Feeling His Steel
Published By: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Published: Feb 13, 2013
ISBN # 9781419945113
Available in: Epub, HTML, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc)
Toby never suspected his study of medieval history would come to life, but he can’t overlook the knight who appears before him, claiming to be his long-lost lover. Firmly in the closet and in danger of losing his job if his sexual orientation is discovered, Toby is stunned by his instant lust for the warrior from the past. Could Sir Alwyn truly have time-traveled to reunite with Toby? Niggling memories tell him the man might be telling the truth.
Inside Scoop: A professor finds his destiny with the hunky medieval knight he loved and lost centuries ago in this scorching male/male tale.
A Romantica® gay erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
By reading any further, you arestating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18,please exit this site.
An Excerpt From: FEELING HIS STEEL
Copyright © BRYNNPAULIN, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Dear Lord save him…
“Miss Fremont, please get your hand off my a—body.”
“You almost said ass,” she breathed, looking ready to swoon.“Professor Woods, I love it when a man talks dirty. And your accent. As hot asColin Firth at the end of Bridget Jones. Say it again!”
“Oh for the love of God!” Toby Woods rushed into his officeand shut the door firmly before the girl got any more ideas about clutching hisbackside. He leaned his head against the solid wood. His eyes closed and hesighed. Teaching first-year English hadn’t been his intention when he’d comefrom Northern England to this small private college on the outskirts ofdowntown Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the United States two years ago. Neitherhad he intended to teach class after class of horny, barely eighteen-year-oldgirls.
His degree was in history with a minor in English. He’djumped at the chance to teach the courses Origins of Modern English andMedieval History at the college near Levey Museum, the home of a hugecollection of medieval documents—documents he’d often been contracted totranslate since arriving here. The kicker was the freshman English courses thathad been thrown in as part of the package. They comprised most of his work.There just wasn’t much call for the other two classes.
A little research on the college would have been good,Tob.
Some days were far worse than the rest. Like today.
In his defense, he’d thought Grand Riverside College had been the other school to which he’d applied for a teaching position—the one witha coed student population. He’d been shocked to arrive and learn the truth. Idiot!But he’d gone with the flow, knowing he’d be instructing in his chosen fieldwith his beloved documents nearby. Well, not his documents. He justliked to think of them that way.
So he’d attended meetings and his orientation with nary aword about his mistake and had almost laughed aloud when the dean of theEnglish Department, Gerald Palmer, had sternly commented, “The girls aren’teasy targets for young professors on the make, so don’t get any ideas.”
As if. They couldn’t be more safe from him. He was the onewho wasn’t safe.
Two years later, Palmer still looked at him sideways, as ifToby would jump one of the girls at any time.
He rubbed his backside and strode to his desk to deposit histext and lecture notes. Bloody hell, the girl outside his office just now wasn’teven the worst today. He would have a beastly bruise from someone else’sgroping. He didn’t know that student—she wasn’t his pupil—or he’dcertainly mark down her grade.
Not taking any chances on a return engagement, he went backto the door and turned the lock. No office hours today, ladies. And none ofthe attention you seem to want from me either.
What would good old Dean Palmer say if he knew Toby was gay?Toby could guess. He grimaced. Palmer would see him fired—probably for sometrumped-up reason too—then send his “gay ass” packing back to England.
Toby had observed enough at the college to know exactly whatwould happen. The administration would privately vilify his sexual preferencewhile publicly finding fault with his teaching or record-keeping or somethingelse equally false. They’d get rid of the oddity in their midst despite hiscomplete lack of interest in the students’ bodies.
Bunch of stupid pricks.
Not for the first time, he considered quitting his job, butleaving Grand Riverside would mean giving up the Levey document collection.Unacceptable. He scowled and pulled out his cell phone to check his messages.Maybe the curator from Levey had called to tell him they had some work to fillup his weekend.
Or maybe not… He didn’t have a single message. If that wasn’ta sign of his lackluster life, he didn’t know what was.
He sighed and pushed his hand through his hair. Maybe heshould hop on his motorcycle and take another weekend trip to Chicago to hookup with some guy—any guy. Just a guy. Someone he could fuck. Someone who wasn’tfrom around here, where the grapevine was more far-flung than the one in thesmall town in upper England where his adoptive family had raised him.
He wished Levey would just hire him full time to do work ontheir documents. He’d leave the teaching gig behind in an instant. But Leveywasn’t hiring in this economy. Nobody was. And especially not a full-timelinguist to translate documents that had been around for centuries and would befor several years more.
