From "WaterWheel" from the Devout anthology.
Let's face it; spirituality can be sexy. That goes double for men of the cloth, who display such passion and devotion toward their chosen deities. For some, nothing is more erotic than men dedicating their lives to faith and service. However, even the most pious men aren't above temptation, and the men of Devout find themselves more than eager to explore a more carnal interpretation of worship. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy five doses of old-time religion spiked with erotic intrigue and a delicious hint of sin that will have you reaching for some holy water, preferably with ice.
Lord Rhys, heir to the earldom of Kent, is intelligent and unattainable as far as Father Andrew is concerned. To avoid a great famine, the unlikely pair sets out to commission an engineer to build a much needed Water Wheel. However, if the power-hungry Bishop of Rochester has his way, their quest and budding affection are both doomed to failure.
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“Never desired a woman.” Rhys smiled. “But what of a man?” He leaned
closer, and the afternoon was suddenly much too warm for Andrew's liking. “What of
the bishop? I see the way he looks at me, and he regards you with the same hunger.”
Andrew looked at the ground, his clear eyes not betraying his disgust at the
thought. “My uncle keeps his own counsel on whom he takes into his bed, vows or no
vows. I am not among that number.” He looked up at Rhys, feeling his own hungers
naked on his face. “I would that you were not one of them either.”
Rhys said nothing but closed the distance between their mouths in a breath.
He lingered there, his lips warm and his breath sweet, until shivers ran over Andrew's
scalp and down his arms. The serpent he carried, the reminder of Adam's wickedness, rose and filled, as it sometimes did upon awakening.
Rhys chuckled as they parted. “You delight me, and yet you have no idea of
your loveliness or desirability. I would not fill the bishop's bed. Not for a hundred
water wheels or a thousand earldoms. For another kiss as that, I would fill yours with
nothing but happiness.”
Andrew blushed and looked at the river. “I have desired you as a man desires
a maid since Easter three years ago. You rode beside your father, and I was surprised
to see you grown so tall. The light from the windows fell on your hair, and I thought
of little but the smile on your face even as my mouth sang the service.”
Rhys pulled him in close and held him. Andrew remembered being cuddled
so as a very small child, but no one had held him close for years. Rhys' arms encircled
him as if keeping the entire world at bay.
Andrew tipped his face up and kissed Rhys, the soft pink lips enticing him
and sending his head swimming like fine wine. He wanted the afternoon to last
forever, the spring sun slanting through the budding leaves, the brook babbling
around their feet, and Rhys' mouth on his, their breaths mingling and their skin warm as they pressed together.
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