When they burst through the doorway, the opulent room beyond was almost empty. Buck Cannon skidded to a halt only a few steps inside. Too fast for Manolito Montoya, whose mind was clearly on the delights they'd hoped to find here after three long weeks herding cattle. Buck staggered slightly and felt a pair of hands grasp his shoulders as the younger man bumped into him. A hoot of laughter in his ear trailed to a disappointed groan as Mano took in the sight of the three skinny, bored looking girls in their garish finery.
Well, he'd had worse, and at least they looked clean and healthy, but Buck cursed himself for giving into Mano's insistence on visiting the bathhouse before they came to the bordello.
"Gentlemen!" The rustle of silk, as well as the Irish accented voice, drew their attention to the wide staircase. "You'll pardon the lack of company tonight. You're the third crew to arrive in the last two days and my poor girls are busier than they've ever been."
Buck summoned up a smile and went forward to greet the waiting Madam. "Lizzie, you're a sight for sore eyes. I've missed you."
"Ah, Buck, if I'd known you and Senõr Montoya were coming I'd have saved my best girls for you." She pouted and then smiled. "As it is, I'm afraid you'll have to share. The night's still young and I'm expecting more guests later."
The two men exchanged an unenthusiastic look. It wouldn't be the first time Buck had shared a girl with a friend, not in a land where there were often ten men to every woman, but none of the three insipid girls appealed to him at all. Mano's expression told Buck he shared that opinion. They moved forward together, a single purpose in their minds.
At the foot of the wide stairway they both stopped, looking up at the Madam. Buck was still trying to think up a convincing argument when Mano took another two steps and bowed gracefully over Lizzie's hastily outstretched hand.
"Senõra Lizzie... mì bella, surely a lady of such quality and... and mature charms as yourself would be more than a match for two rough hombres like Senõr Buck and myself, but I fear that such... delicate young beauties would surely be overwhelmed."
Buck grinned at the exaggerated drawl, the outrageously thickened accent, but managed to straighten his face in time as Lizzie looked at him. He smiled winningly. "Lizzie-love, I haven't stopped dreaming of you since the last time we met."
Manolito raised Lizzie's hand to his lips for a moment. "Senõra Lizzie, say you will honour us with your company for the evening."
"Oh, my Lord..." Under their combined flattery, Lizzie's eyes glittered and her Irish brogue deepened. "You know I don't entertain gentlemen callers these days. I leave that to my girls."
Buck took the two steps in a single stride. He slid his arms around Lizzie's sturdy waist and kissed her soundly on the cheek. "We'll make it worth your while, Lizzie."
Mano hastened to sweeten the offer as the Madam stiffened. "...and we'll be in your debt forever, mì bella. We'll all have a night we'll never forget." The tanned face softened, his lower lip falling into a pout every bit as sensual as Lizzie's.
"Well..." She looked from Manolito to Buck and back again, her expression speculative. "Oh, all right then. Sure, the two of you together make a decent Irishman, for the tongues on ye."
They took turns in planting a grateful kiss on her rouged lips, then turned her around before she could change her mind and swept her between them up the stairs.
Muted daylight broke through the dimness of the room where the curtains had not been properly drawn and teased at Buck's closed eyelids. He turned his head restlessly then, as the sounds and the movement on the bed beside him denied him the return to sleep he sought. Buck raised a hand to scrub wearily at his eyes before prising them open.
There'd been little sleep for him last night and he was old enough to feel it. Unlike Manolito, who was obviously still full of energy. Buck watched the sleek brown buttocks moving above Lizzie's plump flesh and grinned. They'd made a night of it all right, and Lizzie, he fancied, was pleased enough with the results. Some time around midnight they'd had food and whisky brought in to bolster their flagging reserves, then at two am Mano had demanded, and got, a bath and hot water. And Lizzie, giggling like a schoolgirl, to wash his back, among other areas of his body. The tin bath was still sitting in the middle of the floor.
