Their Virgin Mistress, p.1Part #7 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black
Melinda Torrance Glen glanced across the elegantly appointed table, watching her sister pour steaming brew into delicate cups. “You look almost graceful serving tea. Lots of practice these days, I suppose. Remember when you broke the play set Mom bought us, and she had to glue it back together?”
Piper al Mussad, now known as the Queen of Bezakistan, still flashed the same bright smile she had growing up in rural Texas. Though she wore designer clothes and sat in the penthouse of one of London’s most exclusive buildings, Tori still saw Piper, first and foremost, as her older sister.
“I cried until she repaired it, as I recall. Mr. Bear simply couldn’t be without his afternoon tea.” She glanced back at the bodyguard waiting in the background. “Thank you so much, Tanner. I’d like to be alone with my sister now.”
The massive bodyguard frowned. “Dane gave me strict instructions not to let you out of my sight.”
“I need to talk to my sister about girl things. He’ll understand if you wait just outside the door. We’re sixteen floors up, and the windows in this building are bulletproof. Dane made certain of that when we bought the flat. The only way in is through a private elevator, and any intruder would still have to pass multiple guard stations. My husbands wouldn’t have left me or our sons here unless they felt certain we’d be safe.”
The guard didn’t move.
“All right, then. I hope you can be discreet, Tanner.” Piper sighed and turned to her. “You know, Mindy, since I last gave birth, I’m struggling with my vaginal walls contracting painfully during sex. It’s been difficult, and I wonder if you have any advice.”
The door slammed as the guard disappeared.
Tori pressed a hand over her mouth to smother her laugh. Despite her sister’s now regal polish, she glowed with happiness. She had three gorgeous husbands and two precious sons. She’d been blessed.
Piper had married the Sheikh of Bezakistan, Talib al Mussad, and his two brothers, Rafiq and Kadir. In Bezakistan, the practice of brothers sharing a wife was both ancient and common—very unlike the West where primogeniture, which meant the first-born son inherited all the wealth and land, had been the norm. But Bezakistani nationals preferred to honor all their sons, keeping the riches within the whole family through the practice of polyandry. The world seemed utterly fascinated by the queen and her three sheikhs.
Tori constantly reminded herself that she didn’t live there and having three husbands would be quite frowned upon in London, even more so in the great state of Texas where she fully intended to return in a few months.
“You’re so bad,” Tori teased her sister. “You probably scarred that poor man for life.”
Piper giggled. “One of these days Dane will realize that a female guard would be so less easy for me to handle than these ex-military types. Then I’ll be in trouble. For now…” She shrugged. “It’s amazing how quickly they run once I start talking about the royal vagina.”
“You’d better hope Dane never figures it out,” Tori agreed. “If he does, he’ll tell Tal, Rafe, and Kade. Then you’ll have hell to pay.”
Clearly aware of that fact, Piper pressed a finger to her lips. “Shh.”
Tori just shook her head. “So, how is Dane doing? I heard Alea had another baby.”
Alea al Mussad was Piper’s cousin-in-law and had married the head of Bezakistan’s royal guard—all three of them—Dane Mitchell, Cooper Evans, and Landon Nix.
“Yes, a girl. She’s beautiful,” Piper groaned. “I want a girl, but it seems my husbands only produce male sperm. I might try one more time, but then my womb is closed for business. Two boys is enough. Three would be more than any woman should have to handle and keep her sanity. Hopefully, we’ll be blessed with a princess next, but if not, surely my little sister can give me a niece to spoil, right?”
“Me?” Tori reared back. “I’m not even dating anyone, much less married or looking to become pregnant.”
“Hmm.” Piper sent her a speculative stare. “I see the way Oliver looks at you. If he hasn’t already, he’s going to man up and ask you out.”
The mere mention of Oliver Thurston-Hughes made Tori’s heart flutter. The eldest of the three British brothers she worked for was a golden god of a man in a perfectly pressed three-piece suit. When she’d met him six months earlier, she’d been dazzled by his good looks, but his sharp intelligence and ruthless business acumen had truly lured her in. He did his best to maintain a wide distance and make others believe he was heartless, but over time, Tori had come to know him—the employer, the brother, the friend. She’d seen under his harsh façade. And she’d fallen in love. The only trouble was she could say the same for his two brothers, Callum and Rory. Athletic and model-gorgeous, Callum could be funny and surprisingly sweet. According to rumor, he was magnificent in bed. Brilliant Rory had the most intense focus of any man she’d ever met, and the idea of being the center of his attention made her shiver.
But Tori didn’t live in Bezakistan and couldn’t have them all. She reminded herself of that every single day.
“He’s not going to ask me out.” She answered her sister with what she hoped sounded like a matter-of-fact tone. “We work together. So if he did, of course I would turn him down. And you’re the only one in the whole world who still calls me Mindy. Can you stop it?”
She’d started using her middle name when she’d realized that going to med school wasn’t for her, after failing organic chemistry. Instead, she’d gone into public relations. Torrance Glen sounded far more worldly and professional—exactly what she needed to become a competent image consultant.
