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Standing outside the closed door, Nicomedes removed his leather shoes and wrung his chilled hands to settle his nerves. Gods, he was excited—anxious, but excited. His new master rarely called him to the playroom.

Ever since the auburn-haired general had returned from the war, Nic worried his master would sell him. Despite half-hearted reassurances from Dom’s favorite concubine, Maximus, he'd been troubled by nightmares. Terrifying, jagged dreams of being dragged back to town and hauled up onto the auction block at the slave market. During Nic’s early years growing up in that whorehouse in nearby Neapolis, he’d only known cruelty, pain, or at best, cold indifference. His previous master had purchased him from the brothel’s pimp for a pittance; the savage beatings he’d suffered at the hands of that cruel monster had left permanent scars on his shoulders, his back, and his mind.

Now at the age of twenty, comfortably settled here at this posh seaside villa, he never wanted to leave. Other than the nightmares, he was happy for the first time in his short life. It was an odd feeling—happiness. Nic was adjusting, learning to enjoy these strange sensations of calmness and contentment. And he had a job. A splendid job, unlike washing down the whores' stone beds or sucking cock for a piece of brass. When he'd returned to his villa, Dominus had awarded Nicomedes the somber responsibility of offering the morning sacrifices at the small altar in the kitchen garden. Nic never forgot to pray to the household gods for his new master’s health and success. Dominus was his savior, the powerful man who’d rescued him from the terror of his painful childhood. He didn’t deserve such good luck, but somehow the Fates had granted him a new life.

A better life.

A much fucking better life.

He took a deep breath as he studied the swirling patterns of knots in the wooden door panels. Earlier, while he’d been preparing to leave for the main house, Max had informed him that Dom was entertaining a gentleman guest from Rome. How would the night unfold, Nic wondered? Would Dominus fuck him first and then pass him over to his guest? Or maybe the other man would enjoy him first for Dom’s viewing pleasure? Nic already knew Dom loved to watch his boys play together as a warm-up for the main event. He’d become well acquainted with Max’s enormous and gorgeous black cock.

But Dominus hadn’t requested Maximus this evening, just him.

His first solo performance for the general.

He wrung his hands again and exhaled.

Shit, if he delayed much longer, he would earn a flogging. Nicomedes raised his fist, took another deep breath, and knocked on the massive, dark door.

“Enter, lamb.”

Nic smiled at the raspy caress of Dom’s voice. He shut the door behind him and padded gracefully to the center of the lamp-lit room. With his eyes cast towards the mosaic floor, he dropped to his knees and waited for direction.

“Nicomedes, you look divine,” his master purred.

Nic’s long hair hung down past his shoulders in thick waves of sandy silk. He’d washed it twice before Max shaved his face and body smooth. Since Dominus preferred his boys unadorned, he didn’t bother with any garish cosmetics or dangling baubles his former owner had fancied. Before he’d set out on the long, freezing walk from the stables to the main villa house, Nic had wrapped himself in a winter cloak that fell to his ankles. Underneath he’d chosen to wear the near-transparent, gold-threaded sleeveless tunic Dom had purchased for him at the luxury market in Rome. Secured by two pins at the shoulders, the sheer costume showed off his tanned body. The expensive outfit was the first gift he’d ever received—from anyone.

“Rise and acknowledge our esteemed guest, Nicomedes.” Nic detected a faint slur to Dom’s brusque words.

After he stood up, Nicomedes slowly lifted his eyes. A strange, attractive man was sprawled out on the large bed—Dom’s special friend from Rome. The dark-haired visitor sat with his back against the wall at the far end of the mattress, his long legs stretched out in front of him, his indigo cloak open. Nic’s gaze lingered over the man’s naked fit torso.

“This is my dear associate, Lucius Petronius Celsus.”

Over to the left of the bed, Dom sat slouched in a cushioned chair; his casual, short tunic was hiked up to the tops of his sturdy, hairless thighs. His curly hair, backlit by the lamps on the walls, glowed a dazzling fiery red. Burgundy wine sloshed in silver goblets dangling from both Romans’ hands.

“You may not remember, but you’d once met Counselor Petronius shortly after you'd arrived here at my villa. My dear friend has again traveled all the way from the capital. He’ll be staying with us for the night—perhaps longer if the gods permit. Greet him with a smile, lamb.”

Nic nodded, his eyes downcast in respect. “Greetings, sir.”

“And where’s that smile I was promised, boy?”

The soothing tone of the stranger’s lush voice caught Nic by surprise. He lifted his chin and smiled as sweetly as he could muster given that his lips were quivering. The man was brawny and tall, with huge hands. Nic’s knees shook uncontrollably, trembling worse as he fought to control them.

