Wanton Wager (Siren Publishing Menage Amour)
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by Morgan Ashbury
Description: [Menage Amour: Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, Contemporary, Light BDSM] James and Jonathan Keller are identical twins who've always shared everything--clothing, a strawberry allergy, and the family businesses. They're considered to be the area's most eligible bachelors and plan on staying bachelors, too. If there's one thing they don't want it's a pair of women coming between them. "It's just a damn shame," James once mused, "that we couldn't just share a wife, too." Enter Tabitha Lambert, a no-nonsense agent for the Bureau of Land Management. Transplanted from DC after her divorce, she's sent by her new boss to talk to the owners of the Farenough Ranch about wild horses. James and Jonathan are instantly attracted to the blonde haired blue-eyed beauty. They know the lovely Ms. Lambert could be the woman for them. All they have to do is figure out a way to get her to drop her defenses--and her panties--and throw her lot in with them. When they discover she has a weakness for gambling, they lure her into making the bet of a lifetime. And they do their best to ensure that everyone comes out a winner--despite one ex-husband, one ambitious casino manager, and an enemy disguised as a friend. [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
49 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [269 KB]
Reading time: 169-237 min.
"5 HEARTS: Wanton Wager is a wickedly humorous and delightfully spellbinding treat for any romance fan. Ms. Ashbury knows how to make the pages sizzle with vividly sensuous loving twin style. The erotically thrilling fun and games between Tabitha and her men starts early and quickly turns into an intense, edgy, emotional, and loving relationship. Ms. Ashbury does a superb job of creating appealing characters that are engaging, unpredictable and outrageously funny for the reader by delving deeply into their past, along with their current lives, leaving no secrets unrevealed. The relationship between Tabitha, Jonathan, and James is shown as a balance between three people giving each a sense of home and love. The kaleidoscope of emotions is intense, gritty, and so real the reader will feel the deep emotional pull from these characters. The very early sexual chemistry ignites the flames of desire and the sex is raw and powerful. The plot twists and turns with dangerous thrills, featuring a crooked lawman, an ambitious woman, and one desperate and unbalanced ex-husband to add to this wild adventure. If readers are looking for a sexy escape, look no further than Wanton Wager to satisfy the desire and fan the flames!" -- Shannon, The Romance Studio
"5.5 KISSES: Wanton Wager was a good book that had lots of hot men and hot sex as well as some twists and turns. I liked that Tabitha was able to tell which man was which, even when others couldn't. I'm sure identical twins get tired of being mistaken for the other twin all the time. And who knew they would have so many barriers to overcome before being able to be together! Luckily, everything worked out. Morgan Ashbury has written an entertaining story that will touch your heart, make you laugh out loud, and wish you had two hot and handsome twin men of your own." -- Laura, Two Lips Reviews
4.5 BLUE RIBBONS: "Wanton Wager is a fun and smoldering romance with a bit of suspense and lots of laughs. Tabitha's a spunky gal who's got a zest for life that shines through this storyline. Jonathon and James are identical twins but their personalities are very different as are their particular sexual needs. What I found particularly endearing about this tale is Tabitha's insecurities. She's so bold and daring and yet there's this vulnerability to her that makes her very believable. It's easy to relate. In addition to an exciting romance, Morgan Ashbury delves into the plight of American wild horses and their conservation in a positive light." -- Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies
* * * *
For one moment, Tabitha Lambert doubted her senses.
That hadn't been a near-miss on I-80 after all. I actually crashed, died, and now am being met by two of the most scrumptious archangels God has ever created.
She brought her car to a stop, turned off the ignition, and waited for the dust her tires had raised to settle. She regretted not putting the top up on her Porsche but it had been a beautiful day. Now the tawny clouds of dust caused her eyes to blink and tickled her nose. Focusing on the gorgeous vision of mankind before her, she used the fingers of her right hand to pinch her left arm.
Her senses screamed 'I'm alive' while her hormones chimed in, 'and raring to go'.
