Posts Tagged ‘M/M/F’

Menage May: Polished by Alyssa Turner

Polished-AlyssaTurner-453x680Polished, Alyssa Turner

Novel Released 5/13

Etopia Press

M/M/F Contemporary Ménage, Light BDSM


This title came to me one morning as I imagined how sweet it would be to paint a big, strong, sexy guy’s toenails.  What a silly little secret that would be; a flipside to the coin, a hidden part of his story.  I wrote Polished to reflect the ways we feel we need Polishing, the face we feel we should show the world to hide the secrets we hold inside.  Rory, Spencer and Jack all have some polishing they feel they need to do.  In the end it’s just the nail polish they need to feel perfect.  Read it, you’ll see what I mean.


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It seemed like they had everything, but they didn’t have Jack.


Without question Spencer Hartley burns hot for his girlfriend, Rory, but his other desires are hidden down deep. He might blow things up for a living and climb mountains for kicks, but the scariest thing in his life is the truth about his sexuality.


Jack Rothman works hard and plays dirty. After long, demanding days in his family’s engineering firm, he indulges in the pleasures of silk restraints and fine wine. Lots of hot meaningless sex helps him forget that he’s suffocating, with no one to give him a reason to breathe.


When a catastrophic accident traps Spencer in a flooded subway tunnel with Jack, they need each other to survive. But something strong stirs down there in the darkness, and it’s more than their desperation to live. There’s a spark between them that’s impossible to ignore.


Rory Campbell would love to give Spencer the one thing he doesn’t have, the freedom to explore his secret desires. But how does that fit into her picture-perfect relationship? When Jack invites the couple to his sprawling Hamptons beach house, Rory realizes that she has secret desires of her own—the kind only Jack’s Dominant hand across her bare bottom can satisfy…


Excerpt: The door to the house was unlocked too, with a note perched on the hall console table: Out back for a swim.

Looking out through the wall of windows in front of them, Rory pressed her lips together and then read it again. “I’m not sure if this is an invitation or a just an FYI.”

“If you want to go swimming, babe, it’s fine with me, really.”

Rory studied his face. Spencer certainly wouldn’t be joining them. Casted ankle aside, neither swimming pools nor the ocean held much appeal to Spencer, but the jewel-colored sky over the sprawling sea called to Rory like a siren.

“Later. Come hang on the deck with me first. The sunset is just gorgeous.”

They dropped everything and slid open one of the glass doors. The sound of the ocean was something she hadn’t known she missed, until it was filling her ears again. They took a seat on two loungers that faced the water. Off in the distance a single figure popped out of the waves. The beach hooked sharply on one side and a large rock formation provided a natural screen between the Rothman property and the rest of the community. Rory waved out to the figure jogging in from the surf, splashing with long strides through the water.

Jack drew nearer, dripping wet, his board shorts stuck to his thighs, highlighting every slope of muscle. Spencer made an effort to stand, ready to greet Jack like an old buddy. Both men were smiling, happy to see the other as they joined hands in the air followed by a swift and sturdy pull to one another’s chests.

“Sorry dude, I got you all wet.”

“Some way to treat your guest,” Spencer jibed.

It caught Rory’s ear to hear his dry humor shared with Jack. That was something Spencer only did with the people he felt the most comfortable with, and Rory could count those people on one hand.

A moment passed as Jack seemed to decide on a comeback, all the while his eyes blazing across the barely there quirk of Spencer’s lip. Then suddenly Jack grabbed him into a bear hug and drenched him completely.

Spencer’s surprised laugh was only slightly louder than Rory’s.

“How’s that?” Jack said once he’d let him go.

Soaked now, Spencer returned to sitting on the lounger, the grin still fresh on his flushed face. “These Hamptons guys… No manners, I guess.”

Jack turned his attention to Rory. “Hello again,” he said with a cool hand on her shoulder. She intended to return an equally simple greeting, but somehow her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth while she inhaled the sea from his glistening skin. “You’re not opposed to getting wet, are you?”

Rory wondered if that was also an invitation. Jack appeared to have a habit of keeping things playful and vague. “Are you fishing for a hug, Jack?” Rory always preferred candor to riddles.

His grin turned lopsided. “If you’re handing them out, I’ll take one.”

Rory stood up and obliged him. The fact that she felt at home against his chest should have surprised her, but it didn’t. What made her jump was Spencer’s hand finding the shallow of her back in the moment Jack enclosed her in his arms. He rested his hand there, flat and sturdy, feeling both like ownership and generosity pressing her into Jack’s embrace. Or maybe she imagined all of that and he was simply getting her attention. A glance over her shoulder and she was still not sure.

