Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Bound Series by Ava March

Bound by Deception #1
Lord Oliver Marsden has a secret. He's been in love with his childhood friend for years, though Vincent's never shown an interest in him beyond friendship. Ruggedly handsome, wealthy, and successful, Vincent is everything Oliver is not. And Vincent doesn't prefer men.

Then Oliver discovers Vincent hires a man during his visits to a London brothel. Desperate to be with Vincent, Oliver orchestrates a deception, switching places with the brothel's employee. When Oliver arrives at the bedchamber, he's in for another surprise. Restraints and a leather bullwhip? Apparently Vincent isn't as conservative as he appears.

Lord Vincent Prescot has a secret of his own. One kept locked away and only indulged once a month. But this month's appointment is different. The mysterious man is so perfect, so beautiful in his submission, rousing protective instincts Vincent can't deny. Yet he refuses to believe he might truly prefer men, for it could mean the end of his hopes of earning his father's respect.

Will betrayal destroy them or will they be bound together by deception?

***Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content, including bondage and spanking, male/male sexual practices.***

Bound to Him #2
Lord Vincent Prescot's life couldn't be better. Thriving investments, well-respected by his peers, and mind blowing sex with a man who submits to his every desire -- what more could he want?

Lord Oliver Marsden should be more than happy with his life. He's been in love with Vincent for over a decade and six months ago the impossible happened and they became lovers. But since then, nothing has changed. More specifically, Vincent hasn't changed. Oliver has tried to be patient -- it took a lot for Vincent to accept the fact he preferred men. But what felt like a tiny distance between them six months ago now feels like an ever-widening chasm. Why can't Vincent stay the night? Is it too much to ask for Vincent to call him Oliver and not Marsden? He knows Vincent cares for him, but does Vincent love him?

Then Vincent's father asks him for a favor -- one that involves marriage. If Vincent agrees, he'll have the respect he's craved from his father his entire life but he could lose Oliver. Nor does Oliver make the decision easy. To keep Oliver, he'll have to do more than deny his father. He'll have to give Oliver his heart.

***Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Domination/submission, male/male sexual practices.***

Deliberately Unbound #2.5
A free short story featuring Oliver and Vincent from the Bound series.

After spending long days behind his desk negotiating the purchase of a new property, Lord Vincent Prescot is more than ready for a night of pleasure with his lover, and he has a definite plan in mind for Oliver – one that involves making good on a wicked suggestion Vincent made months ago.

Lord Oliver Marsden is well aware of his lover’s dominant tendencies, and he’s quite fond of them. Nothing rivals the sensation of being bound for Vincent’s pleasure…or so he thought.

***Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Domination/submission, male/male sexual practices.***

Bound Forever #3
Lord Oliver Marsden’s life is perfect...well almost perfect. His bookshop is doing well, his bank account isn’t empty, and his nights are filled with a deliciously dominant man…who tends to be a bit too domineering outside of the bedchamber. But Vincent loves him and that’s all that should matter. Right? And of course, Vincent still firmly holds the reins of control. Yet while Oliver feels Vincent is finally ready to give himself fully to him, to make good on the offer Oliver refused a year ago, the looming threat his lover could someday be forced to marry keeps him from tugging the reins from Vincent’s grasp.

Then Vincent receives a letter that changes everything. Oliver seizes the moment and pushes Vincent toward a night neither of them will ever forget. Yet come dawn, Oliver awakens to an empty bed.

Lord Vincent Prescot knows he loves Oliver. The man’s his best friend and he trusts him. So why does submitting to Oliver leave him so shaken? It doesn’t take him long to find the answer, yet his solution could drive his lover away for good.

Deliberately Bound #3.5
A free short story featuring Oliver and Vincent from the Bound series. This story takes place after the events in Bound Forever.

Lord Oliver Marsden loves books, but what he loves even more is submitting to Vincent. A large purchase for his bookshop, however, puts Oliver in the mood to push Vincent’s boundaries in bed farther than ever before.

Lord Vincent Prescot is more than happy to have his lover home. Two days without Oliver were far too long in Vincent’s opinion. But before he can toss his lover onto the bed, he realizes Oliver has his own plans for the evening…

***Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Domination/submission, male/male sexual practices.***

The Bound Series #1-3
One erotic night at a brothel changes Lord Oliver Marsden and Lord Vincent Prescot’s friendship into something so much more… 

The Bound Series includes:
Bound by Deception 
Lord Oliver Marsden has a secret. He's in love with his best friend, Lord Vincent Prescot. When he discovers Vincent hires a man once per month, Oliver arranges to take the man's place, and discovers a dominant side to Vincent he never expected.

Bound to Him 
Wealth, status, and a lover who submits to his every desire – Lord Vincent Prescot’s life is perfect. Then Oliver asks Vincent if he loves him, Vincent's father demands he marry, and Vincent’s neat orderly life spins completely out of control.

Bound Forever 
Lord Oliver Marsden’s life is perfect…well, almost perfect. Then a letter prompts him to push Vincent, his dominant lover, to submit to him. Yet the erotic night has repercussions neither of them anticipated. 

Also includes the short stories Deliberately Unbound and Deliberately Bound.

***This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and content, including bondage and spanking, male/male sexual practices.***

Bound by Deception #1
“You’re new, aren’t ye?”

