Authors: Cheryl Dragon
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
The host left as quickly as he’d arrived, but there was nothing rushed about the suave older man. Kat followed Lady Olive inside as footmen toted her luggage.
“If you’re a lady, is he a duke or something?” Kat asked.
Lady Olive almost cracked a full smile. “No, he inherited a great deal of money and purchased the castle. He likes to reward kind and selfless people. You’ll be residing in the north wing.”
They turned and entered a huge hall. Two maids opened the doors to her left and Kat stepped into a sitting room done in creams and rich browns. She needed to pause and take it all in. Giddy excitement bubbled up inside her. No cleaning her house! No coaching hurt men with scars inside and out. No wearing scrubs or holding back tears for soldiers in pain this week.
She’d miss the people, but everyone took a week off now and then. This felt like another world. The room smelt like lavender and she spied a vase of her favourite flowers right there on the coffee table.
“Please have a seat. Your maids will unpack your things.” Lady Olive sat in a high-backed armchair with paisley fabric.
“I don’t think I brought the right clothes. I don’t own the right clothes for here.” Kat sank onto the velvet sofa.
“Don’t worry about that. There is an entire wardrobe in there fitted to your measurements. Your bedroom is done in an emerald green. That is your favourite colour, true?” Lady Olive opened a portfolio.
“How did you know that? How do you know my measurements?” Kat asked.
“You filled out a basic questionnaire by hand as requested. That is a huge help. I get a sense for the guest from their handwriting. It’s important for me to connect.”
“Are you psychic?” Kat wasn’t a big believer in that stuff, but she’d been accused of having a sixth sense about her patients. Experience and instinct helped.
“I don’t like to label it. My particular gift helps me give you the best fantasy. Beyond the questionnaire, we do our research, quite thoroughly, in order to give you the best possible week. You have selected a lot of our spa treatments and outdoor activities. We also have dancing instruction. You know there is a ball at the end of the week?” Lady Olive’s eyebrow arched elegantly.
Kat felt like Olive could see right through her. “Who would I dance with? Mr Foster?”
“Possibly. He will attend the welcome dinner tonight and the farewell brunch, but the ball is optional for him. His schedule, you understand. If you need to contact him, let us know. However, I assure you, there will be plenty of attractive men with whom you can dance. Any other personal fantasies you may have, I’m sure you’ll find ample opportunity to fulfil them.”
Kat picked up the subtle sexual innuendo. “I’m not really into sex with strangers. Let’s stick to manis, pedis, mud baths, professional massages and maybe some horseback riding.”
“Of course. A maid will leave your schedule on your nightstand every morning. Should you wish to change anything, simply let them know. These rooms are yours. Across the hall is a full gym with an indoor pool. There is always kitchen coverage. Call down for food anytime you like.” Lady Olive nodded to the maids as they emerged. “Chloe and Emmy will take excellent care of you. Dinner is at seven. They’ll see you’re dressed properly.”
“Thank you. Wait—I have one question. Who nominated me for this prize?” Kat asked.
“I can’t divulge that information. I’m sorry.” Lady Olive made notes then snapped her folio shut. In a blink she was gone, but the echo of her heels on the marble floors proved she wasn’t a ghost.
Annoyed, Kat wasn’t done trying to find the truth. She wandered from the sitting room to the completely outfitted office area. It wasn’t like a hotel or anyplace else she’d ever been. The ancient feel and the ornate luxury ran deep. Even Lady Olive wasn’t an act. Kat would bet it was a real title and real class.
Kat checked out the bedroom. The rich greens soothed Kat, but a huge mahogany bed and a large TV made her feel totally spoilt. She could happily spend the week in this room. Flopping on the bed, she knew she should stay up to avoid jet lag, but the covers were so soft that she couldn’t help it. Yawning, she gave in to her vacation.
* * * *
At seven on the dot, Kat walked along the lush red carpet towards the dining room. Luckily the castle had an app with a ‘you are here’ function so she never felt lost. Lady Olive walked up next to Kat as the footmen opened the big wooden doors.
