By: Kayelle Allen | Other books by Kayelle Allen
Published By: Liquid Silver Books
Published: Jan 07, 2008
ISBN # 9781595784063
Available in: HTML, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc)
Tarth, Tarth City
Top Tier District, Batchelors 4
Sumertsag 77, 4664 Tradestandard date
Waiter Jawk Brighton bowed to the booth full of businessmen. "Have a safe trip home, gentlemen. I hope you'll come back to Batchelors again soon." He made no attempt to hide his fangs as he smiled. Ears down and out in respect, he placed a hand over his heart, bowed once more, then took a step back and walked away.
As he turned the corner toward the kitchen, he caught a glimpse of them in the mirrored wall. To a man, all seven leaned out to ogle his ass. Haven't they seen a Kin before? Or maybe any ass will do. He shrugged. Being the first Kin to work here had brought him plenty of attention last night, and record-breaking tips. Geez, and they think cats are curious ... Everyone wanted to see him up close, touch him, and ask questions. Cool eyes. Can you see in the dark like a cat? Say something in meow. I thought Kin had fur. Do you really have claws? Are they sharp? Is it true Kin can't whistle because of their fangs?
But the worst had to be, Here, kitty, kitty! followed by laughter.
He blew through the right-side kitchen doors and scanned the staff ID bracelet on his wrist. Up popped a tray at his station, and the hoverbot underneath lassoed itself to his arm. Holding the tray overhead, he swept back out the other side. The time-elapsed-in-kitchen clock over the door read 2.7 seconds.
He chuckled. Beat my trainer's best, and it's my second day on the job. Who's the best, now, huh?
The human-oriented Batchelors 4 with its crystal and white tablecloths catered to the upscale gay crowd in the empire's capitol city. These days, the powerful feigned a gay inclination even if they never acted on it, simply to be seen here. Whether a proper business lunch, a tycoon-style impress-the-hell-out-of-the-client dinner, a few friendly drinks, or a casual pick-up, business deals rose and fell like the fate of empires in Batchelors' candle-lit booths.
"Who's thirsty?" Jawk grinned at a table of three businessmen, all of whom looked up from notes they were making. He parked the hoverbot next to the table. "A Black Mystery for the handsome gentleman in white who seems to be all work tonight." He placed a napkin and the black vodka in front of the man on his left and was rewarded with an immediate smile. "Gin for my friend with the gorgeous ginger-colored hair." He held the gaze of the customer a moment longer than necessary, then served the last drink with a quick flourish of his wrist. "And whiskey straight for a fine-looking gentleman who..." He turned over one hand as if waiting for him to finish the sentence.
"Isn't," his friends finished for him, to laughter all around.
Jawk winked at him. He released the hoverbot, which rose to the ceiling and returned to the kitchen. "Gentlemen, your server's taking a quick break." He pulled a square paper napkin from his apron pocket and turned it on the table so it formed a diamond. His name was scrawled across one corner. "I'm Jawk. If you want me..." He widened his eyes in a flirty smile. "Oh, pardon. I mean if you desire my services..."
The men broke into chuckles. Jawk laughed with them.
"Just tap this button." He stuck out a claw and touched a glowing button on the table. Batchelors' holographic menu popped up. "I'll come immediately." He patted his chest as if flustered, flashing them another smile. "Oh, well--it might take me a little longer than that..."
More laughter. Jawk clasped his hands behind him. "Anything else for you, gentlemen? What other appetites may I satisfy tonight?"
He programmed their generous food order into the menu and shut it down before bowing away. He grabbed up an errant hoverbot that hadn't returned to its docking station, then picked up a pitcher and refilled three beers on his way back to the kitchen. His orders were up, and he served the trio of friends before routing to the other side of the club to fill in for another server going on break.
Two tables away, wearing a tuxedo and dark glasses, sat the man he'd come here to spy on.
No way to sugarcoat it. Spying was exactly what it was. It had taken him three solid years undercover, posing as nothing more than a hard-working college student. Which he was, truthfully--he'd busted his ass getting those grades. But he'd finally gotten into Batchelors, the favorite hangout of Luc Saint-Cyr.
The Harbinger. The Man. Crime lord extraordinaire, whom no law enforcement in the empire could pin down. And also a legitimate businessman. Hell, the simple power of his name alone was a business. The number one mover and shaker, a tycoon and entrepreneur unlike anything the Tarthian Empire had ever seen or likely would again.
And unknown to all but a tiny handful of people called the Chosen, he was immortal. A Sempervian. He'd amassed generations of wealth and power he could use to his advantage. Taking Saint-Cyr down would be the story of the year, defeating him the coup of a lifetime.
