Friday, September 27, 2019

Freebie Friday: Heart of Stars, Part 6 (m/m)


It takes a bloody battle, the death of several of his men, and a near death experience of his own for Afron to see what lies in his heart for Makara. Now the barbarian won't let anything stand in the way of their destiny -- not even the prostitute's petulant (if half-hearted) refusal to see him.


Afron clenched his jaw and turned away, paced back to the window. "I didn't buy it because I owed you anything," he hissed. "It's not payment." He squared his shoulders and faced Makara. "Open it again, but pay more attention this time, would you?"

Opening the box again, Makara frowned. What was he supposed to be seeing? The ring was beautiful, expensive, but nothing out of the ordinary. He squinted. Was that writing on the band? An inscription, perhaps? Makara pulled the ring out of the box to scrutinize it. "For my Heart of Stars," he read. "What does it mean?"

"Long ago, when the land was splintered and the Many Kings ruled, my people were far more spiritual than they are now. They believed in prophets and signs, destiny and fate. They taught their children that everything a man needed to know, he could find in the stars." Afron pointed to the ceiling. "One day, if a man were lucky, he would meet a woman who carried such knowledge inside her. He would find his Heart of Stars. She would come to him in a time of great turmoil, and he would feel the song of her heart and see the light of their love..." He trailed off and shrugged. "I doubt they gave any thought to a man finding a man, but the same holds true, I believe."

A tiny knot of nervous anticipation formed in Makara's belly, blossoming out to his chest, making breathing near impossible. He couldn't be interpreting this correctly. Afron couldn't be saying what Makara thought. What Makara hoped. "I don't understand."

Afron cocked his head. "Don't you?" He crossed the room and knelt beside the bed. "When the ogres attacked, I felt a fear I have never known, but not for myself. I feared for you, Makara. What would happen to you, if I were gone? Who would see to you, provide for you?" He took the ring from Makara's grasp. "All these years, longing for you, yearning for you, joying in you, dreading the moment my duties pulled me away from you, and I had given you nothing in return beyond coin. No part of me. And the realization of that shamed me." Afron slid the ring onto the middle finger of Makara's right hand where a betrothal band would have gone.

Makara's gaze flicked from Afron's face, down to his own hand where the ring sparkled. He was Afron's Heart of Stars; Afron's mate, Afron's chosen partner. This was more than he had dreamed of, more than he could have ever hoped for. Tears burned the corners of his eyes. "I don't know what to say."

"You need say nothing." Afron wrapped his large, meaty hand around Makara's much smaller one. "It has already been decided. Tonight you'll leave with me, and take your rightful place at my side."

Afron's words sounded so wonderful and perfect, but the knot of anticipation quickly turned into a heavy weight of dread and self-loathing. Afron might be able to dress Makara up with fancy jewels, but a whore remained a whore, no matter how pretty. Nothing would erase what he was, what he had been for the past three years. No one would care he'd only been with Afron. The last thing he wanted was to be a burden to Afron's social status, or worse, cause Afron's status to slip. Makara shook his head, shoulders slumped. "I'm nothing but a whore. You've said it yourself. You cannot attach yourself to someone like me. Not publically. What would your people think?"

"My people may think whatever they wish, but in earshot they will hold their tongues lest they become acquainted with Bloodslinger." Afron growled softly and tightened his hold on Makara's hand. "You belong to me. You will come with me."

"But what I am--"

"What you are is mine. There are no objections here. As I said, it has been decided. You cannot argue with the stars."

To be continued...

Friday, September 20, 2019

Freebie Friday: Heart of Stars, Part 5 (m/m)


It takes a bloody battle, the death of several of his men, and a near death experience of his own for Afron to see what lies in his heart for Makara. Now the barbarian won't let anything stand in the way of their destiny -- not even the prostitute's petulant (if half-hearted) refusal to see him.


Makara sighed. No, of course not. Such words would have no meaning to the cold, calculating barbarian, and would only serve to make Makara look even more the fool. "You could have simply sent word you would no longer want my services. You need not have delivered the message in person."

Afron chuckled. "Is that what I said?" He carried his breeches over to the chair in the corner, plucked something from one of the pockets, and returned to the bed. He held out a small metal box. "Or did I say something else?"

Makara wrinkled his brow, confused. "You very clearly just said you didn't want to visit me again."

"Did I?" Afron shook the box. "Take it."

Makara raised an eyebrow at the ornamental thing, and shook his head. "Keep it. I don't want any more of your coin. In fact, your session is over. Please leave." He threw back his head and jutted his chin forward in the best imitation of defiance he could muster, biting his tongue to keep the tears at bay. He would not cry in front of Afron. Not now.

