Tag Archives: bran and macsen

Week Twenty – The Shadow Road

Friday Fun is back! For this week’s, we’re off to the Eight Kingdoms for a taste of sexy goodness. Book four, The Shadow Road, is currently available for preorder…and full of temptations!  

(And of course, remember, this sort of Friday Fun is NSFW!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

theshadowroad_800

From The Back Cover: In the wake of Dealla’s latest atrocity, Macsen has learned a lesson he will never forget. To love is to fear, and he intends to make sure that his fear never comes to pass. Bran is less than pleased with being left behind while Macsen hunts Dealla, but he has trouble of his own to distract him. An unknown ability is growing in him—magic that has nothing of Summer in it. Disturbed, Bran convinces Macsen to come with him to question his mother. Only she knows who Bran’s father is, and the secret half of his bloodline is the most likely source of his new power.

Elenn agrees to Bran’s request, but for her own reasons. Faelan, one of the gancanagh, is to be Bran’s guide to his father, and she has ordered him to seduce the Red King and prove his love false. Faelan has no desire to follow through, but also no choice. His queen has commanded, and he must obey.

Macsen and Bran aren’t the only lovers whose feelings are being put to the test. After five thousand years of separation, Myrddin has no choice but to accept Kas’ help in restoring the spring and its rite to the mortal world. The difficulty is that he wants Kas to desire him for himself, not out of necessity, and the whole of reality is standing in his way.

Where is the line that divides determination from desire? Love is power—but is it enough?

Excerpt

Macsen ran his fingers through the wild mess of Bran’s hair, bent to his mouth and pressed Bran back against the table behind him, back and back until he was sprawled half across it. “Did you miss me? You taste like you missed me.”

Bran arched up into his arms, hooked a leg around Macsen’s legs and held him close for a deeper kiss.

“Does that mean yes? Bran… I missed you, Bran.” His hands were cold, cold like they hadn’t been since the beginning. His mouth, too, was cold—cold against Bran’s mouth, his throat, his collarbone, his shoulder. He could tell just by how hot Bran felt against him. “Missed you… Missed you.”

He wrapped his arms around Bran’s body, curled himself over him and kissed the curve of his ear. “Tell me you’re well, Anwylyd.” And again, against the line of his throat, “I missed you.”

“I’m fine. Fine. Better now that you’re home.” He turned a little in the circle of Macsen’s arms. “I missed you too.” He lifted his mouth expectantly, and Macsen pressed closer, kissed him again more deeply. “Hmm…” Bran pulled back. “You’re so cold.”

“Yes. And you are hot.” Macsen drew Bran up, kicked the bench out of the way and pushed him back onto the table. Bits of gold scattered, glinting in the firelight and ringing as they rolled and fell.

“Not here. You’re going to make a mess, Macsen.”

“Yes, let’s make a mess.” Macsen ran his tongue over the line of Bran’s throat as he tilted his head back, down along his collarbone to his shoulder. “A beautiful mess.” Faintly, the pattern of his own teeth was marked there, the scar of the bite he had left to heal on its own at Bran’s request, when they’d begun their courtship, when he’d had to leave…

As it had every time since the first time he’d noticed the scar, the sight filled him with desire, woke all his possessive instincts. Maybe no one else could see it, but it didn’t matter. Indelible, it beckoned him, called to him. This time when he gave in to his own desire and bit deep, seeking Bran’s blood, it was just in that place, aligning the new bite with the marks of the old.

Bran shuddered in his arms, groaned and twitched his hips up against Macsen’s body. “The floor—everything is going to—Macsen, you…ohhh…” But Bran couldn’t make the words into a sentence, and his body betrayed the truth of his desire. He didn’t relax his embrace, and one moaning exhalation after another came hot against Macsen’s skin. His fingers crawled up Macsen’s back and held tight.

I’ll help you pick everything up. Later. Now, make more sounds for me.”

Macsen’s voice was rough with blood, with the feral rush that was the result of such a feast as he had made for himself in the mortal world. Winter’s strength was restless in him, his own power was building on the heels of it, and beside all those things the wanton willingness of his lover—beloved, beautiful, groaning under him, muttering his name again and again… It flushed him with lust.

“Is there anything you wouldn’t give me, Bran?” He murmured the words against the soft heat of Bran’s throat. “Anything I could ask to which you might say no?”

