Friday, August 31, 2012

Caomhnóir - 13

Three days after Keegan left Thom was feeling the pressure. Going off to deal with some human piece of wickedness was bad enough, but at least he knew Keegan would return alive. When a Scriostóir was thrown into the mix there were no guarantees.

On top of that, it had begun to sink in that Keegan looked exactly as he had when they’d met, while one glance in the mirror told Thom that he was getting older. He was no longer a cute young nineteen-year-old. He was twenty five now, and he could have sworn he saw the start of fine wrinkles around his eyes if he looked hard.

“Enough,” he admonished himself. “He said my age didn’t matter to him, so grow up and believe it’s true.”

Leaving the bathroom and the evil mirror behind, he went to get dressed for work. It was early still, but he couldn’t bear the thought of hanging around the empty house. A few minutes later he was locking the front door behind him while deciding what he could do to kill the next couple of hours. Then he remembered someone at work mentioning a new art gallery which had just opened. “Might as well check it out,” he muttered as he got into his car and pulled out of the driveway onto the street.

The gallery was in an older but redeveloped area of the downtown. After finding a parking space a block away Thom strolled up the street, enjoying the slight nip in the air that said winter was approaching but not too quickly. When he entered the gallery he was immediately entranced by the artwork hanging on the walls, as well as the three sculptures taking up a place of prominence in the center of the room. While he wandered from one painting to another, taking in the beauty of the subjects, he suddenly felt as if he were being watched. When he turned and saw no one other than the gallery clerk, he chalked it up to his imagination.

An hour later he reluctantly left the gallery. Since it was Sunday and parking was free, he knew he was lucky to have found the spot he had. So he decided to walk the few blocks to the restaurant.

Six exhausting hours later he was wishing he’d taken the chance of finding somewhere closer to park. Bidding good night to his co-workers he started down the street.

“Keegan lets you out on your own,” someone asked, causing Thom to tense in fear for a second before he recognized the man who had stepped out of the bar next door to the restaurant.

“Of course he does, Darius. Not that he would try to stop me. He trusts me just as much as I trust him.”

As Thom kept walking Darius came up beside him, smirking slightly as he matched him step for step. “So you’re meeting him somewhere or going home?”

“If it’s any of your business, which it isn’t, I’m heading to my car and then home.”

“Where he’s waiting, keeping the bed warm.”

“That also is none of your damned business, Darius.”

Darius put a hand on Thom’s arm in what seemed to be a consoling manner. “Touchy, touchy. Does that mean he’s off on assignment somewhere? Are you feeling lonely and stressed?”

“Back off,” Thom growled, pulling his arm away sharply.

“I’m just concerned for your welfare. I know how Keegan is, any bed in a storm, something he’s apparently never told you from the look of shock on your face. Do you honestly think he’s faithful to you while he’s off doing what we do?”

Without deigning to reply, Thom walked rapidly down the street, trying to ignore the knowing laughter that floated after him.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Caomhnóir - 12

It had taken Thom two weeks to make a decision about the budding relationship between him and Keegan. For the first week he refused to see or have anything to do with Keegan, telling him he needed the space to work out his feelings. Reluctantly, Keegan had agreed, using the time to go off on an assignment so that he couldn’t break his promise to stay away.

The second week the two men had spent time together, just talking. Keegan answered questions and in exchange found out a bit more about Thom.

The third week—

Thom smiled, remembering, as he continued to watch Keegan pack in preparation for his newest assignment.

Keegan cocked an eyebrow. “First you’re all worried, now you’re smiling? Got a heavy date while I’m gone?”

After popping Keegan a hard one on the ass, Thom told him what he’d been remembering.

Keegan smiled in turn. “That was a hard fought battle, but worth it, though there were a few times there when I was dead sure you were going to walk away. Especially when I explained what All Hallows Eve meant in terms of my coming and going.”

“That was a hard one to deal with, knowing that you’d vanish for a year or even more if you were ordered to.”

“I always come back though, to you,” Keegan said quietly.

“I know, and after six years I’m getting used to it. I just wish—” He sighed, changing the subject. “Dinner out and then—” he pointed to the bed.

“How about dinner in bed? We order something fantastic and you get to be the platter.”

“Why me?” Thom asked with a very fake pout. “Maybe I want you to be the platter.”

“We’ll trade off.” Keegan marched across the room to stand as close to Thom as possible without actually touching him. “You’re dinner, I’m dessert.”

Thom backed away a step, grinning. “Nope, vice versa.”

“Don’t argue with me. I’m older and wiser. We do it my way.”

Putting his hands on Keegan’s chest, Thom propelled him backwards to the bed. Keegan reached back, feeling for his bag, sweeping it onto the floor, and then tumbled onto the bed, pulling Thom down on top of him.

“Dessert,” Keegan muttered, tangling his hands in Thom’s hair.

“Nope. Appetizer. Now.”

