My head was still swimming a bit, but it was done now and couldn't be taken back. I pulled my knees in together with a groan and slipped the plump pillow from under the small of my back. I lowered my feet to the marble floor below the edge of the large lounge bed in the pool house facing the open wall to the terrace-surrounded swimming pool, light reflecting brightly off the slightly waving water under the blazing sun. He hadn't told me I could adjust my position, but he'd been so long at it in this position that I was cramping.

I turned my face toward one side and watched the slim-waisted, berry-brown body of Amir saunter off to the bathroom. His buttocks were plump orbs, but the hollows at the sides below the hips-which I had just had the heels of my hands buried in as my fingers were flared over his butt cheeks, helping to guide his thrustings-were deep. Turning my head in the other side, I looked at the used condom, plump from his prodigious cum, laying there like a bloated slug, proof that I'd let him fuck me. Beside that were the bottle of lube and another couple of condom packets. He had said nothing about how I'd done with him, but he apparently was prepared for a marathon.

When he'd left me he'd just said he needed to piss-and that I wasn't to go anywhere. He acted like I was there just to serve him. He obviously was spoiled that way, which was a given considering who he was and where we were. But then nothing I was doing could be taken to contradict that he could have anything he fancied from me.

This was all just a bit surreal. I hadn't let a man fuck me since college. I doubt if Amir would have cared even if I had told him that I hadn't, though. And, on his turf and given the bodyguards, it was rather a moot point. As he was fucking me, my eyes had gone to the ceiling over the lounge bed and I saw the frame that could be lowered on the bed and the four corner posts with the restraint attachments. If I hadn't given into to him willingly, chances were good that he would have taken me anyway.

I'd wanted the job with intelligence, using my natural skills at the technical aspects of audio surveillance. I'd restrained myself, behaving myself, so that I could pass the stringent background checks and scrutiny of my life-and I'd managed to get through all that and to my first posting, here, in this small Gulf peninsula enclave emirate, strategically important for its size not only because of the oil field it sat on but also because of where it was positioned in relationship to its neighbors and to the Strait of Hormuz passageway into the Persian Gulf.

Amir el-Basir, the pampered and spoiled son of Prince Sayeed el-Bakir, wasn't thick, but he was long, his cock curved up so that the bulb could punish the prostate as he pumped. And he had stamina. He was thin and wiry, but he was well-muscled and strong. I had resisted a bit, but I'd been tired from our tennis match on the palace courts and confused and sluggish from whatever was in the drinks he was plying me with as we sat in the pool room after the match to cool down. I had stopped putting up any kind of a struggle at all after he'd gotten his dick inside me and just went with the fuck. He was cruel, taking long, deep, rapid strokes. Fisting my knees and working my legs back and forth, thrusting as he pushed the legs out and withdrawing as he pulled them into my body.

He never asked me if I liked or wanted what he was doing to me-but I didn't use my hands to try to push him away, I grabbed his buttocks and helped guide the stroking-and when I felt him ready to blow, I held him to me, wrapped my legs around his waist and took over the stroking with my channel. So, I guess he knew I wanted it.

I had let him have his way. There wasn't much else I could do. The embassy had told me to cultivate the royals and had virtually thrust the two of us together when they learned I'd played intercollegiate tennis. Amir was a tennis nut. He'd seen me play and had expressed interest in playing me. I'll bet the embassy didn't know what he really wanted, how he wanted to play me, though-what it meant to cultivate his goodwill, to let him have his way.

Between sets he had told me that his fetish was young blonds. He said it as if he already knew I-a young blond-would take cock. Not taking him all that seriously at that point and playing like I misunderstood him-that he was speaking of blonde women-I asked him how hard such women were to come by in this Arab emirate, and he just laughed and said there was a market for young blond men, like me, here. I didn't necessarily believe him, but his eyes weren't laughing when he said it, so I didn't call him on the statement. Neither did I press the point on which gender we were talking about.

Once here, I couldn't very well refuse him with those armed guards standing at the corners of the pool house, ever vigilant, but seeing nothing. Just standing there, as we sat by the pool after-at his suggestion-skinny dipping and him plying me with liquor, speaking flatteringly of my physical attributes, and pulling similar voicing of admiration from me on his own naked body. It was his idea that we move into the shade, on the lounge bed in the pool house. He had already kissed me and held and squeezed my cock by the pool, so I knew what was coming in the pool house. I suppose I could have at least tried to withdraw then, signaling that I wasn't available. But I didn't, and he didn't act as if I had a choice or might choose other than what he wanted.