Jawk's college roommate, Nij, had given him two huge breaks in one. Since Nij was graduating, he needed someone to replace him at Batchelors, and Jawk jumped at the chance. Setting the cherry on top of the ice cream, he asked Jawk off the record if he was open to a threesome with a patron interested in meeting a Kin.
Always cautious, Jawk had wanted clarification. "You mean you, me, and a client from Batchelors?"
"You, a client, and the client's lover. They're into Dom/slave games. He likes to tie him up and watch. You can't let the bosses find out. They'd fire your ass in a flash. Still, damn good money. I worked one party he threw, and it paid for an entire semester at school. Had spending money left over from tips his friends sent afterward. I shit you not. You into the scene?"
When the client turned out to be Saint-Cyr and his lover, Wulf Gabriel, everything fell into place. After work tonight, Saint-Cyr was giving Wulf a surprise.
"Jawk, how's it going?" Mr. Vandermeer, one of the owners, held out a tray, which Jawk took. "They keeping you busy out there?"
"Oh, yes, sir. We're packed." He grinned, ears forward. "This place runs smoother than a hoverbot on oil. Everything's right where you can find it. I'm having no trouble keeping up."
"You're doing a great job. I've heard good comments so far." He patted the side of Jawk's arm. "Keep it up. Glad to have you on board."
"Thank you, sir." He bowed. After he put away the tray, he started stocking the bar near Saint-Cyr's table.
The Man's ability to slug back whiskey and not get drunk was legendary. He sat alone, swirling a stirrer through his Whiskey Sour, and watched the crowd. He had the biggest booth, all the way in the back, with a view straight to the door. Six different employees cautioned Jawk his first night never to seat anyone there. It was the Man's and no one else's, no matter how busy they got. He was a part-owner, and when Saint-Cyr walked in, he got seated. Now.
The immortal had an impressive presence and an imposing height. Six-five, according to the dossier.
Saint-Cyr suddenly sat up straight as a wistful smile bared his heart, but he swiftly steeled himself back into icy control and brushed a hand down his tuxedo jacket. "Finally."
With his Kin hearing, Jawk could hear his whisper, despite the noise of the club. He turned toward the commotion at the door. Wulf Gabriel had arrived.
The empress herself, showering jewels on one and all, could not have staged a more impressive entrance.
Even the staff, who knew better, flocked around him. Wulf's masculine beauty, strong jaw and chiseled features had rocketed him to the top of the fashion modeling industry fifteen years ago, and time hadn't dulled them. In addition to his physical appeal, he was the producer for the hottest music groups on the scene today.
The club's two owners shooed everyone back to work and hugged him. Their dossier said Wulf had known them for years. He kissed them both like they'd been lovers, and started across the room toward Saint-Cyr. Every person along the way stopped him to talk and shake his hand. Wulf cast his lover an apologetic smile and made a kissing motion.
"It never fails," Saint-Cyr whispered. "Every time we meet in public." The drink stirrer snapped between his hands. He flipped the pieces on the table and drummed his fingers. "Patience, old man, patience."
Jawk's wrist ID buzzed, signaling he was wanted in another area. Tonight's the night, Saint-Cyr. Enjoy your freedom. After this, you're a marked man. He pulled himself away from his quarry and hustled toward his new section.
Luc Saint-Cyr ground his teeth, waiting, while across the room, Wulf chatted with fans and business associates alike with equal grace. Don't let your jealousy get control of you. Let Wulf do what he does so well. His lover had been born to mingle and charm.
"You're late," Luc snapped, before Wulf could sit down.
"Yeah? Well, you know what?" Wulf had leaned over as if he was going to kiss him, and he froze in that position. "I worked like a fucking slave getting through all the crap you left on your desk so I could get here, and this is the thanks I get? Fuck you." He turned to go.
Luc grabbed his hand and smiled up at him. "People are watching us, love."
Wulf glared. "Let them, you S.O.B. I am so sick of your jealousy I could scream."
Luc shook his head, refusing to give in to dark imaginings. Wulf would never disrespect him like that, even though he deserved it. Still ... I don't want to push him away. I've got to stop being so jealous. Smile. He curved his mouth.
Wulf finally eased into place beside Luc in the round booth, and leaned over to accept a brief kiss. "I saw your jealous streak rear its head all the way from the door."
Anger rumbled in Luc's throat, a predator's warning growl. "They take far too many liberties."
"Who, my fans? What you mean is, they take more than ten seconds to shake my hand."
Luc made a low grunt of discontent.
"Let's not argue tonight." Wulf put his head on Luc's shoulder and smoothed his lapel. "You know I love you."
