Excerpt Sea. Heat. Sky. Cyran lifted his head from the thyme-covered hill to watch Ximen strolling after the sheep, effortlessly keeping them away from the cliff edge.
Ximen. So unconcerned with what anyone else thought. Happy to follow sheep to the sound of surf and the scent of thyme. Happy to lie with Cyran. Happy to enter into whatever character or play had gripped him that week regardless of what his family thought of actors. He’d just listen, smile, and go back to being Antigone, or, in a rare bad mood, Medea.
Cyran let his head drop back. The day was too perfect to worry. He was home on Kos. His Ximen had waited for him. He listened to the bees visiting the thyme flowers, the waves against the cliff, and Ximen’s voice declaiming to the baaing sheep. He stretched in the sun under the flawless sky and slept.
The scent of herbs intensified in his dreams and he turned his face from the source. It followed and, he could swear, tickled his nostrils.
A giggle, sweet and pure as thyme-honey.
“Ximen,” he growled. Then he had Ximen’s blond-haired wrists grasped tightly in his own dark hands. Ximen dropped the stalk as Cyran’s grasp tightened. “Think you can do that and escape me, boy?”
“I hoped not…”
More honey-laughter. Cyran squinted up at a sun-haloed silhouette.
“You dare provoke my wrath?”
Ximen flopped forward onto Cyran.
“I want your…wrath. Please. ”
Cyran flipped them so that now he was the looming shadow filling Ximen’s vision. He felt as if he were the predator Ximen kept from the sheep. He could see his blond boy trembling, but smiling now, without having to fight the sun. Clear blue eyes. Sun-bleached hair. Slender arms that had the playwrights begging for him as their female principals. How could his family say he should herd sheep when he recited as if the gods flowed through him? Even masked he’d make you believe he was a proud sister intent on burying her brother.
Cyran blinked. This wasn’t the time to worry! He was home from the wars, with honor and no significant wounds, and his Ximen was lying beneath him, eyes and legs wide, mouth perfectly pouting.
“My wrath…” he repeated. “Where, Ximen? Where do you want my wrath? Here?” He traced the curve of Ximen’s mouth. “Or here?” His hand snuck up Ximen’s thigh, under his chiton, and cupped his cheek.
“Just in me, Cyran. Later I’ll want to touch and stroke you, but now I need you filling me.”