“Ah…yes,” Oliver said to the servant’s back as he followed her up the stairs, relieved she didn’t recognize him as a former client. Though he rarely saw the brothel’s servants during previous visits, a house this large couldn’t run efficiently without a small army’s worth. And if this one assumed he was another of Delacroix’s employees, then he was not about to correct her. The fewer who were aware of his identity this evening, the better.

He had arrived at the backdoor of the brothel, just as the madam had instructed him yesterday afternoon, and had been greeted by this servant. The last thirty-four hours had passed slower than he could have imagined. But he was finally here. The time had arrived. Tugging on his coat, he did his best to keep his excitement under wraps.

The narrow staircase let up into an equally narrow hall. He must be in the servants’ area of the house. The girl opened a door and motioned for Oliver to enter. The room was small and bare with only a straight-back wooden chair and square spindle-legged table.

“Where’d Delacroix find you?” she asked.

He opened his mouth then promptly shut it. Where did madams find men to stock their brothels?

The girl shrugged, seeming to understand an answer would not be forthcoming. “You’re different than her usual sort, that’s all.”

Studying his boots, he shoved his hands in his pockets. He didn’t need her to remind him he fell short. Over the years, he, too, had hired his fair share of men at Madame Delacroix’s. Each one had been a prime example of their gender. Yet none had come close to what he imagined Vincent to be like in bed. Their shoulders were not quite broad enough, even the few with blue eyes lacked the pure saturated hue that rivaled a clear summer sky, and not one of them possessed a deep cultured voice that swept over his skin like fine aged whiskey.

“Ye can leave yer clothes in here.” The girl motioned to the pegs lining one wall. She was dressed plainly in a serviceable brown dress and had a white cap over her mousy brown hair. She couldn’t have been more than eighteen years of age, yet her manner indicated she was well accustomed to the inner workings of the brothel.

Hooking her arm under one of the rungs on the back of the chair, she opened a narrow door then carried the chair into the next room.

Uncertain what to do, Oliver followed. Someone had already lit the candles and stoked the fire. The mahogany furnishings and floorboards gleamed from diligent care. Muted tan and cream paper covered the walls and a pair of comfortable black leather armchairs flanked a marble fireplace. The bedchamber would appeal to Vincent. Neat, tidy yet masculine -- everything in its place, except for the straight-back chair positioned a few feet from the foot of the bed.

The clank of metal drew his attention to the dresser. Bent at the waist, the servant searched through the bottom drawer. She turned and crossed to the chair.

His eyes widened at the object in her small hands. Apprehension rushed over his skin, pricking the hairs on his nape. Standing on the chair, she reached up and hung the middle of the length of chain from a hook in the ceiling. The contraption formed a triangle -- chain on top with a three-foot iron bar connecting the ends. Pursing her lips, the girl adjusted the chain until the iron bar hung horizontal to the floor.

His heart thumped against his ribs. That contraption was meant for him. He knew it without a doubt.

She went back to the dresser. Opening and closing drawers, she pulled out objects and set them on top of the dresser. Four thick leather cuffs adorned with metal rings, two smaller cuffs and two slightly larger. Another iron bar with hooks on each end. Two glass bottles filled with golden liquid he suspected was oil. A fluffy white towel. A metal ring a couple inches in diameter. Marble dildos and anal plugs in various sizes. A coiled leather bullwhip. A cat-o’-nine with braided leather tails. A wooden paddle, the type favored by the headmaster at his old boarding school. He took a step closer and pushed his spectacles higher on his nose. Was that a dog’s collar?

Christ. It was all for him. He had to be in the wrong room. Discovering Vincent had a secret penchant for male partners had been shocking enough. Fortunate for Oliver, but unexpected nonetheless. But this? It absolutely did not fit the conservative man Oliver had known since childhood.

The girl hadn’t asked Oliver’s name. Perhaps she mistook him for someone else. He cleared his constricted throat. “Pardon, miss. I am here for a lord.”

“Yes.” She slipped one of the bottles of oil into her pocket and walked to the washstand next to the narrow door.

“A Lord Vincent Prescot.”

She poured water from a pitcher into the basin. “Yes, his lordship should be along shortly.”

His heart skipped a beat. Holy Mother of God. His attention snapped to the dresser, to those leather cuffs. A frisson of unexpected anticipation raced up his spine at the prospect of submitting to Vincent. Then dread dropped into his stomach like a deadweight. What if Vincent restrained him then lit the candles? He’d be powerless to prevent Vincent from discovering his identity. Rolling his shoulders, he dragged his hand through his hair.

The servant took two more white towels from the bottom shelf of the washstand and placed one next to the basin. After setting the bottle of oil from her pocket and the other towel on the bedside table, she surveyed the room, clearly checking to see if all was in place. Her gaze stopped on Oliver, who lingered by one of the armchairs. She gave a little sigh. Her brown eyes softened with compassion. “No reason to be nervous. His lordship’s a good sort, and he don’t ’ave heavy hands. Won’t leave no permanent marks on ye. If it’s any help, he’s Cameron’s favorite. The man’s been sulkin’ since Delacroix told him ye were to take his place tonight.”

Oliver already knew Vincent was the blond Adonis’s favorite. It had been Cameron who had dropped enough hints about the ruggedly handsome lord whom he only got to see once a month for Oliver to guess the man’s identity. And hell, if anything, Oliver should be Cameron’s favorite. Likely Oliver was the only male patron who paid to be bent over. “I’m not nervous,” he said, fighting to keep from shifting his weight.

She shrugged. “Remove your clothes except for your breeches. If you’re wearing drawers, remove them, too. His lordship will expect you to be ready when he arrives.”

