Light a Candle

Light a Candle, by VJ Summers
Author: 
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-286-8
eBook release: 
May 18, 2015
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Word count: 
35,200
Page count: 
136
Type: 
Cover by: 
Ebook $2.99

Will broke Dusty’s heart their senior year. One unexpected moment of passion between them, and Will freaked out. Not only wasn’t he gay, but he wasn’t kinky either—or so he insisted to Dusty. Their long friendship ended, and Dusty was left with only bittersweet memories of their last movie night together.

Ten years later, out as gay and a Dom, Will auditions for membership at Club Deviant, only to find that he’s been assigned an all-too-familiar submissive. His scene with Dustin feels like fate, and he’s determined to get back what they once had—and more.

Dustin had buried the pain of rejection deep, but playing with Will conjures all his memories of that one electric moment they shared and the friendship it destroyed. He’s built walls around his heart high enough to keep out the Trojan Army, but together, he and Will may find the courage to move beyond their past and face their future together.

 

(Publisher's Note: This is a heavily expanded and revised edition of Velvet Memories, previously published in 2011.)

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:

Chapter One

Ten Years Ago

Dustin was freaking freezing. Detention had let out fifteen minutes earlier, and he, along with his fellow felons, had been booted out of good old Ferndale High to await their rides in the December chill. No late buses—oh no, not for detainees. Dustin snorted derisively, watching his breath plume in the air. All the other kids had been picked up promptly at five thirty. Of course none of them were friends of his, so none bothered to offer him a ride. Mom wasn’t answering her cell phone, which meant she was probably pulling an extra shift at the restaurant, and that meant Dustin needed to head for the city bus stop. Dammit.

To add insult to injury, he’d been set up. As much as he’d wanted to draw a caricature of Mr. Butler, he hadn’t done it. Hell, if he’d done it, it would have been a lot better quality. He was probably lucky all he’d gotten was detention, though. A suspension would look way bad on his record, and he wasn’t going to let anything mess with his scholarship to the Detroit Art Institute. Not even asshole World Geography teachers.

Dustin sighed and started down the concrete steps to the path leading around the building. Might as well get walking. At least there was a shelter at the bus stop, so he’d be out of the wind. He was heading down the school’s winding driveway when three cars whipped past him, honking and revving their engines.

Perfect. Wrestling practice was letting out. He moved to the side of the driveway, getting as close to the edge as he could without actually stepping into the snow. He didn’t really think any of the wrestlers would run him down, but it wasn’t something he particularly wanted to put to the test.

A car pulled up next to him and slowed, and his shoulders tensed up. He wasn’t popular, wasn’t a jock, and didn’t come from money, so he worked hard at staying invisible. He’d never been bullied like a lot of the other “losers” he hung out with, but he’d never been caught alone like this either. So when the window rolled down, he was ready for pretty much anything.

“Hey, Dusty.” Will Mitchell was the captain of the wrestling team, the captain of the football team, and starting pitcher on the baseball team. He was also six feet two inches of hard muscle, with a smile that could melt ice and a dimple that Dustin wanted to lick chocolate out of.

“Hey, Willie,” he answered with an irritated smirk, rolling his eyes at the use of the nickname he’d tried to leave behind in elementary school. The nickname rankled, but at least it kept him from making puppy dog eyes at the boy he’d lusted after since he’d learned what that thing between his legs was good for.

He wouldn’t go so far as to say he and Will were best friends. Not anymore. But they each knew they could count on the other—whether for a helping hand in Physics, or a ride home from an undeserved detention. They lived down the street from each other, had been in the same classes for their entire school careers, and with last names both ending in “M,” they’d been seated close to each other for-practically-ever. But Will was a jock, a popular kid, practically king of the school, and Dustin was just . . . just another student.

Just another student crushing on the king of the school. Just another student who got off every night thinking of Will’s smile. His laugh. His jokes, which were generally wickedly subtle, but never cruel. The way he always carried the ancient guidance counselor’s giant bag of paperwork into her office for her. The way his T-shirt clung to his chest in gym. Dustin was just another student almost desperate enough for Will’s notice to risk drawing attention to himself.

