Welcome to the Midsummer Madness Blog Hop!
This is a sort of prequel flash from my upcoming m/m/m story “Uncharted Hearts”
I hope you like it!
Peter crossed the deck, hands clasped at the small of his back, eyes roving over every inch of his ship. The crew had matters well in hand, and wherever there was attention needed, Jorge was there. Without Jorge, there would be no ship, Peter knew that. He waited until Jorge caught his eye and gave him a secret wink.
To the crew, Jorge was Peter’s Quartermaster, a first mate. But in private, Jorge was Peter’s life and his heart. Best friends since childhood, mutual saviors, secret lovers, brothers in arms and partners in crime. Sure, there were always other men in their beds, but none could ever breach the wall of protection Peter and Jorge had forged around themselves.
Peter reached the rail and leaned over it, surveying the docks and the port they would soon depart. They’d stolen several barrels of rum completely undetected, and likely would score a purse or two of gold tonight at the local gambling hall. A profitable visit to Newport. Peter was pleased. All he needed now were a few more crewmen, preferably someone with map reading skills, or at least another carpenter to assist Robert. The ship was falling apart.
From the end of the pier a voice broke through Peter’s thoughts.
“Come now, Clayton! We were meant to be there a quarter of an hour ago!”
The man who’d spoken was an older gentleman, with neatly trimmed beard and shiny black shoes. Not a sailor. The man he’d chastised, Clayton, was much younger. A son or an apprentice, if Peter had to guess. Probably close to Peter’s own age, but innocent. A rich boy who’d led an easy life.
The young man’s eyes were wide and his lips slightly parted as he struggled to watch the goings-on around him while remaining by his father’s side. Under his arm he clasped a rolled up parchment, perhaps a map or a chart. Across his chest was the strap of a sextant case.
Peter, interest piqued, kept his gaze locked on Clayton as the two men made their way ever closer to the Irish Lady. When they were nearly below him, the young man finally looked up.
His gaze landed on Peter’s hands, rested there a minute while his throat worked.
Peter recognized attraction. He’d grown used to using any and all advantages, and would never let an opportunity pass. “Good day, Sirs.”
Clayton finally met Peter’s eyes, and the sweet boy’s mouth dropped open in appreciation. “Go—Good day.”
Damn, the boy was handsome. Sandy blond hair, thick lips, golden eyes. And the innocence…it was like a drug to Peter.
He wasted no time, and used a dock line to swing down in front of the older man, landing on the dock dramatically and bending smoothly into a bow. “Peter Simpson, at your service, Sirs.” He stuck out his hand so they’d have no choice but to greet him.
The older gentleman sniffed, giving him only the ghost of a handshake. But Clayton clasped his palm with passion, sending a shiver of want through Peter.
Peter narrowed his eyes at Clayton’s chart and sextant. “You aren’t by chance a navigator, are you?”
Clayton nodded eagerly, without guile.
His father tried to move aside, pulling Clayton’s elbow.
“I have been interviewing navigators all this morning!” Peter cocked his hip back and rolled his eyes. “So many! But alas, none qualified to hold the position of lead pilot.”
Clayton’s father scowled, too wise to fall for Peter’s simple trickery.
But Clayton was hooked. “You’re in need of a navigator, you say?”
“Yes. Desperate need. Would you like to tour my ship?”
Clayton was nodding as his father groaned.
He did not wait for a formal decision from the elder man, but swept his arm forward and strode to the gangway, as if he expected Clayton to follow.
And Clayton did.
On the deck, Peter pointed out all the newest equipment while ignoring any obvious structural problems as he led Clayton and his disapproving father to the forecastle where he kept an office.
Clayton sat, impressed, mouth still partly open and eyes still affectionately glued to Peter. Jorge lurked in the background, suspicious, as Peter explained the navigator’s position to Clayton.
“Well boy, if you’d like to sign on…”
Clayton’s gaze snapped up, the first spark of defiance showing behind his wide eyes. “I am twenty years of age, Sir. I am not a boy.”
Peter smirked and leaned down, close enough to Clayton’s ear that his lips nearly brushed it, and whispered, “I had hoped you’d be my boy.”
Clayton visibly shivered, and Peter knew he’d hooked him.
“I’ll think about it.”
Peter smiled. “Think long and… hard.” He winked, and when Clayton’s father turned away, he pursed his lips in a wanton little kiss.
Clayton let out a tiny shuddering sigh.
Jorge stood at Peter’s side as Clayton and his father walked away. “What was that about?”
“Possibly landing us a proper navigator.”
Jorge made an incoherent grumbling sound, but said nothing.
“Wind’s good, Cap’n. And the men are back from town with their winnings. We should make sail.” Jorge crossed his arms over his chest as the sun set behind him.
“Hmph.” Peter looked over the docks, hoping to see a sandy haired man, finding no one.
Jorge patted Peter’s back. “We’ll find a map-man in New London.”
He turned away and grunted at Jorge’s statement. Likely they would. But chances were none would be as handsome or sweet as Clayton. Surely none would look at him with such open admiration. “Fine. Set sail.”
The faint voice had Peter running back, and he peered over the rail toward the shore. Clayton was rushing down the dock, dragging a very fine and much too large trunk behind him.
Peter pressed his knuckles to his lips, hiding his stupid grin.
Jorge made another grunting sound, but lowered the gangway to allow Clayton to board.
He squeezed Jorge’s arm, attempting reassurance. He’d explain later. If Jorge even needed an explanation. The man was practically a mind reader.
Clayton nodded and smiled, and Peter moved close enough to press their chests together.
“I’m so glad.”
The poor boy’s chest was pounding, and his eyes were wide with more than arousal. He was nervous.
Peter brushed his fingers over Clayton’s cheek. “Come. I’ll get you settled in. And perhaps tonight, you can spend some time in my quarters, so I may explain your position?”
Peter helped Clayton carry his obscenely heavy trunk across the rocking deck, and promised himself he would be worthy of the boy’s trust. His eyes traveled over the young man’s strong thighs and up his slender hips. Certainly he could be trustworthy and yet still enjoy—
“Just what kind of a ship is this? I’m sure you aren’t an entirely reputable merchant.”
Peter stopped, dropping his side of Clayton’s chest. Innocent he might be, but clearly the man wasn’t dim. “Is that a problem?”
Clayton shook his head slowly as his lips spread in a sexy smile. “No. But you’ll have to teach me.”
Peter let out a long breath. Oh, Jorge would love this. “Gladly.”
Please visit the other great m/m authors on this hop!