Authors: Andy Frankham-Allen
Tags: #Short Stories
Aphelion: Tales from the Dark Recesses
By Andy Frankham-Allen
Copyright 2014 by Andy Frankham-Allen
Cover Copyright 2014 by Untreed Reads Publishing
Cover Design by Ginny Glass
The author is hereby established as the sole holder of the copyright. Either the publisher (Untreed Reads) or author may enforce copyrights to the fullest extent.
All stories in this anthology were previously published individually by Untreed Reads.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. The characters, dialogue and events in this book are wholly fictional, and any resemblance to companies and actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Also by Andy Frankham-Allen and Untreed Reads Publishing
Space: 1889 and Beyond Series:
Journey to the Heart of Luna
Conspiracy of Silence
(with Frank Chadwick)
(with Sharon Bidwell)
The Forever Journey
(with Tom Sanford, Christian Mansell, David Parish-Whittaker)
Horizons of Deceit Book II
(with Jonathan Cooper)
Aphelion: Tales from the Dark Recesses
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.” It was true. Appearance was all important in the world of mortal man, and as he regarded himself in the mirror, Iago smiled. He was the epitome of man; every muscle perfectly toned, his eyes exactly the right color to go with his skin tone, hair fine but thick, nails manicured to perfection. And his manners, beyond reproach.
No woman would be able to resist him, as ever.
Once again it was time to go forth, and multiply.
Sex on a stick.
There was just no other term for it. When Caitlyn first saw him that’s exactly the phrase that popped into her head; second to that, she just knew she had to get this guy’s number.
She had been with her girlfriends enjoying a macchiato when she had spotted him. He was walking in her general direction, but she liked to think he was approaching her. In reality, he was probably going to order his own shot of caffeine from the counter behind her, but he did throw a very candid wink her way as he passed her table. Of all the girlfriends huddled around the little table, it was Niki who first spotted Caitlyn’s distraction.
“Do you really think so?” Niki whispered in her ear, leaning in close so the others wouldn’t hear.
Caitlyn smiled broadly. How could she not? “I really
do,” she said. She offered Niki a wink and excused herself from the table. As she walked towards the counter, she heard the curious whispers of her girlfriends, and Niki acting as if she knew nothing. Of course, soon they’d all spot the hunk of sexiness and they’d realize. But by then it would be too late; he would be hers.
She stopped at the counter, standing behind the man, pretending to look at the cakes in the display cabinet, but really admiring his rather fit ass. Dark blue jeans with white stitching clung tightly to his perfectly shaped bubble butt, the seam riding high between his legs. For a second Caitlyn actually had to look at the cakes, otherwise she knew she’d need to start fanning herself. Back under control she inched forward, almost touching him.
The girl behind the till must have noticed, because she cast a dark look Caitlyn’s way. Caitlyn just smiled back in response. She didn’t care; if the girl had eyes that worked she’d realize the need to do anything to try and get the attention of the man. At the moment he was simply a customer, but if the girl had played her cards right he could have become so much more. Caitlyn wondered where such thoughts came from.
He spoke to the cashier, and moved on towards the counter by the espresso machine, where his latte was being prepared.
“Can I help you?” the girl asked Caitlyn.
Caitlyn had to drag her eyes away from the man. “What? Ah, no,” she said, knowing she should at least pretend to consider wanting something.
Other than that sexy beast, of course.
“Okay, well, if you’d like to move along, I do have other customers, you know,” the girl said, icy politeness in every word.
Caitlyn opened her mouth to speak, her mind rushing to find some kind of excuse to remain at the counter, close to the man. As it turned out, the man himself gave her a reason.
“Can I get you a drink?”
Caitlyn turned her head towards him, smiling in response to his own bright smile. He was perfect, no other way to put it. His skin was almost bronze, his hair raven black, and his eyes, deeply set in a face that looked like it had been sculptured by the angels, were as brown as mocha. And his smile… Pearly white teeth filled that smile, broad and welcoming. Caitlyn almost felt weak at the knees just looking at him. He stepped forward, and offered his hand. Automatically she reached out with her own hand, and he leaned over and kissed the back of it. It was such an old fashioned gesture. Caitlyn was certain that no one had ever done such a thing to her before. He looked to be no more than twenty-five, yet such an introduction suited a man twice his years. Caitlyn approved.
“And to whom do I owe the pleasure?” he asked, his tones speaking of Eastern origins, although not being much good at geography Caitlyn could never hope to pinpoint the source. But it didn’t matter, his English was perfect.
“Caitlyn,” she began, her voice almost a whisper. She coughed demurely (demurely! She had never done anything demurely in her entire life. Until now!), and tried again. “Caitlyn Eaves.”
“A beautiful name, for a beautiful lady,” he said, the words rolling off his tongue with such delight. “Possibly derived from
, the Greek for pure?”
Caitlyn had no idea. So she opted for, “possibly.” Not that the word pure had ever been applied to her before. Unless pure vixen counted.
“I am simply Iago.”
