Some things crumble under pressure. Others are tempered by it instead. For three former soldiers, a tragedy might be the catalyst that binds them together—stronger than ever.
Richard Horn and Timothy Davenport met in the SEALs twenty years ago and have been lovers ever since. Now running their own paramilitary organization, Strike Force Omega, they work in the shadows to protect their country and its people. When Tim falls for Eric Newton, a deadly sniper and strategist on their team, Richard accepts that Tim’s heart is big enough for two men. He respects, admires, and even desires Eric enough to accept him into their relationship—and their bed—but he’s never been fully a part of what Eric and Tim share.
Then Eric is captured by terrorists and Tim is gravely injured in an op gone wrong, bringing Richard’s world crashing down around his ears. Even if he gets his men out alive, Eric must face the aftermath of months of physical and psychological torture—and without Tim to lean on, Eric’s PTSD is tearing him apart. Richard has to figure out the third leg of their triangle fast, or Tim won’t have a life to come back to.
Talking in Code starts in media res. Eric, Tim, and Richard are already well and truly involved with each other, but the story includes references to moments before the book begins, moments that are not fully explored in the novel itself.
This is the fifth of those moments.
The minute the door to their quarters closed, Tim and Horn were all over him again. Eric wasn’t sure he’d ever been stripped so fast, no matter how motivated he was. He tried to strip Tim in return, but he couldn’t get a hand on either of them. They had him too wrapped up in their arms. Somehow they managed to strip themselves or each other, though, because that was definitely bare skin against his back and chest. They kept him between them as they moved toward the bedroom, like they were worried he might try to escape. He’d have told them they had nothing to worry about—he wasn’t going anywhere—but between Tim’s tongue in his mouth and Horn’s mouth on his neck, words weren’t happening.
Moans, though… he could handle moans, because fuck, Horn knew just how to bite at the curve of his shoulder to make his whole body light up. And the brush of his goatee only added to it.
They toppled him onto the bed. Tim followed him down immediately, but Horn took a moment to watch them. Eric’s nerve almost broke at the unreadable expression on Horn’s face. Yes, Horn had said he was okay with this, had explicitly invited Eric to join them, but he’d made it clear he was doing it because Tim wanted it. If Horn had changed his mind, they’d never find his body.
Horn ran a hand up Tim’s bare back—shit, he was in bed naked with Tim Davenport—drawing Tim’s attention momentarily. Tim was already smiling before he turned his head out of the line of Eric’s vision, a smile like nothing Eric had ever seen on his face before. He wanted Tim to look at him that way, as impossible as that was. If anyone ever looked at Eric with half the devotion on his face as was on Tim’s, Eric would count himself a lucky man. Horn cocked an eyebrow at Tim, a silent question Eric didn’t know how to read. Eric didn’t see whatever gesture or expression Tim made in return, but Tim turned back to Eric, the expression on his face never changing, as Horn stretched out on the bed next to Eric.
“How do we do this?” Eric asked hesitantly.
“How do you want to do this?” Tim replied.
Eric shrugged. “I’m up for anything that doesn’t involve blood or tying me up. He… um, Horn—”
“Richard,” Tim prompted.
Eric swallowed hard. He couldn’t call the commander by his first name, but they were naked, in bed, about to fuck each other’s brains out. He couldn’t keep calling him commander. “Richard said you’d talked about this, that you had… fantasies.”
“More than a few,” Tim said, making Eric groan softly. “But the only part of them that really matters is that they involve you. Anything we do will be better than empty dreams.”
“How about you do what you want, and I’ll tell you if there’s something I don’t like?” Eric said. Anything more than that was already beyond him. Sure, he’d imagined being with Tim, but it had never included Horn, and that had him totally off-balance.
“We can do that,” Horn said and rolled onto his elbow so he could kiss Eric. The kiss was deep and thorough, a siege of his mouth and mind. If he hadn’t known Horn was only here because Tim wanted him, he would have believed Horn was fully invested in this.
When Horn lifted his head, Eric’s senses were spinning, but before he could put any order to his thoughts, Tim was there, stealing what was left of his brain. Someone’s hands—Horn’s, he thought, but he couldn’t be sure—moved over his arms, stroking along the dips and curves of muscle. Eric knew he had buff arms, but he’d never viewed them as anything other than what he needed to draw the bows he collected and restored in his spare time. Now, with Tim kissing him and Horn lingering over them like they were the best thing he’d ever seen, he was suddenly tempted to flex them. Would it make Horn interested enough to let him come back to their bed another time?
“Fucking gorgeous,” Horn murmured near his ear. “I’m never going to be able to watch you train again without getting a hard-on.”
Eric wasn’t ever going to be able to sit through a briefing again without one, but that was a personal problem. He reached for Horn with one hand, seeking whatever contact he could find. He cupped the other around Tim’s nape and tried to make Tim as breathless as he was. He wasn’t sure it worked, but Tim moaned into his mouth and rutted against his side. Eric rocked back against him as best he could with Horn on his other side. If it had been just him and Tim, he would have pulled Tim on top of him, but he was there by Horn’s good grace. He couldn’t ignore him completely.
