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The elderly cook gave a soft smile as she watched the lithe, blond whirlwind check and re-check all was in order for their guests. Rheumy gray eyes admired the willowy frame, golden tresses, almost restrained in a ponytail, that fell like a silk curtain when free and the intelligent blue eyes that sometimes seemed to be silver in certain light. Perfect pink lips curled into a smile for her as her attention was noticed.
“Relax, Kiran,” she said. “All will be well. Everything has been organised and your guest will enjoy his time here.” The cook could not help but grin at the blond. Their bright smile was like sunshine after shadow.
“I *do* know that, Olivia,” Kiran said. “It’s just … just … I want this to be perfect for Cole when he brings our visitor. I want him to feel at home.”
“And so he shall,” Olivia said, squeezing Kiran’s arm. “Just as I’m sure you will be pleased that Master Cole is here again.”
The remark resulted in blush-pinkened, sculptured cheekbones and effectively caused the unexpected strength of Olivia’s grip to be forgotten. Then the blond was preoccupied with another check that all was ready.
Levon sat morosely, staring out of the plane window. He glanced at the empty seat next to him and sighed. Cole had been so very patient with him. But there were times his amnesia drove him almost insane. Not to know who you are, where you are from, whether anyone was grieving for you. His friend and medical advisor for the past six months had gone to the toilet to stretch his legs. Plane seats were unforgiving for men like Cole and him who were over six feet tall. Movement caught his eye and he turned to speak to his companion. However it was not Cole but an auburn-haired woman. For a brief second, another face was there, warm and masculine, but as Levon tried to focus on it; it vanished leaving the woman once more.
She was rounded and undeniably attractive. Yet Levon felt no attraction towards her. With a guilty start, he realised she was speaking to him.
“I don’t mean to disturb you, but my name’s Melissa.”
Levon realised she was waiting for him to introduce himself.
“I…um…my name’s Levon,” he replied, hoping Cole would come and rescue him. He shook hands perfunctorily.
“I wondered if you might be interested in exchanging numbers and perhaps meeting up during the holiday?”
Melissa had waited most of the flight to get an opportunity to speak to the incredibly attractive man. She estimated he was in his mid-thirties, with a grace like that of a big cat and bearing she rarely saw. His body pushed all her buttons, tall, well muscled with short dark hair and intense blue eyes. He was gorgeous and she hoped he was available. She had watched the by-play with him and his companion. They seemed friends, not lovers.
“I’m sorry, Melissa,” Levon said. “But I’m not holidaying, I’m convalescing.”
“Oh, sorry,” the woman muttered, chagrined.
“Excuse me, please?” The voice was low and well-modulated and Melissa turned to see the companion was back. This man was more mercurial, his movements quick and silent. If she thought the first man a big cat like a lion, then this man was sleeker, a leopard perhaps. His long dark hair was restrained in a ponytail and his green eyes seemed to have an almost golden hue. Although undeniably handsome, it was as though there was an invisible barrier around him. Melissa knew instinctively she stood no chance with him. She smiled and vacated the seat she had moved into.
“Melissa mistakenly thought I was on holiday, Cole,” Levon felt compelled to explain. Somehow it seemed important he made it clear that she approached him. “I was just explaining.”
“I’m sorry, Melissa, but I’m sure you can understand that my patient’s recovery is of paramount importance.”
It was a dismissal and she knew it. Levon made no attempt to overrule it, she gave a mental sigh.
“It was nice to have met you, Levon,” she said. She nodded at Cole and headed back to her seat.
“You know, for a moment I thought she was someone else, someone important in some way. A young man … smiling, then it was gone again.”
“You came to me with a massive mental trauma, Levon. You were in a coma to begin with. It took almost six months to have you awake and aware. Your mind has to heal in just the same way your body would after physical trauma.”
“It’s been so long, Cole. There’s an emptiness inside me, like there’s a piece of me missing. Something I need and the longer it stays missing the worse the emptiness gets.”
“You saw a face in dreams and now it’s resolving in the waking world. It won’t be long now, Levon, I can feel it,” the raven-haired man said encouragingly.
Levon nodded, without looking at his companion. If he had, he might have seen the golden light in Cole’s eyes flare before it faded to leave a look if concern and … fear.
