Kit Lewis and John Hogarth are two thirds of one of the best Public Relations outfits in the business. Kit has loved John for years now, but John’s wary and skittish. He’s seen far too many of Kit’s loves fall by the wayside, wings burned, to risk it.
One day, though, Kit’s sober when he makes the offer and John is particularly open-minded to the possibility of accepting Kit’s heart and hand. The rest is history.
This collection of six light-hearted short stories charts their relationship from the London Olympics to the celebration of every public holiday known to humankind.
The room is dimly lit, its fashionably grey and mint striped walls softened by flickering shadows and mellow light. The candlelight is perfect. The meal is perfect. The wine is perfect.
And John is perfect.
John sips his wine, and Kit stares, fascinated, at the play of light on his face. John, damn him, has the sort of bone structure that never needs enhancement, and something inside Kit grows warm and surges up into his throat as he falls in love all over again, seduced by the way that the candlelight casts shadows in the little hollows under John’s cheekbones and under his jaw. Kit likes to lick and kiss the spot under John’s jaw. He really likes to do that. John seems to like it too.
John puts down the glass. The wine glows a clear red in the candlelight, like a jewel trapped in crystal.
The warmth inside Kit grows until he wonders if he’s glowing too, a light to rival the candles. He has to take a minute to allow his breathing to even out before he can put the candelabrum to one side of the small table, careful of the little flames and the soft, hot wax. John’s smiling at him when he leans forward and he gives in to the urge to kiss that little shadowed spot. John makes a soft Ahhhh sound, tilts his head back and lets Kit do his worst.
Or maybe it’s his best.
Kit’s mouth trails along the line of John’s jaw, making it into a line of little kisses. His lips touch every millimetre of skin, not letting one tiny morsel of it escape. When he reaches John’s mouth, it’s with the slow, delicious slide of John’s lips against his; John’s hot, wet tongue flickering out to lick him; John’s teeth nipping, gently, at his lower lip.
Kit’s almost sorry to pull away and sit back far enough to study John’s face, cupping John’s jaw in his hands. He’s awed. He’s pretty sure that’s the right word. Awed. What he feels is more than just pleased, more than just pleasure; it has something transcendental about it, something touched with might and power and a tiny smidgeon of terror. After all these months together, he’s still awed that he’s allowed to do this; to touch, kiss, hold, to look into familiar brown eyes, a deeper, darker brown than usual in the shadowed candlelight, and see himself reflected there.
He licks his lips, suddenly nervous, because the look in those eyes almost stops his breath. He feels the muscles move against his palms as a smile rounds John’s cheeks, John’s mouth curving up under his touch. John’s hands are on him, clamped on his upper arms, and they’re leaning in towards each other and this table is so tiny, that they’re in the same space, close and together. John is limned in golden candlelight and so beautiful that Kit’s breath hitches in his throat like a sob that he can’t hold back.
And the warm thing inside him swells and grows until it feels like he has a sun trapped beneath his ribs, bursting to get out and fill the world with gold. Because John leans in and kisses him and laughs, the choke of laughter that comes from deep in his chest, and Kit can feel every little tremor of it vibrating through his bones.
|Anna Butler at Amazon|