With that, she picked up the chair and left Oliver alone in the room.

What the hell had he gotten himself into? It would be worth it, though. This was his one chance to be with Vincent, and he wasn’t turning back now. He swallowed hard. No matter what.

Forcing his gaze from the iron bar suspended from the ceiling, he began undressing.

“Damn,” he muttered, struggling with the knot on his cravat. He never could tie the darn thing correctly, and now it wouldn’t come undone. Using the mirror above the washstand, he was finally able to remove his cravat. Dropping the rumpled linen, he studied his reflection.

He looked more unkempt than usual. Hopefully it and a lack of light would be enough to fool Vincent. He had also purposefully avoided Vincent since the man had returned from a long visit to the country -- no reason to have Oliver’s image too clear in Vincent’s memory. A four-day-old beard covered Oliver’s jaw, and he was in sore need of a haircut. Dark waves, disheveled from his habit of running his hands through his hair, hung down to his jaw. Common brown eyes stared back at him from behind wire-rimmed spectacles. He could well understand why Vincent had never shown a hint of interest beyond friendship. Everything about Oliver was unremarkable. Average height. Average build. Average intellect.

He let out a harrumph and unbuttoned his plain brown coat. Growing up with a man who excelled at everything he did, one couldn’t help but feel not quite up to snuff. Not that he’d ever been jealous of Vincent’s successes. He held nothing but admiration for the man.

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Something considerably more than admiration had driven him to this room.

Using the bootjack by the fireplace, he removed his boots. After he finished undressing to the servant’s specification -- or rather Vincent’s specification -- he gathered his clothes and left them in a heap on the small table in the adjoining room. He took a step back into the bedchamber then turned around, removed his spectacles, and tucked them into his coat pocket.

Hopefully Vincent would be close enough for Oliver to see him clearly. He was quite looking forward to taking in Lord Vincent Prescot without his impeccably tailored clothes. The image would need to last a lifetime, and he didn’t want to miss anything.

One by one, he doused the candles until only the soft golden glow of the fire lit the bedchamber, the light so weak it couldn’t penetrate the dark corners of the room. The fabric of his breeches rubbed against his cock as he paced in front of the fireplace. It was oddly erotic to go about without drawers. The decadent sensation mixed with the anticipation and apprehension strumming his nerves.

His gaze kept straying to the chained iron bar and to the dresser. Images flashed before his mind’s eye. His wrists locked to that iron bar, Vincent behind him slipping oil-slicked fingers up his arse, probing deep, preparing him. Lust shot through his body. His strides faltered. No, he wanted more than that. He wanted Vincent. He wanted the man to take him, and if that meant being restrained and collared, getting flogged until he sobbed for mercy, then he would do it.

A tinkling, feminine laugh seeped through the closed door. Oliver stopped in his tracks and strained to hear. There was a deep low rumble of a masculine voice.

He had arrived.

Oliver glanced quickly about the room, unsure what to do. Sit, stand, get on the bed? Excitement and nervousness clashed, forming a noxious mixture.

The knob clicked, and the door opened.

Bound to Him #2
October 1822
London, England

Under normal circumstances, the sight of a gambling hell wouldn’t put a smile on Lord Vincent Prescot’s face. Especially not a somewhat questionable one in Cheapside.

But tonight he had a reason to smile and an even better reason to go inside that hell.

He leaned right, reaching for the brass lever on the carriage door, but stopped short as the movement caused a hard object to bump against his outer thigh. No way could he go into a hell with that in his pocket. He highly doubted the servants who tended to the guests’ coats did so without thoroughly examining the garments as soon as their owners were out of sight. The thought of a footman finding the gift, and wondering why he would possess such an object, did not sit well. Odd, considering he’d had no such qualms purchasing the thing. Then again, he hadn’t been with another man at the time. But he would most certainly leave the hell tonight with another man. And not just any man, but a man who had become so much more than his old childhood friend.

Only four-and-twenty and already Vincent possessed what most men strove their entire lives to attain: the respect of his peers, a thriving bank account, and incredible sex with someone who submitted to his every desire. Someone who loved him.

Chuckling in amazement at his good fortune, he removed his greatcoat, carefully folded it, and placed it on the leather bench. Then he got out of the carriage and gave his navy evening coat a sharp tug to straighten it.

“I’ll be about an hour, but stay nearby,” he instructed his driver.

The October night air was cool and thick, holding a heavy reminder of the rains that had made the roads from Rotherham to London a muddy mess. After three days of travel and more than three weeks of near constant work that should have only taken two weeks, he should be exhausted. And he had been exhausted, until he had left his townhouse to come here.

He sidestepped around the young bucks gesturing in drunken conversation by the streetlamp and went inside Dennett’s gambling hell. The burly guard stationed inside the door barely looked at him before tipping his head, allowing Vincent to pass. As he went through the entrance hall, his upper lip curled into a sneer at the scarlet and plum-patterned rug, the equally vibrant paper covering the walls, and the worn velvet upholstery on the two armchairs in the corner. Purple and red—what a ghastly color combination. And had they gilded every piece of exposed metal? The chandelier, the candelabras on the console table, and even the hinges on the door shone bright gold. The place was a garishly overdone imitation of a West End gentlemen’s gambling hell. A greedy merchant’s paradise. Definitely not up to his usual standards, but Dennett’s was out of the way and, most importantly, only a five-minute drive from Lord Oliver Marsden’s apartments.

