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Authors: Anwen Stiles

Take Three, Please

BOOK: Take Three, Please
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Take
Three, Please

A Menage, Sexy and Short Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anwen
Stiles

 

 

 

 

 

Take Three, Please

 

Cecile popped her gum. “Would you pick one already? I’m
tired of waiting around to make my move.”

Morgan sent her an impatient frown. “Go ahead. They’re not
my property.”

“The hell they aren’t.”

The two women eyed the objects under discussion -- three
handsome, muscular men who currently overfilled the large circular booth in the
back corner of the bakery. They each had dark hair and sculpted physiques,
bronzed skin. Any one of them could have graced the cover of a fitness
magazine. They were in their early thirties, a few years older than Morgan.

She thought any woman, once she became acquainted with the
men, would ache to secure them as her personal property. Too bad that Cecile
exaggerated Morgan’s own claim.

The first time the trio entered the bakery, Morgan disliked
them on sight. She knew their kind: overbearing jocks with more brawn than
brains, self-entitled jerks who thought their good looks and hard bodies meant
they didn’t have to be courteous or even passably decent to other, lesser
mortals. They would leer at her, treat her like meat, then complain to her
about how much fat was in the soup, argue over how many carbs were in the
bread. Blech.

She was so convinced she knew who they were, in fact, that
she’d sent Cecile to take their orders. Not having to deal with customers like
the beefy threesome was one of the perks of owning her own business.

It was a surprise when the three men turned out to be
polite, friendly and all-around great customers. Profitable, too, since they’d
been coming to the bakery for lunch nearly every weekday for several months.
Oh, and most saliently of all, they were single and straight. Salient fact. To
be sure.

Morgan tore her gaze away from the handsome men in the booth
and looked at Cecile. “You know you aren’t supposed to chew gum while you’re on
duty.”

“Geez,” Cecile said, spitting the gum into a napkin, “my
boss is a grouchy hardass. You need to get laid.”

“Shh -- they might hear!”

“Good, then maybe one of them will get on the stick and
knock off the googly-eyed act and finally ask you out so I can scoop up the
leftovers.”

Morgan considered ordering Cecile to the kitchen, then
noticed movement out of the corner of her eye. One of the men in the booth was
waving a hand, trying to get her attention.

She turned, smiled and muttered under her breath to Cecile
before she walked away, “If you weren’t my cousin, I’d fire you.”

“If you weren’t my cousin, I’d let you.”

Morgan bit back a laugh and headed over to the three hunky
men, Brandon, Ethan and Mark. Their big bodies overflowed the available space
and made the table seem diminutive.

“Do you need something?” she asked.

“We wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed the soup today. I
don’t even like pea soup, but yours was excellent,” said Ethan, usually the
most outgoing of the three.

Brandon’s blue eyes shined at her. “Best soup ever.”

Mark, the quiet one, simply looked steadily at her and
nodded his agreement. Something about him always made her want to push his hair
away from his face, to reveal him.

“Thank you. I wish all my customers were as easy to please
as you guys,” she said.

“We’re not easy,” said Brandon.

“You’re just that good,” said Ethan.

She smiled as she always did when they completed each
other’s sentences. She’d asked them once if they were brothers, and they said
yes, but not of body, of spirit instead. They said they’d been friends since
childhood and were closer than most brothers could ever hope to be.

“Thanks,” she said. “Tomorrow’s soup is chicken and rice, if
you come back, of course.”

“You know we can’t resist ... your food,” said Ethan.

Morgan couldn’t ignore the deliberate pause. Ethan liked to
flirt. Nothing ever came of it, though, other than more flirting. Pity. “Well,
I can’t resist ... cooking it.”

He licked his lips. Oh my, she thought. He had the fullest
lips. And the biggest, sparkliest brown eyes. Knock it off, she told herself.

“I’ll have Cecile send over your check. Thanks, fellas,” she
said in a rush, eager to be away before she made an ass of herself.

“Actually,” said Ethan, “Mark and I are headed to pay up at
the counter. Brandon has a little something he wants to talk to you about.”

