Fires of Crete – an excerpt

Fires of Crete

(#eroticromance #gayromance #MM #contemporary)

firesofcrete_cover_smUnexpected, instantaneous, and combustible attraction. Two strangers meet online sharing a passion for Minoan history. An invitation to holiday on Crete. Andrew Larson, a studious university professor, and Stephanos Angelika, an attractive up-and-coming young Greek executive, finally meet, and an undeniable need blazes to life. They have two weeks to explore this heady level of their relationship. Is it lust or something deeper?

Andrew, adopted as a child, has only a medallion that ties him to his Greek heritage. And a faded photograph of a young woman, the name of a village scrawled across the back. He sets upon a journey of discovery, but finds even more than he bargained for when he sees Stephanos awaiting him at the airport on Crete.

Stephanos leads a cautious, solitary life as a young gay man leery of living his lifestyle openly, already estranged from a family that has disowned him. It’s a huge leap when he invites Andrew to visit. Upon seeing Andrew, Stephanos knows everything will change.
The friendship that began online erupts into something far stronger and lasting. Will the weight of past wounds destroy the deepening bond they have come to share? Or will it be love that triumphs?

EXCERPT

Stephanos left the apartment at dawn, before Andrew was up, in order to walk the silent streets and clear his head. He had to come to a decision; the sexual tensions that existed between him and Andrew had reached breaking point. He came to the steps of a Greek Orthodox Church. He often wound up here either late at night or early in the morning, when he was particularly conflicted. Something drew him to climb the steps and walk into this sacred space. Perhaps he would find that elusive answer he searched for in regard to his relationship with Andrew.

He studied the Byzantine-inspired architecture, focused on the cross affixed above the archway, and then walked inside. He inhaled the incense-scented air, the aroma of polished wood, studied the rectangular stained-glass windows for a moment, then sat down in the last pew and allowed the peaceful spirituality of the atmosphere to envelop him. His father had lived by the creed of this church. Had Stephanos wandered so very far away? He closed his eyes and bowed his head, instinctively reciting the prayers he had memorized as a child. They were a comforting ritual, and slowly the tension eased. All the memories of his youth came flooding back. Bittersweet now. He opened his eyes and stared up at the cross mounted above the altar, waiting for an answer.

He jumped when a hand settled on his shoulder. He glanced up, was shocked when he saw Andrew staring down at him.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered as he slid deeper into the pew.

“I heard you leave, and I decided to follow. Call it a hunch,” Andrew said quietly.

Stephanos stared at the cross. “I don’t know what to do,” he finally admitted out loud. “I think I am a coward.”

Andrew reached for his hand, and Stephanos gripped it tightly. More tightly than he probably should have.

“What do you want to do?” Andrew asked.

Andrew’s steadying touch felt right to Stephanos. His presence was steadfast and necessary to Stephanos’s happiness and well-being.

“I don’t want to push you away. But I want more than friendship. I don’t want to lose the camaraderie we have established and exchange it for something less…substantial and fleeting, Andrew. Our relationship is too important to me.”

Andrew squeezed Stephanos’s hand. “Realistically anything beyond friendship can’t last. I have to return to the States in less than two weeks. But I’ll admit that I want more even though I know it can’t last.”

“I don’t know what to do. It seems I’ve waited all my life for now—for meeting you. And now I’m paralyzed. What if it’s not right? We can’t go back.”

“Everything is a risk. You could have stayed in the mountains, with your family, and never known something of the world. Do you regret what you did?”

“There are some days that I do, yes.”

“Because you’re alone now? But you know who you are, don’t you? Better than you did before? Do you really want to go back to that naïveté?”

It didn’t take Stephanos long to consider his answer. “No. Even with being disowned, I couldn’t change it if I wanted to. It’s inside me, and I can’t alter who I am, although some would think that would be an easy thing to do.”

“Risks are part of life. They’re scary, but they make us feel alive. Don’t you think?”

“Alive,” Stephanos repeated. “Yes, but I want more. I want to be free.”

“Come home, Stephanos. I want to be free too. I want to fly. With you.”

Stephanos looked at the angled fresco on the domed ceiling. Again, he thought of Icarus and how high he flew, how close to the sun he got. Was it worth it to feel the fire, to soar that close to a flame so bright? Wasn’t there always a price to be paid? Perhaps wounds borne? Stephanos twisted around to look at Andrew. He smiled and then stood up.

He got the answer he’d come for. Maybe not in quite the fashion he’d expected, but it was a response he embraced.

The sun was just beginning to ascend in the sky as they made their way back to Stephanos’s apartment, walking slowly. Stephanos still gripped Andrew’s hand, afraid to let go.

It was as they rounded the corner of Stephanos’s building that he pulled back and dragged Andrew into his arms. It was at the corner of his street where he kissed Andrew, thrusting his tongue deep into Andrew’s mouth. It was in the elevator that Andrew cupped Stephanos’s face with both hands and claimed a kiss, tongues clashing, lips fused, until the bell dinged and the elevator doors silently slid open when it arrived at Stephanos’s floor.

But it was inside the apartment when the fire roared out of control. Hardly had the door slammed shut when the inferno consumed them with the hunger of suppressed lust now freed as a wildfire racing across a drought-ridden field too encompassing to even think of quenching before it consumed everything in its path. And more than anything, Stephanos wanted to be engulfed by the fires of Andrew’s passion. Anogia and Andrew’s search for his past would have to wait another day.