There was no answer but moaning, the soft exhalation of hot breath as Macsen slipped his hands under Bran’s tunic. Bran moved in his arms, wrapped his legs around Macsen’s back, reached up into his hair with both hands.

Macsen knew what he wanted, all of what he wanted, and laughed all but silently against the curve of his shoulder. “A mess, you said. I will make a mess of you, and everything, everything. I’m going to take you right here.” He pushed Bran back onto the table. There was a clatter and chiming as more metal fell to the ground and Bran lay back across the empty space, his fingers grasping at Macsen’s arms.

For an instant he looked back over his shoulder, trying to see what had fallen, but Macsen took hold of his trousers in both hands and tore them from him—ripped the laces and the soft sidhe silk right down the seams. Then he bent and bit at the curve of Bran’s hip, kissed a line along the shallow curve of his pelvis, nipped the soft skin of his thigh and set the blood flowing. It made a red stream that he followed greedily with his tongue.

Moans, and “More,” and “More,” came from Bran, and Macsen wet his fingers with oil and pressed two of them deep. There was a dark flush on Bran’s cheeks, his throat, his chest, and Macsen knew there would be fire soon, the beckoning heat Bran could never restrain. He slipped his other hand from Bran’s thigh to his cock, rubbed his thumb over the head.

Fire reached out and wrapped around his arms, his waist, slipped into his clothes and under them, tugging at his skin. He resisted the urge to give in at the first touch, resisted while filaments of heat licked at his cock, brushed over his nipples, slipped past his lips on his every breath. He could feel Bran’s want of him in every touch, and there was pleasure in each one of those demanding caresses.

Macsen bent and took the head of Bran’s cock into his mouth, just for the taste of him, and his hands darted down to cup the back of Macsen’s head. He licked his lips and stood straight again, pulled Bran the tiniest bit closer, right to the edge of the table, and replaced his fingers with his cock. He didn’t say a word, gave no warning, and Bran gasped under him, clawed at his shoulders, pulled himself tight against Macsen’s body and let out one long cry. It was just what Macsen wanted, his name drawn out into an unrecognizable sound.

“Open up for me just like that. So good, Bran.”

Bran shook, shuddered, and trembled finally as he relaxed. Everything was heat, and the fire clutched at Macsen’s skin, but Bran was so tight around his cock he couldn’t move. The pleasure was a torment. It was so hot—so hot—there was just one distraction, and he held Bran against his body and bit deep into his throat, sucked up the red, dark blood.

The first mouthful was enough to take Bran shuddering over the edge, all but untouched, heart speeding under Macsen’s tongue, all of him shaking and his cock throbbing its white essence in pulses between them. His body gripped Macsen’s cock almost painfully, then relaxed while he tightened his fingers in Macsen’s hair again and again.

He stayed still and let Bran ride out his climax, took slow mouthfuls from the brilliant spill at his throat. Brighter. Brighter than it had been since they had left Summer. Was it the power Bran used for his work?

So much sun.

Slowly, Macsen pulled back, then thrust deeper, again and again. He felt desire as it sneaked back into Bran’s body, up his calves and his trembling thighs, into the tautness of his buttocks and the sudden tenseness of his hips. The shadow of fire trembled across his skin as he arched back, flickered over his abdomen, his chest. There was fire in his blood, too, as it streamed over Macsen’s tongue and down his throat.

Summer, it was Summer green and gold, rich juices and wine. He knew he should pull back but Bran’s fingers were tight against his scalp, his skin. The heat of his cock was rigid and twitching against Macsen’s belly, and his hips rocked back against every thrust, begging for more. His whole body was begging for more, his eyes closed and his mouth open for wordless groans.

Faster. Deeper. Harder, until he had to hold Bran still with both hands, grip his hip and shoulder to keep him still against his mouth. The tightness and the fire, the almost-pain where Bran pulled his hair, dug his fingers into Macsen’s back… So good. Pleasure overwhelmed him, one sharp pulse after another spilling out of him and into Bran. Bran cried out a little, shivered, then begged.

“Please, I’m so close, please.” He tugged harder at Macsen’s hair, and Macsen slipped his hand between them, stroked Bran’s cock—but he still pulled, gasped, demanded, and the heaving curve of his throat was too much vulnerability, too much temptation for Macsen to resist. He bit deeper, took more, and Bran locked his legs behind Macsen’s hips and groaned out his release.

