Captain by J. Hali Steele

Captain by J. Hali Steele


Phantom Lure, Book 2

by J. Hali Steele

Changeling Press

Ebook ISBN: 07477-02411

[ Dark Fantasy BDSM Romance, MMM ]

Each time Sal glances his way, Gent envisions turning him out. Yet it’s not what Gentar unearths beneath Salvatore’s strait-laced façade that brings his blood to a boil — it’s the strength garnered from the most powerful Phantom alive!

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Chapter One

Family jewels — two words that took on a completely new meaning after damn near losing them.

Gentar Finway harked back to a meeting many years ago with Grange Stafford. Lucifer’s scorned lover, the demon responsible for Lures existing and for their voracious carnal cravings, Grange had found and claimed a human man as his own. Tales of the tantalizing scent of sex and desire enveloping Grange’s young man enticed every Lure who dared encroach on Grange’s territory. Satan’s Phantoms were greedy and guarded their space viciously as they required sex in abundance yet somehow another of their ilk, Conner Roth, managed to stay with Grange and his new lover without retribution.

Times had changed for Phantom Lure throughout the world.

Gentar looked out over the water and vividly remembered his more recent deadly encounter with Grange a few months ago when he visited this port.

He had docked PL Cruise Line’s Purple Seas at Philadelphia’s terminal and decided to seek solace in the city though he could have had any man he wanted onboard. It was a beautiful, clear night. He hailed a cab and traveled to Penn’s Landing, a vibrant tourist area teeming with men of every size, shape and ethnicity. Surely, he’d find someone ripe for erotic adventure. A phantom’s only power, aside from sexual prowess, was mind control gained through touch, which helped to hook and mesmerize their “catch,” a term used for humans. Tonight, he would reach out to one or two soon to be willing bodies. The scent hit him immediately upon exiting the taxi, driving all rational thought from his mind and Gentar followed it to what he surmised would be a delicious reprieve.

Two steps from his quarry, Grange Stafford intercepted him. “I smelled your cold ass the minute you exited the taxi. This is not a place you want to be, Gentar.” His green eyes took in every inch of Gent’s body. Damn, he’s fucking hot. Why couldn’t he have chosen him in Conner’s place?

“I didn’t get to choose.” Excitement sparked in his eyes as he leaned in and whispered, “Do you wish it was you?”

“Bastard.” Wary because his previous run in with Grange ended painfully, Gentar considered himself lucky to have his nuts intact as Lure unceremoniously separated them from their owners without hesitation. He backed away only to bump into Conner Roth. “I only seek release.”

Grange scowled. “You seek nothing here.”

Sniffing the air, Gent murmured, “Unbelievable.” He immediately grasped the explanation for the fabled scent — all three men’s sexual auras commingled. “You’ve taken on each other’s scent.”

Their human approached, unaware of what was happening, and Conner quickly moved to stand between them. “Grange, I’ve found exactly what I wanted.” Breathless, excited, he held a book in his hand. “I’ve looked for this everywhere.” Finally sensing tension, he glanced up and into the eyes of Gentar. “You’re Phantom Lure.”


Grange laid his hand on the man’s arm. “Roman, come to me.” Without hesitation, Roman moved to stand encircled in Grange’s arms.

Stymied, Gentar whispered, “He released you?” If Lucifer had let Grange out of his clutches, what did it mean for the rest of them?

“He gave me companionship, nothing more. I continue to crave others and must act on it, but I will protect Roman and Conner with my life.”

Something else brushed against his mind. “The human understands your desires.” Gentar shook his head. “There is hope for other Lures to escape.”

“As long as you don’t seek resolution in Philadelphia.”

“I seek nothing here.”

“Then you get to keep your balls.” The oldest, strongest Lure of them all shoved Roman into Conner’s arms so quickly Gentar had no time to react when, in two strides, Grange stood gripping Gent’s nuts. “Just in case you decide to test me.”

