Authors: Tonya Ramagos
Chrystal Vaughn knows she’s walking a tight rope when she seeks Andrew Iverson’s help to rescue her cousin. What she doesn't expect is the intense power and deep connection she senses when she looks into his eyes or for those sensations to magnify to hormone-overwhelming levels when she meets Michael Delacroix.
The night Michael became a vampire he lost the man and woman he loved. Believing himself doomed to eternity without them, he channeled his powers to protect the human race. Now Andrew is back with Chrystal on his arm and Michael’s eternity is taking a new dangerous and erotically fantastical twist.
Andrew is a lycan. He knows Michael still lives, but guilt over their woman’s death has consumed him. When he finds their woman reincarnated, he must bring her to Michael. He hopes they can rekindle the love the three of them once shared, but he needs Michael’s help to protect Chrystal from the shifters that want him dead.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
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Rebecca Tyler held Michael Delacroix’s soft blue gaze and suppressed a shiver of equal parts trepidation and wicked excitement as her heart executed a leisurely roll. She didn’t need to look at Andrew Iverson to know she had his full attention, too. She could feel it moving over her flesh like a physical caress, comforting, arousing, and chilling all at the same time.
She took a deep breath and willed her hand not to shake as she offered the box to Michael.
“What is in it?” Michael asked, his voice even, yet equally suspicious.
“A gift from Regulus Le Mort.”
Anger flashed in Michael’s eyes, a quick dart of carnal possession and fury. Andrew stiffened in her peripheral vision, but he didn’t move closer.
“I refused to take it, but he wouldn’t hear of it.” She’d angered Regulus. She’d seen rage in his black eyes, and a fear like no other she’d ever felt had frozen her blood. “He insisted I wear it and was adamant I never take it off.” She didn’t add that Regulus had announced his intent to claim her. He loved her and would stop at nothing to have her.
Michael opened the box, hooked a finger beneath the silver chain, and slowly pulled the necklace from the box. He studied it for a long moment before speaking words that made her jaw drop. “You should listen to him.”
She glared at Michael, red lining her vision, blinding her to Andrew’s movements as he stepped close enough to touch her.
“Michael’s right, Rebecca.” Andrew hooked a finger beneath her chin and turned her face toward him. “Whatever Le Mort’s intentions or feelings for you, what he’s given you is a solid protection.”
Rebecca shook her head. “Protection from what? He’s a vile beast. If I need protection from anything, it’s him.”
Which is why I came to you. I love you. Both of you.
Dear God, she couldn’t tell them. It was wrong to feel the way she did.
“Let me explain, my sweet.” Michael took her hand and pulled her to sit sideways in his lap on the couch.
Rebecca’s heart raced as desire pumped through her veins. Sitting in his lap, feeling the firmness of his cock pressing against her bottom, absorbing the heat of his embrace, awakened every feminine part of her body.
Michael closed his eyes and briefly rested his forehead on her shoulder before he lifted his head and looked at Andrew. “Help me explain.”
Michael’s obvious turmoil sent alarm racing through her.
Andrew lowered himself to the couch next to Michael and put his hand on her other thigh. “War is coming.”
“You think it’ll come to Atlanta? I’ve heard of the battle raging at Fort Sumter, but—”
“That is not the war he is speaking of,” Michael cut her off. “Though that war, too, is likely to spread.”
Confused, Rebecca looked from Michael to Andrew and back again. “Then what are you talking about?”
“You would not believe me if I told you the creature Le Mort is and he is not the only one of his kind.” Michael sighed. “I fear you will not believe me when I tell you the power he has given you.”
Andrew took the necklace from Michael. “This is a tool of power. We know you don’t believe in magic.”
And she knew they did. They didn’t fancy themselves to be ones with magical powers, but they believed in others who did.
“Each of these four stones possesses a power that when banded together in this way ensures the infinite protection of the one who wears it,” Andrew continued. “No harm can come to you as long as you have this on.”
Rebecca stared at him. He truly believed what he was telling her. So did Michael. Were they both insane? Did both the men she loved have the wits of grapefruits?
She met Michael’s gaze and saw only wisdom and reason in his soft eyes. “You believe this so much that you don’t care where the necklace came from, that it was a gift from another man?”
“I do not like who it came from, but I understand its purpose. I know who holds your heart. That is all the assurance I need.”
