“It sounds like a great opportunity,” Peyter said, his chest vibrating beneath Samir’s cheek. “And flattering. You had two archwizards who felt it was worth their time to talk to you.”

“I’m not sure Innokent thought that. He was…” Samir was having a hard time putting to words what Innokent had been, why it had felt so strange.

Peyter stared up at the ceiling, idly twining a finger in Samir’s hair. “I’ve never even been in the same room as Girald. It would have felt flattering to me.”

“Easy to say when you weren’t there.”


They lay together in Peyter’s bed, in Peyter’s room, which was nicer than Samir’s, and lacked any roommates. Anyone with the gift could attend one of the wizard schools, but if, like Peyter, you also happened to have a family who could pay for you to attend, it made things nicer.

“Your problem,” Peyter said with his voice edging just a little into patronizing, “is you won’t make up your mind. This school of Wizard Sidaine’s sound perfect for you, except you’d have to make a decision and commit to an order to go there.”

It had been somewhat annoying the first time Peyter had said that to him. It was even more annoying the fiftieth. “It’s a big decision. It’s the rest of my life.”

Peyter’s arms tightened around Samir’s shoulders, a gesture that was supposed to be comforting, but Samir suddenly felt confined. He pushed away, sitting up, but he didn’t turn away fast enough to miss Peyter rolling his eyes.

“You’re upset because you know I’m right.”

Samir knew no such thing. Peyter’s convictions were easy because Peyter was confident about everything. It had been a big part of what had attracted Samir to him in the first place, and now it was a big part of why Samir pulled away. Most of the time, it was easy to just go along, because Peyter had ideas—strong ideas—and Samir didn’t. He didn’t know what he wanted, not from his future as a wizard or his future as a person. Peyter was the easy choice. Most of the time.

And he didn’t dislike Peyter. And he was probably overreacting right now. And maybe Peyter had a point.

Peyter sat up, wrapped his arms lightly around Samir’s stomach. “Come on, Samir. We both know you’ll be an incredible Star wizard. And I’ll be right behind you. We could both go to Sidaine’s school. What’s wrong with that future?”

Maybe nothing. Certainly nothing Samir could articulate. So he just sat there in silence.

Silence Peyter took as agreement. He gave Samir a squeeze. “Good. You want me to help you with your declaration?”

Samir hadn’t decided, but if he didn’t do something to distract Peyter, he’d end up committing to that path just because he didn’t have the energy to argue. So instead, he ran his fingers up Peyter’s arms, then down, tracing the smooth weave of Peyter’s pants. “Not just now. I have a better idea.”

Peyter leaned in, nosed under the hem of Samir’s shirt to kiss his shoulder. “I like this thinking.”

This wasn’t exactly what Samir wanted either, but at least he wasn’t committing his entire future. What was a blowjob, more or less? So he tilted his head forward, faking enthusiasm for Peyter’s touch, knowing that he’d warm to the activity by the end. He almost always did.

If nothing else, it would give him time to think.

A note from Barbara J Webb

I have a discord! Come hang out with me and other fans! In addition, when you join, you’ll get a free copy of the ebook for Twisted Magic, the first book in my Knights of the Twisted Tree series!

I have a Patreon! Read scenes ahead of when they’re posted to the public! Gain access to bonus scenes! And most of all, you’re helping support me so I can keep writing the books I love.

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About the author

Barbara J Webb


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