Pain drew him to the balls of his feet. “Fuck’s sake, Grange!” His savage yowl turned a few heads as visions of his ball sac lying at his feet in a puddle of blood invaded his thoughts. “Damn you,” he muttered.

“Grange.” Clear blue eyes full of trust monitored Grange, and then Gentar observed something extraordinary happen. The human, seemingly not enthralled by his Lure, lightly touched Grange’s arm and whispered, “Don’t.”

One uttered word and Lucifer’s favorite Phantom loosened his grip.

Was it his imagination or did Grange softly knead Gent’s dick? Son of a bitch! Breath huffed from Gentar. “I said I’m leaving.”

“No, you said you sought nothing here.” A final pat at Gent’s crotch before adding, “Leave. Now.”

“Others will find you.” Gentar backed away massaging his aching balls. “They’ll want him.” One last snuffle. “Why did Luc surround you all with such an irresistible odor?” Standing on the curb, he continued soothing soreness between his legs.

Grange grunted. “His way of keeping me vigilant maybe, I don’t fucking know, Gentar.” Grange touched his cheek, sending a shockwave down his spine. “Should you dock here in the future, stay on your ship.”

“I’ve never known you to be so cautious.”

Grange’s sinister smile sent a shiver down his spine. “Be wary of your inability to take away memories.”

Gent turned away and flagged the first cab spotted.

His ride back to the terminal that night had taken forever.

Throbbing barely subsided before Gentar yearned for what every Lure constantly craved — sex, and it vanquished any residual pain. He embarked onto his ship and went to his cabin. Dropping into a comfortable chair, he rubbed his temples and sent a mental nudge to one of the engineers. Gentar had hooked Thomas Dandridge. While at sea those remaining two weeks, he and Tom spent many satisfied hours together. Then Gent did something totally out of the ordinary. He promoted Tom to chief engineer, assigning him to every voyage Gentar captained.

That had been months ago.

Preparations were underway for tomorrow’s departure to their first port of call and Gentar watched waves bump against Emerald’s Dawn Lady as sun set beyond skyscrapers to the west. Standing on his balcony, he called to mind the brief encounter with Grange, Roman, and Conner. It stirred Gentar’s ice-cold blood. Was there a human out there whose scent would mingle so wondrously with his?

Loneliness had become a gloomy shroud threatening to suffocate him.

* * *

At Captain Finway’s request, Salvatore Martino, chief officer and second in command, nervously took physical control of PL Cruise Line’s crown jewel. He’d looked forward to his first voyage with what he’d been informed was the best, if not the finest captain to ever sail any ocean. Yet he stole looks at the man and wondered if those who gave him that piece of information had been mistaken about the handsome bastard. He seemed upset, which only made Sal more apprehensive. Getting a cruise ship out of Philadelphia’s small terminal was often the job of a local pilot, yet Finway insisted Salvatore take complete responsibility. Thank God he was familiar with the area. After moving from Naples to South Philly, he whiled the days away when he was a boy watching ships come and go from the tiny port.

That was what had given him his love of sailing.

Seamen bustled about monitoring equipment as Sal slowly eased what he already affectionately thought of as ED Lady from the Delaware into the Atlantic Ocean. Once they were out far enough he hoped the captain would allow him to turn the bridge over to someone qualified to head the behemoth south through open waters. Two senior navigators monitored systems, and a recently promoted perky sailor, Laurel Tate, anxiously looked forward to her first cruise assigned the task of surveying the horizon.

The two had arrived in port on another cruise ship and spent time together the previous evening touring Philly with other senior crewmembers waiting for the trip to begin. Lolo, the name she preferred, had been wearing a pair of comfortable jeans with a top barely covering her ample bosom. The way she smiled and took advantage of numerous opportunities to touch him, Sal felt there was promise there. As long as everyone handled their job professionally, most clandestine activities went ignored.

