In the middle of his darkest moment, Sebastian finds an unexpected light.
Since his immense gift was first discovered, Sebastian Chevalier has led a life of blissful indulgence—crisscrossing the globe to perform to thousands of adoring fans and garnering international attention for putting a modern face on opera—that is until a vocal cord injury steals Sebastian’s most prized possession.
While he rehabilitates, he turns his focus to composing an opera and hires Jasper Lorde to join as his accompanist to help turn his written music into a living creation. Although Jasper is the polar opposite of everything he is normally attracted to, Sebastian finds himself with an overwhelming desire for the man and as he slowly regains his ability to speak, the two men explore the passion building between them.
Once the opera is complete and Sebastian has been cleared to sing, he books a debut at the prestigious LA Opera House. But this decision releases a Pandora’s box of demons for Jasper that threatens their tentative connection.
Reader advisory: This book includes the impact of PTSD and anxiety and reference to a car crash with multiple fatalities.
General Release Date: 27th April 2021
Word Count: 32,368
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Just standing in front of the imposing oak door soothed the part of my soul that had been scattered, erratic and unsettled. A two-hundred-city tour could easily do that to a person. I missed home. I missed my bed. And damned if I didn’t miss this.
Instead of falling into the comfort my two-thousand-thread-count sheets afforded, I was waiting in the cool, late summer night air for the host to swing open the door and welcome me in…because I needed this.
At any point during the tour, I could have—and probably should have—made a few phone calls and found a similar club in Luxemburg, Paris or New York, but none possessed the familiarity and anonymity Sergio insisted upon for Devour.
In the way that only Sergio could, he—not a designated attendant—opened the door with a flourish and a wicked grin. “Did you miss me, darling?”
I leaned forward and kissed each of his cheeks, as had become our custom over the years. “Terribly, but not quite as much as your dark room.”
His slate-colored eyes glimmered with mischief and knowing all melded into one. “It is your favorite place in Devour.” He stood to the side and held out one arm. “We’ve had a new visitor over the past couple of months while you were gone. He memorized the vocabulary of the dark room with freakish speed. He’s here tonight and I think he may be right up your alley.”
Never in the three years I’d known Sergio and frequented his club had he drawn my attention to anyone in particular, even though he knew I had a very specific type. “What makes you say that?”
He tipped his head to the side, his devious grin melting into a much more serene smile. “You’ll see, cupcake. He’s the only one in the dark room not currently paired up.”
In a familiar routine that soothed some of the aching remnants of my tattered nerves, I handed my leather coat to the clerk, slid the ticket into the pocket of my tight black denim pants and made my way to the room I’d spent the entire flight home from London thinking about.
I’ve lived my life on overload and typically loved every minute of it. Crisscrossing the globe, performing, recording, giving interviews and personal appearances… Every second of it fed my already admittedly healthy ego. It was impossible to not be rather enamored with yourself when men and women from twenty to sixty-five threw themselves at you. About half only salivated over me because of my singing abilities, the others because of my appearance. Either reason was okay with me.
But in the dark room everything stilled, quieted and was at peace. I was wanted for who I was at my core, the most authentic part of me. Hell, no one I’d ever encountered within those four walls had known my name, much less my public identity, and I adored that fact.
Just outside the door I slid on the required half-mask and closed my eyes, giving them a moment to transition from the low lights in the hall to the black lights minimally filling the room. I stepped inside and didn’t open them again until the click of the mechanism closing sounded behind me.
As Sergio had indicated, there were several couples paired up in various positions and stages of play throughout the dimly lit space. A solitary figure stood swirling a drink no more than a dozen paces from me. The black light, which tended to toy with and distort a person’s vision, flashed off the silver mask covering half his face. His body was a little on the lanky side, but the fitted tank top he wore showed off lean muscles on his upper arms and a modest bulge to his chest. He had a thick mop of curly hair that appeared dark in the room, although I was well acquainted with not only the tricks the lights played with appearances but also the lengths to which some people went to keep themselves from being recognized when they came to Devour.
I closed the space between us and reached for his hand. The dark room was about feeling and immersing oneself in the moment, all while keeping the interactions anonymous. Everyone was required to conceal their face, and the ultraviolet bulbs assisted in making the players unrecognizable.
Most important to me, however, was the ‘no talking’ rule. Sergio had set up a system of tracing letters and a few basic symbols on the hand of whomever one wished to partner with for the night as the way to communicate and confirm consent, but no words were ever spoken. And based on his little disclosure, the newbie had caught on quickly and would be able to follow along.
Sub? I moved my index finger just below his knuckles and my heart rate kicked up a notch at his responding nod.
From what I could tell, he was certainly my type physically, but the confirmation that he was submissive was truly what ticked my box. Play? I drew each letter painstakingly slow to be certain he understood what I was asking. I loved embracing my Dominant side and certainly was a fan of a little rough play, but only with both partners fully on board.
He nodded again and I led him to the wall where Sergio had created a handful of signs that would help us outline what we wanted for the night without the long process of spelling it out and possibly creating a misunderstanding. I held out my hand to the papers on the wall, indicating he could choose. I had been too-long deprived and was ready for nearly anything, as long as I could flex the muscles of authority that had lain dormant.