“Rory really needed this little getaway.”

“A lady should have what she needs,” Jack said. “And right now I think she needs a drink. You too, my friend.”

Rory liked the sound of that, liked the sound of it all. “What do you have?”

“Anything, everything. A stocked bar is mandatory at my house.”

“I’ll have that beer you promised.”

“And you, Rory?” Jack crossed the veranda to the outdoor kitchen tucked into the corner next to the house.

“Whatever you’re having. I’m sure it would be more exciting than anything I’d come up with.”

“Don’t let her fool you, Jack.”

Jack smiled with boyish mischief. “Don’t worry. I know all about those bookish types.”

Rory whipped her hand to her hip and winked. “Then whatever you’re fixing, you know to make mine a double.”

He nodded with amusement. With all the sexual energy flowing around them, she could certainly use a stiff drink.

Two beers later for Spencer and Rory was still nursing the sweet but wickedly strong concoction that Jack had handed her. She lay back with her feet up while the boys were deep in discussion over the start of college football season. Cool breeze swept over her skin like an endless whisper and before long it all conspired to lull her off to sleep.

Somewhere beneath consciousness she heard the men’s voices bouncing back and forth, seeming like a serenade of bass surrounding her. She drifted in and out of sleep on the lounger, matching voice to face and face to body…then body to body.

“Huh, what?” Rory jumped at the sudden cold on her chest.

“Babe, you spilled some of your drink,” Spencer said, reaching over with Jack’s beach towel. “What was that you gave my girlfriend, Jack?”

Rory helped him dab at the rosy-colored liquid splashed across her collarbone and staining the top of her sundress. Her eye caught Jack’s over Spencer’s shoulder.

“Sex on the Beach.” Jack blushed. “Guess it was kind of strong.”

Spencer’s gaze hadn’t left her. Mild concern knitted his brow and Rory smiled back at him. “It was good.”

“Looks like it,” he said with a tap to her nose, looking satisfied that she was okay—looking also mildly entertained by the double entendre.

“Dinner will be ready in a few. Thought we’d make a fire and eat picnic-style on the beach.”

“I could start to complain that you’re going to too much trouble—” Rory started.

“But I’d have to find a way to banish that idea from your head,” Jack interrupted. “It’s my pleasure, really. I’m returning the favor to you guys for taking me in.” He held up his hand, oddly close to Spencer’s parted lips. “And I know I don’t have to. I want to.”

Rory flashed her eyes at Spencer. Returning the favor? Was that all there was to it?

With flashlights in hand for later, they all helped bring the party down to the well-used fire pit on the beach. Rory wondered how many charred beer caps lay at the bottom of it and imagined Jack sitting with his thoughts, tossing them into the flames. He placed a few strategic pieces of driftwood and sea grass and lit a match to set a warming glow upon them in the night air.

The shish kebabs of chicken and shrimp with the chili and lime marinade Jack had whipped up were amazing—not to mention his mixology skills. Rory finished off her second cocktail with the last of her meal.

“More Sex on the Beach, please.” She giggled, waving her plastic cup in the air.

“Oh man, she is toasted,” Spencer said, easing his hand onto her knee. “Maybe I should have some too.”

Rory liked the way Jack licked his lips when Spencer said that. She felt like she could read his mind, see the flash of something thick and hot pass his face in the firelight. He sucked in a slow breath and stretched the muscles in his neck with a bit of exaggeration. “I’ll be right back with a pitcher.”

Somewhere under the haze of alcohol Rory knew exactly what she hoped would happen if they all got drunk enough. They’d all have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to notice the energy filling the air around them, bouncing from one to the other.

She wouldn’t have called it a suspicion. That would have implied guilt, and there was nothing guilty about admitting desire as far as she was concerned. Still, it had been there, sleepily coursing beneath her happy relationship for months now. Spencer was also attracted to men. Even if neither of them knew what to do with that fact, it was there, staring both of them in the face in low-hung board shorts and holding a pitcher of Sex on the Beach.

Jack dropped to his knees on the blanket and filled her cup. With her gaze darting from Jack to Spencer, she took a heavy gulp. Firelight danced over all of them in the dark, while the waves crashed on the shore just feet away. Everything else was still around them, hugging the moment with anticipation of what she was going to do about it.

