This site contains adult content. By visiting and viewing the content of this site you confirm that you are aged 18 or above.


Just Exactly When is the Twelfth of Never?

Geez, I hate following Dakota when she does that! I have hot men -- really hot men -- but unfortunately one of them is a ghost! Here's a preview of "Twelfth of Never" --
Author Zoe Shepard races away from an unfaithful lover in the States only to fall into the arms of a spirit in Ireland. While she has no intention of allowing another faithless male in her life, she doesn’t mind this particular man because he demands nothing and night after night he gives her incredible climaxes. It isn’t until the full moon that Zoë actually meets Keegan McFallon, knight and lord of clan McFallon, in human form. Because of a sorceress’s spell, he’s doomed to remain in the spirit world, except on the nights of new and full moons, until he has an orgasm on the Twelfth of Never. Unfortunately, that is a riddle he cannot seem to solve. Keegan, with his long blonde hair, broad shoulders, and constant hard-on, is so much better in the flesh than in spirit form that Zoë sets about trying to discover how to release him from the sorceress’s spell.

Warm breath caressed her bare stomach and Zoë kicked off the sheet to better feel the exquisite touch. Seconds passed and she held her breath, wanting more.

His touch continued across her stomach and then upward, licking the underside of one breast before sucking her nipple into his mouth. The aftershocks of her climax continued as he milked her, first one breast then the other, her entire body tingling as though a thousand feathers touched every inch of her skin. There was no weight against her chest, no hard muscles pressing her hips down into the bed. Only the constant, lingering touch, as light as the breeze from the window, but igniting her need and feeding her hunger. His fingers pinched her nipples, the pleasure/pain shooting through her. She planted her feet on the bed, pushing her hips up against
him, spreading her legs as wide as she could to take the invasion of his cock as he entered her. He was enormous, his thickness stretching her beyond anything she had ever felt and yet she took him all, feeling the tip of him buried deep as his hips ground against hers.

She felt his breath against her temple, his hand sliding between their bodies and opening her lips so his cock rubbed against her clit every time he moved in or out. She pushed, her hips arching off the bed as another orgasm slammed through her, the effect so strong she cried out.

Zoë shot straight up in bed, gasping as her pussy continued to throb with the after effects of an incredible dreaming orgasm. The room was pitch black, and for a minute she had no idea where she was.
If the villagers were to be believed, her dream lover was a ghost. She still wasn’t sure she believed that, but he had given her back her self-esteem, not to mention several great orgasms.

She put her palm against the window right where a glint of moonlight reflected off the pane. She felt at peace as she watched the full moon crest the horizon. She opened the window to allow the night breeze in, letting it caress her bare skin and ruffle her hair as she pulled the hair band out.

Líoch. You are beautiful.”

She spun at the sound of his voice, a deep Irish brogue that raised goose bumps on her skin. He stood on the other side of her bed, a tall man with golden hair that reached his shoulders. Shoulders that were massive, and bare. Her gaze swept downward. He had the most magnificent hard on, his cock jutting like a sword from a nest of darker blonde hair.

“I am Keegan McFallon, knight and lord. You are the one come to save me.”

“Why me?”

“You haven’t run away.”

“I have nowhere to go. Besides, who in their right mind would run away after being given multiple orgasms every night?”

“Would you like another?” A sexy grin cut across his features, softening the hard planes of his face.
October is right around the corner, and with it comes thoughts of autumn, pumpkins and harvest, Halloween, spirits and incredible sex. OK, so the sex is a constant thought, but October means I can remind you about my story “Twelfth of Never” that came out through HALLOWEEN HEART-THROBS last year. The great thing about ebooks is if you are new to TEB, or you just didn’t have a chance to get it last year, it is STILL available! Check out TEB under short stories!

(I've gotta find some sexy pictures to post next month.)


Bloggiest of Bloggers

I am running out of steam. LOL. I have been so busy with new projects, new blogs, and promo stuff that I have been at a loss at what to blog about. So, as usually happens when I can't find something interesting to talk are some pics of hot men.

Happy Sunday.

Dakota Rebel


Hi, my name is Kim and I'm... normal?

