The SUV pulled into the back alley behind Cronies Irish Pub. Looking up to meet Gabe’s gaze, she held tighter to Jonathon’s and Conor’s hands.
Gabe asked softly, wiping the damp streak from her cheek, “What do you need?”
She loved that he knew her well enough not to ask her if she was okay, because what a ridiculous question it would be when the thoughts warring in her mind ranged over wondering when the next assassin hunting her would arrive, knowing the world could face another bioterrorism disaster at any moment, having no clue how to raise a baby, the angst of ten siblings all at war with their own demons, and the fear of knowing her twin was dangling over the abyss’ edge.
“Don’t let me disappear again.” Her heart was racing, and tears filled her eyes.
Gabe caught her face in his hands and pressed his forehead to hers.
“Whoa, what brought this on?” He wiped tears from her cheeks.
She released Conor’s and Jonathon’s hands and placed her hands over Gabe’s. She whispered, “Alex—” but she couldn’t finish the sentence.
Hitching his chin and meeting Conor’s gaze, he said, “Give us a minute.”
Conor and Jonathon exited the vehicle.
Alexandra squeezed Gabe’s hands tighter to her face as he whispered, “I see you.”
She relaxed, shoulders slumping with the relief of his reassurance. “I can’t run from life again, no matter what happens.”
“I will always be here to pull you back.” He kissed her cheek and started to leave the vehicle, but Alexandra held him a moment longer.
“Wait.” She lifted her face and kissed him softly. “I don’t want to fight anymore.”
“Our hands were tied. If we hadn’t been able to keep you in bed, the doctor was more than willing to have you admitted on a seventy-two-hour psych hold.”
“I know. I’m sorry I got so mad.”
He ran a single finger from the middle of her forehead down her nose to her chin. “I knew when I fell in love with a child of Aodh, I risked the flames of your fury now and again. The heat of your passion makes it all worth it.”
She kissed him.
“It was a good day, but I know it was also overwhelming.”
“Yes-s.” She exhaled the word, not knowing what else to say. She turned to exit the car, but Gabe molded to her back and wrapped his arms around her middle, hugging her to him. She finally whispered, “I’m lost
. I’ve always played the game a dozen moves ahead, and now―”
He squeezed her. “We’ve got you. We will love you and protect you no matter what comes next. Do you believe me?”
“Yes, I believe everything you tell me,” she answered. “Do you know my next move?”
He kissed her shoulder. “No, sorry.”
“You’re the only one who knows the truth of the challenge I’ve been issued. In the next few weeks, I have to step completely out of my comfort zone into unfamiliar roles, and I have no idea what I’m doing.” She turned and stroked his face, whispering again, “Don’t let me disappear.”
“Not letting you out of my sight. If you start to fade, I will jerk you back so fast your brain won’t have time to process what happened.”
Softly chuckling, she opened the door.
Conor was standing next to the vehicle and offered her his hand. Taking it, she stepped from the SUV. She turned into him and pressed her hands to his chest to meet his gaze. She pressed her nose against his neck and inhaled his scent, grounding
on Conor. Alexandra didn’t think her therapist had been talking about a man when she’d taught her how to reconnect with the physical world if she felt herself struggling. The thought brought a small smile to her lips. She kissed him softly before asking, “Get the whiskey and glasses and meet us upstairs?”
He met her gaze and stroked her cheek with his thumb, and she pushed her face into his hand and kissed his palm. He winked, making her smile. How could she want him so desperately? She hoped he knew. She hoped he could feel the pull of her as strongly as she felt the pull of him.
He waited by her side until Gabe too slid from the car and wrapped his arm around her waist.
Conor kissed her temple, saying, “I’ll be right up,” before leaving her to go into the pub.
Gabe pulled her into his arms and hugged her. “He’s coming up?”
“I’m being dragged under by too many emotions I can’t even name. Would it be okay if all of you made love to me tonight?”
“Of course.” He scooped her into his arms and carried her through the door Jonathon was holding open. Gabe kissed her as he climbed the stairs with her in his arms to their bedroom.
He laid her on the bed and dimmed the lights to low, casting the room in shadows. He pulled his shirt over his head. “Just gonna shower.”
“Not necessary. Really.” Alexandra reached for him. “I like the way you smell. It makes me pretty hot for you.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked, pressing his lips to hers for a soft kiss before sitting on the edge of a chair across from the bed to bend over to untie his shoes.
“Bet you’re glad I told you guys to change into athletic shoes.”
“Definitely. I’d forgotten how competitive your family is, and you
—you weren’t supposed to be out there at all. Jesus, how do you run that fast?”
“Lots of practice running away.” She laughed, though the answer was painfully true. “You will all be sore tomorrow.”
“It was nice to see Alex. I’ve missed him.” Gabe smiled. “He can still kick a soccer ball around a field with some skill.”
She left the bed and pressed her fingers to his lips, silencing him. “I can’t think about Alex right now. He’s hurting too much, and I feel all of it too deeply.”
Gabe caught her hand and sucked each finger into his mouth. Standing, he walked her backward to the bed, and she rubbed her face against his bare chest, inhaling his scent. She bit his pec hard enough to make him moan softly before pushing her face toward his. She kissed him while he was still sucking her finger.
