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Desire Unmasked

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Lord Parker Wescott, Baron Hadleigh, had never felt more like a fool in his life as he crouched beneath the end of the Pont au Change on the Ile de la Cité side, watching La Conciergerie. Damn Justin Trevelyan! Parker was an ambassador, not a spy, and he didn't relish his mission tonight--or the remainder of the week either, if he should fail to spot his quarry this late evening. Christ! The things a man would do for his best friend!

Despite the chill of the autumn wind blowing across the River Seine, the black mask that concealed Parker's features was positively stifling, and he was sure he didn't know how Justin could breathe while wearing it. Moreover, the unaccustomed black wig, with its carefully dyed wings of silver at the temples, which covered the baron's blond hair, was making his scalp itch intolerably, and he was certain that at any moment, he would sneeze, because the false black moustache glued above his upper lip was tickling his nose.

There! Someone had moved in the shadows then; the baron was sure of it! Suddenly wary and totally alert, he studied the Quai aux Fleurs that arced around the northeast side of the island, where La Cathedrale Notre Dame was located. Yes, there was definitely someone slipping down the street there. The baron waited until he had got a good look at the shadowed figure and recognized that it was indeed a woman in boy's clothes, though he never would have guessed this, had it not been for his friend's description of her. Then he called out to her softly in his best French, "Rouge, it's me, Noir. I'm over here."

With a start, Vachel glanced about surreptitiously, finally spotting the form crouched beneath the end of the Pont au Change. Carefully adjusting his wig to be sure it was on straight and that its queue, folded into a thick club at the nape of his neck, had not come undone, he moved slowly towards the masked man, fancying that he had got Geneviève's walk down rather well.

"Noir," he whispered huskily in his sister's throaty, dulcet tones. "Oh, Noir, is that really you?"

"Oui, ma chère," Parker replied, his eyes taking in sharply the woman's masked face. It was Rouge all right, for she too closely resembled the sketch the French authorities had distributed about Paris to be anyone else. But the sketches had not prepared him for her mysterious beauty. Her moss green eyes shone through the holes in her scarlet mask, which appeared in the darkness almost the same shade as her flowing hair and full, sensuous mouth, too wide for beauty but impossibly alluring. Her skintight black breeches and jackboots clung to her slender, well-muscled legs, and her black shirt emphasized her boyish figure, while curving slightly to hint at bound breasts. And the way she moved, all lithe grace and strength, like a cat! God, why didn't women wear breeches more often?

The goddess stepped closer. "Noir," she said, in that enchanting, low voice, "is everything all right, my love?" The faint scent of the lily perfume she wore wafted towards him on the Parisian night air, awakening passions that had slumbered ever since he first took his cold English Nell to wife.

Parker shook himself, and in that moment he forgot all his good resolutions and plans to feign illness. Justin owed him something for this night, and he would take it! This woman enchanted and intrigued him as no other ever had, and by God, he would have her!

Vachel knew it was folly to linger. He had planned to pretend to a touch of the grippe and flee before his sister's lover could realize he was not who he pretended to be...and worse--was not even a woman! But if the Black Mephisto were really ill, and Vachel left him here to die of the cold, Genette would never forgive him. He took a step nearer. "Are you sick?"

Quick as a wink, the larger man's hand reached out and grasped Vachel's wrist, pulling the boy to within a few inches of his powerful chest. Still he said nothing, but ran a finger down Vachel's hollow-cheeked face and over his mouth. The spy's eyes--their color unclear in the moonlight--glittered fiercely, and Vachel felt fear spark within him. Either Noir really thought Vachel was Rouge...or he had guessed he was being toyed with. "I had forgotten how beautiful you are, that is all," Noir said in dark, rich voice, like honey, and Vachel barely had time to sigh with relief before the other man bent his head, his mouth coming down to ravage Vachel's in an unrelentingly demanding kiss.

Vachel tried to pull away, tried to murmur, "Not here," but the sixteen-year-old boy was powerless against the older man's strength. Noir's arms held him like bands of forged steel and his mouth continued its relentless assault. Against his will, something inside Vachel responded to the spy's savage embrace. He flushed with shame and heat as desire leapt to life within him, its flames licking down his veins, turning him molten, white-hot--Noir's to mold and forge with his mouth and his arms.