Those were the last real words spoken for a long time, and food played not part at all in the evening.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Caomhnóir - 11

Keegan nodded. “All of us are dead. We died while committing one of the seven deadly sins, the Biblical ones which are close to but not exactly like what are taught by the various religions. After we die we go to the vale of dead sinners. There, depending on what we were like when we lived, we’re sent to face one of the Rialóir Deiridh, the final or supreme leaders of each order.”

“God or Satan?”

“No.” Keegan smiled slightly. “That’s, I guess you could say ‘religion specific’. This is beyond that. The sins may be Biblical, and why that is I can’t tell you because I don’t know, but this is more than Biblical. This is Universal in the true sense of the word. Anyway, back to what I’m trying, not too well, to explain. I was given the choice of spending an eternity of suffering for what I had done, or becoming a Caomhnóir. Since dead is dead, I decided to make the best of it.”

Thom cocked an eyebrow at that. “So you haven’t been brought back to—to what? Real life? You certainly seem quite alive and quite human, well other than that mind reading thing, and those weapons you were carrying. By the way I keep forgetting to ask why you just left them behind after you came to my rescue. And then there’s that too, why did you even bother saving me? I’ve got to be a really small fish in the pond compared to what you usually do. And how old are you?” He took a deep breath, and laughed. “I’m rather rattling on, aren’t I?”

Keegan smiled. “You are, but that’s understandable. To answer your questions, first off it would be hard for me to do my job in a non-corporal form. So, to all intents and purposes I am almost as human as I was when I died.”

“With a few extras tossed in I’d presume or you’d be pretty useless.”

“A few, yes. I’m hard to dispose of since, being dead, you can’t really kill me.”

“Seriously? So you’re immortal?”

“I should amend that. Humans and other mortal beings can’t kill me. Another Caomhnóir could. So could any Scriostóir, if I got stupid and let them close enough to try. And any of the ceannasaí, the commanders, can destroy us as well. A sort of fail-safe in case we rebel, or go off the deep end.”

Thom grew very pensive as he took all that in. For a long few moments he remained silent, as did Keegan. Finally Thom said with great seriousness, “Then, in essence, you are a slave to the, what did you call him, your supreme leader.”

Keegan smiled tightly. “I prefer to think that I am one of his foot-soldiers, but yes, I suppose that in essence I am. I have been, for the last nine centuries.”

“Holy hell, nine—” Thom’s look turned to one of shock, tempered by a small amount of amusement. “So if this thing between us is real and works I’ll be dating a much older man.”

“In terms of time on earth, yes, although—.”

“I get the picture. You don’t age, I do, so there will come a time when I look like the old one even though I won’t be.” Thom shook his head slowly. “That’s going to be hard to cope with, but I will if you can.”

“It sounds as if you’re at least considering loving me.”

“Oh, there’s nothing to consider. I do love you. But there is still a lot I have to know and get used to before I let it happen. And that made absolutely no sense at all.”

“The words didn’t,” Keegan agreed with a smile, “but the intent did.”

“Before you answer the rest of my questions, there’s something I need to know. You’re in service to this leader, whether you call it being a foot-soldier or a slave, and right now I fail to see the difference between the two. Is there any way to break whatever contract you have with him and gain your freedom?”

Keegan sighed deeply. “None that I am aware of, short of a final death, which is something I’ve contemplated over the past centuries. In the end however, I value what life I have, and my usefulness in this world, too much to force the issue.” His took Thom’s hand in his, holding it tightly. “And now, more than ever before, I have a reason to keep on existing. Or,” he met Thom’s gaze, “I think I do.”

“If I’m that reason, then I suppose so.”

“That was kind of a betwixt and between answer, Thom.”

“Because I’m still feeling that way. This isn’t something to rush into you know. Even if you were human. Oh hell, sorry, that I shouldn’t have said.”

“Why not? It’s the truth.” Dropping his gaze, and Thom’s hand, Keegan said, “Take all the time you need to decide.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Caomhnóir - 10

They negotiated their way in to Thom’s bed after much dancing around the subject, mostly in fun at the start, but turning much more serious and sexually charged as the evening wore on and midnight came and went. Thom wasn’t quite certain why he’d agreed but he had, and never from that moment on had he regretted it.

For two weeks they spent every night together, each of them unable to get enough of what the other offered. Then, at the beginning of the third week, Keegan closed the door to Thom’s apartment behind them, kissed his lover heartily, and told him seconds later that they needed to talk.

He’s going to tell me it’s over Thom thought morosely as he sat down in one corner of the sofa, waiting for the axe to drop.

“No, Thom, it’s far from over,” Keegan said, taking a seat at the other end of the sofa.

“What are you doing, reading my mind?”

“I could say your thought was written on your face, which it was actually, but that wouldn’t be the entire truth.”

Thom’s eyes widened. “You’re trying to suggest you really did read my mind?”

“Yes,” Keegan replied with total sincerity. “It’s one of the things that I can do now.”

“Okay, this is fast turning to weird beyond belief. Do you mind telling me exactly what sort of game you think you’re playing here?”