Caitlyn tried that name out. “Ee-A-gaw?” she said slowly, and grinned again. “Iago is a nice name. It’s distinctive.”
“Yes,” Iago agreed, still smiling at her. “Distinctive is good. I like distinctive. Excuse me,” he added as he was called to pick up his latte. Caitlyn waited, quite taken by his manners. Normally she wouldn’t care less, after all she was hardly the most couth person on the planet, and she liked her men to be men, not pansies. But with Iago it seemed different. Suited him like an old coat. And besides, unlike Hunter at home, there was nothing feminine about Iago. He was all man, and as he reached for his latte, she watched his t-shirt pull tight against his well-toned torso, feeling her pulse racing that bit more. Oh yes, all man.
Once he held the tall mug in his bronze hands, Iago looked back at Caitlyn. “
you care for a drink?”
“I’m good, thanks. I’ve already had one,” she said, glancing back at the table her girlfriends were still sitting at. Iago looked over with a smile, and Caitlyn noticed almost all the girls bat their eyelids, grinning like idiots. Except Niki, who just winked at Caitlyn and returned to her decaf Frappuccino.
“I see,” Iago said slowly. “Then perhaps I can trouble you for your company? That is, if your friends don’t mind me stealing you.”
“Mind?” Caitlyn almost spluttered. They’d be downright jealous, but she wasn’t about to reveal that Iago. “I’m sure they’ll understand.”
“Excellent. Then, perhaps you can introduce me to them another time?”
Caitlyn wasn’t sure why he’d want that, and it wasn’t like she intended to share him, but she shrugged and muttered an “okay.”
At this Iago laughed. “Perhaps that table there?”
“As good as any,” Caitlyn said and allowed Iago to lead the way. After all, she wanted to get the best view of his ass as he walked. She followed, and glanced back at the girl behind the till, who was now staring daggers in Caitlyn’s direction.
Too late, hun
, Caitlyn thought,
much too late. He’s mine now.
“I’m not so sure about this, love,” Hunter said, as Caitlyn opened the door to leave.
Caitlyn looked back, and offered him a reassuring smile. She did love Hunter, would never have shared a flat with him if not, but he was a bit of worrier. “Don’t be daft. What can go wrong? A man with such charm…and looks.” She stopped, and for a moment her mind went back to the coffee shop, and the way Iago’s biceps worked under his tight top. “Whew, did I mention how hot he is?”
Hunter had to laugh at that. “Yes, once or twice. Feel a bit jealous now, actually.”
“As you should, darling boy, as you should.” She leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. “Be seeing you,” she said and walked out of the flat.
She glanced back at the converted terraced house, and offered Hunter a little wave. He tentatively waved back, his face still carrying the same look of worry. Caitlyn shook her head. Silly boy, it wasn’t like this was the first date she’d been on. And besides, as Iago had promised, there he was now. Standing beside the black cab, door open for her.
“Your carriage awaits,” he said, as she approached.
Caitlyn fluttered her eyelids at him, and he flashed her his biggest smile. As she stepped into the cab he took her hand in his and kissed it. Oh yes, it was going to be wonderful night.
Hunter didn’t like it. Caitlyn was acting very odd, even for her. He had known her for a few years and she had never been one for lady-like behavior, but since returning from work she’d been very prim and proper, like she’d become some sort of fairytale princess all of a sudden; endlessly chatting about this guy who had totally blown her mind. Now, Hunter was more than happy to see Caitlyn falling for someone decent; after all, she had fallen for some skets over the years, but something about this didn’t ring true.
Although, Hunter had to admit, having now caught sight of the enigmatic Iago, that Caitlyn was right about his looks. He was gorgeous, of the drop dead variety. Even from this distance Hunter could see that.
He remained as he was for a while, standing in the doorway, watching the cab pull away, images of Iago filling his mind.
Yes, he was definitely hot, and it seemed such a shame to waste such an amazing man on someone like Caitlyn.
With a flourish Hunter spun on his heels and flounced back into the house. Caitlyn might think she was a princess now, but he’d show her what real royalty was.
As promised, Iago took her to a recently opened French restaurant just off Regent’s Street;
Grand Restaurer de Londres
. The food was divine, although a bit pricey for her, but Iago assured her that she deserved nothing less, so who was she to argue? Caitlyn stifled a giggle at that.
Once again she knew she was acting a little unusual in Iago’s presence, but she could not help it, he simply brought the inner lady out of her. Until the coffee shop at lunch she didn’t even realize there was a lady in her. And yet, here she was, sitting in the plush restaurant, using the correct cutlery, napkin spread out on her lap, and sipping expensive Cuvée Alexandra Rosé. Yes! Actually sipping, not downing in one go.
“How is the champagne?” Iago asked.
Caitlyn lowered the glass, and went to speak, but the bubbles from the champagne hit her nose and she laughed. Iago smiled at her indulgently, and reached his hand across the table. He held her hand gently, massaging the back of it with his ringed thumb.
“I know it is most improper, but I must say I do feel like I should invite you back to my hotel tonight.”