Oh, no. It was much worse than that. Friends or not, Dustin was just another gay boy crushing on the straightest jock in the whole fucking school district. Nope. Not going there. Not and risk the tenuous relationship they had.

“Right, right.” Will smirked back at him. “Sorry, Dustin.” Will had given him grief about his name for as long as he could remember, and he figured the jackass probably always would. Of course, Dustin had always given it right back to him. “Anyway, you wanna ride? I’m heading straight home.”

“Oh, hell yes!” Any irritation melted at the thought of the heater in Will’s Explorer.

Home was a twenty-minute drive in traffic, so he settled in, heat vents aimed directly at his face.

“So.” Will cast a wicked smile in his direction, and Dustin reminded himself that, unlike him, Will liked girls. “I hear you shared your vision of Mr. Butt-head with the senior class.”

“Nope. Wasn’t me.” Dustin rolled his eyes at Will’s disbelieving snort. “With a scholarship waiting? Are you insane?” He shot Will a dirty look when the guy graduated from snort to snicker. “Seriously, dude. Did you see it? I could do ten times better with my left hand.”

Will laughed a little more. “Yeah, I guess so. You always were into the Play-Doh and finger paints.”

“Yeah, well, we can’t all be brainless jocks, Willie.”

This time Will’s laugh was full and rich, and his damned dimple winked at Dustin, beckoning like a candle flame to a moth.

“That’s what I like about you, Dusty,” he chuckled. “You aren’t intimidated by me in the least.”

“Hard to be intimidated by someone you once saw eating his boogers,” Dustin shot back with a small smile of his own.

“Oh, so untrue,” Will groaned. “Slander!”

They arrived at Dustin’s house first, and as the truck idled in his driveway, he realized Will was peering down the street toward his own house, which looked every bit as dark and cold as Dustin’s.

He knew he’d regret it, knew spending any time alone with the guy was bound to be torture, but the words came out before he could stop them. “Hey, looks like my mom’s working late again. I was gonna nuke a pizza and watch Troy for Mr. Cutter’s extra credit. Do you wanna come in?”

Will looked surprised, then pleased. Then he blinked, as if he were surprised he was pleased. Dustin suppressed a groan. Such a bad idea. Then Will smiled, more tentative than his usual sunshiny beam, but somehow sweeter.

“Sure. God knows I could use the extra credit. English is so not my thing.”

“Brainless jock,” Dustin teased, ducking the fist swinging playfully in his direction. “Okay, Forrest Gump. C’mon inside.”

 

Chapter Two

Present Day

Club Deviant. Mysterious, alluring, and notorious—among the few who knew of its existence. The club was the holy grail of playgrounds to both Dominants and submissives in the Metro Detroit area.

Membership was limited, and the vetting process, Will had discovered, was brutal—beginning with sponsorship by a member in good standing, continuing with an extensive, intrusive background and financial check, and ending with an interview that had been on par with his most intense cross-examination. He’d made it through the initial process and now Will was at the final test—performing a public scene that would be observed by one of the club’s Dungeon Masters.

Nearly a decade in Chicago had given Will more than enough time to become a well-known player in the Windy City’s BDSM scene, but a stranger to the Motor City scene other than a handful of online acquaintances. With no personal member contacts, he’d spent more than a year interacting on forums and attending munches, cultivating friendships and casual play partners, before SilverFox69—more formally known as Master Vincent—had taken him under his wing.

Vincent’s patronage had been enough to get Will in the door, and he had no intention of squandering the opportunity.

The club was dim as a tall, attractive blonde led him to the third floor and into an open sitting area. This room was brightly lit for the occasion, but as he took in the deep, luxurious couches, the intriguingly shaped play chairs pushed back against the walls, and the St. Andrew’s cross dominating the corner, he could well imagine the carnal playground it must be when the lights were lowered.

“Welcome.” A smoky voice drew his attention to the small staging area set up in the center of the space, where a padded massage table and a lower implements table had been set up. “I’m Mistress Cynthia. This afternoon, as the final step in your membership application process, you’ll be participating in a scene with one of our club submissives.”

The woman gestured to a pair of submissives, a man and a woman, standing in presentation position along the wall behind him. Will only spared them a glance before turning back to Mistress Cynthia.

