Kat’s mouth dropped open at Tristan’s bald statement.
Naked and between them.
Oh, god, yes. That sounded wonderful.
She wanted that. And everything that went with it. All she needed was the courage to take what they offered.
Go ahead. Do it. Say yes.
Tristan watched her, his expression intent and a challenge in his eyes. From the very first, he’d been upfront about exactly what that he wanted. Which was her.
Nothing in her life had prepared her for Tristan. No one had ever pursued her with such straightforward commitment. It made her ache for everything he wanted to give her.
At the same time, it made her wary of giving herself over to him and having the rug pulled out from under her later.
That was a game her mother liked to play. Give with one hand and take away with the other.
Kat had learned to be wary of anyone who offered her anything with no visible strings attached. There were always strings. Something else her mother had taught her.
Her gaze skipped to Adam, who had all sorts of hidden strings. She wasn’t sure she had the necessary tools to deal with him. He held his emotions so closely in check, she sometimes wondered if he felt anything at all. Well, anything besides lust.
If they continued this affair, she’d have to learn to deal with that. And decide if she could live with a man who only wanted her sexually.
If Adam didn’t commit… If he was only in it for the short-term...
Could she live with knowing she would be only a bed partner to him?
Can you live with knowing you didn’t even try?
She’d regret it every single day.
“I want that, too.”
Tristan’s immediate smile lit him up, stealing the air from her lungs. His expression transformed into one of a man who’d gotten exactly what he wanted. Which was her. The thought made excitement sizzle and pop along her nerves.
Then she slid another glance at Adam and panic nipped at her confidence.
“It’s just…” She struggled to pick the right words. “I’m just not sure I know how to do…this.”
Tristan shook his head. “There’s no right or wrong. We’ll figure out what works for us as we go.”
She nodded but that didn’t exactly make her feel better. She liked having a plan. Liked knowing what was expected of her. Where she fit into the scheme of things.
Adam’s voice made her blink before her gaze flipped to him.
“We want this. Both of us.”
Adam stared at her just as intently as Tristan had seconds ago. But his eyes lacked the warmth Tristan’s held. Or did they?
She couldn’t read Adam. As much as she tried, as much as she wanted to, she didn’t know what he was thinking. The only thing she was sure of was Adam’s desire for her. That was clear as day.
Frustration bit at her. Would it always be like this? Would she always be lacking something in Adam’s eyes? And did it matter, if she found what she needed in Tristan’s?
“Do you? How can I know that for sure?”Adam’s chin lifted. “You can’t. You can only trust me when I say that I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”
She absolutely believed that. She also knew that Adam’s bond to Tristan was so strong, Adam might accept her into his bed simply because he knew that’s what Tristan wanted.
Except that didn’t explain yesterday’s encounter.
“Did you tell him?”
The question escaped before she could bite her tongue. She wanted to take back the words immediately. Glancing at Tristan, he didn’t look shocked or surprised as Adam nodded.
That pressing weight on her shoulders suddenly felt twenty times lighter.
“Good. That’s…good. I don’t want there to be secrets.”
With a widening grin, Tristan took a step closer. “I’m glad we’re on the same page. Adam and I know each other. We trust each other. You’re not a prize we’re competing for. You’re the woman we want to make love to.”
Desire heated her blood at the warmth in Tristan’s eyes. Her fingers itched with the urge to reach out and run her fingers along Tristan’s strong jaw. To feel the slight abrasion of his whiskers against her skin. To let her fingers run down his neck to the broad muscles of his chest. Wanted to strip off his shirt and press her naked body against his.
She wanted Adam to plaster himself against her back, grip her hips with his hands and bite her neck so hard he left a mark.
Her gaze flipped to Adam, who’d held his ground.
“But you have to understand,” Adam said. “I’m not Tristan. I’m not easy.”
Amazingly, Adam’s blunt statement made her smile. As her lips curved, Adam’s expression lost some of its darkness.
“I’ve actually been able to pick that up on my own.”
Tristan cut the distance between them by another step and her heart skipped a couple of beats.
“So are you ready to eat?’ Tristan asked.
She blinked. “You want to eat first?”
Tristan’s grin widened and even Adam’s lips curved.
Reaching for her hand, Tristan squeezed her fingers then rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. “We’re not just interested in sex.”
Neither was she. But relationships were fraught with even more pitfalls than “just sex.”
She looked at Adam.
“Do you want to eat?”
She did. Her stomach rumbled at the thought. “Dinner. Yes. Let’s order dinner.”“Or would you rather we lay you out on the table and show you why you won’t be sorry you said yes?”
Q&A with Stephanie Julian:
How did you come up with the idea for this story? The Indecent series started two years ago, when I was asked to be in an anthology and needed to come up with a story in the space of a couple of days. The plot for An Indecent Proposition came to me after staring at a blank page and thinking, “What the hell am I going to write?” I wanted it to be a ménage, because I love writing ménage, and then I started to riff on the Beauty and the Beast story. For An Indecent Affair, I had already set up Kat’s backstory and knew she would need two strong men to help her become the woman she needed to be.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Love should be the motivating factor in everything you do. I totally believe the world would be a better place for it.
What books have influenced your life most? My own books? Seduced by Magic set me on my erotic romance career so that one’s obvious. The book that made me want to be a writer? Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. Totally set me on the path. The book that made me want to write romance? Anything by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I’ve been reading her since sixth grade and she totally shaped my sensibilities as a reader. The book that kick-started my personal journey to publication? Possibly Ann Rice’s Interview with A Vampire. I remember reading that book and thinking this is what I want to do. I want to write. I was in high school.