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.
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.
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