I must’ve been either crazy or a fool to put my mark on someone as unpredictable and stubborn as you!

Walking in the apartment, the smell of tomato sauce and fried eggplants hit Leon’s nostrils. He could not honestly remember when he had eaten them last, but it woke up his stomach from its latest hibernation. Sean was a great cook, though he did not always find the time to devote his energy to the noble art. Still, he had insisted on a hi-tech kitchen, which Leon had immediately supplied according to his instructions, for he had no knowledge of either cooking or preparing food in any manner, nor was he interested in learning despite Sean’s efforts to teach him. “Cities are full of restaurants,” he loved to argue, so he would never die a hungry man, no matter what his blond beauty thought.

“Hello, lover.” A smiling Sean met him at the door, wearing the black Dolce & Gabbana sport suit that made his eyes shine and his complexion glow. “Here, let me help you relax.” Taking the briefcase from his hands, he placed it on a chair, then took off his blazer.

Amused, Leon watched him for a second. His first instinct was to take his blond beauty apart, piece after piece until nothing remained. The other was to fuck him until he was too exhausted to care. Either way, the crunching sensation in his stomach had not eased since seeing him at the office. As a meager consolation, he knew he was not alone in feeling the unbearable strain.

Looking at the way his prey moved, the hunter realized how rigid he really was. Like in the office, Sean’s face still betrayed his past sleeplessness, even if in a different way. Something about their brief exchange during the meeting had replaced his blond beauty’s agitated state with a strong sexual tension he was trying to keep in check, even if the trained hunter knew it was an impossible task. “Been a rough day at work?” He snarled ironicly.

“You can say that.” Sean grinned back. “The boss’s been giving me a real hard time lately.”

Leon’s lips curving in a half smile. “Maybe you should change job.”

“Oh, I’d like to, but he’s just too cute to leave.” With nimble fingers, the prey loosened the hunter’s tie. Once Leon was sufficiently undressed for his tastes, Sean brought him a glass of white wine and raised it for a toast. “To us,” he mumbled, touching the hunter’s glass lightly.

Controlling the impulse to crush the lithe body to him, Leon drank and went to sit on one of the stools surrounding the peninsula, as far away as possible from the irresistible temptation.

“I hope you don’t mind, if we eat at home, today.”

“Not at all. In fact, the smell is delicious. What is it?”

Sean bent slightly to check the tower-high oven. “It’s an old recipe of my grandmother, Melanzane alla Parmigiana.” He pronounced it with a slight accent. “It’s a wonderful dish she used to cook when she had time to spare.” He opened the oven to take out a baking pan, then evidently satisfied with what he saw, put it back inside. “I had to run all over town to find the right ingredients.” His gaze returned to Leon. “Only some specialized food stores carry fresh, genuine Italian products, like mozzarella cheese and parmesan, which are fundamental for this plate.”

The hunter sipped his wine. “So your grandmother didn’t only teach you the language.”

“No, she taught me the basics of Italian culture, though I remember little. But we used to spend long afternoons together since my mother had to work the entire day to support the family.”

“That’s after your father left you?”

Sean nodded. “She came from Italy to help my mom out. At first, all she could speak was Italian, then she learned a little English, but never really knew it that well.”

Leon turned the glass in his hand. “You know, you should’ve told me sooner about the languages. Where we are, it’s an invaluable skill.”

Sean shrugged, leaning on the peninsula across from Leon. “I didn’t want to brag about it, lover.”

“That wouldn’t qualify as bragging. Hell, there are some people who can’t wait to tell me about their latest bullshit just to show off while you hide an important thing like that?”

The blue eyes flashed in protest. “I wasn’t hiding it. I was waiting for the right time to tell you, only it never came.”

“And I suppose you didn’t even tell John.”

The blond beauty shook his head. “I didn’t see the point of telling him.”

“He made you the artistic consultant of anything that goes out of FDC. I mean, you can practically go over my head, but didn’t think he ought to know?”

“Lover, you and I know exactly why he gave me the title and it has nothing to do with my skills, not the intellectual ones anyway.”

Leon grinned. “You’re becoming an obsession for him. I think he’ll want you to be at the big meeting he’s planning.”

“Me? Why the hell would he want me? I’m certainly not a manager.”

