Wednesday’s Work in Progress…

Okay…so I’ll take the blame for not having a new part for On Love’s Wings. I got caught up in working on something else and lost track of time. But there will be one on Thursday for you. :)

I thought I’d share a very small snippet from Without Fault, Book Nine of the International Men of Sports series I’m writing with the lovely Devon Rhodes. Remember I said very small…lol But I’m posting it to prove to you that it has been started. Can’t give you a time table on when it’ll be done. We’re going to try and get it finished as soon as possible though. Here you go.

Without Fault copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase & Devon Rhodes

“Percival Hamish Adcock, you get your bloody arse in this house right now.”

Percy winced as his mum screeched like a fishwife from the back verandah. What had he forgotten to do now?

“I bloody well meant it, young man,” she shouted again.

“Don’t you have phones in the stables?” Rebecca asked teasingly.

He turned to face his favorite cousin. Heck, she was pretty much his favorite human in the whole world. Her bright smile lit up her face and he couldn’t help but return the expression.

“I had intercoms installed for this very reason,” he informed her. “Yet she insists on standing out there screaming like a banshee every time she wants me for something.”

“Ah…Auntie Amelia loves you, Percy. She just likes to ruffle your feathers once in a while.”

“She likes to treat me as though I were still twelve years old,” he muttered.

Darn characters….

Sorry, but there won’t be a new part in On Love’s Wings today. For some reason, neither Miataga or Ari wanted to talk to me. I finally conceded and worked on A Coal Miner’s Son instead. lol. I’m hoping that they’ll feel like speaking on Tuesday, so I can get you a new excerpt on Wednesday.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone.

Good news….

For those of you who have been wishing and begging for Edward Monterrrose to get his own story….well, the wait is over. Actually that’s not entirely true…lol

I turned in Fall into My Kiss, which is Book One of the Merging Violently series. Merging Violently is an alternative rock band. The lead guitarist meets Edward and they fall in love. :)

Now, I do believe the pre-order is in March, so you will have to wait a little while longer, but I promise you his story is done and just have to be edited. :) Once I get a cover and a blurb, I’ll post it here for you.

I’m working on a new story, which I think I shared a snippet of already titled A Coal Miner’s Son. Once that’s done, I’ll be starting Book Two of MV, featuring Lonnie, the lead singer and Cody, Tony’s friend from Home of his Own. Also, Devon and I are starting the 9th book in the Sports series, so hopefully there will be good news on that front soon as well.

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday.

On Love’s Wings

Part Nine-

Ari took a deep breath then touched Vikex’s shoulder. “We should look for a place to rest for the night.”

The phoenix nodded then began to lose altitude. Ari knew his bond mate was searching for their usual overnight spot. They were going to have to find a new one soon. Establishing a routine could help enemies discover them. While Ari didn’t expect there to be any on their trip to his family, he couldn’t be too cautious. Vikex would be a huge prize for those looking to hurt Emmem.

“We’ll be stopping for the night soon,” he told Miataga.

Miataga nodded, but didn’t say anything. Ari was impressed by how calm the man had taken everything. He hadn’t complained once during the flight. Ari knew that for people who weren’t used to it, flying could be rough.

Vikex sounded a short cry and Ari tightened his hold on Miataga as the phoenix banked then dropped. Their landing was gentle and smooth. Once they were on the ground, he climbed down then helped Miataga off before leading him over to a nearby tree.

“Lean against this. You might want to be careful the first couple of minutes. You’ll have to get used to being on land again.” Ari grinned at Miataga’s grimace. “I was the same way when I first started training with Vikex, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.”

Leaving Miataga at the tree, he returned to Vikex and unharnessed him. He got his packs off, needing to get the tent set up and dinner started. Once Vikex was free, he ruffled his feathers before launching himself back into the air.

“Where’s he going?” Miataga asked as he approached Ari. “Can I help? Not that I know what I’m doing since I’ve never went camping before.”

Ari touched Miataga’s shoulder. “Tonight, you watch. If you still want to, you can help me in the morning. We have one more night before we reach my family in the mountains.”

He saw the brief wince Miataga gave and chose to ignore it. Miataga was a whore and a city person. He’d never been outside his little piece of the world before. It would take time for him to adapt to what Ari took for granted. He’d already earned points with Ari by not whining—or asking Ari to take him back.

