Tainted Love – Caitlyn Willows

TaintedLove

 

TAINTED LOVE
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotic Romance – Short Contemporary – M/M/F Menage
December 2017
April Martinez
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-68252-454-1

They had it all and each other until one of them walked away.

Rock star Quentin Nash walked out on the loves of his life five years before and regretted it instantly. Pride and fear have kept him away. But lost, lonely, and burned out, he’s come back, and he’s praying they can forgive that he tainted their love.

The music world was a hell on earth for Mel and Tasha Keane. They left while they still had their sanity. Now it’s back on their doorstep in the form of the one man they’d lost their hearts to years before. There’s always been a place for him with them, but can they help Quentin find his way without losing their own?

Note: This is a re-release.

 

BUY LINKS:

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Barnes & Noble

 

EXCERPT:

Quentin Nash slowed his rental car at the top of the winding palmed canyon. Peace had sifted into his blood on the drive up. He’d turned off the air-conditioning, rolled down the windows, and slowed his speed in order to hear the two creeks that paralleled both sides of the road. Nature’s music soothed his fractured soul.

Winter rains had filled the oasis above to overflowing and blessed the landscape with water, spawning a profusion of wildflowers in this desert canyon. Birdsong reached him from the towering palm trees and dense vegetation. If he was lucky enough, he might spot a small herd of bighorn sheep. Tourists crowded Palm Canyon Drive and every golf course, never realizing true wonder was in the mountain canyons that shadowed Palm Springs.

He wanted to weep at the beauty of it. Or was it fear that made him teary-eyed? Or exhaustion? Or the weight of people everywhere he turned taking pieces of them for themselves? He knew it was the latter. Fans clawed their way through crowds to reach him, to touch him. Agents, managers, and record producers wanted their pound of flesh as well. Everyone loved whatever they could get from Reno and didn’t give a shit about the real man behind the rock star.

He swallowed the heavy lump in this throat as he stared at the resort ahead. Diversions was off the beaten path. Only a small sign on the main road pointed the way to it. If a person didn’t know to look, they might not have noticed that. It was very exclusive. Their only advertising, other than a website, an article the year before in Travel Temptations, and a hit song Mesquite had in honor of the place, was a trifold brochure that promised to indulge the visitor in every luxury and assured no request would be denied. He knew from past experience the place was booked in advance. He’d also been told there would always be room for him.

Those words, given five years ago, had hovered in his mind. At first, they were his safety net. Now they’d become his lifeline.

Tears drifted down his cheeks. Success was hollow without Tasha and Mel. He had all the money in the world and had never felt lonelier. Everyone took what they needed from his Reno self, and Quentin got nothing in return except for more money, more work, more demands. He was Reno and everyone wanted him…now.

Tasha and Mel were the smart ones. They’d gotten out of the business years ago. Phoenix and Diego, Tasha’s and Mel’s personas in the group they’d called Three, had ceased to exist. They’d taken over the ownership of Diversions from Tasha’s parents, married, had each other.

Quentin wondered if they’d missed him as much as he’d missed them. If their invitation to stay was always open as they’d promised. Did they still look the same? Tasha with her waterfall of black hair. Mel with those ocean blue eyes that made you want to dive in? Did they crave him in the night as he did them? Did they curl into each other’s arms and miss the third body pressed to theirs? Had they replaced him in their hearts and lives? He didn’t think he could bear that, even though he’d tried that very thing over the last five years. He never lacked for willing partners. Those attempts had left him as empty as everything else in his life. If Mel and Tasha had found another… If they rejected him…

He smeared the tears from his face. Sitting here staring at the place wasn’t helping, and he knew he couldn’t turn around and leave. If for no other reason, Quentin needed the peace Diversions offered. He needed to heal his fractured soul before he jumped back into the fray. Leaving the music industry wasn’t an option for him. The legal ramifications alone would ruin him. He didn’t want to think about it. He didn’t want to think about any of it.

Pulling in a deep breath, Quentin put the car in motion. The place reminded him of an old mission—white stucco, deep arches for windows and doors, red tiled roof. There was even a bell tower at the far edge of the red-cobblestone drive. The wide entrance circled around a statue of a couple caught in a coital embrace. It was the first of many statues scattered throughout the Eden-like grounds.

A valet greeted him with a smile and a wave the instant Quentin’s car came into view. Quick on his heels was Charles, the head of Butler Services at Diversions. The man was a constant who comforted Quentin. It seemed the man never aged. He looked as tanned and fit as he had the first time Quentin had seen him fifteen years before. Charles’s obsidian gaze flickered with recognition. Quentin thought—hoped—they sparkled a little as well.

The valet reached for the car door as soon as Quentin stopped. Quentin offered him a smile he didn’t feel. “A moment, please. I don’t exactly have a reservation.”

Charles stepped forward. “Indeed you do, Mr. Nash. A standing reservation as per Mr. and Mrs. Keane’s instructions. There is always a place for you here. Diversions is ready to wrap you in comfort.”

More tears welled up. All Quentin could do was nod and relinquish the car to the valet, while a bellman darted forward to retrieve his luggage. Nothing in their actions gave away that they knew he was famed rock star Reno. His real name had always afforded him some anonymity…until his face was plastered all over television and magazines. Still, he’d gotten this far in his trip without intrusion. Maybe Diversions was already working its magic.

Charles gave a slight bow. “This way, sir.”

Quentin followed without hesitation. Through the Spanish tiled foyer lined with potted plants. Down the flagstone path that twisted through the lush garden. Past more statues of lovers caught in orgasmic bliss. And when they walked beyond the main conclave of suites, awareness of their final destination nearly brought Quentin to his knees.

How many times had he traveled this route with them, all three wrapped in each other’s arms? How many times had they tangled themselves in the sheets of the suite ahead, or bathed in the hot tub, or soaped each other to heaven in the huge shower? Fed one another in the cloud-soft pile of cushions? Laughed, loved, planned a future that never came to be?

They’d once had a great love, unusual by most people’s standards, but it had worked well for them. Until he tainted it all with his greed and lust for more of something they’d already had plenty of—fame and fortune.

The first sight of the stand-alone cabana stabbed a pain of longing through Quentin’s heart. It looked as fresh as the first time he’d seen it. The Jungle Hut, appropriately designed to look like one on the outside. It had always been their room.

The bellman trotted up the three steps to the deep porch and opened the door. Did Tasha and Mel know he was here? If not, Charles would let them know as soon as he saw Quentin settled.

He paused at the bottom step, staring into the dark interior ahead. From the porch, Charles turned his way, his eyebrow lifted ever-so-slightly in question.

“If you don’t mind, I’d rather go in alone,” Quentin somehow managed to say.

“As you wish, sir.” The man stepped down to his level. “Please let us know if there is anything you need.”

“Thank you.” Quentin barely heard the words over the emotion strangling him.

Charles nodded and walked away. The bellman was seconds behind, not even pausing so Quentin could tip him. No one here would have their hand out. No one here would take pieces of him. The concept of peace and quiet was hard to grasp.

Heart pounding, he walked into the cabana, shutting the door behind. Ambient light filtered to him from the corners, like the sun coming into a forest canyon. Deep greens and muted browns greeted him. Quentin closed his eyes and leaned into the door. He didn’t have to look to know the big bed was hidden behind a veil of faux vines and leaves. Or that the living area was a sunken bed of cushions with the hot tub tucked into a jungle grotto niche beyond. A sliding glass door led to the private patio screened with bamboo. The bathroom contained a shower-tub combination made for love.

He didn’t need to see to know it was all the same. He didn’t need the reminder of the love he’d tossed aside, yet he needed the sanctuary it offered.

He sank to his knees and sobbed.

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One To Grow On – Caitlyn Willows

OneToGrowOn

 

ONE TO GROW ON
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotic – Short Contemporary
November 2017
Cover Art – April Martinezr
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-68252-424-4

Reese has something extra special planned for his wife’s 30th birthday—the fulfillment of Judi’s widest sexual fantasies…and maybe a few of his, too.

Bad girl discipline and good girl treats. By his hand…or another’s. With his body…or another’s. In private…or very public. Judi knows Reese always gives her just what she wants…and needs.

And now, with two extra men at her (and Reese’s) disposal, Judi can’t wait to experience every body-quaking moment.

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

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EXCERPT:

Judi Osbourne’s gaze wandered to the thirty-one long-stemmed red roses arranged in the crystal vase that was perched on her desk. A rose for every year she’d been on this earth, plus one to grow on. A gift from Reese, and the promise of what was to come—her…multiple times.

Focusing on work was impossible when she knew he could call at any time to lay out in graphic and sensuous detail everything he planned to do to her tonight. The briefings, case files, and the myriad intricacies of legal documentation she had piled on her desk might as well have been invisible. Other than the folder that had been opened before her for the bulk of the afternoon, Judi hadn’t been able to touch a one. Her thoughts had been on Reese. His call would set in motion the events for the evening. Her every fantasy fulfilled—his birthday gift to her.

Her heart raced in anticipation. Lower, her body thrummed for attention, getting wetter with every passing second. Judi considered a trip to the ladies room to take the edge off her horny, but Reese had expressly forbidden her to touch herself in any way. Since he could spot a lie from ten miles away, and her flushed cheeks always gave her away where he was concerned, Judi complied, although the temptation to do otherwise and suffer his “punishment” was hard to resist. Being over her husband’s knee, bare-assed, his to do with as he pleased? Or spread and bound for the kiss of the chamois flogger?

A shudder of lust quivered straight to her crotch. Judi crossed her legs to quell the ache swelling her clitoris. She’d been slick with her juices since the roses had arrived after lunch. She’d swear she could smell her arousal over their delicate scent. Thank goodness she had a private office.

Smiling, she pulled a rose from the vase and brushed the velvety petals over her cheek, then down her neck. The scent was subtle, not overpowering. Reese was like that too. A hint dropped from his lips could melt her into a puddle. He always knew what she needed and never hesitated to give it to her. In a profession where she was required to be the aggressor, it was wonderful to know she could give the reins of control to him in their sex life. Not once had he disappointed her.

Her nipples tightened, nudging for freedom from her bra. Judi shifted a little, trying to rasp the material over them as she slowly began to swing her leg to and fro. It felt good, too good, too naughty. Maybe she should call Reese first and confess her lapse to him. He’d tsk and quietly spell out the discipline he planned to administer. She imagined him in his three-piece suit, thick erection hidden behind his desk…

A knock at her door shattered the daydream.

Judi stabbed the rose back into its vase. “Come in.”

Peggy Wilson breezed in a second later, a black dress bag dangling from her finger. “This was delivered for you. It’s from Reese. Another birthday present?”

She smiled. “Yes.” One of many to come. “We have a date tonight after work. Someplace special, I’ve been told. I let him pick something out for me.”

Peggy reached for the zipper. “Want to see it now?”

Judi wondered if she blushing? Her cheeks felt hot. Hell, her whole body was hot. “No. I’ll wait. Please put it in the closet.”

“At least it won’t be a long wait.” For a short person, Peggy could take some long strides. It seemed as if she flew to the small closet across the room. “It’s almost five.”

Judi glanced at her watch. Ten minutes to go. She’d spent ninety percent of her day thinking of the night and here it was. Her breath hitched. Her pussy throbbed with anticipation and her hard nipples rasped against her bra. Reese wouldn’t have to do much work to make her come tonight. She was three-quarters of the way there already.

Her cell phone tweedled as Peggy finished hanging the bag.

Reese!

People thought it was cute how she still got excited about the man after all the years they’d been together. They didn’t have a clue, and she wasn’t about to enlighten them.

Her assistant wasted no time leaving, giving Judi a good-bye finger wiggle as she dashed out the door. She snatched up the phone.

“Did you get everything I sent?” Reese’s voice was low and husky, a caress all by itself. If he were beside her, those words would have been brushed against her ear.

“Yes, the roses arrived noonish, and the dress a few moments ago. I haven’t had the chance to look at it yet, but the roses are beautiful,” she somehow managed to say over the catch in her throat.

“Soft against your skin?”

“Yes,” she whispered in response. “Like velvet.”

“Soft as the petals between your legs? I’ll bet they smell as sweet, but they can’t come close to matching your taste.”

“Oh, honey…” A gasp choked off her words.

“Better than honey,” he softly replied.

Heartbreakers by Caitlyn Willows

Heartbreakers

 

HEARTBREAKERS
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotica – Contemporary (BDSM, Menage)
April 2017
Cover Art – Scott Carpenter
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN – 978-1-68252-383-4

Talented, good-looking, and wildly successful, they’re the rockers every girl wants and every man craves to be. But success comes with its own price. Everyone wants a piece of the Tristan brothers but Brian, Paul, Caz, and Nick stick tight to guard themselves from the vagaries of the world. Who better to sneak under their defenses than four little heartbreakers made just for them?

What About Love? – A secret weekend, a loved denied—secrets of the heart are hard to bear alone.

Brian Tristan and Lexy Claremont parted by mutual agreement after a hot and heavy weekend neither would ever forget. An agreement each regretted the moment it was made. Imagine their shock when they learn they are still married, a revelation made on the heels of an announcement Lexy never wanted to hear, one that has both of them asking, “What about love?” and discovering someone else had a secret agenda of their own by keeping them apart.

Crazy On You – Soon after Paul Tristan laid eyes on Ceci Powers, he knew she was the one. Too bad she was his brother’s girlfriend. A good brother steps aside, and Paul always does the right thing even if it kills him.

The fire between Ceci Powers and Brian Tristan died as quickly as it was lit. In its place was a wanting so fierce, a love so intense, she could barely stand the ache. How can she leave one brother for another?

It takes a little bit of fate and a bawdy challenge to get Mr. Missionary and Ms. Vanilla moving. But a hard nudge is sometimes all someone needs to “go crazy on you.”

If Looks Could Kill – Caz Tristan and Brooke Hansen have made no secret of the fact they rub each other the wrong way. All the world knows if looks could kill, they would have done each other in years ago. Unfortunately for Caz, his brothers have out-voted him in their bid to hire Brooke as the new manager for Mesquite. Now, forced to work together, Caz admits he lacks control where Brooke is concerned, and if there’s one thing Caz prides himself on, it’s his control.

As a power player in a man’s world Brooke learned long ago she had to have bigger brass ones than the big boys with whom she was forced to play ball. Control was never more important and she’s taken the motto “Never Let Them See You Sweat” to heart in the boardroom. But in the bedroom it’s a completely different matter. Behind closed doors Brooke would love nothing more than to give complete control over to a trusted lover. Never did she realize the one man who could do all that and more for her is the very man she’s shared daggers with over the years.

Yes…if looks could kill… But then, looks can be deceiving.

How Can I Refuse – The concept was simple—go undercover to a sex club to find a killer. The execution was a bit trickier for Gaby Keating. She turned to the one person who could help her—her father, attorney Marvin Keating, one of the “movers and shakers” in that community. His refusal falls on deaf ears as they both knew it would. Gaby didn’t get to be where she is as a police officer by playing it safe. But that’s just what Marvin intends she do. His world, his rules, his associates who will prepare Gaby for the assignment…and go with her.

Nick Tristan’s voice has always been magic to her ears. Gaby can’t count the times she’s rocked out listening to Mesquite. But never in her wildest imagination did she ever except to find magic in his fingers or between the bodies of two gorgeous men. In fact…how could she possible refuse?

Note: The stories in Heartbreakers were previously released as standalone titles but have been combined in a convenient set.

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Kobo Books

EXCERPT

Paul held Ceci as close as he dared, rubbing what he hoped were soothing circles on her back, muttering words of comfort. She clung to him, head against his shoulder. He’d envisioned her in his arms for too long. His cock responded accordingly. Paul tried his best not to let her feel his erection. She might not be with Brian anymore, but she was still hands-off to him because of that previous relationship. A good brother didn’t sleep with his brother’s ex. It wasn’t done. While his brain understood that, his heart and body firmly disagreed. He’d betrayed Brian simply by lusting after her. It was the guilt he’d carried around since he first realized how much he wanted her eight months before.

They’d bonded over plans for decorating this beautiful house. His brothers couldn’t have cared less about the place. Paul loved it at first sight. He and Ceci had fallen into an easy rapport over plans. He couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment his feelings latched onto her. Maybe it was the scent of her as they’d leaned over each other’s shoulder looking at fabric. Or that time they’d touched hands when picking out drapes. Or any of a hundred situations that put them within each other’s grasp. He’d thought touring would get her out of his system. Wrong. It made him crave her all the more. And she belonged to Brian. Or had…until today. Now she was free—a decision mutually agreed upon by her and Brian. Still the brother code kept him from going after her. And if it didn’t put some distance between him and Ceci right now, Paul was going to violate that code big time.

