Their virgin princess, p.12
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       Their Virgin Princess, p.12

         Part #4 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black
Page 12


  The trouble was, he’d seen the soft woman under all that armor. He caught glimpses of her when she was working with children or visiting the hospital. He loved to go on those duties with her because somehow she managed to shove aside her own pain to help others. And that’s when he saw her most genuine smiles.

  “Lan? Is that you?”

  Landon sighed and touched his right side. Cooper had done a number on his kidney. He would be lucky if he wasn’t pissing blood for a week. “Yeah, Coop, it’s me. ”

  Cooper rounded the corner, and Landon noticed he was carrying his medical kit. “Hey, I was just coming to see you. I thought I should probably check you out since I was the one who damaged you. ”

  “You barely managed to hit me. ” Lan rolled his eyes.

  Cooper laughed a little. “Well, I’ll feel better if I check you out. Amuse me. ”

  “Fine. ” Lan looked up at the palace one last time before turning and leading Coop back into the barracks.

  Cooper looked around at the large, mostly antiseptic building. There were twenty small rooms, each with a single bed, closet space, and a desk unit. Cooper followed Landon into the room that belonged to him. “You know you left the Army, right?”

  Lan was deeply aware of the fact that his room had no personal elements. Cooper had pictures of his brothers and his parents on his walls. Dane had decorated his apartment with paintings and books and other things he picked up in his travels. Lan had only had his grandmother, and she’d never let him forget that his mother had dropped him on her doorstep on her way out to her next party and never come back. There were no pictures of his childhood, no family photos with smiling faces. “I like to keep things simple. ”

  “You keep things spartan. ” Cooper set his kit on the bed and opened it with a flick of his wrist. “Are all your parts still working?”

  “I don’t know. Strangely enough, I haven’t had a chance to use my balls since you decided to shove them halfway up my ass. ”

  Cooper chuckled. “Well, you were trying to kill me at the time. How about we just call it even?”

  That was fine by him. “I guess we all made mistakes tonight. ”

  A calculated expression crossed Cooper’s face. “Or we all did the right thing, and we were just wrong because we didn’t do it together. I think I was onto something tonight. She was interested. Maybe not in me in particular, but she was curious about sex. She needs to experiment. We need to set ourselves up in some intimate situations with her. ”

  “What? Like walking in on her while she’s buck naked?”

  “Hey, I didn’t plan that. I really was trying to check on her. ”

  Lan shrugged. “Maybe I’m just jealous. So she really did respond? I was a little surprised she let you see her naked. Did she fight you?”

  Coop shook his head as he pulled out a couple of bottles and some washcloths. “Not really. She gave me a weak ‘go away’ before things got really heated. I know what a woman looks like when she’s aroused. She wasn’t afraid. She was inquisitive and hot. And she enjoyed having her pussy loved on. ”

  God, he really was jealous of Cooper now. “So she responded. ”

  “Yes, she was moaning and shoving her cunt at me. She wasn’t scared, not until I wrapped my arms around her. That’s when she screamed. I wasn’t hurting her, Lan. I was trying to get closer. ”

  Damn it. He hated being a reasonable man. He slapped at Coop’s arm, a brotherly show of affection. “You probably didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have in your situation. If I had the chance to get my mouth on her, I would. It just makes me worry that she’s never going to be ready for what we want to give her. And if she can’t handle one man, what about three? If you holding her was too much, how the hell will she ever handle Dane?”

  A part of the submission Dane needed fell squarely into the bondage category. Lan had watched Dane with more than one submissive. He took their needs very seriously, but those women had always needed what Dane had to offer. Alea would be terrified.

  “I think the key is to experiment,” Coop went on. “We need to retrain her. Her captors did a number on her. But she can never have a normal life if she can’t accept love and affection, or enjoy sex. Are you willing to let her live that way just because you’re squeamish?”

  Put like that, it seemed like a cowardly thing to do. “I get what you’re saying, man. I just don’t know that she wants me. ”

  Cooper groaned, his eyes rolling. “You have got to get over the insecurity thing. She wants all of us. She wants the whole ménage thing, or at least she did when she was a kid. I was doing a sweep of the palace the other day and I wound up in the library. Did you know Talib still keeps everything the way his fathers left it? Including the pictures taped to the wall. One of them is Alea’s. I would bet she was about eight or nine when she drew it. It’s of a woman with dark hair and three men. And the title of the picture is ‘my three husbands. ’ I think we could be those men for her. ”

  “I’m in. ” Lan didn’t hesitate.

  Cooper was right. If they loved Alea, they had to be willing to risk everything to make sure she could enjoy life again, even whatever shot they had at a relationship with her. “So how do we get ourselves into…what did you call it? Intimate situations?”

  It would be damn near impossible here. The palace was filled to the brim with people and would be for weeks to come because of the coronation. Between family, friends, and visiting dignitaries, Lan wasn’t sure when they would get more than two moments alone with her.

  There was a short knock on the door, then it opened. Dane’s large frame filled the doorway. “Hey, I came to check on Lan. ”

  “Jeez, guys, my balls still work. ” He hadn’t gotten hit that hard. Not that he’d admit, anyway.

  The corners of Dane’s mouth curled up wryly. It was good to see him smile for once.

  “I’m glad because, unfortunately, your balls are important to my plan. But once we put the plan in motion, we all need to watch our balls, guys. ”

  Thank god he was joking. After what happened earlier, Lan had been worried Dane would turn into a morose asshole, and there was only room for one of those on the team. He’d taken that place a long time ago and he wasn’t giving it up. “Does this mean I’m not fired?”