He pushed me onto my back there on the lounge bed in the pool house, where I could see the frame above me and contemplate it with some trepidation, as he knelt between my spread thighs and gave me nominal suck. We were both hard already, though, so there was little preliminary preparation, before, telling me he couldn't wait longer, he rose over me between my thighs, forced a pillow under the small of my back, and thrust inside me.

I had murmured that I wasn't sure, knowing from my slurred words that the liquor had impaired my reactions, and, after it became evident that he was going to carry through, that I had been some time and could he go slowly. But, no he couldn't-and didn't-go slowly. The initial thrust caused me to scream and try to jerk away from him, but he just laughed and held on tight, reared back, and thrust again, deeper. And then again, and again, and again, faster and harder.

After his dick was inside me, I was lost. I gave in completely.

"I knew you were just teasing," he muttered.

But I hadn't been teasing. It had been long enough for me to forget how much I wanted it.

It was like old times in college, if ever so brief. But so arousing. I encircled his slim waist with my legs and held onto his sides under his armpits, the heel of my hands rubbing his nipples, as the head of his dick found my prostate and worked me there. I ejaculated and collapsed as he worked my channel, and he grabbed my legs, bent them, with my heels dug into the edge of the lounge bed, and pumped my legs back and forth to the rhythm of the pumping with fists on my knees, while I arched my back, reached for holds on the brass rungs of the headboard behind me, and moaned my acceptance of the cocking.

I came again, and he noted, with pride, how easily he could coax the cum out of me.

Once again I told him, "It's been years," to which he retorted that I was a liar-that he thought I was a pro. He had fucked harder, mercilessly, to his own ejaculation then.

I watched him return from the bathroom, dark-skinned, thin, wiry, his cock in upcurved erection again, his hands busy rolling a condom onto the long, thin staff.

I wasn't drunk anymore. There were no excuses anymore. But there was nothing to fight anymore either. It's not like I hadn't done this before.

Neither of us said anything. He was so cocky, so sure of himself. As if this was his kingdom and he could have anything-anyone-he fancied. And, in fact, it was and, as far as I was concerned now, he could. The time for diplomatically pulling away and leaving had been as we were leaving the tennis court when he put his arm around my shoulder and gave me that hungry look. I had known that look in college, but I had thought myself beyond those youthful follies. I wonder if I knew at that moment on the tennis court that he was going to fuck me. I suppose it's a waste of time to think about it, though, as he did fuck me. And having done it once . . .

I watched him roll another condom on and lather it with lube. Then I raised and separated my legs. He moved between them, pushing the pillow back underneath the small of my back, grasping my ankles and hanging them on his shoulders. He leaned over me, bringing his face down to mine.

"Be good to me this time," I begged in a whisper. "Last time you-"

"I know what you want," he growled as his lips possessed mine and his hands grasped my wrists.

I lurched and tried to open my mouth in a scream as he thrust up deep inside me, but his tongue was occupying my mouth cavity. He immediately began pumping hard and deep, and I groaned and grunted. Taking him. Taking all of him deep and hard.

Within moments knowing it was what I wanted. That didn't matter anyway. He was the son of the prince of the kingdom. This was what he wanted.

The worry kept pounding in my brain. How did he know? How did he know I'd take the cock? What gave away the desires I had that I thought I'd successfully hidden? Or maybe he didn't know. Maybe, here, in this primeval enclave of power and selfishness, it wouldn't have mattered at all what I wanted or didn't want.

I rose up against him, struggling with him, he wrestling with me-but laughing when he realized what I was trying to do. I pushed him to the side and rolled with him until I was on top and he was on his back on the lounge. It was me now lowering my face to his, taking his lips in mine, putting my pelvis in motion rising and falling on his cock. My sexual surrender to him total, although he would demand more than sex from me-and I was so lost to him now that I would give him anything he wanted, do anything for him that he demanded of me.

* * * *

When I drove back into the embassy compound and turned the keys of the embassy car over to the garage supervisor, he told me, "The ambassador has requested that you go see him when you've returned."