"You know I dislike public shows of affection." Yet he savored the warmth of Wulf's body along his too much to refuse him. The wishful stares from others in the room shot a tingle of satisfaction up his cock. Of all the rich and powerful here tonight, he was the man with Wulf. "Sit up and behave yourself."
"Ooh, you are such a grouch." Wulf leaned back his head and pouted up at him. "Kiss me again. Right here where everyone can see it. Show them I'm yours."
"No." He twitched the shoulder where Wulf rested. "Sit up."
He ignored him and picked at the buttons of Luc's dress shirt. "Please? Claim me. You know you want to." He lifted his head, eyes flashing a dare, then braced a hand on the table's edge, leaned in close and planted a kiss on his mouth.
Luc wrapped one hand behind his head and crushed Wulf's mouth to his. Mid-kiss, he softened his hold and relaxed his mouth, teasing Wulf's lips with tender bites and licks. The awareness of watchers sent a sharp spike of pleasure through him. When the kiss ended, the mussed hair and glazed dazzle in his lover's eyes told him he was number one.
"Mmm." Wulf leaned into his shoulder. "I love a man who knows how to kiss."
He accepted another small peck on the lips. "I aim to please."
"Why the ... uh..." Wulf gestured to his own eyes.
"Dark glasses?" Luc pushed the bridge back up his nose. "I was in the sun all day. My eyes are killing me."
"Ah. Sorry to hear that." He scooted away.
"Come back here." He looped his arm around Wulf's waist and dragged him close, making him laugh. He tangled the dark, silky strands of Wulf's hair around his fingers and rubbed them with his thumb. A clean smell rose to him. He pressed a kiss on his brow. "I love you. I've missed you today. Have you..."
"Sorry, Luc." Wulf pulled away. "There's someone I've been trying to reach all day. Be right back." Without waiting for permission, he slid out of the booth and hastened across the room. He joined a group of men, shook hands with them, and motioned back to Luc.
The men lifted a hand in greeting but didn't bother to smile. Lawyers for his competition rarely did; no one at Pharos had a sense of humor. They listened to Wulf, all of them quiet and attentive. The solicitors laughed at something he said, shook hands with him again, and one of them leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
Wulf returned to the booth.
"What the hell was that about?"
Wulf took a sip of his vodka. "Tovar Fasra signed a contract with us today. He's officially our client. Pharos will probably sue tomorrow, but it's done."
Their only true competition, Pharos had bungled the management of Tovar's former group. Now that Wind and Thunder was defunct, Tovar was an independent agent. Pharos had made every legal maneuver they could think of to stop him from leaving. To no avail. The young Kin trusted Wulf.
"I was referring to the kiss." He slid his fingers through Wulf's hair, coiling it around his fingers.
"Oh, that." He shrugged. "I sent tickets to his mother. He'd been trying to get seats for Tahkee, the Kin opera. I had six."
"It warranted a kiss?"
"No big deal, Luc. He was just being friendly."
Luc tightened his hand into a fist in Wulf's hair. His lover yielded to the coarse embrace. "When others touch you, it incenses me. You're mine. Mine alone."
"I shake hands with people all day at work, Master."
"That's business. This is our personal life."
"Aside from the fact that what I just handled was business, in our personal life, you give me to other men." Wulf angled his head back a little more and met his gaze. His warm brown eyes held no fear. "You watch them use me for their pleasure. You tell them how to pleasure me."
At Wulf's calm acceptance of his will, pride roared inside him with the fierce joy of a lion subduing his mate. "You are mine to give." Luc opened his hand, stroked his fingers through Wulf's hair. "You have no right to surrender yourself to anyone, except as I direct."
Wulf put his head down. "If you don't want me to shake hands with people, I won't."
"No. Of course not." He shook his head. "Just try to make it brief, will you? There's only so much I can take. I--didn't like seeing him kiss you." He smoothed his jacket. "It made me jealous."
Smiles brimmed in his eyes. "Master, you know I love you."
Luc held his breath, awed by his beauty. Mine. Mine. He curled a hand back into Wulf's hair, feeling the texture between fingers and thumb. "You belong to me." He sounded shocked even to himself.
Wulf broke into a huge smile, his cheeks dark with a blush. "Luc, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left you. I should have waited for tomorrow. From now on, when we meet somewhere like this after work, I'll stay at your side. I live to please you."
He tugged Wulf's hair. "Hah! Imp. You live to keep me off balance and crazy." He leaned over and kissed him, then nuzzled Wulf's ear. "I'd like that, love." He tapped two fingers on the table, the signal to begin their evening of play.