Normality has never really made it to the top of my personal to do list, but it appears I may have hit upon it by accident.

Some very nice scientists in Australia have been kind enough to do a bit of research and their conclusion is that Bondage Lovers are Normal.

So, as a result of their hard work, I’m very pleased to be able to introduce myself as a new author to Total-e-bound with the knowledge that I and all the characters I write about are all perfectly normal.

Their research results go on to say that bondage lovers may well be happier than people who do not indulge in kinky sex games - I really can't imagine what's making them so happy...

Well, I can’t speak for the real world, but all of my kinky characters end up very happy by the end of their story. I don’t do unhappy endings.

As you might have guessed by now, most of my characters live towards the leather end of the sexual spectrum. That’s pretty much the only thing some of them have in common with each other.

I write a fifty-fifty split of male/male and male/female titles, ranging from those who indulge in a little bit of tie up and tease, all the way through to those who dedicate themselves to a 24/7 kinky lifestyle.

My first title is called The Gift and it will be out on December 8th as part of the Christmas Spirits Anthology – more about that closer to the date.

I’ve also got another three titles already contracted to come out next year as part of two different series I’m working on. There’ll me more about them in due course, but in the meantime here are the blurbs.

Collared starts with Turquoise and Leather in February -

Leather. Latex. Silver. Gold. Ink. Velvet.

There are as many different shapes and styles of collar as there are people who wear them.

Protection. Possession. Dominance. Submission. Loyalty. Love.
Some collars mean it's time to play, others signify a life time commitment. A fun bit of bondage to one person can easily look like the kinky equivalent of a wedding ring to another. A gold necklace might look vanilla enough until you know what it means to the person wearing it.

But no matter what it's made of or what it represents. Collars are important. A collar can make or break the submissive wearing it - and the dominant who put it around their neck.

It doesn't matter if you are dominant or submissive. Everything changes once one person is Collared.

Perfect Timing will start in March with You First.

Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time. Sometimes it takes an exceptional circumstance to make you realise the time has come. And sometimes you just have to wait to get for what you want.

But when the timing is perfect, anything could happen…

At the moment, not having any titles for sale on Total-e-bound or anywhere else, so I’m somewhat short of excerpts to share with you. I do however have a few blurbs for the upcoming titles that are shuffling around nervously, waiting for the actually stories to come along and keep them company.

You can find them on my website or on my blog - Do you Dare?

Kim Dare

Many pictures borrowed from


A Sizzle that Satisfies!


Talk about fun in the sun!

I just returned from the International Lingerie Show in Las Vegas. The weather was hot, the evenings sultry, the excitement palpable, the energy level high, the food abundant and delicious. Excitement and expectation were everywhere. The atmosphere sizzled.

There were beautiful young women, and some hunky men!, modeling for various lines. The highlight of the event was a fashion show on Monday evening. Drinks flowed from an open bar (what’s better than a glass of Merlot, but a free glass of Merlot?!). The music was techno, so it had a great, energetic beat. The choreography, staging, and lighting made the package complete.

The whole event started me thinking about fantasy, about creativity. Every piece of lingerie on the models (and some of the pieces were itty-bitty!) had been designed by someone. Then there’s color and fabric. In its way, creating an event like the International Lingerie Show is not terribly different from writing a book.

You begin with nothing, other than an idea. Then you craft characters to sweep away the reader and create a fantasy. Words become a writer’s canvas. Plot provides the nuance of color, dialogue, the music. Conflict is the fabric, be it sheer and daring or sturdy and opaque. Pacing is the backdrop, the staging.

If a writer has done her job well, then we’ve been entertained. We’ve been swept away into an alternate reality that allows us to forget our problems and concerns. We’ve escaped to a place that is real, but doesn’t really exist.

Our senses have been fed. We’ve laughed or cried. We’ve rooted for some characters and shouted boo-hiss at others. We’ve been moved emotionally, turned-on in an elemental and thrilling way. Maybe we’ve been provoked to think about our own lives in a new or different way. We’re excited, as if a techno beat had provided a staccato to energize us.

