Their virgin mistress, p.14
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       Their Virgin Mistress, p.14
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         Part #7 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black

  been a bastard. He slid it to his brother.

  “I believe you.” But Oliver was already opening the private investigator’s report. “I could use a drink.”

  “Then go home and get one,” Callum shot back stubbornly.

  “No one is leaving until we figure out what to do,” Rory said decisively. “We must fix this situation.”

  “What is there to do?” Oliver ran a hand through his hair. “She quit. She’s leaving tomorrow.”

  “Well, we can choose not to accept her resignation, for starters.” Rory took a sip and sighed. “I don’t believe she truly wants to leave.”

  “She seemed fairly certain she did when she attempted to eviscerate Oliver with her umbrella.” Callum wished she’d gotten in a good hit. “I’ll be surprised if she shows up for work. I’m going to be at her doorstep first thing in the morning. I’ll convince her to let me go with her. You’ll have my resignation in the morning, too. And you won’t talk me out of it.”

  He knew one thing in the world: He wanted to be with her. And after talking to Thea tonight, perhaps leaving London for a while would be a good thing. She’d been off, and not simply zany, the way she’d been before. She’d actually convinced herself they were a couple. Claire had called the police, but not before Thea had made a terrible scene.

  He could lay that at Oliver’s feet, too. His older brother had taken the limo, leaving the rest of them to find their own ride. Luckily, a friend had dropped them home after the nasty row with Thea. She’d accused him of sleeping with whores. Had she been talking about Tori? What did she know about their relationship? The last thing he needed was Thea confronting Tori, though after seeing Tori’s fierce anger, Callum wasn’t quite as worried. Unfortunately, her fury had been aimed at him and Rory—the wrong brothers.

  “You should go with her.” Oliver nodded. “She needs you. I don’t like the thought of her out in the world on her own. Trouble seems to follow her.”

  “Both of you are idiots, and I’m only going to have the rest of this conversation because she deserves to get what she wants. Though I have my worries that she no longer wants any of us.” Rory set his glass down.

  “What are you talking about?” The truth was, Callum didn’t want to leave England. This was his home, but he couldn’t see a way out of it now. He certainly couldn’t see them being one big happy family.

  “She won’t run off with you, Cal. I know you think she will but she won’t separate or hurt this family. She’s got too much integrity. It’s exactly why she hadn’t given in to any one of us until tonight. Callum, how did you get her alone? I seriously doubt she jumped you in the conference room.”

  He felt himself flush. He wasn’t proud of what he’d done. He’d thought she simply needed a little push to give into her desire. Once she had, she’d responded beautifully. “I might have told her I would exchange my silence about the false engagement for a kiss, and things might have escalated from there.”

  “You blackmailed her.” Oliver’s lips thinned to a judgmental line.

  “It was only supposed to be a kiss. I was giving her the nudge she needed.”

  “To fuck you? At least I didn’t blackmail her,” Oliver snapped.

  “So how did it happen?” Rory asked.

  Oliver’s eyes tightened, a sure sign he was feeling guilty. “I told you, trouble follows her. She was attacked as she walked into the building. We’re lucky I have a key card.”

  Callum’s gut knotted. “Attacked?”

  “Well, she was walking around wearing ridiculously expensive jewelry, thanks to you,” Oliver pointed out. “Though she had nearly been attacked recently, too.”

  “Are you serious?” Rory demanded.

  “Like I said, trouble finds her. She must look like an easy target.” Oliver shrugged. “Tonight, like last time, I fought the man off. When we reached her flat, the adrenaline kicked in. We ended up in bed. Everything was fine until…”

  “You found out she was a virgin,” Rory stated flatly.

  “How did you know?” Oliver asked.

  “She was really a virgin?” Callum could scarcely believe it. She was so beautiful, so sensual. How had she remained untouched all these years? Were American men idiots? Had he known her as a teen, he would have spent all his time trying to get into her knickers.

  “Do you two know her at all?” Rory shook his head as though tired of the lot of them. “She was obviously inexperienced. I wasn’t sure she was a virgin, but I knew she hadn’t had more than one or two men in her life. After her parents died, she tried not to be a burden or create problems for her sister. She never got into the kinds of trouble other teenagers do. She went to school and she worked a job to help out Piper financially.”

  “How do you know this?” Callum demanded. He and Tori had talked about a lot of things, but mostly current events and things like movies she enjoyed.

  “Because I asked her. I like her. That’s a foolish thing to say. I love her.” Rory looked as resolved as he sounded. “I wanted to know everything about her.”

  Another brother he had to compete with. “Yet you’re willing to give her up for Oliver?”

  Rory shook his head. “Not anymore.”

  “So you two will battle it out?” Oliver’s shoulders drooped wearily.

  How long had it been since he’d managed a decent night’s sleep? Years, Callum would bet.

  Before he or Rory could answer, Oliver sighed. “I told you she would tear us apart. It’s why I tried to stay away from her.”