Rebecca looked away, her attention slicing over Andrew before she turned her head and lowered her gaze to the floor. A band tightened around the heart Michael spoke of, squeezed, and made her chest ache.
“Rebecca?” Andrew made her name a question as he leaned forward to put himself in her line of vision. “What is it?”
Rebecca bowed her head as she got to her feet. She sensed Michael rise with her, felt the solid presence of his body at her back as his arms wound around her waist.
“The necklace is not all that is troubling you tonight.” The warmth of his breath brought excited goose pimples to her flesh as he nuzzled his face against her neck. “Tell us what else has you bothered.”
Rebecca swallowed the lump forming in her throat. “My heart is divided, Michael. I don’t know what to do about it, how to change it, or how to stop it.”
“You care for Regulus?”
Rebecca’s eyes flew open as shock sped through her system. She whirled in his embrace. “Are you insane?”
Michael’s lips twitched. “You thought so a moment ago when we spoke of magic, did you not?”
“The only thing I feel for Regulus Le Mort is disgust and hatred, but you”—she looked at Andrew again—“both of you, I feel...”
Andrew put the necklace aside as he stood and walked behind her. His fingers danced along her shoulders as he pushed her hair aside and leaned in to whisper in her ear. “You feel what, love?”
Staring at Michael, feeling Andrew’s lips move against her flesh, experiencing the wonder of being held by both men at the same time scattered her senses. She wound her arms around Michael’s neck and let herself melt against Andrew. “Torn. Needy. It’s impossible to feel what I feel and yet I know my own heart.”
Michael flattened a hand between her breasts. “And what is this telling you?”
God, with his hand right there, the heat of his palm seeping through her clothes to travel a direct flaming path straight to her pussy, she nearly couldn’t remember. Her nipples beaded with desire to feel his hand covering her breast.
She licked her lips, watched as his gaze dropped to her mouth to follow the path of her tongue, and saw as his eyes sparked with fiery need. “It tells me I love you.” Victory moved over his handsome face. It thrilled her even as it made her belly churn. What she would say next, what she had to admit, would likely turn that victory to defeat.
Knowing she could no longer keep her secret, she tore her gaze from Michael’s, let her head fall back on Andrew’s shoulder, and turned her face up to look at him. “It tells me I love you, too.”
Andrew gazed down at her, emotions swirling in his vivid hazel eyes. A hint of amusement flickered through his expression and she feared he might laugh at her. Instead, he smiled as his fingers tightened possessively on her hips. He pressed his body firmly against hers and she felt his cock, long and hard, at the small of her back.
“That’s not so wrong.”
How could he say that? Hadn’t he heard what she’d said to Michael before she said the same words to him? “Of course it’s wrong. A woman can’t love two men.”
Michael’s fingers danced up the side of her neck, then slowly followed the same path down again, sending embers of flaming need raining through her system. “Can you live the rest of your life in happiness without one of us?”
Rebecca shook her head. “I can’t imagine living my life without either of you.”
Andrew nipped her earlobe. A quiet moan escaped her as a shiver ran through her clean to her toes. “Then why would you?”
She narrowed her eyes at Michael. “How can he ask me that?”
“The same way I can, should I choose to repeat the question.”
“I love you, Rebecca,” Andrew whispered.
“And I love you.” Michael brushed his lips to the tip of her nose. “How could we ask you to live without either of us when we are not complete men without you?”
“How can I do anything different? I can’t have both of you. It’s not right.”
Andrew’s hands tenderly kneaded her hips. “It is if we say it is.”
She stared at Michael, unable to believe what they were saying, what they were offering. “You would share me? The two of you and me, we would be together?”
“Andrew and I have always shared you, my sweet. You simply did not realize that.” Michael hesitated, then asked the question that sent shivers of astonishment and excitement racing to her toes. “Would you share us?”
“Share you how?”
“With each other.” Andrew let go of her hip, reaching around her to grip Michael’s side. “Michael and I love each another as much as we love you.”
Rebecca slowly angled her head back and up to look at Andrew, certain she hadn’t heard him right. The softness and hope swirling with truth in his eyes told her she hadn’t been mistaken. “You’re lovers?” She looked at Michael again, her head spinning even as an odd sense of happiness filled her.
“I suppose that’s something else I hadn’t realized.”
