Mischief and the Masters by Cherise Sinclair

  She threaded the needle and smiled. Wedding dress hunting was the best. Andrea was going to be simply gorgeous in hers.

  As her phone reminder went off, Uzuri silenced it and shook her head. Absentminded, much? After she, Kim, Gabi, and Rainie had gone on their self-assigned “mission” last night, she’d planned to call Jessica—and had forgotten.

  Thankfully, her waxing appointment with Sally and Andrea had reminded her and she’d set the alarm on her phone. She grinned, thinking of the flurry of Spanish curses. Master Cullen had better appreciate the torture his submissive had endured to enhance their honeymoon.

  Glancing around the room, Uzuri saw Lanna was still with her friends. Time to make the call. She punched in the number to Jessica’s cell.

  “Uzuri.” Rather than Jessica’s bubbly voice, she heard Master Z’s deep, sophisticated voice.

  “Uh…” She stared at the phone. Hadn’t she called Jessica?

  “Jessica is giving Sophia a bath. How are you doing?”

  Oh, awkward. “I’m fine. I should be back tomorrow.”

  “Indeed. However, I gave all of Andrea’s friends this weekend off. I know you are all buried in wedding duties.”

  “Really?” Uzuri sighed in relief. “That will help.”

  “Very good. Did you wish to leave a message for Jessica?”

  “Yes. No.”

  Under the weight of his silence, Uzuri closed her eyes. How could he exert a Dom’s pressure when he didn’t even speak? “Sir. I actually wanted to ask you for advice…or something.”

  “Go on.”

  “It’s Andrea. Um, she’s missing her father and the wedding is coming…” Awkwardly, Uzuri spilled out what Andrea had said and how she’d cried.

  When Uzuri finished, she sighed. Would she lose her girl card now for revealing secrets?

  “I understand,” Master Z said softly. “Thank you, little one. You did well to tell me.”

  The constriction in Uzuri’s chest relaxed, letting her pull in a breath. “Okay. Good. Um, bye.”

  Even as she tucked the phone back in her purse, she had to shake her head at how totally inept she’d been. Unfortunately, that was how she was. In professional settings, she did fine. With women, she was smooth and confident. With dating or with Doms? She was a total fluster-face.

  It didn’t matter, though, did it? She’d survive feeling gauche if it meant Master Z would talk with Master Cullen about Andrea.

  Then Andrea would be happy.

  Uzuri smiled. Andrea would be such a beautiful bride. Master Cullen was going to totally light up when he saw his woman coming down the aisle. He loved her so much.

  Uzuri rubbed at the knot of envy located right under her breastbone. It would be nice to have someone look at her that way.

  Although, Alastair had given her a warm smile when he’d come to her apartment. Really warm. More than an I-want-to-fuck-you look. That had been an I-like-you smile.

  Yesterday, during the self-defense class, she’d caught Max checking out her ass. Only, he’d not been all leering and ugly about it, but more like an oooh-shiny moment, and then he’d caught himself and gotten back to business. He hadn’t made her feel cheap, but pretty.

  It was a good feeling.

  If a bit confusing. Since she’d gone to bed with Alastair, shouldn’t Max back away? Only, the Drago Doms did sometimes top together at the club. Did they share a girlfriend, as well?

  Only, she wasn’t a girlfriend. Not in reality. Merely someone Alastair had taken to bed. Of course, he had called afterward, so she was more than a one-night stand, right? Really, if she hadn’t been out of town for a fashion show until two days ago, maybe he’d have asked her out.

  Or not. He was so polite. That might be why he’d called. What if she hadn’t been that interesting or good in bed?

  She snorted. Insecure, much? She was. There were times she regretted her lack of experience—and the only one she had to blame for the recent lack was herself.

  Seeing Makayla approach, Uzuri patted the bench. “Sit and we’ll get—”

  Her phone buzzed, and she pulled it out. Alastair. She should wait. Let it go to voice mail.

  Not a chance.


  “Good evening, love. Are you back in town?”

  “Um. Hi. Yes. Yes, I am.” Oh, didn’t she sound intelligent.

