Friendship torn asunder, Nick and Brian vie for Kathryn, body and heart. But Kathryn refuses to chose between the two men struggling to protect her, and also refuses to reveal her deadly secret.
When the ghost of her murdered friend tries to contact her, Kathryn will have no choice but to drag Nick and Brian into the nightmare that's plagued her since childhood. But her psychic connection with the murdered victims attracts the attention of the serial killer responsible for their deaths. When the killer returns and threatens the life of the woman they both love, Nick and Brian's friendship will either be mended or all three may be destroyed forever.
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Loose Id, LLC
May 24, 2010
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Excerpt from Dead Reckoning by Trista Ann Michaels
Katie felt her whole body heat with the direction their conversation had taken. It was easy to flirt like this over the phone. She didn't have to look at him, see the heat flaring in his eyes, feel the way his stare made her skin tingle with unanswered need.
Yes, she'd masturbated thinking of him. She'd also done it thinking of Brian, but more often than not, it was thinking of the three of them together that sent her into orbit. But Nick didn't need to know that. Neither did Brian.
It was doubtful with their strained relationship that would happen anyway.
She glanced toward Nick out of the corner of her eye and almost melted at the way he watched her. He lifted his beer bottle to his lips, keeping his gaze on her as he sipped, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed. He set the bottle down and grinned.
"Have I embarrassed you, Katie?"
She snorted and set the can upright in the sink. "No. It's just weird talking like this face-to-face."
"It shouldn't be."
She glanced back at him and smiled slightly at the adorably roguish expression on his face. She tried to skirt around him and head into the den. "You're incorrigible," she teased.
Nick stood and grabbed her elbow. Katie jumped, unprepared for the touch and the sudden flare of sensation traveling up her arm. She turned too quickly to face him and lost her balance. With a squeal, she fell backward onto the couch. Nick tried to stop her but ended up falling with her, his hard body landing on top of hers.
She laughed, not yet aware of just how they'd landed.
Nick's chest shaking with laughter against hers was her first indication, and she stopped laughing, staring up at him with wide, surprised eyes. He lay on top of her, his chest pressing against her breasts, his thighs nestled between hers, his cock positioned perfectly against her pussy. He shifted slightly, putting pressure on her aching mound, and she gasped in shock at the wave of lust that tightened her womb.
Nick stilled and looked down at her, his brown eyes darkening with desire. "You okay?"
She nodded but otherwise said nothing. She couldn't. All those crazy late-night talks ran through her head. All the wild things they'd said to each other in teasing sped through her mind.
"You'd think as a FBI agent, I'd be a little more coordinated."
"Somehow I doubt coordination is a requirement," she whispered.
His heat surrounded her, seeped into her, and she inhaled his warm, musky scent. Nick had always smelled so good, so sexy.
One corner of his mouth twitched into an amused grin, but it faded as quickly as it appeared. He seemed to be just as affected by their position as she was. When his cock thickened against her, she had no doubt.
"Nick," she whispered breathlessly.
"I don't know about you, Katie, but I think we've been pussyfooting around this for a while."
"This?" she squeaked.
He lowered his head, and her breathing increased tenfold. Her ears roared with the rush of blood through her veins as his lips came ever so close to hers.
He flexed his hips, putting delicious pressure against her pussy through their clothes, and she sighed softly.
"This," he whispered.
His lips brushed across hers gently, barely touching her. She moaned, parting hers in silent invitation for him to deepen it, really kiss her and make her head spin just like she'd imagined he would.
He cupped her cheek, tilting his head to the side while holding hers steady. "I've been thinking about this for weeks," he whispered. "All those phone calls. The teasing. The flirting. I think it's partly why I came back. I just used the real estate as an excuse."
"Nick." She whimpered, bending her left knee and wrapping her leg over his hip.
Nick closed his eyes briefly and flexed his hips. With a groan, he planted his lips over hers, sliding his tongue between her parted lips and proceeding to kiss the very breath from her body.
Katie moaned, wrapping her arms around his back and answering his sweet kiss with a need she hadn't even been completely aware existed. He tasted so good. A mixture of beer and coffee. His tongue was soft, warm and teasing as it twirled around hers, stroking, coaxing.
God, he could kiss.
She dug her nails into the flesh of his back, then dragged them down his shirt. He moaned, and his lips spread into a smile against her mouth.
"You feel good, Katie," he whispered before swiping his lips over hers in teasing sweeps. "This feels good."
He moaned and sucked on her lower lip before letting it go with a pop.
"We need to think about what we're doing, Nick," Katie pleaded, although halfheartedly. She'd never been so turned on in her life. She'd been thinking about this too--fantasizing about it, but for a lot longer than a week. She'd been thinking about this for years. Unfortunately, in her fantasies, there were three of them, not just two.
