The Lady Makes Three (Siren Publishing Menage Amour)
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by Morgan Ashbury
Description: [Menage Amour: Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance, M/M/F with M/M] Colorado ranch owner Maddy Dalton knows all about being in charge. For the last ten years every decision, every burden has rested squarely on her shoulders. Sure, she's lonely, and longs to love and be loved, but she doesn't see how she can take on a man without losing control of her ranch or her life. Lucas Calhoun has been the foreman of the Rocking D for nearly half his life, and he's had a soft spot for Maddy for nearly just as long. But he's harboring a secret: images of sexy, rugged men turn him on, too. How can he make a move on Maddy when he doesn't feel free to commit to her all the way? Comfortable with his bi-sexuality, cowboy Chase Reynolds wants a home, but there's a catch. His ideal scenario features a wife and a husband. Recognizing the suppressed longing in both Maddy and Lucas, Chase decides that bold action is needed. But it's not without risk. Having loved and lost badly in the past, Chase is leery losing his heart. Can these three people learn to find themselves, trust their hearts, and make a family? And can they survive the danger that threatens them all? [Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance. Warning: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Menage Amour, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: May 2010
29 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [268 KB]
Reading time: 170-238 min.
"5 KISSES, Recommended Read: The Lady Makes Three is a really well written love story. I love how Morgan Ashbury blends steamy sex with a gripping plot. Maddie is a strong woman, but she is also very vulnerable. Thankfully she has two wonderfully understanding men in her life. Sometimes two is better than one. Lucas is an over 40 foreman. He has always been attracted to Maggie. But he has also always loved men too. Chase teaches him it is okay to swing both ways. Matter of fact it can be a lot of fun. Chase is young and fearless. He seduces both Maddie and Lucas in his own style, he is sure of himself and who he is and is able to teach others to be themselves too. Read The Lady Makes Three when you want some really steamy well written love in your life. You will not be disappointed." -- Tina, Two Lips Reviews
"5 CHERRIES: The Lady Makes Three was an amazing read that was well written with the reader in mind. Sometimes I wondered how the pages of my book weren't bursting into flames. The plot line was remarkable and there were several times I had to say to myself "NO WAY, I CAN'T BELIEVE HE DID THAT!" I enjoy reading books by Morgan Ashbury because she always provides an action packed sizzling read that I know I am going to be amazed by. Ms. Ashbury just gets better with each new book she writes. I enthusiastically urge you to pick up The Lady Makes Three for a story line that will have you sweating it is so hot." -- Violet, Whipped Cream
"4.5 HEARTS: Exhilarating author Morgan Ashbury has created a sinfully delightful tale that offers a spellbinding and riveting sensuality and a depth of emotions that will take the readers breath away. This story draws deeply into these complex and intriguing characters' feelings and emotions, captivating the reader. The heroine is a believable, independent, and determined woman who has so much love to offer the two powerful and different men who love and understand her. The array of emotions between the three lovers is intense, gritty, and so real. The love play is sometimes raw and rowdy and at other times tender and magical. The light touch of a little dominant play elevates the level of trust. But one thing that is constant throughout the story, whether the lovers are in or out of bed, is the loving and trusting bond that exists. Readers will relate to the good natured bantering as well as the tender touches between the lovers. The secondary characters work well building the tension and creating scenes that help to move the plot line along. The devilish danger twists and turns creating edgy and sizzling thrills that add an additional element to the story line. Readers who like their erotica H-O-T need look no further than, The Lady Makes Three to satisfy their all their reading needs and desires! I look forward to more erotic tales from this stunning author!" -- Shannon, The Romance Studio
"4.5 BLUE RIBBONS: Morgan Ashbury delivers an exciting and emotional storyline with The Lady Makes Three. There's a connection between Maddy, Chase and Lucas which is evident right from the beginning, but it's definitely not an easy transition for any of them to move from friends to lovers especially with Maddy's trust issues. You get the impression that there isn't much this trio can't conquer together but throw in bigotry and pure greed, and you get an action packed novel that leaves you with a good feeling in your heart and a healthy respect for those who dare to live their lives as they see fit." -- Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies Reviews
* * * *
Naked arousal bucked her from sleep to wakefulness in a single heartbeat.
Maddy Dalton tossed the blankets aside and dropped her feet to the floor. Breath choppy, head bowed, she struggled to rein in her horniness. Moonlight spilled through the window, soft light pooling on every surface, making the perspiration on her arms and breasts glisten. Another kind of moisture altogether slicked her sex.
Bare wisps of the dream remained, phantom images teasing of their presence and even though she knew it was a mistake, she struggled to recall them, see them, feel them.
