Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Brass Box by K.M. Mahoney

Is it real, or just smoke and mirrors?

As a member of the British gentry, Marcus Fleetwood-Smythe’s life is an endless round of responsibility and duty. Charged with finding a magician for his sister’s upcoming wedding, he ventures out into the pouring rain and finds Teague, whose free spirit calls to Marcus. And makes him hunger for anything and everything his position won’t allow him to have.

Teague’s stock in trade are his wandering feet and the rather odd lineage that takes the wonders he performs on stage beyond the ordinary. But there’s nothing more magical than the sparks that fly between him and Marcus. Except the duty-bound Marcus fears letting go of a life that’s smothering him almost as much as he fears discovery.

Desire fans the flames until it flares into forbidden passion, leaving Marcus poised on the precipice of the most frightening choice of his life. Risk everything for the man who holds his heart…or watch his one chance at forever vanish in a puff of smoke.

Warning: Two stubborn men, one steamy carriage ride, and a little bit of magic may produce more than a few sparks.


Marcus slouched at his desk, brow furrowed, squinting in the dim light. Sometime within the past hour the sun had set, casting the room into deep shadows, but he couldn’t seem to stir himself to light more candles. He shifted the papers. Now where the hell was that grain price…ah, there it was.

He rubbed his forehead, trying in vain to ease the pounding in his brain as he attempted to make sense of the numbers. He thought longingly of Teague and two entire days of bliss. Then, as he always did, he shoved them aside. Certainly it would be lovely to shut himself up in the cozy little apartment above the Brass Box and spend his hours exploring every square inch of Teague’s luscious body. But it simply wasn’t possible. He had investments to oversee, letters to write, factories to inspect. A wedding to pay for.

Amazing how much a simple breakfast buffet could cost. Particularly when it was being served in the afternoon. Never made sense to him, but then what did he know? He always figured you ate when you were hungry and it didn’t matter what the blasted meal was called.

And he was wandering again. Marcus yanked his thoughts back to the business matters spread across his desk and screaming for his attention. But damnation, it seemed to grow harder every day.

And no, that wasn’t a veiled reference to anything, no matter what Teague might say.

No. No, damn it. No thinking about the man. Work. He had work to do.

A gentle knock sounded and the door slid open partway, his butler entering just far enough to gain Marcus’s attention.

“Yes, Standish?” he asked wearily.

“There is a gentleman here to see you.”

“I’m not at home.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Nonsense. He is quite clearly at home. I can see him from here.” A cheerful voice cut through the gloom of his office and set off a chain reaction in his body. His breathing grew shallow, skin flushing, nipples tightening and cock hardening.

“Teague,” Marcus exclaimed with pleasure. “It’s fine, Standish, let the man in.”

He waited until Standish disappeared down the hall before rising from behind the desk. No sense letting the servants on to all his secrets, even if they did probably know them most of them already.

Teague closed the door just in time to receive an armful of eager male. Marcus wrapped his arms around the man, hands sliding beneath his coat in a quest for skin. He relished the sensations shivering up his spine as Teague reestablished his claim. They spent several breathless moments inspecting each other, ascertaining that all teeth were still present and accounted for.

Marcus finally came up for air, lungs tight as if he had just swum the entire breadth of a lake underwater. He took in Teague’s red cheeks and labored breathing, savoring the feel of the man’s erection pressing against his leg. His lover was well built everywhere, as he’d found out to his delight nearly three weeks ago. And multiple times since.

He pulled away with a low laugh. “Hello,” he greeted the man a touch sheepishly.

“Hello, yourself.” Teague’s hands slipped away. Marcus stepped back a few paces, allowing them both to gain some measure of control over their unruly bodies.

Teague stripped off his coat, laying it over the nearest chair, and loosened his cravat. Marcus swallowed and tried to think of grain prices. When that didn’t work, he turned his attention back toward the papers waiting like spiders in dark corners. His arousal subsided slightly. His prick softened even further when he reminded himself where they were. In his house. With his mother and sister upstairs. And a servant lurking in every doorway.

“I…” Marcus halted his words midsentence, shifting nervously. His mind warred with itself, wanting to grab what Teague offered with both hands while it was being offered. Before the man vanished from his life as easily as he had entered. But at the same time, he couldn’t quite seem to let go of his problems and worries. Maybe if they were somewhere other than his house.

Teague stepped closer. Marcus didn’t trust that gleam of lust and determination shining in those brilliant eyes. He put up a hand, backing a step. “It’s not that I don’t want to see you, but why are you here?”

“What sort of question is that?” The lascivious grin was replaced with an irritated scowl.

“A sensible one. We can’t both use our pricks to do the thinking. I thought we agreed it was best if you didn’t come here. Too many prying eyes.”

“No, you decided. I just nodded.”

“Nodding implies agreement.”

“Not when it’s because my head’s bobbing up and down on your prick.”

Marcus scowled, reaching down unconsciously to adjust himself. “Now you’re simply being crude.”

Teague shrugged. “What can I say? I have a gift.”

Marcus snorted with amusement before he could catch himself. His gaze kept wandering, and he scolded himself sharply. He was supposed to be angry with the man, not ogling the muscles in his thighs. Or the muscle a few inches higher.

“Teague.” He drew out the word in exasperation.

“Relax.” Teague dropped onto the sofa, spreading his arms wide along the back. The position did interesting things to his form. Marcus had to stop himself, again, from drooling at the thick arms and the chiseled stomach, visible through Teague’s thin linen shirt where his waistcoat had ridden up.

“As delightful as I find your body,” Teague continued, “I’m actually here for another purpose. I’m giving a performance at a small theater tonight and would like to invite you to attend.”

Marcus hesitated, contemplating the odds of discovery, whether anyone might possibly deduce his reason for tramping down to the show. His curiosity outweighed his concern.

“I would like that,” he admitted. “But this time, find another volunteer.”

Teague chuckled. “What, you didn’t enjoy your brief foray into the entertainment business?”

“Not exactly. But I would rather like to see that box trick from the other side, this time.”

He wouldn’t admit it, but that trick had been preying on his mind with almost the same frequency as the magician himself. As the one in the box, he knew he hadn’t gone anywhere. But he rather wanted to find out what the audience saw. Charles may be an idiot, but so far his lack of mental agility hadn’t affected his eyesight.

“So, you will attend?” Teague sat forward, looking almost…eager.

Well, damnation, how was Marcus supposed to turn that expression down? He was so used to seeing a collected, almost disinterested mask on those stark features.

“I suppose.”

“Excellent.” Teague shot off the couch as if his legs were powered by springs. He gathered his jacket and pressed a quick kiss to Marcus’s lips. “I must be off. Much to do before this evening.”

“You could have sent a note,” Marcus pointed out.

“Where’s the fun in that? Besides, I wanted to see you.”

He wouldn’t get all mushy over that. He wouldn’t.

Teague dropped his hand and copped a quick feel of Marcus’s ass before moving his hand around for an even faster grope. “I’ll see you this evening. And if you come in disguise, I shall be extremely irritated,” he added over his shoulder. The door closed behind him with a thud, leaving Marcus with his paperwork and a vague feeling of being hit by a passing carriage.

Purchase The Brass Box here.

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