...The man pressed a gloved finger against Carne’s lips. “No questions. Tonight you may call me…Maître,” he whispered.
Maître. Master. This was going to be a night to remember. Barely a moment passed for the words to register before Maître grabbed Carne’s arm and pulled him deeper into the narrow alleyway. Farther and farther away from the main thoroughfare, and then he stopped in front of a doorway at the end of the alley. Throwing it open, he shoved Carne into the room. Carne stumbled, then quickly righted himself, taking a moment to get his bearings. He was mildly shocked at the elegance and sensuality of the intimately appointed sitting room. It was almost as though they were expected.
A small white and gold pianoforte set to one side of the fireplace. Silver candelabras were arranged on either end of the pianoforte. The floor was covered in a thick carpet. He turned to the man who seemed to dwarf this room. Maître tossed his cape onto the Grecian styled couch and then moved to the pianoforte. A silver tray sitting atop the instrument bore two crystal goblets, a cut glass bowl of sugar cubes, a carafe of water, and a bottle of absinthe. He prepared two glasses of the emerald liquid, lifted one, and proffered it to Carne.
Carne shook his head. Not even for this beautiful stranger would he break his vow of abstinence. “I do not imbibe, monsieur—I mean Maître. The cause of my father’s death, so I am told, was too much drink. Thus I choose not to imbibe in an effort to circumvent my early demise.” Why was he explaining himself to this man? For whatever reason, Carne was struck by the need to offer only truth in the presence of such a powerful figure. Carne had never felt the need to bare himself so completely to another human being and it left him feeling vulnerable and defenseless.
“As you wish,” Maître said in a low voice. He returned the glass to the tray. “Play for me Geraint. Play for me alone.” He stepped aside so that Carne might seat himself at the pianoforte.
Carne went to the instrument, no thought of denying this man anything he wanted. Once his fingers touched the keys he was immediately transported, consumed by the music. It seemed hours later, perhaps it was only moments, that finally the driving passion to pour his soul into the music drained away, leaving him weak and trembling in its wake. Maître moved toward Carne. He stroked the side of Carne’s face. Carne turned and kissed his palm, tasting leather and aroused heat. He gripped the stranger’s hand, licked from heel to fingertip, then sucked his index finger into his mouth, slowly drawing it deeper and deeper. He heard a harshly-drawn breath.
Maître allowed him to suckle the finger. He flexed it, brushed across Carne’s teeth, sweeping along the roof of his mouth. Maître added a second finger, and then a third. Carne’s lips stretched to take him, all of him, the taste of him filling Carne’s senses. He groaned with need. His fingers curled into the man’s thick sheathed wrist, trying to draw him deeper and deeper, to consume him completely.
He looked up into Maître’s eyes. With his other arm, Maître drew Carne close. As Carne reached to cup him through the silk of his costume, he stepped out of reach, emptying Carne of his carnal presence. The loss of that intimate connection almost had Carne crying out at the abruptness of the withdrawal. Instead he drew in a long, steadying breath. His eyes went to the man’s hand, the white leather now shiny and wet. His gaze moved up and up. Maître towered over Carne, making him feel small and insignificant, almost delicate in the presence of the stunning masked man.
“Beautiful, just as I knew you would be. Your interpretation of the movement is quite as I expected. Mozart’s Gran Partita. Tonight, a perfect choice. But I wonder what you could do with his Requiem? Yes, I would like to see your treatment of the Hostias.”
“Perhaps it is you who inspire me…Maître.” Carne turned to look up at him. Maître brushed a thumb across his lower lip.
“Undress for me. Or it is over before we have begun.” His voice held the promise of an unending night of carnal delight, an element of mysticism and the clandestine. His dark eyes like priceless black diamonds, rimmed with the thickest, longest lashes Carne had ever seen, glittered from behind the mask.
Those eyes, black pupils rimmed in a stunningly luminescent ring of silvery gray. Perhaps it was that strange combination that endowed the man with such mesmerizing appeal, a look that brooked no argument. Slanted and wholly feline. Fully the predator, exciting Carne to the point he trembled uncontrollably with lust. There was no doubt in Carne’s mind that he would never see Maître again if Carne failed to comply. He’d die if he didn’t have this man tonight. He would spend the rest of his life yearning for the touch of Maître alone.
With not the slightest hesitation or qualm, Carne stripped.
“The mask as well,” Maître demanded. “I want you completely bare, fully at my mercy. No flaw hidden...”