Authors: Sahara Kelly
Tags: #Romance, #contemporary, #erotic romance, #adult, #fiction
about him, and for her to be unsure about someone was rare. He
looked at her with all the interest of a male on the prowl, sending her
girl-radar into major ping mode. And yet a couple of times she'd seen him with
another man, equally handsome but with a harsher edge.
There was something about their
interaction that spoke of intimacy, but what kind and how intense, Susannah had
no clue. They could have been gay, but somehow she didn't think so. The
dynamics were wrong.
Together, the two of them probably
caused more than a few indrawn breaths when they strolled past women. She knew
she wasn't immune. How could she be? Beauty was beauty wherever one found it.
Man or woman, it made no difference to her.
wasn't beautiful in the true sense of the word. She was tall,
yes. But she was also solid, strong in the shoulders and with a firm woman's
body honed by a daily workout and an energetic lifestyle. She had curves, a
flat stomach and breasts that were, at this moment, upthrust and barely hidden
by the frills of lace topping the corset.
One lock of dark hair fell toward her
cleavage, since she'd obeyed a whim and pulled the rest of it up into a twist
on top of her head. It was out of character, but so was this entire day.
If it hadn't been for a foolish dare...
"I dare you, Susannah McGill."
She could still hear the words as
they echoed over her cell phone. She'd been catching up with Sophie Lewis, a
college friend who'd kept in touch long after the days of all-nighters and keg
parties were over.
was all the feminine things that Susannah wasn't, but this hadn't stopped them
from bonding. In fact it was in art class together that Susannah first received
her nickname. When the lecturer saw her technique, he drew a rather harsh
parallel with Jack the Ripper, comparing her brushstrokes to slashes of the
Ripper's knife. Sophie had immediately run to her and said "Never mind,
Slash. Let's get lunch."
rest, as they say, was history.
Susannah had become Slash McGill, and as Slash had moved on through a couple of
years with the FBI to the present and her own agency. Sophie was now living in
Florida and taking photographs of tourists, flamingoes and whatever else lived
down there. Probably alligators.
she still retained a little imp of mischief and knew how Susannah responded to
a dare. This one had been a beaut.
not dating anyone, Suz, are you?"
so I dare you to dress like a girl and get a date. No, wait. I've got an even
had held her breath, knowing something outrageous would be forthcoming. Her
friend didn't let her down.
dare you to dress in costume and spend the day at the Renaissance Faire. It's
the fall so it's on now. No excuses and I want pictures. Cell phone ones are
okay, but taken by someone else."
had closed her eyes in pain. "Is that all?"
I want a picture of you with a fully costumed knight. A good-looking one if you
can find one. Not some old guy who's probably a janitor come Monday and just
out looking to squeeze a girl's bum over the weekend."
can't tell you how excited I am about this idea." Susannah's tone could
have sliced through steel.
and you have to have sex with him."
was an exasperated huff of sound over the line. "Idiot. The good looking
And if I can't find one?"
won't tell you about my sex life." Susannah tried to sound as firm as she
you don't have one, that's not a problem, is it?"
Score one for the munchkin."
had snorted and the conversation had moved on, but the damage was done. Susannah
knew she'd do this insane thing, dress up and find herself a knight for a
photo. The sex she wasn't so sure about, but it had been quite a while since
anyone had curled her toes. If he was an okay guy and up for--she winced to
herself as the joke giggled at her--a one
walked on, her attention flitting from one thing to another, her brain
attempting to process and categorize all she saw. There were performers of
various acts and skills. Ladies in elegant garb accompanied by fools, every bit
as colorfully clad. The requisite knights wandered the realm, yet Susannah didn't
see any she'd care to undress for. With a wry inner smile, she figured that was
probably not on the day's agenda.
vendors were amazing though, artisans in wood and glass, working metal and
jewelry--and probably making more in a good day here than she took home in an
average week. She lingered appreciatively at the blacksmith's forge, watching
in fascination as a strong arm, a massive hammer and a glowing red strip of
metal combined to produce the blade of a sword.
far from the clang of his anvil, the smithy's neighbor plunged a long tube into
a searing hot furnace and withdrew a small glob, which he proceeded to blow
into a glass bowl.
was joined by others, silent and mesmerized by the skill it took to puff air
into liquid glass, twirl it and then repeat the process until the entire thing
had taken on a life of its own.
reflected on what she was seeing, and realized she probably wouldn't ever look
at the kitchenware in Crate and Barrel quite the same way again. It was
wonderful to experience something like this and remind oneself of where
everyday things originally began. She silently promised not to take her
wineglasses for granted and strolled on, attracted by the sound of some unusual
music not far away.
around the turn onto Meadow Lane was a typical wooden vendor's stall, but on
the little raised deck in front was a man playing a stringed instrument with
two small hammers.
