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by Vonna Harper
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica
Description: Genre: Paranormal Menage
Related Title: Stormlocked
Clouds darken, the wind slams into the evergreens, the storm howls and hungers and brings with it killing frost and snow.
Trapped at the remote river-front lodge they've been hired to remodel, Narah Colin, Briant Lewis, and Levi Coker are sucked into the storm's power. As winter rages outside, independent Narah stares at the two physically powerful men she hasn't seen since high school. With every wind gust, she cares less about her determination to prove herself on the job and more about her body's needs.
Former football jock Briant is accustomed to having women throw themselves at his feet. What he doesn't understand is his powerful need to claim Narah. To bend her to his will. Still recovering from his recent divorce, Levi has always believed women should be treated with respect but today primitive need grips him, too.
Like the characters in the previously-released Stormlocked, Narah, Briant, and Levi will never be the same. The fierce storm will change them all.
ublisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: light BDSM elements, menage (m/f/m).
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: July 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [118 KB]
Reading time: 68-96 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
It was one of those days, an afternoon when Narah Collin's skin felt too small to contain the energy raging through her. Restless youth should be behind her, right? After all, she was approaching the end of her twenties and was smack in the middle of a project that should occupy her mind and time.
Maybe not so much, she acknowledged as she struggled to concentrate on diagramming the circuit-breaker panel she was replacing at the remote lodge.
A sharp rattling sound pulled her from thoughts of feeder pipe, neutral wire, and NM connectors. She'd heard a wind gust hit the windows before, but there was something different about this one. More energized. Like her.
And bringing with it the storm the radio weatherman had been talking about this morning. Leaving her work, she walked from the storage room behind the industrial-sized kitchen to the lonely-looking main room. Every step took her farther from work and closer to--to what?
Briant or Levi had stoked the woodstove before the carpenters had returned to their work outside, but either the fire had gone out or the chill was seeping into the poorly insulated structure. She wasn't cold, just restless, needing something different.
Becoming someone different.
After turning the vent and opening the cast-iron door, she added more wood to the coals and watched the flames build. The vibrant colors and potential for danger fed her restlessness. Instead of going back to work, she wandered over to the large front window and looked out at the world beyond Wolverine Lodge. Nothing had changed. The Wolverine River still flowed past while the surrounding mountains closed her isolated, temporary world off from civilization.
Good. She didn't want civilization; she needed--something.
Pine needles swirled and swarmed over the open area between the lodge and river, proof that the wind was picking up steam. The evergreens swayed this way and that, but whether they were dancing with or fighting the approaching storm, she couldn't tell. The sky had gone from gray to deep purple. If she could fly, she'd soar upward and surround herself with the vibrant hues. Startled by the errant thought, she pressed the palm of her hand against her temple. The next few days were about work, not letting a crazy thought overwhelm her.
What were Briant and Levi doing outside? She placed her hand on the glass and determined it was indeed approaching freezing out there. The two men belonged in a setting like this. They were as determined to prove themselves to the new lodge owners as she was, but could they really work on repairing the wraparound deck with numb fingers?
She was an electrician, not their caretaker. Just the same, it wouldn't hurt to remind the pair that it was a hell of a lot warmer inside than out--and to have another look at their masculine forms. Trying not to think further, she pushed open the large front door and fought against the wind trying to keep it closed. The fight gave her at least a momentary outlet for her pent-up energy. Then a chilled gust tore at her ponytail and whipped her dark hair around her neck. She suddenly felt wild.
Way too big for her skin.
Wanting to do and see things she'd never done. Experiencing...
"Hey, you two!" she hollered. "I know first aid, but I don't want to have to deal with your hypothermia. Come on inside." Be with me.
Acknowledging the thought, she squinted into the gloom. It was a little after four in the afternoon, but late fall nights came early in the Northwest wilderness, especially with snow clouds covering the sky.
Her ratty old high school sweatshirt was scant defense against the elements, but she nevertheless stepped out onto the porch. The men had started working on the building's north side, which meant the planks under her tennis shoes weren't particularly reliable. Something cold splatted on her forehead. The first snowflakes. The blood in her temple pulsed with heat.
"Where are you two?" I need you.
