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Authors: Lydia Nyx

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From Morocco to Paris

BOOK: From Morocco to Paris
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

From Morocco to Paris

TOP SHELF

An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers

PO Box 2545

Round Rock, TX 78680

Copyright 2011 by Lydia Nyx

Cover illustration by Alessia Brio

Published with permission

ISBN: 97
8-1-61040-198-2

www.torquerepress.com

All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. For information address Torquere Press. Inc., PO Box 2545, Round Rock, TX 78680.

First Torquere Press Printing: April 2011

Printed in the USA

Dedicated to Jamie Edford for getting me here, Michelle Wallace for keeping me here, and Lauren Slone for being there.

PART ONE

Morocco: Desert Heat

Zane Reed’s spacious room at a hotel older and grander than any he had ever stayed in before, located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in lovely Melilla, Morocco, also had the most spacious bed he’d ever slept in. At night the bed felt too big and made him paranoid, forcing him to sleep to one side with pillows piled around him; in the morning it proved his downfall, in conjunction with the connecting door to the next room.

Davey Alexander was the sneakiest -- and most beguiling -- man Zane had ever met. He had come skulking with the sun barely on the horizon, which Zane expected -- his new acquaintance enjoyed practical jokes and Zane had prepared himself. However, he hadn’t expected Davey to bring reinforcements. The bed could easily hold four, maybe five in a pinch, but somehow three men managed to take up all the extra space.

“I thought we were practicing your lines!” Zane yelled over the commotion in the room, waving the pages of the script he held. “Isn’t that why you all raided my bed so early in the damn morning?”

“No,” Davey said, and threw a pillow at him.

“Son of a bitch!” Zane yelled, after the pillow hit him in the face. Laughter erupted.

“Elliot!” Zane yelled at his employer. “You said you wanted to practice your lines so your coach wouldn’t be on your ass all day!”

“That’s what I said,” Elliot replied. “I didn’t
mean
it.”

Elliot Butler -- multiple award-winning actor -- had settled himself on the other side of the bed, propped up on a mountain of pillows like the Royal Prince of Morocco himself. He wore a white tank top and plaid pajama pants. His wispy, normally honey-colored hair had been dyed dark for his part and cut in a feathered style around his handsome, camera-friendly face. Zane worked as his assistant.

Cristiano Rinaldi, world-renowned fashion designer and key costumer for this production, sat Indian-style near Elliot’s feet, dressed in a very nice pair of black silk pajamas with white trim, his short, midnight-black hair charmingly tousled. Davey worked as
his
assistant.

“And you,
Cristiano
.” Zane shook his head at the willowy, dark-eyed man as he laughed with the others. “You’re supposed to be the professional one!”

“Davey paid me,” Cristiano said in his thick-yet-refined Italian accent.

“Of course he did.” Zane shot Davey a dour look. Davey smiled back, with mock-sweetness.

Zane considered himself an average guy: dark haired, green eyed, handsome enough and healthy, but nothing so remarkable as most of the people in the industry he worked for. Davey, however, had a firm grasp on masculine beauty, subtly balanced with a soft allure, a quality even most actors Zane knew didn’t possess. Zane felt unnervingly changed having met him, even after only a couple of weeks. They might
not
have met, except only in passing on the vast, sprawling production, if not for their bosses’’ close friendship.

“You’re a couple of traitors,” Zane informed Elliot and Cristiano, “conspiring with that little -- “ He clenched his jaw and forced himself to be polite.

Davey had brought a radio with him and found a station playing American pop music. He turned the radio up so loud Zane was grateful the walls were thick. Their director, the talented and highly esteemed Saul Brennan, would be pissed if they got kicked out of the fanciest hotel in Morocco. Davey danced on the bed. He wore only a pair of baggy, dark blue cotton pajama pants nearly falling off his slender hips, so much so Zane kept getting a peek of pubes as he turned. His chestnut brown hair, straight and thick and just past his shoulders, swung as he moved.

