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Bittersweet







Elisabeth Roseland

Dedication

To Christian, who takes all the bitterness out of life and makes every day sweet.

To Christa, who made a ménage writer out of me. Oh, how sweet it is.

Chapter One

Carla inhaled deeply from her cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke over her naked body. It dipped and swirled around the bed before dissipating.

“I hope I didn’t hurt you,” said Sean, glancing at her as he buckled his pants.

“No.” She lightly touched her neck. It wasn’t even sore. “I told you to squeeze harder.”

“I didn’t want to kill you.”

Carla snorted. “You wouldn’t have.” She rolled over and crushed her cigarette out in the ashtray on the nightstand. There was silence as both of them dressed. Carla slipped a ragged T-shirt over her head and stepped into her oil-stained jeans. She knew she had to do it now. It was time.

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Sean looked at himself in the mirror hanging on her closet door and ran his hands through his tousled hair. “Do what?”

“Do this. See you anymore.” She paused. “I mean like this.”

“What? Why?” He turned to face her.

She hadn’t practiced what she was going to say, but there were many reasons. “Because…because this was a bad idea. Because this isn’t working. Because you’re my boss.”

His smirk was full of power. “So? Nobody knows. It’s not a big deal. Come on, babe.” He reached for her, but she stepped away. His blue eyes grew cold. “Hey, quit fucking around.”

“That’s exactly it, Sean. We’re quitting fucking around. We’re done. Get out.” She met his flinty stare.

His hands balled up into fists, but she stood firm. He’d never hit her before, but there was always a first time. He took a deep breath, the tension in his body relaxing. “Fine,” he gritted through his teeth. “This was some bullshit anyway.”

He stormed out of the bedroom and down the creaky stairs. She followed, listening to him cuss his way through the house. He threw open the front door and dried leaves gusted into the entranceway.

When he turned, his face was crimson. “You’d better watch yourself. Don’t let me catch you fucking up. One misstep and you’re gone.” He stepped out into the cold night, slamming the door behind him.

Carla began breathing again when he disappeared. She snapped off the light, plunging the front of the house into darkness, but easily made her way over the familiar floorboards to the kitchen. Two things were on her mind—a beer and a phone call.

“Did you do it?” Angie’s voice strained with concern.

“Yeah.”

“And how’d he take it?”

Carla sat at the kitchen table and cracked open the can. “He was pissed, like I expected. But whatever. It’s over now.”

Angie exhaled. “I’m glad it is. Dating Sean wasn’t the best idea you’ve ever had.”

“I know. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You were thinking about that nice ass of his and the dimple when he smiles.”

“Yeah, when he’s not yelling at us.”

“Which is like, never.”

Carla took a sip of her beer. “Surprisingly, over the last three months he was not a complete and total asshole. There were even a couple of days there when I actually liked him.”

Angie groaned. “You liked fucking him. Be real.”

Carla snorted. “Okay, yes. I did. But the sex wasn’t enough. And most of the time he was still an asshole.”

“You know he’s going to be worse now.”

“Yeah, I know. He already threatened to fire me.” She shifted her cell phone to her left ear and grabbed the pack of cigarettes on the table. The small flame from the lighter pierced the gloom and was replaced by an ember glow as she inhaled.

“That motherfu—”

“Like I give a shit. I hate that job anyway.” The smoke swirled around the dim kitchen.

“Yeah, but you need it.” She said nothing, not wanting to admit Angie was right. “Hey.” Angie’s tone lightened. “Did you at least fuck him one last time before you broke up with him?”

“You know I did.”

Angie laughed. “Did he do the thing you wanted to try? The, uh, shit. You know what I’m talking about.”

“Erotic asphyxiation. Yeah, he did it a little. He was too afraid he’d kill me though. Maybe I should have broken up with him first. Then he’d have no problem doing it real hard.” She tapped her cigarette on the edge of the ashtray.

Angie snorted. “You’re crazy, you know that?” She paused. “So how are you doing? And don’t bullshit me. Tell me the truth.”

Carla looked around the dim kitchen. The light from a streetlamp in the alley threw awkward shadows around the room. “I’m doing all right. I guess that wasn’t the thing, you know?”

“Having an affair with your boss wasn’t quite the experience you were looking for, huh?”

“No. It wasn’t.”

