Author: Lou Sylvre
Cover Art: Bryan Keller
Genres: Action Adventure, BDSM, Guilty Pleasures (Contemporary), New Releases, Romance, Suspense
Themes: Gay, Murder Mystery
Series: Vasquez Inc. (#2)
Multiverse: Vasquez Security (#2)
Book Length: Novella
Page Count: 131
Price: $4.99 $4.24
Jackie Vasquez knows he needs to submit to a Dom he can trust—just as much as he needs to manage his own life. He found the right Dom in Brian Harrison, and then romance beckoned them both beyond bindings and safewords. They take the first steps toward a life together in London, where Brian is pursuing his dream career at Scotland Yard, and Jackie is working toward a master’s degree. Their private hours deep in the night brim with both heat and beauty as Brian’s artful vision for bondage makes a masterwork out of Jackie, body and soul.
But time together becomes scarce as a series of horrific gaslight crimes keeps Brian at work and out of reach for Jackie much of the time. Though Jackie is faithful, he isn’t the type to sit and wait for his lover’s attentions. His self-assured ways and his geocaching hobby lead him to a dangerous discovery—all is not as it seems at the University. Trapped in the Gaslighter’s web, he’ll need to use every trick he knows to stay calm and buy time. But will Brian unravel the knot of mystery in time to save the man he loves?
Copyright ©2019 Lou Sylvre
When they’d crawled into bed the night before, Brian had confessed his… something for Jackie, cuddled him close, and said, “sleep.” Jackie had every intention to do so, but he couldn’t — not until he let Brian know he’d heard the word he’d carefully left unspoken — and told Brian the love was mutual.
When he woke up before the sun got anywhere near the eastern horizon, his thoughts were hazy but mostly about sex and being pleasantly dominated. But love still made itself heard, hanging in the background. He realized Brian was already up, the room smelled of coffee, and his laptop screen was on and overly bright. Brian stumbled around as if he was still half asleep, but he clearly moved with purpose.
Jackie spent a few minutes tossing and turning, trying to just go back to sleep and not think too hard about what Brian was doing. Overthinking never worked out well — especially if he had to miss out on a really cozy sleep to do it. He’d just turned his sleepy attention to the fullness of his cock when he sensed Brian near and reached his hand out from under the covers to make contact.
Brian seemed a little less sure of himself as he explained what he was doing out of bed so early — work stuff — but in Jackie’s eyes the touch of hesitancy only made his Dom hotter and sweeter. His cock called a little louder for notice, and Jackie automatically started to stroke — what else would one do with morning wood if he didn’t want to get out of bed?
But then Brian….
He didn’t do much, and it didn’t take long, but that orgasm would be one Jackie would remember for a very long time. Damn. But the offer of coffee wasn’t as sweet as the thought of well-satisfied sleep. He soaked up the comfort of residual body heat, Brian’s lingering scent, and the idea that he didn’t have to get up for anything. He drifted off and slept for a time. But then he started thinking.
Brian didn’t say he loved me. I assumed that was what he meant… what if I… The thought had at least a dozen conclusions that led down as many fruitless and disturbing garden paths. What if he didn’t mean that? What if I shouldn’t have said it out loud yet? What if I scare him away? Such thinking doesn’t go well with sleep, or even with lying in bed, so finally Jackie slid out from under the covers. Trying not to disturb Brian, who seemed intent on his work. Jackie picked up his phone and scrolled through his notifications, looking for something to occupy his time. He wanted to take his mind off what Brian had and hadn’t said — and especially what he’d said to Brian that maybe should have been left alone.
He responded with a smiley to a Facebook post about Star City Pride, and a heart on an Instagram image of his former roommate’s dog looking cuter than should be allowed while sleeping with his tongue hanging out, all its paws in the air. It wasn’t much for keeping his attention, though, so he stepped over to the window to peek through the blinds at Denver spread out below.
Brian, of course, noticed him up and moving around. The hotel room was spacious, but not big enough for any real sneaking. Jackie caught his distracted smile and returned it as he went into the bathroom for a quick shower to wash away sex, sweat, and sleep. When he came out, wrapped in a towel, Brian smiled again, this time one of the big, easy smiles that always made Jackie tingle with happiness.
“Hey there, love. You look just like you did that day at Luki’s, all wet hair and bare chest and gorgeous. Did you get enough sleep? I hope my key-tapping didn’t wake you before you were ready.”
Jackie chuckled. “If anything I slept too much, but it was sweet.”
They kissed in a way that was casual but bordered on hot nonetheless, and then spent a few seconds looking into each other’s eyes. Jackie could never get enough of the changeable green mystery of Brian’s gaze, but after a moment he took in a deep, preparatory breath. Conversation was necessary.
