advance and unproofed excerpt of TWISTED MARRIAGE

Please note: This scene takes place immediately after the final scene in FILTHY VOWS

I felt different when I woke up. It was a very similar feeling to the one I had the morning after I first got my period. Older. Wiser. Like I had secret access to an elite club that had finally accepted me as a member.

I rolled onto my back and stretched. Above me, the right side of Easton’s tent had fallen, and I saw a water stain on the joint of the beam that stretched across the ceiling. Glamorous stuff. If I ever penned my memoir, I’d leave out this detail. I studied the water stain with growing concern. Had it been there before? Was it fresh? I propped up on one elbow and tugged at the wall of the fort, trying to get a better look. If we had a leak, so help me God…

“Hey.” Easton came into view, ducking under the sheet and grinning at me, his baby blue golf shirt a little aschewed on his frame. 

I reached over and straightened his collar, folding it into place and smiling at him. “Good morning. I haven’t brushed my teeth yet.”

He leaned forward and planted a kiss on me anyway. “Think we should leave the fort up?”

“Nah.” I scooted to the edge of the bed. “Wayland will demolish it anyway. He’ll think we built it for him.” Wayland had a thing for blankets, towels, and sheets. If you held one out, wrapped it around your body, or made the mistake of carrying it from point A to point B – he’d work himself into a fervor trying to attack it. Easton’s grandmother wore a white wrap to our Christmas party and he knocked her to the ground, tug-o-warred it off of her body, and was pouncing on it like he was giving CPR when I rounded the corner and found the scene. Wayland was put in his crate and Grandma Ann confiscated his Christmas stocking out of spite.

He reached up and began to unclip the sheets. “I’m going to head into the kitchen and brew some coffee. See if Aaron is up.”

“Have you heard from him?” I glanced around the room for further evidence from last night. With the morning sun beaming through the windows, the bathroom air vent on high, the cocoon of sheets dropping around me—it seemed crazy that this room had been the same place where Aaron had stood naked at my side, his dick straining through the grip of his hand while Easton pumped his slick fingers in and out of me. 

Oh my God. I rubbed my forehead. We must have lost our minds last night. We weren’t those people. We were the forget-trash-day couple. The ones who snuck a flask into football games and didn’t send Christmas cards. The kind who paid property taxes late and booked concert tickets early, and argued over parking spots and coupon usage and whether celebrity hall passes were allowed. We were Easton and Elle—not swingers. Not those creepy people who pressured their friends to join them in the bedroom. I knew those sort of people. My first boss in real estate had been that sort of person. 

Had we really, honestly, done that? Yes. The memories were crisp and vivid. 

The possessive and aroused look on Easton’s face.

His hand tight around his shaft.

Aaron’s fingers trembling as they traced around my nipple.

His mouth coming down on my breast. The drag of his teeth and the hot swipe of his tongue.

His rigid cock, pushing inside of me.

The hiss of Easton’s breath. The tighten of his hand on me.

The groan of their orgasms. The intense peak of mine.

I fisted the sheet and pushed off the bed, needing to get onto my feet and away from the memories. Right now, my heart was beginning to thud in my chest, and I was tempting to lay back down and tell Easton to go get Aaron.

And… he would do it. I knew he would. I met Easton’s eyes as I moved past him, toward the bathroom. His hand closed on my wrist and he pulled me back until I was against him. “Wait.”

I resisted. “I need to brush my teeth.”

“Is that what you need?” His gaze sharpened. “Because it looks like you might need something else.”

It was my body that betrayed me. Trembling with need. Still naked from last night. My nipples diamonding in the cool room. My feet spreading when he ran his hand in between my legs to verify what he suspected.

His eyes darkened when his fingers easily dipped into me, my body warm and wet, a whimper coming out as he curved his fingers. He nodded to the bed. “Get in bed. On your back.”

“But I—” I ran out of excuses the moment he unzipped his pants.

I cried out the moment he pushed inside.

I found my first orgasm within three minutes, then triggered his with my second four minutes later. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, dress pants and blouse pulled on over loose and lazy limbs, I could barely formulate a sentence, much less feel apprehension over Aaron. Which was good, since he sat front-and-center at our kitchen island, a mug of coffee in hand.

***

“Morning.” He nodded at me, then slid a coffee cup toward E. “How’d you guys sleep?”

“Okay,” I mumbled, beelining for the fridge. Opening the door, I hid behind it and studied the shelves.

“Hey Aaron. Why can’t you lose in a threesome with Vietnamese twins?”

I groaned and grabbed the orange juice, ignoring the slightly expired date. “E.”

“Shush, it’s funny.” He rested his weight on the counter and waited for Aaron to come up with the punchline. “Well?”

“No fucking idea.”

I grabbed a short juice glass from the cabinet and filled it, my gaze pinned to the cup. My after-orgasm haze was dropping, and I tensed in anticipation of anxiety. Interestingly, none seemed to come. The air in the kitchen was tension-free, save the hovering expectation of Easton’s punchline.

