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Authors: Marteeka Karland & Shara Azod

Tags: #ISBN 978-1-60521-656-0

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BOOK: Claiming Lori
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Damn. It was a great deal chillier out of the bed and away from Lori’s warmth. His only consolation was that she woke as soon as she lost his body heat. That had to be a good sign. At least on some subconscious level she was aware of him and missed his warmth, if nothing else.

“Why are you guys in my room?” Funny, Lori didn’t sound even a little bit hung over. She looked annoyed and grumpy but, as she was not a morning person, that was nothing unusual. She had one eye cracked open in a mere slit, a fierce frown marring her otherwise perfect complexion. “Aw, man, it wasn’t all a dream was it? You were here when I came home last night.”

Michael thought about replying, but thought better of it. Instead he allowed Alex, who was generally considered the sweetest of the three brothers, to speak.

“How much do you remember, honey?” Alex went over and sat on the edge of the bed, toying with the braids on Lori’s head. Michael’s own hand grasped his thigh, itching to touch her too.

Lori opened both eyes wide and round, sitting straight up in the bed. Michael had to bite back a groan at the way her cami hugged her curves. Last night he had helped her get ready for bed without really paying attention to what she demanded to sleep in. His objective had been just to get her into bed so she could sleep it off. Getting a good look at the skimpy excuse for a shirt, he sent up a prayer of thanks he hadn’t really noticed last night. He would’ve been all over her.

He was an introspective kind of guy. Michael liked to think things through before acting. Alex was more a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, and Jackson had always been an ultra control freak. When Jack had suggested all three of them “marry” Lori, Michael honestly hadn’t thought it would work. Now, the possibility Jackson’s scheme might pay off lay out there tantalizing him almost as much as the woman before him. They all loved her, had for years. While any one of them would be happy for his sibling, they would suffer a deep loss if any one of them couldn’t be with her. Lori was a firecracker of a woman. She had deep passions -- passions that had been stifled for far too long.

The question might not be if she could handle the three of them, but if they could handle her. Not because she was loose or anything, but just because she was so damn full of life. She would lead them all on a merry chase, that much was for sure. And she had no clue just how sexy and desirable she really was. Sure, she thought she was cute, without the obnoxious kind of conceit. The thing was, Lori had bypassed cute, or even beautiful, and run headlong into stunning on a level that went far beneath the skin.

“Umm, you all were here frowning at me as soon as I got home.” She shrugged, a move that made her full, unbound breasts jiggle a little. Michael could have sworn he heard Jack moan under his breath. “There was the usual disapproval and then…” She shook her head and jumped out of the bed, away from Alex’s comforting strokes to her head. “No way. There was no way that other part was real.”

“Relax, Lori. We can talk about this rationally, right?” Michael knew she was about to go into one of her long, exhausting tirades about the unfairness of it all. She really didn’t think they’d been serious. She was looking for the usual lecture about her safety and what men want. She was in for quite a surprise.

“Why don’t you take your shower and get dressed.” Jack stopped her before she could respond, using his most authoritative voice. Michael was amazed how well it still seemed to work on her, although she was long past childhood. “Michael will go next door and do the same, and Alex will make coffee.”

“Oh, yeah? And what will you be doing, Mr. King of the World?” That was about as far as she would go in challenging Jackson. It was as irritating as it was amusing, but she never pushed Jack too far.

“I will be right here, little girl, so jump to it,” Jack shot right back at her without missing a beat. “I’ll pull out something for you to wear, so all you need to take with you into the bathroom is a robe.”

* * *

Michael watched her go, his mouth watering as she stomped around the bedroom in that damn cami and a pair of boy-cut panties. He had been sleeping next to that, all night long. His cock twitched, coming back to life just when he thought he had it completely under control.

“Holy hell. That woman is going to be the death of us. Mike, you better hurry the fuck back,” Alex muttered before moving toward the bedroom door. “Because if she says yes, it is on.”