He stopped just inside the main hall and, using his height to his full advantage, scanned the room. The shouts of victory, the curses of defeat, and the drone of many voices pressed against his ears. The chatter of the various games rode under the din: the flick of cards being shuffled, the click of gambling chips, and the roll of dice. In less than a second, he found Marsden in the crowd. Slighter built and a good four inches shorter than Vincent’s own six feet two, the man stood at one of the gaming tables near the center of the room, his back to Vincent. A smile curved Vincent’s lips, the last lingering bit of exhaustion slipping from his body. Had it only been four weeks since he had seen him? Hell, it felt like four years. His sights on those hunched shoulders and the unruly mop of dark brown hair, Vincent wove around the other patrons.

One hand braced on the ledge of the roulette table, Marsden leaned forward to place a bet. The tails of his brown coat draped over his arse as he bent at the waist, his hips tilting at a most inviting angle. Vincent clenched and unclenched his hands, tamping down the impulse to rip off those poorly tailored clothes and expose the sleek, honed body. To lay a hard smack on that round arse and grab those slim hips, to hold them steady as he—

Stop it!

Gritting his teeth, he threw off the flare of lust and pacified himself with the knowledge that there would be plenty of time to fuck Marsden later tonight.

He took up a place beside him just as the man straightened. “Evening, Marsden,” he said, clapping him on the shoulder.

His hand hadn’t remained on his shoulder an instant longer than polite manners dictated, yet he felt Marsden’s shudder. The man’s responsiveness stroked Vincent’s ego to no end in the bedchamber, but it wasn’t such a desirable trait when they were together in public. Marsden claimed he worried overmuch, that no one would ever suspect Lord Vincent Prescot would bugger another man. Still, Vincent couldn’t help but worry; sodomy was, of course, against the law, never mind that his reputation would be ruined if word got out. Hence one of the reasons Vincent had chosen to meet here instead of at White’s.

Marsden shifted his weight then shoved his wire-rimmed spectacles higher on his nose before turning his attention to Vincent. His movement caused the jade pin affixed directly below his cravat to catch the light from the gaudy chandelier overhead. For the past six months, ever since Vincent had given it to him, Marsden had worn the pin whenever he left his apartments. And every time Vincent saw it, he felt that tug on his chest. No one else but the two of them knew what that pin meant, but to Vincent, it was akin to a brand on the man’s forehead, declaring to whom he belonged.


Though the pin didn’t do a bit of good at helping to keep the man’s cravat straight. No matter Vincent’s efforts, Marsden couldn’t quite get the hang of tying a respectable Mathematical knot. Should have gone with a Gordian knot. He could manage a passable one of those.

“Evening, Prescot. How was Rotherham?” Marsden asked, referring to the property Vincent had purchased almost a year ago.

“Good.” He pulled a fold of pound notes from his coat pocket and tossed them onto the green baize.

“Only good?”

“All right. More than good.” The croupier pushed three stacks of chips to Vincent. With a couple of taps of his fingertips, he straightened the stacks. Then he took five chips and placed them at the bottom of the third column of numbers on the table. “That rather large vein of coal is actually quite significant.”

Marsden’s full lips curved into a genuine smile, his dark brown eyes crinkling at the edges. “Well done, Prescot.”

Would he ever tire of hearing those words from Marsden?

No. Not ever.

The croupier shouted to the men gathered around the table, calling for an end to the betting.

“How have you been, Marsden? Your grandmother keeping her harassments to a minimum?”

“Don’t think she’s capable of that. Always has some new complaint when I visit her. Though yesterday I could have sworn she was actually pleased to see me.”

“Why wouldn’t she be? You’re her only family member who puts up with her. If not for you, she wouldn’t have any callers.” Marsden’s only answer was an uncomfortable shrug. The man had the patience of a saint. Vincent would have found a companion for the old woman years ago and parted with whatever sum necessary to see the task done. “And how are the tables tonight? Having any luck?” he asked, as the small marble clickety-clacked around the roulette wheel.

Marsden let out a sigh. “No.” Though he need not have answered. The paltry stack of chips before him was answer enough.

“Black six!”

He didn’t believe it possible, but at the croupier’s shout, somehow Marsden’s shoulders slumped even further.

“What bet did you place?”

“Red twenty-five.”

He had bet his age? Vincent picked up the ten chips the croupier pushed toward him and placed them at the bottom of the second column of numbers on the table. “Straight-up? You didn’t bet the corners or a split?”

Marsden shook his head.

“Would you prefer to play vingt-et-un or faro instead? Maybe something that relies on more than blind luck to win. I’ll partner you at whist if you’d like.”

“No. I don’t want to be responsible for your losses. In any case, the wheel seems fond of you. Might as well play it a bit longer.”

Perhaps he should not have suggested they meet at Dennett’s. Marsden certainly did not have a knack for gambling, and honestly, Vincent shouldn’t encourage him. The last thing he wanted was for Marsden to become a degenerate gambler like his father, the Marquis of Campden, who had recently fled Town to escape his debts.

Marsden turned his attention back to the green baize. Full bottom lip caught between his teeth and brow scrunched in concentration, he contemplated his next bet. Well aware of Marsden’s precarious financial situation, he covertly nudged one of his stacks of chips, moving it next to Marsden’s tiny stack. Since he had been the one to choose Dennett’s, the least he could do was compensate for his losses.

