|Gods Among Men by Jacqueline Brocker|
Ilya, self-appointed protector of his Croatian coastal town, hates Nikolai, the one man who has never bent to his will. Meanwhile, the gods—Perun the Thunderer and Veles the dragon god of the underworld—do combat in ancient times. Ilya and Nikolai discover the battles of old may not be so far in the past, and that each of them may be closer to the gods than they could have imagined. (M/M)
Nikolai bent forward, kicking his legs up as if about to start a race. His face showed that he thought this was all a game. Ilya’s lip curled up in a sneer. Everything was a game to that man —apart from his little business in the docks, everything else he did was all about hedonistic pleasure, about giving to people what sated their basest needs. No sense of civic duty or pride, just fun and games and consequence be damned. Like the hashish, like the steroids.
Like the men he was rumoured to be fucking. A vision of Nikolai in congress with another man flashed before Ilya. He stopped the thought before it could… grow.
Ilya had been with two girls his own age, but was now keeping himself for Dobrana, who wanted a long engagement for the best possible wedding. That was the right thing to do. Nikolai wouldn’t know the right thing to do if it reared up and struck him.
So, Ilya reasoned, it was his job to do the striking.
Across the mat, shirtless, only in shorts—Nikolai’s tight and fitting, Ilya’s hanging loose— the two men circled each other, padding the mat like panthers, eyes hooded like hawks. Nikolai sometimes slapped his thighs, and he wore his damnable grin, the one the seemed as if he was keeping a secret that only he had the pleasure of knowing. Ilya, meanwhile, was still, quiet: he felt no need for sudden sounds. Patience and watchfulness, he knew, were how you won at wrestling, not with darting games. And nothing would distract him from his task.
Nikolai lunged first. It made Ilya smile. That was his first mistake. He caught Nikolai, stumbled backwards, and Nikolai briefly grinned in triumph, only to find himself on his side, Ilya’s shoulder pressing his down. He heard Nikolai gasp and saw his panicked eyes. Ilya chuckled, but Nikolai locked his legs around his own and twisted until Ilya too was on the ground, Nikolai half on top of him.
Nikolai bent in, close to Ilya’s face. “See, I told you—”
Ilya pushed back at Nikolai’s shoulder and once more Nikolai was on his back. Nikolai tried to squirm away, but Ilya held him firm in his grasp.
“Now that you cannot get away, I want to—shit!”
Nikolai had bit Ilya’s hand: a sharp and decisive bite. Ilya wrenched back and Nikolai rolled away.
Ilya shot a furious look at Nikolai.
“That’s against the rules.”
Nikolai shrugged. “But it worked.”
Ilya snarled, got on his haunches.Two can play at that game, he thought. He launched himself at Nikolai who deftly moved out of the way and caught Ilya’s legs, lifting them just enough to throw him back onto the mat. Ilya winced and cursed when Nikolai fell on top of him, trying to press his small weight against Ilya’s body. Nikolai managed to twine himself enough around Ilya so Ilya couldn’t move.
“So, I am here, you said you wanted to… what?”
Ilya jerked, but he was quite subdued. He could only move one hand and that hand was very close to Nikolai’s… crotch.
The cotton stretched over Nikolai’s cock and balls, making them appear soft and vulnerable. The scent of salty sweat rose from his body. His skin, Ilya knew, would be sensitive to touch, and his cock and balls even more so.
Ilya began to reach forward, inch by inch. “I want to talk.”
“Well then, talk.” Nikolai smirked as if he’d won already.
“No. I mean, I talk,” Ilya grabbed Nikolai’s cock through his shorts, “and you listen.”