The foxling soldati, p.3
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       The Foxling Soldati, p.3

         Part #2 of Soldati Hearts series by Charlie Cochet
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  Khalon turned his attention to Adira. "Inform Captain Airaldi. Pavoni will undoubtedly wish to spar with several of his warriors."

  Adira nodded. She placed her teacup on the tray and then left the room. Rayner arched an eyebrow when Khalon turned in his direction.

  "You.... Just try not to infuriate the man."

  Rayner scoffed. "How exactly am I to pull off such a feat? The mere sight of me infuriates him."

  "Well, try. Just... try." Khalon's expression was pained, and Rayner let out a sigh. He certainly didn't want to be the source of any trouble for Khalon. His friend had enough to deal with these days without Rayner adding to his worries.

  "Very well. I will do my best not to poke the bear."

  "I would appreciate that," Khalon grumbled before looking pensive. "What if you were to be called away? Perhaps an impromptu visit to the human world? One that happens to keep you away for the length of Pavoni's visit."

  "That sounds delightful, Khalon. With one exception."


  Rayner cast a glance at Riley before turning his attention back to Khalon. "I don't trust Pavoni or anyone accompanying him. As tempting as it may be, I would not dare leave you, or my prince, when you might need me most."

  Khalon straightened. He knew exactly what Rayner was referring to. Pavoni and everyone in his entourage would have to be closely observed. Khalon would find himself busy with Pavoni, Adira with Pavoni's men, and Ezra with Princess Verity and Prince Merlo, leaving Riley in the trust of their Soldati warriors. As much as Khalon trusted his warriors, and as capable as they were, there was no one Khalon trusted more with Riley's life than Rayner.

  "You're right. I need you at my side." Khalon stood and stretched before leaning over to kiss the top of Riley's head. "You must meet with Uburto regarding your ceremonial wardrobe for the evening of the banquet."

  Riley wrinkled his nose. "He's going to drown me in layers again, isn't he?"

  Rayner held back a laugh at Riley's pout. His princely ceremonial garb was a far cry from the T-shirts and jeans Riley had been accustomed to wearing when he first arrived in the Soldati Realm. Come to think of it, any princely garb he wore was a far cry from his previous human wardrobe. During events that required him to wear more than his trousers and a simple jerkin over a shirt, Riley had a habit of discreetly shedding pieces of his clothing as the evening went on, much to Rayner's amusement and Khalon's befuddlement.

  Khalon hadn't quite known what to do the first time it happened. One moment Riley was dressed in various layers, including a regal cape, and the next moment he was in his trousers and a thin royal tunic over his shirt. Rayner was quite certain the man hadn't even worn a belt. The most fascinating part was that after the initial shock wore off, no one cared. They were all so charmed by Riley that his lack of royal attire became no consequence, simply another quirk of the dashing Soldati prince.

  "I know," Khalon said through a chuckle. "It's not as if you'll be wearing it for long." He gave Riley a pointed look, but the sternness was gone the moment Riley's cheeks went pink. Khalon realized what Riley had taken his words to mean, and coughed into his hand. "What I mean is, um, you tend to remove your clothes, um...."

  "Not helping," Riley muttered.

  "Right. I'm going to go... do the things." Khalon pointed to the door.

  "Yeah, you go do the things," Riley said, his lips pressed together as Khalon rounded his desk. Khalon narrowed his eyes at Rayner as he walked by.

  "Oh, be quiet."

  Rayner suppressed a grin and held his hands up in front of him. "I didn't say anything." Grumbling to himself, Khalon left the office, and Rayner fell back against the chair with a laugh. "The man is absolutely hopeless around you."

  Riley let out what sounded like a dreamy sigh. "Yeah, he's something all right."

  "You two are adorable."

  Riley gave a sniff. "Now I know why he's always telling you to be quiet."

  "A very noble attempt on his part," Rayner teased. He stood and walked over to Khalon's desk. He sat on the edge of it, his voice lowered. "My Prince, I have a favor to ask."

  "Sure. Everything okay?"

  "Would you keep Toka with you at all times while Pavoni is here? Do not let him out of your sight, and please, under no circumstances, allow Pavoni to be alone with him."

  Riley narrowed his eyes. "I don't like the sound of this guy."