  “That’s not the reason, and you know it.” He was sick of his older brother’s denial. “You stayed away from her because you’re convinced every woman is Yasmin. I bet she wasn’t a virgin when you took her the first time.”

  “No, she wasn’t and she was also a liar. She claimed she’d had one lover, though now I’m sure it was many more. I didn’t care. I don’t care about virginity. It isn’t some prize to be claimed. Though I think in Tori’s case it was a gift she gave. I fear I rejected it quite harshly.”

  Rory clapped Oliver on the shoulder, a gesture both soothing and threatening. “You made a mistake. You can apologize for it.”

  Oliver shrugged. “Do you know what I was really angry about?”

  Callum could bet. “That you may have gotten her pregnant.”

  An unwilling sympathy flared through him. Callum didn’t want to feel for Oliver, but he knew how those lost children haunted him. Perhaps if he and Yasmin had made the decision together that they weren’t ready for children, Oliver might have forgiven himself. But the bitch had convinced him that she’d wanted those babies. She’d sworn that she had miscarried, and Oliver had blamed himself for not seeing through her.

  “Tori would never deceive me the way Yasmin did. If she found herself pregnant, she would talk to me. Even I’m not that stupid,” Oliver said. “I know intellectually that Tori is as far from Yasmin as a rabbit from a rabid tiger, but in the moment, I reacted poorly.”

  “All right, then we huddle up here until we come up with a plan of action,” Rory suggested.

  Callum was a bit worried Rory would ask him for a white board and dry erase markers and turn this entire thing into some weird business meeting. “What kind of action can we take?” The enormity of the situation hit him. They really were fucked. He loved Tori. Rory loved Tori. Oliver would never admit it, but he loved her, too. “No matter what we do, she gets hurt. Two of us do, as well.”

  Could he actually battle it out with his own brothers? That hadn’t seemed like a real possibility until tonight. Now Callum wasn’t sure he had the right to take her from them…or them from her.

  “Or we do this together like we should have from the beginning,” Rory cut into his thoughts. “We go after her as brothers looking for a wife. We treat her with respect and love.”

  Though he’d just been thinking the same thing, Callum recoiled. “That sounds terrible. Especially the ‘respect’ part. That sounds very much like none of us will be getti
ng any.”

  Rory stared at him, a single brow arching over his left eye. “I put forth a plan, and the only problem you have is with the word respect?”

  “I can respect her and still sleep with her.” Callum was actually shocked to find he was okay with everything else.

  Perhaps they could share her, share the intimacy. Share the responsibility. Lift each other when they were down. Become a team to create a truly cohesive family.

  Yes, he didn’t mind that concept at all, but the no sex bit wouldn’t work. Ever.

  “As it happens, I agree with you,” Rory assured. “I think we should take her to bed as soon as possible. When I talked about respect, I meant we have to think about her needs. We have to respect that she might need a bit of time to get used to the idea. We definitely have to respect the relationship we’re attempting and one another. So no plotting behind my back to run away with her. I will hunt you down. You might be the athlete in the family, but I was the marksman.”

  Callum grinned, feeling something ease inside him. “Don’t run off with our girl or I’ll shoot you like that fox at Benedict Pine’s eighteenth birthday party and beer bash. Got it. Hey, I just thought of rule number two. Never mention anything that happened at Benedict Pine’s eighteenth birthday party. Tori is surprisingly sensitive for a girl from Texas. She’d be upset about the fox. Well, and the strippers.”

  Oliver slapped at the bar, gaining Cal’s attention. He scowled. “What is wrong with you two? It’s not going to work. Cal, do you understand what he wants?”

  “He wants to share Tori.”

  “You do know he’s not talking about a time share. You’re not going to sign up for custody of the wife and pass her off when your turn is up. He’s talking about all three of you in bed together. Do you understand what that means?”

  “It means we’re going to have to learn to communicate so our balls don’t ever touch. I’m serious about that, Rory. Perhaps we’ll come up with a series of hand gestures.”

  Rory rolled his eyes. “Certainly. We’ll get right on that.” He stopped and smiled at Callum in a way he hadn’t in forever, as if they were young and had a secret. “We’re going to give her what she needs. She needs all of us.”

  Oliver stood. “You’re insane if you think that will work. What will you tell Claire? How will our sister handle this ménage of yours?”

  “It will be a marriage,” Rory corrected him. “And Claire is the one who made me see I was being a ridiculous prude. She’ll stand by us.”

  “What about when the tabloids start questioning your and Callum’s sexuality?” Oliver pointed out.

  Callum couldn’t care less. “I’ve got about a thousand women who will testify to my intense heterosexuality.” That actually sounded quite bad. He winced. “Rule number three—never mention our ‘number’ to our wife.”

  He liked the idea of calling Tori “our wife.” It sounded right.

