Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday: Tanner

I wipe the sweat from my brow and stare up at the white disk of sun in the sky. “Go down already.” I’m in the fields until sunset, and the summer heat is just fucking lovely. I didn’t even bother keeping my shirt on. It was too soaked to bother with halfway through yesterday. It’s not like I stand out. All the farm boys go shirtless. My modesty was just getting the better of me.

Well, that and Tanner. Beefy, blonde, always with a big smile on his face. He keeps all of us in line. I never fuck around on the job, but I think about what might happen if I did, and just kept it up. Normally only think about that at night, when it’s all right to imagine getting a spanking for bad behavior, but my mind drifts as I look at him, muscular chest glistening in the noon light. Golden body hair glitters, downy. A trail of it slides below the waistband of his boxers, just visible over the top of his jeans.

Shit. Not the time for those thoughts. Boner makes it hard to do the work properly. But there it is, God damn it. Still, I glance over at him again. Not like I can do more damage.

He looks back at me, smiles even wider, and nods. What does that mean? Not long before I find out. He weaves his way across the field to me, stops maybe a foot away. Well inside my personal space, for sure.

He locks his fingers behind his head, arms out wide, showing off the tufts of hair. “It’s about lunch break, you know.”

“Still an hour, I thought?”

He shrugs and winks at me. “I’m the one keeping things going, and y’all are looking pretty hot working out here.” Another wink—was that a come-on? No. I’m just nuts—then he turns shouts out across the field. “Lunch. Be back to work in an hour. Got some tea in a jug in the back of my truck.” As everyone else scatters, he looks over his shoulder at me. “You like tea?”

I just nod. This is… weird. Definitely weird, and not helping calm down my dick.

He grabs me by the elbow and leads me over to his truck. “It’s a little cooler in the cab.” He reaches into the beat up cooler he always drags with him and pulls out a milk jug full of tea. “If you want.”

Again, just nodding. I know better than to read into it, but still… damn.

Tanner slides into the driver’s seat and I jump into the passenger’s side. As soon as I close the door, he drops the tea on the floorboard and leans across, sucks in my lower lip. His tongue slides into my mouth, thick and warm. The shock fades and I wrap my hands behind his head. We sit like that for a good ten seconds, warmth and softness and the scent of sweat constantly building around us.

When we part, his smile’s the widest I’ve seen it. “Just tell me how far you’ll let me go. No pressure.”

It takes a minute for my mouth to work again, and then I only manage one word. “What?”

“I’m not blind. You think I haven’t noticed you checking me out?” He just shakes his head. “If you want to stop it at making out, that’s cool.”

I consider it a second. Just a second. “Whatever you think is best, boss.”

He laughs and his hand slides down my thigh. “I think the bed of my truck after we all knock off work.”

Yet again, I just nod, let him unzip my fly.

I look at the disk of sun and want it to drop down that much faster.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday: Flames



The flames didn’t burn, only warmed my skin from afar, warmed the bedsheets, threw everything into stark light. Rian towered above me, the brightness dancing across his slender frame. The tattoos across his body seemed to swim and undulate, alive, separate from him. Maybe they were. It wouldn’t have surprised me.

He slipped into the bed beside me. His skin so cool and the fire so warm. He kissed me, scraped tiny fangs along my lower lip. I shuddered and wrapped my arms around him. I wouldn’t keep him forever, but I could manage for now. For a few hours. As fleeting as the flames surrounding us.

His eyes danced with brightness, gleaming gold and silver and brass. Inhuman and perfect. He dragged a thin finger down my cheek and onto my chest. I shivered again, wanted him, needed him. My cock ached, begged me to attend to my needs. And to attend to his. I walked my hands along his back, down to his hips. No sweat, no sign that he’d ringed us in fire.

I slipped a finger into his crack and traced it along the tender skin, felt the tiniest shake when I brushed across his hole. Back and forth, pressing harder each time. Again, he kissed me. His tongue slipped into my mouth like ice, drew circles over my cheeks, lines across the edges of my teeth.

I pushed my finger forward. Resistance. His body tightened as the first knuckle slid in. At last, warmth. Deep in him, my hand pressed all the way to the flesh. I circled my finger through it, pressed against the hard ring of muscles. He moaned and dived down, pushed the sound into my mouth. The air smelled of smoke and he tasted of oak wood and the strong wine we’d drank all night.