Want more? Preorder your copy of The Shadow Road!

Advertisements

Lick of Shadow

This  Lick comes  from The Shadow Road, book four of  the Eight Kingdoms series! This excerpt is a site exclusive, as The Shadow Road won’t be on pre-order until December! 

Remember, Licks are NSFW excerpts, so read carefully – and look forward to another erotic excerpt on the smutty seventeenth of next month!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

There was desire without restraint in Bran’s touch, Bran’s kiss. Some barrier Macsen had only been vaguely aware of was broken down within him, and for a moment he was breathless. Passion he knew, and fire, but this was both those things and more. Could he stand it, take it, bear it? Yes, oh yes. He wanted more and more, all that Bran was, breathing and beating, heart and soul.

He stepped back, let Bran go and Bran growled at him, but Macsen pulled at his tunic and his expression changed. He let Macsen drag it over his head and off his arms, and he was already kicking off his boots when Macsen dropped it and jerked at the tie of his trousers.

Naked, perfect, the scent of him drowned everything else from Macsen’s awareness. He pulled Bran close, then dragged him down to the ground and darted over him without pause. All for me. Bran was already hard and reaching for him, pulled up his legs and tried to drag Macsen over him, onto him, into him.

Macsen held back, but barely. He took Bran’s cock in his fist, stroked as he bent over him, kissed him, and Bran groaned, arched off the ground. Macsen took the wetness from Bran’s cock onto his fingers, pressed one inside and Bran was hot for him and tight, shuddered, moaned. Want.

There was suddenly grass, soft and green under Macsen’s knees, but that didn’t matter. Bran was rocking impatiently back against his fingers, his hands on Macsen’s shoulders. Where had his embarrassment gone? He had eyes for no one but Macsen, attention for no one but Macsen, and when he finally begged, the words came eager and easy. “Please, enough, it’s enough. Just give me your cock. I need it. I need it—now, now, now.

The echo undid the last of Macsen’s restraint. He pulled his fingers away and gripped Bran’s thighs, pulled them up and apart, then pressed in. It was always good this way, but usually he took more time, prepared Bran more, and now the tight heat grasping his cock one inch at a time was tighter. He thrust deeper, deeper, and Bran’s legs wrapped around his back, urging him on.

Macsen cast his gaze around them one last time, teeth showing. Winter had fallen into blood-rut, as if his own descent onto Bran had given them permission. Perhaps it had. But no one met his eyes, no one looked his way. He saw what he had wanted to see. No one, no one dared to look at Bran under him.

The hunter, satisfied, turned wholly to his prey.

 

 

Lick Twice

This  Lick comes  from The Burning Season, book three of Eight Kingdoms available here! Remember, Licks are NSFW excerpts, so read carefully – and look forward to another erotic excerpt on the smutty seventeenth of next month!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bran lay quiet, his eyes closed and his breathing growing slowly steady.

“When do you have to go? How soon?”

Soon, but not now.”

Bran’s hands wandered across Macsen’s chest, up to cup his jaw, drew him close so Bran could kiss him, skimmed the sides of his body. “Good. Good.” Bran reached across his hip to run his fingertips along the underside of Macsen’s cock.

“Again, Bran? Impatient and insatiable.” There were heat and amusement both in Macsen’s voice as he turned against Bran’s body, reached over to close his fingers around the swift thickening of Bran’s erection.

Yes. I want to still be feeling you when you leave.”

Macsen pressed his lips to Bran’s throat, licked the stinging punctures there, stroked him slowly. Bran turned his head again, lifted one leg over Macsen’s thighs behind him and shifted so that Macsen’s cock pressed between his buttocks.

Please.” Macsen pushed , and Bran let out a broken moan. There was no discomfort now, his body still stretched and more than ready. There was only pleasure with every inch of Macsen’s penetration. “Want it harder, Macsen—” One slow thrust after another filled him with rigid thickness, then pulled back.

If Macsen kept to this pace, slower than before, Bran might die. He tilted his head back, exposed the vulnerable curve of his throat and met Macsen’s eyes. There was more red in them than violet now, red of blood, red of fire, and beneath those things, the swirling of a winter storm.

Harder, Macsen. Please—cock in me, teeth in me, harder please.”

