The Pirate's Game [The Etsey Series 3]
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by Heidi Cullinan
Category: Gay Fiction/Fantasy
Description: Genre: LGBT Fantasy
Series: The Etsey Series; Previous Book: Temple Boy
As the love slave of the captain of the pirate ship The Merry Sue, Charles Perry, professional mess and reluctant god, is at last reunited with his lover Timothy--partly, at least. Somehow Timothy has become implanted in Captain James Gibbs's mind, and for the right sexual favors, the pirate will grant Charles's lover a few moments at the helm.
Three square meals a day, endless pirate fantasies played out in real time, and more Timothy than he's seen in months. How can Charles complain?
Of course, trouble always manages to find its way home to Charles. The Pretender is still trying to kill him. His cousin is in a funk and shocks everyone with the reason why. But the most worrisome part is that Charles has realized he'd trade all his god powers and most of the world he made to have Timothy back with him for real--and he's finally figured out how to do just that.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: May 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [306 KB]
Reading time: 197-276 min.
Sometimes, deep in the dark stillness of the night, Charles Perry woke to the sound of the stars calling out his name.
He'd presumed the voices came from the night watch pirates singing their prayers to the waters for safe passage, but on the third evening of waking to the ethereal sounds, he'd realized the whisper came over the top of the songs. That night he'd climbed to his knees, pushed the latticed windows of the captain's cabin wide, and stared up into the night sky.
The night sky had stared back and whispered, "Charles."
Stars, it turned out, had mournful, jagged voices, like notes of song tangled painfully in a web. For several minutes they would whisper their sorrowful plea, the sound mixing with the resonant harmony of the pirates' tributes, and then they would stop. What caused them to sing, Charles didn't know. He didn't know if they knew he listened, and he didn't know what they wanted. He only knew that every time they called out to him, they broke his heart.
What good was it being a god if you couldn't understand the prayers, let alone know how to help?
The mattress he knelt on shifted, then dipped near his right knee before a warm, heavy hand slid up Charles's leg. Gripping the sill, Charles leaned into the frame and closed his eyes on a shuddering exhale of breath. The massage on his leg continued as a sleep-rough voice asked, "Stars again?"
Charles nodded, eyes still shut. "Be glad you can't hear them."
The bed shifted more roughly as his bed partner swore in pirate cant and tried to untangle himself from the bedclothes. Charles bit his cheeks, knowing what was coming next. This was when the pirate would tell him it would be all right, would tell him not to listen, would try to distract him. Which was noble enough, but Charles wished James would leave him to suffer this alone.
However, when the pirate finally spoke, it wasn't James who comforted him.
Charles's breath caught in his throat. The energy of the man beside him had altered, a subtle signal few could read, but one Charles now knew intimately. His body began to tremble.
This wasn't Gibbs. It was Timothy. Which would have been a fine change, being comforted by his lover instead of his captor, if these were normal circumstances.
But Charles would be damned if he could find anything normal about being enslaved for his own protection by a pirate who happened to have Charles's dead lover haunting his soul.
Charles shut his eyes. "Don't."
The hands on his body tightened, and Charles could feel the energy shift more powerfully than ever. "You would have me leave, beloved?"
Charles would never grow used to this, hearing James Gibbs's voice speaking Timothy Fielding's words. "No, I don't want you to go. But this is more difficult than you realize, having you inside another's mind, another's body."
Hands moved over the planes of Charles's back, but they moved differently now: Timothy's smooth, practiced touch rather than James's boldly seductive strokes. "Do you still doubt it is I who touches you?" A soft kiss fell on his collarbone. "Or have you decided you prefer our pirate?"
The latter was spoken in jest, but Charles was not in the mood for humor. "You know better than to think anyone else compares to what you are to me." He jerked in almost physical pain as the stars' calls began to swell. "But enduring this is bad enough without aching for you on top of it."
"Aching for me? Quiera, I am here beside you."