“As you said, he doesn’t give a damn about your skills. He probably wants to see you again and that’s as good a way as any other.”

Sean sipped his wine slowly. “It would be embarrassing, everybody wondering why I’m there. I mean, what could I tell them? That John wanted to admire me in person?”

“I told him it wouldn’t be a good idea, but you know how he is. If he’s made up his mind, nothing’s going to stop him.”

“I trust you’ll be able to handle him.”

The hunter smiled ruefully. “Not when it comes to you, I’m afraid. For everything else, he takes my advice, but if it concerns you…” He shrugged. “He only listens to his dick.”

Sean grinned. “Spoken like a true man.”

“Don’t get me wrong, sweetie, but I wasn’t happy with his decision to make you artistic consultant. This position jeopardizes your relationship in the team because it places you a step above everyone else. That scene with Michael—”

“He’s a jerk and you know it! But in a way, I’m glad we had it because it made me think long and hard about so many things.”

“Is that why you asked me publicly for a date?”

“It’s the only reason I came to your damn meeting. I didn’t know how else to reach you.”

“You have my phone numbers, at least I think you do.”

The blond beauty shrugged. “Didn’t want to run the risk you’d hang up on me.”

Leon put his glass down. Despite the earlier warning, the need to touch Sean was becoming irresistible with each passing second so he stretched out his arm to grab his hand, but the blond beauty pulled back.

“No, lover, no touching, please, or I’ll never be able to tell you what I need to.” He smiled wryly. “We both know how it would end after all the time we spent apart.”

“Fair enough, sweetie.” He took his glass back. “I’m listening.”

* * * *

Sean cleared his throat. Where to begin? From the awareness or the darkness that preceded it? From the hate or…the love? Just looking at Leon was an exquisite pain in itself. When he had seen him seated at the round table, green eyes flashing, powerful body tense like a predator’s, Sean had felt extremely weak with desire and hunger. Still, he had stood his ground, even listening to the never ending idiocies that had run around the table, despite his burning need to be alone with his beloved. And for the second time, he had seen the mighty hunter a bit unsure of himself as if he, too, had missed him. Sean had read it in his eyes, for once free of their usual haughtiness. Not feeling superior, Sean understood Leon had as much need to talk as he did, though knowing him, he would have never admitted it. But it took no particular effort on the prey’s part to make the first step. Pride was the lonely man’s consolation and Sean did not intend to sacrifice the best thing he ever had to it. “I’m sorry about some of the things I said the other day,” he started slowly.

“Actually, you weren’t all wrong.”

“Please, don’t interrupt me or I’ll never be able to tell you everything.” He poured more wine in both glasses and took a generous sip. “After storming out of your office, all I wanted to do was leave work, leave town, but mostly leave you. Jeremy thought I was a lunatic when I knocked on his door, but he didn’t hesitate to offer me hospitality like he’d promised to do countless times before.”

“I suppose he knows enough of us to have made the offer.”

“I told him everything because, unlike you, I need to talk with someone about this incredible experience.”

A bitter snarl crossed Leon’s lips. “Only five days ago, you told me you wanted to end it.”

“Even if I had, it would still have been the most wonderful experience in my life and all the more reason to talk about it with someone.” He twirled the glass in his hand. “Anyway, for the first two days, all I thought about was how to leave you. I was so fucking furious and pissed off I even went to bed with Jeremy to try to forget about you.”

“And did it work?” Dripping sarcasm, the hunter taunted as if knowing exactly the answer.

“Of course, it didn’t. I just hope I haven’t ruined anything with Jeremy, instead.”

The green gaze brimmed with curiosity. “You used to be lovers, right?”

Sean nodded. “To be precise, he was my first one, but it was a lifetime ago, practically kids at our first serious experience. We fucked around for a while and it was okay, at least—”

“Until you got bored.” Leon supplied the predictable ending.

Sean sighed at his hunter’s ability to outsmart him at every turn despite the fact they seldom talked about their past. “Yes, I got bored and moved on to other people.”

“But I bet he’s still hooked on you.”

“I hope not for his sake. He knows I only love you.”

“Oh, I almost forgot about that.” Leon’s sarcastic gleam left no doubt to his thoughts on the subject. “Is that why you attacked me in the office?”

“I attacked only because you were pressing for an answer I wasn’t ready to give.”