"Don't think," he whispered as he moved his lips to the side of her neck, gently nibbling and sucking at her skin.
She closed her eyes as a wave of need pounded through her limbs. She wasn't sure she could think clearly now anyway. He turned her mind to mush and her body to limp pasta. Right now she was likely to do anything he asked of her. His touch, his kiss, the way his body felt against hers, was something she'd imagined, dreamed about. But the reality was so much better than her imagination. The reality was heaven.
The only thing that would make all this any better was if Brian showed up and joined the play.
"What the hell is going on?"
Katie stiffened immediately and slowly opened her eyes, staring back over her shoulder at a shocked and angry Brian. Nick raised his head as well, glaring at his friend.
"How the hell did you get in here?" Nick demanded.
Brian raised his hand, jiggling his key ring. "I have a key, asshole."
The tension in the room was palpable. She could taste it, see it. What she saw in Brian's gaze shocked her but at the same time made her heart race. Behind the anger, the hurt, was a bright spark of lust.
She began to squirm under Nick, trying to extricate herself from his arms. "Nick, let me up."
Nick sat back on his knees, allowing Kathryn to come to a sitting position. What the hell did she do now? Truthfully, Brian didn't have any reason to be angry. They weren't dating, not in the boyfriend-girlfriend sense anyway. He'd only kissed her that one time, but it had been enough to leave Kathryn breathless and horny for days.
Had his kiss been more than a drunken misstep? Was he interested and just never said anything?
"Kathryn, I need to speak to Nick for a minute."
Kathryn frowned. "Now wait a minute, Brian." Brian turned his cold, hard stare toward her, and she bristled. "Don't you dare look at me like that."
"Kathryn, please," Brian said in a softer tone.
She remained sitting for a moment longer, studying him, trying to gauge just how angry he was. Brian had a temper and had been known to take blows at Nick if pushed too far. The last thing she wanted was for them to fight. Although their fights were rare, she knew they wouldn't stop till both of them were beaten to a pulp.
"I don't want to have to clean up bloody noses and busted lips like the last time you guys argued," she said, giving both of them a pointed look.
"I promise," Brian said as he lifted one hand in the air. "It won't come to blows."
Raising her hands in surrender, she stood. "Fine. I'll be in the bedroom."
Brian watched her go with mixed emotions. Part of him hurt like hell after seeing her in Nick's arms. Another part of him...a part he thought long buried, was turned on by it. This was his own damn fault, and he knew it, which was partly why he was so angry.
He turned his glare back to Nick. "You asked me that question about Kathryn at the station. I guess I should have asked you."
Nick sat on the couch on his knees, his elbow resting against the backs of the cushions, his hand over his mouth, his stare glued to the fireplace.
"Damn it, Nick. Why the hell didn't you say something? How long has this been going on?"
Nick let out a tired sigh. "We've been talking on the phone for a while."
Brian snorted. "Talking on the phone? You been screwing her through the phone, too?"
Nick pinned him with a cold glare. "Fuck you, Brian. It just happened."
"It just happened?"
"What the hell is your problem?" Nick demanded as he came to his feet. "You told me at the station there wasn't anything between you two. Are you trying to tell me now that you lied?"
With a sigh, Brian moved to lean against the counter. "Okay, yes. I have feelings for Kathryn. I just didn't want to screw up our friendship by acting on them. After you left, she became my best friend."
"Are you in love with her, Brian?"
Brian studied his friend. "Are you?"
Nick nodded. "I think so."
"Figures," Brian grumbled.
"You didn't answer me," Nick said, and Brian drew out a long sigh.
"I've been in love with her for a while, Nick."
Katie stood at the back of the hall, listening. Her heart soared at what she was hearing. They both thought they loved her? Her dream of a m?nage relationship with the two of them seemed within reach, but Brian's next words made that dream coming crashing back down to the ground.
"I'm not interested in sharing again, Nick."
"I didn't say anything about sharing, but there is one thing you're going to have to accept."
"And what's that?" Brian sneered.
"My dating her."
Kathryn's eyes widened as she listened.
"I know she's attracted to me, and if the look in her eyes when you walked in is any indication, she's attracted to you as well."
Kathryn swallowed her embarrassment. Was she that transparent? She sighed and glanced toward the ceiling. It didn't matter now anyway. Looked like it was all out on the table.
"So we both date her and she decides?" Brian asked skeptically.
She decides? Like hell. She wanted them both. There was no way she could decide. She'd heard enough.
Kathryn pushed away from the wall and headed back to the den.
"I don't see..." Nick stopped talking, and his gaze met hers as she came into the room.
"I have an idea," she said sarcastically. "How about the two of you drop your pants and I go with whichever one has the bigger penis?"
Nick snickered and glanced toward Brian.
