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Clank. Huff. Clank. Huff.

Ryan admitted it. The sound of his roommate working out in the spare bedroom across the hall acted like the world’s most potent aphrodisiac on him. His cock hardened, as if Ben was pumping iron into it instead of his own already magazine-worthy build.

Sprawled in bed, Ryan had been paying half-attention to some late-night comedy host, unable to muster a single chuckle. Against his better judgment, he muted the TV, then dropped the remote. It bounced, utterly forgotten, on the mattress. He glanced at the screen of the baby monitor on his nightstand to double-check that Ben’s eight-year-old niece Julie was knocked out in her room at the other end of the second floor in the better-days Victorian they rented, as she had been for hours. If one of her periodic nightmares roused her, he’d know long before she ventured this way.

                Clank. Huff. Clank. Huff.

Ben now had his full attention.

Nothing new about that, though the other man would probably grimace—or maybe deck him—if he could read Ryan’s thoughts.

From where he leaned his shoulders against his padded leather headboard, Ryan could make out the curve of sweaty muscles in the spare bedroom directly across the hall. A sheen highlighted them in the mirror propped against the wall of their makeshift gym. They flexed and bunched as Ben did about a million reps with his fully loaded weights. In between sets he rotated some CrossFit shit, pulling himself up on whatever handy contraption he could find, inadvertently flaunting his spectacular body and the amazing things it was capable of doing.

There was a reason Ryan swore his room had the best view in their shared apartment. Fascinated, he could hardly stand to blink.

Though he had plenty of ideas about more enjoyable ab exercises Ben could try, Ryan knew better than to suggest them. Instead, he settled for taking enough mental snapshots to get him through another lonely night.

As he had in the past, enough times to diagnose his Ben-infatuation for what it really was—obsession—Ryan spread his legs. His fingers unfurled from the fist they’d unconsciously made as they mustered weak resistance to the inevitable. Then they wandered toward the growing bulge in his cotton shorts as if they had a will of their own. Ignoring the diminishing protests of his mind, which called him a perv for stealth-jacking to the sight of his unsuspecting roommate’s glory, he slipped his hand beneath his waistband and cupped his hard-on.

Despite his best attempt to remain silent, he couldn’t repress a soft gasp at the first contact of his hand on his cock. In his mind, he imagined Ben commanding him to be silent. He would do anything to please the other guy, especially if Ben was the one in control of Ryan’s pleasure.

He allowed his thoughts to wander, only for a moment, to the times they’d spent in captivity together. Of course the entire situation had been fucked up beyond belief. Chock full of danger, extreme emotions, and a very unhealthy heaping of terror. But he’d thought some of the ecstasy they’d indulged in had been real rather than forced.

The times they’d served Mistress Lily in tandem sprang to the front of his memory.

His dick twitched and thickened in his trembling grasp.

Lost in his remembrance, Ryan wasn’t sure if the hesitation he’d imagined in the steady rhythm of Ben’s workout was real. Had he heard? Was he affected? Had he ever truly been?

Ryan paused and grew still, though he knew the shadowed interior of his private space would make it nearly impossible for his roommate to discern what was happening inside.

Disaster averted. Ben kept on lifting, as if his cut frame wasn’t already irresistible.

It was foolish to think anything had changed between them, anyway.

Hell, he was lucky the other guy hadn’t kicked his ass or tossed him into the street with all his shit by now. It wasn’t as if he bothered to hide his unrequited lust.

Ryan gritted his teeth and worked his temporarily wilted shaft back to full hardness, refusing to let his doubts or regrets steal what crumbs of relief he could scavenge. It might have been wrong, but he didn’t care. If he didn’t find something to soothe the anxiety shaking him to the core soon, he might not survive.

Sure, it sounded melodramatic, especially considering the true jeopardy they had endured. Others hadn’t been lucky enough to escape and go on to pout over an unreciprocated crush—Ben’s sister April included. Ryan prided himself on the fact that despite his sexual preferences as a submissive bisexual man, he hadn’t depended on anyone to make it this far in life. To thrive against all odds. To do what had needed to be done in those dark moments he refused to dwell on. Lately, though, the foundation of his confidence had developed a network of widening cracks.

Not the least of which was due to the man across the hall and what felt like one hell of a rejection, even if it had never been voiced aloud.

Ryan groaned, then lifted his head and dropped it onto his pillow a few times in a lame attempt to smash thoughts of anything except Ben’s utter hotness from his cluttered mind. If he couldn’t even focus on that long enough to rub one out, he was definitely in trouble.

