Welcome to the Belonging ’Verse re-release blog tour with Aleksandr Voinov and Rachel Haimowitz! We’re very excited to be bringing you edited second editions of our Belonging stories, Anchored and Counterpunch (in the case of Anchored, very edited, with over ten thousand new words and a completely different beginning and ending!), which are finally under the same roof and back in print after about a year out of circulation.
We’ll be touring for about two weeks, Aleks discussing his slave boxer and the barrister who tries to free him, and Rachel talking about her slave news anchor and the talk show host who covets him, and both of us discussing the world of Belonging at large—which, as you’ve probably guessed, is not a particularly pretty place. But good things can and do happen in this world, and we hope you’ll stick with us to find out what!
Speaking of good things, don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Riptide store! Each new post you comment on earns you an entry into the drawing, so be sure to check out the rest of the tour schedule too!
Way back when, I wrote a series of vignettes that took place in the spaces between the Anchored prequel (Daniel’s eleven and has just been purchased from a custom clothier by a media conglomerate) and the rest of the story when Daniel’s thirty-six. Originally, they were released as a collection called Where He Belongs. Now I’m giving them away for free. Here’s the second one. No need at all to have read Anchored to make sense of this, though I’d strongly recommend reading the first free story (The New Kid) earlier in the tour.
And now, on to Bathroom Break! (Very NSFW!)
He’s still quiet, though the shyness fled him long ago, overtaken by curiosity and the slow realization that InfoGlobe expects its slaves to have active minds, to ask questions, to learn and grow and expand.
I’ve grown too. We all have. I still watch him in the study lounge on the evenings I’m free, his hands caressing the pages of books the same way mine caress InfoGlobe bigwigs and their Important Guests. My schooling’s done, but his will last for years yet. He doesn’t mind, though; he loves his studies just as much as he loves his time in the field, his apprenticeships in the newsrooms and the editing booths and on the city streets.
But I miss him those nights when he’s gone and I’m here. And I’m ashamed to say I think of him some nights when I’m working, curled naked around some executive or playing piano at one of their endless parties. It’s not that my regulars aren’t good to me—they are, mostly, especially the women. It’s just that they don’t love me, and I don’t love them, and I never can and never will. Us slaves don’t love the way they do, anyway, but it means no less to me for knowing that, the way I feel about Daniel.
He glances up from his reading and smiles at me, confident and coy, and I smile back, dart my eyes around the room to check for supervisors. Just Mr. Jameson tonight. He’s nice enough, but he still won’t let us break the rules unless there’s something in it for him. Daniel’s already moving toward the bathroom, and I pretend to read my Newsweek and count to sixty before allowing myself to follow after him. Mr. Jameson clears his throat from across the room, and I send him a look that says, clear as day, Give us ten minutes and you’ll be next, whatever you want, when your shift ends. Supervisors aren’t supposed to touch the merchandise, but we’ve all learned to deal as we’ve gotten older.
There are no locks on the bathroom door, but there are little slidelocks on the stalls. Daniel tugs me into one and presses me against the wall, our own little cubicle of precious, precious privacy for those few minutes we’ll be allowed. He’s already got one hand down my pants, his face buried in my neck, but I push him away and drop to my knees, unzip him in seconds and swallow his cock down my throat.
“Marcus,” he gasps, fingers tangling in my hair, and though I’ve heard my name said just that way thousands of times by hundreds of people, it never affects me the way it does when he says it, with all the gratitude and desire and hunger I know he holds within him. He doesn’t love me like that, I know, but he’s no fool; he’ll take his pleasures where he can find them. And he does love me in his own way, as much as any slave can: as a dear friend, as the one who took him by the hand those five long years ago and chased the fear away, as the one who gave him his letters and opened this new world to his mind. He knows how I feel. I think it upsets him that he can’t make himself feel the same in return. When he thinks about it too long, those perfect bow lips tilt into a frown, and if we’re alone, I lean in to kiss them and say, It’s okay, it’s okay, because it really is, and I hate so very much to see him sad.
I hum and swallow around his cock and he comes down my throat with barely a grunt—it wouldn’t do to be heard, after all. His shout comes out his fingers instead; they tighten so hard in my hair I think he may actually tug some loose. No matter. I’m used to pain, especially when I’m alone with someone on my knees, and this is nothing compared to most.
When he’s all finished shaking apart, I stand and tuck him back into his pants, zip them up while he leans boneless against the stall wall, panting, eyes closed, too blissed out to re-dress himself. But oh, how I love to see him like this, and I lean in and steal a kiss from those parted lips.
