Compliance

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Heart of Fame, Book 4.5

Lexxie Couper

Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.

ISBN: 978-1-944003-34-0

Copyright © 2016, Lexxie Couper.

All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Two weeks into Bethany’s Australian vacation, she was planning acts of debauchery. Were those acts enough to get her thrown out of the country? She didn’t know. Didn’t care, to be honest. Because for the first time in her life, she was completely and utterly overwhelmed with desire. Flustered was another good word. Horny beyond belief was another, although to be completely accurate horny beyond belief was actually three words. And an understatement.

In the fourteen days since arriving in the country for a long-overdue vacation from her PA job, she’d spent far more hours fantasizing about wicked sexual activities than she had actual sightseeing. Even when she had done the whole tourist/sightseeing thing, like climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, all she could think about was the two guys she’d met on her first night in Australia.

Two guys.

Not one. Oh, no. Two. When Bethany Sloan decided to fall instantly and powerfully in lust, an emotion she’d always prided herself on being immune to, of course it would be with two men. After all, Bethany never did anything by half measures.

And there was nothing half measure about Logan Hill and Curtis Clarkson. Nothing half measure at all.

Sitting at a shadowy booth at the back of Curtis’s bar, curiously called the Cricketer’s Cup—the bar, not the booth—Bethany watched both men talk at the bar.

They’d become her sexual fantasy. A fantasy she wanted to experience more than anything.

Curtis was the perfect specimen of a hot-blooded, virile sex-god. Tall, broad-shouldered, lean-hipped with the most incredible physique Bethany had ever seen. And Bethany was no stranger when it came to physically perfect men, given her boss was the Hollywood action star and three-times US Weekly’s Sexiest Man Alive recipient, Chris Huntley. But Curtis Clarkson…well, it wasn’t just his body that pushed her sexual lust buttons and made her want to get to know him better in every way imaginable.

It was the periwinkle blueness of his eyes, the little crinkles on either side that spoke of a devilish mirth within him, the kind that made him laugh often. It was the way his honey-blond hair never quite looked tidy, as if he’d only just tumbled out of bed after a session of wild, uninhibited sex. It was the squareness of his jaw always sporting a stubbly growth Bethany wanted to feel scraping against the inside of her thigh, up high where she’d feel his warm breath fan the folds of her pussy. It was the hawkish quality of his nose that spoke of a regal Italian somewhere far back in his lineage. It was the way her skin broke out in hot flushes, her nipples pinched into puckered tips of aching want and her sex contracted and constricted whenever he looked at her, his lips tugged into a wicked lopsided smile she saw every night in her fantasies.

It was the way he treated his best friend with a loving warmth Bethany admired and respected.

Shifting her ass a little on the booth’s bench seat, Bethany slid her attention to the man leaning on the bar engaged in a deep conversation with Curtis.

Logan Hill. The very antithesis of Curtis.

Bethany drew in a long, slow breath, her pussy throbbing even more. Well, not entirely the antithesis. Like Curtis, Logan was tall with blond hair. But his eyes were a dark indigo, the serious intelligence in them emphasized by rimless glasses. Like Curtis, his shoulders were broad…but his physique was less muscular. Less that of a professional sports star—which Curtis was—and more that of a man who ran daily on a treadmill. Which he did. A minimum of ten miles.

Where Curtis was quick to laugh, Logan expressed his quirky sense of humour through a barely noticed twitch of his lips. Where Curtis was fawned over by men and women every day, due to once being Australia’s most idolized professional sports star, Logan seemed to appear invisible to most of them regardless of his success.

It was well known in the country that the best friend of the ex-captain of the Australian cricket team was a computer nerd who made enough money annually to shame Warren Buffett and Donald Trump combined. It was noted and discussed often in the media.

It was Bethany’s observation however, that when people were in Logan’s company, all they saw was a quiet, diffident guy in glasses wearing a Star Wars T-shirt, or a Captain America T-shirt, or a May the E=MC2 Be With You T-shirt. And in a country obsessed with sporting achievements, especially cricket, the nerd had yet to inherent the earth. Or at the very least, the adoration.

Bethany thought the women in this country were goddamn insane if they couldn’t see the potent, latent sensuality in Logan Hill. The guy was hot with a capital holy-fuck-say-something-super-smart-to-me-again H. And she’d bet her last Australian dollar under those geeky T-shirts was a lean, sinewy body just waiting to be licked and nibbled and explored with hands and tongues and…

A tight heat coiled deep in the pit of her belly and she bit back a low groan. Logan Hill thoroughly stirred her on every level, not just the sexual levels.

She loved listening to him talk about SAP ABAP, caching, compliance, hybrid cloud, PaaS, SaaS and VMs even if she didn’t understand anything he was saying when he did. She loved talking world politics, global warming and the pros and cons of CGI-heavy films versus more traditional special effects with him until the early hours of the morning. She loved watching The Big Bang Theory with him and listening to him rant about how skewed the representation of the nerds were in the sitcom. In fact, there wasn’t much about Logan Hill she didn’t enjoy. A lot.

A lot a lot.

Realizing the two men of her intense pre-occupation were looking at her, Bethany squirmed a little on the bench and arched an eyebrow at them—a silent challenge to wander over to the booth and make wild, debauched threesome love to her right there and then.

She’d been offering the very same silent challenge since the day she met them, when she’d wandered into the bar looking to experience a truly Aussie pub and found them playing a game of darts while arguing the merits of Australia becoming a republic.

So far, they hadn’t taken her up on the offer. Probably because her challenge was a silent one. And really, who knew how to read feisty-American-tourist eyebrow nowadays?