“So what is it? What’s the thing?”

“I don’t know. But that wasn’t it.” The end of her cigarette glowed as she inhaled. Angie remained silent on the other end of the phone. “I’m looking for something, Ang. But the damn difficult thing is that I don’t know what it is. I want something in my life I can feel good about. And not just feel good for the next five minutes. Now don’t get me wrong. Being with someone who’s not an asshole would be a good starting place. And getting off on a regular basis would be nice. But I’d like something more. Something that sticks with you after it’s all over, you know? Something that makes me feel…” she searched for the right word, “…alive.”

“Sounds like you want love.”

“Hell, no. Been there, done that. Trust me. That’s not the thing either.”

Angie chuckled. “I hear ya. Well, if anything good came out of this, it’s that you realized Sean is definitely not what you were looking for.”

She yawned. “Definitely not. And speaking of Sean, we’d better get some sleep. He’s got us both working at the ass-crack of dawn.”

“Yeah, I know. Night.”

“Night.” Carla hung up the phone and polished off her beer before dropping her spent cigarette into the empty can.

Chapter Two

Someone kicked the sole of Carla’s shoe as she crouched under the conveyor belt.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

She continued to tighten the loose bolt. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Sean, but this thing is busted. It’s supposed to be moving, you know.”

“I know, and I also know it’s not your job to fix it. So get the hell up.” He kicked her shoe again.

With one final twist, the entire belt started up again. Several of her coworkers cheered. “There,” she muttered, wiping her hands on her pants as she stood up. “I know it’s not my job, but Steve was taking too damn long to get here, so I decided to fix it myself.”

He glared at her. “It’s not your job to make any decisions. It’s your job to put the candy into the box. Do you think you can handle that?”

She stared right back at him. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Good. Now go wash your hands before you touch anything.” He spun around on his heel and headed for his office.

Carla ripped off her paper apron and hair net, throwing them into the trash before storming into the ladies’ room. The bathroom walls muffled the rumble of the conveyor belt, and she took a moment to relish the relative silence. The back of the stall door felt cool as she leaned against it. There was a small window high above the toilet, and even through the cracked and warped glass Carla saw a few fluffy clouds zipping across the sky.

“Hey. You in here, C?”

She opened the door to see Angie leaning against the sink. “Yeah. What’s up?”

“I think I found something you might want to try next.” Mischief danced in her eyes as she held up a black business card.

Carla crossed her arms. “Try next? What are you talking about?”

Angie tapped the card with her finger. “This is an escort company. An all-male escort company featuring the most gorgeous black men the city of Chicago has to offer. And you need to call them.” She held out the card.

“What?” Carla snatched it out of Angie’s hand. The words Ebony Nights were embossed in gold on one side and a telephone number on the other. “Angie, that’s stu—”

“Wait. Hear me out. I was thinking about how you said you were looking for something a little different, maybe something more exciting. So then it hit me. When my toilet runs over, I call a plumber. When my car breaks down, I call a mechanic. You know, professionals. So if I’m looking for something specific in the bedroom, someone who can deliver what I need, then I should call a professional, right?”

Carla shook her head and handed the card back to her. “Ang, I’m not—”

Angie refused to take the card. “Hold on. Let me finish. Then I was thinking, I know Carla’s tried all sorts of things. Some of the shit you told me about is real freaky and some of it’s damn near illegal, but I do know one thing you haven’t tried.” She raised her eyebrows. “A threesome.”

Carla sighed and kept the card extended. “Wrong. Been there, done that. And I’m just not that into chicks to make it worth my time to do it again so—”

“No, not you, another woman and a guy.” She grinned. “You and two guys.” The protest that was about to exit Carla’s lips got stuck in her throat. Angie nodded. “Uh-huh. See? That’s what I’m talking about. Something new. Something different. It’s not love. I know you said you’re not interested in that. But this may be the thing you’re looking for.”

Carla looked at the card. Two men at the same time would be a new experience. It had possibilities. “How did you find out about this company?”

“You know my friend Rosalee?”

“The one who does your hair?”

“Yeah. Her ex-boyfriend used to work for them. He came into the salon a couple of times. Damn good looking. And the stories Rosalee used to tell. That shit would put your adventures to shame. So when I was thinking about our conversation last night, I thought this would be something new for you to try. Plus, it’ll take your mind off the whole Sean disaster. It can’t hurt for you to call them, right? Two luscious men whose only purpose is to worship your body all night. Whew.” Angie’s brown skin flushed red. “I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it.”

