Isra threw his pieces down in disgust, kissed Sahayl briefly, then retreated from the garden. Inside the much cooler rooms of Sahayl’s bedchamber, he weighed his options and finally went to collapse with Bahadur in a mound of cushions and pillows.
He hated it. Give him a sword and he was the equal of anyone. Had he not defeated Wafai once upon a time? Yet he could not manage one single game of taaki. Of course, he should know better than to play against Shihab. To date, the only person who had ever beaten Shihab was Lord Rook.
“You should be careful, if you choose to drink that,” Bahadur murmured, taking back the wine dish Isra had picked up from the little table nearby. He set aside his book to refill the dish.
Isra glared. “Give it back.”
Bahadur chuckled. “Did our little shadowfire ever tell you how he came to be captured by Jackal?”
“You caught him,” Isra replied, still glowering that the wine had been taken away.
“Mmm,” Bahadur said in agreement, smiling in a way he seldom did.
Normally Bahadur was the most serious of them, a stable, steady force that perfectly suited the role of guardian he had taken from Wafai. Isra still recalled the day they had really begun to speak to one another, when assassins had been after Sahayl’s life. Until that moment, they had been strangers thrust together by mutual acquaintances – and a scheming Shihab. After that, they still had not talked much…but Bahadur had no longer felt like a stranger.
Often Bahadur reminded him of his uncle, deep and reliable and steady – but with an added sexual appeal that kept him from being too much like the Falcon Sheik. It was odd, to say the least, to be bound intimately to one man because of another.
Odd, but not unpleasant, and Isra did not protest the large, heavy hand that settled on his stomach, petting lightly as Bahadur’s mouth quirked in amusement.
“I did catch him,” Bahadur said. “The weakness of those who rely heavily on strategy and planning is that they are left briefly flustered when their carefully laid plans are thoroughly upset. We are no strategists, you and I, but we are quick on our feet. If I had mistaken you for my lover in that tent, and kissed you, I think you would not have been as overtaken as our little shadowfire was.”
Isra stared at him – then started laughing. “Is that how it actually happened? No wonder he has never allowed the full tale to be told.”
Bahadur smiled and took a deep swallow of his wine, leaning down the slightest bit. “Shihab prides himself on being too clever; I’m sure it chafes that he was foiled by a kiss.”
“He should be bothered,” Isra replied, still snickering. “Undone by a kiss, a shameful thing indeed for a son of the Lady.”
“Oh, desert rose?” Bahadur asked. “You truly believe you would fair better? I think it was the valtyanar which did him the most harm.”
Isra reached up and sank his hands into Bahadur’s thick hair and dragged him close. “Try me,” he challenged.
Bahadur did not bother to reply, except to close the last space between them and kiss Isra thoroughly. His kisses were gentle and strong all at once, firm and rough in the most pleasant ways.
Mingled with it however was the sharp, spicy taste of desert wine and the heady effects of valtyanar. It made him feel ever so slightly light-headed, and Isra moaned softly, clinging all the more to Bahadur.
Soft chuckles were fed into his mouth, a challenge if ever Isra had heard one. He abruptly let go, and shoved hard, sending Bahadur falling back with a laugh.
“Jackal and their wine, I can see where one such as Shihab would be undone – but no Falcon is so easily conquered, warhorse.”
Bahadur smirked and yanked him down, kissing him hard, nothing gentle remaining. He broke the kiss just as abruptly, leaving Isra gasping, and took a long swallow of his wine. Then Isra was being kissed again, wrist captured in one large hand, the other holding his head in place.
He was not that easily overcome. Kissing back just as thoroughly, Isra put his hands to work touching every bit of skin he could reach, stroking Bahadur’s bare chest, the back of his neck, slipping fingers beneath the hem of his pants to tease at the hard heat still trapped within.
Mm, yes. They might have been thrust together, he and the warhorse, but Isra was more than happy to keep intimate company with a man who could fight and fuck as well as Bahadur, especially when they had Sahayl so deeply in common.
He was abruptly released, swearing as he fell awkwardly on the ground, gasping as his own pants and skirt were yanked away. Before he could form a protest, the valtyanar laced kisses were back, making his head spin more and more. How did Bahadur drink the stuff so easily? It would make him sleepy, except that combined with the wine and Bahadur’s rough kisses, it seemed to be making him all the more needy.
Twisting away, he rose to his knees and turned to bolt, determined not to be overcome by Bahadur’s evil wine – but he was grabbed from behind before he could get out of reach, one hand sliding around his waist to grab his cock and any desire to escape was forever banished.
Teeth bit down hard at the base of his neck and all thoughts fled from his head. He swore softly as the torment continued and went without protest when he was gently shoved forward, bracing himself on his forearms, moaning at the mouth which started at the back of his neck and worked its way slowly and torturously down his spine. He gasped and whimpered as Bahadur urged his knees apart, spread him with those large, rough hands.
“Bahadur—” He moaned loud and long as Bahadur used his tongue in a way Isra had never seen him use it – he hadn’t known Bahadur could do that. Burying his face in his folded arms, he focused solely on not going completely mad from the sensations washing over him, dizzy and hot from the valtyanar and he wondered how much worse it would have been if he’d actually drunk the wine rather than simply getting a taste of it from Bahadur’s evil mouth.
His moans became cries as a finger was pushed in to join Bahadur’s tongue, and then suddenly he was filled with two fingers, the stretch and burn too much but not enough. “I don’t think it was ever the wine that was the problem,” he managed to say, gasping every word, moving shamelessly into the fingers fucking him, badly wanting more but he wasn’t going to beg quite yet.
He whimpered as the fingers inside him vanished, but before he could form a scathing protest, Bahadur was pushing inside, hard and hot, the burn making him hiss but the pleasure drawing out another needy whimper.
“Move,” Isra bit out, pushing back, satisfied when the hands gripping his hips faltered and then dug in all the harder and then Bahadur was obediently moving, not wasting any time but going straight to hard and fast, withdrawing almost entirely only to shove back in deep and Isra’s head spun with it, buzzing from the valtyanar and Bahadur’s sure movements and he needed nothing more than the sudden firm strokes to his cock before he screamed his release, world whiting around him.
When he could at last breathe evenly again, Bahadur was half-collapsed on top of him, a hot, heavy weight but not wholly unpleasant yet.
“It’s no wonder you captured Shihab,” Isra said at last.
Bahadur laughed, breaths warm against the back of his neck. “Fortunately for the both of us, he was done in by a mere kiss. I think we both would be dead if we’d progressed further. Luckily for all of us, it was the schemer and not the fighter I encountered then.”
Isra snickered and twisted to give Bahadur a kiss, already plotting how to harass Shihab with his new knowledge.