Wulf placed both hands in his lap.
"I've chosen your next lover." He nodded toward the new server across the club. "What would you think of having a Kin?"
"A Kin?" Wulf gave a faint laugh. "Right." When Luc didn't laugh, Wulf glanced at the Kin, then Luc. "Wait. You're serious."
"Mmm." He gestured with his glass.
A member of the feline race served a tray of mixed drinks to a group of businessmen. Human in shape and stance, he had amber furskin and unmistakable cat-like ears nearly atop his head. Right now, those ears were forward in respect as he bowed. Contrasted with the lush backdrop of the club, the raw beauty of the Kin--despite his refined uniform--made him an uncut gem amongst polished diamonds.
Ah, the possibilities. Pure, unblemished potential. Luc lifted a finger to summon their human server, gestured to his own whiskey and then Wulf. "The usual."
Wulf folded his hands on the table. "That one has a nice smile."
"Wait until you see his ass."
With a laugh, Wulf checked him out again. "You're right." His eyes sparked with mischief. "He's gorgeous, but I didn't think Kin males liked cock. Too macho."
"So sure, are you?"
"Oh, yeah. I forgot about you and..."
"Never mind the past." He lifted the hand behind Wulf and played with his hair. "So, you don't like Kin?"
"I have nothing against them. I speak the language, I understand the culture. But I never considered bedding one." He shrugged. "Never had reason to. I have you, and you're 'animal' enough for anyone."
Luc chuckled, leaned over and kissed him. Wulf yielded his mouth in a kiss full of promise. When Luc pulled back, he had to adjust the fit of his trousers in front.
Wulf flashed him a knowing grin. "So, when did Trink hire a Kin?"
"Yesterday, I think. He was here last night when I came for dinner. Nij was training him, but he's already experienced. They keep moving him all over the place." Luc picked up his whiskey. Its dark-honey depths swam with reflections. "Even among the beauties here, he draws attention." He tasted his drink, set it down. "It's time I initiated you into the ecstasies a Kin-sized cock can provide."
"You taught..." Wulf's words came out in a breathy rush, and he cleared his throat and began again. "You taught me everything there is to know about king-sized cocks."
He rested a hand on Wulf's thigh and gave a light squeeze. "Flatterer. But I said Kin-sized. And all the flattery in the worlds won't keep me from the pleasure of seeing you writhe while a Kin takes you the first time. It's not to be missed." He took another sip.
Wulf's pupils dilated. A blush darkened his cheeks. With an appreciative gleam brightened his smile, and his shallow breathing sped up.
Luc stroked the back of his fingers down Wulf's smooth face. Such utterly flawless skin. He knew the taste and feel of every inch. He swirled the dregs of his drink.
Their human waiter brought Luc another sour, placed a tall black vodka with a twist of lime in front of Wulf and activated the holographic dinner menus on the table. He eased out of earshot but not out of sight. The shimmering text floating above the table lit the crushed ice in Wulf's drink. It glowed blue-white. The black vodka seeped down around its edges into the clear liquid at the bottom.
Wulf shut off the program.
"Why do you like those drinks?" Luc sipped his whiskey. "They're eerie."
"Eerie?" Wulf lifted his drink, stared at it, and shrugged. "If you say so. I like Black Mysteries. They remind me of you." He pulled out the lime, popped it in his mouth, and chewed. "Don't give me that look."
He stiffened his spine. "What 'look'?"
"That one." Wulf gave him a pointed stare. "The 'I'm so innocent' number. It won't work on me. I know you too well."
He narrowed his eyes at Wulf, who simply laughed. Luc picked up his drink. "You know how to take all the fun out of a perfectly good sulk." He tossed down the rest of the whiskey in one gulp.
Wulf toyed with the drink stirrer. "So, you want to see me with a Kin?"
"Mmm, yes, I certainly do."
Across the room, the Kin waiter laughed.
Luc set down the glass. "Did you see that? He shows everyone his fangs, too. Kin never do that."
"I thought they couldn't laugh out loud."
"Can, yes. They don't. Kin males make a quiet 'huff' sound. They have a fine sense of humor, but on their world..." He shook his head. "Laughing out loud is taboo. We should vacation there."
"Me, on a world where you can't laugh?" Wulf's laugh sounded more like a snort. "Right. Next time I want to end up a sex slave on a world full of hard-assed warrior women, I'll put 'visit Felidae' at the top of my list."
"It's not so bad in the capitol city. They're used to humans. But Kin males ... they're bred with a 'seen and not heard' mentality. It's next to impossible for them to compete in the human world. To find one who laughs like we do ... He was reared among humans."