Letting out a silent grunt of exasperation, she fixed them with an unwavering stare. Both Curtis and Logan studied her from the bar. Both men’s expressions were damn near impossible to decipher.

That was another thing about Curtis and Logan Bethany had fallen head-over-heels in lust with—the fact she couldn’t read them. She could read anyone. It was one of the reasons she was so good at what she did. Her boss was an actor oftentimes surrounded by groveling yes-men and fawning opportunists, Bethany could spot the self-serving fake from the legit helpful/considerate associate within seconds.

But Logan and Curtis…

She studied them back, her heart racing faster.

Christ, she wanted them to rip all her clothes off and do things to her body.

She had no idea if they’d ever shared a woman before. She had, after all, only known them for two weeks, despite feeling more comfortable with them than any other guys she’d met. She also had no idea if they were sexually attracted to her, although she was certain she’d caught Curtis looking at her more than once during their time together checking out the sights of Sydney with lust in his eyes.

If Logan was interested in her, he was keeping it very close to his chest. Even on the nights she walked around his apartment in little but her panties and a tank top, hoping to get some hint he felt the same sexual interest in her that she felt for him, he kept his stare glued to his laptop.

What she did know was she couldn’t wait any longer to address the subject.

She’d been staying in Logan’s harbourside apartment for the last week after he’d extended the invitation when her pre-booked Sydney accommodation had suddenly closed thanks to an international drug-ring bust. Tonight, after Curtis finished work, she was going to do something about her rather feverish and all-consuming desire for both men.

And by something, she meant cook them both dinner. American-style.

And serve it to them naked.

Utterly naked. Except for the six-inch cherry-red stilettoes she’d bought yesterday.

Hopefully, that would get the debauched ball rolling.

One way or the other.

“So do you reckon she’s got a date tonight?”

Curtis tried not to notice the way Logan’s gaze lingered on Bethany Sloan as his best mate voiced the question he himself was wondering.

Returning his attention to the glass in his hand—the same glass he’d been drying for the last bloody hour—he shrugged. “Probably. She did say she had something special planned, and let’s be serious, she can’t just keep hanging around with us, can she?”

The sound of Logan’s slow intake of breath told Curtis that was exactly what his best mate had in mind. The bloke was already halfway in love with her. Hell, he’d invited her into his home after only knowing her for one week, after all.

“There was that guy that asked her out at the art gallery yesterday,” Logan uttered. Curtis didn’t need to look at Logan to know he was still facing Bethany where she sat at her favourite booth. The same booth where he’d first met her a fortnight ago. “He was also American. Some high-flier professional hockey player.”

Curtis raised his head, frowning at his best friend. “Hockey player? Ice-hockey or field?”

Logan turned back to him, gaze direct behind the spotless lenses of his glasses. “Does it matter?”

Curtis opened his mouth to say yes. Field-hockey players were a completely different kind of threat to ice-hockey players. He shook his head. Not because Logan wouldn’t understand where he was coming from—they’d been best friends ever since they were twelve—but because he didn’t want to reveal to Logan just how much he damn well wanted to throw Bethany on a bed, preferably his own, and bury himself in her pussy.

“No,” he answered, lowering his stare to the glass and white dishcloth in his hand. Damn it, a fucking hockey player. He remembered those guys being arrogant tossers back in school. And the ones he’d crossed paths with in his professional-cricket-playing days were just the same, especially if they’d represented their country in the Olympics. Could Bethany really be interested in a guy like that?

An image of the gorgeous American tourist he’d become totally obsessed with filled his head, her lips parted with pleasure as she rode the hips of a muscle-bound guy wearing nothing but shin pads and a bright-red mouth guard.

He shook his head again and let out a disgusted snort. Damn, he really needed to get a hold of his imagination.

“So when are you going to make your move?”

At Logan’s unexpected question, a prickling wave of heat rushed over the back of Curtis’s neck. He stiffened, shooting his best mate a puzzled frown. “Move?”

“On Bethany?” Curtis asked as Logan studied him, a self-mocking smile pulling at his lips. Curtis was familiar with that smile. It was the smile that said Logan knew he was about to take an absolute beating from the schoolyard bully and wished to hell he could do something to stop it. He’d worn it almost every day during their school years. The expression of a nerd well aware he was fodder to those with more muscles and less intellect than he.

Curtis had done whatever he could to protect Logan from those fuckwit bullies, but that expression was ingrained in Logan’s personality now. His best mate wore it like a shield. Until this very moment, Curtis had never ever experienced it directed at him.

Ever.

Even when he’d told Logan the woman Logan was dating was a two-timing bitch who was only using him for his money, that mocking self-contemptuous smile hadn’t curled his lips.

Nor had it when Curtis had succumbed to Logan’s request for proof and had reluctantly informed his friend the two-timing bitch had climbed into Curtis’s bed one night while they were all on a skiing holiday in the Canadian Rockies and whispered in his ear he could do whatever he wanted to her.

Letting out a choppy laugh now, Curtis flung a dishcloth over his shoulder and placed the glass on the rack of fresh glassware beside him. “I’m not going to make a move on Bethany.” He gave Logan a look that said he thought he was bonkers. “I swore off women after the princess tore my heart out, remember?”

Logan chuckled at Curtis’s dry reference to his highly publicized fling the previous year with a member of the royal family. Despite the embarrassing topic, the buoyant sound made Curtis feel better. That chuckle was more in line with the successful—no, change that, stupendously successful—IT guru Logan was, not the self-hating and cowering nerd he’d once been.