He eyed the captain pinching razor sharp creases in his spotless black slacks and wondered why he wore gloves. Disfigured maybe, or a strong aversion to germs. Unable to look away when Finway’s head quickly lifted and contemplated him, Sal found himself drowning in sea green eyes he’d previously thought blue. Gentar Finway had foregone shaving this morning, something any other ship’s captain would find unacceptable unless one wore an impeccably maintained close-cropped beard. He’d pulled longish, platinum blond hair back and tied it off with what appeared to be a thin strip of leather.

Twirling his hat aimlessly around one finger, he asked, “Do I not meet your approval, chief officer?”

“No… I mean, yes, Sir.” Hell. Untie your tongue, Jackass. “I wonder, Captain Finway, if we might discuss what you expect of me as far as activities.” Good Lord, Salvatore wanted to see him smile, see eyes crinkle with happiness, not the sadness that seemed to encompass him. He sensed his captain was somehow different from any other man he had ever met.

Lips curled sardonically. “You have plans needing immediate attention, Salvatore?”

Not chief officer, not Mr. Martino — just Salvatore. It rolled so sweetly off the man’s tongue, Sal’s dick jerked. What the hell! “No, Captain.” Lord, he was even more beautiful with his lips twisted in a crooked smile.

Eyes continued to drill into him. “We will meet in my cabin in one half hour.” Captain stood and approached one of the navigators. “Alert me if there is the slightest hint of anything out of the ordinary once we switch to auto pilot.”

“Yes, Sir.” The man kept his eyes on the console in front of him.

Finway’s long, powerfully built legs quickly covered the distance to where Lolo stood. His stance remained wide and relaxed as he spoke to her. “Your first outing on a ship of this size?”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Keep your eyes on the horizon at all times.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Captain Finway spun and faced the bridge. “You will find me more lenient than most commanders but do not think I’m unaware of anything happening on my ship.” Again, legs slightly spread only served to accentuate well-developed thighs and in his fitting uniform, one couldn’t help but notice the man’s powerful build. And, Jesus, the bulge between his… I’m ogling a man!

A chorus of yes sirs punctuated his sentence as the door to the bridge opened and Thomas Dandridge entered carrying two steaming cups. One he immediately gave to Captain Finway. Since when did a chief engineer perform as a mere server? A strange awareness settled over Salvatore that these two did more than work together.

Finway removed one glove and, oddly, it pleased Sal to see his hand evidenced no scarring. Long fingers lingered against Thomas’s when he accepted a mug. “My elixir.” The way both men eyed each other spoke of camaraderie that Sal hoped to achieve with his captain. “I never leave a port without having a strong coffee.” Taking a sip, he transferred the mug to his gloved hand. Thomas’s brow lifted in surprise when Gentar retrieved the other and approached Sal proffering the cup. Finway allowed their hands to touch. Emerald eyes bore into Sal. “Do you enjoy strong… drinks?”

Men. Salvatore jumped at how loudly the word rang in his mind. He peered around to see if others noticed but everyone remained engrossed in duties.

Something akin to recognition arced between them and when piercing eyes grew stormy, Sal struggled not to audibly groan. “Th-thank you, Sir.” Finway turned his mug up and emptied it without flinching. Damn. Steam still wafted from Sal’s cup.

Pivoting to face his crew, the captain announced, “On the bridge I prefer you drop formality and call me Gentar or Gent.” Glancing back at Sal, he added, “My suite in a half hour, Salvatore.”

He strode from the room and missed Sal sloshing hot, brown liquid over his hand and down the front of his slacks. “Shit.” Now he’d have to change but that wasn’t as distressing as his dick coming to life again. Snickers drew his attention and he caught Lolo smiling. “Not a word or shore leave will be revoked.” He stormed out and headed to his room. Sal’s occupation allowed him to conquer women around the world and in all his years he’d never felt for another man what he did the moment Gentar touched him.

Desire blazed in his loins, and it wasn’t Lolo he thought about.

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