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Tempted by Her Trinity Excerpt
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Tempted by Her Trinity
Lucien seethed, self-hatred mixing with disgust and anguish, creating an awfully lethal concoction stirring inside him. Zandra pulled herself off the sofa and came to stand in front of him, toe-to- toe, her eyes brimming with sympathy.
I don’t deserve your pity, sweetheart. You have no idea just who you keep company with.
“I know,” Zandra whispered, pressing a hand flat against his chest. Her eyes narrowed with sadness. “I know loyalty that deep.”
“Do you?” Lucien loosened his fingers from the wineglass to keep from shattering the crystal. “Who is lucky enough to have earned your loyalty?”
“Someone who saved my life a long time ago. A man who took me into his care when I was certain I would die. He nursed me back to health and I’ve been loyal to him ever since.”
Tor came up behind Zandra. The shift in his brother’s demeanor helped him shed the putrid emotions long enough to realize what Zandra might be implying. His gut rolled unnaturally at the mention of another man holding precedence in this woman’s life. Lucien sure as hell may not deserve her, but that didn’t mean he didn’t want her. Oh, he wanted her. Bad enough he would gladly tell her anything she wanted to know about him.
“If your loyalty is with another man, what are you doin’ here with us?” Tor asked.
Zandra looked at him over her shoulder, a crease between her brows. “There are males and females, Tor. One sex or the other. A man saved my life and for that, I am forever grateful. My loyalty is not of any romantic element. I have always considered him a father.” She laughed softly. “If a female had been the one to save me, I would possess the same degree of loyalty for her as I have for the man. I owe him my life, and I protect him with everything I have.”
“What happened?” Lucien asked, taking the edge off his voice. He raised a hand to her hair and slid down the silky strands, over the slender slope of her shoulder, down her arm, and came to rest against her hand. Her fingers folded between his on her own accord.
“A lover’s jealousy is not a pleasant beast to face. My lover did not approve of me speaking with other men in fear of losing me. One night, he decided that he would make certain I would never leave him, and almost succeeded. He stabbed me numerous times and left me for dead.”
Anger welled, pushing his canines down from his gums and squeezing a hiss from his lungs. Tor’s arm slinked around her waist as he drew up against her back, holding her tight. Zandra’s head rested against his brother’s chest.
“Who is this person who harmed you?” Lucien growled. Zandra lifted their locked hand and pressed a finger to his lips.
“It happened a long time ago, Lucien. He was dealt with.”
“Does that have anything to do with your refusal for an exchange?” Tor asked. Lucien didn’t miss the dark threat in his tone. This revelation struck them both intense and without warning. They may have only met this woman, but Lucien wasn’t about to toss the alien emotions aside.
“In a sense, maybe. I’ve never allowed myself to get close to anyone after that,” Zandra confessed. “I protect what is mine in hopes that one day, I can trust a man enough to give him myself without fear.”
A piece of Lucien’s soul cracked, and for the first time in decades, peace filtered through his eternal darkness. He and his brothers crossed paths with a woman who they believed would be a fun night, but with each hour of having her around, Lucien began to wonder if their meeting was purely coincidental or if something more powerful was at work.
Tor handed Lucien his glass and Lucien twisted, placing them on the table. He relieved Zandra of hers before gently pressing his fingertips to her breast. Her flesh was warm and soft. The beat of her heart was quick but steady, a reassuring pace that made him yearn for a beat of his own.
“Stay with us, Zandra,” Tor murmured, kissing the top of her head. Her lips parted, her lashes fluttering closed. Lucien dipped his head and dragged his lips over her cheek. “For as long as you can.”
“I can’t make any promises,” Zandra cooed.
“No promises needed, sweetheart,” Lucien whispered against her ear. “A simple request.” He wanted a promise, but knew better than to ask. They all knew at some point, this rendezvous would end. Giving up everything to relocate to one central place for the sake of a woman was not ideal. Why couldn’t it be? “To enjoy the company we may keep during our stay.”
Her fingers tangled in his hair, tugging his head up enough to come level with her face. The smallest of smiles touched the corners of her mouth. “I would be honored to remain as long as I can.”