My latest novella, Beautiful One, was recently released by Ellora’s Cave and I’ve got an excerpt for you!
Kallistos, a shy playwright, has been chosen to compete at the Great Dionysia festival in Athens. His plays are strong, but he faces Sophocles, the man who has won almost every contest. Kallistos, the beautiful one, has eschewed intimacy—yet the dark Alexios pierces his armor with philosophies he’s never considered, and he falls hard.
Alexios, a shepherd, aspires to be an actor in Athens. His trip plunges him into a plot of deceit and lies when Sophocles hires him to sabotage his competition. Sophocles promises money and a part on stage—but challenges Alexios’ beliefs and honor.
Though uncomfortable with the lies, Alexios woos Kallistos, finding himself deeply drawn to the man. As the performances near, Alexios must decide which he wants more—his lover, or his lifelong dream of fame and a career. While Kallistos faces issues of trust and forgiveness, and must ponder where life is truly lived—on stage or in reality.
Inside Scoop: This book contains hot, sexy scenes of M/M interaction in a public bathhouse and in private. Come on in, the water’s fine.
A Romantica® historical gay erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
By reading any farther, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.
An Excerpt From: BEAUTIFUL ONE
Copyright © KERRY ADRIENNE, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Alexios watched Kallistos fill his wine cup. By the gods, the man was gorgeous. In the lamplight, his body gleamed like spun gold and his light hair sparkled as if it was wet with dew. His simple tunic clung to him, its belt cinching his narrow waist. Spending time with the beautiful one would be a delight, not work. And he wouldn’t have to work at finding the pleasures that body had to offer, given the chance. What harm would come if he added a little enjoyment to the job?
A large man stepped in front of him, blocking his sight of Kallistos and Alexios moved so he could keep his view. He had to approach the beautiful one soon—and hopefully talk with him. The man acted almost anti-social. Too beautiful to be so reserved.
He followed Kallistos onto the darker streets away from the square where the noise lessened and the crowd thinned to very few. In the distance, fires twinkled on the Acropolis like tiny sparks of stars, fizzing and bursting. The Parthenon, though it had only stood for a short time, crowned the Acropolis like a golden diadem and light radiated from behind its columns. Athena smiled down from her position of guardian, high above the city.
Alexios sighed. Athens was magical. Sure, the land where he tended sheep was charming with its rusticity, but Athens held an enchantment that was unparalleled. To live in the city, attend its parties and act on its stages would be a life’s dream. He quickened his pace to catch Kallistos.
“Kallistos. Wait,” he called.
Kallistos stopped and turned. “Who calls my name?”
“Step into the lamplight.”
Alexios’ stomach trembled at the tenor of Kallistos’ voice. Was everything about the man beautiful? He stepped out of the shadows into the half-light of the street.
“What do you want?” Kallistos asked. He held his wine cup steady and looked away. “I’m too tired to entertain.”
The way Kallistos dipped his head in slight embarrassment, shrugging his shoulders as he spoke, warmed Alexios from the inside out. “Begging your forgiveness,” he said, “but I wanted to talk to the playwright Kallistos and maybe share wine. It would be an honor.”
Kallistos paused for a moment before speaking, digging his sandal toe against the dirt road. Would he yell or rebuff the intrusion? He brought his wine to his lips, tipping the cup high. The muscles in his neck clenched as the wine went down his throat. Alexios silently gulped. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought.
“You have me at a disadvantage,” Kallistos said, lowering the empty cup. “You know my name, but you’ve not told me yours.”
He moved closer and the air seemed to grow thicker with heat—Kallistos’ heat. Alexios coughed. “I’m Alexios.”
“Alexios,” Kallistos repeated. The name rolled off his tongue like a silken promise.
“I’ve come to Athens for the festival and I heard about your plays.” The words stumbled out, and Alexios shifted. Since when did a man make him quiver without a touch?
Kallistos frowned. “What have you heard?”
“I’ve heard your participation in Great Dionysia will rival Sophocles.”
“I am thrilled to accept the challenge.”
“Your wife and children must be proud.” Was his attempt to gather information too bold?
“I have no wife, nor wish to find one. My plays are my lovers.” Kallistos looked up toward the moon and fiddled with his wine cup. “I have to go. But I’d like to see you again, Alexios. Perhaps we can discuss philosophy over some finer wine.” He smiled and briefly made eye contact.
Alexios fought the shudder that racked his body. “I’d like that. It isn’t every day a shepherd shares philosophy with a famous playwright.”
“I’m not famous, but I’ll count you among my fans, shepherd.”
Kallistos met his gaze for a few longer moments before looking down. “Until another day, then.” Kallistos turned to leave.
“Wait!” Alexios grabbed him by the arm.
Kallistos gasped, his eyes wide in the soft moonlight.
Alexios trailed his hand down Kallistos’ bare arm, feeling the soft blond hairs under his fingertips. He gulped as heat shot straight to his groin. “May the gods, if they exist, shine favor on you.”
Kallistos shivered and Alexios’ stomach tightened.
“And may Dionysus himself guide your travels tonight,” Kallistos said. He lingered for a moment, then slipped out of Alexios’ reach and walked off toward the residential area of Athens.
Alexios stood still on the darkened street, watching. His breath caught at the thought of what might have happened if he had pulled Kallistos closer into an embrace. Had the beautiful one been offering himself? He shook his head. Surely, he was not. He was only being kind. A stiff wind whipped through the street and Alexios held his fluttering tunic against his body. He had to keep focused on his job. He hadn’t been hired to befriend Kallistos, or even take him as a lover, though that would be a welcome addition to the plan. No, he had to stay focused. He had to destroy Kallistos’ chances of winning the festival.
Here is the cover (I love it! such a great representation of Kallistos and Alexios!)