  "He doesn't hold the same respect for servants we do. He has little regard for their lives, using them for his pleasure, then tossing them out into the cold when he's had his fun. Those who survive, that is. He has been known to force himself upon his servants. If Toka catches his eye, I fear what the bastard might do, and if he gets the slightest inclination of my affections for Toka, it will be worse."

  "Okay, I really don't like this guy. I wish Khalon could just tell him to fuck off."

  Rayner smiled warmly at his prince. If only. Rayner understood the politics in a way Riley had yet to comprehend. Riley was doing his best, considering he had centuries upon centuries of otherworldly traditions and laws to learn from a magical race he hadn't even known existed a year ago. "If the risk of war wasn't so great, I'm certain Khalon would have gladly done so. Sadly, that is not the case. Discord between our kingdoms would not be wise. Khalon understands this all too well. The Soldati are known for our hospitality, even in the face of louts such as Pavoni, and so, we will treat him as any other noble guest. Pavoni is also quite short-tempered."

  "I'll keep Toka with me, I promise. If the guy lays a hand on him, I'll have his balls," Riley growled.

  "Thank you." Rayner had no doubt Riley would do just that. Leaving Riley to his royal duties, Rayner went off in search of Toka. It was imperative he speak with Toka about Pavoni. As Rayner walked through the corridor, smiling and greeting the servants and his fellow Soldati, it struck him then that he didn't merely wish to warn Toka about Pavoni; he wanted to hold Toka in his arms. Goddess above, what was happening to him? When had he turned into the pining suitor? And yet, he quickly discovered he didn't care. Not one bit.

  Chapter Three

  NOW WHERE could his sweet little fox be?

  Rayner so enjoyed a good hunt, and knowing a stolen kiss would be his prize once he found his quarry had him doubling his efforts. Finding Toka in the forest was far easier. He could distinguish Toka's scent among the trees, but in a castle occupied by hundreds of foxling servants, the task became far more daunting. He searched the kitchen, making sure to pilfer one of Nestore's mouthwatering hors d'oeuvres. The meat-and-cheese-filled puff pastries were simply too delicious to pass up, and well worth the towel whip to his bottom when he was caught red-handed.

  "Out of my kitchen, you scoundrel!" Nestore huffed, waving his towel in warning. "You're as bad as His Majesty."

  Rayner laughed. Clearly Khalon had already been by to snag a morsel or two. "Have you seen Toka?" Nestore was a bat-eared foxling with impressive black-tipped ears, whose expression ranged from "unimpressed" to "I have coasters with more charm than you."

  Nestore waved a hand in dismissal. "Last I checked, he was off to find Luka. Go cause mischief elsewhere."

  "It would be my pleasure." Rayner swiped another pastry before dashing out of the kitchen to the sound of Nestore's curses. At least he could look forward to the salivating banquet Nestore would fix. The foxling had a gift when it came to food. He used nothing but the best, freshest ingredients, and his chefs were the most talented in the realm.

  Now, where could his foxling be? If Toka had sought out Luka, it would mean he was somewhere in the guest wing of the castle. The north wing was vast, with two dozen bedchambers, several bathrooms, a communal bath, half a dozen sitting rooms, two libraries, and a kitchen and pantry. Guards were stationed on the floor, despite there being no guests present. The bedchambers tended to fill up during the festivals or when Khalon's parents came to visit with their servants, and now the rooms would be occupied by Pavoni and his court.

  At the end of the hall, R
ayner saw Luka bid farewell to Toka before exiting through one of the many doors leading down to the servants' wing. Rayner slipped into the shadows of an alcove that once held a stone tiger statue that had met its demise during a particularly energetic bout of roughhousing between two of Khalon's cousins on their last visit. Rayner lay in wait, smiling as Toka's scent grew nearer. He doubted the guards would pay him any mind, but he could hardly pounce on his quarry and deliver the kisses that were sure to follow in front of his king's Soldati.

  Toka approached, and Rayner reached out to snatch his wrist and tug him into the shadows. He clapped a hand over Toka's mouth to stifle his gasp, then turned to whisper at him.

  "Discretion, my little fox."

  "Heavens, Rayner!" Toka hissed through his teeth. He was adorable. "You frightened the life out of me."

  Rayner chuckled at Toka's flushed cheeks and adorable pout. "Forgive me. I didn't want anyone to see me."

  Toka searched his gaze, his expression turning concerned. "Are you all right?"