Parker knew Rouge dared not scream or cry for help, nor even risk the sounds of a scuffle, not so near the prison whose walls would enclose her if she were caught, at least until the sharp knife of the bourgeoisie severed her lovely head from her neck. He shuddered at the thought. No, it would never be! She would be his, and he would kill anyone who strove to harm her! Christ, she was magnificent. No woman had ever stirred him as she did. He yearned to unlock the secrets in her green eyes, dark and mysterious as the ancient, seductive Seine. He nearly shouted with triumph as he felt her resistance crumbling, her scarlet lips turning pliant beneath his. He knew then that it didn't matter how many men had had her before him--her husband, Justin--she belonged to none of them. She was his.

Parker sent his tongue questing, and Rouge's lips opened on a soft moan that made him tremble from head to toe. Triumphantly he plundered the sweetness of her mouth, feeling a dark abyss of desire yawning beneath him, as hot as the waters of Seine behind them were cold. He found the ribbon that bound back her hair and pulled it, sending a river of scarlet cascading over his hands and Rouge's shoulders and breasts. He sent his mouth trailing down the slender column of her neck, breathing in the lily scent of her and finding his reward in the way the pulse beat, fast, in the hollow of her throat.

Nothing in his life had prepared Vachel for the waves of sensation that washed over him as this powerful man plundered his mouth and throat. His mouth felt swollen, ravished. Noir's mouth slashed like a hot knife across his flesh, and Vachel could feel his blood springing to the surface, pulsing with agony and desire. The sixteen-year-old boy had had some experiences with women, who lusted after his girlish figure and piquant, elfin face, but what he had felt then had been nothing like this fierce arousal, this sensuous onslaught that left him barely able to speak. But he would speak, he must, before this man who had turned Vachel's world upside down discovered the shameful, humiliating truth.

"No," he whispered, finding strength in the sound of his voice, a solid place in a world that had tilted on its axis. "No," he said more firmly. "Not here! We could be caught at any moment, and my men are waiting for me. Let me go."

"Never," Noir said savagely.

Was this how Noir had treated Genette? Every chivalrous bone in Vachel's body was outraged. For a moment he forgot his fear and his arousal. "Are you a gentleman?" Vachel said indignantly. "Let me go!" Noir's grip only tightened. Vachel began to struggle against his strong arms, writhing and fighting to escape.

He was strong for his age, and might have broken free eventually, but Noir said, in a softly menacing whisper, "Do that any more and I'll call the guards down on our heads."

Vachel stilled. "You wouldn't!"

"I would do anything rather than let you go," Noir said with conviction.

"But you'd be arrested too!"

"It would be worth it to possess you, even for an instant."

Vachel trembled at the sincerity in Noir's eyes. "Please," he whispered.

"Ah, Rouge, almost you move me," Noir said. "But I think not. Be still, and I will release you. But make one move to flee, and both of us will die."

Vachel stood motionless. Noir's arms went from around him, and he stumbled, falling numbly against the wall. "You don't understand," he whispered helplessly, before Noir's mouth descended on his again and his traitorous body sang beneath his touch. Breathless with sensation, he could only feel and moan and open beneath the older man like a flower.

"Unbutton your shirt," Noir demanded.

Vachel gasped. "No," he whispered, "please."

"Then I'll do it for you," Noir said, and reached out. Vachel, desperate, crossed his arms tightly over his chest, but Noir said, "The guards," and he let his hands fall helpless to his sides.

Parker, drunk with desire, reached out his hands to Rouge's defenseless breasts, cupping them gently. He was sorry for the fear in Rouge's eyes, but she would enjoy herself. He would make sure of that. It was not just her body that would be his--it was her mind, her soul. Before the night was over, she would beg him to make love to her. He squeezed lightly, and drew back for a moment in shock. They felt--wrong. They had yielded beneath his hands like--like pillows. He squeezed again, harder. Rouge did not even react, except to turn her lovely face away and close her eyes. What the devil? In a frenzy he unbuttoned her shirt, ignoring her whispered protests, and the glorious globes fell out into his hands, palm-sized balls of cotton. He ran his hands over her slender waist and down to her feminine core...and felt a distinctly masculine hardness.

