Authors: Marie Carnay
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Holidays, #New Adult & College, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary Fiction, #Humor
Copyright © 2015 by Marie Carnay.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
The use of stock photo images in this e-book in no way imply that the models depicted personally endorse, condone, or engage in the fictional conduct depicted herein, expressly or by implication. The person(s) depicted are models and are used for illustrative purposes only.
This book is for sale to mature, adult audiences only. It contains sexually explicit situations and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers. Please store this e-book where it cannot be accessed by minors.
Editor: Linnie Helpern
Cover Image: Deposit Photos
One if by land. Two if by sea. That applies to men, right?
her life all planned out. She’d check the boxes, stay on the straight and narrow, and make something of herself. Ending up on a hedonistic singles cruise wasn’t part of the plan. Falling in love with the pair of sexy ship owners wasn’t even one of her fantasies. When reality and her vacation collide, will she weather the storm or end up capsized and alone?
amon and Tony
had all but given up on finding a woman to complete them. When a sexy redhead with a temper to match walks onto their cruise ship, everything changes. She could be the woman to satisfy all their needs. The only catch? Convincing her their unconventional love has a chance off the ship.
ith its stunning
ocean views and men too sexy to resist, Midnight Cove has everything a woman could want—times two.
Two if by Sea
is the third book in the
Midnight Cove Ménage
series of standalone, full-length novels. Cliffhanger free!
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hey tumbled down the hall
. Hands groping and lips murmuring. Every time an alcove appeared, strong arms dragged Daphne into it. Teeth nipped at her neck and shoulders. Hot fingers slid up her thighs.
One man kissed her, needy and insistent, and another groped her breasts. Stroking and fondling, these men awakened every last nerve ending and long-forgotten need she had ever experienced. They fell into an elevator and before the doors shut, both men pinned her between them.
Strength and heft, muscles and brawn, they surrounded her completely. Suffocated her. She’d never been so turned on or felt so reckless. How had she lived without someone else’s touch for so long? How had she convinced herself passion didn’t matter?
She’d become a boring shell of a woman.
A tongue slid along her collarbone and she moaned.
Screw all of it.
Holding her legs together. All of that self-imposed nonsense about being proper and prim out of some misguided sense of duty. Hands plumped her ass and Daphne let go.
Her lips fell open and her words filled the silence. “Tell me we’re almost there.”
A door opened and a man scooped her up. She clung to his shoulders instead of her dignity.
“Are you ready for this?”
Was there ever any doubt? Daphne nodded against his chest. She’d never wanted anything more.
ake a deep breath
, look at the camera, then say the line.” Daphne whispered into the Bluetooth headset tucked into her ear.
She smiled as a reporter glanced her way and fluffed her hair. It had taken an extra hour, but styling her hair so it hid the earpiece had been genius. No one except her boss and the man about to save his career knew she was spoon-feeding the lines.
Cunningham Swift, one of the most charismatic men to grace the silver screen, bowed his head before addressing the crowded room. “Ladies and gentlemen, I am standing before you a humble man.”
. Daphne lowered her voice until it barely registered as more than a breath. “Now pause, inhale. Show some contrition.”
The actor followed her directions and spoke again. “I am here today in front of all of you, as a man ready and willing to atone for my sins. I sincerely apologize to my fans for all the hurt I’ve caused.”
. Daphne listened as the words she’d written that morning smothered a PR nightmare in the making. She smoothed a wrinkle out of her gabardine skirt and adjusted her twinset. Everything was going according to plan.
He’d finish his speech, and then she would step up to the podium to politely tell the reporters there would be no questions, and then she’d be one step closer to that partnership she craved. One step closer to
. She would finally be something her parents had never managed: a success.
She pressed her lips together to keep from grinning.
Daphne had worked her tail off for Hopkins PR. Late nights, cancelled vacations, she’d given up so much for this career. Her family never understood her drive or her need to succeed, or her devotion to this line of work. They’d rather throw everything in the back of their van and drive to Montana to catch the first snow instead of make a home or put down roots. They had never really cared about making anything lasting.
Not Daphne Meadows. She’d be the first one in her family to settle down and be someone. She tucked a strand of fiery red hair behind her ear. Toeing the corporate line was an easy price to pay. She’d sacrifice personal freedom for stability. Yes, she would.
Her client stepped back and the room erupted in a cacophony of shouted exclamations and questions.
That’s my cue.
Daphne stepped up to the podium as her client retreated into the back. He’d be whisked away into the waiting town car while she deflected the reporters. Just like always. She smiled with practiced grace.
“Good evening everyone. Mr. Swift appreciates your coming here tonight. Unfortunately, he is late for another commitment and will not be able to answer any questions. He appreciates your understanding and sensitivity at this time.”
She turned as indignant cries and accusations launched at her back.
“How much is he paying you?”