After taking a very deep breath, Keegan said. “To begin with, I wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t fallen deeply in love with you. Don’t,” he held up a hand to silence Thom, “Don’t say anything please until I’ve finished. I think you feel the same way towards me, but you’re afraid to admit it even to yourself because love doesn’t just hit out of the blue. It takes time and getting to know someone and learning to care for them and about them before you can love them.”

Thom nodded slowly. That was exactly how he felt. You don’t just fall in love in a matter of a couple of weeks, especially with someone you know nothing about. However, as much as he’d fought the idea, he had.

Keegan smiled, remaining where he was seated but reaching out to place one hand on Thom’s knee. “I have things I need to tell you about me, things you’re going to find hard or impossible to accept. All I can say is that they are true.”

“I’m listening,” Thom replied quietly, covering Keegan’s hand with his own.

Choosing his words carefully, Keegan said, “I belong to a very special and unique breed of—I suppose you could call us humans although we’re not quite that any more. I am a Caomhnóir. That’s Gaelic for Guardian. There is an opposing order, the Scriostóir, which means Destroyer. Damn, this is hard.”

“Just say it, Keegan.”

* * * * * * * * *

Out today!! 

'Lessons Learned - a Hitman story'

When his former boyfriend disappears, small-town cop Joey and his older, ex-hitman lover Glenn set to work to discover what happened to him. In the process they decide Nate has been abducted by a hitman who may be looking for Glenn. Now they must find Nate and stop the hitman before he can succeed in killing Glenn. In the process they must learn to trust in each other's abilities if Glenn, and their love for each other, are to survive.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Caomhnóir - 9

After the night of the attack, Thom figured he’d never see Keegan again. The man had walked him home as promised and then turned and walked away with a brief “Goodbye” flung over his shoulder.

It wasn’t until he was getting ready for bed that the whole thing finally sank in. He’d been saved by someone who, except for his modern clothes, could have been a warrior from some ancient time. And, Thom thought, puzzled, just where the hell had Keegan stashed his weapons once the fight was over. He certainly wasn’t carrying them during the walk to Thom’s apartment building.

“Very, very weird,” he murmured as he finished washing up and picked up his toothbrush. “En guarde,” he said, striking a fencer’s pose, the toothbrush his sword, before laughing softly. “That’s about my speed,” he said to his image in the mirror.

The next few days passed as normal, the only reminder of that night the slowly fading bruise on his side. Then one evening, as he left his job at the restaurant and began walking home, Keegan appeared at his side. “Care for some company?” he asked.

Thom looked at him in surprise. “I—Sure, why not.” They walked in silence for a few minutes before Thom said, “I never expected to see you again.”

“Same here,” Keegan replied. “But for some reason I can’t seem to get you out of my head.”

Stopping abruptly, Thom turned to stare at him. “That sounded decidedly like a come-on line from a bad television show.”

Keegan shrugged. “Be that as it may, it’s the truth.”

With a small smile, Thom replied, “I’ve been thinking of you too. It’s not often I get rescued by a man armed with ancient weapons.”

“I would hope that has never happened to you before. I don’t like the idea of you putting yourself in such situations that you would need to be.”

It was Thom’s turn to shrug. “I’m gay, which seems to rile some people’s feathers.”

“Isn’t that supposed to be ‘ruffle’ feathers?” Keegan asked with a chuckle.

“Either/or. It still happens. Something I’d have thought you wouldn’t be aware of.”

“Meaning you think I’m straight.”

“Well, yeah.”

Keegan smiled. “I’m not. Therefore we have at least one thing in common.”

“Other than you saving my life?”

“There is that, so I think you owe me a reward.” Keegan’s face was serious but his eyes twinkled, something Thom picked up on immediately.

“I can do that. Would a drink at the local club work?”

“To start with, yes. From there, well we’ll negotiate.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Caomhnóir - 8

“How soon?” Thom asked, the usual fear for the safety of his lover underlying the two words.

“In the morning,” Keegan replied as he made one more check to be certain he had everything that he would need.

As soon as he’d arrived home to find Keegan packing, Thom’s mind had pictured every possible scenario of what could go wrong, as it always did. He just prayed that Keegan would be dealing with a mere human, not a Scriostóir. Keegan soon debased him of that idea since, from the moment that the two men had realized there was more between them than just friendship Keegan had been completely open with Thom.

* * * * *

They had first met late one night in a dark back alley of the city. 

Thom knew how stupid he’d been to use it as a shortcut, but he’d done it before with no problems. That night was different. As he hurried down the alley three men had stepped into view from shadowed doorways, surrounding him, jeering and taunting as they closed in, bats or iron bars in their hands. He’d tried to run but they made escape impossible as they herded him towards the alley wall.

He’d cowered there, arms over his head to protect it, waiting for the first blow to fall. When it came, a glancing blow to his side, he’d cried out in pain.

Then a voice he would come to know in all its permutations said, “Cowards. Three on one? I think not.”