  "I need to speak with you about Pavoni." He placed Toka's fingers to his lips for a kiss. "You must be cautious around him. Promise me."

  Toka cocked his head, his amber eyes wide. "You're truly worried."

  "Terrified," Rayner admitted, realizing it was the truth. When had he fallen into those molten pools of gold? When had Toka come to mean so much to him? They didn't spend much time in each other's company. Not nearly as much as Rayner would have liked. The moments they shared were often impromptu and in the shadows. Now Rayner wished he could whisk Toka away from here. "You don't know Pavoni like I do. He is a spiteful, nefarious creature. If he has the slightest inclination of my feelings for you, there's no telling what he will do."

  Toka's shy smile almost undid Rayner. When Toka spoke, his voice was soft. "And what are your feelings for me?"

  Rayner lifted Toka's chin to capture his lips. Hunger flared through Rayner, and he brought Toka up hard against him, one hand at the small of Toka's back holding him in place, the other cupping the back of Toka's neck. The taste of him was all-consuming, the heat of his mouth warm and sweet. His scent was heady, as was common with foxlings, but it was a fragrance that was all Toka's own--a mixture of juniper berries, apple blossoms, and something sugary. His little foxling was like no other.

  Toka pressed himself as far into Rayner as he could, releasing barely audible moans as his tongue tangled with Rayner's. He clutched Rayner's arms as he eagerly returned every kiss, every nip and suck. Toka moved his hands to Rayner's shoulders and hopped up. Rayner caught him, securing Toka's legs around his waist, a low growl rising from his throat as Toka moved his lips to Rayner's neck, licking, sucking, and nipping at his skin, his fingers slipping into Rayner's hair and grabbing fistfuls of it. Rayner groaned. He was so damned hard right now.

  "Toka," Rayner gasped, his back hitting the wall behind him. "We shouldn't.... Not here."

  Toka pulled back, cupping Rayner's face before kissing him soundly. Rayner's breath hitched, and he stood panting after Toka hopped down. When had his little fox become so bold? It thrilled Rayner, and he could barely contain his smile as Toka checked the corridor before grabbing Rayner's hand. He took off with Rayner in tow, and Rayner laughed softly as they ran down the castle corridor. He ignored the amused looks of the servants as they sped by and headed downstairs. His foxling was clever, even in the midst of their lustful haze. Rayner's presence in the servants' quarters would not be questioned, and although the servants were notorious gossips, they only gossiped among themselves and were very protective of their own. They would never do anything to hurt Toka.

  A couple of foxlings stood chatting outside Toka's room, and their eyes went wide when they saw Rayner. He put his finger to his lips in request of secrecy and winked at them as Toka opened his chamber door. They blushed and giggled, whispering among themselves. Rayner had no time to comment before Toka grabbed hold of his collar and tugged him into the room. Well now, what was this?

  The door closed behind them, and Rayner found himself pushed against it with Toka's lips all over him. Rayner was quite enjoying Toka's newfound forwardness.

  "I feel as though I'm going mad, as if my body is trying to burn through my skin. I can't get enough of your taste, the feel of your hands on me.... Rayner," Toka pleaded, "I need to feel you inside me."

  Even as Toka reached for Rayner's belt, Rayner couldn't help but ask, "Are you sure?"

  "I have never desired anything more," Toka replied, breathless.

  Rayner nodded, his sentiments matching Toka's. He swiftly joined Toka in undressing, his heart beating wildly as Toka removed his own belt and tossed it on the floor. He pulled his tunic over his head, followed by his shirt. Rayner stilled at the sight of Toka's flawless bronze skin. When Toka stood naked before him, Rayner fought the urge to drop to his knees in worship.

  "I have never seen a creature more beautiful. You steal the breath from my body."

  Toka's wicked smile sent a shiver up Rayner's spine. It would appear his timid little fox wasn't so timid. He looked up at Rayner through lowered lashes. "There is so much I wish to do to your body, Rayner." He ran a finger down Rayner's chest. "But first, I'd like to see the stunning figure you hide beneath all this leather."

  A deep growl rose from Rayner's chest, and he quickly divested himself of his many layers. His boots were the first to go, followed by the jerkin and his shirt. He removed his socks, then his black trousers, and finally stood naked before Toka. With a brash smile, he rounded his shoulders and straightened to his full height when Toka drew closer, his pink tongue poking out to lick his bottom lip. Rayner remained still, and his self-assurance lasted up until Toka slid his hands up Rayner's abdomen to his chest.

