Chen approached that night’s Chinese New Year’s party with a troubled mind. Even though he’d been invited by Blau, he felt as though he should have been on Travis’s arm.
Ridiculous. He’s surely moved on to a new victim.
Then, immediately: I’m not a victim. He’s moved on to a new one-night stand. That’s all.
Oh, but his body fairly ached with memory.
He glanced left at James and James’s human lover. Both of them were dressed as roosters, this year’s animal. They looked stupid. Or maybe the word he wanted was “traditional,” because their costumes looked like something the humans back home would wear on occasion.
Blau and his
lover were dressed as Chinese businessmen, complete with black wigs that covered their hair, and masks with upturned eyes.
Chen had dressed in the clothing he’d worn every day back home: rough trousers and a sleeved linen shirt such as the men in the village nearest his herd’s home wore. He looked like a farmer of no specific century. And he had a feeling he’d taken the least amount of time choosing his costume of anyone in his small party of five.
But of course, that was because he already had the costume. And also, it didn’t truly matter what he was wearing—only that he be able to see, and possibly steal back, Travis.
They passed into the party’s location—an expansive room hung in brown and gold—as a large group, but immediately Professor Boyle dragged Blau off toward a cluster of colleagues, and James and his date went toward the refreshment table. Around the room, small groups of people were chatting. No one was dancing. The music wasn’t even loud enough for dancing.
Chen wandered through the clusters of people, seeking Travis. But before he’d spotted his one-night-stand-to-be-reclaimed, he saw a woman holding forth among a knot of people. The woman gestured and moved gracefully, and the only hint that she wasn’t an actual traditionally dressed Chinese noblewoman was the lack of bindings on her small feet. But she had a long, shining braid of deepest black and a narrow waist.
Chen wanted her.
No. No, he didn’t. He didn’t want anything to do with the women of China. Even if they appeared as humans sometimes and dragons at others. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with his homeland.
If this was an American New Year’s party, I would be more at ease.
Still, the woman’s gestures drew him. As did her slender form.
“…and that’s why the Chinese who first came to the United States to work on the railroads celebrated Chinese New Year.”
That was no woman’s voice. That was Travis’s
voice. Was that possible?
Chen stepped closer as the knot of people around the not-quite-noblewoman applauded. He reached out, laid a hand on her shoulder, and turned her. It was
Travis, white face paint notwithstanding. It was Travis.
Chen stepped forward and kissed him before anyone else could lay claim. He pulled Travis into an embrace and kissed him fervently, mouth open and tongue seeking.
Travis returned the kiss, and it was as it had been before: Travis fighting for dominance and winning.
Several people wolf-whistled.
Travis pulled away, and his eyes were alight with enjoyment and heat. “Strange to run into you here. Where are your friends?”
“Around. Where is your current one-night stand?”
“Standing right in front of me?” There was a hint of question in Travis’s voice, even though he thrust his chin forward defiantly when he spoke.
Chen grinned. “Yes.” He let go of Travis with one arm and gestured toward the door. “Will you go with me?”
“As long as it’s back to my apartment. I don’t want to ever sleep in a dorm again. Unless you’re going to leave me to sleep alone again?”
Chen blushed. He hadn’t meant to leave, but he hadn’t wanted to wake up in Travis’s arms and have to face up to what he’d done with the dildo either. So he had
meant to leave; he just didn’t want to face that now. “Maybe. Maybe not.”
Travis smirked. “I’ll take that.” And he headed for the door with Chen’s hand held firmly in his.
The drive was quick, but Chen knew they could have flown there in half the time if humans knew about dragons. Then again, if humans knew about dragons, there would likely be a global outcry against the dragons and human Chinese who participated in the hunting traditions. It would make the public dolphin-loving outrage after the release of The Cove
look like a whimper. So he accepted the ride and enjoyed the way Travis held his hand almost all the way there, only letting go when he had to grip the steering wheel with both hands.
They went up the stairs to Travis’s apartment with Chen in front this time. Not only because he knew where they were going now but because he liked the thought of Travis behind him, watching his ass.
The hallway smelled of cooking, as it had the first time, but this time it smelled like Mexican food. Tasty, but nowhere near as tasty as what awaited them in Travis’s bedroom. There, the smell was all lone human living, without anyone or anything to cover up his musky man aroma.
When Travis put his key in the lock, Chen stepped up behind him and cupped his ass in both hands. Through the skirt, Travis’s ass muscles tensed and relaxed, a lovely flex. And a low laugh escaped his sensual mouth. Then he opened the door, and they were able to go in.
“Are you going to remove all that?” Chen asked, pointing at Travis’s makeup.
“Gladly. I did this mostly to see if you could find me.” He chuckled. “I’m full of shit. I wore it because I like dressing up. It’s fun to pretend not to be myself for a little while.”
“You can keep it on if you want,” Chen found himself saying, even though he wanted Travis naked and without any artifice.
“You don’t like it.”
Chen shrugged and tried to pass it off. “It’s not you, but I’m fine with it.”
“No, you’re not. Why?”
“Because it looks like—” He shut his mouth, shaking his head. And crossed his arms, glaring. You won’t make me say it. I don’t want to think about Mother and her threat to send my brothers. I just want to think about us. About you, naked and hard. And about the dildo maybe.
“Go strip in my bedroom. I’ll be out of the bathroom without a stitch on”—he gestured at his face—“in twenty minutes or so. This stuff’s a bitch to get off.”
Was he really being invited to lie on Travis’s bed and smell his sweet aroma? Chen grinned. “Just don’t take too long. I might masturbate without you.”
“I’d get you hard again in no time,” Travis called over his shoulder as he entered the bathroom. Then he shut the door, effectively leaving Chen alone.
The invitation was too good to resist. Chen strode across the small living room and to the open door of Travis’s bedroom. Here the aroma was stronger, mingled with the scents of drowsiness and sex. Could the room still smell like them after a whole week, or was that possibly Chen’s imagination?
Maybe it’s the stench of another man.
Not another dragon—there was that much to be grateful for. But it could be another man.
Except he doubted like hell that he smelled anything more than Travis’s scent. If it also smelled of sex, it was more than likely Travis had masturbated alone.
Chen entered the room and approached the bed. Lifting the pillow, he inhaled the mildly oily intoxication of Travis’s hair. Picking up the blanket and sniffing, he found only the warm aroma of Travis’s skin.
He hasn’t slept with anyone since me.
This idea had an aphrodisiac effect, and Chen rubbed his growing erection through his trousers. Then he left off it and began to undress.