He focused instead on this latest news—that Brian had married someone years ago and never bothered to tell them. Talk about breaking the brother code. How could Brian not have mentioned her? Their parents were going to freak. It was a wonder they hadn’t called yet.

“Damn him!” The words exploded from his mouth.

Ceci lifted her head from his shoulder, fingers flexed against his chest. A little closer and her palms would cup his nipples. A little lower and her fingers would be able to toy with his hard flesh. The knowledge shot down to his groin, adding more substance to the cock already hard beyond capacity. An erection swelled down one leg of his jeans. That was what he got for going commando. He placed his hands over hers, intending to move them. Instead, he pressed them flat, stealing the sensation he longed for and trying not to show how much it devastated him that he couldn’t have it honestly.

Tears glistened in her sea-green eyes and spiked her long lashes. Mouth parted, lips moist and full. It mystified him again why Brian could not be all over her all the time. How Brian could drift away from her the way he had, when Paul ached for a glimpse of her, held his breath for the sound of her voice, the kiss of her constant laughter, the light in her eyes.

“Don’t,” she said. “You heard him. He thought Howie had handled all the paperwork for the annulment. It was a wild, crazy weekend ten years ago.”

“But he didn’t tell us.”

“Do you tell him every detail of your sex life?”

Ceci had him there. They weren’t teenagers anymore. Sharing sex tales had ended in high school. But it pissed him off that Ceci was defending Brian. Where was her outrage, her fury? True, she had broken the engagement, indicating she’d made that decision before news of Brian’s marriage had come out. Maybe she was relieved. If so, why had she let him pull her into his arms to comfort her? Why was she crying?

She pressed closer, angling her hips a whisper away from his. Too close for Paul’s fragile control. Her body heat poured over his pelvis. His cock pulsed with a life all its own, demanding he thrust forward and cover those last few millimeters between them.

“Paul, I…”

He braced his hands on her hips and gently set some distance between them before he gave in to the urge to grind his cock against her. All he wanted to do was yank her back and kiss her, haul that cute black-and-white sundress to her waist and wedge her against the nearest wall while he showed her what loving a woman was all about.

She slid her hands over his shoulders, reclaiming the distance he needed. Paul’s resolve started to crumble. It would be so easy to take advantage of the moment, so easy to swoop in and have her, to know what it felt like to be wrapped in her arms and buried in her heat. And lose her completely because of it. Because if he made love to her once, Paul knew it would never be enough. One of them would have to go, and since he’d be the one at fault…

He grabbed her fingers and took a small step away, holding her hands between them for a shield against his emotions and the aching cock that so wanted to throw caution to the wind and go for it.

“Women like Alexandria Claremont are a dime a dozen. I’m surprised she hasn’t tried to ride the Mesquite gravy train long before now.” He snorted. “She obviously didn’t realize their marriage was still valid or she would have. Ms. Claremont won’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell. I swear to you I’m going to find out everything I can about that woman. This is one fight Alexandria Claremont won’t want.”

Ceci held on tight when he tried to walk away. “Paul, don’t do this. Let Brian handle it. It’s a relief actually. We both agreed. You heard that.”

“You’re crying your eyes out and you call that relief?”

Ceci’s eyes widened at his shout. Paul bit back an apology. If it helped keep them apart, that could only be a good thing at this point. Right?

“I’m going to fix it this. I swear it, or die trying.”

He strode into the house before he caved, before he spread her on the nearest chaise lounge and made his dreams come true. Before he told her how very much he loved her.

* * * *

The chaise’s padded cushion whistled with Ceci’s weight as she sank into it. Normally, that sound resulted in bawdy fart jokes from the Tristan brothers. No one was laughing today, especially her. How in the world had she let things go this far?

What little fire she and Brian had between them had fizzled after two months. She should have ended it then but didn’t because doing so meant stepping away from their lives and returning to the shadows to do the redecorating job she’d been hired to do. She couldn’t bear the idea of never being able to hang out with them. Worse, she wouldn’t be able to see Paul.

Ceci buried her face in her hands. Paul’s was the face she searched for, the smile she sought, the one whose presence she missed the most when the guys were gone. The more time she let lapse, the bigger the hole she’d dug for herself grew. All because her stupid heart wanted a man she couldn’t have. Or rather, shouldn’t have. How could she explain to Paul that her tears had nothing to do with Brian? She cried for the loss of Paul from her life.

The guys were tight. They had that all-for-one sibling code—blood-thicker-than-water stuff. Which was great for a family, great for them as a group. That unity had helped them weather all the crazy ups and downs in this business. It sucked for her. Tristans always stuck together. No one ever came between the brothers, especially a woman. Hell, they’d even bought this huge house together—a place she and Paul had spent hours working on.

Ceci jerked her head up at the slam of the studio door. It was most likely Paul. She’d never seen any of the guys this upset before, but then a secret wife would do that. She prayed it wouldn’t drive a wedge between the brothers.

No, that was what she was doing, more or less. Her agony now was a result of her silence. Of not breaking it off with Brian when she realized two months in that nothing more than friendship and sometimes nice sex could exist between them. She’d stayed with him for the wrong reasons. Had she acted then, perhaps time and distance would have gotten her the man she really wanted.

She swiped the tears from her cheeks. Her makeup was a mess. She didn’t need a mirror to tell her that.

Ceci pushed herself to her feet and hurried inside. She’d dumped her purse somewhere between the front door and the den—the brothers’ favorite room in this sprawling house, after the recording studio behind the pool house. She retraced her steps and found her black hobo purse right where she’d left it just inside the den. Luck was with her. Caz and Nick weren’t in the room. It looked like Howie had taken off too, which was just as well since the brothers were furious with the man.

She snagged her purse and sank into Paul’s big recliner. His scent wafted around her, wrapping her in the comfort she longed to feel in his arms. She tucked her legs under her and nestled deep into the soft blue cushion. There were dozens of other things she should be doing instead of wallowing in self-pity. After all, she had a job to finish. Or would she even have that now that she and Brian had mutually decided to end it? Oh hell, she hadn’t considered that. She’d been too worried that she’d never see Paul again.

Ceci plunged her hand into the depths of the bag to find her cell phone. She needed to make sure she and Brian were still good, still friends.

Nerves crawled over her skin. Hope deflated when the call went to voice mail. He would have flown to Vegas and had the device turned off. Fine. She’d wait him out, providing he’d return her call and not delete the voice mail unheard. If that happened, she’d keep trying until he finally answered. She burrowed deeper and swiped the last remnants of tears from her face. Mascara and eyeliner blackened her fingers. God, Paul had seen her like this. Great image. Too late to unring that bell.

Ceci hopped to her feet and hurried to the nearest bathroom down the hall. The silence in the house haunted her. As if the place were holding its breath for what would happen next. That was how she felt, locked in perpetual wait mode, afraid to think beyond what she needed to do next. If she thought further than that, Ceci would start dwelling on the ramifications of her actions—never seeing Paul again. Those fears had stymied her in the past. She couldn’t allow them to do so again.

She shut herself in the bathroom and leaned against the door to steady her nerves. The brothers had designated this as her bathroom. Shades of black-and-pink Victorian designs embellished the room. No Tristan male dared cross the threshold. Makeup, curling iron and rollers, blower dryer, and various other necessities of feminine life filled the drawers in the vanity. Plush towels were stacked in the linen closet. Bath oils, bubbles, and soaps lined the shelf around a tub made for relaxing. Magazines and paperbacks were within easy reach. Her place, her nest. Her sanctuary in a household overrun with testosterone.

She’d also taken over the walk-in closet across the hall for clothes, shoes, whatever. Paul had moved a chest of drawers in there for her use as well. The place was huge. She could have fit a twin bed in there if she’d wanted. From what she recalled of the Realtor’s rambling accolades about the house, it had once been used as a dressing room for the bathroom opposite it. Ceci had wasted no time claiming it as hers. Crazy that she’d done so. Crazy that they’d let her when Paul suggested it.

Another sigh launched her off the door and to the mirror. The damage to her makeup was worse than Ceci expected. She washed her face and left it at that. God only knew how many more tears she’d shed today. Fear and anxiety were the boss of her today. No makeup was better than smudged and runny.

Somewhat revived, she walked back to the den, kicked off her wedge sandals, and tucked into Paul’s chair once again. It felt like heaven to sink into its depths. The only thing missing was him. She should leave. After all, she’d done what she came here to do—end the engagement. If she couldn’t focus on her work, she had no business remaining, but she couldn’t make herself leave, either.

“So are the three of you just about done dancing around each other?”

Ceci jumped at the sound of Caz’s voice. Instinct made her check to make sure her dress wasn’t gaping. He hovered in the doorway, making the space look insignificant. He was no larger than his brothers at six feet, but his personality always made him seem bigger. He stared at her with those Tristan brown eyes. The brothers could have been quads, they looked so much alike. The difference was in their personalities, and the bear in this brother had been poked.

“What do you mean?” She tucked her dress down over her knees.

Caz stalked toward her. “You know damn well what I mean. Nick and I have watched the three of you play this game for almost a year. It’s ridiculous. Brian avoids you. You avoid Brian. Paul makes cow eyes at you. You giggle over Paul and use every excuse to be near or touch him. You and Brian don’t want to be together, and neither of you had the balls to speak up until today. You and Paul want each other so much I can smell it, and neither of you has the balls to speak up.”

He was over her now, fists braced on the arms of the chair, nailing her in place with his presence, those eyes.

“Paul respects—”

“Bullshit,” he spat out. “He’s chicken. And stupid. The signs are clear enough if he’d open his fucking eyes and look. He can’t see past the fact Brian had you first. It wouldn’t matter to me, sweetheart. If I wanted you, I’d come after you. I thought of it a couple of times just to throw a scare into Paul and get him moving.”

“You did?” Ceci didn’t know how she felt about that news.

“I did,” he said with a smile. “I would have too, if I didn’t find you too vanilla for me.”

Ceci glared up at him. “I am not vanilla.”

Caz’s grin widened. “You are too.”

“Am not.”

He cocked his head to one side. “Really? Prove it.” He jerked his head toward the door. “Go get your man. Someone’s got to make a move. Might as well be you. Do it, sweetheart. Go out there and go crazy on him.”

Heat rushed her from head to toe. Ceci knew a blush went along with it. She stared at Caz, saw the continuing challenge in his eyes, and didn’t know what the hell to do.

“I…I…” She shook her head. “Not until I talk to Brian.”

“Need permission?”

His smirk pissed her off. “No. A clear conscience. The brother code and all.”

“And that, dear Ceci, is why we all love you. Some of us much more than others.” He pushed back and walked away, but only got as far as the door before he looked back. “Don’t dawdle. Nick and I are sick and tired of the facade. We’re prepared to take matters into our own hands if we have to.”

 

Secrets We Keep by Caitlyn Willows

SecretsWeKeep

SECRETS WE KEEP
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotica – Contemporary (Menage) – Novel
March 2017
Cover Art – Scott Carpenter
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-68262-308-7

Secrets we keep from our spouse, our lover, each other…ourselves. Secrets buried inside, some to fester, some to bloom. Secrets on a collision course that can’t be avoided and must breathe the light of day…

Dylan Mitchell is dedicated to two things: his wife and his job. He’s the agent who does whatever it takes to get his man, even if that means literally getting his man. It’s part of the job, his duty. Besides, Dylan gets to hook-up with his hot-as-hell wife, Susan, once a month for a night of unfettered sex. It’s all good. Right?

Ah…but those secrets.

It’s not just a job anymore. Emotions are involved—his, Susan’s, and Cabot Logan’s, the man Dylan is supposed to put behind bars. His two worlds aren’t about to overlap, they’re going to collide. Real world and undercover. Secrets revealed. Secrets Dylan’s kept from himself.

But Susan has a secret of her own. So does Cabot. Those secrets and that of others are on a collision course of their own. And the aftermath will change everything…forever…

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EXCERPT:

“Well?” he demanded when Hank answered on the first ring.

“It’s set and in place. Leave through the front door. Take her with you. Gabriel and Sanchez are posing as plainclothes detectives downstairs and waiting to arrest you both for prostitution. That’ll get you off the street and back with us. We’ll take the scenario from there and build up the necessary front once you come in.”

“No cuffs.”

Susan’s eyebrow lifted.

“No booking on the records. No mug shots. No—”

“For someone demanding extraction, you’re being awful picky,” Hank snapped.

“This is my wife. I did trust him, and he sure as hell didn’t deserve it.

The elevators opened on the first floor. Marble tile mirrored every step. The revolving doors were just ahead, ready to spin them back to their lives. Bellmen hovered to escort guests inside. Traffic was light but steady. Taxis would be just out of sight. Valets whisked other vehicles away the minute the drivers stepped out. It was a protected area, away from the public’s prying eyes. Gabriel and Sanchez were most likely waiting for Dylan to step outside. They’d pull up and invite them into the car, after they made it clear to eavesdroppers they were being arrested. No scene. No publicity. No embarrassment for the hotel.

Dylan wished to hell he was armed. He’d had to leave all weapons behind when he went undercover.

They reached the sweep of revolving glass doors. Susan glanced up at him. He offered her what he hoped was a smile of reassurance to go with the squeeze around her waist. They stepped into together.

One…two…three steps and they were outside.

A shiny black limo zipped to a stop at the curb. The back door swung open. Sky blue eyes peeked out from inside. Dread crawled down Dylan’s spine.

Cabot Logan had one paint-splattered sneaker out of the limo. Gabriel and Sanchez were just pulling into the hotel drive and stuck behind three taxis.

“Get in now,” Cabot told him. “Hurry.”

Dylan gently pushed Susan away from him—better to save her than himself—and started for the car.

Cabot’s gaze darted to Susan, widening a bit before he shuttered his expression. “Both of you. Now!”

Dylan braced himself for the rush of bodyguards forcing them inside. Survivor instinct, he supposed, like the muscles bunching to dive if he heard the click of a handgun chambering a round demanding he comply with Cabot’s order. The privacy window between driver and passengers was down. Jorge was behind the wheel. No one else appeared to be inside, only those sky-blue eyes calling him into the vehicle. There was a panicked edge to Cabot’s voice Dylan had never heard before and he couldn’t quite place what it was. Anger would be more appropriate than fear. It was both those…and something more. What the fuck?

Anger swept everything else away. There was only one way Cabot would know about that. Okay, several ways. All of which pointed to the fact the investigation was screwed and Dylan along with it.

If he turned and walked away right now, would he get a bullet in the back for his effort? Should he play again and see what he could salvage? The thought made him laugh at the irony. Minutes ago, he wanted to dump it all and leave. Now he was trying to fix it?

Right now he had a much bigger problem. He had to find a way to leave Susan behind and safe. Gabriel and Sanchez would pull her in as planned and get her home.

“The woman’s not a part of it,” he told Cabot.

His lip curled at the corner, deepening the curve bracketing it. “Oh, she’s very much a part.” He jerked his head toward the car. “In. I’d hate to have a scene. I’ve risked a lot to save your ass tonight.”

Not nearly as much as Dylan risked right now. Both his worlds hadn’t just overlapped, they’d collided. Implosion was imminent.

He pressed his hand against the small of Susan’s back, urging her forward. She moved without question, trusting him when he didn’t deserve it. Soon it would all be over. There wasn’t much Dylan could do to stop the train wreck. Not that he’d be alive to see the aftermath. But she would. He’d make sure of that. He’d rather her live out the remainder of her life hating him than to have her killed for his acts.

Susan ducked into the car. Dylan slid onto the leather seat beside her.

“No”—Cabot sat down and shut the door—“I want her between us.”

It was Susan who moved, crawling over Dylan’s lap, then wiggling into the space between the two men. Dylan shifted so his body turned toward them. It gave Susan room to put some distance between herself and Cabot, and Dylan better positioned to protect her, if necessary. She clutched her small purse with both hands, gaze focused exclusively on Cabot. Dylan considered sliding over to the opposite bench seat, but didn’t want to upset him any further.

Cabot leaned toward the driver. “Jorge, could you please take us to the marina?”

“Anything. It is my pleasure.”

“Thank you. Sorry to shut you out, but we need to discuss a few things.”

Cabot closed the privacy window between them as he fished his cell phone from the pocket of his khaki cargo pants, also paint-splattered. He’d been working at one of the houses the Tristan Foundation was renovating. Jorge must have stopped by and offered Cabot a ride.

Wicked tonight. There will be other times.” He ended the call and dropped the phone back into his pocket.