Tim released Eric’s mouth and kissed his way down Eric’s neck. Eric took a deep breath to steady himself, only to have Horn lean down and latch on to his nipple. Eric arched into their mouths, already desperate for more contact. Tim must have noticed his reaction to Horn’s mouth because he mimicked the gesture, leaving Eric thrashing on the bed.
“Easy,” Tim murmured against his skin. “We won’t leave you hanging.”
“The rate you’re going, it won’t come to that.”
Horn lifted his head. “That sounds like a challenge. You’re young. You can take it.”
Eric wasn’t so sure, not when he was already out of his mind with lust. Then again, maybe if he came now, he’d actually be able to relax and enjoy the rest.
“Is that what you want?” Tim asked “A quick orgasm now and then something more drawn out? Or can you wait long enough for us to fuck you?”
Eric moaned. He’d never last long enough for one of them to fuck him, much less both. “Make me come now. Then you can fuck me as long and hard as you want.”
“Told you he could take it,” Horn drawled, and it didn’t feel like he was just referring to his recent comment, but like he and Tim had discussed him, had planned this seduction. Before Eric could ask for more details, Tim slid a hand down Eric’s belly to encircle his cock. He bucked into the touch with a hoarse shout, and only years of self-denial kept him from coming on the spot. He’d told them to make him come, but he had a little self-respect.
Tim jacked him too well, though, and then Horn reached between his legs and cupped his balls, and Eric was lost. He shot all over his stomach and collapsed back on the bed, panting.
“Now,” Tim drawled, “you said something about fucking you….”
Eric made to roll over, but Horn caught him before he got to his stomach and pulled him back into the curve of his body. He reached down and draped Eric’s top leg over his thigh.
“Richard, have some patience. Just because I relax automatically at your touch doesn’t mean he will. Let him roll over so we can open him up properly.”
“You can’t kiss him if he’s on his stomach,” Horn replied. “You enjoy him. I’ll stretch him. I wasn’t going to take him dry.”
Eric shuddered, but at the rate they were going, he would probably have accepted even that. Tim stretched out along the front of his body, pressing against him from chest to knee and running his hands over Eric’s skin like he couldn’t get enough. Eric fell eagerly into the embrace, barely even flinching at the bite of cold lube against his hole.
“He forgot to warm up the lube, didn’t he?” Tim murmured as he reached around Eric and spread his cheeks for Horn. “He always forgets.”
Eric moaned a little at the thought of being between two lovers who knew each other so well. What would it be like to be a part of that not just for the night, but to have all that knowledge for himself too? He wouldn’t have said he wanted it if someone had asked, but now that he was here….
“Just wait until he gets inside you,” Tim continued. “He’s got magic fingers. He’ll make you feel so good.”
Horn suited actions to Tim’s words and slid a finger past Eric’s sphincter. Eric tensed automatically, but Horn didn’t push deeper, giving Eric time to adjust. “He needs a distraction,” Horn said behind him.
“Did you have something in mind?” Tim asked.
“All that skin in front of you, not to mention his dick, and you have to ask for suggestions?”
“No, but since you seem to want to run things, I thought I’d check.”
“It’s your fantasy, Dav. I’m just helping you act it out.”
The reminder soured in Eric’s stomach. Tim wanted him, yes, but Horn was just here because he loved Tim. This wasn’t the start of something more. It was one lover indulging another with him as the treat shared between them. He might have pulled away if Tim hadn’t kissed him right then, tangling his tongue with Eric’s so Eric couldn’t do anything but moan and rock against him, which rocked him right back onto Horn’s finger. It went deeper, enough to remind him how long it had been since he’d done this. He’d found the occasional willing partner to trade blow jobs or to let Eric fuck him, but it had been years since he’d bottomed for anyone. That he had offered so immediately spoke volumes about how gone he was over Tim.
Then Horn leaned forward and kissed the back of Eric’s neck, right at his hairline, a lover’s gesture if ever he’d felt one, and his world tipped on its axis. Horn twitched his finger inside Eric, and his breath hitched. “So responsive,” Horn murmured against his skin, his goatee adding another layer of sensation to his breath, raising goose bumps. “Going to make you feel so good.”
Eric didn’t need to be told that. They had already made him feel amazing, and it was only getting better. Horn pressed deeper, finding Eric’s prostate. Eric let out a hoarse shout as he tossed his head back. Tim took that in stride, transferring his attention to Eric’s chest instead.
“Did you like that?” Horn asked as he pressed against Eric’s sweet spot.
“Y-yes,” Eric gasped out between jolts to his system from Horn’s teasing.
“Enough to take another finger?” Horn prompted.
Eric moaned and rocked back against him as Tim sucked hard on one of his nipples. Eric cried out again and grabbed Tim’s head, holding him in place. He carded his fingers through Tim’s blond hair, trying to imprint the memory of this night on as many of his senses as possible since this would probably be his one chance to experience it.
Everything swirled together around him—Tim’s mouth and hands on him, Horn’s fingers stretching him while he kissed his way along Eric’s neck and shoulders. The burn of Horn adding a third finger cleared his head for a moment, but then Horn went back to milking his prostate, and Eric went under again, a drowning man going down for the third time.