Of course, wait until the morning and all the stiff muscles Miataga would be dealing with. Then he might see a glimpse of Miataga’s true personality. Being employed at a Loving House taught a person to hide their true souls, giving them the ability to become whatever their client wanted. He figured Miataga had been accommodating so far, but all that might change the further away from the city they got.

Ari made a small prayer that he picked the right one to take with him. If Miataga didn’t turn out to be the person Ari thought he was, then they would stop back in Sendler and he’d return Miataga to his Loving House.

Then he thought of something Miataga could do and stretch his tired muscles as well. “Why don’t you walk around the edge of the clearing? Gather sticks and twigs. Even small branches if you find any. I’ll need them to get the fire going for dinner.”

“Won’t we need it during the night? I’m sure it probably gets cold up here. Where are we by the way?”

Ari nodded. “We’re in the low foothills of the Easterly Mountains. You’re right. It will get chillier than you’re used to, but once he’s finished eating for the night, Vikex will come back. He’ll bed down next to our tent. Because phoenix are so closely tied to fire, their body temperature is much higher than other birds. We’ll be very comfortable with him near.”

Miataga tilted his head while he seemed to think about what Ari told him. “Sounds good then. All right, I’ll go looking then.”

He watched the slender man stroll away. The differences between them were obvious even with Miataga being covered from head to toe in leather and wool. Ari’s body was muscular from training and battle. He was heavily scarred from learning to control Vikex’ fire and continuing to dance among the flames. Those scars were the reason he hadn’t removed his helmet yet, and why he wore such light fabric. For even as soft as his uniform was, it still irritated the sensitive webbing of damaged flesh. He hoped Miataga wouldn’t freak out when he saw Ari.

“Isn’t wearing that making it hard to see?” Miataga said as he brought an armful of wood to where Ari crouched next to the fire pit. He set them down then reached out to lay his hand on the back of Ari’s helmet.

“It is, but I’m a little afraid of letting you see my face,” Ari admitted, dropping his chin to his chest.

“Why?” Miatage knelt at his side.

“I’m not beautiful like you.” Ari snorted. “I wasn’t beautiful before, but I didn’t scare people. Now it’s a toss up on how they’ll react when they see me. I rarely show my full face to anyone.” He didn’t resist when Miataga began to remove his helmet. It wasn’t like he could sleep in the thing, though he’d done it while in battle. Miataga set it aside then placed his knuckle under Ari’s chin, lifting it up so he had a clear look at Ari’s face.

Ari knew what his face looked like. From his nose down to his chin, there were no scars. Yet from just below his eyes and up, the left side of his face looked as though it had been made of wax and melted. The corner of his left eye drooped. He was lucky the flames hadn’t affected his eyesight—at least not yet anyway. His hair had been a rich dark brown once, but now it was streaked with white as signs of stress from the fire.

On Love’s Wings

On Love’s Wings copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase

Part Eight-

He’d seen some of the whores chose that instead of working at the Loving Houses. They seemed happy, but he wasn’t sure it made that big of difference. They were still selling their bodies and they were totally dependent on the good will of the men who supported them. If those men chose to throw them back out on the streets, the whores couldn’t do anything about it.

He thought there should be some kind of contract signed by both parties, so the whore knew he wouldn’t be used then tossed aside when he was no longer young and pretty. It made sense to him, yet what did he know? He was just a stupid bit of ass without any kind of education.

Miataga shook his head slightly. He couldn’t buy into the insults and common beliefs of the men who used him. He was more than what he did for a living. More than what society said he had to be. If he believed what they said, he would end up being no better than his mother, and that wasn’t what he wanted out of his life.

“Are you warm enough?” Ari asked, touching Miataga’s shoulder.

“Yes,” he replied.

Ari seemed different all ready and it intrigued Miataga. He seemed genuinely concerned for Miataga, and not as something to be used, but as a real person. A thought crossed his mind.

“How did you convince my master to let me go for so long?” Normally, the whores weren’t allowed to leave the Houses with their customers. Well, not unless the customer was wealthy—or powerful—enough to give the master some kind of incentive.

“I told him who I was and that I needed a companion on a trip. He named a price. I paid it.” Ari shrugged. “It’s not like I don’t have the money. I don’t spend any of my pay. It goes into an account every month.”

“You don’t send any home?”

Some of the whores sent their families what little extra money they make from tips, which wasn’t much, but still it helped when money was tight everywhere. Miataga saved his tips, hoping to have enough one day to buy his freedom. It was a silly dream since none of the whores had ever been able to buy off the debt the master said they had. Freedom was a carrot the masters dangled in front of them to keep them working while they made more money than they could ever spend.

