QUENCH (Into the Fire #4)
Novella (19,000 wds) ⋅ Historical ⋅ LGBTQ ⋅ Erotic
Three years after Marc and Wolf’s arrival, drought holds their community in its grip. As summer peaks and their water supply dwindles, finding a solution becomes a battle of wills between Marc and Philip. Caught between his lover and his friend, Wolf seeks a way to restore peace to his neighbors and a preoccupied Marcus to his bed.
An unexpectedly scorching encounter at the bathing stream gives Wolf an idea. When the oppressive heat finally threatens to incinerate all reason, he proposes his own solution to Marc and Philip. Not every thirst can be slaked with water, after all, and some negotiations are more satisfying when the mind surrenders to the body.
What Readers Are Saying…
“Ms. West writes a wonderful story and how she manages to get you to love her characters in less than 100 pages is I will never know. But she works magic once again, and leaves her loyal readers groaning for just a bit more.” – Mary, Goodreads
“I love love love Marc and Wolf! The bond they share with not only each other but with young Matthias is amazing! … I can’t wait for the story to continue!” – Dallas Mae, Goodreads
“…Another exciting novella in this unique series!” – Maria Rose, Goodreads
“Better and better.” – Jo, Goodreads
Marc came to their chambers exhausted every night. Some evenings, Wolf had to push him to eat supper. Marc insisted on being one of the four men sharing the digging work, so that every night now found him face-down on a pallet beside their bed, moaning as Wolf worked the knots from his muscles.
“Our neighbors will think I’m ravishing you in here,” Wolf commented.
“Good,” Marc said, his speech slurred. “They won’ in’errupt.”
Wolf smoothed oily hands up either side of Marc’s spine. “You should leave this work to the younger men.”
Marc twisted to look back over his shoulder. “You’re not suggesting I’m too old for it.”
Wolf tread carefully. Marcus was forty-one years old now. Still very much a man—certainly not one Wolf would want to be on the other end of a sword from—but he couldn’t help but want to protect him. “It would be a more efficient use of resources to set other men to this task.”
“You can supervise them. It’s more befitting your status here.”
Marc rolled enough to prop himself on an elbow. “I’m a strongholder. That’s my status.”
“You’re one of our leaders.”
“As are you. I don’t see you stepping aside from the daily work to supervise others.”
Wolf scoffed, pushing his thigh against Marc’s hip. “I don’t need an apprentice.”
Marc smirked. “You’re perfectly capable of doing it all yourself.”
“Roll over or this massage is finished.”
Marc chuckled and turned, settling onto his chest again. “You should take out that imperiousness on an apprentice.”
Wolf dug his thumbs into the muscle of Marc’s lower back, gratified by the long, hoarse groan Marc uttered in response. Wolf worked his knuckles in hard, deep circles for several minutes. When he finally let Marc take a full breath, Marc said, “I recant. Take it out on me. Any time.”
Wolf would have liked to take it out on Marc in other ways besides massage, but this night would end as had all others recently, with Marc asleep on the pallet. Wolf drank up the sensation of his lover’s firm body under his hands, but once Marc had fallen asleep, Wolf rose and stripped, extinguished the lamp, and lay down on their bed, alone.
His prick ached against his belly, having swollen as it always did after an hour of rubbing down Marcus. Using hands still slick with oil, Wolf stroked himself, staring out the window and wondering when rain might wet the sill again. He imagined it, the drops cool on his face, tracing individual tracks before merging to drench him. It would taste metallic at first, as all rains did, but then it would be sweet, coating his tongue as he lapped the water from Marc’s skin.
His climax came hard and fast.
He lay gasping afterward, watching the smooth rise and fall of Marcus’s back as he slept on. In the next room, Matthias slept as well, and Wolf felt an overpowering tenderness toward the man lying in the moonlight nearby. While Marcus might say he worked himself weary for the good of the stronghold, Wolf knew that his true motivation was his love for their son.
Aided in no small part by a stubborn nature and a competitive streak. Keeping those qualities from grinding Marcus into dust was a task Wolf accepted as part of his own work, as important as anything he forged in his workshop. He tamped down the urge to wrap his body around Marc’s now, lest he wake him. It was too hot anyway. As Wolf lay restless and itching under the night’s relentlessly still air, he tried not to envy his lover’s sleeping state.