Writers have created a sizzle that satisfies. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
I'd love to hear from you...write me at
Love, Sizzlin' Sierra
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered from Sizzling Total-E-Bound Books


A Panty Dilemma...

As I drove to my dayjob early this morning, I was listening to my favorite radio station and the DJ was discussing the use of the word, 'panty,' and how so many women detest using that word.

I don't mind using the word, yet, some of the women who called into the show said that the word 'panty' sounds old-fashioned, and...some went on to say that only perveted older men use the word now days. These statements made me wonder that if I used the word 'panty' in my romance writing, that perhaps I've turned off some women out there. I never realized that the word 'panty' is outdated.

So, I ask you, fellow authors/readers: What word should I be using?

Instead of 'panty' should I say 'underthing?' Lingerie? Underpants? ( that word sounds really old-fashioned!). We can't say 'thong' because that is an entirely different piece of underwear all-together.

If the panty hugs the hips, I know they're called 'hip huggers.' If they're skimpier, they're referred to as 'bikinis.' Now, if it is a full-fledged panty, what in heck should we be calling it if not 'panty?'

The women who called in didn't have suggestions (oddly enough). So...what do you suggest? Because from now on, when I write, I want to refer to this controversial piece of women's underwear using the correct term.

Give me your suggestions. I'd love to hear them.

Have a super day (and don't get your panties in a snit! lol...).

Catherine Chernow


Ten Wild and Crazy Places to Have Sex

Yep...after reading all the blog posts, I, too, decided to give you a top 10. This one even counts for research...I know I'll be using a couple of these in upcoming WIPs!

1. So, you think books are sexy. How about having sex at the library?

2. Meetings are boring; how about trying out a few new positions on the main conference table (and then rehashing the encounter in your mind every staff meeting!)

3. In the elevator during a blackout (wasn't that a movie?)

4. Have an oral fixation? Take care of it with food and a little oral sex under the table at your favorite fancy restaurant. Just make sure the tableclothes are l-o-n-g!

5. Okay, so doing it in the backseat isn't so out of the ordinary. How about in the front seat...while driving!

6. How about a little nookie while waiting in line for the movie? That way, you don't miss the previews or the show!

7. Public bathrooms, and not just those a mile off the ground. Try it in the local fast food joint or how about the gym?

8. Or, if you need a little visual stimulus to go along with your sex, how about in those little cubicles at the local "adult" store or behind the curtain at the video rental place?

9. On really long bus trips when everyone is either focused on the movie or sleeping.

10. And last, but not least, in the confessional at a local catholic church.

So, where does your fantasy take you??? Enquiring minds want to know.

Ericka Scott


The Top Ten Reasons to go to Work Naked

There's no way I can top Kaenar's top ten female fantasies post, LOL. But just for fun, I've got a couple other top ten lists for you. Enjoy!


1. Your boss is always yelling, "I wanna see your ass in here by 8:00!"

2. Ca
n take advantage of computer monitor radiation to work on your tan.

3. "I'd love to chip in, but I left my wallet in my pants."

4. To stop those creepy guys in Mark
eting from looking down your blouse.

5. You want to see if it's like the dream.

6. So that with a little help from Muzak you can add "Exotic Dancer" to your exaggerated resume.

7. Pe
ople stop stealing your pens after they've seen where you keep them.

8. Diverts attention from the fact that you also came to work drunk.

9. Gives "bad hair day" a whole new meaning.

10. No one steals your chair.


10. Lately, she sits at the computer naked.

9. After signing off, he always has a cigarette.

8. The giant rubber inflatable disk drive.

7. In the mornin
g, the computer screen is all fogged up.

6. He's gotten amazingly good at typing with one hand.

5. Every day, Bill Gates sends 10 million dollars worth of flowers.

4. The jam in the laser printer is a pair of underwear.

3. During sex she screams "A COLON BACKSLASH ENTER INSERT!!!!"

2. The fax file is filled with pictures of some guy's ass.

1. Lipstick on the mouse.


Have a great day everyone!

~ Jamie


The Top Ten Female Sex Fantasies

What Do Women Say Are Their Top Ten Sex Fantasies?

