Join Prism Book Alliance® as we countdown to GRL 2015 with a very special flash fiction from Author Simone Anderson.
We sent the #TeamPrism authors 4 prompts and let them choose which one to use. The four prompts are below.
(please note: all rights to these prompts remain with the artist)
Malik Thompson ignored the crowd as he pushed his way through. He didn’t care that he was getting a reputation for being difficult or that his mother called him petulant. His needs were simple, and didn’t include the pomp and extravagant niceties his parents favored. The orchestra played another selection, women smiled and flirted with him. Desire warred with duty. Malik swore.
The centuries old traditional spring ball marked the official beginning of the courting season. There would be enough parties and get-togethers to make the social butterflies happy and send introverts running for cover. He wouldn’t classify himself in either category, but preferred staying away from the courting and dating scenes. He had no use for the flirting and the lying and wondering if the person was genuine or after something more materialistic. It was generally accepted the harvest festival marked the official end of the courting season. It was almost six months of non-stop activity. Malik frowned, barely containing the growl threatening to escape.
Blowing out a breath, Malik shoved a hand through his hair with one hand and lifted the tumbler of whisky to his lips with the other. Irritation clawed at him. The gratitude he felt for his parents for giving him space didn’t change the fact that he didn’t want to be here. Nor lessen his anger for tricking him in the first place. He’d been distracted when he’d agreed earlier in the day to accompany them tonight to dinner. That the ball was approaching hadn’t entered his thoughts. It wasn’t until he stepped out of the luxury hovercar to the cheers of throngs of people that he realized what his parents had done. He’d been left with no choice but to enter the ball and the courting season. Something he’d managed to avoid for the past sixteen years.
He didn’t blame his parents. Not completely. It was seen as a bad omen for an unwed monarch to assume the throne. While his younger brother was married and his sister was engaged to a man she met during last year’s courting season, he was the heir to the throne and his father was ready to step down. Malik had tried to talk his parents into letting him abdicate and let either his brother or sister take his place, but they had staunchly refused. He hadn’t really wanted to be the next king. The war had changed that. Had changed him. He was a warrior, not a diplomat and certainly not a politician. He believed in action. Sometimes at the end of a blaster.
Malik pushed his way out onto the large veranda and made his way off to the side. Gods, was it harvest time yet?
“Not yet.” The male voice that spoke was quiet, firm, and was unlike any Malik had heard before.
“I’m sorry, what do you mean?” Malik asked, walking to the figure hiding in the shadows.
“You asked if it was harvest time yet,” the man chuckled. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you don’t want to be here.”
Malik leaned one hip against the railing and crossed his arms. “I don’t. I’m not ready for a husband. Marriage is –”
“Permanent? A menace? Makes people miserable?”
“No, well that maybe true, but that’s not why I don’t want to be here. I’m just not ready. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready,” Malik replied. He was finding hard to explain to the stranger why he didn’t want to be here, harder still was the reason Malik felt compelled to even explain it to the other man.
“Then you probably shouldn’t have invested in the season,” the man laughed, shifting slightly.
“One could say the same for you, hiding in the shadows. There are plenty of people to meet.” Malik could make out the short blond hair, but the rest of the man’s features were hidden in the darkness. “Where are you from? I’ve never heard a voice like yours before.”
“The southern province of Theyra.”
Malik tilted his head to one side. “That’s not a Theyran accent. My second in command was from Theyra.”
“My mother is Theyran, my father part Chiolia and part Agrea,” the man replied.
“Maybe.” Malik hesitated agreeing. He was missing something.
“I’m also a trained singer,” the man suggested.
Malik nodded, willing to pretend that was what he was hearing. Malik perched on the wall talking to the man. They spent the better part of the night talking. He learned the man was the youngest of five, and not only a trained singer, an up and coming star. Malik had asked him to sing for him. He’d declined. Malik had begged for part of one of the singer’s favorites. The man had relented and sang a couple lines from an old folk song. Malik had never heard a more beautiful voice. They had traded stories and adventures about growing up and life with siblings and the pranks they had played on each other. Malik had rarely felt so at ease with another person. He couldn’t think of one outside of his family and the men in his unit. They’d become friends and brothers, but even those relationships hadn’t started out like this one. This man was different. Malik couldn’t pinpoint the difference, but he knew it was there.
“I should go, they’ll be starting soon,” the younger man said pushing off the wall.
“They started a while ago, I believe,” Malik replied. He hadn’t come looking for a partner, but he’d found a man that intrigued him enough to want to get to know more of. “Dance with me?”