“Since you’ll be doing a wax-play scene, we’ll review the basics of wax play first, focusing on the sensory elements of scenes involving hot wax.”

Mistress Cynthia was stunning, tall and regal with long, golden hair and bronze skin. She extended one hand and a lush, lovely woman joined her on stage. Will recognized the expensive jewelry wrapped around the curvy beauty’s neck as a collar.

A slight pang tightened his chest. It had been far too long since he’d had a steady submissive in his life. Longer still since he’d partnered with someone who meant anything to him. And, if he were going to be honest with himself—which he’d vowed to do since he’d accepted his Dominant cravings for what they were—he had to admit that even in the few longer-term relationships he’d had, there’d always been something lacking.

***

Ten Years Ago

Three hours and a frozen pizza later, Will was sprawled out next to Dustin on the couch. He had to admit, Dusty’s house had a warmth that his own lacked, and he felt more at home in Dusty’s mismatched living room than he did in his own carefully decorated one. Somehow he’d ended up with his legs sprawled the length of the couch, his size thirteen feet draped over Dustin’s legs.

“That wasn’t bad.” He stretched his arms overhead, grunting a little in satisfaction when his spine cracked.

“Totally inaccurate, but not bad.” Dustin was busy with the remote.

“Inaccurate how?” Will was surprisingly interested. He hadn’t particularly enjoyed reading sections of The Iliad in English class, but seeing it all on screen in glorious, blond-and-braided-Brad-Pitt Technicolor had definitely captured his attention.

“Well, the war lasted years, not weeks. Agamemnon didn’t die. Oh, and Patroclus was Achilles’s lover, not his cousin.”

Will blinked slowly, then blinked again. Then he noticed the way he was draped all over Dustin and the couch, and sat up with a jerk.

“Okay, that’s just stupid,” he argued, trying to ignore the squirming in his belly. “They were warriors, not queers.” He flushed and shot Dustin a sideways look. “No offense.” As if that lame nonapology was sufficient for the guy who’d been his friend for a good twelve years.

Dustin hadn’t “come out” at school or anything, but he hadn’t hidden his orientation, either. Yeah, Will knew he’d dealt with some bullying, some asshole-ish behavior from the other kids, and Will had deflected what he could without being obvious about it, but whatever. If the dickheads weren’t giving Dusty shit because he was gay, they were picking on Tina Jakway because she was fat. Or Phil Matthews because he was just too fucking weird to exist. For some people, being an asshole was just a part of being a teenager.

Until now, he had prided himself on not being one of the assholes.

And he wasn’t homophobic. He didn’t care who stuck what where, as long as it was consensual. But he was also not gay. And he didn’t believe Achilles had been either, dammit.

Dusty gave him a pitying look that seemed to cut through all the bullshit Will was telling himself, then rolled his eyes.

“Right. A bunch of warriors, stuck a long way from home for years. No women—another inaccuracy, ’cause there wouldn’t have been all those women around. No way to get off but their own hands.” Will could feel himself flushing darker with every word Dustin spoke because, yeah. He could totally picture it. “And did you watch the scene where they’re sparring? That wasn’t cousinly eye contact, dude.”

He actually hadn’t watched most of the scene. It had appealed to him in far too many ways. All the toned bronzed skin . . . the teasing banter and the light of pure enjoyment in both warriors’ eyes . . . the way Achilles had controlled Patroclus, keeping him in line, showing him who was boss. And he’d fucking spanked him. Just the memory made Will’s dick twitch.

***

Present Day

Ruthless honesty had led him to accept that nine times out of ten, he preferred his lovers to be male—an admission years too late to avoid needless pain for him, for Dusty, and even for a boy or two in college. Being a four or five on the Kinsey Scale had been hard enough. Understanding he was a Dominant, understanding that it wasn’t about being abusive, wasn’t about pain for the sake of pain . . . that had been another year of self-discovery.

Then he’d had to work out that he was looking for a special sort of submissive. One who could be topped, but who could also challenge him and hold his attention. Someone smart and confident. Someone secure in who he was, comfortable in his own body. Not a brat. More a power sub.

Will gave a little internal sigh. He was beginning to wonder if such a submissive even existed.

