The Sweet Flag

Jeanne Barrack

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Brandon Keats is a paranormal investigator, specializing in Civil War phenomena. As a gay man, he's searched for years for evidence of gay paranormal activity. When he finally finds what he believes to be an example of this, he de...
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Brandon Keats is a paranormal investigator, specializing in Civil War phenomena. As a gay man, he's searched for years for evidence of gay paranormal activity. When he finally finds what he believes to be an example of this, he decides to confront the ghost of a homosexual Civil War soldier at the grave where he's been sighted.

Ron Tayvail has guarded the grave of Matthew Hardesty for years. When he learns of Brandon's interest in the legend of "The Vigilant Soldier", he's determined to dissuade him from any deeper investigation. He didn't realize that he'd fall in love with the fellow on first sight. And yearn to become his lover. For always.

  • Note:This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, dubious consent, male/male sexual practices.
Sunset came fairly late -- at 8:28 p.m., to be precise. I had two motion-activated infrared cameras, one to be placed on the headstone, one at the foot of the grave assuring pictures from two different angles. Also among my equipment were a Tri-Field Electro-Magnetic Frequency Detector and a voice-activated recorder to pick up any unusual aural phenomena. Armed with permission from the cemetery officials and my laptop, I should have been ready for tonight’s vigil.

I arrived early enough to set up my equipment and conduct a preliminary baseline reading to ensure that everything was in working order. Then I settled down on a small tarp with my laptop and a Thermos filled with coffee, black as pitch and just as bitter. Although a fine mist drifted in the twilight, I wasn’t too concerned. Weather reports showed no indication of rain, and I was comfortable enough in my all-weather jacket. I didn’t really expect to see, hear, or record anything. As I sipped the steaming, hot coffee, my thoughts wandered. Sepia-toned images of deMonde and Hardesty intruded on my concentration. DeMonde’s tanned limbs entwined with Hardesty’s fair-skinned ones. DeMonde’s pliant fingers caressed Hardesty’s face and neck, slid down his body along its muscles as he paused to suck his nipples. DeMonde kneading his flesh. Cupping his penis. The golden glow of gas lamps gilding Hardesty’s fair skin. When he bent to take deMonde’s cock into his mouth, I envisioned his wavy hair slipping against deMonde’s thighs.

I could hear their sighs and groans as they pleasured each other. I could almost smell the scent of sex in the air as their bodies moved against each other. I shared their accelerating heartbeats. I wanted to be there with them in their bed, feeling silk sheets against me. Feeling their lips on me. DeMonde’s velvet baritone murmured to us. His accented words became even more arousing as he switched to French. I was pressed between their hair-roughened chests. DeMonde’s cock nudged my ass, and his hands fondled my sac, cupping them, playing with them. Hardesty…I imagined Hardesty’s face as he must have looked at twenty-one. As his face drew closer to mine to kiss me, he smiled, the same smile in the photo, and the dimple peeked at me.

I wanted to kiss that dimple.

As his face overwhelmed my sight, I drifted off to sleep.

* * * * *

“Get up, damn you! Do you wish to drown?”

A rough, angry, accented voice growled in my ear. A strong hand gripped the sodden hank of hair on my head and pulled. Hard. I opened my eyes to a torrential downpour, high winds, and an inky black night.

“I said, get up! Merde! Do you wish to wallow in the mud like a pig?”

A voluminous ebony slicker flapped in the wind like the wings of a bat, enveloping the figure bending above me. The faint backlight from the street lamp did nothing to reveal his features, hidden by a wide-brimmed hat. A raw, wet gust of wind blew in my face, and I came fully awake.

“Christ! What the hell is going on?”

“A rain storm, obviously. Grab your laptop and come with me.”

“Wait! The rest of my equipment!”

An irritable snarl erupted from my reluctant rescuer, but he scooped up the camera at the foot of the grave and shoved it inside one of the slicker’s deep pockets. I grabbed up everything else, dumped it into my equipment bag and stood up.

Or at least, tried to.

The wind, increasing in strength, knocked me to my knees into the slick mud.

His two powerful hands lifted me to my feet, tossed the equipment bag over one broad shoulder, and he dragged me into his arms. I felt his warm breath for only a moment as he shifted the bag to his other shoulder and shrugged off the right side of his coat. He draped it around me, barking out another command.

“Put your arm around my waist and hold on tight. We need to leave. Now!”

Insanely, I remembered the Thermos, still remaining at the grave.

“I left my Therm --”

“Enough! I will buy you a dozen Thermoses. These lazy fools have not trimmed the trees here for years. A falling branch could kill you! Vite!”

We scrambled toward the gate. Each time I stumbled, he hauled me back up. At last, we reached the arched iron opening and the deserted street. I caught my breath while the stranger glanced up and down the wet pavement. A torrent created by the deluge roared by us in the road. The wind slashed our faces, trying to peel the skin off.