Levon stared at the old house that was to be his new temporary home. For some inexplicable reason, it actually bahis firmaları did feel like home. This was Cole’s recommendation. What he has called the final phase of Levon’s return into the world. A coma, followed by several months intensive one-to-one therapy with the dark-haired man, had Levon physically recovered from his mysterious trauma, but his memory remained stubbornly elusive. It was now just under a week short of the year that he had been taken in by Cole’s private sanatorium. There had only been his name on a card in his jacket to identify him. Nothing more. No one had reported him missing. No accident had been reported. Levon sighed. He did not want to be a mystery.
He focused back on the house. It was a typical brick country mansion. It had a high brick wall around it and they had passed through imposing iron gates to drive up the winding tree-lined road. Now standing outside the car, Levon turned to admire the well-tended lawns and flower-beds. There was an abundance of wild flowers and bees and butterflies flitted through the air. It seemed so comfortable; Levon could almost feel at home here.
The house had several steps that led to large wooden double doors. He caressed the wood and the runic symbols on them. One looked like a ‘Y’ with the ‘v’ part bisected. The same rune that had been on each of the large iron gates.
“I know this,” Levon murmured.
“Yes.” Cole’s voice was deep and held an anticipatory note.
“What?” Levon turned, the quality of the voice diverting his attention.
“Yes?” Cole nodded, this time the word was a question.
“Protection,” Levon said carefully.
“It is the rune of Algiz,” came a light, melodic voice and Levon turned.
For a second or two Levon was certain he had seen Cole and the blond at his side, stand like this before. Dark and light, sunshine and shadow, two halves of a whole that seemed to fit together perfectly. It was the same feeling of familiarity as he had experienced with Cole and that he was sure had contributed to his healing. However, he was equally certain that the blond had never visited Cole’s sanatorium. He might have lost his memory, but he remembered everything and everyone he had done and met since waking from his coma. Additionally, there was no way he would have forgotten such an attractive young man.
“I’m Levon,” he said, extending his hand.
“Welcome, Levon and the house welcomes you,” the blond said. “I’m Kiran, although friends call me Kiri and I would like us to be friends. Please come inside.”
Levon walked ahead of the other men and stared around him. The hall was light and airy. Wooden double-doors were to his right, an ornate wooden staircase was directly ahead and another set of double-doors were to the left. He could see another door further back which he surmised would lead to the kitchen.
“The room to the right is the drawing and living room and to the left, the formal dining room. Although, if you would prefer a little more intimacy when we have our meals, there is a small dining table in the drawing room. Bathrooms and bedrooms are on the upper floor,” Kiran said.
Although he had no conscious memory of the house it felt more like home than anywhere he had been to date. He felt as if he belonged here.
Levon opted to eat in the smaller room and dined with Cole and Kiran whilst Olivia, the cook, came and checked they were happy with the food. It was one of the nicest evenings he could remember, but the feeling that something missing, became one of some*one*. He frowned, the expression instantly noticed.
“Are you well, Levon,” Cole asked.
“Just a … feeling I guess,” Levon replied. “For a moment it was as though there should have been four of us.” He shook his head, but the elusive memory refused to coalesce.
“Let it happen naturally, Levon,” Cole admonished. “Slowly and gradually things are emerging. Let them come at their pace. Too much too quickly and you could be overwhelmed.”
“It’s strange,” Levon said, looking from the dark man to the light. “You two seem so right together, like you belong together. Yet I’ve not seen you with Cole have I?” His question was directed at Kiran.
“I promise you I have never been in Cole’s sanatorium, Levon,” Kiran said sincerely.
“I thought not,” Levon said sadly.
“It’s been a long day, my friend,” Cole said softly. “Why not have an early night. You can spend tomorrow wandering around the house and gardens,”
“I think I will,” Levon said, rising. Goodnight.”
Levon made his way up to the bedroom he had been shown. It was large, airy and comfortable and yet it seemed … wrong. Levon could make no more sense of that elusive thought than the others that had run through his mind. He stripped quickly, slipping between the cool sheets. He did not remember closing his eyes.
Kiran cleared away the dishes and wished Olivia a goodnight as she, too, opted to retire early. She had her own set of rooms behind kaçak iddaa the kitchen area. He moved lithely into the sitting room, where a fire burned brightly and Cole sat, the light from the fire casting shadows over his face. He sat on the chair to the left of the fire, where he could see Kiran return and eschewing the large settee. Kiran closed the interconnecting doors to make the room more ambient and went towards the seated man.