After passing a hot, sunny day in August perusing The Church Street Fetish Fair in Toronto, I’ve probably been spending way too much time thinking about fetishes and erotic fantasies. But somehow I don’t think that can be a bad thing for someone who writes erotic romance novels. Can it?

Anyway, I decided to check out the internet and see what it had to say about fetishes and female fantasies. I was delighted to find a list someone had compiled of the Top Ten Female Sex Fantasies and I’m going to share the contents with you. I’m truly sorry if your favourite fantasy isn’t listed, but maybe you could try one of the Top Ten instead. Who knows, you just might like it.

Number 10: Female Domination

According to the survey, women fantasize about being the one in the dominant role when having sex. This fantasy revolves around having a man tied down and pleasuring her with his tongue. Something about a tall, dark, handsome stud at her command and at her mercy.

Number 9: Male Domination

Turns out women sometimes want to relinquish the dominant role and let an alpha male take charge in the bedroom. She wants to flaunt her femininity, drive him to the edge and then push him over so he’ll throw her to the bed, rip off her clothes and take her fiercely. She wants him to dominate in the bedroom, but definitely not in the boardroom.

Number 8: Teacher/Student

Many women want to taunt their lovers by dressing up as a schoolgirl and being naughty. And we all know what happens to naughty girls—they get what they deserve, a good spanking. And if she’s an adult, more often than not that spanking leads to hot, hot sex.

Number 7: Sex with a Stranger

Many of us have grown up with a fervent religious upbringing and strong societal conditioning. Sex with a stranger appeals to that darker, naughtier side that we often feel must be kept hidden. The side that sees a handsome man in a hotel bar and wishes he’d take her up to his room and make love to her all night long. It’s a one-night stand with no morning-after guilt.

Number 6: Ménage à trois

This threesome would include the woman, her man and another woman. Her man would watch the two women kiss and caress, but he’d only have eyes, and other body parts, for her. No jealousy allowed here. The extra woman is only eye candy for her man. He gets to look, but not touch. She doesn’t want to share him with anybody.

Number 5: Ménage à trois

This fantasy would bring the woman together with two heterosexual men so it would be all about her and how she can be given the most sexual gratification. She may dream about one man penetrating her while she performs oral sex on the other or she may take it even further in her mind and fantasize

about double penetration by her two lovers. This is about being adored and fulfilled by two gorgeous men. It’s all for her.

Number 4: Voyeurism

You’re home in the evening and notice your next door neighbours have left the curtains open. They seem to be having wild, uninhibited sex on the dining room table, the table you can see from your dining room window. That’s what this fantasy is all about—watching people having sex while they're unaware.

Number 3: Forced Sex

In this scenario, a woman is carried off by Mr. Gorgeous and he just won’t take no for an answer. Despite her protests, he tears her clothes off and arouses her mercilessly before he drives into her. This fantasy allows the woman to have the wild, dirty sex she craves without the guilt. She can be wanton and enjoy sex without society’s voice saying ‘no’ in her head.

Number 2: Exhibitionism

Although they feel their body isn't perfect, many women harbour the dream of being filmed while having sex. Some even want to be seen making love in a public place like in a park or on the subway.

And Sex Fantasy Number 1: Private Dancer

Many women want to do a striptease for their man or take it even further and do a lap dance for him. She feels beautiful, he’s hard. It’s a winning combination for both of them.

I’m not sure if readers share these fantasies. Let me know.

Thanks to for 'The List'.

Kaenar Langford

Tales to seduce and entice...

Check out her latest release

The Harder They Come

an older woman/younger man tale



Mountain Cleansing

Last spring I decided to write a new series surrounding life on a gay dude ranch. Sort of a gay Love Boat, only on land. So, with a little help from my friend Google, I came across OutWest Adventures, a travel agency geared towards gay and lesbian vacations. I emailed the agency, told them who I was and what I did for a living, and asked if they had any ranch trips that might suit my needs. Aaron emailed back and told me about several week-long trips to his family’s working cattle ranch. I was ecstatic but decided to play it safe and emailed back to ask if the other guests on the trip would mind a forty-two year old straight woman tagging along. Aaron replied that the trips were all very straight friendly, which made me giggle. He went on to say that I was more than welcome on any of the OutWest trips.