The implication of what he said surprised her enough that
she stood there stupidly mute while Ethan and Mark slid out of the booth and
headed off, leaving her alone with Brandon. He looked nearly as rattled as she
felt.

“Uh, that wasn’t well done,” he said, with a self-conscious
expression. “Sorry about that. Would you mind sitting down with me for a second
or two? If you’ve got the time?”

Oh, she had the time. But did she have the nerve?

She did. She sat down. “I hope there isn’t a problem. With
the food, I mean. Or service. Whatever.” Geez, she was acting like an idiot.

He didn’t seem to notice. “No. There’s never a problem.
You’re perfect.”

“You are too. I mean, customer. A perfect customer.”

“I wanted to talk to you about that. About becoming
something more than a customer to you. You’ve known I’ve wanted that for a
while now, haven’t you?”

So this was it. Finally. One of the trio was making a move
on her. Wow.

Now that it was actually happening, now that the long-wished
for event was here, she wasn’t sure how she felt about it. Brandon. Huh. Was he
her favorite?

She definitely liked him, was attracted to him. But she was
attracted to Ethan and Mark as well. Liked them, too. Did she want either of
them more than Brandon?

When she’d daydreamed about this happening, and she’d
definitely daydreamed about it dozens of times, she hadn’t imagined that it
would be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, Brandon told her he was interested
in her. Hurray! On the other hand, Ethan and Mark had not. Bummer. What a silly
way to feel about things.

More than once, in her daydreams, she’d plucked up her
courage and faced one of the men, asking them out on a date. One time she’d
imagine it was Ethan, another time Brandon, next time, Mark. She couldn’t
choose.

Maybe that was why she’d never taken the initiative with one
of them, why she’d simply flirted casually and waited for them to decide.

Well, the decision was made. And Brandon was the man. It was
no wonder she didn’t know how to feel about it.

Brandon looked at her with a puzzled expression. “You did
know that, right ... that I’m interested in you?”

“What? Oh, yes. Right. Well, I wasn’t sure, honestly.” She
wasn’t sure which one of them was interested, she almost, but didn’t say.

“I hope I’m remedying that now, then. Are you busy tomorrow
night? I’d like to cook for you, for once.”

“I didn’t know you cook.”

“I’m not as skilled as you, but I can grill a steak and bake
a potato, if that sounds okay to you.”

She studied his handsome, intent face. He had a square jaw
and a high forehead, a Roman nose and clear, smooth skin. And he was looking at
her with an open honesty, an obvious attraction that thrilled and flattered her
at the same time. She’d always liked Brandon. Liked him as much as the other
two. Maybe more. It didn’t matter, anyway. Brandon had stepped up to the plate,
and he got bonus points for that.

“It sounds wonderful,” she said. “More than okay.”

“Then it’s a date.”

“It is.”

She couldn’t believe that after all these months she finally
had a date ... with Brandon. A tendril of excitement coiled in her belly.

Parting was a little awkward for her, after that. She felt
all thumbs, mentally. And she was embarrassed when, before Brandon stood up to
leave, he caught the eyes of his waiting friends and gave them a small, pleased
nod of affirmation.

At least, she thought it was pleased. Whatever. He’d
basically told the other two with a gesture that she’d agreed to go out with
him. She didn’t meet their eyes again before they left the bakery.

She was going to have dinner with Brandon.

Cecile would lose it when she heard.

Morgan considered how Cecile would make her move now, on
either Ethan or Mark. Morgan frowned at the thought. Didn’t like the idea.
Didn’t like it at all.

Her reaction surprised her. She’d made her choice. And yet
--

Maybe she wouldn’t tell Cecile about Brandon right away.

One never knew. It might not work out.

Ridiculous. She couldn’t go out with one of his friends if
it didn’t work out with him. What was she thinking?

Still, Cecile didn’t need to know everything about her life.

Not yet, anyway.

 

 

____________________

 

 

 

She was afraid it would be awkward when Brandon and the
others came to the bakery for lunch the next day, so she spent most of the time
in the kitchen, sending her excuses to the table with Cecile.

Brandon texted her. “Changed mind about dinner? Avoiding me
from fear of indigestion?”

