Joely has just moved back home and has no job prospects, no man prospects. And she has to be bridesmaid in her younger sister's wedding to Joely's old boyfriend! Alcohol seems the perfect distraction to see her through the reception. Maybe she can slip up to her hotel room after and have sex with one of the groomsmen. Comforting herself with a sweet but deadly bar concoction called Death by Sex, she thinks her toughest decision will be which man to sleep with.
Tucker and Beck were her best friends during their college years, but she hasn't seen them since graduation. It isn't just the alcohol burning inside that entices her into a wild, carnal night with both men. Memories awaken her to buried emotions and the security Tuck and Beck bring. She loves them equally, and could never choose between them. The guys have a plan of their own, however, and are determined to see it through.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Death by Sex by Ari Thatcher
Why the fuck did she have to marry my ex?
Joely Nelson lowered the bouquet of roses just a touch to keep from sneezing at the heavy perfume. She looked anywhere but at the happy couple. She had to admit she was pleased her sister Shanna had found someone to love. And it had been six years since she and Derrick broke up. So there was no problem, really.
Then why was she dying to get drunk?
The minister read his way through the ceremony and Joely shifted her weight off her toes to soothe a bit of the ache. She stole a glance across the altar where the groomsmen, Tucker Brennan and Beck Pelligrino, towered over Derrick. Tucker's black hair was shorter than the last time she'd seen him at the college graduation bash on the beach. Beck's blond curls were a bit longer.
Why hadn't she dated either of them? Damn, they looked so much hotter than Derrick. Always had, now that she thought about it.
As if hearing her thoughts, Tucker met her gaze and winked. Joely's eyes widened before she smiled and turned back to the ceremony. Nothing like getting caught checking out the merchandise. She prayed the ceremony would be over soon, as it was suddenly too warm in the front of the banquet room.
Surely the hotel had the air conditioning on, even if it was early June and the real heat hadn't hit yet. The last thing she needed was to have sweat rivulets soak through the pale pink satin bodice, especially before the formal pictures were taken. She'd better keep her eyes off the groomsmen, just to be safe. The warmest part of her at the moment was between her legs.
Her eyes rolled upward to study the fake pink roses on the backdrop set up at the front of the large reception hall. With crossed drapes of chiffon and faux ivy draped between the Grecian columns, the plain walls were camouflaged well. The roses and pale pink lilies added color to the greenery and matched the flowers in her sister's bouquet.
From the corner of her eye, she again checked out the guys standing opposite her and her cousin. She had to admit, a man in a black tux looked hot, even if she wasn't a formal type girl. They seemed even taller, more polished and worldly. Not that those two were hicks, by any means. There was just something even more...appetizing, seeing them like this, rather than in jeans.
As her knees began to ache, the minister announced, "I now present Mr. and Mrs. Derrick Rice." The deejay played the bridal march as the guests rose and began clapping. Shanna and her new husband descended the few steps off the platform and walked to the head table, arm in arm.
Joely placed her hand on Tucker's forearm and he escorted her to a small table off to the side. She looked at him, curious, and asked, "Aren't we supposed to sit at the head table?"
"I saw your face up there and figured you'd prefer to be anywhere but at a table with your sister and Derrick." He held her chair for her.
She tugged the big, butt-beefing bow up a bit higher, lifted her hem and poured every ounce of what little grace she owned into sitting. She reached the chair successfully, except for the fact that she hadn't hoisted enough of the skirt and now the bodice threatened to become a cummerbund.
As discreetly as possible, she lifted her butt off the seat and wriggled her dress back up to the general vicinity of her armpits.
"Having problems there, little one?" Beck came around the table and sat opposite her, setting down his beer. He had deposited her cousin Deedee, the other bridesmaid, at the head table with the rest of the family.
When had he become so broad and brawny? Yummy.
"I'm just losing my dress, is all."
The guys exchanged grins and Tucker said, "So soon? You haven't even had a drink yet."
Joely rolled her eyes at the reference to their college partying days. "It was only one time, and I didn't lose it, I knew exactly where it was." Still, her cheeks flamed at the memory that these guys had seen her sans dress. Sans pretty much everything, if she didn't count her thong, and there really hadn't been enough of it to count for anything.
Tucker burst out laughing, drawing glances from nearby tables, then lowered his voice. "Everyone knew where it was--dangling from the chandelier."
She pressed her thighs together at the damp response to the heat in both pairs of brown eyes across the table. "So, tell me, what have Derrick's old roomies been up to?"
The servers brought their salads as the guys filled her in on where they moved after college. "I heard Shanna say you've moved back to this area," Beck said, after swallowing his drink.
"Yes. The brokerage I worked for closed its doors and I felt like I was ready to come home." She smiled, relieved to be able to say it now without hiding her eyes. She looked forward to the next step in life, wherever it took her. Thankfully, she had been cautious in her personal investments and had enough to carry her another six months before she had to worry.
Tucker studied her with narrowed eyes for a moment as he blindly stabbed at a cherry tomato. "Remind me before we leave tomorrow. I know a place you should look into."
She nodded and smiled. Maybe she should have kept in touch with her school friends after graduation. There was much to be said for networking.
Beck's foot brushed against hers under the table. "Sorry, little one."
She tucked her feet back under her chair. At five-nine, it had been such a treat to hear that big lug call her "little one". Derrick stood only an inch taller than she, unlike his buddies who were closer to six-two or -three. She still had to look up to see their eyes while wearing her tallest heels.
Tucker stood. "I forgot to get us a drink. What would you like, Joely?"
From the corner of her eye she saw Shanna lean over and suck face with Derrick in as long and sloppy a kiss as one could do with one's minister sitting nearby. "Something deadly," she answered and offered him a sugary smile.
He winked and made his way through the tables toward the bar.
"Looking to get drunk?" Beck asked, setting down his fork and pushing his plate aside.
"Isn't that what weddings are for? Getting drunk and having 'I'm not lonely' sex with a total stranger?"
His eyes smiled and his tongue swiped across his lips before the grin reached his mouth. "What do they call it when it's not with a stranger?"
Tucker spoke from behind her. "Death by Sex." He set a highball glass down in front of Joely.