Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SM Johnson ~ DeVante's Children ~ Excerpt

DeVante's Children (revamped) by SM Johnson

Release date: June 4, 2015



Over Labor Day weekend Daniel went to the Duluth/Superior Pride festival. It was a first for him, and he begged Rodrick to come, but for obvious sunlight reasons, Roderick had no choice but to deny him. When he caught up to Daniel Saturday evening, the boy was glowing, not only with pride, but with sunburn. He hoped the little idiot hadn’t permanently damaged his skin. Daniel chattered on and on about bands and floats, the Mayor’s speech promoting tolerance, and hung all over Roderick like white on rice. If he weren’t so damn cute, Roderick would have been annoyed. As it was, he laughed at Daniel with all his cute rainbow buttons, slogan tee-shirts – Yes I am! – rainbow flags, and Mardi Gras beads on which condoms hung like medallions. Daniel hadn’t told his roommate yet that he was gay, but Roderick guessed the guy would figure it out, oh, right about now. Daniel tucked his souvenirs away, put on a shirt that said Human across the front in rainbow lettering, and his smile never dimmed.

Damn, he was fucking beautiful.

And he wasn’t letting Roderick get out of any after dark activities. Out to the gay club they went, Daniel’s green eyes glittering as Roderick provided him with alcohol for the express purpose of watching him dance. He was, of course, the youngest in the club, Roderick slipping him past the bouncer with a vampire trick. He was also the prettiest, although he made friends with a good-looking couple from Chicago, and a dreamy local boy who couldn’t be a whole lot older than Daniel himself. Roderick, watching Daniel flirt and charm, laugh and grin, thought he could eat them all right up. Especially that one from Chicago… but he restrained himself. Let Daniel have his fun, what the hell. After a couple hours at the club, they joined a group of drunken gay boys on a party bus and rode out to the beach.

And Roderick made a rule, one rule, that maybe later he would regret.

No telling lies at the beach.

* * * * *


Beaches suddenly became the scariest places in the world, because Roderick made a rule that any question asked on the beach must be answered with complete honesty. And Daniel had had just enough to drink to make it sound like a good idea, but it turned out to be a scary rule, and made him afraid to ask Roderick anything, because something in Roderick’s eyes said the truth would hurt. Roderick was oblivious and sat Daniel in the sand some distance away from the rest of the party, and coaxed him to ask a question, any question.

Daniel didn’t want to hurt, so he didn’t dare ask if Roderick loved him. He didn’t want to hurt Roderick, either, so he also didn’t ask why Roderick pretended to be a vampire. He didn’t want the answer to be “because I am a vampire,” said with all seriousness, and he also didn’t want the answer to be “because I’m crazy.”

He sifted cool sand through his fingers as he tried to work out a safe question. “When did you know you were different?”

Roderick’s eyes glittered in the moonlight. “Different in which way?”

Daniel rolled his eyes. “When did you know you liked boys?”

“Ooh, different in that way.” Roderick dropped his head and supported his chin with his thumb, as if giving the question some thought. The answer, though, was thoughtless. “I’ve always liked boys. I like them bronzed and ripped. I like them tall and dark. I like them slim and blond. I like them corrupt, and I like them innocent. Mmmm. Loooove boys.”

Daniel wanted to laugh because it was sort of a campy drama routine, but his stomach was doing that riot thing again, and because there was something really sincere about Roderick’s words, and it sort of took Daniel’s breath away.

“Didn’t it ever scare you?” Daniel asked.

Roderick tilted his head, looked directly into Daniel’s face. “There are so many bigger things to fear,” he said. “I suppose I was scared the first time I had sex with a man, but…” his voice trailed off, and there was something in the silence that felt epic.

“But what?”

“I didn’t grow up here, in the States, you know.”

Daniel shook his head. “I’m beginning to think I don’t know anything. Especially not anything about you.”

“Things were different where I grew up. My mother was gypsy stock, in eastern Europe. She danced and entertained royalty and other wealthy patrons. There was a troop of us, mostly women and children, who traveled together, but my mother – she wrote the songs we performed, choreographed the dances – and she was truly talented, but she was also a realist. I was fairly young when one of the patrons we entertained asked for a private audience with me. Not unheard of young, but young. My mother curtsied politely and requested a word with me behind closed doors. She told me the man would want me to take off my clothes, and would probably want to touch and kiss me, and maybe other things, grown-up things, too.

“I had spied on patrons who requested my mother meet them privately. I had a reasonable idea what the man would expect from me, more or less. I told her that I thought he was handsome, and I wouldn’t mind visiting him in his room. She said I was a good and beautiful boy, and that I should never be ashamed to be those things.”

Roderick stopped talking and Daniel didn’t have any idea what to say into the silence that followed. He leaned closer to Roderick, resting his forehead on Roderick’s upper arm. After a minute in which he tried to be comforting, he asked, “Did he hurt you?”

Roderick shrugged. “No more than necessary, for my first time. I cried, but he dried my tears and was tender with me. He was very light-skinned, like me, and sometimes I wondered if he was my father, but my mother would never say.”

Daniel jerked his head up in shock. “Surely your mother wouldn’t let you go with him if –”

Roderick put an arm around him. “Surely not,” he agreed.

A silent minute passed, and then Roderick leapt to his feet, reaching down to tug at Daniel. “Stand up.” And when Daniel did, Roderick added, “Be still,” and walked a circle around him, the way he did sometimes, as if craving to see Daniel from all sides. Except this time Roderick stopped directly behind Daniel and rested what felt like the fingertips from both hands on the top of his head, lightly. “You are so brilliantly beautiful,” he said quietly, then leaned forward and buried his face in Daniel’s hair, inhaling deeply. Daniel sighed, loving Roderick’s openness in this, how he made no secret that he liked to look at him, liked the smell of him. Daniel knew it was akin to a change of subject, but he didn’t much care.

Roderick put a small amount of space between them, then, as if he’d taken half a step back, away, and his fingers grew heavier on Daniel’s head, then slid down so his palms cupped Daniel’s ears, thumbs rubbing gentle circles at the base of Daniel’s skull. Daniel tipped his head back into Roderick’s hands, like an affectionate cat, and felt his whole body go soft and loose. “Mmmm,” he purred, loving the gentle caress. And then Roderick pulled him tight against his chest, arms wrapped around him, holding him tight.

“Are you scared about your first time being fucked by a man? Being fucked by me?” Roderick asked out loud.

Daniel shivered. “Terrified.”

Roderick’s chin bumped the top of Daniel’s head, and Daniel imagined Roderick nodding, eyes glittering, excited to hear Daniel say it.

He didn’t soothe or reassure or offer any comfort at all. He said only, “Well. It’s not time, so don’t worry too much yet.”

Daniel rolled his eyes.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me.”

So Daniel laughed, instead. “Thank you for that stellar reassurance.”

Roderick’s arms tightened even more. “I can’t lie to you when we’re on the beach, remember?”

92,000 words  M/M Paranormal romance

TWO MORE DAYS! Watch this space for buy links! **happy dance**

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