“I wonder if her mother is as interesting as yours seems to be,” he said.

Dylan fought the urge to wrap a protective arm around Susan and pull her closer. He’d given Cabot the excuse he always did during these monthly trysts—that he was visiting his mother. The soft interior lighting didn’t help Dylan read the man. It cast shadows and highlighted the mix of emotions on Cabot’s face. Cabot was more closed off than ever, all walls firmly in place. Dylan didn’t like it, for many reasons. Guilt and fear were at the top of his list, the horrible knowledge he’d hurt this man—this seemingly good man—deeply.

“Here I thought you wearing the tie I’d given you was to impress your mom.” Cabot reached over and hooked his finger under the blue silk.

A whiff of Susan’s juices drifted Dylan’s way. Cabot couldn’t help but smell it too.

His eyebrow lifted while he absorbed that fact. “Clearly, you found other uses for it tonight.” He dropped the tie and leaned back. “When I heard you were going to be arrested for prostitution, I couldn’t believe it. I thought…” He shrugged one shoulder. “I don’t suppose it matters what I thought. This”—he waved his finger at Susan—“explains so much and leaves so many more questions.”

He traced his finger down Susan’s cheek, down her throat, down to the valley of her breasts. Dylan didn’t know whether he wanted to break it or push it more firmly into place. Her nipples hardened, creating little shadows over her breasts in the passing light. Her breath changed to that little quiver she always got when aroused. Dylan’s cock stirred at the thought.

“She’s very beautiful.” Cabot followed the upper curve of her breasts, then wandered to her collarbone and the slight hollow above.

Her fingers flexed around the purse. Dylan watched her pulse flutter along her neck.

“I presume you have a name?”

“Does is really matter?” she replied.

Dylan applauded the fact she could speak and stay in the character she was supposed to be. Then Cabot curled his hand against her jaw and pressed his thumb on the point of her chin.

“Oh, it matters. It matters very much.”

“Susan.”

Goddamnit, baby. Not your real name.

“Wholesome, pure, simple. Not Suzie or Sue?”

She shrugged one shoulder. “Some shorten it to Sue. Some people put nicknames on everyone.”

 

Teamwork by Caitlyn Willows

teamwork

TEAMWORK
by Caitlyn Willows
Erotic Romance – Romantic Suspense (BDSM, menage)
October 2016
Cover Artist – Scott Carpenter
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN: 978-1-68252-228-8

FBI Special Agents Matt Oliver and Allie Quinn have a reputation for doing whatever it takes to stay alive and get the job done. It’s an added plus that part of their undercover assignment includes unfettered sex. Little do they realize what doing anything will involve when they come together for what is supposed to be a simple job…or how distracting that “anything” will be.

A short vacation keeps those sparks flying, but as they reassume their fake identities, each wonders if they can maintain that do-anything reputation now that love is barreling their way. Doing whatever it takes to complete an undercover mission holds new meaning to a man in love with his partner—a partner he now has to share with another man.

Bonus Story – Never Too Late: Simon Petrocelli and Emily Keating lost everything dear to them, including each other. Will Fate grant them another chance or is it too late?

NOTE: Re-release, re-edited and better than ever!

BUY LINKS:

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REVIEW:

4-1/2 STARS!!! Scorching BDSM, ménage and voyeuristic sex scenes combine with a continuing love story to fill the pages as only Willows can do…proving this erotica author has staying power. – Lisa Kelly, Romantic Times

EXCERPT:

Matt Oliver sank into the chair in his closet of a room and scrubbed his hand down his face. Holy shit, she was a hot woman. And one hell of an agent on top of that.

He’d worked with a lot of agents over the years—male and female. They all did what they had to in order to get the job done and stay alive. But this one? She was his other half, crazy as that sounded. She not only did whatever it took, lived the part she was playing, but she made him believe it too. They’d played off each other, instinctively trusting and knowing what the other was aiming for. No signals. No prearranged scenario. Just going for it.

Gordie wasn’t lying when he’d said she was a looker. Matt’s dick had noticed her walk in the second his eyes did. That long, gold-brown hair tumbled around her shoulders, the slight sway of her hips as she walked toward the cluster of chairs, that flash of her tits. God, he wanted to see them, suck her nipples until they were puckered and hard, knead them over and…

He rubbed the back of his neck. Twice he’d fucked her and still he had a raging hard-on. She was in his blood from the second he’d thrust his cock into her. But he really knew he was lost when he’d knelt between her thighs to hide the flash drive in her pussy. The taste of her he’d taken wasn’t just for Sumner’s cameras. All Matt had wanted to do was bury his face in her juices and feast. He wanted to feel what it was like to love her without spectators, to stretch out in a bed and lose himself in the heat of her body, to hear her cry out his real name, to have her clutch him and come over and over again.

Sumner was right. She was a very big distraction. Matt couldn’t think straight. The way she’d wrapped herself around him when he’d nailed her against the wall. The way she’d taken the punishment Sumner decreed like she enjoyed every bit of it. He sucked in a sharp breath and tried to squeeze his erection into submission. He’d love to have her in a big bed, them loving each other until they collapsed from exhaustion, only to wake up and do it all over again. No worries but him and her.

Matt jumped up and started to pace. He had to think, to somehow force his craving for her aside and focus. Gordie and his wife were dead if he didn’t think of something to save them. One thing Sumner liked was the complete submission of another person. The threat of punishment followed by anal sex kept his men in line. Gordie and Eva Kidwell were screwed, literally.

The flash drive with all the information on Sumner’s activities was now with—God, what was her real name? It was going to drive him crazy until he found out.

He prayed he hadn’t hurt her during any of this. He’d pulled back on the paddle as much as he could. But then she’d started wiggling that sweet ass of hers. Careful as Matt had tried to be, he’d be the first to admit it had turned him on big time. They were lucky Sumner gave her to him, instead of taking her for himself. The man would have shown no mercy, especially believing she was a hooker.

Thank God he’d managed to think fast enough to give her that cover. He hid his smile from Sumner’s ever-watching camera. She thought as quickly as he did. When this was over…

Matt stopped in mid-stride. Fuck! He’d forgotten to pay her for services and she didn’t ask. Thanks to Eva, Sumner would be extra diligent and notice the lapse.

Think!

The train came to a full stop. He had to act now. Maybe there was a way to end all of this now.

He whipped open the door and stormed for the nearest exit. The conductor scowled when he pushed by.

“I’ll catch up at another stop. I’ve got unfinished business with a certain lady. Long light brown hair, short skirt, killer body.”

The conductor pointed her direction. Matt took off in hot pursuit. His actions and the story should appease Sumner. If everything went well, there wouldn’t be a party to rejoin.

There wasn’t a sight of the woman, but that was fine. He wasn’t looking for her. He was searching for something more elusive. A fucking pay phone. One that couldn’t be seen from the train.

He took the stairs to the street two at a time and found his objective. A quick call to 911 set things in motion. He’d wait long enough to make sure all went according to his plan and prayed it was in time to save the Kidwells. Then and only then would he pursue his next objective—to find her. And nothing was going to stand in his way.

* * * *

Allie slid the flash drive across the desk to Herb. All she wanted was to duck her tired body under a hot shower and wash the day away. She’d spent the trip back to the office worried about Matteo and Gordie. Eva too, although she couldn’t help feeling the bitch got what she deserved. Much as she wanted to find a way to help them, she knew her primary goal—her only goal—was to get that drive back to headquarters. Knowing that still didn’t make the job any easier.

“Good job.” Herb returned her badge and weapon to her.

Allie tucked both into the hidden pocket at the bottom of her tote. “I don’t think Gordie made it. There was a major complication.”

“Would that have anything to do with the bomb threat someone called in on that train?”

Her mind blanked. “What?”

“Someone called in a bomb threat. Said gambling was a sin and no charity should be forced to take tainted money. The train was stopped in D.C. and all passengers evacuated. Sumner and his men were arrested on assault charges. Caught in the act. This should help keep them in jail.” He held up the drive. “And, of course, the bomb threat gives us a good excuse to search those railcars with a fine-toothed comb.”

Other evidence would be rolling their way. “And Gordie?”

“He and his ex are in the hospital, but it looks like they’ll be all right,” Herb said.

Damn, Matteo was good. He’d gotten the information out and saved all their lives in the process. She wondered what had happened with him. Had he been arrested with the rest of Sumner’s men? If not, what ploy had he used to get out?

Herb laced his hands behind his bald head and leaned back. “Did you make the call? Sounds like a trick you’d use.”

Allie smiled. “Nope, not this time. Must’ve been that infamous inside man. I’d love to know how he managed it. Any clue who he is?”

“None.”

She thought about the panties lying in the bottom of her tote. His DNA was on them as well as hers. An analysis would give her his name. Somehow it didn’t feel right to do that, especially if it might jeopardize his current situation.

“Do you have a list of who was arrested with Sumner?”

He snapped his chair upright and typed a few words into the computer. “Here you go.” He pointed toward the monitor.

Leaning over the desk, Allie scanned the list. Matteo’s name wasn’t on it. “Was anyone killed or injured during the arrest?”

“Other than Gordie and Eva Kidwell, there was nothing.”

“Damn, he’s good.”

“The inside man?”

“Yeah, first time I’ve ever worked with a fellow agent I was absolutely certain would do whatever it takes to stay alive and protect the mission. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.”

“If it’s more work you’re looking for…”

Laughing, Allie stood. “Later. I’m going on vacation. I really need a break after this one.”

“Intense, was it?”

“You have no idea.”

* * * *

Matt allowed himself a triumphant smile. There she was, the woman who’d haunted his dreams and his cock since he fucked her up against a wall. She lay in the shade of a beach cabana, eyes closed while a masseur slowly rubbed oil over her almost nude body. She wore a scrap of white material that passed for a bikini, and she wore it damn well. Actually, judging from the way the man’s hands skimmed over her, she only wore the bottoms. Two days in the tropical sun had already tanned her skin. He wanted to lick every inch of it.

The second Matt saw his ploy had been successful, he went in search of her. His demands led him to Herb Walker. That was the easy part. Convincing her supervisor to give up her name and present location took…

Matt laughed to himself. It had taken the truth, more or less. One, that he wanted to work with her again. Two, that he wanted to make sure there was no ill-will between them. That had made the man smile. Apparently, she’d indicated a desire to work with him as well. Three, that she was hot as hell and Matt wanted a shot.

Now, here he was, mere feet away from Allie Quinn, nursing a hard-on that he had a hell of a time keeping under control. Anyone and everyone on the beach could see it bulging against his navy blue swim trunks. Let them look. He was proud of every inch of it.

Determined strides carried him to her cabana. The masseur stopped when Matt’s shadow blocked the light from the entrance. Allie hoisted herself onto her elbows a second later, peering over her shoulder to see who had the nerve to interrupt her session. A sultry smile curved her lips when she realized it was him.

“Hi, honey. I see you made it,” she said, settling back down onto the narrow table. “How was work?”

Matt laughed and tossed his beach towel to the vacant lounge chair. “Same old stuff. And you?”

“Another day, another dollar-fifty.”

He slipped the bottle of oil from the masseur’s hand. “Thank you. My lady and I would like some alone time now.”

The man flashed him a knowing smile, tugged the knots free on the ropes holding the canvas door open, and left.

Matt squeezed a little oil on his hands. “Wow, I hardly know where to start.”

“Your real name would be nice.” She groaned when he stroked his hands down her back.

His hard-on throbbed all the more. “Matt Oliver. Walker told me where to find you.”

She grinned. “I did make him aware I wanted to work with that amazing inside man again.”

“So I understand. You’re pretty amazing yourself. Shall I count the ways?”

“No, just lavish your attention and adoration on my body.”

“It would be my pleasure, or should I say our pleasure. I need to lie low for a bit, so I figured—”

“You can lie with me high or low.”

God, he loved her smile.

“I was hoping you’d say that.” He breached her bikini bottoms, smiling when she lifted her hips for him to tug them down. Tan marks clearly defined her creamy butt. Relief poured through him. “I’m glad to see you’re no worse from the incident. You don’t know how badly I felt.”

“It was preferable to a bullet in my head. You were as careful as you could be under the circumstances. I’d say they all got the show of their lives. Judging from the wet spots on their trousers, the memory will probably keep them warm behind prison bars. Besides”—she gave him another naughty smile over her shoulder—“I don’t have a problem with a little discipline every now and then, properly applied, with the skill and precision you seem to possess.”

“Oh, baby, you are a dream come true.”

 

Lies That Bind by Caitlyn Willows

LiesThatBind

LIES THAT BIND

by Caitlyn W

illows
Contemporary – Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
March 2014
Cover Artist – Dar Albert
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-706-5

After a year’s absence, Tessa returns to the Texas ranch and two cowboys she left when her life turned inside out. She’s here to bury a friend, cut her ties with this town, that’s all. That may be all that Tessa’s planning, but Rex and Tyler want their woman back and they’re not going to make it easy.

If one good man is hard to find, two are even harder to resist. Tessa’s determination to shut them can’t withstand the fire of their mingled passions. Pretty soon, the fire draws them back to each other. How can she leave when it feels so damned good tucked up nice and tight between them?

It’s not long before Tessa realizes she’d rather bend her pride to be with her men than live the hell of loneliness without them. Also not long before someone else starts threatening their new romance by killing anyone who’ll expose this town’s dirty laundry. Not long before Tessa’s secrets make her a target herself…

BUY LINKS:

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2015_EBook_WINNER-sm

REVIEWS:

5 out of 5! I was totally hooked several pages into the story. Who doesn’t love a good mystery, romance and toss a bit of kink in as well?! The dynamic between Tessa, Rex and Tyler was great. Wasn’t sure what to expect, but the Dom/sub roles and interchanging between Tessa and Tyler were awesome. Loved how the murder mystery and who did it theme runs through the book in conjunction with the kink. Made for a very easy read, and I couldn’t put the book down. Lots of hints of what happened with Tessa during the year that she was gone from the ranch, would be interested in seeing the secondary characters in a book of their own. Congrats and well done! – Cat, BDSM Reviews.

FOUR STARS! [A] terrific novel by Ms. Willows that combined incredibly hot sex with a cozy little mystery to create a must read for fans of erotic suspense stories. the suspense and mystery in this book were excellent and had me trying to figure out whodunit almost the entire time. I loved the red herrings Ms. Willows throw out there and wound up appreciating the villain more for it. And the sex…seriously. It was out of this world. The reunion scene between Tessa and Tyler and their light BDSM switch roles…OMG, it was fantastic! – Delta, The Romance Reviews.

EXCERPT:

Derek Ford was dead. What that had to do with her, though, was a mystery that dug under Tessa Fairchild’s skin, trumped only by the question of why she’d bothered to come back here in the first place. She’d cut her ties to the ranch and everything that went with it a year ago. The last thing she needed was this haunting sense of déjà vu by returning to the place where it all started. Yet here she was, answering the summons of a dead man. Tessa told herself she was here out of respect. After all, Derek had been as much a victim as she was. Two lives ruined in one fell swoop.

She glanced out the cockpit at her destination below.

Rustlers Retreat, an experience you’ll always remember.

The innocent promotional tagline screamed volumes. She had a wealth of experience from the few years she’d worked on the dude ranch. That one revelation, though, delivered a year ago, had not only erased all the good experiences—it had also chased her away and forever branded her with a horrid reality she’d never be able to forget.

God knew, she’d tried.

Tessa wanted nothing to do with the ranch or the people involved with it. Yet at the sight of the white Suburban pulling away from the large Victorian inn and heading toward the runway, her body trembled and said otherwise. Rex Williams and Tyler Coltrane were coming to greet her.

She hated that she’d missed them so much. Hated herself more for the way she’d left. When she’d cut her ties to Rustlers Retreat, she’d cut her ties to them too. Completely. No harsh words spared.

Had they missed her as much as she missed them?

Not possible. A sudden spate of nerves coiled in her stomach. She wished she’d taken better care in what she’d worn. A threadbare T-shirt from Catalina Island, jeans, and sneakers when she hadn’t seen them, hadn’t had them, in over a year? Tessa laughed at herself and the image that came to mind of her flying the aircraft in fuck-me-now attire. Those nerves broke free of her stomach and trickled over her skin, igniting goose bumps.

“You all right?”

Nate Bridger’s question over the headset—the first words he’d spoken since they’d taken off from Palm Springs—startled her.

“I thought you were still asleep,” she replied, avoiding the question.

He flexed his shoulders. “I heard the landing gear deploy. Appreciate the nap, though. It was a long night.”