In their own world now, sequestered from prying eyes, passion knew no bounds. Hands and tongues and bodies fused and mated. There was unleashed urgency to their movements, to their ravening hunger. And there would be no stopping the firestorm that erupted with full force.

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Now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KCNDGFW

Currently a #kindleunlimited selection

Sexual Chemistry

Erupting Sexual Chemistry Between Nathaniel and Elijah in Knave of Hearts

knaveofhearts_smIn Knave of Hearts, Elijah and Nathaniel seem very different from each other. Nathaniel is high-powered and all about business and the end result. Elijah is all about emotion and people. Elijah’s guardian, Charles, the head of a very thriving business empire,  is dying of cancer. Elijah, a sound engineer, has returned to Seattle to be with him during his final days. He could care less about the business, he’s here for Charles, and is dealing with a range of emotions concerning the loss of his only family.

Nathaniel seems almost a mirror of Charles in that he also is the head of a thriving business. He’s come to Seattle to help assure the security of Charles’s empire as a transition of leadership must occur without incident. Nathaniel is all about the business and emotion does not play into his life. Not that he hasn’t had his share of lovers. But lovers in Nathaniel’s world usually involve an ulterior motive.

The twelves steps of intimacy rears its head at a most inopportune moment. At least for Elijah it is. His focus in on Charles and his guardian’s needs during these final days. His emotions have everything to do with love for his guardian, and nothing to do with sex or have a short-term affair to ease tensions. Until the night of Charles’ birthday party–his last. And everything changes when one man walks through the door of the hotel ballroom.

Chemistry is what erupts. Eye to body. When Nathaniel first lays on Nathaniel, not even knowing his name he is intrigued. Eye to eye. Interest sharply deepens when they come face to face a little later in the evening, but not close enough to speak. Yet eye contact is achieved. The eyes can say a great deal. Voice to voice. And when a moment of respite from the party brings Elijah to the reception area for a moment of quiet, he gets anything but peace when Nathaniel finally initiates a conversation between them.

“You’re with Charles Ballard.”

Elijah’s head shot up. He must be dreaming. He blinked. Nope, the image didn’t go away. He got to his feet in order to face the gorgeous stranger. No socialite clinging to his arm. He was making conversation with Elijah. Elijah took a deep, shuddering breath. Oh, shit. Had he ever been less prepared for an encounter than this?

“Uh, yeah. I am.” Now what did he say? This was not the impression he wanted to make. Where was the brunette? Was he maybe just being polite by dancing with her? Oh, man. “Are you a business associate of his?”

“You might say that. I just arrived in Seattle. I received the invitation and thought I’d stop in to the party for a bit. But as I said, I’ve only arrived in town. I was just getting ready to go back to my hotel.”

“Oh.” Too bad. “Will you be in Seattle long?” Perhaps the question was a bit too eager.

“A while. A few weeks at least. Perhaps a month. It will depend.”

Too bad Elijah was leaving with Charles, so it was kind of a moot point. Though he would have liked to get to know this man better. Then a desperation to not lose the connection kicked in. He needed something normal…like a little flirtation, to keep him sane. He saw a discarded cocktail napkin on the table. He pulled a pen out of his jacket pocket, and scribbled his name and cell number. This was not something he did every day, but these seemed to be unusual circumstances. He had no idea if the guy was interested or not. If his business had anything to do with Charles directly or not. Whether he was just trying to make small talk or find out more about Charles. Frankly, it didn’t matter. Not one whit.

“If you happen to find yourself at loose ends, why don’t you give me a call?”

The stranger glanced at the napkin, then back at Elijah. “But you’re with Charles.”

Elijah nodded. “Yeah. I have to leave or I’d ask if you wanted to go for a coffee. Charles is getting a little tired and he needs to get home. But maybe another time, while you’re in town. You gotta name?”

The stranger seemed to be sizing him up. He reached out for the napkin. “I do have a name.” He glanced down at the phone number, then slipped the napkin into his breast pocket. “Elijah.” The way he said it was slow and drawn out. His tone was low, his voice soft and deep. Elijah recognized the tone. He gave Elijah a mysterious smile. “And if I decide to call, perhaps I’ll give it to you. Goodbye for now.” And then he turned and strolled away toward the front door of the hotel.

That Nathaniel, he is a smooth one all right. But don’t underestimate Elijah. He’s no pushover and he’ll give Nathaniel a run for his money–just as soon as he finds out the damned man’s name. And we still have like nine steps of intimacy to go. Oh, boy, was this story fun to write.

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Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07963HDWN

Books on Sale and Free in July

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Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

There’s a big sale going on at #smashwords in the month of July and a number of my books are either on sale at 50% off or some are free to download.  Visit my profile page at Smashwords.

But to give you an idea of what’s available and the code to use to get the discount, here’s a list:

 

 

50% – use code SSW50

  • Joe Gallant
  • Jebediah’s Promise
  • Nights in White Satin
  • Immortal Treasure
  • Wings of Salvation
  • Strip Smooth Finish
  • Foreget Me Not
  • Fertility Rite
  • Animal Heat
  • Black Leather & New Boundaries
  • Ambrosia
  • Eluria’s Enforcer

#FREE, Use code SS100

  • Newblood Initiate
  • Esmerelda’s Secret
  • Vanity’s Obsession
  • The Forever Heart
  • Ey Candy and Achy Hearts
  • Delicious Sinn

 Find these books and more on my profile page at Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/adriannadane

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