The more Bran begged the more he felt Macsen tensing behind him, coming closer to an edge he rarely crossed. As if he were afraid. Now, as always, Bran could tell he was holding back, and that was the opposite of what he wanted.

“It’s too much, Bran. I’ve already taken too much.”

“I want too much.” Bran rolled his hips and felt the sharp heat of Macsen’s exhalation against his back, the tightening of Macsen’s fingers at his hip. “Give me what I want, Macsen. Give me what I want, you know you can’t say no.”

In a moment, Bran was flat on his back again and empty, so empty. The glare of Macsen’s eyes blazed down at him through the fall of his hair.

“I can’t say no. I can’t, I can’t.” He spread Bran’s legs with warm hands that went cold without warning. “That means you should be careful what you ask for.” Wholly, fully, Macsen thrust deep, pulled himself forward over Bran’s body and set a pace that was fast and hard.

 

 

 

Lick the Sun

This  Lick comes from book two of the Eight Kingdoms series, The Circle Unbroken! Remember, Licks are NSFW, so read carefully – and look forward to another erotic excerpt on the smutty seventeenth of next month!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bran reached out and ran his hands through Macsen’s hair.

“The Red King on his knees in front of me—I wonder how much some would pay for that?”

Cool hands caressed the bare skin of Bran’s thighs, cold enough to set him shivering but not to dull his lust.

“Never enough—but I want you now, Bran.”

He leaned forward with the words still on his tongue and wrapped his lips around Bran’s cock. Cool. Velvet. Bran tightened his fingers in Macsen’s hair, leaned forward and groaned, guided his erection back and forth over the roughness of Macsen’s tongue, the softness of his lips. Now and then the dangerous teeth glided over his skin, just enough to tease, to remind Bran who was really in control, always.

“Back, Bran. Lie back.”

Macsen was already reaching for the sweet oil they kept by the bedside.

“So I don’t get anything I want after all?”

He would have said more, just to tease, but Macsen poured the oil over Bran’s erection, smoothed it with his fingers, his fist moving up, down, up… Then it stopped, and Macsen stood, stared down at him.

“Move back, Bran. The middle of the bed—yes.”

Bran obeyed, then looked down his body and saw Macsen crawling up over him, slow movements, every stretch, every inch he covered sensual panic, perfect—gorgeous he was, lust in his eyes, his smile pure sex. He settled himself on Bran’s belly, just above the head of his cock, and pressed back enough that Bran’s cock slid between his buttocks, and Bran groaned. So close, so close to where he wanted to be, but not close enough.

He pressed upward, ran his hands over Macsen’s thighs, his hips, dragged his fingers over Macsen’s erection.

“Is this what you wanted, Bran?” Macsen lifted himself just a little then pressed down on Bran’s cock.

Oh yes.”

Tightness, but not heat, satin sinking over him, drawing a groan out of his lungs, long noise of breath—Macsen’s hands on his chest, the weight of him, his thighs pressed close to Bran’s thighs… Slowly, he rocked up and back, took a little more of Bran inside him each time—it took all Bran’s willpower not to use his grip on Macsen’s hips to pull him down, flush against his body, bury himself all the way inside.

Inside you, Macsen. I want— I want to—”

Macsen settled on top of him, his buttocks flush against Bran’s thighs, and Bran finally gave in to his urge and let his hips jerk upward. Macsen leaned back, open pleasure on his face as he lifted himself and sank down again and again.

At first Bran lifted his hips to meet him, drove little cries out of Macsen’s lips, gorgeous, so arousing, until Macsen leaned forward again, forward until only the head of Bran’s cock was inside him, and he could speak just beside Bran’s ear.

“Are you going to take what you want?”

Lick of Fire

This  Lick completes the teaser  from The Burning Season, currently available here! Remember, Licks are NSFW excerpts, so read carefully – and look forward to another erotic excerpt on the smutty seventeenth of next month!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bran let his head drop back against the bed, cried out and bucked into Macsen’s touch. There was nowhere to go, no escape from those hands, that mouth sucking against his flesh, but escape wasn’t what he wanted.

He wanted more, and more. More than the languid stroking of Macsen’s thumb against the head of his cock, more even than the rush that was the sharing of Macsen’s deepest nature. The dark of it came over him like he thought his own heat must come over Macsen, sudden, full, undeniable.

“Macsen, more, please, I need more.”

