Authors: Ava March
Oscar swallowed hard. “Oil.” The word was barely a whisper. He’d not only shown up at Julian’s room practically begging for the man to bugger him, but brought the means to aid him.
“Good man,” Julian said, reaching inside to withdraw the vial.
Gooseflesh pricked the skin of Oscar’s thigh as Julian’s fingers moved within the silk lining of his pocket to close over the glass vial. Though he did not have hoards of experience with other men, he was no innocent. He had been buggered, sucked off and kissed in thoroughly indecent places. But he’d never had another man reach into his pocket before. It felt oddly…intimate, somehow even more so than anything else.
After slipping the bottle into his own pocket, Julian went back to work on the buttons of the placket. Then he was pushing the waistband down Oscar’s hips. His erection sprang free, slapping against his lower belly, the sound of skin hitting skin filling the quiet room.
He kicked his feet free of his trousers, leaving him standing bare before Julian, who hadn’t made a move to remove any of his own clothes yet. It made him feel decidedly…wicked. Naked and aroused, not an inch of him hidden from view. The oil tucked in Julian’s pocket, just waiting to be brought into use. A substantial erection tented the placket of Julian’s trousers, the fabric stretching over the thick length. The muscles of Oscar’s arse tightened reflexively, eager to feel the man’s oil-slicked cock push inside. To stretch him, fill him, to pound into him.
The sensations passed through him, so intense he could practically feel the luscious burn of that initial thrust. The potent combination of pleasure and pain, the heavy need for more. His lashes fluttered and he caught himself just in time from swaying on his feet. A moan slipped from his lips.
Julian’s curse was low, almost a growl, tinged with a hint of the same desperation that clung to every one of Oscar’s senses. “Turn around.”
Oscar couldn’t get his limbs to cooperate fast enough. He turned, took the half step necessary to reach the foot of the bed and leaned over, bracing his elbows on the mattress and offering himself to Julian. He heard the rustle of fabric and glanced over his shoulder. Features hardened with lust, Julian flicked his shirt from his wrists and dropped to his knees.
Warm hands splayed across Oscar’s arse, pulled the cheeks farther apart, fully exposing him. Then a hot silken tongue lapped across his hole.
” Oscar’s muscles simultaneously melted and drew tight. The urge to thank Julian welled up inside. Damnation, he adored this act. The sheer indulgent pleasure of it, the promise of what would come next adding a heady layer of anticipation.
Oscar hung his head, moans falling from his lips. The faint scratch of Julian’s day beard rasped against his skin as the man plied him with his mouth. Alternating between short little flicks of his tongue and stabbing teases of penetration.
“Do you like that? Do you like it when I lick your arse?”
“Yes, yes. Oh, hell yes.” Arching his lower back, he pushed into Julian’s grip, wanting more.
Julian shifted his hold. A fingertip passed over his entrance in a teasing caress. “Tighten for me.”
He could feel the force of Julian’s gaze as he did as bid. Pure wickedness rushed through him. His cock bobbed between his legs, a drop of fluid beading at the tip.
“Beautiful.” A flick of Julian’s tongue across his wet skin. “Again. Show me how much you want me.”
Oscar relaxed his muscles then flexed. Once, twice, a third time.
A low growl rumbled around him. That fingertip teased his entrance again.
“Do you want more?” Julian asked.
Before Julian could push inside, Oscar pushed back, giving the man his answer. His insides fluttered, clutching around Julian’s finger. “Yes, more.”
“How much more?”
Teeth nipped his arse cheek then Julian smacked the spot. The delicious sting radiated through his body, settling in his groin. Like flint to dry wood, the low hum of an impending orgasm that had been clinging to his senses suddenly flared. His ballocks lurched up. Oscar grabbed his prick, clutched the base, pushed back the orgasm.
“Then get your arse on the bed.”
Oscar scrambled up, moving to the middle of the mattress, and then looked over his shoulder to Julian.