“Shit!” one of Thom’s attackers growled.

Thom peered out from under his arms, expecting to see a policeman. Instead there was a man of about twenty five, dressed in casual clothing, carrying a sword in one hand, a flail in the other. The man immediately put the latter weapon to use, wrapping it around the bat one of Thom’s attackers held, yanking it from his hand. Then the sword flashed down, severing the tendons in the attacker’s wrist.

The second attacker began circling the man, his iron pipe held defensively as he looked for an opening even as his face registered disbelief. The third man opted for the wiser choice and fled down the alley.

“Do you really want to take me on?” Thom’s rescuer scathingly asked the man holding the pipe. When the attacker held his ground, the flail was swung again. This time though it bit through flesh, the sound of cracking bone coming seconds before the shout of anguish from the attacker.

“Remove yourselves, now,” Thom’s rescuer ordered, uncaring that both his victims were bleeding and moaning in pain. “If I ever see you again, I shall not be so lenient.”

The two men fled, not looking back.

“Now, for you, let me see how badly you are hurt.”

“I’ll live,” Thom told him. “I owe you my life. I don’t know how to thank you, sir.”

“It’s Keegan, not sir,” the man said as he beckoned Thom away from the wall. “And I do intend to make certain that you’re alright. So lift up your shirt.”

Thom did, at the same time telling Keegan his name.

“Well, Thom,” Keegan said after gently probing the bruised area on Thom’s side, “you’re correct, you will live and nothing was broken, although I for one would get checked out to make certain no ribs were fractured.”

Taking a deep breath, Thom then shook his head. “No fracture. Been there, done that, it doesn’t hurt to breathe.”

“Been attacked before have you?” Keegan asked, frowning.

“No. Just a bad fall off my bike when I was younger.”

Keegan nodded, not taking his eyes off of Thom. After a long moment he said, “I’ll walk you home, or to your car, or wherever you were headed before so foolishly coming down this alley.”

For a few seconds Thom debated, and then said, “Home.”

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Caomhnóir - 7

Alasdair tapped his chin as he listened to Keegan’s plan. Finally he said, “With a few modifications it will work. Finding him will, of course, be the hardest part. A man such as he does not stay long in one place despite the fact that he has a family.”

“A family as intent on terrorism and expanding his illegal drug activities as he was before his death.” Keegan paced the office, his boot heels clicking on the hardwood floor. “If I start with his siblings and nephews I should be able to bring him out of the woodwork.”

“Never forget what he is, Keegan.”

“My polar opposite, I know. However he is eons less experienced than I.”

“That makes him no less dangerous. He was not offered the choice to become a Scriostóir for his good looks.”

Keegan smiled at Alasdair’s small joke.  “I am well aware of that.”

For the next half hour they worked diligently to refine Keegan’s basic plan into one that should be successful without endangering anyone other than Keegan and his foe.

When they were finished, Keegan cleared his throat. “I have a favor to ask.”

Alasdair nodded. “Which would be?”

“While I’m gone, keep an eye on Thom.”

A frown creased Alasdair’s forehead. “Do you not trust him?”

“Hell yes I trust him! However I do not trust Darius.”

Placing his elbows on the edge of his desk, Alasdair laced his hands together, resting his chin on them as he stared at Keegan, contemplating what he had said. Finally he asked, “Do you have reason not to?”

“Nothing specific, no, just a feeling of unease where he’s concerned. We ran into him at the club last week. He made it a point to let me, and Thom, know that he was not particularly pleased that we were together. Oh, he made a joke of it, and went off in search of someone to keep him company for the night, but I could tell that he was more than half serious. Then he showed up outside the club as we were leaving. Coincidental, perhaps, but I don’t want to take the chance that it wasn’t.”

“I understand. I can send him off sooner than I’d planned for the job I’ve got in mind.”

“If you do he might suspect there’s more to it than just getting an early start. Besides which there’s nothing to keep him from coming back whenever he feels like it. I’d much prefer that Thom has some protection, something neither he nor Darius would be aware of.”

“Very well, I shall set something up.”

Keegan bowed his head slightly, saying “Thank you, mo ceannasaí.”

“Just complete the job successfully. That will be all the thanks I need.”

mo ceannasaí – my commander

Friday, August 17, 2012

Caomhnóir - 6

“You know,” Thom said later that evening as he and Keegan left the club, “Darius is actually the first of your people I’ve met, other than Alasdair of course. I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought all of you were Gaelic.”

“If that were true there would be hardly any of us, since Gaels are notoriously good and kind people and devout non-sinners, me being the obvious exception.”

Thom rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. So, are you actually going to meet up with him somewhere?”

“I rather expect I shall, if for no other reason than to make certain he leaves you alone.”

“Come on, Keegan, he wouldn’t really try to mess with me would he?”

Keegan stopped walking, turning to put his hands on Thom’s shoulders. “His sin was sowing discord among brethren. Even now he likes nothing more than to stir up trouble, which in certain circumstances comes in useful. This is not one of them. As I said, I’ll make certain he doesn’t bother you.”