Well, last week I finally had my adventure. I thought I was playing it safe by taking several horseback riding lessons before my planned trip, but little did I know the only thing I seemed to have learned correctly was how to saddle a horse. Nowhere in my lessons did my instructor talk about spending hours in the saddle.

I flew into Billings, Montana on Saturday and almost immediately met Roger. I noticed him standing beside me waiting for the shuttle van to the hotel. Evidently Roger spotted my OutWest Adventures tag on my laptop case so he walked over to introduce himself. We finally made it to the airport and I checked into my room. Four hours later, my friend Richie, from Kansas City arrived. With Richie at my side, I was all set.

Sunday morning arrived and Richie and I met the OutWest van and some more of our crew. Rusty, our trip leader was all smiles as he welcomed us. Along for the ride were Brian and Eli, Matt, Roger, Richie and me. We all knew the trip to the ranch would take a little over an hour, so we settled in and got to know each other.

Just down the road from the ranch is the small town of Roscoe. The Grizzly Bar is where we met our last two guests for lunch. Michael and Angelo had driven in from Buffalo, New York but still managed to pull up right behind us. We had a leisurely meal before heading to our final destination.

Pulling onto the Lazy E-L ranch road felt almost magical. The ranch sits in the shadows of the Beartooth Mountains and the views were absolutely breathtaking. Although the sky was dumping a good bit of drizzle on us, it didn’t dampen our spirits. We got settled into the large lodge they call the Summer House and went back out to meet our horses.

Over the next several days we were paired with different horses. Debbie, the wrangler, was obviously trying to find the best fit for all of us. Let me stop here to make an important point. The Lazy E-L is not a dude ranch. It is in fact a working cattle ranch, and all guests ride with the full-time ranch hands, doing whatever chores need to be done. My big butt figured this out on the second day after spending three hours in the saddle.

Tuesday evening, we ate in the old family dining room connected to our Summer House. The meal was prepared by David and Aaron, owners of OutWest Adventures. We enjoyed several glasses of wine and wonderful conversation. Okay, maybe I enjoyed a little more wine than most, but I still had a great time. I stayed up with my new friend Michael until the wee hours of the morning smoking, talking and laughing. Yep, I was in heaven.

By Wednesday, Rusty took pity on a few of us and we got to take a break from the saddle. Good thing because I really don’t think there was an available patch of my butt that wasn’t already bruised and sore. Instead of riding, we spent the morning hiking up into the hills. Rusty showed us some dinosaur bones, and I took pictures of scenery. Before the hard working die-hard guests got back with the wranglers, it started to rain. Did I mention it was freezing cold that day? Bless those guys for braving it out, but I enjoyed myself on the front porch with a bottle of Hornsby’s Hard Cider in my hand. It was a damn good day.

Thursday was my new friend Angelo’s birthday, so after waking him up with a birthday greeting, we headed to the barn. That day was our big cattle drive. Our butts had been preparing for it all week. Some butts were more prepared than others, but we knew we could do it. Right after breakfast in the cookhouse, we saddled up and began our journey. Those of us who didn’t ride the day before were supposed to have an easier go. Evidently they figured out quickly some of us expected more a dude ranch than a working cattle ranch. Okay, on with the story. Debbie and a nice man named Tom, lead our little soft-butted group over the hills. We were to join up with the rest of the crew at some point. Now, I have to interject here once again. Evidently they had a meeting right after breakfast explaining to the inexperienced guests just how to round up a group of cattle. Michael and I however, were out smoking. Damn. I never seem to be in the right place at the right time. Of course we didn’t know we’d missed this all-important meeting until we got onto the large hills. Debbie turns to us and says, “Round up those cows and drive them down the hill into the valley.” Then she rode off like a streak of lightning. Michael, Angelo and I just looked at each other. We heard Debbie yelling from across the ditch and thought she was telling us to run the cattle towards her, which we did very effectively, I might add. Turns out, she didn’t want the cattle towards her at all. Well, so much for that. We tried to drive them back the other direction and some of them started to go back up the hill. Debbie came out of nowhere and yelled at me to get up that hill and drive the cattle back down. Angelo and Michael were to take over from there and help get them down the hill. Scared of getting yelled at once again, I took off on my horse up the side of the hill. There I was weaving through pine trees that could’ve easily left me blind or headless acting like I knew what the hell I was doing. I managed to gather all the cattle and scare them back down the hill. I have a strong feeling it was the look of utter panic on my face that scared the cows into retreating.