Another finger in. He hardened, cock sliding up my thigh. Wetness streaked up as he grew. I reached down with my free hand, stroked across the tip, drew circles there as I worked deeper and harder at his hole. His moaning and whimpering only increased, loudened. It leaked out, no longer contained by our mouths. The flames flew higher and higher, burned brighter. Sweat beaded up all across my body, dripped onto the rough blanket beneath us.

I wrapped my fingers around his shaft, stroked top to bottom and back again. My fingers pumped in and out of his ass. His arms tightened. He bit down on my lip. The colors of his eyes flashed faster and faster, and still the flames burned more and more.

Finally, he pulled away, breathless. A single rivulet of sweat streaked down his cheek, glinting in the flames. “I need you now.”

I nodded. I could settle for a few hours of this.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday: Silk

I stroked the bed sheets, feeling cool silk beneath my fingers. Pale silk, like cream, barely visible in the flickering candlelight. I sighed and stared up at the ceiling. Orange played over the plaster ceiling, spots and shadows and light all dancing together.

“Ready?”

I lifted my head. Seth stood there, his cock hard and curled up to his belly button. I traced the lines of his abs, dark skin with even darker shadows. Round nipples stood pert. A shadow of a beard lay across his jaw. Golden-brown eyes fixed into me, bright and alive. Thick lips drew up over brilliantly white teeth.

I nodded at him, lifted my hands and spread out my arms. He stepped forward, steps muffled by the thick carpeting. He lowered himself on top of me, all heat and weight and hard muscle. He pressed me deeper into the mattress, deeper into the heat and softness. He smelled like a wet day, rain and damp earth and wood and leather. Like a man.

His fingertips traced a smooth line down my face, my neck, my shoulder, my chest. He grazed across my nipple, flickering heat and lightning down deep into my core. It constricted, tightening my breath, and left me lightheaded as his hand trailed farther down. Across my ribs and down along my hip. I closed my eyes, fell into silk and warm. He traced the familiar lines, three inked circles. He knew them better than I did, always touched them, kissed them.

Lower still. I curled up the sheet in my fists as he wrapped rough fingers around my shaft. He stroked up and down, shooting waves of ice and fire down into my balls, up my spine. It blossomed out to fill my whole body, then receded. A cycle, intensifying each time. I whimpered and groaned through tight lips. My jaw tightened, forcing my teeth together. My arms lifted, pulling the silk up with it.

And then he stopped. I looked up into his eyes. He still smiled, and he looked unreal in the firelight. Ethereal and shadowy and perfect. “Are you ready for more?”

I laughed and wrapped my hands behind his neck, pulled him down lower to me. “I’m always ready for you, Seth.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday: Sol and Lun


The wind surrounded us, caressed our skin as we floated along thermals, brushed fingertips through pale clouds. Tzoriel’s wings beat slowly, glimmering in pure sunlight. His hands wrapped around my shoulders, dragged lines of passion down my back, down my chest, across my stomach.

We jolted higher again, swirling and twirling, our mouths knotted together, tongues sliding. He tasted of juniper and honey, so much sweeter than any mortal dalliance. I tangled my fingers in white-blonde curls and flapped to push us ahead, faster. I grew hard against his thigh, but he never allowed, never sped his approach. Always solid and steady. My Tzoriel.

The wind chilled my skin as we crept ever higher. Goosepimples raised along my arms and my back. I clenched my body against the shivering. We followed the line of the mountains, up past the snow and ice and cragged stones. A moment of lightheadedness, but it passed.

High enough in the air, there is no sound. Only what you bring with you. I could almost hear his heartbeat up there. Tzoriel’s breath was the only heat I had.

He pulled back from our kiss and smiled, then wrapped his wings around me, a cocoon of softness and brightness. We plummeted, faster and faster, the earth coming closer. My heart thudded in my ears even as his lips rode the taut cords of my neck, pressed to my skin. I sighed, let him carry me through the panic. I had no choice but to trust him. The exhilaration hummed through my cock, hardening it, readying me.

As the sounds of life approached again, his wings spread wide. Feet from death, he pulled us up, up and up to a plateau of gray rock. We collapsed together and he sucked in my bottom lip, grazed hard teeth across it.

When he pulled back, he offered me that smile again. His eyes gleamed golden and pale. “Are you ready?”


I’d been ready since we took off.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday Special: Street Magic Excerpt

Another treat of a sort, I hope. This is an excerpt from my upcoming fantasy erotic romance novella. I'll stay out of your way from there.