“So it had nothing to do with the question itself?”

The prey shook his head with a bitter snarl crossing his lips. “I knew you’d ask me again, was kind of expecting it in fact. No, what got me mad was that once again, you didn’t give a damn about my feelings, just used them against me to force another of your games down my throat. And I couldn’t stand it anymore. So like a coward, I ran out of your office—”

“But didn’t get very far.” The ironic conclusion seemed self-evident, but Leon had to emphasize it anyway.

Sean took a deep breath to brace himself for the hard part. “Where could I go? I was furious, but not enough to forget there’s no place in heaven or hell where you couldn’t find me.” He straightened his shoulders. “And that’s when I realized I carry your mark.”

Puzzled, the hunter narrowed his gaze. “My mark?”

Sean nodded gravely, eyes fixed on Leon’s face. “Yes, lover, that’s how you branded me ever since our first meeting, whatever time or space that was, and claimed me as your own. And this mark I’ve carried lifetime after lifetime has helped you identify and find me in whatever shape I took or wherever I hid.”

Leon’s lips curled dangerously. “I found you every time because I’m the hunter and it’s my job to smell out the prey.”

“That’s only one side of it. You’re the hunter, true, but you could’ve hunted whatever came your way, instead of running after the same prey lifetime after lifetime.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, sweetie, but I’ve been playing the field way before you came my way and with plenty of preys—”

“None of which you had to chase across the US or go to India to find. By your own admission, you wanted me even before you knew I existed. And remember the first time we met?” The image of Leon’s SDM office floated back together with the stomach crunching sensation, the recognition, the tension at seeing a stranger that felt more familiar in a disturbingly intimate way than any relative or lover Sean had ever had. “You knew immediately who I was because you’d marked me the moment I accepted to play your bloody game. And my love is simply the visible expression of that mark, the one sure way you can tell I’m your chosen.”

Leon raised an eyebrow skeptically. “Supposing it’s true, and I’m not saying it is, could you get rid of it? Erase it somehow?”

Sean grabbed his hand, squeezing it forcefully. “Erase it? Oh no, lover, that’s my most precious possession, the core of my soul, the explanation for everything I’ve done not just in this life, but in all the previous ones, too. How could I possibly want to get rid of it? I couldn’t exist without it or you for that matter.” He let go of Leon’s hand. “Analyzing the strange, passionate game we’ve played for so long, I realized how proud I am to carry your mark, always have been, in spite of the tragic outcomes or your denial to acknowledge it. But I’ve earned it and it’s the reason I keep coming back to you, playing only by your rules, so I wouldn’t get rid of it, or the love it holds, because it’s what ties me to you.”

“And you’re sure you still want it in spite of how I’ve treated you lately?” This time there was no irony in the remark.

Sean took a deep breath. “I think I deserved most of it because I’ve been a fool, gloating on my achievements while you’ve moved on.” He shook his head, then locked gazes with Leon to drown in the green pools. “Yes, no matter what happens, I want your fucking mark. It’s mine alone, even if I’ll have to learn to accept its responsibilities.”

Unable to look away, Leon’s eyes flashed. “What do you mean?”

Sean came round the peninsula to stand in front of him. “I mean I finally understood I’m yours, always have been since the first time my soul became flesh and blood. Whatever happened between us, it was my doing, too, not just yours. I’ve never been your victim.” He shrugged. “That was just a convenient excuse I told myself to shift the blame on you alone for everything that went wrong. No, the truth is I chose you just as much as you chose me. I wanted your game just as much as you did, if not more. So it’s time I learn to accept the consequences. That’s why, if you want me to screw with a woman, two women, five men or whatever the hell you want, I’ll do it. I can’t promise I’ll be good at it or like it, but I’ll certainly try.”

Leon eyed him carefully, the green gaze sparkling. “I must’ve been either crazy or a fool,” he said at last, extending an arm, “to put my mark on someone as unpredictable and stubborn as you.” Grabbing his shoulders, he pulled him closer. “But so damn attractive, I can’t seem to find an adequate replacement no matter how many I’ve tried.” He brought Sean so close their lips almost touched. “And I’ve tried so many, I lost count.”

