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by Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Exploring Limits Series Book Three Their relationship strengthened by testing and stretching their limits during their beach weekend, Jonathan Braedon, Devon Aldridge, and Kit Webster encounter new challenges: the cast and director of Camelot have discovered their still-shaky relationship and an unexpected separation throws Devon and Kit together without Jonathan as a buffer, forcing them to face the reality of the attraction that has developed just between them.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: July 2010
17 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [156 KB]
Reading time: 100-140 min.
Out of the Bag
Kit Webster lounged on the couch in the trailer Bevan Campbell shared with the other three actors who, along with him, portrayed the Orkney brothers--Gawain, Gareth, Agravain, and Gaheris--in the Camelot mini-series being filmed for the BBC. The group, including Kit as Percival, had become as close as brothers themselves, and now Kit waited for Bevan to finish getting out of costume. The others had gone on to their favorite pub to prepare everything for Bevan's surprise party. Kit's job was to make sure Bevan arrived at the opportune moment. He'd already prepared a list of reasons why they couldn't go straight to the pub, but apparently they weren't going to be necessary because Bevan sat down on the couch next to him, his face serious.
"We haven't seen nearly as much of you over the past month," the Scot said. "Is everything all right?"
"Everything's fine," Kit hastened to reply, thinking of everything that had happened over the past month since he and Devon Aldridge, the actor cast as Lancelot, had first seduced Jonathan Braedon, their King Arthur. "It's been a busy month, that's all."
"Not busy enough to keep you from spending more time with Jonathan and Devon than you have with us," Bevan observed. "Colm's worried we've done something to upset you, Warwick thinks you're just tired of all the juvenile jokes and looking for some more mature companionship, and Rhodri--well, maybe best you don't know what Rhodri suggested."
Kit was pretty sure whatever Rhodri suggested couldn't be any more far-fetched than reality. "What does Rhodri think?"
"That you and Devon have gotten together." Kit had always been open about his sexual orientation, and Devon's bisexuality was enough of an open secret, at least in the acting community, that the idea wasn't outside the realm of possibility.
"He's not entirely wrong," Kit admitted, thinking that of the four Orkneys, Bevan would be least likely to scoff at the truth. "You have to admit, he's a sexy bastard."
"Both your trailer mates are dead sexy blokes," Bevan agreed. "I have to say, I'm glad I won't need to compete with Devon for the lasses' attentions. Not that Jonathan isn't competition enough. A poor knight like me wouldn't have a chance if he decided to have a go at Blythe or Elsinore."
"I think you're safe," Kit blurted out, not thinking about how much he might be revealing by his comment.
"I've never heard of him getting involved in an off-screen romance before, but there's always a first time." Bevan shook his head. "Women can't resist that kind of a challenge. Ellie was telling Addison just yesterday that she thought his accent when he wasn't in character was positively sinful."
And wasn't that the truth, Kit thought ruefully. "As far as I know, Jon isn't interested in any of the birds," he assured Bevan. "He has to be careful about things like that because of his son and all. It wouldn't do for Josh to get the wrong idea about things."
"So, you and Devon, hmmn?" Bevan asked with a grin. "Does he live up to his reputation?"
"More than," Kit replied immediately, a shit-eating grin on his face as he thought back to the long weekend at the beach. "They both do."
"Both?" The look on Bevan's face as he moved from confusion to comprehension was priceless. "Both? You're taking the piss, aren't you?" When Kit's grin didn't waver, he spluttered, "You lucky sod, you're shagging both of them?"
"Um...." Kit hesitated, not quite sure how to interpret his friend's reaction or how to explain the complexities of his relationship with Jonathan and Devon. "Yes?"
"Rhodri's going to shit a brick," Bevan chuckled. "He and Colm had a bet on which one of them would bag someone from on set first. You've topped them both without even trying."
"Not them!" Kit exclaimed without thinking, his skin heating immediately as he realized what he'd just revealed. "I'll stick with Jon and Devon, thank you very much."