He bit out his words. “Where is your car? Give me your keys.”

I responded to him automatically. The keys left my left pocket as I handed them over without a murmur. I nodded toward the right, and once more, he dragged me onward. At this point, I can’t say why I let him control me. I’m certainly no lightweight, and my sense of self-preservation is by no means lacking. But somehow, I felt so secure in his embrace I didn’t try to escape.

We reached the car, the wind howling at our backs. The stranger supported me, managing somehow to open the driver’s side, and unlocked the backdoor. He tossed the equipment into the back seat. I was next. He threw me into the car, told me to relax, and took command of the steering wheel. Before I could catch my breath, we were speeding down the rain-slicked streets to an unknown destination.

“Where are you taking me?”

“To my home. It’s near the cemetery, and you can dry off there.” I saw him glance at me through the rearview mirror, his face still shadowed by his hat. I could only judge his thoughts by the sound of his honey-dipped voice. He must have read mine in my eyes. He chuckled. “If I wanted to rob you, I could have done so by now.”

“You can still steal my car. Dump me out in some dark, dirty, abandoned alley.”

He laughed aloud. “And then have my way with you? I think not, mon ami. I prefer all of the creature comforts. And that includes clean sheets and a warm apartment.” He paused and his voice grew even deeper. “Unless dark, dirty alleys suit some exotic fantasy of yours, of course.”

I gulped. At that moment, I think I would have agreed to a dark alley, as long as it was with him, my unknown savior. I closed my eyes, savoring the richly erotic scenario that engulfed my thoughts.

“We’re here.”

I opened my eyes as he turned the car down a narrow lane between two townhouses. He pulled into a small slot behind one of the two and turned off the car. The wind had died down somewhat, but the moon still hid behind the clouds. He got out and opened the door on the other side of the car, retrieving my equipment, and then opened my side. I swiveled half in and half out of the car, unable to get up, still shaky on my feet.

With a muttered, impatient curse, he hoisted me up, his arm around my waist.

“I hope this does not become a habit with you, mon ami. If you were a female, I would accuse you of playing upon my gentlemanly nature.”

His taunting words had the expected result, and I pulled away from him.

A shaft of sickly, yellow light from his neighbor’s window illuminated his lush, mobile mouth as he smiled.

Bon. I hoped my aspersions on your masculinity would steel your resolve to walk on your own. Come. Follow me.”

He led me back toward the street. The wind and rain had picked up again, and I kept my head bent, my eyes fixed on the bottom of his soaked jeans. I stumbled up the few slick stone steps to his door. I huddled in my drenched jacket while he paused for a moment before he unlocked the door and ushered me inside. He flicked on the wall switch, and I was dumbstruck.

Had we stepped back in time?

A scene from the nineteenth century greeted me.

Tiffany-shaded lamps, set on heavy, dark Victorian furniture, gave off soft, golden light. Oil paintings in ornate, gilded frames hung on floral wallpapered walls. A baby grand piano, draped with a paisley shawl, sat in one corner of what could only be called the parlor. Deep, rich burgundy, greens, and golds created a warm, sensual interior.

The stranger tossed my stuff onto a chair and, continuing farther into the room, directed me to a deep cushioned couch against one wall. I sank down, grateful to get off my feet, and tried to gather my confused thoughts.

“There’s an afghan you may use to keep yourself warm. I’ll be right out.”

He kept moving until he opened the door to a tiled bathroom. A large, framed mirror showed the interior of the room, and I watched him remove his hat and raincoat, hanging them up on the shower curtain rod where they dripped onto the floor.

He ran his fingers through curly, brown hair. I saw his profile -- strong nose and jaw, and then he turned. His face, reflected in the mirror, made me gasp. Amber-colored eyes and lush, sensual lips -- the face of an angel. He peeled off his t-shirt, revealing a lean, swimmer’s physique.

Then he unzipped his pants and turned around again, exposing a firm, muscled butt.

For one brief, tantalizing moment, his cock flashed in the mirror, and I moaned softly. Even at rest, he was big. I pulled the afghan over my lap, concealing my massive hard-on.

His husky voice called to me from within the bathroom as I watched him pull on a terrycloth robe and belt it.

“It would make sense for us to know each other’s names, n’est pas? My name is Ron Tayvail. And yours?”

“Brand. Brandon Keats. Thanks for rescuing me.”

“My pleasure.”

He paused in the bathroom doorway in his bare feet, casually towel-drying his hair. Then he dropped the towel and leaned against the doorframe, and I started.

His casual, elegant stance mimicked Aaron deMonde’s pose.

Had I become so enamored of my vision of deMonde that I wanted to believe that Ron was my vigilant soldier?

Copyright © Jeanne Barrack


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