Once all the cattle were driven safely into another feeding pasture, we watched Roger and Thad, the head cow boss, doctor the few injured cattle. Nope, I didn’t do it, I swear. They were hurt all on their own. We’d been on a horse for hours and I’d just about exhausted my stash of Nicorette gum when they finally said we were done for the day. Hallelujah! We started riding up a rather large hill and it was all fine and good until we got to the top. Then we had a gorgeous view of the ranch below. Home. I wanted to cry and fall to me knees. Except I couldn’t do that because I was too darn short and I knew if I got off the blasted horse, I’d never get back on.

So, one problem left. I happen to notice that I couldn’t see the other side of the hill. “How do we get down?” someone in the group asked. Jael, the ranch manager pointed towards what looked like a drop off. I’m sure my eyes bugged right out of my head. I even got a little misty thinking about dying on a mountain far away from my children. Jael explained how we were to position our bodies to lean back in the saddle and steady our feet in our stirrups. Sounds simple, right? Crap. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so scared as when my horse, Snickers, took me over the side of that hill. Once he’d taken a couple of steps I began to calm down. The hill wasn’t quite as steep as I’d worried, but I’m not sure that I ever want to do it again. At least it was a shortcut, and we were soon back at the cabin.

A highlight of the afternoon was a drive up the mountains. We enjoyed playing in the snow like a bunch of children. Of course I wished I’d had some sugar, eggs and vanilla so I could have a big old bowl of snow ice cream.

After our fun on the mountain, we went into Red Lodge to celebrate Angelo’s birthday. The guys insisted that I try my first ever Cosmo. When the waitress set the pretty pink drink in front of me, I took a sip. I’m sure my face showed my reaction, because both Rusty and Michael asked me what I thought. “Um…well…it’s not horrible, but I don’t think I’ll ever order one again. It’s actually burning the sides of my tongue.” Now, you have to understand. I was trying really hard not to appear like a complete hick from Kansas. I can do Sex in the City, right?

Rusty lifted my glass and took a drink. “God, this tastes like lighter fluid,” he remarked. Whew, so it really wasn’t my uneducated pallet. Michael took a sip and declared that no, the drink wasn’t made right. When the waitress came back in, I did something completely out of character for me and sent it back for another. The next drink wasn’t any better. When the bartender came in, Richie asked him if he used something…something. Some type of liquor that I’d never heard of. The bartender said they didn’t have that and the guys declared you couldn’t make a proper Cosmo without it. Needless to say, I ordered a beer. You really can’t take the Kansas out of the girl.

Friday was spent driving around, playing in the water of the creek across from the Grizzly Bar. Most of us had a leisurely day of riding in the van and seeing the sights. That night Kim, the ranch chef, made everyone steak, baked potatoes and tiramisu. We sat around drinking long into the evening. I know it was three o’clock in the morning before Michael and I finally gave up the fight and went to bed.

Saturday I flew home, but not before many tears was shed. It amazes me how eight strangers can come together, along with our trip leader, Rusty and bond in such a short amount of time. We may have been strangers when we met, but all eight of those wonderful men became like family to me by the time I left. I’ve been home for four days and still look over my shoulder hoping to see Michael sitting on the porch beside me.

My great adventure may have started out as book research, but it became so much more. The clean mountain air and wonderful people helped cleanse me of the grief and stress I’d managed to accumulate over the past year.

This account of my Montana adventure is dedicated happily to (from left to right) Eli, Michael, Angelo, Me, Roger, Matt, Richie, and Brian. Bless you all in everything you do. I’ll never forget you.


Sneak peek of the next White Tigers novel!