The words came aching from his mouth, and Macsen pulled away, licked his teeth and looked up with blood on his lips still. The sight made Bran tighten his grasp against the bedclothes. The fingers pulled out of him, and warm hands spread Bran’s thighs apart farther, left him empty, needing, feeling his pulse in the hundred marks Macsen had left on his body. He felt a soft tongue on the wound Macsen’s teeth had left in his thigh, soothing, reminding…still not enough.

Not nearly enough.

Now that his hands were free, Bran reached down to tug at Macsen’s hair, pull him up. Yes, up. He didn’t have the strength to move his lover, not if he didn’t want to be moved, but Macsen was pliant, let Bran tug him into place between his thighs, nuzzled his cheek against Bran’s cock.

Macsen, please, suck—”

His tongue lapped around the head, pulled Bran a little at a time into his mouth. Slow. So slow that Bran could feel every stroke of tongue, the coolness of Macsen’s breath, the softness of his lips. “Oh yes—yes.

Before he knew what he was doing, Bran was holding Macsen’s hair tight in his fists, guiding the movement of his head, thrusting his cock up into Macsen’s mouth. Red-violet, heavy-lidded, pupils wide, Macsen stared up at him, and Bran’s gaze traveled between that wanton look and the way Macsen’s mouth stretched around his cock.

Again, Macsen pulled back, and this time all Bran’s tugging was for nothing. “Macsen—”

“Have I proved yet that I’m the patient one?”

Bran sucked in a breath, scowled but couldn’t sustain the expression. “You—”

Macsen only grinned. “I.” He leaned forward, lapped at the underside of Bran’s erection, laughed huskily at the sound of Bran’s groan and closed his mouth over the head of his cock again. His tongue moved in darting patterns, and no matter how Bran pulled at his hair or bucked his hips upward, there was no more than that—only a tease.

A minute, two, and Bran tensed, so close, not close enough. Easily, Macsen’s fingers slipped inside him again, and that was more than enough to prod his nerves higher, always higher, but not enough to bring him the release he craved.

There was heat at the curve of his hip, the dip of his pelvis, Macsen’s mouth, one kiss after another. Macsen’s tongue drew wet lines of desire across his skin, along the length of his cock. He spoke in a murmur, close to Bran’s skin.

“I want the taste of you to bring with me, Bran.”

The words licked at him like that wicked tongue, sent a jolt through him and invoked a new flush of flame.

Lick of Fire Teaser

This  Lick is a teaser from The Burning Season, currently available for pre-order here! Remember, Licks are NSFW excerpts, so read carefully – and look forward to the rest of this excerpt on the smutty seventeenth!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bran let his head drop back against the bed, cried out and bucked into Macsen’s touch. There was nowhere to go, no escape from those hands, that mouth sucking against his flesh, but escape wasn’t what he wanted.

He wanted more, and more. More than the languid stroking of Macsen’s thumb against the head of his cock, more even than the rush that was the sharing of Macsen’s deepest nature. The dark of it came over him like he thought his own heat must come over Macsen, sudden, full, undeniable.

“Macsen, more, please, I need more.”

The words came aching from his mouth, and Macsen pulled away, licked his teeth and looked up with blood on his lips still. The sight made Bran tighten his grasp against the bedclothes. The fingers pulled out of him, and warm hands spread Bran’s thighs apart farther, left him empty, needing, feeling his pulse in the hundred marks Macsen had left on his body. He felt a soft tongue on the wound Macsen’s teeth had left in his thigh, soothing, reminding…still not enough.

Not nearly enough.

Burning Bite

Pre-order for The Burning Season  starts Friday! As promised,  I thus deliver to you this second Bite, which continues from where Summer Bite left off!  And of course, keep an eye out for a tiny, exclusive preview of this month’s Lick, to be posted tomorrow!

Winter’s love is blood and chaos…but fire isn’t all that smolders at Summer’s heart.
Winter’s love is blood and chaos…but fire isn’t all that smolders at Summer’s heart.

 

From Chapter One

Macsen opened his eyes and stared up at the golden ceiling of Bran’s room for only a moment before he was blinded by dazzling reflections. He covered his face with his arm again. There would be time enough for those thoughts. For now…he would have to think of a proper good-bye. Bran wouldn’t like it, but he had responsibilities… And Summer isn’t good to me.