He was stuck unless he wanted to go back to England with his tail between his legs. That wasn’t happening. Not in this century. Closinghis eyes, he lifted his face toward the ceiling and prayed for strength to getthrough another year of teaching or the guidance to find a job somewheremore…liberal.
His entreaty was interrupted by the sound of musicallaughter floating through his office. He jerked around, checking to be surenone of his students had sneaked inside. He winced at the thought of the girlhe’d had security escort out last week and the unmentionables he occasionallyfound on his desk and on his chair. It didn’t seem to matter that he locked hisdoor. They still got inside…somehow.
This time, the room was empty. He sighed, turning back tohis desk to get ready to leave for the day. If he hurried, he could throw a fewthings in a bag at home and be in Chicago by seven. Maybe six thirty if he—
Thunder crashed outside, startling him from his thoughts andrattling his office. The windows vibrated and the floor shook. Toby’s phone tumbledout of his hand and onto a pile of books as he stumbled and grabbed the top ofhis desk. Papers flew to the floor.
Damn! That lightning strike had been close. What the hellwas that? It had been clear skies when he’d crossed campus five minutes ago,and his office had shuddered more like an earthquake than a nearby storm. He’dnever heard of quakes in Michigan. And that sound had been like an explosion.
Pushing away from the desk, he straightened and turned. Heshould see if everyone was okay. As a teacher it was his duty to—
“Oh my God…” he whispered.
Standing in the middle of his office, between the fichusplant and one of the visitor chairs, was a man in full armor with a smokingsword in his hand and a strange, glowing white aura around him.
A white knight. In his office. Go figure.
Toby’s vision blurred and to his utter humiliation, hisknees buckled. He slid to the floor in a very unmanly manner.
* * * * *
Toby struggled back to consciousness through a fog ofstrange visions from the past. Confused by the peculiar pictures, he opened hiseyes and stared into the whisky-brown eyes of the man leaning over him. Tobyblinked at him, wondering why he was on the floor and why the oddly dressed man’swords were a garble. A muzzy haze seemed to surround them as Toby struggled toput everything together. Confusion, fear and arousal intermingled as he staredat the man…a man he knew. A man who would never forgive him.
No! This stranger couldn’t know Toby. There was nothing toforgive. That had all been fantasies, nightmares, a past lost in the ether ofchildhood. Toby had never lived in the Middle Ages, though he’d once thought hehad. It had all been the overactive imagination of an unwanted orphan who’dbeen cast aside by his family. If not for his adoptive family, he’d be dead orinstitutionalized as a crazy freak.
Still he’d had recurring dreams of that time and…this manwas in them. He was slightly older than in Toby’s dreams and Toby knew thisknight’s name was Wyn—Alwyn of Cine Nerung. Toby had no reason tobelieve otherwise. His dreams had always been accurate. He knew details abouthistory that he shouldn’t. His mom called him sensitive to the shadows of thepast. Did that make him some sort of weird psychic? He spoke Middle English aseasily as if he’d used it since childhood and no one could explain that either.He just knew it, though reading and writing the ancient language had been moredifficult.
Another shadow of the past.
Having Wyn before him shed light on something Toby had neverunderstood and even now couldn’t quite comprehend. Other than his dreams, hehad no real memory before his sixteenth year. Though it seemed ludicrous toentertain the idea, he wondered if Wyn might be a clue to why.
Toby swallowed as Wyn stroked his cheek. Wyn’s gaze wasfilled with concern…and wonder. As if entranced, he ran his thumb over Toby’sbottom lip. “Tobias.”
Foreboding knotted in Toby’s stomach as that name caused amuddle of emotions to race through him. His body responded as readily as if ithad reacted hundreds of times before to Wyn’s touch.
He shoved aside his stupidity. This must be some sort ofjoke. Something that someone had thought would be funny—put a medieval knightin the history prof’s office. This guy wasn’t the “Wyn” from his dreams and theidea that he might be was preposterous.
“Why are you here?” he asked. “Who put you up to this?”
The knight frowned as if he didn’t understand Toby. Hmm…agood actor. Toby was about to tell him to cut it out when not-Wyn leanedforward, his chest touching Toby’s. Heat shafted through Toby at the passion inthe man’s stare, and his pleasure increased as he fully realized theirpositions. He liked nothing better than being under a man, particularly one ashandsome and muscular as this one.
But how had he ended up on the floor?
