Author: Madelynne Ellis
Series: Georgian Rakehells
Genre: M/F/M Menage; Historical
Length: Novella (18, 918 words)
MSRP: 4.99 | You pay: 3.79
Cover art: Les Byerley
Eighteen months into a delicate ménage à trois relationship, Lucerne, Viscount Marlinscar is feeling the strain. He’s engaged in a constant tug o’ war as both his lovers compete to win his affections. Only, Lucerne’s not so eager to choose. Matter of fact, he’s beginning to wonder if he’s not the one that’s being left out, considering the effort Vaughan and Bella pour into tormenting one another.
When the three lovers attend a society music recital, jealousy again rears its head, which convinces Lucerne that it’s time to take matters into his own hands. The decision doesn’t go down at all well, particularly with Vaughan, who shows his displeasure by dishing out erotic punishments to both Lucerne and Bella. However, the tug o’war isn’t over until there’s a winner, that is, unless the lovers can put aside their differences and decide that all three can have the passion and satisfaction they derive only from each other, no matter which one of them is in the middle!
Publisher’s note: These characters first appear in A GENTLEMAN’S WAGER, a previous book in the Georgian Rakehells series.
Both she and Lucerne were now eyeing him like he was some sort of meal they planned to devour. They’d each convinced him that they weren’t in league over Lucerne’s impromptu departure from the recital, but there was no mistaking that they were plotting something together now.
Impatient to learn what, Vaughan steepled his fingers before him. He turned his dark gaze first on Bella and then on Lucerne. “You had better speak plainly, or you’re both going to be sorely disappointed over whatever it is you think to embroil me in.”
Bella’s eyes widened slightly. He didn’t believe her innocence. Lucerne’s chin grew more pointed as he clenched his teeth.
“What do you want?” Vaughan asked. Some manner of truce or permission to spend time alone without me, he imagined. Though heaven knows why they were troubling him with it. They could have spent the entire day tupping and he wouldn’t have known.
“You,” they replied in unison.
The words sent a jolt through his chest. His heart sped a little even as he continued to gaze on them in wary silence.
“Spend the night—”
“—and the day with us, Vaughan.”
“Tell us what to do.”
“How to please you.”
This was wrong in so many ways. He thought he preferred it when they were begrudging his presence and branding him some sort of demon for not allowing them any space in which to grow together. This smacked too much of deceit. They were trying to get him to lower his guard before attacking. Leastways, he believed that of Bella. He wasn’t nearly so sure about Lucerne.
“Do you expect me to believe that’s what you both actually want? Me? Together?”
“It’s the truth, Vaughan,” Lucerne replied, while Bella dipped him a curtsey. He supposed he was vaguely willing to believe it, although there was definitely some purpose behind it beyond affection or lust.
“What are you reading?” Bella picked up his book before he had a chance to put a hand down on top of it. Her mouth fell open in surprise, one that quickly transformed into delight at the illustration revealed. “Lord Pennerley, what sort of book is that to be perusing in broad daylight?”
“A perfectly filthy one, I should imagine if your expression is anything to go by.” Lucerne sidled up behind her. Hands resting lightly, yet possessively upon Bella’s shoulders, he leaned forward to glimpse the image so that his blond hair flopped over his eyes, partially hiding the delight that flickered there.
Vaughan’s lips thinned in bemused silence. If they imagined they’d embarrass him, then they were sadly mistaken. He had no qualms about his sexuality, or what he liked. It was simply a shame the rest of society wasn’t so open. “Maybe we should try it,” he suggested. If they were so keen on gaining his attention and pleasing him, then they’d best be prepared to indulge some of his kinks.
Bella’s head came up immediately, an unvoiced gasp upon her lips. Lips he’d kissed so hard that they were still rather ruddy and certainly a little tender even now.
Lucerne fixed him with an uneasy frown. He took a stiff pace backwards, suddenly defensive. “Who exactly do you envisage being in the middle?”
Vaughan laughed. “Not so game for my affection now, Lucerne? You disappoint me. I thought you were more open than that.”
Defensively, Lucerne poured his tall frame into one of the library’s narrow wingback chairs, where he folded his arms across his lap. “Open is one thing. I am however no acrobat. I don’t think I could hold that position for more than forty seconds, let alone sustain it with a cock in my mouth, breasts enveloping me and a lit candle anywhere near my arse.”
