Excerpt Ganymede Tilt


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Warning! Adult Content!

Chapter One

There was a time when Sean Morgan had attended parties for fun—before he got into politics.

“Come on, you can at least get me five minutes with her,” Heather said.

Sean frowned at her. “You’re trespassing on our friendship.”

“My hand will trespass sharply around your ear if you use that tone with me, Morgan.”

He tried to keep the smile off his face. Heather Freeman hadn’t put up with his bullshit one single time since they were kids.

“Patience,” he said. “I’ll get you a quick walk and talk. But don’t get too heavy with the questions. This is a party, not a press conference.”

“Franklin staffer attempts to interfere with the press? Hmm, think I’ve got my story already.”

“I’m not a staffer,” Sean said. Not yet. Just a volunteer party activist. For now. And he needed to get in a bit more activity than standing around talking to Heather. Some commotion around the doorway caught his eye. “Looks like the SolCorp delegation is here. Catch you later for that walk and talk.” He left her making notes and headed to the door to greet the delegation.

“Good evening, sir,” he said, offering his hand to Price, the local director of the largest mining company in the solar system. Also Sean’s boss. For now.

“Morgan,” Price said, looking at him with some suspicion. “The union has an invitation then?”

Sean resisted the usual urge he felt to knee the guy in the nuts and flashed the party badge in his lapel. “Tonight I’m here working for Representative Franklin.”

“I wonder you have time to come to work at the mine at all,” Price said. Sean didn’t rise to the jibe. His taking the time away from work for his union duties, though entirely legal, always bothered management. That he apparently had yet another job wouldn’t make them any happier. Never mind. He might have three jobs right now, but he had plans to cut them down to one—and Price would no longer be his boss.

“If you’d like to see the representative, she’s on the terrace,” Sean said. Price swept past him, and the rest of the delegation followed. Only one of them bothered to acknowledge Sean.

“Morgan.”

Shit. Alex Jackson. A tall black man Sean’s age, and who filled out a good suit well, stopped to speak to Sean. Sean nodded and tried to stay cool, hoping a blush was not creeping up around his collar. “Jackson,” he said in the same cool tone. If Alex was blushing, it was hidden by his dark skin. He met Sean’s gaze only briefly.

“I… Good evening.” Alex strode off after his fellow executives.

Sean couldn’t resist watching him go, wishing his extremely fine ass wasn’t hidden under the tail of his jacket. Sean knew exactly how fine it was, because he’d had his hands on it twice now. Only his hands on it, sadly, not his cock in it, which was something he’d like to change.

Not tonight, though. Alex had made it clear with his frosty greeting that he didn’t want the other partygoers to see a hint of anything between them. There wasn’t anything between them. They’d had a couple of casual encounters after running into each other in a bar. They weren’t lovers or anything.

Between the union and his ambitions with Franklin, Sean cultivated contacts like some people cultivated orchids, and Alex could be a useful one. The benefits on the side were a definite bonus, though. Alex had shown up on Ganymede two months ago, transferred in from SolCorp’s Head Office on Earth, and the scuttlebutt Sean had picked up was that he’d been involved in some kind of scandal. He was here as punishment, Sean assumed, the moons of the outer planets not being the most plum assignments for up-and-coming young executives. And Sean wanted to know why, what was he being punished for? The first time Sean ran into Alex in a bar, it had been an accident. The second time it had not. But so far all Sean had gotten out of him was a couple of blowjobs.

He shook himself from contemplation of Alex Jackson and his fine ass, and went back to work.

An hour later, Heather caught up with him again.

“How about that walk and talk then?” she said. “I’m not here for my health, you know. My editor expects me to bring back something more than a report on the quality of the canapés.”

Sean glanced over at Franklin. The head of the local transport company had been monopolizing her quite long enough, he decided. She caught his eye, and he made a quick gesture toward Heather at his side. Franklin nodded, and Sean led Heather over there.

“Do excuse me a moment,” Franklin said to the transport boss. She did it so graciously, Sean thought. As if she was only popping away from the person speaking to her for a moment, though everyone involved knew it really meant “your turn is up for tonight.” She turned to Heather. “Ms. Freeman, how nice to see you again. How’s little Jamie doing?” She guided Heather away with a hand on her elbow.