He relied on his training, enabling his psyche to play more pleasant tricks.

After drawing in a series of deep breaths, he locked away his negative thoughts. Compartmentalization had ensured that even in captivity he’d been able to perform on demand. That skill had saved others who weren’t so…let’s say, willing, from being violated in those dungeons. More than once, he’d gladly served men high on a vicious sexual stimulant—Sex Offender—in Ben’s place, protecting the other man from crossing his own boundaries. On their first night free, after downing enough alcohol to supply a frat house on a rowdy Friday night, Ben had tearfully admitted that Ryan had saved his soul.

So he didn’t think his friend would mind returning the favor now.

Ryan stuffed reality into some far corner of his brain. In its place, he imagined himself bound to the sturdy metal frame of Ben’s home gym. Not with silk ties or soft restraints. No, in his mind he pictured coarse rope. Tied tight around his wrists, it would chafe, leaving lingering red marks he could smile over for days to come. He’d press them and savor the burn, knowing Ben’s show of possession hadn’t been some dumbass fantasy.

Ben would stalk closer so that Ryan could smell the effort his best friend had made in honing his body into the most perfect version of his already phenomenal self that his striking Turkish genes would allow. Dark stubble would rasp over Ryan’s face as Ben rubbed against him, snarling and biting his lip so that he was forced to peer deep into those nearly golden eyes, which had the power to mesmerize him.

“I figured I’d give you a close up view of the action, since you seemed so intent on spying on me,” Ben would goad with a gloating half-smirk that proved he knew just how impossible it would be for Ryan to look away from a sight as magnificent as him.

His arrogance would heighten Ryan’s need, making his cock throb in his shorts.

Though Ryan was tall, Ben was even more so. The crick in his neck from looking up would enhance his arousal. He shivered at the thought alone.

His bare toes curled into the sheets as he shifted, placing his ankles at the corners of his mattress, envisioning himself spread for his roommate’s wicked pleasure. No matter what that might entail, he was game. Any way in which he could thrill the other man, and probably a couple extra Ben would never dare think of himself, would be just fine by him.

Maybe Ben would leave him there, strung up on the equipment as he did endless crunches, push-ups, and squats. Oh God, squats. Taunting him with that perfect ass.

Ryan swallowed hard.

Only when Ben was good and ready—plenty sweaty, too—would he return. With his trademark grin, which lifted the left half of his sinful lips slightly higher than the right, he’d ask, “If I’m the one doing all the work here, why are you breathing so damn hard?”

Because the hammering of Ryan’s heart demanded extra oxygen, that’s why. Even in his dreams, he didn’t dare admit that aloud, though.

Instead, he’d yank at his bonds, impatient and riled.

If the tugs resulted in additional abrasions to his wrists, well, wasn’t that a shame?

In real life, one of his hands choked his cock hard enough to edge into discomfort. The other reached down and wrapped around his wrist, squeezing until he could drown himself in his bondage fantasy. If only he could swipe the length of rope he kept in his nightstand. Even he wasn’t bold enough to push that far with Ben so close. So he pressed harder. It would feel just like that.

Fuck, yes.

Immersed in his mental movie, he shifted, allowing his palms to roam so that one cupped his balls while the other began to stroke.

Just a little. It wouldn’t take much to set him off with such vivid desires burning through his imagination, and he’d prefer to savor the waves of rapture, which finally reached into the cold spaces inside him and brought him alive.

When Ben began to towel off in the room next door, Ryan bit his lip to keep from moaning at the sight. What if he had free rein to run his hands over that taut, glowing skin?

To lick and bite and savor.

He’d certainly make the most of it.

Ryan remembered falling asleep next to Ben as members of the temporary harem Lily had constructed within Morselli’s dungeon. She’d protected them, sheltered them, as much as possible. Which was why he’d read more into Ben’s clean scent and the slightly awkward way they’d woken up cuddled together in their shared bed than had obviously been there.

Especially in those circumstances, Ryan couldn’t fault his roommate for needing to form a simple human connection with anyone who happened to be handy. That was part of the reason he’d never called Ben out on mornings where he had pretended to sleep after he’d clearly awoken, as reluctant to break their connection as Ryan had been. Or maybe Ben had endured those blissful moments to give Ryan the only comfort he could in their captivity.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

                Ryan shook his head, refocusing on the apparition of fictional post-workout Ben instead of the ghosts of dungeons past.

