We couldn’t be more thrilled to have you with us here today, Aleks. You know, because you have so much spare time these days. (She says sarcastically.) What a year this is shaping up to be for you!
Hi Lisa, great to be back. Yep, this is a great year so far. A friend of mine who’s seriously into Astrology did a horoscope for me in February and said “wow, you’re going to have SUCH A YEAR. Just enjoy the ride, but make sure you catch some sleep.”
At that time, I’d just escaped a job that tried to work me to death, so I thought “whatever, can’t be worse than journalism.” She proved to be right, and it’s only September. So, yep, after a bit of a slow start, I had the release of “Scorpion” in May, then “Dark Edge of Honor” in August, then “Counterpunch” (in November), and a couple more stories before the year’s up. I’m also working on three novels. I think it’s three. Might be four. I need a spreadsheet, but I keep forgetting to update.
Do you recall a specific point in your life when your passion for writing emerged? Was there someone in particular who inspired and encouraged your love of storytelling?
I’ve always been a storyteller. When other kids were just happy to play catch, I always made up elaborate stories why I should run away or should catch anybody. When I started to write the stories down (in about fifth grade, if I remember correctly), my mother was encouraging, saying, when I read to her “wow, I can see that. I can’t often see anything when I read, but I can see yours.” That was a big boost and carried me through some knocks. Then I sold my first story at sixteen for five times my monthly pocket money, and I guess that sealed the deal. It seemed like easy work, writing was easy, and there were people willing to pay for it. (Thankfully, I only learnt of the real challenges when I was too far gone.)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Uhm, yeah. I filled folders and folders and FOLDERS with a gigantic project that was half fantasy and half sci-fi and pretty much inspired by whatever was on TV or on my library card. It was awful. I’m glad I destroyed it.
What was your first published novel?
It was a fantasy novel set in the world of Germany’s largest roleplaying game. Half of German-speaking fantasy writers got a break through that (essentially the German answer to the Dungeons & Dragons novels). I did a couple more and it was pretty good practice. I also had a very good editor for three of those novels who taught me some tricks.
You’re currently promoting your latest title, Counterpunch, from Storm Moon Press. The book is set in a world originated by author Rachel Haimowitz. How did you become involved in adding your own touch to Rachel’s creation?
Rachel and I are Siamese brain twins. It’s not funny so much as scary. I read her “Anchored: Belonging”, which is a pretty rough ride and poses some very interesting questions. What would our world be like if we still had slavery?
I ended up chatting to Rachel, and at that point I was already kicking around an idea involving gladiators. Slave warriors are a fascinating concept, but it didn’t come together for me yet (I was first thinking historical novel, but it just didn’t crystallize). Then we were chatting about slave soldiers, slave fighters, cage fighters, and then it slowly got there. Thanks to my partner’s boxing habit, the final piece fell into line and I knew I was going to write about slave boxers. Rachel kindly allowed me to play in her sandbox, and Brooklyn Marshall burst onto the stage. We might have ended up co-writing that, but basically Rachel was fully wrapped up in writing her massive fantasy novel Songs of the Fallen: Crescendo, the sequel to Songs of the Fallen: Counterpoint, but I didn’t want to wait for her (characters can be tyrants), so I ended up writing this solo.
Do you write only in English, or do you also write and publish in your native German?
Hah. Good question! I was recently invited to take part in a German anthology inspired by David Bowie songs. I couldn’t possibly turn that down, so I wrote “Not America”, but, truth be told, while it’s an amusing zombie caper in the financial district in London, I’m at the point where speaking and writing German has become incredibly awkward (sometimes I speak German to other German employees of the bank I work for… but with my halting sentence construction, my wrestling for words and my English accent (!), I start to sound like an idjit, especially given that my name is unmistakably German). I think and dream in English, so switching back is a lot of bother and really hard work. So… I guess that part of my life is done. It’s a bit of a shame. I was a far stronger writer in German than I am in English, but I guess I’ll just have to work harder to make up that deficit.
You’ve done quite a bit of writing that you then offer to readers as free downloads on your website. Are those exercises in perfecting your craft, or are they simply a way of showing your appreciation to your loyal fans? A bit of both, maybe?