"Let's plan the trip tonight." Wulf poked at his wet glass. "I'll travel in the buff. What do you think?" He turned to Luc as if serious. "Could save a lot of time. They'd send me straight through customs and right into a breeder camp. At least until they figured out I don't get it up for women." He took a long drink of his vodka.
"Females," Luc corrected. "Male and female are the proper terms for Kin. Man and woman are human terms."
"Oh, pardon me." Wulf laid a hand on his chest. "But I don't get it up for females, either."
Luc leaned toward him. "You have no idea how rare this lad is. It's been twenty years since the Kin were exposed to human culture, and there are still only three businesses owned by Kin males in the entire empire. Only one of which made it without my help."
"Why do you care?" Wulf dragged a fingertip through a ring of water. "About Kin males, I mean? What do you get out of it?"
As much as Wulf knew about him and his true agenda on this world, why did he have to ask? Luc rubbed a hand across his shorn hair.
"Hey, don't get all huffy. You know what I mean. It's not..." Wulf paused, then sighed. "Luc, I support the way you encourage diversity. I always have. I'm trying to understand your personal motive, that's all."
"Love, Felidae is--no, scratch that. Any world where more than seventy percent of the population has no rights should concern every citizen in the empire." He sat back, held up both hands. "But forget I said anything. We came here to have fun. Let's enjoy it, shall we?"
Wulf swirled the ice in his glass. "Hey." He nodded toward the right. "Check it out."
Luc turned his head. Across the aisle, the Kin leaned over to take a drink order. Tight black pants hugged the hard, muscular legs of a runner. When he stood, his wide shoulders and taut ass made a V-shape. He bowed deeply to his customers, then stopped before Luc and Wulf's table and dipped his head in a polite nod. "Good evening, gentlemen."
Luc shoved his dark glasses back into place and tilted back his head. He spread his legs, to give his rising cock more room.
The Kin's smile oozed confidence. "While your server is taking a short break, may I get anything for you? An appetizer, perhaps, or another drink?"
"We're good," Wulf interrupted, before Luc could respond. "Thank you." He made a brushing motion with one hand.
The Kin bowed away.
A snarl rose in Luc's throat.
Wulf broke in on his thoughts. "Your Kin is back."
The waiter had returned to the adjacent table and was helping one of the silver droid servers with a tray of drinks.
"Those new 'tuxedo' uniforms sure show off their assets, don't they?" Wulf shook his fingers as if burnt. "Thank you, Icia Teoh."
"Your friend designed those?"
"Mmm." Wulf set down his vodka. "Trink wanted a new look for the waiters. I introduced them."
Luc stroked a finger across the lip of his empty glass, dipped the tip of it inside and dragged it slowly around the rim. Wulf's whimper brought a smile to Luc's mouth. He turned his head to one side.
Wulf squirmed on the seat, his dark blush of anticipation clearly visible.
Luc pushed aside the empty glass.
Within a moment, the Kin waiter had replaced it with a full one, pausing to smile down at him. "If I can get you anything, my name is Jawk." He placed a napkin in front of Luc and turned it at an angle, revealing his name scrawled across the corner. "Just touch this menu." He pressed a glowing dot on the table and a menu popped up.
Wulf reached out and shut it down. "We're good, thanks. Maybe later."
Jawk placed a hand over his heart and bowed as he backed away.
"What a pushy guy." Wulf shook his head.
Luc opened his mouth to speak, but once again Wulf interrupted.
"So, are Kin fangs sharp when they..." He raised one finely arched brow.
"Mmm. And their tongues are every bit as rough as a cat's. A Kin tongue on your cock is an exquisite, torturous bliss. I want you to experience it for yourself."
Wulf's fabulous smile blazed, honey-brown eyes alight. "A Kin might not want me."
Luc cupped his hand beneath Wulf's chin. "You still don't realize how perfect you are, do you? There's not a man here who wouldn't make a fool of himself for one of your smiles."
A belly laugh rang out as he pulled away. "Luc! You're such a liar. But I love you."
"I wouldn't offer you a gift unless I was sure it was safe, clean, and perfect for you. You only have to accept."
Wulf slid over until his shoulder touched Luc's. Every sense came alive when Wulf laid a hand on his thigh. "When did you have in mind?"
"I've already invited him." Luc allowed himself a smile as he stroked his glass. "Since you agree, he'll take you tonight."
"Wait a minute." Wulf drew back and frowned. "The rule is I get to see him first and say whether I'm interested. Who is he?"
"You did see him, love." Luc slid the napkin toward him emblazoned with the name Jawk. "He stood right here at our table."