I kissed him. His lips were so soft and pink. Even with his eyes puffed and red, he was lovely. I could feel his body, a solid weight leaning into me, and his chill skin. I touched my hat again and called over a blanket to wrap over him, then broke out of the kiss, panting and lightheaded. "I'm sorry."

After a pause, he grabbed the back of my head and pulled it forward, crushing us together. His tongue, hot and strong, felt its way around my mouth. He leaned harder against me, pushing us into the couch. Now, I could feel his full weight against my body. The bars piercing his nipples were even colder than the rest of him. They pressed into me, hard, frigid.

We slid down, deeper into the blankets, the warmth. He shivered as I traced his spine, down to the waistband of his jeans. He arched up and, without any intention on my part, my hand slipped into his pants, sliding along the smooth fabric of his underwear.

I yanked away and pulled my hand up against my chest. "I didn't mean to."

"Please don’t stop." He brought my hand back down to cup his ass, tightened my fingers so I squeezed the firm muscles. “I just… distract me.”

How could I say no to him? I was the whole reason he needed distracting. And my dick was happy to oblige. I sucked in my lower lip, trying to control my reactions with him lying on top of me, but I could feel the tingling growth in the gray wool pants, and I couldn't pull away far enough to hide it from him.

His rough fingers slipped open my buttons, making quick work. In the heat of the embrace, the Magisters could have come and killed me. I wouldn’t have cared. Not pressed up to Nick's warm, pale brown chest, his hands undoing my shirt, wrapped under a blanket, the pungent smell of the A and D twining around us. Let them come.

I fumbled a hand out to snuff the lights, leaving him blind and me with only the light of the runes.

He pulled my shirt off and pressed his lips against mine again, let the soft fullness warm my mouth. He moved down, pressing his lips to my throat, my Adam's apple, the center of my chest. He stopped, sucking a nipple into his mouth. I shuddered as his tongue danced over the hardening, sensitive nub, as his teeth glided across it. My back arched up, shoulders tightening. My other hand reached around, squeezing down on his other cheek, pushing his crotch against mine. His skinny jeans hid no excitement, a hard rod running partway down his thigh.

He sat up, the blanket slipping off his back, and unbuttoned his pants, then yanked down on the zipper. I moved my hands away from his ass while he jerked his pants off, exposing bulging, electric green briefs. Damn. Talk about self-control. I almost started rubbing myself as I unbuttoned my slacks, slid my boxers down. I pushed myself up to get clearance, rubbing my calves against the hot, lightly haired insides of his thighs. That didn’t help matters, either. My dick stood straight up, foreskin pulled back to show off the head. Precome glistened in the subtle light of my runes.

Nick had finally loosed himself. A lightning jolt thrill of excitement coursed through my whole body, skittered across my skin when I saw his foreskin. I didn't often get to sleep with uncut guys—a dying trend in America—and I much preferred the smooth, supple look. The skin covered his head, leaving just the very front of the tip to peek out. And a piercing. A tiny bar, capped off with two silver balls, running through the underside of his dick, just behind the head. I could only just see it under the hood of skin.

His balls held tight to his body. Shaved smooth and out of the way. His bush, coarse black curls, had been groomed into a perfect triangle, the bottom point at the base of his cock.

I leaned up and grabbed the blanket, threw it over the two of us. Now we were alone, cut off from the rest of reality again.. I groped in the near total darkness, first against his hard stomach, then down into his bush, then finally to the cock. I flicked the tiny silver balls and he buckled down on top of me, letting out a quavering moan.

I moved my mouth over there, smelling the sweaty musk, the way it mixed with the A and D into a strong, pure smell. I could almost feel it lock into my mind. His smell. The smell of sex.

I eased the foreskin back until it wouldn't move anymore, then moved closer to it, kissed him on the head. Then again. Then again. Each time, I let my mouth open wider, let him slide into me until I had his head—piercing and all—in my mouth, resting against my tongue.

Heat built up under the blanket. I could feel sweat in my hair, now, dripping down my back and between my cheeks, sending another spark of excitement through me, straight to my dick.

I wiggled my tongue against the hard metal piercing as I sucked on his head. Another moan, this one shaking Nick's whole body as it forced its way out of his mouth. It bent him down again, resting his head against my shoulder. His hair flopped down, tickling my nipple. "Fuck," he whispered, the hot, humid breath of it cascading over my back.