Thom nodded, his mind flashing back to the last time someone had ‘bothered’ him, and he shuddered. Keegan immediately wrapped him in a tight embrace.

“He’s not like them, mo ghrá. He might try to separate us, if he’s in the mood, but that would be the worst of it.”

“The worst?” Thom looked at him. “I can’t think of anything more horrible than loosing you.”

“Thomas Aloysius Mulloy, how many times will I have to tell you, that will not happen,” Keegan said firmly.

“Forever Keegan o Broin, because hearing it makes my heart stand still and then beat with joy.” He took Keegan’s hand, placing it over his heart.

“So I see.” Keegan smiled softly as he threaded his other hand through Thom’s hair, tugging enough to bring his lips within kissing distance. “Is breá liom tú, Thom.”

“Damn, you two, get a room as they say.”

Keegan looked over Thom’s shoulder to see Darius standing there, his arm around the waist of a barely legal twink. “Night, Darius,” he muttered before going back to what he’d started, kissing Thom thoroughly for several moments, savoring his passionate response.

Therefore, he missed the hateful look Darius shot at Thom before turning swiftly around, causing his companion to give a small cry of surprise as he stumbled forward. “Keep up, or go home,” Darius hissed, striding away. 


Is breá liom tú – I love you

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Caomhnóir - 5

“Are you trying to kill me?” Keegan grumbled as he and Thom collapsed against the railing surrounding the dance floor.

Thom snorted. “I don’t think that’s quite possible, all things considered.”

“Yes, well—” Keegan reached for him, pulling him back against his chest. “Perhaps you’re just trying to tire me so much that I’ll be unable to have my wicked way with you later.”

“As if.” Thom wriggled his ass and chuckled when he felt Keegan’s cock respond. “I don’t think you’ll have the least bit of trouble.”

“Keegan!” The shouted word was followed almost immediately by the appearance of a tall, dark-haired man wearing clothes that left nothing to the imagination. “When the hell did you get back in town, how long are you staying?” The man threw his arms around Keegan, apparently totally ignoring that Thom had to move quickly out of the way for that to happen.

Keegan however was well aware of it, tugging Thom back to him the moment the man released his hold. “I have just returned, Darius,” Keegan replied somewhat formally. “And if you please, or even if you do not, be polite. You almost tumbled my man back onto the dance floor.”

Darius pursed his lips in amusement as he eyed Thom. “Tam bellum hominem. You are lucky, my friend.”

“Did he just call me beautiful?” Thom asked.

Keegan nodded. “And in Latin no less, to show off his erudition,” he muttered with a shake of his head.

“He’s—” Thom started to ask.

“A show off, right Darius?”

“And just a bit jealous as well,” Darius added with a grin at Thom. “I always wanted Keegan. Apparently you have something I don’t if he considers you his man.”

“Manners to start with,” Keegan said, gaining a laugh from both men. “Darius, this is Thom, and like me he is off limits.”

“A pleasure, I’m sure,” Darius replied, kicking a foot up against the wall and leaning back, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched the dance floor.

Thom, seeing that Darius’ attention was elsewhere for the moment, turned his head to whisper to Keegan, “He’s one of yours, isn’t he?”

Keegan nodded, knowing that he meant Darius was a Caomhnóir, not some ex-lover. “And very old, much older than I.”

“He looks it,” Thom said with a grin, earning an arched eyebrow from Keegan.

“I heard that, you two,” Darius growled before pushing off the wall, his gaze fixed on a young man on the dance floor. “I catch up with you later, Keegan.”

“I’m sure you will,” Keegan muttered as he started back towards the bar, keeping Thom close beside him.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Caomhnóir - 4

“Sexy,” Keegan declared as his gaze raked over Thom. “I am not certain I should let you leave the house like that.”

“Says the man whose pants are so tight they leave nothing to the imagination. And that shirt, Keegan, where in the world did you find it?”

Keegan grinned wickedly. “I believe it was one I absconded with during the Revolution.”

“French or American?” Thom asked, cocking an eyebrow in amusement.

“The Glorious Revolution actually. Now that was an interesting time.” Keegan smiled in remembrance before shaking his head. “But that’s neither here nor there at the moment. Shall we leave before I change my mind and ravage you on the spot?”

Thom hesitated, apparently giving Keegan’s question serious thought. Then, with a laugh, he dropped a quick kiss on his lover’s lips and headed out of their bedroom.

* * * *

Pressing his mouth to Thom’s ear so he’d hear him, Keegan said, “I don’t remember it being so loud.”

Thom thumbed towards the band a few feet away before taking Keegan’s hand, leading him through the crowded room to the bar. Luck was with them, two men vacated their stools just as they got there, taking their drinks with them. Thom immediately snagged one, Keegan the other.