Hi everyone - I'm hard at work on the next installment of the White Tigers series, Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. This one tells the story of Koji's friend Hiru and Quan Chan both of whom appeared in Sudden Bliss.

Hiru spends a weekend exploring and having passionate sex qith Quan Chan, a master White Tiger. Of course, they end up falling in love, but life circumstances seem to be forcing them apart. Will they find a way to each other? Or will Quan Chan end up with the Golden Dragon, the hottest, most alluring young man in Shanghai?

Teaser: (unedited. May differ slightly from final version)

Quan Chan slid open the soji to Hiru’s room and led him inside. They showered together and Quan Chan delighted in being crammed into the tiny shower against Hiru’s large strong body.

When they got out, he dried Hiru off and Hiru insisted on drying him in return. He accepted and stood on the bathmat, surrendering to the gentle way Hiru wiped the towel over his chest and arms, as if he were afraid of hurting him.

Turning, Quan Chan caught sight of his own reflection in the vanity mirror and caught a soft breath. The man staring back at him looked…different. His eyes were brighter even though they still appeared troubled. His face looked relaxed, the skin of his cheeks blushing and…well…radiant. Behind him, Hiru was busy at work, wiping the towel across his back, then down his ass and thighs. The soft material grazed the underside of his balls, sending a pleasant shiver through him, the promise of what was to come.

Hiru stood up again and gently scrubbed the towel against the back of Quan Chan’s head. Quan Chan smiled at Hiru’s reflection and found his gaze suddenly caught in Hiru’s shiny hair. How sexy it had been this weekend to rake his fingers through that hair. He sighed. Hiru should have had the same experience.

“What are you thinking, Quan-san? If I may ask?”

Only then did Quan Chan notice Hiru had set the towel aside and stood behind him, staring at them both in the mirror.

“You look so pensive,” Hiru added.

“I was just thinking I should grow my hair out.” For you. He studied the dark shadow over his scalp, the way he’d looked for so long. “I haven’t seen my own hair since I was fourteen.”

Hiru’s eyes suddenly widened. His large hands cupped Quan Chan’s shoulders. “Is that when you started…this path?”

Quan Chan’s gut lurched. Shit! He hadn’t meant to say that. All he needed now was for Hiru to pity him, the way Kiku had all these years. His whole body stiffened under Hiru’s touch. There was no backtracking now. Not that it mattered. After Monday, who knew what the future would hold? “Yes, Hiru-san,” he said softly. He turned, not dislodging Hiru’s hands and leaned back against the vanity. “I started when I was fourteen.”

Hiru frowned. His serious gaze searched Quan Chan’s. “Why, Quan-san? Why so young?”

Quan Chan sighed again and glanced down at his feet. Until this moment, Kiku was the only other friend he’d spoken to about his past. “It’s a long story. Do you want to hear it?”

Hiru nodded immediately. “Of course,” he said softly. “I want to know everything about you.”

Heat suffused Quan Chan’s face. Hiru’s openness always had this effect on him. He drew in a deep breath. “My mother grew up in the countryside outside of Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. When she was sixteen, she fell in love with the schoolteacher who’d been sent to teach in the schoolhouse in her village. He was young, just out of the university and was taken with her because she was so beautiful. He taught her to read classics that he kept hidden from the government. They had a love affair and she became pregnant. He was going to marry her but then, one morning, some army people came in uniforms and took him away.”

Hiru’s mouth dropped open and a look of horror infused his eyes. “That’s terrible.”

He nodded. “Yes. It got worse. My mother was determined to find him. Of course, there was no way to do so, but she was determined. She left her home and went into Shanghai. She spent hours every day in the government buildings, waiting and asking for him, begging for just enough food to keep going.” Quan Chan paused. Just speaking of it made the image rise of his mother as a young woman, pregnant and frightened, desperate to find the man she loved, the father of her child. On a bench in a sterile hallway she spent her days waiting.