She would say yes. Michael might not have thought so before, but he knew it in his gut now. Her breathing had become a little heavier as she realized it hadn’t all been a fevered figment of her imagination. Her nipples had already been hard, much to his delight, but they had seemed to grow longer, harder, as the three of them watched her. Michael knew he wasn’t hiding any of his hunger for her. Neither were his brothers. It was obvious to any who looked at them they wanted her. Hard. Yeah, he needed to hurry but his feet refused to move until she had flounced out of the room.

“Still think she won’t go for it?” Jack was mocking him, but this was one of the rare times Michael didn’t mind at all. He was thankful he’d been dead wrong.

“I think I need to get my ass in gear.” Michael knew Jackson was skirting the edge of control, as was Alex. He needed to get his ass back before Lori sat down to her first cup of coffee.

He could only imagine what was going to happen today, but he didn’t want to miss any of it. Lori was going to hit the roof, come back down, then hit the roof again. There wasn’t a thing sexier than Lori all pissed off and loaded for bear. He couldn’t wait to see all that passion directed toward something other than arguing with them. It was going to be an explosive day, and Michael was eager to see it through.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

“You know she’s going to try to kill us first. You do realize that, right?”

Alex hadn’t really asked him a question, so Jackson didn’t answer him. He was well aware what they were up against. Lori was headstrong and stubborn as all get out, but in the end she wanted them -- all of them. If he wasn’t sure of it, he would’ve never suggested such a crazy thing as sharing a woman, really
sharing
her with his brothers. This wasn’t about sex, though Lori would jump to that conclusion once they actually convinced her they were for real. This was about finding that one woman who completed them, the one woman who could make them all happy and complete.

“You better have that coffee ready,” Jackson suggested, walking over to the bed and lounging back to wait. “You know how she is before coffee in the morning.”

Alex retreated, mumbling as he went, leaving Jack to his thoughts. They were taking a huge risk; there was a possibility they could lose Lori forever, but he really didn’t think so. He just had to make sure he handled this right.

“What are you doing still in my room?”

He had to smile at the picture Lori made, pretending to be mad while swathed in the bathrobe she’d taken from him. She was always doing things like coming over and “borrowing” their clothes. Usually they never saw the item in question again unless they happened to glimpse her wearing it. In so many ways she was already a wife to each brother, albeit in different ways. She cooked for them all from time to time. For Alex, she listened to his outrageous stories, laughing as if he were the funniest man on earth. The two of them shared secrets, often laughing at private jokes no one else got.

For Michael, Lori bolstered his confidence. She was always his biggest cheerleader, egging him on when he needed it. She brought him out of his shell without his even realizing it. She’d been doing it forever too; Jack was convinced Mike would have never entered the Academy had it not been for Lori’s constant pushing. Turned out Mike was one hell of a firefighter, and all it had taken was Lori’s encouragement.

“Waiting for you, brat.” Holding up her jar of body cream, he sent her a rare smile, one he knew would get her a little excited. He had noticed it when she turned twenty, though he spent a couple of years trying like hell to deny the look he saw whenever he sent her a crooked little smile. “Come on, let me help you lotion up.”

She didn’t argue with him, but he’d known she wouldn’t. Taking her little foot in his hand, he pretended to be engrossed in massaging the cream into her foot. This wasn’t the first time he’d performed the task, though usually it was only her feet, maybe her back. This time, Jack had no intention of stopping there.

“I’m still pissed at you.” Her voice sounded sullen, but she was faking that too. Lori was confused and unsure whether or not to trust her memories of the night before. She often fell back on a show of pure battiness when she didn’t want to face up to something. “And I want to know why the hell you guys would say something like -- well, like you did? And why was Michael in my bed this morning?”

“We said it because we meant it.” Although he answered her evenly, without equivocation, he didn’t look up at her. He couldn’t. Big, bad Black Jack, as she loved to call him, was scared. This was the biggest thing he had ever taken on in his life, the only one that mattered, and he was dragging his brothers into it with him. “We want you, Lori. Badly. We want to love you and take care of you, protect you and make you the happiest woman in the world.”

