Flavius straightened the papers on his desk and tried to think of a suitably stern expression. He’d seen his father wear similar ones a thousand times before, but no matter how often he practiced in the mirror, he couldn’t get the expression quite right. He sighed. He would just have to be himself as fierce as he could manage it.
His eyes raised at the sound of the door opening once more to admit his new Lanista. He better be worth it. Flavius had paid a small bloody fortune for the man.
His mouth went dry as the giant ducked through the doorway. Dark, chocolate-brown hair and equally dark eyes topped off the massive frame. He was handsome in a rugged way with a firm jaw a straight patrician’s nose. The combination made Flavius go instantly hard.
“Uh, have a, um, seat,” Flavius stammered, motioning to the thick leather guest chair in front of his desk. The giant walked toward his desk, and the scent of peppermint and man wafted up to tease him. Every molecule inside him solidified to scream one word.Mine.
Their eyes locked, and the shifter slowly lowered himself into the leather chair. “Master Flavius is it?” He extended his hand, and Flavius stared at the proffered limb. His father would’ve never shaken hands with one of the animals. Flavius took his hand, and it was like pure electricity shot up his arm. His hard cock dripped in the confines of his slacks.
“Yes. Are you as good as they say?” At what, I have no idea. But if it involves the horizontal tango, I am very, very okay with that.
“Better,” Corbin murmured, his voice a smooth rumble of sound. “I’ve turned hopeless cases into champions a few times. I’m a great instructor.”
Flavius smiled, trying to focus on his words instead of his lips. “Um, why aren’t you a gladiator instead?”
Corbin shrugged his massive shoulders. “I was in the circuit my first two years. I don’t have that killer instinct or a love of the sands. I’m a better strategist than fighter. I have good instincts for others.” His face broke into a grin. “Obviously I’m good or else you wouldn’t have bought me. Is this the ceremonial shakedown that all owners give a new gladiator? Because I really don’t need it. I’m a bear. I don’t have a cat’s temperament or a wolf’s impertinence. I don’t need posturing. As long as you take care of me and my men, I won’t give you any trouble.”
Flavius’s shock overwhelmed his lust for a quick instant. He’d never heard such bald honesty from a shifter before. “You’re different.” The words were out of his mouth before he could filter them.
“I’m freeborn,” Corbin said by way of explanation. “I was living in a shifter colony in Yellowstone until I was thirteen.” Flavius was surprised. He hadn’t even known there were still rogue groups of free shifters left. Corbin leaned forward, and his scent wrapped around Flavius’s balls like a fist. “You smell good, Master Flavius.”
“You do, too,” Flavius whispered, his eyes locking on Corbin’s lips. He blinked, trying to dispel the cloud of lust smothering him. He cleared his throat. “I’m happy to have you, Corbin. I wish you luck with my cats. They’re spirited. Their former Lanista said so daily.”
Corbin stood and circled the desk. Everything in Flavius tensed, but he wasn’t afraid. Instincts he didn’t understand said that Corbin would never hurt him. He took Flavius’s hand and pressed a kiss to his knuckles. Flavius’s heart thundered.
“I look forward to working with you,” the bear rumbled. With you. Not for you. He’s trouble. But it wasn’t like he was being overtly disrespectful. Flavius loved the fire in his eyes.
Flavius licked his lips and raised his eyes so that their gazes clashed. “Corbin?” He wasn’t supposed to feel this way. Wanting a shifter was wrong. It violated the protection acts that forbade human masters from taking advantage of their shifter wards. He shook his head. “Forgive me. I know my lust must be confusing you. Don’t worry. I’m not one of those masters who demands sex from his shifters.” Embarrassment singed his cheeks as Corbin’s eyes flicked down to his hard cock. “You’re just very pretty.”
“Hmmm, give me some credit, cub. I’m more than pretty.” Corbin put a finger beneath Flavius’s chin and lifted his face. “And you couldn’t take advantage of me if you tried.” He lowered his face toward Flavius, and Flavius was helpless to do anything but sit there as their lips touched for the first time.
Flavius opened his mouth to admit Corbin’s tongue as the kiss stretched on for endless moments. His already hard cock jerked in the confines of his slacks, reaching up in an effort to touch the shifter towering over him. He’s never been so intensely attracted to anyone in his entire life.
Corbin broke the kiss with a growl, leaving him gasping. “You are beautiful, cub. Summon me tonight, and let’s explore this thing between us.”
“I’m not having sex with you,” Flavius blurted out, his entire body on fire and screaming at him to shut up and let the shifter have him in whatever way he wanted.
Corbin chuckled, the sound low, masculine, and pleased. “You don’t have to. I will share a meal with you, talk. If it goes somewhere else, I won’t complain.” If they had dinner, it would go somewhere else. Flavius knew it in his soul.
Flavius’s entire body screamed for him to yield, to beg. He was trembling hard, shaking apart as emotions and sensation warred for supremacy inside him. He’d promised himself that he would keep to his word and not touch Corbin again, but as the days had passed and his skin had crawled, his resolve had waned. By the time he got to the airport, he’d only held onto the control of his emotions by the tips of his fingernails. But one look at Corbin had shattered every defense. They’d been sleeping together for three years now. Shoving it all aside was impossible when he had to see Corbin every day.
“I love you,” Corbin rumbled, seizing his hips in hand as the thick head of his cock prodded his stretched entrance. He shook his head, denying the words. He didn’t want to hear that, not now, not when he was so vulnerable.
He screwed his eyes shut in denial. He wouldn’t deal with that now, couldn’t. He instead concentrated on his pleasure. Nothing felt as good as Corbin did. He was a drug that Flavius just couldn’t get enough of. He changed the angle of his cock, and Flavius groaned as it scored his pleasure spot over and over. Corbin knew his body well and used everything he’d learned to turn Flavius into a big pile of shaking, wonderful nerves.
Their bodies slapped together, the cacophony of sound echoing in the empty room. Corbin growled something indiscernible, and his deep-brown eyes sparkled with an almost animal quality as he thrust inside him over and over again. “Corbin,” he panted, clinging to his shoulders.
“Love your pretty little ass,” Corbin rumbled. “I love filling you up, cub.”
Flavius’s eyes rolled. He loved when Corbin talked like that. The damn shifter knew it, too. Corbin shifted his legs up on his shoulders to allow for a deeper penetration. Then the real pounding started.
“Hands above your head, cub,” Corbin commanded. “I want you to feel me.”
How can I not? You’re inside me deeper than anything else. “I do.”
“Like this, my little cub? Like the way I fuck you? Say it.”
“I love the way you fuck me,” Flavius said, forcing the words out of his mouth as his brain short-circuited with pleasure.
“Play with your cock, Flavius. Show me.”
Flavius’s obedience wasn’t optional. He wanted to come too badly. He wrapped his fist around his prick and started moving his hand up and down his dripping shaft. Their eyes locked, and he jerked faster. He loved the feral look on Corbin’s face.
They continued on for several long minutes before Flavius couldn’t take it anymore. “Please, let me come,” Flavius begged. He couldn’t unless Corbin said so. His body was too well tuned to Corbin’s desires.
“Patience,” Corbin rumbled. Patience was not his virtue. But he knew that tone. He wanted them in sync.
Flavius whimpered but didn’t offer another form of protest as he continued to work his body as Corbin turned his nerve endings into electrical charges like a cattle prod of pleasure. Corbin fucked him deeper, and Flavius’s mind blanked as he was blinded to everything else but his lover’s touch.