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 13, Wednesday—8:15 p.m.

428 Magnolia Ln, Seaside Court

Gated Community, National City

Kearin ran his hand down his lat­est mod­el’s hip, untwist­ing the rope where it had caught, then loop­ing it through Sean’s legs where he could pick it up from the front. The stu­dio was whis­per-qui­et except for the heater that kicked on occa­sion­al­ly, keep­ing the room at a com­fort­able sev­en­ty-five. Kearin did­n’t want his naked mod­el to suf­fer in any way.

Well, in no ways beyond one.

Kearin cir­cled to Sean’s front and checked in with his mod­el with atten­tive eye-con­tact. Sean’s hazel eyes were wide, his pupils dom­i­nat­ing, but his breath­ing was steady, and the flush across his chest sat­is­fied Kearin’s aes­thet­ic desires. He was almost ready. Kearin knelt. Sean’s arousal stiff­ened beside his cheek, and the upward arc of it would make this image per­fect when framed by the ropes. Kearin prepped Sean for the bind­ing by run­ning his thumb firm­ly up his tan skin, heat­ed with arousal. The rope fol­lowed, drap­ing in white con­trast as it fol­lowed Sean’s hip bone up and around to the back. Kearin leaned close to pass the ropes through knot­work he’d already secured. His shoul­der pressed against Sean’s cock, and Sean’s entire body shud­dered. The con­tact was clear­ly too much for him. Kearin backed up quick­ly, giv­ing his mod­el space to recov­er himself.

Sean gasped for breath, his eyes screwed shut. ”I want… ah, fuck.”

”Just breathe,” Kearin said. He put a steady­ing hand on Sean’s shoulder.

”Red,” Sean blurt­ed. His eyes flew open and sought Kearin’s. ”Red. I can’t do this with you so imper­son­al. It’s like you’re a robot. How can you stand there and be so… so unaffected?”

Kearin stilled. Red was Sean’s safe­word and Kearin took his admis­sion seri­ous­ly. There was noth­ing worse than ignor­ing the needs of a man who gave him their absolute trust. ”I hear you,” Kearin said, acknowl­edg­ing Sean’s need to stop. ”Do you want to take a break or are you finished?”

”God, you’re not even human.” Sean twist­ed hard to remove his arms from the incom­plete bind­ing. ”Get it off me. I’m done with this.” He yanked a rope off his bare shoulder.

Kearin stepped up to release the knot­work as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble. Sean dart­ed away from him as soon as he could, avoid­ing eye con­tact as he rushed for his clothes.

”We should discuss—”

”I’m not talk­ing to you,” Sean barked. He then belayed that by con­tin­u­ing. ”I’ve done this plen­ty before. I’ve got a thick dick, I’m a pop­u­lar mod­el. I don’t even care if peo­ple want to take pho­tos while I jack off.”

Kearin tried to remain open to Sean’s dis­tress. If he was ever going to fin­ish this port­fo­lio he need­ed to learn why this sub­ject was so upset­ting. Perhaps one day he’d under­stand how bet­ter to approach the next mod­el. ”Were the ropes uncomfortable?”

”It’s not about the damn ropes.” Sean turned with his t‑shirt in hand. His eyes nar­rowed to slits. ”It’s you. Standing there. Do you have ED or some­thing? Can you not get it up? Is that why you do this?”

”You’re upset about my lack of sex­u­al response.” Kearin concluded.

Sean scoffed at him. ”Like I said. Robot.” He waved his hand in clear dis­missal and yanked his shirt on. ”I’m out. Don’t call me again.”

Kearin fol­lowed him on auto­mat­ic, though it was unnec­es­sary. Sean slammed the front door closed before Kearin could get there. He stalled at the door­way of his stu­dio instead, pass­ing a white rope through his hands over and over again.

Robot. Inhuman.