I was afraid of this. In fact this was much of the reason that I had let my defenses down to Amir el-Basir and then, after he'd first gotten his dick inside him, had just given way, letting all of my defenses shatter on the marble floor of his pool house. I been walking gingerly around like on broken glass since I'd arrived in the emirate, knowing that at some point I'd meet up with the ambassador.

"In his office?" I asked, hoping.

"No, in the residence."

Shit.

Hunter Sean Caldwell II. He hadn't been the ambassador when I'd first received my assignment to this country. The assignment had come as a surprise, while I was still training in tech craft, mostly audio surveillance, at Warrenton, after finishing my masters in Muslim studies. I wasn't exactly at the head of my class at Warrenton, and some of my fellow students weren't that pleased that I'd gotten an assignment so early. But then most of them were still struggling with languages. My Arabic was fluent already.

I had already sublet my apartment in Rosslyn, near the Pentagon, and sold my Mustang convertible when I'd read that Caldwell would be the new ambassador. Hunter Sean Caldwell II, the last man, before today, who had fucked me. The first man who had fucked me. Before Amir just now, the only man who had fucked me. The man who I thought was a master at cocking until I encountered Amir.

Caldwell had been both the direct ancestor of the founder of Caldwell College, a university prep junior college for jocks-my sport being tennis-and its president at the time I came to his attention. I was on a work-study scholarship to augment my sports scholarship and I served drinks and hors d'oeuvre at his cocktail parties.

He was having a rough time in his marriage. I didn't know it then, but his penchant for young blond men was the crux of the problem. One night after a cocktail party, when his wife wasn't in evidence because she had flounced off to Europe, I was still cleaning up when all of the rest of the servers had left. Caldwell came into his living room, his tux tie undone and his shirt open to show a well-muscled chest covered in salt-and-pepper, curly hair, and sat in a wing chair, watching me under drooping eyelids and drinking scotch from a bottle. I could tell that he was keyed up.

He told me I could stop and that he wanted me to sit with him and talk with him. We passed the bottle back and forth while he told me of all his problems with his wife and the school and life in general. He also told me what a fine-looking young man I was and how well I could do in the university on the bases of a good recommendation from his school. He told me, in guarded references, of his weakness for young blond men, not spelling out the manifestation of the weakness but saying enough that I could hardly claim I didn't know what he was saying.

As earlier today, after tennis with Amir, I could have left at that point and we both could have maintained at least surface denial of what was being offered, requested. But the offer had been couched in references to my future and my good standing in the college. And I can't say that I hadn't been curious or tempted before. I can't say that Caldwell hadn't been able to read my vulnerability and natural inclination.

He could hold his liquor better than I could. I have no idea at what point he was kneeling between my thighs and giving me the first blow job I ever had from a man.

He fucked me in the backseat of his Mercedes in the garage, saying he didn't feel right about doing it in the house. But that was a one-time taboo. He had no trouble fucking me in the house for the months afterward. The backseat of a Mercedes in a closed garage is a hell of a place to lose your male-male virginity, but I was drunk, he was the college president, and I was barely making it through on combined scholarships-scholarships that he controlled.

He was gentle with me under the circumstances, my first ejaculation occurring while he was still sucking me and working my body with his hands as I was on my knees between his thighs, facing him in, the center of the backseat of his Mercedes. My ineffectual murmur of objection as he pulled me down into his lap and I felt the hard insistence of him. I can still hear the unzipping of his trousers in my then liquor-clouded mind as he had my torso bent back toward the front seat and was sucking on my nipples.

I remember murmuring that I'd never done it before and then the feel of the bulb of his cock at my entrance. The long, slow, painful journey of my channel down that pole, which wasn't unusually long but, I didn't know it at the time, was unusually thick, seemed like a telephone pole to me. And then, once I felt the curly hair of his pubes on my ass cheeks, the rocking back and forth on his cock, one of his arms around my waist and the hand of the other between our bellies, stroking my cock hard again. The pleasure rising up to overlay, and then overpower, the pain. My second ejaculation, and his bathing of my channel. He hadn't worn a condom. The kisses and his, voiced, but surely not seriously meant, apologies afterward as I continued to rock on the cock and it withered inside me were almost anticlimactic.