“C’mon!” Davey reached down and tugged at Cristiano’s sleeve. “Get up here with me! Show me how they do it in Verona.”

Cristiano chuckled and got to his feet. Despite the inappropriate music for someone of his immediately obvious skill, Cristiano moved as smooth as liquid, proving quickly which of them possessed more grace. Clearly, they taught things in design school not mentioned in the brochures. Zane couldn’t say he liked the sight more, though. Davey worked his hips in slow grinding circles, making his pants shift. The pull and stretch of his flat stomach with a whisper-thin treasure trail kept Zane in thrall. Cristiano moved better but his skin didn’t show.

Elliot egged them on and offered lewd suggestions while Zane tried in vain to get him to focus on the script. To much encouraging laughter, Davey mounted the smooth wooden bedpost at the left foot of the bed like he’d found a stripper pole. He did a spin with his legs locked around the post and landed on the bed, flat on his back.

“What have you been teaching him!” Elliot howled at Cristiano.

Cristiano laughed. “Not that! He hardly needs
that
skill to dress an actor on set!”

Zane didn’t miss the way Elliot beamed adoringly at Cristiano. Cristiano had been out for years. Elliot they only speculated about in the tabloids -- not without reason.

Davey got up and resumed dancing. Cristiano watched him and started mimicking his grinding movements while Zane pretended not to watch. Elliot sat up and began snapping his fingers, singing in a high-pitched, horribly off-key voice. Davey kept bumping his foot against Zane’s leg until Zane looked up at him, scowling, and Davey smiled back. Elliot reached over and turned down the radio when the song ended.

“Dog pile!” Davey yelled. “Zane needs some more waking up!”

Zane shouted and tried to save Elliot’s script from Davey’s incoming attack. Davey landed in a hot, sweaty heap on top of him. They wrestled, tangling in the blankets, Zane yowling and swearing. No one else jumped on, thankfully.

Zane finally rolled Davey off with a great heave, and he flopped between Zane and Elliot with a triumphant sigh, hair all over his face.

Elliot slid down on the pillows, drew Davey’s hair away from his face, and cooed, “Aw, did he hurt you, pretty boy?”

“Him!” Zane said, aghast. “He attacked
me
!”

Cristiano sat next to Elliot’s feet again, smiling. He wasn’t, perhaps, so accustomed to roughhousing as they, dirty American men they were. In fact, around him, Zane sometimes felt like a behemoth.

Davey remained in his spot being doted upon by Elliot, so close his heat seeped through the blankets against Zane’s side. Davey smelled like soap and sweat, with an underlying trace of some musky cologne.

“Here.” Zane waved the script in front of Elliot’s face. “You’re supposed to be practicing your lines.”

Elliot rested his chin on top Davey’s head, though his gaze and a little smile were focused on Cristiano. Davey nearly purred.

“I know all my lines.” Elliot batted the script away. “It was just a ruse to come in here and mess with you.”

“Oh really?” Zane flipped through the pages. “Let’s try out a few then, shall we?”

Zane found the scene they would be filming next. The movie was about Napoleon Bonaparte. Elliot played Joseph Fourier, a noted physicist and scientific advisor during the conqueror’s campaign in Egypt. The scene marked Joseph’s first in-depth interaction with the great leader. Zane read Napoleon’s lines and then looked expectantly at Elliot.

Elliot hesitated, and Davey snickered. Then Elliot rolled off his lines, complete with French accent, though not much emotion. If Zane were the director, he would have ridden Elliot’s ass for more spark.

“Lucky guess,” Zane said. He turned a page, recited a few more lines, and waited.

Usually, practicing scripts wasn’t part of Zane’s job -- Zane made Elliot comfortable, not competent. Elliot had a coach for such things, but lately they’d been at each other’s throats as Elliot could be an incredibly contrary man.

Elliot did well at first then tapered off. “Um…our many discoveries in Egypt have…uh…led to…something something something.”