Unable to resist the tension tightening every muscle, the prey attacked Leon’s mouth, pushing his tongue all the way inside to conquer what could not be conquered by definition. The familiar smell, flavor, taste of his lover drove Sean’s senses wild with desire so he drowned, his tongue battling ferociously against Leon’s, trying to overcome it.

With a shove, the hunter pressed Sean’s shoulders to the wall to block him just as his tongue broke through the prey’s defenses, brushing the territory in a triumphant sweep, reaching all the way to the throat. Sean opened wider, sucking the winner as if he wanted to swallow him whole, but Leon did not let him, pulling back slightly, partly freeing his body.

Quickly taking advantage of the opportunity, the prey slid down his back, his hands already fumbling with Leon’s trousers to free what strained against the confined space. The big cock was already as hard as stone, its bursting head imperiously demanding Sean’s prompt attention and he had no qualms in complying immediately. With a hungry growl, he wrapped his lips around it, his tongue curling around the long length and pulling it deeper inside.

As he sucked avidly, Sean realized how much he had missed Leon. Jeremy, Anthony, Frank or whatever name they happened to have, never quite made him lose his senses as his hunter did. Nothing comparable in their cocks, either. He could not help appreciating Leon’s as his tongue ran smoothly along the long stem, lapping it forcefully before wrapping around it. The long suck brought it close to his throat, but he kept going, uncaring whether he choked. He wanted to feel Leon as deeply as possible, to show him his complete surrender, because that had been the object of the game all along. And Sean had learned how lonely pride and stubbornness felt. So he pulled the hunter’s hard shaft further inside, coughing when it came too close to the dangerous point, but never letting it go, coaxing it to explode in his mouth and drown him with its hot semen.

But Leon did not fall for it, pulling back in the nick of time. “No, I want more than just your mouth, however delicious it feels.” He bent down to pick Sean up. “Oh no, I want to pump your ass until there’s nothing left of it.”

Undressing his prey, Leon made him lean on the dining table, back bent and round ass pushed out. The wet cock had no trouble nudging the entrance and Sean opened wide to help its plunge. His flesh closed around the thickness, pleasure bursting from every nerve ending at the feel of the guest straining in his tight space. At Leon’s erotic slides back and forth, Sean returned every thrust while his hand wrapped around his own hard shaft demanding attention. The rhythm increased, but again Leon stopped to change positions, opting for something more on ground level.

On all fours, Sean bent his back to offer his round butt to the hunter.

“Have I told you what a delicious ass you have?”

“Not of late I’m afraid.”

Leon’s fingers circled the tender borders, driving Sean crazier than he already was.

“It’s just so beautiful, round and firm.” He slapped it to test his theory. “And the narrow space sucks me all inside.” His finger continued the hypnotic circling, never slipping inside, keeping steadily on the outside.

Sean moaned, his desire growing so fast he did not think he could control it for much longer. “Please, lover, just take me. I can’t stand much more of this torture.”

“Nothing comparable to what you’ve put me through these past four days.” Leon snarled without stopping his sensual tracing.

Sean thrust back, trying to get something, anything inside, but failing miserably, he heaved. “I’ve already apologized.”

“Apology accepted, but I still have to punish you for the rebellion.” Bending, his tongue replaced the fingers. “And mostly, for being so fucking irresistible. Goddamn you! I’d have fucked you on that damn round table even in front of all the others.” Then finally, he stuck two fingers inside the narrow hole.

Whether due to the words or the penetration, Sean groaned loudly, holding tightly to the fingers, soon replaced by Leon’s much bigger cock, shoving to the hilt. The prey moved, impatient to feel their skins rubbing, increasing the rhythm to a frenzy until he could not hold back any longer.

“Stop!” He vaguely heard Leon say in a muffled voice, but it was already too late.

With a gasp, Sean flooded his hand with a powerful jet of hot seed, just as Leon’s contractions behind him signaled a swift end to the hunter’s adventure, too.

* * * *

“Damn you, sweetie.” They were relaxing on the bed, after having gone through several other erotic dances, each one more intense than the one before, their energy seemingly endless. For Leon’s tastes though, they had devoted little space to the sex itself, their need always too imperious to allow for long preliminaries or position switches and if each time the hunter had wanted to resist, Sean’s sensual movements had made it impossible.

