Stealing Serenity Banner, title in the center, raised, arms of a white man bound in white rope on the left, cherry blossoms on the right

Welcome to Stealing Serenity, a stand alone, erot­ic con­tem­po­rary M/M roman­tic sus­pense. This novel­la is releas­ing one scene/day (week­days) on the blog ahead of pub­li­ca­tion. All chap­ters will be avail­able for free until the book is pub­lished, then they’ll be removed. If you sim­ply can’t wait, the com­plete ebook is avail­able now on the web­store. Paperback and Subtle Cover alter­nate com­ing soon. Expected pub­li­ca­tion: July 5th

July 12, Tuesday—8:45 p.m.

428 Magnolia Ln, Seaside Court

Gated Community, National City

Kearin peered through the viewfind­er of his cam­era with increas­ing frus­tra­tion. The angles were wrong. The tone was wrong. Everything was wrong. He fid­dled with a remote in his pock­et to change which lights set into the ceil­ing above lit his mod­el. The shad­ows shift­ed. His mod­el shift­ed. The ropes shift­ed. They were still wrong.

”Stop rock­ing,” Kearin snapped. ”Be still for five seconds.”

Zach shift­ed again. His thighs pulled against Kearin’s ropes, cast­ing lines of white pres­sure where there should have been red flush­ing from his arousal. ”Fuck, I can’t.”

”You haven’t even tried.”

Kearin put viewfind­er to eye again but the image had­n’t improved. Zach’s stom­ach heaved with every labored breath, which made his erect cock bob about like a flag in a hur­ri­cane. And every time he flexed, the whole com­po­si­tion twist­ed. Kearin sighed and let the cam­era hang from its strap around his neck. He pinched the bridge of his nose and decid­ed the ses­sion was beyond sal­vaging. He’d be time ahead just let­ting Zach go for the night and look­ing into his next model.

The sec­ond Kearin stepped in to release Zach from the ropes, his mod­el shud­dered. ”Oh, thank god. Finally.”

Kearin scowled. ”If you were so uncom­fort­able in the bind­ing you should have told me.” He low­ered Zach’s feet to the floor.

”I don’t fuck­ing care about the rope, just touch me. Please. I’m dying.”

”I have no inter­est in touch­ing you.” A shud­der worked down Kearin’s spine and he had to fight the urge to aban­don the room. His mod­el still need­ed to be released from the rope, then Kearin could kick him out.

When the final rope fell, Zach reached for him­self. Kearin was quick­er. He grabbed Zach’s wrist in a bru­tal grip and turned the man around by it. Zach’s face twist­ed with impa­tience. Kearin growled. ”If you come on my floor I will make you eat it.”

Zach leaned back. ”Um, wow. Kink much?” He gave Kearin a hard look up and down, then shrugged one shoul­der. ”I guess I could be into it—”

Kearin threw Zach by his wrist toward the door and his hap­haz­ard pile of clothes. ”Get out of my stu­dio, Mr. Shaw.” Clearly the man need­ed a more unam­bigu­ous clue. ”You have thir­ty sec­onds to leave.”

”Shit, I get it. I’m going.”

He was­n’t going near­ly fast enough. Kearin loomed over him until Zach shuf­fled out of the stu­dio with his pants half done, his under­wear in one hand, and his shirt on back­ward. He fol­lowed close behind all the way to the front door where Zach grabbed his shoes and final­ly made his exit with­out putting them on.

Kearin closed the door firm­ly, then sighed, and rest­ed his fore­head against the wood. Well that had been an entire waste of time and effort. He’d spent an hour prep­ping Zach for the pose, anoth­er two hours inter­view­ing him a few days ago, and he had­n’t last­ed thir­ty min­utes in Kearin’s rope. He could appre­ci­ate a man get­ting excit­ed but was a lit­tle restraint too much to ask? Was he real­ly alone in enjoy­ing the build-up more than the pay­off? Everyone seemed to focused on cli­max as the ulti­mate goal but Kearin had found it to be unsat­is­fy­ing at best. More often than not, he was so averse to his own arousal he was will­ing to pinch him­self to make it fade more quick­ly. There had to be some­one else who could under­stand that.

With an ache in his heart, Kearin pushed away from the front door. He was­n’t gen­er­al­ly prone to melan­choly, but this lat­est fail­ure left him feel­ing alone. He was a suc­cess­ful man by any mea­sure, which made his soli­tary home life all the more acute. He want­ed to share every part of him­self, his very soul, with some­one else. Who did­n’t want a con­nec­tion that close? The knowl­edge that some­one would have his back, rain or shine, was a dream he’d nev­er been able to make real­i­ty. Not when the mere sug­ges­tion of inter­course left him dis­turbed. More than one date had gone awry thanks to his resistance.

His longest rela­tion­ship to date had been a three month affair with an old­er man who swooned under Kearin’s focused atten­tion and sen­su­al touch. But even when he was upfront about his inten­tions, it always end­ed the same way. Disappointment. Arguments. Accusations. What was it about Kearin that made men think he need­ed to be fixed? Or that they would be the one to change him?

Kearin used the rit­u­al of wrap­ping his lines and reset­ting the stu­dio to work through his frus­tra­tion and let it pass. He did­n’t gain any­thing by rewalk­ing these old men­tal roads. It was time to set the evening aside and move forward.

The ben­e­fit of emo­tion­al dis­tance allowed Kearin to review his lat­est pho­tographs with a more dis­cern­ing eye. The results were much the same, how­ev­er. His mod­el had been so wrapped up in his arousal, rather than undone in Kearin’s ropes, that his des­per­a­tion bleed through the images. It was exact­ly the wrong tone.

He print­ed a few any­way, the best of the batch, and filed them into his port­fo­lio. He’d prob­a­bly just pull them out again tomor­row but he could­n’t make a final deci­sion with­out sleep­ing on it first.

And there was the lit­tle mat­ter of Daniel Mason. He’d invit­ed his lat­est hire to review the pho­tographs even though Kearin had no need for his dis­cern­ing eye. Still, if Daniel thought one of these new images would fit the tone, he was­n’t as obser­vant on the spot as Kearin hoped. A lit­tle test of his met­tle was­n’t beyond Kearin. Though if he were hon­est with him­self, he want­ed to see Daniel’s reac­tion to the set regard­less. There was a vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty in observ­ing some­one faced with aggres­sive sex­u­al­i­ty that Kearin want­ed to capture.

If it brought Daniel clos­er to this very stu­dio, so much the bet­ter. Kearin had no hes­i­ta­tion bring­ing up his port­fo­lio with mod­els expe­ri­enced in their craft, but Daniel was an unknown quan­ti­ty, a civil­ian, of sorts. Kearin did­n’t want to scare him off too quickly.

He seemed like the kind of man who might under­stand Kearin’s goals, one of those rare and elu­sive men who would­n’t judge him for desir­ing some­thing different.

Only time would tell.