“Was it a love match, you mean?” I didn’t turn to look at the men for an answer, and neither responded, obviously allowing me to take my time. “I thought so, at first. But I was quite young and didn’t know what love was. I knew he was independent and expected me to be as well.”
“We are not overbearing either.”
Overbearing? No, Luke hadn’t been overbearing. Bold, yes.
I heard the word “we” in his sentence but did not give it much credence. I straightened my spine and lifted my chin. “I won’t be a simpering wife, I assure you.”
“No, I don’t think you will,” Luke replied. “We are possessive men, though, Celia, and will ensure to your safety and wellbeing. We will allow you independence, but you will find us very protective of what belongs to us.”
I spun about then, the heat from the fire at my back. “What?”
“We are very protective,” Walker repeated.
“We?” I looked between the two. Both had earnest expressions. Open. They were relaxed, their gazes fixed on me. “Um… I don’t understand.”
“Besides being a mine owner, I am also the mayor of Slate Springs,” Luke shared. “As I said, the town is isolated in the winter and the population is predominantly male. A new law has been passed.”
A hint of apprehension appeared in Luke’s gaze, then was gone. I had to wonder if I imagined it.
“The law allows for two men to marry the same woman.”
My mouth fell open as I glanced between the two brothers. “You mean… I am—”
“The reason why I watched you and Luke fuck—why he allowed me to do so—is because you are married to both of us,” Walker finished for me.
“I should have told you this before we… well, before I took you, but I couldn’t resist and I had no patience to wait for Walker.”
The corner of Luke’s mouth turned up and I saw the look of satisfaction on his face. I’d put that there.
“Neither could you,” he added.
I looked down at my bare feet.
“No, neither could I,” I admitted. I’d wanted him something fierce. I still did.
“There was no way to ease you into the arrangement, to take our time and tell you, so we felt it best if—”
A knock at the door interrupted him.
Luke swore under his breath and Walker went to open it.
A uniformed porter rolled in a cloth-covered tray with dishes covered with silver domes. I spun on my heel and faced away from the man, Luke coming to stand before me, to block me from view. My cheeks flushed, wondering what the porter thought of me. Could he know that I was married to both Luke and Walker? Could he tell I’d just fucked Luke? God, of course he could. I was wearing Luke’s shirt!
I knew scandal, was too familiar with it, and didn’t wish to have another. But the man took the tip Walker offered and closed the door behind him without a word.
Luke put his hand on my shoulder and turned me toward the table. My nipples pebbled against the soft fabric of his shirt and seed still slid from me.
“While I will share you with Walker, we will not allow another to look upon you as we do,” Luke said.
“Perhaps it is better to eat as we talk,” Walker suggested, lifting a cover from a dish. A large, very pink steak was revealed, then glazed carrots, mashed potatoes and more as the plates were uncovered.
“You have just revealed that I am married to both of you and you expect me to sit and eat?” They seemed too calm about this, or perhaps they’d just had more time to reconcile to the idea.
Using a serving spoon, Walker put a variety of items onto the plate with the steak and carried it to the dining table that sat before a large bay window. I had to imagine the view if it were daytime.
“Please,” he said, waving his hand to the plate. “You said you were hungry after your journey.”
I was hungry and the topic of conversation wasn’t going to change regardless of whether I ate or not. Walker held out the chair for me before turning to the food cart for himself. Luke pulled out the chair beside me, spun it about and sat down with his legs straddling the seat. His bare forearms rested on the chair back and he watched me as I cut a slice of meat, then put it in my mouth.
“Slate Springs has a population of about three thousand,” he began. “Only three hundred or so are women. All of them are either married, much older than the bachelors or too young to wed. A young maiden who arrives in town is snatched up quickly, usually with at least two fights beforehand. With the town being isolated for five months a year, the men become… aggressive and somewhat volatile by the end of winter.”