He knew the first thing Bran would suggest, but Macsen couldn’t bring Bran with him, not this time—not so soon, and not when his intentions were to make a point that couldn’t be questioned. “It will be sharp and deadly…at least for you, Elenn.” His smile gained teeth. I promised you pain. I always keep my promises, always.

“Macsen, you can’t kill my mother.”

He turned and caught Bran looking at him, wide-awake and a smirk on his face to match the tone of his words.

“How long have you been up, Bran?”

“Long enough.”

“Summer’s made you sneaky.”

Bran snickered at him. ”Like that means anything coming from you. What are you thinking? I thought you said you’d be good.”

It was Macsen’s turn to laugh. “Good? Me? Never.” He turned and took Bran into his arms. “I wasn’t really thinking about your mother, I was thinking about you. About courting you, and what her face will look like when she’s forced to acknowledge me as yours.”

Bran blinked at him. “Don’t you mean acknowledge me as yours?”

“No. It will be far worse for her to know that you have chosen me. After all, she already knows you are precious.” Macsen drew his fingers across Bran’s chest, up past his throat and tangled them into his hair. “Just like I know it.” Macsen kissed him, pressed closer. Bran was heat and eagerness in his hands, and Macsen took full advantage of his willingness to deepen the kiss, nip at his lips.

“Too soon I’ll miss you, Bran…”

Summer Bite

As the pre-order date for The Burning Season draws closer (April 10th!) snippets and bits – and thus bites! – shall begin to appear. This first one comes from the very beginning, which is always the best place to start! 

To claim Bran forever, Macsen has begun the ancient ritual of sidhe courtship—but such a rite is a trial in more ways than one. Tradition requires that Macsen seek Bran’s favor in his own country, and a Summer courtship is teasing and promising. More than that, Summer’s Queen will come between Macsen and her son however she can. But despite his mother’s disapproval, Bran’s will is bent to the same purpose as his Macsen’s—the achievement of four proofs of love, proofs that only Bran can determine or acknowledge. One step at a time, they come closer to a day when nothing will be able to separate them—but a familiar foe is more than willing to try. In the mortal world, the year has continued to pass without a hint of green. The Green King has prevented the spring, and thus all seasons but winter…but it’s Macsen whom Dealla blames, and all her plans for violent retribution are directed at him. Failure may cost her everything, but that is a price she has long been willing to pay.  In the wake of her invasion, Macsen is left with a dilemma that might not be easy to solve. Love, or vengeance—which should he choose? Can they live together in the same heart?
This is that shiny, shiny cover I was bragging about – Beautiful, Bran!

 

Chapter One

Macsen lay unmoving, not sleeping, a hand over his eyes to block out the damned and brilliant sun. He was as the wolf in his winter coat, oppressed by the Summer swelter, but he endured for Bran’s sake. He had made a promise to stay, despite his discomfort in a place ruled by the sun. He had kept it, would keep it, but the time had come to go back to his own place. To return to the Red Kingdom, even if only for a little while.

He smiled to himself. Yes, only a little while. Then I will return for you, Bran. The last time Macsen had come here had been for him, too. For the oath that almost shattered us…but nothing will come between us now. He bared his teeth. Despite himself, he knew that nothing wore the shape of the Summer Queen. Your mother does not want me to have you, lover.

Privately, he considered that she might have good reason for her fear and suspicions. The last few times he had come here had been for Bran, love on his mind, but long before, he had come here in response to a challenge. He closed his eyes, and the memories were there within him, waiting. Winter chill superimposed over the green of the leaves. The great lake frozen and red with blood, and all the blossoms fallen under the weight of snow.

If there was one thing that was the same, it was that even then, he had come for a son of the Summer Queen…

Sun Bite

This bite, like the first,  comes from Dark Side of the Sun. Enjoy a taste of Bran Fionnan – Macsen does!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bran burned to see what was in Macsen’s hand, gleaming yellow, calling to him with his own power. It was the dagger Bran had made for Noirine. The dagger that had been meant to kill the Red King, this smug vampire standing in front of him with a smile on his face.

The old mix of fury and guilt rose up and choked him. The heart of his rage, close to the surface after a day spent brooding, had been soothed by the promise of Macsen’s mouth and hands on his skin, had faded into the background confronted by something as inexplicable as this vampire presence and his own trust. Now instead of the pleasure those touches had promised, he was being goaded into a fight, and even knowing the reason didn’t relieve the sting of Macsen’s last comment.