Michael sighed. “I will admit that we have hidden it from you. We did not know how it would make you feel.”
Rebecca thought for a moment. “It makes me feel...right.” It did. Everything she’d perceived to be wrong and improper paled now. It was as if everything was falling into place. Nothing else seemed to matter but the love she felt enveloping her. “And jealous,” she added. “Have the two of you...”
Michael lifted a brow and waited for her to go on. His lips twitched when she started to blush. “Have we what, my sweet?”
“Have you made love? Did you do it without me?”
Andrew laughed. “You
“I told you I am. It’s not fair. I love you. I love Michael. You both say you love me and yet you’ve shared a passion together you’ve excluded me from.”
“Would it help if I told you that it has never felt complete because you have not been with us?” Michael asked.
“Some.” Rebecca threaded her fingers through the hairs at Michael’s nape. “It would help more if you show me.”
She saw their gazes meet, felt Andrew’s slight nod, and watched as a pleased grin unfolded on Michael’s lips. His hand glided over the material of her bodice to cover her left breast. Andrew’s hands returned to her hips, his palms framing her sides as they grazed up before pushing between her body and Michael’s to splay on the front of her thighs. His thumbs were barely an inch from her pussy, and lightning bolts of need shot from between her legs, beckoning his fingers to touch.
Michael’s nose bumped hers before he captured her mouth in a kiss that was demanding and possessive and so hot she wondered how the air didn’t sizzle around them. When he wrenched his mouth from hers, she gasped in protest and sheer satisfaction, in a plea for more and a thanks for the toe-curling arousal.
Her vision blurred as her hormones skyrocketed. Michael held her gaze for a meaningful heartbeat, then she watched in awed anticipation as he leaned over her shoulder to kiss Andrew with the same reckless abandon he’d just kissed her. It was savage, a carnal exploration of tongues that fed her building hunger. Needs curled inside her as fire ignited in her core. Her nipple beaded against Michael’s palm and she ground her body against Andrew’s stiff cock pressing into the small of her back.
Andrew broke his kiss with Michael and immediately bent his head to hers. His lips brushed hers in a tender caress, his tongue licking the outline of her mouth before easing its way inside. He tasted sweet and gentle with the lingering primal flavor of the kiss he’d shared with Michael. The taste of her men combined to drive her to a point just short of madness. Who would have thought seeing two men together, seeing
men together would be such an incredible turn-on?
“Are you certain you want this now?” Andrew asked against her lips.
She felt him shaking, sensed him struggling to hold onto his control, and marveled at his restraint. She dragged the backs of her fingers down his cheek and smiled. “I want this. I want both of you. Now.”
“You’re a virgin. We don’t want to hurt you.” Even as Andrew spoke, his hands switched places with Michael’s. Andrew’s moved up her front between her body and Michael’s until both of his palms closed over her breasts. Michael’s hands dropped to her hips, gathered the material of her skirt, and bunched it up until she felt the slight chill of Andrew’s breeches through her bloomers.
She understood what Andrew meant. She wasn’t completely naive in the ways of sex. She’d heard women at the local brothel talk and knew there was more than one way, more than one opening where a woman could take a man’s cock.
“The pain won’t last, right?” She thrust her hips forward enough to press her belly more firmly against Michael’s rigid cock.
A low growl rumbled from his throat and his eyes closed to slits as his features tightened with obvious torture. His hands found the waistband of her bloomers and he eased them down her thighs. Andrew’s hands squeezed her breasts and her head fell back on his shoulder, her eyes drifting shut as erotic sensations and darts of fear shimmered through her.
“The pain in your pussy, no.” Andrew’s voice sounded thicker now, strained and deeper than normal. “The pain in your ass, should one of us take you that way tonight, would be worse. Making love to a woman anally takes time and preparation.”
“Then Michael will make love to me while you make love to him.” She felt Michael’s hands still and opened her eyes. “Or the other way around.”
“Are you sure that is what you want, my sweet?”
“Yes. God, yes.” She wanted to feel their hands on her everywhere. She wanted to feel one of their cocks invading her virgin channel, taking away her innocence and bringing her a level of satisfaction she’d only dreamed of. She wanted to watch them make love to one another.