Another trick Sean would have to learn—remembering the names and the kids’ names of everyone he met. People loved that stuff, and Franklin was good at it. At a loose end for a moment, and with a dry throat from too much schmoozing, he made for the free bar. A few people were taking full advantage of it already, getting loud.

One was doing the former, but not the latter. Sitting quietly at the bar, shoulders slumped, sat Alex Jackson. Sean frowned. Interesting. The times they’d met in the bar, Alex hadn’t been drinking alcohol. Built like that, athletic, muscular, he probably treated his body like a temple. Not the type to get smashed just because there was free booze. So…interesting.

“Hey.” Sean took a seat beside him. “I’ll have what he’s having,” he said to the bartender, nodding at Alex.

“Got some catching up to do then.” The barman put a double vodka down in front of Sean and dropped a couple of ice cubes in it.

Alex looked at him through rather red eyes. “Sean.”

“Alex.” Sean raised his glass as if in a toast and took a sip, careful to keep the grimace off his face. He hated vodka. Never mind—he’d only wanted to know what Alex was drinking. And why he was drinking so hard. “Remember when parties were for having fun?” he asked, recalling what he’d thought before. This was important work for him, but he couldn’t pretend to enjoy it.

“I never liked parties,” Alex said. Sean could believe it. Probably stayed in and studied a lot—he had impressive grades from a top college. Yes, Sean had looked them up. Because he had to figure out why. Why was this well-qualified guy, not quite thirty yet, who’d been on the fast track to the board, here on Ganymede? He’d been described as “our most promising recruit” when the company took him on, so why was he here in a backwater? Some kind of racist shit? Had he done too well? Made the white guys look bad and been sent to the boondocks for his presumption?

There was always the possibility Sean was reading it wrong and Alex was here to lay the groundwork or gather information for some kind of shit the company was planning to pull. But if that were the case, why would he be so depressed?

Alex looked over at him, his gaze traveling down Sean’s body, and Sean felt the blush rise again, not liking that he reacted so easily to the guy. Alex’s gaze traveled back up to his face. Sean smiled, until Alex spoke.

“That’s a dreadful suit.”

Sean moved uncomfortably in his seat, suddenly self-conscious. Shit. That was just uncalled for. No, it wasn’t a good suit, unlike the dark blue tailor-made perfection embracing Alex’s body.

“We’re not all on your salary,” he said, bristling.

“Sorry,” Alex muttered. “I just meant, if you wore a good suit, you…” He shook his head. “Sorry.” He turned away and raised a hand to the bartender again. Sean caught the guy’s eye and gave a small frown. The bartender shook his head at Alex.

“You’re cut off,” Sean said. “Free bar doesn’t mean ‘drink yourself into a stupor,’ you know.”

“I’m not drunk.” Alex did manage to stand without swaying too much, but Sean grabbed his arm anyway.

“You’d better go home.” He glanced over to see if Price was watching. “Your boss is here, remember? This isn’t the time or place.” Whatever had happened to make him get sent here, disgracing himself in front of Price wouldn’t help him get his career back on track. Alex’s career was neither here nor there to Sean, but earning goodwill was always useful. “Let me take you home.”

Alex looked at him, a long look, until Sean thought he couldn’t breathe until Alex blinked. When Alex spoke at last and dropped Sean’s gaze, Sean had to gasp for breath. He wanted to speak. He wanted to beg. You’re beautiful. I want you. Let me fuck you.

“Thanks,” Alex said. “I guess I had too many. Not used to it.”

Sean shook the feeling off. A passing madness. Flattering lighting turning Alex’s eyes into dark pools in his handsome face, highlights on his dark skin turned to amber by the warm-toned lamps over the bar.

Alex let Sean guide him out to the main drag of the orbital, bustling with the nighttime crowds. A couple of taxis waited outside, and Sean whistled one up. Alex climbed in and fell onto the seat. Sean should have closed the door on him and said good night, but instead he climbed in to join Alex.

“I’m quite capable of getting home,” Alex protested as the cab moved off.