Carla looked at the card once more before slipping it into her back pocket. “Okay. Maybe I’ll try it. If anything, it’ll be a new experience.”

Angie grinned. “And more stories for me.”

Carla rolled her eyes. “And more stories for you.”

“You’d better keep them coming, considering how cold my bed’s been lately.”

“Well, that’s your own damn fault. You could warm it up if you wanted to, especially with your new hairstyle.”

Angie turned to face the mirror. She gathered the long braids to one side before flinging them back over her shoulder. “You like it? Rosalee hooked it up, even if it did take five hours.”

“Five hours? Damn. It looks nice though. Do you think she could do mine? I’ve always wanted braids.”

Angie laughed. “Girl, please. Your hair is too soft to hold them. Besides, it would cost a fortune to dye the extensions to match what you’ve got going on here.” Angie ran her fingers through Carla’s thick red hair. “But if you want, I could do some cornrows across the top like they do in the islands. Leave the rest of it loose. It would look pretty on you.”

“Yeah, that would be nice.”

“Cool. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll come over and do your hair while you tell me how your threesome went.”

Carla playfully shoved Angie’s shoulder. “You’re terrible. I’ll think about it. Come on. We’d better get back to work before Sean starts bitching again. That candy ain’t gonna box itself.”

Chapter Three

Derrick hung up the phone and collapsed on the couch. “We’re working tomorrow.”

Andre’s voice floated in from the kitchen. “Really? Together or separately?”

“Together.”

“Oh great. It’s been a while. I think this is ready.” Derrick heard the oven door open, and the smell of lasagna wafted through the small apartment.

Derrick sighed and joined Andre in the kitchen. The salad sat crisp and inviting next to two large wineglasses in the middle of their small table. Derrick grabbed the bottle of red from the counter as Andre cut the pasta.

“Where do we have to go?” Andre asked. The fragrant steam rose from the plate he placed in front of Derrick.

“Some bar on the south side. I have the address.” Derrick poured two generous glasses before sitting down. He could feel Andre looking at him, but he kept his eyes firmly on his food as he served himself the salad.

“So are you going to talk about it, or do I have to guess?”

“It’s nothing. I was hoping for a few days off, that’s all.” He took a sip from his glass. As usual, Andre had picked out the perfect vintage to complement the meal, and Derrick wished he were in a better mood to enjoy it.

“Well, think of it this way: more work equals more money, which equals us getting out of this cramped shithole and into a house. Then you can finally have a cave where you shout at the television all day from September until January, and I can have a yard where I grow fresh herbs instead of being forced to buy the dehydrated shit from the grocery store.”

Derrick took another drink, still avoiding looking at Andre. “You buy the fresh stuff from the produce section. And your food is always delicious.”

“Sometimes I buy the fresh herbs, when they’re on sale. And thank you for the compliment.”

A heavy silence fell over the table, and Derrick pushed his pasta around the plate. He wasn’t hungry. The day had started off well—a rare free day for both of them. After a lazy morning of lovemaking followed by breakfast in bed, they had hit the gym and then gone to the movies. Derrick had suggested going to Andre’s favorite restaurant for dinner, but he insisted on cooking. Their best times together were always over food, particularly meals prepared in their cramped kitchen. Somehow the small space brought out the big conversations—the best laughs and sometimes the best tears. Except for now. Now there was silence.

Andre’s touch on the back of Derrick’s hand jolted him back. “Hey. Talk to me, D. What’s wrong?”

Derrick intertwined Andre’s fingers with his own, finally meeting Andre’s warm gaze. “It’s nothing. I’m tired of working, that’s all.”

Andre squeezed Derrick’s hand tightly. “Then tell Haven to give you some time off. Hey, I have an idea. We’ve been good lately at tightening the belt and saving. Our nest egg is really growing. Let’s use some of it to go on vacation. Maybe down to the islands. Take a cruise. It’s starting to get cold here, and it’d be nice to get in a little more sun before we’re covered in snow for three months.”

Concern was etched on Andre’s handsome face, and Derrick wanted to kiss him until it melted away. “Time away with you would be great, but we need to save every penny of that money for a down payment on a house. Besides, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m tired of working this job.”