Placket already unbuttoned, Julian grabbed the vial from his pocket then pushed his trousers down. Bloody hell, every inch of the man was perfection. A light sprinkling of dark hair dusted his broad chest, narrowing to a thin line that led directly to the thick length of his cock jutting from between his legs, the crown flushed with need. Naked, Julian surpassed even
And he wanted to bugger Oscar.
Even on his hands and knees, his entrance still wet from Julian’s mouth, that fact still baffled him a bit.
“I’ve been thinking about you all evening,” Julian said, pouring oil into his palm.
“You have?” Well, yes, there had been those quick glances, but he hadn’t detected even a hint of the lust that now filled Julian’s gaze, turning his eyes a deep, golden-green. Hell, if Julian had looked at him then as he did now, he would have had to duck into the washroom, stroke himself off to keep from having an erection in the midst of a supper party.
“Indeed.” The glass vial fell from Julian’s hand, dropping to the rug with a faint thump. The man grabbed his cock, stroked the length, coating the skin with oil.
Before Oscar was aware of it, he was spreading his knees a bit more, arching his back. Julian’s grip tightened on his cock, need flashing across his features.
Damnation, the man really did want him. Him, Oscar. All slight five-feet-four inches of him.
The mattress shook as Julian got on to the bed. Strong, hair-dusted thighs pressed against the backs of his. Bracing one hand beside Oscar’s, Julian leaned over him. His greater height made it easy for him to capture Oscar’s lips. As their tongues tangled together, he felt Julian work a hand between their bodies.
Slick, smooth skin painted a line down his crease. Pressure pushed against his entrance. A groan ripped from Oscar’s throat as the head of Julian’s cock pushed past the ring of muscle. When Julian made to pause, Oscar pushed back, impaling himself on the man’s length in one thrust.
Julian’s growl reverberated through Oscar’s back. The kiss still unbroken, Julian cupped Oscar’s hip with his free hand and ground against him. Luscious pleasure rolled through him, obliterating the stretching pain of that first thrust. Unable to stay still, he nudged back, needing the man to move within him.
And move Julian did. Hard long strokes. Possessing him. Consuming him. His cock pounding into Oscar as his mouth claimed his. With each thrust, the head of his prick rubbed across that spot inside Oscar. The one that brought the climax ever nearer. His wrists began to ache with the effort of holding himself up, but the ache was nothing. Nothing at all compared to the strength of the orgasm barreling upon him.
And then it was right there, at the base of his prick, drawing his muscles tight, his breaths hitching in his chest. He needed to draw a deep breath, but he couldn’t tear his mouth from Julian’s. Needing the man’s kiss, needing that hot tongue stroking his. On the next thrust, Julian rammed deep, ground against him again. Pleasure blazed across his senses. He let out a strangled shout, the sound lost in their kiss, as seed shot from his cock. Julian’s grip tightened on his hip, holding him steady for three quick thrusts, then warmth filled his passage.
The kiss slowed, lethargy falling over them. Julian’s chest rose and fell against his back just as quickly as his own. A nip to his bottom lip then Julian pulled free of his body and broke the kiss. Oscar’s head fell forward. He let out a grunt as an ache radiated across his neck.
“Did I hurt you?” Julian asked, concern heavy in his hoarse voice.
“No. My neck’s just sore. That kiss was worth it, though.”
Julian chuckled. “Good to hear.”
The next thing he knew, he was being gathered in Julian’s arms. Julian lay out on the bed, tucking Oscar next to his side. Head resting on Julian’s shoulder, he draped an arm over the man’s broad chest as Julian rubbed his neck, soothing the sore muscles.
He moved closer to Julian, drawn by the heat and the strength of his body. A smile tipped his mouth.
he thought. It was wonderful to have Julian’s bare skin pressed full against his.
Julian shut the drawing room door behind him and went down the stairs to the entrance hall, happy to have the calls to Benjamin’s sisters over and done with. Neither woman had been particularly pleased to see him but their good breeding had at least prevented them from blatantly showing it. He’d take cool and haughty over an outright cut any day.
With a tip of the head, he took his leather gloves from Eleanor’s butler then he went out the front door, tugging on his gloves.