Sean was­n’t the first per­son to accuse him this way, only the lat­est. It nev­er got eas­i­er, though. He knew his respons­es, or rather, his fre­quent lack of them, were dif­fer­ent from the norm, but he was not bro­ken or less than human for it. He was­n’t. And just because he did­n’t enjoy arousal like every­one else seemed to did­n’t make him robot­ic. He was log­i­cal. Sometimes clin­i­cal. He could men­tal­ly dis­tance him­self from phys­i­cal respons­es and he’d met very few oth­ers would could claim the same degree of con­trol. Kearin was­n’t a unique case. If there were peo­ple in the world who could find plea­sure in being humil­i­at­ed, there was some­one out there who could under­stand Kearin. He just need­ed to keep looking.

But some­times the vast­ness of his task wore him down.

Kearin coiled the rope from his palm to his elbow and back, pass­ing it grace­ful­ly into a fig­ure eight. Up and down, up and down. Rituals like reset­ting his stu­dio helped him to process what had just hap­pened. He acknowl­edged that his own nature had been a hard lim­it for Sean, which allowed him to move for­ward. He and Sean were incom­pat­i­ble. That was fine. It was good to have dis­cov­ered it before Kearin had invest­ed much more time in him. Their ses­sion had last­ed a bit more than an hour and Kearin had­n’t even start­ed tak­ing pho­tos, so he had noth­ing to review.

Kearin hung the rope pre­cise­ly on a wait­ing hook on the back wall and replaced his stool into the open space reserved for it. The fold­ing doors ran smooth on their track, and hid his sup­plies from casu­al eyes. He had used this stu­dio for more than rope­work and the clean lines of a read­ied space left him refreshed. Finally, he clicked the over­head recessed lights off and made his way to his office.

His cat, Loki, greet­ed him in the hall­way, her tail high and proud. She purred hard as she pressed her cheek to his leg, and fol­lowed Kearin’s progress close enough to trip him up if he was­n’t care­ful. He set­tled into the chair at his desk and flipped open the incom­plete port­fo­lio. The last sev­er­al pages were emp­ty and he looked through them over and over. Something excep­tion­al belonged in these emp­ty sleeves. Someone atten­tive, reac­tive, and con­trolled. Someone who could become aroused with­out becom­ing con­sumed. Kearin had­n’t real­ized how dif­fi­cult it would be to find oth­er peo­ple who could under­stand his vision. He need­ed some­one who could hang in his ropes and trust that he could bring them to a sat­is­fac­tion that had noth­ing to do with climax.

Someone like Daniel.

When Kearin had seen him for the first time at the gallery he’d been struck by the man’s hawk-like atten­tion. The months fol­low­ing had only proved the skill was one Daniel held in spades. And when Kearin had intro­duced Daniel to his port­fo­lio he had­n’t been repulsed. In fact, on the sub­ject of a mod­el he almost seemed… dis­ap­point­ed that Kearin had some­one in mind. A good sign, since that some­one Kearin hoped to cap­ture with his cam­era was Daniel himself.

Daniel’s toned body in Kearin’s ropes sud­den­ly fix­at­ed in Kearin’s mind. He would under­stand the project and respect Kearin’s lim­its. With time, per­haps he would even relax into the bind­ings and chase the high that only came with inti­mate trust.

Kearin shift­ed in his seat as his cock swelled, but his atti­tude had drift­ed away from aver­sion. Instead he paged through the port­fo­lio and imag­ined Daniel in the pos­es he’d already fin­ished. Would he appre­ci­ate the way his hands, bound behind his back, thrust his chest for­ward and tight­ened his mus­cles? Would he allow Kearin to lift him off the ground while restrained? Could he breathe into the ropes and allow them to become an exten­sion of himself?

Kearin’s breath hitched. Arousal throbbed through his body, and warmed him pleas­ant­ly. Yes, Daniel would be the mas­ter­work of his port­fo­lio. The man’s pierc­ing eyes, hazed with refined plea­sure, were the key.

All Kearin need­ed to do was bring him home.