“No.” Ari’s tone was clipped then he sighed. “They don’t want my money. It’s tainted because it comes from Emmem. In many ways, my people see you as the enemy still, even though the treaty was signed years ago.”

Miataga remembered hearing about the war with the countries to the west, which included the mountains where Ari was from. Being locked away, he didn’t know much about what happened and only got bits and pieces from the people who paid for his services.

“Did you fight in that war?”

Ari shook his head. “No, even though Vikex and I are a formidable weapon, I told my superiors I wouldn’t fight against my own people. They assigned us to patrol the northern borders. We had quite a few skirmishes, but no true battles.”

Curiosity played in Miataga’s brain, but he bit his tongue. Not prying into his clients’ lives was something Miataga had been taught. Unless the person was a high-ranking official and finding out secrets could get the master some leverage. He wasn’t interested in using anything Ari said against him.

“You actually paid my master the price he told you? You didn’t bargain or anything?”

“No. I didn’t have time. If we stayed in Sendler any longer, they would’ve found something that only Vikex and I could deal with. We haven’t had any time off for over a year now. If we don’t get a chance to rest and recharge, we might miss something and make mistakes. I don’t want my fellow soldiers dying because I wasn’t a hundred percent. I forced my supervisor to give me permission for this vacation.” Ari touched Vikex’ neck. “I don’t want anything to happen to Vikex. He didn’t ask to be used like this. While he is a war bird, he isn’t meant to fight continuously. He needs weeks to recover, which they haven’t given us.”

Miataga cautiously touched Vikex’ feathers right next to Ari’s hand. He didn’t want to presume he had permission from the phoenix. Vikex didn’t react to his touch, so he assumed the bird didn’t care. “It’s hard to see someone we love being taken advantage of. He’s lucky to have you to fight for him.”

Ari flashed him a smile. “It’s mutual. He’s saved my life so many times. I know he’d die for me and I would do the same for him. We are each other’s family, though Vikex does have the rest of his flock.”

“Does his flock like you?” Miataga edged his hand over to cover Ari’s. He smiled when Ari turned his over and entwined their fingers.

“They accept me. I’m not sure if that’s the same as humans’ liking each other. The birds aren’t human—or even human-like. Their emotions and how they react to things are different from us. It’s hard sometimes, but I try not to push into their world. There are times when I wish we could stay with them, because even though they are alien in many ways to me, they still seem to care for me more than my own human family does.”

The sadness in Ari’s voice caused Miataga to lift his hand to his mouth then brush a kiss over it. He understood the need to connect with someone, whether a person or a flock of phoenix. It was the same need that drove people to his bed. Most of the time he didn’t like being used, but there were a few times when he felt like he’d helped someone in some way. Maybe he’d do that for Ari.

On Love’s Wings

On Love’s Wings copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase

Part Seven-

Miataga blinked, unsure he really had heard what he thought he heard. “Did you pay my master for me?”

“Yes.”

“Then why wouldn’t we have sex?” He didn’t understand.

“Just because I paid for you doesn’t mean I have control over you.” Ari held up his hand to keep Miataga from speaking. “That is my belief. I know, it’s not how others would feel. I paid for you because it was the only way I could get someone to come with me. The masters of the Loving Houses don’t allow their workers to leave. I was informed by my fellow soldiers when I commented about taking someone home with me.”

The word ‘home’ hit Miataga. “We’re going to your home?”

Ari lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Only for a few days. Then we’ll be leaving to go to Vikex’ flock. I don’t spend much time with my family anymore. I come from simple folk. They didn’t understand why I left. Mostly because I couldn’t tell them what was calling me away. I didn’t know that it was Vikex.”

He touched Ari’s chest, feeling the beat of his heart. “Your people didn’t know anything about the war birds and how they keep Emmen safe?”

“No. We aren’t really part of the Emmenian empire, or at least we don’t consider ourselves to be. So we don’t pay attention to what’s happening there.” Ari frowned. “They’re afraid of Vikex and don’t know how to treat him while we’re there. He usually spends the few days we’re there up on the peaks of the mountain. It’s not ideal for him, but he deals because he knows that we’ll be spending a majority of our leave in the Westerlys with his flock.”

“We’ll get to see more phoenix like him?” He pursed his lips. Was that the right word for more than one phoenix?