The hunter’s gaze ran to his lover’s lean body, lying on its stomach, the tempting ass up for his inspection. He winced, tousling the blond hair. “You didn’t give me time to enjoy it.”

Sean grinned. “After five times, I think you’d have had your fill.”

“Of sex?” Impossible.

The prey bit his nipple playfully. “I know it’s impossible, but your energy seemed kind of low despite my Melanzane.”

“Which were delicious by the way.” The taste still filled his mouth if only he stopped to think about them and the delightful break they’d taken to eat them. “They were a big help for sure, but I’d have played more, had you not moved so fucking well.”

The blond beauty pressed his chin on Leon’s chest. “Had I known it was that easy, I’d have used my…skills sooner to make our lives better.”

“Oh, you used every method in the book, not to mention inventing your own, to keep me satisfied. That’s why I’m not sure I ever gave you a mark. I think our connection is just a sexual one. You’ve always been great in bed and that’s why I kept returning time after time.”

Sean raised his head. “Do you think that explains why we ended tragically more than once or why you tried to kill me?”

“But you survived.”

“How would you know, lover?” Sean sat up straight. “As I recall, after you almost killed me, you left me with the witch in love with you who could save my life, not bothering to check if I made it or not. You simply vanished from the forest.”

“Oh no, I returned occasionally to check on you.” The hunter pushed back a stray strand while grasping a memory buried deep.

“But you never came to me.” Sean’s bitter tone seemed to refer to a recent incident, instead of something happened lifetimes before.

“What was the point? You didn’t want to play by my rules, however simple they were.”

“Your rules have never been simple, believe me.”

“Only because you didn’t want to accept them. I made them to keep you in check, but you always managed to find a way around them. Now I’ve to deal with a prey too smart for its own good that’s already making the game more complicated than it is.”

“What do you mean, lover?”

Leon was silent for a while, debating whether to share some of the thoughts that had crossed his mind during Sean’s fervent speech. “I mean, you’re fucking not only with our personal life, but also with our business one,” he said at last, making up his mind. “In case you forgot, I came here because of your wheeling and dealing—”

Sounding offended, Sean flared. “I thought you liked it here.”

“I do. It’s one of the best opportunities I ever had, creative and innovative at the same time. The staff is alright.” He glanced at the blond beauty still sitting by his side. “With one notable exception.” He fended off Sean’s playful punch. “But that one is giving me more headaches than I ever thought possible.”

“I don’t think I’m giving you a hard time, at least not like I used to do at—”

“Yes, you do. You see, the problem is not between you and me, but with the company owner. Remember him?”

Sean nodded slowly.

“John Spencer accepts all my decisions, encourages them even, but he’d have first my ass, then my head if I were to lose you.”

“I didn’t think I was that important to him.”

“You didn’t?” Leon sat up, too. “Sweetie, do you think John Spencer, one of the most powerful men in America, would offer a job to just anyone? You’ve seen how he treats people, especially the ones working for him. And he didn’t just find you a job. He found one for me, too.”

“FDC needed a qualified CEO and he couldn’t argue your abilities.”

“He could’ve found anyone, but since he wanted you, he’d have offered anything. Hell, why do you think he made you creative consultant? And I have half a feeling he wants to broaden the position to include all his companies.”

“That’s ridiculous. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t possibly follow thousands of commercial campaigns. And if he were really obsessed with me, he’d call me three times a day, instead of once a month like he’s doing now. You’re the only one he talks to in FDC.”

“Then explain why is he going to ask me to bring you to the top executive meeting?”

Sean was silent for a while, his forehead creased in concentration. “I don’t know, but I assure you, John Spencer was the farthest thing from my mind when I was thinking of leaving you, the job and the city.”

“Still, John would’ve had my ass if you had.”

Sean grinned. “I’m sure you’d have found me a lot sooner than he would’ve noticed I was missing. That’s what your mark is for, remember?”

Leon pushed Sean on the pillow, his powerful body pressing down. With a slow gesture, the hunter raised his prey’s chin, turning it to the light. “I believe you if you tell me there’s some kind of mark, even if all I ever saw in you was how beautiful and desirable you are and have been in all your previous transformations. No one has ever made me feel so helpless or attracted me as much as you have. Then you left and I thought I’d go out of my mind. And knowing I drove you to it, didn’t help at all, only made me feel more sorry for having played it so rough. With you gone, I didn’t care about anything anymore—no, not even work—just wanted you back. And the worst thing was sex didn’t help me forget about you either. Just imagine, I felt so bad I had to talk about you to feel better.”