But even Mano and Lizzie were tiring now, Buck thought. Mano's soft moans and Lizzie's artistic cries of pleasure both sounded a little too forced to Buck's ears. He wasn't surprised when they collapsed into a tangled heap a few moments later. Silence reined, blissfully, for a few minutes.
"Ah, lads, you've done me proud tonight." Lizzie slid adeptly out from under an unmoving Mano. "But I have me duties to attend to and not even the pleasure of your company can keep me from them."
Somehow Buck found the energy to push himself up on one elbow and kiss Lizzie's cheek. "It was a night to remember my love. And maybe one day you'll make an honest man of me."
Lizzie shrieked with laughter. "As if you wouldn't rather face down a whole tribe of those heathen Apache rather than the preacher."
Mano rolled onto his side, facing away from Buck. "If Senõr Buck doesn't know what a treasure you are, mì bella, then marry me instead. I'll clothe you in the finest silk."
She smiled at the younger man and patted his cheek rather absently. "Sure, I don't need a husband for that, darlin'." She winked at Buck.
"If you refuse me I swear I shall never love another woman." Mano gestured dramatically, then rolled onto his back and promptly fell asleep. He began to snore gently.
Buck watched with mild regret as Lizzie covered her statuesque beauty with a voluminous silken, robe. There was no exchange of money; all the necessary details had been taken care of before the evening's pleasures had begun. His eyes were closing by the time Lizzie reached the door.
A quiet groan woke Buck several hours later. Still attuned to the dangers of the trail, he'd slept lightly; but it was only Mano, sitting on the edge of the bed and rubbing his head. He must have made a sound because one dark eye appeared over Mano's brown shoulder, then the familiar hawk nose. Then Mano stood, stretched and headed for the table where the remains of their meal still sat.
Buck watched, too tired to bother speaking, as Mano picked through the leftovers and nibbled on a scrap of meat. He investigated the whisky bottle and grimaced at the few drops left in the bottle. He lifted the bottle to his lips and tipped his head back, then lowered the bottle to the table again.
He was obviously restless, and Manolito Montoya in a restless mood was a danger to the mental health of anyone unlucky enough to be near him. Buck roused himself enough to speak. "We can send down for more food. Or drink."
Mano ignored him as though he hadn't spoken. He ambled over to the bath and pulled a sopping cloth out of the water. Buck watched in amusement as Mano squeezed the cloth over his chest, sending runnels of water down his body. He sighed and yawned, picking up a towel and rubbing himself lazily as he wandered back to the bed.
It occurred to Buck, not for the first time, that Manolito moved with a sensual grace unlike anyone he had ever known. The easy, loose-limbed prowl was even more spectacular when the body in question was completely naked.
Mano grinned as he dropped onto the bed. "So... what do you have in mind to do today, compadre?"
"Sleep." Buck stifled a yawn. They had at least three days before they'd need to leave, and little enough they'd need to do before then. "Eat. Drink." He rolled onto his back and stretched, pulling his belly in a little. Not that he needed to be ashamed of his body, but Mano's leanness was a reminder that he wasn't as young, or as slender, as he used to be.
Mano watched him with an amused glint. His eyes swept slowly down Buck's body, then up again and his lips softened into a sensual smile.
Long experience with the fiery young Mexican had taught Buck not to take anything for granted, but he would never have anticipated Manolito's next move. The deeply tanned hand reached out and brushed lightly over the greying hairs on his chest.
It took an effort to keep the surprise off his face, but Buck managed it. Mano was undoubtedly up to something, though Buck wasn't sure exactly what that was. Mano glanced up at him speculatively as his hand began its journey downwards.
Buck kept perfectly still, expecting that at any moment Mano would realise that he wasn't going to react and give up his teasing. It didn't happen. Manolito brushed his fingers over Buck's cock, smiling as it stirred to his touch. He cupped his hand lightly over the suddenly thrumming balls for a moment. Their eyes met, Mano's dark and inscrutable, Buck's questioning.