Masculine flesh rippling with muscle. A touch. A taste. As these hints kissed her mind, Maddy's nerve endings tingled in remembered pleasure. Closing her eyes, she slid, supine, back onto the tumbled sheets, back toward the dream.
As her hand reached down and stroked her feminine flesh, it was joined by another, masculine one. The caress of work-roughened fingers over the fullness of her breasts peaked her nipples, turning them to pebbled points. A masculine grunt of smug pleasure preceded forefinger and thumb capturing one nipple, pinching hard.
The pain, sharply exquisite, bowed her off the bed. She whimpered as arousal spiked higher, sending tiny lightning bolts from her core along every inch of her skin. Helpless against the sensation, she spread her legs wide--invitation and surrender combined. Strong fingers found sensitive folds, delved into moisture, reaching deep. Stoke after stroke stoked fires, fed the hunger, but somehow never quite sated it. Maddy stretched her body taut, rolling her hips to meet the thrusts, striving higher and harder until she nearly cried out in desperation. Needing more, craving a strong touch everywhere, her wish was granted as hands caressed and claimed breasts and belly, while fingers skittered along the crack of her ass, teased and yet continued to plunge within her, all at the same time.
It burst, a sharp and bright bubble of orgasm, some but not all, good, but not good enough, never quite good enough.
Tiny shivers coursed through her. Limp, exhausted, her right hand stayed where it sprawled nearly lifeless, nestled on top of the curls that covered her sex.
Her eyes flicked to the bedside clock even as she sensed she had no time left to return to sleep. No time left to think about the aching emptiness that lived inside her--had lived inside her for what seemed like forever. Dawn would be breaking soon, the dawn of a new day. It would be another in a string of new days that never seemed to change, an infinite dawning of sameness that made up her existence. Get over it, Maddy thought as she moved her head back and forth on her pillow. She had an existence, she didn't have a life.
Annoyed at the maudlin turn of her thoughts, Maddy once more put her feet on the floor, this time completing the momentum and getting out of bed. She needed a shower--hot, steamy and now. Blistering, beating water would chase useless fantasies and even more useless self-pity down the drain, where they belonged. She had to get a move on.
The ranch needed her. Always, the ranch needed her.
* * * *
Dawn crept toward the horizon, and the world outside the window appeared a little less dark than just a few minutes before. The scent of sausage and flapjacks filled the air, mingling with the ever present aroma of coffee. For the residents of the Circle D ranch, three hundred miles southwest of Denver Colorado, another day had already begun.
The screen door banged shut and Lucas Calhoun took his time looking up from his coffee. He knew who'd just come into the bunkhouse, of course. He had, in fact, been waiting for her. That's why he took his time, turned his head only after one of the other hands greeted the new arrival. Where Maddy was concerned, he found it harder each day to keep his emotions in check.
"Morning, boss," Bill called out, his voice cigarette-hoarse.
"Morning, Bill. Men."
Maddy's greeting sounded a little strained. Lucas couldn't keep his eyes from drinking in her presence like a parched man. Shadows darkened the delicate flesh under her eyes and tiredness draped over her slender frame, a weariness that seemed heavier now than it had six months before when she'd not only been running the Circle D but caring for her ailing father as well.
But old Robert Dalton had been gone these last few months, and Maddy's load should have been easier for her to bear. He knew what a strain the sire had placed on the filly. It bothered him she looked so battered. He wished he had the right to go to her, take her into his arms and simply soothe the burden away.
He didn't have that right, more, he would likely never have it and sure as hell didn't deserve to, either. Sensing eyes on him, he looked up and into the clear blue-eyed gaze of the ranch's newest official employee and honorary prodigal son, Chase Reynolds.
Telling himself the emotions that fired to life within him at Chase's close scrutiny were merely discomfort at being caught wool gathering, Lucas reached for the coffee pot Bill had set on the table and poured himself another cup. Then he poured some of the brew into the cup at the empty spot next to him as well.
"Come have some joe, Maddy, and tell us what you want done today."
Maddy pulled out the chair next to him and sat down at the same time Chase settled himself directly across from them both.
"Thanks, Luc. Settling in all right, Chase? Taken a few walks down memory lane, yet?"
Maddy's tone held a slight edge of teasing, the standard tone used by most everyone at the dinner table.
Chase had officially been added to the staff a couple of days before, but he was no stranger to Lucas, Maddy, or the ranch. A quiet boy of ten when his father, Vic Reynolds, had been hired on some twenty years before, Chase had grown up on the Circle D. It wasn't a usual kind of thing, to find a ranch hand traveling the country looking for work with a child in tow. But Chase's mother had just died the winter before, and there'd been no other family for the boy to go to.
