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Intimate Places

M/M, Historical (ish), Erotic Romance
[19 Pages / 4,200 Words]

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Prince Tristan Fane keeps many secrets, but the only one that matters is Alric LaMarche. Head of the king's royal guard, Alric has served House Fane with unquestioned loyalty for decades. Any deeper connection is treason.

But Tristan is a man who knows exactly what he wants. And when Alric's desires align perfectly with his own, no force in the entire kingdom can keep them apart.


"Your parents are going to kill me for this. Both of them. They'll take turns." Alric makes this pronouncement with a remarkable aura of calm for a man who's just predicted his own doom. The fact that he is tugging Tristan down onto his lap undermines any suggestion that he's taking the danger seriously.

"Only if they find out." Tristan settles astride Alric, feeling daring and only a little bit off-balance. He's not the slightest bit worried Alric will change his mind or find a way back to making wiser choices. "Even then, they won't kill you themselves. They'll have you killed. Quietly. Keep their own hands clean and then pretend to launch an investigation into your disappearance."

Alric huffs an exasperated laugh, the sound so full of fondness that Tristan shivers with pleasure.

He thrills at the thick strength in Alric's thighs beneath him—the heat mingling in the narrow space between their bodies—the muscular chest beneath the rough fabric of a royal guard's uniform. Tristan wraps his arms around broad shoulders and savors this too, power carefully but imperfectly restrained. He grins at the hint of impatience tensing Alric's arms beneath his hands.

Alric's answering smile is somehow simultaneously soft with affection and dry as a summer wind, and he makes no effort to conceal the glint of amusement behind his eyes.

It isn't easy to joke about the danger, especially when their duties have kept them so thoroughly apart. Only as weeks have passed without discovery or disaster, have they learned to laugh their way through the sense of looming peril. There's an almost desperate edge to their shared humor. How else can they carry on without being crushed by the gravity of their secrets?

Tristan doesn't think his parents would actually order the death of a man who has served House Fane longer than Tristan has been alive. If nothing else, the king and queen are too practical to waste a valuable resource; though Tristan hopes that loyalty and friendship would count for something as well. And even if his judgment has erred, Tristan himself is not entirely powerless. As prince and heir, he possesses both stubbornness and ample resources of his own, and he has ways of protecting Alric LaMarche.

But levity is a conscious choice, in the face of the enormous risk of everything they have chosen to share.

This is still treason. Tristan Fane is still a man wholly off limits, his heart—or at least his future marriage—a prize to be negotiated in exchange for political alliance and power. Just because he has already decided not to let himself be used that way, doesn't mean the current strictures of his life allow him to do as he pleases.

And there is no denying that if anyone discovers their indiscretion—a scandalous affair between the crown prince and the head of the king's royal guard—even the best possible outcome will bring recrimination and ugly consequences. Exile is a real possibility. Tristan's heart twinges, and then he shoves the notion aside. He will shatter if he loses Alric that way, but thinking about it won't dissuade him from this selfish pursuit.

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Intimate Places
Cover design by Yolande Kleinn
ISBN 978-1-946316-33-2
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