Saturday Essay - free story from Caitlin Ricci

Welcome to the Masquerade by Caitlin Ricci

A short story featuring Travis and Liam from my new book, Almost Paradise. This story takes place several months after the events in my book.

Taking a look around the club, Travis questioned his choice about coming to the Masquerade. He’d never been much for clubbing, especially since Hannah had been born. But as he followed Liam through the dark rooms, the heavy thrum of the music pulsing through his chest and the smell of sweaty bodies filling his nostrils, he really started to wonder about his sanity. If the club was too much for his very human senses, he thought that it must be miserable for Liam’s Shifter ones. But he seemed unaffected as he laced his long fingers through Travis’s and tugged him gently up a flight of stairs along the back wall. Liam’s icy blue eyes, always eerily bright, nearly glowed in the darkness and Travis found himself mesmerized by them as he allowed Liam to lead him through the unfamiliar hallways. They were met with more bodies, writhing against walls and moaning loudly in dark corners. Only this time one of the men happened to meet Travis’s passing gaze and he went still as he stared. Those same impossibly bright eyes looked back at him.

Liam turned around and bared his teeth at the Shifter across from them. He instantly went back to the man in his arms as if there had been no interruption. Heat instantly crept up Travis’s neck as he saw the Shifter’s hands begin to work on his lover’s pants, quickly forcing the dark material open. Then Liam was between them and Travis could do little more than look up at his lover’s face. He didn’t seem mad that Travis had watched, but he couldn’t quite tell what Liam was thinking in the darkness. Travis knew that Shifters could see much better in the dark than humans, but he was finding it damn near impossible to see more than a few feet in front of him in the club. Liam tilted his chin, silently asking Travis to follow him before they continued on.

At the end of the hallway, where the noise from the faint music that reached him was just a low hum of activity in his veins, Liam stopped and opened a brightly painted door door. Travis held his breath as he walked in. He wasn’t sure what he would have expected to find in a back room of the Shifter club, but it probably wouldn’t have been the large four poster bed with rich cream sheets and a bottle of chilled champagne waiting for them on the bedside table.

“What the-” Travis had barely gotten the words out before Liam captured his mouth in a kiss that took his breath away. He backed up, nearly falling over an ornate ottoman as Liam pushed him toward the bed.

The bed sank under them and Travis had a moment of clarity as Liam’s mouth left his and began kissing a fiery trail down his chin to the side of his neck. “It’s a sex club?” Travis gasped out, his words barely coherent as Liam’s wet mouth covered his nipple through the thin material of his shirt, soaking the fabric and instantly making Travis harder than he’d been all night.

Liam laughed as he lifted his head. “It’s just a club, like any other.” He took a breath. “For the most part at least. Only a select few people are able to use these back rooms, namely Samson’s second and third. And Evangeline doesn’t bring her men here.”

Travis tangled his hands in Liam’s hair and pulled his lips back up to meet his own. He threw his head back and hissed as Liam slid between his thighs, pressing his hard length against Travis’s. “You never play fair do you?” Liam grinned at him and dipped his hips again, making sure that Travis felt every hard inch of him. “Fuck it all Liam. God you’re evil,” Travis’s whispered words ended on a moan that he was sure the men down the hall could hear.

“Foul words from such a beautiful mouth,” Liam teased him as he nipped at Travis’s chin.

Travis chuckled and kissed him. “But we’ve got a place. Why drive half an hour to this club?”

Liam grinned at him. “Firstly, because Evangeline is at our house watching Hannah. And second, because we have to keep our voices down there. I haven’t heard you scream in weeks.”

Travis flushed bright red. When he put it like that, coming to the club made a certain kind of sense.

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