“It won’t be so difficult—after all, you’re the one that forges these weapons, aren’t you? You should know how to use them.”

Bran was aware that as of yet, the one he intended to fight had done nothing to him to warrant such a violent response. He was aware that it was unfair to take out twenty years’ worth of pent up emotions on someone who had himself been hunted and harried for his existence alone.

The Milesians were fools, of course, to think they could influence or destroy the Red King and his court. Standing in Macsen’s presence, he could see that now. He couldn’t see what it was about Macsen that drove the Milesians to such extremes, seeking to destroy him, any more than he had ever been able to see what it was about himself that disgusted them so.

He was aware that men did not hold the wolf responsible for its kill, that the wildcat was not reviled for eating the flesh that sustained it. It was stupid to assume that men would have no predator, and completely idiotic to think that men could destroy such a predator if they found it.

It occurred to Bran that the Milesians had been badly misled by the ease with which their ancestors had banished the Irish sidhe, but that was a misconception that would only be corrected by future pain.

Bran looked up at Macsen, resolved to do what was necessary, and nodded once.

“All right. All right, I’ll do what you want—and hold you to your promise, Red King.”

Macsen smiled slowly. “Sidhe don’t break their word like men, Bran. What I say, I will do. Now, choose a weapon!”

Blacker than the night sky, Macsen’s aura flowed around Bran and buffeted him with power. Bran took a step to his left, his gaze fixed on Macsen, and reached behind him through the open door of the smithy. The staff was where he had left it, leaning against the wall just inside the threshold, and Bran grasped hold of it and squeezed it tightly. It hummed in his hands, drawing on the spark within him to further awaken the living gold in its bright, new spirals.

Bran faced his opponent and breathed deeply. He held the staff he had made poised across his body and saw Macsen stare at it, appraising. It was a gorgeous weapon, iron-hard oak capped and shod and inlaid with gleaming gold.

“Make a good show of it, Bran Fionnan!”

They rushed together and the lash of air that accompanied Macsen’s movements was a blow on its own. Bran’s thoughts overflowed in the wake of it. No wonder Noirine hadn’t succeeded. How could she? She had been fast, but not fast enough, strong, but not as strong as the Red King.

Bran came back to himself to find that while he’d been distracted, Macsen had gained a steady grip on his staff. He stared at Macsen’s hands, pale, smooth, the nails glinting like glass, then found himself flying over Macsen’s shoulder and down onto the ground. Macsen tossed the weapon away from them into the night, and Bran sucked in a deep breath and met violet eyes with his own gaze. He saw promise in them, promise and lust and amusement.

That last irritated him, and he wondered if he might be able to make an impression. He had no weapon, but so what? The power inside him was what was dangerous, wasn’t it?

Bran grinned and pushed himself onto his feet, crouched low to the ground and tracked Macsen’s approach. When the Red King laid hands on him, exercised a tithe of his strength and lifted him, Bran dangled in his long-fingered grasp like a doll for half a moment. Then he reached for power and felt heat flood his flesh. His skin glowed with gold light, but Macsen only laughed at him and squinted through the brightness.

“That won’t do a thing, Bran Fionnan. Not your power, not to me. Not even you and the gold you wake together can harm me. It’s just bad luck for you, none of your kin would have as much trouble. Weren’t you listening? There’s a bond between us, a bond neither of us can break. A bond of trust…and a bond against such dangers.”

Bran understood nothing but that he had failed, but he wasn’t too unhappy, just confused. He hadn’t really wanted to hurt Macsen, after all.

Macsen put him down, but his hands held Bran still, and Bran twisted in struggle. He didn’t know if he was struggling for show, or because of his own internal conflicts, and he didn’t know if what came next was an accident or not. Was it because he pressed too hard, moved just too far trying to get away? Was it just because Macsen wanted it, even as Bran himself did?

A kiss.