"Not dead. This is good. But maybe I'm addled." It seemed a reasonable explanation, since she was not only seeing double, she was instantly aroused.
The archangels appeared to be almost identical twins.
For a long moment she simply sat behind the wheel of her car, admiring the scenery. God knew this was the first vista she'd seen since moving west worthy of that endeavor.
The northern Nevada landscape sure as hell was different than her native upstate New York.
The archangels were tall, and seriously built. Tight worn jeans encased muscular hips and thighs. Shirts had obviously been discarded in the heat of the day, revealing masculine chests that glistened with sweat, and pecs and abs honed by the best gym in the world, hard physical work. She couldn't tell what color hair they wore as twin Stetsons covered their heads. The hat brims also hid a lot of their upper faces, but their mouths were visible. Their mouths looked sinfully delicious.
A woman would have one hell of a hard time choosing between these two hard-bodies. What a rotten shame I've sworn off men.
When those yummy mouths stretched into identical expressions of masculine smugness, Tabitha decided it was time to stop ogling and get to work. Uncle Sam wasn't paying her to lavish lascivious looks on local Lotharios. He was paying her to save wild horses.
Donning her poker face as a line of defense, she opened the car door and stepped foot on the Farenough Ranch--strange name for a ranch in her opinion--owned by the Kellers of Humboldt County, Nevada.
The file Tabitha's boss had handed her detailed some of the history of this sesquicentennial ranch--including the fact that the current owners were brothers, great-grandsons of the founder. It hadn't mentioned they were twin T-bone steaks waiting for some woman to gobble them up, blood rare.
I did not just think that. Tabitha took a deep, calming breath and approached the twin beefcakes.
"Can we help you, darlin'?" the man on the right asked.
He'd spread his legs just a tad, hooked his thumbs in the waist band of his jeans on either side of his belt buckle. It took no effort on Tabitha's part to envision those hands moving for that hunk of steel, opening it, and following through with an eye-popping zipper pull.
Tabitha Louise Lambert, get you mind off your glands! She reached down for her slipping professional demeanor with both hands. It was buried under about two feet of freshly fallen lust, but she found it, dusted it off, and fit it back into place.
"I certainly hope so. I believe my boss called ahead on my behalf. I'm Ms. Lambert from the Bureau of Land Management."
"Pleased to meet you, Ms. Lambert. I'm Jonathan Keller, and this is my brother James. And no, your eyes aren't deceiving you, we are identical twins."
His smile bloomed so easily Tabitha thought he must be used to the exercise. Now that she was this close, she could see wisps of dark, dark hair under those Stetsons. Two sets of eyes the color of the deep Atlantic sparkled with humor and male appreciation. Tabitha gave herself a mental kick to stop gawking and begin acting like the professional woman she knew herself to be.
"How do you do?" There, that's better, very professional. Aware of the correct protocol of the situation, Tabitha extended her hand, initiating the customary gesture of greeting.
Her palm met Jonathan Keller's and her sexual organs vibrated in response. She felt like a slot machine that had hit the jackpot. Any minute now her lights were going to flash and her bells start ringing.
She nodded as she broke contact, and had no choice but to repeat the gesture, extending her hand toward James.
Holy hell. They didn't look completely identical in appearance to her, but their ability to spin her reels was absolutely the same.
"A lot better than we were before you got here, darlin'," James said.
Tabitha blinked. Then she realized that he had taken her question as other than rhetorical and answered her.
"I'm here to talk about wild horses."
"Now that is a co-incidence, since it feels like a wild horse is galloping in my heart." Jonathan's smoothly delivered line, corny as it was, shouldn't have had the power to speed up her own cardio rate.
"Speaking of wild horses, that's a very nice car you're driving, darlin', considering that you represent my tax dollars at work."
James's teasing had nearly as lethal an effect on her as his brothers'. The pair of them were stirring her juices and lighting her fires.
Tabitha didn't want her juices stirred or her fires lit. She wanted to do her job and go home. Well, not home, exactly, because in her mind home was still Washington, D.C. But since divorcing Edward Lambert three months before she'd considered it plain good sense to get the heck out of Dodge.