She texted back. “Too early in relationship for you to
expect reassurance of your culinary aptitude before I’ve even tasted your
cooking.”

His response chimed in. “My ego is the only part of me I’ll
never expect you to stroke -- I swear.”

Oh my. The kitchen seemed warmer than normal.

She spoke to him and the others only briefly before they
left. Brandon mouthed a “see you tonight” at her. She’d nodded in return.

The rest of the day passed slowly, and Cecile pestered
Morgan about acting oddly, as if she had a secret. Morgan told Cecile she was
nuts.

Morgan closed the bakery at the usual hour then headed home
to shower and change for her evening. She forced herself not to over think her
hairstyle, her clothes, her makeup. For the most part, she was successful.

At precisely seven-thirty, she stood outside the address
Brandon had given her, a stylish, well-maintained older building,
multi-storied. She gave her name at the front desk and the security guard
buzzed up to Brandon’s place before showing her to the elevator.

It was a very nice building. The gym Brandon owned with his
friends must be doing well if he could afford an apartment on the top floor of
this building.

Brandon met her outside the door to his place. He looked
more than fine, dressed in an immaculately-cut suit, with an open-necked shirt
underneath, giving the impression of combined elegance and ease. His dark hair
was rakishly smoothed away from his face.

He smiled when he saw her, and took both her hands in his
own before leaning down and giving her a soft kiss on her cheek. He smelled of
mint and spicy, masculine cologne. “You’re here. Finally.”

“I’m sorry.” She looked down at her watch. “Am I late?”

“No. I’ve just been wanting this for a long time. And now
you’re here. At last. You look absolutely beautiful. That dress is ... wow.”

She returned his smile, couldn’t think of anything to say.

It wasn’t necessary that she speak. He took her purse from
her and set it on a table inside the apartment, then he shut the door. He held
out an arm to her and she placed her hand on his solid forearm, a question in
her gaze.

He led her down the hall, toward a different door. When he
held it open for her, she saw it hid a set of stairs going up. She walked up
the narrow steps to a landing, then stopped in front of another door.

The roof. It was apparent that’s where they were headed,
since Brandon’s apartment was on the top floor. Brandon threw open the door and
gestured for Morgan to lead the way. Sure enough, she stepped out onto the
roof. And into a fairyland.

Party lights were strung back and forth across a large
square of roof, the colored lights emitting a soft glow over the area. Tall,
potted tropical plants lined two sides of the space, making the interior space
seem like an enclosed jungle grotto that overlooked a sparkling city stretching
away into the distance. It was lovely.

And the weather was perfect. Cool, but not too cool. No
strong wind, only a light breeze. Morgan had worn a silky dress that clung to
her body in all the right spots and had at the last minute added a shawl
because of a sudden attack of self-consciousness. Without that shawl, she might
have gotten chilly on the roof.

She stepped out onto an indoor-outdoor carpet. In the center
of the square sat a single, round table with two chairs. A lone candle in a red
glass jar flickered on the cloth-covered surface. Brandon pulled out a chair
for her. She sat down.

“This is incredible,” she told him once he’d sat in his own
chair. “I’m flattered.”

“It’s not hokey, then?”

“No! Definitely not.”

“I don’t know. I thought it might be cliche. You know, the
overdone romantic gesture on the roof of the building thing. I thought maybe
something more original would --”

“Even if it’s cliche, it doesn’t follow that it’s not
beautiful. I appreciate that you went to so much effort for me.”

“Oh, it wasn’t just me.”

At his words, the door to the roof opened. Ethan and Mark
stepped out, both of them dressed as nicely as Brandon, and every bit as
handsome, she noted with some chagrin.

Ethan carried a tray with several glasses and a pitcher on
it. Mark was bearing a guitar of all things.

“My help,” said Brandon.

Ah, so they’d come to help serve their dinner, Morgan
thought. She greeted Ethan and Mark, who took her in like a long-craved treat
and she fidgeted under their appreciation. She quickly peeked at Brandon, but
he didn’t appear to mind that his friends were scoping her out.

“You look spectacular,” said Ethan, setting his tray down on
a nearby stand, then he leaned over her and kissed her cheek the same as
Brandon had done.

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