Lick Him Up

Welcome to our first Lick, an excerpt from Dark Side of the Sun, posted today in celebration of book three’s cover reveal! (You can see it here!) Why is this excerpt not in Bites, you ask? Because Licks are NSFW excerpts, and it’s only polite to keep them separate! Look forward to a new Lick on the smutty seventeenth of every month!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…Bran flushed, and Macsen reached out and drew him close again, nuzzled his cheek and kissed his jaw, the curve of his ear, then down again toward his mouth. This kiss was rougher, deeper, and Bran tasted blood without knowing whose lip he had bitten. One of Macsen’s hands ran through his hair, dragged sharp nails against his scalp, held his head still. Despite himself, Bran groaned and gave in to his own desire. The soft lips opened to Bran’s tongue. He felt cool, tingling hands reach up to touch his cheeks, felt them running through his hair, slip down around his shoulders.

Bran turned his head under the pressure of a nudge and another kiss, and Macsen pulled him into a closer embrace. Bran opened his eyes and the movement felt lazy. Was the Red King’s kiss a drug?

No. It’s just desire.

Bran licked his lips, a quick darting of his tongue. He felt Macsen’s eyes on the motion and knew then the inevitable end of this confrontation.

“You’re trying to distract me, but I want—”

“I don’t want to talk about your mother right now, Bran Fionnan. I don’t want to talk at all. Not now. Ask me anything you want, but later. Not now.

He leaned close, breathed deeply. Bran felt Macsen’s breath against his lips and tried once more, but he was pressing up against Macsen even as he spoke, even as his words became a murmur that washed against Macsen’s lips.

“You’re sure no one—”

“No one will see us tonight. Not unless it’s someone with more power than me.” Macsen’s voice was breathless, his eyes shining and dark, the pupils dilated with lust. “Now, don’t struggle. I’d never hurt you, beautiful Bran—”

Macsen licked Bran’s lips, so soft, so teasing. Bran knew what was about to happen the moment before it did, but in that moment he found that he didn’t care. He had accepted Macsen’s nature for what it was—he enjoyed it, darkness and all. It was proof that Macsen was like him, proof that he was sidhe. Bran’s want flowed hot in him, spurring him onward, and beside his lust was the same welling of inexplicable trust that he had felt the night before. Trust. It was a promise with no words that was reinforced by Macsen’s aura, Macsen’s presence.

Macsen smirked, his lips stretching over white teeth, then bent to Bran’s throat. Bran felt Macsen’s tongue against his skin. Sharp teeth penetrated deep. A tickle like the brush of a feather became twin needles of sensation and fluttering heat. Bran gasped. The feeling was nothing like what he had imagined.

The theft of his blood was a delicate seduction that gave him promises instead of pain. For a moment it let him feel the rich, dark core of Macsen’s being—but that moment was very short. Macsen had taken barely a mouthful from Bran’s veins, but he was already stepping back.

“Delicious.”

Macsen’s hands roamed Bran’s skin through untied, unlaced clothes. Dazed, Bran wondered when that had happened. Macsen’s touch aroused, stimulated, tempted. His fingers teased Bran’s nipples into hard points and his other hand slipped between the tight press of their bodies and grasped the straining stiffness of Bran’s erection. Macsen lifted his lips from Bran’s throat and soothed the shallow wound there with his tongue. For a moment a haze hung across Macsen’s eyes. Bran saw it, heard Macsen’s voice thicken and slow and soften into a murmur that brushed heat against the tender place on his throat.

“Be my lover, beautiful Bran, my lover…”

Bran didn’t know why Macsen had stopped to ask. It felt like he had wanted this touch, this moment, forever. It didn’t matter that need and desire weren’t really the same thing, not right now. He surprised himself with the force of his answer. “Yes.”

That one word seemed like it was enough to awaken the bestial promise that slept in the Red King. Bran felt the shift in the hands that pulled his clothes from his body, hands that grasped his throbbing erection and pulled pleasure from his loins with smooth, slow strokes.

They stumbled together, and came up against the wall of Bran’s house. Macsen held Bran pinned there with the weight of his body, and Bran slipped his fingers against Macsen’s chest and down, down—he needed no encouragement to return the pleasure that Macsen’s stroking fingers gave him.

He could feel Macsen’s pulse beating in the heavy hardness that slid back and forth across his palm—then their gasps were equal and they panted together, gasping, moaning. Bran’s head fell forward against Macsen’s chest. He heard his own voice calling out, strangled and broken.

“Macsen…Macsen…Macsen…”

Macsen was quieter, but his whisper, “Bran,” was tender and sharp enough to send a new shudder rolling over Bran’s skin.