  “Excellent. You see, Max’s schedule got rearranged, which means we’re both off tomorrow night. I know you’re busy with Andrea’s wedding, but if you can fit us in, we’re having a few friends over for dinner. We’d like you to come.” She could hear the smile in his voice when he added, “Hunter misses you—and so do I.”

  Her first instinctive response was to start thinking of excuses. She recognized her cowardice—oh, how pitiful, girl. She lifted her chin. Courage. She had it; she did. “I’d love to come.”

  “Good girl.” The approval in his deep voice warmed her like being bathed in sunlight. “Around seven. And bring an overnight bag, pet.”

  Before she could respond to his outrageous assumption, he’d already disconnected.

  “Oh-Em-Gee, that voice!” Makayla stood right next to Uzuri’s chair and fanned herself. “All British and deep and… Oh-Em-Gee, he sounds like the Arrow’s super hunky, cool stepfather.”

  Uzuri managed to stay sitting, but inside, she was spinning and singing, “Omigod, he called, he called, he called. Alastair called me.”

  With an effort, she said calmly, “He does sound like Walter Steele, doesn’t he?” Oh, he truly did. Total voice-porn. Yummy.

  Behave, girl. She pushed the sewing box toward the girl. “Let’s get started on hemming your dress. Do you know how to thread a needle?”

  Chapter Fourteen

  ON FRIDAY NIGHT, Max opened the front door and smiled down at Uzuri. Now here was one beautiful woman. This was a totally different image from two weeks ago when she’d been schlepping around their house in his flannel shirt, hair in fat twists, and wearing no makeup.

  Today… Her shiny black hair was pulled up and twisted back on the top and sides, then left to fall in in springy coils down to her shoulders. Made his fingers itch to play. She wore makeup—enough to make her eyes enormous and her lips glossy. That plump lower lip of hers could undo a man. Her crisp sundress was the color of a deep red rose, and her earrings, lipstick, and nails matched the color.

  As a guy, he couldn’t help wanting to untie that perky bow behind her neck—the one that held the halter-top up.

  “Did I get the wrong time?” she asked. “You’re frowning.”

  Yeah, he was. And erect, too. As he regained control of himself, he gave her another slow look. “You know, you really are stunning.”

  She blinked at his compliment before giving him a delighted smile. “Thank you.”

  “Only the truth.” Taking her hand, he pulled her into the house and then into his arms. If she had to reapply her lipstick, too bad.

  As he molded her against him, he took her generous mouth in a dark, deep kiss. To his pleasure, she kissed him back. Yeah, he hadn’t forgotten how wholeheartedly she kissed.

  When he lifted his head, he licked his lips. “You taste like strawberries.”

  “I nibbled on some while I was getting dressed.”

  Because they hadn’t given her much time between leaving work and coming here. He frowned. “I should get you something to eat. It’ll be a while before dinner is ready.”

  “Sally’s right. Doms are overprotective.” Delighting him, she went up on tiptoes to press a light kiss on his lips. “I’m fine.”

  “All right, then.” He’d tell Alastair to serve the appetizers early. “C’mon. Hunter wants to see you.”

  If enthusiasm was a gauge, Hunter had definitely missed the little submissive. The minute they stepped outside, Hunter let out a bark and charged across the patio. Uzuri dropped down to her knees, bestowing hugs and pats. “Pretty puppy. Such a pretty puppy.”

  Stubby tail wagging frantically, the d
og wiggled and squirmed in circles, getting in quick licks everywhere he could reach. Uzuri only laughed.

  Grinning, Max stepped back, partly to avoid being bowled over. Yeah, she was a real dog-hater, all right.

  Galen and Vance joined him. “That’s a pretty sight,” Galen said.

  “It is, isn’t it?” Max added, half under his breath, “I’d like those hands on me, dammit.”

  Vance punched his shoulder. “’Bout time someone wised up and made a move on her. I was beginning to think every Dom in the club was blind.”

  “Can’t blame them. She wasn’t about to let any man get close,” Max said.

  Galen blew out a disgusted breath. “A submissive’s anxieties shouldn’t deter a determined Dom…not if she is attracted to him. Or them.”

  Galen probably spoke from experience. From the gossip, Sally had put up a battle before her two Masters had won her.

