Despite the impressiveness of his physique, there was still something innocent and vulnerable in him. “You think?” Devon placed one hand on Lance’s shoulder for balance while gripping his blade with the other and pulling his leg up stretching his muscles. “I do feel unstable on the landing.”

The contact where Devon’s hand gripped Lance’s shoulder sent a heated excitement through Lance, despite the frigid chill of the February air. Deep blue eyes filled Lance’s vision. Piercing sky-blue eyes, the same hue as the color reflecting off the ice. It took him a moment to realize he needed to respond. The trust and openness of that gaze had a power over him like no other.

“Absolutely. Once you bring your foot all the way around before you actually touch down, you’ll nail it each and every time.”

Devon pulled the coat around him, leaning in and playfully nudging Lance with his shoulder. “Thanks, Coach.”

Lance chuckled, but he couldn’t shake the way Devon had smirked after nudging him, and he swore Devon winked at him before turning away. Is he…Nooooo! It couldn’t have been. I’m just projecting. “Where do you think you’re going? We’re not done here.” Better to boss the kid around than contemplate what had been on his mind ever since Devon returned from college. “And how many times have I told you not to call me Coach? I’m not your coach, I’m your friend who’s been on the Olympic team and who’s helping you get ready for the trials in Seattle next month.”

Devon flashed Lance a dismissive glance. “Sheesh. Sensitive much?” He winced after the words came out as he caught his tone.

The comment had come across harshly, but three years ago, Lance could have easily passed it off as a bratty kid action. Now, even the tone of Devon’s voice cut straight through him. “It makes me feel old.” Lance kicked at the snow.

Devon laughed and placed an arm over Lance’s shoulder. “You’re not old. We’re practically the same age now.”

Ignoring the comment, which echoed something he had spent too much time thinking about himself lately, Lance redirected the conversation. “We still need to go over the routine.”

Devon rolled his eyes then settling his gaze on Lance. “I need to head back to the farm. There’s a ton of work to be done, and Dad will do all of it if I don’t get home soon.”

Lance knew better than to argue with Devon about helping his father on the farm. He’d learned long ago what a waste of time and energy that was. Instead, he waited as Devon removed his skates and replaced them with clunky Doc Martens. He’s right, at twenty and twenty-five, we’re both men.

A Bunch of Hot Guys and Me

Please forgive me. I just couldn’t help myself. A work I created and populated, born of the man in my life who means everything to me and the path my life has taken, has become so much a part of me that I couldn’t fight the need anymore.

What need am I talking about? Simply, my need, as an author and person, to allow myself to spend more time in this world, the world of the White Tigers. You might ask, well, if you love it so much, of course, that seems perfectly natural! Why wouldn’t you write as many stories as you can? Especially when there is a definite group of readers (bless all of you deep in my heart!) who also love that world.

It wasn’t so simple. Even though I adore the White Tigers and have gotten untold amounts of satisfaction and pleasure in writing this series, I was younger, less experienced and carried a strong belief that I had burned myself out, written myself out, that the series was done, nothing left, even though I had two more stories in mind (i,e, that of the twins Mod and Tatou and that of Jin and Wu Li who make an appearance in Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. I didn’t realize that it would be best just to continue this eries and not worry about writing books I believed would be more popular. Now I have taken the time to write to people who have signed the White Tigers Fanlist as well as all those good-hearted kind and supportive readers on sites like Facebook and Goodreads who have personally told me how much they loved the series or have written one after the other reviews saying how much they loved it. Yet others have written to me personally and expressed how much the White Tigers stories have been comforting, helped them in their lives and moved them deeply. How could I have been so short-sighted?!

Once I understood this truth, I set about to fixing it immediately and within an hour had half of the first chapter done of the next book in the series, Men of Tokyo: Forbidden Cravings, the story of Mod and Tatou, the twins who are so mischevous and lovable. They are crazy about Quan Chan and always tease him and make him blush, but they are also two of his greatest admirers and did everything they could to comfort him when his heart was broken in Men of Tokyo: Sudden Surrender. However, Mod and Tatou are also as deep and intelligent as they are mischevous and sexy and the story of how they came to be at the White Tiger is in the process of being told. The good news also is that for established readers of the White Tigers, Mod and Tatou’s story is an enriching addition to the series and for readers new to the series, Men of Tokyo: Forbidden Cravings can be read as a prequel to the whole series!