Mistress Cynthia sat in a chair facing him, long, fishnet-clad legs folded neatly as her sub moved gracefully to Will’s side, handing him a slim black folder.

“Inside you’ll find your copies of the liability and confidentiality documents you signed when you were invited. Also a set of guidelines for interaction with the submissive for today’s scene. Whichever submissive you choose will behave with the basic club protocol expected in the presence of a Dom. You will have relative freedom in your actions, with the exception of penetrative sex, or exchange of bodily fluids of any sort. Bondage and genital contact should be discussed with your chosen submissive.

“To get a better idea of how you work under pressure, we’ve set up a scene that you indicated you aren’t particularly familiar with.” She paused as Will nodded. “This session will be taped for review by the club’s founding members, and with my, and the submissive’s, input, they’ll make their decision within the week. If you are not accepted today, you’ll be put on a wait list for the next membership selection process.”

Mistress Cynthia continued, “As you know, BDSM play is all about being safe, sane, and consensual. There is no room for maybe—especially when we are talking about edge play. Because of the possibility of serious burns, wax play definitely falls into the edge play category.”

The Mistress was undeniably gorgeous, but she didn’t arouse anything more than surface appreciation. When her submissive knelt on a cushion at her feet and Mistress Cynthia began to play absently with her hair, the envy Will felt wasn’t sexual—it was entirely for the intimacy that so clearly existed between them.

“My wife, Tiffany, and I have experimented with wax play and have both found it very enjoyable.” The submissive gave Mistress Cynthia a melting smile, and the Dominant’s piercing eyes softened for a moment. “One of the things that makes it possible for us to experiment with this sort of scene is the fact we have complete trust in each other.”

She lit a candle and held it up as Will contemplated her words.

Complete trust. That brass ring on the carousel of life. But sometimes, late at night when the emptiness in his chest made sleep a losing proposition, he wondered if that ideal, the promise of complete trust, was nothing more than a pipe dream. Will watched the flame reflected in Cynthia’s dark eyes, and found his mind wandering.

Unbidden, he pictured a lean male body stretched across a weight bench. Blue eyes glowing as intensely as the candle flame that almost hypnotized him. An image from the past that never ceased to haunt him.

***

Ten Years Ago

Will froze in the doorway of the weight room when he saw who the sole occupant was. Shit. He’d known Dusty had some muscles, he’d seen him in a bathing suit during gym class, but he’d never thought about how he’d gotten them. He supposed it made sense, though. The guy spent most of his free time hunched over a computer or a sketch pad. He needed something to stretch him out and relieve the cramped muscles.

He’d avoided Dustin all week, since the incredibly strange moment Tuesday night when Dustin’s blue eyes had suddenly looked almost neon, and had seemed to see through Will’s brain to secrets he hadn’t even told himself.

Will had watched that damned movie a dozen or more times in the last two days. No, to be perfectly honest, he’d watched that damned scene a dozen or more times. Suddenly the universe seemed tilted. Achilles and Patroclus, lovers. The way their bodies worked together, the way the air between them crackled . . . It was all terrifying and inexplicably hot. But what really freaked him out was the way his dick had come to life at the sight of Achilles smacking Patroclus’s ass with his sword. Not to mention the fact that he kept waking up to sticky sheets and the image of Dusty’s bare ass, pink from the flat of Will’s sword, and blue eyes burned into his brain.

Now, because he’d had to make up a test for Mr. Todd, he was late for his workout, and Dustin and his muscles were spread out in front of him like a taunt.

He had every intention of walking away. He’d rig some sort of workout system at home. No way was he risking interacting with Dustin after the weirdness of the movie, and the even bigger weirdness of his dreams. Even so, he still somehow found himself approaching the weight bench.

“Set of ten?” he said. Dustin nodded in acknowledgment, and Will moved in and slid his hands into position under the heavy weight. He deliberately ignored the way the tilt of his body put his crotch almost directly over Dustin’s face. And if Dustin was looking at his junk as he lifted, well, Will ignored that too.

“Eight, nine . . .” Dustin was grunting now with every lift. His arms were shaking just a tiny bit, and Will dragged his attention back to the task of spotting. No way was he going to let Dustin get hurt because he was busy with his tongue hanging out at the way that one bead of sweat was trailing down Dustin’s neck to pool in the hollow at the base of his throat.

