Authors: Laura Baumbach
Tags: #Gay, #Fiction, #Erotica
James snorted in disgust. "No. All they'll see is Williams' broken nose and dead dog.
We'll be lucky if Williams doesn't call them on us."
Bram gave a mirthless chuckle. "And report he got beat up by a gay man? I don't think so. By tonight that jerk'll be telling his buddies about how he got his nose broke in some spectacular bar fight where he laid out six bikers."
After a quick glance around the tidy, well-furnished space, Bram placed James' work materials on an architect's drawing table standing in the middle of the room. "Has he bothered you before?"
"Not really." James sighed and waved a hand vaguely in the air. "A few remarks when I've been coming in at night and our paths have crossed." He stopped and stared into the distance for a moment. "Come to think of it, he's been in the hall a lot lately. He kind of stares at me, so I never do anything to invite conversation." James snorted a broken chuckle. "I'm sure not talking to him after this."
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A wave of nausea rolled through his stomach and James reached out for the wall to steady himself and found Bram there instead. The big man guided James over to sit on the couch.
"No. No, I . . . I need to . . . don't want to sit. Not right now." James slipped from Bram's light grip and began to pace the room, randomly fussing with small items on the shelves and tables, then ducking into the compact kitchen area off the living room and back out again.
Bram occupied himself with looking over the plans on the drawing table. "I recognize this. It's on the East Side of town. A historical restoration, isn't it?"
James stuck his head out of the kitchen. "Yeah, a huge one. The Becker Estate. The architectural firm I work for was asked to design and oversee the work." James sighed and shook his head. "I thought for sure I'd be given the project. That era is my area of expertise. I love it. I've been working on these plans, on my own time, for six months.
Ever since I heard it was a possibility." He leaned against the kitchen door jab then pushed abruptly off it. "They gave it to a senior architect on Friday." James turned and walked back out of the room. "I need a drink of . . . something."
Bram studied the layers of technical drawings more closely. He called out over his shoulder as he thumbed through the pile. "Did they see these? Before they made the decision who to give it to?"
"No." James wandered back into the living, hands still empty. "I was all ready to present them to my boss, then Art Wheeler told me he'd been 'saddled' with it. He's one of the senior architects I mentioned. Didn't seem to be any point in showing them to anyone after that."
"It's a shame for all this work to go to waste, Jamie. It's brilliant. You should show them to someone anyway. It couldn't hurt."
"Maybe." Frowning, James made a helpless gesture with his hands in the air. "I'll make us some coffee. I could use coffee. Yeah, I'll make . . .coffee." James shrugged off his jacket then put it back on, rubbing his arms. "Kinda cold in here." He gave a dry, embarrassed chuckle and disappeared into the kitchen again. He popped back out to ask,
"Do you want coffee?"
"Sure, unless you've got something stronger." Slipping off his long, Western style leather overcoat and tossing it on a chair, Bram sat down and watched the younger man's increasingly frantic movements.
James knelt down by an old oak cabinet. "I think I have a bottle of brandy in here.
Christmas present from the boss, Mr. Dunn. Good brandy, too. Except I don't drink much. And never alone. Drinking's kind of a purely social thing for me. Loosens me up to
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talk. And if there's no one to talk to, what's the point of drinking in the first place, you know?"
James pulled a bottle from the back of the cabinet and started to stand. A wave of dizziness washed over him. James felt the room tilt and grow dim, then black.
After the room had righted itself, James found himself cradled against Bram, both of them lying on the couch. James was draped over Bram and Bram's leather coat was draped over James, the big man's arms holding him securely in place.
Looking up into the pale blue eyes studying him intently, James blushed, suddenly feeling like a fainting damsel in distress from a corny soap opera.
"God, I'm so sorry about all this." James pushed himself up on trembling arms and Bram helped him to sit up. James missed the warmth immediately. Shivers raced down his spine.
Bram smiled his lopsided, playful grin. "I don't know. It hasn't been a total loss. I still got the chance to feel you tremble again."