Simply thinking about her ex put her in a nervous frame of mind. She didn't want to be nervous, either. Instinct took over, pulling out the old responses, the ones sure to make Ego-Ed's eyes glaze over.
"That's not just a car. It's a Porsche Boxster, S series, with a six cylinder Boxster engine, three point four liter displacement, three hundred and ten horsepower at seventy-two hundred rpm."
Two pairs of eyes didn't glaze over. They lit up.
"Oh yeah? What's the acceleration rate?" Jonathan asked, as he and his brother both passed her and went to look at her fire engine red baby.
"Zero to one hundred in five point three seconds."
"Sweet." They said in unison.
She had to give them both credit. They didn't exactly salivate, nor did they touch the car. They looked, and looked well.
"Holy cow, it's got PDK! How do you like that?" James exclaimed, looking as if he really did want to touch.
Apparently he knew cars. Not many Americans were familiar with the new Porsche Dopplekupplung transmission. A button on the steering wheel replaced the familiar gear shift and clutch.
"Now that I'm used to it, I love it."
"So you're really into cars, darlin'?" Jonathan asked.
Oh, he'd better not say 'darlin' to her in just that tone too often, or she would be nothing more than a puddle at their feet. Tabitha closed her eyes and called on every bit of will she possessed.
She pulled her thoughts back to the conversation and tried to filter out the physical effect these two were having on her. Never in her entire life to date had she become so aroused simply by talking, and talking about cars, at that! "Not especially. Why would you ask that?"
The brothers shot each other a look she couldn't interpret. The expression on their faces when they turned their attention on her again wasn't hard to read. Her libido began to chant a 'let's go' litany when she realized they were as attracted to her as she was to them. It was time to gain control of this situation.
"Gentlemen, please." She thought she put the same inflection into her voice as her former middle school principal, Wicked Witch Westerly.
"Well, our mother wanted us to be gentlemen, but I'm afraid there are times when we're anything but." James's confession seemed heart-felt.
"In fact, there are times when we can be downright wild and wanton." Jonathan's tone was no less repentant. Both brothers were mocked by the twinkle in their eyes and the sexy smiles kissing their lips.
Tabitha couldn't hold back her laughter. They might be dangerous men to be around, but they had certainly lifted her spirits when she hadn't known that's exactly what she needed.
"I really did come here today to discuss business. And not monkey business, either."
"Well, Ms. Lambert, now that you've given us the gift of your laughter, why don't you come on inside? Mary, our housekeeper, has made fresh lemonade. We can sit down and talk about the wild horse program. But you have to tell us your first name, and use ours in return. We're not so formal in these parts."
Tabitha thought quickly. The presence of a housekeeper sounded good, as did the lemonade. And since the brothers Keller had been a huge help in the BLM's wild horse program in the past and were about to be again, she supposed that she, on behalf of a grateful government, could tolerate a bit of teasing.
"All right, Mr. Keller." When his right eyebrow went up, she nodded. "James, then. And my name is Tabitha."
Both men stared at her, eyes wide. She had no idea what she'd done to elicit that reaction. She tilted her head slightly to the left and asked, "What?"
"You got my name right."
His bewildered tone just confused her more. "James isn't a difficult name to remember," she said lightly.
"It's not, no. But James and I were doing our best to distract you after we introduced ourselves," Jonathan said.
As she focused on him his face colored slightly.
"And while we were distracting you, we changed positions." James finished for his brother.
"Kind of like a human version of three card Monte, only with just the two of you?" Tabitha felt another laugh coming on.
"Never thought of it in those terms, but yeah," Jonathan said, then sent another look to his brother that she couldn't interpret.
"Do that with everyone you meet for the first time, do you?" She guessed the twitch at the corner of her mouth that she couldn't control told them she wasn't upset.
"Habit of a lifetime," James agreed.
"Kind of hard to break," Jonathan chimed in.