Charles laughed bitterly. "You are not."
Timothy made a pfft sound, which sounded ridiculous through James Gibbs's lips. "I thought you liked this body. Certainly you seemed to a few hours ago."
It was true, and Charles's backside still ached delightfully in remembrance. "Being fucked against the wall by James Gibbs is not the same as being with you. Even if you did nudge him to tuck my leg at that angle."
"You noticed!" Timothy sounded delighted.
"Of course I noticed. When it's him alone at that point of fucking, he's little more than a battering ram. Delightful as that can be, I know the finesse is from you." The calls swelled louder, and Charles collapsed against the pirate's body. "Why? Why do the stars call out to me? What do they want me to do?"
Timothy kissed the top of Charles's head and tucked Charles's face beneath James's chin. Charles wished he were smelling the exotic scent of Catalian concubine instead of salt-and-sweat-soaked pirate. Not that pirate was bad. But that was what upset him, knowing this was Timothy and yet wasn't, not at all.
Timothy stroked Charles's hair as he spoke. "Darkness has the stars. That is why they are afraid."
Darkness. That would be Bassam. The Pretender. Our renegade son. Charles wished he could sink into the mattress and drown. "So he is back."
"Darling, he never left. But he is gathering his forces for a war now, so yes, he'll make his presence known to you more and more."
War. Again. Charles rubbed his head, which was starting to ache. Hadn't they just done this?
Timothy stroked his shoulder. "He wants to take you, and this is his bait. This is why you are enslaved to the pirate, because that bond means Bassam cannot take you, no matter how he tries. Not without killing your master first."
"It's a bloody piece of paper," Charles snapped.
"It is much more than that," Timothy insisted.
Charles sighed. "I don't know why any of this is happening. I don't have forces. And I know as much about war as I do philosophy. Which is to say that I don't know war at all. What does he want with me?"
"I know both. As does Jonathan. Even Gibbs is a fair hand in a conflict, and better still, he knows how to play dirty." Timothy kissed his temple. "We have beaten the Pretender before. We will beat him again, and this time we will see to it he is finished for good."
"I'm tired of games. I just want peace. I want you in your own body again. I don't want us to be gods. I just want to live like a normal man and love you."
"We will have it, quiera. I promise you."
Charles wanted to believe him.
The stars called out one final, discordant note, and the night was quiet again. Above deck the pirates finished their song as well, calling out orders as they rotated their shift. Within minutes they would begin another tune to keep their rhythm and while away the dark hours.
Charles felt the pirate's body still, sway, and shift. "Oi." James cleared his throat, shook his head in a gesture not unlike a wet dog trying to dry himself, and blinked several times before reaching with his free hand to nudge at something inside his ear with his index finger. "I take it your friend has gone borrowing my body again." He didn't wait for confirmation, but he did squint for a moment at the stars. "They finished yet?"
Charles nodded. He tried not to let the pang of Timothy's departure upset him, but it always did. There was never any warning of when he'd come or when he'd leave. Sometimes he didn't materialize fully at all, just passed on messages through James. Even for Charles, who was something of a master of odd relationships, this one frequently tried him.
James reached up to ruffle his hair. "He didn't say good-bye again, I take it."
Charles grimaced and wiped at his eyes. "He contends he never leaves."
"Which is a bit unfair, t'my thinking, as I always feel I'been for a nap when he lets me back in." He slid his hand down Charles's back and slapped him hard on his rump, chuckling when Charles jerked and hissed in pain. "Used you a bit rough, did I?"
Yes, and the memory made Charles smile. "I liked it." His smile quickly faded, however, under the weight of the stars' pleas still echoing in his ears. He shut his eyes, but that was no escape. He tried to laugh, but it came out sad and broken. "Do you know, I bore so much from the wraiths and at the alchemist's hands, and yet I never wept. I screamed, I begged, and I sobbed in pain, but I never curled up in the corner and cried like an infant. And yet even when the stars don't torture me, it's all I want to do."