“They will be there. Unlike Vikex, they never leave the mountains where they were born. As I said before, it’s rare for them to bond with men.” Ari stroked the feathers of Vikex’ neck. “I was one of the lucky ones.”

Miataga shivered and Ari drew him closer. “I can’t believe you chose me and I’ll get to see them as well. I get the feeling that not many humans see them.”

Ari rested his chin on the top of Miataga’s head. “You’re right. The only reason I get to is because I’m bonded with Vikex. They live high up in the mountains. They give off a lot of heat, so we won’t have to worry about freezing.”

“How is that possible,” Miataga murmured.

“I’m not sure. It might have something to do with their relationship with fire. Phoenix live for a hundred years then when their time is up, they burn to death. Once the flames die down and the ashes cool, an egg appears. In three days, the phoenix will hatch and be reborn.” Ari sighed. “When they die, it’s very beautiful.”

Miataga didn’t move from where he’d snuggled against Ari. “How can you hear me?”

Ari chuckled. “It’s the way the wind blows and these helmets help magnify sounds. We need ways to communicate with each other while we’re flying.”

It made sense. Miataga wondered how the giant birds had come to be and when had the decision made to train them for battle. He ran his hand along Ari’s thigh while he thought. The muscles flexed under his fingers and he smiled. For the first time in his life, he was anticipating the sex. Something told him it wouldn’t be as awful as some of his nights were.

He liked sex as much as the next guy, which might have seemed odd when he had been forced to chose being a pleasure worker instead of choosing it. To be honest, some of his customers were rather nice guys just looking for some kind of connection. Most of them were assholes who only wanted to fuck him and didn’t care about his feelings or needs. A couple of them got rough from time to time.

Yet the way Ari acted made Miataga think sex with the commander wouldn’t be like that. He’d never had a customer tell him he didn’t have to fuck him if he didn’t want to. Not that he’d turn Ari down. Miataga found Ari the most attractive person he’d ever seen and he was more than willing to do whatever Ari asked.

“Are you from Sendler?” Ari’s question drifted down to him on the wind.

“Born and raised in the lower part of the city. My mother was a pleasure worker at one of the Loving Houses. One of her more frequent customers fathered me. I ran errands and helped around the House where she worked until I was deemed old enough, then I started plying the family trade.” His harsh laugh echoed on the breeze. “I’ve never left the lower city. This is the furthest I’ve ever been in my life. Each mile we go will broaden my horizons even more. I’m looking forward to it.”

Ari rested one of his hands at the base of Miataga’s spine. “Stay with me and I’ll show you so many things, beautiful and amazing things in this world. We don’t have to go back there for two months. Tell me, are there places you want to see or things you want to do? I will grant your every wish for as long as we’re together.”

My every wish? How wonderful it would be if he really meant it. Miataga had heard thousand of pretty promises from the men who visited the Loving House. How they wanted to take him from there. They wanted to give him jewels and fancy clothes. A nice house in a better part of town. The one thing they didn’t want to do was take him places where people could see them together. Those men would’ve hidden him away like a precious gem, taking him out only so they could look at him—or fuck him whenever they wanted.

On Love’s Wings

On Love’s Wings copyright c. 2106 T.A. Chase

Part Six-

Miataga’s chest began to burn as he realized he’d forgotten to breath. He gulped in fresh air while clinging to the Commander. His heart raced with a hint of fear, yet his gaze was drawn to the land rapidly falling away from under them.

“Everything looks so small,” he commented, not sure if the Commander could hear him. “How can you ever want to walk the earth after being up here, Commander?”

“Please call me Ari.” The Commander’s voice rumbled in his chest and against Miataga’s cheek.

“You may call me Miataga, if you wish.” His customers rarely called him by his name. Most of them didn’t even know or ask what his name was. All they cared about was his ass or his mouth.

Ari shifted just a little and Vikex turned more right in the direction of the Easterly Mountains.

“It will be my pleasure to have the honor of calling you by your name. In answer to your question, it’s very difficult for me, but I can’t survive up here for long. I have to eat and Vikex needs to rest from time to time.”

He nodded. “Makes sense, but it’s so beautiful to be up here away from all the people and problems.”

“True. As long as you’re not in the middle of a battle, it’s peaceful,” Ari replied and smoothed his hand down Miataga’s back. “Are you warm enough?”