Looking up, he stopped on the last step, just in time to avoid walking into his cousin. “Afternoon, Benjamin. I was just paying Eleanor a call.”
“That’s my errand as well. I haven’t seen her in a few days so thought I’d stop by. Sisters don’t much appreciate it if they feel you’ve forgotten them.”
Benjamin’s sisters may feel that way about their brother, but Julian’s own sister couldn’t give two figs about him. “Well then, I’ll leave you to your call.”
As Benjamin stepped aside to allow Julian to pass, his attention went to the elegant curricle waiting a few paces from his sister’s front door, the tiger holding the team’s heads. “Is that Woodhaven’s curricle?”
“Yes.” With a smile and a wave of his hand to brush aside any possible refusal, Woodhaven had opened his carriage house to Julian, granting him use of his equipage whenever the need arose.
A frown passed over Benjamin’s brow. “Do you have a moment?”
Technically, he did have a moment, as he hadn’t given Woodhaven an exact time when he planned to be back. But he wasn’t certain he wanted to hear what had caused Benjamin’s frown. “What about Eleanor? You don’t want to leave her waiting.”
“She can wait a few minutes—she doesn’t even know I planned to call. So will you walk with me?”
Julian shrugged his agreement. Might as well get it over and done with.
They began to make their way up Hill Street, but before they even reached the town house next to Eleanor’s, Benjamin said, “I had heard you’re staying with Woodhaven.”
To that, Julian merely nodded. Both Eleanor and Jane had asked where he was staying while in London. When he’d informed them that Woodhaven had invited him to be his guest, both women had been taken aback. Julian gave them some credit—they had at least attempted to mask their surprise. Eleanor covering hers with a sip of tea and Jane with a comment about how Mr. Woodhaven was a friendly sort. But just because they didn’t care for Julian did not mean everyone in London felt the same way.
“How long do you plan to stay with him?”
“I haven’t yet decided. I just arrived in Town.”
That frown made its way to Benjamin’s mouth. “Woodhaven has a tendency towards generosity. I…I would hope…”
“I don’t plan to reside at his home indefinitely,” he said, before Benjamin could ask him not to take up permanent residence at Woodhaven’s town house.
“My apologies. I didn’t mean to imply such a thing. It’s just Woodhaven’s—”
“A friendly sort. Yes, I’m aware.” After last night, he was far more than merely aware of it. He’d tasted it in Woodhaven’s kiss, heard it in his pleas for more. “And I consider him a friend.” He stopped at the street corner. “We should turn back.” He’d had about enough of the Parker siblings for one day. “I don’t want to leave the tiger waiting all afternoon. He’s not my servant, after all.”
At Benjamin’s nod, they turned and began to make their way back to Eleanor’s.
“You’re my cousin, Julian. We spent many summers together, and I just…” Benjamin let out a sigh. “Your plan for the Season, are you certain that is what you want?” He slanted Julian a glance which held true concern.
For some reason, Julian paused before replying. He was certain, wasn’t he?
“Yes.” He most definitely was certain. He’d come to London to find a rich wife. That was what he needed. No question about it.
There was that sigh again, except this time it was tinged with resignation. “If you have a change in plan and find yourself in need of assistance procuring a suitable position in London, you need only to ask. My door is always open to you.”
“Thank you.” Though the last thing he wanted in his future was another desk in a room packed with other clerks and barely earning enough to keep his landlord from hunting him down to demand payment.
“And speaking of my door, I’m hosting a dinner party in a couple of days. A small gathering of friends. Sent the invitation to Woodhaven last week, before you arrived. In case he hasn’t mentioned it yet, I want you to know that you are included in the invitation. Intended to stop by Woodhaven’s later today to confirm, but no need now.”
“He has mentioned it,” Julian said, stopping beside the curricle. “Already on the calendar. We’re looking forward to it.”
“Wonderful.” Benjamin smiled. “I won’t hold you up any longer then. Thank you for indulging me with the walk, and please give Woodhaven my regards.”
