Lost in a bet to a greedy, stingy keeper of a house of men, Silken's rank and privileges are gone in an instant. He is reduced to the lowest of whores, and to his horror is even ordered to service Nightwalkers -- vampires.
Silken doesn't expect the Nightwalker Nanashi to be more gracious and kind than any mortal man he's met, nor does he imagine that he might fall in love with the dark. Silken would do anything to make Nanashi happy, but he doesn't understand how to live life as a free man. Nanashi must take it upon himself to teach Silken how to spread his wings.
All his life, Silken's been taught that pleasure comes at a cost. What price does freedom charge a man?
Praise for Freedom Rising
"Every time I think Willa Okati can't get any better, she surprises me. Freedom Rising is another luscious and lusty piece from Willa Okati, and I'll be looking for more of her writing."
-- Michele, Fallen Angel Reviews
"The love scenes are passionate, erotic and tastefully written, with a plotline that keeps you turning the pages. I'm hoping Ms.Okati will write more stories about this fascinating paranormal world she has created. A keeper that I will be re-reading again."
-- Luisa, Cupid's Library Reviews
Praise for What Price Freedom?
"Ms. Okati does an amazing job in creating great connections between the characters making this a very intense read that completely absorbs the reader. It is a beautiful tale that reaches out in many different ways."
-- 4.5 Hearts from Linda L., The Romance Studio
"The story was very realistic and so clear that Silken and the reader could understand the meaning clearly. The outcome of this story was very heart warming to read."
-- 4 Angels from Teresa, Fallen Angel Reviews
Praise for Freedom's Fire
"Willa Okati has done such a great job with this series. I read each book and wanted more right away..."
-- Nicole Harvey, PNR Reviews
"The caring between Silken and Nanashi shines through in this tale as well, making it a definite keeper!"
-- Cassie, Joyfully Reviewed
"Freedom's Fire is a sizzling m/m short with a backdrop of true affection and emotional intimacy in the manner we expect from author Willa Okati."
-- Frost, Two Lips Reviews
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Freedom Rising (Box Set)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2005, 2015 Willa Okati
Excerpt from Freedom Rising
Silken lived life by the rules of his profession.
Courtesans must offer worship to Lalasa, the Goddess of Love, in thanks for her kindness. They must know their rank and live their lives accordingly, humbly or with pride. Dress attractively and smell sweet, speak in soft, pleasant tones, know how to play Shink-Go and cards, how to drink wine without spilling a drop, and how to feed fresh, iced fruit bite by bite to a waiting mouth. They lived to give pleasure to their patrons, knowing what each race and rank preferred, and delivering satisfaction. They were sexual diplomats, in their way, providing a sweet treat in otherwise dull lives.
High in rank, Silken had achieved his station through hard work. And he never forgot, when with a client, that he could raise himself even further.
He had risen far enough in the caste of courtesans that he could pick and choose which clients he served, and when. Now, with the moon high in the sky like a white lotus and the fragrance of night-blooming jasmine drifting in through the open windows, he indulged himself with fulfilling a client's request for secrecy by meeting in the dark of night. It was no hardship. Among his customers, Lady Aliana was one of his favorites.
She desired oral worship above all things, and Silken was nothing if not talented with his mouth and fingers. He laid her back against a mountain of satin pillows, saw to her every comfort, then began his work. He coated her proud, red nipples with berry juices and honey, now using his tongue to clean them. His fingers, long and supple, worked at her engorged womanhood, flicking at the swollen bud that peeked between the folds.
"I adore you," he murmured -- what Aliana wanted to hear -- as he lifted his mouth from one plump breast, round and ripe as a peach. "You are everything that a woman should be."
Aliana shuddered beneath him. Her hands, decorated with the long fingernails of the highest caste, pressed his mouth against her breast again. "More," she panted. "Give me your tongue, your lips. So close…"
"Are you close, Lady?" Silken whispered. "Well, what if I were to…"
He slipped down, replacing fingers with mouth on her swollen pussy. Gently parting the folds, he licked long and lovingly, savoring her high-pitched cry and thrusting forward with his tongue. She tasted of the cinnamon and almond cream he had used to lubricate her, most delicious, and he lapped up every drop.
"More!" Aliana demanded, rocking from side to side. "Silken, I beg of you."
To have someone so high-caste beg him was a great honor indeed. Silken bent to obey, suckling and licking at the bud between her folds, like a sweet pea, while he moved his hand up to her channel. She would allow no manhood there, for fear of becoming with child, but oh, how she enjoyed his hand. Still slick enough, from the cream and from his mouth, his fingers slipped in easily. He thrust two up into her, pumping them slowly.
"Silken!" Aliana cried out. She pushed forward, spearing herself on him. Her internal muscles began to quake, a sign that she was close. Smiling to himself, Silken closed his lips over her clit and sucked, hard, drawing her fully into his mouth.
Aliana shrieked. Her channel ground down on Silken's fingers and her body writhed with the pleasure of her orgasm. He rode it out with her, pushing his fingers rhythmically into her passage, licking at her rose-like bud.
When her tremors ceased, he withdrew, his face shining from her juices. Aliana wearily raised herself on her elbows and chuckled at him. "You look like a boy who has been eating honeydew melon," she told him, stretching out a hand for him to take.
He grasped her fingers and rose smoothly into a standing position. A courtesan always knew how to put a client's clothing to rights discreetly and quickly. With gentle, deft movements he re-fastened the laces of her bodice, tying them tightly and neatly as was required by a woman of her position. He straightened her crumpled skirts over her legs with a last, lingering caress of her pussy. "Sweet little kitten," he murmured, with a wicked flick of his fingers.
She shuddered again. "Silken, you will be the death of me."