Miataga thought for a second. He hadn’t even noticed the chill until Ari asked. He snuggled a little closer to the commander and let the man’s heat burn the iciness away. “Yes, I’m fine.” Another thought shot through his head. “You aren’t the Supreme Commander, are you?”

“No.” Ari shook his head. “The Supreme Commander bonds with a golden eagle. I’m considered unique because of Vikex, but nothing more than a mere commander in the army.”

“I didn’t think so. The Supreme Commander wouldn’t lower himself to come to the lower city for a whore. If he’d wanted one, he would’ve had one of us brought to him,” Miataga murmured. “Why did you come and pick me?”

He could feel the movement of Ari’s shoulders, so he assumed the man shrugged.

“I’m not entirely sure why I picked you, though you were the first one I noticed when I walked into your establishment. It must have been the hair.” Ari tugged on the ends of Miataga’s hair. “Flames like Vikex’s feathers. I can’t believe I had the courage to ask you to come with me.”

Miataga snorted. “Why would you need courage for that? I’m a whore. I can’t very well tell you no.”

Ari buried his fingers in Miataga’s hair, rubbing the strands between his thumb and forefinger. “You’re beautiful and I’m not.”

Pushing back slightly, Miataga looked up to meet Ari’s gaze. “Are you kidding? I’ve never seen anyone who looks like you. Your bright gold eyes. I haven’t even really seen your face and I know you’re stunning. Even if you’re ugly, it wouldn’t matter to me. I’m the one person who knows that looks aren’t everything. I’ve had the most handsome men come to the Loving House. They would pick me then treat me like trash.”

He watched Ari drop his gaze to the side then back at him. “That was wrong of them. Like I said, you shouldn’t be treated bad just because you’re a whore.”

“Yet those handsome men think that because I sell my body, they have every right to treat me however they want. They might be beautiful on the outside, but their insides are uglier than the ragmen that dig through the garbage of Lower City.” Miataga wrinkled his nose before he reached up to touch Ari’s jaw under the helmet. “Will I be able to see your face soon?”

Ari covered his hand then pressed a kiss in Miataga’s palm. “Yes. Vikex will need to rest in another hour or so, and we’ll find a place to land. Once I set up our tent and make us a meal, you can see my face. I hope it doesn’t upset you.”

Miataga slid his hand around the back of Ari’s head, playing a little with the curls not covered by Ari’s helmet. He drew the commander’s mouth down to his then pressed their lips together. Thank God, Vikex can steer himself. Sweeping his tongue inside, Miataga hummed at the spicy flavor he tasted. He kept the kiss quick and light. He didn’t want to start something they couldn’t finish. Can we have sex while flying through the air? It might be more dangerous than I’m willing to try. Not that Vikex would let us do that anyway.

His giggle broke the kiss and Ari drew away from him to give him a puzzled look. “Was kissing me that funny?”

Shaking his head, Miataga giggled again before taking a deep breath. “No. I was just wondering if we could have sex while flying.”

Vikex screeched and flipped his tail, causing Ari to grab a hold of Miataga.

“I take that as a no,” Miataga commented then laughed again.

“Vikex wouldn’t like that, though I’ll be honest and say that there’s never been anyone I’d ever considered thinking about it with.” Ari patted Vikex’s shoulder. “Not that I’d disrespect him like that.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. Just a silly thought running through my head.” Miataga worried Vikex might be upset with him. He twisted to look over at the phoenix.

He saw Vikex peer back at him, and he swore the bird winked. How much did the phoenix understand of the human world? Not that it mattered. He was more concerned with Ari. Turning back, he smiled at Ari.

“It was just a thought, but here’s another. We will be having sex at some point right? I mean, that is why you asked me to come with you, right? And where are we going? Not that it matters either. I can’t very well make my way back without Vikex.”

Ari looked a little unnerved as he swallowed. “There will only be sex if you want there to be. Just because you get paid to sell your body doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice. If you don’t want us to sleep together, you can be just my companion on my journey home.”

Friday…Wednesday’s Work in Progress

Since I missed posting anything on Wednesday, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at another story I’m working on. I’ll tell you more about it when I finish it…like which publisher is getting it and stuff like that. lol.

A Coal Miner’s Son copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase

“Great job, son.” Nicholas Callahan, James’ father and boss, slapped him on the shoulder. “I have to admit when you first suggested making these changes, I thought you were crazy.”

“Not to mention wasting a lot of company money,” James said, hiding his wince at the force of his father’s jovial display of approval.