For both of them. By rights, flying today wasn’t a good idea. Tessa didn’t care when the only one she had to worry about was herself. Nate had decided to hitch a ride at the last minute. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, and she didn’t have the energy to fight him. Besides, she had to admit she liked the safety net of having him along. Her pilot’s license wasn’t that old, and going solo wasn’t her favorite thing to do, especially when thunderstorms could and did pop up in the blink of an eye between California and Texas this time of year. Plus, she’d need all the emotional support she could get.

“Not a problem. So why, exactly, did you insist on tagging along?”

“Precaution?”

“Avoidance is more like it,” she countered.

“True enough,” he admitted. “I definitely needed a break while I figure things out.”

Tessa almost asked what things? But she already had enough on her plate to worry about. When Nate wanted to talk, he knew he could come to her. That was what friends were for, and Nate was one of the best.

“I felt you shouldn’t fly alone.” He rolled the kinks from his neck. “I know how tired you are. You might think you’re fooling everyone, but I saw how you reacted when you heard about your friend.”

Yes, her shock had been real. Fortunately, Tessa had been able to hide the other emotions that roiled through her—anger, despair, hurt—and the bone-deep hunger that had struck her at the sound of Tyler’s voice on the other end of the line.

“We’re there for each other in other ways. This is no exception. You’d do it for me.” He cracked his knuckles. “And wouldn’t take no for an answer either.”

Again, Tessa couldn’t argue. The casino ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiling her latest design hadn’t been the most convenient time or place for the call. But then, was there ever a good time to hear someone you cared about had died? And Tessa did care about Derek. They were friends, and he hadn’t deserved what had happened any more than she did. Nate had kept the hounds at bay last night while she’d dealt with her emotions and tried desperately to get a flight out of Palm Springs. Weekend traffic and weather delays made that impossible. Thank goodness she had the option of using this private plane.

“You never said how he died.”

Because talking about it opened the door to other questions she didn’t want to deal with. Like how she knew him. Why she’d left Rustlers and cut ties with the two men she could barely live without. But then, wouldn’t Nate be asking those questions once he saw Rex and Tyler? Once he saw how much they meant to her? How much she missed them?

Nope, she didn’t want to open those floodgates. And just because she got all fluttery at the thought of Rex and Tyler didn’t mean they fluttered back. After all, a year was a long time to go without. She sure hadn’t. They wouldn’t have either. And while she hadn’t moved on, men like them…

“Earth to Tessa. Earth to Tessa.”

She snapped her attention into focus. “Sorry. He was killed in a fall from his horse, but I don’t have the details,” she finally replied. No one did at this point. “It doesn’t make sense.” Nothing had since the day Mike Ford died, and the life she and Derek had once known died with him. “He was more skilled than that.” But accidents didn’t play favorites. Unless…

Tessa bit off another round of rambling thoughts. She had a plane to land. Focus had to be 100 percent. She flexed her fingers around the controls and focused her attention on landing the aircraft. She watched Nate from the corner of her eye, waiting for him to say something. His silence forced her to glance his way.

“Nice spread.”

She watched as Nate scanned over the acres of prime Texas hill country real estate from behind his dark aviator glasses.

“It is that.” Acres and acres of rolling green dotted with cattle in the distance, a sprawling ranch house, the three-story Victorian-style inn, and the aviary that had brought her to the ranch in the first place three years before. All upwind of the livestock, of course, and a good distance from the runway. It looked like a small community with all the outbuildings and private guest houses spread around the place.

White oyster-shell roads threaded their way through the green fields to each building. Ancient oaks ringed the property and were also scattered throughout the pastures, providing well-needed shade for cattle and a great haven for picnickers…or lovers. Although most of the time, people took refuge in the climate-controlled aviary.

Scattered ponds mirrored blue sky and fluffy clouds. The nearby creek was filled to capacity and running hard, evidence of the heavy storm that had hit the area early yesterday morning. Wind, hail, and tornado warnings had also played havoc with air travel, thwarting her attempts to book a flight because of overflow filling the planes.

“Is that aviary your design?”

“It is. Mike Ford commissioned it on word-of-mouth recommendation. It was my first major job outside of California. I was beyond thrilled.” But her parents weren’t. Now she knew why. “He’d wanted a little oasis for his wife. Inside there’s a small brook, small waterfalls, glades for picnics. Even a large storm shelter beneath it.”

“Outstanding. She must have loved it.”

“She never lived to see it. Cancer took her first.”

“Damn.”

That about summed it up. She hadn’t known Mary very long but had really liked her.

“How close were you to being finished?” Nate asked.

“I had the blueprints, and that was it. Mike still wanted it built.”

“Derek Ford is his son?” he asked.

How to answer that one. “Born and raised here.” That much was the truth. “Mike died a year ago.” Shortly after she’d finished her work.

“I’d like to say it’s nice you were able to maintain a friendship with his son, but somehow, I’m not sensing that from you. So who is Derek to you? Friend, business associate…lover?”

“Friend.” Yes, they were that. “It’s complicated.”

“It always is, isn’t it?”

Nate sounded sad, resigned, and she couldn’t help wondering what had or was complicating his life. Everyone had their secrets. Secrets that sometimes ruined the lives of others. Tessa wished Mike had kept his secrets to himself.

“I’ve got this.”

Nate folded his big hands around the controls, and just like that, he took the plane from her. Relief seeped into her muscles.

“Here we go.”

The wings dipped as he banked into the final turn to approach. Blue sky and fluffy clouds stirred her memory of fresh-cut grass, hot cowboys, a want that grew every second she was with them, and the reality that had ruined it all.

“The welcoming party’s arrived.” Nate’s chuckle reverberated through the headphones. “Oh ho…cowboys. No wonder you wanted to come alone.”

Another jolt of want wiggled through her. Her heartbeat triple-timed. Her nerves tingled. “I didn’t say I wanted to come alone. I said I didn’t expect to be here long.”

Nate leveled out. The runway was dead ahead. Tessa riveted her attention on the white SUV and the two men standing next to it. They grew closer by the second, giving her a view so startling, she swore she could feel the heat of their bodies, smell the sweat on their skin. Both were dressed in dusty boots, well-worn jeans, and long-sleeved western shirts—Rex in chambray blue, Tyler in tan plaid. Tan cowboy hats shielded their faces from the sun. Sunglasses hid their eyes. Six-foot-somethings with shoulders made to cling to and raw muscle no material could ever hide. No matter what the circumstances, they still were and always would be irresistible. The challenge of stripping them bare and having them laid out for her pleasure—or she theirs—churned her blood and raced her heart.

Rex and Tyler gave as good as they got and then some. It was the then some that had played through her mind the last year, making her reach for her toys at all hours of the day and night, or lure a friend—aka Nate—into easing her woes. No, she hadn’t wanted Nate along. Awkward about summed it up.

A shiver coursed through her. Enough of that. Her body didn’t listen. Her mouth watered. Her clit throbbed, parting the flood of juices below. Tessa had a serious weakness for these cowboys and their calloused palms, wide belts, and strong thighs used to long hours in the saddle. Her insides thrummed at the thought of hot cowboy flesh pressed against hers.

“They’re Derek’s partners in Rustlers Retreat, Rex Williams and Tyler Coltrane.” At least that was the plan when she’d hauled ass out of there a year ago—full partnership in the ranch and inn, rather than the inn alone.

“How do you fit into the picture?”

Very nicely right between them.

Nate’s chuckle hinted he knew what she was thinking. The plane bounced with the landing, a deliberate maneuver meant to rattle her, just like his laughter. Tessa didn’t appreciate it in the least.

“Your landing sucks.”

Nate laughed. “Is that the best you can do?”

She kept her mouth closed, eyes riveted on the cowboys monitoring their stop.

Nate cut the engines and shut down the controls. “I have to say, they don’t look too happy.”

No, they didn’t. Rex’s scowl almost broke her heart. She’d done this—deserted them, walked out like they didn’t matter, like what they’d shared in the time she’d been there was nothing. “They just lost their friend. Their business partner.”

“I’m pretty good at reading people, Tess. I’m not seeing grief. One’s pissed, and the other one’s got walls up.”

True enough. Worse were the feelings stirring inside her at the sight of them—not the ones that curled her toes and plummeted her stomach, but rather the ones that forced her to mirror their actions. Yeah, she might have walked out, but if they cared for her as much as they said they did, they’d understand.

“You spoke to one of them yesterday after the lawyer called, and everything seemed fine.”

The richness of Tyler’s voice over the phone had seeped into her veins, triggering so many emotions she’d wanted to weep. The memory of all the good times they’d shared had lingered throughout the night and had helped take the edge off the ordeal to come. Envisioning his tongue tracing idly through her…nether regions sweetened her dreams in what little sleep she’d managed to get.

“Maybe something’s happened since then,” Nate said. “I’m just saying, having your guard up might be a good idea.”

“No problem there.”

Tessa made the mistake of glancing toward them. She bit her bottom lip.

“I don’t think looking like you want to jump their bones is what you were going for.” He chucked her under the chin.

She flashed him a glare. “Maybe I’ll jump yours instead.”

“I’m crushed you’d use me as a substitute for what you really want.” The glint in his eyes said differently.

Tessa unsnapped her seat belt. “That never seemed to bother you before.”

“Aha. Now you admit you were thinking of someone else whenever we were together.”

“And you weren’t?” She snickered.

“Point made. But”—he pulled off the headphones—”that’s what friends are for, right?” He gave her a wink, released his seat belt, and started to stand.

Tessa fisted his T-shirt, holding him in place. “I need you to have your game face on.” That no-nonsense look that scared the piss out of people and made linebackers quake.

“Why? To scare them off so you won’t be tempted? To teach them a lesson?”

He didn’t have to thread that hint of laughter through the words. “Something like that.” Damn, did her cheeks heat with that statement?

“I’ll consider it.” He whipped up his right index finger. “But if there’s any hint they’re gonna beat me up—”

“What’s so intimidating about two cowboys? You could take them.”

“I don’t know, Tess. You tell me.”

Heat definitely flushed her cheeks this time, giving her away.

Nate’s laughter filled the plane. Tessa was fairly certain Rex and Tyler heard it too.

“Well, well, well.” He leaned into her space. “This should be interesting.” He peeled her fingers from his T-shirt but didn’t release her hand. “All right, then. Game face on for the moment. But I’m not getting in the middle of this. Unless you want me to,” he added with a wide grin, his innuendo loud and clear.

Tessa jerked her hand free. “We’re wasting time.”

She pushed from her seat, anxious to put as much distance between them as possible. He’d scrambled her thoughts, churned her emotions, and hadn’t really helped one damn bit. Some friend he turned out to be.

Tessa released her hair from its haphazard ponytail and fluffed out the long strands. She stuffed her scrunchie into her pocket, then grabbed her carry-on and exited the plane. Texas heat and humidity slammed into her full force, making her wish she’d shoved vanity aside and left her hair up.

Sure strides took her toward Rex and Tyler. False bravado but bravado nonetheless. No one needed to know her emotions danced a fine edge. Too many thoughts conspired against her control. Tessa fought every one, only too aware of the man coming up behind her and the two cowboys in front of her.

Her breath hitched. She wanted to run to them, toss her arms around them both, and feel them press her between them, shielding her from the world. Tessa shoved the emotion back where it belonged, behind her walls, and yanked her badass persona to the forefront. It was her protection against the world. The one that made her a formidable and well-respected businesswoman.

Both men relaxed their rigid stance as she neared, making her second-guess herself. A hint of dimples kissed Tyler’s suntanned cheeks. Rex’s square jaw was set but not clenched. Seeing their eyes would have helped her judge them better. She could tell a lot from a person’s eyes, especially theirs.

She pushed her sunglasses up, using them as a headband. Tyler snatched his off, stuffing the stem into his shirt pocket, lowering his defense shields, as it were. Seeing his chocolate-brown eyes and the hint of sparkle in them helped. Maybe things weren’t as they seemed.

It was Tyler who moved first, stepping forward to close the distance between them. Tessa quickened her pace, her arms opening of their own volition. In seconds he’d swooped her into a hug, lifting her sneakered toes off the ground. She held on for dear life, eyes closed, her face burrowed into his neck, inhaling the scent of one of the men she’d loved yet left. Strong, calloused fingers slipped under her T-shirt and spanned her back.

“God, I’ve missed you.”

His voice rumbled in her ear. The swell of his erection against her stomach backed up the words.

“I’ve missed you too,” she whispered. So much.

He kissed her cheek as he eased them apart. All too soon, three feet of space stood between them. The distance killed her. She wanted to grab his face and seal her lips to his.

“Sorry, we’re a little sweaty.” Tyler swept his hand down his flat torso. “We had a tour group arrive this morning.”

Despite the tragedy, it would still be business as usual. Tessa wondered if any of the guests realized one of the owners had died.

“They’re on a trail ride and picnic.” Tyler pointed to a line of oak trees far to the left. “Our in-house guests are—”

“Smart enough to stay inside in the middle of a hot August day.”

Rex’s deep voice rivaled thunder. There’d be no hugs from him. He wasn’t happy to see her. Judging from the scowl he shot over her shoulder, he wasn’t happy to see Nate either.

Tyler squeezed her shoulder—a touch Tessa took as a silent apology for Rex’s behavior—then let go.

She tried to soothe Rex’s ruffled feathers with an introduction. “This is Nate Bridger.”

“Your lover of the moment?”

Jealousy? So he did care. A pity he’d used a snide tone that ruffled her feathers. She stared Rex down. “And it’s your business because…?”

Rex fidgeted enough to let Tessa know she’d won the round. She didn’t gloat. Somehow she suspected it was the first of many. Rex definitely liked to be in charge. Well, so did she. Being at war gave her the distance she needed to stay away.

“I was asking because of accommodations.” Rex braced his hands on his lean hips. “We’ve got a full house at Rustlers. I’d planned to have you stay in my bungalow for the duration of your stay. I’ll bunk at the ranch house.” One eyebrow lifted behind his dark glasses. “Unless you’d prefer to stay there.”

Ah, the ranch house. The scene of the crime. A reminder that her life wasn’t what she thought it was, that she wasn’t who she’d thought she was. He had a lot of nerve. The cut hurt. Words failed her. Her lower lip betrayed her emotion first, quivering. All the willpower in the world wouldn’t stop it. Her carefully erected walls crumbled.

Tears blurred her vision. She reached for her sunglasses to cover her eyes. A tear had the nerve to trickle down her cheek before she could do so. Gaze locked on Rex’s shadowed eyes, she felt the droplet wiggle toward her chin but refused to acknowledge it by wiping it away.

“The ranch house would be perfect.” She slipped her sunglasses into place. “Be a dear and fetch my bags.”

Tessa walked on to the Suburban, knowing at least two men watched her go and that neither of them was Rex. That was fine with her. She didn’t need him to notice she measured every step, using the energy to shore up emotional buttresses, and that one trip would mire her in a wasteland of agony so great, she’d never pull free.

Wasn’t that already the case? Mike Ford had seen to that a year before.

Oliver by Caitlyn Willows

Oliver

OLIVER
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporary – Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
January 2013
Cover Artist – Ginny Glass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-185-8

The last persons Oliver ever wanted to see were Merideth and Lucas. How fitting they’ve come crawling to him for help. It’s the perfect opportunity to extract a little payback and toss their scattered hearts back in their faces as they did him. Yet, one look at his broken Merideth elicits more sympathy than he can bear.

Lucas had forgotten how much he enjoyed being in Oliver’s orbit. Yes, he’d come to him to help Merideth heal emotional scars, but now he’s determined to re-establish ties with Oliver. This is where he intends to stay…if Oliver doesn’t throw him out first.

Merideth needs them more than life itself. Only they can help her recover from an attack that left her physically and emotionally scarred. It’d be so easy to lean on them and let them take full control…and never find her true self again. Only she can unleash her inner Domme and punish those who prey on others. Then will she finally be a woman to match the men she loves.

They burn hot together just as they had before. Each older and wiser than before, strong wills tempered by maturity. Old habits though…and there can only be one true Master.

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

EXCERPT:

Oliver Holbrook sank into the heated brown marble bench custom-made to cradle his ass. A twist of his wrist turned on the shower. With the touch of a button, he could adjust the showerhead’s direction, the spray pattern it emitted, and the water temperature. Wealth had its privileges. This was one of them.

His cock lifted higher when the gentle warm water cascaded over him. It knew the ritual. Everyone should have a well-trained penis.