Bevan broke into laughter. "I think Colm and Rhodri would be even more shocked than you at that idea. Though they'll be so relieved you're not really snarked at us, you might get at least a snog out of them." He clapped Kit on the shoulder. "C'mon, after a bombshell like that, I need a drink."
Kit shook his head again. "No, I'll pass. I get enough snogs from Jon and Devon. You're not... I don't know, scandalized?"
"Hell, Kit, we've known all along you were gay, and Devon's always had the reputation for going both ways. Jonathan's the only real surprise, since he's never been rumored to be anything but straight."
"He wasn't," Kit admitted, "or at least he'd never acted on it. I didn't figure you'd be bothered if I told you I was with one of them, but even people who are good with two gay guys might not know how to react to three of us. I didn't know how to react to the idea when Devon first suggested it."
"Besides being jealous as hell?" Bevan shrugged. "Once they get past the surprise, I doubt anyone on the set will have any problems with it. What's that old Hollywood saying? As long as it doesn't frighten the horses...."
Kit laughed. "I guess we're good then. You know how much the horses love Jon." Surreptitiously, he glanced at his watch. "Okay, enough of the heart to heart. I'm thirsty. Let's head to the pub."
"Speaking of snogs, maybe I can get a few from the girls," Bevan grinned. "Today's my birthday, you know."
"Yeah, I seem to remember hearing something to that effect," Kit agreed. "I'll buy you a pint when we get to the pub."
* * * *
"You wanker!" Bevan rounded on Kit when they entered the pub to shouts of "Surprise!" and "Happy Birthday!" from the assembled cast and crew. "You're becoming a right pro at keeping secrets, aren't you?"
"I had a good teacher," Kit murmured, thinking about all the secrets in Devon's past as Bevan was swallowed by the crowd. He spotted Devon at the bar, lounging against it with the same loose-limbed grace he'd demonstrated so regularly at their beach retreat. The trousers and shirt Devon wore weren't as revealing as his leathers, but Kit didn't need to see the line of muscle to know what Devon looked like beneath his clothes. The image was permanently imprinted on his brain. Devon's fair head tipped sideways, leaning close to Jonathan's darker one, the contrast bringing a smile to Kit's face as he crossed the room to join them.
"Damn, we're a couple of lucky bastards, aren't we?" Devon murmured in Jonathan's ear as he watched Kit walk toward them.
Jonathan's gaze lingered on Kit as the younger man made his way across the crowded pub. Kit was dressed as outrageously as usual, his jeans low and loose, his T-shirt short and tight, leaving a swath of fawn-colored skin visible along with a hint of his treasure trail as he moved. Out of costume, he'd let loose his dark hair so that it bounced around his face in windblown--or sex-tousled--glory.
"That we are," Jonathan agreed, turning his head to bump foreheads with Devon, his voice low enough that only the blond could hear him. "I hit the jackpot with the two of you."
Wending his way through the morass of actors, Kit joined his two lovers at the bar, insinuating himself in between their larger bodies. He was tempted to tilt his head up for a kiss from one or both of them, but they hadn't talked about how they were going to explain their relationship to the rest of the cast, and he thought they might want to think about it first. He'd have to tell them about his conversation with Bevan, too, but that would have to wait until they had more privacy. "Hi," he said instead, letting his hands brush their thighs discreetly. "Did you order me a drink?"
"A Busted Cherry, with extra fruit," Devon nodded, his eyes sparkling.
Kit scowled, though Devon was hardly the first to give him a hard time about his preference in drinks. "What? Just because I like a sweet drink sometimes is a reason to take the piss?"
"Devon just can't remember ever having a cherry," Jonathan retorted, giving Devon a mock punch in the shoulder. "Don't let him get under your skin, Kit-Kat." Though Jonathan had definite plans for getting under Kit later in the evening--or over him, or both. He wasn't particular, as long as it involved Kit and Devon naked in a bed.