I took in a little more, a few more inches, still leaving most of his cock exposed to the open air. His foreskin slid back into place. I moved it with my tongue, went at the piercing through the sheath of skin. One of my hands moved up and wrapped around my cock, rubbing precum all over the head, moving it inside the foreskin, turning every nerve in there all the way up to the max. I felt it all the way up into my middle, a heat, part apprehension, part bliss.

I took in all the rest that I could. It still left more than an inch of taut skin showing at the base of his cock. His head rubbed against the back of my throat. I shifted a bit, opened my jaw a bit wider, and pushed forward, let the head slide down my throat. The heat moved farther up, almost in my chest. It tingled in my toes and fingertips, too.

He tasted slightly of soap. Of soap and the sweat that poured from both of our bodies, filled the air with that raw smell. Every breath tasted of salt, though that might have just been lingering from his cock.

I stroked myself faster, foreskin gliding over the precome-slicked head. I moved in counterpoint to my bobbing. I took his dick, my hand went up to the top of my head. When I came up off his shaft, my hand hit the bottom. We moved in unison, all to Nick's steady, whispered counterpoint. "Fuck. Shit. Yes."

I sucked long and hard as I came off the final time, the head coming free with an audible pop. I still stroked myself, more slowly. I kissed him on the lips, let my tongue touch his, let myself feel the soft skin on the inside of his cheeks. His hair hung in my face, brushed against my nose, dripped sweat down my cheeks, my chest.

I pulled back and looked at him where I figured his eyes must have been. "Do you want to do more?"

"Hell yes." He breathed, then kissed me again. He only landed half on my lips, but shifted over as he went, as his hand wrapped around the back of my neck. When he released me, we both panted. The heat had hit my chest, now, into my heart, out into my forearms. A tiny ball of it had formed right between my shoulder blades. My body felt lighter, as though it could have just floated off if I hadn't had Nick to bind me down.

I groped in the darkness for my hat, then flipped it over so I could see the symbols better and touched the summoning rune. It took a little bit, but in a few seconds the blanket fluttered up, flashing our darkness with light, and a bottle of lube and a condom flew in, landed right in my hand. I fumbled with the condom, tearing it open on the third try, then stopped. "Top or bottom?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday: Sol and Lun


At the top of the hill, Sol waited, his body bathed in bright white light. He stared up at the sky, fixed his gaze on the pale orb of the moon set into the blue. For once, together, night and day.

A gentle, familiar rustle in the grass drew Sol’s attention behind him. A ghostly, silver form walked up the hill, brightening with each step closer. “I had assumed you wouldn’t make it.” A voice like a soft breeze blowing through the dimness of evening. “I’m glad you did.”

Sol didn’t respond, just bridged the space between them. He wrapped brilliant arms around Lun’s hard body, lost sight of him in the reflected brightness. He wrapped warm lips over the cool, traced shallow, circular scars that covered his silver form. His cock grew hard just being this close to Lun, and he pressed his hips closer, ground himself against Lun. Only here on this hill, and only when the full moon hung in the morning sky. Otherwise, they remained bound only to look at each other.

Sol did look. He stared longingly for years before he could finally bring himself to step out of the light, touch Lun’s pale perfection. And since, they waited for the moment their bonds would loosen again. Moments like this.

Sol bent down, wrapped his lips around the shaft of silvery flesh. It was hard and cool against his cheeks, on his tongue. Lun shuddered as Sol sucked, slid slowly up and down. Cold hands wove through the golden fire of Sol’s hair, knotted it, day around night. It only urged Sol on, made him want it that much more. He took the cock deeper, all the way to the back of his throat. It slid easily, like cool water. The only thing that could ever chill Sol’s flames.

He let himself slide off and looked up into solid black eyes. “How long?” Only Lun’s time was so limited. Eventually, the moon would disappear, and the sun would remain there in the sky for hours and hours.

“Not enough.” He unwound his fingers, stroked a smooth hand down Sol’s cheek. “But time for this.” He lowered himself to his knees. The grass came up around them as they lay, lips against lips, fire and ice, stone and light mingling together. No matter how much he tried, Sol could never capture the sensation, the feel of that icy body, the press of solid silver, the hardness of Lun’s cock riding against his thigh. Yet he relished it all the same, longed for it. Love, he couldn’t say, but the passion between them flared too bright when they were together. So bright the hilltop glowed, just as it did that day, as they lay together.