“Did you sleep with him, too?”
“Do you even care if it’s true? The man has a family!”
Daphne tuned out the rabble and eased through the back door. Just as she made it into the rear lobby of the building, her boss shut the door on a sleek black sedan. It sped off into the night before any paparazzi could make it to the back of the studio.
. William Hopkins had made a fortune saving the butts of celebrities, sports figures, and politicians. The man had a mansion in every major city and ate young associates for breakfast, but he’d asked for Daphne to handle this client personally. She’d never been more proud.
Daphne walked up to Mr. Hopkins and stood with her hands clasped in front of her. She’d learned a long time ago to never speak first.
After a moment, he turned to her. “Good work Ms. Meadows.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I knew putting you on Swift’s file was a good decision.”
She forced her lips not to curve. It was all coming together.
“Harvey tried to tell me we needed a man since Swift always gets himself in woman trouble. But I knew you were the best fit.”
Daphne swelled with pride. Maybe all the rumors about Hopkins being a chauvinist jerk were a lie. “Thank you, sir.”
He turned toward her, his round face barely wrinkled with age. He focused his shining dark eyes on her. “Don’t thank me. I told Swift that those reporters would take one look at your tits and forget all about the scandal. They’d just want to know how long you’d been screwing each other.” He winked. “As usual, I was right.”
Daphne’s mouth fell open. It had to be a joke. “I’m sorry, sir?”
He laughed and the sound sent a shiver up her spine. “Don’t tell me you thought you’d
this assignment. You’re, what, a fifth year associate? Sorry, sweetheart, you were just the right body at the right time.” He patted her on the back and she fought the urge to deck him right in his smug mouth. “Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of work for a woman like you.”
She watched him walk away and her cheeks burned with shame. She’d thought she’d earned the job. She’d thought someone at that godforsaken firm had finally noticed her.
For five years Daphne had busted her ass for that man and this was the thank you?
Her phone buzzed in her purse and she fished it out.
Cruise leaves @ 9. Will U B ready?
Daphne licked her lips and texted her instant reply:
“You can’t be serious.”
“I’m telling you, Midnight Cove is different.” Ian leaned on the bar of his latest restaurant, drink in his hand and a shit-eating grin plastered across his face.
“I run a cruise line, Ian. If I haven’t seen it, then it doesn’t exist.”
Ian set his drink on the counter with a thud. “That’s your problem right there. You aren’t taking enough time to relax and get to know this place. You and Damon have had a house here, what? Three years? And I’ve seen you how many times?”
Tony shrugged. “A couple.”
“Exactly. If you stayed for a month or two, got out and met the locals, you’d come around.”
“I told you, I’m not the settling down type.”
Ian raised an eyebrow. “Even if there’s a woman out there for you and Damon?”
Now Tony knew his old college buddy had lost his mind. When he’d heard that Ian had ended up in some long-term relationship with a chef and another guy, Tony had dismissed it as tabloid fodder.
Not once had Ian shown an interest in the lifestyle. All the years he’d been running the cruise line with Damon… All the women they’d shared… No. If Ian had wanted to dabble in a threesome, he knew where to go. The Stardust left every summer from the dock in Los Angeles. He’d only needed to ask.
Tony threw back the rest of his scotch and set the empty glass on the counter. “I don’t believe that you’re the threesome type. You hated sharing a room in school. I can’t believe you’d be willing to share a girl.”
Ian exhaled. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Let’s just say it involved a pair of psychos and lot of duct tape.”
“Don’t forget the tough guy who saved the day.” A man in jeans and a T-shirt stopped next to Ian and held out his hand. “Trent Malone. I’m the other guy in the relationship you can’t figure out.”
Midnight Cove was full of surprises. Tony offered his hand. “Good to finally meet you.” They’d talked on the phone about security issues for the cruise line, but they’d never been in town at the same time. “So how’s bodyguard work treating you?”
“Private security has a nicer ring to it, don’t you think?” Trent gave his hand a good shake and let it go. “Now I’m mostly running the shipping business. Security has taken a back seat.”
. Tony turned to Ian. “You let someone else take over the shipping business?”
Ian nodded. “Trent’s perfect for it. He gets to travel, I get to stay here and run the restaurant with Holly.” He motioned to the bartender to get them another round. “I never thought I’d end up in a relationship like this, but it works. You should give it a shot.”
Tony clamped his lips together to keep from saying something he’d regret. Ian looked happy, but he didn’t buy it. Not for a second. “What’s the catch?”
Ian gave him a blank stare. “There isn’t one.”
“You can’t tell me everyone in this town is okay with your relationship. It doesn’t happen that way.” Tony knew. It had started innocently enough with Damon — the two of them and a bunch of friends partying on New Year’s Eve. When the pair of them had ended up in the same bed with one girl, something had changed.
