#gay #erotic romance #contemporary #paranormal #gothic
Tonight two men are fated to meet, Ravol Nova, a Spanish flamenco guitarist, and Byron Shepley, an auction house researcher. On a dark and stormy night, at Terne House, one man may trade his soul for passion and surrender; and another man, with a dark and secretive past, may find the redemption he’s been seeking for so very long. What dangers may they greet when these two men finally come together, as they both come face to face with destiny?
There are always times when a choice can be made, and then there comes a time when the window is closed and the choice is taken out of your hands. At this moment as I sat there across from Ravol, I knew I had an opportunity to leave and instead I chose to let circumstances carry me along. As I watched he placed a hand on the curved top of the guitar case.
“You’re not interested in checking to be certain the guitar is what you expected? That it’s undamaged?” I asked. I found it hard to believe that a man would pay $50,000 for a guitar and yet be so uneager to look at it.
He stroked the top of the case with his long, elegant fingers. So pale, almost white. Nails manicured perfectly. I remembered his grip as he held my hand for longer than necessary. I found myself wanting to feel his hand upon mine once again. Perhaps I had moved to free myself a little too quickly. Or maybe not quickly enough.
“Heinrich and I have known each other a long time. He is an honest man. I assume he’s a fair employer as well.”
I nodded. Sometimes a little ruthless, he wasn’t a man to accept less than perfection, but I couldn’t say he wasn’t fair. “Yes, he’s a fair man.”
Heinrich was Heinrich Morgan, the owner of the auction house where I worked. At some level I was surprised that the two men would be on a first name basis. Is that what had brought Ravol to Ternekill?
Ravol stroked the dark case’s stitching with a rhythmic motion. Hypnotic for me. I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off his hand. The look of it almost drew me up and across the room, a magnetic force I’d never encountered before. I have to admit it left me breathless. Breathless and horny.
“How long have you worked for Heinrich? I understand from my conversation with him on the phone, you’re fairly new at the auction house.”
I nodded again, finding it difficult to focus on the question. His hand curled around the curve of the case and he stroked it with his fingertips. Slow, so riveting. I began to sweat. It was getting damned hot in here all of a sudden. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. Was he taunting me to see how far he could push me? The fire in the fireplace seemed to roar and crackle, burning brighter and hotter than before.
I knew, without being told, that I was out of my depth with this man. He was no crony, no college friend, that I could flirt with playfully, and walk away unscathed from a night of steamy down-and-dirty sex. I was way out of my league.
Finally, I tore my attention away from his hand, from the way he flexed his fingers, the smooth look of his skin. Of the thought of him stroking my cock, gripping my balls. Away from the thought of those long, long fingers sliding into my ass. I couldn’t help wonder exactly how far his fingers could reach inside me.
I brushed a palm across my forehead. So damned hot in here I could barely stand it. I wiped my hand on my pant leg, rubbing back and forth.
“I think I should be going. That rain, you know.”
“Soon. Ramon will be bringing you something to eat. And some coffee to warm you before you leave.”
“I think I’m warm enough. By the way, thanks for the use of the dry clothes.”
He nodded rather regally. “It is nothing. Ramon is very resourceful. He leaves no detail unattended.”
“He seems very…thorough.”
“He is that.”
“Has he been with you a long time?” I asked, wondering if they were lovers.
“Yes. A long time.” Had he been with Ramon before his lover had been killed?
I turned to look at the stained glass walls. They glowed as brightly from this side of the glass as they did from the hallway. On this side of the panels the red glass seemed to shine far more intensely than the other colors. And those lofty, powerful angels with their black eyes, appeared to glare down at me.
“Ramon says these panels came from your home in Spain.”
“Yes, they did. I had them shipped here. Heinrich put me in touch with someone who could restore them to their former beauty. He did an excellent job. I was very pleased.”
I couldn’t help myself, perhaps it was the historian in me, or just that I needed to distance myself from Ravol. The man’s personality was strong enough to make anyone’s head spin. I stood and walked over to one of the panels, staring up at the black-winged angel with the glowing sword. I reached out to trace the silvered lead, zigzagging my index finger along the channel. “Beautiful work,” I murmured. “Sixteenth century?”
“Fourteenth,” he said from right behind me. I never heard him cross the room. “I understand you were a history major in college.”
“Yes,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to turn around, but I didn’t dare. I knew if I did, I’d do something I shouldn’t.
“And you were on soccer scholarship.”
“Yes. Until I busted up my knee.” Just then said knee began to throb. “I-I—”
“Tell me,” he said softly. “It must have been a great disappointment to you to lose the scholarship. Things like that change us. We set a path for our life and then suddenly everything alters. Just that quickly.”
Then slowly I did turn to face him. He was a tall man. And he was a beautifully dangerous man with a strange, sad and bloody history.
“You’ve faced loss,” I said. “A lot worse than my knee injury. But we recover, don’t we?”
His expression told me little. I stared at his mouth, his sculpted lips. They looked too perfect. His eyes kept me mesmerized. Kept me from moving away. I saw the flash of pain come into his expression. It flitted quickly and then the look of anguish was gone as fast as it had appeared.
“Yes, I have known loss.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything,” I said.
“It was a long time ago,” he murmured, even as he lifted a hand to cup my jaw. His thumb, long and shapely, caressed my bottom lip. I caught my breath and tried to steady myself. The man was intoxicating. Was he really making love to me? We’d only just met and yet—and yet, his touch seemed familiar to me. I welcomed it. And I didn’t want to leave.
Someone cleared his throat. The realization that someone else had entered the room broke the trance. Ravol dropped his hand away and stepped back. The shock of sudden disconnection had me reeling just for a moment. The ghostly sensation of his touch still warmed my jaw as I watched him turn to Ramon.
He didn’t seem embarrassed by being caught flirting with me. Maybe they weren’t lovers after all. Maybe they were just a man and his servant. I found myself hoping that was the case.
“What is it, Ramon?”
“The river has taken the bridge out. I just heard it on the news. And they say the power has gone out in town. There’s some concern about flooding and they’ve put the town on alert to evacuate. Mr. Shepley won’t be able to leave tonight.”