Oliver snickered at the thought. As if that could ever happen. The beasts had minds of their own. His was no exception; he’d just managed to learn to control it over the years. The people under him, those who held him in such high regard within the community, would be stunned to learn the extent to which he’d gone to master that control. He didn’t care to enlighten them. It was no one’s business but his.

He filled his palm with soap from the array of dispensers on the wall, lathered it to billowing suds, then wrapped one hand around his cock and shoved the other between his legs to knead his balls. This was how he started each morning and ended each night…unless, of course, he’d found a stunning woman to share his bed. And that was becoming more of a hassle than it was worth. Few saw beyond the trappings of his life or cared about the man inside. That was fine. It helped protect his heart. A higher priority didn’t exist. Guarding his heart underscored most of what he did. Oh, he had those he loved, but it was love Oliver avoided like the plague. Once burned…

He spread his legs and let the soft spray kiss his thighs. Eyes closed, he imagined a lover’s tongue flicking up his legs and tugged at his balls while he flashed his fist over his cock. It wouldn’t take long—it never did—but it relaxed him for the night better than all the booze in the world. Conversely, morning jerk offs energized him.

Fantasies danced through his head, urging him to stroke faster, harder. Images not of the bondage and discipline that were so much a part of his life, but of lace gloves and high-neck gowns that begged to be peeled away to expose the smooth skin beneath. Of corsets straining to be unlaced, and breasts longing to be freed into a lover’s waiting hands and lips. Of long, thick hair that felt like watered satin threaded through his fingers when he unleashed it from its pins. Hair color was irrelevant.

Oliver imagined the woman’s gasp, the blush that rushed her cheeks, that shy tilt of her head when she offered her neck, then her throat, and finally a taste of the rise of her breast. Maybe he’d paddle her at some point, tell her what a naughty girl she was. Because he did love watching a woman’s ass turn rosy red under a good spanking, loved peeling panties down and smelling her arousal, loved adding to the smacks until she writhed and begged to come.

Oliver plunged into his grip and growled as he came. He sprawled there in the aftermath, pretending again that the shower spray was a lady’s fingers feathering over him, bringing him back down to earth. He closed his eyes, too relaxed to move at the moment. But as the wonder of masturbation faded, the sense of something not right rushed in.

No security alarm. No sound over the water. But he never second-guessed his instinct. On alert, Oliver shut off the shower, slid open the glass door, and grabbed one of the Egyptian cotton towels off the crystal bar a hand grasp away. Underwear would have made him feel less vulnerable. A weapon would have been even better. He blotted the water from his body and extended his senses outward.

There it was—a hint of fragrance from the blooming sage that hugged the rear perimeter of his home. Desert monsoons had brought the bushes and other dormant plants to life. The scent never permeated his house unless someone opened a door or window. During August in Palm Springs, that happened as little as possible. And it never happened at night with the house secure and the alarm set. Someone was in his house. Someone who’d somehow managed to override or disable the security system.

Oliver’s adrenaline spiked. His heart raced. Just as quickly he ordered himself to calm. He could count on one hand the people who’d have the code. Any of whom might decide to take advantage of his open hospitality—if they hadn’t left mere hours before.

He missed them. Julia, Lori, and Rachel had been a big part of his life for so long. Not that he begrudged them their happiness. Hell, he’d been instrumental in seeing them get hooked up with the men they loved. But it wasn’t the same without them or their alternate Domme personas— Maneater, Soleil, and Raven—around. Maybe one of them missed him too. Missed him so much she’d come back.

He mentally shook his head. His visitor wasn’t one of the ladies or anyone else he might welcome. This was an intruder.

Oliver tied the towel around his waist. His cell phone was on a dresser that felt miles away rather than a mere twenty feet. There was also a dedicated landline with extensions throughout the house, one right by his bed. Again too far. If an intruder disabled security, he might have cut the house phone as well.

Oliver debated his options. Grab the cell, duck into his walk-in closet, and retrieve a handgun from the safe? Or lock himself inside the closet and call 9-1-1? He opted for the latter…with his gun in hand just in case.

Years ago, he would have cringed at the thought of hiding from danger. He’d definitely gotten smarter over the years. One picked one’s battles with care.

Slow steps took him to the door leading to his bedroom. Soft yellow light from the bedside lamps glowed in invitation. He’d set the stage for sleep: turned down covers, fluffed pillows, placed a book on the nightstand. Another nightly ritual. The book was gone.

At that realization, Oliver heard a page turn. To his right. The corner where he’d placed two chairs and a table—another cozy niche in his little cave. He edged forward and saw the glow from the lamp in that area.

“Don’t worry. I’m not a murderer.”

It took a few seconds for Oliver to process the familiar voice, one he hadn’t heard in years. Lucas Ashmore.

“I noticed you didn’t say you weren’t a thief.” Oliver stepped into the room. Sure as shit, Lucas shot him a smile from the corner chair. He’d made himself quite comfortable with the book and a glass of whiskey from the living room bar. Scotch, if Oliver remembered correctly. Oliver remembered too much.

“Cat burglar, please. One sin of a misspent youth. Show a little respect, Oliver.”

He snapped the book closed and stood in one fluid motion. Evidence of the feline grace that always landed Lucas on his feet. He was more dressed for the rumba than breaking and entering, with tan pants and shirt that skimmed his skin but let him move with ease for all those tight places he might find himself. The clothes also helped him blend in with the Palm Springs crowd. It was the perfect disguise…as always.

The years had been kind to Lucas. Oliver would give him that. His blue eyes were just as bright, and the small laugh lines bracketing his eyes and mouth added maturity and character, not age.

Oliver itched to double-check his face in the mirror for signs of aging. To measure himself against Lucas.

Vanity, thy name is Oliver.” He heard Merideth’s taunt, the one she’d always say when the three of them were together.

You’re one to talk,” was always his retort.

“A rose is a rose,” Oliver replied. “And so are its thorns.” He took an imposing stance, his best Dom scowl in place.

A haunting sense of déjà vu struck him. This was how they’d first met. That long-ago night, when Lucas had broken into Oliver’s home and interrupted killer sex with Merideth. They’d toyed with him that night, intending to scare him straight. Who knew it would bond them so tightly in love and lust? Or that they would wind up tearing each other apart years later?

Uncertainty replaced Lucas’s smile. He took another sip of Scotch, his gaze locked on Oliver’s. Was he remembering it all too?

“I have nothing that might belong to another, even remotely,” Oliver told him. “I have no jewelry to speak of, no prohibitively expensive artwork or sculptures. Most of those are from friends and associates I support. You’d get little from their sale. The loss to me would be sentimental. The loss to—”

“I’m not here to take anything.”

Lucas sounded wounded that Oliver would think such a thing. Even Oliver had to admit it was a low blow, referring to that single incident too many years ago when Lucas had first walked into his life. Lucas’s actions had been borne of desperation and necessity. Still, Oliver couldn’t let this one go.

“What the hell else would you expect me to think? Sneaking into my home in the middle of the night, breaching my security system.”

“Ten thirty is hardly the middle of the night. Besides, would you have seen me otherwise?”

“No.” Oliver turned away and walked to the closet so he could dress. Lucas was one of the last persons Oliver ever wanted to see. He heard Lucas rattle the ice cubes in his drink.

“Would it help if I told you I knocked?”

In a house this size? “Unquestionably polite.”

“It serves me well.”

Paid well too. Lucas was dominant enough to pursue, submissive enough to concede, crafty enough to find the middle ground where everyone thought they’d won. The go-to man when museums wanted to acquire items or return antiquities to the countries where they belonged.

“Yes, you’re quite the hero. But we both know you didn’t start out that way.” Oliver hauled on a pair of gray silk boxers, then followed them with a pair of white shorts and a salmon-colored brushed-silk shirt.

“Ancient history,” Lucas called out.

Let it go. “So you’re here. I’m sure this isn’t a social call. What do you want?”

“Merideth needs you.”

The unexpected words jolted Oliver. Thank goodness the privacy of the closet hid him from view. He recovered quickly and buttoned his shirt as he strode from the closet. “We’ve been down that road before. I couldn’t give Merideth what she demanded.” They’d torn each other’s emotions asunder reaching that conclusion. Even Lucas’s peacemaking couldn’t save them.

“In the end, neither could I.” Lucas drained his glass.

Oliver wanted to interrogate, dissect what Lucas meant. He wondered why he cared.

Lucas scrunched up his face in puzzlement. “You didn’t keep tabs on us?”

“I didn’t care enough to keep tabs on you.” A semi-lie. Word filtered to Oliver on occasion. Business was business, after all. It was the personal aspects of these two people he didn’t want to give a damn about.

“Fair enough.” Lucas conceded the point with a slight nod. “More ancient history as far as I’m concerned. But that was then, and this is now.” He set the glass down hard and stared at the cubes as if willing them to melt or generate more Scotch. “Merideth needs you.”

“She made it clear—”

“She was hurt, Oliver. Caught in the wrong end of a bad scene.”

The news sliced through him. Razor sharp, knife deep.

“Hurt?”

“I don’t know the specifics. A mutual friend told me. She took care of Merideth afterward. I’ve been out of the country. We haven’t been together for a long time.” Shaking his head, Lucas wandered over to the dresser and fiddled with the wooden bowl of coins Oliver dumped from his pockets each night. “It happened about six months ago. Whispers and rumors came my way. Though I’ve yet to find out who’s responsible. She’s not the same person. She’s…broken inside. Fearful, reclusive.” He swallowed hard. “To hear of a woman of Merideth’s strength and caliber reduced to…”

Oliver had a hard time reconciling that description with the woman he knew, the woman he’d heard about over the years. But something that traumatic would screw with anyone’s head. “She needs help.”

Lucas snapped his gaze up to Oliver’s. Tears filled his eyes. “Why the hell do you think I’m here?” he said through clenched teeth. “Do you think I’d come crawling to you otherwise? She’s breaking my heart!” He slammed his fist into his chest. “Again.”

Oliver bit back the words Now you know how I felt.

Lucas pulled in a breath. The tension eased from his jaw. “I went to her the minute I heard. She told me she needed you, to get you. I still love her enough to do it. I’m hoping you still love her enough to help her heal.”

A storm of emotions roiled through Oliver. He didn’t think any of them were love. Too much hurt was in the way.

“Where is she?”

“Where do you think?”

Irritation crawled up Oliver’s spine. Lucas had brought her with him. For a couple who needed his help, they were really pushing it.

Lucas stepped into Oliver’s space and touched Oliver’s arm. Oliver glanced at Lucas’s fingers, then at the man. A smoldering look to warn Lucas he’d gone too far.

“I’ll beg if I have to.” Determination edged Lucas’s voice. “Get on my knees before you. Submit. Hell…” He knelt before Oliver, glaring up at him. “I’ll even suck your fucking dick.”

Oliver smirked. “I’ll keep that in mind.” Lucas could squirm a bit on that one. Frankly, there was only one mouth Oliver wanted wrapped around his cock right now. And the owner was apparently downstairs waiting.

 

Raven by Caitlyn Willows

Raven

RAVEN
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporay – Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
October 2012
Cover Artist – Ginny Glass
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-62300-029-5

Raven is ready to hang it up as a Domme and have an ordinary life. Trouble is, she wants and needs—all right, she craves—both a Dom and a sub in her life. The sub she already has; it’s the Dom that will be harder to achieve. Especially when the Dom she wants resents the fact that she’s the trustee of his estate and business…and that she did a brief stint years ago as his father’s Domme.

Ben never met a woman he wanted more than Rachel. He’s made sure over the years that his Sledge is more than a match to her Raven. Then the truth comes out, dowsing those fires that ran deep when they first met. Fires that refuse to be denied. Obstacles are tricky little bastards.

It’s a golden opportunity for Will to get the two people he cares most about in the world together…with him. Using a few skills of his own, this contented sub knows how to weave the threads that will bind them all as one. That’s when Rachel and Ben learn who’s really in control. But will there be room for him once the flames ignite?

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

Loose Id

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Books

REVIEW:

4.5 STARS! I love a good menage a trois. And this one does not disappoint. What I personally loved so much is that there is SO MUCH CHEMISTRY! Sometimes it felt like I shouldn’t be reading it because it was so private and intimate. But I think what I loved about this one the most is that it felt real. I’ve read many menages before, but Raven was the first one that showed how it really should be. There is feeling and emotion, and not just on her part. Yes, there is jealousy; the men are secretly jealous of one another. That there is time where Rachel can be with one of the men and the other can have some alone time. And there is doubt. That is what made it real to me. It wasn’t just about the sex with this novella. It showed more of a 3D side. I seriously loved this book! And I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a menage. – Hooked On Romance

EXCERPT:

How was she supposed to sleep now? Not that Rachel expected she would in the first place.

She waited until Will was out, then eased from the bed, slipped on her satiny underthings, and wandered to the living room. She’d told him she’d stay the night. This news changed things. Plus, she’d had time to process everything else.

A businessman wouldn’t issue a demand for her to appear, not when he had everything he wanted in his grasp. A Dom…that was a different story. Ben wanted her, front and center. And Will was pushing her toward him. As for Oliver…

The three of them were in cahoots. Rachel had some strong words for Oliver the next time they were face-to-face. For now, she had to decide how to deal with this. Going home was always an option. Traffic this time of night would be light. She could be in her own bed in less than two hours, still not sleeping, and still wondering if Sledge/Ben was everything she’d ever heard about and wanted.

Rachel plopped into the oversized chair and hugged her knees to her chest. He’d be perfect for you. Not words she’d wanted to hear. She wanted to remember how Ben had glared at her over the table at the reading of the will, not how her heart raced when she’d first laid eyes on him. Or how she’d tingled at the mere mention of Sledge. Distance and walls had worked well. She was free and clear of all obligations.

Damn you, Oliver. He’d known all along her interest in Sledge, her want of Ben.

Rachel could damn Oliver all she wanted, but she was the one who’d allowed him to play her. To feed her need to face Ben Welsh one last time…just to make sure he wasn’t as yummy as she remembered.

He’d be perfect for you.

Damn Will too.

Rachel clicked her nails against each other while she pondered her next move. Home or…what? This was ridiculous. She was a Domme, for crying out loud, yet she sat here paralyzed with indecision.

What was it that Will had said? That she’d always had the advantage. What the hell did that mean? She was half tempted to wake Will up and demand more information.

Rachel forced herself to shove that annoyance aside for the moment. There were more pressing issues to deal with. Ben decreed she’d stay at his house. She hated the place, always had. But…so be it. He’d learn quick enough to be careful what he wished for.

She crept back into Will’s room for her clothes and suitcase. She dressed as quietly as possible, one eye always on Will. He woke before she could wrap her fingers around the suitcase handle. The man had always been a light sleeper.

“Do you want me to go with you?” he mumbled from the depths of his pillows.

“I can handle this.”

“Play nice.” He rolled to his back and onto his elbows. “I don’t want to get caught in the middle of something.”

Rachel arched her brow with her smirk. “Really? I thought that’s exactly where you wanted to be.” She covered her hand over a feigned gasp. “Oops, sorry. You want me in the middle of you two.”

The sheet tented at his lap. Her work here was done.

“Sleep tight, love.”

Will had the good sense not to try to stop her or follow. If she had any sense, she’d head for home and not pick up the gauntlet thrown in her path. After all, she had nothing to prove. She was Raven. It was Ben’s demand that got under her skin, coupled with Oliver’s subtle manipulation and Will’s “by the way” suggestion after their playtime. She was Raven. They were all about to learn a lesson they’d never forget.

For all her bravado, though, Rachel’s hands were sweaty by the time she pulled into the long driveway leading to the sprawling mission-style home that had been in the Welsh family since Ben’s grandfather’s time. It was a hideous attempt to reproduce Spanish aristocracy. She found the inside of the manse dark and depressing, a horror movie waiting to happen. Staying here put her at a disadvantage. She wondered if Ben knew that.

Outside, though, was a different matter. A lure to the world. A here-I-am vista his grandfather had built to flaunt his success. Despite the lush greenery and greenhouses that surrounded the house, the bright white building with red tile roof stood out day and night. That, and the vineyards that rolled across the hills behind it. Sunlight brightened the sprawling two-story home during the day; security lights at night gave it a lush allure. The house sat tucked away from the bustling city at its feet. A reminder of her brief time as Roger’s Domme. A reminder of a man she couldn’t get out of her mind, no matter how hard she’d tried. A man waiting just ahead.

Her headlights swept the front windows as she pulled to a stop on the cobblestoned drive. One side of the double oak doors swung open before she could cut the engine. The security system would have alerted Ben to her arrival the minute she pulled into the driveway and through the open wrought-iron gates.