I remember having been slightly irritated at his insistence that I had just been teasing him about not having done it before and, worse, having maneuvered him into the tryst-all voiced to justify his own actions and weakness, I'm sure. But what was done had been done and I needed his goodwill, so I didn't argue. I have no idea what he would have done, how he would have reacted, if I had cried or railed against him. Since I didn't, obviously, in his mind, I had wanted it.

The apologies didn't prevent him from fucking me again that night and over the next few months again and again and again. And until Amir el-Basir fucked me, I thought that Caldwell was an expert at it and that I was lucky to have him servicing me once I had been accustomed and drawn to it.

After I'd moved on to Stanford to major in Muslim studies, with a full tennis scholarship, I left that behind and managed to forget what I'd had to do to get through junior college.

But that wasn't really fair. Much like having given in to Amir el-Basir once he'd gotten his dick inside me that first time, once the awkwardness of the backseat of the car and the first breaching of my ass ring by a cock was over, I had nothing left to protect, and I had enjoyed Caldwell's cocking. He must have enjoyed cocking me, because, though we parted amicably enough when I went off to Stanford and he presumably moved on to other young blonds, he'd obviously kept track of me and had requested my assignment to his embassy when he was tapped to be an ambassador.

A Filipino manservant opened the door of the residence, which was a wing of the recently constructed American embassy complex, built like a fortress in a compound that could withstand a siege or a rocket attack. No one looking at the building from the courtyard would even know what was office space and what was the ambassador's residence as well as the residences of other senior embassy officials.

I obviously was expected, as I only had to give my name to be ushered to a central, two-story foyer with a huge skylight overhead and a staircase sweeping up to a second-floor landing. The manservant gestured toward the stairs and looked at me expectantly.

"I'm to go upstairs?" I asked. "And then where?" I had never been in the residence. I'd only been in the country for two weeks and most of that was on leave in a hotel, busy trying to set up new living circumstances. The embassy admin officer was the one who actually arranged for housing. Mine hadn't been set up yet, and he seemed to be dragging his feet on getting me settled. I was still in the hotel.

"Excuse me, sir," the manservant said. "Yes, up the stairs, down the corridor, and the last door on the right." He gave me a look that seemed peculiar, but what did I know about the looks that Filipinos gave? And what did it matter anyway? Filipinos, like the Thai, were favorites as house servants for the wealthy for their ability to fade into the wallpaper and to take anything going on in the house in their stride-not judging, at least overtly, just serving, and serving well. After giving me directions, the Filipino houseboy withdrew-into the wallpaper for all I knew.

I knocked on the door and heard Caldwell's voice, bidding me to enter. The room I entered obviously was his bedroom-large, elegantly decorated, and with a commanding four-poster bed. I can't say I was surprised.

I also couldn't say I was surprised that he was standing at a full-length French door out onto a narrow balcony that looked down on an interior garden courtyard. Even though the courtyard was enclosed, mostly by the blank walls of other areas of the embassy, the view was distorted enough for me to know that the glass was thick and bulletproof. Nor was I surprised that he was in a robe of a gauzy material thin enough for me to tell, with the backdrop of the sunlight streaming into the window, that he was naked underneath. He was still in superb condition, these six years later, for a man in his late fifties-solidly built and somewhat stocky, but not fat. And he was half hard, with a thickness that I well remembered.

I stood inside the door, which swung shut on its own behind me. We said nothing for half a minute, during which he gave me a sardonic look and took a couple of swigs of whatever he was drinking out of a brandy snifter. Liquor. My softening-up vulnerability. He had made me drunk before fucking me at college. Amir had made me drunk before fucking me in his pool house earlier in the day.

Caldwell didn't offer me a drink. We were way beyond that.

"So, here you are. I understand you were playing tennis with Prince el-Basir's son."

"Yes."

"Went on a bit long."

"Yes."

"I put the word out two hours ago that I wanted to see you."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know you'd call for me today. I've been here a couple of weeks. As you surmised, the tennis went on a little long." If I had meant how long he'd left me cooling my heels before summoning me as a criticism, he didn't show it. If he hadn't mellowed, he didn't really care all that much what I felt about anything. What my statement did establish, though, was that I believed I was here to answer whatever summons he made.

"And what happened afterward? Did he fuck you after tennis?"