"Please, no," Rouge whispered, but there was no stopping Parker. Still unbelieving, he unbuttoned Rouge's breeches, and the unmistakable evidence of Rouge's masculinity--and his arousal--sprang free, bared to the cold night air.

Vachel turned his face away, tears of humiliation running down his cheeks, unable to hide from himself that even now, the cold air and the eyes of this domineering stranger were bringing him to greater heights of arousal.

Parker stared, mesmerized by the sight of Rouge's manhood. Justin had...bedded this boy? And he thought she was his wife? What deep game was his friend playing? Had his intention all along been merely to humiliate Parker? "What the hell is going on here?" he asked roughly, his hands spasming on Rouge's forearms. When Rouge's manhood jumped in response, he let go and stepped back hastily, sickened.

"I tried to tell you," Vachel said, his voice a thread. "I'm not Rouge. I'm Rouge's twin brother. I'm sorry. Sang de Christ, I'm sorry! Please, don't tell Rouge about this."

Parker reached out and violently ripped the wig from Rouge's head. Underneath, his short, tousled hair was the same copper hue, with the same glints of scarlet. Parker considered the black-clad boy standing before him--no, not standing, leaning back against the dirty wall under the Pont au Change as though his feet could no longer support his weight. Tears shone brightly in his moss green eyes and ran down his cheeks, smearing the dark makeup he had used to make his eyes look larger, more feminine. His sparkling lashes, though, had needed no such embellishment, for they were as long and thick as a girl's. Lipstick was smeared scarlet on the boy's ravished, parted lips, still swollen from Parker's kisses. His chest heaved with emotion and his manhood stood upright and pulsing in a bed of scarlet curls. It was the most debauched, wanton, utterly arousing picture Parker had ever seen.

He would think of right and wrong and society's dictates later. Now it was too late. They were caught up in the dark, swirling maelstrom of sensation and emotion that their charades had unwittingly unleashed. Parker was seized by a fierce possessiveness--this boy was his. His throbbing manhood, undeterred by tears and humiliation, was proof of that.

Vachel's chest heaved with shame and anger--shame that he had been aroused to the point of mindlessness by another man, and worse, a man who was an utter stranger to him, his sister's lover--and anger at his traitorous body which even yet pulsed with sensation, longing to give itself to this mysterious stranger, yearning to be one with him like the river yearns to be one with the sea. Still Noir stared at him in what Vachel could only take to be horror and disgust.

"I'll go," the boy said softly. "I'm sorry. Please don't tell Rouge." He reached for the fastenings on his breeches, meaning to cover his shame and slink off to lick his wounds, like an injured dog whose master has turned on him.

Noir's hands shot out and took hold of his wrists in an iron grip. "Don't you dare," he said with silky menace. "Don't try to hide yourself from me."

Vachel looked up wildly and met Noir's shadowed gaze.

"Will you be good if I let go of your hands?" Noir asked.

Vachel nodded. What else could he do?

Noir moved his hands to Vachel's hips, gripping them hard enough to bruise and pinning him to the dirty Parisian wall. Then, abruptly, he dropped to his knees in front of Vachel on the muddy cobblestones. "Whatever you do, don't cry out," he said. The boy struggled to be still and not show how much he was affected by Noir's hot breath against his manhood. Even though the evidence of his arousal was plain, he was determined not to give Noir the satisfaction of anything more. But just Noir's bold gaze on his hardness affected him like a caress. When Noir's hot mouth descended on his masculinity, surrounding and possessing him, only Noir's hands on his hips kept him from bucking like a young stallion. He bit his lip until he tasted blood, to keep from screaming.

Vachel, young as he was, was no virgin. He had scaled the peaks of passion before, but now he soared above them like an eagle, or rather a falcon, for he knew that soon he must return to earth, to this man who in so short a time had fastened jesses to his heart. All too soon, Noir's hot mouth had him struggling not to cry out as completion hit him. Like a river in flood overflowing its banks and bearing down dams, his entire being surged inexorably towards Noir. He was shattered in a thousand sparkling pieces and made new again, hollowed out and refilled.