You’re making me sound more altruistic than I am, really. I give stuff away for free that I can’t sell for copyright reasons (sure, I’d love to own Tony Stark and Frank Castle, but Marvel has first dibs, and I’m not tangling with Hollywood IP lawyers…). Sometimes I don’t own the characters, or it was agreed with the co-writer that the story would remain free (like “Special Forces” or “Spoils of War”). I do believe in giving away free fiction so people can see if they like my voice and my way to do things, and the total amount of free fiction is way, way more than one million words. But after having given away three solid years’ worth of work, I’m now interested in selling the other stories. I guess getting a mortgage changed my perception.
You’ve co-written with an array of talented authors over the years. How, if at all, does the creative process change when you’re writing with another author as opposed to writing on your own?
Basically at this point in time when I co-write, I’m trying to work out what the other person’s process is and then adapt my own to it. Some of them write on Google docs and you go paragraph by paragraph, others email whole chapters or plotlines. It’s all good to me, I’m flexible, I can work in many different ways. But the biggest bonus is definitely that you’re not alone facing the white page. That’s a huge boost!
The angst, Aleks, the angst! You excel at it. You often examine the darker side of relationships in your writing. What draws you toward the grittier and more provocative aspects of love and sex?
Hah. Thanks! Answers range from “I’m a sick puppy” to “it’s just more interesting”. To be honest, it wouldn’t occur to me to write it in any other way. I just like making my characters work really, really hard for what they want. Just a misunderstanding isn’t enough. I want real obstacles and a real uphill battle in my stories. In my experience, life and love simply aren’t that easy. And I’m deliberately covering issues like consent (and lack of it), power imbalance, and power exchange because relationships are complex and ambiguous and actually quite scary. I’m trying to stay true to my characters, and some of these people are pretty dark and extreme, but usually very interesting. At the end of the day, nice and fluffy characters simply don’t come to me. I get only dark and extreme characters, and I try to give them a voice and be honest with them. Other writers get “nice” characters, and all power to them.
Do you find it more of a challenge to write a novel that doesn’t end with the happily-ever-after for the characters? How much flak have you taken from readers for, say, killing off a protagonist for the sake of staying true to your vision of the story?
I haven’t killed a main character in a novel yet, but I did kill off Thierry in “Test of Faith”. I have killed some beloved minor characters, and some people hate me for killing off villains (which is awesome. I love it when people love my evil characters). I tend to get the most flak from some of what I’d call the “romance purist” (such a thing doesn’t really exist, of course) – basically people that only read romance and only think in romance terms, and they sometimes stumble over my books and then I get angry emails. “How could you”, “how dare you” and so on. Most readers – and many of them are also hardcore romance readers, just to muddy the waters – are a bit shocked at the start and then realize they like the grittier stuff, too.
But yeah, getting hate mail isn’t nice. I’ve been called everything from an “immoral person” to “a fraud”, a “cheat”, and a “liar” by people accusing me of trying to sell books by mis-selling my “reprehensible filth” as “romance”.
I do work hard to make sure that readers are aware what I do and how I do it by posting long excerpts and providing as much information as I can to make sure that people are aware that I don’t serve fluffy cute romances (I have nothing against those, but I can’t write them, so people are looking in the wrong place when they come to me for those). And there are a lot of readers that are very open-minded and like what I do.
How long does it typically take you to write a book, and then see it through the publishing process?
I’ve written full novels (minimum length of 50-60k words) in four to six weeks, but I’m usually slower than that. I’d say novels take about three months (that includes editing) to eighteen months. I have novels I worked on for three years and a couple that I’ve been working away on for two years and that I really want to finish. The more research, the slower, hence the historical novels take forever. “Scorpion” and “Counterpunch” were very fast. “Scorpion” had a really good start (I wrote around 25k in a week – so about a third of it) then ran into a wall, and it took a few months to get it back on track, but once it was there, it kept going and finished very nicely. “Counterpunch” was ridiculously fast and easy. Easiest, quickest novel I’ve ever written. It just came together and worked out beautifully.
Do the titles of your books generally come to you as you’re writing, or do you know what they’ll be called before the writing process begins?
The title crystallizes along the way. “Scorpion” was originally called “Scorpion and Steel”, but then the Steel character turned out to be the villain rather than the love interest, and I realized the story was far more about the Scorpions, the mercenary unit, than Steel. So I trimmed the title down.