I didn't answer. There probably was no need, in Hunter's mind, for me to answer. But that was a bit unfair. After Hunter, there had been nobody-until earlier today. Hunter obviously thought otherwise. Instead of answering that question, I introduced another topic. "I didn't know you were to be ambassador here."

"I didn't want you to know until after it was impossible for you to back out of your assignment. Does that bother you?"

"A bit, yes. I wasn't up for a foreign assignment yet. May I assume that you arranged that?"

"Muriel has left me. I'm on assignment alone. It's a tense assignment, and I have needs."

"I see," I said.

"I like the familiar. I knew of your schooling and training and that you'd fit this assignment. I didn't want to take risks, to establish new arrangements here. I knew that, with you-"

"I said that I understood."

He had put the snifter down on a table next to the window and was unbuttoning his robe. He parted the robe, which showed that he was in full erection now. He was beefy, but hard bodied. I knew that he was an avid squash player and worked out with weights. He probably still could break me in two. "It's been a long time, but I haven't forgotten. Have you?"

I knelt in front of him at the window, opened my mouth wide, by necessity, and gave him head until he growled that he wanted me naked and on the bed.

He fucked me swiftly, missionary style, to an ejaculation, and then we lay on the bed, our bodies stretched out against each other and our hands exploring, reacquainting ourselves with the hardness and suppleness of each other's bodies. Caldwell was thick but not particularly long, and he never could last long at a time. Since he'd been my only one before Amir, I had thought that sex with him was quite hot. After Amir, I wasn't sure. But that didn't really matter. He was the man in control. I knuckled under easily to a man in control.

When he had engorged again, I rolled over on top of him, saddled myself on his cock, and rode the cock cowboy style, rocking back and forth on the cock, as I knew he liked. Still, there was a businesslike, perfunctory air about it. There would be no emotional entanglements. He had tensions with his job. My major job was to be to help relieve those-without fuss or demands.

I'd never really heard of a man having a male mistress, and now it seemed that I was to be one.

"You have kept in good form," he whispered when we were laying, entwined again.

"There was no one after you," I murmured. "I want you to know that. I couldn't have gotten this job, if there was. And I probably won't be able to keep the job if-"

"I can smell another man on you," he said. "An expensive cologne. Amir el-Basir? You didn't answer me before."

"I haven't lied about there being no other man-up to today," I answered. "But knowing you were here . . . I just was riddled with worry and confusion. And vulnerable. And he's the son of a prince. I didn't get the impression I had much choice."

"I understand," he said. "But you are with me now."

"Yes," I said. "I am with you now." I didn't want to tell him that I had already arranged the next time I would be with Amir. And, indeed, I was to meet and lie under Amir at least twice a week thereafter. And Amir would take much more from me than just sex and a tennis workout. He controlled me with sex in a way that the ambassador never had and never would, and I could deny nothing that he asked of me.

"I will have your things moved from the hotel. You will be staying with me here. The Marine guards think it would be safer if there was someone else staying inside the residence-one of the younger male staffers. The Marines are already overstretched on duties. For propriety sake, your assigned bedroom will be just across the hall, but . . ."

At least now I knew why the admin officer had been dragging his feet on finding me an apartment.

But that too didn't last very long. Two months later I received a note in my mail slot at the embassy that an apartment had been assigned. It was only later that night, after Hunter had fucked me like a dog at the foot of the four-poster bed, swiftly and with little emotion, that he told me that his son would be arriving by the end of the week, to live with him in the ambassador's quarters, and that I would be housed separately, although I was still expected to attend him when he felt he needed it and could arrange it.

The introduction of the ambassador's son into the equation changed much and nearly spoiled everything.

* * * *

Hugh and I arrived at the chief of station's house in the embassy compound together for the reception of Tony Jacobs, the deputy chief of Mideast Ops from back in Langley. We were both a little blurry eyed that we were being included, as we were just about the lowest men on the totem pole at the station. We were essentially "it" as audio surveillance techs at the embassy went, but neither of us had done much in the way of that work since I had arrived at station nearly three months prior. Hugh had been so busy before that they'd opened up another slot, and then when I arrived, the business went dead. I had all but been reassigned to be the ambassador's gofer, which the station wasn't opposing because the Agency had little for me to do and was happy to garner the goodwill of Caldwell.

But Penny Haskell, the hard-as-nails chief of station-COS-had insisted we be there for this reception, so there we were.