James snorted a panic-tinged laugh. "I liked the reasons for it better last night." He puffed out two breathes in rapid succession to calm himself. "I don't want to ever go through what happened in the hallway again."
He suddenly needed space between himself and the huge man hovering beside him. He jumped up and fled to the other side of the room, taking refuge behind the drafting table, relieved when Bram made no move to follow.
James gave Bram an apologetic shrug and whispered, "I don't like being scared. I don't want to be hurt, either." Nervous, James ran his hand up and down the edge of table as he talked. "I like forceful, but not being forced, you know?"
"Yeah, Jamie, I do. I know the difference." Bram relaxed back against the cushions, running a hand through his honey-blond hair, leaving it tousled and spiky on one side.
James found the look endearing. He realized the big man was working hard at looking as non-threatening as possible, staying seated, giving James his space. He wandered a few steps out from behind the table.
"Yeah? You know the difference?" James couldn't keep the note of hope from his voice.
"Yeah." Bram nodded solemnly. "Jamie, I would
treat you the way that bone-headed asshole just did. I said I like it when you tremble against me, and it's no lie. I do.
But I want it to be with excitement, desire, or frustration and need, and yeah, maybe a little fear. But fear from not knowing how I'm going to blow your mind next -- with
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pleasure. Not from fear of being hurt or of being forced to do something you don't want."
Bram touched his chest and lowered his voice to just above a whisper. "I'm not like that."
"Yeah?" James advanced a few more tentative feet toward the couch. A small smile tugged at his lips. "You plan on 'blowing my mind' any time soon?"
Bram chuckled, a leering smile tweaked at the corner of his mouth. "I have all kinds of plans for 'soon'."
Bram looked James over from head to toe and back again. "Come here, baby." He patted the couch cushion.
James slowly advanced the last few paces to the couch and sat down. He was immediately engulfed in warmth as Bram wrapped his arms and his coat around James'
shoulders. The same scent of leather and sweat from the alleyway filled James' head. He felt a slight responsive stirring in his groin, a pleasant lick of flame waiting to be coaxed to life.
Suddenly very tired, James relaxed into the welcome comfort. He found himself leaning into Bram's offered support, his cheek coming to rest on the expansive, hard chest under his head.
"Just rest, Tiger. You're going to be all right." Bram's rough-soft, understanding tone brought tears to James' eyes.
Bram threaded the fingers of one hand through James' curls and rubbed lightly over the spot where Williams had yanked on his hair, soothing the lingering ache.
James felt a surge of something he could only describe as 'right' buzz through him. Being with this big, gentle, but commanding man felt. . . good. Very, very good. Tears began to burn at the back of his eyes again. James had to close them to chase away the threat.
Bram's arm was around him and the big man's hand rested easily on James' slender hip.
Bram began a light stroking motion over the curve, brushing gently back and forth.
The soothing gesture started a tingling sensation to bloom in James. That was when he discovered his cock had a direct connection with any part of his body Bram touched. It stirred and stretched seemingly seeking out the source of stimulation, trying to direct the attention to itself.
Deciding to trust his gut instincts about this stranger, James turned in Bram's hold and leaned up, studying the other man's reaction as he came in close. Encouraged by the quiet, patient expression in Bram's eyes, James slowly touched his lips to the other man's open, waiting mouth.
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The shame and fear from earlier melted away, replaced with raw, blinding need. Need to be held, need to be touched by someone who wanted to give pleasure, as well as receive it. James needed this moment.
He knew Bram's reaction now would set the tone for their whole relationship. If the man rejected him, disgusted after what Williams had tried to do, James would have to end it here.
Or worse, if the big man decided James was weak, easy prey, and tried to overwhelm him with physical force, the outcome would have to be the same. And James would have to give up the most alluring, satisfying man he had ever met.
Lips trembling, James increased the pressure of the kiss, sliding the tip of his tongue across Bram's lower lip. Tentative, he sucked on the moist, plump flesh, raking his teeth lightly over its sensitive lining, waiting for a response from his partner.