  “I don’t give a damn what they say. I’m Rory Thurston-Hughes and I don’t follow society. Society can follow me, and if they choose not to, they can go to hell. I’m not living my life by their rules anymore. We’ll set our own.”

  Damn, Callum was suddenly proud of his brother. They’d all suffered in the last several years. It was past time to come out from under Yasmin’s dark cloud and back into the light. “Besides, we’re marrying a publicist. Tori can spin the whole thing. She’s good at that. We’ll be honoring her Bezakistani heritage.”

  “She’s from Texas,” Oliver pointed out stubbornly.

  “Well, then, she can shoot anyone who thinks to soil our reputations.” Callum couldn’t help but grin. He felt lighter than he had in years. “We’re going to do something completely crazy and it’s going to work. She’s not going to be able to resist the three of us.”

  “Correction: the two of you,” Oliver said. “I won’t be a part of this. I’ve hurt her enough already. I won’t make a mockery of her.”

  Naturally Oliver had to be the one to put a damper on things. Callum got between his brother and the door. “Then you’ll work against us?”

  Oliver’s eyes met his. “No. I’ll stand by you if you decide to go through with this insanity.”

  “You know you want her, too, Ollie,” Rory pointed out, his voice low and coaxing.

  “I do, but I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t want her and I care enough about her to know she damn well shouldn’t want me. I hope she doesn’t refuse you because of anything I’ve done. I should have known better than to lose my head tonight.” He sidestepped Callum and made it to the door. “Try to take care of her. She really does get into trouble.”

  And he was gone, closing the door behind him quietly.

  Callum stared after Oliver for a moment. “I don’t know how he’ll handle it. Do you really think he’ll manage all right having Tori for a sister-in-law?”

  “Absolutely not. It’s going to drive him mad, and we’ll rub his nose in the fact that we’re making love to her at every opportunity.” A look of satisfaction crossed Rory’s face.

  He agreed with Rory’s assessment. Oliver wouldn’t be able to hold out forever. All it had taken was one adrenaline-fueled event, and he’d forgotten to don a condom. What was he going to do when he could hear her moan all night, then had to sit across the breakfast table from her the next morning?

  “I thought you believed in the gentle method of repairing his ego,” Callum challenged.

  “Well, we’ve seen how effective that approach was.” Rory poured himself another glass. “He’ll come around. We’ll let him in when he does and pray Tori doesn’t take another umbrella to his arse.”

  “And if he doesn’t come around?”

  “Then we move on with our lives and we make sure our wife is as happy as we possibly can. I’ve tried to force him to see that what happened with Yasmin wasn’t his fault, but he’s insisting on this self-flagellation. He’ll have to realize the truth himself. He’s right about her getting into trouble though. We’ll need to keep an eye on her. I hate to think what could have happened if Oliver hadn’t followed her home tonight.”

  The thought chilled Callum to the bone, but he had other questions. “She took a cab and Oliver was following her. He thinks it was about the jewelry. But why would someone wait outside this building on the off chance that a woman wearing enormously expensive jewels might happen by?”

  Rory thought for a moment. “It’s an exclusive building.”

  “But it’s filled with contract workers. They’re more likely to be carrying briefcases and laptops than wearing jewels. Most of the tenants in this building are single men, and that’s reason enough to get her out of here.” He didn’t like the thought that the attempted armed robbery wasn’t random.

  “We won’t let her wander about at night by herself anymore.”

  He needed to get his investigator on Thea. He wouldn’t put it past her to try to eliminate the competition. “And if this has something to do with Thea? Should I be close to Tori while that psychotic bitch is still after me?”

  “You’re not pushing her away now. We’ll protect her if the need arises. Now think fast because we’re going to be on her doorstep in a few hours. We must have a plan to stop her from both quitting and leaving.”

  Callum meandered to the window as the ideas flowed. He and Rory spent the hours before dawn plotting and planning—and it was all for naught.

  When they knocked on her door at seven a.m., she was already gone.

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  “How are you doing?” Princess Alea asked as she walked into the room. Alea was a lovely woman with sun-kissed skin and blue-black hair. She grinned down at her son and got to her knees to give the toddler a kiss on the forehead.

  Tori looked up and sighed. Everyone asked her that question. It was the most popular query in the palace these days. Since that morning two weeks before when she’d snuck out of her building in the early morning hours and gone to her sister’s flat in London, it seemed the royal family had
made it their hobby to worry about her. “I’m good.”

  She was physically fine. Her period had come and gone, and with it any hope of having a piece of the Thurston-Hughes brothers.

  She tried to tell herself that was a good thing.

  Alea sat on the floor, picking up a block and setting it down in front of her son. All three of the royal boys were crawling across the playroom floor, though the youngest, Michael, was just starting out. He did that super-cute baby thing where he managed to roll over and then push himself up to his knees, then he pulsed back and forth like he was going to take off any minute and it would be so cool.

 
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