Authors: Julia Kent
Tags: #bbw romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Fiction, #General, #Humorous, #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #romantic comedy
by Julia Kent
Copyright © 2013 by Julia Kent
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
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This novella is not a standalone
ook, but rather is a continuation of the series I started with the
Her Billionaires: Boxed Set
book, and continued in
Random Acts of Crazy
. While new readers are absolutely welcomed into the world of Laura, Mike and Dylan and Laura’s best friend Josie and her boyfriend, Alex,
will make more sense if you’ve already read the
Should have named her Renesmee.
All those baby books lied, or they committed dramatic sins of omission. Either way, nothing prepared you for motherhood. Especially not for nursing. Little Jillian performed baby acrobatics during most feedings, attached to Laura’s nipple with tiny little glass-like protrusions masquerading as teeth ripping into her six, seven times a day. No one had warned her about this. None of the baby books
emphasized the fact that at some point, you would be nursing a baby with teeth like the edge of a razor. If nipples were meant to look like shredded, bloody, Chinese lanterns, then Laura had perfected the art of breastfeeding a six month old. Her daughter might as well have been named Renesmee, and Laura might as well be nibbled to death by a great white shark.
It was just like when Jillian was a tiny newborn and Laura had come to the startling realization that she was a fart hostage, trapped with this little rear end that emanated deathly biological weapons-grade methane, inches from Laura’s face. And she had nowhere to go. She was this little being’s source of food, and the food was what fueled those noxious gases wafting up into Laura’s face, making her a fart hostage.
Thank God for her eReader. And thank a slightly lesser god for the
phenomenon. While Laura was no fan of that particular book, or that particular series, she had found a wide array of books that allowed her to escape into a completely different reality while she was trapped on the couch.
Sylvia Day made the bondage of motherhood tolerable. So did Melody Anne, and Lexi Blake, and Shayla Black. Sara Fawkes and Georgia Cates, and so many other authors who wove these amazing tales of women who needed to lose control in order to gain it. It was fascinating even though, in so many cases, the plot line seemed the same. She could take a book, a series like Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, or Julie Kenner’s Claim Me series, or Maya Banks’ Breathless Trilogy, and go off into another world. Laura found herself devouring these books, and then imagining herself in the role of the heroine.
Not like she didn’t have two heroes right here, right now, at her disposal whenever she wanted them.
Somehow that made it all
Loving Dylan and Mike was more than she’d ever expected. Living with them day to day was like being divinely inspired on an emotional, and psychological, and spiritual level. But the reality of a messy house, an infant with high needs, of a postpartum body that reminded her of two hundred pounds of jelly stuffed inside a giant balloon—that? That made her just reach for the eReader.
While she’d always felt insecure about her body, and had always been overweight with curves on top of curves, now, six months
she still felt six months
. It was as if her curves had rebelled and multiplied in her sleep, as if some sort of mitosis had taken place against her will. She felt ugly, and fat, and stretched out, and so thoroughly undeserving of the two very sculpted, lean, and exceptionally hot men who claimed to love her.
They did love her, and she knew this. It wasn’t as if they were lying—it’s more that they were being
, right? They were saying all the right things that you’re supposed to say after someone’s given birth to your baby. But she knew. She knew they didn’t find her body attractive. It must have been a chore to sleep with her. It must have involved a lot of imagination, thinking back to how she’d been when she’d met them just fifteen months ago. That body was the one that they really loved.
This body? No one could love this body.
Letting her mind float off to other men and women, people far more together than she was, and finding something predictable, comfortable, and yet racy and mind expanding, was safe. The few times she’d made love with Mike and Dylan since the birth of Jillian should have been wonderful, but it was as if there were only two people there. Laura had to check herself out because she couldn’t believe what she had become. She couldn’t fathom that they
As she sat on the couch, there was one person who did want her, one-hundred-percent. Laura’s love for Jillian was so deep and so intense that it guided her through those first few months. The love that the three of them shared for her was unbounded, untamed, and every day felt new.
What receded, though, what had firm boundaries around it, ever tightening, was Laura’s sense of sensuality, of being something other than Jillian’s mom. She figured that was normal. She figured that’s what everyone went through. As the idea that she could be seductive, and attractive, and draw Mike and Dylan to her the way that she had when they met, as that faded...she hoped that they could still love her unconditionally the way that all three of them so thoroughly loved Jillian.
Her books didn’t let her down. They were like her ice cream, always there, welcoming her with a smile, and never demanding anything of her. If she had to be in control, if she had to manage one more detail in her life, she was going to explode. It was easier to withdraw. It was easier to pour everything she had into Jillian, and to micromanage her baby, so that as a part of her died off, another part could blossom.
Guilt could be overwhelming, especially when Dylan placed a loving hand on her ass, or Mike came at her with a kiss that had more heat behind it than affection. From the outside, she was so all-consumed with Jillian that she just did
’t have room for more than affection. It was a facade she carefully constructed, and to some extent the guys were going along with it. Every time she imagined making love she felt twin emotions that battled for domination within—and not the heady, come-fuck-me domination in her books.