“We look like pagans out here,” Rory whispered.

“At least one of us isn’t just pretending,” Jack responded, reaching over her to hand Spencer his cocktail.

“What? You think we don’t get a little wild?” Spencer said and took a sip.

Jack paused as if contemplating his next words.

The silence called out to be filled. Rory swallowed another mouthful of liquid courage and went for it. “Maybe sometime we’ll show you just how wild we can get.”

Jack nodded, with a guarded smile on his lips. “I’d love to see that.”

Heat flushed Rory’s entire body and she turned to search out a reaction on Spencer’s face since he’d said nothing in response. Tucked into the corner of his mouth was the sexiest smirk she’d ever seen him wear. Then Spencer reached behind her head and pulled her into a searing kiss.

Rory lost her breath within the thunder of her pounding heart. Was she about to do this? Really? And the truth whispered to her from behind the fuzzy cloud of inebriation: You want this. She wanted to show Jack how perfect they were together, to show him what an amazing lover Spencer was. But also she wanted to find out how another man could possibly fit into their pretty little picture, because at her core she knew keeping his desires in the closet was eating Spencer alive.

Spencer set her mouth free and stared into Rory’s eyes. If she pushed, he would run. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind about that. One step at a time, and a weekend of show-and-tell with Jack seemed like a good start. It all made perfect sense within the swirling logic of one-hundred-proof rum.

“Rory doesn’t mind if you watch.” Spencer didn’t look away from her, though he was talking to Jack. Rory guessed he was probably talking to her too. He flicked his tongue against her top lip. “Do you, baby?”

Maybe she knew his secrets, but he had all of hers tucked into his pocket as well. She wasn’t the type to dance on top of tables and flash the crowd her thong. Nothing about being the center of that kind of attention appealed to her in the least. But offering an intimate spectacle in the open air of the firelit beach for a man who already had a hold over both of them—yes, that was exactly the right kind of audience.

Her gaze flitted toward Jack, just to check if he was at all embarrassed by the sudden turn of events. He lay on his side, his eyes hooded yet direct. His cup rested on his lip, as if forgotten there, and his tongue danced absently on the rim.

“Do it.” It was all he said—direct and forceful in his tone. They were only two small words, but the weight he placed upon them was exactly what she needed to hear.

Her back straightened with a tingling chill of excitement on her skin. She turned herself around to face Jack and hitched her dress up so that she could straddle Spencer, careful not to jostle his healing ankle.

Jack had a front and center view. She could catch his expression in the random flickers of firelight. Rolling her hips on top of Spencer, she stared at Jack as he stared back. A moan erupted from her lips at the sight of him watching her so intently. Her pussy grew more slippery under her panties as they raked across Spencer’s cargo shorts. Jack liked what he saw all right. She liked being the reason. In that moment she forgot who she was doing all this for in the first place.

Spencer gripped the hem of her dress in his fists, threatening to expose her lacy pink panties. Rory wrapped her fingers over his knuckles and pulled his hands up her thighs, the dress retreating with them. Under her, Spencer’s cock strained against his fly. She could help him with that. Leaving his hands to wander onto her breasts, she slid down his zipper and pulled his cock from his shorts.


Alyssa Turner












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Food Fun from a Non-Foodie by Tara Lain

Food Fun from a Non-Foodie

I’m delighted to be here with Se celebrating the release of my new novel, Genetic Celebrity. This book is a MMF ménage that takes place in the world of supermodels, and it also includes a ton of food porn. Now this is ironic, because, unlike Se, I am not a foodie. In fact, I’m the direct opposite. For the most part, food is only interesting to me as an opportunity for socializing and conversation. I love breakfast because I really like eggs. But beyond that, I get excited over a Starbucks chai latte.

My favorite non-foodie story harkens back to when I was in my early 20s. I had a great apartment just outside Washington, D.C. My mom came to visit me for the weekend and arrived while I was still at work. She thought she’d surprise me by cooking dinner. My apartment had a nice kitchen. She let herself into the apartment, opened my refrigerator and found a bottle of champagne, a jar of mustard, and an orchid. Needless to say, she had some shopping to do. During that same period, I had some friends come to visit me from Germany. I wanted to cook fried chicken. I had to call my mother to ask for every step of the process. And I had to go out and buy the ingredients — including the salt and pepper.