Fuck.

“Ten.”

Oh, thank God.

Will lifted, and with his help Dustin set the barbell gently back on its perch. Instead of sliding free and sitting up, though, Dustin seemed to sink into the bench. Arms falling limp over his head, he just lay there with his eyes closed and kept dragging in air. Will raked his gaze the length of Dustin’s body. Because clearly the guy wanted him to, or else he wouldn’t stay all spread out like that, right? It didn’t mean anything on Will’s part, just like the ancient Greeks. They’d got it. Sometimes men got off together. It didn’t mean anything. After all, there were no gay ancient Greeks. Wikipedia said so.

Dustin had tilted his head back on the weight bench, baring the line of his neck, and for an insane second Will wanted to lick a trail from the base of his throat to his ear. That was crazy, though, and he distracted himself by catching Dustin’s wrists in one of his hands. Why? Even Will couldn’t have said.

He hovered over Dustin, eyes closed, breath rattling in his throat, Dustin’s breath warm and damp through his workout shorts, for what seemed like ages. He didn’t realize he’d let Dustin’s wrists loose, or even that Dustin had moved, until one of those long, slender hands cupped his cheek. A soft touch to his mouth had his eyes snapping open to see Dustin had slid from under the weight bar and was now propped on one elbow, a faint smile on his full lips. Dustin had kissed him?

All the panic and confusion he’d shoved down since they’d watched Troy—since he’d first caught the almost flirtatious banter between Achilles and Patroclus—fountained back up, and he scuttled away from the weight bench, practically landing on his ass on the floor.

“Will? Are you okay?” Shit, Dustin’s voice was all rough and deep. He sounded like sex, but dammit, sex wasn’t what had happened. It was fucking weight lifting. It wasn’t sexual at all. It wasn’t.

All his emotions must have been written on his face, because Dustin sat up slowly, like he didn’t want to scare him, and spoke softly.

“It’s gonna be fine, Will. It’s a big deal, but it’s gonna be totally fine.”

“A big deal?” Will was working hard to sound dismissive and not panicked. “There’s no big deal. Nothing happened.” That wasn’t Dusty’s kiss he felt still burning on his lips. And if his dick was hard as stone, it was just endorphins from working out . . . even if working out had consisted of spotting Dusty. “Look,” he continued, moving quickly toward the door, “I’m gonna wait and work out tomorrow. You just go on with your lifting.”

Dustin was staring at him with wide blue eyes, clearly trying to figure out if he’d lost his fucking mind. “Uh, don’t you think we should talk about this?”

“Nothin’ to talk about, dude,” Will stammered, backing toward the door. “Nothing at all.”

The first, tentative moments of trust, crushed by his own fear and insecurity.

 

Chapter Three

Present Day

Will sighed and brought his attention back to the presentation, quickly becoming caught up in the low timbre of Mistress Cynthia’s voice.

“Wax play is a total sensory experience. It doesn’t start or stop with the application of the wax. When playing out a full scene, there is usually an intense buildup before one drop is ever spilled. It also doesn’t end after the wax has set. Taking it off can be as erotic as the application.”

Will’s attention never wavered as he listened to the other Dom talk about using paraffin wax, which had a lower melting point than the decorative candles that could be bought at a local Target. The more he heard, the more excited he became. Will’s cock gave a throb when Mistress Cynthia discussed the various methods of removing the cooled wax from a willing body. The list was long and varied, but a secret thrill shivered up his spine when the discussion moved to blades. While they weren’t the only implements that could be used, they were the one that played to Will’s oldest sexual fantasy.

He imagined a short sword, ancient and deadly, stroking over smooth, golden skin. No blood, no pain, but the delicious threat of holding both himself and his submissive on the edge of ecstasy. He wondered if he’d ever play with someone who would trust him enough to go there.

Mistress Cynthia stood, offering her hand to her submissive, and yanked Will’s attention back to the present.

“Since we’ve covered the basics, my beautiful submissive has volunteered to allow me to demonstrate on her just how erotic a scene using wax can be.”