The bartender showed up moments later, grinning as he held out a hand to Keegan. “Damn, man, I thought you’d fallen off the face of the earth,” he said cheerfully.

“Just briefly,” Keegan replied with a laugh, shaking the man’s hand. “But I’m back and not planning on going anywhere for a while. My raison d'être,” he added, slinging an arm around Thom’s shoulders, “will keep me here as long as possible.”

Resting the palms of his hands on the bar, the bartender leaned in to say with a chuckle, “From the look on his face he’s not going to let you leave again no matter what.”

Keegan turned to look at Thom for a moment, nodding before replying, “As it should be, my man. Now, how about you serve us up a couple of drinks, a Guinness for me and,” he cocked an eyebrow at Thom.

“Half and half, please.” Thom leaned back against Keegan, studying his profile intently.

“What?” Keegan asked softly.

“Nothing. Just—“ He shrugged.

“Mo ghrá, I am here,” Keegan murmured, “for the year at least, and if possible, for more.”

“I know.” Thom smiled ruefully. “I’m just being a wuss as usual.”

“But my wuss and I’m not complaining in the least.”  

Thom chuckled. “The wuss and the tough guy, it sounds like the title of a bad song.”

“A love song.” Keegan grinned, rubbing his knuckles along Thom’s jaw. “Our love song.” He picked up his drink which the bartender had just set down in front of him, waiting for Thom to do the same. Then he tapped the edge of his glass with Thom’s. “To us, now and forever, no matter what comes.”

With a smile, Thom agreed. “To us, always.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Caomhnóir - 3

“I sense that you have not dropped this human entanglement of yours,” Alasdair stated, his visage stern with disapproval.

“Nor will I, mo ceannasaí,” Keegan responded. There was no defiance in his voice, just certainty that even his commander could not argue with, although he had tried several times before.

“As I have told you, as long as he does not endanger you I will allow it to continue.” Alasdair tapped one nail on his desk. In his present form, the gryphon could pass for a very large, muscular human male. Only small things would give him away to those in the know. The nails at the end of his fingers and toes were longer and thicker than those of a normal human, there was a definite beak-like quality to his nose, his ears were slightly pointed, and his hair was comparable to a lion’s mane, thick, luxurious and tawny gold in color.

Keegan on the other hand looked just as he had when he died, completely human although he was now far from that. He was a Caomhnóir, under the command of Alasdair.  Caomhnóir, or Guardians, were males, and very rarely females, who died while in the midst of committing one of the seven deadly sins. To redeem themselves, if they wished to, they are given a chance to help protect mankind. Their commanders were always mythological creatures, stewards with the ability to shift into human-like forms so that they could move among mankind, supervising the Caomhnóir.

Keegan’s sin had been the shedding of innocent blood. As a young man he had lived on the streets of Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe (Galway), surviving by thievery and hiring himself out as a bullyboy for whichever pub owner was willing to pay him.

It was during one of his forays into the wealthier part of the city that he had run into a man and his daughter, well-dressed citizens, the father with a full purse hanging from his belt. Being weakened by hunger as it had been a lean week, Keegan had been clumsy in his attempt to separate the man from his coin, and thus he had found one wrist gripped firmly in the man’s hand. Slashing wildly with his blade, he had stabbed the man, who had instantly released him. When the daughter screamed for help he had acted on instinct, covering her mouth while wrapping his arm tightly around her throat. He might have made his escape if the guards had been less swift to respond to her cry of fear. Their shouts as they approached had only intensified his grip on the girl’s throat as he threatened to kill her. When one of the guards slashed his sword across Keegan’s neck, his death throes had snapped the girl’s throat and she died at the same instant.

Where she had gone when she died, he of course never knew. He, however, had found himself in the vale of dead sinners. It was there that he was offered a choice. He could spend eternity suffering for his sin or become a Caomhnóir.  As he had told Thom soon after they had met, he was no fool. Dead was dead and he might as well make the best of it.

He had chosen to become a Caomhnóir.

And so, for the last nine centuries he had traveled back and forth through time, dealing out death to those who merited it in the eyes of his commander, Alasdair; and in the eyes of the one who was the Rialóir Deiridh of all Caomhnóir. 

mo ceannasaí – my commander
Rialóir Deiridh – final ruler


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Caomhnóir - 2

Thom sighed deeply as he watched Keegan dress. “Do you have to leave?”

“Only for a few hours, mo ghrá.” As he finished lacing his tight leather pants, Keegan strolled back to the bed, bending to whisper words that had Thom’s cock hardening instantly.

“You’re a true bastard,” Thom groaned. “At least stay long enough to take care of the problem you’ve just created.”

Keegan laughed wholeheartedly as he turned away and went to the closet, replying over his shoulder, “When I return I shall, if it’s still a ‘problem’. But for now, I must leave.”

“Business, I take it.” Thom did his best to use that thought to tame his raging libido. What Keegan did, and why, was more than enough to scare anyone, mortal or otherwise.