“Counterpunch” was originally called “Untouchable”, based on the idea that nobody can touch that core of inner strength in Brooklyn. Even though he’s a slave and his past is troubled and he has a million issues, he’s not going to let anybody really reach and touch him and mess with his strength. But then I discovered his vulnerability and that called for retitling. Thankfully, I watched some boxing fights of counterpunchers. Those are boxers that punch just as the opponent moves to punch them. To hit somebody in boxing, you have to open your own guard, and there are some boxers that are specialized on that move. I’ve seen some of those maneuvers and they are awe-inspiring and as a metaphor, it worked really well for the things Brooklyn faces. Not only is he a counterpuncher, but life does throw a few of those his way just as he’s becoming vulnerable, and he has to deal with them.
Asking this question might be a bit like asking you to choose one child over another, but of all the characters you’ve created, do you have one who stands out among the others as a favorite? If so, who and why?
It’s really the current baby, always. I have a few character archetypes that I keep revisiting, but those are archetypes that I keep changing and modifying (the “Sergei” archetype, which is probably best described as “messed-up, strong, silent, ultra-competent, very masculine Slav with huge internal issues about masculinity and his role in society” is my most famous, I guess).
Silvio is another one (he’s the main character in Dark Soul and various failed novels). Right now, I’m writing about him and William Raven (from “The Lion of Kent”). There’s always something I admire about my main characters. Brooklyn’s sheer bull-headed tenacity, Silvio’s magnetism, William’s struggle to be a good knight.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope s/he takes away from the experience?
I hope s/he’s not too disappointed that I’m not writing the usual romance fare (and then ends up sending me hate mail). What I hope to give is emotions. Angst, worry, fear, desire, relief, and the warm glow of “wow, what a story”. If I can take people away from a crowded train or bus or every day worries and concerns, that’s a great thing to do. I’ve had emails from readers telling me that despite all the grit and dirt in my novels, they felt there was so much hope and strength in the characters that it inspired them and kept them going through illnesses and divorces and shit like that. Those emails make me happy, because that’s exactly what I want to do. I’m not reveling in darkness for darkness’ sake, I do want to write about strength and hope and courage (and love, of course).
How much creative input do you have in the cover design of your books?
That varies from publisher to publisher. They all make you fill in a cover art request form (where you describe the main characters and what’s important for the story), but then it varies from “here’s the cover, love it or hate it, that’s it” to going through several iterations. At Storm Moon Press, we had like eight or so stages for “Counterpunch”, with the first three all radically different to what ended up on the page in the end.
I have to admit that covers are so important to me that I’m simply not submitting to publishers where the covers are awful. The thing is, if I work for three to six months on a book, I simply refuse to have a cover slapped on that somebody’s four-year old kid did in half an hour, and I think authors should voice their reservations about awful covers – or those publishers are not going to change.
You’ve written in genres ranging from paranormal to sci-fi to historical—let’s just say you’ve pretty much covered it all. Do you find you prefer writing in one genre over another?
No. It’s more like – I get bored. When I’ve done a couple of each, I’m desperate to switch genres because I’ve said everything I wanted to say in that genre (at least until I go back). I’m terrible. I never know what genre I’m going to write next – nor do my readers. Apologies, but that’s how my brain works. (Then again, it does keep things interesting.)
Are you able to find time to write every day? Is a successful writing day for you measured in hours or word count?
I’m constantly working on something, even if it’s just brainstorming while I’m on the train, or editing. A successful day is to make some kind of progress – any progress at all. When you’re looking at a writing career, it’s a long-distance run, a marathon more than a sprint. I’ve been publishing for twenty years, and I fully expect to publish for another thirty or forty years, so like any other huge project, just keep moving, just make progress, even if it’s just editing one page per day, or writing one sentence. It all adds up, in the end.
I do like a solid word count, but editing lots of pages or solving a major plot problem counts, too. I try not to be too hard on myself. I do have a full-time job, a partner and a house, after all.
Do you typically outline your plots before you begin the writing process, or do you write in a more freestyle fashion?
More freestyle. I tend to have the beginning (or set-up), and then two or three important scenes, one of which can be the ending. Then I just have to make it from one scene to the next, and of course things change all the time. With short stories, I usually don’t know anything, which makes them riskier, but fun, too. I never know if they pull together in the end, how it all ends, or whether I just wasted my time. It’s not really a career for a control freak, and the biggest challenge is to simply trust the muse and the characters that they know what they are doing.