Ben stood on the threshold, dressed only in jeans. The light cast his muscles in shadow, defining every one. Long arms bracketed him in the doorway. His brown hair was tousled. Sweat glistened on his chest. Everything she remembered and more, with the brooding intensity and dark-eyed gaze that were Sledge’s trademark.

Rachel refused to allow him to intimidate her. She dropped her gaze to his crotch and the erection stretching the confines of his worn jeans. She could draw him closer, fish his cock out for her pleasure, and give him the blowjob of his life. Show him who was really in charge. A real Dom wouldn’t let her get away with it. Well, she’d see if all the rumors were true. God, she hoped so.

She wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans, cut the engine, and slipped from the car with an elegance born of countless years of practice. Because she sure as hell didn’t feel the picture of calm inside. Ben swept his gaze down her body, setting off more shivers Rachel struggled to hide.

“I understand you’ve extended your hospitality to me.” Slow steps brought her closer. It was impossible to muster sultry in sneakers. One mark against her. “How could I possibly refuse?” She waved her arm toward her car as she approached. “Be a dear and fetch my suitcase.”

Fire flared in his eyes, sending another jolt through Rachel. She held her ground, but barely.

Ben blocked her passage. “I expect a please with that order, Miss Moore.”

It was the “Miss Moore” that did Rachel in. That subtle, firm, yet strict, cultured tone delivered with precision that told her she was dealing with a true Master. There were a thousand ways she could have responded, but only one would get her what she wanted…needed.

“Please.”

* * * *

The barely whispered word empowered Ben in a way he hadn’t anticipated. Her pulse fluttered at the base of her throat, begging to be licked. There was a slow plunge along her neck as she swallowed.

She was more beautiful every time he saw her. Even more so this close, making her better than any masturbatory fantasy could ever hope to be. Long black hair, dark blue eyes, and a button nose. Plump lips.

He cursed the rise that relentlessly stirred below his belt. He needed control. Having a steel pike of an erection wasn’t going to help. But a man had needs, and Rachel had an allure about her that couldn’t be denied. He’d known that from the minute he met her.

Ben pushed away from the door, allowing her access to the house. She didn’t move until he brushed by her on his way to her car. He swore he saw goose bumps sprout on her arm at the contact. Her reaction played havoc with Ben’s control. He wanted to press her beneath him on the nearest flat surface, wrap her legs around his hips, and hump her through their clothing. His obsession added to the blood threatening to split his erection.

It grated on Ben’s nerves, frustrated the hell out of him. He could deal with it to some extent when there was the physical and legal distance between them. Now that he’d seen her again, reconfirmed how pretty she was, how great she smelled, he wanted her more than he could stand. The fact that she’d essentially turned her nose up at him this past year made it all the worse. Ben wanted to haul her over his knee and teach her a few manners, show her he was every bit her equal, dip his fingers between the wet heat of her thighs. Right here. Right now.

Rachel burrowed under his skin with every second he was near her. It didn’t help that she smelled like blackberries ripe from the bush. She made him nervous, antsy…horny as hell. Why did she have to be so damn pretty? All he could think about was Will and his monthly fuck breaks to see her. All he could think about was how jealous it made him, how much control she had over his life, how she’d been an intimate part of his father’s life and he hadn’t realized it until the very worst possible time—when he was pondering ways to get her into bed. All he could think about was peeling those figure-hugging jeans off her hips and…

He hurried to her car to retrieve her luggage. When he returned to the house, she’d gone no farther than the foyer. She hugged her midriff while she glanced around. The cathedral ceiling and sweeping staircase dwarfed her. For a minute she looked lost, until she realized Ben stood nearby watching. Her shields slipped back into place. Ben didn’t much like it either.

“You’re even more petite than I recall.” He set her suitcase on the brick-red Spanish tile near her feet.

“I might be little”—she leaned forward and grabbed her luggage—“but I’m mighty,” she finished in a deadly whisper.

The words and the promise they held coiled inside his body.

“If you’ll kindly tell me where I might find my room…”

“One would think you’d have the layout of the place memorized.”

“One would.” She sniffed, princess-like. Another dig under his skin. “Far be it for me to be presumptuous. After all, this is your home.”

“That it is, Miss Moore.” A house he could barely stand, historic as it might be. It was dark and depressing, heavy with furniture an elephant couldn’t budge. It was great for business…and pleasure, but the over-the-top attempt at Spanish mission was too much to live in. This place echoed, was too large, too cold. The only sign of life within these black-and-red walls was his father’s playroom tucked away behind the wine cellar. Ben had made the guest house by the pool his home long ago. It was where he’d stayed when he visited his father.

“Did you have sex with my father?” The question, bottled up too long, shot out of him. Rachel actually jerked from the impact. Good, he’d caught her off guard. She recovered quickly, though, releasing her hold on her suitcases. He could see her pulling in threads of control. Ben swore she stole them from him.

“As a fellow Dom, you know the answer to that—”

“Did you?” Ben wasn’t in the mood for games.

“No.” Her nose twitched, like he’d been dismissed. “Our relationship was business and very brief.”

“You have sex with Will.” And it bugged the shit out of him sometimes, only because he couldn’t.

“Our relationship isn’t business.”

“But it was.” He stalked around her, monitoring her reactions, breathing in her scent, soaking in her heat.

“At one time.” Rachel didn’t budge, but her eyes followed his every move.

“But it changed.”

“Yes.”

Ben stopped behind her, close enough to let her know he meant business, far enough away to keep her from taking over, from knowing he was hard as marble. “Why?” he demanded.

Rachel looked around and lifted those deep blue eyes to him. “Because I wanted him.”

“I see.” He passed a slow gaze over her features, looking his fill while her skin flushed and his mouth watered. “You aren’t the only one known for their control, Miss Moore.”

“Until a few hours ago, I was unaware you had any control to…master.”

Was she telling him he had her at a disadvantage, or that she’d never considered him a worthy challenge? Ben began his slow pace around her again, trying to cover his indecision, and stopped in front of her. Judging from the gleam in her eyes, it was too late. She’d seen the weakness. He had to act quickly to salvage this. Ben wasn’t going to let her go now that he was so close.

“Just how mighty are you, Miss Moore?”

She closed the gap between them, coming within inches of slithering against his body. “Very, Mr. Welsh. Would you like a demonstration?” The whispered words kissed his lips.

“I expect much, much more than that.”

“We’ll see.” Rachel gave a small laugh and patted his solid chest. “If you’re a good boy, I’ll show you what I’ve really got.” She was playing with dynamite and looked like she loved every second.

His smile was slow in forming as he leaned her way. “And if you’re a good girl, Miss Moore, I might even participate.”

“I look forward to that,” she softly replied.

Ben acknowledged the agreement with a nod. “Then by all means…let’s go.”

He sidestepped her and led her through the drawing room, the dining room, and the kitchen, then down the stairs to the steel-reinforced cellar. His insides shook. He half stumbled, head buzzing, his body urging him to hurry the fuck up.

Fuck. He dug his nails into his palms. The pain did nothing to wipe out the image of her warring with him. He couldn’t tell which of them had won the skirmish for control, because there was nothing controlled about the way he felt now. He wanted to…

He wanted her, plain and simple. Ah, hell. She’d be like a drug he couldn’t get enough of. Maybe she already was.

The wine cellar opened up to an innocuous oak door set in the concrete wall. Locked against the world, with only a trusted few possessing the key.

He turned to face her. She stood with her hands clasped, midnight-blue eyes monitoring his every move and expression. “I presume you’re ready, Miss Moore?”

A barely perceptible gulp plunged down her throat. Ben closed the distance between them and cupped his hand around her neck. Rachel’s lips parted, ready…expecting a kiss. It killed him not to give her one, but he knew one taste of her mouth and he’d be fucking her six ways to Sunday.

He burrowed his face into her neck, just below her ear, and licked down the column while he breathed deep. She trembled and crawled her fingers up his torso. He clamped his hand on her ass and hauled her close enough to feel what she did to him. Torture was pulling away when she plucked at his nipple.

“Miss Moore.” He dismissed her with a nod.

Rachel stared up at him, mouth open, lips moist. A silent battle of wills ensued. Ben nearly caved. God knew, his cock begged him to. Electricity crackled over his skin, urging his jeans to drop and his groin to tighten. Then her long eyelashes swept downward in clear and unexpected submission.

He’d won. Victory felt like shit. Ben planned to make up for it later.

Those dark eyes peered up at him again. A flush covered her cheeks. He felt her heartbeat thud against his chest. A mask descended over her expression, Raven replacing Rachel.

Ben refused to give her the upper hand. He cupped her chin. “We are equals. Understood…Mistress?”

Rachel hypnotized him with the glide of her tongue over her wet lips. “That would be Lady Raven. Understood, Sledge?”

She ran her finger up his torso, then parked it at the base of his throat. Her eyes locked on that spot, her tongue licking another path over her lips.

“What shall it be? Whip play…or sex? Or both?” she finished in a whisper.

The words did things to Ben he knew were illegal in some parts of the world, even a few counties in California. He curled his hand around hers and drew it down to his thudding heart.

“I’m shocked you would ask.”

“Somehow I doubt that.” She slipped from his arms. “I left my bag of tricks at Will’s. I do hope you don’t mind me borrowing yours.”

“It would be my pleasure.” Ben realized his mistake too late.

Rachel grinned. “It certainly will be.”

Giving her his back, Ben unlocked the playroom. Rachel ducked under his arm and pushed the door open. She flicked on the lights and walked to the padded bench that circled this end of the vast room. Observers could slip in and watch the play on the other side. Of course, there were also those who preferred to watch in stealth, and they could be tucked on the other side of one-way mirrors banking the opposing wall.

Rachel made sure her ass was lifted high while she took off her shoes and socks. His to look his fill. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she was daring him to do something. Fuck her. Spank her. Hell, he did know better…and the temptation was too hard to resist.

Ben sidled up beside her, pressed one hand to the small of her back, and smacked the other palm against her sweet ass. Most women would shriek in protest, jerk upright, flail—if only halfheartedly—against another swat. Rachel froze.

“You’re playing with fire, Mr. Welsh.”

“I do hope so, Miss Moore.” He landed another smack.

A low groan lifted her backside. “Oh, you’re going to have to do better than that if you hope to impress me.”

Ben chuckled. “Don’t worry. You’ll get everything you need, Miss Moore.” He dipped his hand between her thighs. “And more.”

Her knees buckled, and he swore he heard a tiny whimper. Sheer willpower was all that kept him from hauling her away for an all-night fuck. A woman like Rachel—like Raven—needed so much more than that. If he expected to keep her…

Ben jerked at the errant thought. She’d snagged him from her first smile. He wasn’t willing to let her go. If she knew how much power she held over him, over his emotions, she’d walk all over his heart…and out of his life. His distraction cost him.

Rachel scrambled from his hold and peeled the T-shirt over her head. Full breasts spilled over white bra cups, the nipples a dark shadow dead center. Ripe for the plucking too. Deep cleavage promised sweet relief.

“I usually wear a leather vest for this type of activity, but this will have to do for tonight.” Rachel flipped her hair back; time slowed down.

Ben palmed his crotch and tried to find a comfortable position. He followed every strand of hair up, the purse of her lips, the lift of her breasts as she captured the black tendrils in her hands and wrangled them into a haphazard topknot. A few dared defy her, trickling down enticingly to her neck. God only knew what held her hair in place, because Ben couldn’t see a damn thing.

She gave Ben a playful smack on the shoulder. “Come on, big guy. Time to show me whatcha got.”

Sure strides took her to the far end of the room, past all the playroom equipment to the wall-sized cabinet beyond. No hesitation. Rachel knew where she was going. Ben watched her open the cabinet and peruse the selection of crops, whips, paddles, and floggers arranged inside. Her selection was quick. She tugged on leather gloves that hugged her fingers with as much perfection as her skintight jeans did her ass. It was the way she smoothed the leather into place that made him ache—stroking each finger like she’d stroke his cock.

She damn well knew it too. Ben saw her smirk reflected in the surrounding mirrors. They’d see who was smiling when she was over his lap, those tight jeans binding her knees, and her ass afire from a good paddling.

“You might want to find a safe place.” Rachel edged past him, a six-foot bullwhip looped in her right hand, a basket of white votives and tapers in the other.

Rachel randomly placed the candles around the room on equipment, benches, and the floor, then tossed the basket aside as she took center stage. The candles remained unlit. Ben leaned against the horse, out of the line of fire. He hoped.

Legs braced, fierceness etched in her face, she swung the whip over her head in elegant arcs. He anticipated the crack. Hearing it still generated a full-body gasp. It was the flex in her biceps, the mastery of her control, the power in the follow-through. The candles didn’t stand a chance. Neither did he. It was enough to make a man come all over himself.

Ben knew his crotch sported a damp shot. It was the least of his concerns at the moment. Not coming all over himself held the top spot.

He watched her nail every candle over and over again, splitting each in two. She was the whip, and it was her. Sweat glistened on her skin, trickled down her breasts. And when she’d beaten the unlit candles into submission, she swung his way. The whip curled around his feet, mere inches from his bare toes. Somehow he managed not to flinch…or to come.

“Your turn.” Rachel tossed him the handle. Ben caught it in one hand while she hopped onto the horse beside him, her ass temptingly close.

“You realize I’m going to have to top you.” And he meant that in every possible way.

She cocked her head his way. “I’d like to see you try.” Her whiskey-smooth voice held more invitation than caution.

“I do love a challenge.” Ben slipped his hand over her hip.

Rachel swung around until that hand was poised near her crotch. “So I’ve heard.”

The words seeped into Ben’s blood, raced his heart, and tightened his balls. She’d been keeping tabs on his Sledge self. He cupped her knee and slid his hand up her thigh until his fingers were scant inches from the apex. Rachel gave little away, but the fluttering pulse at her throat sure did.

“I’m waiting,” she singsonged.

Ben grinned. “For what, Miss Moore?”

A flush crawled over her face. “I think we both know the answer to that.”

Ben glided his hand upward, pressing his palm into her belly, then around until his fingers girdled her ribs and his thumb brushed the underside of her breast. He wiggled it under the bra cup and tugged it down, releasing her tit to him. Rapid yet controlled breaths shook the morsel of light brown flesh. He flicked his thumb over it, watched it harden. God, he knew what that felt like.

Rachel curled her fingers around the horse. Those long lashes swept downward. She was his. Ben prayed he didn’t screw up.

He traced his thumb over the other cup. Though he longed to watch it spill into his hand too, he kept his gaze on her face for the slightest glimpse to warn him off. The only thing that changed was her lips, parting on a gasp when his thumb grazed her hard nipple.

“I’m going to fuck you, Miss Moore.” He bent to capture his prize.

A small whimper fell against his ear. “Not if I fuck you first, Mr. Welsh.” She snagged the edges of her bra and tugged it back into place. “I’m still waiting for that demonstration of your talents.”

“You’ll be pleased, Miss Moore.” He skirted his hand down to her hip and stepped away. Only one problem remained—how he was going to maneuver with an erection wedged down one leg.

 

Soleil by Caitlyn Willows

Soleil

SOLEIL
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporary Erotic Romance – Menage
August 2010
Cover Artist – Valerie Tibbs
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-60737-835-8

Lori knew their demons and desires, knew true horror firsthand. They’d shared the climatic point of that nightmare years ago. It was an event that linked Lori, Mac, and Blake forever and eventually bonded them body and soul. The heart involved, the love, was rarely mentioned. Saying it out loud threatened Lori’s control, and she was very much about maintaining control over every aspect of her life. Blake and Mac have no problem placing control in her talented hands, in and out of the bedroom, especially in the bedroom…between them…safe, comfortable, and oh-so-hot. But the demon who brought them together now threatens the control upon which their bond was built and is now set to ruin everything they’ve worked to have and hide…and them along with it.

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

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Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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REVIEWS:

This was a good story and was easy to read. Ms. Willows did a good job with character development and in writing a story that dealt with some difficult topics. I was captivated by the elements of suspense that were added to the story and was able to sympathize with Lori’s pain and anger. The main focus of the story is the relationship between the three primary characters and the author did a good job of keeping the focus there. The secondary characters were well-written and made important contributions to both the plot and storyline; I especially liked Oliver Holbrook’s part in the story. I was happy with the story’s resolution and look forward to reading more of Ms. Willows’ work. – Maria, Night Owl Reviews

FOUR STARS! I soon discovered that Soleil is part of a series offered by Ms. Willows and would recommend that you pick up that book to get a better feel for some of the characters, especially the mysterious Oliver, but this can be read as a standalone. My only initial concern was the two male leads worried me for a time when their cocks seemed to have a life of their own whenever our heroine was around. But the story soon picked up, showing the author’s skill at giving us a heroine who is trying to survive as best she can after she lived through a horrific childhood. Ms. Willows touches on some sensitive issues, such as child abuse, though I felt it was dealt with in a sensitive manner with Lori trying to comes to terms with it and Mac and Blake doing all they can to demonstrate their love, understanding and acceptance of her. Her men will do anything to help her heal and we’re able to see some closure.. I couldn’t decide which male lead I liked more, and I felt the sex between them was very sensual. – Aggie Tsirkias, Just Erotic Romance Reviews.

