Rite of Summer (Treading the Boards #1)

 

“Hot sex, and a fantastic and interesting story line” — Angela Stone

“…wickedly carnal” — The Reading Addict

“Really solid read from an exciting new to me author.” – KJ Charles

“it’s the depth of the characterisation that struck me most about this book—psychologically realistic relationships, damaged and damaging people, and a yearning for love that’s palpable.” – Kit O’Neill

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There are terrors worse than stage fright. Like falling in love.

Violinist Stephen Ashbrook is passionate about three things—his music, the excitement of life in London, and his lover, Evander Cade. It’s too bad that Evander only loves himself. A house party at their patron’s beautiful country estate seems like a chance for Stephen to remember who he is, when he’s not trying to live up to someone else’s harsh expectations.

Joshua Beaufort, a painter whose works are very much in demand among the right sort of people, has no expectations about this party at all. Until, that is, he finds out who else is on the guest list. Joshua swore off love long ago, but has been infatuated with Stephen since seeing his brilliant performance at Vauxhall. Now he has the chance to meet the object of his lust face to face—and more.

But changing an open relationship to a triad is a lot more complicated than it seems, and while Evander’s trying to climb the social ladder, Stephen’s trying to climb Joshua. When the dust settles, only two will remain standing…when they’re not flat on their backs.

Warning: Contents under pressure. Contains three men, two beds, one erotic piercing, and the hottest six weeks of summer the nineteenth century has ever seen. 

Representation notes: Gay cis male leads.


Read an Excerpt

“He’s very pretty,” Evander continued, softly, so softly. The others in the room would have no idea what sins he was proposing right beneath their very noses. Evander’s eyes gleamed with excitement. “And artists have wonderful hands. Do you want him?”

Stephen pondered it for a moment, and a moment only. Beaufort was a fantasy, a lovely, lush-mouthed man with a still and quiet soul. He had all but suggested, the night before, that he wanted at least one of them. (Evander, most likely—everyone wanted Evander. He was gold and sunlight, slim hipped and lithe.) If Evander invited him, Beaufort might come.

He had stayed to watch them fuck.

The conservatory had been Evander’s wild idea, the first room on his list. He had pulled Stephen through the hallways, biting back giddy laughter so as not to wake the house. Stephen had thrown the latch, but it must not have caught. He’d been distracted, after all, when Evander pulled out the oil and kissed him so fiercely. He had dropped to his knees then and there, hanging on to the overstuffed red wing chair for balance. He’d taken Evander’s prick in his mouth and sucked it to hardness, listening for the desperate and hungry noises Evander made that told him he was ready.

Evander had pulled him to his feet and spun him, bent him over the chair and slid two fingers home, thick and so, so slick. First his oiled fingers, then his tongue, hot against the sensitive skin of his arse and below his balls. And then—oh then—his prick had pressed home, Evander’s hand coiled in the thick locks of Stephen’s hair, holding him tightly in place. Evander had fucked into him, his cock thick enough to break a man in two.

Then the gasp, a shuffle of feet—looking up in a panic, sure that they had been discovered—

It had been Beaufort standing there, his perfect mouth open in shock and surprise, his hand on the door and the other pressed firmly against his own prick.

He had stayed.  More than that, he had watched them fuck, stroked himself as he did so. How could anyone resist?

Stephen had looked up, held Joshua’s eye as he watched Stephen’s gorgeous degradation. His release had been harder and more satisfying than anything had in months, perhaps longer. Perhaps ever.

Knowing that Beaufort had wanted them, had taken pleasure in the sight of them, had probably gone back to his bedchamber and fucked his own hand to thoughts of them—

Stephen crossed his legs and settled his arm to hide his mild distress.

Evander bit the inside of his cheek, his eyes bright and merry. “I see that you do,” he said softly, a promise in every movement of his lips. “Shall I get him for us? Bring him to our bed to please you?”

“I…” Stephen began, then remembered quickly whom he was speaking to, “…I don’t need anyone but you to please me,” he replied, equally quietly. Evander preened, and Stephen chuckled. “But you are too good to me, and he might well be amenable. Perhaps if we approach him together? I believe I’ve exchanged more words with him than you, and he seems to have a tendency towards shyness.”

“Shyness is an excellent quality in a girl and foolish in a man.” Evander dismissed his warning with a wave. “But as you wish. You know I live to make you happy.”

“This would,” Stephen agreed, his heart still beating too rapidly, even as the rest of his body subsided. Flirting was one thing, and something Stephen could sometimes manage without putting his foot in his mouth, but with Evander’s charm working for them, there was little to no chance that Beaufort would refuse. No man of their inclination ever did.

When he came to bed, though—it would be because he wanted Evander, and not Stephen. A horrible thought. But if he preferred to touch and be touched by Evander, at least Stephen would have the pleasure of watching two beautiful men tangle together. He could put aside the quick rush of jealousy to at least see that.

“This would indeed.”

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