*This post originally appeared on the "I Smell Sheep" blog at http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Recipe for Tessa's men
One Nunnehi Bodyguard – (Nunnehi is a Cherokee Fae for you Northern Folks)
One Blue-Eyed Detective
Eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea
A butt made for a pair of jeans
Tall, lean, and ready to get it done
Marinade the Nunnehi for a century or two, until he’s confident, comfortable in his sexuality, fiercely loyal, and has enough patience to deal with even the most frustrating heroine.
Shape the detective by giving him a Southern momma to teach him manners and how to treat a woman, and a father to show him what it means to be a man. Pound the detective with the loss of his parents, long hours at the office, and a magical attack that leaves him fighting for his life.
Mix a cup of Nunnehi magic with the detective until the two men are linked. Allow enough time for male bonding.
Test the strength of their connection by introducing a woman, and stir the pot until they’re mixed-up.
Top with enough danger to weigh them down.
Broil until any insecurities, doubts, or inhibitions are gone, and they’re ready to love a strong woman.
Aaron sat beside me. “I know what you’re thinking. It’s an entirely different situation with you and Darlene.”
“How in the hell did you know that’s what I was thinking?”
They laughed and pulled me from my chair. Aaron grinned like he knew the punchline, but didn’t share. I looked between them and for once didn’t feel like they’d ganged up on me. When we weren’t trying, the relationship eased into a yoga pants and T-shirt kind of comfortable.
Bryson wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “We know how you think.”
I poked his side. “Keep telling yourselves that.”
Aaron rubbed the back of his neck. “I should get going. It’s late.”
“Stay.” I glanced between them, holding my breath. The word hung in the air like a smoke ring.
“I’m good with that,” Bryson said.
“I could stay. I’m off tomorrow unless they call me in.” He shrugged.
“Good. We’re decorating Christmas trees before Mae has a fit. Everything is running late this year.” I smiled, knowing that adding Aaron to the mix meant we could finish in half the time.
Aaron asked, “Has she forgiven you for Thanksgiving?”
Bryson shook me playfully and spoke with his lips against my temple. “Babe, you need to mend fences with Darlene.”
“She stopped by this morning. The fences are in the wood chipper.” With everything hanging over my head, I had my choice of issues to worry over. I glanced between the men and bit my lower lip. “Are we ready for bed?”
They both eyed me, but Bryson broke the silence. “We should talk about this first, make sure we’re on the same page. Tessa, I’m certain you have questions.”
Between Bryson’s arm around my shoulder and Aaron holding my hand, I’d settled into the idea of the three of us. Any discussion on the matter now would feel like greasing the tracks and threaten to derail us. “What did you mean, exactly, when you said Aaron and I should explore?”
“It means that I don’t have a problem with the two of you getting physical.” He nodded to Aaron. “He and I talked about this while you were out after the accident. We’re good with sharing, if you are.”
“In whatever way you’re comfortable.” Aaron watched my reaction as if questioning a suspect.
“Sharing. Does that mean you each get alone time, or will it always be together?” I turned to Bryson. “We’ve been sharing a bed. Will that continue?”
“As long as you’re comfortable with it, yes.” He nodded. “I don’t have a problem with you staying with Aaron, or him staying here with us, when he isn’t working like a madman.”
Bryson met my gaze. “We’ll take things slow, talk about what worked and what didn’t, and put our relationships first.”
“I can do that.” I smiled, though doubt hovered on the edge of my conscience.
Bryson leaned in and gave me a hell of a kiss. He pulled back and watched me through half-lidded eyes.
I turned to Aaron, who wore the same hazy expression.
“Agreed.” Aaron brushed his lips across mine twice before teasing my lips apart with his tongue.
Bryson slid his hand down my side. I wanted this, wanted them, both of them. We’d slide down the long oily road to Hell in vinyl suits together.