***

Dustin swallowed back a sigh as Tiffany dropped her white silk robe and slid nude onto the table her Mistress had prepared, settling comfortably on her back. Her skin glowed pale against the black vinyl tablecloth, and her auburn hair burned like a flame. He’d played with Mistress Cynthia and Tiffany on occasion and, though he preferred male partners, he’d found Tiffany’s mixture of sweet innocence and carnal curiosity a lot of fun, if not an erotic delight.

Mistress Cynthia began by stroking a light coating of baby oil over Tiffany’s body. Tiffany arched and wriggled under her Dominant’s touch, and Dustin wriggled a bit himself, knowing exactly how Mistress Cynthia’s hands felt on slick, warm skin. Vague loneliness ached in his chest at the sight of Tiffany’s jeweled collar. It had been almost a year since his last monogamous contract had ended, and even that pairing had been more a matter of convenience than an emotional match.

Dustin didn’t do emotional matches.

Cynthia was speaking as she prepared Tiffany, explaining the types of candles she’d provided, the different methods of applying the wax, and that for the purpose of this scene the prospective Dom would be working exclusively with uncolored paraffin. This was all old information to Dustin, who had worked previous wax-play workshops. Looking for a distraction, he turned his attention to the applicant seated in front of the staging area, and found his gaze caught. The man was exactly his type. Wide shoulders filled out an obviously expensive black silk T-shirt, and black leather pants wrapped snugly around thick, muscular thighs. The unknown Dom had inky hair, cut short on the sides but left to sweep longer over his forehead, and a strong jaw rough with dark stubble. The urge to wriggle came back with a vengeance—the man was Dustin’s every wet dream come to life.

Even as Mistress Cynthia called Dustin and Sherry to the staging area, he couldn’t quite drag his eyes away from the mysterious Dom.

Then, as if he could feel Dustin’s eyes, the Dom turned his head and looked straight at him.

Dustin caught his breath in a rush as dark eyes locked on him. From a distance they could be brown or even black, but he knew they were green, a green so deep it only showed in the sunlight. A green that lightened to emerald when the man experienced any strong emotion.

Of course the man was his type. Hell, he was the prototype, the original model that had infiltrated every one of Dustin’s fantasies and overshadowed every one of his lovers for the last ten years. If Dustin’s heart skipped a beat, well, that was just surprise. Nothing more.

William Mitchell. At Club Deviant. Whoever would have guessed?

***

“If you don’t have any questions, it’s your turn. For the purpose of today’s scenes, your submissive will use ‘yellow’ if they need you to slow down, and ‘red’ if they need you to stop.” Mistress Cynthia continued laying cool cloths on Tiffany’s reddened flesh. “You indicated you were open to either gender submissive, so I’ve given you one of each to choose from.”

Will turned toward the subs as they approached. He’d made it halfway out of his seat when a pair of blues eyes so pale they nearly glowed caught his attention.

For a moment he was paralyzed even as his mind was catapulted back in time. Frozen pizza and ancient Greece. Slim, sensitive fingers and a deceptively strong body stretched out on a weight bench.

Though he was ten years older, Dustin hadn’t changed much. The face that still starred in Will’s most intense erotic fantasies and haunted his dreams had filled out more. The body was a little less slender, but still rippled with lean muscles under satiny-looking skin. He was hot as fucking hell.

“Master Will, you may now choose your partner for this evening,” Cynthia pronounced.

Will needed no further invitation. He finished standing and walked straight to Dustin.

Dustin looked up at him, gaze full of cool speculation. He hoped he wasn’t imagining something deeper there, something to match the hard knot of want in his own gut.

“Fancy meeting you here.” Dustin even sounded the same, right down to the almost inaudible thread of bitterness in the smooth baritone of his voice.

Will shrugged his shoulders. “What can I say? Life is like a box of chocolates.” The brief twitch at the corner of Dustin’s full lips hinted that he might have caught Will’s lame-ass reference to a friendlier time. Or he might just have been trying not to laugh at what an utter moron Will appeared to be.

Time to cut off that train of thought before he psyched himself out.

“Shall we?” He didn’t really want an answer. No, what he wanted was to pin Dustin to the wall and reenact a scene from Brokeback Mountain. He smiled slightly. Recalling Dustin’s movie addiction, it probably would have been right up his alley.

