New EXCERPT: Servant at Play


Servant at Play

A Rake in London #5

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Marcus Jennings finger-combed his long brown hair and gathered it back into a queue. Tying the hair with a length of thin black riband, he cast a glance at the man sleeping peacefully in the large four poster bed. Gavin had come home from a night at the theater, troubled and uncharacteristically reticent about sharing his adventure.

He'd been weary, quiet, but adamant that Marcus stay the night in his bed, in his arms. Disturbed by Gavin's strange behavior, Marcus had acquiesced, despite the fact that he had a perfectly good bed in a room of his own on the floor above.

He'd have slept better if he'd retired to his own chamber and had even considered doing so well before Gavin's return from his engagement with the youthful Bernard. His lover was an excellent playfellow, an amenable and ardent lover, but in all honesty, he could only be described as a poor bedmate. Gavin tossed, turned, grunted, and sweated in his sleep as though his dreams were peopled by demons.

But curiosity had compelled Marcus to wait up despite his lord's direction, and empathy had kept him at Gavin's side throughout the hours as he dodged flung hands and ill-placed knees, pushed sweaty limbs aside, and wafted crisp linens to cool them both.

Unlike the last time they'd shared a bed and Gavin had murmured Bernard's name in a lusty dream, the young lord had muttered Marcus's own name and clung like a limpet even in his sleep, as though afraid.
The habit of early rising was hard to break, and when the rosy fingers of dawn streaked the sky, despite his lack of slumber, Marcus's lids had popped open, and he'd found himself staring at the ornate canopy of the bed. He'd managed to disentangle himself from Gavin's clutches and dressed by the sun's weak light.
It would be hours yet before Gavin woke, but the rest of the household was stirring, and Marcus had duties that could occupy his time until he could sit Gavin down and coerce the truth of his troubled demeanor from him.

For instance, Nicodemus Martins would arrive by eight of the clock to conduct his master's correspondence and other business, and that young man was a challenge that Marcus was determined to master. He crossed to the door and made his way down the hall to the servant's stair.

His most subtle ploys had met with blank-eyed stares, stilted conversation and finally outright avoidance. It was time to beard the dragon in his den. Marcus smiled to himself at the idea of the petite, slender secretary as a dragon and himself as St. George. Perhaps the analogy was not accurate, but in light of what might transpire, he felt much as that stalwart warrior must have.

Not that he feared physical harm from Nicodemus Martins. He had as much as two stone weight advantage, as well as height and reach, over the younger man and was certain he would be the victor in any conflict between them. No, his concern lay in the uncertainty of Nico's preferences.

If his blatant attempt at seduction was unsuccessful, and the secretary was of a mind to cavil at being opportuned in such a fashion, then he could cause trouble for Gavin and that was something that Marcus could not allow.

For himself, it wasn't of no great import. He was a man of moderate needs, modest means, and content with his station. But being deported because of his tastes wouldn't alter that at all. There was the chance that a man such as himself would be hung instead, but the true damage would come to Gavin, his lineage and position in society would be lost, his future drastically different than the life of luxury he currently enjoyed.
The idea of harm coming to his beloved Gavin through his actions was enough to still his intent, to make him reconsider, but the lure of the pretty blue eyes and the desire roused by the whip-thin frame were heady competition. Besides, Gavin had concluded aright. He loved the hunt, the chase, and the thrill of victory. He would just have to ensure that no one suffered through his amusement.

Having arrived at the kitchen, Martin resolved once again to temper his interest and avoid potential social ruin. He loaded a tray with rich steaming chocolate; flaky, buttery continental bread known as croissants, and a small china dish of golden honey from the baron's own estate. The mingled odors were sensual and alluring, the bait in a trap that would grant him at least the favor of Martin's company.

Anticipation made his steps quicken as he left the sleepy-eyed cook and his crew of two cleaning up the remains of the servant's morning meal and preparing the baron's breakfast.

Outside the study, he paused briefly, setting the tray on a side table to adjust his burden and himself. His steps weren’t the only thing that had quickened at the thought of seeing the auburn-haired beauty the baron had hired to tend his affairs. Marcus's prick had stiffened at the mere thought of putting his fate to the test this morning. A few moments of effort to control his breathing and heart rate proved ineffective at reducing the swelling of his lust.

A wicked grin twisted his lips as it occurred to him that rather than wish away his erection, he might be better suited to showing it off. Surely when confronted with the evidence of Marcus's lust, the secretary would in some way divulge his own sentiments, whether by a disgusted sneer, a patronizing smirk, or an innocent blush?

Swiftly, Marcus tugged his jacket back a little, adjusted his trousers slightly to emphasize rather than hide, and picked up his silver tray from the small Queen Anne occasional table. Squaring his shoulders, he mentally adjusted his image of the secretary from the vicious man-eating fire-breathing dragon of St. George to the wily red fox in a hunt. Yes, that put them on the right footing.

Nico was the quarry, Marcus a one-man Quorn.

He'd run his prey to the ground, and it was time to move in for the kill.

Smiling broadly, he twisted the handle and swung the door open, his gaze immediately traveling to the small oak desk in the corner of the room where Nico should be sitting. It was empty. His disappointment had scarce begun to bloom when he became aware of a quickened breath at the opposite side of the room.



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m/m Regency erotica

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