"What the hell are you looking at me for?" Brian snapped.
"I'm longer," Nick replied.
"So? I'm thicker."
"Oh, for the love of God," Kathryn murmured, turning her back on both of them, unsure if she wanted to laugh or scream in frustration.
"And we all know women prefer girth. Isn't that right, Kathryn?"
Kathryn glared at them over her shoulder. "Actually, women prefer knowledge over size."
Nick snickered. "That's a load of crap and you know it."
"Jeez. Enough sex talk." She turned and pinned both of them with a hard stare. "I heard what the two of you were talking about, and there's no way in hell I'm going to become a prize in some crazy game of seduction."
"So you're saying you don't want either of us?" Nick asked.
"No. That's not what I'm saying."
"Then what are you saying?" Brian asked with a frown.
"A threesome. It's all or nothing."
"Kathryn..." Brian started with a shake of his head.
"I know what you said, but that's how I want it. No choosing, no games, no competitions. Just the three of us."
Brian studied her, and she suddenly wanted to squirm under his penetrating police-officer stare. Ignoring the heat traveling down her spine, she stepped over to Brian and slapped his hard chest with the back of hand. His eyebrow rose in amusement, making Kathryn's heart skip a beat. God, Brian was so damn good-looking with those pretty eyes so dark brown they were almost black, and long black lashes any girl would kill for.
"That's for not saying anything before now!" she snapped.
"Nick didn't say anything before now," Brian reasoned.
"Nick's not been here right under my nose for two years. Damn it, Brian. We go out all the time. You come over and watch movies. Hell, you've even slept in my bed!"
Nick snickered. "You had feelings for her and you slept in her bed and still didn't do anything?"
"Shut the fuck up, Nick!" Brian snapped.
Nick shook his head, a sideways grin tugging at his lips.
"Nick, really," Kathryn said, giving him a firm look. "You're not helping."
"What makes you think I was going to?"
Brian made a move toward Nick, and Kathryn quickly stepped between them, putting her hands on Brian's chest to hold him back.
"Why didn't you say anything, Brian?" she asked, trying to defuse the growing tension.
Brian stared down at her with an almost helpless expression. "I'd already lost one best friend. I didn't want to lose another. If you hadn't returned my feelings, it would have made things too weird and I didn't want to lose what we had. I'd rather have you as just a friend than not have you at all. But, Kathryn...I don't want to share. Not this time."
Kathryn swallowed, unsure what to do. She knew what she wanted, and she wanted them both. She loved them both. She didn't want one without the other. Not if she could convince them to at least give it a try.
Taking the bull by the horns, she said, "It's a threesome or nothing, Brian. I love you both. I refuse to choose."
She gave him a pleading look, silently begging him to understand. Brian sighed and gripped her chin with his thumb and forefinger. "I'd do most anything for you, and you know that," he said, and she nodded. "But I don't know if I want to do this or even if I can do this. The things between me and Nick--"
"Can be fixed," she whispered. "You're just being stubborn, Brian, and you know it."
Brian glanced over her shoulder toward Nick, then back to her. Appearing torn, he cupped her face and gave her a small smile. "I'm going to head out. I have an early day."
Disappointment left her almost weak in the knees. "You're leaving?"
"I need to think about this, sunshine."
She nodded. "Okay."
He surprised her by planting his mouth over hers. With gentle pressure, he encouraged her to part her lips, allowing him to slide his tongue inside to explore. She felt light-headed and leaned into him, holding tight to his uniform shirt, gripping it tight within her fingers. He pressed his palm against the small of her back, pulling her closer as the kiss deepened, became more sensual and sexy.
It was a kiss meant to seduce and left her reeling. She wanted more, and disappointment made her stomach tighten when he pulled away much too soon. Smiling down at what she was sure was a dreamy expression on her face, he cupped her cheek, then turned away, leaving her standing there staring after him like a dumbstruck idiot.
"Nick," Brian sneered as he walked away.
"Mmm," Nick replied.
The front door clicked closed, and she turned to look at Nick, who watched her with amused interest from his spot a few feet away.
"What?" she snapped, frowning.
Nick chuckled. "You're adorable. Do you know that?"
"Of course." She shrugged one shoulder, giving him her best teasing smile. She felt relief at the moment that he wasn't showing any jealousy and hurt after that kiss with Brian.
This time Nick laughed and held his hand out. "Come here, Katie."
The lust shining in his eyes made her whole body flush with answering need. God, it had been a long time since she'd had sex, but she doubted her raging desire had anything to do with that and everything to do with the way Nick looked at her.
After hesitating only a second, she slipped her hand into his and allowed him to pull her into his arms. He didn't try to kiss her, just wrapped his arms around her. It felt wonderful being in his embrace, and she rested her cheek against his chest, listening to the slow, steady beat of his heart.