Their virgin secretary, p.26
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       Their Virgin Secretary, p.26

         Part #6 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black
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  relationship, they quickly let us know that Tate could pop in for sex, but they didn’t want to see him socially.”

  Belle gasped. “That’s terrible.”

  The utter horror in her voice made Eric breathe a little easier. “It’s true, and now he thinks that’s what you’re doing. He’s convinced you prefer Kellan to him, but that you’re willing to fuck him because he’s good in bed.” At Belle’s shocked frown, Eric shrugged. “It’s exactly what our last girlfriend told him.”

  “I didn’t mean anything like that. I had no idea anyone had treated him so awfully. I just need time to figure out where this is going, Eric.”

  “And for that you want us all to go back to our corners and pretend like last night didn’t happen?” He wasn’t sure he could do it.

  “You keep assuming the worst. It’s nothing like that. Whatever time you have, I want to spend it with you, Tate, and Kellan. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to shove anyone out the door. I just can’t give you the assurances you want right this second. I get the feeling you guys have been thinking this out for months. I haven’t, and everything in my life has changed suddenly. Maybe I would feel different if I hadn’t inherited this house, but I did and I already love it here. I’ve been ready for a change. I can’t go back to being just your secretary. Can’t you see that?”

  “We’ve been slowly preparing you to be with us for almost a year. We waited until you wouldn’t think we were lecherous bosses like your last one and until you really got to know Tate. We waited for Kell to trust you. But we always had a plan. We might not have been traditionally dating, but we’ve spent every spare second we had with you.”

  “While you ‘dated’ other women.” She made air quotes with her fingers.

  “What other women? Name one.”

  “I know about that skinny paralegal at Johnson and Forbes.”

  So she wanted to debate? This was so up his alley…

  “That ended about two weeks before you came to work for us. Next?”

  She crossed her arms over her chest. “Are you going to tell me you don’t go to that club? Or that there are no women there.”

  Apparently, Belle was under some very mistaken impressions. He’d be more than happy to correct them. “No, we went because Kellan has been sponsoring our training. But that isn’t what’s bothering you, is it, Belle? You think we were out having a grand old time while you took care of the office. I’d like to know why you think any woman is more important to us than you. We haven’t brought one female to the office who wasn’t there in a professional capacity. We answer your calls at all hours of the day or night and drop anything we’re doing to take care of your needs. One of us takes you to lunch nearly every day and dinner at least once a week. We’ve spent a year taking care of you. What makes you think we were sleeping with other women?”

  Her brows rose as her jaw dropped. “Are you trying to tell me you haven’t had sex in a year?”

  “I’m telling you I haven’t had sex with anyone but you since the moment I laid eyes on you. Neither has Tate. After his divorce, Kellan fucked everything in sight. But shortly after you came to work for us, he tapered off. He hasn’t slept with anyone else in easily six months. For a guy who used to get a different piece of ass every night, that says a lot. We all knew who we wanted and we were willing to be patient until the time was right.”

  “The time was never going to be right.” Tate shoved the door open and stood, his eyes flat.

  “I thought you went for a run.” Eric stared at his best friend.

  Tate looked dangerous, his eyes predatory, every muscle in his body still as though ready to strike. Suddenly, Eric was worried that Belle was Tate’s prey.

  She looked hesitant, but raised her chin and approached him. “Tate, we should talk.”

  When she reached for him, he jerked away. “Nothing to say. We’re not going anywhere until we’re sure you’re safe. In the meantime, you want to explore sex? You can do it with us. I was gentle with you last night, but if this is just a fuck, then we’re going to do this my way—hot and dirty.”

  Tate didn’t wait for her reply, just swept her in his arms, against his chest, and headed for the stairs.

  “Hey,” Eric called, following after them.

  Kellan met him in the hall, and Eric wondered if he’d been listening on the other side of the door since he supposedly left. “Don’t. He might be right, and Belle isn’t exactly protesting. Let’s join them and see where this goes.”

  “I don’t know. He’s emotional.” When Tate exploded, it could get spectacular.

  “In normal circumstances, I’d prevent him from sceneing, but maybe this is what Belle needs. She’s shut down. Make her feel, force her to open up, but you have to break through those walls or you have zero chance.” Kellan stared after Tate and Belle. “I can stay down here, if you’d rather. But you definitely need to get upstairs.”

  He slapped Kellan on the back. Maybe they could break down some of his walls, too. “Come on. Help me see if we can save this.”

  They walked up the stairs, Eric’s heart pounding.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Arms hooked around Tate’s neck, Belle looked into his face, her heart softening even as she told herself this was an absolutely terrible idea. He climbed up the stairs two at a time, her weight seemingly not a burden to him at all.

  “Tate,” she called softly. “We really should talk. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

  He didn’t break stride, didn’t acknowledge that she’d spoken. He just stared straight ahead, his strong face closed off. “Tell me whether or not you want this. That’s the only conversation we need to have.”