He sagged against the wall, unable to collect his thoughts, as Noir stood and regarded him. He felt, vaguely, that he should be ashamed, that he should try to cover himself--but what was the use? Noir had already seen everything.

"Turn around," the man ordered harshly.

Vachel couldn't hide his body's reaction, but he somehow found the strength to murmur weakly, "But you're my sister's lover."

"No, I'm not," Noir said, and pulled off the dark moustache and black wig. His own face was clean-shaven, and his hair looked golden in the faint light from the streetlamps that penetrated the blackness under the bridge. Vachel saw with a shock that he was beautiful. "I'm not Noir, I'm his best friend. Now turn around before I make you."

Dazed, Vachel complied automatically, turning and placing his palms against the filthy wall. Despite all that he had just felt, he could not repress his trepidation. What else did this mysterious man have in store for him? He would call him Doré, he thought, meaning Golden One in French. He shuddered as he felt Doré's bulk moved close behind him.

Doré seized Vachel's tight black breeches in a rough hand and pulled them down to expose the twin globes of Vachel's buttocks to the night air. Then he felt Doré's hands on him, parting him, and Doré's hardness pressing against his entrance. Vachel felt a shiver of fear even as his loins stirred.

Parker struggled for control. The boy he still thought of as Rouge was trembling aquiescent against him. A glance down showed the boy's masculinity slowly stirring to life. At the sight, Parker knew he could not wait any longer---he must have satisfaction now. He spat in his hand and stroked himself a few times, and then, unable to resist any longer the sight of Rouge's pale flesh bared for the taking, thrust forward. He felt his manhood breach the tight ring of muscle that guarded Rouge's inner heat. With a powerful thrust, Parker sheathed himself within Rouge's body. He felt Rouge tense, heard his bitten-off yelp of discomfort, but he was too far gone to do more than slow down slightly.

At first, Vachel felt nothing but pain. Everything was burning, searing sensation. But gradually it lessened, and he began to feel an unexpected pleasure. Doré's hardness filled and stretched him, battering again and again at a spot of shocking pleasure within him. Gradually, with Doré's hands at his hips, guiding him, he began to move in a rhythm as old as time. Just when he thought he could take no more pleasure, one of Doré's hands wrapped itself around his manhood and began to stroke him roughly.

Vachel bucked wildly, fingers scrabbling at the cold stone of the Pont au Change. Doré filled all his senses, pressing against the core of him, his hard chest against Vachel's back, his muscular thighs against Vachel's thighs, his breath hot against Vachel's ear, the clean masculine scent of him in his nostirls, possessing and consuming him until there was nothing left. He was drowning in sensation, Doré's hands and mouth and plundering manhood dragging him unwillingly under, till he gasped for breath and drew into his lungs only pleasure.

Parker's pleasure spiralled uncontrollably. He buried himself again and again in Rouge's slick, hot core, his hand moving faster and harder on Rouge's masculinity until the boy was bucking under him like a young deer, sending sharp shocks of pleasure spiralling outward from Parker's groin. He sought to go deeper, to truly possess this boy, but some part of him knew it could never be. The river flows to the sea, and yet the river remains, turbulent, mysterious. "Mine, mine, mine," he murmured again and again.

"Yours," Rouge murmured back. Abruptly, Rouge's muscles were spasming around him and that Rouge's hot seed was spilling over his hand. Parker put his hand over Rouge's mouth to stifle the boy's involuntary cry, and then he too was thrusting mindlessly and spilling himself in Rouge's inner recesses.

For a moment they simply leant against the wall, racked with the aftershocks of pleasure. Parker let his eyes run over Rouge's disheveled form. Sweat glistened on his bared skin and made his black shirt and breeches cling to his well-muscled, slender form. Bruises the shape of Parker's fingertips were already starting to show at his hip. Parker allowed himself a quiet smile of triumph. Yours," the boy had said.

Parker intended to see that Rouge kept his promise.