I’m a little better now. I even had a short gourmet cook period in my life. But I know a lot about food, having been surrounded by great cooks, and I called upon their spirits in writing Genetic Celebrity. In the story, my hero Tommy Riley is an amateur gourmet cook. Even though he’s been attracted to men most of his life, he has a mad passion for an older, gorgeous female modeling agent. But she only seems to love him for his food. The his boss brings home a beautiful, androgynous street kid who he wants to turn into a supermodel. Tommy is attracted to him too. Yep, it’s a ménage with Food Porn!!  To get into their passions for food, I drew on the things I know and love — whipped cream, strawberries, and, of course, champagne. What foods do you consider sexy?

Would you like a chance to win a $10 GC?  Leave a comment here WITH YOUR EMAIL. Want a chance to win 2 $10 GCs? Come over to Beautiful Boys Books and leave a comment with your email and do a few more steps.  You’ll be entered in TWO drawings. You can also win some fun SWAG. All the instructions for how to do that are at Beautiful Boys Books. But first, leave a comment here with your email. Thank you again, Se, for being my food inspiration–and for having me on the blog today.


Excerp ADULT: Genetic Celebrity by Tara Lain; MMF Menage with Food!

Available at Loose Id  Amazon


Tommy Riley loves cooking and the simple life. But his passion for Angie “Booky” Edelson is anything but simple. Beautiful, ambitious, hard-driving and 10 years older than Tommy, Booky represents all the things Tommy has tried to leave behind. Besides, she only seems to love him for his food! Then Tommy’s boss brings home Shay Shaleen, a pierced, tattooed, androgynous street kid for Booky to turn into a top male model. Tommy sizzles for the beautiful guy but Shay gets caught up in the flattery of a famous fashion designer. Why does Tommy have to fall for two people who can’t love him back? Is there a recipe for blending with these genetic celebrities?

What an embarrassing few hours. All the kid had to do was raise an eyebrow, and Tommy’s cock stood up and said howdy. He’d spent three hours with Booky and two hours with Shay, and he felt like his damned penis had been doing jumping jacks, warming up, but it never got to play in the big game. It was bouncing around, yelling, “Put me in, coach.” He chuckled. Maybe the problem was his biggest athletic achievement had been in chess. And right now he needed an attack on his queen. He rolled over to the nightstand and pulled out his lube.

A quick squirt. He reached down and pulled the pajama bottoms below his half-hard cock. Just thinking about that guy lying across the hall in the guest bed was turning him on. He sighed, rubbed the lube on his hands, then stopped. What did this all mean? As a young kid he’d shown all the usual interest in little girls, talking them into pulling down their panties and all that. Then in high school he’d discovered guys, but the girl thing never really went away. Which had been good because he could date girls and have sex even while he was lusting after the only guy in the tournament who could beat him in chess.

He’d had the biggest hard-on for Damien. Then on the day that Tommy had finally beaten him with a kingside strategy, Damien had pulled him into a stall in the men’s room and kissed him. Je-sus. Tommy ripped the guy’s pants off and had his big cock in Damien’s ass before he could cry surrender. They’d fucked desperately for fear somebody was going to come into the bathroom. At one point someone had come through the door, and Damien had jumped up on the toilet so no one could see his feet. Tommy stood there sucking Damien’s cock quietly while the visitor peed outside in the urinal. Jeez, that had been fun. Of course, later they’d been discovered by his father while making out in Tommy’s bedroom. Talk about shit hitting fans.

This was the wrong time to think about that. He reached for his cock and paused. Damn, he should call Booky before it got any later and get her over here tomorrow. He looked at his lube-covered hand, then reached for the phone with his dry one. No reason to waste time or lube. He hit the speed dial with his thumb.

He heard the ringing. “Hey, Tommy. What’s up, baby?”

That husky voice vibrated through his ear and dived straight to his cock. He grabbed the dick as it stretched. “Hi, Book. Uh, can you come over tomorrow?” Oh yes, just one little squeeze.

“Sure, what’s going on?”

“Ummm, Roan has a special project for you.” He clicked on to speaker so he could use both hands.

One hand after the other with a twist at the top the way he liked.

“Oh, that’s great.” She sounded happy. His balls liked that. “What’s the project?”

“It’s, uh, uh, kind of a surprise.” Stroke, stroke.

“I love surprises.” He’d like to surprise her. “But come on, bubala, give me a hint.”

“No hints.” Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“Tommy Riley, don’t be mean. Tell me.” Oh God, that voice. He pictured the lips the voice was coming from. Had to control his panting.