  Belle bit her lip. She’d done a number on him. She hadn’t realized it at the time, but now she understood that he’d misinterpreted everything she’d said through his own filter. Unwittingly, she’d pushed his buttons. “I don’t even know what this is anymore, Tate.”

  “Sex. That’s it.”

  No, it wasn’t. He might be angry, but he couldn’t stop caring for her in the blink of an eye any more than she could stop caring for him. He was simply hurt, and she’d have to help him understand that she wasn’t pushing him aside for Eric or Kell.

  That realization helped her find an inner well of calm, even as he kicked open the bedroom door. The knob bounced off the wall, but he either didn’t notice or didn’t care, just strode into the room and headed for the bed. Given his predatory mien, she should probably be trying to escape or at least balking, but Tate would never hurt her, even if she had wounded him deeply.

  She palmed his nape and tried to catch his remote dark stare. He looked past her, and that made Belle ache. He was a little too good at shutting her out. Then again, growing up he had probably learned from the best.

  What had his childhood been like, raised in a cold household by unfeeling parents who had valued only his intellect while repressing his big heart? Eric had been his first—and for years, his only—friend. They balanced one another.

  How would she feel if she’d constantly been told that she was the inadequate half of a whole? Belle kind of understood how crappy that must be. Kinley had always been far more outgoing, the fun, bubbly blonde people gravitated to. If she and Kinley had shared the sort of life Eric and Tate did, she would have been the one on the outside looking in. She’d tasted how bitter that was over the years. Those memories made her ache for Tate even more.

  “Those women were wrong to reject you in favor of Eric. You’re so wonderful, Tate. For so many things besides sex.”

  He settled her onto the bed where they’d made love the night before. He could call it sex, but they both knew better. They’d made love. She wished she knew how to open herself, embrace the experience, and trust that it could last.

  As Tate followed her to the mattress and pinned her under him, she lay in his arms, offering her acceptance. Even when he was mad at her, he treated her with such care. She blinked up into his dark eyes, hoping he could see her welc
ome.

  “It doesn’t matter, Belle. Are you saying yes or no? If you say yes, then you should prepare to submit. If you say no, understand that I won’t ask you again. I’ll leave you to Kellan and Eric. No matter how you answer, I’ll make sure you’re safe. But I will keep my distance.”

  Belle hated ultimatums, but she understood. If she said no, Tate would put a wall between them. Not to punish her, but to protect himself. He’d done a remarkable job of making her feel safe with him, but she hadn’t tried to do the same for him. Remorse stung her.

  What did she want, to risk her heart for something that probably wouldn’t last or to open herself up and surrender to the men she loved for whatever time they shared?

  Eric entered the room. Kellan hovered in the doorway. All eyes fastened on her. Expectation hung in the air.

  These men really would put their lives on hold until she was safe. After that, they would return to their homes and their careers. They’d leave her. If by some miracle they didn’t, their little quartet wouldn’t work if Kellan wasn’t even willing to try.

  Of course, could she really expect complete security in the relationship? No one had that. She especially couldn’t expect it if she wasn’t ready to commit herself. And she didn’t need a commitment to have sex.

  Belle’s thoughts raced. Did she want to go back to simply sharing a roof with them? Most likely, they only had a few days left together. Hell, even if they’d promised her a lifetime, that didn’t always work out. Her father had vowed to love her mother forever and he’d died. When her mom had given birth, she’d committed to being a parent, but after her dad’s death, she hadn’t lived up to that obligation. Her mother’s detachment had hurt and confused Belle. She’d shut everyone out after that. With the exception of Kinley, she still did.

  But now, these three men tempted her. Not just sexually. She could really be herself with them—a rarity for her. They set her at ease. Why shouldn’t she experience what they shared to the fullest while they were here? Find pleasure and joy? Her skin heated at just the thought of feeling them deep inside her again. Her heart warmed at the thought of being close to them. Even if it didn’t last, she’d have these days to hold close to her heart.

  “Yes.” There was nothing else to say.

  “Do you understand what you’re saying yes to, love?” Kellan stepped into the room. His whole body hardened, his previous calm gone. Before her stood a Dom.

  Her Dom.

  “Yes. I’m agreeing to submit to you in the bedroom.” Elsewhere, she would insist on being an equal partner for as long as it lasted or she’d be unable to live with herself.

  Eric let out a sexy growl. “In the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom—whatever room we want. We’re not going to always carry you to the comfort of a bed, Belle. We’ll have you in every room of this house. We’ll take you wherever we want you. I’ll flip up your skirt or pull down your pants, and you’ll take my cock. Do you understand?”

  She would be theirs to play with at their whim—whenever they wanted. The thought more than excited her.

  “I understand,” she murmured.

  “Good. I want you now, Belle.” Tate pulled his shirt over his head with an impatient yank. “Strip and present yourself to us.”

