on January 27, 2015
Buy on Amazon
Battered, barefoot, and huddled under a bookstore awning in the pouring rain, Blue only knows one thing. After fifteen months of captivity, finally… she is free.
Self-made millionaires JD and Ark are not out to save anyone when they stumble upon a wet and shivering girl one early Sunday morning. But when you sell sex for a living and salvation rings your bell… you answer the call.
After years of searching, love lifts the veil of darkness, and three people—with three very big secrets—find themselves bound together in a relationship that defies the odds.
Or does it?
Love. Lust. Sex.
This trinity might be perfection… but not everything should come in 3’s.
WARNING: This is a STANDALONE non-traditional M/F/M ROMANCE with a non-traditional ending.
“I’m yours, JD. If you want me, I’m yours.”
“No, Blue,” he whispers back. “You’re ours.”
My heart swells as I watch them at dinner. Paige, her sweet face happy and excited to be the center of attention as we eat. Ark, his eyes filled with pride as she recounts her day with friends. She fills me in, talks to me—includes me—the same way JD did the morning he stole my heart without me even realizing it.
Paige does the same thing.
She turns on her charm and I am owned. One hundred percent, utterly and completely. Owned.
After dinner she balks at her bedtime and puts on a pouty face that I’d never be able to resist. But Ark. “No story time if you pout,” he says, still the man in control.
I catch Paige’s smile as she immediately turns and climbs the stairs to the second story of the loft where her bedroom must be. The housekeeper follows, leaving Ark and I alone for the first time since I got here several hours ago.
He rises from the table, comes around to my chair, and pulls it out to allow me to stand. “Do you mind waiting down here while I put her to bed?”
I look up into his face. A face I’ve dreamed about for years. “You’re real.”
He swipes a finger down my cheek. “I’m real.”
“I started to forget.” His eyes, already soft and filled with love for me, soften even more. “Some days I’d start writing. And I’d be so frantic that I’d forget what happened. Or forget those feelings I had. I wrote all day. I was obsessed.”
“Your words, Blue.” He shakes his head. “I read your book every day. I’d just flip it open to a random page and start reading. I was obsessed.”
I let out a long sigh. Relief, I realize. Relief that he and I are not crazy. We’re not crazy, we’re just connected.
“I won’t take long. Just one story.” And then he leans down and breathes into my ear. “I’ve missed you so much.”
And his words are stuck in my head as I watch him walk up the stairs without looking back.
The housekeeper comes back down and I turn to admire his view of lower Manhattan, listening to the voices of Ark and Paige upstairs. The housekeeper is busy in the kitchen, so I am left alone with my thoughts.
I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
I refocus my eyes, shifting my view from the city to my own reflection in the window, and then let out a sigh.
This isn’t right.
I turn and cross the living room, unnoticed by the three people who live here, and my hand reaches for the front door. I look over my shoulder for a moment, a moment of hesitation. Not because I feel guilty—but because I want to make sure I remain unnoticed.
I open the door, slip through, and close it behind me as quietly as I can.
I punch the button to call the elevator and when it comes, the doors opening in a smooth, almost soundless motion, I step in and let out a breath.
It takes me back down to the basement and when I step out into the gallery I search for a light panel before going forward.
I find what I’m looking for on the wall near the door that leads outside and I flip switches until I have that one spotlight shining down on JD’s face.
Another sigh escapes.
I walk over to him and place a hand on his cheek. “She’s so pretty, JD. You’d be so proud, I just know. You’d be so proud of her and so proud of Ark.”
I wait for an answer, even if it is only in my head. But even though I’ve imagined a final conversation with JD in my head a million ways and he always has something to say, there is no answer, so I just continue. “I don’t think you meant to hurt me that night. I really don’t.”
I’m making excuses for his behavior, but I don’t care. I was always sure of JD’s love. It was Ark who kept me guessing. “I know you didn’t mean it. I know you were running from the guilt and the shame. I realize that. So…” I let out another breath. “So I just want you to know I forgive you. Like Ark said – that was my night. It was destiny. I was destined to be freed from my self-imposed prison and there’s no way fate would fuck it all up by handing me back over to them. ”
It feels like a weight is lifted from me after the words come out.
“I forgive you,” I repeat. “And not because you were sick, either. But because we all make mistakes. And I know in my heart that even if I was taken back that night you’d never rest until you found me again. You’d obsess over me the same way you obsessed over Paige.”
