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TOUCH by Clare London
A novella available at Dreamspinner Press
A powerful but pampered lord, Chariz has no interest in a single slave thrown at his feet, until he finds out the man is no slave at all. Oriel may be an empath--or a Magician--or a charlatan, even, and his mysterious allure draws Chariz closer. But Oriel's touch is a prize that others crave, too, putting him in mortal danger. Chariz must decide whether he will pay the price of Oriel soothing his desires and needs, when that price may demand a shocking sacrifice - from them both.
(note : this was previously published in a shorter form in the anthology Masquerade)
Oriel stirred on the bed, obviously hearing me. His eyes slid half open, his gaze catching the reflection of my lamp, the pupils luminous in the dimmed room.
“Get up,” I said sharply.
He struggled up to a sitting position, glancing around to see where I had brought him. He rubbed the back of his hand across his face in a sleepy gesture, and I felt that strange frisson again.
“Are you recovered?” I asked abruptly.
His eyes hooded briefly, and he nodded. He swung his legs slowly over the side of the deep mattress. “Thank you for allowing me to rest,” he said softly. “They only see your arrogance and aggression. You hide your compassion well.”
“You sound like a memory-caller at the fairground stalls,” I snapped. “Trite, cheap talk. Or do you expect some payment for it? You can have the lick of my whip around your shriveled balls, if you like.”
He didn’t flinch, a slim, half-bare figure swamped by the plump comfort of my fleeced covers. “I know that’s your way. You use crudeness and cruelty to intimidate them all. To keep people away from you.” His voice was a little sluggish but still absorbing. “You’re respected in your work, but they’re all scared of you. They obey you without question. They accept your lies as truth.”
“Lies?” My heart beat a little faster. “I prefer to call it diplomacy, fool, and you’ll watch that tongue, or I’ll slash it off for sport and let the servants season the supper broth with it!”
He shook his head, eyes wide. “No, not the lies of politics, of your work. I meant the lies to yourself, the lies about your love for your mother, about your loneliness, about the loss of your younger brother—”
I struck him then, and the slap of the blow reverberated around the room. He cried out and slid off the bed on to the floor, scrambling with hands and knees to keep his balance.
“How dare you talk about me with such familiarity!” I growled. “Who gave you that right?”
“You did,” he gasped. “You spoke to me, sir! Your sadness, your anger. I can’t deny it. The connection’s rarely been so strong. I didn’t know any better than to say it.”
I bent down to him, wrenching his head back again. There was a red, shining weal on his face made by my hand. His pupils were dilated, and he was panting slightly. “Is this how you inspire people to connect with you, Oriel? With violence?”
“Sometimes,” he whispered. His gaze met mine, a braver resistance than any of my servants had ever shown after such a blow from me. “They do what they want. As a child, they often struck me. Now I’m older…. Sometimes they use me instead.”
I grimaced. “Is that what the captain did? Saved you from the common soldiers only to use you himself? What kind of protection is that?”
“It’s how I serve.” His voice was teasing at my nerves again, yet the tone was steady and almost unemotional.
I didn’t often feel so lost in a situation, let alone admit it aloud. “You’re a ridiculous mystery, Oriel! You describe yourself as a helpless, passive victim, used by your masters sexually and otherwise and still following like a household dog, begging for more abuse. Yet your eyes show strength you shouldn’t have.” I looked back down on them, which was perhaps my greatest mistake. But I couldn’t help myself. I felt drawn into his weird, disorienting gaze. Even as I felt unfamiliar shame at losing my temper with him, I wanted the touch again. Far from finding him insipid and disinteresting, I now felt the strongest flame of desire that I’d ever known flaring suddenly to life inside me.
He drew in a deep gasp as if he’d felt it too. I let go of his hair and forced myself upright again. For a moment I was frozen there above his kneeling form, trying to regain control over my feelings. My trousers tightened across my groin, and my fingertips brushed lightly across the flat muscles of my belly, tormenting the goose bumps that sprang in response. My body ached, fiercely.
I groaned. “Is this your magic working on me?”
“It comes from you,” he whispered. His face was level with my groin, his hands fisted gently at his sides. He dropped his gaze away from mine and turned instead to my arousal, straining against the fine cloth. “I can only respond. Let me serve you.” With gentle but confident hands, he teased down the fabric, letting my cock spring out to blessed freedom. I tried to remember when I’d last been swollen so hotly, so swiftly….
His mouth was damp and warm, and it sucked me in with a youthful enthusiasm. I stumbled back against the bed, keeping myself upright, supporting my thighs against the mattress. I gripped his hair and wound it around my fingers, guiding his head back and forth along me. His tongue licked gently as he sucked, circling regularly around the head. It was a caress that I was especially fond of, and one that my inexperienced bedmates took some time and instruction to master. Oriel either had an instinctive skill or the true understanding of my needs as he’d already claimed.
I wanted to despise him and his tricks. I wanted to abuse him as I had so many before. Perversely, I didn’t want to enjoy this! But I felt the serpent of climax stretch and yawn in the pit of my groin as if he’d been neglected for tens of moons not for mere hours as was the truth. Oriel’s palm cupped at my tightening balls, rolling them gently between his fingers, his mouth sinking right down on me until I nudged at the back of his throat and his lips nestled into the curls at the base of my shaft. I groaned, barely recognizing my voice.
I often used this as foreplay, and I had excellent control of my body. I could watch a companion suck me for a long time before I was ready for release. It stimulated me before the harsher reality of entering a body and thrusting to completion.
Tonight, I didn’t need foreplay. My control deserted me, and the stimulation was totally consuming. I must have pulled hairs from his head, the ferocity of my reaction so shocked me. I began to thrust my hips against him, shuddering, buffeting his kneeling form. I cried aloud as the climax swelled my cock, spewing seed into his young mouth. My senses whirled, and I experienced a sharp vividness of color and sound that I’d never known before. The muscles of my legs tensed then surrendered, almost buckling beneath me. It’s just sexual gratification. Reason clung to me by its fingernails, brushed away by the wave of pure, magnificent sensation. Last night you had three young men to do this very thing to you to amuse you in just this way.
I wasn’t amused in any way now. I was stunned. I was speechless. I may even have been scared. Though never a praying man, I begged that I didn’t let the sob inside me escape to a servant’s ears.
I barely cared.
It was so much more….
Oriel pulled away slowly, my softening cock sliding from his lips. A thread of my seed dribbled from the corner of his mouth. “You want it to be real,” he whispered, his words a little slurred. “You are so alone, so afraid. You want to be satisfied. For the first time.”
I sank back down on to my bed, my trousers creased and snagging at my hips, the muscles of my thighs shaking with tension, and my eyes stretched open with shock. My cock fell half-limp against my thigh, the damp flesh still warm and raw with sensation. I wanted more. Much more.
“Take off your trousers,” I said hoarsely. “Wash and shave yourself and then get into my bed.” He stumbled to his feet and stared at me, his hand already at the waist ties of the trousers. “Prepare yourself for me.” It was a mere whisper from my dry throat. My mouth ghosted other words, other desires. I ached to press my lips against his pale skin. I could barely focus on his face, my eyes were so misted with my astonishing need. “Now!”
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