Nocturnal Lessons by Olivia Helling - Read Online
Nocturnal Lessons
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In the dark world of Regency molly houses, love can’t be possible – can it?

Damon Snow thinks he has the world figured out. As an incubus and male prostitute, the world is a cruel, dark and lonely place where men only want one thing. 

When his long-time patron Byrne discovers he's dying, Byrne offers to leave his entire fortune to Damon. 

There's only one catch: Damon has to investigate and write about the reason another patron Price visits him. Easy – the same reason as all men. 

But what starts as an easy assignment turns into an impossible secret, the last thing Damon would ever suspect. If men only want one thing, how can one possibly fall in love? 

Here’s what reviewers say about Damon’s first lesson in Nocturnal Lessons: 

4 Stars “One word kept coming to mind as I read the novella: Darling. It was hot and sweet yet realistic, giving you the darker emotional side of being a Molly. I cannot wait for Damon’s next lesson.” ~ Wicked Reads 

4 Stars “Part romance, part erotic, part mystery, and part suspense, and totally intriguing. I thought this was just going to be some erotic short story, but instead I got a lot more.” ~ Sharing Links and Wisdom 

4 Stars “The story, while short, develops wonderfully and kept me engaged.” ~ Wicked with Ink 

If you love a mysterious, erotic and deviant historical romance novella, download a sample or buy Nocturnal Lessons now.

Published: Lumi & Snow Press on
ISBN: 9780993918001
Availability for Nocturnal Lessons: Damon Snow, #1
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Nocturnal Lessons - Olivia Helling

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Chapter 1

September, 1809

Mayfair, London

The maid must be out to murder me. It was the only explanation that seemed to fit. I’d spent the past hour suffocating in my claret red jacket and black leather top-boots, for lo be it I actually be comfortable instead of stylish. My tongue was coated in dryness from reading out loud in the stale air of the overly hot bedroom. My cull of the afternoon, Byrne, had been shut in this room for weeks, trapping inside the stench of sweat and piss. Which, I allowed, had to be accepted in one’s sickbed.

But that same maid had deemed it necessary not only to stoke the coal fire too high for September’s fair weather, but had also drawn the velvet drapes tight over the window to protect Byrne from the dangers of a fresh breeze. The drapes trapped the heat inside, but failed to silence the clatter of horse hooves, the squeaks of carriage wheels, and warbles of passing gentry and servants who refused to bloody shut up.

Byrne didn’t seem to notice the sweltering dryness, wearing only the stubble covering his chin, sweat stains on his white nightshirt, and the yellow-tinged skin around his eyes. At least he hadn’t insisted on shutting the bed curtains as well. Or maybe that would have been preferable, escaping the light of the fire and only contending with the sparse light of a wax candle. Instead, they both conspired with the noise and the stench to make my temple spasm.

To be fair, neither Byrne nor the murderous maid were responsible for the pain racking my head. My cull of the previous night had thought it great fun to smash my forehead against the banister, leaving a small cut, a nasty bruise, and an even nastier throbbing in my skull. Or at least he’d thought so until my molly house’s abbot had dragged him out the door without refund, leaving me equally without relief. If I could have just fed on his lust, his orgasm, everything would be fine by now.

My hands opened and closed to restrain them from pressing against my temple, but I couldn’t stop them from releasing the book I held. My regular visits to read to Byrne were supposed to be any easy sixpence, my arse unmolested, but I needed him — I needed to feed upon him.

But all Byrne did was lie there, eyes closed, as if he had really hired me to listen to me read. At this point, I’d bloody well beg to strip down so he could bugger me. It was almost like he knew and wanted me to suffer. I shoved the book aside.

Damon, what’s wrong? I felt his hand hover over me like a brand. I slapped it away, and he hadn’t the strength to keep it from falling back into his lap.

Plastering on my best false smile, I turned to him. I’m fine, except…

His eyes narrowed, but whether because of suspicion or they were just too heavy for the yellow-tinged skin around them to hold up, I didn’t know. But that was fine. He needn’t the strength to pin me down, or even to keep his eyes open. All he had to do was feed me.