“You’re wrong,” Ark says from across the room. I turn and look at him as he walks slowly towards me. “You’re wrong, Blue.”
“He loved me.” I shake my head. “No, he loved us, Ark. He would’ve come save me if I was taken.”
Ark is shaking his head as well, the whole time I’m talking. “No. No, he couldn’t save anyone.”
“I refuse to make him into the bad guy, I’m sorry if that upsets—“
“Stop,” he says, reaching for my hand as he comes up to me. “Just stop.” He takes my hand in his and pulls me into a hug. “We don’t need to make up a reality where he’s saved. He wasn’t, OK. He wasn’t. He kept it together for a few years but he was never saved. He was damaged, Blue. Far beyond repair.”
“That’s not true,” I insist, placing a palm against his chest to push him back a few inches. I won’t let him consume me. I won’t let either of them consume me the way I let them back in Denver. “He sacrificed himself for us.”
“God,” Ark laughs. “You cannot fucking believe that. He killed himself because he knew he’d never be able to live with the guilt if he didn’t. If selling his daughter and getting Marie killed was enough to send him on a path of self-destruction, then betraying you would send him spinning into madness.”
I pull completely away this time and turn back to the picture of JD. I look into the image of his blue eyes. “You don’t have to forgive him, but I do.” I wait for Ark to say something but all I hear is the tapping of his shoes as he walks across the floor. I look over my shoulder just as he takes a seat in a long black leather bench in the middle of the room. I turn back to JD. “I forgive you. I loved you. You accepted me as I was. Even though she was an ugly, ugly person. You accepted me.”
“He beat you.”
I ignore Ark this time. This is between JD and me.
“You loved me,” I insist, touching his lips. “Because after each…” I have to stop and search for the word because it’s been so long since I thought about this part of my life with them. “Ravishment, you took care me. You loved me and held me and told me stories about yourself.”
“What?” Ark asks from behind me.
I step forward and bow my head, letting it rest against JD’s chest. My fingertips flatten against the canvas paper, and I picture all those moments we had in my head. “He told me all about Marie when he took care of me afterward.”
“He did not. He never talked about Marie.”
I can hear the anger in his voice. Maybe even jealousy. But if we want to move forward this needs to be settled. “He told me, Ark. Everything but that last final piece of the puzzle. He never wanted me to know that last final piece.”
I turn away from JD and look at Ark now. He’s the one who matters. He’s the one who needs saving. “Do you know why he was so rough?”
Ark is silent for a moment as he stares at me. His along legs are kicked out in front of him but he draws them in and places his elbows on his knees to he can drop his head into his hands. “Because he liked it rough. Power, maybe. Control, probably.”
I walk over to him and sit down next to him so our bodies are touching. “No, Ark. That’s not why.” He doesn’t lift his head, but he does shake it, like he’s disagreeing with me. “He liked breaking me down so he could build me back up afterward.”
“Fuck that shit.”
I lean my head against his shoulder. “It doesn’t have to make sense to you. And I’m sure it doesn’t. But it makes sense to me. Because I knew what it felt like to be abandoned and he knew what it felt like to be the one who abandons. He was just trying to make it right.”
“You’re making excuses.”
“Maybe,” I say, standing up in front of him and taking hold of both his hands so he can’t hide from me. And then I straddle his legs and place myself in his lap. His arms immediately fold around me and hold me tight.
“I love you,” he says.
“You love him too,” I say back.
“I can’t forgive him. I love him, but I can’t forgive him. I will never forgive him for…”
I feel my nose start to tingle from the tears. “For what?”
Ark just shakes his head. “You’re mine now, fuck him. I saw you first and he knew it. But he wanted in and he took advantage of my friendship to get what he wanted. And then… and then it just pissed me off that he…” But his words stop and he lets out a sigh of air instead.
I lean into his neck and whisper in his ear. “I am yours. He’s gone. I don’t need him anymore. I only need you. But you have to say it, Ark. Or we can never move forward.”
He pulls back, putting distance between us that almost breaks my heart. “I will never forgive him for beating you.”
“That’s not what he needs forgiveness for, Ark. It was a mutual arrangement. And that’s not even why you’re really mad. Because what I’m saying makes sense. Even if you would never have such an agreement with a woman like that, it makes sense when you apply it to JD and me.”
I wait for his reply, but he stays silent, his eyes staring over my shoulder at the photograph on the wall. I wait him out the way he used to wait for me. “I loved him,” he finally says.