A bright image of peeling creamy blobs of hardened candlewax from off Lucerne’s belly, his buttocks and groin, played inside Vaughan’s head. Had he never punished him so? The thought of introducing Lucerne to such delights enchanted him. Lucerne would protest, claiming pain didn’t excite him, but the truth was it aroused him far more than he cared to admit.
Besides, denial of any kind had always acted like a drug upon Vaughan. “Another time, perhaps,” he muttered. “What about you, Bella?”
Bella rubbed at her cheeks, which had turned a gaudy shade of scarlet at the mere suggestion. Her reply rolled out of her unevenly. “The person at the centre is clearly a man, which I am certainly not. So I couldn’t possibly take such a position, even if it were in the bounds of possibility to do so. Are there not any more sensible arrangements in this tome of yours?” She flicked over several pages, her eyes growing rounder and hungrier over each successive image. “What is this?” she demanded.
Vaughan retrieved the book with its leather unmarked binding from her and returned it to shelf behind a locked glass door. “It’s privately published, circulated only to a select few connoisseurs.” On another occasion he might allow her to study it further. For now, he preferred to preserve its secrets in favour of more mundane pleasures. “About your proposition—I would suggest that we find somewhere more comfortable, but I do find that discomfort can be equally, if not more satisfying, can it not, Lucerne?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“Oh, you know, Lucerne. You know exactly how much you like to be made to squirm.” Lucerne shook his head. “I think you’re mistaking me with Bella. What I like is straightforward. It’s less about dominance and more about enjoyment.”
“Are you saying you don’t like what I do to you?” Vaughan sallied forwards, stopping when his knees were level with Lucerne’s and a mere fraction of an inch divided them. He braced his hands on the arms of the chair and leaned over Lucerne, so that their eyes met on a level. Their gazes locked.
“Haven’t you punished me enough?”
“I’ll never punish you enough. It stokes the fires in the very pit of my soul to see you writhing in ecstasy beneath me.”
“That’s not what we came here for.”
Vaughan turned his head at the same time as Lucerne to glance at Bella.
“Can’t we really be together for once, Vaughan? I mean really together. Without the posturing and pettiness. Won’t you lie down and let us make love to you—together?”
“You know why. It can never be.” He would never lower his guard and let them both press close to him at once. Alone they tested him, shredded all his restraints, which left him feeling exposed and vulnerable. Together they would flay him, expose every particle of his being right down to the core. He would never risk it. Could never risk it. Besides, it would upset the balance of the relationship. Lucerne had to remain central. He was the pivot; all this revolved around him. “You know I think I might go to Darleston House alone.”
“No, don’t.” Bella stepped forward. She lay a hand upon his chest. It was not enough to prevent him moving; it was barely any sort of pressure at all. Still he remained frozen, watching her, waiting as she slowly moistened her pink lips. “Lucerne is right. It doesn’t always have to be hard between us. It hasn’t always been so. Don’t you remember the first time? I remember how you both moved inside of me. How we were all one and in perfect agreement. Will you not join us all together again like that?”
Let her be central. Let her be the pivot. That was what she was asking. Nay, pleading. He saw it in her eyes. She didn’t want to be on the outskirts of their relationship looking in. She wanted to be loved by both of them in equal measure. In short, she desired everything to be about her, rather than about Lucerne, whom both she and he loved.
Bella’s hand left his chest and pushed upwards into the dark strands of his hair. On tip-toes she leaned into him, offering herself up to him. Vaughan allowed her to graze his lips with a kiss. He caged the growl in his throat, not for her, but because Lucerne was watching his every nuance.
“For me,” Lucerne mouthed.
At what price? Vaughan didn’t speak. The communication between them passed in silence.
I’ll give you everything you desire, later. All you have to do is go along with this now, for me and for her.
The stubborn, prideful part of him wanted to disagree. It wasn’t that he didn’t desire Bella. He did. Admission of desire was not something he had any reservations about. He simply didn’t like the implied subtext of taking part. Just because they came together as a threesome, didn’t…wouldn’t make them whole. But if Bella, nay Lucerne wanted to believe that it did, then he would let them have their fantasy—at least for a little while.
”William,” Vaughan hollered. The footman immediately appeared from the hallway. “Make sure that no one comes in. We’ll be busy for a little while.”