Nearby lights flickered on, illuminating the dark corner of the veranda.
The man gasped and shook his head. “No, my Lord. You do know that almost everyone knows who they’re choosing during the courting season? It’s just a formality.”
Malik blew out a breath. He had enjoyed getting to know the other man. He hadn’t realized the younger man hadn’t known who he was. The lack of formality and the warmth in the man’s voice was something he had missed since leaving the service. “Do you have someone picked out?” He asked, trying to hide the burgeoning disappointment.
“No, your highness I don’t.”
“Then dance one dance with me. Just one,” Malik asked, closer to begging than he wanted to admit. “I’ll have fulfilled my obligation to my parents, while providing you a means of attracting a viable courting candidate. If you so desire.”
“You’ve really never done this before, have you?” the man asked.
Malik shook his head. “Between my studies, military service, and the war, I have managed to miss it every year since I turned sixteen. You?”
“This is my third year attending. I usually attend one in Theyra.”
“Why didn’t you this time?” Malik asked.
“A dream.” The man shrugged.
“What’s your name?”
“Zane. Zane McMasters.”
“Dance with me Zane.” Malik pressed again. Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. Malik blew out a breath and tamped down on his rising anger. His time was up.
“Excuse me, your highness, but your father wants to begin,” his father’s personal assistant said. The man glanced quickly over at Zane disapprovingly, before schooling his features.
Malik pushed off the wall and stalked over to the older man. “You have delivered your message. I suggest you keep your opinions to yourself. I will dance, bed, and marry whomever I damn well please. Be they noble, janitor, or singer. I have earned that right.”
“You serve my father. I have served this planet. Get out of my sight.”
“You’re vibrating with anger. He did nothing wrong,” Zane replied softly, placing a hand on Malik’s arm.
“It was how he looked at you. Like you were some worthless piece of garbage,” Malik replied taking several deep breaths. He forced himself to relax. The anger was unwarranted and out of place.
“But I’m not dating you. I don’t belong to you.”
“I know.” Malik nodded. “Please dance with me.”
“Does your father share his opinion?”
“I don’t actually care what my parents think. Since they lied to get me here, they have no say.” Malik grabbed Zane’s hand. “Please dance with me. Not because of who I am or who my parents are, but because you want to.”
Zane took a deep breath.
“I won’t be offended if you say no.”
Zane smiled and nodded.
Malik thanked the gods and whoever made restless and rebellious common traits among his people. They had proven useful in the war against the Ploebas. A humanoid race that had tried to force their ultra-conservatives ideals onto the more open-minded Treotan. When diplomacy had failed, the Ploebas had tried force. After multiple attacks and thousands of lives lost Malik and his forces had chased the Ploebas back to their homeworld, destroying space stations and key industries that would keep the Ploebas planet-bound for several years.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather dance with someone else, your highness?” Zane asked.
“It’s Malik. Only ever Malik.” Malik reached out for Zane and pulled the other man to him. “I’m sure. You’re the only person I want to dance with.”
Malik led Zane back into the ballroom, the orchestra played the national anthem followed the traditional waltz. Malik took Zane in his arms, and started moving across the floor. Their movements as ancient as the music. It was a dance every Treotan knew. The waltz bled into a slower song and Malik was reluctant to let the younger man go. They had talked and laughed during the waltz and Malik was more convinced than ever that he wanted to get to know Zane more. Malik hoped he could convince Zane to meet him at the next party or gathering.
“Will you—” Malik started to say. A tap on the shoulder had him stopping and turning. “Yes?”
“May I cut in?”
Malik recognized the other man. James Hamilton. He was the son of a Duke in one of the western provinces. The voice purred. Malik sneered at him. He didn’t trust the ducal heir at all. “I assume you want to dance with my partner.”
“He’s much too beautiful and pure for the likes of you,” James spat.
“I’ll concede the truth of that statement.” There was too much blood on his hands to every be worthy of a pure soul like Zane’s. “Zane?”
“You said one dance. It’s been more than that. I can’t waste this chance,” Zane answered.
Malik nodded, turned, and left the dance floor. He joined his parents on the raised dais.
“Father, he’s your assistant. Not mine. I don’t like him and I don’t trust him. I especially didn’t like the way he looked down at a man I was talking to.”
“Maybe it was too soon for this,” his mother said. “With the war, and the captivity and the loss of your friends.”