How much do you draw upon your own life experiences in your writing?
I guess the primary thing every writer takes is what it means to be human, to love, to hate, to pursue ambitions and succeed or fail. Understanding motivations (why are people doing what they are doing) is really important to me.
If you go out and go looking for parallels, I do deal with issues like exile or leaving family/homeland voluntarily or involuntarily behind, and almost all of my main characters have huge father issues. Of course, there are details that are the same – “Counterpunch” owes a lot to my partner and my – tiny – experiences with boxing, both watching and practicing. I place little nuggets in the story to things I’ve seen and people I met. Cash in “Counterpunch” is a sketch based on a guy who sold me a phone in February. Leslie Flackett’s last name is taken from a guy who bullied one of my colleagues at school. Small things like that that make me smile when I re-read the story after years.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received with respect to the art of writing? How did it change the way you approach your craft?
A defining moment was when my mentor told me that the last three chapters of my novel were “lazy, cowardly writing where I’d taken the easy way out”. She was right, but it was hard to swallow. Ever since then, I try to not be a coward, not take the easy way out and try not to be lazy (can’t say I always succeeded, but I am trying). We sometimes delude ourselves that nobody can tell when we’re lazy cowards. But that’s wrong. In the end, you really can’t fool the reader – you owe them the best you got, because they can tell the difference between a good piece and a brilliant piece.
Will you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
I think “your ego doesn’t matter; all that matters is the story” is a good start. We have all these delusions about being in charge and being all brilliant, but that’s bullshit. The most brilliant, confident, successful writers still have to face the story and the empty page. That keeps you humble. So, that’s basically: it’s not a business; it’s one person against a blank screen. The ultimate combat.
Then I’ve learnt that it *is* a business. You have to think long term. While keeping two eyes on the current book, you have to keep at least another eye on the long-term career and another on your readers. (Yep, makes you a mutant with four eyes…)
Then I’ve learnt how to read contracts and that just because somebody is waving a contract in my face doesn’t mean anything. There’s a lot of fine print on those sheets, and there are lots of publishers frankly shafting authors with funny little fine print bullshit. And they are getting away with it. I’m not signing those contracts anymore, and I wished I hadn’t signed a few of those I have signed.
But the good news is, I’m not signing any of those contracts again. Ever. Authors have a choice, and if you’re halfway solid as a writer and have a readership, basically, you are in charge and you have the power. Publishers need us a hell of a lot more than we need them.
If you were to offer a word of advice to a new author just starting out, what would it be?
Get clued up on the legal and financial side of the business. There are many authors who can offer advice, but basically, don’t sign yourself into creative slavery out of a desire to be loved (because that’s what’s driving this crazy urge to be published). It’s like marrying an abusive husband. Getting hit in the face is not a sign of love or respect, whatever publishers tell you.
What is the question you’re most frequently asked by your fans?
How do you pronounce “Aleksandr”? (They also sometimes ask for sequels to some stories that I’m quite unlikely to write. Basically, if it’s 5 years or more ago, the characters are gone or I’ve lost interest.)
When you have the chance to sit down and enjoy some quiet reading time, what sorts of books are you most likely to pick up? Who are your favorite authors?
Outside the genre, I enjoy good stylists and innovative writers (William Faulkner, recently Graham Greene), also people like A M Tuomala or Jordan Taylor. Inside the genre, my favourites are the more gritty and dark writers like Manna Francis, Kirby Crow (I still think Angels of the Deep is one of the best novels to come out of the genre), and I have a severe fancrush on Kate Cotoner and Rachel Haimowitz. Rhianon Etzweiler and Peter Hansen are major discoveries, too.
But I have to admit that most reading time is taken up by non-fiction and general research material. I read huge amounts for every story, and most for historicals, but even “Counterpunch” had some seriously beefy research behind it.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies?
Buying books, meeting writer friends and ex-colleagues (I like networking, it’s part of the journalism thing to keep many contacts, keep them fresh and make connections). I also enjoy the occasional restaurant visit, which can range from Michelin-starred and extremely expensive to exotic and/or cheap. Last place I went was an Afghan restaurant (Kabul City, Edgware Road – very nice food). Then there’s weightlifting, and I’ve recently started to grow my own potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and chilis. (I now have a garden, and growing your own stuff is a bit of a trend in London – everybody does it now. Also, digging around in the ground makes me happy.)