"Speak for yourself. I've had many a cherry and remember every one of them," Devon retorted, squeezing Kit's shoulder with a wink. "I have to admit a special fondness for the most recent one I claimed." And the last, Devon added silently.
"Kit-Kat?" Rhodri parroted, the Welsh actor jabbing Kit in the stomach with his elbow as he followed him to the bar. "If I didn't know our King had better taste, I'd think what Bevan just told me was true."
Kit glared silently at his friend, willing him to silence. Rhodri wasn't discreet in the best of circumstances, though, and the kind of gossip he now had in his possession hardly qualified. "You should know better than to believe everything Bevan tells you."
"Is it true?" Rhodri asked, oblivious to Kit's glare as his gaze took in the two older actors. "All three of you, together?"
"And if it is?" Devon's green eyes darkened as they held the slighter Welshman's. "Why would it matter to you?"
"Because it means Colm owes me twenty quid," Rhodri answered with a grin.
"No," Kit insisted with a smirk, "you only figured out about Devon and me. You missed Jonathan entirely, so he only owes you ten." Realizing the cat was out of the bag, he looked back and forth between his lovers. "I sort of told Bevan about us while I was delaying him getting here, and well, what one Orkney knows, they all know."
"For sure," Rhodri said with an emphatic nod. "Just like the brothers we play on screen."
Jonathan frowned. He should have expected someone to have found out about them before now--it was next to impossible to keep a secret for long on a movie set--but he'd been so caught up in the emotions of their relationship that he'd been living in the moment, not thinking about the larger implications. It wasn't that he was ashamed of being with Kit and Devon by any means, but he wasn't especially fond of being the object of gossip. "I don't mind the cast knowing, but I'd rather not see us splashed across the tabloids," he said softly.
"It won't go beyond us, though I think you could trust the rest of the cast and crew too," Rhodri asserted. "What happens on location...."
"...Stays on location," Warwick added, coming up with Colm to join the group at the bar.
"Thanks, guys," Kit said with a smile. "It'll be good not to have to keep what I'm doing a secret anymore."
"Don't think that means we want to hear about it!" Warwick, the most straight-laced of the Orkneys, said quickly. "We don't care who you shag, but we don't need details!"
Kit grinned back at him. "You sure, Warwick?" he teased. "I could tell you some things that would make your hair curl as pretty as Colm's there." Even as he threatened it, though, he knew he wouldn't. Some things were simply too precious, too private to share.
"I want to hear!" Colm chimed in. "I'll just pretend it's two birds. Maybe I'll pick up some ideas for when I lure Ellie and Blythe into bed."
"At least your dreams are big, little man," Rhodri said, ruffling Colm's curls with brotherly affection. "But they'd be missing some necessary equipment to emulate these two."
"Some very significant equipment," Devon purred, the sultry tone itself enough to stir said equipment to life under Kit's jeans.
"I'm a resourceful bloke. I'd improvise," Colm countered with a grin.
"How about this?" Kit laughed. "When you get Morgaine and Guinevere in your bed, I'll give you the benefit of my advice and experience. Until then, I think I'll keep it to myself." He figured Colm had about as much chance with either of the girls as he did and none with both of them. Blythe and Ellie were a lot of fun, and he'd hit it off with Blythe in particular because of their implied roles as rivals for Arthur's affection, but neither of them were the kind to mess around on set. Then again, Jonathan hadn't been either, so he supposed he ought to be a little careful what he agreed to.
"Did I hear my name bandied about?" Having given Bevan his birthday kiss, Blythe glided toward the laughing group at the bar. "Show some respect for your Queen, and someone get me a drink, by your mercy!"
"Allow me, my Guinevere," Jonathan answered in Arthur's regal tone, stepping closer to Kit to make room for her at the bar. The move bumped their hips together, the denim of Jonathan's jeans brushing over Kit's burgeoning arousal and surprising a hiss of breath from the younger man. Their eyes met for a moment of unspoken promise before Devon's arm snaked around Kit's waist, pulling him back and allowing enough room for Jonathan to turn and gesture for the barman--and for Devon to rub his own crotch against Kit's buttocks.