“Humor me,” Sean said.

Alex looked at him narrowly, probably wondering what else Sean had in mind. What else did he have in mind? And did Alex object? It had been good, the two times they’d done it so far, but three times would be getting too heavy. Sean wasn’t looking for a lover, or any kind of emotional involvement. He was too damn busy.

“You okay?” Sean asked. “Not going to be sick?”

“No,” Alex snapped. “I’m…cold.”

That made no sense to Sean. Cold? In this perfectly climate-controlled environment? Maybe it was because of the drink. Sean moved a little closer to Alex and thought about putting his arm around him, but he didn’t. Instead he only smiled at him, as if a smile could warm Alex up. And started to think about what he wanted to do to him at the end of this ride.

* * * *

ALEX WANTED SEAN. He decided it suddenly, knowing it was a decision made deep in the coldness inside him. He wanted Sean to light a fire tonight, keep him warm, remind him he was alive, because every day he felt more and more numb, cold, and dead.

He should be wary of Sean; he knew that. They didn’t work together, so that wasn’t the problem, but Sean was a senior man in the local union and a “troublemaker” according to Price and his cronies. Alex should stay well away from a troublemaker. He’d had enough trouble. His throat tightened, and his eyes grew hot. Shame. Humiliation. It all swept over him again.

I must not think of it.

Bury the thoughts deep. There was only one distraction from them. The one he’d gone looking for the night he’d met Sean in a bar. They’d recognized each other and naturally fell to talking. Alex had been the one to suggest a motel room.

And who could blame him? Bad suit aside, Sean was hot. He had a body made strong and muscular by hard physical work. Big hands and a big cock to go with them. Alex had enjoyed getting his hands into Sean’s thick, coarse light-brown-not-quite-blond hair while Sean sucked him. Enjoyed looking into greenish eyes and kissing his fair skin, scattered with pale freckles. Pale freckles because he’d spent all his life on this orbital habitat or down at the mine in the moon below. He’d never felt sunshine on his shoulders.

No motel tonight. They arrived at the accommodation sector, and Alex paid the cab. Would Sean stay in it and go back to the party? Continue that party activist stuff he was up to for the representative? No. Sean got out, and the cab left.

“Let me see you to your door,” Sean said.

“I’m fine,” Alex insisted. Even though he wanted Sean to come to his door and through it, he had his pride, and Sean was denting it.

“You don’t look fine.”

“I’m not one of your union members, and I don’t think I’m eligible to vote for the representative yet, so you don’t need to schmooze me.”

Sean grinned. “I can have other reasons for being nice to people besides politics. Come on.” He took Alex’s elbow in his hand to guide him. Alex pulled his arm away.

“I know where I live.”

The fact that he got lost twice on the way to the apartment gave the lie to that. At last they reached the door. Only then did Sean lose his cheeky air and look a little awkward. He’d delivered Alex safely to his door as he said he would. Now what?

Alex looked at him and remembered the fine, hard, and well-muscled body under the cheap suit. He wanted it again. It didn’t mean anything. Three times didn’t make Sean his lover. Fuck buddies, no more.

“Come in,” Alex said. Not a question. Not an invitation either. More an order, and it made Sean scowl at once. Not someone who liked to be pushed around. “Please,” Alex added.

Sean shrugged. “I could use a coffee.”

He got nowhere near the coffee machine. As soon as the door slid closed behind them, Alex grabbed him and pushed him against the wall. He left the lights off, and dim glows from panels around the room turned Sean’s pale skin blue and ghostly.

He kissed Sean, sucking his tongue in, and grabbed at his shirt, pulling it open, needing warm skin to take away the chill making his limbs feel cold and heavy. Making him feel like dead weight.

“Alex, wait,” Sean said, pushing him back, not hard, his heart not in the protest. “You’re drunk. I should go.”

“No. I’m not that drunk. Stay. I need you to stay.”

“Alex…there are rules. I’d be taking advantage.” He sounded torn. His eyes looked agonized.

Typical union man, worrying about the rules. “Fuck the rules.” Alex wanted to be taken advantage of. Fully. Repeatedly.

