If we are going to make this a proper thing between the four of us, how will it even work? Would I spend each night sleeping with Asher and only have sex with the other three? Would they want to take turns sleeping with me? Or perhaps, we could buy a huge bed and all fit in it. I almost laugh out loud at the idea. Three of the men are huge, and we'd need something custom made for that to work. Then again, with Rafferty’s money, that shouldn't be an impossibility.
“Well, then, gentlemen, if you'll excuse me, I think I will have an early night and prepare myself for the morning.”
“That means no sneaking into her bed tonight, Asher,” Brody says.
Crap, so theydidknow.
“Spoilsport.” Asher’s expression grows serious behind his glasses. “Nothing happened, you know. It was just for comfort.”
“Very gallant of you.” Rafferty rolls his eyes. “Perhaps we need to discuss the sleeping arrangements, as we move forward. Not tonight, though. Tonight, I think Honor needs her sleep more than she needs comfort.”
“I didn't say it was forhercomfort, did I?” Asher says.
His cheeks tinge a slight shade of red, and I'm shocked at what he's admitting. This man who always tries in many ways to be the hardest out of all of them has just openly admitted he has been seeking comfort in my bed. It gives me a warm feeling deep in my stomach. I’ve been struggling with nightmares since getting back to the island, reliving that terrible time with Don, and reliving discovering my mother’s body, too. I guess it’s only to be expected, considering everything I’ve gone through, but it’s still not been pleasant. It’s been a huge comfort to wake, gasping and trembling, to discover I’m not alone
I smile over at him. “He doesn't stop me sleeping. It's better than sleeping alone. I like his arm around me.”
“Maybe some of us would like a turn,” Wilder grumbles.
“Right,” Rafferty says with a snap of impatience to his tone. “We will have a house meeting tomorrow to discuss the sleeping arrangements. Tonight, let Asher do his usual thing. They aren't getting up to stuff behind our back, and he's not disturbing her sleep. Tomorrow night we will talk about it and figure out a way forward. Is that okay with you, Wilder?”
Wilder sighs but nods. Brody’s jaw ticks, but he also gives a reluctant nod, and Asher grins like the proverbial cat that got the cream.
That evening, I take a long, luxurious bath and use the scented oil that was given to me when I first arrived here. Although the scent might have held bad memories for me, bearing in mind it was presented to me by the now ex-housekeeper who made my life hell, it doesn't. It gives me a warm, sensual feeling whenever I smell it because it makes me think of the men and the games we play.
After a soak, I slather myself in body lotion and blow dry my hair straight, so I can pull it up in the ponytail tomorrow. I open the drawer where the outfit that I wear for the games is kept and take it out with slightly shaking hands. I'm excited to be laying these clothes out again, and it feels quite a momentous moment for some reason. I get my boots ready, too, and place them by the clothes folded over the back of the sofa in the living room, and I look at my ensemble for a long moment then head into the bedroom. Next to my bed there is a cool, retro styled radio, with access to all the digital channels. I find something playing some country and let my eyes drift shut to the plaintive sounds of Maria McKee.
I'm already drifting in and out of consciousness when the bed dips gently beside me, and the warm arm wraps around me, pulling me into a solid shape. Asher doesn't speak, which is par for the course. He rarely says anything when he does this. I think at first he thought I was sleeping, and just snuggled up close to me and closed his eyes, falling asleep right alongside me. Every time he's gotten into the bed, though, it has woken me. But I do soon drift back off, his warmth and his scent lulling me to sleep.
Tonight is no exception, and my eyes grow heavy.
THE BRIGHT LIGHT HITSme, and I turn my head away from it. The blinds are open, and Asher is gone. The scent of coffee floats into the bedroom from the living space, and the promise of caffeine lures me from bed.
I head out and discover a light breakfast has been prepared for me and is already laid out. Ever since things went down at the rental house, there is only a skeleton staff running this place now. They consist of the pilot, a handful of security guards, and one man who seems to be working as a butler-slash-waiter. I think this breakfast spread is the work of my men. It makes it all the more special.
There are scrambled egg whites, strips of bacon, and a slice of wheat toast with avocado. There's a card leaning against the coffee pot, and I walk over there and pick it up.
Enjoy your breakfast. It's light on carbs because we don't want you to get a stomachache when you are running. Plenty of protein, though, to give you energy, orange juice for your vitamin C, coffee to wake you up, and a bottle of water to take with you. There's also a prepacked rucksack on the floor by your boots. We hope you're ready for some fun!
I grin to myself and pick up a piece of the perfectly crisp bacon and bite into it, enjoying the satisfying crunch. These men know how to cook bacon to my liking. None of that horrible, soggy, lightly grilled stuff with stringy fat. No, this is perfectly cooked so all the fat has turned crisp and delicious.
When my breakfast is finished, I clean my teeth and put on some simple makeup. I apply a spritz of the scent as a finishing touch. Then I brush my hair until it shines and pull it into a high ponytail. I get dressed quickly and take a look at myself in the full-length mirror in the bedroom. This is the girl I've grown to love. This is the girl I recognize as the new me. I've changed so much in the last month it has been seismic. Even if everything ended between me and these men tomorrow, I could never go back to being that innocent girl I was when I first arrived here. I wouldn't want to, either.
I grab the rucksack and head out of the bedroom. When I reach the living room, the men are sitting around, talking and laughing. When I enter the room, a hush falls over the proceedings.
For a moment, I'm scared they are going to be different with me. Are they going to treat me with the politeness I don't want?
“Well, well, well. Look at you,” Asher says with a sneer. “You’re back to being dressed the way you always should be. Our own precious little toy. Looks like your tits have grown, too,” he says and laughs.
I grin at him in relief. Thank God. I love the more affectionate side of him, but I've grown weirdly attached to the dick side, too.
“Here you go,” Rafferty says as he hands me a piece of paper. “We want you to run to the beach today. Which beach is up to you. We are only giving you a thirty-minute head start, then we're going to be right on your tail.”
A frisson of fear passes through me. It was on the beach where Don took me. Suddenly, I realize that by playing this game, I'm making myself vulnerable to somebody like Pastor Wren coming for me. This is the absolute last thing I want. I discover there’s a big difference between playing at being afraid with the four of them and real fear of someone capable of hurting me.
As if he can read my mind, Rafferty stands and walks to me.