“Really? With who?”

“With a woman.”

There was a moment’s pause. “So she knows about me?”

“As a matter of fact, she’s always known.”

“Really? You actually told someone about us?”

Leon nodded. “Right from the start, to be precise. Of course, I didn’t share every detail, like our past or the stuff about the lifetimes, the knife, the blood and all, but I told her we live together.”

“Was she surprised?”

“Not really. She…kind of expected it.”


“Well, she comes from a similar experience. She fell in love with a woman when she was younger and I don’t think she ever recovered from it. Anyway, after living together for a couple of years, the other woman split town without giving any explanation.”

“I don’t see how that’s similar to our experience.”

“That isn’t, but the way she feels about women in general, is. She told me that in spite of her great love and attraction to her lover, she doesn’t like women much, just that particular one because of the kind of person she was.”

“It’s like you with me.”

“Exactly. When I heard that, I felt okay to tell her about us.”

“And she wants to meet me?”

Leon bit Sean’s neck. “You’re not going to meet socially. You’re going to fuck her. That’s the deal. And yes, she’s agreed to it.”

“You mean we won’t even know each other beforehand?”

“Absolutely not! The way you have with women, you’d become best of friends in the space of a drink and that would ruin everything. As bad as it sounds, I want you to think of her only as a sex toy, a body with no soul, to possess for the sake of pleasure alone, which is the only way I can make you enjoy it.”

Sean was silent for a moment. “And how’s she? Physically, I mean.”

“You’ll be surprised. She’s nothing like the top model standard you think I like so much.”

“You actually had sex with a regular girl? She must be something special, then.”

“In her way, she is. She’s not beautiful in any classical way, but her body is something incredibly tuned to sex. I’ve seen few women move like she does, trying to get maximum pleasure from every touch.” He paused for a moment, an image flashing in his mind.

Unexplainably, the blond beauty was quick to catch it. “Like a cat?”

The innocent question caught Leon off guard. “How did you guess?” Then before Sean could reply, he waved him to shut up. “Never mind. Why do I bother talking when you seem to know everything already?” He grinned to return his prey’s enchanting smile. “Yes, she moves like a sensual cat, never hiding her pleasure. What’s more important, she has a magnificent ass, which I’m sure you’re going to appreciate.”

“I suppose I can’t even see a picture of her, right, lover?”

“Right again, but don’t worry. To make it easier for you, I’ll blindfold her.”

A surprised look flashed in the dazzling blue eyes. “And she agreed to that?”

Leon grinned. “I’m very persuasive when I want to be.”

Sean smiled, too. “Don’t I know it? I personally tasted your methods. It’s funny though, she’d accept, even without seeing a picture of me.”

“How do you know she didn’t?”

Sean passed his hand through Leon’s long dark hair. “You don’t have one and I’m sure you’re not going to take the time to dig through Gayromeo or other websites to find one.”

Leon grinned. “Remind me I can’t keep a secret from you. Luckily, she was curious enough to go along with it anyway, even if everything’s in the dark for her.”

“That just shows how badly you treat women.”

Annoyed, Leon waved a hand. “Not again. If it’s all right with her, why should it bother you?”

“Because I don’t find it right you treat women like they were sex toys without feelings or a brain.”

“First fuck one, sweetie, then you can give me lessons on how to treat them. All right?” His firm tone left no doubts he did not want to discuss the subject any further so Sean nodded in agreement. “Great, I knew you’d see it my way.” The hunter pulled up. “Now what do you say we get some more of your grandmother’s fabled recipe? All this talk has made me as hungry as a wolf.”

Sean grinned, getting out of bed. “As if I didn’t know you were one already. But I’m sure the Melanzane will satisfy even the most demanding wolf in town.”

“Oh, from what I already tasted, I’m positive they will.”

Amused, Leon started to follow Sean to the kitchen, but something stopped the prey, making him turn back. “By the way, lover, when are you planning on doing this?”

Soon, sweetie, real soon. Lips curved in a snarl, the hunter pushed his blond beauty forward. “I’ll tell you when the time comes.”