All that said, I’m just so happy to be working on this series again and below is a snippet from the first chapter (unedited) to give you a sense of the story. Hope you enjoy! And thank you again for reading this and for your support. Warmly, Sedonia

Snippet:

Chapter One
London, England a few years back

“Mod, what the hell? You’ve got to be taking the piss!” Tatou stared at his brother. Like looking into a mirror really, except that their mother’s Thai features were more obvious on him. Mod’s dark eyes were a touch narrower. And the grin on his full, pouty lips was always slightly more devilish. At least Tatou thought so.
“I swear I’m not!”
In the main room of the suite, the girls’ pajama party Angela had invited them to rang on. Mostly girls, giggling. An occasional cackle.
“Then Angie’s taking the piss.” The words that had just come from Mod’s lips could not be true. Not of Angie, who’d been their mate since third form and had followed them to Uni.
Mod took a swig of his beer and clapped him on the back. “Ask her yourself, mate. She swears it wasn’t her idea. Someone asked her to pass the offer along.” He hooked his arm so that Tatou’s neck rested in its crook and pressed their cheeks together, giving Tatou a whiff of his brother’s beer breath. “Just think, a hundred quid for a few seconds’ snog.”
Tatou wrenched out of his brother’s loose hold, but not before an odd frisson went through parts of him it shouldn’t have, parts he’d worked bloody hard to keep under control for a long time. “There are so many reasons we shouldn’t do that.”
“Hey, guys!” Angie’s voice shot from the room followed by another shriek of laughter. The volume in the already smoke and music-filled room rose. The natives were getting restless. And they wanted what a hundred quid would buy them.
That did nothing to wipe away Mod’s shit-eating grin. The barmy bugger. He was always up for anything. But this? “First of all, Mod, it’s prostitution.”
That pulled a throaty laugh from his drunk brother. “Okay, T. And what are the other reasons?”
“Well, there’s one other, really.” Tatou stepped in closer. Gay they both were but that didn’t mean you sucked face with your own brother. He didn’t even allow that track in his thoughts, even when his mind tried to go there. ”In case you hadn’t noticed, you’re my brother? There’s got to be a few injunctions in the Bible that tell us exactly where we’re going to end up if we snog. Especially for a room full of horny chicks.”
For the first time since Mod had pulled him out of the party room to tell him what Angie and her fellow dorm mates wanted, his grin faded. “I don’t see the problem in that. We have our own forms of affection, or have you forgotten?” He leaned in and nuzzled Tatou’s cheek. His brother’s soft lips made his skin tingle. And other body parts that would remain nameless. He closed his eyes. They’d shared a bed in the family’s tiny flat all their lives and often helped each other fall asleep by what they called “fitting.” It had only been here at Uni that they each had a bed in their dorm room and only occasionally practiced fitting. Truthfully, he missed the closeness. They were best friends. Didn’t go anywhere apart. Not even meals. Not even dating, limited though it was in their twenty-two years at this point to an occasional threesome in which the third guy was the focus, not each other. They really were two halves of one whole. But now, it was time be…normal. Not to go in the direction his mind and body had been heading. Being in school, so many people in the dorm all the time had kept them both…apart, you could say. This was not going to help. Then Mod’s nuzzling lips whispered a trail toward his ear, toward the sensitive flesh of his earlobe…
With a hand on Mod’s chest, he pushed him so that Mod was forced to take a step back. “Forget it.”
“There you guys are! What’s going on? The girls are going to come after you if you take any longer.” Angie, dressed in a pink silky nightgown and fuzzy slippers, danced her blonde-headed way over and put her arms around both their shoulders, swaying in time to the bass beat that made the floorboards vibrate. “I’ve got the collection going already. And…” She lifted her head up, a triumphant gleam in her hazel eyes, “There’s another fifty quid in it if you take your shirts off.”
Mod’s eyes widened. “Bloody hell!” He turned on Tatou. “T, if you don’t do this, you’re the bloodiest prat ever!” He narrowed his eyes. “Forget your stupid ideas of hell and damnation. Think of how we need this money for our trip!”
Ah yes. Their graduation present to themselves, partially funded by Mum and Dad after graduation. A whole summer in Japan. At that special place in Tokyo they’d found on the Net. Honestly, they were headed for one of the most expensive cities in the world. They could use all the extra dosh they could get. That hundred and fifty quid would go right into their travel fund. He heaved a sigh. “All right. Let’s do it.”
Angie let out a girl squeal. “This is going to be so hot!” She hooked her arms through both of theirs and led them back into the crowded room.
Shite. The common room of Angie’s suite looked more like what Tatou imagined the inside of Chippendale’s looked like on a weekend night, except that the patrons were dressed in nightgowns, pajamas and slippers and were draped all over the sofas, chairs and floor of the suite’s common room, full of pillows and blankets. And a few stuffed animals thrown in. The shrieks of delight drowned out the music as Angie led them to the front of the room where there was a small space away from the heat generated by all those horny college women. The sight made his heart pound and throat tighten. His mind fogged and his vision blurred. Up until this moment, he’d been as much the impish tease in their group of friends as Mod was, sometimes more so. Now, with all those pairs of female eyes on him and his brother, knowing what they wanted, were giving up money for, what was more nerve-wracking? All this lustful attention and expectation, or the fact that he was about to break his personal taboo? A hand clapped on his shoulder. He turned.
