It was after one when a yawning Mr. Lavert admitted to weariness and retired with his wife. Nikola and Justin escorted them to their carriage. “And you, Lord Nikola?” Justin asked on the stoop, as the Laverts’ carriage rolled into the night. “The night is young.”
“And I am finally safe from both politics and business.”
Justin steered him back into the main house. “I could give you more pointers on billiards.”
Nik made a face. “I daresay I’ve had my fill of billiards too.”
The black-haired lord raised one dark eyebrow at him. “Is that so?” He opened the door to the house and followed Nik inside. “And here I thought you liked games.”
You curst well know that’s not why I come whenever you crook your finger and beckon, Nik wanted to say, but he couldn’t make the words come out. Articulating it would just make it…even more real, and it was already too real, and Justin didn’t need the words to know anyway. Instead, he leaned against the door after Justin closed it, watching him.
A slow half-smile formed on Justin’s face as he met Nik’s blue eyes. He reached up to cup Nik’s pale cheek with tan fingers; at the contact, the contours of Justin’s mind filled Nik’s senses. “All right,” Justin said, voice low, moving so close that the folds of their neckcloths brushed, faces less than an inch apart. “No more games.” He curled his fingers beneath blond hair to cradle Nik’s head, his other hand on the opposite shoulder, pinning Nik against the door at the same time that he pulled the taller man’s head down enough to kiss. Nik bent willingly, returning the kiss with interest, glorying in the closeness, the power and strength in Justin’s body. Justin shifted his weight to Nik’s right side, hand working down Nik’s chest to unfasten the buttons of his jacket. Nik laced his own fingers through Justin’s thick black hair as they kissed, other arm trying to encircle Justin and pull him closer still. Justin resisted the pull until he’d unfastened enough buttons on the shirt beneath the jacket to slide his hand under the cloth, caressing the muscles of Nik’s upper abdomen before circling over his ribcage to his side. Then Justin pressed against him hard enough that Nik could scarcely breathe, mouth lowering to nibble at the line of Nik’s jaw.
Nik whimpered with pleasure and desire, sagging against the door, uncaring as its inlay dug into his back, tilting back his head to let Justin nuzzle at his throat. Thwarted by the folds of Nik’s jabot, Justin muttered an imprecation and brought both hands to bear in unfastening both it and Nik’s collar. He pushed the cloth roughly aside to expose a fit, fair-skinned chest sprinkled with curly blond hairs. Justin’s darker hands stroked the curve of Nik’s shoulders, still pinning him with his body. He raked his teeth lightly against the sensitive skin of Nik’s throat, and was rewarded with a gasp that melted into another eager moan as Justin bit down, suckling. Enflamed, Justin gave an animal growl and dug his fingers into Nik’s shoulders, biting harder. Gasping for breath, Nik buried his face in Justin’s hair, rumpling the other man’s jacket as his hands gripped Justin’s back.
After a few moments, Justin relented, shifting his weight enough that Nik was no longer trapped against the door, leaning back to watch Nik’s face, a small satisfied smile on his own. Nik dipped forward to brush his lips against Justin’s again. “My lord,” Nik whispered against his mouth, “how I’ve missed you.”
Justin laughed, letting his hands slide down Nik’s bare chest in an intimate caress, then grinned and turned away to start up the stairs. Partway up, he glanced back over his shoulder, then crooked a finger to Nik, beckoning.
As helpless as one enspelled, Nik followed.