Since Lucas had the entire foreman's house to himself, and because the bunkhouse didn't qualify as a good environment for a child, he'd invited Vic and Chase to move in with him. Vic had been an okay worker, though not an industrious one. Lucas might have fired his ass if he hadn't taken such a liking to young Chase.
When Chase turned sixteen, Vic had up and quit. No one much cared if they saw the back of the father, but they all regretted Chase's departure.
Now he'd returned, a man fully grown, and from what Lucas had seen so far strong of back and smart of brain.
Lucas turned his focus back to the conversation.
"Settled in just fine, Maddy, thanks. Place hasn't changed much, that's for sure. Well, except I can't go up to the house and play checkers with Mr. D. That used to be one of the highlights of my day, growing up here. I was sorry to hear he'd passed."
Lucas noted the look of gratitude on Maddy's face for Chase's kind words. Robert Dalton had been a son-of-a-bitch to most people, including Maddy. But she'd loved the old bastard anyway. And for reasons the old man had never explained, he'd taken a liking to Chase. Lucas secretly suspected that he looked on the young boy as a second chance, in some ways. He'd only ever had one child--Maddy--and no doubt some part of him had pined for a son to carry on after him. Stupid bastard. Maddy had grown into a finer person, a harder worker, and a better daughter than Dalton had had any right to expect.
Lucas waited for the platter of sausages and jacks that Bill had just set down to be passed around. Bill Campbell--who pitched in with the horses when he wasn't cooking--himself and Chase made up the 'originals' on the ranch, if such a term applied. The other two men, Pat and Charlie, had hired on about three years before. In the busy season, Maddy would take on extra men, temporary workers. There never seemed to be a shortage of cowboys drifting by, looking for a few weeks work. Branding season had just passed, and an early heat wave had struck. The five of them plus Maddy made for plenty of hands to get things done until the fall.
"I rode passed the hay field yesterday. Crop looks to have taken a good hold. If the weather gods are kind, we should end up with plenty to feed the horses over winter."
Lucas tuned in to ranch business. "Thought the same myself. I also thought that with Chase here now, it's not out of the question to run over to Gunnison for whatever supplies we need."
"Something wrong with the Seed & Feed in Marshville?" Chase asked.
"Nuthin' 'cepting that fancy pants Kevin Marsh thinking he's entitled to come round sniffin' at Miss Maddy." Bill's succinct explanation came filtered through a mouthful of food. Bill was a fine cook and a good hand, but had no table manners to speak of.
Lucas tried to interpret the sharp look Chase shot him just then. Hell, I'm no good at that sort of thing, reading people's expressions. He knew enough when someone spouted bullshit, and he could generally tell if someone became really pissed at him, but that spelled the limit of his people reading skills. And Kevin Marsh, in Lucas's estimation, was drowning in the former. He turned to look at Maddy as she began to fill Chase in.
"He took to visiting Dad about two months before he passed. Never could figure out why, but Dad seemed glad to have a visitor. Then, not long after the funeral, he came by one day, suddenly filled with ardor. When I told him I had no interest in dating him, he tried to tell me that he'd had a gentleman's agreement with Dad, who'd given his blessings to Marsh's marrying me and taking over running this ranch."
"Ain't no gentleman," Charlie said now. "Begging' your pardon, Maddy, I meant Marsh, not your pa."
Maddy's smile flashed quick and keen and lit up her entire face. The sight of it never failed to lift Lucas's spirits. He sensed Chase's penetrating gaze once more, and decided to ignore it.
"You've got that right," Maddy agreed with the man. Then she shrugged her shoulders as she finished her explanation for Chase. "I told him to go to hell. Since then whenever I've gone into town to get one thing or another we've needed, I've come away empty handed, because Marsh--who you may recall not only owns the only real estate business in Marshville but the Seed & Feed as well--claims whatever it is we want is 'out of stock'. The last time that happened, I asked Bert Smitherman, over at the Double Horseshoe Ranch to get the item for me instead. An hour later, same day, and what do you know, Marsh had it."
"What does he think he's going to achieve that way?" Chase asked, and he looked, not only to Maddy, but Lucas for his answer.
Lucas shrugged. "I don't think he's trying to achieve anything really. He's simply being a vindictive little bastard."
"That's my take too," Maddy said. "I'd just as soon avoid him in the near future, if we could. And we can, now. Lucas is right. Having an extra man around--and one I can count on at that--will make it possible to take the extra time when needed to run into Gunnison."
