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Sindustry--Making a Buck the Hard Way, vol 1. A Dreamspinner Press Anthology [MultiFormat]
eBook by Rhianne Aile & Madeleine Urban & S. Blaise

eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Erotic Romance
eBook Description: Rentboys, strippers, hookers, and porn stars--these men are making a buck the hard way. This is Sindustry, where a quick fuck is more likely than a romantic kiss. But while they face the harsh light of reality every day, unexpected love finds them in all sorts of crazy ways. Take a look at Sindustry from the outside in, because for these guys, happily ever after is just around the corner. Reluctant by Rhianne Aile & Madeleine Urban Coming off twenty-five years of marriage, Gregory Callahan doesn't want to live the rest of his life without exploring the longings he's never dared to admit. At a friend's urging, he engages the discreet and exclusive services of Rossi Inc., only to find Rico Rossi is nothing he expected and everything he's dreamed of. Stripped Bare by S. Blaise Intrigued when a man calls to hire him for a bachelorette party, stripper Luca Briggs finds himself attracted to the sexy voice on the other end of the line. He wants to meet the caller, but Ethan is strangely reluctant, making Luca long to prove he is more than just a pretty face. Boomerang by Rachelle Cochran Chance is content with his life in Minneapolis, where he works as a waiter--and sometimes more--at a gay club. But things change the night Evan walks in. Chance and Evan grew up together in a small rural town, and Chance had always longed for them to be more than friends. Surprised when Evan invites him back to his hotel to catch up, Chance is stunned to find he's not the only one who's harbored a long-term crush. Fun and Games by Lenore Black Video game developer Patrick Sturtz has a huge deadline and no time to celebrate his 25th birthday. So his friends come up with the perfect surprise: Jack Whitaker, a beautiful, messy-haired, strangely endearing man of the evening. Jack sweeps Patrick away from his computer and into bed for a very private birthday bash. But the real surprise is that Jack keeps showing up--night after night--claiming it's all part of his present. How Could I Not by Jamie Freeman Employment opportunities for inexperienced MBAs in New York City are limited, but there's always a market for an attractive young Indian man who's willing to earn his pay in the bedroom. But Ben's having trouble maintaining his professional detachment with Joshua, a gorgeous and wealthy older man who requests that Ben fuck him while he watches a DVD of another man--a man who looks a lot like Ben. The Frost Affair by Sasha Skye Grayson Lennox wasn't looking for love when he accepted Senator Alexander Frost's proposal to become his contract lover, but after five years as the senator's personal rent boy, he's fallen in love with his benefactor. Grayson fears if he surrenders to his feelings he will lose Alexander forever--or can a gigolo dare to dream that a respected senator could love him back? The Stripper and the Hairdresser by Bethany Brown Jasper is a hairdresser with a small problem: his chronic blushing proves embarrassing when his coworkers drag him to a strip club, where he's captivated by one of the dancers. Scott is no stranger to people staring at him, but he just can't get the blushing man out of his mind. When he asks Jasper out, Scott hopes he will see beyond the stripper and like the man underneath. A Muse by Zahra Owens You call me a pervert, I call myself an artist. I'm a photographer, but I tend to stray off the safe path into the unknown. And for the right amount of money, you're more than willing to follow me there. Fin de Siecle by S. Reesa Herberth Paris at the close of the 19th century is a city ripe with opportunity, full of men trying to make a name with their talent. While Gabriel has put aside his dreams of a career in art, he's content with his practical, pleasure-driven life as a highly paid prostitute. He certainly never intends to act on his fascination with Jean, the young artist he meets on the banks of the Seine, even when he reluctantly agrees to model. For the right price, Jean can have Gabriel's body, but will his desire for more drive them apart forever? Chat Line by Clare London Bored, lonely and looking for a change, Jerry calls up the "Helping Hands" agency. But he gets rather more than he bargained for--and all of it in Sean's warm, uninhibited and seductive voice. As Beauty Does by J.L. Merrow Turning tricks just about pays enough for Nathan to share a flat while he pursues his A levels and a more promising career. But when his private life and his professional life overlap in the person of a teacher who's also a client, Nathan just about manages to cope--until disaster strikes and there's no keeping them separate any longer. The Four Seasons by Diana Copland When struggling law student Michael Connelly meets Christian St. Clare in the upscale Four Seasons bar, he's captivated by his looks and sophistication. He strikes up a conversation, only to discover Christian is a professional escort, waiting for a client. Charmed by the earnest and idealistic Michael, Christian offers his card, telling him to call "when he makes partner." Michael is quite sure he'll never see the handsome man again... until five years later, when fate throws them together for a single night... and four years after that, at a meeting that changes everything for them forever.

eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/d, Published: 2009, 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2009

57 Reader Ratings:
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Rhianne Aile & Madeline Urban
* * * *

Tapping the card nervously on his desk, Gregory Callahan gritted his teeth and looked at the simple black lettering on the cream-colored stock.

Rossi Incorporated

That was it. But his longtime doctor and even longer-time friend Bernard had handed it to him two days ago, encouraging him to call.

"You owe it to yourself, Gregory," Bernard had said. "You've just finished twenty-five years of marriage, strangely enough amicably. And you know I know why. You should look into this and see what you can do about the next twenty-five years." And then he'd handed him the card. "It's a very trustworthy, very discreet company. Trust me."

And now here he sat, staring at his phone, trying to work up the nerve.

Bernard's last words still rang in his ears. "Don't be too cowardly to try. You shouldn't have to be alone the rest of your life. At least this would answer the major question."

Gregory laid his head back against the chair, sat still for a long moment; then he picked up the phone and dialed.

"Rossi Incorporated," a smooth feminine voice answered. "How may I help you?"

Pausing long enough to swallow hard, Gregory was embarrassed to hear his voice shaking. "Ah. Bernard Walsh recommended I call."

"Certainly, sir. Shall I set you up for an appointment?"

"Yes, thank you," he answered quietly, eyes squeezed shut.

"We happen to have a cancellation for Friday night. Would that be too soon?" the receptionist asked, her fingers clicking on a keyboard in the background.

"Friday night?" Gregory could hear his heart pounding in his ears. "That's acceptable," he managed to answer.

"Wonderful! I'll need your name and e-mail address. Mr. Rossi will e-mail you with all the specifics of where and when to meet him. You can make any special requests at that time. All communications between Mr. Rossi and our clients are privy to no one but him. We adhere to the highest levels of privacy and security." He could hear more clicks as she entered the information he provided into her computer. "Thank you for calling, Mr. Callahan. I'm certain you will have a wonderful experience. Goodbye."

Just like that, it was over. Gregory dropped the phone and leaned back, still a bit stunned. E-mail. Specifics. "Special requests." God--what had he gotten himself into?

To: gregory.c.callahan@gmail.com

From: rico@rossi-inc.com

RE: Friday Night

Dear Gregory,

I'm very excited about our upcoming evening. I want the experience to be everything you desire it to be. Please e-mail me back with any particular fantasies or desires you wish to have fulfilled. Our standard at Rossi Incorporated is to protect our clients at all costs, so unless you request it, there will be no public appearances.

Looking forward to meeting you.


To: rico@rossi-inc.com

From: gregory.c.callahan@gmail.com

RE: RE: Friday Night


I must admit I really have no idea where to start, and that perhaps this isn't the best of ideas. However, should you still be willing, would dinner at my home be acceptable?


Gregory Callahan

To: gregory.c.callahan@gmail.com

From: rico@rossi-inc.com

RE: RE: RE: Friday Night

Dear Gregory,

I'd love to have dinner at your home. Should I dress formally or casually?


