Nikola Jovanović paced the outer balcony of his room, his cloak flapping in the chilled wind that smelled of rain. Below, his servants worked to prepare a meal he would not eat, clean a manor he rarely explored, and welcome guests he would rather not have in his home. He leaned against the railing and looked out over the city, glowering as the wind whipped his hair about his face. The only reason he had allowed the gathering was in order to be closer to one man.
One man that had become his obsession – a foreigner with eyes like oak-kissed amber and hair the color of molasses.
He'd been petitioned by the young man's father to school him in ancient histories and music. A young man he'd been watching for years now, though neither the parents or the child knew of that interest. He had spent the last three years arranging this particular event, and he was not going to waste a single moment of the year he had carefully arranged for.
It was for that young man that he now opened his doors, welcomed into his private sanctuary those whose blood made his mouth water and his heart pound. One gathering, he kept telling himself, to meet the head of the village, the young man and his parents, and a handful of other socially elevated men and women. And then...
Then, he would be alone with the hazel-eyed man whose name rolled off his tongue like fire.
"Aric." Nikola's scowl lightened as thunder ripped the peace of the night. He heard the sound of car doors, of hushed voices, and he turned from the balcony just as the sky fell. "Welcome, Aric."