Afron's laughter started slowly -- a subtle, soft sound that at first sent little tremors up his arms and into his shoulders -- but soon he had given into it fully, clutched one arm tight around his middle as the apparent hilarity of the situation doubled him over.

Steely cold hatred wrapped an iron grip around Makara's heart as he glared down at the sheets beneath him. Sheets he had purchased -- at no small price -- to impress Afron. Everything he'd done -- everything he'd lived for -- for the past three years had been all for Afron. All for naught. He stood and snatched up the top sheet, wrapped it hastily around his body and marched to the door. Makara flung the door open and pointed to the hallway. "Get out."

Well, at least that got Afron's attention. Though the barbarian appeared in no hurry to comply, he had stopped laughing and stood looking at Makara with narrow eyes. Afron smirked, sighed, and shook his head. "No."

"I'll call the guards," Makara warned. The last thing he wanted was to make a scene, especially with someone of Afron's weighty influence, but he wouldn't be treated this way.

"I'll kill them." And his menacing tone suggested he should be believed.

Makara threw up his hands. "What do you want from me? I send you away, time and time again. I tell you we're done, yet you keep coming back to my door."

"And you keep opening it," Afron pointed out.

Frowning, Makara shook his head and glanced out the door down the hall. He couldn't deny Afron's logic. If he'd truly wanted Afron to stay away, he could've easily arranged that. Yet he hadn't.

"Three years' span between us, Makara," Afron murmured. "I would wager you know me better than most. Perhaps best of all."

And in all that time you have never once used my name. "Perhaps." What in the name of the gods was Afron getting at? Did he think Makara was a threat to him, perhaps? A loose end he needed to tie up? "I would never use my knowledge against you, surely you know that."

Afron scoffed. "If you even could. Men don't live the life I lead without protection."

Arrogant bastard.

Afron held up the metal box again, gestured to the bed. "Come. Open your gift."

Gift? Afron had never given him a gift. Makara eyed the box with suspicion, but sighed and closed the door. He walked with measured, slow steps to the bed and took the box, stayed on his feet as he opened it, though the moment he lifted the lid, he wished he had sat down. A wide golden band, set with a dazzling array of large, colorful, sparkling jewels greeted him. "This... this had to have cost a fortune."

"Of course it did."

Makara shut the box and handed it back to Afron. "No." He shook his head. "I can't accept this. You don't owe me anything."

To be continued...

Friday, September 13, 2019

Freebie Friday: Heart of Stars, Part 4 (m/m)


It takes a bloody battle, the death of several of his men, and a near death experience of his own for Afron to see what lies in his heart for Makara. Now the barbarian won't let anything stand in the way of their destiny -- not even the prostitute's petulant (if half-hearted) refusal to see him.


Makara closed his eyes and looked away. He heard the words Afron spoke, but he also heard the words hidden between the lines. Afron had employed his driver for fifteen years; what he meant to say was killed my driver before I could react.

"I'm sorry," Makara murmured. He wrung his hands and shook his head. He wanted badly to comfort Afron, wrap his arms around his beloved and whisper words of comfort.

Afron shrugged. "I know not why they chose us. We carried nothing of value."

Nothing but you. "Perhaps they confused you with someone else," Makara offered. "Ogres aren't always very picky about their targets."

Another shrug and Afron turned to face him. Makara let out a small gasp. Afron's face had paled, his eyes had gone wide, and his hands -- Makara had to look again to be sure, but it was true -- Afron's hands shook.

"We took the wounded to a healer in Sessill. I had much time for thought and reflection." Afron frowned. "Much time to consider my life." He leaned back against the windowsill and folded his arms across his wide chest. "And the people in it," he added, eyebrow raised.

"You mean your family and your men?" Was it possible Afron had decided to give up his role as Clan Chieftain? Makara highly doubted that.

"I mean you."

"Me?" Makara's turn to pale now; his cheeks cooled as the blood rushed away from them. True, he'd sent Afron away time and time again, declaring each time to be the final time. The last straw. But both of them knew he'd lied each time. In the back of his mind, though, he had always known Afron would eventually truly leave him -- grow tired of him or bend to his clan's will to find a woman and settle down. He had just never expected the loss to come so soon.

"Yes, you." Afron cocked his head to the side and smirked. "How long have I tossed coin at you?"

Makara swallowed hard. "Three years."

"Three years is a long time for a man to pay for what he could easily get for free, don't you think?"

"I-I suppose." He looked away again and opened the drawer of the bedside table to put back the bottle of oil. Wouldn't be needing it, after all.

"I tire of wasting my coin on sex with you." Afron unfolded his arms and crossed to the end of the bed, where his breeches lay in a heap. He bent and retrieved them. "Besides, I have better things to spend my wages on."