And you’ve been swearing off a different one every weekend since,” Logan pointed out without the slightest hint of malice.

Curtis couldn’t help his cheesy smirk. “Okay, I’ll give you that. It’s hard work sweating away a broken heart. Takes a lot of effort. But seriously, me making a move on Bethany would be…wrong.”

Logan regarded him, blue eyes unreadable. It was a disconcerting stare Curtis recognized. Like the self-deprecating smile, it had once been part of Logan’s defensive arsenal against the regular attacks he’d faced growing up in a sport-obsessed school. It hid a world of pain. Lonely pain. The kind of pain Curtis thought he’d banished from his friend’s life.

“So you’re not interested in her?”

Swallowing at the lump in his throat, Curtis shook his head. “Nope. She’s too feisty and direct for me. No pulling punches that one. Hanging out at the tourist spots with her is enough for me.” The lie tasted sour on his tongue.

In the two weeks since Bethany Sloan had entered their lives, Curtis had lived for the moments she would suggest they all go visit the art gallery, or head to the zoo, or spend a day at Bondi Beach. Not because they were doing tourist shit, but because he was in her company.

Her company and Logan’s company. The three of them. Together.

A tight throb pulsed in his cock, fed by the unexpected image suddenly filling his head of the three of them together…naked.

Fuck, Clarkson. Rein in that line of thought, mate, before you go somewhere with it you can’t recover from.

Clearing his throat, he fixed his unsettled attention on his friend, swallowing again when Logan turned to look at Bethany in her regular booth.

Open desire flickered over Logan’s face. Curtis wondered if Logan knew it was there. Logan was the smartest guy he knew, hell, probably the smartest guy in the country, but when it came to women…

Throat as tight as the tension in his groin, he leant his elbows on the bar and bent closer to the man he’d never hurt in a million years. “Go after her, Logan. Before some Yank hockey player gets his hands on her.”

Logan recoiled, as if physically struck by the words. His eyes widened, fear swimming in their blue depths. Fear, self-doubt and resignation. The cornered teenager trapped by his own dread, once again. “I…I don’t…”

Curtis wanted to shake him. Just as much as he wanted the woman who seemed to have made herself completely at home in their lives in such a short period of time. Just as much as he wanted take Bethany to sexual heaven and back. Three or four times at least. Minimum.

Jesus, if Logan didn’t make his move soon, Curtis was going to have a fucking hard time not—

“You two finished doing whatever it is you’re doing?”

At the sound of Bethany’s sexy New York accent, Curtis flinched. As did Logan.

Their stares locked, a second before Logan spun around to face her, his lips spreading in a wide smile.

Curtis watched his friend gaze at her, his heart far more rapid than it had a right to be. Fuck a bloody duck, the guy was completely gone for her. Done and dusted head over heels in love. It was as clear as the rimless glasses on Logan’s face.

Love. Not lust, which is what Curtis felt. Well, lust and desire and maybe something close to…affection. But not love. He didn’t do love. Not anymore.

“We are finished doing whatever it is we were doing,” Logan spoke, nodding at her. Curtis didn’t miss the way he straightened on the bar stool, squaring his shoulders as he pushed his glasses farther up his nose with his finger. “Why’s that?”

Bethany slid a slow sideways glance at Curtis. An enigmatic glint danced in her green eyes, naughty and promising at once.

Explosive heat ignited deep in his groin and he sucked in a sharp breath, his chest tight.

Oh fuck, oh fuck, he wasn’t going to let his brain take him to the place it wanted to go. To a place where three people did together what usually only occurred with two. He wasn’t. Not when Logan was so very clearly in love with Bethany. He wouldn’t do that to his—

“No offense to the Cricketer’s Cup, but I need to get out of here.” Bethany leant an elbow on Logan’s shoulder and cocked an eyebrow at him, her smile impish. “And I think you two should join me.”

Logan cleared his throat. He flicked Curtis an unreadable look before adjusting his glasses again and frowning at Bethany. “Aren’t you going out tonight?”

Curtis didn’t know whether to kick him, slap him, or…hug him.

Bethany shook her head. “No. Staying in, if that’s okay with you? In fact, I was hoping the jock would join us?” She flashed a wicked grin at Curtis. “What about it, Jock? Want to eat in with Logan and me? I’m cooking.”

Curtis’s already tight groin grew tighter. And heavier. Damned if her American vernacular didn’t give him a hard on.

He wanted to look at Logan. Wanted to see his friend’s face. Wanted to see if Bethany’s invitation was echoed there. Or if Logan was, in fact, going to finally act on his desire for the American. He needed to see if he, Curtis, was going to be a third wheel in Logan’s home.

But he couldn’t. Not when Bethany was teasing him with her mischievous smile and enigmatic eyes and his brain was painting erotic images of the three of them doing—

“I’d love to,” he burst out, pulse pounding in his ears fast. Faster than it ever had back in the day when he was facing down some of the world’s best speed bowlers on the cricket pitch.

Bethany’s answering smile detonated fresh heat in his balls and a thick spasm claimed his cock. An image of her riding his naked hips, not the unknown hockey player’s, filled his head. His hips. And this time, there was no sign of Logan in the scene playing out in his immoral mind.

None at all.

Some friend he was. Jesus, he was going to burn in fucking hell.

Money had made no difference to Logan. Nor had success—and his was phenomenal. Who would have thought all those years ago, gazing at posters of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in his bedroom, he would have ended up being named among them as one of the world’s most important IT figures? He hadn’t. He’d been too lost in the world of code and data streaming through his head.