To: rico@rossi-inc.com

From: gregory.c.callahan@gmail.com

RE: RE: RE: RE: Friday Night

Casual is quite all right. I don't tend to stand on ceremony. 8 p.m."


To: gregory.c.callahan@gmail.com

From: rico@rossi-inc.com

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Friday Night

Dear Gregory,

I'll be looking forward to it all day.


* * * *

Seven forty-five saw Gregory pacing in the kitchen, wondering for the umpteenth time what the hell he was doing. He'd invited a complete stranger from some sort of agency who expected to offer some sort of services.... He stopped in place, bracing both hands on the counter, and just tried to breathe for a moment. "Nothing has to happen," Gregory said aloud, trying to reassure himself. "Nothing at all."

He sighed when the nerves didn't settle, so he grabbed up the list from the cutting board. He had earlier in the day kicked himself for not asking about food preferences, but he certainly wasn't going to e-mail back and ask. So he'd gone with a simple salad of fresh greens from his garden, chicken Oscar with asparagus--also from the garden--on the side, a fruit salad, and fresh bread from the bakery. Gregory reflected that twenty-five years of marriage had at least taught him how to cook.

He glanced to a photo of his family on the refrigerator: he and Sabrina and their daughters, Erica and Felicia, all smiling while standing in front of Stonehenge. It had been a great vacation to England, Gregory remembered, the trip only marred by his and Sabrina's mutual decision to end their marriage before they started to resent each other.

With the girls off at college and Sabrina moved to Boston where she had a new teaching position, Gregory was left with the house in the Hamptons that was really far too large for one man. It had been roomy for a family of four. He was caught up in these thoughts when the oven timer beeped, and he glanced hurriedly at the clock.

Seven fifty-seven.

* * * *

Rico pulled his Mercedes into the drive, followed the curve around to the back of the house, and parked in front of the garage door. It was his habit to keep his car off the street and out of sight. The client had invited him to his home, so presumably he wasn't married. That was unusual. Most of Rossi Inc.'s clients were married and at least purported to be straight. Rico Rossi, owner and CEO of Rossi Inc., believed that "straight," like "hetero--" or "homosexual," was a relative term. For most men it was just easier to conform to societal norms. Only the men and women on the extreme homosexual end of the continuum had enough motivation to break free of public expectations. Rossi Inc. served all the men in the middle. Men who had an interest or a fantasy but often a wife and a family as well. The discreet services of Rossi Inc. kept everyone happy.

Rico glanced at the paperwork on the seat beside him. Gregory had been referred by Dr. Bernard Walsh, a very reliable repeat customer. Rico left the file on the seat as he climbed out of the car. Anything else he needed to know, he'd find out for himself. Clicking the button to lock the doors and set the alarm, he walked through the well-tended garden to the front of the house, choosing the ornate brass knocker over the bell.

* * * *

Even back in the kitchen, Gregory could hear the knocker. The clock said eight p.m. Prompt, he thought. Wiping his hands on a towel, he walked out through the hall to the front door and purposefully did not look through the peephole. He opened the heavy door, letting it swing back on the hinges. He had to blink; the man on his doorstep was handsome. Very handsome. He stood average height, and his body was trim. He was well tanned, a by-product, Gregory was sure, of the obvious Italian heritage, not a tanning bed. The neat dark brown curls and nearly black eyes were a giveaway even if Gregory didn't know his name. Yes. Very handsome. And smiling at him.

"Gregory," Rico said, extending his hand. "I'm Rico. Thanks for inviting me to dinner."

Shaking the hand automatically, Gregory could already see this man knew his business. He took charge, not too much, but enough to get things going. "Welcome to my home," he said quietly.

"It's beautiful. I love the Hamptons. There is something about the smell of salt on the air, reminds me of summer. So who's the gardener?" he asked, walking into the living room and waiting for a cue from Gregory about where he should settle.

"I am, actually. Stress relief," Gregory said as he shut the door. Some of his nerves subsided when faced with the other man's immediate friendliness, but Gregory rubbed the front of his shirt self-consciously. He felt rather plain. "I've got some wine in the kitchen. We could walk out in the gardens while dinner finishes, if you like."

"I'd love that. I find growing things so peaceful, but I just don't have the touch. I'm much better with animals than plants. Give me a horse, and I can make it do anything."

Gregory actually smiled as he led the way into the kitchen. "I've been riding, but wasn't too enamored of it. My girls enjoyed it, though," he said as he pulled two glasses out of the china cabinet. The kitchen island was set for dinner--casual, but very nice. He pulled the bottle of wine out of the refrigerator and worked on opening it.

* * * *

Daughters, Rico thought. So Gregory wasn't so different from his usual clientele after all. Appreciative eyes scanned him: blond hair trending slightly toward ash, broad shoulders, toned thighs, and a tight ass. Rico was glad they had gone for casual dress. It would've been a shame to hide that body under a suit coat. He guessed Gregory was at least forty-five, but he carried it well.

Rico found more mature men to be very sexy. They had more confidence and knew what they wanted from life--if not in bed, but that was his job, after all. He was going to enjoy helping this one find out exactly how much fun could be had with a man.

Rico watched as Gregory poured just a splash into one glass and held it out for him to taste. Rico cradled the glass, swirling the fragrant liquid, inhaling deeply, his eyes closing as he lifted the glass to his lips. He hummed pleasantly, the breath carrying the rich taste back over his tongue. "Delicious." His eyes opened, gazing steadily into Gregory's green eyes as they darkened. "And I know wine."

Gregory blinked, looking a bit surprised. He offered to take the glass, this time filling it three-quarters full before handing it back and filling his own glass. "This way." He gestured to the nearby French doors.

Rico felt Gregory react and then pull away. Puzzled, he followed him out onto a beautifully landscaped flagstone patio, secluded by a rock wall. Perfect place for some al fresco sex, he thought, scanning the vibrant colors. Reaching down, he let his fingers trail through a patch of greenery, lifting it to his face to smell the spicy fragrance. "Hmmm ... mint, rosemary ... I can't quite place the sharp, woodsy one." He lifted his hand to Gregory's nose.

Managing to stop himself before pulling back in reaction, Gregory breathed in the fragrance. "Dill," he murmured, turning to point out at the section in front of him. "This is a scent garden. That over there is vegetables, and of course, the obligatory roses," he explained.

Rico could tell now that Gregory was a bit unnerved by his easygoing forwardness. "Which is your favorite?" Rico whispered, feeling Gregory tense when he realized how close he was. Curling his hand over Gregory's shoulder, Rico pressed his chest lightly against his back. "Give me a chance, Gregory. Forget that you made a phone call. You met me in a coffeehouse this morning when I spilled my mocha latte all over you. I'm a tremendous klutz. Let me in."

Trying to tell himself he was being foolish, Gregory nevertheless decided he liked Rico. He had to give him credit: the man was trying, and Gregory wasn't giving him anything to work with. Slowly his shoulders relaxed, and he slightly turned his head toward Rico. "Jasmine," he answered.

"Exotic." Rico turned his head so that his nose and lips just barely brushed the nape of Gregory's neck.

Gregory shivered slightly and had to chuckle quietly. "Yes. The only thing in my life that is, actually," he said, although he smiled.

"It doesn't have to be the only thing, and you've already started working on more. When was the last time you picked up a hot young stud and invited him to dinner?" Rico raised his eyebrows as he stepped away, his eyes dancing with mischief as he sat gracefully on a padded glider.

Snorting, Gregory turned to look at him in disbelief. "Ah, I can safely say never."

