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Ace-High Royal Flush

by Tinnean

Jefferson Sebring wined and dined, charmed and cajoled, and lured and seduced handsome men into his bed. However, he never wanted to keep one longer than a few dates or a few months. He had his work with the CIA and his duties to his family, and with those and his men, he was content - until Ludovic Rivenhall came into his life, first squiring his sister Portia around town, then falling into Jefferson's bed as so many others had. But Ludo wanted more than a same time next year type of relationship; he wanted to stay there, and Jefferson found he was willing to allow it as long as they both still wanted it.

Years later, they both still wanted each other - but men didn't marry men. Or did they, in this new world they had survived to see?

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It was 1961, and I’d had an assignment in Rome, breaking in a new officer…

I spotted Trevalyan and Waters tossing coins into a fountain, and it didn’t occur to me that there could be trouble until some pimply-faced kid of an Italian pulled out a gun and shot at Trevalyan. If felt like everything went into slow motion.

Waters pushed Trevalyan aside, taking the bullet meant for him.

Trevalyan caught Waters as he crumpled to the cobbled street.

I fired a single round, which hit the kid in the shoulder and stopped him from getting off another shot.

“Don’t you…” Trevalyan’s voice cracked. “… don’t you die on me.”

From all the blood that pulsed out of Waters’s chest, it didn’t seem that was likely. And apparently Waters was aware of that.

“I’m… I’m sorry, love. I don’t think I… have much… much say in the matter.”


“Jeremy. You can’t leave me.” 

From time to time, I’d run into Trevalyan in various European capitals, and he’d always been the quintessence of British calm and detachment, with a dash of irony thrown in, and I’d understood why Bart had originally been interested in him. Just then, however, tears poured down his face, although being British, he kept his sobs in check.

“Kiss… kiss me, James,” Waters pleaded softly.

And Trevalyan had.

“I believe the man said, ‘Kismet,’ Jefferson,” the trainee muttered, disapproval in his voice.

“Are you going to be the one to tell him that?”  I snapped.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Trevalyan lay Waters down, then rise to his feet, grim determination on his face. He grabbed my gun and shot the kid in the face, leaving behind blood and shattered bone, a crater that obliterated eyes, nose, mouth.

The trainee doubled over and vomited, and I shook my head. It wasn’t a pretty picture, but if he expected to get anywhere in the Company he’d better get used to it.

I went to Trevalyan, and retrieved my gun.

Trevalyan didn’t spare me or my trainee a glance. He just returned to Waters, sank down beside him, and took him in his arms, rocking him gently and murmuring words in Russian.

Finally the trainee got himself under enough control to demand, “Jesus, Sebring! He’s a fag. How difficult could it have been to stop him?”

“What did you do before you were recruited by the CIA?”

“What? I was in accounting. What difference does that make?”

“I think you’d better go back to it.” I crouched beside Trevalyan and rested my hand on his shoulder. He looked up at me, his green eyes awash with tears. “I’ll take care of this. You take care of your… friend.”

I dealt with the Italian police, spinning a story I had no trouble in making them believe.

The next day, thanks to the trainee—I never could remember his name—I was called to CIA headquarters in Rome and raked over the coals.

“Incompetent, Sebring. That’s all I can think to call your lack of action. Trevalyan’s one of the best MI6 has, and he’s resigned.” The director gave me a fierce scowl. “You’ll go to London and explain your part in this fiasco to MI6.”

It could have been worse. My punishment could have entailed restriction to a desk for months if not longer, but I was a Sebring, after all, and Sebrings had been involved in espionage going back almost to Richard III and were pretty much considered royalty in the intelligence community, as Father was fond of saying. There were times when it didn’t pay off, but there were other times—like now—when it did.

There was only so much they could do to me.

I had gone to London, covering for Trevalyan as much as I could, since he was family, so to speak, although it would be better for both of us if no one learned of that.

And there had been Ludovic Rivenhall, the young man who I’d thought at one time might be a possible future brother-in-law. As it had turned out, Portia thought he was charming and liked him, but not enough to marry him, especially after she’d met Nigel Mann.

Rivenhall had stood to the side in a relaxed posture and listened to me recount the events of that afternoon in Rome, a thoughtful expression on his face.

I liked his looks—I had from the start—and after the inquisition was finished and everyone left, he lingered behind, and I asked him to dinner.

Of course we didn’t go to dinner. I took him back to my hotel room, and as soon as I’d shut and locked the door, I had him naked and sprawled on my bed.

He was hot and tight and very vocal—moaning and whimpering at every lick and nip and touch and finally shouting as I drove him to his climax.

It had been enjoyable. Very enjoyable. I’d exhausted him, and he was still asleep when the hotel phone rang.

I scooped it up. “Sebring.”

“We need you back in Rome.”

“Fine, but I’m not taking that asshole with me.”

“Sanders thinks as fondly of you.”

Right, that was his name. “Yes, well he can just—”

“We’ve taken your interaction with him and his account of what happened in Rome into consideration.”


“Vomiting all over the cobblestones. Really. He’s being transferred to Langley. We believe he’ll be more suited behind a desk.”

“Good. Okay, I’ll pack and catch the first flight to Rome.”

“Good.” He hung up.

“I could understand not getting dinner,” Rivenhall complained mildly, having awakened. “But not even breakfast?”

Now that was interesting. Portia had mentioned his stutter, and I’d heard it myself, but it was nowhere in evidence. I’d bring that up another time. If there was another time.


“Does that mean I’ll see you again?”

“Of course, angel eyes.”

“Of course,” he agreed drily. Had my reputation preceded me? “Well, from the telephone conversation, I imagine you’ve got business to attend to. I’d better get dressed. I’ll just buy my own breakfast.” He rose, unashamedly naked, and pressed a kiss to the corner of my mouth. Then he gathered up his clothes and retreated to the adjoining bath.

I laid out the clothes I would need, and by the time I finished packing, he returned to the bedroom, knotting his tie.

“Well, it’s been quite pleasant. Thank you very much. Cheers.” He slid his arms into his suit jacket, touched his forehead in a small salute, and let himself out.

I couldn’t help chuckling. Typical Brit, with his understatement. I went into the bathroom, touched when I discovered he’d run a bath for me. Should I have made more of an effort to arrange another meeting?

Perhaps next time I was in London.

I lowered myself into the tub, unable to prevent an appreciative groan, but I knew I didn’t have time to luxuriate. I picked up a washcloth, soaped it up, and got down to business.



Although this novella is part of the Spy vs. Spook/Mann of My Dreams universe, it also brings in the main character from Greater Love Hath No Man.

About the Author

Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn't survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters and has been published by Nazca Plains, Dreamspinner, JMS Books, and Wilde City, as well as being self-published. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband, two computers, and a Surface 3.