“No, no, can’t tell. Sorry, Book, have to go. I…uh, have something in the oven.”

“At this hour?”

“Yeah, and it’s getting too hot.”

“Okay, what time shall I come?”

“Come? Oh yes, come. Come at nine thirty for breakfast. Come. Okay?”

“Okay.” She sounded suspicious.

“See you tomorrow.” Stroke, stroke. He clicked off, threw the phone on the bed, rose up on his knees, and got serious. While he was at it, he might as well get off on some more fantasies.

Imagine fucking Shay Shaleen. Those long legs stretched over his pretty head, Tommy hammering his ass. Yesss. And shoving his big, thick dick into Booky. Making her scream his name over and over. Oh, that was so good. Into Shay. Into Booky. Shay. Booky. Fucking them both. Wow. Stroke, stroke, stroke. She-it! Spunk shot out of his dick and landed on the top of the sheets while flashes of heat seared through his balls and into his head.

“Jeez. Yes!” He gasped and took deep breaths. His muscles relaxed. He’d clean the sheets tomorrow. Sleep now. Shay and Booky. I wish.




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Tara Lain never met a beautiful boy she didn’t love – at least on paper. A writer of erotic romance, mostly ménage and male/male, Tara loves all her characters, but especially her handsome heroes. A lifelong writer of serious non-fiction, Tara only fell in love with EROM in 2009 and, through perseverance and lots of workshops, had the first novel she ever wrote published in January of 2011. Then she capped off the year by being voted Best Author of 2011 in the LRC Awards and had her Genetic Attraction Series named runner-up for Best Series of 2011! A very good year. After an exotic life of travel all over the world and work in television, education and advertising, Tara settled in Southern California with her soul-mate husband and opened her own small marketing business. She paints, collages, and started practicing yoga “way before it was fashionable”. Passionate about diversity, justice, inclusion and new ideas, she says on her tombstone it will read, “Yes”.

Writing the Ménage: A Special Dynamic by Tara Lain

Genetic Attraction is my first novel (although I’ve been writing nonfiction for many years). I decided to write it when I discovered erotic romance and loved the genre so much, I thought “I could write one of these books.” But Genetic Attraction didn’t start out to be a ménage a trois. When I first conceived the plot, I expected it to be an older woman/younger man romance, but then one day I ordered a book by Jet Mykles called Heaven. It was my first male/male romance and I was hooked! I had to add another man to my book.

Fortunately, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t know that writing a ménage is hard, so I just plunged in. Since this first novel, I’ve written three other books and two of them are ménages:– one is m/m/f and one is m/m/m/. I guess I really like this dynamic. Here’s what I’m learning:

  • Love between three people can be just as sweet and intense and passionate as between two– at least in romance novels! The real-life dynamics of a ménage are probably very tricky, but virtually everyone has harbored in their heart at sometime the thought that maybe, just maybe, they could love two people. Ménage stories play into this fantasy.
  • Ménages make interesting plots. Simple, you have three people to play with, to make interact with each other, to provide richness and detail to your story. In Genetic Attraction, two of my lead characters are scientists and one is a supermodel. As readers, we get to see scenes played out in their different worlds- in the lab, at photo shoots, at a faculty party.
  • Pronouns can be killers! Writing male/male stories is a unique challenge since both characters are called “he”, so you have to find ways to differentiate them without using their names constantly, and without being confusing. Now, add another man to the mix as I’m doing in my current work-in-progress, a m/m/m ménage. Yikes. It takes some creativity and very deep point-of-view for each character.
  • Sex between three people needs careful thought. The reader needs to know where each character is and what they’re doing. No one can be left out, so we need to see reactions from each character as well as actions.
  • But, oh, it’s soooo much fun. A ménage is fun to read and it’s fun to write. So many yummy things can be done simultaneously when you have three people. Just use your imagination. That’s what I did. : )

I want to thank Selena for being such a gracious host and for all her incredible help and support to this new author. And huge hugs to all the readers who have been sending me messages on e-mail and Twitter and in blog posts saying how much they enjoy the book and the excerpts. It makes me cry, guys. So tell me, what kind of romantic pairings or multiples do you most enjoy? You’ve got a bunch or writers listening who will be happy to give them to you!? : )

Genetic Attraction OUT NOW, at Loose-Id!


At a conservative Long Island University, renowned researcher, Dr. Emmaline Silvay, has two great loves– her life-saving work, and her younger research partner, Jake Martin. The romantic love is impossible. She’s his boss and he lives with his girlfriend. The the “girlfriend” is actually a boyfriend, the beautiful and infamous supermodel, Roan Black.