Fast forward more years than he’d care to admit and their bedrooms had become revolving doors of threesomes. No woman lasted longer than a few weeks. Once the novelty wore off, they were done.
The drinks arrived and Ian passed them out. “I don’t know what to say, Tony. It’s the truth. Blake and Devin started something here. I can’t explain it.”
“Maybe it’s something in the water.” Trent chuckled as he raised his glass. “You’ve been saying you should bottle it and sell it to the tourists.”
“I still don’t believe you.” It was nonsense. It had to be.
Ian motioned at the tables full of people and the crowd at the front door. “You really think all these people would be here if they thought our relationship was wrong? The place would be empty and you know it.”
Tony glanced around. Ian had a point. Diners crowded around every table, and the waiting area was standing room only. According to Damon, it had been that way since the place had opened a few months before. With Ian’s girlfriend Holly as head chef and Ian running the show out the front, they’d become a popular night spot in no time.
“I bet they still don’t approve.”
Ian turned smug. “Ask one.”
“What?” Now Tony knew the man had lost his mind. “You’re nuts.”
Ian shrugged. “You think Midnight Cove isn’t open to a ménage relationship, then ask someone and find out.” He pointed at a table a few steps away. “How about her?”
Tony glanced at the woman shoving a sauce-coated mushroom into her mouth. Between the floor-length skirt and the handmade sweater, she could have been the cover model for
. No way would she approve.
Tony set down his drink. “Fine. Just wait ’til I prove it.” He straightened his cuffs and approached the table.
“Excuse me,” he flashed his trademark grin, “I hate to interrupt, but I have a question I’d like to ask you.”
The woman set down her fork and gave him a curious stare. “Okay.”
He motioned to Ian behind him. “Mr. Knowles is convinced no one in town finds his relationship to be inappropriate. I don’t believe him.” Tony waited until she’d turned her attention back to his face. “What do you think about it?”
She glanced at her dining companion—a woman about the same age with blonde hair dip-dyed pink—and giggled. “Honestly?”
Here we go
“I think it’s awesome. I wish I could find two hot guys to take care of me.”
Tony stepped back as the other woman nodded in approval. Not what he’d expected at all. He nodded at each of them. “Thank you, I think.”
Both women smiled. “Anytime!”
He turned around in time to catch Ian gloating to Trent. “Let me guess, they’re fine with it.”
Ian clapped him on the back. “Then that settles it. When you finish the cruise next week, you’re coming back here for an extended stay. I bet in a month, you two will be hot and heavy with the woman of your dreams.”
Tony leaned on the bar as Ian carried on with all sorts of plans and ideas over his head. He’d come to Midnight Cove for a weekend break before they set sail again, not to get roped into some three-way matchmaking party.
Ian might be the kind of guy to settle down, but not Tony. He knew it wasn’t just the ménage that kept women away. It didn’t matter how hot the sex was; no one would ever be the right woman for him.
Even if Ian did find a woman eager to try out a threesome, as soon as she got to know the real Tony, she’d leave. Everyone did.
A wave crashed over Damon’s board and he fell into the ocean. It didn’t get better than this. He popped out of the water and pulled his board onto the shore.
“Good ride, man.” Blake stood on the sand, watching the evening tide.
“Thanks.” Damon stopped beside him and got his bearings. He’d only been coming to Midnight Cove for a few years, but he loved it.
Ian had talked about the place so much in college, when he and Tony were looking to buy a vacation pad, it had been his first choice. Now he swung by whenever he could, dropped his stuff, grabbed a board, and hit the water.
He’d met Blake and Devin, the owners of the local surf shop, the first week there. They’d all hit it off right away. When he’d found out they were in a committed relationship with one woman…It opened his eyes.
Blake’s whole face lit up. “Great. She’s got another exhibit next week. You should come.”
Damon nodded. “I’d love to, but we’ll be on a cruise.”
Blake shot him a knowing look and Damon bit back a grin.
“Yeah, it’s a singles one.”
“I don’t know how you two keep it up.”
“What, partying for a week at a time? Come on, don’t say you’re too old.”
Blake shrugged. “Never been much of a partier, myself. Left that to guys like Ian.” He motioned toward the parking lot and they both headed that way. “Aren’t you sick of the single life? Don’t you want to settle down?”
More than ever.
“You mean Tony doesn’t want to.”
Damon nodded. “He’s not into the whole relationship thing.”
“Doesn’t he know about this place? You two could be happy here.”
Don’t remind me.
Damon had been on Tony for months to take a vacation in the Cove. If he could stop running for long enough to give the place a chance, he’d see they could have a life here. A future. “I don’t think he believes it’s true.”
“Well, tell him to come to the shop. He can meet Devin and Summer.” Blake gave Damon a shallow punch to the arm. “We’ll even be nice.”
“I’ll tell him.”
They climbed the stairs and piled the boards into Blake’s Jeep.