“Well, that’s true.” Nicholas dismissed James’ comment with a wave of his hand before he dropped into the chair behind his desk. “It was going to be a big cost and it was hard getting the board to spend it.”

James strolled over to the window. Placing his hand on the cool glass, he stared out over the city. The sun shone down on the buildings, but James didn’t see the beauty of it. All he saw was the vehicles on the streets and people on the sidewalks. Charleston was the capital of West Virginia, which wasn’t saying much. Yet James wasn’t interested in it. Just like he hadn’t really been interested in all the other major cities he’d visited and lived in throughout his thirty-four years.

“Although the initial cost was high, the changes made have ended saving the company millions of dollars in fines.” He turned back to meet his father’s gaze. “Along with health insurance claims and work complaints. Maybe you won’t dig in your heels next time I want to make some changes.”

Nicholas snorted. “You know there will be a fight, no matter what, son. When it comes to spending money, there’s no way you’re not getting it without jumping through circles.”

That was the truth. Ever since James joined the company, he’d argued with the money people over every idea and change he wanted to make. It didn’t matter that he was the CEO’s only son. The board members hated giving up even a penny of the bottom line.

His father’s phone rang and James edged toward the door. “I’m leaving for Willow Hollow. I want to check the changes at the main mine. It’s been six months since we instituted the new safety measures. Also, the miner representative asked to meet with me.”

He dashed out of the office before his father could say anything. There was nothing his father disliked more than the miners and the people who represented them. Yet James had never had any trouble with them, even when they argued against the new safety measures he’d implemented earlier in the year. Their resistance had surprised him until his father reminded him that most people didn’t like change.

“James, my son, those people don’t like change. They like to do things the way they’ve always been done. I’m surprised they even agreed to it.” Nicholas shook his head.

It was a sentiment he’d heard most of his life. “Those people” as Nicholas called the miners and their families who lived in Willow Hollow. His father believed the townspeople were backward and ignorant. He’d done his best to keep James away from them, rarely allowing him to visit the main mine and kept him close when they did go.

Yet James had figured out ways to sneak away and spend time with the miners’ children. He didn’t care that their clothes were ragged and their skin dirty. They didn’t care that James was neatly dressed and always so clean. None of that mattered. Children never saw the differences. They only saw the fun they could have together. It was worth all the punishments James had suffered when he returned to his father, covered in mud and leaves.

Willow Hollow had been a place of joy for James. A place where he could be a regular boy instead of Nicholas Callahan’s heir. Then he’d been sent to boarding school and college. It had been years before he’d been able to get back.

On Love’s Wings

Sorry for the delay. I was sick yesterday and forgot to schedule it to post. :) But here you go. It’s a short piece, but there will be longer ones starting next Tuesday.

On Love’s Wings copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase

Part Five-

“He is very loud, but you will get used to it, I’m sure. Put your hands around me while we fly. If you become scared, close your eyes and hide your face against my chest.”

Two slender arms embraced him, resting at the small of his back. He’d never been so overwhelmed with sensations. Heat and need roiled through him. Vikex turned to glance back at him, curiosity and a strange understanding shining in the phoenix’s golden eyes. Even after eight years, Ari had no idea just how much the phoenix understood. He had a feeling Vikex didn’t let him know everything. The bird had its own idea of what was important enough for his human companion to know.

He tensed as soft lips brushed over his chest, heading towards one of his nipples. Ari silently cursed his habit of not wearing a uniform. He didn’t feel the cold like his fellow soldiers, so more often than not, he wore a very thin layer of clothing that his servants created for him. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop him from feeling everything. Of course, he never allowed anyone to touch him like this whore was.

Ari slid his hand up over Miataga’s shoulder, planning on pushing the man away, but his body had another idea. His hand tangled in Miataga’s bright red curls and he pulled back, exposing Miataga’s mouth to his. He brushed their lips together.

The first touch jolted him, sending electricity through his nerves. Miataga swept his tongue into Ari’s mouth and the commander jumped, unsure what to do. He’d never kissed anyone before and being a whore, Miataga had probably kissed hundreds of men.

Stop thinking of him as a whore. Being a prostitute was merely Miataga’s job. It didn’t tell Ari anything about the man’s heart or soul. He was taught never to judge anyone until he learned their character. Ari already knew that Miataga was brave and beautiful. Anything else would have to wait. Vikex shrieked again and they broke apart.