As Kiran drew near, Cole stood and opened his arms. Kiran melted into them as if it was the most natural place for him to be.
“I’ve missed you,” Cole husked, his mouth searching for his mate’s to share a long, passionate kiss that spoke of an deep-abiding love. As the kiss ended, he nibbled at the flesh around a small ear, knowing it to be one of the blond’s erogenous zones.
“And I you,” came the breathy response as Cole found another weakness. This one the blond’s bared throat.
“Want you, need you, love you,” Cole chanted as his hands ripped open the silk shirt, sending buttons flying and earning a wanton moan as he latched onto a perfect pink nub with his hot, demanding mouth. He managed to pull the offending garment from the slender arms and immediately attacked the fastenings on the pristine pants as he suckled at the hitherto neglected bud. Pants and briefs quickly pooled at the blond’s ankles and Cole palmed the taut buttocks to lift his lover clear of them.
Despite his almost overwhelming need, he still laid his precious bundle gently on the thick fur rug in front of the fire. The smooth limbs spread wide in invitation and the brunette disrobed with preternatural speed. He gave a feral grin as his furred torso, so different from the porcelain skin of his mate, came into view earning a hiss of delight from kiss-swollen lips. His hard, thick, flesh, red and wet, pointed unerringly at its hidden target as Cole settle between the wide-flung legs. Cole leant forward to unfasten the tie to Kiran’s hair, smiling as the gold fanned out over the rug.
“Take me, love me,” Kiran moaned, writhing to entice the bigger male. Cole’s lips trailed open-mouthed kisses over the warm, soft skin, nuzzling at nipples, licking across ribs, feathering barely-there touches of his lips over the slightly rounded belly. He lapped the silvery pool of liquid desire and followed the prominent vein down the erect flesh and took one precious orb in the hairless sac to suck slowly. He did the same with the other, barely registering the incoherent pleas from his mate. He licked the downy declivity, tasting his mate’s lubricant.
He positioned the plum-hued head of his arousal against the glistening portal and sank slowly inside. As they began to move in concert, the air around them seemed to shimmer. The tight channel felt hot enough to incinerate Cole’s flesh and he groaned his appreciation. Love and passion blazed in Kiran’s eyes that now glowed with radiant silver fire and the big man knew it mirrored the golden inferno of his own.
“My own, my beloved,” he growled huskily.
“My heart, my soul,” Kiran whispered.
The two men moved as one entity; possessor and possessed, light and dark, giving and receiving, love and desire, power and passion. Cole pounded into the willing body that met every movement with a powerful one of their own. Kiran mewled his pleasure as hard flesh dragged across his jewel over and over.
“Close, my love,” Cole rasped. “So close.”
“Fill me, Cole. Fill me with your love. Make me whole.”
Pulse after pulse of Cole’s release jettisoned deep in molten depths, triggering Kiran’s climax. The two men called each other’s name as their seed flowed and panted harmoniously in the shared afterglow.
When their breathing slowed, the air around them ceased to shimmer. As his replete organ slid from its harbour, Cole moved to lick his mate’s precious seed from the boneless body. His fingers caressed Kiran’s belly.
“Will we all still be here in a week’s time?” Cole asked. “Can we succeed?”
“We have come too far to give up now,” Kiran replied, carding his hand through midnight tresses that had come free of their restraint. “I can feel things reaching their limits.”
“The zenith is the anniversary. Win or lose, there can be no stalemate.”
“If we lose then everything is lost. He will not allow us to live after thwarting his will for so long. I could not live without you anyway, my dark warrior,” Kiran added, caressing the strong features of his lover’s face.
“Nor I without my sun,” Cole replied, mirroring the gesture on Kiran’s face. “Levon’s memories begin to return. We must be ready.”
“We will be, beloved,” Kiran assured. “I have to take a trip into the town tomorrow. The last of the supplies are ready for collection. I do not want them delivered. I can check them before they pass the gates. I also have to go to the bank. Some sort of screw up with the account.”
“Take care, my angel. I don’t like the thought of you passing beyond the house’s boundaries.”
“It kaçak bahis will be for the last time. Keep Levon with you. Don’t let him wander.”
“I swear it. Sleep with me?”