"See! The first step on the path to high adventure in exotic locales." Rico grinned up at the dumbstruck look on Gregory's face, silently adding, Some day, Mr. Callahan ... some day, you'll fuck me on a moonlit beach where the breeze smells of salt and night-blooming jasmine.

Shaking his head, Gregory finally smiled genuinely. "You're really something."

Rico already loved that smile. It was charming, and it warmed up Gregory's face. "Thank you. Now come sit with me and tell me what you do for a living." He patted the bench next to him.

Obeying good-naturedly, Gregory joined him on the glider. "Ah, real excitement there. I'm a tax accountant," he said wryly.

"Ooooh ... you are a knight in shining armor, fighting off the evil IRS and returning their ill-gotten gains to the poor people of Sherwood." Rico chuckled as Gregory blinked at him, bemused. "I'm sorry. I can get a little silly sometimes. I bet you look fantastic in a suit. I'm going to have to dress you up someday."

Gregory laughed. "Dress me up? As what? Robin Hood?"

Rico reached over, adjusting Gregory's collar and smoothing his hands down the strong chest. "No, just a nice well-tailored suit, silk tie, and hat with feather purely optional."

Smile still pulling at his mouth, Gregory shrugged. "I've got plenty of those upstairs. That's nothing to get excited about." Then he glanced at his watch. "Dinner time," he said, this time looking at Rico directly.

Taking Gregory's hand, Rico rose easily to his feet. He laced their fingers together and held on. "Yum. I'm guessing from the delicious smells that we aren't having takeout." He leaned his head against Gregory's shoulder playfully as they walked into the house, side by side.

"I've been told I'm an above-average cook. And I don't eat out much; I've found I can often cook as well as or better than what I'm ordering." He left the French doors open after they passed through. "Have a seat. Not much to do."

Rico watched Gregory move efficiently around the kitchen, taking bread out of the oven. The waft of steam and yeast made his stomach rumble, and in no time, he was sitting across the table with a full plate of mouth-watering food and a fresh glass of wine.

"You really are amazing," Rico said. Lifting his glass, he toasted his host.

Gregory smiled and raised his glass as well. "I'm in fine company," he answered, and they both drank. Then he started pointing. "These are fresh greens from the garden. The dressing I made; it's very light. Then chicken Oscar, a seasonal fruit salad, and bread fresh from the bakery in town." He held out the basket. "I can cook very well; just don't ask me to bake."

Taking a piece of the crusty bread, Rico dipped it in the vinaigrette dressing. "So a cake for my birthday is out then?" he teased.

Gregory raised one brow while he peered across the table. With any other man, all of the innuendo about seeing him again would almost certainly be too much pressure. But something about Rico made him relax so easily. Gregory supposed it was what made Rico's business so successful. He took a sip of his wine. He'd certainly want to see Rico again, he knew. But he also wondered how many other clients did as well. Rico distracted him before his thoughts could travel too far in that direction.

After some quiet small talk and a leisurely meal, Gregory said, "While I don't make cakes, I do make candy. When's your birthday?" he asked tentatively.

"January thirty-first, and I like anything chocolate. I'd do anything for good chocolate."

Both Gregory's brows rose, and he tried not to put Rico's assertion in the context of his job. Or what "anything" might consist of. That was more difficult to push away. "Aways off, then. Six or seven months. I guess fruit salad will have to suffice."

"I'm almost as bad about cherries and strawberries," Rico said, scooting his chair around so he was closer to Gregory. Picking up a piece of fruit, he held it to Gregory's lips. "Dinner was incredible. Can I offer you some dessert?" he drawled.

The offer is unmistakable, Gregory thought as he leaned to nip the grape from between Rico's fingers. He just wasn't sure what to do about it. "Actually, dessert is in the fridge," he said, tilting his head in the appliance's direction.

Rico's eyes moved down Gregory's body and back up, his expression unmistakable: I'd much rather have you. "Shall I go get it?"

Gregory felt the temperature rise. "Please," he managed to say evenly. And once Rico was behind him, he closed his eyes. He'd have to be a eunuch to not be attracted to Rico. But the idea of ... just ... going to bed with him for a casual something? It struck Gregory as totally wrong. So now what did he do?

Rico made a small sound of delight after he opened the refrigerator. "Exactly who is seducing whom?" he asked, returning to the table with a plate of chocolate-covered fresh strawberries. He paused when he saw the indecision back on Gregory's face. Putting the plate down, he turned his chair sideways and sat, his legs bracketing Gregory's knees. "Hey, don't do that." Rico ran his fingers through the carefully trimmed blond hair. It was soft and fine. "No expectations, okay?"

Opening his eyes again, Gregory looked over Rico's face, feeling his body reacting to how close he was: his breathing picked up slightly, his eyes dilated, and he shifted in the chair. "It's difficult," he murmured. But he didn't pull away from Rico's touch.

Cupping the handsome face, Rico stroked the strong cheeks, his thumb dragging along Gregory's bottom lip. "Actually it's quite simple. Don't think. Feel. Do you want to kiss me?"

Swallowing hard, Gregory nodded slowly. The tip of his tongue darted out to wet his lips as Rico moved slowly, giving him plenty of time to reconsider. And he didn't. He was mesmerized, just as he had been at the front door at first sight. Gregory's pulse raced as he anticipated the touch of Rico's lips. It would be his first real kiss in years. His first real kiss ever with a man.

Their mouths touched for the first time with the softest brush of lips, an exchange of breath. Tilting his head, Rico fitted their mouths together, sucking at the sweet fruit juice still lingering on Gregory's lips. At the first unexpected swipe of Rico's tongue across his mouth, the world tilted. Moaning breathlessly, Gregory reached out to steady himself, his hand falling on Rico's thigh.

The heat passing from Rico's lips to his own was a jolt, and Gregory tossed caution to the wind, leaning into the open-mouthed kiss and tasting the lips he'd watched all through dinner. When Rico leaned forward, Gregory carefully clasped his shoulder, helping hold him up, while the other covered the hand on his own leg.

Rico pulled slightly away, shaken. "Wow," he rasped, his voice low and husky. "You pack quite a punch. You should consider having warnings printed on your T-shirts." He smiled, nuzzling Gregory's cheek before bringing their mouths together again.

Gregory was about to make what he thought would be a witty comeback when Rico kissed him again, and he kissed right back, sliding his hand from Rico's shoulder to smooth down his back. Their tongues met and curled and kissed, just as their lips did, and to Gregory, it was the most erotic thing he'd ever felt in his life.

* * * *

It took every ounce of restraint Rico possessed not to crawl into Gregory's lap and beg to be ravished. For the first time in ten years, his professional composure abandoned him, and he was at a total loss, almost--but not quite--ashamed of himself. This handsome, obviously nervous man made something click inside him, but he had made a professional commitment. Taking a deep breath without breaking the kiss, Rico whispered against Gregory's lips, "Where this goes is completely up to you, but we'd probably be more comfortable in the living room."

Gregory stilled, no longer taking part in the kiss. "Go ahead. I'll make some coffee," he said quietly after pulling back.

Rico got up, intending to go into the living room, but changed directions before he got to the door. Gregory's mind was working, and Rico didn't want him over-thinking what was happening between them. Walking up behind him, Rico slipped his arms around Gregory's middle, stepping close and laying his cheek against Gregory's back.