Oh God! Who the hell fainted anymore? He might as well havebeen one of the girls he taught instead of a thirty-year-old man. Bugger it.This stranger probably thought him an utter wimp, Toby decided. What a freakingwuss he was.
Before he could say anything to help him redeem hisdignity—some lie about tripping, slipping, having narcolepsy or something else toexcuse his faint, lame or not—the man said something else Toby didn’tunderstand though the words sounded vaguely familiar, as if he should knowthem. He shook his head to clear his thoughts, sure that even if someone spokeEnglish to him he’d be unable to understand it. Perhaps the man actually wasspeaking English.
Slowly Toby reached back and rubbed where his head had hitthe floor. That ceramic tile hurt like hell. Had he scrambled his brains? Wait!Was he hallucinating this guy?
No…the man had been here before the…um…faint.
The knight’s calloused hand slid along Toby’s cheek as heagain murmured something. He leaned forward while Toby’s eyes went wide. Asecond later, the most perfect lips Toby had ever felt pressed to his and adeep shudder of pleasure slammed through him.
The stranger’s tongue thrust into Toby’s mouth, claiming itas if he’d been there a million times before and would be there a million timesmore. His oddly familiar flavor of cinnamon and wine filled Toby while hismusky, manly scent surrounded them. Toby grabbed the stranger’s shirt only tohave his fingers repelled by the hundreds of tiny links covering the man’schest. Undeterred, he slid his palms upward and drove his hands into the knight’sdamp hair.
Toby wanted nothing more than to crawl all over him, tocrawl inside him, to feel him inside…
My beloved. We’re together again…
Wait! Toby froze as the words suddenly registered. Holyfuck! That was Middle English! It wasn’t garble at all.
No… it couldn’t be.
The foreboding returned full force to settle like moltenacid in his stomach. Despite being on the floor, he felt dizzy, the worldseeming to tilt on its side.
Toby shoved at the man’s chest and wrenched away his mouth.
“Do you understand me?” he asked in the man’s language.
The man’s brow furrowed and Toby guessed his accent must beawful.
“Tobias…where is this place?” the knight answered.
Toby shook his head. “My name is Toby. This is the schoolwhere I teach. You’re in my…” His voice trailed away. How the hell did one say “office”in Middle English? He’d have to insert the modern word. “Office,” he finished,indicating the room.
“Office,” the knight repeated as if trying the word on forsize. He reached for Toby, but Toby scooted away. What was happening to him? Hehadn’t felt this confused since he’d wandered onto his adoptive family’s land,in Northern England, fourteen years ago.
Now, staring at Wyn—was his name really Wyn?—Toby wonderedif his dreams were actually time-shrouded memories.Was he going crazy? That wasthe most likely option.
“Who are you?” Toby asked cautiously, eying the achinglyfamiliar brown-eyed man. Standing, he’d be taller than Toby by severalinches—and definitely wider. Toby worked out, but the muscles on this knightwere huge in comparison. And geez…why not? His daily activity until now hadlikely been to train, ride, train, slay some bad guys, train some more thenfeast on a high-protein diet.
Toby shook his head at his final, fanciful thought. This wasan actor not a medieval knight. Not a real one anyway.
“Wyn,” the man replied, driving a nail into Toby’s doubt.
“Wyn.” Toby took a deep breath. “From…where?”
Don’t say Cine Nerung. Don’t make me face this.
Pain flitted across the knight’s eyes. “Cine Nerung,”he answered, as if he’d read Toby’s thoughts. “You know me naught? You do notremember me, Tobias?”
“The year?” Toby croaked, ignoring the other questions.
Wyn stood and paced to the window then touched the metalblinds hanging over it. A moment later, he pulled a finger along the shinyspines of the books lined up on Toby’s pressboard bookshelf and stopped at theframed snapshot of Toby and his parents.
He turned, his face pale. “The year of our Lord thirteenhundred and forty.” He picked up the picture and examined the photo. Gesturingwith it in his hand, he said, “Tell me, Tobias, to what year have I traveled?”
Wyn’s voice quavered slightly. He was shaken but most wouldn’trecognize it through his calm facade. They wouldn’t hear the tiny wobble in hiswords. But Toby did. Somehow he knew.
“Tobias, what year?” Wyn demanded.
“I’m not Tobias.”
Wyn’s jaw tightened. His lips pressed together and his browsfurrowed as he regarded Toby as if trying to see inside his soul. Somethingstirred inside Toby, a part of him that whispered, “I’m here…”