"Later for that, sunshine," he murmured into Kit's ear. "I know just talking about this makes you hot, but I think this group's had enough to assimilate for one night. Besides, the focus is meant to be on Bevan, not us."
Kit bit back a moan at the unbelievable sensation of being sandwiched, however innocently, between his two lovers even as he nodded. "I didn't mean to steal his thunder, but he cornered me in the trailer while I was delaying him, and once he knew, there wasn't any stopping him from telling the others. I hope you don't mind."
Devon shrugged. "I've had worse said about me than that I'm shagging two incredibly hot men."
Jonathan turned back from the bar, having claimed their drinks from the harried bartender and put in an order for Blythe. "Someone was bound to figure it out sooner or later," he said, offering Devon and Kit their glasses. "I just hope it doesn't leak out beyond the cast. You don't need that complication to deal with in your divorce proceedings." Even though his own split from his ex-wife Jean was wholly amicable, Jonathan could empathize with what Devon was going through.
"Let's not mar the evening with that rot," Devon growled, lifting his glass. "To Bevan's birthday!"
"To Bevan!" the rest of the cast echoed, lifting their glasses in reply.
* * * *
At Devon's place a few hours later, Kit sighed in repletion and snuggled up between his lovers. They'd sandwiched him between them like at the bar and driven him out of his mind with pleasure, reassuring him that he hadn't messed anything up by telling Bevan--and by extension the others--the truth about their relationship. "I don't think the Orkneys will tell anyone intentionally, but they aren't always as discreet as they should be. Is it going to be a problem if Niall finds out?"
"He cast you and Addison knowing you're openly gay," Jonathan mused, referring to the classically trained actor Niall had chosen to play Merlin. "Given that, I'd hope it won't be an issue, unless he has a policy against castmates of any gender getting together. Some directors do, but they'll generally make a point of letting everyone know up front if that's the case." He slid his hand from Kit's hip to glide over Devon's back. "You sure it won't be a problem if Marcy finds out?"
"We were separated before filming started, so she can't claim the two of you had anything to do with breaking up our marriage." Devon shrugged, the muscles that had tensed at the mention of his not-soon-enough-ex-wife relaxing under Jonathan's soothing touch. "Lord knows there are enough other examples of my less-than-sterling character she's already trotted out." Not that Devon didn't have ample evidence of her own cheating to counter with. At least he had waited until it was clear the marriage was over and they'd formally separated before letting his eyes rove. "What about you, Jon? Marcy knew I was bi before we got together. This will come as a shock to your son, won't it?"
"We raised Josh to be pretty open-minded." Jonathan smiled as he thought of his son. "Actually, he's been a fan since he saw Kit in Around Every Corner. Josh will be so excited at the chance to meet 'Davey' that the rest may not even register with him."
"I'd love to meet him," Kit said, "because he's your son first, of course, but it's always fun for me to meet fans. I'm fully aware I wouldn't have a career if it weren't for them."
"Jean and I have been talking about sending him over to visit during his next school break," Jonathan said, his voice warm with pride. "I'd like both of you to meet him. He's the best thing to happen in my life." Though getting together with both of you is a close second, Jonathan admitted to himself, even if he wasn't ready to confess the depth of his feelings to his lovers. Coming into the open about their relationship was a big enough step for the moment.
"That would be fantastic," Kit enthused. "We can take him into London, see all the touristy things there, and then get him out into the country and show him the real England. When are his holidays? If we plan it right, maybe we can talk Niall into giving us a couple of days off so we can do it up right for him."
"The semester ends in a couple of weeks. He has a week's break, but I can talk to Jean about letting him miss a bit of school so he could stay longer. If we take him to a museum or two, he'd be able to make the case that it's an educational visit."
"Sounds like a plan, then," Devon said sleepily, throwing an arm over Kit and Jonathan. Though he'd never been tempted to have a child of his own, he found himself looking forward to meeting Jonathan's son.