Susannah joined the little audience gathering on the low benches and carefully
pulled her skirts around her knees as she clambered to a seat.
a dulcimer, lass. Ever hear one a'fore?"
A costumed woman leaned toward her,
smiling and ignoring the creak of her corset stays.
shook her head "No. It's lovely."
it was. Delicate and lyrical, the tunes ranged from somber to merry and
toe-tapping. She could almost see the village maidens dancing around the
maypole, or the older folk turning and shifting to the slower rhythms.
sun shone brightly, the colors flickered for a few moments and Susannah caught
her breath as it seemed everything became crisper, clearer--dusted with a
little medieval magic.
didn't notice the woman leave her seat, nor was she aware that another had
taken her place. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the sparkling sounds
of the dulcimer, enjoying the fanciful experience.
it ended, she wasn't sure whether to applaud or let the tears flow. It was an
unusually emotional response; something Susannah wasn't expecting, which caught
her by surprise.
did the words from the man sitting next to her.
lovely lady. Fancy meeting you here."
Logan Kent wanted to laugh aloud at
the twist of fate that had landed him next to the one woman on earth who had
shattered his usually impenetrable defenses. He prided himself on his ability
to engage in relationships without getting engaged. The appallingly bad pun
inevitably produced much eye rolling on the part of his best friend Tyler. But
then again, Tyler couldn't complain, since it was a philosophy that had
resulted in some truly amazing sexual experiences.
What few people knew was that Logan
and Tyler shared their women. After a lousy marriage for Tyler and a truly
terrible relationship for Logan, they made a pact. Each would guard the other
from making mistakes like that again. Their trust in each other was absolute,
born of many erotic adventures over the years since their "gentleman's"
They knew each other's bodies and
together they knew women. It was a win-win situation. With only one drawback.
It wasn't easy to find the right
woman to share their adventures.
Ever since Logan had first set eyes
on Susannah McGill, he'd been convinced she was the right kind of woman. But as
he watched her stride across the parking lot in front of his store on the way
to her office, or saw her adjust what was probably a pistol in back of her
pants as she unlocked her car door--well, he'd felt something stir deep inside.
An urge to know
, not just her
body. An interest in learning what could drive an undeniably attractive woman
to embrace a career that probably offered danger instead of glamor, and
stakeouts instead of overtime.
She was a threat, he realized. A
combination of heated sexual attraction and an enigma that piqued his natural
curiosity. And her nickname was Slash. If that wasn't an invitation to dwell on
decadent thoughts, he didn't know what was.
Those same decadent thoughts roared
back through Logan as he sat next to her and let himself drown in the scent of
her body and the extraordinary cleavage thrust prominently into view by her
she didn't seem to be experiencing any sort of reciprocal erotic arousal, since
she was staring at him with a mixture of amazement and horror.
... hell are you doing here?"
grinned. "Enjoying the faire, same as you. And right now honestly compels
me to confess that I'm also enjoying the view." He let his gaze
deliberately drop to her breasts. "There's a lot to be said for the
fashions of the seventeenth century. And those are saying most of it right this
sighed, colored and he noticed her hands flutter as she repressed the urge to
hide herself. Good for her.
a perv." She snorted the insult.
at all. Merely an appreciative audience. If you hadn't wanted your assets to be
noticed and admired, why lace them into a corset?"
was silent for a moment. "Okay, you have a point." She grimaced. "I'm
here on a dare."
is it when I hear a woman say that, I get seriously turned on?"
swiveled at the sound of Tyler's voice. He'd taken a seat on the other side of
her without her realizing it, and Logan could sense her confusion.
his friend." She made it a statement as she waved her hand at Logan. "I've
seen you two together."
chuckled. "Yeah. Tyler Adams, meet Susannah McGill. . He's my best bud.
And my hunting partner. "
laughed as well. "We're not quite a pack, but we do okay."
Susannah frowned, her head turning from one man to the other. "What do you
Logan lifted his hand and stroked her cheek. "Beautiful women."
we've hit the jackpot." Tyler edged close and let his arm rest behind
once, she was off-kilter, unsure of herself and without a ready quip. Color heated
her cheeks as she glanced from one to the other. Logan found her confusion charming
and appealing. He wondered if she was equally as hesitant in bed or if she
liked to be in control.
hoped they'd find out. "So tell us about this dare."
idea?" Tyler stood and held out his hand. "Walk with us and tell us
your story. Escorting a lovely lady through these forest paths in the sunshine--well,
you gotta work really hard to beat that for fun."
they walked. And it was, she was forced to admit, fun.
couldn't help but be aware that they attracted some attention as they strolled
through the growing crowds. Both men were taller than she was--an
accomplishment, since she wasn't short by any stretch of the imagination.