Where did the name Vashtan originate? Is it a proper name, or does it mean something in another language?
Hah. It was the name of a character in one of my first fantasy stories, but I’ve since then been contacted by somebody from Afghanistan who mentioned it apparently looks/sounds like the word for “conscience” in a local language. Very intriguing. (Speaking of which, I might reactivate the character – he had an interesting story.)
If you did have the ability to travel back in time, would you attempt to affect a change on any major historical events, not knowing what impact it might have on the future?
Oh yes. I would just have to work out when exactly in his life I’d want to kill Hitler. I’d need more research to work out when exactly things could have been changed, but probably the Stauffenberg plot (or “Valkyrie”) could at least have saved some lives if it had worked out. Or maybe get all the top Nazi scumbags on one plane and explode that. I’d have to research that.
Slightly less dramatically, it might have been interesting to help somebody survive who died too young and might have changed the course of history for the better. Some genius that could have been saved with modern medical knowledge.
If you had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with one famous person, either past or present, who would you choose and why?
William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke. I’d want all the dirt on the politics and the loving and the fighting. He had a long, illustrious career as a world-famous knight and tournament fighter and politician.
How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?
Witty wordplay – early Pratchett gets me every time. But most TV comedy or even most comedians don’t do a thing for me. One thing that has me in tears of laughter is Skrat, that saber-toothed squirrel/rat from Ice Age. I even sat through the boring films to see him.
Do you have an all time favorite fictional character? If so, who?
It’s still Frank Castle, the Punisher. Messed up beyond belief, competent, super hard and incredibly limited. He’s perfect. If I create one character like him, I can die in peace.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
In writing? Writers not bothering to learn the craft, and editors not bothering to edit properly.
Of all the modern conveniences, which one would you most likely say you couldn’t live without?
Apart from electricity, the internet, computers, my phone, mostly efficient public transport, advanced medicine, cheap and plentiful food and a roof over my head? Can’t think of anything.
Do you have any upcoming releases you’d care to share with us?
We’ve already talked a bit about “Counterpunch”. Here’s the blurb (because it sums up the book just beautifully):
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.
Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament and had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he’s the “Mean Machine”, a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummeling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.
When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn’s services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it “love”—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn’s conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.
The cool thing is, it’s already available for pre-order (at 20% off) at Storm Moon Press’ website HERE –
and everybody who pre-orders can win either a signed poster, a signed book, or a Kindle (or an Amazon gift certificate for $115 – that’s a lot of reading).
Thanks again for spending some time with us, Aleks. It’s been great having you with us. Will you tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Plenty of places, actually:
Goodreads Group: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/38618
And we’d love if you’d consider sharing a favorite excerpt from one of your books with us.
Okay, this from the second chapter of “Counterpunch” – Brooklyn was just “hired” for the night:
They were outside the Diamond. Nice hotel that boasted a selection of pop stars at any given time. Brooklyn had rarely felt more underdressed, and while the receptionist kept a perfectly straight face, he knew she knew why he was here. Hardly to sign autographs.
“Sapphire suite, sir.” She addressed Les. Curtis was too clearly a guard, and Brooklyn was too clearly a slave. “Take the personal elevator, number five.” She handed him a card.
Les marched ahead. The card opened the elevator. The suites were all listed. Sapphire was pretty high up, but not quite the top.
“You think I’ll at least get breakfast here?”
Curtis shot him a dark look, and Les shrugged.
When the doors opened without a sound, Brooklyn’s stomach roiled. Yet again he was a piece of rough trade. And while he was always at least a little in control with a woman, a man was a different matter. It’s just like casual sex. A one-night-stand, only, of course, nobody asked me.
The door to the suite was open, and Les stepped in, leaning forwards to look around. The faint sound of a shower from far beyond the tasteful blue-cream-white interior. “Uh. Plush.”
Brooklyn huffed. “Yeah, I’m clearly climbing the ladder.”
They walked in further, and then there was another door to the side, open, too. Subtle invitations.
Brooklyn inhaled sharply when he saw the fully stocked ‘playroom’. “Sick bastard,” he murmured.
“Shut the fuck up, slave,” Curtis growled.
