In 1815 Austria, Rupert is cast out of his village after he is caught kissing another man and seeks refuge in the mysterious Castle Blutstark. He soon realizes that this is no ordinary castle, and his new master, Count Kaspar, is far from an ordinary employer.
In fact, he isn't even alive in the conventional sense, and he wastes no time informing Rupert of his unusual new duties. Everything Rupert has ever learned in life tells him to run for his life, but then again nothing has ever prepared him to deal with the undeniable allure of his enigmatic new employer.
“Are you ill?” Rupert asked with concern.
Silvio shook his head and managed a wan smile. “No. Tired.”
Recalling where Silvio had disappeared to the night before, Rupert blushed. Anton must have kept him up quite late. He decided not to inquire further, fearing Silvio might launch into details he would not feel comfortable hearing.
“Well, try to get some rest,” he settled for responding, since Silvio seemed to expect an answer. “You look quite...drained.”
“I suppose that is one way to put it.” The ghost of a grin played around Silvio’s sensitive lips. “Thank you for your concern, though.”
“Where have you been?” Albrecht’s harsh voice demanded as he entered the room.
“I went for a walk outside,” Rupert admitted, concerned that Albrecht had seen him conversing with Devereaux.
To his relief, Albrecht merely shook his head in exasperation. “I thought you understood that such actions are unwise. There are wolves in the forest, among other unsavory dangers. If you must venture out of doors, please stay close to the path for your own safety and do let me know where and when you are going. The count has charged me with making sure his household runs smoothly. I take that duty very seriously.”
In no mood to argue or protest, Rupert inclined his head in a submissive gesture. “As you wish. I apologize if I worried you.”
Albrecht sighed. “Well, I see now that you are the sort of young man who must be kept busy or you will get into trouble. Please come with me and I will find you something to occupy you.”
He led Rupert to an elegant parlor decorated with richly detailed paintings of landscapes and portraits of illustrious-looking people. A suit of armor stood by the door, posed in such a way that Rupert shuddered, imagining it coming to life.
Albrecht opened a wooden cabinet in the corner and handed Rupert a cloth. “You may spend the day dusting and polished this room and all the objects in it. Our master likes everything to shine.” He paused and raised a brow. “I have personally taken inventory here, so do not even imagine pilfering anything for your own gain. You will not like what will happen to you if you do.”
“I would never do such a thing,” Rupert protested, offended.
“Then occupy yourself until sundown. I will take you to the count again then and report on your progress.”
Though he wasn’t terribly excited about his new assignment, Rupert set to his task with quiet resignation. As he worked, he again tried to make sense of the unusual sights and experiences the castle held. Though he did not perceive any particular threat from Count Kaspar or his guests, he could not help but suspect that some dark truth lurked just below the surface of the civilized atmosphere of the castle.
The hours passed, slowly, but soon the sun began to sink outside the freshly wiped casement window. To his relief, the suit of armor did not move once as he cleaned it, too. Finally, Albrecht returned.
This time, he escorted Rupert to a vast bedroom, featuring a bed hung on all four sides with thick tapestries. A single window was open, letting in the bright moon, newly risen over the tree-studded mountains.
“Our master will be with you shortly,” Albrecht said. He withdrew. Rupert waited, shifting from foot to foot, eyeing the bed and guessing what was coming next.
As expected, Count Kaspar appeared a few moments later, attired in a brocaded blue and silver dressing gown that seemed to shimmer when he walked. Kaspar paused in front of the closed bedroom door, his gaze passing up and down Rupert’s body with such an obvious hunger that Rupert shivered.
“Do you fear me?” Kaspar asked with the hint of an amused smile. “Go on, you may speak.”
Rupert struggled to find the right words. Again he wondered if Kaspar were testing him. In the end, he opted for honesty. “Yes, master. I do.”
“That is good. I like to be feared without having to do anything extreme to inspire it. I try to avoid working any harder than I have to.”
As he went to the bed, he seemed to move fluidly, almost as if he were gliding across the room. Rupert assumed the strong moonlight on the silver threads of the dressing gown, combined with the muted amber candlelight that illuminated the room, was playing tricks on his eyes.
On the way, Kaspar unbuttoned his garment and dropped it on a chair beside the bed.
Rupert stared, open-mouthed and speechless, at the perfection of Kaspar’s body. His skin was as white as fine porcelain, the only contrast provided by the dark curls that dusted his shoulders and the spot between his lean thighs. The only part of him that seemed flushed at all was that same area, for Rupert saw that he was hard and ready, the pinkish head of his cock pushing eagerly forward.
Arousal tugged at his own body, hot and undeniable. “Would…would you like me to undress, too, master?” he managed to say.