Michael crushed his mouth to hers, his tongue plunging between her lips in a vicious thrust of control and hunger. Her bloomers fell away and her senses scrambled as her men worked together to undress her. Naked, on fire from the inside out, she made a sound she’d never heard herself make. Andrew gently pushed a hand between her legs to find the soft patch of her pubic hair. Michael splayed his hands on her butt cheeks, squeezing and drawing her closer until his groin pressed Andrew’s hand more firmly to her pussy. As Andrew’s fingers slipped between her sodden pussy lips, she realized he was somehow managing to tease the bulge of Michael’s cock even as he played with her cunt.
Juices flowed, pinpoints of pleasure ignited. Rebecca fisted Michael’s hair as Andrew reached farther between her legs and eased a finger into her drenched opening.
Michael’s hands glided over her buttocks, one finger pushing between her butt cheeks to dance over the tight rim of her anus.
She froze and groaned her surprise into his mouth as his tongue overtook hers in a wild dance of passion and possession. Andrew lightly scraped a nail over her sensitized clit and she gasped as he licked a long, narrow path from her neck to her jaw. Michael pulled back a fraction of an inch and then Andrew’s tongue joined theirs.
It was exquisite, a mind-altering fascination that left her so crazed she couldn’t differentiate one sensation from the next. Their tastes combined on her tongue, one silky sweet, the other white hot and demanding. Andrew’s finger wiggled, curved, and pistoned inside her pussy, drawing a low cry from her lips.
Andrew broke the kiss, expelling a quietly rumbling, “Ah, yes,” as he drew back, eyes closed and an expression of total pleasure on his handsome face.
Rebecca realized Michael had turned one hand toward Andrew and was fondling the man’s cock through his pants. Andrew’s finger stilled inside her pussy, but she was too mesmerized by the sight of his pleasure, the feel of Michael stroking him against her rear that she didn’t protest. She wanted to watch and started to tell them so, but before she could utter a word, Andrew pulled his finger free of her opening and stepped back far enough she no longer felt the heat radiating from his body.
Michael’s eyes glinted with amusement. “I believe our lover is reaching the end of his patience.”
Rebecca giggled and glanced at Andrew over her shoulder. “Then perhaps both of you should get naked so we don’t keep him waiting any longer.”
“Perhaps.” Michael smiled, a warm curve of succulent lips, and she felt its effects circle her breasts and stretch to her pussy.
Her gaze followed his hands as he started to strip, revealing a solid chest and corrugated abs so perfect she couldn’t draw her attention away. He shucked his pants down his lean hips and powerful thighs, letting them fall to his ankles before kicking them aside.
Rebecca gulped as her focus landed on his cock, slightly curved, magnificently long, and gloriously thick between his legs. A bead of pre-cum glistened on the slit of his cockhead and she licked her lips, the craving to taste so acute she wasn’t surprised when she heard a growl.
“You’re teasing me and you don’t even know it.” Michael dragged his thumb over her bottom lip as he moved by her, leaving a tingle of fire that traveled straight to her core.
She watched him walk to the bedroom, realized he’d been the one who had growled, not her.
Michael stopped at the doorway to the bedroom, turned, and extended a hand. “Come with me, my sweet.”
Andrew stepped to her side as she turned and she shot a pointed glance down his body. “You’re still dressed.”
“I’ll fix that when we get to the bedroom.” He wound an arm around her waist and guided her toward the bedroom just as Michael disappeared through the doorway.
“And he says I’m teasing and don’t know it,” Rebecca muttered as she followed Michael into the room with Andrew at her side. She found Michael positioned in the center of the bed, his back leaning against the wall. His legs were outstretched and spread wide, his cock long and hard against his flat stomach. He patted the bed between his legs.
Rebecca glanced at Andrew, then took a longer look as he started to undress. Her gaze moved over broad shoulders, a solid chest, ripped abs, and a spectacular cock that made her mouth water anew.
She tore her attention from Andrew at Michael’s summons and walked to the foot of the bed on legs that threatened to buckle. Eagerness warred with apprehension in her system. She felt Andrew watching her and saw Michael’s gaze travel leisurely over every inch of her flesh. Sheer appreciation filled Michael’s eyes and she sensed the same from Andrew. It made her feel empowered, beautiful, and gave her the confidence to be just a little bold.
When Michael’s eyes lifted to hers, she daringly licked her lips, battling the urge to giggle at the low growl that definitely came from him. His stunningly handsome expression grew tortured as she dropped to her hands and knees and began to crawl from the foot of the bed to the spot he’d indicated between his legs.
