“My tongue wants to be inside your arse,” Caled whispered hotly.
“What?!” Hadrian looked around, panicked. “Stop it. Don’t say another word.” He pushed blindly through the street, trying to put the mercenary behind him but Caled hounded him like a shadow.
Fingers brushed the hair off the back of his neck and were quickly replaced by soft, warm lips. Hadrian moaned and struggled to keep walking, ignoring the few curious looks they garnered.
“You’re causing a—scene,” he warned, squirming beneath Caled’s kisses.
A hand caught his shoulder and spun him around. Hadrian stumbled, but only fell back against the wall of a nearby building. Caled immediately loomed over him, both hands planted on either side of Hadrian’s head.
“I want you.” The mercenary’s blue eyes were the color of the edge of night. He wedged his thigh between Hadrian’s and pushed it against his crotch. “I want you in every manner I can have you.”
Hadrian clutched the other man’s shoulders, wanting to push him away in shock, but unable to loosen his fingers. Caled’s passion was infectious.
But at the back of Hadrian’s mind a voice questioned the mercenary’s overwhelming ardor. Why would it spring up now, in the middle of the afternoon on a crowded street?
“Where did you go this morning?” he asked.
Caled paused only for a moment before resuming his slow rub between Hadrian’s legs. “Doesn’t matter. Nothing matters now except getting us naked.”
Hadrian straightened his arms, moving Caled back. “Please don’t lie to me. I need to trust you.”
Pain flitted across Caled’s features before he looked away. “I was looking for something.”
A muscle rippled in Caled’s jaw. “A gift. For you.”
“For me? But why—” Hadrian caught himself.
Until now he’d not wanted to acknowledge the change he’d sensed in Caled. It was a softening. No, it was a soft spot within the mercenary that the man was evidently terrified of recognizing within himself. Hadrian could trace its formation—the night they believed Gam and Lio had been killed.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Hadrian told him. He cupped a cheek that sparkled with golden stubble. “Not ever.”
Caled shifted his weight from foot to foot, unusually restless. “I didn’t think you were.”
“I don’t require a gift to stay by your side.”
He frowned. “That’s not why I wanted to give you one.”
Hadrian leaned up and lightly touched his lips to the older man’s. “I know that you love me, Caledon ni Agthon.”
The mercenary closed his eyes and held Hadrian’s gloved hand to his cheek. “No. Don’t use that name,” he whispered. “Not until it’s over. I can’t be that man until then.”
Hadrian kissed him again. “You will always be the man I fell in love with, then and now. Deep down, you haven’t changed at all. That’s why I’ll never leave you.”
“You can’t leave me, Hades.”
The soft entreaty stabbed Hadrian through the heart. “I’d be a fool to do so. Are you calling me a fool?”
A smile curved Caled’s lips before he opened his eyes again. “Not a fool. Perfect. Sweet and delicious.” He took the initiative to brush his lips over Hadrian’s. “Which is why I must taste you this instant.”