There's a lot happening out in the world, but for me, The Asylum is like coming home. The perfect escape.
I hope it feels the same for you. xoxo
Music. Danny needed music. If he could lose himself to the beat, maybe he’d somehow avoid the chaos. Or being too messed up by it anyway.
The door from the gym to the dance club was locked by Keiran after Reed and Tay joined them, which was a relief at least. No surprises visits from Doms who’d probably tell them all this was a very very bad idea.
Shea wouldn’t. He’ll be proud of me for…
For what exactly?
Trying something different? Socializing? Going against ‘The Man’?
All right, the last was a bit of a reach, but he could almost hear Shea laughing and giving him one of those looks that made Danny feel like he could give his Dom something. A reason to smile while life went a bit off the deep end.
Even when Danny’s predictions were over-the-top, or Shea got frustrated with the status quo and pushed every boundary, they understood one another. Those moments, and every one in-between, were why Danny could see a future with the man. Unlike everything else in his life, like his career, his health, keeping all his limbs…
Danny didn’t doubt he’d grow old and Shea would still be there, fussing over him eating right and talking him into all kinds of experiences that scared him until he trusted enough to let go and...just enjoy.
When Jacks was around, the before and after was almost cushioned. If Jacks couldn’t talk Shea out of whatever he’d planned, he’d ease Danny into it. Swallowing hard, Danny pulled out his phone, mentally calculating the timezone difference in his head.
It was nowhere near lunch for Jacks. He had tons of meetings and schmoozing planned. Calling him now would pull him out of the headspace he needed to be in to make his new business a success.
Fingers wrapped around his wrist, Reed reaching out to slip his phone from his hand. “Come on, Showtune. I know that look. Nothing bad’s going to happen.”
“That is exactly what everyone says before bad things happen.” A known fact, but Danny still managed to smile as Reed rubbed his shoulder. Even if this plan backfired phenomenally, it was nice to hang out with the other guys and do something he was good at. He nodded toward the iPad Keiran had propped up to play the choreographed dance they were following. “Do you want to go over it again?”
Reed nodded, stretching his arms over his head and sticking out one foot, rolling the thick heel of his silver sparkling boot back and forth. “This would be so much better if I could dance in those damn stilettos like you and Tay. No way am I pulling that off today when I can’t even walk in them.” He gave Tay an accusing look. “You were holding out on us, man. How’d you get so good at that?”
Pushing away from the bar, where he’d been slouched next to Wren, telling him some tattoo horror stories, Tay did a little spin. In the same extremely short black jean shorts all three of them had chosen as part of the ‘costume’, more of the younger man’s intricate ink was on display. The black stiletto ankle boots he’d brought with him from home were decorated with metal studs, the six inch heels showing off the toned muscles of his calves and thighs.
“My mom was a stripper, she used to let me and JC wear her shoes all the time growing up. I’ve got mad respect for the profession.” Tay flashed a smile in Keiran’s direction, though there was some sadness in his eyes. “She made good money. Got us a nice house and put herself through dental school. If she hadn’t met that fucker…” His throat worked as he swallowed, then lowered his gaze. “Anyway, some of her friends checked up on us a lot after she was gone, made sure we got a break from our grandparent’s strict bullshit. They didn’t know what to do with a couple of punkass little boys, so...we danced. You think this is good, you should see me on a pole.”
Seated at the bar, where he’d been watching them go over the moves, Pike chewed on his bottom lip, his expression making it clear he was holding back what would probably be something inappropriate. Then he blew out a breath. “I gotta ask. They had kids pole dancing? That’s...fucked up.”
Tay’s brow shot up. “Why? It’s no different than acrobatics or whatever. The only people around were the ones who saw us as the kids we were. And it kept us out of trouble for a long time. I got lucky and met Sin, so I didn’t get tangled up with the gangs too deep. JC...well, you know. He always finds the biggest asshole to follow around.”
That was one way to put it. Danny knew Tay wasn’t close to his twin, but there was some regret in his tone. Things had been better between them once, but what they’d been through growing up had impacted them differently. Tay had made better choices. He hadn’t become selfish or cruel.
“Well, all I gotta say is you and Danny need to teach me how to strut in those things.” Reed strutted across the dance floor, jutting his hips, his curly golden brown hair bouncing above his shoulders. The flash of his boots drew attention to his legs, his muscles thicker and more defined than Danny’s or Tay’s, sexy as hell with the way he moved. He glanced over his shoulder, smirking at Danny as he wiggled his ass. “A shame you’re not vers. You could be doing more than staring at this right now.”
Grabbing a bottle of water from the ones Wren had set out for them on the bar, Danny held it against the back of his neck to cool his skin. Reed had a point, and that would have solved a lot of problems. Like how often blood surged low as he worked with Reed and Tay on perfecting the steps of the choreography.
But he wasn’t vers. Even the idea of Topping another man just made him nervous and uncomfortable.
“Don’t tease him, Reed.” Keiran folded his arms over his chest, expression thoughtful. “Run through it again. Danny, you got the moves down faster than I’ve ever seen anyone do it, but you need to get out of your own head. A bit less ‘can’t touch this’ and more ‘come and get it’.”
Danny took a few gulps of water and set the bottle on the bar. Squaring his shoulders, he gave Keiran a quick nod. Now this he could do. His ability to memorize steps after seeing them just once was why he’d been chosen for the Glam Grenade out of so many boys who could sing just as well as he could. It was the one thing he was confident about. And following stage directions like this came naturally after his time on Broadway.
He always did his best to make sure no one had to tell him twice what he was supposed to be doing.
But after another run through, Keiran shook his head and Danny’s stomach sank. He worried his bottom lip with his teeth as Keiran approached.