Taking a deep breath, Rico plunged ahead. "Mmmm ... you smell good. Listen to me, Gregory. You don't know me, but I pride myself on my honesty. I may make my living by playing a fantasy, but I do it honestly. I never say things, even in a role, just to make someone happy. I came tonight because you called me, and I'm truly attracted to you." Rico pressed himself closer, letting Gregory feel what the proximity was doing to his body. His voice darkened and thickened as he spoke, reflecting the desire already burning inside him. "You are sexy as hell, and the idea that I'm the first man to touch you ... kiss you ... has me so turned on. You don't have to touch me at all, and I promise I won't even mention sex, but come into the living room with me and let me touch you. Let me show you what it feels like to be touched by a man." Rico held his breath waiting for Gregory's answer.

* * * *

Gregory could feel the warmth behind him, the light touch of Rico's hands, and how Rico pressed up against him. And when he shifted to rub their bodies together, Gregory could feel a very firm something that set his gut afire at the thought of it. The quiet words just fed the flames, words Gregory felt were tinged by honesty as he interpreted Rico's tone. He turned in Rico's arms and nodded, still nervously reluctant.

Rico stepped into Gregory's arms as he turned, tilting his head up for a kiss and sucking at the tempting lips. Taking a step back, he led his hesitant partner to the comfort of the sofa and pushed him down, settling on his knees between Gregory's legs and kissing him again.

Awkwardly leaning forward, a sigh shuddered out of Gregory as Rico kissed him again and again. He was certainly more interested and aroused than he'd been with his wife. And that was just from being touched. Being kissed. He carefully kept his hands to himself, gripping the arm of the sofa and the edge of the cushion.

Rico began to massage Gregory's thighs, his thumbs working higher and higher in circles as their tongues dueled. One hand skimmed over Gregory's hip, slipping under the hem of his shirt. Gregory sighed against Rico's mouth, his detached brain in wonder about how incredibly good the other man was at kissing. He felt like he could probably come just from that, given some time. He shivered when he felt gentle fingers on his warmed skin. How much of this could he, would he take? What was fair? What could he live with, knowing Rico's attention was bought and paid for?

Keeping their mouths together, Rico's hand slid higher, brushing through the soft curls on Gregory's chest. He moaned, his other hand settling over the growing bulge in Gregory's pants. Outlining the ridge with his fingers, he stroked, tracing the shaft with his fingernails. Surprised by what seemed to him the sudden intimate touch, Gregory jerked back out of the kiss, eyes wide. He opened his mouth to apologize, to tell Rico he couldn't do this, but nothing came out.

Instead he could feel himself trembling, and he knew he needed to end this before it went too far. It was too much, too soon. He couldn't handle it. Rico's touch, his kiss, it was all instantly and irrevocably addictive, and Gregory already knew there was nothing that could come from this, no matter how pleasant the experience. He just wasn't cut out for casual. "Rico," he said hoarsely, intending to call it off.

* * * *

Rico felt Gregory's body tense, but he could also feel the desire rolling off him in waves and hear it in the husky rasp of his voice. If he backed off now, Gregory would run and continue to deny this part of himself; Rico selfishly couldn't let that happen. Gregory's lips out of reach, Rico pushed up Gregory's shirt and captured a flat pink nipple. He let the weight of his body replace his hand against Gregory's cock as his lips, tongue, and teeth teased the nipple into a hypersensitive, puckered nub.

Gregory actually whimpered and clutched Rico's upper arms. It made Rico's gut cramp, just knowing Gregory needed to hold onto something, knowing he was having that much effect on the man.

Trailing a series of light bites down the tan chest, Rico's fingers worked at the buttons on Gregory's jeans. The needy sounds coming from the man's lips guided his actions: louder meant more. Pulling the heavy denim aside, Rico nuzzled the warm, hard cock that was covered with nothing but a thin layer of cotton and inhaled the masculine scent deeply. His own arousal pounded in his ears.

"Rico," Gregory whispered, head falling back with a moan.

Rico loved to give head. There was just something so intimate about laying his cheek against that tender hollow just inside the hip, tasting the very essence of his partner's desire, and driving him to climax. Sex was wonderful, but here he was in complete control--he was causing every noise, every muscle twitch, and every hitch in Gregory's breath. Running his teeth up and down the steely cock, he closed his mouth over the damp, dark spot on Gregory's boxers and sucked, pulling the bitter liquid into his mouth through the fabric, his fingers slipping into the wide opening to fondle the sensitive balls.

Gregory didn't even try to stop his hips from lifting in supplication, sighing brokenly as he grasped at the sofa, just riding the wave of arousal as it spiked through him. He shuddered in place, his knees falling open as his mind let go on a soft near-sob. Rico made sure his mouth was wicked and hot and unbelievable; he felt the moment Gregory gave in and worked his hardest to show him how wonderful sex could be between them. Working the jeans and boxers off Gregory's hips, Rico's mouth connected with velvet hot skin for the first time.

* * * *

Although Gregory could hear the soft wail, he had no idea where it came from and no suspicion that it came from himself. He couldn't even rouse enough thought to try to take part; he could only sprawl there and try to keep breathing as Rico worked to drive him utterly crazy. It was totally alien to Gregory to give so much control to someone else. In a way, it was ... freeing. He was free to enjoy without worry; he was free to indulge without recrimination. And he couldn't remember the last time something had felt so intense.

Rico stroked his erection, the smooth skin moving easily, and lapped at the fluid pearled on the dark red head. He pursed his lips, allowing Gregory to push into his mouth and sucking him deep into his throat; Rico's hands gripped Gregory's hips, controlling the depth of his thrusts.

Gasping aloud and eyes flying open to stare at the ceiling, Gregory stammered as his climax abruptly threatened. "Rico ... Ri ... now, coming now ... augh!" He strained to hold it back, totally ignorant of whether Rico would want him to come where he was: down Rico's throat.

But Rico destroyed the option of holding back, speeding up his pace and increasing his suction. His hand joined the assault, teasing and rolling his taut balls, and Gregory choked back the wild cry that tried to escape as the orgasm tore from him and through him, the heat and press of Rico's mouth driving him over the edge until he saw stars and flashes of light, until his chest was so tight he could barely breathe through the consuming pleasure.

Rico ran light, soothing touches over Gregory's chest, abdomen, and thighs, suckling gently as the cock in his mouth softened. Gregory felt it distantly as his body lapsed into drained satiation, and he drifted, still seeing colors behind his eyelids and twitching with the occasional shock. The soft, warm suction extended the feeling, and he sighed, hands unclenching from the sofa cushion.

A tentative kiss on the curve of Gregory's inner thigh got his attention. It helped pull him out of his daze, and his eyes blinked open. He stared at the ceiling for a long moment, trying to pull himself together before he looked down at Rico, trying to convince himself that he wasn't going to fall apart in embarrassment. Gregory's breathing evened, and he drew a deep breath before slowly tilting his chin down to look at the man kneeling between his knees with rosy, wet lips still dangerously close to his cock.

Rico just stayed there, looking at him as the silence stretched until Gregory couldn't bear the tension. Just as he was forced to say something, anything, Rico spoke.

"I'll go if it was awful. Just try and judge the moment on how you actually feel and not how you think you should be feeling," Rico murmured.

Staring at him for a moment, Gregory was struck by how vulnerable Rico seemed at that moment. Such a contrast, and so unexpected. He slowly slid one hand over his own leg to lightly pet the dark hair. "Wasn't awful," he said quietly. He felt absolutely sapped, absolutely satisfied. He would never have imagined it. "Wasn't awful at all."

Leaning into the touch, Rico rubbed himself against Gregory's hand like a cat for a long moment until Gregory groaned and lifted both hands to cover his face, rubbing over the flushed skin. "I don't think I can tell you how.... "He paused, having to look at the ceiling to get the words out. "How incredible that was," he finished softly. "It's been a long--" Gregory bit his lip, not wanting to talk about that, not really. It seemed like this encounter was rife with two things for him: arousal and embarrassment, and even now he couldn't decide which was stronger.