“Condom,” he heard Horn say, followed by the ripping of a package. He blinked a couple of times to see Tim rolling the latex on.
“Come here,” Tim said. Eric moved toward him, but Tim gestured for him to flip around. That made sense. Easier for Tim to fuck him from behind. It took a bit of awkward fumbling to get him arranged the way Tim wanted, but they eventually settled on their sides with Eric’s top leg over Horn’s hip and his bottom leg sandwiched straight between their bodies.
Tim steadied him with a hand to his hip and pushed against Eric’s hole. He relaxed his muscles consciously as Tim rocked against him, going deeper with each thrust until he was fully seated in Eric’s ass. “So tight,” Tim murmured. “You feel so good, even better than I imagined.”
Horn reached over them and poked Tim’s hip. “My turn. I want a piece of the action too.”
Tim withdrew, but before Eric could protest, Horn pushed into him from in front. The angle was different, dragging against his inner walls in other places. He couldn’t have said which he preferred, only that the change turned him on even more. Horn fucked him backward against Tim with eager snaps of his hips, so that his ass rubbed against Tim’s cock. Tim moaned, a sound Eric echoed. After a few thrusts, Horn withdrew, only for Tim to return, pushing Eric forward so their cocks rubbed together.
Oh fuck, they weren’t going to take him one at a time. They really were going to share him.
They fell into a rhythm—thrust, retreat, thrust, retreat, switch—that left Eric flying. He’d had some wild sex in his life, but nothing had ever turned him on like being caught between these two powerful, sexy men who kissed him, touched him, fucked him like they’d never get enough. He already knew he was addicted. He’d never have another lover like either of them, much less like the two of them combined.
He reached blindly for Horn, needing a kiss to ground him. It didn’t even matter that Horn was the one to give it to him. He just needed something.
Tim withdrew and Horn took his place, but instead of thrusting a few times and letting Tim have his turn, Horn kept going, pegging Eric’s prostate with every pass as he kissed him so deeply Eric’s vision started to white out. He came with a sharp cry, lost in Horn’s mouth, and felt Horn follow a moment later. They lay there panting until Tim swatted Horn’s hip loud enough that the smack roused Eric from his stupor. “My turn.”
Tim nudged Eric forward, but he had nowhere to roll except on top of Horn. Horn didn’t seem to care, pulling Eric on top of him and taking his mouth in another torrid kiss. Tim moved between their spread legs and ran his hands over Eric’s back and down to his ass. “So damn beautiful.” He spread Eric’s cheeks. “Look at you, all slick and open from Richard fucking you.” He brushed his thumb over Eric’s hole. “I don’t want to hurt you. Can you take me?”
“Yes, please,” Eric begged. He spread his legs wider, or tried to, anyway. He was already nearly as spread-eagled as he could get. Tim fell on him like a starving man, rutting into him, forcing him down against Horn’s body. Holy hell, that was hot! It only took a few thrusts for Tim to come. He collapsed along Eric’s back. Horn grunted but didn’t push them off him, so Eric stayed where he was, basking in the afterglow.
He’d have to get up soon. He didn’t want to spoil an otherwise amazing night by overstaying his welcome. Right at the moment, though, he couldn’t have moved if he wanted to, with Tim’s weight on him and Horn’s arms around both of them. It took him a moment to realize that one of the hands on his hips was Horn’s, not Tim still holding both hips.
Had he misread the situation?
Tim rolled to the side, taking Eric with him, and Horn followed so that Eric was still tucked snugly between them. Eric wasn’t an expert on threesomes or adding a one-night extra to an existing relationship, but he’d had enough one-night stands to know that cuddling was generally not on offer, yet neither Horn nor Tim seemed in any hurry to move away.
Finally Horn rolled to his back to deal with the condom. Eric figured that was his cue to make himself scarce, but when he started to sit up, Tim tightened his arms around him, and before he could question that, Horn had rolled back into place, adding his arm to keep Eric in place.
“Lie still,” Tim murmured against his skin. “We don’t have anywhere to be before morning and neither do you. Don’t fuck this up.”
The words might have stung in another situation, but Eric was too blissed out to hear them now as any kind of criticism, especially since they implied that leaving would be what would mess things up.
Horn kept him in a tight embrace and kissed him when Tim rolled away for a moment to clean himself up, but Eric had learned his lesson and made no attempt to pull away. And then Tim was back, a line of sturdy heat along his spine. Eric gave up fighting and let them snuggle around and get comfortable. It wouldn’t take much and he’d be asleep.
Tim stroked up and down his arm, such a soothing touch that Eric drifted closer to unconsciousness.
“Dav?” Richard’s voice was pitched low, clearly intended not to disturb him.
“We’re gonna need a bigger bed.”
When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.
She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands). The cat pretends they’re all beneath her, no matter what language they’re speaking.
I’m offering a signed copy of Talking in Code to two winners who share posts from the blog tour. I’m also offering an ebook copy of any of my backlist to someone who comments on each individual post.