  But even if they got Uzuri past her fears, Max doubted she’d be comfortable with two men at once. Apparently, she’d been with only one Dom at a time.

  However, when he’d talked with Alastair and offered to back off, his cousin had vetoed the idea. Alastair wanted a D/s V-triad—two Doms sharing one submissive. Period. Max shook his head. The doc wasn’t nearly as hard-ass as Max, but he could be incredibly stubborn.

  Which was a relief, because Max was getting pulled in far faster than he liked.

  He glanced at the two Doms. “Any advice?”

  Vance frowned. “Go slow, but don’t give her a chance to let her anxieties overcome her courage.”

  “We found it was easier living together rather than trying to date. The interactions are more natural. You’re not forced to try to interact together all the time.” Galen leaned against the wall. “Lotta dynamics going on with a ménage. You each have a unique relationship with your woman, then you have your relationship with your co-Dom, and then there’s another dynamic when it’s all three of you.”

  “True. Living together is more relaxed. There’s more down time.” Vance glanced at him. “She was here for a couple of days. You probably each had alone time with her without thinking about it.”

  Interesting observation. “That’s true. Well, we’ll see where it goes.”

  Galen’s gaze turned to Max. “She really is a sweetheart, you know.”

  “So I’m learning.” Max grinned as Uzuri hugged Hunter, managing to hold him still long enough to plant a kiss on the furry head.

  Sweet she definitely was. All the same, was she strong enough for a relationship with him and Alastair? For two Doms?

  UZURI RUBBED HER chin on top of Hunter’s head, smiling at the feel of the soft fur. Oh, she’d missed him as much as she’d missed the two Doms. “You’re such a sweetie.”

  He wiggled his agreement.

  “Okay, honey, I have to get up now.”

  He didn’t budge. Seventy or so pounds of dog was sprawled across her lap…and, since she was wearing a dress, scrambling out from under him wasn’t going to work. Not unless she flashed everyone on the patio.

  “Might you need some help?” Alastair asked from behind her.

  “Yes, please, Sir.” The Sir somehow slipped out. How did he do that to her?

  “Hunter, come.” He snapped his fingers, and the dog jumped off her lap to sit at the Dom’s feet. “Good boy.”

  After tossing Hunter a treat, Alastair held out his hand for Uzuri. Even though he loomed over her, she looked into his steady dark eyes and relaxed. His hand closed around hers, and he lifted her easily to her feet.

  “Thank you.”

  “Woman, this is how you thank a Dom.” As he pulled her closer, he ran his fingers up into her hair—and gripped. The firm pull sent so many tingles through her that her body seemed to chime.

  “I do like when your hair is loose and curly,” he murmured. “I like being able to touch.”

  Oh boy, he could touch all he wanted. She might never use extensions again. As he tugged her head back and took her lips, her insides went into one super-gooey, meltdown. How could a man’s lips be so soft and yet so firm? She could feel his perfectly trimmed beard, a different roughness from the adjacent clean-shaven skin. Each breath brought her the tantalizingly sunny citrus scent of his aftershave.

  With a low hum of enjoyment, he ran his free hand down her back, flattening her against him. Although she’d wrapped her arms around his neck, he controlled her movements as he explored her lips, her mouth, and her jaw, slowly and thoroughly, until she felt as if he knew her better from one kiss than anyone had known her before. Wave after wave of heat moved through her until her skin felt as if it were radiating.

  When he finally lifted his head, her legs had gone weak.

  The muscles in his arm hardened to iron as he took her weight and smiled down at her. “Hunter isn’t the only one who missed you, pet.”

  “I…” She was always polite and couldn’t think of a thing to say. Could only stare up at him.

  Laughter lightened his eyes to green. He picked up a glass of wine from the nearby patio table and handed it to her. “I brought this out for you. Come and join the others.”

  At a table near the garden pond, Sally, Rainie, and Jake had obviously enjoyed the show. Vance and Galen strolled over—also grinning—and sat on each side of Sally. Near the door into the house, Max smiled at her.

  Oh, honestly. Hadn’t anyone ever seen a kiss before? As Uzuri’s cheeks heated, she smoothed her dress and walked over to the table. “It’s good to see you all. Isn’t this wonderful weather we’re having?”

