Top and Tails (#9)

Three men, one love—and a passion he only ever dreamed of.

Karel Novak is content with his busy job in hotel refurbishment, enjoying the social scene in Soho, London and the company of new friends he met through working at With A Kick. All he’s missing is a special man in his life. Or maybe two.

His first meeting with the mercurial pole dancer Leroy and his socially anxious partner Griff isn’t impressive, but none of them can ignore the sexual spark that flares between the three men.

Their relationship builds in steps of passion, frustration, and finally love. Both Leroy and Griff have complex issues in their lives to work through, and at first Karel brings a new dynamic that both settles and supports them.

But although he loves his men, Karel gradually realises the issues are still present. His partners struggle with living individually as well as together. His heartfelt wish is for them to create a lasting bond as a trio—but that means putting others first, all too often.

And will that mean sacrificing his own joy and dreams?

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EXCERPT

Karel needed to stop this conversation. Not that the guys weren’t perfectly entitled to talk about whatever they chose, in their own home. But he didn’t want to get drawn into…

“There are several sculpture exhibitions in the arts festival, one at the local school.” Griff opened the booklet, as if ready to search the index.

“Karel?” Leroy was looking at him curiously. His hand squeezed Karel’s, his thumb distracting, massaging Karel’s wrist. He threw a comment to Griff, over his shoulder. “Let’s talk about something else.”

“Huh?”

Leroy rolled his eyes. “Man, it’s too late tonight for chatting about art and stuff. Isn’t it?” The question was aimed at Karel.

“I… don’t mind,” he said.

But Leroy laughed. He swept the brochure from Griff’s hand, dropped it on the far end of the counter, then turned fully to face Karel. “Yeah. Talk about something else, Griff. Something just for fun. Like the time you made chilli frozen yoghurt and burned my mouth at the same time my tongue froze to my teeth—”

“—or the time you bought kids’ dance tights by mistake, fell over trying to put them on, and nearly strangled your balls?” Griff countered.

Everyone laughed. The awkward moment had passed. Karel was relieved he hadn’t been led astray by his own worries. The kitchen was suddenly full again of amused banter, with Griff leaning over the counter to gossip, and Leroy’s soothing yet stimulating touch on Karel’s skin.

And underlying all of it, a thread of fizzing, humming desire growing between them. Karel wondered how he would have coped if the conversation had gone a more cultural route, when all he could think about at the moment was energetic, obscene sex with these men.

He didn’t think he was presuming anything, either.

Finally, Leroy collected their empty plates, placed them in the dishwasher, then sauntered back to where Karel sat. He didn’t sit back down again, but stood there, his hip nudging Karel’s. Griff wiped the counter briskly but thoroughly with a wet cloth, placed it neatly on the side of the sink, took off his glasses, then came to stand beside him.

The dance was moving into its second set.

Karel stood, as steadily as he could. His skin prickled as if electricity sparkled over it, and his limbs felt almost too weak to respond. But when Leroy leaned in to kiss him, he was more than ready. He cupped Leroy’s cheek, thumbing the gentle bed of stubble, enjoying the brush of Leroy’s hair on the back of his hand. Karel pushed his tongue gently at Leroy’s mouth and the lips parted quickly, eagerly, for him. They kissed in near silence, the only sound their panting, the soft slick of their mouths.

And Griff’s soft breath in Karel’s other ear. “We’ve taken this evening in the wrong order,” he said.

When Karel turned reluctantly from Leroy’s kiss, he found Griff staring at him with a slow, seductive smile that Karel hadn’t seen before.

“Dessert before the main course,” Griff said with a wink.

“No,” Leroy said with amusement in his voice. “That was only ice cream. The proper dessert hasn’t even been served yet.”

“Whatever,” Griff murmured, rolling his eyes like Leroy had earlier, still smiling at Karel. He lifted his face for a kiss. His lips were plumper, his mouth wider. Karel didn’t know why he should be shocked that Griff’s taste was so different, but he was delighted by it. Griff was surprisingly assertive, thrusting his tongue into Karel’s mouth, his beard softly tickling Karel’s chin.

Leroy hadn’t moved away. His breath was warm on Karel’s neck, but Karel appreciated the way Leroy took his time: no one was hurrying. He relaxed into Griff’s kiss as he had Leroy’s, and behind him, Leroy’s lips touched the nape of his neck, kissing around to Karel’s throat and down towards his collarbone. Griff nipped briefly at Karel’s lower lip, just shy of breaking the skin and Karel gasped. Leroy slid his fingers briefly, tantalisingly, under the neck of Karel’s T-shirt, running along the seam, tugging it away from his body.

“I worked on the site today,” Karel said, not surprised to find his voice was hoarse. “I’m sweaty. My clothes are dusty.”

“You can shower here,” Griff said quickly. “If you want. Or…”

“…No. Do it after,” Leroy said, just as quick. His tone roughened. “I want you like this.”

Jesus. A wave of desire swamped Karel from head to foot. He leaned away from Griff as Leroy shifted his hands to the hem of Karel’s T-shirt and peeled it over his head.

Griff’s gaze dropped to Karel’s chest and he licked his lips.

Leroy sighed happily. Then he took Karel’s hand and led him out of the kitchen.

© Clare London

 

 

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