“Because it’s a Nguyen-Nguyen.”

There was a beat of absolute silence, then Aaron chuckled.

I risked a glance up from the glass. “It’s not funny,” I chided him, then glared at Easton, who lifted his hands in innocence.

“Hey, it was a backup joke. The other was better.” He grinned at Aaron. “Want to know it?”

“He doesn’t want to know it,” I interrupted, my fear of awkwardness trumped by the knowledge that Chelsea would be arriving any moment. “And listen.” I snapped my fingers at my husband, then Aaron. Wayland’s butt hit the floor and he glanced toward the treat container with excitement. “Let’s talk about last night for a minute.”

“This will be interesting…” Easton muttered, pulling out the closest stool and straddling it. Aaron smiled, and it was dandy how amused everyone was by this.

“Get all of your threesome jokes and side comments out of the way right now, because we have about…” I glanced at the oven’s clock. “Less than five minutes, then Chelsea is going to be here and we are never ever ever going to talk about this again.”

“Can Aaron and I talk about it when we’re alone?” Easton’s brow pinched, as if this was a super important question worth sucking into our limited timeframe.

“No,” I snapped, then reconsidered. Part of the heat from last night had come from the knowledge that they had been discussing the act together. “Only good stuff,” I countered. “You can praise my magical vagina but nothing else.”

“And your mouth,” Aaron snuck in with an almost shy smile. “Can we talk about it?”

“Her hands are pretty good too,” Easton pointed out, and my ego inflated further. “Oh, and that middle toe on her right foot.”

“It was the left foot,” Aaron argued. “You have the sides confused because you were facing her.”

“I’m literally going to dump this orange juice all over both of your heads.” I lifted the carton to accentuate my point.

Easton held up his hands in surrender. “Fine. Your middle right toe is horrendous.”

If we were alone, I’d pour it. I’d pour it over that spotless shirt and watch Easton’s anger grow. I’d struggle against him when he’d knock the orange juice out of my hand and pin me against the fridge. I’d try to knee his balls and he’d bite into the side of my neck. We’d end up fucking on the juice-splattered kitchen floor.

I let out a controlled breath and forced myself to return the juice to the fridge, my hand slightly sweating as I worked the carton into its place on the second shelf. “Chelsea can’t know what happened.”

“Agreed,” Easton said. “Though you’re the one who tells her everything.”

“Yeah, well.” I closed the fridge. “Not this. No side jokes, no weird looks, nothing that will make her suspect anything. Okay?”

Aaron shrugged in agreement and Easton nodded. This was easier than I thought. The bossy role helped. It was like a shield between me and them, one they were cushioning with their normal carefree teasing.

I tapped the edge of the counter, daring to take it one step further. “And that was a one-time thing. No getting drunk and trying to feel me up,” I warned Aaron.

“Come on, Elle Bell. I’ve never tried to feel you up.” He scowled at me, and that gorgeous mug could have been Instagram-famous if he’d ever wanted it to.

“I think you did last night,” Easton smirked and I reached over the counter and poked him.

“That right there—those are the jokes you can’t tell around Chelsea!”

“Speaking of my future roommate, any tips for living with her?” Aaron, bless his heart, changed the subject.

I scrunched up my face. Easton had shared the news of Aaron moving in with Chelsea. I wasn’t in love with the idea, but did appreciate having some physical space from him, given that we’d just had a genital jamboree. “Got a chastity belt?” I said dryly.

“I can handle Chelsea. Though, to be honest, I won’t have to do much. I’m probably the only guy she’s never made a move on.”

“Never?” Easton raised his brows. “You’re kidding.”

“Maybe I’m not her type,” he shrugged.

I swallowed a snarky response and searched for some helpful advice on living with Chelsea. We’d shared a dorm room freshman year, then an apartment junior and senior year. Other than an annoying obsession with reality tv, she was a pretty easy individual to live with. “She’s not a morning person,” I managed. “I’d avoid playing loud music or using power tools before ten.”

“Not an issue.” He took his coffee cup to the sink and rinsed it out.

“And she doesn’t wear a lot of clothes around the house…” I winced when I thought about the first time Easton had popped by and walked in to find her ironing, butt-naked, in the middle of our living room.

“Also, not an issue.” He was facing the window, but I saw a grin break his profile. It gave me pause. I’d always heard Chelsea’s inappropriate comments about Aaron, but had never thought about his potential attraction to her. I’d had them in the friend zone for so long that cement had dried around the title.

“When are you moving your stuff in?” Easton asked.

“This morning.” He glanced at his watch. “Assuming she hasn’t changed her mind during the night.”

“Oh my GAWD, take this bitch before I drop her off at the pound.” Chelsea’s entry into the house was punctuated by Wayland’s paws, which skittered across the wood floor at a frantic pace toward me. I crouched to receive his love, then fell back and hard on my right hip, as it was delivered. His tongue swiped from my chin to my eyebrow and I craned away from the contact right as his paw plowed painfully into my breast.