Now, with more billions under his belt than he could fathom, he couldn’t believe that a woman wanted to spend time with him for him.

Trapped by his own insecurities—imprisoned by the scars of a lifetime of bullying—he still couldn’t bring himself to let Bethany know what he felt for her.

The amazing American may have swept into his life like a gale-force tropical storm, but he didn’t have the genetic code to tell her he’d fallen for her.

Too many years of scoffed rejection and sneered ridicule had imprinted itself upon his psyche. His billions, his business success, his awards, his acumen all meant nothing. There wasn’t any chance an intelligent, beautiful woman could be interested in him. There wasn’t.

Even more so with Curtis on the scene.

He’d begrudge his best friend nothing though. Not after what Curtis had done for him all those years ago. So after this dinner, he’d quietly excuse himself and leave the two of them alone.

It didn’t take an IQ of 185 to know Curtis wanted Bethany. And even a man with glasses could see Bethany wanted Curtis.

Walking into his apartment with Bethany and Curtis trailing behind as they discussed the sci-fi film all three of them had watched two nights ago, he tossed his keys onto the hallways table and made his way to the kitchen.

He was angry. Not at Curtis. At himself.

Angry and disappointed.

“Maybe I need to sign up on eHarmony?” he muttered, grabbing a bottle of mineral water from the fridge’s icy innards. “Or buy a cat.”

“What?”

He jumped at Bethany’s voice.

Standing on his right, she let out a low chuckle, the impish light in her eyes making his cock throb. Damn, she flustered him. Almost as much as she turned him on. “Did I just hear you say you’re going to buy a cat?”

Twisting the lid from the bottle of water, he took a quick drink and then let out his own chuckle. “Thinking about it.”

Gaze holding his, Bethany reached out, plucked the bottle from his fingers and raised it to her lips. “Thinking about pussy, Logan Hill?”

From the living room, Curtis groaned. “That was a really bad pun, Beth.”

A fresh wave of prickling heat washed over the back of Logan’s neck. He really didn’t know if she was flirting with him or not. He figured she was, but then again, he’d figured the last woman he’d been involved with had been serious about him until Curtis had revealed she’d been after Logan’s money and just about every other guy’s dick she could get, including Curtis’s.

As always when confronted by the playfully salacious nature of his American guest, words failed him. Instead of fumbling out a woeful attempt at witticism, he retrieved another bottle of water from the fridge and let out a weird little chortle that made him internally cringe. Damn it, after so many years of being in Curtis’s company, why hadn’t any of the guy’s relaxed charm and easy poise rubbed off on him?

If Bethany was aware of his unsettled state, she didn’t show it. With a roguish grin, she pivoted on her heel and strutted across the living room toward the balcony where Curtis now stood.

Strutted. Bethany Sloan didn’t just walk. She strutted, swanned, sashayed and strode. She was that kind of woman.

Oh boy, he liked that about her. A lot.

Logan let out a shaky breath and then drained the bottle in his hand. For some stupid reason, his mouth was dry.

Closing the fridge, he followed Bethany’s path to the balcony, watching as she joined Curtis there.

They looked good together, Bethany and Curtis. The epitome of a perfect couple—him with his towering strength and healthy physique and her with her comfortable sensuality and lush curves. They were the kind of couple advertising agencies used to make people ache for whatever the agency was selling, whether it be insurance, cars, mortgages or condoms.

Two exquisitely beautiful, confident people. Side by side.

Yeah, as if he had any chance at all.

Damn it.

Stopping at Bethany’s side, he rested his elbows on the stainless-steel railing and drew a deep breath of the warm evening air. Oh well, at least he still had his fantasies, right? What hot-blooded nerd didn’t?

“So what are your plans for the rest of the week, Beth?”

At Curtis’s off-handed question—asked while still watching the yachts move across the darkening waters of Sydney Harbour below—Bethany shot Logan a sideways grin. “I don’t know. I’m waiting to see what comes up.”

Her answer made Curtis splutter out a choked laugh.

Logan smiled into the rim of his empty bottle. Seemed he wasn’t the only one with his head in the gutter tonight.

Bethany laughed, supporting her weight with one hand as she swung back from the railing and smirked at them both. “Okay,” she said, raising her mineral water to her lips, eyes dancing with mirth. “I do have plans. But they’re dependent on something else happening first.”

“What’s that?” Logan asked. Hell, she looked so beautiful with the dusk light bathing her in a golden pink glow. The setting sun picked up the copper in the wild curls of her strawberry-blonde hair. It threw shadows over the curves of her body, drawing his attention to the upward swell of her breasts beneath the snug black tank top she wore and to the long, smooth expanse of her legs left bare by denim cut-offs.

She swung side-to-side with gentle grace, her grin stretching. “Not telling. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go start dinner. It’s chicken-fried steak, mash potato and gravy tonight, guys. You’ve taught me Australia these last two weeks. Tonight I’m teaching you America.”

“In just one meal?” Curtis chuckled. To Logan’s ears, it sounded less relaxed than normal. Strained, in fact. “Impressive.”

Bethany preened a little, releasing her grip on the rail to skip backwards as she did so. “I hope so.”

And with that, she strode into the living room, leaving in her wake a tension in Logan’s gut and groin he doubted he’d ever escape. Not while she was still in the country, that was for sure.

“Fuck, Logan.” Curtis’s low mutter dragged Logan’s gaze from her back and her swaying hips. “I don’t know if I can…” His best mate trailed off, a twisted grimace on his face.

Logan frowned. “If you can what?”