“You aren’t going to flake out this time?”

Oh, that stung, but only because it was true. It would have been easy to let his embarrassment, the remembered panic and mortification, goad him into reacting with anger, but this was Dusty. He’d been aching for Dusty for ten long years. Longer than that, if he were going to practice that ruthless honesty he was so proud of. And the Dustin’s sharp question gave the first hint that he might feel something for Will in return. Even if it was only resentment.

Will sighed. The elephant in the room had to be addressed, as much as his Letters-to-Penthouse adolescent brain wanted to skip to the sex-fantasy part.

“I’ll let your tone slide this time because you’ve reason not to trust me. I gave you reason not to trust me.” He met that cool blue gaze directly and spoke with all the conviction he felt. “Do this with me. I won’t leave you hanging or flake when it’s done. I will take care of you, Dusty. I want to.”

Dustin met his gaze for another long moment before finally giving a decisive nod. Will figured doing a touchdown dance would be tacky, so he restrained himself and merely led Dustin to the table.

The submissive reached for the belt on his robe, but Will stopped him.

“The club contract for today’s scene was pretty liberal,” Will commented, toying with the ends of the belt. “What are your limits?”

“For a membership application scene? No penetration, like you already agreed to. Light bondage only, nothing heavy. No bodily fluids.” Dustin paused, meeting his gaze with a bland look. “No kissing. Other than that, do your worst . . . Oh, wait. You already did your worst.”

Will hated the knowing little smirk on Dustin’s face, the one that seemed to mock them both, as if Dusty hadn’t just given away a decade of pain with his supposedly flippant words.

Dustin reached for the tie to his robe again, and Will brushed his hands away.

“Let me.” Will grasped the belt and slowly pulled it free, enjoying the slippery hiss of the fabric. The garment fell open to reveal tight, sleek skin. His cock filled as he let his gaze travel over every inch of exposed flesh. He groaned inwardly and his perusal halted when it reached the tiny black loincloth covering the other man’s cock.

Dustin shrugged, letting the robe drop to the floor. His body was tanned to a pale gold and as smooth as carved marble, a perfect foil for the length of almost black hair falling to his shoulders and into his eyes, and the deep-rose nipples, which stood at attention, pierced by steel barbells. Will wondered how Dustin would react if he reached out and tugged one of those piercings. With his teeth. His dick throbbed at the thought.

“How do you want me?” Dustin’s matter-of-fact question was like sandpaper over exposed nerves. He remembered the soft, wounded expressions Dusty’d given him when he didn’t know Will could see him—both ten years ago, after the never-to-be-forgotten, disastrous weight room encounter, and now—so the narrow-eyed, cynical smirk he wore when he knew Will was watching was maddening. Will worked hard to control his reaction to Dusty’s coolness. It was different from the slightly reserved way Dusty’d been with pretty much everyone in high school. Yeah, there’d been a coolness back then, but it had lacked this new, brittle edge that hinted adult Dustin could—and was willing to—cut with a word or a look.

Will knew it had to be a matter of self-protection. Or maybe it was personal, a chance for Dustin to get a bit of his own back. Will had ignored him, had not only pretended they’d never shared a sexually fraught moment, but had pretended he didn’t even know Dusty. Tried to erase over a decade of friendship. And no matter how nonchalant Dustin acted now, Will knew he had hurt him badly ten years ago. Still, the detached attitude grated.

Well, if all Dusty wanted was a hard-assed Dom, Will could certainly give it to him.

“On your back, hands behind your head.”

Dustin nodded and crawled onto the table. Long, sleek muscle under smooth, golden skin. Will’s dick was gonna pop his zipper before the day was over.

Will very deliberately dragged his gaze away and turned to a shorter table that was fully stocked with the various tools Mistress Cynthia had demonstrated. He picked a fat white jar candle and lit it first. It would take a little while for the wax to pool in the center, but that was okay. He knew how to fill the time.

Dustin had put his hands behind his head as commanded and waited with his eyes closed, the picture of calm. Will took a deep breath and pushed down a sudden rush of nerves. The first time he’d fucked a man, he’d felt this thrill, and the first time he’d consciously dominated a submissive. Of course, both those times had been missing the faint thread of fear currently woven throughout the nerves. The only thing that really compared to this was the last time he’d touched Dustin.