She slid her stretchy yoga pants to her ankles and slipped off one shoe, but he pushed her down onto the mattress to remove her shoes and socks, then pulled the yoga pants free, leaving her in just her bra and panties.
She started to unhook her bra, but Gabe stopped her. “Wait. Let us.”
Alexandra turned her head to see Conor entering, already naked, his hair and shoulders damp. She frowned. “You’re wet.”
He winked. “There’s a full bathroom in the basement. I grabbed a quick shower. Jonathon will be here in a bit.”
Alexandra caught the heavy scent of his expensive bodywash or shampoo in the air. It was the scent he always wore, a combination of dark, sensual, spicy, and woody notes.
Conor set the whiskey and tumblers on the nightstand. “The glasses are more efficient than shots, and it seemed more like a three-finger-pour night.”
“Oh yeah?” She accepted the first pour from him and took a long swallow, meeting Gabe’s gaze. He stood and removed his pants. She said with thick innuendo, “Three fingers? I like three-finger nights.”
Gabe chuckled as he undressed. “Maybe we go for four tonight?”
She laughed and wiggled her finger to draw him nearer. He bent and kissed her. She went up on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck. He kissed her collarbone, and she dropped her head back so he could kiss the length of her neck, and sighed when he did so.
She whispered, “Four might be too many.”
“Four seems perfect.” Conor kissed her mouth.
Jonathon entered, and he was naked and wet as well. “I’ve definitely missed too much of this conversation. Are we all invited to this party?”
“Everyone is invited,” Alexandra answered as she accepted another deep pour from Conor and took several swallows before Conor lifted her and carried her to the bed, where Gabe sat, already reclined against several pillows propped at the headboard. Gabe pulled her to his chest, and Alexandra, sitting between his spread legs, drew her knees to her chest. “Hey! No spills. Yay, me!”
Alexandra took another long sip before offering Gabe a sip, but he lifted his own tumbler, and they clinked glasses and drank. He started kissing her neck.
Jonathon crawled onto the bed and met Alexandra’s gaze as he placed his hands on her knees. “I want to taste you, okay?”
Her lips parted, and she didn’t resist as he slid his hands down her thighs to catch the elastic of her panties. He slowly pulled them off, and she studied his face as he watched the reveal of the curls covering her hidden softness.
She could feel herself growing wetter as he drew the panties down her legs, his fingertips dragging gently along her skin. He lifted her panties and sniffed them before folding them and laying them aside.
Alexandra looked away, blushing.
“You smell so good. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Jonathon whispered as he bent her knees back the way she had them tucked. He ran his hand over her hip and just under her bottom, far enough to slide his fingers along her wet slit. He drew his hand back out and took his fingers to his mouth, tasting her.
“You are a very literal man, Mr. O’Donnell.”
He smiled, and she looked into his blue, blue eyes surrounded by long, thick, dark lashes. His eyes were absolutely mesmerizing. He leaned over her knees to kiss her gently. She could smell her own scent on his mouth. His lips brushed hers softly, teasingly. His tongue dipped into her mouth to dance with hers playfully. He caught her bottom lip with his teeth and tugged lightly before the kiss ended.
Jonathon slowly pushed her knees apart. “I would like to pleasure you with my mouth. Would you like that too?”
She whispered, “Yes, please,” and she realized she was trembling with the thought of having his lips tease her clit.
Gabe rubbed his hands over her breasts and bit down on her neck. Her mouth dropped open as she experienced a moment of pure pleasure and pain. She rocked her hips against his erection, and he bit again, just a little harder. She whispered, “Fuck.”
Jonathon slid his hands down the insides of her thighs.
Conor crawled onto the bed and settled, taking Alexandra’s glass from her as her hold on it became precarious.
Jonathon drew his fingers through her soft red curls as he separated her folds to expose her clit. “Mmm, there it is. Your rosebud is so beautiful.”
Gabe tilted her chin to claim her mouth as Jonathon went down and started tenderly licking her clit. Alexandra ran her hand through Jonathon’s hair, encouraging him to be rougher, but he adamantly refused. She cried out in frustration, but Gabe caught the sound in his mouth.
She moved her hips forward and back, trying to enjoy Jonathon’s touch. Her body responded to him quickly, and she moaned into Gabe’s mouth before tearing her mouth away to demand, “Please, Jonathon, just a little harder.”
He shook his head.
She closed her eyes and pressed her head against Gabe’s shoulder. He whispered, “Relax and enjoy his gentleness.”
Gabe started to twist and tweak her nipples, and the sensation was incredible, shooting a hungry need straight to her groin.
She didn’t open her eyes when Conor kissed her. She knew it was him as he teased her lips and tongue with his teeth. She moaned again, rocking her hips.
When Conor released her mouth, he asked, “What do you need, Alexandra?”
She opened her eyes. “More.”
“More isn’t something we can do. Tell me something specific.”
He glanced down at Jonathon’s head between her legs before giving her a skeptical look.
“You can physically pick him up and move him if you want to,” she encouraged.
He laughed. “You really are an impatient little thing. Relax. Enjoy his mouth.”