“I was apparently wrong.” Michael reached for her, lacing his fingers in her hair. “You do know it.”
Rebecca angled her head into his hand, loving the slight twinge of pain as he fisted her hair, and continued to position herself between his legs. “That I’m teasing you? I know it now.”
“He likes it.” Rebecca felt the foot of the bed dip behind her as Andrew crawled onto the edge. “Don’t let him tell you he doesn’t.”
“Oh, I do.” Michael pulled her face to his, bit her bottom lip, then licked the spot before sweeping his tongue into her mouth. “I want you bold, confident, and comfortable enough to tell us what you want.”
“I want you.” Rebecca returned his bite with one of her own, loving the slight tremor she felt move through him at the act. “I want Andrew. I want to watch the two of you. That’s all I desire.”
Michael released his hold on her hair and skimmed his hands down her sides until they settled on her waist.
She shrieked when he lifted her, flipped her over, and folded himself on top of her in a move so swift and practiced she hadn’t seen it coming. He wedged his hips between her legs, spreading her pussy wide as his upper body hovered over hers, his mouth so close she felt his breath fan her lips when he spoke.
“I would rather take my time. I would rather Andrew and I keep you on the edge of release for the next several hours.” He rested his forehead against hers and sighed. “I cannot do it, not this first time. I feel like I will die if I do not get inside you now.”
Rebecca felt it, too. His cockhead rested at the apex of her pussy and she lifted her hips, attempting to draw him inside her. “Please, Michael. I can’t wait any longer either. I need you.”
His lips cruised over her flesh, his body folding as he grazed his teeth and tongue down her neck and chest before settling on her breast. She gasped when he closed his lips around her breast, flicked the tip of his tongue over her pebbled nipple, then drew it between his teeth, delivering a nip that teetered between pleasure and pain. He slipped a hand between their lower bodies and curled his fingers around his shaft.
Beside her, the bed shifted as Andrew lay down. “Take a deep breath. Relax and let your body take control.”
Michael gazed at her as he guided his cockhead between her pussy lips. He studied her as he eased his dick into her sodden opening, his eyes swirling with an intoxicating mix of concern and pleasure.
Rebecca forgot Andrew’s instruction, forgot to breathe at all as her inner muscles began to stretch. Her heart raced. Her pulse pounded in her ears as Michael’s cock stretched her further, tearing at tender tissue even as her body reluctantly accepted his length.
“Breathe, my sweet,” Michael whispered. “I am almost inside you.”
Rebecca took a breath, but released it on a ragged exhale when Michael thrust through the final breach of her virginity. Buried inside her to the hilt, he stopped and rested the weight of his upper body on his hands on either side of her head as he gazed down at her.
“Are you okay? Do you want me to stop?”
Rebecca didn’t answer. She couldn’t. Sensations swamped her. Pain eased into bliss as her body slowly relaxed. Needs she didn’t understand slammed off the tender walls of her pussy, spread through her channel, and created a pressure deep inside she’d never felt before.
“Rebecca, do you want me to pull out?”
“No! I want—” She wanted to feel more of that intense pleasure. She wanted the pressure to build even as she wanted it to stop. “I think I want you to move.”
“Do you mean like this?” Michael slowly pulled his hips back, his cock sliding out of her pussy until only the head remained inside her, then gradually pushed his hips forward again.
Rebecca arched her back as the sensations morphed to sheer bliss. “Yes.” Her hips rocked on their own volition, meeting his as he thrust deeper inside her.
Traces of the pain remained, but they paled in the most exquisite ways as her body became accustomed to the wonder of Michael’s cock inside her. She turned her head, her gaze slamming into Andrew’s, and she realized how they must’ve felt all this time. They’d said even though they’d made love together it had never been complete because she hadn’t been with them. With Michael inside her now, but Andrew merely watching, she understood.
She danced her fingers along the side of Andrew’s neck to cup his nape. “Join us. Make love to Michael while he’s inside me.”
She watched her men exchange wordless glances, saw the love and desire that passed between them, and released her hold on Andrew’s nape as he pushed himself up beside her and Michael. The bed rocked as Michael continued to slowly thrust inside her pussy while Andrew positioned himself at Michael’s rear.