"It's okay to like it," Rico said quietly, turning his head to look up at Gregory's face, his cheek brushing against Gregory's sated cock.

Gregory dropped his arms slowly, gazing at the other man for a long moment before he shifted one hand to rub his thumb along Rico's lower lip. "Liked isn't strong enough a word," he admitted.

Rising to his feet, Rico took Gregory's hand and helped him up, straightening his clothes and caressing his cheek. "I guess now you know," Rico whispered, placing a gentle kiss on the open lips. "Thank you for letting me be the first. If you want to explore any more firsts, you know where to find me."

Gregory nodded, finding enough wherewithal to close his arms about the other man for a brief embrace. "Thanks," he murmured awkwardly.

* * * *

A week later, Gregory was working at his desk when his assistant brought in the mail and the staff rosters for his review. "Here you go, Gregory. Want some coffee or anything before I head downstairs to work on the single-income packages?"

Glancing up over his glasses at Rosemary, Gregory shook his head. "No, thank you. I'll call if I need anything," he said distractedly. "Thank you."

Rosemary left, closing his office door quietly behind her so all the talking out in the office wouldn't disturb him. He kept working at the figures he was manipulating until he got the result he thought he should.

Pushing the papers away, he picked up his mail. Professional association. A letter from his brother. A tuition statement from Erica's college. Credit card bill. Grabbing his letter opener, Gregory sliced the paper through and pulled out the statement, dropping it onto the desk as he reached into a desk drawer for his folder of receipts. He checked off each charge carefully, noting the entry for Rossi Incorporated. It made him stop and think.

Think back to a week ago.

He closed his eyes and flashes of memory played like a movie projected onto the insides of his eyelids. Rico, the kiss, the fruit, Rico on his knees, the mind-numbing pleasure. Gregory swallowed hard and opened his eyes, not surprised to find himself aroused. Just like every other time he'd thought about that night. With a sigh he checked off the charge.

Then he frowned.

There was a credit to his account in the same amount. From Rossi Incorporated.

* * * *

"Rossi Incorporated. May I help you?"

"This is Gregory Callahan. I have a question about my billing, please."

"I'd be happy to help you with that, Mr. Callahan. What is the question?"

"I just received my credit card statement. The draft was made but then refunded. Can you explain?"

"Let me pull up the account." The receptionist's fingers clacked efficiently on computer keys in the background. "I'm sorry, Mr. Callahan. There is a code on the account that I don't understand. I'll have to transfer you. Please hold."

Classical music filled the line. Then.... "Rico Rossi. May I help you?"

Gregory blinked, and his mouth went totally dry. He hadn't expected to talk to Rico. What could he say? After a few seconds, he managed, "This is Gregory Callahan." His voice sounded awfully weak to his own ears. There was a long pause before Rico replied.

"Hello, Gregory. Margaret didn't tell me who it was."

"I--I apologize for bothering you. I was concerned about a discrepancy in the billing," Gregory said, falling back on the safety of business talk.

"Discrepancy? Didn't you get the credit?" Rico asked. His voice was low and slightly husky.

"Ah, yes, actually. I'm afraid I don't understand why there's a credit at all," Gregory said, trying to keep his voice even. Why would Rico have refunded his money? He didn't sound angry. He would have said something, surely, if Gregory had offended him in some way.

Another pause, and then what sounded like a deep breath. "Your business and your money are not what I want from you," Rico stated simply. "I can't change how we met, but I wanted to let you know that it wasn't business to me."

Gregory sat in his chair, staring blindly at the papers on his desk. What ... why was Rico saying this? He'd only been in Gregory's company for four hours, and he certainly knew practically nothing else about Gregory. And this couldn't be a joke--it could be devastating for Rico's business. All Gregory would have to do is call Bernard. Gregory shook his head, totally at a loss for what to say.

"Now there's nothing between us but a dinner," Rico said. Gregory could picture him, sitting in an office chair like his own or maybe on a couch in his own home. "And you know, I really do hang out at the coffee shop on the corner of Eighth and Madison. I'm addicted." He paused. "What do you have to lose?" he whispered. The call disconnected with an almost inaudible click.

Gregory sat there in stunned silence until the phone line started beeping loudly, surprising him. He hung up the receiver and shook his head. He didn't understand. Rico liked him? Enough to hint that he wanted more, outside of a business arrangement? All they had shared was a handful of kisses and a spectacular blowjob that Rico didn't even benefit from. Gregory settled back in his chair, deep in thought.

* * * *

Rico sat in the corner of the small café, enjoying a double shot of espresso and a cinnamon scone while reading The Wall Street Journal. He hadn't actually changed his routine much; he hoped that a certain blond accountant might show up, but he'd noticed lately that his usual thirty-minute morning ritual had lengthened to about an hour and a half. Folding his paper on the table, he pulled out his laptop, but his attention was caught by a couple entering the coffee shop.

"Mornin', Jake," Rico called out. "New suit?" The three men exchanged some teasing banter. Rico shook his head with a grin and went back to checking his e-mail. He'd been Jake's first "date" with a man, and now the stockbroker was in a committed relationship and talking about retiring and sailing the intercoastal.

Rico had only just returned to his e-mail when he felt the weight of eyes on him. Gregory sat at a table just inside the door, perched on the edge of his chair like he was going to make a run for it at any moment. An idea formed in Rico's mind. It was silly, but maybe it might break the tension. Walking over to Jake and his lover, Rico leaned down and whispered in his ear. A hushed conversation ensued that ended with Jake laughing and nodding his head.

Jake got up and walked over to Gregory. Pointing at Rico, who was back in his seat, he managed to say with a perfectly straight face, "My friend over there thinks you're cute and wants to know if he can buy you a cup of coffee."

Rico expected Gregory would look at him, probably shocked. He put all his hope in his eyes and prayed that the other man could see it.

Gregory tilted his head to see where the man was pointing, and when he saw Rico looking at him hopefully, a small, lovely smile formed on Gregory's lips. He looked back to Jake and replied with something that made Jake glance to Rico, stifle a laugh, and nod.

Jake walked back over to Rico, shaking his head. "You're a nutball, you know that, Rossi?" he said.

"Yeah, I know. What did he say?" Rico asked. "God, I'm back in middle school. Just shoot me now." He laughed, covering his face with his hands.

"I'm thinking you've got a bang coming," Jake said, waggling his eyebrows. "He said you could buy him coffee--if he could buy you dinner."

Rico clenched his fist, resisting the urge to yell Yes! Patting Jake's shoulder as he got up, Rico walked over to Gregory's table. "Would you join me for a cup of coffee?"

Gregory nodded, getting to his feet where he looked slightly down at him. "Will you have dinner with me?"

"You sure?" Rico asked. "It's not that I don't want to. I do. I just don't want to move too fast and scare you off," he clarified, realizing he was babbling. God, I really have regressed ten years, he berated himself silently, trying to gather his usual confident calm.

Gregory's lips twitched, and he visibly relaxed. "It's dinner, Rico, not a night of wild, screaming sex." He put on a thoughtful look. "Although...."

Rico's heart raced at the slight tease. He meant to tease back, keep it light, but his mouth didn't seem attached to his brain this morning. "I bet you are one hell of a lover," he husked, voice deep with desire.

Shuffling a little and putting one hand in his pocket, Gregory edged up a shoulder. "I guess you'll just have to find out," he suggested, voice a little shaky.

