Zachary watched. It was all he ever did. Always watching. Always making sure things flowed in the right direction. Never stepping out of line, or changing the outcome of what should be in all matters, except one. He’d done literally everything in his power to fight this side of destiny. So why, why in the name of the Powers that be, was it showing its cards like this?
“Come again?” Zachary blinked at his mother and father.
“You are to marry, next month,” his father, George Bradford, declared with a rather pleased smirk across his face.
“To Lord and Lady Lucius’ first son, Titus,” his mother, Cathleen, rejoiced. “Isn’t that great news?”
For a second Zachary wondered if his parents honestly knew what “great news” truly was. Hearing you’d won the lottery was great news. Finding out he no longer had this cursed gift would be great news. Learning he was now engaged, via arranged marriage, to Titus Lucius was not great news.
“And if I refuse?” Zachary had to try. He doubted it would do him any good, but maybe his parents would listen to him for once.
“Don’t be silly.” Cathleen waved her hand as if shooing the idea of Zachary being against this match away. “You and Titus get along just fine. You were friends as children. I’m sure you’ll make a lovely couple.”
“Who said I’m even gay?” Okay, yeah, a ridiculous argument, especially when one took his dating history into account. But again, he had to try. The looks his parents gave him said they weren’t even going to argue that point as it was. “Okay, fine.” Zachary rolled his eyes. “How about the fact Titus isn’t my type?”
“Oh, honey.” Cathleen stood and moved to sit beside him on the opposite couch. “This isn’t about type, trust me. You think your father was my type when I was chosen to marry him?”
He did not need another reminder of how much his parents didn’t love each other. At least not in the way a husband and wife should. They were the best of friends, with zero passion romantically or sexually. Zachary still couldn’t understand how they’d stomached sleeping with each other enough times to produce him and his younger three siblings.
“This is an archaic practice!” Fine, reason and logic weren’t going to work; he might as well play the temper tantrum card along with the antique backup plan. “Why should I be subjected to this outdated custom that no one follows anymore?”
“Because gay marriage is legal now,” his father answered smoothly. “And because we said so.”
“Why now?” Zachary growled out between clenched teeth.
His parents sighed, his mother moving back to sit beside his father. “After the discovery of the snake hiding in our very own family, the other noble houses are a bit concerned about the state of things.” His mother poured herself a cup of tea, no doubt with some brandy or whiskey added to it. “It’s been decided that the four high princes, you and your cousins, are to be wed to members of the noble houses. The hope is that by strengthening our bonds via marriage with the noble houses, the royal family may regain some credibility in their eyes. As you know, they don’t hold us any solid loyalty, so this is a political maneuver to solidify the ties unifying all of us to keep the balance. It should also help calm everyone until a new Royal Seer is found, and true balance can be restored.”
“What about the others?” Zachary demanded.
“Well, seeing as Daniel, Marcus, and William are already in romantic relationships, this isn’t being brought to their attention,” his mother admitted.
“It doesn’t hurt their partners are of the noble houses, I’m guessing?” Zachary taunted.
“Correct.” His father smiled. “You are the only one of the four that is single, so we were approached by multiple houses about making a match. We chose the one we felt was best suited for you.”
“Well.” Zachary stood and moved for the door. “You chose wrong!”
Without waiting to hear his parents’ reply, Zachary stormed out of the manor with his familiar, Flora, flying after him and calling in worry. He couldn’t fucking believe it! His parents were trying to marry him off!
Forget for a moment that it was Titus Lucius he was now betrothed to, the one person in both the realms he’d been avoiding like the plague. Just the fact his parents thought this was going to fix the problem left behind by Queen Rebecca’s, now known as Runa Gunvald’s, betrayal was ludicrous and ignorant to the highest degree!
“I call on wind,” Zachary chanted. “Carry me home.”
Flora screeched as she landed on his shoulder right before a gust of wind wrapped around him and whisked him off his family’s property and back to his own house.
Unable to resist, Titus leaned in and took control, pinning Zachary to the wall and invading his mouth with an urgency that was consuming him. Zachary responded readily, pulling him close and opening his mouth to his assault. He even gave back. Their tongues dueled, and breaths mixed as they both sought the other out in a way beyond reason.
Titus’s leg slid between Zachary’s, grinding up against his erection and milking a moan from his love. Zachary thrust against Titus’s leg, filling the space between them with the most adorable moans and whimpers. With each downward grind or breathed gasp, Titus’s cock jerked in the confines of his pants.