Lun wrapped long, stiff fingers around Sol’s shaft and stroked, pounded his fist from base to tip and back again. “I wish we had more time.”

“So do I.” Always more time, always the same wish. And always unanswered.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tiny Tale Tuesday Special: Midwinter

It's very warm where I am, and I'm feeling quite the longing for snow and ice. I know I can't be alone.

Now, normally I keep my Tiny Tales under 500 words, but this week is something special. I wrote a story called Midwinter for last year's Circlet Press Advent Calendar. Trouble is, it was only up that one day.

So, here and now, I'm letting it out for the world to see. I hope you enjoy it.


The screech of metal against stone filled the dark, wooded halls of the Oak King's palace. He stood at the grinding wheel, foot pumping, honing his blade. After so many thousands of years, the twining knots on the center were almost nonexistent, but if he held it just right, the moonlight would catch them, revealing the sword's former glory.

He told himself that lie every Midwinter. He knew the designs would come back, brilliant as ever. But not now.
Now, his power was weakened. No amount of polishing or grinding would change that. But, just as it was his place to greet the sun at Midsummer, so too was it his place to fight this fight on Midwinter, no matter how unfit his blade.

A few final passes over the sword. It would get no better. He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. The last remnants of his power lived there. While everything else had turned to gray death and slumber around him, the ceiling of his palace remained green, full of wave-edged leaves, fluttering in the too cold wind.

"My apologies." He held out his hand and watched the leaves wither and fall. Their light flowed into him. Their warmth filled him. And, for those few moments, he could once more make out clearly the tooled patterns filling the flat of his claymore. But it faded, as it always did. His rejuvenation felt empty, not enough for his tastes.

But after the battle, he would see the Holly King again. And that alone gave him the will to slip into the useless, brittle oak armor.

***

It was nearly Midwinter. Minutes away. And still, the Oak King stood alone at the top of the mound. What would happen if he stayed alone, if they never met? What would become of the wheel of seasons, then?

But he wouldn't find out. Not this Midwinter. The Holly King's light preceded him up the hill, casting long, spidery shadows from the lifeless trees. The Oak King gripped his sword in both hands and waited, tried to ignore the stirring anticipation in his midsection.

Glowing, rapier held to the side, the sight of the Holly King caught the Oak King's breath in his chest. Pale skin like fresh snow. Long, languid limbs that seemed never to end. The pale, peachy armor of holly wood, carved with the same knots as the Oak King's sword. But these knots cut deep, visible even from across the hilltop.

The Holly King stopped a few feet away. "Evening." Streaks of bright red from the holly berries slashed uneven across his cheeks, matching the bright color of his eyes. Empowered. "You came, then."

"I must." The Oak King looked up at the moon. "It's nearly time."

"I know." The Holly King took another step closer, his sword held off to the side. "Must we fight?"

"It's for the humans." How often had the Oak King asked himself the same question over the centuries? "They expect to see the battle."

"No one pays attention, anymore. We've clung to this meaningless ritual too long."

"It's not meaningless." More lies. They both knew the Holly King was right. The battle meant nothing, it only served to keep the respect of the people. What mattered came after, when the crowds cleared.

But there were no crowds anymore.

Another glance to the moon. The Oak King backed up. His claymore felt so heavy, tonight. Perhaps he could just abandon this. But pride wouldn't let him. Not that night. "We don't have anymore time for discussion. Midwinter is here."

The Holly King sighed and spun his own sword around. "Very well." He rushed ahead and thrust. The Oak King spun aside and sliced out with his sword but the holly armor deflected the blow. It shouldn't have, should have shattered under the weight of the claymore. But not on Midwinter.

Metal clanged against metal, filling the night air. Every movement of the Holly King shifted the light and shadows across the hilltop. Sweat already built on the Oak King's forehead, ran down under his armor, slicked the grip of his sword.

He swung again, throwing his body into the movement. And the claymore slid out of his hands, skating across the hilltop and well out of reach.

The Holly King pressed the tip of his rapier against the Oak King's throat. "You give in." It wasn't a question.

The Oak King nodded. "I always do."

Slowly, the rapier lowered. The Oak King stared into the bright, vibrant eyes of the Holly King. Stunningly red. Looking at him felt warm, like taking the last power from his oaken palace had. A ball of light and heat expanding in his chest.

The Holly King's long, pale fingers brushed down the Oak King's cheek. "I've missed you." Down his hand went, untied the breastplate, the pauldrons, the faulds. Soon, the Oak King stood in the night air, nothing but his leggings and tabard between him and the cold.