Hand settling in the crook of Gregory's arm, Rico pulled him close, walking them toward the counter. "Coffee first, and then you get to tell me where you're taking me for dinner. I'm not easy, you know. Don't expect me to put out on the first date."

Gregory laughed, breaking into a wide smile. "I'll keep that in mind," he answered.

* * * *

Rico slid into the dark Mercedes, his head spinning with the combined scent of Gregory and leather. "So where are you taking me?"

Glancing over at the younger man, Gregory asked, "Have you ever been to the Calendale Estate?"

"Only once. I had an ex-roommate from Harvard who got married there."

"There's a wine-tasting dinner tonight. I hoped you would be interested," Gregory said as he directed the car onto a busy lane that would lead them to the countryside.

Rico turned, drawing his leg up on the seat between them. "Aren't those members only?"

Gregory bit his lower lip. "Usually, yes," he murmured. "I called Daniel and asked if I could attend with a guest."

"Daniel? As in Daniel Calendale?" Rico grinned, moving his gaze from Gregory, who looked terribly uncomfortable, to the passing scenery. "Well, I'm very glad that he said 'yes'."

"It's not that big a deal, really," Gregory murmured. "I do his taxes. So he's rather fond of me, since I save him quite a bit of money."

"I bet," Rico mused. Gregory had a habit of downplaying his job, but if his clients included the likes of Daniel Calendale, he was no mere accountant. Rico's hand moved across the seat, sliding under Gregory's. A warm glow flared in his stomach as Gregory's fingers curled around his. Settling back, they rode the rest of the way in comfortable silence.

Stopping in front of the main building, Gregory handed the keys to the valet with a quiet thank-you and walked around the car to join Rico. He nodded up the steps, where some people already mingled on the deck around the rustic villa. "I believe they're serving Tuscan specialties tonight," Gregory said awkwardly.

Rico smiled, tucking his arm through Gregory's and leaning against his shoulder. "They could be serving McDonald's, and I'd be happy."

A silver-haired man met them at the door, and Gregory introduced Rico to Daniel, who had effusive things to say about "dear friend Gregory" before leading them to the head table where he would be sitting for the dinner and tasting himself. When Gregory tried to demur, Daniel would have none of it. He told them to look around--they had about forty-five minutes until dinner--and he was off to see to his other guests.

"Let's go explore," Rico suggested, a mischievous light in his eye. "I imagine a place like this has all sorts of secret passageways and hidey-holes."

Gregory chuckled, letting Rico lead him out of the main room by the hand. "I've gotten lost in here before," he warned, though he didn't resist.

Pulling Gregory into a dark alcove, Rico wrapped his arms around his waist, looking up and nuzzling the underside of his jaw. "That was sort of my hope. Daniel did say we had forty-five minutes."

Gregory shifted his feet apart for balance and closed his arms about Rico carefully. "You make me ... anxious," he murmured, lowering his face to lightly brush over the younger man's curly hair.

"Not exactly the emotion I was going for." Rico chuckled, laying his head against the broad chest. He could hear Gregory's heartbeat pounding in his chest and the slight hitch in his breath when Rico's arms snuck under his jacket, his hands flattening on the warmth of his back. "Maybe you are just misinterpreting the signals. Are you a little dizzy and lightheaded, pulse racing and short of breath?"

Gregory heard a low rumble of pleasure from his own chest. "Yes," he murmured, pressing his face more into the soft hair.

"I've got news for you." Rico's lips grazed the skin just above Gregory's collar, his tongue teasing the hollow behind his ear. His mouth brushed over the shell and he blew lightly, feeling Gregory shiver against him. "That's not anxiety. It's desire."

Biting his bottom lip lightly, Gregory breathed in sharply. "I'm quickly figuring that out," he murmured as his arms tightened a little around the other man and his head tilted back to expose more of his throat to the roving lips.

Rico sucked gently, careful not to leave a mark where it would show. Later, he promised himself. Later, he'd strip away the oh-so-proper tie, loosen the starched shirt, and mark Gregory as his. Just the thought made him moan softly and tilt his hips into Gregory's.

Gregory groaned and his eyes rolled back into his head. He moved, shimmying slightly to rub his own thickened arousal against Rico's. "Rico," he whispered.

The younger man's heart jumped, and his cock hardened against Gregory's. Fuck! This could get out of hand quick. He'd intended to steal a quick kiss, not beg Gregory to fuck him up against the wall of a client's home. Grabbing Gregory's hips with his hands, Rico put a little space between their bodies and inhaled a shaky breath. "Damn, you ruin all my good intentions." Rico looked up at the handsome man next to him and quirked one side of his mouth into a reluctant smile. "Give me a kiss to hold me through dinner, and then we'd better go back to polite company, or I may be losing you an account."

Gregory didn't even try to stop the smile that pulled at his lips, but Rico noticed that his eyes were glazed. One large hand slid long fingers over Rico's jaw and under his ear to lift Rico's lips, and Gregory captured them, gently at first, but the following heat made Rico hungry for more. He quickly lost all rational thought, his breath, and any desire to stop the kiss as Gregory claimed his lips. Melting against the strong, firm body, he clung to Gregory in a bubble of desire completely out of time and space.

* * * *

Gregory finally broke the kiss, panting, when a bell chimed distantly. "Fifteen minutes," he rasped, still holding Rico close, not wanting to let go.

"God, if we were anywhere but here, I'd tell you that was plenty of time for any number of ways to get us both off." Rico panted against Gregory's chest. "But it's not enough ... not enough to make love the way I want to. Let's go sit down. If we are surrounded by dozens of other people, I'll be more likely to be able to restrain myself."

The shock that rippled through Gregory's body helped him regain control of himself as he let Rico loose. Make love? He followed along blindly, again led by the hand, only managing to get a hold of himself as they entered the main dining room again. Daniel welcomed them once more as they were seated, and their host's words were lost on Gregory as he stared at Rico in wonder.

Dinner started with an amuse-bouche. Gregory had a sip of the wine and then another before putting the glass away from him. Daniel noticed and scolded him.

"Daniel, you already know I love your wines. I buy enough of them," Gregory teased right back. "But I'm driving back tonight."

"Absolutely not. I insist you stay here in the villa as my guest," Daniel said, pushing the glass back toward Gregory's hand. When Gregory made to demur, Daniel would have none of it. He turned to Rico. "Wouldn't you like to stay and see the vineyards under the moon? Perhaps walk in the gardens. You won't find a more lovely place on all of Long Island," he said. "Help me convince him."

Rico put his hand on Gregory's thigh under the heavy linen tablecloth. "I would like to stay, and I'd like to see you enjoy yourself too," Rico prodded. "How can you properly enjoy a wine-tasting dinner with no wine?"

Gregory immediately caved. "Thank you, Daniel. We accept," he said, joining the winery owner and his guests in a toast.

Much later, Gregory held a dessert glass of wine in his hand, though what their host said about it was lost as he stared into Rico's dark eyes over the icy white liquid. Time still didn't seem to be processing properly; parts of the dinner had flown by, leaving him with no recollection of what had been consumed or said, and other moments, like this one, seemed to float suspended--the span of a breath lasting forever.

Despite the small sips of wine with each course, Gregory was still floating high, slightly tipsy and terribly aroused. Watching Rico lick the rim of his wine glass during the fish course had almost made him come on the spot. He'd been aching ever since. And as much as he had enjoyed the meal, Gregory couldn't wait for it to be over. He desperately wanted to be alone with Rico.

