THE heavy aroma of incense filled the air. Conrad O’Shea tried desperately to focus on Loni’s words, but something in the incense drew him away from her and the other people in the circle. Although that was the goal of their meditation, it was stronger than he expected. Loni, his good friend and high priestess, said they were going to explore past lives using the special incense she’d found in one of her grandmother’s old spell books. Conrad expected a simple guided mediation, but this was more. This was true magic. He no longer felt his body but was being drawn along through a tunnel of light. Around him, the ghostly astral forms of the other people in his meditation circle moved. They dropped off one at a time, leaving him to travel the passage of light alone. Then light blazed around him.
BENEATH him, a strong, sturdy horse ran along the biggest sand dune he’d ever seen. Conrad glanced down and saw heavy robes covering his narrow, whiplike frame. For some reason, he didn’t feel hot in the robes, but cool and comfortable. Around him, the desert winds blew soft and dry. The sun peeked over the horizon. He wasn’t sure if it was morning or evening, since the moon hung on the other horizon.
“Come on, Bataar,” a strong voice urged him from behind. “We need to find a campsite to wait out the day.” Conrad wondered how he understood the strange guttural tongue. He turned and looked over his shoulder. Another man riding a short horse, more of a pony, really, rode up the sand dune toward him. The man’s robes were similar to his own, and a long, curved sword hung over his back.
“Come on, the sun is nearly up,” the man said, riding up alongside him. “I think there is an oasis nearby. If we are lucky, there won’t be any travelers there.”
“Lead on, Bold.” The words came out without Conrad realizing they were even in his mind. “You have been in the great Turkish waste before. I am simply following you.” The mind he occupied must have been speaking.
The other man laughed. “What happened to the courageous warrior who wanted to explore this land with me?”
“He is tired and isn’t in the mood to be caught by the desert sun again.”
Bold kicked his little dark horse onward. “Then come, I will find us water and shade for our camp.”
They rode on through the desert as the sun rose higher in the sky, and soon, the heavy robes became hot. Conrad wished they would stop so he could take off the robe. He knew with less clothing he’d be cooler. Bold kept saying they’d find the oasis over the next dune. Even the sturdy little horses were beginning to tire by the time they spotted a stand of olive trees in the desert.
A small pool of water rested in the center of the grove. The trees hung heavy with ripe olives. Bold raised his hand, motioning Conrad to stop. As the pony came to a halt alongside Bold’s pony, Conrad was amazed that he didn’t feel sore. He’d never ridden a horse before. But even as the sudden stop made him slightly nauseous, his legs and back didn’t complain the way he thought they should.
“The area is clear,” Bold announced and kicked his mount down the short dune toward the water.
“I will set up camp today,” Bold said as he slid off his pony. “You did it yesterday. Gather some olives. They will make a tasty meal before we bed down.”
Conrad dismounted. The ground felt like it was still moving, and he grabbed the front of the small saddle as the short horse turned and stared at him. Could the horse sense the difference between Conrad and Bataar? Letting go of the saddle, he forced himself to walk to the nearest olive tree. He took off the hard leather hat he wore over his long black hair and began filling it with the succulent fruit. But he kept glancing at the cool, inviting water where the ponies wandered down to drink once Bold removed the tent and supplies from them.
The tent was just a roll of heavy, undyed canvas that Bold tied between two trees. Conrad watched the man work. Once he was off the pony, Conrad noticed he wasn’t a tall man, standing no more than about five feet. But there were broad shoulders under the heavy robe, and a cascade of long black hair hung nearly to the man’s waist. An olive complexion and almond eyes screamed Oriental to Conrad. But Bataar had said they were in the Turkish waste.
Bold walked up and pulled a couple of olives out of Conrad’s hat. He bit into one and made a horrible face.
“Bitter, but still good,” he said, reaching for more. “A warrior’s food.”
Conrad laughed. He bit into the fresh olive. The sharp taste assaulted his tongue. He fought the urge to spit it out and somehow managed to swallow.
“Maybe tonight we will find a hare or even an antelope,” Bold said as he walked toward the pond in the center of the trees, pulling off his robe. Conrad couldn’t help but stare as the man revealed his powerful back. The man might be short, but he was well built, with muscular legs.
“Aren’t you going to come join me?” Bold asked, glancing back over his broad shoulder with a smile. “I’m sure you’ll sleep better after a bit of a swim.” He stepped out of the bulky undergarment that hid his hard, round ass.
Conrad’s heart skipped a beat as Bold dropped the cloth and walked into the water. Trying not to appear too eager, he walked toward the pond, pulling off his own robes as he went. He fumbled a bit with the unfamiliar garment, but his body, or Bataar’s body, knew how to free itself from the encumbering fabric. As he revealed the body that wasn’t the one he was used to, Conrad marveled at its hard, narrow planes. He’d seen guys at the gym with bodies cut like this, and had even been with one or two, but had never managed to get his body in this good a shape. How strong was he in this body? His new body stirred, and he glanced down to see a smaller dick than he was used to pointing the way to the naked man wading into the pond.
Rushing forward, Conrad wanted to get the water over his waist before Bold noticed; he had no idea how the man would react. He just reached the edge of the warm water when the warrior turned around.
Bold laughed. “I see you are eager for me this morning.” He caught Conrad up in his strong arms and hugged him. Rough, weathered lips touched his, and Conrad lost himself to the sensation. He ran his hands down the long black hair, across the massive shoulders that tightened to hold him off the ground.