“Nicomedes, what’s wrong?” Dom asked.

Nic’s eyes opened wide as he tried to figure out exactly what he should say. Shit, what did his master mean by that question? And how, by the gods, did he not remember meeting this handsome Lucius man? The questions clogged his brain to the point where Nic forgot to reply.

“Answer me. Has something upset you? Are you frightened?”

Nic cleared his throat. “Um—no, Dominus.”

“Then why are you shaking?”

“I don’t know, sir. Perhaps it’s the dampness, Dominus?”

“Perhaps. Do you know why Maximus is so beloved, Nicomedes?”

“Because he’s divinely handsome, sir?”

“Ha! Yes, indeed. And because he’s loyal and divinely prudent. Maximus understands when to hold his tongue. I expect you to be just as trustworthy. You will not discuss what happens here in the playroom tonight with anyone. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Dominus. I understand completely.”

“Good boy.” Dom waggled his eyebrows at his friend and laughed. “He understands—completely.”

Dom was clearly a bit drunk. And judging by that glazed look in those piercing grey-blue eyes, this Lucius man was pickled as well. Servicing a pissed master and his sloshed friend could get tricky.

“Come over here and kneel at my feet," Dom ordered, his lustful gaze admiring Nic’s bum. "But first, remove that blasted cloak.”

Dom’s guest raised his cup in approval. “Splendid suggestion, soldier.”

With what he hoped appeared an elegant gesture, Nic unclasped the brooch. The thick mantle fell from his shoulders to the floor. He stood in the center of the room with his hands clasped behind his back, feeling like a gilded statue on display.

“I swear by Jove—he’s too bloody beautiful to be mortal!” Dom's guest exclaimed.

“Nicomedes, is that the dear frock I’d bought for you in Rome? It looks more splendid on you than I’d anticipated. I may just have to take you to a dinner party in town once the warm weather arrives. Come here, lamb.”

Nic’s tensed muscles relaxed with each step as he glided over to his master’s chair and sank to his knees, his head bowed in a mixture of submission and relief. Dom gently cupped Nic's chin and lifted his face.

“Nicomedes, listen to me carefully. Lucius and I are going to worship you tonight.”

Gaius bent down and kissed Nic on the forehead, rubbing the copper hairs of his late day stubble against Nic’s smooth skin. “I will be in charge the entire time. There’s no need to be afraid, no cause for you to tremble. You are mine and you are safe. I will protect you. Do you understand?”

Nic closed his eyes and nodded with a hesitant smile. “Yes, Dominus.”

“Excellent. Now let’s enjoy this splendid evening. Go and give my dear friend a taste of that sinful mouth of yours. Luc’s desired you for quite some time. Let’s reward the old bastard for his uncharacteristic patience.”

After Dom ruffled his hair, Nicomedes walked over to the large bed and climbed up on the mattress. He licked his flushed lips while straddling the man’s hips. Nic had been a prostitute for most of his short life. He knew how to play the part of the coquettish courtesan. Smiling, the man gently grasped Nic’s long blond mane and pulled him down for a deep, probing kiss.

The Roman’s mouth was warm and passionate. The taste of smooth, expensive wine left Nic dazed. When Dom's friend broke off the kiss and removed his fingers from Nic’s hair, Nic lost his balance and fell back, landing on the man’s huge, stiff prick. It throbbed through the fabric of the stranger’s cloak, pressing against the sensitive crack of Nic’s barely covered bum.

Dom’s friend reached down and took hold of Nic’s hand. His expression grew serious as he raised it to his mouth. His warm breath brushed across Nicomedes’ knuckles.

“If Commander Fabius ever mistreats you, promise you’ll send word to me in Rome. As the most revered chief barrister in the imperial service of our victorious Emperor Trajan, I will gladly punish the brute, my darling boy. You have my honorable word, my undying promise.”

As the last of the tension slowly drained from his taut muscles, Nic giggled at the absurdity of the outlandish oath. Send this man word? Shit, he could barely read let alone write. Nicomedes covered his mouth, startled and embarrassment, but neither his master nor his Roman guest seemed troubled over his inappropriate outburst. Everyone was at ease and burning with desire.

Lifting his tunic over his head in one fluid motion, Dom strode to the other side of the bed. He laughed as he ran his hand down over the defined muscles of his abdomen before scratching the chestnut curls framing his full balls and his thick, heavy arousal.

“Pay him no mind, Nicomedes. Counselor Petronius is fucking incorrigible and justly envious. Let’s show our guest just how bloody talented your mouth is, pet.”