Teeth clenched, she fought the insane damn thought. She didn't need a man. Unlike her mother and older sister, her sense of worth would never revolve around a male. As she headed toward where Briant and Levi had last been working, she realized her surroundings were in part responsible for her current thoughts. After all, when was the last time she'd been at a place accessible only by air or water, her sole companions two men who epitomized everything she admired in the opposite sex? They worked with their hands. Turned wood, metal, and other materials into enduring structures. They did physical labor, were largely self-taught, strong, determined, independent. Craftsmen in a career she understood and embraced.
And far from hard on the eyes.
Men who might react the same way to the setting and growing storm.
They were where she expected to find them, but they weren't doing what she'd thought they'd be. Instead of putting up a new railing for the section of porch they'd just replaced, the two stood side by side looking out at something. Levi was a couple inches shorter than Briant, his hair longer than Briant's near buzz cut, but their stances mirrored each other. Both had shoved their hands into their back pockets and stood on widespread legs--probably so the gusts wouldn't knock them off balance. Their padded jackets had seen years of hard work and strained over their broad shoulders and hugged lean bellies.
As she stared at them, her mouth dried, then filled again. Her nipples, already hard from the cold and her disquiet, started to ache. Moisture built in a part of her anatomy that had been in hibernation for who the hell knew how long.
It was just the three of them until--when? Obviously the helicopter that had brought the various workmen--workpeople--and supplies here couldn't fly in this weather. The plumber and a married couple who were redesigning the kitchen had flown out yesterday. Thanks to a month of off-and-on rain, the river was running high, which meant boats were out of the question.
Alone. Surrounded by wilderness. Alive. So damn alive.
Fighting light-headedness, she made a stab at chasing off the vague sense of unease that came with acknowledging the isolation. She was being paid double good money for this job, which she really needed. A little inconvenience was worth it.
As if challenging her to ignore the environment, the wind slammed into her back. Most times she was content with her five feet six inches and one hundred thirty pounds, but right now, she could use a little more bulk.
"What are you looking at?" she asked.
Two, maybe three beats passed before Levi looked at her. Briant continued to stare at the river.
"Nothing," Levi muttered. His gaze seemed to bore into her, and yet she wasn't sure he was really seeing her.
Her cheeks were chilled, and she tucked her hands under her sweatshirt to keep them warm. Much longer out here, and she'd start shivering. Good, because she needed something ordinary to focus on.
"The weatherman was a little off," she came up with. They were too close and too far away at the same time, promise and challenge, unreal somehow. Think, damn it! Break free of whatever this is. "I know what a winter storm around here feels like. This is the real deal."
"We've lived in the area as long as you have," Levi unnecessarily reminded her after a pause. "And you're right; this is the real deal."
Briant swiveled toward her then. He hadn't shaved today, maybe not yesterday either. Despite his ultrashort haircut, everything about his features screamed dark. Back when the two had been high school seniors and she a lowly sophomore, Briant had worn his black hair nearly shoulder-length. That had gotten him in trouble with the administration, because they'd wanted one of their star athletes to represent the school positively. Like the other girls, she'd waited to see if he'd get rid of the sexy locks. He hadn't, and because both the baseball and football teams couldn't get into the play-offs without him, he hadn't been expelled.
Hell, why was she bringing up the past? It wasn't as if she were still some silly teenager.
"I fished the river a lot this summer," Briant said. Judging by his tone, she wasn't sure whether he was talking to himself or her. Maybe, like her, he was trying to get in touch with some part of himself. "I also did as much river guiding as possible."
Because there hadn't been enough construction jobs then was the silent message. She knew, because she'd been in the same position.
"I envy the way you paid your bills." Though she wasn't sure she did. Hearing the river roar, she was hard put remembering summer when it hadn't looked dangerous.
"I loved being out-of-doors," Briant said. "The unpredictable income that's part of being dependent on wealthy fishermen is another story."
Nodding, she fought the pull in Briant's nearly black eyes. Oh shit. Alive. Different. They'd been working under the same roof, so to speak, for the better part of a week. She'd seen him as little more than someone from the past and a temporary coworker, albeit rugged and masculine. Why, today, were his eyes' hypnotic quality and damn sexy physique getting to her?
"At least you had your boat," Levi said. "I spent my summer working on a remodel for Charles Hand."
Glad for the distraction, Narah winced in sympathy. Charles Hand was a judge known for his harsh sentences and tightly run courtroom. Satisfying him couldn't have been easy.
