The Pauper's Prize
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Mark Alders
Word Count :20520
Publication Date :2011-06-19
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-55487-365-4
The ruling family of Corrus needs an heir and the Viscount’s son, Wilhelm, must provide it. He is to be wed to Catherine within the week to ensure the family name continues. He, however, doesn’t love her. He can’t love her, for she cannot give him what he really desires. Wilhelm needs a man to satisfy him. That man is the most unlikely person in the whole town, a pauper named Pavel. Will Wilhelm give up everything, his title, his wealth, and all his family inheritance just for the chance to be with Pavel? Or will Catherine make sure he marries her so she can solidify her place as a ruler of Corrus?
"Before you tell me to leave, there's something you should know, Pavel," Wilhelm said as his lips quivered. He felt his stomach churn as he took in the sight of the creature who stood next to the young man.
The chimera was as magnificent as he'd heard. Even through the rain, the beast's features were unmistakable. It had the body and head of a noble lion, a dragon's tail full of shimmering green scales and the horns of a mighty ram. He could plainly see why his father had talked about hunting the creature many times.
"Tell me quick," Pavel said, his hands firmly planted on his hips. "I have little patience, and my friend's claws can shred you to pieces in seconds."
Wilhelm licked his lips, before he added, "Can we go inside? It's rather wet out here."
"Why have you been following me? You have given me my reward for what I have offered. Isn't that enough? Why bother me again so soon?"
Clearly Pavel and the chimera would need more than an excuse to convince them. Finally, he plucked up the courage to summon the words he needed to speak to be believed. "I ran away from home so I could…so I could be with you, Pavel."
"Come inside," the chimera rumbled in a guttural tone. "Getting wet won't do any of us good. And my fur takes hours to dry."
Wilhelm noticed Pavel shoot a glance at the beast. Did he need more convincing? Surely not. His kiss back in the storeroom was not only filled with passion, it was consumed by wanting, too. Perhaps Pavel was protecting the chimera. He had an idea.
Inside the cave the air was warm and inviting. Not like Wilhelm had expected a cave to be. Sure, it was dark and dusty and only lit by a couple of torches, but not to the extent it would be uncomfortable.
"Now what's all this about?" Pavel asked defiantly.
Before he could add any more venom to his words, Wilhelm grabbed him by his shoulders and pulled him close. As Pavel's mouth fell open, probably from surprise more than anything, he leaned forward and kissed him.
Wilhelm's mind spun as his lips came in contact with Pavel's. The taste of the young man was hard to pinpoint, but delicious. He tasted like bread and saliva and something unexplainable. It was wonderful. The water that dripped off his hair added to the experience. The kiss was wet and warm and exhilarating, just as he had remembered even though it went horribly wrong back in the storeroom.
This time, Wilhelm was determined he wouldn't make the same mistake again. He wanted this kiss to be perfect. He knew Pavel would be worth the risks he had taken. That stolen kiss and the promise of more meant everything to him right now.
Pavel groaned, and as Wilhelm sent in his tongue to explore all the sensations on offer, he felt arms wrap around him, squeezing him tight. He obviously liked being kissed.
He heard a chuckle coming from the chimera. "Excellent. My friend, you have found another that needs you. See? Surprises and unexpected love can happen, Pavel."
Pavel broke away and uttered, "I-I…I didn't expect that again so soon. I've…I've never been kissed so many times before. Not by anyone, especially not by the likes of you. Why are you doing this?" Pavel's arousal was clear, the tattered trousers he wore didn't hide much.
"I told you, I wanted you. I always have. Surely, you must have noticed how I have looked at you? I've even followed you through the village on many occasions before I offered you those groceries. Don't you remember?"
The young man offered a shaky smile. "Yes…but I…I feel like our relationship should be more than…" Pavel looked up directly into his eyes. "My, Lord, you can have me. I'm yours to do with however you like."
That took Wilhelm aback. "Are you offering yourself because I ask of it or because you think you may gain reward from such an act? Sure, I can provide for you, much more than you can even imagine. But I don't want you because you think I'll pay you for your body. I did what I did because of love. Nothing more."
"But I need to eat, don't you get it?"
The chimera politely coughed. "Now, now, Pavel. Let the Viscount's son show you the true intentions of his heart. When he is done, you will not need to question him. You will know."
"If he wants me, he'll have to offer something in return. I have greater needs to worry about. I have Odo to provide for as well, you know?"
"I can provide for myself. No need to worry about that, my dear friend," Odoacro said with a purr-like rumble. "And your cunning will see that you'll survive, of that I am certain. You know, come to think of it, I'd enjoy warming you both. I can make sure you don't catch a death of cold. Now enjoy your newfound friendship and worry about other things later, you hear me?"
Wilhelm noticed that Pavel's stare stayed fixed on him, even as the chimera spoke. The time was ripe to tell him what he really wanted. He suffered from a different kind of hunger, one that haunted his dreams and stabbed his every waking thought since he could remember. A hunger and a need that could only be satisfied by being with another man. Sure, he could have Catherine within a heartbeat, or any other for that matter. But a woman couldn't give him what Pavel could. His desires had been with him since he felt the first signs of manhood change his body and was something he couldn't ignore. "I don't want you, Pavel," Wilhelm uttered. "I want you to have me."
Pavel's glare became filled with surprise. His eyes widened. "What did you say?"
"You heard me." Wilhelm came close again.