Daniel stood again, thanking his guests a final time and inviting them to take a stroll through the gardens and vineyard before they left. Turning to Gregory and Rico, he smiled. "Come with me, and I'll show you to your room. The guest suites are stocked with overnight items that should make you comfortable. By the time you get settled, everyone else should be cleared out, and you'll have the moon to yourselves."

Rico leaned close to Gregory's ear as they followed their host. "He enjoys playing fairy godmother, doesn't he?"

Gregory's lips compressed on a laugh. "He's a man without airs, that's for certain. And a good friend," he said as they followed Daniel into a gorgeous four-room suite, all in wood and terra cotta and wrought iron, with a balcony shielded by grapevines.

"Please, enjoy your night," Daniel said, leaving with a satisfied smile, pulling the door closed behind him.

"I can't believe this," Rico said, walking out onto the balcony and looking up between the dark green vines to the black velvet sky, studded with twinkling stars. "It's like walking into a fairy tale. You sure know how to sweep a guy off his feet."

Gregory stopped on the balcony threshold, looking at the handsome man like he was afraid he'd disappear. "You're beautiful," he breathed, seeing Rico under the moonlight in the Tuscan setting. Gregory was suddenly taken with the desire to take Rico to the real Tuscany and see if he looked just as incredible there. He felt like his heart was going to pound out of his chest, and the intensity of it made his eyes well with tears.

"If you don't kiss me soon, I think I'm going to explode," Rico said fervently.

A brilliant smile took Gregory's face, and he walked close, cupped Rico's chin in both hands, and kissed him sweetly, lingering and then chastely kissing both lips. "Can't have that," he murmured, a teasing note in his voice.

* * * *

Tilting his head back, Rico lost himself in the kiss, shuffling closer when the space between them became too much to bear. "I'm thinking I might rather see the vineyards by sunlight instead of moonlight."

Gregory's brow furrowed. "Why is that?" he asked, moving one hand from Rico's face to slide it around him, pulling him close.

"Because I don't even want to share you with the moonlight," Rico said, pulling Gregory toward the bed.

The warmth of romance heated into passion, and Gregory's eyes flashed with both desire and nerves. "Rico ... I've never--" he said, reluctantly allowing Rico to lead him inside.

"I know," Rico soothed, running his fingers through Gregory's hair and pressing his body close. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but I have to be honest. I've dreamed about you inside me."

Gregory's eyes dilated, and he bit his lip. He slid his arms around Rico and clutched him close. "What did I do?" he breathed, lost in staring at the younger man.

Rico's brow crinkled in confusion. "Do? You didn't do anything wrong."

"No. What did I do to deserve this? Deserve you?" Gregory whispered, hand shaking as he lifted it to Rico's cheek. "All my life, I never thought I'd have the chance to explore this, much less be free to live it."

Smiling up at Gregory, Rico lifted his chin and sealed their lips together. "Undress me," he said softly after the kiss. "I want to feel your hands on my body."

Gregory gulped for breath when they pulled apart, and he started unbuttoning Rico's crisp shirt, eyes affixed to the smooth skin he uncovered. When he reached Rico's belt, he moved his hands to lightly cover the warm skin of his belly and slide them upward.

Rico held his breath as Gregory's hands skimmed his chest, gulping as the fingers brushed his nipples, hardening them instantly. He had never taken the time to savor every touch like this. There had always been some rush to either bring his partner to climax or reach his own. Having decided ahead of time that this night would be what it would be, Rico released all control.

He would have thought that giving Gregory permission to touch him would be like setting a child loose in a candy store, that Gregory would want to touch him all over at once. But Gregory didn't; he focused totally on slow, languid movements, worshipping every inch of skin revealed with his fingers and then his lips. As his hands lifted to Rico's throat, Gregory lowered his lips to the edge of his jaw and pressed a tiny kiss there as he started shifting his hands over throat, then collarbone, slowly skimming downward.

Quivering inside, Rico had to sit on the edge of the bed, and he pulled Gregory down with him. "Do I get to touch you too?"

"If you want," Gregory said before swallowing hard. "I can't promise I won't fall apart--I'm really turned on," he said starkly, cheeks flushing.

Warmth spread through Rico at the candid admission. "I guess that makes two of us. Nothing says we can only come once tonight." He grinned, letting his fingers ghost over Gregory's erection before starting to work on his shirt.

Gregory laughed lightly in near relief. "You're some kind of magic, I think," he admitted, pushing Rico's shirt off his shoulders so it fell to the crooks of his arms. He lightly traced his collarbone to the hollow at his throat, and then leaned down and gently licked at that space.

Slipping the last of Gregory's buttons free, Rico smoothed his hands over the masculine chest, light hairs tickling his palms. Leaning forward, he flicked his tongue over a tight pink nipple, catching it between his teeth and rolling it gently.

Hissing with pleasure, Gregory took his time exploring Rico's back and shoulder blades, hands mapping the skin before descending to Rico's waistband, where he paused. His fingers brushed along Rico's lower belly, and Gregory exhaled on a soft sigh. Rico trembled, mentally willing him to take the next step.

"May I?" Gregory's words were barely audible, and still they shook.

"Please," Rico whispered. Warm fingers slid into his waistband, and Gregory clumsily unbuttoned and unzipped, pushing the fabric away from slim hips, sliding his hands down to the tops of firm buttocks, squeezing gently. "You feel as incredible as you look," Gregory said throatily.

Rico bowed into the touch. He was beginning to believe that Gregory would not be the one to lose control first. "Keep looking ... keep feeling," he stuttered.

* * * *

Gregory's eyes widened as he looked over Rico's face. He was flushed, his dark eyes appeared hazy, and his lips were delightfully swollen as he spoke those shaky words. Was this all because of him? Because of his touch? Experimentally, Gregory slid his hands around Rico's hips, caressing all the way, until he could slide his thumbs down into the creases of Rico's thighs.

A breathless moan escaped Rico's lips as he arched away from the bed. "Gregory," he pleaded softly. Seeing this effect just aroused Gregory further. He dipped his head to kiss Rico passionately, practically pulling him into his lap in an effort to get close.

Rico struggled with opening Gregory's trousers, impeded by the lack of space between their bodies. "Wait," he finally gasped, grinning at their eagerness. Standing, he pushed his pants past his hips to drop to the floor, stepping out of his shoes at the same time. "Your turn." Pulling Gregory to his feet, he divested him of his pants, pushed him back to the bed, and knelt at Gregory's feet to remove his shoes, and then he crawled up to stretch out on the bed with a come-hither crook of his finger.

Taken aback by the desire that swamped him, Gregory shook his head in wonder as he climbed onto his knees and crawled over to Rico. He tentatively reached out to touch, his fingers coasting feather-light over the soft cotton that covered Rico's hips. He immediately wished Rico had stripped them totally naked, but knew he was dealing with enough as it was. He couldn't help shivering after every light touch; bumps rose on his skin, and his nipples tightened into hard nubs.

Rico rolled onto his side so that their bodies aligned, bent his knee, and wedged it between Gregory's thighs, pulling Gregory's leg over his hip. Gregory groaned, pulling his hand away as he watched the pleasure on Rico's face. "I don't know what to do," he admitted.

"What do you want to do?" Rico asked, raising his eyebrows impishly. "I'm sure your mom taught you the Golden Rule. Think about what you'd like me to do to you, and do it to me."

Swallowing hard, Gregory lightly clasped Rico's hand and leaned forward to kiss him firmly with more intensity than he had yet. Rico opened to the kiss, his body melting against Gregory's. It was almost suffocating. The soft hair on Rico's lean body sent frizzles of desire everywhere they connected with his own skin. His fingers kneaded rock-hard muscles, pulling Rico as close as he could physically get him.