EXCERPT:

Waiting in breathless anticipation, Mac Jordan stood in what little shadow existed in the ballroom, trying to hide a trouser-swelling erection he knew had left a wet spot.

Lori Belcher was the most beautiful woman Mac knew, and he knew a lot of women. Dated them, fucked them, lived with one or two, even considered marrying one in an attempt at what the world considered normalcy, which had failed before he’d executed the idea. Thank God.

No one compared to Lori. She knew his demons and desires. Knew firsthand what true horror was. They’d shared the climatic point of that nightmare years ago. An event that linked him, her, and Blake Patterson forever and eventually bonded them body and soul. The heart involved, the love, was never mentioned. Saying it out loud, admitting it, threatened control — Mac’s, Blake’s, especially Lori’s — and Lori was very much about maintaining control over her life. And he and Blake loved her enough to let her have it, no matter how much they’d grown to resent her dominatrix persona.

It was probably a mistake to seek her out tonight, but Mac couldn’t help himself. He had to be with her one more time while they still had the illusion of anonymity. That would all change come morning. Maybe even sooner.

Come morning, when the news media started rehashing “the Southland’s most shocking murders,” the three of them would be front-page news. Would the limelight reveal the three were a threesome? Probably not. They had been discreet, after all. But it would make future liaisons difficult, if not impossible, for a long time to come. So Mac had to see Lori tonight. Blake wouldn’t be long in following.

A private call for her to meet them would have done the trick. Lori wouldn’t have hesitated to meet them anywhere. But since she and Mac were both scheduled to attend Oliver Holbrook’s fund-raiser for cancer research, why bother with the facade? The event was packed. Someone here was bound to make the years-old connection between him, Blake, and Lori in the days to come. A few would even know Lori as Soleil — one-third of Oliver’s triumvirate of legendary dommes, a trio now minus one since Maneater had announced her retirement the month before.

Mac shrugged. People could think what they wanted. They would anyway. Mac needed Lori in his arms, in his bed. He literally ached to have her, physically and emotionally. Ached all the more because he couldn’t do much to protect her from what was about to happen.

Hell, he couldn’t protect any of them.

Lori’s smile brightened when she spied him. How she managed to see him… Mac smiled back. The woman had excellent radar where he and Blake were concerned.

She truly did look like sunshine. “You are my sunshine.” The song would always feel like a knife to the heart in bad ways and in good.

He shook the memories away and watched her thread her way around the tables toward him, pausing every now and then when a couple on their way to the dance floor stopped to speak with her. Each time she was gracious, patient, a true lady.

A goddess.

Her long blonde hair beckoned fingers into its depths and promised gold in return. Few men knew how soft and thick it felt; only those she truly trusted were allowed the honor. Mac could count that number on one hand.

Her red silk dress draped her body, hinting at generous curves rather than broadcasting them to the world. Understated elegance, unmatched beauty. The hem rippled above her perfectly cut calves; matching red high heels showed her legs to their full advantage.

Lori walked past the last table and picked up her pace. Her smile brightened. His heart did that little hiccup, liked he’d driven over a hill too fast. Mac reached for her at the same time she lifted her arms to embrace him. Then she was flush against him. Relief flooded his senses at the connection. This wasn’t a social hug. It lasted too long, was too tight, too perfect. Anyone paying attention could see the bond between them. It was all Mac could do not to clamp his hand over her ass and grind his cock into her belly, kiss those full red lips.

“What a wonderful surprise.” Lori nuzzled against his cheek and inhaled. Mac loved when she did that, like she was reimprinting his scent on her soul. It made him feel so male.

Lori drew back but kept her pelvis pressed to his. “Is Blake with you?” Her brown eyes sparkled with affection.

Mac slipped his hands to her waist, ordering his thumbs not to wander upward to her breasts. “Soon. Right now he’s circling the wagons.”

The light in her eyes dimmed. She’d been frustratingly stubborn over this whole thing, glaring into space with jaw clenched when they tried to talk about it. Mac knew doing so resurrected the memories Lori tried to bury.

“I see,” Lori finally said. “And you?”

Mac managed a halfhearted grin. “Circling you.”

She traced the smile line bracketing his mouth. “You worry too much.” With a glimmer of mischief, she added, “Have you eaten?”

He chuckled and tapped his index finger against the tip of her nose. “Pot, kettle, black. As for eating, I could fill my answer with all sorts of naughty little innuendos –”

She feigned a gasp. “Is that what’s wedged between us? An innuendo?”

“Well, I’ve never had it called that before,” he said with a laugh.

“And certainly never little either.” Lori winked and put some distance between them. “So…have you eaten? I can have the kitchen whip you up something.”

He cupped her elbow, then tickled his fingers down her arm until he could lace them through hers. “All I want is you. I need you, Lori. Now. Tonight.” Before everything goes to hell tomorrow.

“I’ll get my purse.” No question, no hesitation — that was the nature of the relationship the three of them had. They were always there for one another. She leaned in as if to kiss him, then whispered, “How do you always know exactly when I need you?”

The emotion her words churned was almost too much to bear. He drew in the scent of her, just as she’d done with him. Words escaped him. Mac gave her another hug, kissed her cheek, and spied Oliver Holbrook headed their way, her small red purse clutched in his hand.

“Looks like Oliver’s anticipated our need.” He kept his arm loosely around her waist as she turned.

Lori’s heat shimmered around him. “Ah, he is the best.”

Mac had to agree. Oliver anticipated everyone’s needs and met them with unerring accuracy. The man was ageless. It seemed he hadn’t changed in the fifteen years they’d known him. No gray dared to pepper his blond hair. No lines crept over his tan features. He was as fit and trim as the day Mac and Blake had met him. The man oozed class, whether in a tux and diamond cuff links or jeans and a T-shirt. One of the most influential men in California, if not the world. A business nod from Oliver Holbrook meant success, and he’d nodded at Mac Jordan and Blake Patterson years ago when he suggested they open up their own security and investigation firm. It was by far one of the best moves they’d ever made.

“I thought you’d want this.” Oliver handed the purse to Lori. His subtle smile blessed their need for a private moment.

“Right as usual.” Lori kissed Oliver’s cheek. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure.” Oliver zeroed in on Mac. “I’ll have room service send up a little something. I doubt you’ve eaten much today.”

Two comments in the space of five minutes? Either they knew him too well, or he was looking emaciated. Mac had a feeling it was the former. He hadn’t eaten much. His stomach was too twisted in knots.

Lori pressed her palm to Oliver’s chest. “I’ll call down later.”

Oliver grunted a response, then lifted her fingers to his lips. “Have a good time. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call. But then, you both already know that.” He dropped a quick kiss to her hand, then walked away.

Hand against her lower back, Mac guided her toward the exit. “I understand Blake finally got you to agree to stay here for the duration?”

“I let Blake book me a suite for a couple of days to appease you both. Plus it allowed me to enjoy a glass or two of wine tonight without having to worry about the drive home.”

Oliver would have seen she’d gotten home. Mac didn’t call her on what he suspected was a half-truth. If she’d caved to Blake’s demand to lie low, maybe she was more worried about tomorrow than she let on. Or maybe she’d done it to shut them up.

“But I’m not missing work tomorrow,” she added.

Okay…perhaps not so worried after all.

He and Blake should have taken a direct stand with Lori on this, convinced her to go somewhere safe with them until the media storm was over. Instead, Mac and Blake continued the pattern so ingrained in their relationship, giving Lori the control she needed in her life. There were times when that was the hardest thing to do. Lonely times. Scary times. Like now. Damn scary. If they fucked this up, he and Blake would never forgive themselves. How hard could they hold on to her before they risked losing her completely?

Mac couldn’t bear the thought. That’s why he’d come here now, while Blake planned a full and aggressive charge for tomorrow.

“Let us at least set you up with a bodyguard to help keep the wolves at bay.”

Lori turned her head his way as they neared the elevator, where several others waited. “Don’t.” Command edged her voice. “If you came here tonight to wear down my resolve, you can leave. I agreed to the suite. Anything or anyone more is only going to draw undue attention to me. You know I can’t have that. You’re making entirely too much of this.”

She glared up at him. What was the sense in arguing? He wanted the night in her arms, not them being at odds…again.

“So what is it?” she asked. “Stay or go? I left a lovely chocolate-raspberry cheesecake back there begging for my mouth.”

Mac’s neck hairs bristled. He hated when she used her domme tone with him. He was one of her men, damn it, not a client, although he more than enjoyed when she took the lead in the bedroom. There was only so much a man could take.

He drew Lori to a stop far enough away from the elevator to avoid being overheard. “Is that what I have to do? Beg for your mouth? If Blake and I beg you to be watchful and have a bodyguard, would you finally agree?” Anger welled up. Mac couldn’t fight it. “Wait, I get it. You’re the domme. It’s your responsibility to see we get what we need. Well, we need you to –”

Lori pressed her palms into his chest, her forehead against his chin. “Not tonight, Mac. Please. I need this. I need you. I don’t want to argue anymore.”

He closed his eyes, breathing in her scent, absorbing the feel of her body next to his. “Agreed.” Mac kissed her forehead, fought the urge to pat her ass, then moved them toward the elevator once more.

“Besides,” she said in a low voice, “if it’s the domme in me you want, then I’m the one who decides what you need. Are you willing to give me all the control in the bedroom?”

Mac managed a chuckle and bent near her ear. “Don’t I always, sweetheart?”

Her sly smile chased the clouds away, and she picked up her pace, silently commanding Mac to follow.

The doors opened as they neared, and they crowded inside the elevator with ten other people. Everyone seemed to have the same destination — the twelfth floor. It made conversation impossible, but the tight quarters wedged Lori against him. She flexed her ass cheeks, somehow using the exercise to stroke his erection. He slipped his hand around her waist, splaying it over her belly, and anchored her against him. Dry humping her where they stood sounded like a damn fine option to him. Mac didn’t mind an audience. The more the merrier.

Lori subtly rocked her hips over his erection. Mac braced himself against the wall and inched his hand higher until his thumb brushed the underside of her breast. He felt more than heard her gasp and nailed her hip in place with his other hand. He indulged in a pivot of his own. She turned her face toward his and licked her lips. By the time the doors opened, her eyes glimmered with the promise of hot sex. Mac could barely see straight.

Lori led the way to her corner suite with a stride that boasted the confidence she commanded as Soleil. He’d be lying if he said she wasn’t intoxicating. Mac would never go the discipline route, but he sure as hell loved when Lori took the reins of pleasure in the bedroom. After all these years, all the times they’d been with each other, the want still existed stronger than ever. And when it was the three of them together…

A shudder down his spine threatened to make him come. Uncaring if anyone saw, Mac squeezed his cock into submission. He caught Lori’s I’m-going-to-fuck-you smile from the corner of his eye. She fished the key card from her purse and handed it to him.

“Want to stick it in?”

Another shudder quivered down his spine. “You’re evil.” He snatched the card from her.

Lori giggled and squeezed his left butt cheek. Her tongue found its way into his ear. His steady hand stabbed the key card into the lock, but his insides were mush.

She danced by when Mac shoved the door open. “I’m going to take my makeup off. I won’t be long.”

Mac admired the sway of her hips. “I’ll amuse myself while I wait.”

She spun around and kept walking backward. “Don’t amuse yourself too much.” Lori gave him her back. Her husky laughter settled in his gut, then slithered to his groin.

“Take your time, sweet cheeks,” he called out. He stroked the ridge of hard cock swelling his trousers, wishing she’d turn around, fall to her knees before him, pull his aching erection from its prison, then suck it deep into her hot mouth. Lori kept walking. He squeezed his cock, gave it a hard stroke, then slid his hand to his abdomen. “I can diddle fart with the best of them.”

“Whew…don’t I know it!” she shouted.

Mac laughed at the verbal uppercut, letting Lori win the moment.

He followed her path through the living area and into a bedroom large enough to fit three king-size beds. Lori had left the bathroom door half-open. Her dress lay in a pool of red silk on the creamy leather armchair.

Mac scooped the dress up to his face, inhaling Lori’s essence as he walked to the closet. The ache grew to a breathtaking intensity. At this rate, he wasn’t going to last long tonight.

He hung up the dress, then did the same with his suit, making sure trousers and jacket flanked the silk and hopefully absorbed Lori’s scent. Mac was down to his boxers when a pair of red heels flew out of the bathroom.

“What? Am I your maid now?” he asked.

Lori responded by throwing her red lace bra and satin panties out. Mac had no choice — he stripped his boxers off and tossed them toward the bathroom. He missed the shot by a mile. Admitting defeat, he snagged the panties on his way to a bed made for loving.

Gold braid secured black bed curtains to the floor-to-ceiling posts. It was the only flash of color in the otherwise neutrally decorated suite. Set on a platform, the king-size bed was the focal point of the room.

Mac yanked the covers down and crawled in. The mattress cradled him in comfort. His cock pointed skyward, harder than any of the four posts could ever hope to be. Mac brought Lori’s panties to his face. The smoky scent of her arousal slithered through him. He rubbed his cheek into the satin, then brushed the scrap of red down his chest, over his nipples, and tickled around his navel before twirling it around his cock.

His balls drew tighter, ready to shoot. Mac fisted satin and cock, squeezing hard to fight the rush. His hips didn’t listen. Propelled by lust, they pumped his erection into his grip. Mac snarled and jerked his hands to his sides. He flexed his fingers into the sheet, pulling in hard breaths to shore up his resolve while he counted backward from one thousand. It wasn’t easy with Lori’s panties dangling over his penis, crotch perfectly poised over the head, taunting him to come into them.

“That’s the most tempting sight I’ve seen in a long time.” Lori stalked his way, naked as the day she was born, long hair pulled over her shoulders so nothing hid her full breasts. She was fresh faced and damned sexy with curves that personified her as woman.

“I look at you, and I want to come.” The bed dipped with her weight as she crawled up between his feet.

“I know the feeling well.” Mac’s words came out shaky.

Her hair fell forward, tickling his legs. Goose bumps lifted the hairs on his body. Lori’s gaze swept over him. She dipped her head lower, draping a curtain of silky blonde over his calves. Her breasts touched Mac; he gasped. Her hard nipples dragged up his legs. His balls contracted, hard and ready to burst. Her soft hair kissed them, then brushed over his cock. She nuzzled her breasts against his thighs and rubbed upward, capturing his testicles first and then his dick between.

Mac wanted to fuck her breasts. Wanted the suction of her full lips while he did so. Wanted to shoot his jism between those beautiful tits, then rub his cum over them. Then let his semen glue them together while he fucked her again, true and hard.

“Fuck me, sweetheart.”

Lori licked her lips, gaze measuring his erection. “I decide when you get fucked and when I allow you to come.” Dipping her head, she blew a hot breath over his balls. Mac’s damned hips pushed his cock higher. The panties trickled down. Lori peeled them away and traced her tongue up the underside of his cock.

Mac groaned and beat his fists against the mattress. “Please. I swear, it’s torture tonight.”

Lori twirled the panties on her finger. Mac suspected she was giving him a chance to rein in some control. He blessed her for it.

“Is it, now? I could bind your limbs to these four posts and show you what real torture is. Pull a cock ring from my bag of tricks and leave you hard and ready for my pleasure only, until your balls turn blue from the cum trapped in them. Trapped like you’d be…at my mercy.” Her low, husky voice sank into his bones.

“God, honey.” His cock twitched, seeking her attention. A word from him and Lori would do all that and more. But for him, fantasy was so much more fulfilling than reality.

Mac snagged a strand of her long blonde hair and curled it loosely around his finger. “Softer than the finest silk.” He tickled it over her cheek, loving the way she sighed and closed her eyes.

He tugged gently, urging her nearer until her nipples brushed his chest hair. Lori moaned and rubbed through it, gasping when Mac cupped her breast and pinched her nipple.

She braced one hand on his chest and eased away. Mac was torn between reluctance and anticipation — he wanted her now, but he also knew from that damn sexy gleam in her eyes that she was planning something good.

