**Quick update: Sue Barr has a short interview with me up on her website:
Sue Barr’s blog
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There are many reasons why this story will satisfy. Here’s a threesome you can sigh over.
Fresh from Crusade in Palestine, Lord Garon has a secret he must hide, a hunger that must be fed, and a dark and uncertain future. Having shed himself of a fiancée he never met, he’s home to lick his wounds. The only thing he wants is a warm-blooded meal—but the new housekeeper is strangely insistent on giving him much more.
This cloudy day, he’d sent Raymond ahead to ready the vacant cottage he’d chosen for Maddie’s introduction to Raymond. Garon fought his own jealousy but knew this had to happen to ensure her future. He’d school his face into a pleasant mask, hand her into Raymond’s keeping and leave them alone. Garon thought that maybe Raymond had fallen under her spell as well because he’d noted the leap of heat in his cousin’s gaze when he’d finally told him of the plan to impregnate his lady.
Maddie drew her horse alongside his. “What is the matter? Your eyes are as dark as the thunderclouds above.”
“There’s nothing wrong.” He forced a smile. “And we’re almost there.”
She glanced around the clearing they entered, eying the cottage. Raymond had spent days cleaning it, thatching the roof and delivering a bed and bedding to make it comfortable for Maddie. Smoke wafted from the chimney.
Raymond stepped out of the cottage, his expression shuttered. His gaze went to Garon, to whom he gave a short nod, and then he stepped forward and helped Maddie from her horse.
“Milady,” he said softly, setting her on the ground but not removing his hands from her slender waist fast enough to suit Garon.
“Raymond? What is this place?” She eyed him then turned to her husband. The woman was too clever. A frown knitted the soft space between her brows. “It’s too soon.”
Raymond stood aside, not venturing a comment. But his dark gaze did sweep Maddie’s tall, spare frame.
Garon knew what he saw. Maddie’s figure and her appeal had blossomed. Her soft skin, tawny hair and long, coltish legs drew the gazes of many of his men as she strode by. Her long, loose-jointed gait sprang with a joy she was unable to suppress, making her all the more lovely. To hold such beauty, such vibrant energy, made a man feel worthy.
“Maddie. Love.” His voice was gruff and he softened it for her sake. “Raymond will treat you well.” He pulled at his reins, but she ran to his side and clamped her hands around his calf.
“You can’t leave me.”
“I can’t stay.”
“To watch you accept another man?” He shook his head. “Don’t ask it.”
“But…I thought…rather, I hoped…” She bit her lip and glanced away.
Raymond cleared his throat, drawing Garon’s gaze. “If she’d be more at ease, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve shared a woman.”
Garon inhaled, breathing in the crisp, cooling breeze that carried the scent of a peat fire. He locked gazes with Raymond. “You have been a brother to me.”
“I know the value of your gift. I won’t take liberties outside what you define for me.”
“A child,” Maddie choked out. “You’re to give me a child. That’s all this is.”
Raymond held Garon’s gaze a moment longer. They both knew it was so much more.
Raymond bowed his head. “I will follow your lead, milord.”
Maddie squeezed his leg again, tears pooling in her eyes. “I need you.”
He glanced down at his hands, still gripping the reins. Already images of what would pass flitted through his mind. Maddie was no longer innocent. She’d kept apace of his lessons and invented her own sensual games to drive him mad with lust.
She could do this. He would help her. He hadn’t wanted to be the specter in Raymond and Maddie’s bed in years to come when he was no longer with them. But so be it.
He dismounted and walked his horse to the lean-to where Raymond had left his horse tied.
Raymond stepped beside him, tying off Maddie’s. “It doesn’t have to be today, Garon. It doesn’t really have to ever happen. Not if this will make a difference between us.”
Garon clapped a hand against the other man’s shoulder. “I’d be selfish to consider my own pride. One day, I’ll walk away and she’ll have need of another man. I want it to be you.”
Raymond’s expression grew strained, worry shadowing his gaze. “Will she accept your choice?”
Garon quirked an eyebrow. “I leave it up to you to prove to her that you’re a worthy replacement.”