Curtis let out a ragged sigh, turning to stare at the view beyond the railing again. Logan didn’t miss the muscles bunching in Curtis’s jaw. Nor the rapid movement of his Adam’s apple.

“Nothing,” he muttered with a shake of his head. “Nothing.”

He watched the yachts sailing over the water’s surface for a long moment, his body tense. Logan knew him well enough to recognize when he was dealing with internal turmoil, and right now, Curtis was neck high in it.

Neck high and struggling.

Logan hadn’t seen him this way since their high school principal had suspended him for a week two days before the high school national cricket finals.

The memory of that event and of the reason Curtis had been suspended rolled over Logan like a heavy blanket, bringing with it a sense of love and guilt so powerful it hurt.

Letting out a slow breath, Logan rested his elbows on the railing to mimic his friend’s stance. “I’ll make you a deal,” he said, a slight waver in his voice. Was he seriously about to suggest what he thought he was? Was he truly that brave? Or foolish?

Curtis cocked an eyebrow at him. “What’s that?”

Logan’s heart became an insane sledgehammer. Thank God, he wasn’t one of those nerds who reached for an inhaler whenever he was under stress and out of his league. As it was, he had to ball his hands into fists to stop himself shoving his glasses farther up his nose. “I’m going to walk back into the kitchen and ask Bethany on a date. Just me and her. When she says no, and she will, you have to walk in there and sweep her off her feet. Deal?”

Curtis stared at him. Silent.

“That way,” Logan went on, chest tight, gut a twisting knot, fingers inching to adjust his glasses, “you can go after the woman you want and I can stop feeling guilty about you not going after her.”

His friend’s jaw bunched. Again.

Surprised at his own masochistic mental state, Logan laughed. “I’m not stupid, Curtis. And I’ve got eyes. The chemistry between you two is phenomenal. I may ache to be with her—and I do—but you two were born to be together. It makes sense. So don’t argue with me.”

Curtis opened his mouth. Closed it. Opened it again.

“Dinner is served.”

At Bethany’s low murmur laced with mirth and delight, Logan jumped. As did Curtis. It was the second time that evening she’d startled them in such a way.

And as before, they both swung to face her. Unlike their time at the Cricketer’s Cup however, Logan couldn’t find a single word to say.

Not when his gaze fell on Bethany standing but a few feet away.

Naked.

Completely and utterly naked.

Except for the blood-red stilettos on her feet.

She looked at them both, her eyes glinting with open delight. “So,” she said, smoothing her palms down over her hips. “Who’s hungry?”

Chapter 2

Standing there on Logan’s balcony with the humid summer air kissing her bare skin, and Logan’s and Curtis’s stunned stares roaming her body, Bethany had never ever been so turned on.

And nervous.

And excited.

And scared.

Fear had never gripped her before. She approached life without fear or hesitation, a lesson learnt the hard way after her brother had committed suicide due to the fear of living his life the way he wanted.

She swore she would never do that, never let her heart race with terror, her stomach knot with apprehension. But right now, she was scared.

Scared Logan and Curtis were going to reject what she so obviously presented.

Drawing a deep breath, aware it made her breasts rise and fall, she arched an eyebrow. “Questions?”

Logan didn’t move.

Curtis frowned.

Neither said a word.

Bethany’s tummy clenched. She licked her lip, her mouth suddenly dry. Okay, this wasn’t quite going the way she’d expected. She kind of assumed they’d be—

“What’s the tattoo say?” Logan’s low voice stroked her sanity.

She hitched in a breath, touching the single word inked into the skin beneath her pierced belly button. “Courage.”

Logan moved.

A single stride that destroyed the distance between them.

Stare locked on hers through the lenses of his glasses, he buried his hands in her hair, lowered his face to hers and took possession of her lips with his.

Liquid shards of heat sank into Bethany’s core. She gasped into his mouth, the action granting his tongue access to hers. He took it, a savage kiss of dominating hunger and need.

Bethany’s head swam. Fresh heat pooled in her belly. Oh God, she had not expected Logan to be like…this. Fuck, the sheer power in the kiss, the barely restrained desire of his tongue and lips was enough to propel her to the edge of sexual eruption already.

A whimper escaped her, the sound captured by Logan’s mouth a second before he tore his lips free of hers. “Ask me again if I’m hungry?” he murmured, his breath ragged.

Bethany licked her lips, not in a lame attempt at seduction. It was clear she didn’t need to resort to such measures now, not with Logan at least. His kiss had shaken her to the core, but she wanted more. Not just from him, but from…

Breath puffing from her in shallow pants, she slid her stare from Logan to where Curtis stood motionless, watching them both.

An inferno of lust and want burned in his blue eyes. His nostrils flared. His jaw bunched. “What about you, Curtis?” she asked, her voice a dry rasp.

Logan balled his fists tighter in her hair. A low groan fell from him. She didn’t need to drag her stare from Curtis to know Logan still studied her. If it wasn’t for the fact he pressed his hips harder to hers and rubbed the solid pole of a very impressive erection against her belly, she would have worried her question to Curtis had disturbed him. Perhaps it did, but his body’s response spoke otherwise.

Oh God, Bethany, what are you doing? What if they…

“You’re hungry, aren’t you, Curtis,” Logan stated, his breath hot on her cheek.

Curtis regarded her. The muscle in his jaw clenched again. “I’m hungry,” he agreed. His Adam’s apple slid up and down the strong column of his throat. “But are you sure you want to share, mate?”

The low laugh that rumbled in Logan’s chest turned the apprehensive nerves in Bethany’s belly into an urgent need, a ravenous want. She’d never heard such a confidently aroused sound. Ever.