Piper’s nose wrinkled. “You’re my kid sister. You’ll always be Mindy to me. Now stop trying to change the subject. You know I care about Oliver. I think you do, too.”
“Yes, but as the Brits would say, it’s bad form to shag your boss. I’m already considered young in a game usually won by seasoned vets. I don’t need any whispers circulating that I slept my way into this lucrative job. I took on this challenge precisely to build myself some professional credibility.”
Her decision hadn’t had anything to do with being close to the Thurston-Hughes men. Well, not much.
“Oliver needs a woman to love far more than he needs a PR consultant.” Piper paused, as if trying to weigh her next words. “I was there that terrible day Yasmin nearly killed him and destroyed his life. Even when I visited him in the hospital afterward, I could tell he was a changed man. If you can look past his gruffness—”
“I have,” Tori assured softly. She’d seen Oliver’s heart underneath, no matter how desperately he wished to conceal it. “But he’s not over her yet.”
His late wife, Yasmin, had not only lied to and cheated on him, but she’d taken betrayal a step further and aborted two of their children during the marriage. At the end, she’d attempted to kill him. As past lovers went, she was kind of the be-all and end-all of badness.
“Then you could help him.”
Tori shook her head. “I don’t know that he will ever be over her, and I can’t get caught up in his damage. I’m sure that sounds cold. I like Oliver a lot, probably more than I should. But a personal relationship would ruin our professional one. He’s nice to me now because we merely work together, but the man has built an invisible wall around himself, and I think if I ever tried to breach the sucker he would defend himself. It wouldn’t be pretty.”
Piper leaned in with a sigh. “Under all the hurt, he’s a good man with a big heart.”
Yes, but Tori didn’t dare want more with Oliver. “Do you know why Claire Thurston-Hughes hired me?”
The brothers’ sister had recognized how badly the company needed an image
“I know the stock has taken a hit in the last couple of years,” Piper replied. “I heard Tal talking to Kade about it.”
“Most of the financial problems had everything to do with the slowdown in the world economy and nothing to do with management. The strange thing is, the quarterly reports are actually on an uptick, but no one wants to hear that. They want to hear about Oliver Thurston-Hughes getting into pub fights. They seem to enjoy focusing on him acting more like a hooligan than a CEO. Then there’s Rory. He’s one of the smartest men I’ve ever met in my life, not to mention rich and incredibly interesting. Apparently, that combination is kryptonite for females. He goes through a six-pack of supermodels each month, like he’s consuming beer, not women. And he’s incredibly generous with them all.”
“I haven’t seen Rory mentioned in the press for a few months.” Piper reached for a scone. “So you must be doing an admirable, if not heroic, job of keeping the gossip about him quiet.”
If Piper thought that, she clearly hadn’t seen the tabloids for the last week. Rory, it seemed, had suddenly embraced his old habits because it looked as if he had a new bedmate. Tori hurt with a physical pang every time she saw photos of him with a “date.” Every woman he showered his time and attention on seemed more interested in fame and fortune than in the man himself. “He’s been more circumspect since I pointed out how much of his trust fund he’s spending on what amounts to high-class hookers.”
Piper’s eyes widened. “You did not say that to him.”
Tori shrugged. She shot straight with her clients and saved her tact for the press. Candy coating a situation rarely benefitted the one signing her checks. She was there to make them look better, not feel better. “Actually, I believe I told him he’d spent the GDP of a small country on the last Slutasaurus Rex he called girlfriend and if he didn’t quit, he’d be both broke and foolish.”
Her sister’s mouth hung open. “Seriously?”
“I stand by my judgment. She was about eleven feet tall and weighed ninety pounds soaking wet. And those teeth could seriously kill a man. I have no idea what he saw in her, except breasts done by the best surgeon England has to offer.”
“You sound jealous,” Piper pointed out.
Tori sipped her tea, hoping the cup hid her grimace. God, she needed to keep her mouth shut. Piper was both astute and happy, so if her sister knew how deep her feelings for her bosses ran, she wouldn’t hesitate to play matchmaker. And if Piper learned how far she’d gone to keep herself “safe” from the Thurston-Hughes brothers, she would gasp in horror. Her sister wasn’t big on lies, even for the greater good.
“I’m simply pointing out that while Rory is an amazing man, he’s got issues, just like his brothers, that I don’t want to deal with,” Tori murmured.
“Even the soccer player? Excuse me, the football god.”
She sometimes forgot that what she’d called soccer all her life was football over here. And Callum Thurston-Hughes had been one of the best—Manchester United’s star player until a career-killing injury had taken him out the year before. But Tori gave him credit. Rather than being bitter, Callum treated every new day like a gift to be used to its fullest. It sometimes made him reckless, dangerous. “You must have heard that I’m dealing with a paternity case for him. It’s all over the press.”
“All right. That headline was hard to miss,” Piper conceded. “Hey, at least they’re keeping you busy.”