Raymond’s taut features relaxed. A smirk curled one corner of his mouth. “Do you suppose she’ll make this easy on us both and be waiting in the bed?”
Garon didn’t know. Maddie surprised him at every turn.
They rounded the corner of the cottage and drew up short. Maddie stood nude beside the well, scooping water in handfuls over her shoulders. Her back was turned toward them, the swell of her bottom pronounced by the curve of her back as she sluiced more water over her skin.
Her head canted as she caught the sound of their footsteps. “Seeing as how Raymond has already seen all that I have to offer,” she said, still faced away, “I thought I’d save you both a bit of bother.”
Raymond grinned and his greedy glance swept over Maddie’s long, graceful form.
Garon dug his elbow into Raymond’s side and stepped forward as Raymond doubled over, coughing.
Garon reached her first and dipped his hand into the pail to trickle water down her back, watching the rivulet snake down her spine and between her buttocks.
Maddie gave a little moan and widened her stance. “Will you serve me, milord? Will you wash me clean?”
“Don’t you think you should wait until after you’ve a smudge or two of dirt?”
She glanced over her shoulder, her gaze steady. “If I’m to make a child, I would have my body as clean as my conscience.”
Garon kissed the back of her neck. “Does this feel sinful to you, love?”
“I have to be truthful. It does feel sinful, and yet I burn.”
Garon curved his hands over the tops of her shoulders and bent to whisper, “Can you forgive yourself if you enjoy this too much?”
She laughed softly. “I believe I can. But I don’t want you looking at me differently.”
“And how do I look at you now?”
Maddie turned inside his embrace, her expression growing serious. “You look at me as though I hold the magic of the moon and stars.”
He kissed the tip of her nose. “Nothing you do today will change that. And I’ll be relieved if you find joy in this because I don’t want you to regret a moment of what it means to be with me.”
Maddie lifted on her toes and pressed her mouth to his. “You wear too many clothes, milord.” She lowered to the ground then faced Raymond, whose reddened cheeks and taut jaw said how very ready he was for this to happen. “I have nothing to say to you. Not yet.”
Garon dropped his hands. She walked past Raymond, her steps light, and entered the cottage without a backward glance.
“Damn me.” Garon gave a bark of laughter and drew off his clothes, leaving them beside hers on the ground and glaring at Raymond until the other man shook his head and began to disrobe.
Garon entered the cottage first and found the mattress pulled to the center of the room where gray light from the window lit the bed. Raymond wanted to watch his precious Maddie. Not that he could blame the man. Maddie was stretched across the mattress, lying on her side, a hand propped beneath her head. So young and lithe, so achingly beautiful—milk-white skin embellished with tawny hair above and below. She lay still, a pulse fluttering at her temple.
Her eyes gave away her panic. They were round, unblinking.
“Stop worrying,” he chided, coming to the side of the bed. “Remember our first night?”
One eyebrow arched. “When your lusts nearly killed me?”
He winced. “Raymond is just a man. He has his own fears about how this will be.”
“Raymond isn’t afraid of anyone. Not even you.”
A throat cleared and Garon looked over his shoulder. Raymond leaned into the doorway, his hands gripping the top. His body was fully displayed for them both. Everything about his posture and expression was dark, taut, on the edge of violence.
Garon recognized the emotion because he felt pretty much the same—a man wanting to mark his territory but forced to stand down to another.
Maddie had no such inkling of what lay beneath the surface here. Her gaze snagged on Raymond’s quickly filling cock. She swallowed hard. “I sincerely hope it diminishes as nicely as does yours, darling, when it’s inside me.”
Garon’s eyes nearly crossed, remembering one of the many misconceptions he’d cured her of when they’d first come together. She knew better now.
Raymond grunted and strode into the room, his gaze raking Maddie’s body. “If you prepare her, it won’t take long for me to do this.”
“You make it sound like a chore,” Maddie choked out, a hand going to hide her ruff.
As much as Garon would have preferred that their contact be at a minimum, he didn’t want Maddie imagining this as something he didn’t welcome. He knelt on the bed beside her, and then lay down, facing her. “Raymond, close the door and join us.”