I signed another contract with Torquere today! Short story for a magic-themed anthology. It's m/m/f, rather than m/m, which was a fun change and challenge. I haven't a clue when it's coming out, and I don't actually have a title for the story yet (How lame is that?), but it's written and the contract is signed so we're well on our way.
The excerpt isn't officially edited yet, but we can all live with that for now, yes? Good! ;-)
Isaac and his husband Rhys are delighted when Noula Tuomi arrives in town. Noula and Isaac have been close friends and lovers for many years, and when Rhys became a part of Isaac's life, she embraced him and his relationship to her old friend without hesitation. Now, the three share company and comfort whenever she's in town. As with every visit, Isaac hopes that she'll decide stay. But Noula is a Wand'ring Minstrel. Some Minstrels do retire and some do settle down, but will Noula? And will it be this time? Each of the trio privately ponders this question, but even these heavy thoughts can't detract from their enjoyment of one another and the magic that Noula brings.
Putting such heavy thoughts aside, Rhys let himself relax into the music.
He didn't know the song she played, but it hardly mattered. Noula's music was...enchanting. The notes intertwined like a tapestry growing on the loom of a master weaver. Complex, subtle, haunting. Beautiful. He'd listened closely to every Wand'ring Minstrel he had ever come across--here in Yanto, back in Western Zephren, and everywhere in between--and no one he had heard could do what Noula could do. And with such a deceptively simple instrument as a recorder.
Simple. There was nothing simple about what was happening. Colors and light that had nothing to do with the candle lanterns began to swirl slowly around the edges of his vision. Rhys sighed and leaned into his husband, resting his head on Isaac's strong shoulder. Isaac reached an arm around him, kissed him on the top of his head. For that suspended moment, everything was perfect in Rhys' world.
Subtly, the tone of the music changed. Where before it had buoyed him on pillows of flannel stuffed with the softest down, now it grew sleeker and less cozy, and yet no less welcoming. He floated on the melody, rich as silk, spicy as cinnamon, and exotic as the island paradise Noula had spoken of earlier. The music flowed over his skin and into his blood, warming it from within. The heat grew and centered itself quite deliciously in his groin, and he grew hard.
Isaac's arm around him squeezed a little tighter, and Rhys opened eyes he hadn't realized had fallen shut. The colors he had seen in the room had continued behind his eyelids, and now, as he opened them, those swirls and eddies of rainbow light were there with him in the room again, too. He turned his head and looked deep into his husband's jet black eyes, sparkling like obsidian with every flicker of light. He didn't have to look down, or reach out a hand to know that Isaac felt what he felt. Craved what he craved.
Together, they turned and looked at Noula. She played on, but a knowing and eager twinkle was in her eyes.
Wordless and as one, the three of them rose from the table and headed for the ladder to the sleeping loft. Noula played the men up, bringing the tune to a suspended end as they reached the top. Pocketing her recorder, she climbed up after them, humming as she came.