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Authors: Cara Covington

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BOOK: Love Under Two Benedicts
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His lips felt warm and wet, even though the kiss itself seemed reverent.

“We’re going to dry you off and tuck you in between us. You’ll sleep here, with us, tonight,” Matthew said.

A part of Kelsey’s mind thought that maybe it would be better if they just had sex and went their separate ways when they were finished. Spending the night together implied an intimacy beyond the physical. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get that part of her to speak up.

With ridiculous ease, the men bathed her, dried her, and carried her to the bed. The last thought she had before sleep claimed her was that she floated on a heavenly cloud, tucked in between two devils.

 

* * * *

 

Kelsey pulled herself out of the trance-like state she’d slipped into and brought her attention back to the task at hand. It was time for her to stop these mental meanderings and act like the responsible adult business owner she knew herself to be, rather than indulging in silly daydreams like some lackadaisical employee.

 
Her gaze tracked across the room to Tracy, whose attention appeared totally fixed on her morning routine of preparing the pasta salad du jour.

See? That’s what you need to do too. You don’t see Tracy gazing off into la-la land.

Kelsey focused on the ingredients on the counter and the pot waiting to receive them and pushed everything else out of her mind.

Today was Friday, and Friday’s soup du jour was chicken vegetable. She’d tried offering a New England style clam chowder shortly after she’d opened, but the townsfolk’s tastes didn’t run overmuch to sea food.
 
So she’d settled on less exotic fare and now could pretty much count on selling out of her soup, even in the hottest part of the summer.

Kelsey’s mind wandered again. Her eyes landed on the vase of flowers tucked into the corner of the kitchen.

I should move those into my office so they won’t distract me
.

Kelsey felt her expression soften into a smile.

She couldn’t stop thinking about the events of last night. She’d fallen asleep between Matthew and Steven, so exhausted she’d dropped off like a stone. Sometime around three in the morning, she’d been awakened. First, Steven had gathered her close, kisses and caresses leading to slow, gentle sex. Then, not long after, Matthew had rolled her on top of him, and she’d indulged herself in tasting every bit of him. That had led to faster, not-so-gentle sex.

When they’d driven her back to her apartment just shy of seven a.m., they’d asked to see her again tonight.

She could no more refuse them than she could stop breathing.

Kelsey shook her head. She supposed she could be excused for her lack of mental discipline. Considering that she’d had six orgasms last night after having none at all for more than five years…

Oh my God. Six orgasms in one night
.

Until it happened to her, she would have sworn such a thing to be humanly impossible.

She turned her attention back to soup making and the conclusion she’d been coming to in her thoughts. More than likely the passion of the night before owed its existence to her long sexual drought.

She had no doubt whatsoever that given just a bit more time, and another night like the one just passed, her hormones would settle down. Then the reality of spending the night in the arms of two lovers at the same time would lose its heady appeal.

“Are you too busy for a visit?”

Kelsey smiled as the familiar voice of her best friend preceded her into the kitchen. Susan Benedict had been Kelsey’s college roommate. At first meeting, they’d clicked. They’d kept in touch after graduation, and Susan had come to visit her in Austin when Sean had been born.

She’d been there, too, in the aftermath of tragedy, helping her get through the funerals, nagging her to get on with her life when each successive anniversary of that event arrived.

Kelsey had finally given in to her friend’s nagging and moved to Lusty and opened her own restaurant.

Thank God for Susan and her nagging.

“I’m never too busy for you.” Kelsey said, giving her best friend a huge smile.

Susan and Tracy exchanged greetings, then Susan came over to where Kelsey worked.

Looking at her now, Kelsey said, “You have the look of Sarah Benedict.”

Susan’s smile was one of the nicest things about her. Her entire face lit up with it, and her eyes sparkled.

“Everyone in my family has said that to me all my life. I heard you finally visited the museum yesterday. Of course,” she lowered her voice and stepped closer, “that’s not all I heard you did yesterday…or I should say, last night?”

Oh, hell
. How had Kelsey allowed herself to forget that Matthew and Steven were Susie’s brothers? She had just had sex with not one, but
two
of her best friend’s brothers!

“Um, yeah. About that.”

Susan burst out laughing. Then she threw her arms around Kelsey and hugged her tight. “I’m so happy for you.”

Those words, whispered, shouted to Kelsey’s conscience and her mindset that what she and the brothers Benedict had was only physical.

She put the last of the ingredients into the stock pot, covered it, and set it to simmer. She turned to look over at Tracy, who’d turned her attention back to work.

“We’re going to my office. Holler if you need anything.”

“No problem, boss. You want me to go ahead and start the roasts of beef when I’m done this?” Tracy asked.

“Yes, please. Three should be enough, don’t you think?” The roasts were a good size, more than six pounds apiece. One of the Friday night favorites for the patrons of Lusty Appetites were the smothered roast beef sandwiches.

Tracy frowned, and Kelsey knew she was thinking. “We might get a bigger dinner crowd than usual. I’ve heard a lot of talk about that new space movie that opened up over at the Galaxy in Waco yesterday. Folks heading in to catch the early show may stop here to eat first.”

Kelsey nodded. “Okay, make it four. We can always do something with the leftover for tomorrow’s lunch.”

Tracy smiled, and Kelsey understood it was in response to Kelsey’s having acted on her input.

“My cousin seems to be working out,” Susan said as they entered Kelsey’s office.

“She is. She loves the work, and she has a real knack for it. As much as I’d hate to lose her, I’m going to try and convince her to take some formal training. She could become a fine chef in her own right and have her own place one day, if she wants to.”