The view was simple and elegant. A long carved table was lit with green tapered candles. Mr Foster sat at the far end. Kat walked carefully in the new heels. The dark red halter top dress the maids had chosen for tonight felt gauzy on her skin. She took the seat at Mr Foster’s left side with the intent of asking him who’d nominated her all through dinner until he broke. A little American persistence could crack that polite veneer.
Lady Olive sat at his right hand, but more places were set. Kat looked over as the other guests entered. There were plenty of attractive men and some younger women as well. Other guests for the castle or local friends? Kat didn’t much care until she spotted two men she actually recognised.
A stab of desire inside her gave Kat goosebumps. Sean and Brody were here? The two men she couldn’t get out of her mind came with the luxury weekend! They had to be behind this. The situation flashed back. They’d been her patients and too young for her anyway! Two very good reasons she’d written them off as romantic potential no matter what she felt for them. Yet here they stood…looking very sexy and formal in tuxedos.
Sean was a little taller with blue eyes and dark brown hair while Brody had brown eyes and light brown hair. Brody was quick with a smile while Sean could be moody. She’d missed them so much that she gripped her chair to keep from running over and hugging them.
“You two?” she asked.
They just smiled at her.
Mr Foster stood. “Ms Calvino, honoured guests. Please raise your glass to a truly fantastic week. May all your wishes come true.”
Kat lifted her glass and sipped but remained seated like Lady Olive. The men took their seats as Mr Foster did. Kat needed a protocol lesson. Then again, she was the guest and it was only a week. They’d have to put up with her ways.
“Do you like the castle so far?” Brody asked.
She smiled. “I can’t believe you two did this.”
“It was Brody’s idea. We didn’t expect to be along for the ride.” Sean grinned.
“Is that normal?” Kat looked at Lady Olive.
“Every fantasy and experience is unique to the person we’re honouring. For you, knowing who brought you here is integral to your enjoying the castle. Please stop analysing the experience and simply have it.” Lady Olive nodded.
Mr Foster cleared his throat. “Everyone enjoy. Welcome to the Fantasy Castle.” The servants came out in force with the first course.
Kat half listened as Mr Foster introduced the other dinner guests. She stared at her two sexy patients. They were the only two men she’d ever dreamed of breaking her rules for, but how could she choose?
They were nearly a decade younger than her anyway. They’d find younger women and she’d end up as just the woman who’d helped them get over their time overseas. She had no interest in being their transitional woman.
However, on a fantasy week, all those very logical issues didn’t seem to matter. The sexy duo had come all this way for her. It was more than appreciation and friendship. Besides, none of them were getting any younger. She needed to go into this week with an open mind!
After dinner, they walked back to their wing of the castle. Kat eyed them both and Sean slid a protective arm around her. Finally she relaxed against him. Sean tried to keep his touch friendly and not slide his hand lower even as the arousal rushed through him. It was a long way for a fantasy, but she was worth it. The monkey suits seemed a bit much, like the prom, but Sean and Brody had played along. He’d endure anything to see her dressed up like a princess.
Her lush black hair hung around her bare shoulders and the red wine colour of her dress brought out her porcelain skin. The way her dress clung to her curves left Sean eager to remove it. He was helpless around her and those big, soulful eyes.
“We were invited here by Mr Foster as part of your fantasy,” he said.
“The curiosity would’ve killed me if I didn’t know who’d done this. Thank you.” She hugged him tight and gave Brody the same treatment.
“You help a lot of people, not just us. You deserve a little vacation.” Sean grinned.
“This isn’t a little anything. I’m glad you guys are here, but Foster could’ve just told me. You didn’t have to take time off of your jobs to be here.” She blushed.
“Foster made it sound like you wanted us around.” Brody shrugged.
Her cheeks reddened even more. “I’m not sure we should start something that’s not reasonable in the real world.”
“Reality is relative. If something works then it’s real. You worry too much about what other people think,” Sean said.
“We’re not your patients anymore. No doubt about that,” Brody added.
“I know that and it’s not about other people.” They looked down the main hall of their wing. “You’ve got rooms near mine?” she asked.
“Yep. We got here a couple days before you. If you’re looking for anything, just ask.” Sean didn’t want to move too fast. Foster had said if this was her fantasy, she needed to choose it.
