Authors: Julia Rachel Barrett
Tags: #Menage Amour, #Menage a Quatre (m/m/m/f)
One Four All
Lira Pakan, heir to the Throne of Zhinshu, has vanished. Her zealots gather along the border with the neighboring state of Khubuk, awaiting the outcome of her father's pleas to the World Court.
Captain Tanner Kepp serves in the elite Special Forces of Khubuk. When the captain is ordered to choose two men to accompany him to Land's End, an isolated compound on the maritime border between Khubuk and Zinshu, the last thing he expects to find is the missing princess.
Captain Kepp, Arms Master Cer Watso and Sergeant Redda Till realize they must rescue her and avert all out war.
The princess, however, has other plans. These men can be more than her rescuers. According to the law of Zhinshu, she must choose three men as consorts. Her people say: "one to guard the right hand, one to guard the left hand, and one to guard the back, always."
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Science Fiction
ONE FOUR ALL
Julia Rachel Barrett
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Amour
ONE FOUR ALL
Copyright © 2010 by Julia Rachel Barrett
E-book ISBN: 1-60601-957-0
First E-book Publication: September 2010
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2010 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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Letter from Julia Rachel Barrett
Regarding E-book Piracy
Thank you so much for purchasing my book. As authors, we put our heart and souls into our work. E-book piracy hurts every single one of us. We appreciate your support. Buy e-books! Avoid pirates!
With deep gratitude,
Julia Rachel Barrett
This book is dedicated to my author friend, Mia Watts, who encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and write a ménage.
JULIA RACHEL BARRETT
Copyright © 2010
“Captain Kepp, come into my office for a moment.”
The tall man lifted his head from the duty roster.
“Yes, sir.” He rose and followed Commander Grange into the cramped mobile field headquarters.
Ducking to clear the low doorway, Kepp’s eyes fell on a short, balding man partially hidden by a stack of files. He wondered how the man had managed to slip past him. He’d been standing at the table in front of the door since dawn. Kepp raised his eyebrows and looked at his commander.
“Kepp, this is the Secretary of Banking and Commerce, Tuth Regnan.”
Kepp extended a hand, but the man ignored him and remained seated.
“I believe you’ve heard the name,” continued Commander Grange.
“Who hasn’t?” Kepp replied, and added, “sir.” He watched and waited for his commanding officer to explain himself.
“Captain, you and I are the only two men on this base who know that the Secretary of Banking and Commerce is here. I’d like it to stay that way for the time being.”
“General Battarq has advised the Secretary to come to us for some assistance with a private matter. The general thought it expedient to send him here so he could discuss the situation in person. The secretary has explained his problem to me, and he has mentioned that General Battarq personally recommended you for this assignment.”
A plumb covert assignment behind enemy lines?
Kepp took a second look at the man. The Secretary of Commerce and Banking seemed an unlikely messenger from General Battarq and the junta. If anyone was to show up with a private message, Kepp expected it would be one of the general’s personal advisors.
“Secretary Regnan? Would you like to explain your request to Captain Kepp?”
“Yessssss,” Kepp heard the small man answer his commander, “if you consider him trustworthy. This is a sensitive matter.”
Kepp bristled at the implication. If a viper could speak, he thought, the tone of its voice would sound about as slimy as this man’s did.
“I trust Captain Kepp with my life and the life of every single man in this platoon.”
“But is he discreet?”
Kepp caught the look of unveiled contempt that flitted over his commander’s face. The secretary seemed to miss it altogether. Commander Grange answered with one word, “Very.”
The man sighed. “I suppose I have no choice. What did you say his name is?”
Kepp was sick of being talked about as if he wasn’t even in the room. “Kepp,” he answered for himself. “Tanner Kepp.”
The secretary’s eyes flitted over him. In that brief moment, Kepp glimpsed a mixture of loathing and fear.
What a horse’s ass
“Mr. Kepp, I have a…there’s a personal matter I need attended to. It’s not something our forces would usually be involved in, but there is a great deal at risk, and I, well, I simply must have help from the best man available. Are you the best man available?”
The man was speaking in riddles. “Mr. Secretary, I can’t exactly claim to be the best man available for an assignment when I don’t know what the assignment is.”
“I need you to watch my wife,” the man blurted out.
Kepp laughed out loud. He couldn’t help it. He heard the secretary clear his throat and he saw Commander Grange trying to hide his grin.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Secretary, but that sounds like a house problem. I’m a soldier, not a nursemaid. There are many private security firms available for hire.”
“No. No. No. No private security firms. Private security firms can be bribed. I need a patriot, a good, solid, reliable patriot. And the general says that you fit the bill. You see, my wife is in grave danger. Grave danger.” The man fiddled with his tie, brushing aside an imaginary speck of dust. “As you know, I am a man of great influence, power, and wealth. I have made enemies over the years, both internal and external.” Secretary Regnan raised his eyes and then lowered them just as quickly. “My enemies have been unable to get to me and lately they’ve turned to my retinue. Specifically, they’ve targeted my wife. I want her watched.” The man hesitated. “Perhaps ‘protected’ is a better choice of words. Yes, I need my wife protected.”
Speechless, Kepp glanced from Regnan to his commander. “You want me to act as a bodyguard?”
“It would be a temporary assignment, Captain. Three to six months while the Secretary is out of the country, no more,” replied Commander Grange. “The general has ordered you to choose two other men. We would transport you to the secretary’s compound as soon as possible.”
“You require three men to watch one woman?” asked Kepp, incredulous.
“My wife is a very important woman,” huffed Secretary Regnan.
Kepp turned to the commander. “Sir, I don’t see how I can leave the men right now. The Zealots are massed on the borders. There have been incursions. Sir, Mr. Secretary, I appreciate the consideration, but I really don’t think I’m the man for this job.”
Commander Grange rocked back on his heels. He looked amused. “Well, Captain, unfortunately General Battarq thinks you are, so you’ll choose two men today, pack your gear, and we’ll ship you out by fourteen hundred. I’ve got a heli-jet waiting. The secretary leaves in one hour for the Pacific Rim, and he doesn’t want his wife left with nothing more than his personal guards for any longer than necessary.”
For fuck’s sake, is the woman made of solid gold?
“Sorry, Captain Kepp, there will be no further discussion. Dismissed.”
Fuming, Kepp saluted, and with one last glance at Secretary Regnan, turned on his heel and ducked beneath the door frame.
Bloody son of a bitch. Just when it seemed they would see some action, off he goes to babysit a spoiled rich biddy who was probably terrified to see her own shadow in broad daylight.
Well, if he had to suffer, so would Red and Wat. If he was going to be forced to tote around shopping bags and eat petit fours and drink herbal tea, then he wanted his two friends with him to commiserate. Damn his bad luck.