"You're so warm," Gregory breathed, sliding his hands to touch. "You make me want things.... "His voice trailed off. "Is it always like this?" he asked, voice tense. He wanted Rico to say no. But how could Gregory believe it? Other than the fact Rico had returned his money and asked for a chance on his own. He'd have to take it on faith.

"It's never been this way for me. It's always felt good, or it wouldn't be my business, but I've never met someone I couldn't walk away from at the end of the night." Rico scattered kisses down Gregory's neck and onto his chest as he talked. "Someone who haunted my dreams, turned me inside out. I guess I just hadn't met you."

Gregory groaned as Rico's lips moved all over him. The urge to curl his arms around him and never let go was nearly overpowering. "I think I understand," he said, rolling so Rico sat astride his thighs. "Touch me," he begged quietly.

"Only if you touch me back." Rico grinned, his fingers following the trail of fine hair down the center of Gregory's abdomen and slipping under the elastic of his boxers, the tips just brushing the flaming-hot cock still hidden from his view.

A slight whimper was Gregory's answer as he slid his hands over Rico's hips to glide over his belly, mirroring him, his breathing picking up as his fingers dipped under the cotton.

"Talk to me. Tell me what feels good," Rico encouraged. Sliding higher on Gregory's legs, he rocked their erections together.

Gregory bit off a curse. "Every time you touch me it gets better," he breathed.

"Oooh ... I like the sound of that," Rico purred, his thumbs outlining Gregory's cock through the thin material of his boxers. He watched as the dark, wet spot grew. Sliding back down and rubbing his cock along the channel formed by Gregory's legs, he licked the damp spot, opening his mouth and sucking Gregory's taste from the cloth.

Gregory hissed and pulled up his knees in gut reaction, bracketing Rico on each side. "Keep that up, and this is going to be really short," he muttered, hands moving to Rico's shoulders. "And I'm not sure I have that great of a recovery time," he said apologetically.

Rico grinned up from between Gregory's legs. "I'm not at all worried about your recovery time, but I really want to feel you inside me, so I'll take it easy on you." Slipping his fingers inside the waistband of Gregory's boxers, Rico lifted the elastic over the sensitive cock and eased them from under his hips. "Can I take mine off too?" he asked, running a careless hand over his own erection as he looked up at Gregory through a fringe of dark lashes.

Gregory's eyes flashed, and desire lowered his inhibitions. "Can't exactly get inside you with them on," he growled, his hands closing on the waistband to pull at it. Rico removed the last of the barriers between them, tossing them carelessly to the side. Moving up to kiss Gregory, he dragged his body in a long, languorous pull until they were perfectly aligned, every part pressed together intimately.

Letting out a long, shuddering breath, Gregory slid his hands from Rico's shoulders slowly down his back to the trim waist and further, feeling the contours of his body. "Gorgeous," he murmured. "You make me feel so much."

"And I want you to feel even more," Rico purred, sliding a knee between Gregory's legs and spreading them so he could lie between them. Locking his arms, he rocked their bodies together in an intimate wave.

Gregory moaned lowly, gripping Rico's hips. "I know the mechanics, but that's it," he murmured, sliding one hand into Rico's hair.

"Don't worry about the mechanics," Rico soothed, turning them to their sides, legs still entwined. His hand moved between their bodies, stroking Gregory's cock. "Let me take care of you. Just tell me what you're feeling. What you want."

"It's just started," Gregory said softly. "It's just started, and I want it all. How can that happen so quickly?"

Rico's face blossomed into a heart-stopping smile. "My mom once told me that when things are wrong no amount of work will make them right, and when things are right there's no way to slow them down. Don't doubt. Just feel."

Fumbling behind him, Rico found his pants where they'd been discarded on the edge of the bed and pulled a packet of lube and condoms from the pocket. Tearing open the lube, he caressed Gregory's erection, drawing a delightful series of groans from him. Pulling his knee higher onto Gregory's hip, he slipped his slick fingers into his own body to prepare the way. Gregory arched against Rico with a low groan. "Just feel," Rico whispered as Gregory's fingers slid down Rico's cheek and throat to curl over his shoulder.

Tearing the condom open with his teeth, Rico rolled the latex over Gregory's distended cock, his fingers lingering. "How do you want me? Riding you? Under you?" Rico turned his hips slightly, putting them in a spooned position. "Beside you?"

"Above me," Gregory breathed, feeling so dizzy he was unable to tell if this was real or a dream. "I want to look up at you so I know it's real."

Rico straddled Gregory's body, guiding Gregory's cock toward him. "It's real," he husked. Dark eyes locked with green, and he rocked gently, taking the thick length into his body an inch at a time. Gregory shuddered and gritted his teeth as he felt Rico sink over him. He couldn't remember it ever being so good. It had been so different and so long ago. "Oh baby," Gregory whispered, hands moving to clasp his hips.

Chilled bumps spread up Rico's smooth skin. Gregory fully inside of him, he moaned, "Move with me."

Gregory moved his legs, bending his knees and drawing up his feet to give himself some leverage; he was able to push up into Rico with a heavy groan. His hand clutched at warm skin as he moved again and again, eyes fastened on his lover as he sank into the clinging flesh.

Hands searching for Gregory's, Rico clasped their palms together, fingers entwining as they moved in a coordinated erotic dance. His breath caught with an audible hitch as Gregory's cock stroked into him. Then their coupling gained speed and changed rhythm as Gregory couldn't stand going slow any longer.

"God ... Gregory!" Rico cried, his eyes squeezing shut. Clutching Gregory's hips with his knees and moving his hands to the broad shoulders, he ordered, "Turn me over. Make me come."

Gregory wrapped his arms around him and drew him close, flipping Rico to his back while still buried deep. With a long groan, he started thrusting down and in, breath catching at the change in sensation. It was going to drive him over the edge, and he was afraid he'd be screaming the whole way. "Rico," he moaned, sliding his hands to the backs of Rico's knees and spreading him farther apart.

Rico moaned, his body bowing up from the bed to meet Gregory's thrusts. "Yes.... Yes, Gregory ... come for me!" His hand circled his cock, his own fluids providing just the right lubrication as his hand pumped the shaft. "Fuck.... Oh!"

Forcing his eyes open to look down at Rico, Gregory gasped as he pushed in hard and fell apart, the orgasm spreading like waves of fire through him. His head dropped forward as he moaned aloud with each pulse, his body tightening and sliding over and over until he trembled from it. He felt himself swell and convulse inside Rico, twitching through his climax; he felt Rico wrap his legs up and around his hips and lift up, which sank Gregory even deeper as Rico cried out and moaned through his climax.

Gasping for breath, Gregory dizzily collapsed to his elbows, pressing their bodies together from groin to sternum, and he laid his forehead against the pillow for a long moment before turning his chin to kiss Rico's neck gently.

Nuzzling Gregory's cheek, Rico wrapped Gregory tightly in both his arms and legs. "Kiss me," he whispered, his nose nudging his lover in gentle encouragement.

With a shaky sigh, Gregory shifted enough to press their lips together gently. "You're incredible," he whispered against his warm mouth.

His lips curving into a smile against Gregory's mouth, Rico sucked lazily on the bottom lip. "And you're magnificent."

"Magnificent enough to keep around a while?" Gregory asked quietly, eyes intent. Warmth flooded his body, and his stomach fluttered with anticipation and the beginnings of something much, much stronger.

Rico's smile was sweet. "For as long as you want," he answered, his gaze never wavering.

Gregory smiled tenderly. "I want," he whispered, lowering his head to kiss him again.

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