But he stripped those off, too, let Midwinter embrace him. And the Holly King joined him. They lay together, bare on the hard dirt and stone. The Holly King's light washed over him. Their lips met, locked together. Cold against the Oak King's mouth. Each touch felt like the lightest drop of a snowflake against his skin, only a whisper of chill.

Long fingers walked down the Oak King's body, wrapped into a fist around his shaft. Up and down. Soon, the cold dissipated into hot, silken skin. Up and down, hardening the Oak King's shaft, lengthening it. Up and down.

The Oak King scooted lower, down until the Holly King's curving cock sat even with his lips. He slid the length into his mouth, down to the back of his throat, tongue swirling and spiraling over the soft flesh. The Holly King shivered and groaned, tangling his fingers in the Oak King's coarse, dark mane of hair. The shaft tasted of icy winds, mingled with the earthiness of winter nuts and pine. His white-blonde bush smelled of spicy leaf rot and smoke. All signs of his grandeur, all synonymous with winter.

All perfection, to the Oak King.

The Holly King pulled himself from the Oak King's lips. Those long, thin fingers moved under the Oak King's thighs, lifted him up, exposing his bare opening to the chill night. Soon, now. Soon, Midwinter would take hold, and the Holly King would rule.

Two fingers pressed against the Oak King's hole. He relaxed, letting them slide in. The Holly King spit on them as he worked in and out, loosening the muscles. "I'll try to be gentle."

"I know." He said that line every year. But their battle was not gentle. The change of seasons was not gentle. Thus could their love never be gentle. The snow and the sun must always clash.

The Holly King slipped his fingers out and hoisted the Oak King's legs and ass higher still. His hard shaft pressed against the Oak King. Harder. Harder. In. Quavering waves warped through the Oak King's body, all from that point. His back arched off the ground. He always felt that bite of pain, no matter the Holly King's intentions.

But slowly, it subsided. He fell into the fullness of the shaft inside of him, the gentle ebb and flow as the Holly King's speed built. Coarse hair pressed into the Oak King's ass, then pulled away, taking that glorious, powerful fullness with it. Then back again. Ever faster until finally, skin slapped skin. Each thrust of the Holly King's hips rocked through the Oak King's body, digging a rut into the earth beneath him. This, he longed for every year. Not the weakness. Not the fight. Not the submission. But the closeness. The fullness. Even through Midsummer, when the roles switched, he would think of the pressure moving inside him. He would ache for it, grow hard at the mere thought of the Holly King within him.

The hardness grazed across a spot inside the Oak King. He gasped as new waves of ecstasy warmed him, cooled him, toyed with him. The tip of his cock glistened with wetness, strands of it falling to his belly. Crystalline tethers in the light of the Holly King.

Fingers tightened, pressing into the Oak King's thighs. The Holly King's words stuttered out past quavering lips. "It's nearly finished."

The Oak King resisted the urge to rail against it. Not to preserve his tenuous hold on the seasons. To prolong their coupling, even for a few minutes more.

The Holly King's body tensed. His light intensified. A choked moan rattled out of his mouth. His nails dug deep into the Oak King's legs, scratched down as his grip slid free.

A piercing cold shot through the Oak King's body. A chill of sheer ecstasy. The Holly King's essence filled him. One shot. Two shots. Three. Four. Each time, the chill pushed deeper. The domination of winter over summer, the thriving holly over the slumbering oak. The cold seeped from the Oak King's body, glowing down into the earth. Winter taking hold. The Holly King's palace would bloom from the power, dark green leaves and brilliant red berries, bright snow scattered over it all. Breathtaking. But the Oak King would get only one night there before returning to his own halls of dormant, dark gray oak.

The Holly King pulled out and wiped himself clean on the back of his hand. He smiled as he helped the Oak King to his feet. "Thank you."

"My pleasure." One he would not know again until next Midwinter. The Holly King's seed dripped free, a tiny, jagged-leaved sapling sprouting from the ground where it fell. "I would like very much to visit your palace, now."

The Holly King nodded, kissing the Oak King hard on the lips. "Of course." He picked up his tunic and slid back into it. "My bed is welcome to you, Lord of Midsummer. Whenever you wish to visit."

But it wasn't. The magic prevented that. He only had Midwinter's Day. But the Oak King was no fool. He would make the most of those short hours. He would feel the power of the Holly King again.

And soon.