  Dane nodded. “You know I hate paperwork, man. ”

  “Excellent. Now, when can I use my still fully functional balls on our girl? Because the way I see it, it’s going to be a long while before we can get her alone. ”

  Dane held up the folder he’d been carrying. “That’s where you might be wrong. This is the flight list for tomorrow out of the palace’s private airstrip. I get a daily update and something odd happened. ”

  “Shit,” Coop said. “How many more people do we have to vet? Tell Tal to stop with all the coronation celebrations. Slap a tiara on Piper’s head and call her a queen, damn it. ”

  Lan didn’t understand the need for all the ceremony, either. Spending a ton of money didn’t make Piper any more official. It just created more work for them. He hated running background checks. He would rather just shoot people. “How many are there?”

  “It isn’t the people coming in who caught my eye. It’s the people leaving, or rather the person leaving. Oliver and Yasmin Thurston-Hughes changed their plans. They’ve decided to stay in Bezakistan for the next few weeks. They were planning on heading for Sydney tomorrow, but now they’re only sending their personal assistant. ”

  And that affected them how? “So?”

  “So? You guys need to pay more attention to palace gossip. Their assistant is that little brunette who’s been fucking the hell out of Tal’s valet, who told me tonight that he was very happy because she isn’t leaving tomorrow after all. This is a small craft. The weight on the plane is delicate and has to be fairly precise. So when they changed the flight plans, in addition to the flight crew, they listed a single female passenger, weighing approximately one hundred forty pou
nds. ”

  “But that chick might weigh ninety pounds when she’s soaking wet. ” As far as Lan was concerned, that assistant needed to eat a cheeseburger.

  “Yes. She would likely hyperventilate if her scale said that, yet she’s the one who filled out the change-of-flight form,” Dane finished.

  “Son of a bitch, she’s running,” Cooper cursed.

  “I don’t think she can run in those heels. Yas’s assistant seems really puny and unhealthy. ” Lan was pretty sure she wasn’t a runner.

  Dane laughed. “He’s talking about Alea, buddy. She’s the one who’s the right weight. They’re trying to pass it off as the other girl. They’re giving her the means to leave on her own and away from all these people, including us. ”

  Damn, he should have caught on. That sounded like the kind of play Alea would pull. “I saw that Thurston Hugs-a-Lot fucker listening in on you and Tal. The slimy bastard told Alea that we’re taking over, and she’s running. ”

  “You have a way with words, Lan,” Coop said, then he turned to Dane. “So what are we going to do? Stop the plane?”

  Lan didn’t think that was a good idea. Alea was going somewhere private. They wanted to be really damn private with her. “I think we should get on that plane. ”

  “I’m ahead of you,” Dane said. “I’ve already revised the flight plan to include the three of us. I met the woman who’s going to be serving on the plane and I talked to her. She’s willing to help us out. We’ll sneak on and be in the air before Alea can do a damn thing about it. Pack up, boys. We’re headed for Australia. We’re going to spend some time all alone with our girl. ”

  It could go crazy well. It could be the apocalypse. Either way, he was ready.

  Lan smiled. “I’m in. ”

  Chapter Five

  Alea cast a cautious glance behind her as she stepped onto the airstairs that would take her up to Oliver’s private Boeing. She half expected to see Dane, Coop, and Landon running across the darkened tarmac to stop her, but the world was quiet now. And she hadn’t seen them at all this morning.

  Of course it was five thirty a. m. , and they were likely sleeping. Even knowing that, a little kernel of completely perverse disappointment weighed down her stomach. She took a deep breath and ascended the steps.

  “Good morning, Princess,” the flight attendant Oliver had hired said in her crisp British accent, a jaunty blue and yellow scarf tied at her neck that matched her smile and the navy blazer she wore. “It’s a pleasure to have you here. I hope you find everything to your liking. ”

  “I’m sure it’s lovely. Thank you. ” Alea handed the young woman her suitcase, then looked around the cozy cabin.

  But what the small, yet well-appointed interior looked like to her was lonely. She was the only passenger. The pilot was in the cockpit, and a door between them was closed. Another door separated her from the rear of the plane, which included the kitchen and the hostess’s quarters. Once again, Alea was separated from everyone else.

  The flight attendant also offered to take her rolling carry-on, but Alea demurred since it held most of her entertainment for the long flight.

  As she made her way deeper into the cabin, she felt vaguely guilty for running off when Tal had hired investigators to dig into her kidnapping. But last night had proven that she was near a breaking point, lashing out at everyone. She felt more than vaguely ashamed by the things she’d said to Dane, Lan, and Coop. So Yas and Oliver’s offer had come at the perfect time. This holiday alone would help her think, clear her head. No one would know where she was, especially the asshole behind her abduction. She didn’t want to worry her family, so she’d text Piper and tell her cousins’ wife to assure everyone that she was perfectly safe.

  Two weeks. She was giving herself fourteen days to decide what she wanted to do next in life. She had the investigators’ report in her bag. She was going to read up on her case and decide on a course of action. Maybe she would just take her trust fund and disappear. Then no one would have to deal with her anymore. But the thought of never seeing her family again, of never seeing her men…

  “Princess? If you’ll take your seat, we’ll be taxiing in just a moment. ” The hostess gestured to one of the eight executive-style seats. “The pilot has brought you a bottle of wine from his homeland. He is so very proud to be flying for you today. ”

  Alea sighed inwardly. She wasn’t much of a drinker, but she would have to try the wine to be polite. It was expected as part of the Bezakistani royal family. Then once she hit Sydney, she could just blend in, be anyone, while she thought things through.

  She picked a seat near the window and glanced out. She could see the palace from here. It looked like home, and something inside told her not to leave. But if she went back, she would be forced to deal with them—and she wasn’t thinking about her cousins. She just couldn’t face her gorgeous guards again so soon after making a complete ass of herself.

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