Then he’d panicked, flaked out. He wasn’t that kid anymore, though, and whether he’d realized it or not before today, he’d been waiting for years to show Dustin he’d figured things out. Will was terrified he’d screw up again, but if Dustin wasn’t responding like Will’d always imagined, well, he knew exactly how to knock that whatever look right off his serene face.

An idea struck, and Will bent and retrieved the silk sash. When he tapped Dustin’s wrists, the submissive raised an eyebrow, but obediently presented his hands. Will wrapped the sash around his wrists several times, not tying them but loosely binding them together before directing Dustin to return them to behind his head. Will gave a little smile of satisfaction. Dustin spread out like a feast had featured in so many of his secret fantasies. The reality was fucking amazing. He picked up a bottle of baby oil and tipped it to drizzle a thin line down the middle of Dustin’s chest, stopping where the loincloth started.

Placing his hands on the smooth expanse of Dustin’s torso, he smoothed the oil in slow circular motions, letting his thumbs trail across the other man’s nipples to tweak the piercings and test their sensitivity, smiling again as he felt Dustin try to suppress a shiver. He’d shaved—or waxed, Will thought with a touch of amusement—and the skin was utterly smooth, not even a scant happy trail to mar the pale-gold perfection. Will dug his fingers lightly into Dustin’s pecs, leaving faint pink lines as he dragged his nails down along the angle of his ribs and then back up to tap the barbells piercing those tantalizing nipples.

Dustin’s body tensed minutely, but his eyes remained closed, his face calm. Picking up the bottle once more, Will poured a slow stream of oil along the top of Dustin’s thighs. Using his palms, he worked the silky liquid up and under the loincloth. The pad of his thumb scraped against the soft, velvety skin of the sub’s balls. Dustin had clearly removed all his body hair in anticipation of the possible scene, not just the hair on his chest and torso. Will verified this fact with a firm sweep of his thumbs to the tender patch of skin above his cock. Dusty’s eyes stayed closed, but the soft line of his mouth grew taut, and his breath hitched a little bit. When the loincloth moved as Dustin’s cock began to swell, Will shoved down a little surge of triumph, and fought off the urge to stroke it. Instead he slid his hands back down the sleek line of Dustin’s thighs as slowly as he’d begun.

He was determined to crack Dusty’s icy façade by the time the scene was finished. God knew he was already a couple of hard strokes away from shooting in his pants.

Setting the oil down, he picked up the candle, swirling the inch or so of melted wax around the top. He lifted it several inches above his wrist and let a few drops fall. The wax was hot but not blistering, and cooled within seconds to a warm, almost silky texture.

Turning back, he held it about a foot above the base of Dustin’s throat, then tipped it and dribbled the wax in a straight line down to his belly button. Dustin squirmed, a tiny movement, but it was another clear sign that he was feeling something very different from indifference. Starting at the edge of black silk over Dustin’s hips, Will repeated the action, spattering upwards on either sides of his navel, and enjoying the way his stomach expanded in a hard, fast breath.

Stepping back, Will examined the cooling wax, shuddering when he realized the plain white paraffin looked like streaks of cum on Dustin’s smooth abdomen.

from Joyfully Jay

There was so much about this book that I absolutely loved. The two MCs are so very well drawn and we get to see their thoughts, character, and motivation very clearly. The writing is tight and sharp, each word having a purpose and nothing wasted or overused. The plot has wonderful pacing, never a lag or a rush to be seen. . . . I really enjoyed the whole thing.

from JJ's Kinky Books

[A] passionate, sexy book with very well written BDSM scenes that are a bit different from the norm.

from Novel Approach

VJ Summers did a nice job of balancing everything that really kept me hooked. . . . If you enjoy novels with BDSM elements I recommend this book.

from Natural Bri

Overall, this is a great read for those who want something a bit heavier and a read that really draws you in, grabs you and won’t let you go!

from That's What I'm Talking About

I found Light a Candle to be an engaging, thought-provoking, highly sensual exploration of two people who are trying to find happiness, and hopefully love.