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    Prologue

    SINCLAIR’S GENTLEMAN’S CLUB

    ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

    “I resigned.” John “Mac” McCoy picked up his drink, sipped, and let the calming heat of the whiskey seep into his system.

    “So I heard.” His best friend and now former partner, Jethro Riggs, took the seat across from him, set the whiskey bottle and glass carefully on the table, and leaned back to stare at his friend as he poured his own drink. “Honeymoon isn’t even over yet and your resignation landed on the desk. Wish you had told me. I could have won the office bet on how long you’d make it.”

    Jethro’s rakish smile went well with his overly long black hair and wicked blue eyes. The short, scruffy black beard and mustache drew feminine eyes, but the cold, bleak shadows in his gaze held them back.

    Mac worried about Jethro. When he left, he knew the other man would go from case to case without stopping to enjoy life. And life was there to be enjoyed.

    “I could have used the cash, man.” Jethro’s smile was laced with regret.

    Mac snorted at the thought. “Cheaters never win, Jethro.”

    “Yeah, yeah. So I hear. So, what are you going to do? Security?”

    Mac grinned. There weren’t a lot of jobs out there that appealed to a former undercover FBI agent, but Mac had always made certain he had a fallback position.

    “Farming.”

    “Farming?” Jethro’s eyes narrowed. “Hell, no.”

    “I still have that farm in North Carolina. I’ve saved enough to try to make a go at it. With Keiley’s computer work and a little side work myself working Internet investigations, we should do well. It beats getting shot at on a regular basis.”

    Jethro only shook his head, a knowing light filling his shadowed blue eyes.

    “And your membership here?”

    That part sucked. Mac stared around the dark wood walls, the open space, the bar at one end of what had once been a grand ballroom, the fireplace crackling at the other end.

    In between were two pool tables and several seating arrangements with large comfortable chairs, televisions, newspapers, and tables a man could put his feet on. But it wasn’t the ambience that drew the members to the club. It was the chance to socialize with men who understood their ways, accepted them, understood them.

    “I gave Ian notice earlier,” he said quietly.

    He was aware of the bomb he had just dropped, aware that Jethro had been waiting, even more than the others in the club, for the day Mac would choose a third.

    The club catered to men with a particular sexual taste. Men who had seen the darkness in the world for whatever reason, and searched for peace in the extremity of sharing their lovers with other men.

    Men who worshipped the female body. Who believed sex was an adventure and adventures were always more exciting when shared. Especially with someone who understood the particular pleasures to be found in pushing a woman to her sexual limits. In giving her more pleasure than she could have conceived possible.

    Mac loved it. He thrived on it. He came here to unwind, to drink, to discuss world affairs, and to either choose a third for his latest lover or to become a third to another man’s lover.

    At least, he used to come here for that.

    Six months of marriage, and the pressure was beginning to tell on him. The knowledge that the club members were just waiting to see whom he would choose to break his wife into the ménage lifestyle he practiced was beginning to fray his control. Knowing Jethro was growing more distant, more certain that the woman he had given to Mac would never know his touch, was starting to eat at him.

    He knew Jethro’s feelings for Keiley. Just as he knew that the other man would have never given into them.

    “You haven’t told her yet, have you?” Jethro said then. “I thought you were going to.”

    He had met Jethro during his first year in Quantico, where they had been paired together for a training exercise. Mac’s easier, more relaxed demeanor had slowly rubbed off on the too rigid, too somber Jethro Riggs. And once each learned that ménage was the other’s preferred sexual activity, they had become fast friends.

    Not that the friendship hadn’t been without its problems. They were both dominant men; both tended to want to control the sexual situations that involved their women.

    But they learned they each had their own distinctive areas that interlaced perfectly in those relationships. Mac tended to indulge his lovers emotionally, while Jethro indulged them in more physical areas.

    For years he and Jethro had trained together, worked together, and shared their women together.

    Until Mac met Keiley.

    “She’s heard the rumors.” Mac sipped at his drink, wishing he could just toss it back and let the fiery burn blaze through the regret in his gut.

    “And?”

    “And I told her it was in the past.” He looked around the room again before meeting Jethro’s gaze. “It’s going to stay in the past. For now.”

    Keiley had come to his bed a virgin. Trusting. Innocent. She would never understand her husband’s need to see another man cover her, pumping inside her, nor, he believed, would she be able to handle a ménage that would include a man she didn’t love.

    Keiley would have to love any man she took into her bed, even as a third. But he knew the curiosity was there. He had seen it in the flash of heat in her eyes as she questioned him. But Mac knew that right now, introducing her into the idea of a ménage or the ménage relationship he envisioned wasn’t something Keiley could accept.

    Perhaps later. He was counting on later. His new wife was adventurous, fiery, and curious as hell. But her youth held her back, whereas with other women it lent freedom. Keiley’s past experience with gossip, and the destruction that came with it, wouldn’t allow for the sexual games and the eventual bond Mac intended to see her forge with himself and Jethro.

    Until his wife was more settled, until maturity gained her the edge she would need to overcome her fears, that wasn’t going to happen. It didn’t mean Mac was going to forget about it. It just meant that for the time being his plans would have to wait.

    Moving her back to his hometown would help. The ways of navigating small towns and gossip was something Keiley needed to understand. A ménage wasn’t tantamount to the hell she had endured as a child. But until she learned low to handle the gossip, his hungers and Jethro’s would have to wait.

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