Oh, no. No. No. No! Makara's heart cried out to him that this wasn't right; didn't make sense, especially not after that lusty greeting in the lobby, and how Afron had hinted at missing him. But clearly that had only been for show -- Afron had given him just enough attention to throw him off. To get back into his bed. Gods, he hadn't even had the chance to lay a hand on Afron before Afron had spent himself. Afron had come to him to scratch that one final itch, and now... Now it was all over.

Emotionally gutted, Makara bit his lower lip and glanced around the room quickly, searching for some clue as to what to say to change Afron's mind. Should he tell Afron that in those three years, he'd had no other repeat clients; nearly risked his position in the Nulphillium by refusing other men on more than one occasion? Should he profess his love? Whisper that his dreams were of Afron, and Afron alone? That no other could ever fill the void Afron would leave? Had left each time he'd gone away. Should he tell Afron that the Nulphilium Masters had confessed the only reason they kept him on at all was just to stave off the barbarian's wrath should he return to a cold bed?

To be continued...

Friday, September 6, 2019

Freebie Friday: NSFW Heart of Stars, Part 3 (m/m)


It takes a bloody battle, the death of several of his men, and a near death experience of his own for Afron to see what lies in his heart for Makara. Now the barbarian won't let anything stand in the way of their destiny -- not even the prostitute's petulant (if half-hearted) refusal to see him.


Makara frowned, puzzled by the bizarre show of tenderness he had not expected. Afron had never claimed to have missed him or longed for him. He followed Afron down the hall to the twisting staircase that led to the fourth floor and his chamber. He glanced sidelong at Afron as he slid the key into the lock and turned it, didn't miss Afron's sharp intake of air when the tumbler clunked. Makara pushed the door open and gestured Afron inside.

Pulling his shirt off as he walked, Afron went immediately to the large bed in the center of the room, but paused. He tossed his shirt onto the floor and ran a hand over the white satin sheets. "These are new."

"I got them last month on opening day of the Summer Market. Do you like them?" Makara asked. He crossed the room and sat down on the bed next to where Afron stood.
The question earned him another grunt, and Afron shrugged as he reached for his waistband to begin unbuckling his belt. "I have no need for finery."

Of course not. Makara plucked at the sheets, rolled the soft, slippery fabric back and forth between his thumb and forefinger. "What do you have need for?"

Afron chuckled. "My cock in your ass."

Makara rolled his eyes and pushed Afron's hands away to attend to the belt himself. He glanced up at Afron. "I trust your trip went well?"

"It did not." Afron stepped back and impatiently yanked his breeches down.

"Oh?" Makara frowned. He quickly shimmied out of his breeches, kicked them to the end of the bed, and slid the remnants of his shirt over his head. Emerging from his clothing, he found Afron standing stock-still at the side of the bed, staring at him. "What is it?"

"Nothing." Afron shook his head, and whatever he had felt seemed to dissipate with the gesture. He climbed onto the bed, kneeling in front of Makara. Afron wrapped a meaty fist around his own cock and started stroking.

Makara bit back a chuckle. Afron had never been one for foreplay -- the barbarian's mind just didn't work that way. To Afron, things were best dealt with efficiently, even matters of the heart. But sex with Makara wasn't a matter of the heart for Afron, was it? Whore. That's what Afron always called him, and although the moniker was appropriate -- Makara couldn't very well deny his profession -- there were occasions when he hated it. Like this one. Like the last time. And the time before that. At least Afron had noticed the new sheets. Makara laid back and reached to the bedside table, plucked up the bottle of oil.

"How do you want--" The words had just left his lips before Afron arched and cried out, coating Makara's belly with his spend. At a loss, Makara simply lay there, blinking at the barbarian in confusion. What in the name of the Gods had just happened?

"I told you I could not wait," Afron growled. He let go of his cock and wiped his hand on his chest as he stood. He paced around the room like a caged animal. "I nearly died."

"Just now?" Makara arched an eyebrow as he dipped his fingers into the sticky mess on his belly and swirled it around.

Afron shot him a look that very clearly indicated he was an idiot. The barbarian moved to the window, pulled back the curtains, letting in a dazzling burst of light, and looked down at the city below. "During the journey to Sessill."

"Oh..." Cold dread crept into Makara's heart and he swallowed hard. Do not become attached to your clients, he had been told time and time again. He should have listened. He licked his lips, tried to work up some spit to soothe his suddenly dry throat. "What happened?"

Afron glanced back over his shoulder. "Ogres happened."

Ogres. Makara shuddered. He fought down the urge to run across the room and throw his arms around Afron; instead, he settled for silently praising the gods for Afron's safe return to him.

"They attacked our caravan. Killed my driver before any of us could react. Jumped down from the trees and cut his guts out." He made a slashing motion with his right hand. "Just like that."

To be continued...