Clutching a full glass of wine, a man squeezed into the space beside Vincent. Determined not to get Bordeaux spilled on his coat sleeve, he moved aside, creating enough room for the man’s large frame and even larger belly, and ended up pressed against Marsden. Pure heat blazed from his upper arm to his knee, one long continual line down the side of his body. They were so close a turn of his head would have his lips brushing the dark waves of Marsden’s hair. Marsden let out a low grunt. Senses perpetually attuned to the other man, Vincent could scent his arousal even at a smoke-filled gambling hell. Marsden shifted his weight, his thigh rubbing against Vincent’s, his hand curling into a white-knuckled fist around the chip he held.

Please, Marsden, get yourself under control.

Vincent chanced a quick, nervous glance around the roulette table, but the other patrons appeared blissfully ignorant of the erection he was certain now tented the placket of Marsden’s trousers. It wasn’t as if those across from them could see it anyway—the table came up to Marsden’s waist. Still, the man next to Marsden could happen to glance down, or—

“Prescot!” a voice called from behind him.

Thank heaven for a distraction. Suppressing a relieved sigh, he took a step back from Marsden and turned to face a slim young gentleman with blond hair.

“Good evening, Winters.”

“Never expected to come across you here,” Frank Winters said with a jovial smile. Judging by the low cut, red silk gown and the heavily applied rouge, what could only be a cheap whore clung to his arm. Likely picked her up off the street. Winters brought his glass to his lips and looked around Vincent’s shoulder. “Ah, that answers it. You’re with Marsden. Don’t know why you bother with him. Won’t be long before he follows his father to the continent.”

Vincent glared at him, a muscle ticking along his jaw, a fierce rush of protectiveness tightening his throat. How dare this little whelp—by God, he was only the son of a mere baron and not a very well heeled one at that—speak so callously about Marsden when he was but two feet behind Vincent? The urge to slam his fist into the man’s smug face was almost overwhelming. Through sheer force of will, Vincent kept his arm at his side and managed to speak in a cool, bored drawl. “Have a care with the gin, Winters. Wouldn’t want you to follow in your father’s footsteps.”

Winters’s hazel eyes widened, a flush creeping up his neck to cover his cheeks, at the blunt reminder of his drunkard of a father who had made an arse out of himself at more than one social function. When he opened his mouth to speak, Vincent turned his back to him. And bumped shoulders with Marsden as the man turned from the gaming table.

Heat flared across his biceps, momentarily distracting him. He blinked and watched Marsden’s brown-coated back weaving between the patrons. Where the hell was he going?

“Red fourteen!” the croupier shouted.

Vincent snatched up his winnings and made to pick up his other chips, but stopped, hand poised above the three stacks, one not quite as neat as the others. An annoyed grumble rumbling his chest, he pocketed the chips. Marsden and his damn pride. He’d just leave a few pounds at the man’s apartments. The place was always such a disorganized mess. It would take Marsden days to come across the money, and by then, he’d likely assume he had merely misplaced it and not connect it to Vincent.

He scanned the room, spotted Marsden’s dark head over at the cashier’s cage, and went over to him. He stopped at Marsden’s shoulder, ignoring the protests from the two men in line behind him. “Ready to leave already?” He would admit to a certain eagerness to go on to Marsden’s apartments. All right, more than eager. But since he’d been gone for weeks, he had rather looked forward to spending some time with him. Outside of his bedchamber.

“I’ve had enough gambling for one night.” Marsden took the few shillings the cashier pushed under the gilded bars of the cage. Then he lowered his voice. “I’ve been here for two hours. Your note said eight, Prescot, not ten o’clock.”

Vincent gave his chips to the cashier. “The rains delayed my travel. As it was, I only stopped home long enough for a change of clothes.” And to pick up your gift.

Marsden said nothing, merely shoved his hands in his pockets and contemplated his scuffed evening shoes.

While the cashier meticulously counted a pile of gold sovereigns, Vincent tipped his head toward his friend. “My apologies, Marsden,” he murmured. “I didn’t know the roads would be such a mess when I wrote you. As it was, I was fortunate to make it to London tonight.”

Marsden tucked an errant wavy strand behind his ear and studied him from the corner of his eye. It wasn’t as if Vincent had purposefully dallied on his journey. Hell, he had no control over the weather. So why was he so worried Marsden would hold it against him?

Those long, dark lashes swept down. Ducking his chin, a little smile tugged on the corner of Marsden’s mouth, and he lifted one shoulder. “I understand. I’m glad you made it back safely.”

Vincent couldn’t hold back the smile as the tension slipped out of him, and in its place settled the delicious hum of anticipation. He had spent the greater part of the afternoon staring out the window of his carriage as it slowly made its way to London and planning exactly what he would do to Marsden once he had the man alone. “Shall we be on our way then?”

Marsden nodded, a quick jerk of his head.

He pocketed the gold sovereigns, leaving one for the cashier. When they reached the entrance hall, he stopped near the footman stationed at the cloak room. “Your greatcoat?”

Marsden didn’t pause but continued on. “Didn’t bother with it. Did you take your carriage or hire a hackney?”

Three long strides had him at Marsden’s shoulder once again. “My carriage.” The burly guard opened the front door as they approached. “Marsden, it’s October. You should not have left your greatcoat at home.” Marsden walked most everywhere he went in Town. His apartments were close, but not so close that he wouldn’t have risked catching a chill if it had rained.

“So where’s yours?”