Keiran gave him an encouraging look. “All the moves are perfect, Dulzera. But you’re not in front of a crowd of thousands of people. I want you to look at me every chance you get. Make me feel like I’m the only one who you care is watching. Like you can imagine me touching you, like it’s my hands stroking your thighs, your ass, instead of your own.”
Pulse quickening, Danny held still as Keiran circled him, fingertips brushing along the curve of his hip where the snug white shirt he was wearing had ridden up during the dance. He shivered, inhaling roughly.
“Start the music again, Wren.” Keiran wrapped his hands around Danny’s waist, pressing up against him from behind. “When you move, show this is what you want to feel. What your body is meant for.” He kept close to Danny through the slow, low grinding part. “Relax into it. Stop thinking you’re in control, that you’re asking for anything. You’re showing one person it’s already theirs. All they have to do is take it.”
“But that’s not up to me to decide.” The words came automatically, but Danny followed Keiran’s lead, feeling the difference in the flow, need heating his skin and leaving him breathless. “Shea…”
Keiran let out a soft laugh, stirring the hair at the back of Danny’s neck. “Shea already decided for you.”
Eyes closed, Danny continued with the steps that had already become like second nature, feeling Keiran’s warmth even after he’d moved away. He understood what the other man meant now. The invitation in every hip thrust, the longing in every glide of his own hand down his chest.
In front of him now, standing by Wren and Pike, Keiran’s lips curved as he looked Danny over. “Much better. You’re ready.”
“Any last words?” Pike glanced toward the door as someone knocked on it. “Sounds like curtains up.”
No time left for panicking or finding something to hide under. Danny grabbed the blue flannel shirt that had been paired with his outfit, doing his best to come off like this was just like any other day of practicing routines.
Keiran went around the bar, grabbing the whiskey and a few glasses, pouring a few fingers in each as the door was unlocked and Lawson came in with Atticus and Paris. Noah joined them seconds later, Ezran at his side, Sin a step behind Ezran, speaking to him in quiet tones.
Steadying his breathing, Danny watched the door, relief and disappointment warring within. He wasn’t exactly sure when he’d gone from having a healthy fear of Rhodey to...whatever this was.
Probably around the time Rhodey had kissed him. Or held him.
You’re too needy and easy and are you absolutely positive this isn’t a test?
Telling the little voice in his head to shut up, Danny glanced over at Keiran, who was serving everyone at the bar. One glass of whiskey was apart from the others. Waiting.
Brow raised, Keiran motioned for him to get started.
In position, Danny stretched his neck from one side to the other as Reed and Tay took their places behind him. The music began, Buttons by The Pussycat Dolls. And right then, it didn’t matter who was watching. He let the beat take him, that gentle caress on his flesh urging him on as he strode forward, unbuttoning the shirt, then tossing it aside.
Pike let out a wolf whistle and Danny shot him his best sultry smile as he brushed his fingertips down his own neck, to his chest. Getting closer, he drank in the flash of heat in the other man’s eyes before turning abruptly and pacing back to the center of the dance floor behind Reed and Tay. Another turn and he dipped low, grinding his hips all the way up, bringing a finger to his lips and licking the tip with a flick of his tongue.
“Nice.” Approval in his tone, Keiran hooked his thumbs to the pockets of his dark purple jeans, his gaze shifting to the back corner of the room.
There was no doubting what—or who—he was looking at. Danny didn’t let any uncertainty touch him as he dropped to his knees, crawling along with the slow, sultry rhythm and slipping into the floor part of the routine. His body rose, undulating midway, grinding up and down provocatively. He tossed his sweat soaked hair away from his face, shoving to his feet. Fingers curved under the base of his T-shirt, he slid it up over his head, then tossed it to the floor.
Sweat slicked his skin, the light glowing off his flesh as he bent back, imagining a much bigger, stronger hands than his own stroking down his chest. At the next turn he saw Rhodey, standing in the shadows. Held his gaze for as long as he dared before lowering it. His heart pounded in his chest, the song coming to the end.
Stepping away from the wall, Rhodey’s gaze trailed over him, and there was no mistaking the look in his eyes. Danny shivered as a light breeze cooled him, or maybe it was the hint of fear that he didn’t think would ever leave.
He held still as Rhodey approached. Bit his bottom lip hard, not sure what came next.
Hoping he wouldn’t have to decide.
Rhodey raked his fingers through Danny’s hair, tugging lightly and forcing Danny to look up at him. He let out a laugh that was like a dark caress down his spine. “You’re full of surprises today, smalls.”
“I like it.” Rhodey tightened his grip on Danny’s hair. “I’d say you have no idea what you’re getting into, but I don’t like being wrong. So let’s play. But it will be by my rules. I need to see how you handle yourself.”
Brow furrowed, Danny tried to shake his head, or nod, because he wasn’t sure how to respond, but the Dom held him still. He sucked in as much air as he could manage. “I don’t understand, sir.”
Leaning close, Rhodey licked Danny’s bottom lip. Kissed along his jaw, bringing his lips to Danny’s ear. “But you will.”
* * * *
As always, comments welcome! Since I've been enjoying them so much, I'm going to start doing something for those who leave them. At the end of each month when a serial like this is running, I'll choose one commenter to send merch from The Asylum to. This month, it'll be a T-shirt!
Winner will be chosen at random and announced before the first segment of each month, so October's winner will be chosen and announced on Wednesday. All comments made before then will be entered.
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See you on Wednesday!
Bianca Sommerland is the USA Today Bestselling author of The Dartmouth Cobras series. Tibby Armstrong is the author of the acclaimed Hollywood series. Together they've created the breathtaking and brutal world of The Asylum Fight Club. A place where men live and love by their fists, and ropes are for more than just the ring.