And as much of an arrogant asshole as I was in my daily life, nothing meant more to me than meeting the needs of the submissive under my control, even if only for a night. I needed to know what he wanted from me, what he needed.
The other man pointed at the ‘sadist’ sign and himself simultaneously, then tapped his finger on the points below that said, ‘nipple clamps’, ‘paddle’, ‘flogger’. He then slid over to the list of sexual acts identifying ‘blow job’, ‘bottom’, ‘rimming’.
Once more, for my own peace of mind, I grabbed his hand and traced Play? Sure?
Instead of a response, he grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me in for a kiss. Sparks ricocheted through my entire being from the point where we were connected. I reached beneath his top, which was damn near a second skin on him, and pinched each of his nipples simultaneously as I plundered his mouth with my tongue. He whimpered and the sound shot confidence directly into my spine.
The moans and gasps from the three other couples in the room faded into the background. An unusual charge of energy I couldn’t define passed between us, and within seconds, I was desperate to get the man naked and discover if the fine muscles hinted at beneath his clothes were as enticing when exposed to the minimal light the room offered. It took longer than I wanted to free him from the form-hugging material. Once he had been, I drew in a very necessary lungful of air. The man was gorgeous.
I leaned down and sucked on one nipple for the briefest moment before sinking my teeth into the tender flesh. He swayed a little and I quickly held his back to keep him upright as I moved to repeat my ministrations on the other side.
My aching cock was pressing painfully against the fly of my jeans and desperate for freedom. I disentangled his fingers from where they’d knotted in my hair and wrapped them around his own hard dick before turning him around and pushing him against the wall.
Once I’d shed my own clothes, I rummaged through the tall wardrobe a few feet away and came back with a bottle of lube, a condom, nipple clamps and a flogger. I moved to the man’s side, hooked a finger around his chin and turned him so he faced me. I held up the items and nearly exploded with gratitude at his affirmative nod to accept the various forms of play.
First I affixed the clamps and I traced, OK? on his hand again. My breath was trapped in my lungs for the half a second before he answered. At his affirmative response, I turned him to face the wall again then trailed the tips of the flogger over his shoulder and down his spine. I rotated my wrist a few times before delivering the first strike, followed quickly by two more. Even in the low light, he visibly stiffened beneath the three blows.
OK? I drew once more. This time he shook his head, grabbed my still-extended finger, and wrote More on my palm. The plea sent a jolt of unnecessary extra desire straight to my dick, and I happily obliged, landing another four hits to his backside, which was now brightly reddened, visible even under the ultraviolet rays.
Normally my willpower was damn near infinite, but everything about the brief interaction with the man was unusual. Sooner than I’d have preferred, I was sheathing my cock with the latex barrier and lathering it, as well as his ass, with an excessive amount of slippery lubricant.
Once more I broke many of my own rules when I spun the man around and pressed his back and hands to the wall, lifting him against the wooden surface, hiking his thighs over my hips and sliding inside him easily. Perfectly. Our dual moans mixed and mingled to create a beautiful harmony.
I was never so thankful for the dogged insistence of my personal trainer to make me lift and work-out hardcore, even while on tour, as I was when I was easily holding him with one arm and removing one clamp with my free hand, quickly replacing the metal with my lips. I repeated the action on the other side, licking and sucking the tiny pebble until he gave me the whimpering response I wanted…needed.
I pulled back and crashed my mouth into his, gripping each of his ass cheeks firmly, the knowledge that I’d leave him with reminders of me much more thrilling than it should be.
Two more strokes inside and a shudder ran through his entire body as liquid lava erupted between us. The proof he’d met his release gave me permission to launch myself from the precipice I’d been dangling from into the warm, welcome abyss of ecstasy that beckoned me.
He leaned forward and planted soft kisses on my shoulder. New threads of pleasure wove around every cell in my body because of him, every part of him—his hands, his lips, his hot breath on my skin.
Damn, what I wouldn’t give to know his name.
I didn’t read the first two books in this series, but definitely didn’t feel like I missed anything. You can definitely read this as a stand alone book.
The prologue of this book has these two men meeting at an exclusive club, connecting, and then because there was no talking and no reconnecting as the rules, they were not to see each other again. Until they meet up months later when Sebastian hires Jasper to assist him in completing his opera while he is recovering from a vocal cord injury.
Usually with a novella, you have a protracted view of the lives and interactions of the MC’s. It is just the nature of a shorter book. That being said, there were several times in the book where I felt like I needed more, where a scene ended and I was left wondering why it ended there. However, overall their story was well written, and we got a good look at the issues that come with not being able to speak for weeks, yet still falling in love.
Sebastian’s sister was a fantastic secondary character, as well as his dog who grew to love Jasper almost as much as Sebastian.
If you are looking for a novella that has a little different spin on it, this is definitely one to check out.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
Coffee, chocolate, and books make up Lily’s world, often all three at the same time. Whether reading or writing she is a sucker for an over-the-top happily ever after… only following an appropriate amount of pain, of course.
When she is not writing or reading (which is not very often) she enjoys exercising her right brain in non authorly ways such as creating mosaics, crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, and taking one man’s trash to create something new. But never, ever ask her to draw something. That is a beast best left alone.
You can find Lily on her website here and follow her on Pinterest.
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