Davey cracked up.

“Exactly.” Zane smacked the script. “Saul’s going to be down your throat today, and it’s not my fault.”

Elliot grabbed the script, glanced at the pages, and then tossed the bundle over Zane and off the bed.

Zane sighed, long-suffering. “You’re going to fail horribly as an actor, Elliot.”

“I don’t care,” Elliot said. “I’ll just become a misunderstood painter.”

Zane looked at Cristiano and demanded, “Tell him how important it is to study.”

Cristiano opened his hands and smiled. “I don’t have to be in front of the camera. I only have to make sure his outfit is authentic,” he said.

Davey cackled and opened his arms wide, bumping Zane. “God has spoken!”

“You’re no help!” Zane said. “Encouraging laziness!”

“Cristiano has to work harder than any of us!” Elliot said. “He has to make sure everyone looks good for the camera.”

“He just supervises!” Davey said. “I do all the damn work!”

Elliot ignored Davey and sat up and gasped. “Oh my God, I
love
this song,” Elliot said. He turned the radio up and then struggled to his feet on the mattress.

“If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” Davey asked. Apparently, they had returned to third grade.

Elliot wobbled on his feet. “Why don’t you two finish wrestling under the covers?” he said to Davey. “You know you want to.”

Davey smirked and glanced sideways at Zane. Zane glanced back.

Elliot leaned over Cristiano and grabbed his hand. “Dance with me?” he asked.

Zane exchanged a knowing smile with Davey as Cristiano got up. The two began an unsteady slow dance on the end of the bed. Elliot suddenly looked like a terrified fifteen-year-old at a school dance who didn’t know where to put his hands.

“Aren’t they cute?” Zane asked, looking over at Davey.

Zane found himself staring into Davey’s eyes while a sappy pop song played in the background -- completely absurd, in such a grand room in an ancient land steeped in thousands of years of history. Zane wanted to say something poetic, but nothing came to him.

Davey had the most incredible, vivid blue eyes, and they made Zane forget everything -- the room, the country, his job, his heterosexuality. Except for the one time in school, but what young guy didn’t experiment? And the one time in New York of course, but he’d been at a party and gotten drunk. And the time in Hollywood, at his friend’s club -- well, he reasoned no one could call him gay if the male in question was prettier than any woman. Besides, Zane’s older brother Ian was gay. He filled the quota for their family.

Davey finally broke the gaze and looked back at the other two. Zane looked as well. Elliot faced them, his chin resting on Cristiano’s shoulder. He made eyes at them as if to say
what do I do now
? Zane and Davey simultaneously grinned and gave him a thumbs-up.

Still smiling, Davey rolled onto his side facing Zane. He rested atop the blankets and Zane below, but Zane felt his body through the perilously thin fabric.

“Do you like Morocco?” Davey asked.

They stared into each other’s eyes again, faces so close Davey’s breath caressed his chin. The bed shifted near Zane’s feet, where the other two were dancing.

“It’s beautiful,” Zane said.

“What do you like best about it?” Davey wiggled closer.

“Um.” Zane tried to think.
Morocco. Yes. What was that again
? “The water.”

Davey chuckled. “The beach here in Melilla?” he asked. His lips were an alluring shade of gentle pink and looked very soft.

“Yeah. It’s pretty. It’s so -- blue. The water.”

Davey laughed again, his long eyelashes fluttering. In the background, the song had stopped.

The bed shifted as Cristiano got down. “I’ll be right back,” he said with a smile as he headed toward the bathroom, bare feet slapping on the tile floor.

Elliot clambered up to Davey and Zane and straddled their legs, clearly giddy.

“Which one of you is Josephine?” Elliot asked. “Aw, kissy kissy! Come on!” He tried to smash their faces together.

“Why don’t you quit projecting!” Zane pushed at him.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Elliot asked and crawled off, kicking Zane on the way.

BOOK: From Morocco to Paris
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