Manolito smiled and his fingers closed gently around Buck's cock. Buck lay perfectly still, trying not to show how shocked he was. There was nothing unusual, and no shame, in one man offering another the comfort and relief that men needed when the nearest woman might be days, even weeks ride away. Nobody on the trail would comment if two of the riders would ride out together of an evening, not even Big Brother John. It wasn't spoken of, but it was understood; men had their needs.
None of that covered what was happening on this bed. They'd spent the night amply sating those needs and yet here was Manolito Montoya offering the comfort of the trail in the best room this whorehouse had to offer.
As the stroking continued Buck began to care less and less about the rights and wrongs of what Manolito was doing. His breathing deepened and his eyelids began to droop in sheer delight. Manolito's fingers tightened a little, sliding the loose skin over the stiffening muscle beneath. His foreskin slid smoothly over the increasingly well lubricated crown and Buck shuddered with pleasure.
A soft throaty laugh made Buck open his eyes again in time to see Mano's dark head bend over his chest. Moist lips brushed over his nipple in a caress Buck had never known from a man, and few enough women, then Mano began to suck gently. It was obvious that Manolito had done this before, and not just the rough and ready easing of physical needs; Mano was touching him like a lover.
Buck slid his fingers deep into the thick mop of dark hair and drew Mano's head a little closer. The sucking stopped for a moment and Buck felt a slow smile against his skin. He didn't need to see Mano's face; he knew that smile very well.
"Ay, Buck..." Mano's voice was a low purr. "...está bueno, no?"
"Muy bueno..." Buck moaned. "Muy, muy bueno..."
He lay almost passively as Mano used his considerable skills to tease and arouse him. He no longer had the excuse of thinking that Mano was only playing with him, but it didn't matter any more. The pleasure coursing through him was reason enough to let this continue. He'd worry about the rights and wrongs of it later. Maybe.
The sure stroking of his cock was sending shivers though him and Buck found himself thrusting vigorously into the enclosing fingers. Until Mano drew back a little, his hand stilling suddenly. "Not yet, compadre."
A brief pressure on his cock subdued the urge to thrust a little. Buck groaned and opened his eyes again. "Mano..."
His protest was ignored. Mano released his cock and swung himself atop Buck's body. Buck caught a brief glimpse of Mano's dark cock, erect, the foreskin drawn back, swaying between their bodies, then they were pressed together. He felt an almost overwhelming urge to struggle beneath the unaccustomed weight of another man's body, the sensation of an erect cock against his own.
After a tense moment the urge retreated and Buck stared up into Mano's heavy lidded eyes. He was poised carefully at full arm's length now, so that only his hips and belly pressed against Buck's. His hips began to move with a slow, seductive undulation, and Buck shuddered helplessly. Unconsciously, he parted his legs a little more, allowing Mano to slide down between them, increasing the pressure against his groin.
Mano's white teeth flashed in a wicked grin, his eyes gleamed, hawklike, as he swooped. Before Buck knew it, Mano's lips took possession of his own, his tongue probed, invaded, twined seductively with Buck's. Abandoning himself to Manolito's sensuality, Buck kissed back. His hands found Mano's body, smooth and slick with sweat, and slid down to the narrow hips, pulling them closer.
The fierce drive of Mano's cock against his belly was sending all Buck's senses reeling. His hips lifted, thrusting back, blindly seeking release. From the sound of Mano's ragged breathing, the younger man was as close as Buck to losing control. He felt it then, the explosion of wet heat between their bodies, allowing their cocks to glide slickly against each other. With a yell of triumph, Buck surrendered to the pressure, and another gush of heat scalded his belly.
Mano was lying limply on top of him, but Buck felt no discomfort from it now. After a moment the lean body slithered off him, and settled against his side with one arm still lying across his heaving chest. It was a possessive, almost arrogant pose, and completely unconscious. Typical of Manolito Montoya. Buck sighed, patting the mop of Indian dark, Indian straight hair with his one free hand.
The only response was a sleepy, unintelligible mutter followed by a quiet snore. Buck smiled and closed his eyes.