Satin panties circled his cock. Mac spread his thighs, inviting her to love his balls with the material. Lori tied the panties around his erection instead. The double knot lay perched in his pubic hair; the ends fluttered down against his testicles.

“I can’t wait either tonight.” Lori swung astride him, aimed, and seated his penis deep inside her pussy.

Mac gripped her hips to keep her still. Fire pulsed up his cock. Tingles crawled over his balls — they loved the feel of her ass pressing down on them. Lori braced her fingers over his forearms, letting Mac have his way. He focused outward, drinking in the sight of her. How was it possible she got more beautiful with every year?

He slid his fingers upward to her breasts, thumbed her nipples until she groaned and rolled her hips. Another rush overwhelmed him. “I’m not coming without you, sweetheart.”

“Damn right you’re not. You don’t come until I’m ready.”

The command in her voice nearly made him a liar.

He brushed his hands under the curves of her breasts, over her ribs, down the stomach she worked so hard to keep flat, yet which still retained that sweet cushion of softness he loved.

Lori tensed when he neared the scars below her belly button. After all this time, she should know they didn’t matter. They never had. But they still made her self-conscious and shoved the Soleil part of Lori aside.

Mac fought memories of his own, and with them, the fear that he and Blake had almost lost her before they’d gotten the chance to know her, a chance for all this. Panic made his heart race.

Lori averted her gaze, cheeks pink with embarrassment. The want between them diminished. Mac refused to let it die.

Smiling, he brushed his thumbs against her pussy lips. Her clit rested atop the double knot — a blood ruby on a satin pedestal. Drawing her juices from her folds, Mac traced his thumbs over the peak, first one and then the other.

“Play with your tits and fuck me, gorgeous.”

“Say please,” she ordered, seizing control once more.

“Please,” he whispered.

 

Maneater by Caitlyn Willows

Maneater

MANEATER
by Caitlyn Willows
Contemporary Erotic Romance – Menage – BDSM
February 2009
Cover Artist – Anne Cain
Loose Id www.loose-id.com
ISBN 978-1-59632-872-3

Good things come to those who wait. It’s a motto Julia Green has come to live by. It keeps her world ordered and structured, and when you are a successful businesswoman by day and a well respected dominatrix by night, order and structure are paramount. But even Type A overachievers need a challenge. How can she resist the lure of three gorgeous men who want to hire all her services? Challenge? These three keep her on her toes, and give Julia much more than she bargained for: an alpha male whose natural dominance lets her submit, a protégé who wants that special lifestyle in which Julia has thrived, and a sexual submissive who craves a woman to take charge in the bedroom. Good things have come…over and over again. Julia needs them all and now that she has them, she’s never letting go, especially not the man who holds not only her body, but her heart.

Related stories are:
Maneater
Soleil
Raven
Oliver

BUY LINKS:

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Amazon

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REVIEWS:

FIVE BLUE RIBBONS! Caitlyn Willows never fails to delight her readers with unique storylines and loveable characters. MANEATER is a hot story full of sexual tension, humor and self discovery. Evan, Richard and Spencer have buried themselves in work and for the most part ignore their own needs. The dominatrix Maneater forces them to acknowledge their needs and accept who they are and what they need. On the flip side, Maneater/Julia is very confident that she knows best and isn’t used to being answerable to anyone – that is until she ticks off the men and then she learns otherwise. Ms. Willows does a beautiful job showing the various aspects of the BDSM lifestyle and how each person’s needs must be taken into consideration. I’d love to know what happens after this story ends so I’m really hopeful that we’ll be revisiting Maneater and her men. ~Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies

FOUR CUPS! This is an exceptionally sexual story that will have you breathing erratically and your glasses steaming up. Wonderful creative characters and a steady dialog along with a deep emotional plot are the center of this fabulous tale. This story lets your imagination run wild as you enjoy romps with these characters. It would take a mighty woman to handle three men and Maneater definitely is that woman. Explosive and very hot erotic sex scenes are the icing on this delicious story. A not to be missed book. ~Wateena, Coffee Time Romance And More

Caitlyn Willows does a good job of grabbing the attention of the reader right away, and continues with witty dialogue and clever secrets. It’s admirable to see how these three really good friends created a successful business, while being so totally different. Julia’s taking over and getting things in top shape shows off her ability to organize and manage the office, and while all the men have something to offer, she can’t help being in lust specifically with Evan. Propositions, steamy, hot sex, unexpected relationships and a fulfilling conclusion, guarantees a good read with Maneater. ~Priscilla Petty, Night Owl Romance

While MANEATER has sizzling sex and scorching BDSM scenes, the emotional interaction between the characters is what makes this tale an enthralling read. Be sure to head on over to Loose id and grab your copy of MANEATER by Caitlyn Willows. ~Holly Tibbs, RRTErotic Reviews

EXCERPT:

“I feel a shift in the Force.”

Spencer’s words might sound like bullshit, but Evan could tell by the faraway look in his eyes that he meant every word. Besides, Evan felt it too. So did the clients sitting beside their desks. Whatever had happened in the lobby was enough to halt all conversation in midstream. A flash of blonde caught his eye, then sunlight as the back door opened.

“Excuse me,” he told the supplier. “I’ll be right back.”

Panic welled up for the second time that day. Evan couldn’t believe Phoebe had made good on her threat to quit. Once he cleared the office door, he darted down the hall and out the back. Phoebe had her sneakers on and was halfway to the parking lot.

“Wait!”

She turned a smile his way and kept walking backward. “I’m going to get lunch. I won’t be long.”

“But the phone…the clients.” Had she gone nuts?

“Julia’s got that covered.” She spun around and bounced off. He’d never seen Phoebe so…buoyant.

By “Julia,” he presumed she meant Julia Green. If so, the woman was as good as her word. It’d been a little over an hour since he’d called her service, and already a temp hire was in place. The fact she hadn’t bothered to introduce herself was a little annoying; since they were up to their ears in work, he could forgive the slight. But he was still going to take a few minutes and meet her.

Evan hurried back inside. He realized the difference in the atmosphere immediately — the shift in “the Force” that Spencer had mentioned. The rock station Phoebe loved wasn’t on. Someone had replaced it with classical music and at a volume low enough to soothe and placate a person, not blast them away. He was surprised at the difference the type of music made.

He paused long enough in his office to tell his visitor he’d be “just a few minutes longer,” then went through to the waiting room. The empty waiting room. Stunned, Evan stared at the vacant chairs. A woman sitting at Phoebe’s desk, juggling phone calls while she organized stacks of mail, design concepts, and sample binders, finally caught his attention. She’d opted for a telephone headset that kept her hands free yet busy. How it managed to stay in place without messing up her French twist was, he was sure, a miracle. Of course, he’d always been mystified how women got their hair to do the things they did with it.

Evan studied her as she worked, processing one call after the other with an efficiency that made Amy’s diligence pale in comparison. Finally it dawned on him what she was wearing. He’d never seen so much brown in one place in his whole life. Everything the woman wore — everything except for those huge, black-rimmed glasses — was some shade of brown. Her faux-suede skirt hugged her hips, then flared to her shins. Her beigeish blouse looked like it was a size too large. Nails? Evan glanced at them. Natural, he decided. Buffed, but not polished.

He had an uncanny feeling that this wasn’t what Julia Green normally looked like. The word “camouflage” came to mind. Like she was trying to hide herself. Yet, while she might be trying not to stand out physically, professionally, his first impression of her was “unforgettable.” The power radiating from her sent shivers down his spine.

God, he loved women who could kick ass.

Somehow sensing his presence, she ended the call and smiled up at him. She extended her slim hand his way. “Hello, I’m Julia Green.”

Evan accepted the handshake. It was firm, confident. More pluses. “Evan Fairfax. Julia Green, as in the owner of Julia’s Gems? I never imagined –”

“Amy and I are old friends. I promised her that if you called, we would supply the very best for her team while she was gone. Needless to say, I was glad that you did. I wouldn’t want Amy to worry needlessly. She should take her time off to enjoy bonding with her baby and firming up her family unit.”

“And not worrying about us,” he added.

“Exactly.” She pulled her hand away and handed him the stack of mail. “Everything’s sorted for you.”

He wrapped his hand around the bundle. “Thanks. I’ll go through it during lunch.”

“Which will be as soon as Phoebe returns,” she answered. “She’s bringing back sandwiches. Perhaps we can all sit in the conference room and get better acquainted, go over the schedule.”

Evan’s eyes narrowed, her take-charge attitude rubbing him the wrong way a little. She was just a temp, for God’s sake, not their real office manager. “Sounds good.”

Were her eyes brown, or did he detect a hint of green there? Hard to tell with those glasses. Did she really need to wear those ugly things? Why not contacts? She was pretty enough, and it looked like she had a weak prescription. Her eyes would really stand out without them. Or was that why she opted for glasses? To help with her little-brown-mouse routine? Her skin was flawless, her makeup light. Evan sniffed. No perfume. And such a long neck. Her pulse fluttered at the base, as if begging for his lips…

Evan mentally shook his rambling thoughts aside. He jerked his head toward the empty waiting room chairs. “What happened to all the clients?”

“I handled it. It was a mix of vendors, decorators dropping off sample designs and swatches, walk-in clients who weren’t scheduled for appointments, things of that nature. I’ll bring in all the information during our lunch meeting.”

Julia turned her back on him to answer the phone. Her apparent dismissal grated on Evan’s nerves. She might be their salvation, but he’d be damned if he let her take over. He raked his gaze down her back to that shapely bottom she’d hidden behind her drab clothes. It’d been a long time since he’d had a woman over his knee. Too long.

“One moment, please.” She placed the call on hold and glanced up at him, yes bright. “Yes, sir? Was there something else?”

Sir…damn right. “No, we’re good now.” And now that he had her full attention, Evan turned his back on her. She still managed the last laugh, only she didn’t know it.

He was hard as a rock.

* * * * *

Julia pulled in a slow breath. She’d wanted a challenge. She just hadn’t expected it to be so soon and catch her so unaware. Seeing Evan Fairfax across a crowded room didn’t give justice to the full impact of the man. He reeked testosterone. The wave came close to knocking Julia to her shaking knees. She expected him to peel her panties off with his teeth and shove his face in her crotch. Even more surprising, she was perfectly willing to let him do so. He called to that submissive side Julia rarely let others see. Or rather, rarely found anyone willing to take that command.

Just a few minutes in the man’s presence and Julia could tell that Evan fit the alpha role naturally. A born leader, a Dominant in all his glory. He’d take her all right. Push her up against the wall with those firm hands, nail her there with a look, and strip her for a leisurely taste. Splay her on top of the counter before her and run his tongue over all her secret places. Then push her to all fours on the floor and stab his cock deep inside. Oh, yes. Julia found herself getting wet. And there’d be nothing she could do about it. Nothing she’d want to do about it, except take every blessed inch.

His blue eyes missed nothing, despite the dark circles under them testifying he needed a good night’s sleep. She’d sensed him delving beneath the surface of her disguise, searching for the woman hidden within. He wasn’t dumb. Evan Fairfax had caught on right away that she was more than she purported to be. She’d have to be oh-so-careful. A momentary twinge of panic hit her. Maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea. She could easily assign someone else to work at Diamond Dust. She’d just tell them that she’d filled in until the temp could come on board. That was plausible. As for the issue of them wanting to hire Maneater…

Indecision plagued Julia, an even rarer event than meeting a man dominant enough to tempt her.

“You must be Julia Green.”

A hand appeared before her. Julia blinked and slipped her fingers into it, wondering how the man had managed to sneak up on her. “Yes.”

“Richard Hall. A pleasure to have you here. We were drowning. I didn’t realize how much we’d grown to depend on Amy. I hope we haven’t sent her screaming from us forever. I can hear her now, ‘I’d take twenty hours of labor over you guys any day of the week.’”

Julia laughed. She liked him instantly: his ready smile, his charm, his sparkling brown eyes. And the man knew how to dress. Where Evan oozed testosterone, Richard’s aura projected self-confidence. She’d been expecting someone self-absorbed, since Amy indicated he spent a lot of time checking his appearance when he thought others weren’t looking.

“Perhaps I can help you and your partners find some middle ground,” she said. “I understand the business has grown by leaps and bounds lately. A new game plan might be in order.”

“I agree, especially now when things are going crazy. A little self-evaluation never hurts.”

Odd that the little phrase had come her way twice today. “We can discuss a few things over lunch.”

“Wonderful. Amy’s office is the first on your right, by the way.”

A charmer with focus, one who wanted to get right down to work with few preliminaries. The pleasing-to-the-eye package hid a shark inside. Julia could appreciate that; however, a little tempering wouldn’t hurt. Then she caught the flash of pink in his cheeks. It happened so quickly, she might have missed it if she’d blinked. Richard was nervous! Hiding inside his business mode and apparent vanity were his shields. Realizing that brought her protective self to the fore.

“Richard, you are such a slave driver.” Julia started as a man appeared around the corner of her desk. “Spencer Griffith.” The last partner she had yet to meet extended his hand, which she shook. He gave Richard a look. “You could have offered her coffee or water, maybe even showed her where the restrooms are.” He gave a slight, disgusted shake of his head. But Julia saw the smile tugging at the side of his mouth and realized it was said in jest. “My apologies, Julia. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Water? Give you a quick tour of the office?”

Another protector, quickly covering Richard’s unease. A caregiver as well. He wanted everyone happy and comfortable, but he’d just demonstrated that he wouldn’t do so at the cost to his partners. For him, though, they would also be his primary concern, even above his own needs. Julia wanted to lay the world at his feet.

“I’m fine. Thank you.” Another firm handshake. “Although knowing where the bathroom is might come in handy.”

The comment earned her a polite chuckle, yet neither of them enlightened her as to the whereabouts of said restroom. Fortunately, Phoebe’s return covered any possible awkwardness.

She jerked her thumb over her shoulder — “Everything’s in the conference room” — and slipped into the seat Julia vacated.

“Excellent.” Julia gathered the work she’d collected in the short time she’d been there, hooked her purse over her shoulder, and sidestepped the men. “Gentlemen, I’ll be waiting.”

Evan cut her off before she could reach the conference room. “Did you see who delivered this?”

He waved Maneater’s signature invitation in front of her — black cardstock edged in gold. She’d calligraphed the penthouse address and time on the back in her own hand. Julia couldn’t tell whether fear or excitement lit up his face. She hated not being able to read a person. This one — Evan — definitely threw her instincts off-kilter.

“It was delivered with the mail.” She moved the heavy sample books to her other arm. “Why?”

He flicked the envelope up between two fingers. “There’s no return address. No mailing address. Just our names.”

“What is it?” Richard took the invite from him and smiled. “Well, I’ll be…”

Spencer glanced over Richard’s shoulder and flushed. “Oh.”

Julia craned her neck. “May I know –”

“No!” they all said in unison.

Trying not to laugh at them was nearly impossible.

“I was just wondering how it arrived. Thanks,” Evan muttered.

Like boys with a purloined Playboy, they ducked in to their office. The last thing Julia heard before she continued on to the conference room was, “There’s an RSVP number. Call it.”

Julia smiled when her cell phone shuddered against her ribs from inside her purse. “Here we go, gentlemen.” And she had exactly one afternoon to lock onto their personalities before Maneater met with them tonight. One afternoon to decide whether her libido needed to take a hike or go for it. Having met the three up close and personal, there was little doubt what she’d do.

She wanted them — all three of them. And she wanted them now. Julia didn’t know whether to laugh or cry over the predicament. Once Maneater took the three, any snippet of a chance with Evan disappeared for Julia. But wasn’t that doomed before it started? She didn’t realize she’d truly wanted a start with Evan until this moment. Now she was mourning the loss of something that had never been and never would be. Was it best to take what she could get rather than nothing at all?

She closed the door to Amy’s office and locked it for ensured privacy while she called Oliver. He let the phone ring four times before he answered. She sighed, growing irritated. Teaching her a lesson, no doubt. She heard the smirk in his voice when he answered. Smart aleck.

“I’m going to need a little help tonight.”

“Really? How odd.”

She reaffirmed her assessment. Smart-ass.

“What can we do to help you with your…challenge?”

Two could play this game. Julia had learned that from the master himself. “Now, dearest, don’t you always know exactly what I need?”

Oliver chuckled. “As a matter of fact, I do. The question is, are you ready to receive it?”

She was glad they weren’t face-to-face.

“I’ll see if Lori and Rachel are available. They always give a good demonstration.”

“Will you be there too?” she asked.

“I’ll be around. Discreetly, of course.” He chuckled. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”