“Not business per se,” Keegan told him as he chose a dark blue shirt, looking at it critically for a moment before donning it. “I just have to check in to let them know I made it back and to file my report.”

“I don’t suppose—“

“No, Thom, you may not come with me.”

“I wasn’t going to ask that, I know better. Besides there’s absolutely no way I want to come within a hundred miles of your superior. He’s—“ Thom shuddered.

“He’s only non-human,” Keegan said, chuckling. “He doesn’t bite.”

“With those claws he calls fingernails, he doesn’t have to. He could rend me limb from limb. But that wasn’t what I was going to ask.”

As he checked his hair and then slipped his wafer-thin wallet into his back pocket, Keegan looked inquiringly at Thom. “What, then?”

“If we could maybe hit up the club tonight? I know it’s your first full day back but—“

“You want the world to know I really didn’t run off and desert you.” Keegan sat down on the bed, stroking Thom’s cheek. “I understand. I want everyone to know that too. So, yes, we can hit up the club, but just for a short time.”

“Perfect. Now, go do your thing, and gods, please don’t let them have a new assignment for you for at least a week.”

“I’d opt for a month, mo ghrá. It will take me at least that long to sate my hunger for you.”

“Only a month?” Thom grinned, leaning in to kiss his lover. “I was hoping two, three, twelve—“

“You, Thom, are insatiable.” Keegan returned the kiss, breaking it before his body responded to the extent that walking in his tight leathers would be painful. “I shall return by early evening at the latest, I promise.”


mo ghrá – my love

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Caomhnóir - 1

Through the dark night he strolled, eyes flicking left and right, every sense alert to what might be close by, alive or dead or in-between. Occasionally the faint glow of a tavern light illuminated the pavement as a patron entered or exited.

Midnight, the witching hour, and All Hallows’ Eve, the time when the veil between the living and the dead is at it’s thinnest. The time when, if he so wished, he could return to the vale of the dead sinners.

He did not wish it however. He only needed this day, this hour, to transition through the vale to a more modern time. His work here was finished.

* * * * *

Thom sighed in relief as the last of the trick-or-treaters walked down the path to the sidewalk. He wondered why their parents allowed them out so late in the evening. On the other hand though, they had been teens so presumably their parents either didn’t care, or didn’t know, or both.

“Modern parents are too distracted with their own lives to care about those of their children,” a low voice commented scathingly from behind Thom.

He whirled around, momentarily startled, and then smiled broadly. “Stay out of my mind, Keegan.”

“Why? It is such an interesting place, full of wild and untamed thoughts. Especially—” Keegan paused, grinning wickedly as he picked up on one of them. “Exactly what I had in mind, mo fear daor.”

“I don’t know,” Thom replied, putting a teasing tone into his voice. “It has been a year. Perhaps I’ve moved on. I might have someone up there,” he pointed to the stairs leading to the second floor, “keeping my bed warm for me.”

Keegan gave a soft snort of disbelief as he paced towards Thom. “If there is, I shall have to send him off, with his tail between his legs as he will be lacking anything else there when I’ve finished with him.”

“Ahh, you’re in your ‘tough guy’ mode this evening I see,” Thom replied with a laugh.

“When it comes to you, Thom Mulloy, I will do everything within my power to make certain I am the only man who graces your bed. As for the women,” Keegan shrugged, “if you need them for release I understand, as always.”

Thom turned serious, moving to close the space between them. “You know that you are the only one who means anything to me. You are my life, then, now, and forever.”

“Mar a bhfuil tú, a dom.” Keegan stood very still as he looked at the man he loved. “I know it hasn’t been easy for you. If there were a way to change things, I would.”

“Hush.” Thom placed a finger against Keegan’s lips, chuckling when Keegan nipped it lightly. “I knew what I was getting into almost from the day you rescued me. I wouldn’t change one moment of the time we’ve had together.”

“Nor would I. You are the one who keeps me grounded. Knowing that you are here, waiting, gives my life a purpose beyond the one granted to me when I died.”

“At the moment, I don’t want you grounded; I want you soaring in rapture.”

“With you, always.” Keegan pulled his lover to him, kissing him with a passion born of too long a time apart. As he ravaged Thom’s mouth he carried him up to their waiting bed. 

* * * * *
mo fear daor – my dear man
Mar a bhfuil tú, a dom – As you are, to me.


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Thief and the White Knight - 18

Kerry tapped his foot nervously as he waited for Pia to open the door. All he could think as the seconds passed was that she'd changed her mind. So, when the door opened he sighed in relief and then whistled in approval. "You look gorgeous."

Pia smiled almost shyly. "You're just not used to seeing me in anything other than jeans."

"There's nothing wrong with you in jeans, but—wow."

"Stop," she said, swatting his arm. "It's just a dress."

A black dress with a V-neckline and a skirt just short enough to accent her legs, making them look long and shapely despite her petite size, he noted in appreciation.

"Stop gawking," she muttered, gathering up her purse and jacket.

"Admiring," he insisted, offering his arm.