With a deft kick, I straddled him, fingers clasping the collar of his nightgown. Only I have this small ache inside, begging to be thrust against. I can hardly keep still…

This ache? He raised his hand. I started to grind my arse into his lap, but his hand found not my cock or my arse cheeks, but my temple. Even the soft touch pinched me, and I jerked away with a cry. He merely raised a brow.

How had he…? I checked the bruise, but my hair still covered it and the dim light aided the camouflage. I’m fine, I repeated. Or I would be, if Byrne would let me service him, feed from his lust and heal myself, instead of continuing this charade.

He tilted his head, brow still raised.

Fine! If you don’t want your candle waxed— I threw myself off him, reaching for the book again. What was his game? It had been six weeks since he’d paid me to fuck him. Six weeks of him lying in bed, complaining of a bout of dyspepsia, while he paled and yellowed and wasted away… The maids whispered consumption, as it appeared like someone nibbled him away, but the telltale bloody cough did not plague him.

It was only dyspepsia, I reminded myself, and Byrne had the blunt to lie around, making more of it than it was.

Damon, Byrne said.

Was he trying to touch me again? I shrugged off his hand. What is with the charade? If you want me to fuck you, I will, but you needn’t pretend to care. Or I’ll read, if that’s what you want. Why must these writers capitalise every bleeding word? God damned capital letters. These words ain’t—

Damon. Byrne needn’t say more. I knew the rebuff — stop speaking like the street rat I was. He had spent the past two years teaching me to speak like a gentleman, to smooth the cant from my words until not even his acquaintances could tell the difference. All to play this charade where my head was pounding while Byrne refused to fuck me and make it all better…

Why can they not write properly? I asked.

That is proper, Byrne said.

No, it ain’t — I mean, it’s unnecessary, I said, and then read, pronouncing each offending capitalisation, ’Thus entered a woman of vast Beauty and all Eyes turned to her, even though she had no Money and no great House to speak of. She waved her Fan and made a great Proclamation.’

It’s not a very good novel, I’m afraid, Byrne said.

Then why are you forcing me to read it to you? Or was this simply his plot to remind me of my place? Yes, I knew full well how grateful I should be for attending him, for the great privilege of reading his most esteemed novels and sitting on his white sheets. Being waited on by his footmen during tea the few times Byrne sat up long enough to abide the small table he’d had brought in. You could hire yourself a companion — some bright lad — an actual scholarly lad fresh from university who could read you the books you actually want to read, and not stutter over stupid words like seren—serendipitous—

Damon, calm yourself, Byrne said.

I don’t care about payment! I said. I don’t need you, like you think I ought to.

I could have been a clerk or a tailor or some occupation that wouldn’t irk Byrne so much as a molly boy from Covent Garden square. Byrne hadn’t taught me everything I knew. My mother had been a fine gentlewoman. Her father owned land in Sussex. But then of course I had ruined the picture for her. Good daughters of land-owning gentlemen did not find themselves with child without Scandal. Yes, Scandal with a capital ‘S’.

My mother had protested all she could that she hadn’t gotten up to anything she shouldn’t have, but who would honestly believe her? I wasn’t baby Jesus.

No, I was the unfortunate result of a dream. A nocturnal visitation by an incubus. Not even I had believed that one, not until… Well, I still didn’t believe it had only been a dream. I only believed her claim about what my father was. His legacy was writ in my flesh, as horrendously as those words in that awful book.

I could never forget. She had named me after him. Couldn’t bear to sully her family’s Christian names, after all.

Damon, pull yourself together, man. Byrne’s eyes glanced to the empty table, as if someone had magically appeared to witness my tantrum.

I threw the book onto the floor. The book had probably cost him more than I would earn in a week, but at least the book would have a happy ending. I started sliding out of the bed, which was harder than it should be, since his servants kept a hundred sheets or so all tucked in so their master wouldn’t grow too cold in the night. "I don’t need you to mock me and look down on me