Hoping to find a light tone, she looked skyward. More flakes struck her face. There was something caressing about the touch. "No exacting bosses here," she managed. "It's nice when an owner--or owners in this case--gives us credit for knowing our jobs."
"To say nothing of the pay."
She couldn't think of anything to add to Briant's comment, or maybe the truth was his damnable eyes were boring too deep into her for an ordinary conversation. Between that and the way the wind kept plastering Levi's coat against his solid chest, a dip in the river was starting to look like a good idea.
Maybe, because they needed the same cooling off, they'd accompany her.
"Give it up." She nodded at the tools and lumber on the deck. "You're not going to be able to accomplish much until this blows over. Besides, I just stoked the fire."
The men stared at her as if they didn't know what she was talking about.
"It's freezing, in case you haven't noticed. And the snow's picking up." Becoming something amazing.
Frowning, they glanced at each other. Then they went back to studying her. Oh shit! Briant wasn't the only one with hypnotic eyes. Levi's hazel ones were just as deep-set and compelling.
Feeling less steady than she cared to admit, Narah swiveled and marched away. Heat down her spine told her they were staring at her. Heat between her legs said she wasn't immune.
She could and should have gone back to her wiring job. Instead, once she was back inside, she backed up to the warmth of the stove she didn't need and stared at the front door. Waited. She'd seen Briant and Levi a handful of times since the two had graduated high school but hadn't said more than a few words to them when she did. Certainly they weren't still the jock and quiet, good math student they'd been when they were teens. The men hadn't left the area after graduation, and all three of them were in the same general business, which gave them a lot in common.
Any moment Briant and Levi would come in. After depositing their tools near the stove to dry, everyone would grab a beer. They'd sit on the musty furniture that had been here who knew how long. Maybe she'd tell them what she'd been doing in recent years. Maybe they'd talk about the women and possible children in their lives. They'd catch up. That was all, catch up.
Wait out the storm.
Cold rushed in with the duo. As she'd expected, they dropped their burdens on the old area rug someone had thrown over the soon-to-be-restored hardwood floor. Instead of warming their backsides, however, they stayed where they were. Challenged her to dismiss what they represented. She didn't even try.
"You're an electrician," Levi said as he removed his jacket. "Why?"
"My uncle's one." The way his gaze roamed over her decidedly unsexy attire, she wasn't sure he was listening to her. Besides, now that she was looking at the way his faded flannel shirt caressed his physique, she wasn't good for giving him more than the short-course explanation. Oh damn, why couldn't she just jump their bones? "I, ah, loved looking through his work van. He started taking me to his jobs. I was hooked."
"Just like that?" Briant asked. Thank goodness he hadn't shed his jacket. She wasn't sure she could handle two healthy, close-to-naked male chests at the same time.
"No. It took me a while to commit, but I've never regretted it."
"There aren't many women in your line of work."
"No." Damn it, Briant wasn't going to play the gender role card, was he? She'd gotten enough of that from her mother, sister, and other women in the family. She was 100 percent hetero. She didn't want anyone jamming her into a stereotype box. "There aren't."
Briant ran a large hand over his head. Oh God, what would doing that feel like? "It doesn't bother you, working out here?" he asked. "It's pretty isolated."
What did he care? Maybe he was just making conversation, and maybe he liked the sound of her voice and the way her mouth moved. Yeah, right. Darn it, she had to get her mind off sexual thoughts.
And on to what?
"I might ask you the same question. This time of year, there's only one way in and out." She pointed at the window.
"I needed the job," Briant said, his words low and slow.
"So did I," Levi echoed. "Damn economy."
"Particularly construction," she put in. She could have jumped into an explanation of how the electrical company she'd been working for had gone bankrupt. Not only hadn't she been paid for her last two months' work, she figured her chance of that happening was less than zero. She'd picked up some small jobs, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations, but they hadn't been enough. Going without a steady income for so long had left her with debts upon debts. Thank goodness for this job!
Today, watching snowflakes race in all kinds of windblown directions not far from where she stood, she didn't want to talk about herself. The hell of it was, the unnerving and exciting hell of it was, she was interested in action, not talk. As if agreeing with her, her pussy moistened again.
"What about your husband?" Levi squared off toward her. "Doesn't he want you home?"
"I'm not married."