His master climbed behind Nic and grabbed hold of his thighs, pulling him down the length of the guest’s long body. The golden frock shifted until it bunched up around Nic’s chest. When Nic’s mouth was hovering above the man’s pulsing cock, Dom pressed his lips against the sensitive skin behind Nic’s left ear and whispered, “Suck his prick for me, Nicomedes. Take control with your mouth. Make this plebian scoundrel mewl like a helpless kitten.”

After pushing down the man’s ample foreskin and planting a few soft kisses on his shiny swollen head, Nic swallowed his length in one wet, smooth motion. The stranger tightened his grip on clumps of Nic’s hair; Nic winced but made no sound.

“Mother of the fucking gods, Gaius!”

His nose nestled in the man’s ticklish black pubic hairs, Nic smiled around his thick girth when he heard Dom humming with appreciation behind him. Nic wished he could see Dom’s face—see the pride in his master’s smile.

As his mouth slid up and down the lawyer’s iron-hard shaft, Dom crept up the mattress and pressed his cheek against Nic’s face. “Don’t be greedy, lamb. Share his spear with me.”

“Huh?” Nic gagged in disbelief. He couldn’t have possibly heard that right. Romans didn’t suck each other off; they had slaves for that. Fellatio between free men was illegal or something.

“You’ll learn a few secrets tonight, Nicomedes. Secrets you will not share, correct?”

With the head of the man’s member filling his mouth, Nic nodded.

“For a start, your poor, noble master suffers from an addiction.” Dom pulled the engorged prick out from between Nic’s lips and held his friend’s shaft like a lever, comically tilting it back and forth. “A most dreadful disease struck me a long time ago, back when I was merely an innocent youth ripe for corruption.”

Dom’s voice sounded silly.

The stranger chuckled. Nic almost did as well.

“You see, my sweet Nicomedes, back when I was a seventeen-year-old neophyte attending school in Greece, I became curiously enamored with this grotesquely gigantic plebian cock.”

With his heavy, steel blue eyes staring down at them, the handsome guest chuckled again. “You’re so fucking romantic, Gaius.”

Dom blew his friend a mock kiss before continuing, “Remember, my sweet Nicomedes. My addiction to cock sucking is a secret. Do not say a word.”

With his forefinger pressed to his lips, Dominus winked at Nic and then masterfully slid his friend’s impressive erection down his throat. When the man began to groan like a crazed animal, Dominus stopped, wiped his mouth, and rose to his knees. With one hand wrapped around the stranger’s spit-covered shaft, Dom patted his friend’s sweaty chiseled face. “I’m not giving you release so easily, slut.”

“Sadistic fucker,” The Lucius man whispered with a grin.

By the most holy Penates! Dom and this man were lovers, teasing and playing with each other. His master had allowed Nic to join their naughty game.

Dom had trusted him with his secret.

Nic’s heart began to race. He’d been accepted into Dom’s private world, into his family.

Nicomedes had a fucking family.

Perhaps he wouldn’t be sold after all.

He wanted to shout with joy, but instead, tears welled up in Nic’s eyes.

“Don’t cry, lamb,” Dom said. “Here, you can have this bastard’s monstrous pole back. But lick it. Don’t suck. Counselor Petronius is not allowed to come yet.”

“Yes, sir.” Nic snorted as he wiped his eyes. “Thank you, Dominus.”

Dom kissed his mouth and stood up. Nic could feel the heat of his master’s feline eyes watching as Nic glided his wet tongue up man’s thick, throbbing vein.

“Perfect, Nicomedes. Don’t give him any more than that. I want to watch this handsome idiot suffer frustration for his daft nuptials.”

The guest feigned a whimper. “I fucking said I was sorry, Gaius.”

Dominus laughed before grabbing hold of Nic’s arse cheeks. He spread them wide apart and observed, “So bloody perfect. Such a mouth-watering crevice of delight.”

Nic nearly choked when Dom’s warm tongue began to lick and poke his bum hole, teasing him stupid with every wet stroke. No one had ever kissed his arse like this before. Nicomedes closed his eyes and forced himself to focus on pleasuring the stranger’s throbbing cock.

Dom’s kisses stopped.

“Luc, pass me that bottle of oil on the table.”

“Did you say something?” The man managed to mumble after regaining a fraction of coherence.

“Toss me the damn oil, Lucius.”

With a groan, the lawyer hurled the tiny glass container towards Dom. It landed with a soft thud in the small of Nic’s back.