"I'm surprised it works. I mean, you look a lot alike, but I can tell the difference between you. It's not hard."
"Not even our mother can tell us apart!" Jonathan protested.
"Well I can." Then she smiled. Since they were being so friendly she decided to satisfy her curiosity.
"Not 'fair nuff,'" James corrected. "'Far enough.'"
"And that would be on account of Gertrude Schultz Keller, our great grandmother," Jonathan added.
"Legend has it that Great-Grandpa was searching and searching for just the right place to put down roots," James picked the narrative back up. "The evening they ended their travels for the day here, Gertrude refused to go one mile more. Said she'd gone far enough."
Tabitha laughed. That made twice in the same half hour. The bad thing about that was the Kellers might consider her the flighty sort. The good news was that for the most part, the impact of their sex appeal had ebbed just a little. Feeling as if she really had the upper hand for the first time since she arrived, she turned and headed toward the large ranch house. Then she looked over her shoulder and gave them her best smile. "Just for the record, that three-card Monte thing? I've never been taken. Gambling is nothing more than a matter of statistics and probabilities. My daddy taught me that. He's the one who gave me the Porsche, by the way. Your tax dollars had nothing to do with it. It was a reward."
"I'm probably going to regret it, but I have to ask. Reward for what?"
She'd heard the shuffling of feet behind her and knew they'd changed their positions again. Stopping when she got to the porch, she waited until one of them stepped past her and opened the door.
James opened the door but it was Jonathan who had asked that question. So she turned, gave him a bright smile, and said, "Why, Jonathan, for divorcing my husband, of course."
* * * *
Jonathan stood next to his brother, both of them silent as they watched the dust swirl behind Tabitha Lambert's Porsche Boxster S series as it wended its way back to the county road.
He turned to look at his brother.
"Did you feel that?"
"I sure as hell did. And do you know what? Sweet and sexy Tabitha felt it, too."
"Yeah, she certainly did."
James planted a hip on the porch railing and turned to look at him straight on. "You know, we really should have seen this coming, all things considered."
"You have a point. Hell, we've shared just about everything else all our lives. Why not fall for the same woman at the same time?"
"Mary-Lou Benton and Katie Franks," James said.
"Our senior year in high school. Mary-Lou was the first girl I was ever half-way serious about--just as Katie was yours." He had an idea he knew where James was headed with this conversation. "Pamela Crawford and Amy Jenkins," he returned.
"Second year of college," James confirmed. Then, more seriously, he said "Ginger Henderson and Rachel Martin."
"Yeah, they were the two that finally did it for us, weren't they? I remember you saying, after we broke up with that pair, that it was a damn shame we couldn't just marry the same woman." Jonathan had known where James was going with this. They generally could finish each other's sentences and thoughts, as a rule.
"Well, I only said that because not once in all our dating history have our steadies ever gotten along, or been tolerant of our close relationship."
Jonathan scowled. "Ginger tried to convince me that you'd threatened her." Even nearly two years later, it rankled. "No, you're right, none of the women we've ever dated have really gotten us, or our bond. Period."
"No, they haven't. But I think Tabitha might," James mused. "And that's not just my glands talking. Though she certainly got them working again after what feels like a drought of massive proportions."
James turned his head, looking in the direction Tabitha had gone.
"That's the kind of woman who makes me think we should reconsider our pact," he said.
"Yup," Jonathan agreed. "That woman would be worth giving up a no-relationship pact for. In fact, I think she'd make one man a fine wife."
"Brother, I'm thinking she'd make two men a fine wife."
Jonathan looked at his brother speculatively, and felt his smile grow at the same time he watched his brother's do the same.
"Agreed. Just how do we go about making that happen, exactly?"
James cocked his head to the side, a slight nod as if pointing after their recently departed guest. "Statistics and probabilities," he replied softly, "and some good old fashioned horse trading to set it in motion."
Jonathan felt his smile widen. "Brother, I like the way you think."
"That's because, brother, you think the same way I do."
"So I do, James, so I do."