Resigned to a platonic relationship, Em accepts a weekend invitation to their home, but the men have a menage on their minds. She can’t resist, doesn’t even want to. But their intentions go far beyond passion. They want her to “be a part of them”. Their three-way love defies propriety and the standards of the University that funds their work. The supermodel’s fame makes secrecy impossible. Their ménage threatens to crumble all she’s worked for. What will give way to make room for genetic attraction?

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Yikes! Damn, he got her again. The lab staff teased her for getting so absorbed in her work an ax murderer could sneak up on her.

She looked up from her computer at her favorite tall, blond ax murderer, a.k.a. research associate. The blue, blue eyes behind the Clark Kent wire rims sparkled with humor.

He chuckled. “Sorry, I tried to make a lot of noise opening your door.”

She sighed and pushed away from the big wooden desk that crowded her small office. Oh yeah, now she felt the exhaustion. “I was somewhere else, as usual.”

“Just wanted to know if you’d finished the gene sequencing?”

She looked up into that sculpted face and squinted at the pain between her eyebrows. “I got a lot done, but I’m seeing double.” Headache or not, she could see him just fine.

“C’mon, it’s after nine. Let’s give up before we have a thirty-two-gene sequence instead of sixteen.”

Ouch. Fourteen hours at a computer. She closed her eyes and stretched her neck to the side.

Strong, warm hands pressed down on her shoulders. His fingers pushed her head forward, and powerful thumbs dug into her neck. She jumped and then shivered.

“That’s where it hurts, right?” He dug in a little deeper.

Increased heart rate. Spiked respiration. She thought of it as the “Jake reaction.” The touch of those strong, young hands that he seemed to put on her body way too often and the warm smell of him always powered a reaction. Some tiny part of her rational scientist’s mind could watch while her body went wacko, tingling, shivering and yearning. She might be a thirty-six-year-old geneticist with a huge reputation to protect, but she wanted Jake Martin with a lust she couldn’t reason away. It was a crappy idea, the very worst for her sanity and her career, but those were the facts. Like the direct pathway of alcohol to the liver, nothing got in the way of her desire, not his youth, his position as her assistant researcher, or the fact that he lived with his girlfriend.

She pulled away from his hands. “We should go.”

His slight pause made her think she’d hurt him with her abruptness, but when she glanced up he smiled, flashing patentable dimples. “Let’s get something to eat.”

God, the cheekbones. The floppy gold hair. Half science geek, half demigod. He’d already stripped out of his lab coat, and the well-worn jeans hugged long, lean thighs. Resistance was futile. “Penne with sun-dried tomatoes?”

“You got it, sweetheart.” He pulled her out of the chair, a move that almost backed him up to her side wall. Space wasn’t a luxury afforded in this lab.

“Show proper respect there, boy child. That’s Doctor Sweetheart.”

“Then I’ll have to demand Doctor Boy Child.”

“Boy Child PhD?”

“Top of my résumé.” Jake leaned her against his chest — yeah, that would be rock-hard chest — and slipped the lab coat she wore on clinic days off her shoulders and threw it on her desk.

He just held her, his hands caressing her back as his breath rasped against her hair.

Damn, why did he do this? He touched her a lot, and she didn’t know if he simply didn’t realize how sexual his attentions seemed or if he was being sadistic. Wasn’t he getting enough at home?

She pulled back and practiced her motherly smile. “I must be tired.”

Gently turning her around, he pushed her toward the door, switching off the lights as they went. “Mama Sophia’s?”

Outside in the open lab, she shrugged on the green wool jacket he held for her. Computers still glowed on two desks where colleagues would return after dinner to continue work. She had a dedicated team, and she hated to leave, but eventually food and sleep even outweighed cancer research. She usually got here before seven, and food breaks were scarce. The thought of pasta made her mouth water as she watched Jake switch off the lights. “C’mon, Dr. Boy Child. Garlic is my drug of choice.”

* * * * *

“Okay, God is Italian.” The subtle flavor of tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil floated over her tongue.

“Yeah, just ask an Italian. He’ll tell you God gave them Sophia Loren and seventy-five-year-old prime ministers that still get it up for their twenty-five-year-old mistresses. Clearly, divine dispensation.” He sucked in a bite.