“I loved his stupid ass. And I know he was sick, but it didn’t have to end this way, you know?” He looks up at me. Finally. His eyes filled with sadness. “You wrote the ending the way it should’ve happened, Blue.”
I shake my head at him. “I wrote a fantasy, Ark. There was only one way for this to end.”
He fists the fabric of my dress behind my back. “Then I fucking hate him,” Ark finally admits. “I fucking hate his guts. And I will never forgive him for…” He stares into me, searching for the strength to say what he means. “For killing himself. For leaving me and never coming back.” Ark grinds his jaw together. “Never,” he repeats.
“You saved him.”
“I killed him.”
“You saved him so many times over. He told me, Ark. He told me about Marie for a few days. And then after we were done with the rough stuff, he told me about you. He told me how you never stopped believing. He told me I was yours. I have always been yours and he knew it.”
His arms wrap around me tightly and he pulls me so close, I almost stop breathing.
“He didn’t even know me, Blue. He didn’t even know me because I lied to him about everything.”
“He knew you Ark. He knew us both because everything with JD was simple. This or that. Dark and light. Up and down. He knew you as the friend who saved him when everyone else wanted write him off as undeserving. You taught him how to accept the pain of recovery and embrace life. He knew me as the girl who let him be himself. He didn’t want to hurt me. I wanted him to hurt me He wanted to take care of me the way he never did Marie.”
Ark looks up at me, the logic of it finally starting to make sense.
“I swear,” I say, crossing my heart with my fingertips. “I swear, Ark. This is how he saw us. This is why he was the way he was. I think part of what you said earlier is right. He killed himself because of the guilt. I’ve run all this through my head over and over again for two years. But it didn’t all make sense until I saw you with Paige tonight.”
“He killed himself to save us.”
I nod and wrap my arms around him just as tightly as his are wrapped around me. “Us,” I say. “All three of us.”
We sit that way, in silence, for a few minutes. I know he’s looking at JD’s picture over my shoulder, so when the words come out, I’m not surprised. “I forgive him, then.”
I let out a long sigh.
“I forgive you, JD. For killing yourself and leaving me.” And then he lets go of his tight hold of me and his hands slide up my body until they rest on either side of my face. “For giving me what I wanted. Blue.”
I lean down and kiss him on the lips. His tongue finds mine immediately. We share the long tender kiss of lovers. And when he pulls back he looks me in the eyes. “My wife would like it soft.”
I smile and then let out a little laugh. “I’m so ready for soft, you have no idea. I’ve had enough lust. I’ve had enough sex, Ark. I’m ready for love.”
“Tell me what you want, Blue.”
“Love me,” I say back immediately. “Just love me.”
He unzips my dress and pulls it up over my head, and then sends it falling to the floor. “I plan on it. I plan on loving you forever.”
He stands me up and takes off his suit coat, then his tie, and then unbuttons his shirt one button at a time, starting from the bottom the way he always used to do it back in the loft. It used to drive me crazy with desire back then and it still does now.
But in a very different way.
A normal way. Not the way it was when I craved the violence and the release.
I slide my hands along the taut muscles that line his waist as he unhooks my bra and slips my panties down my legs. I step out of them and stand before him naked.
Stripped bare in all the ways that matter.
I reach for the button on his pants and free his hard length. He stares down at me the whole time as I stare up at him. My eyes open. My trust complete. My love real.
“Like my wife on her wedding night, right?”
“Just like that,” I tell him back. “Just like that.”
And then he makes love to me for the first time in my life. On a long thin couch in the middle of a room filled with the memories of three people who needed each other the way no one else on this Earth will ever understand.
It’s not a conventional love story. It’s not really a happily ever after. And it sure wasn’t the easiest way for two people to find each other.
But all the broken pieces are finally back together.
We are whole. And that’s all that matters.
END OF BONUS SCENE SHIT
I really wanted the book to end with “Everything should come in threes,” but I think they deserved an epilogue. At least to set things right with JD. So that’s what I wrote. 🙂
It wasn’t edited, so excuse any typos and mistakes.
Enter to win a signed paperback of Three, Two, One (open internationally)
All you have to do is share the bonus scene post on your social media account(s) (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Sample message below:
#BonusScene #Giveaway #ThreeTwoOne #PerfectTrinity #DefyTheOdds @jahuss @shhmomsreading
Please make sure to post a link to your shares below. ONE winner will be chosen on Sunday January 10th at 10am EST! Good luck! And thank you for sharing!