Mod was grinning at him, the corner of his full lips turned up. “C’mon, mate, let’s give ‘em their money’s worth, eh?” Before Tatou could answer, Mod released his shoulder. His hands went to the hem of his own t-shirt, lifted it off and flung it aside in one swoop. Eliciting, of course, another chorus of feminine catcalls.
Tatou glanced at his brother’s slim torso. Another shiver of electric heat travelled through him. Am I really so narcissistic that Mod turns me on?
Mod stepped up to him. “You’re taking too long,” he said and grasped two fistfuls of Tatou’s shirt. A sharp yank forced Tatou’s arms up and before he knew it, the air of the room hit his bare akin and another round of lusty girl cheers pounded through his head. A lot of these girls were mates but he swore he didn’t recognize them now, a feral lot of she-wolves in heat.
But then Mod’s hands closed around his upper arms and Mod’s dark eyes bore into his. The mischievous gleam he knew so well shone out of them, a direct reflection of his own, of course. But in private, they had their own world, a communication that didn’t always need words. Whatever Mod really felt about what they were doing, would surely come out later once they were back in their own dorm room two floors below this one. Especially if he thought Tatou was mad at him for it. Cheeky as Mod was, his brother’s concerns were his and he cared. Always cared… Tatou’s gaze fell on Mod’s lips. His consciousness registered that around them, the room had grown quiet, except for the music, which had fallen to a slow dance kind of love ballad.
Wordlessly, Mod pulled him close. Their bare chests touched, then pressed. Warm skin growing warmer from their combined heat. The embrace forced Tatou’s arms out. At first he let them hang at his sides, but then the temptation was too much. The moment took over and he reached around…let his hands rest on the small of Mod’s back. The hard ridges of muscles along his spine med Tatou’s fingertips. Tan-hued skin, smooth and perfect. Even though their Dad was English, there were some Mediterranean ancestors mixed in so the golden hue and shiny, dark hair came from both their parents.
Mod leaned in and pressed his lips on the side of Tatou’s neck. Tatou’s eyelids fluttered. That felt too good and he tilted his head. Mod feathered a small kiss there, right over the pulse, then licked. Tatou let out a breath and squeezed Mod’s back. Good thing their fronts were pressed together or all these women would get an eyeful of a hard-on growing in the front of his jeans. Their audience was getting well more than a hundred fifty quid’s worth as far as he was concerned.
Mod trailed those little kisses up, over his jaw and onto his cheek. Damn! The fire ignited deep inside him. The very desire he’d kept hidden for so long, tried to hide from himself was now welling up, burning like flames through dry leaves for all to see. Did Mod know this? The one thing he’d never voiced out loud, in spite of their closeness. He must have known anyway, sensed that’s how his brother wanted to be kissed and held.
Mod’s hand laced into his short hair, cupped the back of his head. Mod’ eyes burned into his, lids heavy, thick lashes giving them that lazy yet hot look. The next he knew, their lips were together. A pierce of hot wet moistness past the seam of his lips and Mod’s tongue clashed with his.
Another feminine chorus sounded behind them, but this one of nearly silent murmurs, sighs. Except for the music, you could have heard a pin drop. And but for the soft moist friction of their lips and tongues together. A sensuous dance that sent invisible threads of arousal and need thundering through Tatou’s body. Mod’s cock was hard. Tatou felt it, pressing against his through their pants. Hard, rock hard insistence. Shite, what would happen next if they hadn’t the audience? The answer was simple—everything Tatou had ever imagined and squashed away. Locked in the forbidden corners of his mind and soul.
Mod’s lips lingered. His tongue slowly, sensuously explored Tatou’s, every recess, glided over his teeth. Mod smelled good. He always did. Even with the beer. There was always an undercurrent of mint in there. His lips were soft, the sweetest velvet. Delicious. Addictive.
As if teasing the hell out of him, Mod ended the kiss. His hands slid back to Tatou’s shoulders and Mod gazed at him, heavy-lidded, cheeks flushed. Then the devil slid back in again. The gleam of mischief returned and Mod turned back to their audience. “Was that all right for you, ladies?”
Angie stepped forward, somewhat unsteady on her feet. Her pale cheeks show a reddish glow. Her eyes were glazed over. A smile pasted on her lips. “Perfect,” she murmured.
Mod grinned. He released Tatou whose knees felt slightly not solid. He wavered a moment then forced himself to balance. In the next second, Mod had bent over and snatched up both their shirts. He handed Tatou his shirt then reached for the beer he’d set aside on the nearby table before their…performance.
In a daze, Tatou worked his way back into his shirt, while ghostly tingles strayed through his lips, his neck, his cheeks. The memory of Mod’s chest against his remained in his skin. As he turned, he caught sight of Angie pressed closed to Mod, her hand pushed into his jeans pocket. She was slipping him their earnings, no doubt, while the guests of one her popular girls’ night in gatherings were whispering among themselves. Then she reached out and gently clasped Tatou’s wrist, pulling him closer. “Thank you guys so, so much,” she said, her eyes reflecting the delight she’d just been given. “You have given a group of exam-soaked women something to dream about besides failing finals and not graduating.” She kissed each of them on the cheek. “I will be forever indebted to both of you.”