  "You are magnificent." Toka's quiet voice carried awe, and Rayner couldn't help but preen a little. He had never cared about pleasing anyone. Never cared how they saw him or what they thought of him. But the way Toka looked up at him, desire and wonder in his eyes, had Rayner suddenly feeling vulnerable and uncertain. What Toka thought of him was of great importance.

  "Do you like what you see?" he asked, his voice coming out rougher than expected.

  Toka circled Rayner, and Rayner could feel Toka's heated gaze on him. "Does what I think matter to you?" It was an innocent question. A genuine curiosity. In truth, to a man of Rayner's standing, the thoughts of a foxling servant were of no consequence, but to Rayner, Toka's thoughts mattered....

  "More than anything."

  Toka's sharp intake of breath was not lost on him, and Rayner barely had a moment to blink before Toka was wrapped around him again. Rayner carried Toka to the bed, their lips coming together in a frenzy of dueling tongues and nipping teeth, their breaths panting. He lowered Toka onto the soft covers, his lips on Toka's as he lay between Toka's legs. He ran a hand up Toka's thigh to his torso before pulling back to sit on his heels. Toka stretched out before him, his knees drawn up on either side of Rayner so Rayner could see all of him. Toka's cheeks flushed, and he arched his back, his lips parted as he lifted his arms above his head, offering himself to Rayner in the most decadent way.

  Rayner explored Toka's body, fingers caressing every inch of him, lips tasting, tongue savoring the warm, smooth skin. He reminded himself that despite Toka's eagerness, his foxling had never been touched in such a manner. His body had never been penetrated. A thought occurred to him.

  "Have you brought yourself to release?"

  Toka met Rayner's gaze, his cheeks a bright pink. "Yes. To thoughts of you."

  Rayner groaned. As if he wasn't painfully hard enough. Toka had not only saved himself for Rayner, but he'd brought himself pleasure at the thought of Rayner.

  "Show me," Rayner commanded gently, sitting back on his heels. Toka gingerly, timidly slid a hand over his abdomen down to palm his erection. He whimpered and writhed on the bed as he thumbed the slit of his rosy-tipped cock, spreading the pearls of precome, using it to ease the glide of his hand up and down his shaft. Rayner had nev
er seen anything so sinful. He palmed his own erection as he watched Toka, taking note of every gasp and moan that escaped Toka's plump lips.


  The broken whisper was more than Rayner could stand, and a low growl rose from his throat as he rolled Toka onto his stomach. He grabbed a pillow and lifted Toka's hips, then placed the pillow beneath him.

  "Do you have... provisions?"

  Toka nodded. He pointed to the small nightstand to the left of the bed. Rayner trailed kisses down Toka's back before he got up, went to the drawer, and removed the small jar of lubricant. The anticipation was all but killing Rayner, but he forced himself to calm, to breathe in deep through his nose and release it slowly through his mouth. Bringing pleasure to Toka was his priority. He wanted to make his foxling's first experience one to remember.

  Rayner kneeled between Toka's legs and slicked up his fingers. He pressed one against Toka's entrance, his sharp intake of breath matching Toka's. With exceptional care and patience, Rayner added a second finger, stretching Toka, relishing in the tight heat around his digits. Toka whimpered and pleaded. Rayner happily obliged, removing his fingers to take hold of his cock and line up the head with Toka's entrance, his hand shaking. Goddess above, one would think it was his first time. He folded himself over Toka, slipped one arm under his chest, and angled Toka back toward him so they were on their sides. He hooked his arm under Toka's knee, lifting his leg as he slowly pushed the tip of his head against Toka's tight hole.

  "Relax. Breathe."

  Toka laid his head back against Rayner's shoulder, his fingers digging into Rayner's asscheek. He gasped when the tip of Rayner's cock breached his entrance. A low, painful moan escaped from between Toka's lips as Rayner continued to sink slowly into him. Rayner's brow beaded with sweat as he stretched Toka inch by inch. Soon Toka's body stopped fighting Rayner, and his muscles gave way, allowing Rayner to sink the rest of the way in until his groin was seated against Toka's ass.

  "Oh goddess!" Toka gasped, his nails causing the most delicious ache in Rayner's asscheek. Rayner began to move, and Toka pushed back against him.

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