  Vance’s lips twitched. “It is, although perhaps overly humid. You look flushed.”

  She didn’t glare at him, but if he said anything else, she’d turn all his whips and floggers into macramé hangings.

  With his usual impeccable manners, Alastair seated her. “Would you like a Negroni as an aperitif or something else?”

  “The Negroni sounds wonderful. Thank you.”

  When he left, Max stepped behind Uzuri. As he talked with Galen and Vance about the joys of adopting a dog, his callused palms rested on the bare skin of her shoulders.

  All she could think was that a halter-top might have been a bad idea. Yet she didn’t want him to move. Ever.

  “We could get a pup since we’re home more now,” Galen mused. “At least Sally and I are.”

  “An adult dog might be a wiser choice.” Vance shook his head. “Glock would consider a puppy a fine high protein snack.”

  “Glock?” Max asked.

  Uzuri tipped her head back and smiled at him. “They have a big gray cat who rules the house.”

  “He’s death on rodents,” Vance added. “And has every dog in the neighborhood cowed.”

  “That’s a hell of a name.” Max snorted a laugh. “Next year, keep us in mind for a kitten, Rainie—one that looks like a Colt.”

  “A Glock’ll take a Colt any day,” Galen said.

  Enjoying the quiet conversation, Uzuri realized Max was perfectly comfortable with everyone. Although he had a face as hard and deadly as Master Nolan’s, he didn’t have Nolan’s taciturn nature at all. He liked people and liked talking with them.

  And as he idly massaged her shoulders, she relaxed. Jarvis had been overly familiar, squeezing her ass or trying to fondle her breasts in public. Max’s hands never left her shoulders.

  When Alastair joined them, he settled on the other side of Uzuri, took her hand, and laced their fingers together.

  They were treating her in the way a man might treat his date. His lover. His wife. Possessively.

  Both of them.

  * * * * *

  LATER THAT EVENING, Uzuri stood in the powder room and checked her hair and makeup. Everything looked good. Better than good, actually. She was glowing.

  Being the focus of two very dominant men made her feel…incredible. Sexy and pretty. Wanted.

  There had rarely been a moment when Max or Alastair wasn’t touching her. An arm around her waist, a hand pressed to the hol
low of her spine, or fingers laced with hers.

  At first, she’d worried their public display of affection was merely to work on her fear of men. Only…maybe not.

  Alastair liked her. Yes, she honestly believed he did.

  Max did, too. His kiss had been hot. And branding.

  But both of them? Talk about confusing.

  Right now, she didn’t care. She was having fun.

  Besides, telling the Dragos that she was feeling a little anxious with their attentions would simply ensure they touched her even more. Doms liked to push the boundaries like that.

  Aside from her worries, the evening had been marvelous. The food—Cornish game hens served over wild rice with a shitake mushroom sauce—had been superb, the conversation dynamic and filled with laughter. They’d invited her best of best friends, and she doubted the guest list had been by chance.

  Although Alastair was more reserved than Max, he was articulate and interesting. He’d lived and traveled all over the world. He and Jake were a lot alike. Galen and Vance had been in law enforcement and spoke Max’s language. Rainie and Sally were not only brilliant, but irrepressible. Truly a fun evening.

  After a noisy thunderstorm drove them into the formal living room, Alastair’d brought out a late harvest Zinfandel he’d bought in France and an assortment of fruit and cheesecake tarts for dessert.

  Uzuri shook her head at herself. The Zinfandel was probably the reason she felt so mellow. That last glass had been one too many.

  As she returned to the living room, she heard the doorbell chime. Were the Dragos expecting more guests?

  On his way to the front door, Alastair stopped to touch her cheek gently, leaving tingling warmth behind.

  How could he get all her senses stirred up so easily?

  Unsettled again, she took her seat and smiled at how the TV room and the living room differed. The TV room furniture was mostly Max’s, and the room was all about comfort.

  The more dignified living room was designed for entertaining. Against the pale gray walls, Alastair’s European furniture ruled—a white camel back sofa with carved legs and several burgundy wingback chairs. The lights in the crystal hanging candelabra lent a soft glow to the room; the hand-carved limestone fireplace mantel simply cried out for real candles.

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