Once they were in the car and on their way he asked, "Do you have a preference on where to eat?"

"Anything but Italian," she told him with a laugh.

Straight-faced he replied, "That doesn't leave much to choose from."

Equally straight-faced she said, "There's always that fast food place on the corner up there."

With a grin, he pulled into the parking lot.

"You wouldn't!"

"No," he admitted, getting back on the street. "I did find a nice little restaurant if you like Greek food."

"Pelagia's. I love that place."

Kerry chuckled. "It could be another one."

"Not in this city unless it opened within the last few weeks," she told him with certainty.

"Is there anywhere here you don't know?" he inquired as he made the turn onto the street he needed.

"Probably not, if you want the truth. I grew up here. I can show you places even the most diehard tourist won't find. Well, I could if—" Her face darkened for a moment then she forced the mood away, pointing and saying, "That's the best shop for fresh fish and good cheese."

Kerry nodded. "Strange combo." He understood immediately what she'd been thinking, the same thing he had been on and off all day. But tonight was for fun and getting to know each other better. The other—it could come later if at all.

* * * *

"And then we tried to get back in the house without my father catching us. I was so sure I'd left the window open just a crack but it was closed, and locked. So we snuck around checking all the other basement windows and Tito bet me that I couldn't figure out how to get one of them open. So I showed him I could."

"And thus a career was born," Kerry said, laughing.

"Well, no." Pia finished the last of her dolmades and then licked her fingers before telling him, "I learned at my father's knee, though he didn't know it. He thought he was just showing me what he did for a living."

"Which, hopefully, was legitimate."

"Oh yeah, he's a locksmith." She grinned. "Taught me all the finer points and the rest was history."

"Does he know?" he asked as he refilled their wine glasses with more Karyda.

"God no! He'd disown me in a heartbeat. He thinks I'm his sweet, innocent daughter who works at the department store and goes home to curl up with a good book and a glass of milk."

"What about the rest of your family?"

"Mother's a true-blue housewife, and my two younger sisters are married. One lives out of state, the other one's in Omaha with her husband and a new baby. How about you?"

"Parents back east, no siblings, one dog."

Pia laughed. "The dog is family?"

"He thinks he is. Right now he's probably giving my friend who's watching him the evil eye because I'm not home yet."

"At least you didn't stick him in a kennel," she told him, avoiding the implications of the 'not home yet' statement.

"I wouldn't do that to any animal if I could help it. Derrick has two dogs of his own so he doesn't mind putting up with Bear."

"Bear? Is he huge?"

"He's a bullmastiff so he's no small-fry. You could probably ride him." He grinned.

Pia rolled her eyes. "I don't ride dogs. Horses, occasionally, but that's my limit."

"Really? We'll have to do that sometime."

With a nod, Pia decided to bite the bullet now rather than putting off the inevitable. "Is there going to be a sometime?"

"Of course," Kerry replied. "Well, that is as far as I'm concerned. Unless you've decided otherwise that is." His face fell when he realized that might be the case.

Pia quickly reached out to take Kerry's hand. "No, I want there to be a sometime, a lot of sometimes, but there's one little, tiny problem. You don't exactly live right next door, and you have a job back home."

"Agreed. That's why they have airplanes."

"Long distance relationships are hard."

"Telephone, email."

"But I'd miss talking to you, I mean face to face."

"Web cam. If you don't have one I'll set it up for you."

"You have one?" She looked askance at him.

"No. Not yet. But if we're going to do this I'll get one too."

"What about--?" When he looked at her in question, she leaned closer and said in a whisper, "Sex."

"Personally I'm all for it."

"Kerry!" she growled. "You know what I mean. I may be all kinds of open-minded and liberal, but the idea of, well, phone sex," she'd lowered her voice again. "I just don't know."

"That bridge we can cross when we come to it," he replied honestly. "Right now we have to decide if tonight is a first date, or an only date."

"Oh I decided that hours ago. It's definitely a first date."

"Thank goodness, because I changed my plane ticket to a later date."

"That was a bit rash of you," she told him, trying not to smile.

"More like I was hoping I wasn't being rash," he admitted. "So, since this is a first date, what do you want to do for the second one?"

"Humm," she thought for a moment then said with a grin, "we could go on a picnic or horseback riding, find a good movie, rob a bank."

Laughing, he told her, "Scratch the last one, been there, done that, and I'm still a cop so no more Bonnie and Clyde for me."

"Is that going to be a problem?" she asked seriously.

"On some level, possibly, but if so I'll deal with it. I can't say I approve of your career choice, but I knew about it before I even met you. It didn't stop me from caring for you then, so why should it now."

"You're an amazing man, Mr. Reede with an 'e'."

"You're pretty amazing too, la mia più cara." He leaned in, brushing a light kiss across her lips. "Did I say that right?"

"You did indeed, il mio uomo dolce." She smiled and her eyes lit up. "You said it just perfectly."

The End

* * * * * * * * *

Coming next, something entirely different.