“Zach,” Titus growled. He reached between them and undid Zachary’s pants. Zachary whined, urging him on. Reaching into his pants, Titus wrapped his hand around Zachary’s cock and pumped him fast and hard. It was a pace meant to bring Zachary to the edge as quickly as possible, and he was begging for it.
“Titus,” Zachary groaned and bit Titus’s lip. “Oh fuck!” he shouted before he jerked and came in Titus’s hand.
Titus withdrew his hand and licked up the evidence of Zachary’s passion. He watched Zachary closely as he trembled against the wall. Oh yeah, they were so not done.
“Get on the bed. Now,” Titus ordered, his voice heavy with need.
* * * *
Zachary tried to make the short journey to his bed gracefully, but with his pants falling further and further down with each step he took, he ended up tripping and landing face-first onto the mattress. Mentally cursing himself, Zachary moved to flip over, but a steady hand on his back prevented the movement.
“No, stay like that,” Titus growled and Zachary shivered. The effect Titus’s voice had on him had to be illegal, somewhere. Titus’s hand traveled from its place on his back to his ass, curving around the cheek and flexing just enough to cause a small amount of a sting, but nothing uncomfortable. “So perfect.”
Pushing back against that hand, Zachary tried to keep some of his head. He wasn’t a fool, he knew where this was going, and if he continued to allow it, it would be impossible to say there was nothing between them. Knowing that, he didn’t want to stop it. Zachary was tired of denying himself what he truly wanted. This moment, just for right now, he wanted to be with Titus. He’d worry about what came next later.
A finger slid beneath the elastic of his boxers and into the crack of his ass. Zachary bit his bottom lip as Titus slowly pulled his boxers down, his fingers traversing that path, sliding deeper as he went. The tip grazed his hole, and he damn near wept when the pressure went as soon as it came. The fleeting touch was not enough!
“Titus,” Zachary groaned, pushing his ass back against his hand.
“Patience,” Titus teased.
Zachary moaned in frustration, his forehead pressing against the mattress. For someone that could see the future, when it came to certain things, Zachary wasn’t the most patient person in the world. Being denied during sex, at any stage, was one of those things.
Finally, Titus pulled Zachary’s boxers down to his pants and off his legs. His shoes and socks went with his discarded clothes. Next, his lover reached for his shirt, but instead of just pulling it off, Titus slid his hands up along Zachary’s sides, pushing the shirt up as he went. When he came to Zachary’s chest he was already trembling. Zachary expected him to push the material over his shoulders. He didn’t. Titus reached around and pinched each of Zachary’s nipples, teasing them into tight pebbles and making him flinch. Titus continued to tease Zachary as he leaned over him, rubbing his clothed cock against his ass.
“Oh, fuck, no fair,” Zachary whined, pushing his ass back against Titus’s erection.
“I’ve been waiting years for this,” Titus taunted, his tongue tracing Zachary’s ear. “Let’s enjoy ourselves.”
Now, how did Zachary deny that kind of request? “At least take off your pants!”
Titus chose that moment to finish removing Zachary’s shirt. As he drew back to toss the shirt aside, he also undid his own pants and pushed them down. Next, he stripped out of his own shirt so when he leaned back over Zachary they were touching skin to skin. Titus’s cock slid against Zachary’s crease, pressing in but not breaching deep enough.
“Tell me what you want, Zach,” Titus breathed into his ear, his fingers returned to teasing his nipples. “Tell me how you want me to take you.”
By the Powers! Zachary bit his bottom lip as he tried to make his brain stop misfiring. He pulled several deep gulps of air into his lungs. “Bareback, and now!”
Titus chuckled. “I didn’t plan to wear a condom from the start. As for that other part, you’re being rather impatient, aren’t you?”
“Titus,” Zachary growled when he felt his lover pull away.
“Easy now.” Titus rubbed his hands up and down Zachary’s back to let him know he hadn’t gone too far. “Where is your lube?”
“Oh, right.” Zachary perked up and scampered across his bed to the table on the other side. He opened the drawer, snatched up the three-quarters-full bottle, and reversed back to his previous spot.
“Well, that was sexy.” Titus’s voice was a low rumble as he accepted the bottle and nipped at Zachary’s ass. “Seeing your ass wiggle around like that, damn, are you trying to make me hotter?”