As their lips separated, Conrad couldn’t help himself and a laugh welled up within him. “It seems you are eager for me as well.”
“I am always eager for you, my mighty warrior,” Bold replied, scooping up a handful of water to smooth it down Conrad’s back. For the next few minutes, they poured and splashed water on each other, washing off the dirt from unknown days in the desert.
Conrad tried not to stare at Bold as they cleaned each other playfully, but the man’s physique was incredible. There was something about the way he moved, an almost feline grace bound up in a small package hardened by life instead of time spent in the iron jungle of a gym. He’d heard from some of his friends that hung out with one of the reconstructionist groups that swordplay was a great way to build a body. Bold had a large sword, and no doubt used it well.
“Now you smell much better.” Bold poured another handful of water over Conrad’s head before catching him up in his arms again. His firm, rough lips pressed against Conrad’s while his hard cock pushed into Conrad’s stomach. “So are you in a welcoming mood?”
Conrad pondered for a moment what he meant by that, until the dark-haired warrior pushed his cock harder into Conrad’s rock-hard abs. He grinned and kissed the man back.
“I am in a very welcoming mood,” he said as he wrapped his own strong legs around the narrow waist.
Bold smiled and kissed Conrad again, wading them toward the sandy edge of the pond. Conrad felt like he weighed nothing in the man’s strong arms. He stared deep into the chocolate-brown eyes that stared back at him through long, dark lashes. In that gaze, he recognized something. Bold’s eyes grew wide, and their souls touched for the first time.
So lost in the brown eyes, Conrad barely felt Bold lay him down on the warming sand and shift his legs to give the warrior access. His body reacted to the familiar pressure of Bold’s cock that he’d never felt before. The sensation was far beyond anything he’d ever experienced. Was it the strange magical out-of-time space he found himself in, or something more profound? Conrad felt their souls mesh as their bodies did. With Bold’s cock buried deep within him, his cock (or was it Bataar’s cock?) grew harder and longer as the warrior rode him on the sandy edge of the oasis.
Their eyes locked again, and Conrad saw something deep within Bold, saw that the soul within him now felt like part of his own life force. He wanted to stay here, live this strange life with the incredible man that he didn’t really know, but Bataar did. Deep inside him, deeper even than where Bold’s cock was buried, was the primal knowledge that they would always know each other. They had always known each other.
He reached up and stroked the hard brown cheek, running his finger down along the smooth jaw line. His body quickened, and Conrad pulled the dark head down to his and kissed the weathered lips with all the force he could. His powerful arms clung to the other man as his body shook with orgasm. Bold shook, too, and Conrad felt the hot cum fill him. The sensation was strange; he’d never let another man inside him without a condom, but that was in his time. This was definitely another time.
Bold collapsed on top of him with a final heaving thrust, both of their bodies still shaking from ecstasy. Rough hands ran across the planes of his face, pulling slightly at the mustache he hadn’t even realized Bataar had.
“You are the wind that blows my spirit,” Bold said as he slid gently from Conrad’s body.
Conrad clung to him. “I want to hold you like this forever.”
Bold kissed him as he chuckled. “The winds of fate are blowing, warrior of my soul. Be careful what you wish for, you may have to put up with me forever. Now, let’s wash off again and settle down for the day. We have another long patrol tonight. We must make sure the way is safe for the arrival of the Khan.”
Wondering if he meant Genghis Khan, Conrad stood. His body complained softly about Bold’s use of it. He followed the Mongol back into the pool. They washed the remains of their encounter off and started back for the shore. An arrow struck a nearby olive tree.
“Turks!” Bold shouted and rushed out of the water.
Somewhere inside Conrad, Bataar screamed and scrambled after his lover. Conrad felt pushed aside as the warrior took over the body. His sword lay in the pile of cloth between the pond and the tent. He had to get to it and stand with his lover against whatever or whoever threatened them. More arrows rained down around them. Bold snatched up his sword and turned in time to swat an arrow from the sky. Standing there, naked, with the huge curved blade in his hand, he was the fiercest thing Conrad had ever seen. He didn’t fight Bataar for control of the body. He let the warrior do what he must to save Bold.
Four figures rose from the sand dune on the other side of the oasis. Their robes were the color of the sand, and they carried short bows, perfect for firing from horseback. Several more arrows came down, but Bold and Bataar batted them aside with ease. Then the attackers dropped their bows, drew the swords, and charged around the pond, screaming like insane desert demons.
“Forever, wind of my soul,” Bold said softly.
“Forever,” Bataar replied. Conrad’s heart sank as the two naked warriors screamed war cries of their own and charged the oncoming attackers. Through Bataar’s eyes, he could only watch as the men clashed. Bold and Bataar were great warriors. They met their first attackers and had them dead on the ground with their first two swings. The other two were not so easy. The one Bataar fought was larger than the short Mongol, and his sword arm reached farther. But the Mongol was faster, and he forced the other man back until he stumbled into the pond. Bataar finished him off with a slash of his curved sword that split open the attacker’s robe and stomach, dropping his guts into the pond’s warm water.
“Filthy Turk,” Bataar said as he spat into the dying man’s face.
He turned to aid Bold in his battle and watched his lover fall to the last Turk’s blade.
The world around Conrad twisted in rage and sorrow. The glowing tunnel claimed him, sweeping him away from the hot desert.