Before Sean could protest again, Alex dropped to his knees. Sean’s shirt was open to the waist, and Alex pulled it out of his waistband. He fumbled with Sean’s fly until Sean batted his hand away and undid it himself.

Alex grabbed the pants and pulled them roughly down to Sean’s knees, dragging the underwear with them and making Sean yelp at the friction on his cock. Despite his protest about rules, his cock was hard and ready. It was a pale, ghostly thing in the darkness, but considerably more substantial than a ghost, solid and hot in Alex’s hand.

He plunged down on it fast, taking it in deep, too quickly, almost choking himself before he pulled back, trying to calm down. Slowly, he said in his head, trying to control his breathing, getting dizzy again. Maybe he was a little too drunk for this.

Sean rested one hand on Alex’s head, stroked down the side of it. The feel of his rough-skinned hand on Alex’s short-cropped hair, teasing his skin, made Alex shiver all over and forget about his dizziness. His cock felt too confined in his pants, and he needed Sean touching him. But now he had Sean’s cock in his mouth, had made him a promise when he dropped to his knees, so he set about keeping it.

He straightened up, realizing he’d started to slouch bonelessly—whether from the drink or Sean’s touch, he didn’t know. Bending closer to Sean, he took Sean’s cock in deeper, closing his eyes, not thinking of anyone else. He was sure of that. Nobody else. This was Sean Morgan, union man and pain in the ass, by all accounts. But possessor of a fine body and good-sized cock. His scent filled Alex’s mind, musk and sweat and some cheap cologne, a tang of soap. Sean Morgan, nobody else. He sought oblivion in Sean’s body. He barely knew the man. He didn’t care. He only cared who Sean was not.

Sean ground his hips toward Alex’s face, moaning—quietly. He probably shared an apartment and was used to having to keep it down during sex. Well, he could yell all he liked here. The walls were thick.

Alex had to unzip his own pants and ease his cock out, because he was going to ruin his suit otherwise. Cold air on it made him gasp. Damn, the heat was too low in here. How had he not noticed? The chill threatened to shrivel him, but he rubbed warmth and life back into it with the hand he wasn’t using to press into Sean’s hip, pushing him back against the wall. Sean thrust at him harder now, pushing against the restraining hand. He put his other hand on Alex’s head, and his touch was less gentle this time, holding him, guiding him, bringing him closer. Coarse hair tickled Alex’s nose, and the head of Sean’s cock touched his throat. Too late to take it in deeper. Sean let out a cry and climaxed. His cum filled Alex’s mouth, hosed his throat. Alex moaned, rubbing himself hard, fast, the taste of Sean exciting him beyond control. He pulled back, spat out what he hadn’t already swallowed, and stood, pulling Sean against him. Sean looked at him through glazed eyes, appearing half-asleep, before he snapped back to consciousness. He grinned.

“Hot.”

“Touch me, for fuck’s sake.” Alex rubbed against him, desperate for the friction, grabbing Sean’s hands to bring them between the two of them. Sean pulled his hands away, gripped Alex’s arms, and swung him around to shove him hard against the wall.

“Your turn.”

“Oh God, yes, Sean, do it.”

Sean used one hand to pull Alex’s face closer to his, gripping the side of it, kissing him hard, a bruising kiss, his bristles scraping Alex’s smoother skin. He got his other hand down between them and wrapped it around Alex’s cock. If his hand, his workingman’s hand with its calloused and hardened skin, had felt good on Alex’s scalp, it felt incredible on the much more sensitive skin of his cock. Sean teased the underside with his thumb, scraping the heated and tingling flesh. Alex wavered between pleasure and pain, a teasing, nearly scream-inducing sensation. He ground into Sean, wanting more friction, more stimulation, gasping out Sean’s name over and over.

Sean Morgan. Nobody else. Even with eyes closed, there was no confusing him. Rough hands, his own scent, his coarse hair, all so different… Alex arched away from the wall, Sean pulling him closer, one arm around him, the other stroking him rhythmically faster and faster, bringing him closer and closer, until Alex released, sought refuge in the blinding light, the deafening scream of his mind in ecstasy. Nothing else, no pain, no humiliation, just the point of light his mind had become as he sagged into the arms of the man he barely knew, the man he sought peace with.