He kisses me back, absently at first but then growing hungry, hands tangling in my hair before dropping to my waist, my hips, my ass. He slides to his knees, and as he unbuttons my pants, he tosses me that sheepish look that says I’m sorry I’m not as good at this as you, and I just smile and touch his face because I don’t care that he’s had no training. He still makes me come every time, and it’s so much better than any one of those days or nights with my roster of freemen and women. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told him that, but he never quite seems to believe me.
I start to tell him again, but then his hand is on my cock, and his tongue is licking a circle around the head, and words fail me. I moan softly—a real moan, not one of my arsenal of artificial ones I use to please those among my betters who enjoy pleasuring me—and close my eyes, let my head fall back against the stall. I have been trained for years in orgasm denial, worked hard to develop the stamina to service several people in a night, but here, now, with him kneeling at my feet, I’ll be coming in minutes, maybe even seconds. Which is good, because that’s all the time we’ll have. Mr. Jameson will come after us soon if we don’t leave on our own.
The thought of Mr. Jameson derails my looming orgasm, even as Daniel hums around my cock—a trick I taught him—and battles his gag reflex to deep-throat me.
I maintain just enough awareness to notice when the bathroom door opens. Daniel must have too; he’s already rolling underneath the wall to the next stall before I can nudge him with my foot. I’m frustrated, but safety must always come first.
“Everything all right in here?” Mr. Jameson says from outside my stall. The question is innocent enough, but I can hear the irritation in his tone. We’ve been in here too long; we’ve undermined his authority. He’ll make me pay for it tonight, I bet—nothing overtly cruel, but he’ll fuck me hard, without prep or concern, and he’ll probably leave some bruises. Still, it’s worth it for seeing Daniel in that blissed-out haze, for knowing I was the one who brought him to it.
I realize, with a little flutter of panic, that I’ve not yet answered Mr. Jameson’s question. I also realize that I’m stroking my aching cock, slow and absent, and I smile at the knowledge that just the thought of Daniel’s face in orgasm is enough to make me touch myself. I tell Mr. Jameson I’m fine, and since Daniel says nothing, I assume he already answered while I was lost in my own head. Daniel’s toilet flushes and I hear him leave the stall, wash his hands, return to the study lounge. “Two minutes, Marcus,” Mr. Jameson warns, and then he too is gone.
I close my eyes and picture Daniel again, stroke myself short and fast, and come with time to spare. When I return to the study lounge, I sit carefully away from Daniel, but he meets my eyes and smiles ruefully—an apology for not finishing fast enough, a promise to take care of me first the next time (but I won’t let him, I never let him), and a touch of fear for the silent bargain he knows I made with Mr. Jameson. I smile back, wide and warm—don’t worry, I’ll be fine, and it was worth every second. Because it was. It is. It always is.
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company that’s owned him since childhood, decides to lease him privately on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.
Daniel’s not stupid; he knows there’s only one reason someone would pay so much for what little free time he has. But dark memories of past sexual service leave him certain he won’t survive it again with his sanity intact.
He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him when it comes to ordering Daniel into his bed. Carl can’t seem to take what he must want, and Daniel’s not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, affection just might flourish over fear and pain. Carl holds the power to be an anchor in Daniel’s turbulent life, but if he isn’t careful, he’ll end up the weight that sinks his slave for good.
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.
Two years ago, Brooklyn Marshall was a happily married London policeman and amateur boxer with a promising future. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose powerful father had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the prison system, the state sold Brooklyn into slavery. Now he’s the “Mean Machine,” competing on the slave prizefighting circuit for the entertainment of freemen, and being rented out for sexual service to his wealthier fans.
When barrister Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn’s services for a night, Brooklyn braces himself for yet another round of humiliation and pain. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it love—such feelings can’t truly exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to get Brooklyn’s conviction overturned, Brooklyn dares to hope.
Until an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he’s worked so hard for. With the law on his tail and Nathaniel in his corner, he must prepare for the most important fight of his life: the fight for his freedom.
Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author and the Publisher of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.
When she’s not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn. You can connect with Rachel at: Website, Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads, Email.
Aleksandr Voinov has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and until recently worked as an editor in financial services.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write gritty, edgy, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days.
He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and others, and is an EPIC Awards winner and a Lambda Awards finalist. You can connect with Aleks at: Website, Blog, Twitter, Goodreads.