Marsden was getting an extra smack on the arse later for that cheeky comment. Then again, knowing his friend, it would only encourage him. “My coat is in the carriage. Unlike you, I only had to walk twenty feet to reach the hell.” He stopped at the streetlamp and flicked his fingers, motioning to his driver waiting for him a few buildings down the road.

His team of four bays pulled up next to him. “Lord Oliver’s apartments,” he informed his driver as he stepped into the carriage.

Marsden’s knees brushed his as he settled on the bench opposite him. The driver snapped the whip, and the carriage lurched forward. Only the soft light from the streetlamps they passed broke the darkness, the golden glow cutting across Marsden’s profile; it illuminated the long curve of his lashes behind his spectacles, the high arch of his cheekbones, and the slightly parted full lips. How had Vincent managed to go four weeks without those lips wrapped around his cock?

“God, I missed you.” The desperation in Marsden’s whispered words sent a thrill through him.

Marsden shifted forward, as if to move to sit beside him. Aware of the open shade on the window, Vincent lifted one leg and pressed a foot over his groin, holding him down, keeping him on the opposite bench. Marsden instantly submitted, settling back, yielding to the pressure, his legs falling open. Vincent rotated his foot, rubbing the sole of his evening shoe over Marsden’s rapidly hardening cock. “Were you good, boy, in my absence?” he asked, voice pitched low but with a hard edge that would have Marsden panting in no time.

Marsden’s tongue darted out, a quick swipe across his lower lip. “Yes.”

He pressed harder, pulling a grunt from Marsden. “Yes, what?”

“Yes, milord.”

“Hmm.” He passed a hand over his jaw as he continued to rub Marsden’s cock through the placket of his trousers, the soft wool sliding easily over silken skin. It didn’t feel as though Marsden had worn drawers. One less piece of clothing for the man to remove when they reached his apartments. “Are you certain? Did you take yourself in hand?” He knew the answer, but couldn’t resist the urge to voice the question. To torment Marsden. To make the man squirm with a mixture of embarrassment and pure, stark need. To ratchet up the anticipation hanging in the air between them, so heavy he could feel it.


“Yes or no, Marsden. Did you pleasure yourself in my absence?”

He lifted his hips, seeking even more pressure, and speared Vincent with a hot stare. “Yes.”

“And what did you do, exactly.”

“Stroked my cock until I came.” The words rushed out of Marsden’s mouth, the sharp pants of his breaths filling the closed carriage.

“That was all? Did you penetrate yourself?” At Marsden’s quick nod, he asked, “With what? Your fingers or one of your toys?” Marsden possessed a collection that rivaled the quaint little shop off Bond Street that sold a nice array of paddles and leather goods, in addition to the usual erotic offerings. A collection Vincent had taken great delight in watching Marsden sample on more than one occasion.

The faint light from a passing streetlamp gave him a glimpse of the blush staining Marsden’s cheeks. “Both.”

“At the same time?”

His dark eyes flared. “N-no.”

Vincent tsked. “A shame. Perhaps we shall need to try that.” He dropped his voice to a low rumbling growl. “See if you can take it.” Marsden’s breathy whimper shot straight to his groin. The man was so wonderfully responsive, so eager to please, so absolutely beautiful. So perfect. Warmth blossomed across his chest, a lush, comforting sensation that had nothing to do with the lust spiking his senses. Vincent tamped down the grin and instead kept his features schooled in a hard mask that approached disinterest. “Would you like that, boy?”

Even with the motion of the carriage, he could feel Marsden’s body vibrate as the man fought to remain still, his hands curled in tight fists on his thighs. “Y-yes, please, milord.”

The thought of Marsden naked on the bed, his golden skin flushed with arousal, knees drawn up to his chest, working his fingers alongside a slim dildo in his tight arse… Vincent swallowed back the grunt. Damnation. Yes, indeed, he would definitely need to coax Marsden into giving it a try. “But not tonight. I have other plans for you.” He laid a hand on the greatcoat folded at his hip, over the hard length hidden in the pocket. The man would get stuffed full, but with only one object at a time tonight. He glanced out the window. “Almost there. Best get yourself under control.” He gave Marsden’s prick a light tap before moving his foot back to the floorboards.

“Already?” Groaning, Marsden tipped his head back and ran his hands through his hair, further disheveling the dark waves. “Hell. Should have brought my greatcoat. Would have hidden it.” He sucked in a long controlled breath, as if he were steeling himself for something unpleasant. Then he spread his legs wider, grabbed his ballocks through his trousers, and tugged, hissing sharply through his clenched teeth.

Ouch. That had to have hurt. And not in a good way. “Yes, you should have,” Vincent said with a chuckle, as he put on his own coat and did up the buttons to hide his straining erection.

The carriage slowed to a stop at a familiar three-story building that looked more like a boarding house than bachelor apartments. He turned a blind eye to the bent wrought-iron rail on the stone steps leading to the front door with its peeling black paint. Instead, he focused on the two dark windows on the top floor. In just a few moments, they would be in that apartment, and he would have Marsden all to himself without having to worry about the judging eyes of others upon them.

As Marsden reached for the brass lever on the door, Vincent laid a hand on his forearm, staying him. Questioning eyes so rich and dark they almost approached black met his. He tucked that errant wavy strand back behind Marsden’s ear and murmured, “I missed you, too.” Then he winked. “Now get your arse inside so I can fuck you.”

Deliberately Unbound #2.5
The buckles on Oliver’s ankles seen to, Vincent stood and took a step back. Navy-coated arms crossed over his broad chest and features schooled in a bland mask, he appraised Oliver. If not for the blatant erection tenting the placket of his trousers, one might think him unaffected. The man’s iron-willed control an aphrodisiac all its own.