  She sat up and unbuttoned her blouse with shaking hands. “How?”

  She’d read descriptions of it in erotic romances, but being this close to the guys made her feel too jumbled and hot to remember the details.

  Kellan dipped into her personal space. “First of all, look at your Dom when you ask him a question. No more hiding. We’ve let you slide by on that for too long.”

  She bit her bottom lip and stared at his chest, finding it difficult to meet his stare. “I’m not hiding.”

  Gently, he cupped her chin and forced it up. His stare bored into her. “You are right now. Look at me, not away, when you should connect. There will be no more dodging us. When we speak, unless you’re told otherwise, look directly at us. Do you understand?”

  She hadn’t realized she’d been avoiding eye contact. But somehow, when they flipped her submissive switch, that backbone she’d relied on since her mother had withdrawn in grief after her father’s passing just seemed to go on hiatus.

  Belle sucked in a deep breath and forced herself to nod, their gazes still connected. “Yes.”

  “Yes, Sir,” Eric corrected. “When we’re playing, you’re to call each one of us Sir or we’ll punish you.”

  “Yes, Sir.” She could remember that. It would be harder to constantly make eye contact. The visual connection could be so squirm-worthy, so intimate.

  Kellan released her chin. “Now ask Tate your question.”

  They were going to make this difficult for her. She could tell because Tate didn’t come to her rescue the way he normally would by volunteering the information. Instead of telling her how to present herself, he simply stood over her, arms crossed, watching and waiting. Standing on shaking legs, she tangled her gaze with his and studied him.

  Little lines feathered around his eyes, along with a few others that had formed around his normally big smile. Now, his expression looked somber, lacking his usual spark. Already, she missed the Tate she’d come to know and love. Funny, gentle, considerate and earnest. God, she wanted that man back. She didn’t know this one at all. The fact that she’d helped create him killed her.

  Belle edged closer to say something—anything. She watched him closely, heard his breath hitch slightly the instant she drew near.

  “How do I present myself, Sir?”

  His jaw firmed, forming a straight, stubborn line. She had the sudden desire to run her hand across it, to brush her fingertips there. To reassure him. She stopped herself. He was too angry and hurt to want her softness now. She would have to be patient and find other ways to prove that, even if she couldn’t commit to forever, he still mattered.

  “Take your clothes off. Get on your knees and spread them wide. Place your hands on your thighs, palms up. Remember this position. You’ll greet your Doms like this to show us you’re ready to submit.” Every word came in the same staccato grind he used when explaining a point of law or lecturing a client.

  She never looked away, focusing solely on his instruction and his dark stare. Their deeper visual bond made her aware that, without uttering a sound, he said so much. Words could lie, but his eyes didn’t. Tate might try to put forth a cold façade, but the sweetheart she knew was still in there. Belle’s heart melted.

  Now that he’d been hurt by women, including her, sex seemed like the only way he could connect with her and retain his pride. Surrendering to him might not fix everything wrong between them, but she could give him her body, her warmth, her comfort, and hope that would help him find a better place.

  Belle shrugged out of her shirt and turned to toss her clothes on the bed. Instead, Kellan held out his hand. Without a word, she draped her blouse across his palm and looked his way for confirmation.

  “Yes, love.” He snagged her stare and fused them together. “This is what we want and what you need. Give me everything else you’re wearing.”

  She didn’t try to look away.

  Pride gleamed in his eyes. The knowledge that she pleased him calmed her. Eric’s expression was a mirror of Kell’s. Even Tate looked grudgingly satisfied with her progress.

  Making eye contact helped Belle to understand them so much more clearly. How had she not known it would? Because she’d avoided a lot of connection and closeness for most of her life. She’d let that tragic autumn when she’d been eleven change her. But all her questions about her lovers’ feelings seemed to have answers when she really looked into their eyes. The adoration she saw there took her breath away.

  Belle realized now that they didn’t just watch her because they thought she was pretty, but because they cared for her and wanted to make her happy. They might not know it, but those desires went both ways.

  Kinley had explained the power exchange. She submitted. They
supported, protected, and cherished. They gave her what she needed. Right now, she wanted that so badly.

  “Start with the bra, Belle.” Eric stepped closer, caressing her with just a look.

  He was the glue holding them all together. She hadn’t realized that until just now, but she could see that Tate and Kellan were the real opposites, while Eric provided the middle ground. He bent, compromising his own wishes to suit the needs of the group. He would always put his family first. Belle admired him so much.

  She worked the clasp of her bra, allowing her breasts to spring free. As the cool air brushed her skin, she breathed deeply, feeling the weight of her breasts against her body and the nipples peak under their stares. They made it so hard not to want something with them beyond the here and now. They made it hard not to love them.

  She shoved her pants off her hips, along with her underwear, before handing everything to Kellan. Two days before, she couldn’t have imagined being so comfortable naked, but now she liked how
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