She slid her stare up to Logan’s face, her breath catching at the open desire in his eyes. “Are you?” she asked.

What if he said no? She wanted both men. She truly did, but Logan…

A ripple of something elemental stole through her. Curtis was the sport-star fantasy almost every woman allowed herself to indulge in once in her life, but Logan…there was something about Logan that just set her on fire and made her truly feel alive.

God, what if he said no? What if he walked away, leaving just her and Curtis? That’s not what she wanted. She wanted Logan.

Logan. Full stop. Period.

She met his stare, needing him to see that want.

He gazed into her eyes, as if seeking an answer to a question she couldn’t bring herself to ask yet.

“Are you?” she repeated, throat tight, heart fast. So fast. And hard and pounding.

With a slow curling of his lips, Logan nodded. “I am.”

His answer—loud and clear—detonated fresh waves of heat in her core. Her pussy contracted.

“Fuck,” Curtis ground out, the response somewhere between a laugh and a moan.

Logan answered with his own laugh, shooting a look over his shoulder at his friend even as he drew Bethany closer to his body. “Didn’t expect that?”

“No.”

The undeniable shock in Curtis’s voice sent a flutter of fresh nerves though her. She arched an eyebrow at him, throbbing with an urgent arousal. “But now it’s happened?”

Curtis’s lips twitched. “You know one of the things I was famous for when I was still the captain of the Australian cricket team?”

Bethany shook her head, the raw desire in his eyes flaying at her sanity.

His nostrils flared. “I never ever drop the ball.”

And with that, he strode to where she stood in Logan’s arms and crushed her lips with his.

She melted into the kiss, its passion as fierce as Logan’s previous one. As dominating and demanding. His tongue captured hers, coaxing it into his mouth, taking possession.

She groaned, rolling her hips to grind her belly against the rigid length of Logan’s trapped erection. A warm breeze played over her ass and thighs, reminding her she was outside naked. The thrill of the moment tightened the heady pressure in her sex. The wanton response intensified when Curtis skimmed his hands over her hips as Logan’s lips seared a path down the column of her neck and across the line of her shoulder.

Oh God, two men were kissing her.

Two men.

Two incredible, perfect men.

She tangled the fingers of her right hand in Logan’s hair, raking the fingers of her left across the breadth of Curtis’s back. Her whole body thrummed, on fire with mounting pleasure stoked to a feverish pitch by the hands and lips of the two Australians.

This. This was what she craved. A sexual passion she had no control over. From the moment she’d seen them both, from the first conversation with them in Curtis’s pub, when Curtis had made her laugh with his sardonic dry wit and Logan had made her tremble with his unfathomable intelligence, she’d wanted to surrender her pleasure and body to their touch.

With a groan, Curtis dragged his mouth from hers and scored a line of nipping bites down to the curve of her shoulder even as he found one of her breasts with a firm hand. He pinched her nipple, the action eliciting a swift gasp from her. “Oh yeah.” She rolled her hips again, grinding her belly to Logan’s engorged length. The course denim of his jeans scraped her skin, a friction both sublime and frustrating.

Curtis kneaded her breast again, moving behind her as he did so to press the hard planes of his body to her back, her butt. He journeyed her throat with his lips, mirroring Logan’s kisses with uncanny timing.

She closed her eyes, undone by the pleasure of being sandwiched between them. Naked and exposed and aching for everything they were going to do to her.

And then Logan’s lips weren’t on her throat but sealing around her nipple, suckling on the beaded tip as Curtis held her breast. Feasting on her flesh as his friend offered it to him.

The perfection of the moment tore a whimper from her. Her pussy contracted. It wasn’t just that Logan and Curtis were giving her pleasure and taking their pleasure from her, it was that they were doing it together. Together.

As if aware of her feverish thoughts, Curtis pushed his hips forward, driving his erection harder to the crevice of her ass cheeks. At her breast, Logan moaned. He sucked her nipple harder for an exquisitely agonizing moment and then straightened to his full height, his breath ragged as he rubbed his thick cock to her lower belly. “I suggest we move this inside.”

“Not ready for the world to see your skinny naked arse, Logan?” Curtis chuckled at Bethany’s ear, his teasing fingers taking the place of Logan’s mouth on her nipple.

“You could say that,” Logan answered, gazing down into Bethany’s eyes.

Her heart missed a beat at the blazing hunger in his stare. Hunger, and something else. Something far more profound and powerful.

Don’t get your hopes up, Bethany. Just go with the moment and—

“Let’s go then.” Curtis laughed, snaring her wrist and pulling her from the balcony.

She went willingly, grinning at Logan as he strode along behind them. He ducked his head, pushing his glasses higher on his nose with his index finger in an utterly endearing way.

The unconscious move reminded Bethany all over again how uncertain he could be. It was a puzzling juxtaposition. A confident lover—there was no doubt that’s exactly what he was going to be—and a man with crippling self-confidence.

For a surreal moment, she wondered how two opposite men had found each other. How had the ex-captain of the Australian cricket team, a man who’d confessed to her only a week ago he still had no clue how to set up his DVR to record a weekly program, come to be friends with the biggest thing to happen to the computer world since Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had shook hands in Silicon Valley? Not just friends, but damn near brothers?

The unexpected question stroked at Bethany’s mind as her stilettoes crossed the balcony’s threshold…a second before Curtis tugged her into a sweeping arc around his body to deposit her—ass first—on the sofa.

“Smooth,” Logan’s voice tickled her senses.

“Thanks,” Curtis answered, laughter in his voice.