Oliver curled one hand into a fist to resist the impulse to reach out and tug on that placket. To free his lover’s cock. To have the weight of him heavy in his palm. To feel the silken skin slide past his lips. To taste the proof of Vincent’s desire for him.

A wave of need washed over him. Please, tell me to suck your cock. Somehow he kept the plea inside. It was all he could do not to grab his own prick, clutch it tightly at the base and push back the orgasm teasing his ballocks. Hell, Vincent had barely touched him. Just being cuffed by Vincent had the most profound effect on him. Breaths quickening, his gaze swept over his lover’s body. He knew exactly what those strictly tailored clothes hid. Six feet two inches of pure muscle and power. Enough power to easily force Oliver to do his bidding, not that force was ever needed.

Then his gaze slid up the broad chest to Vincent’s handsome face. The strong jaw, the firm mouth drawn in the straight line of consideration, the slightly roman nose. The absolute command, the rock-solid control in the man’s eyes…

Oliver’s shoulders went lax. His chin tipped down, the dark waves of his untidy hair falling forward as he dropped his attention to Vincent’s polished evening shoes. He wanted to drop to his knees, pledge his undying devotion, but he kept his legs under him and his mouth shut, focusing only on Vincent, on following each and every order for each one would take him one step closer to complete and utter bliss.

“Good boy.”

Those two words, spoken in that deep, rumbling voice, never failed to make Oliver feel damn good.

“Get on the bed.”

Oliver’s gaze flickered up to the iron hook in the ceiling directly overhead. He had thought…but perhaps Vincent planned to make good use of the headboard. Wouldn’t be the first time. Turning, he stepped over the clothes he had earlier discarded and crawled onto the bed, the old frame creaking in protest.

“On your back. Legs spread.”

Positioning himself in the middle of the gray woolen blanket, he rested his head on one of the pillows and did as he was bid, knees slightly bent and legs spread...

Bound Forever #3
December 1823
Rotherham, England

The familiar press of hot, silken skin against his thigh roused Vincent from sleep. For a moment, he kept his eyes closed and soaked up the feel of the soft breaths tickling the hair on his chest, the weight of the sleek yet honed body sprawled half over him, and the arm slung across his waist. A combined sensation that had not gone the least bit stale after a year and a half with this man, and one he knew for certain he would never grow tired of.

With the barely audible grunt of one in a deep sleep, his lover shifted, pressing closer. A smile stole across Vincent’s mouth. That was most definitely an erection, hard and insistent, the heat of it practically branding his thigh.

Desire flared under his skin, rousing his sleep-fogged senses. Blood rushed to his groin. What had once been the beginnings of a pleasant morning erection now pushed against the blankets covering him and Oliver. He blinked his eyes open. Light cut through the breaks in the forest green drapes but didn’t fully penetrate the night shadows clinging to the corners of the bedchamber. Judging by the crisp yet weak golden quality of the sunlight, dawn had just arrived. Plenty of time before his housekeeper arrived to cook breakfast and tidy the bedchambers.

A gentle nudge to Oliver’s shoulder and, taking the coverlet and sheet with him, Oliver rolled onto his back. Beautifully compliant, even in sleep. The chill December air hit Vincent’s skin, but he didn’t bother getting out of bed to light the fire in the hearth. Within a handful of minutes, the heat quickly building within him would make the warmth of a fire feel like a hot summer day.

Shifting onto his side, he levered up onto a bent elbow. Oliver’s chest rose and fell in a relaxed, rhythmic pattern. A whisper-light flick of Vincent’s fingers pushed the tousled waves of his overlong hair from his eyes. At the sight of Oliver’s hard cock jutting from the dark thatch of hair on his groin, Vincent smiled. They hadn’t played last night, merely crawled into bed together. One of the benefits of visits to his Rotherham estate--with so many nights at their disposal where they had the luxury of sharing a bed, they could take one or two or more to simply sleep together. But judging from the state of his pretty cock, Oliver definitely appeared up for some play.

Far be it from Vincent not to indulge him.

His gaze traced the length of Oliver’s body, as various options flittered through his head. He wasn’t of a mind to fetch anything from the locked trunk beside the dresser. That would require getting out of bed. However...

Leaning over the side of the mattress, he snatched the wrinkled white cravat from the floorboards. Carefully and slowly, he moved Oliver’s arms over his head. The long, black fan of his lashes resting against his high cheekbones did not even flutter at the change in position. The man slept as soundly as he had as an adolescent. Back when they had shared a dormitory at Eton, even a full-blown thunderstorm wouldn’t wake him.

A few deft flicks of the cravat and Oliver’s wrists were secured to the mahogany headboard, the knot loose enough so one quick tug would release it. When Vincent had purchased the estate from his father over two years ago, he hadn’t given much thought to the furnishings. His only interest had been the unwavering belief that he could turn the property into a thriving investment. The bed, though, with its four sturdy posts and intricately turned spindles spanning the width of the headboard and footboard, had proved as valuable to him as the vein of coal he had found in the northwest end of the property. And Oliver’s reaction when Vincent restrained him between those four posts indicated the man had far more fondness for the bed than anything that generated income.

