Around the corner of the house, he stopped short. A man, wearing breeches and nothing else, raised his hammer and slammed it down on the anvil. His other hand held a clamp of some kind, which held whatever he was hitting so it wouldn’t jump around at being hit.
He was doing some blacksmith work, but doing it unlike any man that Henri had seen. The lack of clothing alone was enough to throw him. It wasn’t done in this era, working without being fully dressed.
The man’s muscles flexed and relaxed with his work, and he was tanned enough to show this lack of required clothing wasn’t a one-time affair. His long golden hair ran down his bare back contained in a ponytail much longer than fashion dictated.
His muscles rolled under his skin as he brought the hammer down again. Sweat ran down his torso. Schlepping his tongue across that man’s stomach would be a salty, tasty treat.
Henri’s cock swelled and surged as he watched the man elegantly moving, smashing the hot metal. What was he making?
The man’s neck twisted as he looked to where Henri stood, showing no surprise that someone stood there. His face was a painter’s dream, long with high cheekbones and arresting blue eyes. Full lips parted to show even white teeth, a rarity for the times.
“Allo.” The man spoke first in fluid deep tones. “Are you going to stand there and look all day at me? Perhaps I should charge for my show.”
Henri’s cheeks warmed at being caught staring. Damn, the man had him almost flushing as if he were a school boy, which was something he hadn’t even done as a schoolboy. “No. I...came to visit a friend.” Henri caught himself before he almost answered him in his original language, instead of in the French he’d spoken for so many years.
The man’s lips pulled back into a grin, revealing more teeth. “That’s good to know.” The man’s long lashes fluttered down to cover his eyes, but Henri didn’t miss the heated look the man gave before they closed. Henri’s heartbeat quickened. Yet another thing that set this man apart in his time. Overt sexuality for the same sex was frowned upon in most circles. Who was this man?
“I’m here to see Madeleine. Is this her house?” Henri took three steps toward the young man, who looked to be in his early twenties, if not eighteen or nineteen. In the distance, a bird called mournfully.
“Yes. Yes, this is her house. Are you a friend of hers?”
Henri nodded, his question on who the man was still unanswered.
“As payment for watching my show...” His pony tail swayed, containing his lion’s mane of hair. That loose golden mass would slide so softly across Henri’s body. “...how about getting me a drink?”
“All right. I’m Henri Baptiste, by the way.”
“A pleasure, Henri. I’m Nathan. There’s a bucket over there.” He pointed with long fingers. His hands were callused, well worn.
The pleasure was all Henri’s. He found his intrigue growing as he walked to the metal bucket to draw some water. As he walked back, Nathan hammered more. Watching each blow ricocheting through Nathan’s body, Henri’s lust surged, too. He’d never viewed blacksmithing as a sexy chore even when he’d seen it often, but this man’s smoldering looks and body could change his mind.
Would it be rude to have a tryst while visiting your dying former lover?
Bucket in hand, striding back to Nathan, propriety stepped in to cool the embers of his lust. This man was at Madeleine’s house. Surely, she hadn’t taken on a lover after her husband had passed away. Especially one so much younger than her. “Is Madeleine here? You said this was her house.”
Nathan took the dipper from the bucket and sipped. A look of pure pleasure rushed across his face as his throat moved, drinking down the water.
Henri swallowed, unable to look away from the man. This close, he could smell something minty mixed with sweat. And nothing had ever been sexier.
Their eyes met, clicking together. It was like metal to flint, striking a fire in Henri’s gut that roared to life, popping and crackling.
Nathan’s eyes widened in surprise, telling Henri he felt the current sizzle between them, too. Nathan lowered the dipper while catching a drop from the corner of his lip with his tongue.
Henri leaned in, about to have a taste of the man, when a voice called from the house. “Nathan, where are you?” The voice was soft, hoarse.
Nathan dropped the dipper into the bucket, still staring straight at Henri. Putting one hand on either side of Henri’s face, he gently brushed his lips across Henri’s. The simple kiss made Henri’s body clench, especially his already hard cock.