She looked up at them both, her tummy clenching with barely contained excitement.

The two men regarded her, one from behind spotless glasses, one wearing a relaxed grin.

Two opposite men who made her wetter than she’d ever been.

Who had somehow, just by being themselves, torn down her normal detached indifference to emotions. One on a sexual level. One on a level so much more significant.

And now those two men were about to make love to her.

Curtis hadn’t become the captain of the country’s cricket team by holding back. Risk was everything in professional sport. As was confidence, arrogance and attitude. He took charge of situations. He led.

But tonight, Curtis willingly accepted he wasn’t in charge. And he couldn’t be happier.

Shooting Logan a sideways glance, his chest tightened at the expression on his best mate’s face. It was the expression of a man without doubt or fear. The expression of a man who knew exactly what he wanted and was going to claim it as his.

“Logan?” Curtis murmured, wanting Logan to know Curtis was deferring to him.

Without taking his gaze from the naked American waiting for them on the sofa, Logan removed his glasses. He handed them to Curtis. There were no words, just an assumption Curtis would take them.

He did. Willingly and gladly. Elation threaded through the raw sexual pleasure heating his body. Christ, seeing Logan like this…it was fucking awesome.

“Your move, mate,” he said, fighting to keep his voice steady.

On the sofa, Bethany wriggled. Her gaze held Logan’s, delighted impatience dancing in her eyes.

The sight of her utter intoxication with his best friend sent a shard of liquid heat into Curtis’s groin. He wasn’t a religious man, hell, he wasn’t even a spiritual man, but he couldn’t help but send up a word of thanks to whatever higher power had arranged for Bethany to walk into his pub when Logan had been there.

“Walk around to the back of the sofa, Curtis.”

At Logan’s low commend, Curtis nodded. From the corner of his eye, he saw Bethany press her thighs together, her hand disappearing between them at their junction.

Placing Logan’s glasses on the coffee table, Curtis moved to the back of the sofa, standing directly behind Bethany and watching Logan watch her.

“Smooth your hands over her breasts.”

A low moan slipped from Bethany at Logan’s instruction. Curtis looked down at her just in time to see her arch her spine, thrusting her breasts forward. An offering he gladly accepted.

With his thighs pressed to the back of her head, he slowly inched his palms down her neck and over her collarbone to cover her small, perky breasts. “Fuck, they feel so good in my hands,” he exclaimed, rubbing the centre of his hands against her erect nipples in a tiny circular motion.

From the sofa, Bethany moaned again. “I like that.”

“Don’t stop,” Logan ordered. Curtis didn’t miss the tented bulge in his friend’s jeans.

Without taking his stare from Bethany, Logan untagged the hem of his shirt from his waistband.

“Oh, yes, Logan,” Bethany proclaimed, arching harder into Curtis’s teasing hands. “I can’t wait for you to take your shirt off.”

Curtis saw a flicker of something hesitant in Logan’s eyes. The old fear. The old self-doubt. He knew Logan ran daily on his treadmill. He also knew his friend considered himself a wimp despite the latent strength of his wiry muscles. That his mind—so unfathomably intelligent—could be so clueless on something like this made Curtis want to laugh. And growl with exasperation.

“She means she thinks you’re fucking hot, Logan,” he said with a chuckle, his own muscles coiled tight with growing urgency. The stabbing contact of Bethany’s nipples against his palms was rapidly depleting the flow of blood to his brain and sending it south.

“It means I think you’re fucking hot,” Bethany echoed, shifting on the cushion.

Curtis lowered his gaze to her just in time to see her drag her finger against the folds of her pussy.

He bit back a groan. Shit, if he didn’t get out of his clothes soon, he’d come in his fucking jeans.

Swallowing the sizeable lump in his throat, he lifted his attention to Logan.

The uncertainty had left his friend’s eyes, replaced once again by confident intent. His shirt however, still covered his body. “In that case—” Logan’s lips tugged into a small smile, “—let me show my appreciation for the compliment. Spread your legs wide, Bethany.”

Hot anticipation bloomed in Curtis, even as a distant part of his mind raged against his friend’s shyness. He’d participated in more than one threesome before today. Cricket groupies would do anything for the men they lusted after, and when it came to the ultimate sexual experience, a threesome was bloody amazing. Two guys and a girl, two girls and just him…in his heady pro-cricket-playing days he’d tried all the combinations, including one drunken night when him and his vice-captain had gotten…closer…than they’d intended, but never had he imagined sharing a woman with his best mate. Until Bethany had entered their lives.

Nor had he imagined how fucking hard it would make him.

Jesus, he was about to erupt and all Logan had done was tell Bethany to part her thighs. What was he going to do when Logan—

Without a word, Logan lowered to his knees, slid his hands up the inside of Bethany’s slim thighs and shoved her legs wider.

“Oh God,” Bethany gasped.

“Fuck,” Curtis groaned. His breath grew hot.

“You have a beautiful pussy, Bethany,” Logan said, placing a long index finger on the lips of her sex. “Smooth and perfect.”

Curtis lowered his stare to the object of Logan’s inspection, his cock throbbing at the sight of Bethany’s hairless pussy.

On the sofa, Bethany moaned. She rolled her hips forward, her breasts heaving as Logan stroked his finger along the seam of her slit.

“Is she wet, Logan?”

Logan raised his head at Curtis’s rasped question to regard him with steady blue eyes. And yet, for a second, Curtis thought he glimpsed stunned shock.

Oh my main man. Don’t doubt yourself. Not now. This is your moment, mate. Don’t let it—

“I’m not sure.” Logan’s lips twisted into a tiny smile. “Let me check.”