“How long will you need for your work?”
“I’d say, probably, another hour or so. Depends on what I find — how many times one click leads to another, so to speak. You gonna be bored?”
“I’m thinking I’ll go for a walk. Get a cup of coffee maybe, and some morning sun.”
Jackie had at first intended to wait and ask Brian to go walking with him, but once he realized also that Brian wouldn’t be available for a while, he decided to go alone. He had an urge to get out and see some of the nearby parts of the city while the day was still fresh.
But after coffee and a stroll around looking at shop windows, he found himself bored with the expedition. Only minutes had passed, though, and it was truly a glorious morning. Not yet recovered from a long school year of lecture halls and libraries, he didn’t want to go back inside. Just then, he got notifications from the Geocaching app on his phone, telling him he was close to a number of caches. Some of them seemed complicated and time consuming — though they undoubtedly would be fun, but he saw a couple easy caches nearby. Those wouldn’t take long — Brian wouldn’t even miss him.
He felt a twinge of guilt — he’d told both Luki and Brian he wouldn’t go geocaching alone. But Jackie was as good at self-justification as anyone, and he convinced himself it would be fine as long as he was careful and sensible, and didn’t go far.
He used his common sense on the hunt, found the caches fast, and logged his find.
But by the time he finished, the sun was high and hot, and the light had phased into a lazy mid-morning yellow. It made him feel like kicking back and letting the world go by, but he started back to the hotel anyway, thinking Brian might be done soon. He’ll be missing me.
And then, as he ambled lazily back to the hotel, he spotted a half-hidden park where benches sat in dappled shade facing a pond with ducks and even swans gliding around on its sparkled surface. Almost on autopilot, he strolled in and sat down on a bench, wanting to absorb the peace of this green gem tucked away in the city… and promptly fell asleep.
It would have still been okay, if only he’d remembered to take his phone off silent after the club the night before, but he didn’t. Instead, he was only surprised awake by Brian, who was less than pleased.
After Brian found him, when they had walked back to the hotel and into their room, if he’d just stayed calm and let Brian get over his anger — which, Jackie the psych major knew, was more than likely the backwash of fear — it could have still ended all right. But truth be told, Jackie felt just as much out of his comfort zone in this relationship thing as Brian. He was uncertain where he stood, unsure whether Brian’s confession the night before really meant love. And if it was, what did that mean for the future? Before he’d fallen asleep on the bench, he’d forced it from his mind with activity, but in the background an odd mix of feelings sloshed around, with his insecure thoughts. My God this is glorious — he wants me, had become twisted up with, I’m reading too much into his words, and why did I have to go and say it? And after Brian found him at the park and made his anger obvious, he was sure he’d said too much too soon.
Generally, Jackie was as stable and well adjusted as any young man with a history like his could be, but he wasn’t undamaged. Because he was aware of that, he usually gave himself plenty of time to adjust to changes, to work through apprehension or anxiety. The situation he found himself in with Brian was just the kind that was hardest for him, and even during his walk in the Denver sunshine, anxiety was slowly building.
The stress tired him out more than he realized, and that park — the green and the swans and the quiet water — soothed him. Unfortunately, two hours sleeping on a park bench in summer sun left him still tired, a little disoriented, and hungry as well. His head throbbed like a damn tympani. The anxiety was still there, too, and when Brian woke him he’d first been jolted with panic — a tiny attack compared to those he used to suffer, easily quenched, but unpleasant as hell regardless.
And then Brian revealed his temper, previously unknown to Jackie. It was okay — it was well-controlled and didn’t scare him, but it didn’t feel good. Submission might have calmed his panic, but Jackie would never, never, submit to an angry Dom — even one he trusted. He had too much history for that.
Brian had clearly been afraid for Jackie, but it only took a moment for fear to be laid to rest, and pissed-off immediately took its place.
“You’re okay, right?” Brian had asked while helping Jackie up from the bench, holding him steady, and dusting him off.
Jackie didn’t think the dusting off was really necessary, and he frowned as, instead of answering, he started a question of his own: “What time — ”
“Why the hell did you ignore all my phone calls?”
Jackie pulled his phone out, saw the notifications, and realized he’d had his phone silent, vibration off, since they’d attended the demonstration. “Yes,” Jackie said, getting annoyed himself. “I am okay. And sorry, I didn’t realize my phone was silent.”
Brian said nothing for a moment, holding out a bottle of water he was carrying, starting to walk away before Jackie had a chance to return it or say thank you. After they’d walked a couple of blocks, he said, “I don’t suppose you’ve been out here geocaching.”
His tone was sarcastic, and when Jackie started to answer — truthfully — he interrupted.
“Alone. Which you said you wouldn’t do…”