Sitting back on his heels at his lover’s side, he took in the results of his handiwork. A corner of the sheet had tangled around one of Oliver’s calves, the rest of him bared to Vincent’s view. His legs were casually spread, one knee slightly bent. His arms stretched over his head put his flawless chest on full display. The white linen around his wrists presented an enticing contrast to his golden skin. Vincent let out a low grunt of satisfaction. The man had a body made to be bound and a soul that craved it almost as much as he craved Vincent himself.

He reached out, slowly whispered a hand down Oliver’s sleep-warmed chest, the skin soft and smooth beneath his palm. With effort, he resisted the impulse to pinch those copper nipples. To twist a hardened tip. To make Oliver shudder and gasp with pleasure. To make him beg for more. But it wouldn’t do to wake him just yet.

His attention slid back up to Oliver’s face. On anyone else, his features would almost approach average, but somehow he simultaneously embodied both beautiful and handsome. A hint of a morning beard darkened his jaw, his full lips slightly parted...

Vincent leaned down, brushed his lips across Oliver’s in the barest brush of a kiss, their breaths mingling ever so briefly. Then he moved along the bed to settle on his knees between Oliver’s legs. With one hand braced on the mattress, he bent down, wrapped a gentle hand around the base of that pretty prick, and lowered his head. Light and soft, he dragged his tongue across the crown, waiting, every sense attuned to his lover.

Oliver let out a breathy moan, more sigh than sound, and lifted his hips slightly. Vincent opened, let the slick head slide past his lips. The short, little, lazy nudges of Oliver’s hips as he fucked Vincent’s mouth indicated the man hadn’t awoken yet. Vincent kept his mouth languid and yielding, only occasionally sucking on a downstroke, allowing the flames of desire to build within Oliver, within himself.

It didn’t take long for a salty tang to tease his tongue. Vincent’s cock, hanging hard and heavy between his thighs, jerked in response. Another moan, this one more sound than sigh, and Oliver spread his legs wider. Vincent released his hold on the base of Oliver’s prick, cupped his ballocks, drawn up tight to his body, and rolled the weight of them in his palm. Then he drifted his fingertips down, past the smooth expanse of skin to his entrance. Pressed but didn’t penetrate.

Oliver’s thrusts stuttered. Glancing up, Vincent caught his gaze. His eyes were heavily-lidded, mere slits, the dark depths glittering with lust. Hollowing his cheeks, Vincent sucked hard as he dragged his lips up the length. Oliver arched with a moan, tugged at his bonds, and moaned again. His cock hardened even further in Vincent’s mouth. Vincent kept sucking as he began bobbing along the length. Increasing the pace, urging him onward.

Oliver had the edge of his full bottom lip captured between his teeth, desperate need pulling his beautiful features. Vincent swiped his fingers at the base of Oliver’s cock, gathering the moisture that had slid down the length. The moment Vincent brushed his entrance, Oliver pulled his knees to his chest, hips canting up, the request clearer than if he shouted.

“Please, Vincent.” Thick with need, his whispered words trembled on the air.

Deliberately Bound #3.5
“When do you need to return to Town?” Vincent asked, as he began to unbutton his navy coat. Since the post ensured business matters reached him in Rotherham, he could remain for a good month or more. Unfortunately, Oliver’s obligations and not Vincent’s tended to dictate the length of their stays in the country.

Oliver let his waistcoat slip from his arms, the garment falling to the floorboards, and shrugged. “Not for a few days. Perhaps Saturday.”

Four days from now? That wouldn’t put them back in London for a week, making their absence from Town push three weeks in total. But Vincent held back the urge to question him with a firm reminder that it was Oliver’s business and not his own. The man would know when he was needed back at his shop.

Vincent folded his coat and set it on the chair next to the dressing room door. “I’ll have word sent to the stables tomorrow to have the carriage prepared to depart on Saturday.” In any case, who was he to complain about having more nights than anticipated with Oliver in Rotherham, where not a single servant spent the night under their roof?

Where there were absolutely no worries anyone else would hear the full force of Oliver’s desire.

Lust spiked his senses, wound its way into his veins, settling in his groin. The candles on the mantel provided enough light so he could just make out the faint outline of the sleek lines of Oliver’s back beneath his white shirt. His fingers twitched with the need to rip the trousers from his lover’s body, to expose the firm round globes of his arse. To toss the man onto the mattress, bind him to the bed, and fuck every last “more” from his lips.

But he stopped himself before he took even one step closer to Oliver.

Patience. He repeated the word in his head.

The entire night awaited them. Many, many hours until his housekeeper arrived at dawn. No reason to rush at all.

Desire firmly in check, he set to work on the buttons of his waistcoat. A warm, summer night’s breeze drifted into the room, fluttering the drapes covering the window near the bed. Fabric swooshed softly as Oliver tugged his cravat from his neck, the sound amplified in the quiet room.

Oliver turned from the bedside table. A little smile curved the edges of his lips as he regarded Vincent. “Will you put yourself in my hands tonight?”

Bound by Deception

Author Bio:
Ava March is an author of sexy, emotionally intense M/M historical erotic romances. She loves writing in the Regency time period, where proper decorum is of the utmost importance, but where anything can happen behind closed doors. With over fifteen works to her credit, her books have been finalists in the Rainbow Awards and More Than Magic contest, and deemed ‘must-haves’ for Historical M/M romance by RT Book Reviews readers. Visit her website to find out more about her books or to sign-up for her newsletter.


Bound by Deception #1

Bound to Him #2

Deliberately Unbound #2.5

Bound Forever #3

Deliberately Bound #3.5

Bound Series #1-3 Paperback

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