"There's too much in your head." James's touch was tender, but his kiss on Charles's temple was for a child. "Mortal men weren't made to bear such as you do."
"But I'm not a mortal man. That's just the problem."
"You are." The pirate's fingers wedged insistently in the crease of Charles's backside to rub against his tender entrance. "You're just a man. A human male with a bit too much magic in his veins, with a bossy god distracting you from living your life."
This time Charles knew if he tried to laugh it would be nothing but tears. "I only wish that were true."
"It is true. Get on your knees and let me show you. I'll fuck the god right out of you for as long as you can take it." When Charles started to protest, James grunted mild displeasure and bent his head to nip at Charles's nape. "Now."
Weary, Charles moved to the center of the narrow bed, leaning forward onto his stomach but keeping his knees wide apart. When James slapped his thigh, Charles dutifully lifted his hips for the bolster to slide beneath. The pirate took hold of Charles's cock as he put the pillow in place, and Charles's tension began to seep from his body as he gave it over to James.
"There we are. Getting hard for me already." The pirate squeezed once more, then let go to slap Charles's upturned cheeks. "Wider. Knees wider, boy, and arse higher. Show me how much you want it."
Charles was already spread so far he was straining, but there was something about the pirate's rough commands that always inspired him to go a little bit more. He felt his pucker gape for the pirate's viewing, and he hardened to the point of pain at the approving sounds the sight inspired.
"Such a pretty one you are." James's hands slid fondly over the globes of Charles's upturned ass. "Whatever shall I do with such fine, fine flesh?"
Even with the disharmony of the stars' call echoing inside him, even though he had just said he didn't want to play, Charles slid easily into the game. "Whatever you wish."
He jerked, but not much, when James bit the tender flesh of his backside. "I thought you were a god. Thought you made the heavens and the earth and everything that walked on it."
Not the heavens, no, but this wasn't the moment for such a correction. "Yes."
Another bite, and this time Charles didn't flinch. "Thought you were magic, so full of the stuff you can pull time out of thin air, maul it, and turn it into a man."
And hadn't that been the disaster to top all disasters. "Yes."
The last bite nipped so close to Charles's vulnerable opening that it flexed. "And what are you now, love? What are you doing here in my bed?"
So many times. So many times they'd played this game, more and more now as the nights brought him so much torment, but every time this last reply filled Charles with sweet, sweet relief. "Whatever you wish, Master," he whispered, "for I am your slave."
But this time James changed the game. "No," he demanded roughly. "You're my man." He slapped Charles's backside hard. "Say it."
"I'm your man," Charles repeated.
Another slap, harder this time. "Again."
"I'm your man."
Again and again James beat him, demanding that same reply, and Charles bore his blows and repeated the phrase until he felt lost. Nothing was left in his mind but the presence of sweet, oblivious pain. When the pirate finally stopped, Charles's heart was in his throat.
"Please. Please--don't--" His breath caught and he moaned as slick fingers pressed against his heated opening.
"I'm not stopping, my darling little slut. I won' stop until y' feel the tip of m' cock comin' out o' your mouth." Two slicked fingers shoved roughly inside of Charles, and he cried out at the pleasure-pain they gave him. James's delicious descent into rough cant didn't hurt his enjoyment either. "That's right, love. I'm goin' t' split ye so hard they'll hear y' cry in the nest." He pulled his fingers out and thrust home--hard--with his hot, slicked cock.
When he was buried deep and long inside of Charles's ass, he leaned forward and licked his shoulder blade as Charles panted against the pain.
"I'm goin't'fuck you until the only stars y'see are the ones I put inside o'yer head." Then he kissed Charles's neck and added tenderly, "And not one of them will make you sad."
Charles sobbed then, a quick, broken release. Reaching back, he held the pirate's head in place so he could kiss it. "Thank you."