With that, Benjamin bid him good afternoon. Julian stepped up into the curricle and gathered the lines. Once the tiger had hopped on to the boot, Julian flicked his wrists and the two sleek bays slipped into a smooth trot.
A few streets later and he was pulling the team to a stop. In the blink of an eye, the boy had a secure hold on the horses. As he strode up the stone steps, that last lingering bit of irritation over his encounter with Benjamin slipped away. One of the front double doors opened as he approached.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Parker. Mr. Woodhaven’s in his study,” Cooper, the slim elderly day butler, informed him.
Julian tugged off his leather gloves and laid them in Cooper’s outstretched hand. “Thank you.”
He took the grand staircase to the first floor. He found the study door open, but rather than proceed inside, he paused. Woodhaven was seated on the couch, an ankle resting on his knee and his attention on a piece of paper in his hand. It was rather odd to see him sitting so still. He’d only known Woodhaven for a few days, yet he had the distinct impression the man’s near constant state of activity wasn’t prompted by Julian’s presence in the house. Woodhaven seemed to be always seeking some form of entertainment. A ride about the park after breakfast, a game of billiards after the tailor yesterday to fill the half hour before dinner. Even in bed, the man wasn’t still. Not that Julian had expected Woodhaven to be a passive lover. Someone who threw himself so passionately into a kiss would be the furthest thing from passive. But he highly doubted Woodhaven had been motionless for more than two seconds, that sleek, slim body wiggling and writhing beneath him. Even spent and curled up next to Julian’s side, his fingers had traced little patterns on Julian’s chest.
And it wasn’t merely his inability to be still. He wanted Julian to go most everywhere with him. Their calendar was already filled for the next week with balls and musicales and routs, and the dinner party at Benjamin’s. The only time thus far he’d left Julian behind had been that afternoon, and he had apologized a half-dozen times before he had left the house. Julian appreciated the sentiment. He truly did. It felt good to have someone honestly want to spend time with him. To be so genuinely enthusiastic about being with him. But Woodhaven needn’t feel the need to apologize over an appointment with his solicitor.
As if sensing Julian’s presence, Woodhaven looked up. The smile lit his eyes a half second before it made its way to his mouth. “You’re back.”
“That does seem to be the case,” he said, returning the smile. “How was the meeting with your solicitor?”
Woodhaven lifted one shoulder. “Uneventful. He just had some documents he wanted me to review.” He indicated the small stack at his hip. “How are Parker’s sisters? Are their families well?”
“They are quite well and so are the children. The ladies send their regards.”
“That was kind of them.”
More required politeness than kindness, but no need to explain that to Woodhaven. “Parker also sends his regards. I ran into him while out and about.”
“That was kind of him as well.” Woodhaven glanced to the clock on the fireplace mantel. “I was thinking it might be nice to have dinner at White’s tonight rather than here. If you’re amenable, you could attend as my guest, and we can go from there to the rout.”
White’s? He was definitely amenable. “Sounds like a capital plan.”
The evening decided upon, he left Woodhaven to finish reviewing the papers from his solicitor and went up to his bedchamber to change into something more appropriate for dinner at White’s and a
Every time he turned around, his wardrobe grew. When he had stopped to grab a pair of gloves before departing for the afternoon calls, he’d found the second shelf in the dressing room filled with neat stacks of folded trousers. Now four new coats and a few waistcoats hung on the hooks lining one wall. Woodhaven’s tailor was not only damn efficient but damn skilled. Thus far, everything Julian had worn fit perfectly without need for a single alteration. The knowledge that the clothing in his dressing room must have cost a small fortune, never mind the fact that by tomorrow more of those hooks would be filled, did give him pause. He couldn’t help but recall Benjamin’s not so subtle warning—”
Woodhaven has a tendency toward generosity”.
But it wasn’t as if he’d asked Woodhaven for the favor. He had protested, yet Woodhaven had insisted, and who was he to complain if Woodhaven wanted to purchase a new wardrobe for him? Better to be thankful than to act the ungrateful guest.