Kelsey opened the small fridge she kept in her office and handed Susan a bottle of water. Taking one for herself, she sat down behind her desk, unscrewed the cap, and drank.

“So. You went out with my two favorite brothers last night.”

Since Susan was grinning like a fool, Kelsey relaxed. “Um, we didn’t exactly
go out
.”

“I kind of figured that. Where did they take you?” She scrunched her eyes for a moment, then blinked. “Oh, of course. To the ranch.”

“I hope you’re not going to ask me for a play-by-play because I am
not
dishing on sex with your big brothers.”

Susan made a face. “Don’t worry. I don’t need any details.”

“Well, that’s a relief.”

“Necessarily.”

Kelsey laughed, the absurdity of the situation tickling her. “You know, if we were male, and I was seeing one or both of your sisters, you’d probably feel duty bound to bust my chops.”

“Yeah, but see? That’s where we women are so superior to the male of the species.”

“Uh-huh.” Not very eloquent, but in light of the way she’d behaved last night, Kelsey wasn’t feeling particularly superior at the moment.

“I’ve known for a while they had their eye on you.
 
Should I have said something, given you a heads-up?”

Kelsey played with the condensation on her water bottle while she sorted through her thoughts. Unaccustomed as she was to opening up to most people, it had surprised her, right from their first meeting, that she’d been able to confide in Susie.

“I don’t think I even really
saw
them until a few weeks ago, if you know what I mean. Then they began to stop by for coffee, and we’d chat, first one, then the other. I thought they were vying for my attention, you know, a kind of sibling rivalry sort of thing.”

“Maybe I should have filled you in on the family history, then.” Susan’s frown caught at Kelsey’s heart.

“I don’t think I was ready to see that, either.”

“So…we’re fine? I don’t want you to think that I asked you to move here to Lusty to set you up or anything.”

“No, we’re fine. That is, as long as you’re okay with the fact that I’m using your brothers as my own personal sex objects.”

For one moment, Kelsey thought she saw a look of concern settle in Susan’s eyes, but then the other woman blinked, and only laughter lurked there.

“They’re big boys. They can take care of themselves.”

Big boys
. Yes, they certainly were. Kelsey felt her face color as she put another meaning entirely on that expression. Since Susan immediately seemed to be enthralled with her own water bottle, she guessed the double entendre had registered with her, too.

“I’m seeing them again tonight,” Kelsey said. “I—” She wanted to be able to talk to Susan about them, she realized.
At least she won’t even blink about my being with two men.
“I used to think that I’d never have sex again.”

“I know. You said the therapist told you when you were ready your libido would awaken again.”

“Yes, and I didn’t believe her.” Then, because this was her best friend and she didn’t want her operating under any misconceptions, she said, “I’m ready for this. I need it, but it will never develop into anything permanent. I haven’t changed my mind about that. I’ll never fall in love again and certainly never get married again.”

“This is the new millennium,” Susan said. “Women don’t have to fall in love or marry their lovers in this day and age. We’re free and independent creatures.”

When Kelsey tilted her head to consider that, Susan laughed. “Like I said, they’re big boys. I’m sure they’re not interested in hearts and flowers, either. And, as long as everyone is having a good time, what’s the harm?”

Kelsey couldn’t have agreed more. Her focus was only on the physical. As she took a good drink from her bottle of water, she refused to think about why Susan’s assertion of her brothers’ intentions seemed to dig at her heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

Matthew rolled the window down as he drove his pickup truck away from the center of town en route to the ranch. Early afternoon on a Friday in the middle of summer, and the streets of Lusty, Texas, had turned quiet. Of course, for the most part the streets of Lusty were always quiet.

He shook his head because the image of the young man he’d been popped into his thoughts. When he’d lit out of here headed for Chicago at the tender age of twenty-one, all he wanted was to leave quiet—and family tradition—behind. He’d wanted busy, bright lights, and action.

Now Matthew wanted nothing more than to stay here in Lusty, settle down, and raise a family.

Grandma Kate always liked to say that things happened in their own time and in their own way. He couldn’t deny the truth of that as he thought about how his life had gone so far and especially when he thought about the arrival of Kelsey into his world.

There was no doubt in his mind that Kelsey Madison was the woman meant for Steven and him. He’d known it the first time he’d laid eyes on her.

She’d seemed so fragile the day she came into the restaurant to have her first look at the place. He’d felt a special kind of awareness the moment she’d walked through the door. One look at Steven, who’d been helping him finish up the painting and getting the restaurant ready for her, and he knew his brother had felt that instant connection, too.

He’d already known a bit about her past. The moment Susan suggested leasing the building at 32 Main Street to Kelsey, he’d done a thorough background check on her.

What he’d learned had not only broken his heart, it had put him on cautious alert. A woman with the kind of emotional baggage Kelsey carried would need special care.

Perhaps it had been a by-product of how he’d been raised with two dads and one mom, or maybe it was the family tradition of ménage marriages, but he considered women,
all
women, special, deserving of care and attention.

His instincts about her had proven true when, for the first several months, she hadn’t even seen either Steven or him as men.

Thinking about last night brought a wide smile to Matthew’s face. She sure as hell thought of them as men now.

He turned into the laneway of the ranch, drove on straight past the house to the barn. He knew his brother would be around the place. A creature of habit, Steven used Friday afternoon to fix any machinery or tack that needed repairs or worked around the house and yard performing upkeep.

BOOK: Love Under Two Benedicts
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