“Of course,” Kiran smiled radiantly. He laughed musically as he was swept into strong arms and carried up the stairs, their clothes in his arms. Soon the men were curled together and sleeping soundly, Cole protectively caressing his mate’s lithe body.
Kiran had completed his visit for the supplies and to the bank. He was unhappy with the latter. There was a small glitch with the account that needed his signature to rectify, but the glazed expression on the manager’s face on his arrival spoke of something deeper, something sinister. He was now driving home in his small jeep. He could almost feel malignancy surrounding him. The air was still and there was no sound. He gave a muted cry of distress as the jeep juddered to a stand-still. The gates to the house were visible, but still some distance away. Uncaring of either the vehicle or its contents, Kiran leapt from the driver’s seat and began to run.
He gave a cry of anguish as a black figure materialised in front of him. He felt Cole’s mind reach to him, but his mate was so far away. The man before him had a face like parchment, yellow, dry and thickly lined as though of great age. His hair was a salt and pepper mix, but rich and thick. His eyes were sunken and glowed red and malevolently. Evil surrounded him like an invisible cape and Kiran began to shiver. It had been a year since he had last come face-to-face with this man and then the man had been mature, but not aged. Kiran wondered just what had caused him to look so decrepit in so short a time.
“How nice to bump into you, Kiran,” the man said, his voice like the rustling of dead leaves.
“Step aside, Vilmar,” Kiran said defiantly, projecting all the courage into his bearing that he could.
“I think not,” came the rasping reply.
With a contemptuous wave of Vilmar’s hand, Kiran found himself slammed against a tree, his arms pinned above his head. He watched with increasingly frightened eyes as Vilmar came closer, a malicious smile on his thin, grey lips. Kiran struggled ineffectually as claw-like hands slid under his bulky sweater to scratch at his nipples, explore the budding breasts and rake over the lightly swollen abdomen.
“Get your foul hands off me,” he shouted, anger replacing fear. Only Cole touched his body with such familiarity.
“Pregnant,” Vilmar hissed sibilantly. “Cole must be so proud. I’ve never taken a pregnant male before,” he added, licking his lips.
“Defile me and Cole will kill you,” Kiran growled, valiantly kicking out at the man who held him in his spell.
“You won’t resist if it risks your child and Cole will be too busy caring for you to seek me out for vengeance. With you meddlers out of the way I will find what I seek.”
Another wave of his hand and Kiran found his legs rising in the air. They spread wide into a ‘v’ and then the seams of his jeans, from ankle to waistband, unravelled leaving just thin cotton briefs between him and his would-be-rapist. Kiran screamed in a mix of anger and fear, his body writhing futilely in the air.
Engrossed in tormenting his victim, Vilmar did not see the silent birds that began to gather on the tree behind him. As he reached to tear away the last barrier between him and his prey, two birds swooped to flutter in his face in a flurry of beaks and claws. Vilmar swiped angrily at them then another two joined the first…and another pair…and another.
With a pained grunt, Kiran dropped from the air, but the blond did not hesitate. With barely a glance at the man who was now enveloped by birds Kiran ran, his mind reaching desperately for his mate. Hs eyes fixed on the gates and he could see Cole running towards them from the other direction, a sweep of his hands swinging the great gates open. Tears ran from Kiran’s eyes, but he did not slow to wipe at them. His speed began to falter as he felt Vilmar trying to stop him. It felt like he was suddenly running through molasses.
“Kiran, hurry! Come to me, my love,” Cole shouted, hovering at the edge of the walled enclosure. Then with a cry of rage and grief, he powered through, scooping his exhausted mate into his arms and racing back towards protection. He could feel Vilmar’s evil and the shaking of Kiran’s slender body. He leapt, a diving motion that carried him past the gates which slammed shut, offering protection to the men. He ensured he landed softly, Kiran safely in his arms. Then Cole heard Vilmar’s scream of fury and felt the shudder it sent through his distraught mate.
Levon found himself unexpectedly alone. Cole had gone into the kitchen to fetch drinks and had not returned. Once again, Levon was certain there was someone missing. As the feeling swept through him, he closed his eyes and for an instant a face appeared, then a vision. A young, beautiful man on his knees, his auburn curls catching in the sun to reveal hidden golds and red and oceanic blue eyes filled with joy and love. A hand reached out to him and then the vision was gone to leave Levon kneeling with his hand outstretched, tears falling unchecked.
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