“You’re right, mate. We must go now or something will happen and we’ll be stuck here.” He looked down at Miataga.

The man’s lips were swollen and his eyes hazy with desire. Ari wanted to ask if Miataga really wanted him or was he just doing what whores did to convince their customer they were enjoying themselves.

“Please, may we leave?” Miataga’s breathy voice brushed over Ari’s chest. “I want to fly.”

“You heard the gentleman, Vikex. Let’s fly.” Ari patted Vikex on shoulder.

The phoenix launched its large body into the air and Ari felt the familiar rush of the earth dropping away. Miataga gave a little squeak, tightening his grip on Ari’s waist, but he didn’t hide his eyes.

Yes, Miataga had courage as well.

On Love’s Wings

On Love’s Wings copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase

Part Four-

He jumped when the commander threw back his head and a wild cry burst forth. He shuddered as a fierce yearning ripped through him. A yearning to be free and to be able to fly the skies without having to submit to anyone. An answering cry came from the sky and he lifted his eyes to watch for the commander’s bond mate.

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Ari shot a glance at the man he had commanded to come with him. What kind of fool was he to think such a beautiful being would want to have anything to do with him? He should never have listened in on the conversation between two of his men. They talked about the Loving Houses down in the lower part of the city and the whores who worked in them. He had been appalled to know that a whole class of people was trapped in a society where they had to sell their bodies.

Shaking his head, he turned to see Vikex gracefully dropping from the sky. The society of Emmen disgusted and intrigued him. The Easterly Mountains had no lines dividing their people. They had no rich and poor; no slaves and masters. Mostly they had no whores that he knew of. Maybe he had been too sheltered before he was called to Emmen and his destiny.

Vikex landed and shook his feathers out, sparks flying from the tips of his wings. Ari heard the whore gasp and smiled. His bond mate was a beautiful creature. Bright yellow gold at the base of the feathers, Vikex’s wings spanned almost the entire flight field. Vikex’s golden eyes looked from him to the man standing next to him.

He took the man’s hand in his and held it out to his bond mate. “Vikex, this is…” He stopped when he realized he had never asked the man’s name.

“Miataga,” the man whispered.

“Miataga, this is my bond mate, Vikex. He will be traveling with us to our home, mate. We must take care of him.” He ran Miataga’s hand over the warm feathers on Vikex’s breast.

“What type of bird is he? I have never seen one so beautiful or so large.” There was a hint of fear in Miataga’s voice, but the hand touching the bird didn’t shake. “He’s so warm.”

“Vikex is one of the phoenix that live in the Westerly Mountains. They are very rare and only chose to bond with men once in a generation. That is why I came here. Vikex called me and I had to find my destiny.”

“A phoenix?” The surprise and awe in Miataga’s face made Ari laughed.

“You’ve never heard any legends of the phoenix?” He checked to make sure the riding pad sat just right on Vikex’s back. He didn’t want the bird getting any sores from their long flight. He needed to get away from this city.

“My instructors didn’t think the legends of our people were important lessons for a whore to learn.” Miataga’s voice was matter-of-fact. “It’s wrong to allow anyone to be ignorant of their past, be he whore or rich man.” Ari mounted Vikex and offered his hand to Miataga.

“It’s a different world than where you lived, Commander. How long have you lived in Emmen?”

Miataga’s small hand joined with Ari’s and he lifted the man onto Vikex’s back. Ari placed him before him, so he could keep his arms wrapped around the younger man and insure he didn’t fall off during the flight.

He bit back a groan as Miataga’s firm ass rubbed against his groin while the whore wiggled around to get comfortable. The sting of his teeth on his lip jolted him back to what Miataga had asked him.

“I’ve been here for eight years.” He leaned forward, doing his best to ignore the woodsy scent drifting off Miataga’s red hair. “Vikex, are you ready?”

Vikex’s scream caused Miataga to jump and Air chuckled.

“He is very loud, but you will get used to it, I’m sure. Put your hands around me while we fly. If you become scared, close your eyes and hide your face against my chest.”

Two slender arms embraced him, resting at the small of his back. He’d never been so overwhelmed with sensations. Heat and need roiled through him. Vikex turned to glance back at him, curiosity and a strange understanding shining in the phoenix’s golden eyes. Even after eight years, Ari had no idea just how much the phoenix understood. He had a feeling Vikex didn’t let him know everything. The bird had its own idea of what was important enough for his human companion to know.