on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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It starts with a stolen kiss under an English sky, and it ends with a walk down the aisle. It starts with the President sending his best friend to woo me on his behalf, and it ends with my heart split in two. It starts with buried secrets and dangerous desires…and ends with the three of us bound together with a hateful love sharper than any barbed wire.
My name is Greer Galloway, and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.
This is the story of an American Queen.
“I kept thinking about what I wanted to give you today for our wedding day, and honestly, Greer, there isn’t really anything I couldn’t give you. Jewelry or exotic vacations or rare editions of the books you love, anything I could have dreamed of, I could get for you—but they were just things. I didn’t want to get you a thing for a curio cabinet or a jewelry box. I wanted to give you something that you could carry with you through our new life together. Something that would make you a promise.”
The best man’s hand brushes up against my stocking-covered ankle and I gasp.
“What is it, princess?” Ash’s low voice comes over the phone line.
“Embry…I mean, Ash, I—” I can’t find the words just then, because Embry’s hand slides up my calf and everything stops. My thoughts, my feelings, my guilt—my world shrinks to Ash’s voice on the phone and the fingers moving past my knee and Embry’s face, so controlled. But lust and anger and determination are fissuring across that control, and I can see his wide pupils and the pulse pounding in his neck and the trembling of his lips.
What is happening? I think distantly to myself. What am I letting happen…and all while I’m on the phone with my soon-to-be husband?
And then the world slams back into motion, and I make a strangled noise, stumbling backwards, away from Embry. He starts to stand and come toward me, and I hold out one of my hands, moving backwards until my back is pressed against the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the skyline.
Embry looks down at my shaking hand and then back up to me, those fissures in his control now full-on fractures, and he says, “Greer…”
“Don’t test me,” I whisper, not sure if I’m whispering to the groom or the best man. “Don’t test me like this.”
This isn’t happening. I missed a connection somewhere, misunderstood something vital, because there is no way, no fucking way, that Ash is offering his best friend to me as some sort of wedding present. This is my wishful thinking turned toxic, this is my darkest fantasies turning into delusion—
“I want you to let Embry give you my gift,” Ash tells me. “While I listen. That’s what you’ll give me in exchange: every single moan, pant and cry will be for me.”
“You can’t be saying what I think you’re saying,” I say.
“Oh, don’t worry, angel. I’ll get something out of this for me too.”
I hear the dark roughness in his voice and I realize I’m so very, very wet.
“Close your eyes,” Ash orders.
I do, my panting somehow louder in my head when I can’t see anything. The glass window against my back is cool and strong, just like Ash’s words in my ear.
“I know you’re wet. I know it like I know Embry is hard right now, just from the mere thought of touching you. You want it, don’t you? You want it so much that you’re shaking with the effort it’s taking to hold yourself back.”
“But I don’t want to hurt you.” It’s my final plea, my final argument, my final grasp at some semblance of sanity. My skirts are almost up at my waist now, and I know the moment Embry catches sight of my delicate, hand-embroidered French panties because he takes in a sharp breath, as if punched in the gut.
“It all hurts,” Ash says. “It hurts watching you two watching each other. It hurts watching him with other people. There’s no part about this that doesn’t hurt, but what’s the alternative? Living without the pain means living without each other.”