“Good aim, counselor. Perhaps you should try throwing a spear instead of wielding a sword.” Dominus snorted. After circling Nic’s rim with his oiled fingertips, Dom glided three fingers into Nic’s hole, withdrew and then pushed them in again up to his knuckles.

“Ah, you’re fucking hot and tight! Sing for me, Nicomedes.”

As Nic moaned and rocked his hips, Dom searched with curled fingers until he located Nic’s sensitive bump. He rubbed back and forth over the fleshy nub inside Nic’s arse while grazing his teeth across the backs of Nic’s thighs. Nic groaned and writhed from the burning pleasure of his master’s talented, demanding hand.

“Such an obedient, delicious pet,” Dominus mumbled against his flushed skin.

After Dom had removed his fingers, wiping them on the man’s cloak, he grabbed Nic's long hair and pulled his mouth away from his friend’s glistening shaft.

“What are you doing, Gaius?” Dom’s lawyer friend protested.

“My turn, Erastes. I’ll trade you his mouth for the pleasure of his oiled arse.”

Dom snarled as he flipped Nicomedes around to attend to his aching erection. As he pushed his engorged head between Nic’s full crimson lips, the dark-haired stranger lifted Nic’s bum up in the air and impaled him in one long searing thrust. Nic gasped around the girth of Dom’s member.

“For the love of Minerva, his arse is exquisite.”

After several moments of relentless pummeling, Dom’s friend reached down and jerked Nic’s head up. Dom’s cock slipped out of Nic’s mouth.

“What the fuck are you doing, Luc?” Dom protested.

“I won’t allow you to empty your balls into the boy’s mouth, Eromenos. Just lie there and watch me pound your pretty little pet. Your superior patrician cream belongs to me, whore.”

Nic gasped.

No one spoke to Dominus like that.

With his long prick buried deep in Nic’s arse, the man slid his muscular left forearm under his chest. He lifted Nicomedes back until Nic was straddling his lap. Snorting with lust, the stranger rubbed his nose across Nic’s shoulders and nibbled up and down his long neck.

“Don’t leave any fucking marks on my property,” Dom warned as he stretched out on the mattress with his hands clasped behind his head.

Sucking and kissing Nic’s damp skin, Dom’s friend raised the whisper-thin gold fabric over Nic’s face and tossed the gossamer garment to the floor. He began expertly stroking Nic’s prick hard and fast as he hammered him. Nic felt his orgasm building when the stranger mumbled into his ear. “Come for me, beautiful boy. Squirt your salty milk all over your gorgeous rascal of a master.” The man lowered his husky voice. “Soak the fiend in your juice.”

Nic’s whole body tensed in anticipation. He couldn’t feel his legs or any other unimportant body bits, only the strong strokes of the Roman’s firm hand and the intense burn of pleasure every time the man’s generous cock slammed into him. His head fell back against the guest’s broad shoulder and he cried out. Pulses of hot seed raced up his length and shot out in thick white streams, splattering Dom’s bare torso.

“By the gods, he sprays better than a fountain statue! Fantastic, Gaius—bloody spectacular fuck toy, my friend.”

Nic could barely talk. His tongue wouldn’t work, and his fingers and toes tingled. Flashes of ecstatic light blinded his sight. As the last of his strength drained away and his body began to crumple, the dark-haired man hoisted him off his erection and quickly bundled him up in the dark blue cloak. Cradled in the man’s arms, Nic was carried him across the room like a child and deposited gently on a cushioned bench by the balcony.

“Hush, now.” Dom’s guest whispered as he stroked Nic’s hair. “Close your eyes and surrender to sleep, sweetheart. Remember my promise. No one will ever abuse you again.”

Smiling, Nic mumbled in gratitude and rolled onto his side, drawing his knees up to his chest.

 

~~~

 

“Nicomedes is lovely, isn’t he?” Gaius boasted, tracing circles in the pools of Nic’s semen covering his chest and stomach. “And I’m not selling him to you, so save your breath.”

On hands and knees, Lucius climbed across the bed. Drops of sweat dripped off his dark hair as he grabbed Gaius by the wrists. He brought Gaius’s hand up to his mouth and sucked Nic’s salty release off his fingers before invading his lover’s mouth with his tongue. As they kissed, Luc rubbed his aching hardness back and forth against Gaius’s stiff prick.

“Then I’ll have to settle for you, Commander Fabius. Remember when you were my compliant little catamite, soldier?”

“Those days are long gone, plebian.”

“Ah, but I have memories.”

“Sweet memories of Athens,” Gaius murmured wistfully. “Gods, we were so damn young. So naïve.”

 

