“Yeah. You didn’t know?”

I walked slowly back into her room and plopped into the closest chair. “No. But thanks for giving me so much advance notice.”

“Sorry,” she chirped, sounding less than apologetic.

I dug my hand into my pocket and pulled out my cell, dialing a number and putting the phone on speakerphone, setting it on Rebecca’s desk. She looked at me quizzically and I held up a finger.

“Hello?” Martha’s brash voice rang through the speaker.

“Did you know Brad’s birthday is Friday?” I demanded, leaning forward so that she could hear me clearly.

“Umm ... did you say Friday?” she asked slowly, and I heard the fridge open.

“Yes, Friday,” I drawled.

“Okay.”

“Okay’s not an answer. You did, didn’t you?”

“He mighta told me not to mention it. Brad doesn’t like birthdays.”

I growled, the sound eliciting a laugh from Rebecca. “Anything else he ‘mighta’ told you not to mention?”

“You ain’t married yet, honey. I don’t have to open up the treasure trove of secrets ‘til you my boss, too.”

I grinned at the phone. “So you’re gonna start talking then?”

“Probably not.”

I rolled my eyes. “Fine, I’ll find a way to crack you later. You making dinner?”

“Yep. Baked chicken and potatoes. What time are you gonna be home?”

I checked my watch. “Around six-thirty.”

“It’ll be ready. Love you.”

“You too.” I ended the call and looked at Rebecca. “You got dinner plans? You’re welcome to come to the house. Martha’s baked chicken is deathly.”

“Nah. Brad’s got me doing research for a case, which means I need to put this fun aside and get some real work done.” She grinned at me and moved the gigantic wedding binder to the side.

I leaned back in the chair and stared at the ceiling. “What the hell am I supposed to get him for his birthday?”

♦♦♦

Julia Campbell was not just a job. It was not just money; it was also a joint between families, the rare opportunity to mend a bridge, which had been burned many times before. The Magiano dynasty ruled superior, dominating the other families in this hundred-mile grid of opportunity. A chance to create goodwill with that lead heavyweight was valuable and not something the cooperating family took lightly. The job would need to be done perfectly. So much was at stake.

So proper precautions were made. She was watched, her schedule and habits monitored and recorded. Younger assets were assigned to sit in her classes, trail her along the manicured lawns of campus, and strike up casual conversations alongside her in the library. Their reports back were basic. She ate Chick-fil-A, did not flirt, and rarely went out with friends. After much discussion and strategizing, a plan was decided upon and a date was set. The date became their goal, and a countdown of sorts began, all attention and focus centered on preparation for that day.

Chapter 38

When it all came down to it, there was only one thing to get a man like Brad. A man who had everything, could buy anything, and wanted for nothing. Either a) something he had been deprived of, or b) something he could never get too much of.

I doubted Brad had been deprived of much of anything his entire life. Love. He hadn’t had enough love; it was something I saw at odd times, times when he cradled my face in his hand, and a flicker of worry went through his eyes. He, at those moments, revealed how terrified he was of losing me. I didn’t know how to package love, how to giftwrap that emotion and hand it to Brad. I told him often, as often as I could. But I knew that the more in love he fell, the more afraid he was that I would leave. That I would turn into his mother and choose another reality over this one. I was marrying him. That should be enough of a reassurance.

Hmm ... So b) something he could never get too much of. Sex. Brad had always been in control of our sexual adventures. It was part of the turn-on for me, the willing handover of my body, unknowing of what he had in store for it. But I wanted something more for his birthday, something other than me, naked and willing, waiting for his command. My mind flickered back to his being deprived. He had been shortchanged of something, for eight months now. Another woman. We had ventured into the water, spending one hot night with a blonde Russian, Brad bringing her multiple orgasms without actually f**king her. He had to miss it, had to miss domination of another woman with his cock, seeing the look in her eyes when he thrust it in, the shock and incredulity as it turned from too much to too perfect.

It was time. Since that night, I had waffled and wish-washed my way back and forth over the line of indecision until my head spun like a drunken coed. But the thought always made me hot, always pushed me over the edge when Brad’s head was between my legs or he was buried deep in me. The pleasure he gave me, the incredible heights and depths he brought me to, were too incredible for me not to share—it seemed unfair for me to keep this wealth of sexual knowledge contained solely for my pleasure. When I was with Brad and the Russian, I had loved every minute of the experience, as limited as it was. But to see him inside a woman, to see his thrusts and her moans, his hands gripping her skin, his mouth on hers—the thought was almost too intense to process. During sex, I would get snapshot images, entering uninvited into my mind, and my back would involuntarily arch, my orgasm no longer containable, and my world would turn black in a moment of exquisite perfection.

How would I react in that actual situation? When he spread her legs, touched her body? When I saw that look on his face, the look of lust and ownership, the same look that sent me over the edge, the look I strove for, f**ked for, and did anything and everything to provoke? How would I take it, and what if he needed more of it?

Would I really be giving him a birthday present? Or was this just one, big, sex-filled test of our relationship?

♥♥♥

I didn’t even know how to go about setting up a threesome. It was something I had always had Brad handle, not wanting the awkward chitchat, conversation of limits and desires, the meet and greet. And dealing with a woman seemed even more problematic. If I had to, if every sexual standard Brad and I had in place crashed down, I could walk up to a man and bring up the concept of sex. Men were a given, a single man with a working c**k wasn’t likely to turn down an offer of no-strings-attached sex. Women were a whole other ballgame. I was a woman who had already been introduced to threesomes, who was familiar with walking into an unknown situation and having a stranger touch me, yet I would still say ‘fuck you’ if approached by a stranger and propositioned for sex. I couldn’t image any woman, other than a prostitute, who would willingly enter into an unknown situation without someone there they were itrustyouwithmylife comfortable with. And ... if there was a woman out there who was that down-to-fuck ... I wasn’t sure I wanted her anywhere near my man.

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