A few moments of consideration and he decided upon the olive-green coat and the cream waistcoat. A rout wasn’t a ball…though they
going to White’s, the exclusive bastion of male society. He could charm the ladies all he liked, but if he didn’t have the support of the gentlemen of the
he would have no hope for success. Few ladies controlled their own fortunes. There was almost always a father or an uncle or a trustee loitering in the wings, waiting to write up a formidable marriage contract, if they did not approve of a suitor.
Julian studied the coat then nodded. Yes, the olive-green was the best choice. He didn’t want to appear as if he was trying too hard to impress.
Woodhaven was actually taking him to White’s. A thrill shot through him. With its restricted admission policy, Julian had no chance of gaining a membership on his own, at least not anytime soon. But if he ingratiated himself with the right gentlemen and chose the right wife, perhaps someday he could spend his afternoons gazing out the club’s bay window.
After taking off his clothes and throwing them in the bin for a maid to see to, he grabbed the coat, waistcoat and a pair of trousers and folded them over one arm. Clad in only his smallclothes, he went back out into the bedchamber to get a fresh shirt from the chest of drawers. Hand on the drawer knob, he paused. Atop the polished mahogany chest sat a small leather box about the size of his hand. It was centered on the surface, equidistant from the sterling silver candlesticks on each corner, and right at the edge, where it could not be missed. It had definitely not been there when he’d last been in the room a few hours ago.
Brow furrowed, he took the box and dropped the clothes onto the bed. He sat on the edge of the mattress and opened the lid.
Resting on the purple silk lining was a gold pocket watch. But it was far from an ordinary pocket watch.
Small diamonds circled the entire perimeter, each one twinkling up at him. The elaborate hands were even set with tiny diamonds. Nestled next to a gold chain was a matching key for winding the timepiece, the oval handle set with the same small diamonds as the watch.
Breath held in awe, he picked up the watch and turned it over. With a fingertip that shook slightly, he traced the inscription along the bottom edge.
From One Fine Friend to Another.
Warmth filled Julian’s chest.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been given a gift, regardless of its value. Well, the wardrobe had been a gift, and he could also consider free use of Woodhaven’s many carriages a gift. But those weren’t the same type of gifts. Not even close. They had been more practical, and in a roundabout way, prompted by him. The right clothes and a means of transportation were a necessity for a Season in London, and Woodhaven had merely stepped in and taken care of those for him.
But the watch?
Completely unprompted and utterly unexpected.
Woodhaven had to have picked it up while he’d been out that afternoon. Julian could picture him at the jeweler’s shop, the smile on his face as he’d made his selection from the array of watches in a glass case, the faint blush tingeing his cheeks as he had given the instruction for the inscription.
For many long moments, Julian sat there, the watch in hand, his gaze fixed on the words written in neat script on the back.
Then he carefully placed the watch in the box, put it back on the chest of drawers and dressed for the evening. Before he pulled on his coat, he went back to the box, took out the watch, attached the chain and slipped it into his waistcoat pocket.
He left his bedchamber and made to turn right, in the direction of Woodhaven’s bedchamber in the hopes of catching the man while he changed his coat before he went down to meet Julian in the entrance hall. The muted sound of raised voices drifted down the corridor, stopping him short. He tilted his head and focused on listening. He couldn’t quite make out the words, but he could detect a man’s voice, too deep to be Woodhaven’s, and a woman’s voice. Couldn’t be the servants—they were too well trained to make such a commotion.
Concern seeped into his gut. He turned left, went down to the first floor and paused on the landing, at the top of the grand staircase.
A stern-looking older man, broad of frame and with a round belly, stood beside a petite woman in the entrance hall. Two young ladies, one with the same build and red hair as the woman and the other blonde and midheight, lingered by the console table, undisguised looks of put-up boredom on their faces. Cooper remained at the door, a frown on his usually stoic mouth, not making one move toward the women to take their pelisses. Woodhaven’s navy-coated back was to Julian. The stiffness in his shoulders indicated he wasn’t pleased with his callers.