“Mother, that has nothing to do with me not wanting to be here,” Malik replied, he searched the dance floor until he found the face he was after. “I’ve been home for two years now.” He hated crowds more because of their unpredictability and mob mentality more than because of something he’d experienced. He hadn’t been plagued by nightmares or flashbacks, not like others he knew. That he attributed to the voice from his dreams. The voice of his soulmate, a young psychic girl had told him.
“Then what is it?” The king asked.
“It’s an ancient tradition that I see serves no useful purpose,” Malik replied, staring as James hands slid grabbed Zane’s ass. Zane swatted the hand away.
“How many dance partners has your friend had?” the Queen asked holding out a silver tray.
Malik blinked and turned back to his mother. Two more songs had played and James had claimed Zane’s attention for a second time. Malik snagged the blue rose off the tray, careful to miss the pin and stomped down the dais, cutting a path through the crowd.
“Move James,” Malik ground out. The couple stopped. The abrupt action shocking nearby couples.
“My Lord—” James started to say before Zane interrupted him.
“Malik, what is going on?”
James opened and closed his mouth, staring. “He gave you leave to call him by his first name?”
“Leave us James. Zane will find you later if he chooses,” Malik said firmly.
“Yes, My Lord.” James bowed, turned, and left.
“That was rude, Malik. I don’t owe you anything. It was one dance,” Zane replied.
“One dance tonight. But every dream I’ve had for the last five years. I didn’t realize it was your voice until just now.”
Zane paled. “I thought it was just a dream. I didn’t understand it, but I didn’t know they were your dreams.”
“They kept me sane. Kept me company,” Malik admitted. “Let me court you. Let me get to know you.”
“You’re serious?” Zane asked.
Malik presented the blue rose. Malik nodded. He pinned the flower to the lapel of Zane’s tux, the bright blue standing out against the black fabric. It was a custom, as old as the courting ball. Another tradition, he hadn’t agreed with, but the flower marked Zane as his. Malik crushed Zane to him. He was looking forward to this courting season.
“I thought you had to wait until I actually said yes to let me spend the night?” Zane laughed as Malik pulled him through the room to the balcony.
Malik growled. He had behaved himself the entire weekend. He had monopolized Zane’s time. In retaliation, Zane had flirted and teased in between talking and getting to know his family. When Malik had threatened fuck Zane into oblivion during a private dinner with Malik’s parents, the younger man had increased the teasing. Malik pinned Zane to the wall, kissing him. Zane’s hands were everywhere, heat tracing their movement across Malik’s body. Malik’s cock swelled. Zane’s hand brushed across him and he stilled.
“Zane, what’s wrong?” Malik asked, breathless.
“Nothing, I just never—” Zane shook his head, palming Malik’s erection.
“You turn me on. I’m no virgin. I know what I want, but if this is too much, too soon, say it. I’ll back off and court you in the more traditional way,” Malik said, moaning at the increased sensations the pressure and friction were causing him.
“I’m not either. There are other men, with better pedigrees. I’m not even nobility. I’m just a commoner,” Zane answered shaking his head. “You’re—you’re fine. You’re courting me just fine.”
“There is nothing common about you,” Malik said untucking Zane’s shirt. Carefully he unbuttoned it, pausing to kiss Zane between each one. Once he was finished, he helped Zane out of it, laving first one nipple then the other until Zane’s words turned to moans.
Malik dropped to his knees, unzipped Zane’s pants and fished out his cock. It was long an slender. Malik licked the tip, swirling his tongue around the head before opening and swallowing Zane almost to the base. Zane’s hands fisted in his hair.
“Oh gods, Malik!” Zane shouted. The sound abruptly cut off.
Malik flicked his gaze upward to see Zane’s fist in his mouth. Malik smiled and pulled almost all the way off Zane’s cock. Holding onto Zane’s hip with one hand, Malik used the other to play with the younger man’s balls as his licked and sucked his way up and down Zane’s shaft.
“Coming!” Zane ground out.
Malik increased his ministrations. Looking up as Zane came, Malik watched the man come apart. Malik swallowed every drop. The grip in his hair loosened, and Malik tucked Zane away and zipped him up before standing and pulling the smaller man into his arms.
“Malik, that was amazing.”
“I’m glad you approve.” Malik smiled and pulled Zane into his arms. He turned him so Zane’s back was against his chest and watched as a comet raced through the night sky.
“You didn’t come,” Zane said suddenly.
“Are you leaving now?”
Zane shook his head. “No.”
“Then we have all night. I want to make love to you in my bed,” Malik said kissing Zane’s neck.
“I think this means you have to keep me,” Zane chuckled.
“Thank the gods!”
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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