This is the fifth and final day of our series of juicy excerpts from the five volumes of our giant Gay Romance Bundle.
Charming, edited by Jen Levine and Rian Darcy, is a collection of eight modern gay fairy tales. Our excerpt is the first third or so of Nightingale by Evey Brett:
The Emperor of Jazz always played as if death were on his heels, but it was I, Night, who became death’s accompanist.
During our gigs Emp’s fingers traveled up and down the piano keys, pulling out impossible chords and intricate riffs no other man alive could. I kept pace on my tenor saxophone, and together we had the musical world at our feet.
At night, our musical intimacy turned physical. Those fingers played my body the way they did the piano, tickling the insides of my thighs, stopping to stroke the length of my cock and teasing me until I begged him to let me come.
“Night,” he whispered in my ear as he slipped inside my eager body. One leg wrapped around mine. He thrust and I gasped. Heat surged through my groin. Emp nibbled at my ear. “I love you, Night. I love you.”
Then he sang in my ear, the complicated little tune we’d been rehearsing for the past week. I hummed a counter melody, ruined when he thrust one last time and I cried out with the bliss of climax.
* * * *
“I have a treat for you,” he said when we were at the table sipping our morning cups of coffee.
I smiled. “We’re going back to Montreaux for the jazz festival?”
He dismissed my guess with a wave. “That’s a given. No, everyone’s been talking about this new singer. I invited him to join us at the rehearsal tomorrow.”
A singer? We’d never needed one before. I said as much.
Emp only shrugged. “I thought it was time for a change. You’re still my leading man.”
He rested his hand suggestively on my thigh, but I shoved it away. “I have to practice.”
* * * *
The moment the new singer entered the room, I knew the reason Emp had chosen him, and it wasn’t for his voice.
It was sweet, all right, low and crooning, the type that could make both men and women swoon. He had the movements that were at once feminine and masculine and extremely sexy even to me, who hated him on the spot.
Emp was smitten. Not once during the entire rehearsal did he take his eyes from his new prize. The singer was keenly aware of Emp’s attraction and played every movement to him. I dubbed him Songbird, uncaring of his real name, out of spite and bitterness. He was all show and no substance, and I was hurt that Emp would ruin our quartet and risk our friendship over such a shallow, pretty man.
It wasn’t long, however, before I found his weak point. If the song weren’t a bossa nova or some other Latin beat, he was lost, fluttering on the stage like a chick flung too soon from its nest. If the tune possessed more than four simple chords, he couldn’t improvise at all.
By the third time I called for a difficult tune such as “Cherokee” or “‘Round Midnight”, the new songbird stamped his foot and threw a tantrum. “I’m not putting up with this,” he said, thickening his Portuguese accent on purpose. “I didn’t come here to be humiliated.”
He stalked off. Emp gave me a glare and followed Songbird into the restroom. I set my tenor on the stand and went to get refreshments for myself and the rhythm section. After twenty minutes, neither Emp nor his protégé had returned, and I decided to see what had kept them.
I wish I hadn’t. Songbird sat on the counter with his legs hugging Emp’s thighs. His hands rested on Emp’s chest. Emp cradled Songbird’s face and tenderly kissed away the crocodile tears formed on his cheeks.
Without entering, I let the door swing shut. When Emp and Songbird returned, I continued the rehearsal and pretended I’d seen nothing.
Songbird caught up with me later. His grip was painful on my shoulder. “I know who you are, little nightingale. One word of protest, and I’ll spill everything about what happened between you and Lark. You’ll never play another gig, let alone share the Emperor’s bed.”
I watched him strut away, stunned into silence. I had no idea who he was, only that he was supposedly Brazilian. Yet he knew Lark—which meant he was aware of the circumstances under which I’d left the bastard.
That night, when Emp stripped and suggestively nudged his cock between my legs, I rolled over.
“Night? What’s wrong?”
My mouth felt too thick to form words. I could say nothing of my jealousy for fear Songbird would act on his threat. My fear for Emp’s wellbeing would remain unvoiced.
He made love to me anyway, slowly, gently, sensing that my reluctance came from hurt rather than anger. I didn’t deny him. I couldn’t. I loved him too much.
Though this was the first night I ever doubted his love for me.
* * * *
The next few rehearsals and subsequent concerts strained the limits of my patience, and it was all because of our little clockwork songbird. Every gig went the same. Every song was in the same place, played the same way; otherwise Songbird threw a tantrum. And, inevitably, Emp followed to soothe him by whatever means necessary.
Their disappearances became a ritual. Where once Emp would have mingled with the crowd and taken requests for the next set, he now let Songbird lead him into whatever dark corner they could find to be alone.
I maintained my silence despite the long looks the bass player and drummer gave me. We’d been bandmates for too long not to know each other well, but neither cared to interfere in my relationship with Emp.
The audience didn’t notice the tension. All they saw were Songbird’s bared chest and the pants that tightly hugged his crotch to emphasize his masculinity. All they heard was that supple, seductive voice that induced them to forget they’d heard these songs done exactly the same way a dozen times over.
With the audience growing restless after Emp and Songbird had failed to return from a break, I decided to take action. The drummer shook his head and made a cross with his sticks in an attempt to keep me from doing anything rash, but I was beyond the point of caring. I meant to set Emp straight.
They hadn’t even bothered to lock the door in the handicapped stall. It hung partially open, but wide enough to give me a clear view of Songbird with his pants around his ankles and Emp kneeling in front of him.
I shoved the door open so hard it slammed. Emp jumped, his mouth wide with guilt, but Songbird didn’t stop. He grabbed the back of Emp’s head and shoved his cock deeper into Emp’s throat. Emp gagged but didn’t fight.
Songbird gazed directly at me when his climax hit. His mouth twitched in a smile of victory. His eyes were hard, challenging, as if daring me to intervene.
Then he eased Emp away and slowly tucked his cock back inside his pants. His hips swayed as he sauntered past me, stopping just long enough to whisper in my ear, “He’s mine, now. Think of it as payback for how you betrayed my brother.”
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