This excerpt is PG-13. You’ve been warned.
“Now, do you want to tell me what it was you wouldn’t tell me last night?” Aiden asked. “The thing you thought would put me off marrying you.”
Oh, damn. Harmony’s jaw tightened. The time had finally come.
Her gaze fell to the counter and rested on her intertwined hands. She nodded, then sucked in a deep breath.
“Every year since university, I’ve gone away on a vacation with a group of friends.”
This story hadn’t started the way Aiden had expected. Not that he really knew what he had expected. But the fact she went on vacation with friends didn’t seem so bad.
“These are friends I met in university.” She glanced from her hands to his face. “Well, I guess you figured that out.”
“So you go on vacation with these people. You want to continue doing so? Is that it? Because we can certainly arrange to—”
She raised her hand. “No. I mean, yes, I’d like to keep doing it… well, I’m not sure anymore… I’ve been thinking a lot about it this year and re-evaluating…” She shook her head. “I’m sorry, this is just… hard.”
He took her hands in his. “It doesn’t have to be. Whatever it is, we’ll work it out.”
“The point is, we go away every year… and have for the past twelve years… the six of us, and we… have fun.”
“A lot of fun.”
She sighed and got up to pace the kitchen floor.
“You’re really not getting this. There are three women and three men…”
At her pause, then her exasperated expression, his brow furrowed. He wasn’t quite sure what she was getting at.
“Do you think I’ll be jealous because some of your friends are guys?” He would have thought she knew him better than that. “Do you have history with one of these men? Is that what you’re worried about?”
She nodded. “You could say that. Not just history.”
“You’ve been intimate with one of them?”
He sighed in relief. He wouldn’t like the idea of her going away on vacation with a man she’d had sex with, even though he knew he wouldn’t stand in the way if that’s what she wanted to do. After all, the past was the past.
“I have been intimate with all of them.”
His gaze locked with hers. It took a moment for the words to sink in.
“All of them?”
She hesitated, as though choosing her words carefully.
“The other women have been intimate with all of them, too.”
He cleared his throat. “So this is… a kind of lovers’ reunion?”
“In a way.”
Sure, maybe they’d been a group of friends in university and wound up dating each other at different times. Of course, they’d all become close and now they met once a year to rehash old times.
“I understand. After all, it’s all innocent, right?”
She pursed her lips. “No, not so innocent. We actually meet for a full week of no holds barred sex.”
He chuckled, but her grim expression told him she wasn’t joking.
His jaw dropped.
“You mean you…” He cleared his throat, which had gone hoarse. “You have sex with each of the three men?”
“It’s not really having sex with each of the men as much as with all of them. Sometimes separate. Sometimes together.”
Jealousy raged through him at the thought of Harmony in another man’s arms. Men. Other men touching her, making love to her. Several at the same time.
His cock twitched.
“The women, too,” she continued. “Whatever permutation you can think of, we do it. Not that I’m bi, mind you, but when there are three… or four… or more of us together, we just do what comes naturally.”
His breaths came in shallow tugs as adrenaline pumped through him at the sudden image of Harmony kissing another woman, of the two of them stroking each other and… His cock pushed painfully at his jeans.
“And it comes naturally to you to make love with other women?”
The thought of Harmony stroking another woman’s breasts, of another woman kissing down Harmony’s stomach, heading for those delicate black curls sent his cock pulsing.
“Look, Aiden, I’m not kidding myself that any of this seems natural to you. I know it’s probably very unsettling to you and you probably want to run out of here right now and never see me again. You probably think that I’m a… that I…”
She was absolutely correct that he felt like running away right now–mostly from the confused feelings sweeping through him. He wasn’t sure what he thought of the situation. He couldn’t believe the woman he’d proposed to last night… a woman he thought he’d known so well… could actually be involved in an annual orgy.
From the look of her, he realized she was totally convinced this would drive him away. Although he would need some time to get used to the idea… to readjust his thinking… he knew he still wanted her in his life.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. I don’t think less of you.”
She swept a tear from her eye and gazed up at him. “But you are shocked.”
That he couldn’t deny.
“What you just told me does defy everything I thought I knew about you, but that doesn’t mean I love you less. I just have to get used to the idea, that’s all.”
She nodded then pushed herself to her feet. “I understand if you want to withdraw your proposal.”
He grabbed her hand and drew her toward him.
“You’re not getting away that easily. I still want to marry you… the question still stands…” He gazed into her eyes and smiled. “Will you marry me?”
Harmony stared at Aiden, amazed that he still wanted her to be his wife. She’d been certain he would march away in disgust, yet here he was… a little shaken, but still ready to make an honest woman of her.
She wanted to accept his proposal–to grasp the lifeline of normalcy and uprightness he had thrown her.
But she couldn’t.
As much as he thought, here in Buffalo, where everything was proper and normal, that he could accept her annual activities, she didn’t think he really comprehended the reality of it. And she didn’t think he could really accept her if he did.
And, the bottom line was, she wasn’t sure she wanted to give it up.
“What if I told you that I wanted to keep going on these annual vacations?”
Aiden stared at her a moment and scratched his chin.
“Well, I guess I’d say that that would be fine. As long as I could go along, too.”
Opal Carew is the author of over a dozen romance stories (also writing as Elizabeth Batten-Carew) in which she makes offerings of hope, success, and love to her readers. Opal loves crystals, dragons, feathers, cats, pink hair, the occult, Manga artwork, and all that glitters. She earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and spent 15 years as a software analyst before turning to her passions as a writer. Opal lives with her husband and two teen-aged sons in Ontario, Canada. To learn more about Opal, visit her website at http://www.OpalCarew.com or contact her at OpalCarew@BestRomanceAuthors.com.
Opal is giving away a ebook copy of her futuristic novel The King and I, written as Elizabeth Batten-Carew to a random commenter this weekend. Leave a comment by Sunday, February 8 at 5:00 pm PDT and you’ll be entered in the drawing. The winner must be over the age of 18 due to the content of the ebook.