Part of the Nature of Desire series
When his father dies, Thomas is forced to abandon a burgeoning art career in New York. As difficult as it was to give up his lifelong dream, it's nothing next to walking away from the man he loves. Marcus taught him to embrace who he is, a sexual submissive who responds to the touch of only one Master. But why would the sophisticated Marcus need some farm kid from the South?
Then Marcus shows up and offers him a way to continue his art career and help his family. There's only one hitch-he asks Thomas to spend a week with him in the Berkshires. Thomas knows he should refuse. But he's never been able to say no to his Master.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill
"These hands are the real works of art, pet."
When his Master said that, they'd been in Thomas' tiny warehouse room, which also served as his studio. He'd guided his Master's hands into the paint and they'd stood together at the canvas, hands overlaid. They created something that, while not great art, was as much an expression of life as a child's hand print in plaster.
His Master's white silk shirt had been open, the lean muscular slope of the chest down to the sectioned stomach muscles exposed. He'd removed the belt from his slacks so they'd dropped lower, giving Thomas even more of the mouthwatering sculpted abs and diagonal musculature angling toward the groin. The shirt was loose so there was the hint of the points of his broad shoulders, the biceps disappearing into the sleeves.
Thomas had pressed behind his Master, turned him toward the mirror so he could trace his stomach with paint-covered fingers, taking streaks of color up over the pectorals and hard nipples, all the way to the throat. His Master had even allowed Thomas to run his hands over the expensive shirt so he left streaks of color on his clothes as well as his skin. Then his hands had overlapped Thomas', mixing the colors, making a living tapestry that reflected Thomas' passion for all that was his life.
All that was his life then. Not now. Not ever again. Cracking open an eye, he found he still had five fingers, though the tip of his forefinger was welling blood. A slice had been taken out of the meat and part of the nail was torn. It was more blood than damage. Cursing regardless, he picked up a rag and wrapped it around his finger, holding it to staunch the bleeding. He squeezed his eyes shut so he wouldn't scream out his rage.
Earlier this morning his mother had suggested an improvement to the paint color area. "Why don't you paint a display there, Thomas? Something that will make people see how certain colors work together for their bedrooms and trim. You're so good at that. You haven't been painting since you came home, and you used to love to do it so much."
He thought he might get physically ill if he walked down the paint aisle today.
Fuck it. Whoever the hell it was, he had to see. No way Marcus Aurelius Stanton was wandering around a hardware store in the middle of North Carolina. Surely he wasn't the only one in the world with a drop-your-pants-because-I'm-going-to-fuck-you-now voice.
Thomas strode out of the back room, maneuvered around the repair counter and nearly trampled Les, coming around the corner from the other side.
"Oof." She stopped herself with defensive hands against his chest. "Clumsy oaf. What're you doing, charging out of there like a bat out of hell? I was just coming to find--"
He didn't hear her. Not after the first sentence, when his eyes found the customer standing in the aisle behind her about fifteen paces away, who turned from his contemplation of fixtures at the sound of her exclamation.
Lucifer would have looked like that, Thomas was sure. Temptation, a hundred percent Grade A, tightly packaged in a hard-muscled six-foot frame. He knew what that frame looked like without a stitch on it. Marcus had a faint birthmark on the inside left thigh, but no tattoos or piercings. His lip had curled with disdain when Thomas teased him about it.
"Art is fixed on a canvas for a reason. If well preserved, it doesn't distort or fade. I don't believe time will be as kind to this canvas."
He wasn't wrong about much, but Marcus was wrong about that. Thomas knew the man he was looking at would be riveting until the day he died, even with the sculpted lines of old age. But he didn't need tattoos or piercings. It would be like trying to touch up and improve Michelangelo's David.
He wore his black hair loose on his shoulders. It was silk, the different lengths that fell over his brow and swept back from his aristocratic cheekbones only emphasizing his bone structure. He was the prince of every fairy tale that had ever been written. Not the prince who led the king's armies, but the one who handled his negotiations for peace with a rapier intelligence that was twice as deadly a weapon as any general could imagine. A king might gain capitulation through force of arms. Marcus could acquire surrender through nothing more than a look.
Not only had Thomas touched those sensual, firm lips with his own, they had touched every part of his body. He remembered his arms and legs spread and bound as Marcus' mouth moved over his belly, his chest, nuzzling his throat briefly before he straddled Thomas' face and fed his thick, long cock between his eagerly waiting lips.
His jaw had rubbed against the rough texture of Marcus' leg and the smoother skin of his inner thigh as he'd sucked and licked and done everything to drive Marcus mad. When Marcus' grip on his hair fisted and the thighs hardened to drive himself deeper into his slave's throat, Thomas had felt triumph.
How many lips had touched that impressive cock since Thomas'? Probably more than he could count. Thomas hadn't been anything special. Lots of people knew how to give good head.
He told himself cruel things like that and tried to paste them as words in Marcus' mouth to wean himself from the images that haunted him. He'd been successful enough that they plagued him mostly at night now, or when he'd worked a sixteen-hour day at the store and everyone else had gone home. Then it was just him and the silence of the old building, the sky dark outside and winking with stars that certainly couldn't be seen in the night sky over New York City.
That long cock was contained in dark slacks probably custom-tailored by some impressive name like Armani. A blue T-shirt was tucked into it and Marcus wore a dark suit jacket over that. The Swiss timepiece on his wrist probably cost as much as their John Deere tractor inventory. Thomas knew Marcus would be wearing snug cotton boxer briefs in his preferred black. Glancing down, he saw Marcus wore Italian loafers. New York Upper East Side casual, which would be the equivalent of church clothes around here.
"Tommy, this man had some questions I didn't know how to answer." Les held up a small handful of clips. "How much weight can these hold if you're using grade-two nylon line? I told him he might prefer the twine stock, but--"
"Too rough," Marcus said, his green eyes focused on Thomas' face. "I want something that won't scratch."
"Oh, like to protect a boat's gel coat." She nodded. "How much weight did you say it needed to handle?"
Marcus' gaze dropped, passed down Thomas' torso and back up again. It only took a moment, just long enough that Celeste turned to him as he reached Thomas' flushed face again.
"About one sixty-two. Not that much, after all."
Son of a bitch. Thomas had been one-ninety before he'd come back here. How did Marcus do that?