“Stop mocking me, Jackson!” Lori tried to jerk her leg away from him, but there was no way he was letting go. “This is a load of crap, and you know it! You have never shown the least bit of interest in me, not ever. Alex and Michael, I can believe, but there is no way this is real. And fuck you for… for…”

He looked up then, completely unprepared for what he saw. He’d seen Lori defiant, unsure, pissy, bratty and even horny. But there had only been one other time he’d seen her this vulnerable, this unsure of herself. That was when she was all of twelve and had just lost her mother. She’d tried to keep a stiff upper lip, but there had been a fragility about her that forever implanted her in his heart. He swore he never wanted to see her like that again, and now look what he’d done. Hell, this was the last thing he’d expected.

“For what, Lori?” Jack slid his hand up her leg, tugging her until she tumbled into his lap. “Tell me, baby, what do you think I’m doing?”

“Playing with my emotions?” God, she looked so forlorn and lost, it broke his heart. His own little force of nature looked like she might cry, and that was something Lori just didn’t do if she could help it.

“I wouldn’t do that, and you know it. Don’t you?”

Jack had been more than a little pissed when he’d walked in and saw Michael dangerously close to forgetting their promise not to get intimate in any way without all brothers being present, yet here he was, so fucking tempted to do the same. Her lips weren’t more than an inch away from his, and the robe she wore was gaping, daring him to look down. He wanted to. God, how he wanted to.

Luckily, Alex stepped in to defuse a dangerously hot situation. “Here, drink some coffee.”

Jack wasn’t sure if he should thank Alex or hit him for his timely interruption. Even though his baby brother pressed a mug of steamy hot liquid into Lori’s small hand, Jack didn’t allow her to get up out of his lap. Alex looked at him in question, but Jack couldn’t give him an answer, not one that would make any sense.

They had waited too long. They were walking the edge between a happy life and losing her forever, and Jack knew if they didn’t strike now, they
would
lose her. Thankfully Alex was perceptive, saying nothing, but standing by as Lori drank her morning elixir. Michael came in about halfway through, took a hint from the silence in the room and went to stand on the other side of her. The tension was painfully thick, an aura of expectation hovering in the air.

She had to feel it. There were three large, very interested men hovering around her; she had to feel what was going on. Yet, once she had downed the coffee, she seemed to collect herself, throwing a very large, completely false smile around at them all.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

Waiting for Lori to drink her coffee was hellish for all of them. Michael had returned, looking like a wet panther ready to pounce, and Jackson refused to move from her side on the bed, gazing at her with the hunger they all felt. Alex felt just as ready and intense as his brothers, but he could also clearly see the fear Lori was trying so hard to hide. She wasn’t afraid of the three of them; she knew them too well for that. She was scared of her own reaction to what they wanted.

Hell, what decent woman wouldn’t be? Three guys asking for one woman to be theirs -- collectively. It was no small thing. Alex would’ve been against it if he hadn’t known his brothers and Lori so well. She was scared, but she was excited. For one thing, she hadn’t bothered to put on clothes, which gave them all an excellent view of the way her nipples were poking out against her robe. The room was quite cozy, and she was drinking hot coffee, so he knew she wasn’t cold.

Alex watched her as she tried to hide the fact that she studied them from under those long lashes of hers. Those things were weapons, and man, did she know how to use them. Maybe it was subconscious on her part, but she kept peeking out at each man, studying them. It was as if she had yet to make up her mind what she would do with the three of them, and was afraid to examine her feelings too closely. Then, her eyes lingered on each crotch. Her lips parted slightly and her eyes snapped up to meet his. He supposed that, on some level, the little minx was all too aware of what she did to each one of them, but there was still that innocent girl they’d all fallen in love with playing close to the surface. Now, it was up to him and his brothers to bring out the woman.

To top it off, there was the little matter of her thighs. While Lori had a feminine streak a mile wide and a hundred stories high, she tended to sit like a guy most of the time when in their company. Alex had lost track of the number of times she had plopped down on a chair or couch, legs gaped open no matter what she was wearing, like it didn’t matter. It was an unconscious thing, showing her complete comfort in their company. Right now her thighs were pressed together so tightly he doubted air could get between them.

BOOK: Claiming Lori
5.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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