Understanding flashed in Andre’s eyes. “Do you want to quit?”

Derrick sighed, released Andre’s hand and sat back. “I don’t know. How can I quit? I need a job. What else can I do?”

“There are plenty of things you can do. You can get another job.”

“Doing what?”

“I don’t know. Get a job in an office somewhere.”

“No office job’s going to hire someone without a college degree. Besides, we make more money doing this than we would doing anything else. You know that.” He picked at his salad with his fork.

“Stop poking at your food like it’s going to bite you.” Derrick laughed softly and set his utensil down. Andre continued, “Why don’t you go back to school, and I’ll keep working? I can make enough to support us both until you graduate and get a job.”

“What, in four years? No way. That’s too much of a burden on you. Besides, we both need to be working if we ever plan on getting out of this shoebox. Your herb garden, remember?”

“The herb garden can wait.” Andre shifted his leg and pressed it against Derrick’s. Its solid warmth traveled up to Derrick’s lap, and his cock began to stiffen. “You know I love you, D. I’d do anything for you. If you’re done with this job, then quit. I’ll support you.”

Andre’s words slid into his heart, and Derrick reached out and grabbed his hand again. “I love you too, Dre. More than you know. I don’t know what I want to do. The money is too good, and we have too many plans. I’m just…” he tried to identify the emotions, “…tired of it all, I guess.”

“I understand. But say the word, and I’m there for you. We can both get out if you want.”

“You’re too good for me, you know that?”

A slow, sensual smile spread across Andre’s face as he leaned forward and touched Derrick’s leg underneath the table. “Oh really? And how good am I?” Derrick’s cock strained painfully in his pants.

“Mm, good enough to eat,” Derrick said as he rose from his seat.

He was finally hungry, but it wasn’t for Andre’s lasagna. Grabbing the back of Andre’s chair, Derrick swung him around so he was free from the table, and stood between Andre’s legs. Andre’s expression was one of eager anticipation as Derrick hovered over him. His dreads were pulled back in the ponytail he always wore while cooking, but Derrick removed the rubber band before tangling his fingers in the locks and pulling Andre’s head back. He bent down and licked Andre’s exposed throat. A groan tried to escape from Andre’s lips, but Derrick silenced it with his tongue. The kiss started out slow, their mouths caressing each other, but when Andre pulled Derrick into him, the speed intensified, almost taking Derrick’s breath away.

Derrick broke the kiss, needing to taste more of him. He tugged at Andre’s belt, and in an instant his pants were down around his ankles. The sight of Andre’s erection struggling against his blue boxer briefs made Derrick’s mouth water. He knelt between Andre’s powerful, dark thighs and massaged the front of his underwear before reaching inside, freeing his cock and pushing his underwear to the floor. The evidence of Andre’s desire staring him in the face was too enticing, and he dragged his tongue from the base to the tip, forcing a groan from his lover.

“Come with me,” Derrick commanded. He took Andre’s hand, led him into the living room and pushed him flat on the couch. Over the course of the past two years, Derrick had learned all of Andre’s most sensitive spots. He pushed Andre’s legs open before exploring one of those spots by rubbing the soft skin behind Andre’s balls before lightly running his fingertip over the opening to Andre’s ass. “Fuck,” Andre whispered as his hand flew up and gripped Derrick’s shoulder.

“You like that?” Derrick teased.

“You know I do,” Andre said. As Derrick’s fingers continued to stroke him, wetness formed at the tip of his cock. Derrick swirled his tongue around the head, relishing its salty taste, before devouring Andre’s entire shaft.

“Shit.” Andre’s grip tightened as his hips bucked. Derrick moved his head up and down in a steady rhythm while watching the signs on Andre’s body that he was enjoying the experience. Andre’s eyes were closed, and as Derrick increased the suction, the pace of Andre’s breathing increased. Andre’s ass puckered under his fingertips, and he drew quick circles around the opening, which caused Andre’s other hand to land on Derrick’s shoulder in a vise grip.

The quiver between his eyebrows told Derrick that Andre was close, so he sucked harder and faster, determined to swallow all of the pleasure that Andre could give him. The sound of Andre’s orgasm filled the living room when he came, the sharp grunts bouncing off the walls. The warm, salty flavor hit the back of Derrick’s throat, and he continued to lick and suck until Andre’s body gave one last shudder.