“Curtis, would you mind? Outside.” Les pointed at the door. “Everything’s under control.”
Curtis shot him a nasty look, but turned on his heel.
Les waited for a few moments, and then glanced at Brooklyn. “I’m sorry for that.”
“What? This is not the first time they’ve done kinky shit with me.”
Brooklyn pulled off the hoodie and pushed it against Les’s chest. He swallowed, feeling more nervous than he could let on. “I prefer being tied up. Keeps me from breaking the bastard’s neck.”
He shed the shirt, the shoes, and then trousers and underwear. There were two kinds of restraints in the room. A St Andrew’s Cross, and, centrepiece of the room, a pillory and stocks, all in dark wood and leather. Before anybody else could make the choice for him, he stepped towards the pillory and knelt down on it. The leather pad supported his chest, more padding kept his knees off the parquet.
“Help me with this, Les.” Because if I can fight, I will. I’ll punch the bastard and break his neck. I’ll kill him. I swear I’ll kill him.
“Sure, Brook.” Les knelt down at his side and closed the padded steel restraints around Brooklyn’s left wrist first. His strong hand. Then right. And a metal ring for his neck, where it sat snugly until Les found the catch that widened the metal circle. “Y’all right?”
Brooklyn smiled, but everything in him wanted to run, bolt, fight to the death. “You sound more nervous than I am.”
“I just don’t like it,” Les murmured.
“My legs next.”
“It has a spreader bar.”
“Yeah. Better spread them wide.” Because that’ll help. It will limit what I can do to defend myself. Goosebumps ran across his body when Les fastened the next cuff around his ankle. And, way, way apart, the other. Brooklyn tensed in the restraints, once and then another time, with all the strength he had. But that was solid hardwood, something like teak, probably. It didn’t even budge.
“If you want to be extra good to me, some oil would be great.”
“He might not, but I’m taking no risk.”
“I can’t do that, Brook. Jesus. I can’t.”
Brooklyn shrugged. “It’s okay.” He closed his eyes and forced himself to relax. There was no point being tense. He couldn’t escape. He didn’t have that choice. He’d learnt he wasn’t allowed to fight. The guard at the slave auction had made it clear: If you bite, I’ll smack you so hard in the mouth you’ll never bite anything again.
A forced blowjob wasn’t forced when it was a slave who gave it. There were guards that considered those a perk of the job. And compared to having to suck off a dozen guards a day, getting fucked up the arse twice a week or thereabouts wasn’t so bad.
“I’ll pick you up in the morning, okay?”
“Yeah.” Brooklyn listened to Les’ steps on the way out, and kept his gaze on the cuffs around his wrists, the links of metal chain. The pattern of the parquet.
From winning in the ring to this in the span of less than an hour.
A piece of furniture that could talk back.
The guy who’d bought his services for the night still didn’t show up. Brooklyn refused to picture him, but in his experience, they weren’t people he’d look at twice when sober. Too bad handing him over piss-drunk wouldn’t work.
Finally, the door opened. Soft footfalls. Barefooted. Brooklyn realised his hands had clenched, but he couldn’t get them to relax. Would the guy simply come over and fuck him? Or stick his cock into his mouth? Well, at least he was thoroughly showered.
Brooklyn turned his head. He saw naked legs and a dark blue bathrobe, and then twisted his neck further. Not fat, not old. The man was average-looking, dark hair curling wet in his neck. Mid-thirties. Banker or trader, most likely.
“And you are?”
“Isn’t that some kind of demon in the Bible?” Brooklyn grinned.
“And you—part of New York City?” Nathaniel stepped closer. “No, not a demon. At least I don’t think so.”
The accent was from somewhere in London. So he might not be a trader at all. No Essex boy. “My parents got pissed in New York and ended up fucking in Brooklyn. My mother thought that was a cracking name.” Why are you telling him that? Winning time? Winning time.
“You look as big as on TV. Larger than life.”
Brooklyn laughed. “Skip the roses and chocolates. Fuck me already.”
Nathaniel paused, and then walked from the left to the right. He reached out and touched Brooklyn’s neck just under the steel ring, then stroked down, and to the side. Tracing lines of muscle and sinew. “I have the night.”
Yeah, he had. Brooklyn resisted rattling the chains again. It would only give away his frustration and anger.