Bram stayed as still as stone and James' heart began the slow plunge to his stomach. Just as he was breaking away from what he thought was their last kiss, strong arms embraced him and pulled him up close. Bram slid his hand into James hair and held his mouth in place, devouring James in a slow, primal kiss. James felt like the room had dissolved away, the level of energy and intensity radiating off his lover engulfing him. James let it, returning the kiss with a needy hunger of his own.
Without breaking the kiss, James crawled up Bram's body and the man shifted so they were once more lying on the couch, James on top. Bram's one hand was still anchored in James' hair. The other stroked down his spine in a heavy caress until it reached his ass.
There, the greedy digits worked his flesh, dividing their time between stroking down the crack of his ass and kneading his firm cheeks.
Bram broke the kiss long enough to mumble against James' lips. "You sure?"
James darted down to suck on Bram's clean-shaven chin, and tongued the small cleft he found there, then licked his way back up to Bram's panting lips. "I'm sure. You sure?"
James dove back in to capture Bram's mouth, but his lover pulled his head back so they were eye-to-eye instead. Bram's expression was soft and serious. He stroked his thumb over James' high-boned cheek, his touch startlingly tender. "I always was."
James' breath hitched and something in his chest spasmed and uncurled, but he wasn't given any time to contemplate all the meanings of Bram's confession. The other man pressed James firmly against him and the force of one large hand drove James' hips down to rub his full erection over Bram's hip. James moved one knee between Bram's legs and brushed over the growing bulge straining against the man's zipper.
Occupied with exploring every cell of Bram's mouth, James was startled when flesh met warm flesh as Bram slid his hand down the inside of the back of James' pants. James
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gasped, losing the advantage in the battle of tongues he was engaged in. The gasp faded into a moan when Bram began to suck on James' tongue, matching the rhythm of the stroking fingertips over James' opening.
Groaning out his frustration, James pushed back against the teasing finger. His hands laced deep into Bram's hair and held on while he rocked frantically back and forth, straining to satisfy both his aching cock and his ready asshole.
His need for more stimulation reached a frenzied peak and just when James thought he'd explode if he didn't come, one long, thick, delightfully abrasive finger slid into his ass.
James moaned his pleasure into Bram's mouth with a series of rapid, breathless grunts and bucked against the man's hard body. The finger in his ass twisted and turned, torturing the sensitive nerve endings just inside the opening. The rough, callous finger stroked and rubbed, but never plunged deep enough to satisfy.
James tried to tear his mouth away to voice a protest, but Bram wouldn't allow it. The big man held James' lips tightly to his own and renewed the energy of the kiss, ravaging James' mouth, biting his lips, sucking at his tongue and exploring the sensitive roof of his mouth.
Overloaded with sensation, James grew dizzy. His pleas for more were reduced to muffled grunts and moans, each huffed out in time to the frenzied thrusts of his lower body. James nearly wept with the need for release when the teasing finger in his ass plunged deeper and stayed there, high in his passage, swirling again and again over and around the soft, spongy nub of his prostate.
The effect on James was like an electric shock. Every nerve ending sizzled and sparked, his orgasm racing through him in uncontrolled waves of white-lightning pleasure while his body spasmed and rocked in his lover's arms.
When Bram finally released his mouth, James collapsed down on the man, boneless and breathless, more sated and content than he would have thought possible an hour ago.
"You okay, baby?"
James nodded and buried his forehead in the crook of Bram's neck, trying to get his breathing under control, pulling in shallow gasps of air in rapid succession. Each breath burned his dry, swollen throat, but James didn't care. He'd just had the best orgasm of his life with a man who knew what he needed and was willing to give it to him. James felt wonderful.
Shifting into a more comfortable position, James' leg brushed over the still-hard bulge in Bram's pants. Bram's cock strained upward, tenting the fabric with an impressive display of length and girth. James rubbed his knee up the length of it, sitting up enough to smile seductively down at his lover.
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"You promised me dinner. I'll skip the salad and start with the main course." James shimmied down Bram's long body, and settled on his knees beside the couch. Bram angled his hips so one leg dropped off the couch and James snuggled in between Bram's thighs, busy hands working Bram's belt and zipper open.