Our presence was somewhat explained when she stopped us in the foyer of her residence in the embassy compound as we arrived and said, in low tones, that we were to stay around after Jacobs had been taken back to his hotel. This meant she had some actual surveillance work for us to do, evidently something she didn't want to discuss at the station in the chancery. I was a little nervous about that. As well as putting bugs in and monitoring them, our job was to find and take bugs out at the embassy. If Haskell didn't want to give us an assignment in the office, perhaps, I thought, she believed we hadn't swept the station well enough. On the other hand, she seemed willing to talk to us in her residence, which was also on the embassy compound.

I stewed about what we might have done wrong or if Penny had discovered that the ambassador wanted me around because he was fucking me-at least until I saw Sean, the newly arrived ambassador's son, Hunter Sean Caldwell III, at the reception. He was being called Sean at the embassy to distinguish him from his father.

"Who's he?" I had asked Hugh, a canapé half way to my mouth and tugging at Hugh's sleeve with the other hand.

He turned his eyes toward where I was pointing, where Penny's husband, Tyler, who ostensibly was the reason the Haskells were in this country-he was an oil company representative-was talking with a young man.

Hugh laughed. "You thought it was a mirror at first, didn't you?"

Indeed I did. The young blond man was the spitting image of me.

"That's the ambassador's son, Sean-at least that's the name he's going by here. The two of you could be twins."

Yes, we could. And that sent me to wondering about what it might be that Hunter saw in me that was desirable and what deep, darker secret it surfaced about the man. As I grazed at the food table, I worked on dredging up in my mind the young men I'd known Caldwell to show interest in in college, and they all came up as blonds with good bodies and model-handsome faces. None looked more like the ambassador's son than I did, though, and it had been me that Caldwell had been fucking back then-and had been sleeping with here until Sean Caldwell arrived.

Hugh went over to meet the ambassador's son, but I held back, wandering around the various entertainment rooms in the COS's house, nodding here and there, but not really getting into any conversations. I was nervous here among my embassy and Station colleagues, wondering whether any knew or suspected that I was fucking the ambassador-even though that had tapered off since his son had arrived in country. I wasn't much less nervous that some of them might know that Prince El-Basir's son was fucking me too.

And now I had a whole new line of thought on the presence of the ambassador's son to cogitate. I hoped he wouldn't complicate my life, but there was every reason to believe he might.

Just when it seemed the reception was going to go on forever, it was breaking up, with Tyler Haskell accompanying Tony Jacobs back to his hotel in an embassy car and those from the embassy leaving en masse to return to their offices as if everything had been staged and they all had something else to go on to-which was pretty much the case with these embassy parties.

And then it was Hugh and me sitting on the other side of a mahogany desk in the COS's study. I looked out the window and realized that the first-story study looked out onto the same embassy enclosed courtyard that the ambassador's second-story bedroom did. As the top-ranked spook in the country, Penny Haskell's house was yet another appendage on the chancery.

"I wanted to speak with you because I have a delicate surveillance operation for you two perform. It will require hours sitting in a safe house apartment."

"That's what we're here for," Hugh said.

I could hear both Penny and Hugh, but I felt like it was at a distance. I was sitting there, staring out of the window, up at the ambassador's bedroom window. The glass of that was tinted and was so thick that it would have to be night with the lights on in the bedroom and the curtains drawn for anyone to see anything from down here. That just made me think of nighttime instances that might have been like that with me up there in that bedroom-with the ambassador.

"The matter is delicate because it concerns his son," Haskell said.

I was tuned into that, but still at a distance.

"The national security adviser fought him being permitted to come here at all because he was running on the edge back in the States-pro Muslim and associating with some pretty dicey characters. This just wasn't the place for him in view of his background. And he's already hooked up with someone on our watch list here. I want to set you up to listen in for a few days to see if Sean Caldwell's visits to the palace have any terrorism implications."

"The palace?" I asked, suddenly tuned back into the conversation. "Whose palace?"

"Prince Sayeed el-Basir's palace," Haskell answered.

Hugh whistled. "We suspect that Prince El-Basir has connections to terrorist elements?"

"No. His son. Amir el-Basir."

My blood froze at the sound of his name, and I suddenly was all attention. My meetings with the ambassador may have tapered off recently but my meetings with Amir el-Basir had not.