“Enough,” he said, and Derrick released him. Andre’s eyes fluttered open, his large hands cupped Derrick’s face and he kissed him sweetly. “How did I get so lucky?” Andre whispered, pressing his forehead against Derrick’s. Derrick closed his eyes and, for a moment, listened to the sound of Andre breathing.

“So I take it you enjoyed it?”

“You know I did.” Andre’s words brushed over Derrick’s lips. He stood up, pulled up his boxers and helped Derrick stand up. “Come here.” He grabbed Derrick around the waist and pulled him close. Derrick’s erection returned as Andre began to unbuckle his pants. “Let me return the favor.”

Chapter Four

Carla decided to forgo her usual seat at the bar in exchange for a table in the corner. There were three chairs, and she kicked nervously at the leg of one of them while she kept her eye on the door. Roscoe’s was her favorite after-hours hangout spot. All of the tables and chairs were worn and scuffed, the wood etched with the markings of decades of beer bottles and shot glasses. On the walls hung old construction photos of workers swinging from beams as they erected some of the city’s most famous skyscrapers. Rumor was that those same workers used to blow off steam at Roscoe’s after they punched out, raising a glass to the fact that they survived another day dangling in the air. One wall featured a new picture of Chicago’s masterpiece, with the words “Willis Tower” printed underneath it. Someone had drawn an angry red line through “Willis” and scrawled “Sears” in its place.

Roscoe’s was a good choice as a meeting place. Besides being close to her house, the beer was cold and cheap—a necessity after blowing a few hundred bucks on one night. She hoped it would be worth it.

The receptionist had asked her a lot of questions and given her a lot of choices. None of them really mattered to her, so she only made one request—that they be in their twenties. As she sat nursing her Miller Lite, the front door swung open and two of the most gorgeous twentysomethings she’d ever seen stepped into the ramshackle establishment. They both spotted her immediately, which wasn’t difficult given that she was the only redhead in the bar. The receptionist had asked what she would be wearing, and since Carla’s idea of planning her wardrobe meant picking out something clean, she had simply told the woman on the phone that she had red hair.

“You must be Carla.” The guy on the left smiled and extended his hand. “Hi. I’m Andre.” Unable to speak, she simply shook it. His grasp was firm. “This is Derrick.” Derrick’s grip was as inviting as Andre’s.

They were both tall, but that was where the similarities ended. Derrick had golden-brown skin and short hair. His hazel eyes gazed warmly down at her. Andre had dark-brown skin and eyes, and his shoulder-length dreads were pulled back neatly into a ponytail. Perfect. Let’s do this.

“May we sit down?”

“Nah, that’s not necessary. We can go to my place. I don’t live very f—”

“Whoa. What’s the rush?” Andre took her by the elbow and gently guided her to sit back in her chair. “We’ve got all night. Let’s talk first. Get to know each other.”

Carla’s seat squeaked as she plunked down. “Oh, right. Heh. Talk. So, I guess that’s part of the package too? Talking. Cool.” She ran her fingers through her hair, wiping away the beads of perspiration at her temples. She cleared her throat. “Can I get you a beer?”

Derrick smiled at her. “Let me get it.”

Andre’s eyes scanned the room. “Nice place.”

“It’s not, but the drinks are cheap, and on Saturday nights they have a band that’s not too terrible.”

Andre chuckled. “Well, ‘not too terrible’ is a step up from excruciatingly awful, so that’s a start.”

Derrick returned to the table with two bottles. They all took a drink and sat for a moment in silence. Derrick put his bottle down and leaned forward in his chair, his eyes sparkling.

“So tell us, Carla, what do you do?”

“I work the line at a candy factory.”

“Really? That sounds interesting.”

“You’re kidding me, right? It’s a bullshit job and I hate it. But it pays the bills.” The men laughed.

“Paying the bills is always good,” Andre said.

“Yeah, we all gotta do it.” Carla thought she saw something flash in Derrick’s eyes, but a second later, it was gone. “And what about you all? How long have you been…uh, doing this?”

“Three years.” Andre’s large hands rested comfortably on the table. She wondered if he knew what to do with them.

“Five,” said Derrick.

“Oh yeah? You must like it then.”