"Only a little death," he murmured, holding his hand out for her now. "Will the Lady rise to her feet?"
He helped her up, a hand to the small of her back when she tottered a little, still boneless from her orgasm. She laughed. "I smell of sex," she said, sounding pleased. "Let those who would match me with another of my station scent the perfume of my body, and know that I need no mate to find my pleasures."
"As the Lady wishes." Aliana had married young to the elderly owner of a tea grove, and after his death, had made her fortune crossbreeding the herbs until she discovered the best of all possible blends, a smooth, honey-flavored green tea that was prohibitively high in price and drunk by only the elite.
She always brought a sachet of it with her, and gifted it to Silken. They drank it together before he worshiped her body. Licking his lips, he thought he could still taste a trace of that elegant tea, although he far preferred the flavors of her body.
His own cock begged for attention, but he ignored it. Long practice had taught him how to pay no mind to his body's needs. The client came first, and if they did not want mutual satisfaction, he would simply go without.
Aliana was kind, but did not think of what a man needed. She patted his cheek and ran her fingers through his hair. "Silken," she said fondly. "So long and smooth."
Silken stifled a giggle. If only she knew, or cared, about the hardness pressed flat against his stomach -- that, too, was long, and smooth as velvet. But no, his name had come from his hair, hanging down to the middle of his back, glossy and bronze, soft as fine embroidery floss and shining as the sun.
"Arrange my hair?"
That, he knew how to do by heart. Deftly insinuating himself behind her, he unwound Aliana's own long black locks and reached for a bone comb. Pulling it gently through the tendrils, he asked, "Have I satisfied my Lady this night?"
She gave a long, sensuous roll of her shoulders. "Oh, Silken. That you have, and more."
"Then I am pleased," he said softly, lifting her sorrowfully coarse hair into the high bun favored by the elite. He fixed it there with a jade comb that she had cast aside earlier, leaving little wisps to fall forward into her face. "Let the Lady see if that suffices," he said, with a final pat.
He could tell by her expression that she was pleased. "You have done well in this, as in all things," she said proudly.
Reaching across to her personal pouch, laid aside for his better access to her body, she plucked out three silver coins. Not a fortune, but more than adequate as a payment. "I have already paid Mama Luck for your time," she murmured, stroking his shoulder, "but accept these as my thanks to you." She pressed the coins into his palm.
He took them and slipped them discreetly into a pocket of his tunic. "May Lalasa bless you," he said, pressing his forehead to the back of her tiny hand.
She caressed his head. "Blessings on you, as well, Silken. Now, I must go. Ring for a servant to show me out, if you please."
Silken pulled on an embroidered cord hanging from the wall. In a House so high-rank as Mama Luck's there was no lack of errand boys and servants. One would be there within moments, decorous and genteel, to escort the Lady to her carriage.
When the servitor arrived, Aliana stroked Silken's hair one last time. "Beloved Silken," she said fondly. "My favorite of the courtesans."
"You honor me," he said humbly, bowing his head.
He kept it lowered until she was gone. Then, raising it, he took the three coins out of his pocket. He needed to clean himself, and to stow the money away in his safe hiding place. Every coin counted. Mama Luck was an excellent courtesan-Keeper, but he wished to buy out his contract, some day, and open a House of his own. A good one, highly-ranked as this, and for that, he would need a great deal of money.
Taking a damp, scented cloth from a pile on his dresser, he wiped at his face until it was clean. Wine stood ready in a secret cache, nutmeg-sweet plum juice, and he took a swallow of it. He neatened his clothing and, dipping his finger into fragrant oils, applied them to his wrists and temples. There. He was ready for the next client, if another should come.
A small cough sounded from outside the thick fall of beads that curtained his doorway. Silken knew that sound well: a servant, come to see to some pressing matter. If it were not urgent, or not a client, he would have been left in peace. "Enter," he said, his voice calm and steady. He was good for one more that night, he thought, even if they were not so fair as Aliana.
A servant pushed his way through the doors, a different fellow from the one who had escorted Aliana out. Even the household men in Mama Luck's House were dressed well, and this man, resplendent in silk, was no exception. He kept his eyes trained on the floor as he approached Silken, and held out a note. "This has come for you, from one who wishes to be a client," he said humbly. "Also, Mama Luck has requested your company in her chambers when you are free."
Silken took the note without a second thought. After all, it was good manners to send a missive to a high-rank courtesan before approaching him for the first time. He unfolded the fine rice paper, embossed with a rearing cat, and read:
I have heard much of your skills as a courtesan, young Silken. If it pleases you, I would come to your chamber and share in many delights with you this night. I would not only take, but give you pleasure as well, honoring your rank and status. If you would choose me, you have but to send a reply, and I will mount the stairs to your chamber. I will pay you well, far beyond what I will give Mama Luck for your time.
There was no signature, and the handwriting was strong, bold, masculine. Silken frowned. "This note, is it from a man?"
The servant nodded. "A large man, dark in complexion, with long hair bound in a tail. He is dressed in brocade, with the finest embroidery."
Rich, then. He could well afford to pay Silken for his efforts. Yet Silken rarely entertained men. His skill with lips and tongue were equally good applied to the male sex, but he far preferred the honeyed lips and sweet centers of women. Still… for the money… "This man, he is high in caste?" he questioned. "Is there anything of note about him?"
To Silken's surprise, the servant shivered. "He is a Nightwalker," the man whispered. "One of the blood-drinkers."
Silken recoiled. Never had he welcomed one such to his chambers, not even a woman, though there were plenty of them about. The danger was far too great, and the chance for damage tremendous. "Send a note in response," he said hastily. "I apologize, but I will not see this client."