Tori scoffed. “I just love the phone ringing at three in the morning with some new Thurston-Hughes surprise that ruins my night of sleep.”
“Well, if you won’t consider your very hot bosses as potential mates, Dane has hired a couple of new guards who are smart and funny. I think you’ll find them attractive. My husbands also have some cousins who would love to meet you. I have to warn you, though. There are five of them and they’re very traditional.”
Tori felt her jaw drop. Had her sister lost her damn mind? “Five? I don’t know where you put three.”
“Oh, that’s easy,” Piper began. “One in—”
“Stop.” Sometimes her sister overshared, and Tori didn’t need to hear more of this. “I don’t want to know. I would like to keep my ears as virginal as the rest of me.”
Piper froze. “You’re kidding. Still?”
“You were a virgin until you got married. I don’t understand the shock.”
“After Dad died, I had you to raise, so I didn’t date. What’s holding you back?”
How did she explain her choices to a sister who had been swept off her feet and made a queen literally? “I watched a couple of friends get their hearts seriously broken by guys who used them for sex. I don’t want to end up like them.
Tori refused to give up that piece of herself to someone who didn’t value her. Her friend Brooke had once had a one-night stand. Nine months later, it turned into a battle for child support fought by two parents who couldn’t stand each other. But it wasn’t simply pregnancy or single motherhood that worried Tori.
“You have to take a chance at some point.” Piper sat back, her eyes soft with empathy as she looked her sister over. “You can’t hide away all of your life. Mom and Dad had a great marriage.”
Of course Piper had to bring up the one subject guaranteed to send her into a tailspin. Unfortunately, not even that kept her from thinking about the Thurston-Hughes brothers—all three of them.
“Yes, until Mom died and Daddy turned into a shell of himself.” Tori took a long breath. Her chest tightened, as it always did when she thought about her parents. For most of her life they’d been blissfully happy. Then her mother’s long fight with cancer had ended. Afterward, her father had faded away until a car accident had stolen what had been left of his life. “Do you ever wonder?”
Piper sniffled, her eyes glazing over with a sheen of tears. She didn’t pretend to misunderstand. “If he let it happen because he wanted to end his suffering? All the time. He knew those roads like the back of his hand.”
Had their father driven off that road so he didn’t have to live without his beloved anymore? “The thought of a love like that scares me, Piper.”
“Sweetie, life is basically meaningless if you don’t love like that,” Piper argued. “Dad wouldn’t have taken back the years he had with Mom, even if he’d known how they would end. He wouldn’t have chosen to spend his life with anyone else. We don’t know what happened the night he died, Mindy, but he was a good father. Shouldn’t we give him the benefit of the doubt?”
Tori nodded because she didn’t want to talk about this anymore. It was easier to deflect this subject with the Thurston-Hughes family. They didn’t know her the way Piper did. Tori easily handled them with a fake engagement ring and a couple of phony calls to her “fiancé.”
She used that pretend engagement like a blunt instrument. It worked best on Oliver. Callum and Rory still flirted, but the moment Oliver had heard the “news,” he’d become chillingly polite. Every now and then, she still caught him looking at her like a hungry lion. Whenever that happened, she flashed her cubic zirconia rock, and poof, they were merely work associates again.
“Tell me about Sabir’s birthday party,” Tori said, completely changing the subject. The elder of her two adorable nephews was having his birthday soon, and Tori intended to forget her romantic issues for a while and play auntie. It was her favorite role.
For a moment, Piper looked like she would press the subject, but she finally stirred her tea again and sipped. “I’m so glad you’re coming. I hope you can stay for a while. The boys miss you. I think we’re going with a pirate theme.”
While her sister chatted away, Tori thought about the men she should never, would never touch.
* * * *
Oliver Thurston-Hughes clenched his fists and tried to quell
“I need a place to stay temporarily.” His younger brother Callum leaned forward, wearing an earnest look on his sun-bronzed face. “Just until the crack pot births her spawn and I get the results of the DNA test. Apparently, I can’t force her to do one until the nipper makes his actual appearance, so we’ve got some months to wait.”
Oliver bristled. “You’re talking about a child, potentially your own.”
Yet his brother treated the baby as if he or she meant nothing.
Callum’s remark gnawed at Oliver’s brain. The rage that constantly seethed inside him rose. He breathed through the violent urge but couldn’t deny the fact that he’d enjoy beating his brother right now. Usually he preferred strangers, but the former footballer would be a nice change of pace and provide a good challenge besides.
Drawing in a steadying breath, Oliver stood and looked out the rain-splattered window over St. James’s Park from the office that had once been his father’s. What would Albert Thurston-Hughes do if he could see his three sons now? Likely shoot the lot of them and start over.
Outside, everything looked peaceful, and he tried to find his calm. A light drizzle fell. Down below, pedestrians hustled about. Women held umbrellas over their prams as they rushed to shelter where their babies would be dry and warm.
Oliver gripped the sill. His children would be too old for
Their Virgin Mistress by Shayla Black / Romance & Love have rating 4.1 out of 5 / Based on41 votes