"Well, then. I'm very glad to be of service."
Chase had looked straight at Lucas when he'd said that, his words accompanied by a look that could have steamed ice. Lucas felt a strange tightening in his belly, noted the way his pulse kicked up. Swallowing hard, he looked away from the younger man, putting his attention on his empty plate even as he felt his cock begin to stir.
Lucas didn't remember having eaten his breakfast, but at the moment that seemed the least of his worries.
* * * *
Maddy tilted her head back, the water from her canteen hitting her square in the face, then running down the front of her t-shirt and onto her jeans. This heat wave was unusual for mid-May. But she'd worked through worse heat waves before with equanimity and couldn't understand why today's record temperature got to her so badly. I'm just tired, that's all.
Stopping the deluge with a quarter of the bottle to spare, Maddy brought the metal to her lips. As she drank, she scanned the area. Chase and Luc were both giving her a hand with this fence repair job. Lucas stood about a hundred yards to her right, his button-front shirt open, sweat beading on his chest. She watched as his gaze traced the path of the water on her own shirt, noted the look of interest and the quick darting-away of his eyes.
Someday I'm going to have myself a few stiff shots of whiskey for courage and attack that man. She couldn't deny that thoughts of Lucas, naked, had taken up residence in her mind on more than one occasion. She felt pretty sure the man viewed her the same way. She couldn't figure out why neither one of them had made a move on each other after all these years. About the same age as she, Lucas had been a part of her life since they'd been teenagers. Neither one of them had a significant other nor could be considered butt-ugly.
Damn it, she was lonely. Cry-herself-to-sleep-in-the-middle-of-the-night-sometimes lonely. She wanted someone in her life, someone who would respect her and hold her; who would be there when she needed him but wouldn't expect her to cater to him twenty-four seven. One thing she knew for certain: she really didn't want a husband. She didn't want the work, the worry or the responsibility of one.
She'd spent the last twelve years of her life caring for her father after he'd become sick. She'd had to make every decision, face every challenge, clear every hurdle, on her own, while catering to most every one of his needs. In other words, she'd filled the role of 'wife' of the household and had no desire to go there again.
Why the big deal in society about getting married, anyway? Her father had considered her lack of a husband to be her worst sin. Hell, marriage was nothing more than a vow, a promise and a piece of paper, none of which had any value at all, in most cases.
Chase stretched, catching Maddy's attention. He stood only a few feet away, directly in front of her by the open tail gate of the truck, and the expansive movement definitely snagged her interest. Obviously he'd tossed his t-shirt in deference to the heat and she couldn't help but notice and appreciate his well honed abs and pecs. She nearly jumped when his eyes met hers. His gaze bored into her. When he shifted his focus to her breasts, she felt a tingling response in the pit of her belly. Then his eyes met hers again and she had no trouble seeing the hunger in them. He tossed her a flirty grin and headed back to his piece of barbed wire.
Well, hell, now what? Was she so desperate to get laid that she could lust after two different men with an equal craving and at the same time? Images from her dream that very morning slithered across her mind. She'd brought those images back as she'd pleasured herself, and yes, in her imagining there sure as hell had been more than two male hands on her body as she'd come. Maddy turned her eyes away from the younger man as that reality hit home. Capping her canteen, she tossed it on the ground, pulled her gloves back on, and got back to working on the fence. She kept her hat brim down so she could look at both men without their catching her at it. Both worked quickly and efficiently as they attacked portions of the old boundary line. She saw Lucas turn his head toward Chase, but couldn't see the expression on her foreman's face. Then, a few minutes later, when she looked up again, she saw Chase treating the other man the same kind of look he'd just given her.
All right, that settles it. I've obviously got sex on the brain. She blamed that strange dream near dawn, which itself had likely just sprung--even if it had been a first, dreaming of two lovers at the same time--from her having neglected her body's needs for so long. It had been years since her last lover. Narrowing her eyes, she tried to think back...holy hell, the last man she'd had a relationship with was Tom Parker, and that had been nearly six years ago! It had also been a long time since she'd given herself a really good session with her vibrator.
Tom Parker had been a scratch in response to an itch, nothing more. Just as well seeing as the man hadn't stayed in the county very long after their half-hearted affair had begun. Her vibrator, now, she had no excuse there. She didn't even have to worry about anyone else being in the house with her anymore, either, interfering with her privacy. Maybe this weekend she'd have a nice long bubble bath, a couple glasses of wine, and see what she could do about taking care of her inner woman with Bob--her battery operated boyfriend.