As Curtis watched, Logan lowered his head to Bethany exposed sex and laved his tongue over her flesh.

“Yes,” Bethany cried, throwing back her head, eyes closed.

Staring down at her face, Curtis kneaded her breasts with greater pressure, pinching each nipple as he did so. Pleasure and joy etched her features. She parted her lips and writhed on the sofa, shoving her hips forward as Logan lapped at the junction of her thighs again.

“Yes,” she moaned, burying one hand into Logan’s hair as she reached up behind her to claw at Curtis’s arm.

The frenzied contact seared through Curtis’s fraying control, sending hot pulses of urgent pressure into his cock. He moved his gaze back to the sight of Logan flicking his tongue over her pussy, his breath growing ragged and shallow.

His cock turned to a rod of agonized need.

“Oh God,” Bethany whimpered, dragging her nails over his forearm down to his wrist. She cupped Curtis’s hand, helping his fingers squeeze her breasts with brutal pressure. “Th-that feels so good. So…I knew…oh God.”

She squirmed on the sofa, mauling her breast with Curtis’s hand as she wrapped her leg around Logan’s shoulder.

Between her thighs, Logan continued to lap at her sex. Curtis watched, his cock pulsing thicker, straining to be free with every glimpse of his friend’s tongue scraping over Bethany’s flesh.

He groaned, almost undone with the need to lower his fly and release his dick from its confines. Bethany’s head was right there, level with his groin. How incredible would it be to sink his length past her lips? To fuck her mouth while Logan fucked her with his tongue?

And yet he held off. By sheer willpower and love for his best mate, he held off. Logan was in control. And that state of affairs turned the concentrated desire in Curtis’s body to a level beyond his experience or understanding. He didn’t want it any other way.

He’d spent his life being the leader, the one to call the shots. But for Logan, he willingly relinquished that role.

His cock swelled fatter at the thought. A choked groan fell from him.

As if feeling his delirious ecstasy, Logan lifted his head from between Bethany’s thighs and studied him. “I think…” he said, his lips glistening with her juices, “you should suck her breasts, Curtis.”

With a smirk, Curtis nodded at his best mate. “I think you’re right.”

He bent over Bethany’s shoulder, pressed his knees to the back of the sofa and closed his lips around her left nipple.

She bucked against the contact, her gasp high and wavery. “Oh yeah.” Her nails scraped at the back of his shoulder.

He didn’t doubt she’d marked his flesh, even with the protection of his shirt. In glorious retaliation, he closed his teeth around her nipple.

“Yes!” She clawed at him again, harder. Encouraging more.

He gave it to her, biting once again on the beaded tip of her breast with greater force before sucking it deeply into his mouth and rolling his tongue over it.

“Fuck.” She writhed on the sofa. “Fuck, this is incredible! This is—oh God!”

At her hitching cry, Curtis opened his eyes to see what Logan had done.

His best friend was looking up at them both, eyes burning with open desire, Bethany’s pleasure wet his lips and chin. His hand was buried between Bethany’s spread thighs.

Cock a throbbing rod, Curtis watched as Logan twisted his wrist, his fingers deep within Bethany’s pussy.

Once again, Bethany cried out, the sound raw and willing. Her nails raked at Curtis’s shoulder, down his arm. Her hips bucked.

Logan twisted his wrist again, his nostril flaring as he watched Bethany’s reaction to his penetration.

She slammed her hips upward, another cry of rapture bursting from her lips.

The sight of Logan’s fingers disappearing into her sweet slit over and over with slow, methodical precision and intent sent a wave of hot lust through Curtis. As did the savage way Bethany dug her nails into his arm as she writhed on the sofa.

He met Logan’s stare, his breath catching at the unspoken trust in his friend’s eyes. Logan would do anything for Curtis. He knew that, and right now, Logan was giving him that, sharing the only thing Logan truly wanted.

His whole body thrummed, not just with sexual urgency for the woman they both desired, but with a profound trust for the man.

They truly were together on this.

Together on bringing Bethany to the heights of sexual rapture. Together on experiencing it with her.

Head swimming with charged need, cock aching with engorged want, he tore his stare from Logan’s eyes and took her nipple in his mouth again.

He sucked that perfect bead of flesh until her moans turned wild. He worshipped with his tongue and teeth as he mirrored his mouth’s rhythm with his fingers on her other nipple.

“Oh God, yes…” she gasped. “L-Logan…Curtis…this is…”

Once again, her words gave way to whimpering noises. Curtis wanted to lift his head to see what Logan was doing, but couldn’t find the willpower to stop suckling on her breast. How could he when it was so warm, so soft and lush and exquisite?

“This is what, Bethany?” Logan’s voice danced on her hitching pants. “Tell me.”

“G-good,” she groaned, driving her nails into Curtis’s shoulder again. Her body shook, trembles that echoed her shallow breaths. “So good.”

From between her thighs, Logan chuckled. “I think we can do better than good, don’t you, Curtis?”

Kneading her other breast with increased pressure, Curtis withdrew his mouth from her nipple and raised his head to meet his friend’s gaze. “I think we can. What do you have in mind?”

Logan’s smile grew haughty. “This.”

As Curtis watched, his friend, the man who’d had difficulty even making eye contact with a woman for most of the time Curtis had known him, rose slowly to his knees, sank two fingers into Bethany’s pussy and took her right nipple with his mouth.

Needing no prompting, Curtis returned his own mouth to Bethany’s other breast. Closed his lips around her nipple and sucked.

Hard.

End of Extended Sample

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