Mmm. Warm, oregano-spiced air, and the cinnamony smell of Jake beside her. Her favorites. “I thought that was all about the little blue pill?”

“Also a gift from the gods.”

They sat in their favorite red, faux-leather booth at the back of the homey restaurant complete with Chianti-bottle candles and red-checked tablecloths. Jake had taken off his leather jacket, leaving him in a soft, gray, tissue-thin sweater that hugged his beautiful lean torso. He’d pushed the sleeves up, and she tried not to stare at those corded golden forearms. The soft material of the sweater was almost as beautiful as his skin.

How did the man afford to dress that way on what she paid him? Never flashy, but even she could see the clothes had quality. He didn’t come from money, but he had just bought a house in what she’d heard was a very elegant neighborhood in Connecticut. Did his girlfriend have money? Damn, the girlfriend certainly had him.

“Am I finally going to meet your girlfriend on Friday?”

He made a quick grab for his water glass and took a sip, splashing a few drops on his glasses. “My girlfriend?”

Why was he being coy? “Yes, the girlfriend you moved in with, right? She must be curious about where you spend so many late nights. I assume you’re going to bring her Friday.”

He pulled his glasses off and wiped them on his napkin, looking tense. What was up? She reached out and flipped his shaggy hair from in front of those blue eyes. The man always needed a haircut. Another part of his charm.

“I, uh, wasn’t really planning on coming Friday night.”

Oh, hell no. “You are truly kidding me, Jake. You’ve got to know what that award means to us, to our research, if someone…you know, someone on our team…were to win it.” She didn’t want to spoil the surprise, but she’d hocked a lot of political capital lobbying for him to win the Belden Award. The prize for outstanding young scientist was a big deal to the university too, since all the major research schools from across the country were invited to submit candidates. Jeez, it’d never occurred to her that he’d just bow out of the ceremony. “Really, Jake, it’s important.”

He glanced at her, and then his pasta got interesting again.

“Okay, I’ll come.”

“Jesus, could you be more enthusiastic? You need to come, Jake. And you’ll bring your girlfriend, right? I want to meet her, and it will show the faculty council what a lovely, settled, family person you are. At least one of us isn’t a confirmed bachelor.”

He clenched his jaw and forced words out between his teeth. “Em, I’ll come to the banquet, but I haven’t got a girlfriend. And I sure as fuck can’t show the faculty council my happy family life.”

The girlfriend was gone? “What happened? You told me you just moved in with her.” Damn, she really didn’t want to screw with his life. “Jesus, Jake, is it because I’m working you to death? I’ll talk to her. Give you more time off.”

He held a hand to her lips. “Easy, sweetheart. I’m sorry. I haven’t told you the truth, but I just…crap, I don’t know. I should have told you a long time ago. I just wasn’t sure it would work, it was such a long shot.”

What in hell was he talking about?

She got the first direct stare since they sat down. “Em, I can’t bring my girlfriend to the award dinner…because she’s my boyfriend. The person I moved in with is a man.” He sat back, still gazing at her steadily, challengingly.

Every nerve ending went hot. Then cold. What the fuck?

“And for the record, I never said I moved in with my girlfriend. I said I moved in with my lover, and you did the rest. I’m sorry.”

She knew her mouth was hanging open. Jake, gay? Her fantasy lover? She didn’t know how to feel. As a kid in the commune, she and her mom had practically collected gay friends. How could she have missed it?

Jesus, she was shaking. She didn’t want him to think she was horrified. She wasn’t. Just shocked and…what? Disappointed? Now there was no chance for her.

“Jesus, Jake, I know I can be self-absorbed, but I didn’t know I was blind.” Okay, she had to get a grip. People were looking their way. She lowered her voice. “How could it never have crossed my mind that you’re gay? How could I have missed it so completely in almost two years of working together?”

“Em, I’m really sorry.”

He was sorry. Shit! “You didn’t think you could tell me? Did you imagine it would matter to me?”

He grabbed her hands and squeezed them. “No! Of course I didn’t think you’d care. I didn’t tell you I’m gay because, well, I’m not. Or wasn’t. I’ve mostly been with women. You know; you’ve seen me with enough of them. I’d only been with one other man in my life when I met Roan. We met less than a year ago at the genetics conference I attended with you.”

“That’s why you were acting so strangely at the conference?” She remembered how edgy and distracted he’d been.

“Yeah. I was face-to-face with my sexuality and with the best thing I’d ever seen.”

That put a little rip in her heart.