Andre moved his leg and pressed it firmly against hers. It was solid and awakened the desire in her belly. “We do like it. Mainly because we get to meet beautiful women like you.”

“You’re good.” She turned to Derrick. “Is he always this good?”

“Oh, just wait. He gets even better,” he said. The desire erupted and sent tingles of pleasure throughout her body.

“I’ve got a million of them.” Andre’s charming grin made Carla want to quit the chitchat and move on to the more physical part of the evening.

Derrick continued, “So, you work in a candy factory. And what else should we know about you? Are you from this great city of ours?”

“Yeah, I was born here, but I don’t know how great it is.”

“I could give you about a hundred reasons, including, but not limited to, the architecture, the food, the museums, the fact that there’s not an abandoned building on every corner…” Andre ticked off the points on his fingers, “…but then again, I’m from Detroit, so everything is relative.”

“Detroit, huh? So what brought you here?”

“Have you ever been to Detroit?”

“No.”

“Well, if you had, you wouldn’t have to ask that question.”

Carla snorted. “Fair enough.” She turned to Derrick. “What about you? You from Detroit too?”

“No, I’m from here. The south side. Actually, not too far from this neighborhood.”

“So you know about the crime, the no jobs, the high taxes—”

“And the architecture, the food, the museums,” Derrick continued. “But you’re both right. Chicago’s got its positives and its negatives. For some people, the city is everything they had hoped for, and for others, it hasn’t quite lived up to expectations.” Sadness passed briefly across his face as he took another drink.

“Well, speaking of hopes, what are your hopes for this evening?” Andre asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, why did you call Ebony Nights and request both of us? Usually one of us is enough for any woman.” A smile teased the corner of his mouth.

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Lately I’ve been…looking for something. Something different. Something that makes me sit up and pay attention. Something that I’ll remember later.”

“And you haven’t found that? With anyone?” Derrick asked.

“No, definitely not.”

“It sounds like you’ve had a series of boring lovers,” Andre joked, but his dark-brown eyes were full of concern.

“Boring? Yeah, some of ’em. Others were selfish, or didn’t know what I liked, or couldn’t do what I liked.”

“And what do you like?”

She shrugged. “I like a lot of stuff. I don’t know. Stuff that feels good.”

“Hey, it’s okay.” Derrick touched the back of her hand. His fingers radiated warmth and kindness. “You can tell us. Be specific. We’re here to please.”

Andre pressed his leg even more firmly against hers. “Absolutely. We want to make sure that you have a great time tonight. Something that you remember later.”

Carla thought about her past string of bad lovers before saying, “Well, I want you to fuck me. And I want it to be good.”

Andre smiled. “That’s a given. We always leave our clients very satisfied, but get creative with it. Now’s your chance. That’s what we’re here for. Do you like oral? Anal? To be tied up? Spanked? Tickled? Chocolate sauce? Ice? Do you want your hair pulled? Your toes sucked? Do you want us to dress up like firefighters? How about paramedics? I could run home and get my stethoscope. Do you have rubber sheets?”

Carla burst out laughing. Andre and Derrick joined her. “No. I mean, yes, to some of that stuff. You know, the oral and the anal and a couple of other things, but not the chocolate sauce. No food. Tried that already and it’s way too messy.”

Derrick wrinkled his nose. “It is messy, but hey, if that’s your thing, we could all get messy together.”

“And I don’t have rubber sheets.”

“Oh no? You should get some. They do come in handy.” Andre smiled.

“I’m sure.”

“So what are the other things?’” Derrick asked.

“What?”

“You said oral and anal and other things. So what other things do you like?”

Carla sat comfortably back in her chair. “I like to experiment. Try different stuff. That’s all.”

“What’s the last thing you tried?”

Her mind shot back to her last date with Sean. A mediocre night turned bad. “Well, erotic asphyxiation.”

Andre’s eyebrows shot up. “Really? Wow, you do like to experiment.”

“Yeah, but it didn’t work out too well.”

“Why not?”

“He didn’t squeeze hard enough. I guess he was too afraid he’d kill me.” Carla remembered the look on Sean’s face as he stormed out of the house.

“That can be kind of dangerous,” Andre said.

Derrick nodded. “I think even we would take a pass on that one. You need a real expert to do it just right.”