She scooted her upper body slightly, angling her head to see around Michael’s shoulder as Andrew’s hands flattened on the man’s back. She felt Michael shiver as Andrew dragged his hands down, then saw expectancy fill Michael’s face a second before ecstasy claimed his expression.
Michael’s eyes closed and his elbows buckled, his upper body falling onto hers as Andrew groaned behind him.
Andrew met her gaze over Michael’s shoulder. “Does this hurt you?”
“No, it’s fantastic.”
Michael laughed softly as his lips cruised over her jaw. “Let us know if we get too rough. Andrew will keep a slow pace, but I cannot promise to have such control when he is inside me.”
“I don’t want either of you to have control tonight.” Rebecca wrapped her arms around Michael’s neck and felt him tremble from his efforts to keep from moving, to keep from crushing her, to maintain his stalwart resistance. “I want you to lose control, Michael.”
“I can help with that.” Andrew leaned over Michael’s back, dragged the tip of his tongue over the back of Michael’s shoulder, and Rebecca saw by the movement of their bodies when Andrew began to slowly fuck Michael’s ass.
With each inward thrust of Andrew’s cock into Michael’s anus, Michael’s cock drove inside her pussy. It was amazing to watch when she could manage to keep her eyes open through the sensual waves of pulsing ecstasy soaring through her. The expressions on her men’s faces as they joined together, as they joined with her, were ones she would remember always.
“Ah, God!” Michael ground through clenched teeth.
“Is it helping, lover?”
Rebecca couldn’t help but laugh, albeit breathlessly. Andrew taunted Michael, slowly fucking his ass, and driving Michael’s cock inside her channel in the sweetest and deepest of ways.
“Damn you, Andrew,” Michael growled. “It feels too good.” He picked up pace, managing somehow to move between Rebecca and Andrew until all three bodies were slapping together.
The roughness was nearly too much. Rebecca started to tell them so when the light tinges of pain collided with a white-hot pleasure that stole her senses and consumed her soul. Andrew’s dick in Michael’s ass, Michael’s cock ramming into her, it all became lost somewhere in a stupendous rush of crazed satisfaction.
Rebecca loved it and reveled in the completeness of it. The feel, watching them, being made love to by them, it was all too exquisite for words. She lost it. She cried out as the pressure built to a body-seizing magnitude, as the orgasm swept over her, spilled out of her, and heard both men grunt with their own releases.
Sated and spent, Andrew and Michael collapsed on either side of her. Hearts pounding and breaths ragged, a contented sexual silence fell over the room. Andrew spoke first, his hand moving lightly over her tummy in an idle caress.
“Please tell me we didn’t hurt you.”
“Are you kidding? It was magnificent.” Blissfully happy, she smiled, and reached for them both, splaying one hand on Andrew’s thigh and the other on Michael’s abdomen. She giggled girlishly. “I can’t wait until we can do it again.”
Michael chuckled and pushed himself to rest on one elbow as he gazed down at her. “Soon, my sweet. You will be too tender for a while. If we made love to you again now, we would hurt you.” A shadow moved through his eyes and the small smile on his lips faded.
“What is it?”
“I could not bear it if anything happened to you.” Michael flicked a glance at Andrew. “Neither of us could.”
“We were serious about wanting you to wear that necklace, Rebecca,” Andrew chimed in.
Rebecca looked from Andrew to Michael as centipedes of fear crawled up her spine. “You both really think a war is coming, that some kinds of creatures are going to bring bad things to our lives?”
“Let’s just say we prefer not to take any chances with the woman we love,” Michael answered.
Rebecca sighed. “Then I’ll wear the necklace. Even though I hate knowing who it came from,” she added quickly. “Anything you want, either of you, I’ll do it because I love you.”
Andrew brushed a tender kiss to her forehead. “Tonight is a new beginning for the three of us.”
Rebecca smiled. “A powerful beginning.”
Michael grazed the backs of his fingers down her cheek. “One that will last the rest of our lives.”
Rebecca’s throat tightened as she stared into first Michael’s eyes and then Andrew’s and she silently prayed Michael was right.
Copyright © 2013
“What’s this top-secret mission the secretary is looking to stick our asses on the line for this time?” Gideon Delacroix sounded half disgusted and half bored as he propped a foot lazily on the seat of a chair in front of the desk, bent at the waist, and rested a forearm on his thigh.