Releasing her hands, he gripped his own together. “But it was such an unlikely match, and the chances we’d stay together were so small, I didn’t want to tell you and then split up with him.” He sighed and shrugged at the same time. “But the truth is, I fell in love with the guy, and even though it amazes me every day, he loves me back. So I’m gay.” Grin. “At least operationally.”

Trying to get a grip here. “Roan?”

“Yeah, that’s his name. And I really do want you to meet him; planned on it in fact.” He touched her hand, gently stroking his fingers over her palm, and she just couldn’t pull away. “You both mean so much to me. I want you to love each other too.”

Maybe it would be easier to like a man Jake loved more than it would a woman. Maybe she could beat back the jealousy, knowing he was more interested in men. Fuck, she’d have to.

He sat back. “But I don’t think the faculty award dinner is the place. I don’t want to hide my relationship exactly. My family knows, and they’re great about it, but hell, you know the faculty council and the administration, especially Kovak.”

“Our own private Inquisitor?”

“Yeah. The faculty council will never say they’re firing me because I’m gay. They’ll make up another reason. I just don’t want to rub their faces in it. If they find out some other way, fine.”

She took another deep breath, just trying to cope. “You know, there are several gay men on the faculty. Professor Montag makes jelly beans look colorless, and some others probably cross-dress in their spare time.”

“Yeah, but they stay in the closet. Don’t ask; don’t tell. Plus, they were here before Kovak, so he kind of ignores them.”

“So just bring your, uh…Roan and let them guess. Maybe he’s just a friend or something.”

“He’s a little too noticeable.”

“What? A drag queen?”

He grinned. “No, you’ll see when you meet him.”

One thing was clear. “You have to come to the banquet. Do you get that? And if this man is the one you love, I think he should be there too. Am I making myself clear?”

He laughed. “Yes, Mother.”

“Hey, why don’t you and Roan escort me to the bloody banquet? Then no one will know who’s with whom. We can say he’s a friend of both of ours. You’ll both be my dates. I get to meet him, and he gets to be there for you.”

“I thought you were coming with Henry.”

“Not nearly often enough.” He snorted Chianti. Okay, bad joke, but then Henry was a pretty bad lover. “Anyway, as chance would have it, I haven’t invited him yet, so I’m free to be your diversion.”

“You’re a diversion only in the best possible way.” His face lit up with enthusiasm. “But actually it’s perfect. You’ll come home with us after the banquet and spend the weekend. I’ve been planning to invite you out for weeks, but we’ve been so busy at the lab. So come this weekend. Then you can get to know Roan and see the new house at the same time. You get me where you want me, and” — he chuckled — “I get you where I want you.”

She gazed at the beautiful face. He’d taken off his glasses so nothing distracted from those crystal blue eyes. How often had she fantasized about spending time with him? Sadly, those fantasies had never involved a gay lover. But bottom line, he had to come to the banquet, and a weekend in Connecticut sounded like fun even in the company of two gay men. Of course, the faculty council sure as hell wouldn’t agree with her. They would puke if they knew Doctor Emmaline Silvay, lead researcher and hope for all great international genetics prizes, was consorting with her twenty-six-year-old assistant. Gay assistant. She felt her mom’s rebel blood rise in her veins.

“What time will you pick me up, and what kind of clothes should I pack?”

Author Bio:

Tara Lain, like so many novelists, wrote her first book at five. Writing ability got her through college when there wasn’t enough time in the day, and, shortly thereafter, it became a marketable skill. Very early in life, people started paying her to write — scripts for industrial films, brochures, magazine articles on semiconductors. She became a really successful non-fiction “ghost-writer”.
Now, when you’re being paid well to write non-fiction, it’s tough to spend time writing fiction that nobody pays you for for a long time. But then Tara found EROM (erotic romance). Always a lover of fantasy, she got hooked on the beauty, emotion, and happily-ever-after of these books (to say nothing of the great sex) and was finally inspired to write one of her own. But writing fiction is REALLY different than non-fiction. There was so much to learn, and after writing her first book she went back to school (via online workshops) and really got down to learning the craft. A year later, she had rewritten that book, and created another one, and a very supportive publisher said yes! Today, she’s off and running as a passionate writer of erotic fiction.
Married to a her soul mate, a wonderful man who surprises her every day, Tara continues to love semiconductors and software and medical devices — all with a little touch of romance. She’s also an artist in her spare time (LOL) working in oil and mixed media collage.
Tara would love to:hear from you.


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