"We want to know what, exactly, the ambassador's son is doing with Amir el-Basir," Haskell continued. "And the matter is much too delicate to coordinate with the ambassador. That's what Tony Jacob is here for-to give us the go-ahead in person, coordinated with the secretary of state, who had little chance but to cooperate after the national security adviser was on board. The operation is so delicate that we couldn't put any hint of it in the diplomatic traffic."

I suspected that I knew exactly what the ambassador's son and Amir el-Basir were doing in the palace. And then it hit me, and I had difficulty swallowing much less asking what I had to ask.

"The bugs," I asked Penny. "Do we need to put them in place? How and where?"

"That's already taken care of," Haskell answered. "And we're concentrating them around the sports area of the palace compound. Amir appears to spend most of this time there-the locker room by the tennis and squash courts and the pool house."

"The bugs are already in place?" I asked, trying not to let my voice sound like I was strangling. "When?"

"Yesterday. A grounds cleaning crew goes in once a month. This time it was local assets of ours. I couldn't see any way of getting you two in there to set the devices."

I could think of a way of getting in the palace, of course. I got in there twice a week to be fucked by Amir. But I wasn't going to volunteer that information here. Penny Haskell was being lax about not knowing it already. But maybe she did, and maybe this would be some double sting. I'd been incredibly stupid. The bugs were put in the previous day, she'd said. I hadn't been to the palace in the last three days. I let out a deep breath. Still, as delicate as this operation was for Penny Haskell and the Station, it would be like walking on eggs for me.

* * * *

I hung around after Hugh had gone and tried my damndest to convince Penny Haskell that I could handle the surveillance myself-that we didn't need two men to do it. Everything was taped, and I could go through those quickly myself, I said. I tried so insistently that she gave me a hard look and asked, "Are you saying that you don't trust Hugh?"

"Let's just say that I think I can handle it better alone than with him," I answered, which was completely unfair for me to say, but I was panicked about what he might learn from eavesdropping on Amir el-Basir's conversations before I could get to the Arab to warn him he was being bugged.

Having the ambassador's son in the picture now was bollixing everything up. There were several reasons why I would be better off not having him here-and so would Amir.

Haskell overruled me, though, and ordered us to go straight to the surveillance apartment. "If it could be a one-man operation, I'd assign it just to Hugh. You're scheduled to go on TDY to the embassy in Cairo the week after next. I'm just hoping we can wrap this up here first."

That stopped me dead in the tracks. Worse than Hugh and me doing it together would be Hugh doing it by himself without me knowing what he was picking up.

I had no time to do anything or say anything to anybody before we were riding up the elevator with our duffle bags and a box of foodstuffs and bottles of cold beer on our way to the safe house surveillance apartment.

We had been in the apartment in the high rise across from the palace and were moving through checking on the bugs in various parts of where Amir el-Basir liked to hang out for several hours without honing in on anything of interest. I was off in the apartment's kitchen getting us each a beer, when Hugh called out, "Come on back, Chris. I think I've got something."

My heart leapt into my throat and the two glass beer bottles I was holding by the necks in one hand started clinking together as my hands started to tremble. I quickly and quietly pulled drawers out until I found what I wanted-what I didn't really want, but what I needed to have-and I slowly walked back into the room.

"You think you've got something?" I asked, trying to keep my voice calm. "This soon? It's about time for your break. Maybe you should turn the surveillance over to me before you get too tied up in what you're listening to. It's recording, isn't it? I can tell you if there's anything of interest on it-my Arabic is a lot better than yours. If you feel you need to, you can play it back later."

Hugh gave me a strange look. "It's what we've come for, I think. Right off the bat. It's Amir el-Basir and the ambassador's son. I hear them through the bug in the pool house. It sounds like they're about to have sex. El-Basir is saying he wants to spread-eagle bind the other guy on a bed, and the guy isn't objecting. Gonna get pretty kinky, it sounds like. And it's the ambassador's son. Come on and listen in."

"How can you tell it's the ambassador's son and El-Basir?" I asked, trying to make myself sound skeptical. I didn't doubt for a moment, though, that it was them.

"I talked to Sean Caldwell at Penny Haskell's reception," Hugh answered. "I can tell it's him from his voice. They're speaking English. And the ambassador's son is calling the other man Amir."