Right. Right. Tied to the home gym. Ogling Ben’s package and wishing like hell he could taste it.

“Something interesting down there?” Ben would ask when he caught Ryan’s gaze locked on the front of his jersey shorts. His fingers would spear into Ryan’s slightly shaggy blond hair, gripping tight enough to have him panting all over again.

“May I—?” he’d ask, his throat too dry at the mere thought to finish his request.

“Are you asking for permission to speak, or permission to suck?” Ben cocked his head, then grinned, as if there were any true doubt.

“That.” Ryan nodded, increasing the sting Ben’s grip imparted to his scalp, too fervent to be more specific.

Ben chuckled, then cut him loose with the bone-handled pocketknife he always had handy. If the blade pricked Ryan’s skin, he wouldn’t complain one bit.

Without wasting a single second, Ryan would drop to his knees and paw at Ben’s shorts, tugging them to the tops of his thighs. More than that was unnecessary for his purpose.

In his fantasy, he nuzzled Ben’s heavy balls, licking them with the flat of his tongue a few times before swallowing his best friend’s cock inch by inch. His fingers dug into Ben’s ass, drawing him closer. So close Ryan choked, but he didn’t give a fuck.

A hum of approval and the tightening of the glutes in his hand were reward enough for the minor inconvenience. Who needed air anyway, when he could have this?

What could be better?

As they sometimes did, his waking dream shifted. Shari appeared, perched on the balance ball in the corner. Their mutual friend radiated approval as she beamed at the two of them, witnessing the power of the raw energy surging between them. In her most prim voice, she would ask, “Have I ever mentioned how much it turns me on to watch a man sucking another man’s dick?”

Oh, fuck.

Back in his bedroom, Ryan’s hips began to rock, jabbing upward to meet his hand when it plunged toward his body. His cock jabbed through his fist, long and proud.

“Do you want me to fuck you while she watches?” Ben asked. “Show her how you take me so deep inside your tight ass? I bet she’ll like that show even more.”

“Yes. Yes, please.” Ryan would have done a better job of begging if he could have sucked more oxygen into his lungs at the thought.

“Fine. But no coming yet.” Ben reached down and pinched Ryan’s nipple, making his cock pulse. “When I’m finished with you, you’re going to take care of her. However she likes. And if you do a good job, maybe then we’ll reward you, you hear?”

“Yes, thank you.” He meant it sincerely. The chance to please these two would bring him as much joy and delight as he imparted, maybe more. In fact, the idea alone was enough to nudge him toward climax. He tried to slow down. To muster some self-control, but it was no use.

Ryan hovered on the edge, desperate for his daydream to continue. Refusing to go over until his balls ached from holding back. Until even rapture became a special brand of torture.

Only then did he allow himself to imagine the impossible, though the seductive thoughts tumbled through his brain in fast-forward.

Ben would mount him, face-to-face, so there couldn’t be any mistaking the lust in his stare. For Ryan. Without apology.

That was Ryan’s greatest desire.

Sure, Ben’s big fat cock would feel amazing plowing into him with enough force to shake the home gym and clank various metal parts together in a furiously escalating tempo. The pressure of his dickhead on Ryan’s prostate would be divine. The eventual liquid heat of his come filling Ryan’s ass when he lost control would grant some affirmation of their compatibility both in and out of bed. But unflinching acceptance of their attraction—hell, their bond—despite the fact that Ben identified as straight(ish) and Ryan was most definitely not a woman…

Well, that was what he craved above all else.

“Ben…” he whisper-gasped into the night.

To his horror, a soft grunt came in response.

Ryan’s eyes flew open, yet his hand didn’t stop its furious shuttling along his length.

Flesh and blood Ben turned and stared into the mirror, indirectly meeting Ryan’s gaze. He had to know it was a monster erection clutched in Ryan’s fist. The motion of his masturbation was unmistakable.

The dominant flare in those molten eyes was irresistible. Close enough to Ryan’s vision.

He surrendered. Shattered, pumping his release from so deep in his balls he’d swear they were in danger of flipping inside out.

He hoped his roommate could see every bit of the longing, desire, and pure need etched onto his face as he allowed his orgasm to overtake him, possessing every molecule of his being. Ryan grunted as the first blast of his thick come shot from his dick and decorated his chest.

                Ben inched closer, as if drawn by the pull of so much naked arousal. He approached until his toes teetered on the threshold to Ryan’s room.