“This is crazy. I didn’t put anything personal or sexual on my fantasy vacation form.” She headed down the hall.
Sean smiled at Brody and the men followed her.
“You don’t have to. They just know.” Brody walked ahead.
Sean saw the slight limp and the concern that registered on Kat’s face.
“Brody, are you okay? You have to maintain the muscle, but be careful on that knee,” Kat said sternly.
“He’s behaving. We’re exercising daily before work.” Sean couldn’t imagine his life without Brody now. A friend who’d shared the war experience with him meant a lot. Friends were great, but neither man would be happy without her.
“I didn’t know you two were so close.” She smiled.
close,” Sean insisted.
“He took pity on my poor knee and gave me an office job. It’s nice to have a friend around who knows what you’ve been through,” Brody said.
“No pity was involved. The last person who managed the office was my sister and she let the guys walk all over her. Brody doesn’t take any crap.” Sean clapped his friend on the back. “We’re still looking to snag the right girl.”
“Girls,” she corrected.
“We know what we want. We both have excellent taste. We’re not going to compete or give up,” Brody said.
Sean laughed at her sceptical frown.
“We’re adults. Don’t worry about the pluses and minuses now, just enjoy your fantasy week.” Sean kissed her cheek and the scent of her perfume pulled him into her orbit fully.
“I’m trying to. Believe me. My brain just doesn’t work that way. There are actions and reactions, just like muscles. Is it like a weird trade-off thing? One night with one guy and the next night with the other? I’m not sure that schedule is for me. I’ve never done this before.” She kept walking all the way down to the end of the wing through a pair of doors and onto the large terrace.
The trio stood silent for a moment under the stars. The view of the estate was gorgeous, but having Kat close was much better! She hadn’t said no or walked off. On some level she’d thought of them as well. Sean finally shared Brody’s hope.
“Three people can fit in a king-size bed. We can try it here at least. Unless Lady Olive is wrong…you don’t want us both?” Brody asked.
When Sean had hit on Kat back in physical therapy, deep down he’d known she’d say no. Sean knew that he could be sullen and moody when it got too personal. He liked keeping his soldier armour around him, but she’d sneaked underneath so easily.
This time it felt different. The men were a team. Brody had a subtle and genuine way about him that drew people in. During the worst of his rehab, Brody had remained positive. It’d helped Sean stay upbeat on those days when his arm had hurt like hell.
Still, Sean never wanted to jump in bed with another man. With Kat between them, however, it could be a lot of fun. Watching her reactions and sharing her would take pressure off and add options. His life hadn’t been traditional—going into the military had gone against his parents’ plan. The last military man in the family was his great uncle drafted into World War II.
He had to do what felt right. Military life came with its own unique set of rules that weren’t exactly traditional. There was no reason their love life had to be normal.
Sean pulled Kat into his arms and danced her around the large circle terrace. “You don’t have to choose. It’s a package deal.”
He spun her off into Brody’s arms. Admittedly, Brody’s dancing wasn’t as smooth, but Sean admired him for going through it all.
“I didn’t know you two could dance,” she said.
“Part of the pre-vacation instruction. How to be a gentleman boot camp.” Brody kissed her forehead.
“You didn’t have to do that for me. I like the down-to-Earth military guys you are.” She tugged at Brody’s tie.
“We can handle it. A little training and we could fake our way through dinner with the Queen. Military rules you do a lot of weird things to prove you can follow orders, trust me.” Sean slid up behind her.
She turned and kissed him on the mouth. “I think we all need to get out of these fancy uniforms and see how it works.”
Sean inhaled as she turned and kissed Brody. The irresistible view of her neck drew Sean in. He pushed her hair aside and tasted her flesh and Brody claimed her mouth longer. There could be no keeping score, the men had agreed, it was all about Kat. Sean slid a hand over her hip but tensed when Brody’s hands circled her waist. This would take teamwork and cooperation.
* * * *
Kat gave in and led the men into her bedroom and the maids left without even a judgemental glance. The heavy doors closed behind the maids and there was nothing else but these two sweet and sexy heroes in her world.