Shit.

"OK, OK, let me listen too," I said, as I crossed the room, handed him a beer, and put the other pair of headphones on my ears. It definitely was Amir doing the controlling. The other guy was grunting and groaning now, presumably the restraints having already been applied. My mind went to that frame I'd seen hanging above the lounge bed in the pool house. It didn't require any imagination for me to know what was happening there.

Amir was making the sounds he made after he managed to get his dick inside me. and the ambassador's son was panting and begging Amir to go slow with him. Yeah, right. I knew how little Amir paid attention to such requests. I went hard-which I hoped Hugh wasn't noticing-just from thinking about what stage of the fuck they were in and the feel of Amir's cock working inside the ambassador son's channel. I even envied the guy the restraints and use of the frame. I'd have to ask Amir to do me that way the next time I was there just so I'd know what it was like. I didn't know if it was the ambassador's son or not. But Hugh wasn't a dummy-unfortunately. He seemed sure it was Sean Caldwell.

What was Amir doing, I wondered. And how did the ambassador's son fit into this? And then my mind went back to the whole reason we were doing this surveillance-that the Agency thought that Sean Caldwell was collaborating with Mideast terrorists and, further, that Amir el-Basir was on the government's terrorist watch list.

Shit. This was all moving too fast for me. It was all happening too fast to me.

"Wait. There's a third voice," Hugh said, his own voice full of excitement. "And he's being invited to enter right in. A gay sex threesome. We've really stumbled onto something here. He's mumbling. Can't quite . . . no, now he's talking more distinctly. Telling Sean how to position himself-how to accommodate two men fucking him. God, I know that voice. Oh shit . . . it's . . ."

Tyler Haskell, the COS's husband and oil company representative, I thought. I knew the voice as well as Hugh would. And I wasn't surprised at hearing it, as Hugh had every reason to be. I was too panicked to say anything, though.

"It sounds like . . . yes, it's Ty Haskell," Hugh said. I could hear the disbelief in his voice. More disbelief than I was able to muster.

"They'll be at the sex for a while, Hugh," I said with a weak voice that didn't really even convince myself. "It will be some time before they can say anything that we want to hear. We'll have to decide what on the tapes to give to Penny. This is all so . . . going to shit so fast. It involves both the COS and the ambassador. We both could get so screwed if we don't handle this right. Go ahead and take your break now. I'll signal if and when they get into talking about anything that should be of government interest."

"The COS's husband double fucking the ambassador's son with a suspected Mideast terrorist?" Hugh asked in consternation. "Why wouldn't that be of government interest?"

"But the people involved, Hugh. This is a powder keg. There isn't anyone who is going to reward the messengers of stuff like this. Why don't you . . . ?"

"Wild horses couldn't pull me away now," Hugh answered, stubbornly.

We sat there, Hugh licking his lips, a sloppy grin on his face, and me listening in dismay as I heard Amir going through his usual long, totally dominating, routine of taking the ambassador's son, accentuated in arousal and licentiousness now by the adding of Tyler Haskell. Sean Caldwell was being quite vocal on how totally he was being taken in a double penetration. It was all I could do to keep my hand off my cock in trying to share the experience with him. I was afraid I was letting out a moan or two of my own and worrying that Hugh would zero in on how this was affecting me. But Hugh seemed lost in listening to it-and he didn't seem as reluctant as I was to touch his cock through the material of his shorts.

I started to sweat-almost to hyperventilate-when they'd finished with the sex and began talking among themselves of other matters. That damned ambassador's son. His appearance had changed everything, might ruin everything. He was bringing everything to a head.

"Fuck," Hugh said. "Do you hear that, Chris? They're talking of an operation now. An al-Qaida operation. Two weeks. The embassy in Cairo. Fuck, Chris, did you hear that? They're planning an attack on the American embassy in Cairo. We've got to . . . Chris! What's that? What are you . . . ?"

"As Allah is my witness, I'm sorry you heard that, Hugh. I tried to push you out of it, but . . ."

"Chris! Why? Don't!"

The strong beams of sunlight coming through the window of the apartment glinted off the surface of the sharp blade of the knife I'd taken from the kitchen drawer as it rose and fell.

I hated to do it. But it had to be done. And it was just the beginning anyway.

 

Habu

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