Andre continued, “Most of our clients don’t go in for the really hard core stuff. Although we are open to some experimentation.” Mischief danced in his eyes.

Carla snorted and shook her head. “So what are most of your clients into? I mean, I know why I called you, but what about other women?”

“We get called for all sorts of reasons,” Derrick said. “Usually, women need a date to an event, and they don’t have anyone else to take them. The after-hours entertainment is the icing on the cake.” His smile made Carla wonder how delicious that icing tasted.

“But what about when the two of you work together? When there isn’t an event to go to or anything?”

“Like tonight?” Andre grinned. “Well, lots of women admit to us that being with two men at the same time has always been a fantasy of theirs, but they never acted on it for fear of being judged. Other times they tell us they can’t find two guys willing to join them in bed at the same time. Lots of men would much rather be in a threesome with two women.”

Carla nodded. The last threesome she’d participated in was years ago, and the only reason she did it was because the guy she was dating at the time kept bugging her to try it. That experience hadn’t been great—she and the other girl basically put on a show for him.

“But we don’t judge, and we like working together,” Derrick continued.

Carla bit her lip at the idea of Derrick and Andre “working” together. “Mm. You two don’t fuck each other, do you? Sorry if that came out weird.”

“No problem. That’s a fair question. We’ve been known to enjoy each other’s company, on occasion.” Andre winked.

“No shit, really?”

“Really.” Derrick’s eyes twinkled.

“That is so fucking hot,” Carla muttered.

Derrick’s gaze enticed her. “We aim to please, so just think of us as the answer to whatever fantasy you’ve been wanting to explore.”

Carla couldn’t help smiling slightly. “A plumber or a car mechanic.”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing. It’s something my friend Angie said when she gave me your business card. When you need something done right, you call a professional—like a plumber or a car mechanic.”

“You know there’s a joke in there, right?” Andre asked. “Something about bringing out the big hose or revving up your engine?”

Derrick and Carla laughed, and she felt ready to have them both look under her hood.





“Come on in.” She shut the front door behind them, blocking out the blustery wind. “Let me take your coats. Go ahead and have a seat. Can I get you guys another beer?” Carla gestured to the living room. They handed her their jackets, which she hung on a hook as they sat down on the couch.

“Sure, thank you.” Derrick’s smile was charming, and Carla couldn’t resist returning it before heading into the kitchen.

How is this supposed to work? She opened the refrigerator door and grabbed three cans. Do I invite them upstairs? How much more talking do we need to do? After all of the flirtatious conversation at the bar, she was ready to move on to the real reason why she’d called them.

“What is it?” Derrick opened his can with a loud crack.

“What is what?” Carla sat in the chair across from them.

“What are you thinking about? Something flashed through your mind.”

“Oh, so you’re a mind reader?” Carla hid her smile as she took a drink.

“Partly. But that’s not the only thing I can read.”

“Is he always like this?” She took in Andre’s chiseled features.

Andre smiled. “Yes. It’s one of his many endearing qualities.”

“And what about you? Do you have any ‘endearing qualities’?”

“Perhaps.” Andre set his beer down on the table in front of them and moved away from Derrick. “But you’re going to have to come over here to find out.” He patted the empty seat.

Without hesitation, Carla squeezed into the warm space left on the couch, the sides of her legs touching their solid thighs. Nestled in that spot, there were two things she didn’t expect—the delicious fragrance of their mingling colognes and how secure she felt sandwiched between them.

Andre took her hand and raised it to his lips. “So, how would you like this evening to proceed?”

“I—” Her voice caught in her throat as Derrick pushed her hair aside to kiss the nape of her neck. “I don’t really care. I’m game for anything.”

“Game for anything, eh?” Andre’s words caressed the palm of her hand as he placed it on his face. “We like adventurous women with open minds. Don’t we, Derrick?”

“Oh yes, we do.” Derrick’s murmur sent chills down her spine.

“Yeah, I’m open.” Carla’s legs spread as someone’s hand, maybe Derrick’s, trailed its way up her thigh.

“We can see that,” Andre said as he kissed her. His full lips were soft, and his tongue danced nimbly over hers, igniting her desire. She eagerly returned his kisses and stroked his shaven face. A hand massaged her breasts, tickling her hardened nipples straining against her shirt. Another hand found its way into her lap and stroked her aching pussy through the denim.


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