Sean shook him gently and called his name. “Okay,” he heard Sean say, “let’s get you into bed.”

Yes, bed. He’d like his bed. The alcohol he’d drunk seemed to have suddenly asserted itself, and he was sleepy, floppy in Sean’s arms. Sean maneuvered him to the bedroom and stripped his jacket off before letting him drop onto the bed. Alex lay flat on his back, eyes closed, as Sean took his shoes and pants off, leaving him wearing only his open shirt and his underwear.

Sean sat on the bed, and Alex felt a hand come to rest on his thigh and stroke it. He opened his eyes to see desire still clear on Sean’s face. Did he want more?

“Alex, I want to fuck you so bad.”

“No. I don’t bottom.”

Sean sighed, but he stayed where he was, his hand resting on Alex’s leg, rubbing his thumb gently on the sensitive skin of the inner thigh.

“Don’t you have to go back to the party?” Alex asked.

“No rush.”

They were silent for a few minutes, Alex drifting close to sleep, ready for that oblivion now. Sean had given him some peace for the night. Sean…still close by. He raised his hand, reached for Sean, and heard a muttered swear word. Had he startled Sean? But Sean took his hand and smiled when Alex looked at him through half-closed eyes.

“I thought you were asleep,” Sean said.

“It all went wrong,” Alex sighed out in little more than a whisper. His eyes closed again.

“What did?” Sean asked. His voice sounded so distant. But he still held Alex’s hand. He’d go soon, Alex knew, but he was here now, making the night less cold.

* * * *

“Heather came home an hour ago,” Kathleen said. Kathleen Morgan, Sean’s mom, and his third boss, the leader of the union.

“I was busy.” Why did his mom have to be so ready to babysit Heather’s son? He’d sneaked quietly back into the apartment he shared with her at almost 02:00, expecting she’d have come back from babysitting and be in bed. But no, she’d waited up for him, sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee. No wonder she looked tired.

“You do remember you have a meeting with the safety committee tomorrow?” she asked.

“Of course I remember.” With her reminding him of his union duties every five minutes, he could hardly forget.

“Are you prepared, or have you been too busy?” He heard the stress she put on the busy. Too busy with Franklin and not the union.

“I’m prepared. Look, I’m going to bed. Like you say, early meeting.”

“I’m just concerned, Sean, that you’re letting down the members, taking on this extra work. I’m sure Mrs. Franklin has lots of activists. She doesn’t need you.”

Should he tell her that he had plans beyond being an unpaid volunteer activist? No, he couldn’t explain his ambitions to her now. Not if he wanted some sleep tonight. He’d have to soon though. The secret ambition had become a heavy burden.

“Mom, she’s the union’s preference for representative. I’d think you’d be happy I’m working to get her reelected.”

“You have other priorities.”

No. He really didn’t. But she’d always set his priorities for him. It would take her a while to get used to the idea of him setting his own.

Which would be worse, he wondered, that she thought he’d spent hours schmoozing for Franklin? Or that he’d actually left early and had sex with a SolCorp executive? Sex with management? She’d probably have a stroke. Not just sex. He’d ended up watching Alex sleep for a couple of hours, lying beside him, imagining what it would be like to wake up every morning in a double bed with a gorgeous man. Not Alex specifically. He was indeed gorgeous, but if he wasn’t going to let Sean fuck him, then they were sexually incompatible, so nothing could come of it. Though for someone he supposedly wasn’t sexually compatible with, Alex had certainly made him see stars with that blowjob.

No. He wasn’t looking for a lover. He stood up from the kitchen table. “I really do have to go to bed. Good night.”

He felt her gaze, still full of both disapproval and disappointment, follow him out of the room as he headed to his bedroom, ducking under the bar he’d bolted in the doorway to use for pull-ups. Part of his home gym, he’d said. A way to stop the door closing and make the room drafty, she’d said.

Sean made it to his room without being called back for just one more argument. He stripped off and put his suit on a hanger carefully, though he tossed the rest in a heap in the corner. Then he fell into bed and slept, dreaming of lean, dark limbs entangled with his.


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