Deception (A “Masquerade” Story)
by Lyndi Lamont
Gay / Historical Erotic Romance
Published by Amber Quill Press
Heat Level 3
London 1895, where men who love other men flaunt convention and risk imprisonment for “the love that dare not speak its name.” Until Oscar Wilde goes on trial for gross indecency…
An anonymous and intriguing invitation leads struggling artist, Leander Frampton, into a private world of sensuality with a stranger in an elaborate black and gold costume. When the masks come off, Leander rediscovers the lover he’s dreamed of for the last two months. The man who abruptly left him in the middle of the night. Now Rupert Austin has returned, inspiring Leander’s art and filling him with desire. Thinking he has found both muse and patron, Leander gives all he has: his heart, his body, his talent. But Rupert is as elusive and evasive as ever, appearing and disappearing in Leander’s life, with little explanation.
Forbidden passions lure Rupert Austin, an outwardly staid art importer, into a secret life where he is free to pursue his love of handsome young men. Past loss makes him shy away from involvement, but he is unable to resist Leander’s talent, youthful beauty and enthusiasm. Rupert arranges for a private showing of Leander’s work, but that doesn’t mean he trusts Leander with all of his secrets, especially after risky public sex that could have landed them in jail.
Two very different men—one, a businessman with a great deal to lose and a taste for secret liaisons with beautiful men, and the other a young, gifted artist who will give his all to the right man. Will deception destroy any possibility for a once-in-a-lifetime passion for these passionate lovers?
What Readers and Reviewers are saying…
“The lyrical language in ‘Deception’ is perfect for a romantic, historical story. The flowery phrases and expressions add to the ambiance in a very important way. They help to create a contrast between the world of Leander and Rupert and life as it was in the prim and proper 1890s, which makes their plight even more poignant. If you love historical romance with strong characters, angst, drama, passion, forgiveness and a happy ending, then you’ll love ‘Deception’.” – Lena Grey, Queer Magazine Online
Feeling at loose ends, he wandered around the periphery of the ballroom, his artist’s eye drawn to the paintings on the walls and the statuettes expertly placed in niches. Whoever owned this place had incredible taste and must have traveled on the continent.
As he was admiring a fine statue of a naked youth, a tall man approached him. Leander eyed the stranger’s costume, a study in black-and-gold satin, with puffed sleeves and a gold ruff. A feathered and gold-trimmed black velvet beret covered his head above a gold mask that covered his entire face. “Good evening,” Leander said. “This is a fine piece of work.”
“It is. Our host has excellent taste.” The man’s voice was muffled a bit, and Leander leaned closer to hear better.
“May I ask who our host is?” he asked.
The man shook his head. “That is not for fools to know.”
Frustrated, Leander shook his head. “This is so confusing. I have no idea what this place is or how I even came to be invited.”
“I do,” the man said cryptically.
Leander frowned. “Do I know you?”
“Did you send me the costume?” He’d racked his brain, trying to figure out who it might have been.
The man nodded his head regally.
“Will I recognize you?”
“I hope so,” the stranger said. “We spent a memorable night together.”
Leander’s heart raced. Could it be the gentleman from the restaurant? The one he’d spent the night with in early January. The one he’d dreamt about for the last two months. Could it really be Rupert?
“Then I must find you when it’s time to unmask,” he said, unwilling to let the man escape again tonight.
The stranger chuckled. “Oh, there will be no unmasking. Too dangerous.”
“I see,” Leander said. That meant there were men here who feared to have their identities revealed. He glanced around the room, wondering who they were: highly placed government officials or judges, perhaps. Or clergymen. Possibly even a prince of the realm. “So we are in good company tonight.”
Leander turned back to his companion. “What of you? Do you, too, fear exposure?”
“Only a fool would not.”
Leander made no reply. It was true, though there were many in London who flouted the law, some quite openly.
“But if we cannot unmask, how will I ever know who you are? Will you at least tell me your name?”
“Then where can we go?” Leander asked, impatient to know who the stranger was.
“The night is young,” the man said mildly. “Do you not wish to stay and party?”
Shocked by his own boldness, Leander answered, “Not if there’s a possibility of a private party.”
“Then come home with me.”
Copyright 2011 by Lyndi Lamont, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED