“He was a waste of sperm.” Bon Kanakasiri poured himself a glass of whiskey, asperity coating his tone.  

Fuse gulped at the sharp pain in his chest and leaned heavily against the doorframe of his father’s office.  

He wasn’t supposed to be there. His father thought he was organizing the documents of former clients—ones that no longer held importance to the company. As enjoyable as alphabetizing names was, the desire to learn the origin of his Father’s frown that day was just too tempting. 

Fuse didn’t know why he put himself through the potential pain of hearing his father say disparaging things about him. Maybe it was his own nature. Or, perhaps he was secretly hoping that it wasn’t about him this time. It was always about him. But usually, his father was complaining about Fuse’s lack of motivation and skill, both of which were grossly misrepresented by their subordinates.

When his father made that abrasive comment about his existence, devastation ripped through Fuse to his very core. He clutched the edge of the door frame with a shaking hand.

Bon continued, oblivious to Fuse’s presence. “My family has been body-guarding for generations. I rebuilt this company when it was drowning in my father’s gambling debts. And for what? So my useless son can erase all that work after I’m six feet under?” He took a heavy swig of his drink, not bothering to wipe the dribble down his chin.

Fuse glanced down at the crushed GPA report in his hand. A 4.0 average, but clearly, his father didn’t care about his academic abilities.

Prasit stood wordlessly on the other side of the desk, playing the attentive therapist to Bon. Fuse wanted him to come to his defense. But that would be out of line even for his father’s right-hand man. Fuse wouldn’t dare to ask him either.  

What Prasit didn’t say to Bon, he made up for afterwards, encouraging Fuse to not give up the hope that he could exceed his father’s expectations. He’d tell him that they both knew his father’s words weren’t true.

How could he believe him? Any time he built up an iota of confidence, his father was quick to tear it down with a wrecking ball of insults and occasional but effective violence. 

“You know, I’ve done everything for that little shit. He goes to a top university, has trained with the most respected martial artists. Hell, I even introduced him to our biggest clients’ sons. Does he befriend any of them?” His father paused, letting the answer hang in the silence of the room.  

Prasit shook his head.

Exactly—no.” he said bitterly. “My son will never be worth anything.”

Fuse’s breath was cut short by the blade of his father’s words. Though the sting was nothing new, it reinvented the pain each time it returned. Fuse curled his fists by his sides, wanting to storm in and beat some sense into Bon. At the same time, he wanted to cry and ask him how he could say such horrific things about his own child. 

There was a tiny voice in his head that kept him from confrontation. It reminded Fuse that any argument with his father would end in regret. He asked himself what his mother would’ve wanted him to do. But mostly, he feared that in attempting to talk it out, he’d learn that he was truly worthless.  

“Ai’Tongsit’s kid, what’s his name?” Bon waved his hand.

“Karn,” Prasit said.

Bon snapped his fingers. “Karn! Now, he’s a true leader.”

Fuse clenched his jaw. Karn. The name was harsh, matching the emotions he held towards its owner.  

“He’s only had his business for three years, and he’s already surpassed Ai’Tongsit at the same age.'' Bon finished his drink. “He’s a real charmer. I can see so much of myself in him.”

I see the bastard in you too.

Bon reached for the bottle once again, dragging it across the sleek, teakwood desk until it met his glass with a clink.  

“Fuse is nothing like me. He takes after his mother.” He snarled. “A total bitch.”

She loved you.

“She was intelligent,” Prasit said tightly.

His dangerous gaze flickered to his assistant, however, Bon nodded lazily. “That too.”

Heavy silence filled the hollow space of the room. Heart thundering in his chest, Fuse struggled to control his breathing. The taste of iron tainted his mouth. He was going to find that bastard, Karn. There had to be something he was hiding, some kind of dirt Fuse could use to prove that he wasn’t the shining star his father believed him to be. 


Next day...

So pretentious. Fuse had followed Karn around Bangkok, only to be led into one of the city’s finest hotels. Though Fuse had never had the chance to indulge in such luxury, he’d spent plenty of time pandering to those that did.  

Just one step onto the makrana marble floor reminded him how wealthy a person had to be to set foot on such a property. He admired the dark wood interior which contrasted beautifully with the golden decor of Thai Buddhas and ornamented elephant statues that adorned the lounge furniture. Every female employee wore a chut Thai dress to impress foreigners and had a polite, ‘work’ smile. The hotel’s decor and layout was thoughtfully designed and excellently presented.  Pristine. That was the word. 

Fuse hated every second from the moment he stepped into the place. As impressed as he was, his discomfort trumped any awe. Clear memories of pretty, rich boys belittling his social status flashed in his head. One asshole in particular, Kit, had gifted him distasteful rhetoric and physical abuse. Kit’s favorite activity was ridiculing Fuse’s wheat-gold skin in front of his friends, often referring to it as ‘dirty’. Usually, Fuse wouldn’t tolerate this sort of  behavior, but as Kit was his father’s client’s son, he had no choice but to accept it.  

Tilting his baseball cap lower, Fuse followed Karn, sticking to the shadows. Eventually after a few turns, Karn arrived at a huge door at the end of a hall. He swung the door open, revealing a wide spiralling staircase, and lithely made his way upwards. Fuse eased up the stairs almost a floor’s level behind, treating each step like an egg he didn’t want to crack. 

Once he’d reached the third floor, Karn re-entered the hallway and casually strolled down a different hall, as though he’d often frequented there, and slipped into a room.

The hell is he doing? Against the wall of the intersecting hallway, Fuse stared at the door.

Minutes later, he was out the door, clutching a giant duffle bag. He retraced his steps, making his way back to the stairway. Fuse tentatively followed, starting to doubt his judgement in chasing an affluent man with a conspicuous bag through one of the best hotels in Bangkok.  

Karn swiftly turned a corner.


Next thing Fuse knew, he’d slammed into a tall vase standing against the wall. He scooped his hands out in efforts to save it. The heavy container slicked past his fingers, but to his relief, after a fumble, he caught it before it shattered to the ground in gold and green fragments.  

“Shia!” He lifted his cap to run a hand through his hair. 

With another quiet curse, he strode down the hall, trying to remember which turn to take next.  

Without any warning, he was suddenly dragged into a maid’s closet by a pair of powerful hands. His instinctive shout was immediately muffled by a fragrant hand covering his mouth. He thrashed furiously against the tight hold on his waist. Fuse might’ve been more concerned, but the strangely familiar scent of expensive cologne told him exactly who’d kidnapped him. 

His face heated at the embrace of Karn’s warm body against his own. He was distracted from this feeling by the abrupt thump of footsteps outside that sounded strangely threatening. After they’d passed by, all he could hear was the rasp of his and Karn’s breathing. A jolt of sensation raced through him at the drag of Karn’s fingers against his lips as the other man finally released his mouth.   

“What the hell are you doing, Ai’Karn?” Fuse shouted at the door, because, embarrassingly, his back was cradled against Karn’s hard chest. Was it just him, or did this closet feel ridiculously small? 

Karn put a finger against his lips. “Keep your voice down,” he hissed in Fuse’s ear. The hot breath across the sensitive place sent a shiver through him.

“No! I will not keep my—” 

Once again, he was quieted by that disturbingly fragrant palm across his mouth.  

“Do you want to stay alive?” The odd query made him stiffen.

What kind of fucking question is that?

Hating the constriction across his face, Fuse ran his tongue along Karn’s salty fingers.  Karn reflexively yanked his hand back, and Fuse felt the body behind him jerk.  

“You better not have been trying to bite me,” Karn snapped as he pressed his leather-covered arm against Fuse’s lips, the cool material caressing his flesh.  

Fuse opened his mouth, ready to make good on Karn’s helpful suggestion and sink his teeth into his captor. 

“If you bite my jacket, you buy it,” Karn warned.

Well, shit. The expensive material was real Italian leather. Anything ‘real’ was out of Fuse’s price range. He’d have to try another tactic. Ready to twist out of his imprisonment, he snatched Karn’s wrist

Karn growled. “I wouldn’t if I were you.”  

Oddly, despite Karn’s harsh threats, Fuse could feel the almost out-of-control pounding of Karn’s heartbeat through the place they touched. He dismissed the observation in favor of focusing on his anger at being restrained by the other male.

Who does he think he is to hold me like this? Fuse elbowed Karn’s side. Karn released him with a curt grunt. Fuse spun around to scowl at the other man, who was clutching his side and returning an equally angry gaze.  

This close, Fuse couldn’t help noticing just how stunning Karn’s features were. The blue, fluorescent lighting highlighted Karn’s smooth, fair skin and prominent cheekbones. From afar, his eyes could be mistaken for an intense black, but Fuse noticed that they actually comprised delightful shades of chocolate. His dark hair was slicked back, but a few disordered wisps framed his face, showcasing those cunning and pretty eyes.

I hate you.

“Why did you drag me in here?” Fuse lowered his voice this time. It belatedly occurred to him that getting caught by hotel staff in this small, private space with another man looked extremely suspicious.

Karn gave him a naughty grin and slipped his foot between Fuse’s legs. “I wanted to have some fun with you,” he said playfully.

He clenched Karn’s leg between his thighs before he could control himself, suppressing the unexpected thrill that surged through him and hiding it under a layer of anger. 

“Cut the shit. What’s the real reason?” Karn might’ve been able to deflect questions with others, but Fuse wasn’t going to play his games. 

“What?” Karn feigned innocence and slid his warm hand across Fuse’s chest. “You don’t think I want you?”

Any thoughts Fuse tried to piece together failed. Thankfully, soft fabric from the bag grazed his palm and broke his trance. He smacked Karn’s hand away, his eyes narrowing as he glared at the other man. 

“I know you want something, but it definitely isn’t me,” he snapped as he gestured towards the duffel bag. “What’s in the bag?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Karn patted the bag, the sound densely thudding in the cramped space. 

Fuse didn’t have to put up with this. Running his palm over the door, he found the steely knob, ready to walk out. 

Karn raised his brows but quickly returned to his cocky expression and grabbed Fuse’s wrist, holding him back. “But since you asked…” He lifted the duffel bag and gestured for Fuse to open it.  

Curious, Fuse snagged the metal zipper, exposing a considerable stash of money. There had to be at least a few hundred thousand baht in there. “What’re you doing with all this money?” 

Karn zipped it shut. “Preparing for a night in Pattaya.”

Pattaya was known for its adult-themed nightlife. Not to mention, it was the murder capital of Thailand. Any affairs he had there were unscrupulous.   

“You really have to spend money to get women to sleep with you? How pathetic,” Fuse mocked. 

Karn rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t being serious. It’s called sarcasm. Ever heard of it?”

Fuse gritted his teeth, holding back from strangling the bastard. “Then what’re you really doing with it, smartass?”

“None of your business.” He swung the bag behind him, resting it on the empty, steel shelves lining the back of the closet.  

“Okay, fine.  Don’t tell me.” Fuse shrugged, though he really hated not knowing things. “What you can do is let me out of this fucking closet.”


 “That’s okay. I’ll just shout until someone comes. How would it look for the staff to see you with a suspiciously large amount of money? How—”

“If you open your mouth again, I’ll kiss you.”

Fuse took a step back, which in reality did not widen the gap between them by any significant factor since his ass was wedged against the door. “Kiss me, and I’ll punch you,” he said darkly.

“Then keep your mouth shut,” Karn bit off each word as if barely suppressing his temper. 

Fuse stilled, not understanding why Karn was apparently hiding in a service closet. Was he actually in some kind of trouble or just fucking with him? This was the same guy that blew off almost every class at university to dick around with his friends. He wasn’t usually serious like he appeared to be right now. That made Fuse more suspicious of him. To test his sincerity, he opened his mouth as though preparing to follow through with his threat of shouting.

Karn crashed their lips together, brushing the fresh taste of mint against Fuse’s mouth and into his nose. Tensing, Fuse inhaled sharply, taking in Karn’s masculine scent. Karn took advantage of this and sucked on the swell of his flesh. He tasted sweet and salty, Fuse’s favorite combination of flavor. His head was spinning, pulse pounding in his ears as he accidentally slipped out a small moan. 

In one flick of Karn’s tongue, Fuse couldn’t feel his legs, only focused on Karn’s ragged breath, spreading an excited warmth throughout his body, heating his lust for him. Gripping the back of his head, Fuse threaded his fingers through his silky hair. Fuse loved how the gentle wisps caressed against his sensitive skin. 

Surprisingly, Karn was an incredible kisser, expertly moving his soft lips to match the heat of the moment. His light touch brought a sense of comfort and trust, and Fuse wanted to relive it over and over again. He shouldn’t have been this attracted to Karn. It was so wrong, but he tasted too good...His smell was hypnotizing.  

A deep chuckle teased his tingling lips, and Karn pulled away, stifling another obnoxious laugh as he settled against the steel shelves.

 “What the hell is wrong with you?” Fuse said, irritation quickly setting in at Karn’s continuous snickering.

“Disappointed it didn’t last longer?” he mused.  

“Please, like anyone would want to kiss you.” Wiping his mouth, he tried hiding the heat stinging his cheeks. “You tasted like feet.”

Karn quirked an interested eyebrow. “How do you know what feet taste like?”

“How do you not know?” Fuse asked as if it were common knowledge.  


Why did I just say that? Fuse internally face-palmed. He was such an idiot. 

“Oh...I get it.” Karn nodded.“You have a foot fetish.”

Fuse stomped his own foot in objection. “I do not have a foot fetish!” he whispered in an insulted tone.

“It’s always the ones you least expect.” Karn smirked, his gaze taking a hot sweep down Fuse’s body.  

Fuse squirmed in place as a thrilling sensation shot through him. All it took was one look, and his body reacted as though he’d been stripped naked and licked all over. There was no logical explanation to his strong, physical reaction towards Karn. Attempting to push those uncomfortable thoughts away, he was about to return a retort when the heavy tread of pounding footsteps interrupted him.

They both froze. Karn smoothly pulled him back from the door, once again tightly pressed against each other. His gaze held an intense warning. Sudden tension tightened Fuse’s throat. That did not sound like the light steps of hotel staff. Rather, they were the focused steps of potentially armed men.

“This way!”A voice boomed. 

Adrenaline rushed throughout Fuse’s body, shortening his breath. It wasn’t like him to tense up like this, but the unknown factors in this situation were enough to sound his alarms. The consequences of being caught were terrifying. He didn’t know who Karn had gotten involved with, and he didn’t want to find out. 

After a few minutes had passed, though it felt like hours, Fuse asked, “Are they gone?” 

“I don’t know.” Karn reached towards Fuse.

“What’re you doing?” He dodged his hand.  

“Relax. I’m opening the door.” Karn grabbed the handle and slowly opened the door, craning his neck either side before stepping out. “Coast is clear.”

Fuse exhaled a sigh of relief and abandoned the closet. “Remind me to never follow you again.”

“Why were you following me?” he asked, readjusting the strap on his shoulder. That bag really wasn’t very subtle.

Fuse crossed his arms. “None of your business,” he said, mimicking Karn’s response from their conversation earlier.

Karn didn’t seem affected by the verbal jab in the slightest. Instead, he kept a cool demeanour. “It’s about me, so it’s exactly my business.”

“Your business is in Pattaya.”  

Fuse didn’t know why he’d decided to be playful when he should’ve been angry with Karn for getting him caught up in potential trouble. His reaction was especially surprising given that Karn seemed unbothered by his comment. Fuse hated that about him. Karn had an untouchable bottom line. 

The bastard smiled and shook his head. He began making his way down the hall, Fuse by his side. As they made a left turn at the next crossway, a harsh voice caught their attention.  

“Going somewhere?” 

They turned in the direction of the speaker. In the adjoining walkway were three men in extremely expensive suits. The man in the middle was the oldest of the trio, about mid-fifties, clutching a metal cane. He wore the expression of someone that would vacation in a war-zone for fun. Of the other two men, one was taller and one stockier, both were about half his age. From the looks of the suspicious bulges in their jackets, they weren’t there for a friendly conversation. 

“No, P’Taksin, I thought I’d stay in this hallway for the night,” Karn said. Apparently, he had a death wish. Fuse shot him a dirty look.

Taksin grimaced. “Give me the bag, and I’ll let you and your friend here walk away with your limbs attached.”

Fuse scowled. “I’m not his friend,” he clarified, not to save himself, but because he disdained any connection to Karn.

Karn wrapped an arm around his waist. “Yeah, he’s not my friend.  He’s my bodyguard...and my boyfriend.”



“Then I know which appendage will be the first to go.” Taksin grinned.

“I’d actually like to keep my dick, so if you could fuck off—” Fuse kept his tone bland in an attempt to hide the fact he was deeply fucking intimidated by this man.

Taksin abruptly snapped his fingers. 

The tallest of the two lunged towards Fuse. He swung a right hook at Fuse’s face. Fuse blocked it with his arm and drove his own fist into his jaw. The offender staggered back, holding his chin and spared a moment to glare at Fuse with red eyes.  He produced a knife and skilfully flicked it open. 

Tension tore through him. He realized that this was the night he might die, despite the luxurious surroundings. His pulse thundered in his ears as the giant toyed with the threatening blade. The man was done showing off. Without warning, he leapt toward Fuse, aiming an arcing slash at his carotid artery. Fuse caught his wrist, applying force. He jammed the man’s elbow up, causing him to drop the knife to the ground with a clang. Quickly, he stepped on the metal blade and kicked it towards Karn.   

Karn snatched the weapon, protecting himself with the heavy bag as he held out the blade defensively. Fuse refocused on his adversaries, the hallway shaking as he attempted to ease his focus as best he could while his heart was sending his entire body into panic. With the first guy out of commission, clutching his dislocated arm, Fuse took a moment to confront the next incoming attack, widening his stance, raising his hands and tucking his chin. The pose, which screamed, ‘experienced martial artist,’ caused the guy to hesitate. Why are they only going after me?

As the stockier man raised his leg to hook-kick him, Fuse caught his leg, held it at an excruciating angle for a moment, before using it as leverage to shove him into his friend. This sent the two men tumbling to the ground, the fight knocked out of them. If only that kick was enough to end this.

“Get up, you idiots!” Taksin barked. Clearly, he wasn’t used to his adversaries having good fighting skills. He likely anticipated a standoff ending with Karn on the ground and them running away with the cash.  

They looked at their boss. The tallest rose first, shaking and groaning but refusing to give up so easily. It shouldn’t take more than a push on his dislocated shoulder to take him down.  

Fuse was familiar with this kind of opponent, one that relied on his height and weight to overpower his foe. In most cases, it was fucking terrifying. But while a larger body certainly had its advantages, not knowing how to use it impaired any leverage gained. 

The injured man whipped out a blade, longer and sharper than the first one. Fuse immediately flinched as though he’d already been cut. The stimulation shot intense, stinging pain across his abdomen. The assailants then ran at Fuse, intent on gaining an advantage by attacking together. With precise timing, Fuse ducked under the knife thrust towards him, and the guy drove the blade drove into his colleague’s shoulder instead. Fuse kicked the tall man’s side forcefully. Pained howls rang in the hallway.  

Footsteps shuffled behind him. Fuse snapped his head to see that Karn had taken off.  

“You can’t run from me, Karn!” Taksin’s powerful voice boomed.

Thanks for the help, you bastard.

Just as Fuse was about to follow, Fatty charged forward, tearing the blood-stained knife out of his shoulder. Jumping back, Fuse yanked a gold-plated mirror from the wall, shielding himself.  

He used the mirror to block the stocky guy’s attempts to knife him. The blade slipped against the metal back of the mirror with a grinding shriek. In one swift movement, the mirror was kicked out of Fuse’s hands. This was it. He was going to get stabbed to death protecting a guy and money that wasn’t even his after being abandoned by said guy.

Fatty slashed the knife towards Fuse, who was dodging every attack. Each slice emitted a warning sound, cutting the air with a whipping ring. Fuse kicked upwards, attempting to knock the weapon out of the other guy’s hand, but Fatty was quick to avoid his offensive.   

Fuse sucked in a breath as the knife shot towards him. Suddenly, a luggage cart slammed into Fatty, knocking him to the floor. Fuse turned to see Karn standing against the wall of the other hallway, out of Taksin’s sight. He held his duffel bag in one hand and a white sheet in the other. The hell does he need a sheet for?

That was when he heard a click. Fuse looked over to see Taksin aiming a gun at him.

“I didn’t want it to have to come to this.” Despite his words, his voice held zero guilt. 

Fuse gulped in horrified realisation. He’d seen plenty of guns in person, but none ever aimed at his head. Instantly, his throat felt parched, and he couldn’t even let out a gasp in case it made the crazy asshole fire at him. I don’t want to die. 

“Karn, I know you’re there. This can go one of two ways. You can give me the bag and walk away without a scratch,” Taksin threatened, his demeanor was calm, confident, like he knew which decision they’d make before he’d finished his proposal. “Or I can kill you both and take the money anyway.”

Fuse sensed that this man was a seasoned killer, his finger lightly caressing the trigger as he spoke. He wouldn’t hesitate to get what he wanted. That icy look in his eyes reminded Fuse of his father.  

“Personally, I’d prefer to not kill one of Tongsit’s spawn.” His gaze grew colder. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t.”

Fuse deliberated briefly over what to do. Unfortunately, he had no negotiating power. Though wanted to insist that Karn surrender the cash, the other man was stubborn and not inclined to listen to anyone.   

Not knowing what to say, Fuse froze. They were locked in a standoff until a white sheet fluttered between them, concealing Fuse from Taksin’s line of sight long enough for Karn to drag him around the corner of the hallway.

“Run!” Karn shouted.

Karn and Fuse raced towards the stairs, which were thankfully only a few meters away.  

Deadly shots whizzed past Fuse, one nearly hitting his ear. The walls were quickly decorated with random patterns of thin bullets. Karn tore the door to the stairwell open and made a beeline for the stairs. Fuse stopped and tugged off his shoe and sock. He needed to lock the door.  

“What the fuck are you doing?” Karn stopped and looked up at him. 

Fuse ignored him as he cracked the door open, wedged the sock at the top, and slammed it shut. It wasn’t a permanent lock, but it would be enough to buy them time to get back to the more populated area of the hotel.  

Without another word, Fuse raced down the stairs with Karn beside him. Fuse’s lungs burned, crying out for more oxygen. His legs ached, muscles twisting tighter with each lunge.  The world around him blurred as he sped past, focused only on the way ahead. No matter how exhausted he felt, he kept running.  

They reached the ground floor. A giant ‘exit’ sign hung above one of the doors off the hallway. They shot through the door to the side of the building into a small parking lot filled with cars.

Realization struck Fuse as he leaned over, catching his breath. “Do you think I’ll be charged with assault?” He had dislocated a man’s arm after all.

Sweat dripping down the sides of his face, Karn gulped. “Do you think I’d be running with you if I thought you’d be in trouble with the police?”

“Please.” Fuse gasped. “Like you have any moral high ground to stand on!”  

“How about not wanting to look like an accomplice? Does that reason suffice?”  

Too tired to argue further, Fuse panted and tried to focus on their current situation. 

Fuse glanced at Karn.  “What now?” 


1 Comment

  1. Kaikai

    I truly enjoyed this chapter.
    Fuse as a character does not have an easy life. He validly has a huge complex of never being able to please his father. I liked devastation ripped through as he faced the wrecking ball of insults or is wounded by the blade of his fathers words. Fuse wonders if he is truly worthless.
    Fuse appears alone in a world of subordinates who misrepresent him or rich client sons who ridicule him.
    Fuse decides to hunt the one shining star his father lauds. He seeks to denigrate this person, this Karn.
    Karn is the rich boy who can be sarcastic and flirtatious. He is confident and sensual.
    The encounter of these two is immediate sensual attraction. However, what is lovely is that there is a sense of comfort and trust in their sensual responses. Their playful verbal dialogues are delightful with teasing and taunting.
    The other sweet interaction is that both Fuse and Karn are self confident to act on their attraction, and enjoy it.
    Karn has unknown danger elements in his life. Fuse is now involved.
    The rich imagery and humor are wonderful in this chapter. It is also a warmly sensual encounter of Fuse and Karn.
    I am eager to discover what will unfold as the needy serious Fuse connects with the reckless flirtatious Karn.
    I loved this chapter. It is vivid in imagery and has a lovely rhythm. There are delightful phrases that just pack unexpected emotional punches. I love these.

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