Michael Delacroix sat posture-perfect straight behind the mahogany desk, his hands folded on the desktop as he regarded his brother. “I do not yet have the details. He has requested only that we meet. I expect he will tell me everything then.” The request had been made through the Deputy Secretary of Defense, a man Michael was well accustomed to working with. The Secretary of Defense himself, however, was not a man Michael had spoken with often. “Does it really matter what the mission is?”
Gideon barked a half laugh, but there was little humor in the sound. “No. Whatever it is, we’ll do it. We fight and win our nation’s wars by providing prompt and sustained dominance across any terrain with a full range of combat-ready beasts that will bare their teeth and chew up the enemy as the president, at his discretion, shall direct.” He ended his declaration with a stiff-armed mocking salute.
Michael shook his head and bit back a grin. “What a lovely play on the mission statements of our military services.”
Gideon dropped his foot to the floor, bowed dramatically, then propped his foot in the seat of the chair once more. “Thank you. Thank you. Too bad I didn’t think to write it down. It might come in handy if LUST ever decides to go public.”
“LUST is as public as it is ever going to get.” Michael gestured to the room at large with a flourish of his hand. “Need I remind you that you are standing in the office of the hottest nightclub in Atlanta?”
Gideon rolled his midnight-blue eyes. “I wasn’t talking about Club Lust and you know it.”
This time, Michael allowed himself the grin. “Yes, I am well aware of which LUST you speak of.” The Logistical Unit of Specialized Talents, a civilian spec-ops organization the brothers had founded in which they had recruited agents, many with military backgrounds, who possessed abilities no human could match. “It is doubtful the agency will ever become public knowledge.”
Gideon made a
sound. “Of course it is. If the public knew then the upstanding leaders of our great nation would be forced to admit that people like you and me and the rest of our agents not only exist, but are also a vital and valuable part of our country’s security.”
Michael sighed. “It is best that humans not know we exist. They are safer in their beliefs that vampires, werewolves, lycans, shape-shifters, and others with, shall we say
powers, are nothing more than creatures of fiction.”
“While we’re out there putting our skins on the line to protect them and the great United States of America,” Gideon added mockingly.
Michael angled his head. “Would you prefer to do anything else with the curse that was bestowed on you so long ago?”
Michael already knew the answer. He and his brother had made a pact shortly after becoming the vampire and werewolf they were to never unleash the beasts within them on the innocent. They had been battling to protect said innocent when their human lives had been taken from them. They had allowed themselves to go on a killing rampage only once, hunting down and slaying any and all who had sworn their allegiance to the vampire Regulus Le Mort, including the one who had changed Gideon, the pack leader, Ely Franklin.
A boyishly mischievous smile unfolded on Gideon’s lips, making Michael chuckle. “Hell, no! I’m just blowing off steam. Our country and its people may not love us, but I damn sure love it and them. I would—”
“What is it, brother?” Gideon didn’t need to answer. The question had barely passed Michael’s lips when he sensed it. Power, hunger, a carefully controlled beast, and something more, something deeper.
“Lycan.” Gideon straightened, his head tipping back and eyes closing as he sniffed the air. “An outsider. Not one of the few who are our usual clientele.”
Michael only half listened to his brother as he pushed to his feet. He stood behind his desk, his fingertips pressing into the desktop as a sensation he hadn’t felt in well over a century pulsed through his veins. “Andrew.”
Gideon had taken several long strides toward the closed office door, but he halted, spinning around on his heel to pin Michael with a wide-eyed stare of disbelief. “That’s impossible.”
“I assure you that it is not.” He wasn’t wrong. It might have been over a hundred and fifty years since he had felt the connection of the bond formed only between lovers, but it was a sensation that lasted an eternity.
“Andrew is dead, Michael. You haven’t spoken of him in over a century. He was killed the night we were changed.” Gideon poked a finger into his chest, then pointed that same finger at Michael. “We killed the one who took him out.”
“And took that one at his word that he had ended Andrew’s life,” Michael reminded him as he rounded the desk. The pain of that night so long ago festered in his blackened heart as if it had happened yesterday. He had lost more than his best friend that night, more than merely one lover. He had lost his sweet Rebecca that fateful night as well, the beauty he and Andrew had coveted more than their next breath, the woman they had sworn to protect. They had given their lives to keep that promise even as her life had been stolen from them.