~~~

 

Nic had nearly dozed off when loud sounds of flesh smacking against flesh and wood creaking in agony filled the room—a chorus of wanton grunts and snarling snorts and curses to all manner of divinities. He urged himself to stay still, but curiosity was a powerful and dangerous temptress.

With the folds of the indigo cloak and his flaxen hair obscuring his spying eyes, Nic watched in wide-eyed amazement as his master sucked the lawyer’s large cock. The man arched his back and emptied his balls down Dom’s throat. Dom rolled his friend over on his stomach and viciously impaled his arse until they both cried out. A few moments of quiet passed before they resumed their sensual wrestling. Without warning the lusty duo rolled off the mattress, falling to the floor with a loud thump.

“Argh—shit! Get off my fucking arm, you oaf!”

“Quiet, soldier. You’ll wake the boy.”

Their muffled laughs became soft moans.

“All right. That’s enough of this fucking freezing floor. Let’s get back on the bed, Luc.”

“Yes, Commander.” Dom’s friend answered with a giggle.

Nic rolled over and shut his eyes. Did Max know Dominus and this Lucius fellow fucked each other? Had Maximus known all along that Dom had a secret lover?

Shit.

The stranger mumbled through a yawn. “How I adore wrapping my arms around you after a hard, satisfying fuck.”

“You should have been in Dacia with me, Lucius.”

“Yes, I should have been there. I’m sorry, darling.”

Their moans and kisses faded to silence.

When he heard Dom and his guest snoring, Nic wondered if he should slip out of the room but decided against it. Better to pretend he’d been deep in dreams the entire time.

Be invisible.

Know nothing.

Survive.

 

~~~

 

Stirred out of heavy slumber by the bright morning light, Nic rubbed his drowsy face awake. Across the room, his master was seated upright on the bed, staring down at a creased note clenched between his fingers. A single trail of tears glistened on his cheek. There was no sign of the dark-haired guest named Lucius. Dom’s friend must have departed very early.

“Dominus?”

His master wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “You’re finally awake. Good morning, lamb.”

“Good morning, Dominus. May I ask a question, sir?”

“Go on,” Dom answered with a gentle smile.

“Is everything—is everything well, Dominus?”

“Things are as they always fucking are.” Dom sighed and waved the scrap of papyrus. “Letters from my old friend invariably contain unfortunate news. But look outside, lamb. The sun has finally returned. Enjoy Helios’ warm rays during your walk back to the stables for your morning meal.”

Groggy and confused, Nicomedes froze.

Dominus’s nostrils flared, but his voice remained calm. “Leave, Nicomedes. Return to the stable house now.”

"Yes, Dominus."

Nic scrambled to his feet and quickly wrapped himself in the cumbersome indigo mantle. He didn’t look back while he closed the door behind him. As he walked down the corridor towards the service door, he heard a hollow metallic object slam against a hard surface behind the playroom door. Nic hastened his noiseless steps.

 

~~~

 

Running his fingers through his sloppy mop of morning curls, Gaius read the letter again as he gnawed on his lower lip.

 

To my dearest Gaius.

Alas, I’m forced to pull myself away from you and your warm bed well before the sun rises. I’m deeply grateful you’ve accepted my apology. The gods have blessed me with a most loyal associate.

You deserve to know the true reason for my unannounced trip to Campania. I trust you will safeguard my words. Our revered Emperor Trajan dispatched me to Neapolis under the pretense of a seaside holiday. I’m under orders to covertly investigate a troubling matter concerning the town magistrates…

 

“For shit’s sake, Lucius. You could have told me your real purpose when you’d arrived. Now it’s clear why you didn’t drag your arrogant whore to Campania with you. You’re here on imperial business, and I—I was a convenient fuck. You tell me what I wish to hear, and I believe you. Nothing’s changed. It never will.”

After he refolded the note, Gaius threw back the bed covers and stood up. The crisp morning air tickled his bare skin. He marched over to the portable bronze brazier resting on the floor by the alcove, and jammed the letter into the smoldering coals. A flurry of cinders rose up, clouding the golden sunbeams streaming in from the terrace.

As the flames grew, incinerating Lucius’s note to silvery ash, Gaius whispered, “Your confession is safe, Lucius. And last night's frolic was the final fucking time. Never again, my old friend.”

A lie. An empty promise he knew he’d never keep. But the words tasted sweet on his tongue.

Gaius poured himself a serving of undiluted wine. After clearing his throat, he raised his cup southward in the direction of the town of Neapolis. “To your good health and safe return home, Counselor Petronius. May blessed Fortuna protect both us wretched bastards! Farewell, Lucius.”

 

 

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