“Finally,” he continued, “she needed to find work. There was no other way to survive. She didn’t want me to die inside of her from malnourishment so she went searching for work. She found work in a brothel, doing laundry and cooking for the women there. They gave her a bed to sleep in so she could carry me to term.” He looked down again before continuing. “Shortly after she had me, the brothel owners threatened to put her out on the streets unless she started taking customers. She needed to bring in money if she wanted to be able to stay there with a child. She was trapped.” Quan Chan’s heartbeat had risen as he spoke, feeling his mother’s grief as his own. “She didn’t want to be wandering the streets with a child to feed and she didn’t want to give me up, not only because she loved me but because I had come from her union with my father.”

“Oh, Quan-san.” Hiru’s voice was heavy with pain.

Quan Chan decided to continue before Hiru could say more. Pity was unbearable to him, and had been his entire life. “My mother made me go to school when I was little, but when I got older, I wouldn’t go. I’d sneak out and run around on the streets, looking for food.” He omitted the part about getting beat up a lot of the time. “But when I was fourteen, I stumbled upon the White Tiger temple. It had been established a few years earlier, in a neighbourhood close to my mother’s brothel. The men there took me in. They gave me food, clothes, a warm clean bed and meditation. I’d been there ever since when Kiku came along years later.” He fell silent and looked into the other man’s eyes.

Hiru was staring back at him, his dark eyes misted over. “Quan-san,” he said against softly, his hands still resting on Quan Chan’s shoulders.

“Please, Hiru-san, don’t feel badly for me. I’ve had a good life, better than most of the people living out there in the world. My mother is happy now. She’s married to a kind man, a professor at Fudan University who fell in love with her when she still worked in the brothel. She fell into her circumstances out of love for my father and she’s been a wonderful role model for me. Because of her influence, I have friends like Kiku and Ryu and Koji. All the men here.” And now…you.

One of Hiru’s hands went to Quan Chan’s cheek and cupped it. “I don’t feel badly for you, Quan-san,” he said. “It’s just…when you were speaking, I was picturing you as a boy on the streets and wishing I could have been there to help you.”

Before Quan Chan could answer, he found himself being pulled into Hiru’s arms. A strong warm embrace surrounded him. He yielded, allowing Hiru to hug him close. “Thank you, Hiru-san,” he breathed against the muscle of Hiru’s chest. Damn, the man made him feel so…safe.

Hiru’s hand moved across his back, partly caressing in a comforting way, partly exploring, enjoying the muscles there. Fingertips pressed into the ridge of muscle along Quan Chan’s spine and Hiru’s thick dragon nudged his as it filled and hardened.

Quan Chan released a long, deep sigh. How beautiful it was simply to enjoy this embrace, to feel accepted and desired without the difficulties he’d experienced with Kiku. Of course, he and Kiku had experienced great pleasure with each other, but there had been the damned visions, and then, when Quan Chan had come to stay here, his love affair with Kiku was painful for Ryu. Quan Chan’s conscience had never been clear around Ryu and even though Ryu had eventually befriended him, there had always been an undercurrent of tension between them. Many times, Quan Chan had thought to back away from Kiku, but could never do it. He’d been powerless to stay away from Kiku, desperate himself for the comfort and sensuality Kiku was capable of giving.

Would he be as powerless now, when the circumstances might demand he leave?

He closed his eyes and palmed Hiru’s broad back. This sure as hell wasn’t the time to think of such things, not when he had this magnificent, virile, passionate man in his arms.

Turning his face slightly, he brushed his lips over Hiru’s pectoral muscle. Hiru let out a soft groan and his fingertip agitated against Quan Chan’s skin. Hiru’s large dragon was thick and hard now, pressing with insistence against Quan Chan’s lower abdomen.

Quan Chan let his hands slide down Hiru’s back and over his hips, seeking those perfect, hard ass cheeks. His tongue found Hiru’s nipple and licked back and forth, pulling short hard breaths from Hiru as the small disk tightened.

Pulling back, he smiled up at Hiru’s flushed face. “There are advantages to having practiced as long as I have, Hiru-san,” he said, his own voice low and husky.

Hiru didn’t answer. His lids were heavy over his eyes and he stared down at Quan Chan, breathing heavily. His hands stroked small, agitated circles across Quan Chan’s back and his dragon twitched again, as if reminding him to give it attention.

Well, that was precisely what he intended to do.