“Hey!” Easton said sharply, pulling on Wayland’s collar and getting the dog off of me. “Here.” He held out his hand and helped me to my feet.

“Jeeeez, that dog is a pain.” Chelsea collapsed on a stool and eyed the Great Dane, who had found one of Easton’s belt loops and was tugging on it with short jerky motions that would quickly snap it off. I opened the back door to distract him, then moved out of the way as he galloped through it. 

“Don’t get an irrigation system,” Chelsea advised. “The sprinklers came on at seven and Wayland clawed through my curtains trying to attack them.” She spotted the coffee pot and stood. “Do you have any—”

“Almond milk is in the fridge.” I leaned back against Easton as he wrapped his arms around me. “We’re out of Splenda.”

“Let me guess, Wayland ate it?” She opened the fridge and grabbed the milk. “You guys owe me new curtains. And a box of Wheat Thins. And a new head for my toothbrush.” She gave me a withering look and I snorted.

“Hey, you’re the one who offered to watch him. I’m ninety-nine percent sure I said it was a terrible idea.”

“He’s my godson,” she said indignantly. “I wasn’t going to have you stick him in a kennel.” She glanced around. “Did they fix the vent thingy?”

“Yeah. It’s taken care of.” I turned to the sink, hoping to hide the blush that crawled along my cheeks. I’d invented an elaborate fake repair that required Wayland to be out of the house. It was a flimsy fabrication about floor vents that Chelsea had half listened to before asking if the Chick-Fil-A near our house was still closed for remodeling. “And thanks for watching him.”

“No problem.” She poured a generous helping of milk into her coffee. “Making everyone’s lives easier is what I do. Right roomie?” She gave Aaron a bright smile.

“Don’t trust that smile,” Easton warned. “She’s about to ask for something.”

“I’m not asking for anything,” Chelsea gave E a withering look. “My friendly nature has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my sink has stopped draining water.”

We all groaned, save Easton, who let out a shout of victory. Chelsea smiled, and I took the moment of distraction to kiss my husband goodbye.

“Meet me for lunch?” he asked.

“I can’t. I have an open house from noon to four.” I gave him an extra kiss to make up for it. “But dinner tonight? That disgusting Mexican place with the half-price margaritas?”

“Done. Six?”

“It’s a date.” I turned away and caught the look that passed between Aaron and Chelsea. “What?”

“You guys are obnoxious,” Chelsea intoned. “Seriously obnoxious. You have an old maid and a heartbroken handyman as an audience. Can’t you at least pretend to hate each other?”

“We hate each other on Wednesdays,” Easton informed her, his face earnest. 

“It’s true,” I offered. “It’s an all-day thing. It’s on the calendar and everything. Constant bickering, which cumulates in hate sex, where we shout really cruel insults at each other during the act.”

“I insult her life choices,” Easton added in.

“And my friends,” I contributed.

“She has really shitty friends,” he agreed. “Especially the rich blonde with the nice ass.”

Chelsea spread her arms. “Hey, I’ll take a compliment any way I can get it. Double H, you got your stuff packed? I emptied out my trunk if you need me to take a load.”

“Double H?” Easton raised a brow.

“Heartbroken Handyman,” I guessed.

“Seriously, no one picked up on my take a load comment?” Chelsea scrunched up her nose at us.

“Yeah, I’m not down with Double H,” Aaron remarked.

“It could be Handsome Handyman,” Chelsea amended.

Or Hung Handyman. My mind seemed to be the only one that dipped into that gutter. I swallowed the suggestion, along with the visual image of his cock, jutting out from my hand, side by side with Easton’s. Horny Handyman. Another moniker I should probably keep to myself. “I’ve got to go,” I said quickly, trying to change the subject before Chelsea’s mind followed the same path. “I have a big listing appointment I need to prep for. Aaron, lock up Wayland when you leave?”

He nodded, and our eyes met. He smiled, and my last bit of tension fell away. “No problem.”

I gave Chelsea a hug and grabbed my purse and cell. “See ya guys later.”

Easton gave me another kiss. “Good luck with the listing. You’ve got it.”

I didn’t respond, just flashed him my best attempt at a confident smile. Moving to the entry closet, I pulled out my best pumps and worked them on bare feet, my toes scrunching into the narrow toes. Pulling open the heavy front door, I let out a breath of tension and glanced down at my phone. My reminder of this morning’s listing appointment flashed. It was one of the huge mansions on Olive Line - the sort of stately estates that included maid quarters and seven figure price tags. I needed this listing, yet was drastically unqualified to have it. The opportunity had come from a Marlin’s coach wife, who was friends with the owners, and who had gotten drunk at a Marlin’s charity event. I’d held her hair when she’d vomited into the Ritz’s toilet, then driven her home. She’d repaid the kindness with this referral. I clicked on the reminder and scrolled down to the contact details of the owners.

Brad and Julia DeLuca. 144 Olive Line Trail.

I saved their contact information and moved toward my car, my steps quickening in anticipation of the meeting.