It was the kind of overwhelming oppression that guilt possesses. She didn’t feel worthy of sensuality, so she evaded their passes. They slowly pulled back, confused but unsure of how to talk about it, and when they tried she brushed them off. Stayed up late until they fell asleep. Took extra long with Jillian in the rocking chair in her bedroom.
Waited them out.
Tears threatened to fill her tired eyes as Jillian reached up and grabbed a fistful of Laura’s blonde hair. The baby giggled, mouth full of breast, and spurted milk everywhere, which made Laura laugh and cry at the same time.
Another set of emotions battling within.
Books let her feel something about anything
but her life
And that’s where the love remained unconditional.
“I know you didn’t invite me here for the mint cannoli or the fried pickles with guacamole-horseradish sauce,” Josie announced, eyebrows so high she thought they’d be permanently wedged in her hairline. What was this all about? A summons to Jeddy’s was always welcome, but usually it was Laura doing the summoning. The call from Mike had been interesting, the request to meet just him and Dylan—sans Laura—a tad odd.
The looks on their faces now confirmed it. Oddities abounded. And not like on the television show. Unless Dylan had a three-headed pig in a jar in his car and had recently learned to eat flames. Nothing would surprise her these days...
She glanced at her smart phone. “Waiting for a call?” Dylan asked as he scanned the menu. Madge had just thumbed Josie over to the guys when she came in; the new menus featured a smorgasbord of new culinary delights.
“No,” she said, tearing her eyes off the menu. Coconut sweet potato soup with fried wontons sprinkled on top and a dollop of paprika sour cream? Yum. “Alex is joining us.”
“Why?” they asked in unison, manly brows instantly frowning.
. Whatever they wanted to talk about must have a testosterone edge to it. Even Mike’s neck tightened.
“Because he wants to invite you to join us and act out some scenes from the book
Their Virgin Princess
,” she cracked, returning to the menu. “Except I’m not the one who’ll be wearing the butt plug in the desert.” She tried to stare down Dylan, but he wouldn’t make eye contact. Didn’t even react to the bad joke.
“What’s that?” Mike asked, bewildered.
“Never mind.” She looked at the dessert specials. Candy cane ice cream with chopped chocolate truffles and a local dairy’s sweet cream whipped with Madagascar vanilla, drizzled with a reduced blackberry sauce? Double yum.
“You can’t just drop virgin princesses and butt plugs into a conversation and not explain,” Mike protested.
“Sure I can!” Josie ventured. “Especially with a menu like this to distract us.” She buried her face in the specials page. Holy smokes, Madge had outdone herself.
“Want one of everything?” Dylan asked, barely holding back drool. “The homemade mac
n cheese made with lobster and asiago,” he moaned.
“Who doesn’t?” a wonderfully familiar voice asked, coming up from behind her. A warm hand pressed against her shoulder and Alex’s stubbly jawline caressed hers as he planted a kiss on her cheek. Alex’s brown hair was in need of a haircut, curling up slightly at the nape of his neck, and he looked like he hadn’t slept in a day and a half. Which was true—he hadn’t. Warm, brown eyes locked with hers, affection and love pouring out of them.
A woman could get used to this,
Josie thought, delightedly—though actually she hadn’t
Her mind and heart still marveled, unaccustomed to the fact that
every single day
she got her internal love cup filled to overflowing from him.
“You look like shit,” Dylan said to Alex in a voice that could have just as easily been saying, “How’s it going?”
“Same back at you,” Josie jumped in. “Fatherhood has not aged you well.” Alex shoved his ass against her hip, buying real estate in the booth. She squeezed a butt cheek through his scrubs. “You smell like blood,” she commented absently.
“I’ll smell like you soon enough,” he said cheerfully.
Mike groaned. “Braggart.”
“Just stating the facts, man.”
Dylan snorted. “I remember when I had
that often. Lately, though,
, in fact, are hard to remember.”
,” Alex said. It wasn’t a question.
Laura’s guys sighed. So that was what this meeting was about. Josie’s protective senses went into overdrive. Laura was her bestie. This could get...
“Do I really need to know this much about your sex lives? Seriously?” Josie whined.
“Do you guys
keep it in your pants?” a gravelly voice added. Madge, the eighty-something waitress and, it so happened, Alex’s grandfather’s girlfriend, skittered by. Her nurse’s shoes squeaked on the faded—but clean—linoleum at the stalwart diner.
“Only when you’re around, Madge,” Dylan shot back. She pointed her stylus at him and winked. He slumped back in the booth and grimaced, making Josie snicker.
“That’s because you couldn’t handle all of me, Pretty Boy.”
Alex looked green suddenly. “Uh, Madge, do you mind?” His grandfather, Ed, had Alzheimer’s, though a recent med change had given Ed a much better prognosis and a better memory overall. His filter about his sex life had faded, though, and Alex couldn’t handle the truth.
Especially when it turned out Madge and Ed used Dan Savage’s column as a bucket list.
That they were rapidly making their way through.